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Mod Installation on source games. - A Tutorial for Source Engine.

For all those who are unaware of the processes.

Allen Scott

1. Introduction

Today I'm going to be showing you how to install mods and sprays for any source game that supports them.

I will be covering the following;

Installing standard VPK mods.
Installing standard Folder mods.
Installing outdated pre-steampipe mods.
Converting a Folder mod to a VPK mod.
Installing Custom Maps.
Installing sprays.

2. Steam Mod Install Directories List

"steamapps\common\Team Fortress 2\tf\custom" 

- Team Fortress 2

"steamapps\common\Day of Defeat Source\dod\custom" 

- Day of Defeat: Source

"steamapps\common\Half-Life 2 Deathmatch\hl2mp\custom" 

- Half-Life 2 Deathmatch

"steamapps\common\left 4 dead 2\left4dead2\addons" 

- Left 4 Dead 2

"steamapps\common\Synergy\synergy\custom" 

- Synergy

"steamapps\common\Counter-Strike Source\cstrike\custom" 

- Counter Strike: Source

3. Installing standard VPK mods.

To begin with, you're going to download a VPK mod. For this example I'm going to use my latest mod for TF2 at the time of posting. Go to the page of the mod you're downloading and click the Download button below description of the submission.

This is what the button looks like.

  

At this point you will have downloaded either a WinZip or a WinRAR file depending on what the authors preferred packaging software is.

You'll have a file that looks like one of these;



The icon will be based on your default selected software to unpack these kinds of files.

Double click on the the .RAR or .ZIP and it should open.

Typically you'll either see a VPK file or a folder containing the VPK file.



What you're going to do next is open a file explorer (folder) and navigate to the custom folder of whatever game you're going to install the mod to. In this example you're installing my Ruin Princess Amby mod to Team Fortress 2.

Navigate to your steam install directory for the game.

What you're going to do now is click and drag that .VPK file into the custom folder of the game you're installing it to. (If, for some reason, this folder doesn't exist, create a new folder in the game directory and name it custom.)

You're done! You've just installed a VPK mod to your game. This is by far the most straightforward method of installing a mod. Next we'll cover what to do if its a Folder instead of a VPK.

4. Installing standard Folder mods.

To begin with, you're going to download a mod. For this example I'm going to use my Panic Attack mod for TF2. Go to the page of the mod you're downloading and click the Download button below the description of the submission.

This is what the button looks like.

  

At this point you will have downloaded either a WinZip or a WinRAR file depending on what the authors preferred packaging software is.

You'll have a file that looks like one of these.



The icon will be based on your default selected software to unpack these kinds of files.

Double click on the the .RAR or .ZIP and it should open.

Inside, you'll see either a folder named after the mod containing all the mod content or you'll have several folders named after each mod version of the mod to install. In most cases if there are multiple versions of the mod to install, there will be a "readme" file within the mod explaining how to install the different versions. For the sake of this tutorial we're just going to assume there's only one version of said mod.

You're going to find the folder in the .RAR or .ZIP that contains the following:



 Note:  not every single mod will have ALL of those folders, but they will have at least ONE of those folders.

Once you've located the folder that contains the folders listed above, open a file explorer (folder) and navigate to the custom folder of whatever game you're going to install the mod to. In this case, you're installing the Team Themed Trenchgun to Team Fortress 2.

Navigate to your steam install directory for the game.

What you're going to do now is click and drag the folder containing the mod into the custom folder of the game you're installing it to.

You're done! You've just installed a mod to your game. 

5. Installing outdated pre-steampipe mods.

To begin with, you're going to download a pre-steampipe mod. For this example I'm going to use Revenant100's Beta-Style Engineer for TF2. Go to the page of the mod you're downloading and click the Download button below description of the submission.

This is what the button looks like.

  

At this point you will have downloaded either a WinZip or a WinRAR file depending on what the authors preferred packaging software is.

You'll have a file that looks like one of these.



The icon will be based on your default selected software to unpack these kinds of files.

Double click on the the .RAR or .ZIP and it should open.

Inside, you'll see the main content folder 

containing the following:


 Note: not every single mod will have ALL of those folders, but they will have at least ONE of those folders.

The main content folder has a different name for almost every game.

"GAME\MAINCONTENT-FOLDER

- GAME NAME

"Team Fortress 2\tf

- Team Fortress 2

"Day of Defeat Source\dod

- Day of Defeat: Source

"Half-Life 2 Deathmatch\hl2mp

- Half-Life 2 Deathmatch

"left 4 dead 2\left4dead2

- Left 4 Dead 2

"Synergy\synergy

- Synergy

"Counter-Strike Source\cstrike

- Counter Strike: Source

What you're going to do next is rename that main content folder in the .RAR or .ZIP to the name of the mod. 

Now open a file explorer (folder) and navigate to the custom folder of whatever game you're going to install the mod to. In this case, you're installing the Beta-Style Engineer to Team Fortress 2.

Navigate to your steam install directory for the game.

What you're going to do now is click and drag the folder containing the mod into the custom folder of the game you're installing it to.

You're done! You've just installed a pre-steampipe mod to your game.

6. Converting a Folder mod to a VPK mod.

This process is going to be much different than the other 3 listed above.

As an example, I've taken a folder version of my 9mm Dual Cutlass to use in this process.

The first thing you're going to do is install the authoring tools for the game you're going to add the mod to. For the sake of this tutorial we're going to be modding Left 4 Dead 2, but this process will work the same for any game that supports VPK mods. The reason we have to install the authoring tools for the game is that every authoring tools set comes with the VPK.exe that is used to package folders into VPK files.

6.1. SDK Installation.

The Source SDK is freely available to all Steam users. It is used to develop mods and content for the Source 2006Source 2007 and Source 2013 engine branches.

Valve games since 2008 onward started to have their own SDK or Authoring Tools, and are engine versions that have no source code available to the public:


Valve in 2013 changed how authoring tools were distributed for Team Fortress 2Counter-Strike SourceDay of Defeat: Source, and Half-Life 2: Deathmatch.

Previously these tools were distributed together under the "Source SDK" tool, which resided in a totally different folder from the games. Valve moved towards a model more similar to L4D and CS:GO. The SDK tools are currently shipped with the game by default. Note that the tools are only available for Windows.

Open up your steam Library and go to the search bar at the top and click on where it says "GAMES" and it should open a drop down menu. Click on "Tools". 

Locate the authoring tools for the game you're going to install the mod for. In this case you're looking for "Left 4 Dead 2 Authoring Tools".

Once you find it, install it and it should fill the bin folder in your selected game's folder with all the authoring tools. If it is already installed, you have one less step to do.

6.2. Converting the file.

Navigate to your steam install directory for the game.

 Note: HL2:EP2, EP1, and other games that are played off of HL2 files will all utilize the HL2 bin files and most likely will not have their own bin or authoring tools.

Once you're in the bin folder there should be a VPK.exe

 

DO NOT double click this file! Instead, you're going to open your mod's folder with this executable. To do that, you need to navigate to your custom folder where you've housed the mod.

You're going to have both folders open at once. Bin and Custom. What you're going to do is drag the mod's folder into the VPK.exe.





Then it's going to open a CMD window, spew some text and then close automatically. What happening there is VPK.exe is packaging the folder into its own VPK format file. 



Once that's done, there will be a .VPK file under the same name as the mod's folder within the custom folder. At this point you can delete the folder and leave the .VPK in your custom folder.



Now you've just converted your folder mod to a VPK mod! Congratulations, now your games will load faster!

7. Installing Custom Maps.

To begin with, you're going to download a custom map. For this example I'm going to use AlexCookie's Harvest Alpine map for Team Fortress 2. Go to the page of the map you're downloading and click the Download button at the bottom of the description of the submission.

This is what the button looks like.

  

At this point, you will have downloaded either a WinZip or a WinRAR file depending on what the authors preferred packaging software is.

You'll have a file that looks like one of these.



The icon will be based on your default selected software to unpack these kinds of files.

Double click on the the .RAR or .ZIP and it should open.

What you'll typically see is a .BSP file.



 Note 1: The actual file icon will differ from person to person. My L4D2 Authoring Tools set all .BSP files to have the L4D2 file icon.

 Note 2: In some cases the map will be shipped in a .VPK as a mod, which will also work. In that case follow the first section's instructions on how to install VPK mods.

What you're going to do next is open a file explorer (folder) and navigate to the maps folder of whatever game you're going to install the map to. In this case you're installing a KOTH map to Team Fortress 2.

Navigate to your steam install directory for the game.

What you're going to do now is click and drag that .BSP file into the maps folder of the game you're installing it to.

 Note 3:  Some maps may ship with a .NAV file which houses the navigation paths for bots and will be right next to the .BSP file in the folder. When extracting the .BSP into the maps folder, bring the .NAV with it.



 Note 4:  Some maps may ship with a folder called "graphs" right next to the .BSP file. Inside this folder is a .AIN file which houses the navigation paths for NPCs such as the Combine Soldiers in HL2. When extracting the .BSP into the maps folder, bring the graphs folder with it and merge it with the pre-existing folder.




You're done! You've just installed a map to your game. 

8. Installing sprays.

When installing sprays, there are usually a few different ways users like to package them when they upload them. I'll address the three ways I've seen it done.

8.1. Scenario 1: The spray is packaged in a VPK.

In this case, follow the first section's instructions on how to install VPK mods. I have no idea if sprays installed that way will actually function properly since I've never done it, but that's how it would be installed. The alternative is to open the .VPK with GCFscape and extract the materials folder and merge it with the one inside your main content folder. (For information on the main content folder read the pre-steampipe installation section)

8.2. Scenario 2: The spray is packaged in Folder mod or Pre-steampipe format. 

This is the way I package my sprays and is the most common spray package format.

To begin with, you're going to download a spray. For this example I'm going to use my Joyner Season spray for Team Fortress 2. Go to the page of the spray you're downloading and click the Download button below description of the submission.

This is what the button looks like.

  

At this point you will have downloaded either a WinZip or a WinRAR file depending on what the authors preferred packaging software is.

You'll have a file that looks like one of these.



The icon will be based on your default selected software to unpack these kinds of files.

Double click on the the .RAR or .ZIP and it should open.

Typically you'll either see a folder titled after the mod or a main content folder.




Either one of these should contain a materials folder.



Now open a file explorer (folder) and navigate to the main content folder of whatever game you're going to install the spray to. In this example you're installing my Joyner Season spray to Team Fortress 2.

Navigate to your steam install directory for the game.

What you're going to do now is click and drag the materials folder and merge it with the pre-existing materials folder in the main content folder.

You're done! You've just installed a spray to your game.

8.3. Scenario 3: Ships nothing but a .VTF file and a .VMT file.

This is fairly common too, and has a pretty straightforward install.

For this example I'm going to use OminousFrost's  2B Continued spray for Team Fortress 2. Go to the page of the map you're downloading and click the Download button below the description of the submission.

This is what the button looks like.

  

At this point you will have downloaded either a WinZip or a WinRAR file depending on what the authors preferred packaging software is.

You'll have a file that looks like one of these.



The icon will be based on your default selected software to unpack these kinds of files.

Double click on the the .RAR or .ZIP and it should open.

What you'll typically see is a .VTF file and a .VMT file.



Now open a file explorer (folder) and navigate to the main content folder of whatever game you're going to install the spray to. 

Navigate to your steam install directory for the game.

What you're going to do now is click and drag the 2 files into the logos folder.

You're done! You've just installed a spray to your game.

_______________________________________________________________

Thank you for reading my tutorial!
If you believe I've missed something or just want to correct something in this tutorial, please comment and I'll respond as soon as I am able.

Merry modding!
  • Krumbo avatar
    Krumbo Joined 6mo ago
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    6mo
    I Can't open my .rar files. It keeps giving me other options. Is there a fix for this?

    Bananite
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  • Xetheon avatar
    Xetheon Joined 11mo ago
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    it doesnt show any download button for me on anything
    Bananite
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  • CarmenRider avatar
    CarmenRider Joined 3y ago
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    I tried doing it with a few tf2 mods and it didn't work
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    Mantra
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    tom username pic Joined 21y ago
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    Great work, thank you.
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    I'm big dummy. I made a replacement for Mannrobics in my spare time but then I realized I have no idea which folder in sounds to put it in, help.
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    Couldn't be bothered reading all of it, but I'm guessing it's good.
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    Probably done with making mods avatar
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