Below are a list of mapping programs and utilities you may or may not needto make Counter-Strike maps. To download a program, or to go to the program'shome page, click on it's label, that will look Like This.Some programs are hard to find, or their home pages are dead and gone. Inthat case, we've archived them here on Counter-Map and provide a download link.
You'll see also that each category is marked witha user level that should help you decide if you need the given programs ornot. The user levels are..
Newbies (beginners) on up will need these programs. You can't mapwithout these programs, and in fact, need nothing else to do basic mapping.If you are a beginner, don't bother with the other stuff until you are ready.It's like learning to drive - it's easier to learn on an automatic than amanual, right? :^)
After you've gotten into mapping a bit, you may find theseprograms useful to do fancier stuff.
Ready to get into even more detailed mapping stuff? Then these programs might be for you.
Ah, now you're talking really advanced. This is the stuffthat very few mappers either need to use or will want to use.
This is the penultimate stuff - the absolutely most detailedsoftware that probably 10 people out there mapping for Counter-Strikereally will need. :^)
Basic Editor - Newbie+
You'll need a basic editor. This is the program you use to create your basic map. Lay out walls, boxes, solids, etc., choose their textures, and place entities like player starts, lights, sounds, etc.
Hammer is the best all-around editor for Half-Life based games (like Counter-Strike) for one main reason: it is written and maintained by Valve, the company who wrote Half-Life. Valve intends Hammer to be the editor for TF2 when it is released. This support by Valve is very important, as you will see below what happens to editors that have no support.
Quark is an odd favorite of some. In fact, those that use it are pretty rabid in their support! It's actively maintained (which is good), and has many powerful features. It is a bit different in it's editing concepts than Hammer, so the learning curve can be a bit steep.
The Tread editor was developed by a couple of independent programmers, and then was abandoned, but then picked back up. It's got some really great features, but I'm not sure if it will survive. It's got a special config file format (not the Hammer FGD format), and I am not sure if there is one for Counter-Strike at this time. Tread is good. I paid them money for it. I wish some big game company would "buy" it and make it theres, and thus keep it going.
Editor Configuration Files for Counter-Strike - Newbie+
Map editors will require a special configuration file of some type to let you create the specialized "stuff" that make the map a Counter-Strike map, like hostages, bomb targets, etc. Choose one from the list below that's appropriate for your editor.
This is a more advanced version of the FGD for Counter-Strike done by me (Waldo). It includes many more entities not previously in the old FGD, many many more sprites for 3d viewing of entities in Hammer, plus some added niceties to make editing entities easier. By the way, don't be fooled by the "Experts" name - even beginners will find this FGD useful and probably easier to use than the standard FGD.
Quark config files (?)
Come standard in Quark
Tread config files (?)
There was an old config file for CS and Tread, but I believe it is far out of date. If anyone has anything for download, let me know - we'll put it up.
Compile Tools - Newbie+
After you've made a map, you need to compile it. This turns the raw "map" file into a "bsp" file, which you can run in Half-Life.
This is the set of compile tools to use, bar none. In fact, there are no other compile tools beyond the ones that come with Hammer. And you know what? Valve doesn't use them, they use Zoners (or so goes the rumor).
Compile Front End - Newbie+
To make building maps simpler, you may want to get a compiler front-end, that will automatically runall four of the build programs to create your map. Note that you can also compile maps with a batch file and skip this tool. There is a great tutorial on this here on Counter-Mapwhich you might want to read.
This is a very advanced integrated suite of tools for the serious map-making monkey. Tool Box centralizes all your files, programs, and tasks for easier management. Spend less time hunting for icons and more time working!
PAK File Exploration - Intermediate+
This is a class of tool that you will NOT need for general map editing. PAK browsers are forviewing the contents of PAK files, which are just collections of files that can be used bya game. Think of a PAK file as a ZIP file full of map stuff - like sounds, models, sprites,and other more "obscure" stuff. You might find a PAK explorer handy if you're trying to find out what all the in-game sounds are, or sprites, or models.
A shareware paint program with many advanced features. Maybe not as good as Photoshop, but free for a 30 day trial.
Sounds - Intermediate+
Sounds in Counter-Strike are just standard WAV files. Though the standard windows sound tools will probably play them, you might want to check some of the following utilities to help you listen to, or even modify sounds for your map.
Often, a map can be more than just a BSP file. It might also include custom sounds, textures, sprites, or other specialized files. You'll want to make downloading and installation of these files as simple as possible for people getting your map. To help, here are a few programs you'll want to get/try out.
The program you use to make ZIP files. You'll want to use this, most definitely! Not only will your map download faster (as it's compressed), but it also helps you organize all the little (and big) files that might be part of your map.
Not many people know about RES files. Here's a blurb from Valve on them...
Something that has always limited the propagation of custom maps has been the lack of support for custom map resources. Running a custom map that has it's own .wad file, custom sprites, or precached sounds has been something of a burden to server operators. So, we've added a new feature/function to help simplify the process.
The RESGEN utility helps you in building a RES file for you. What does a RES file do for you? If a player connects to a server with your map, and doesn't have your custom WAD file, sound file, or any number of other files, this RES file helps the server automatically send it to them.
Sprites - Advanced+
If you are creating custom sprites, or want to view sprite files to see how they will look, you might want to get some of these sprite tools. Again, like with texture tools, you won't need these if you are just doing basic mapping.
Another new tool by Nemesis! He's written a new terrain generator for HL that is worth checking out. Some really nice features, like the ability to preview your terrain - with sky - in 3d mode in the program.
You can download it directly from Counter-Map from here.
A program designed for creating rolling hills, etc - natural looking terrain.
Models and Modeling - Expert+
If you want to examine the different models available in the game, or want to create your own models,you might want to download these tools. They are rather advanced, so again, don't bother unless you areusing models in your map, or want to create new models.
The premier freeware modeling tool if you feel like creating your own models.
SDK - GURU+
Oh, now you really want to get down and dirty with mapping you say? Then you might want to download the SDK from Valve. It's the toolkit mod authors use to create new mods. Very technical, very detailed, and very much not needed by 99.9% of all mappers!
Use this program to turn a BSP file into an editable .MAP file. About the only reason you'd want to use this program is to figure out how something was done in a map. Want to figure out how the 1 way glass in Casino was done? This tool might help.
BE WARNED! It does a poor job, so don't expect to just edit an existing map to add some new thing for fun, and think it will work. You aren't gonna be able to use this to give the Ts an APC in siege, or what ever. Also be VERY forwarned that it's not well liked by the general mapping community to take someone elses map and decompile it. Other maps are the property and creation of their authors, and as such not yours to go changing.