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Squads allow you to group NPCs in ways they understand. Members of a squad will cover each other, move together, share information, and take turns at attacking their enemies. However, they have limitations:

  • Squads cannot be directly influenced in the regular ways that individual NPCs can be. The mapper can still influence the individual squad members.
  • Squads will not stay together if directed otherwise by a scripted or semi-scripted sequence.
  • There are no squad leaders, unlike Half-Life 1.
  • Squad tactics are less complex than in Half-Life 1.
  • Squads can contain no more than 16 members.
  • Only two soldiers in a squad can attack at a time, so large squads may be highly ineffective.

To form a squad, edit the Squad Name property for each NPC that will be a part of it. All NPCs sharing the same squad name are in the same squad, no matter their PVS or location on the map.

Squad-level I/O

NPCs can be manipulated as a squad by:

An NPC can be added to or removed from a squad at map runtime by its SetSquad input. An npc_maker can also set the squadname of NPCs it spawns, but that squadname cannot be changed at map runtime.

The player's squad is special, and has additional relevant Inputs and Outputs:

  • The OnJoinedPlayerSquad and OnLeftPlayerSquad inputs of npc_citizens
  • NPCs have an OnDenyCommanderUse input for when they refuse to join the player's squad
  • NPCs also have an OnDamagedByPlayerSquad input
  • NPCs can be set to auto-join to player's squad with the console command npc_citizen_auto_player_squad
  • The player can manually remove or add NPCs to their squad if the command npc_citizen_auto_player_squad_allow_use is set. This requires npc_citizen_auto_player_squad to be disabled.

See also the "Player squad transition point" of info_node_hint for taking the player's squad across level transitions.

Some squad I/O is class-specific:

  • Some Combine NPCs: the LookOn and LookOff inputs can force a Combine NPC to only see through its squadmates' eyes
  • npc_spotlight: the SquadDetectedEnemy output fires when its squad finds an enemy (useful for shining at that enemy) and a corresponding SquadLostEnemy output.


  • The player's squad is player_squad.
  • npc_citizen NPCs have a spawnflag to place them in the player's squad on spawn: 65536