Source SDK

Source SDK

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Setting up a single player Source Engine 2013 mod.
By Wazanator
A guide that shows you how to setup a single player mod on the Source Engine SDK 2013 branch.
Video Version of this Tutorial
Don't feel like reading or need a visual aid? Here's a video

Looking for Multiplayer?
Check out my other guide if you are wanting to do multiplayer
Things you will need to download
EDIT: It would seem Steam does not like my links to Microsofts site for some reason... So if you see LINK REMOVED let me know in the comments. But all links should be in the description of the video

To start off you're going to need to download a few things:

  • The source code for 2013 off of GitHub. Link to Page[] Direct Link to the Zip file[]

  • Notepad++[] is great for looking at text files (.cfgs, .txt, etc)

    NOTE: Default notepad has some issues when looking at files like gameinfo.txt the formatting is kind of off. It's still usable but I highly recommended notepad++ so you dont have to deal with it.

  • Microsoft Speech SDK 5.1[], just choose SpeechSDK51.exe.

  • Multibyte MFC library[] (install this AFTER visual studio 2013)

  • Source SDK base 2013 Singleplayer (Be sure you opt into the beta branch!)

  • Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition
    This will take a bit of work now that Microsoft has moved on to newer versions but not much. Go here: and scroll down to 2013 and click download then sign in with a Micrsoft Account (it's free).

VISUAL STUDIO 2015 AND 2017 DO NOT WORK DO NOT USE EITHER UNTIL VALVE UPDATES WHICH WILL PROBABLY NEVER HAPPEN, but if you are experienced you know how to just use the 2013 compiler.

Once you have installed both Source SDK base 2013 singleplayer and visual studio 2013 run both to make sure they launch before continuing.
Setting up the work folder
Choose a location you want for your mod source files to be. This will serve as the location that you will keep all your files both WIP and final. This includes but isn't limited to maps, models, sounds, textures, scripts, code, etc.

Once you've picked out a spot create a new folder and name it your mods name.

Move the into this folder, right click it and choose to extract it here.

Open up the Source-sdk-2013 folder and delete the MP branch since we do not need it.

NOTE: There can't be any spaces at all in the file path, I suggest putting it at the top of one of your drives

Example: C:/modname/sp/
Setting up Microsoft Speech SDK (SAPI)
Run the SpeechSDK51.exe file you downloaded. It should unzip contents to a selected folder. One of the contents it unzips is Microsoft SDK 5.1.msi. Running this with the default settings should create a directory in C:\Program Files (x86) called Microsoft Speech SDK 5.1. Copy the Microsoft Speech SDK 5.1 directory into the src/utils directory of your mod and rename it sapi51.

Navigate to sp\src\utils\sapi51\Include and open sphelper.h in visual studio.

The following are changes you need to make to the code (hint if your line numbers are off by default read this[]):

Line 769
const size_t ulLenVendorPreferred = wcslen(pszVendorPreferred); // no size_t

Line 1418
static long CoMemCopyWFEX(const WAVEFORMATEX * pSrc, WAVEFORMATEX ** ppCoMemWFEX) // missing long

Line 2368
const WCHAR * PropertyStringValue() const { // Search for the first NULL and return pointer to the char past it. SPDBG_ASSERT(eEventId == SPEI_PROPERTY_STRING_CHANGE); const WCHAR * psz = (const WCHAR *)lParam; // moved this from for init for (; *psz; psz++) {} return psz + 1; }

Line 2560
SPPHONEID* pphoneId = (SPPHONEID*)((WCHAR *)dsPhoneId); // improper casting

Line 2634
pphoneId += wcslen((const wchar_t *)pphoneId) + 1; // improper casting

Setting up the codebase
Navigate to source-sdk-2013\sp\src

Run both createallprojects.bat and creategameprojects.bat

Open games.sln in visual studio 2013. It shouldn't ask if you want to update files but if it does say yes. Right click on the games solution and go to properties.

Choose Configuration Properties then click Configuration Manager...

For the Active Solution configuration choose Release

Click Close, then OK.

Right click on the games solution again but this time choose "Rebuild Solution". Wait for it to compile. If you did everything correctly you should get no errors. If you get an error debug it like you normally would, if you have never really coded before this means google the error and try and figure out why it broke on your own. Yes this might mean spending thirty minutes to an hour to figure out what broke. If you can't figure it out and you have put a good amount of time into trying to do it on your own post on the forums as well as other places like stack overflow.

Click File -> Open -> Project/Solution and find the everything.sln you created earlier.

Do the same thing as above.

NOTE: If you do not plan on modifying things like vbsp, vrad, vvis, shaders and the like you do not need to bother with everything.sln
Setting up the mod folder
Go to Steam\steamapps\common\Source SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer

Copy the hl2 folder.

Paste it into Steam\steamapps\sourcemods (should be about 2.6 GB)

Rename it to your mods name (if your mods name contains spaces use underscores instead and use no capitals or special characters).

Open the folder up.

Delete the following:

  • ALL vpk files

  • Both of the vpk.sound.cache files

Make sure the following folders exist:

  • bin

  • cfg

  • maps

  • materials

  • media

  • models

  • particles

  • resource

  • scripts

  • sound

The gameinfo.txt file [IMPORTANT]
The is a very important file for your mod. It's what tells the engine what to call your mod in steam, the title to use on the main menu, what kind of mod it is, and most importantly what files to mount.

First thing you need to do upon opening it up is select everything and delete it. Then copy paste this in:

"GameInfo" { game "Our Example Mod" title "Our Example Mod" type singleplayer_only FileSystem { SteamAppId 243730 // Source SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer SearchPaths { // No /custom/ folders because they can interfere with mod content and shouldn't be in mod gameinfo. game+mod+mod_write+default_write_path |gameinfo_path|. // Mod gamebin |gameinfo_path|bin // Mod's Binaries // Base Half-Life 2 Content: ep2, episodic, hl2 game_lv |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_lv.vpk game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_english.vpk game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_pak.vpk game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_vo_english.vpk game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_misc.vpk game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_misc.vpk platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform/platform_misc.vpk // TODO; find out what is it and why it's here game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2 platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform } } }
PasteBin link[]
Of course change/add things to this file as you want.

Now then if you want to mount additional content from a game like Counter-Strike: Source this is the file you do it in. Follow Valves example, in the case of CSS it would look like:

game "|all_source_engine_paths|../Counter-Strike Source/cstrike/cstrike_pak.vpk"
The bin folder
The bin folder is where your client and server .dll files will go from your compiled code

Navigate to ModSourceFolder\source-sdk-2013\sp\src\game\client\Release_mod_hl2 and copy the client.dll and paste it into the bin folder located in your steamapps\sourcmodes\modname

Same thing for server.dll
The cfg folder
The cfg folder is where you will keep all your config files for the game.

Common .cfg files found in this folder include:

  • 360controller.cfg (Button mapping for gamepads)

  • undo360Controller.cfg (undoes the gamepad settings)

  • config_default.cfg (Default button mapping for keyboard and mouse players)

  • config.cfg (Game creates this one on it's own, it stores the users current keybindings and loads them up automatically)

  • chapter#.cfg (Typically runs the map command followed by the name of the map that starts the chapter off but can be used to run other commands as well) example:
    map d1_trainstation_05

  • modsettings.cfg (Loaded by the engine on startup. If this file is not present in the mod's cfg folder, will not fallback based on search path)

  • skill.cfg (Default stats for your weapons, npcs, etc, the game assumes these are the values to be used when played on normal difficulty and adjusts them depending on what difficulty the player picks)

  • skill_manifest.cfg (executes the skill.cfg, must have for skill.cfg to work)

  • thirdperson.cfg/thirdperson_joy360.cfg/thirdperson_keypad.cfg/thirdperson_mayamode.cfg (thirdperson settings)

Here's a download of all the ones from HL2
The maps folder
Shockingly this is where you put your maps for your mod
The materials folder
This is where you put your materials. Please try and keep some consistency and order when putting materials in here.

For example I suggest having a "models" folder for where materials that models use go. Brick is where brick textures go, etc.
The models folder
Models go here, again like the materials folder try and keep them organized.

Popular organization methods:

  • General folders such as junk, boxes, pipes, skybox, etc

  • Folders for models that are used only in one level

  • Folders for non props such as npc models
The particles folder
This is where you will place your particle files
The resource folder
The resource folder is the folder that is used to contain close caption text, icons, fonts, cursors, UI and just general .res files.
The scripts folder
The folder that is used to hold the script files for things like soundscapes, weapon scripts, chapter titles, propdata, sentences, sound scripts for npcs, soundmixers, hudlayout, game sounds, ui animations, vehicles, effects and a lot more.

Take an hour and go through these so you know what it is you can change via the scripts.
The sound folder
Surprise this is where your sound files go.
You're done!
Now just restart steam and your mod name should popup in the library ready to be launched!

NOTE: If you are having trouble launching your mod be sure you are in the SDK 2013 singleplayer beta. You can join the beta by right clicking SDK 2013 singleplayer in Steam and going to properties then beta.

If you want to compare here's a finished version that would go in your sourcemods folder

If you found this tutorial helpful and have $3 to spare I would love your support!

Support Me on Ko-fi[]
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prospectus Jul 27 @ 12:23pm 
Does this method provide the mod with content from Episode 1 and 2, or just the HL2?
Wazanator  [author] Jul 20 @ 8:52pm 
In addition the Source SDK does not include the 2013 branch of the Source Engine. Valve moved all their older games to this branch which is why it's the only one still getting some updates to the released source code.
BorkTheCaveman Jul 20 @ 10:57am 
Hλlf Way Lambda Jul 20 @ 10:56am 
The Source SDK itself got heavily broken when the SteamPipe update came out back in 2013. Since then Valve has NOT recommended using it at all, because 90% of its features simply don't work anymore. Such a shame they left it as it is.
BorkTheCaveman Jul 20 @ 10:48am 
Also, what's the difference between doing this and just hitting "Create Mod" in Source SDK?
BorkTheCaveman Jul 19 @ 10:04am 
Wazanator  [author] Jul 18 @ 9:42pm 
@BorkTheCaveman You can't use 2017 because the code is incompatiable with the newer compiler. You can grab a copy of 2013 CE from here and it requires a Dev Essentials account which is free.
BorkTheCaveman Jul 18 @ 8:59pm 
I have tried downloading Visual Studio 2013, but when I click the link and sign in, it just says this: "Sorry, we couldn't find any downloads for you.
To continue, please join Visual Studio Dev Essentials or purchase a Visual Studio Subscription." I am using my account that has Visual Studio 2017 that came with my computer, so that should mean I already have a subscription, yes? Also, couldn't I just use VS 2017? Thanks, Bork
SiMpLeToN Jun 18 @ 1:09pm 
Great tutorial by the way! I'm just starting out in Source modding.
SiMpLeToN Jun 18 @ 11:35am 
You have to check the Microsoft Foundation Classes for C++ when selecting optional features in VS's original install. You should include this bit in the tutorial because if you don't do it, you can't get the MFC Library.