$Phong on brushes*: The Hacky Way

A Tutorial for Source Engine

You may have seen some models with their shiny point specular and
thought "I got to get me some of that!" Excitedly you open up notepad,
slam down the commands "phong 1" and "phongfresenal ranges "[ .2 .5 1]"
and quickly boot up the game, only to see that it does not work on
"LightmappedGeneric" surfaces. In a fit of rage you are about to throw
yourself off a cliff. Worry Not! I have come in a cloud of light to
deliver you the good news that you can achieve phong on a
lightmappedgeneric surface!* (*Using models)

This is a fairly simple operation; however it requires a few things


  • A modelling editor package (Propper will work)
  • A normal map
  • A strong will to hold yourself off from commiting suicide to perform these operations


First thing you want to do is duplicate your ideal brushes in some form
or fashion to another vmf. From there, you tessellate it and use either
propper or your software editing package (In my case I use wallworm and
3DS max to edit things) to export it to an smd format. if you have
propper you can auto compile it, if you have 3DS max, you'll need to
export it and use crowbar or wallworm's compile tools to compile it into
a mdl file.

Now for the textures. I suggest making a subdirectory for your phong
textures. E.G. models/phongtextures/texturename.vmt The only new texture
you'll need is a black 256x256 texture. You can generate it in nearly
all programs. (doesn't have to be 256x256 but works best with that) Once
you have that, you just duplicate the vmt that your brush uses and make
a few changes.

Original materials/tile/floor_tile_001a


"$baseTexture" "Tile/floor_tile_001a"
"$envmap" "env_cubemap"
"$envmapcontrast" 1
"$envmapsaturation" 1
"$envmaptint" "[ .75 .75 .75]"
"$normalmapalphaenvmapmask" 1
"$bumpmap" "Tile/floor_tile_001a_normal"
"%keywords" "tf"


New materials/models/phongtextures/floor_tile_001a


"$baseTexture" "models/phongtextures/black"
"$additive" 1
"$bumpmap" "Tile/floor_tile_001a_normal"
"$phong" 1
"$phongexponent" 60
"$phongfresnelranges" "[ .2 .5 1]"
"$phongboost" 3
"%keywords" "tf"


You'll notice a few changes

I changed LightmappedGeneric to VertexlitGeneric

I ditched the envmap because phong does the main work.

My base texture is the newly created black texture.

I added phong commands

And most importantly, there's this new command

"$additive" 1

What does this do? exactly what it says. It adds the colors of the
textures together, and this is my base texture is black. 1+0 = 1 Black
will show up invisible in-game, however the specular highlight from
$phong will not. Thus replicating the holy grail effect.

In hammer you simply place this in your map just ever so slightly above the brush (1 unit looks fine)



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