.:Xash3D Engine:.

Custom Gold Source Engine build from a scratch

Unkle Mike (aka G-Cont, aka Дядя Миша) - main developer
HLFX.ru & CS-Mapping.com.ua forum members - help, support, testing

CortexReaver, nemyax - English translation

Xash3D Engine has been tested for compatibility with many of Gold Source games and MODs. At this moment it should provide you an ability to successfully complete almost any existing singleplayer Half-Life mod without compatibility problems. Some mods can be not totally compatible, if they are too hardly modified or using some very specific or unstable features of Gold Source engine. Also multiplayer part of Xash3D engine is not fully completed yet because of lack of some important information and hidden source codes of Gold Source engine. So in most cases multiplayer mods should work good in a local or a LAN game, but some features can not work or work not exactly as under Gold Source engine. Check a detailed list of tested mods and a list of tested maps in "Features" section. A full list of Xash3D Engine features is also there, plus a guide on how to get work Half-Life and its' mods under Xash3D (in English and in Russian).


Since Xash3D is a Half-Life compatible engine, then all the innovations below will be given in comparsion with GoldSrc engine.

Basic limits.

Xash3D limits are not just higher than Half-Life ones, they also can be tuned in gameinfo.txt file.
- MAX_EDICTS is 600 - 4096 (versus 900 in Half-Life).
- MAX_TEMPENTS is 300 - 2048 (vs. 500).
- MAX_PARTICLES is 1024 - 8192 (vs. 4096).
- MAX_BEAMS is 64 - 512 (vs. 64)
Careful limits reduction can save RAM in mods which don't need many edicts. Also MAX_EDICTS parameter is broadcasted from server during a multiplayer session, it adjusts clients to new conditions automatically.

Other limits.

These limits are engine-hardcoded and can not be tuned by user.
- MAX_VISIBLE_PACKET is 512 entities (256 in Half-Life).
- MAX_MODELS is 2048 unique models (including sprites and bmodels)
- MAX_SOUNDS is 2048
- MAX_SENTENCES is 2048 (1534 in Half-Life)
- MAX_USER_MESSAGES is 191 (128 in WON Half-Life)
- MAX_TEXTURES is 4096 (2048 of them can be used for VGUI)
- MAX_MESSAGES is 2048 (1024 in Half-Life) (quantity of messages in titles.txt)
- Maximum size for indexed textures is 4096х4096 (vs. 512х512 in Half-Life)
- Maximum size for true-color textures is 4096x4096.

Limits for bsp-models.

- MAX_MAP_MODELS 1024 (256 in half-life)
- MAX_MAP_LEAFS 32767 (8192 in half-life)
Note: other BSP-model limits are specified by compiler tools and don't depend on the engine.

Realisitic lighting values on server.

Xash3D allows to get more accurate value of current lighting level, because it considers lightstyles and their current values. The player's lighting is taken directly from renderer and considers all lighting types, including entity light and dynamic light.

Improved decal save.

Half-Life supports decal save only on world surfaces and very rare on doors, elevators and other moving models. Xash3D saves decals on every brush model. Decal transition between levels is also maintained (implemented in Half-Life, but doesn't really work).

Entity patch technology support.

This technology allows to load entities from external .ent script file. This script can be produced by the external ripent.exe application or by engine's facilities by typing the entpatch command. If the command is entered when a map is loaded, a new entity patch will be created.

Various map formats support.

Xash3D supports following BSP-map formats: Quake 1, Half-Life, Half-Life Blue Shift. Besides, Quake 1 external bmodels are supported (medikit and ammo models). Note: it is recommended to play Quake 1 maps in Deathmatch Classic mod to prevent stuckness of player because of the difference between hull's sizes of Half-Life and Quake.

Hot resource precaching support.

Xash3D allows to precache models "on the fly" that helps to avoid nasty PF_PRECACHE_ERROR. Also Xash3D doesn't crash if a model or sound wasn't found.

Reliable changelevel.

Before switching to a next map Xash3D will analyze its state (without unloading the current map) and decides whether correct changelevel procedure is possible. In case of any error in a next map the engine will signal about it in the developer's console, and the changelevel will be aborted. The error message also contains troubleshoot tips that can make level designer's life easier, because such errors are most difficult to diagnose and fix.

Built-in credits.

To display credits and exit the game after, run the pfnEndSection command with oem_end_credits argument. The credits code is placed in menu.dll and can be changed by user at his discretion.

MOVETYPE_PUSH physics is more stable.

Xash3D entities behave more stable on moving platforms and don't shift away on sharp turns.

New MOVETYPE_COMPOUND physics type.

It allows to tie one entity to another, taking into account movement and rotation of the former entity. You can see an example in SDK - a crossbow bolt that correctly attaches itself to func_pushable, func_rotating, func_tracktrain and other brush models.

Console autocomplete support.

Xash3D has a powerful console autocomplete system that allows not just print command lists, but also describe all of them during the search. For more comfort you can type "makehelp" in the console, and the engine will generate help.txt that contains the list of all commands and variables with short descriptions. Map, movie, background track, cfg script, save, weapon (give command), sound (play command), game directory names input is also assisted by the autocomplete feature.

No parent directory restriction.

Most Quake engines are restricted to the parent directory with specific name, which doesn't matter when you make mod, but very uncomfortable when you make total game conversion and therefore replace the parent directory. Xash3D doesn't restricted to specific folder, and the parent directory is defined by the launcher. This way you can make your own game that doesn't depend on Half-Life.

Dedicated server has the autocomplete feature now, your command history can be saved.

Dedicated server has the autocomplete feature now, your command history can be saved.

Background maps support.

Background map is a map to be displayed as a menu background. You could see them in Half-Life 2. Xash has a simplier background map system - it doesn't depend on unlocked chapters (because original Half-Life has no chapters system) and it chooses the background map from the list. This list file must be named as chapterbackgrounds.txt and placed in scripts directory (if you don't have such directory, then just make it). Every list's entry is separated by new line. You can use any playable map as the background, but better don't use maps where player starts in a moving train, because it won't look good.

Lightstyle interpolation.

Turned off by default. Doesn't work with short sequences like switching on and off the light. It smooths light animation very well on long slow sequences like SlowStrobe or SlowPulse. Note: FPS rate may suffer from this option.

luma glowing textures support (Quake-style).

You can see such textures in original quake maps as glowing fields on a texture. Because this feature is caused by the Quake pallet's special features, the engine enables it for textures that have Quake or Quake2 pallet. This pallet is saved well after the simple conversion of wad2 files to wad3.

Improved model and sprite lighting.

Improved model lighting includes per-bone lighting from static and dynamic light sources, and it also includes correct model lighting on every stage of long sequence execution, when model goes far enough from its real location. The best example is forklift.mdl Sprite lighting is a correct lighting of all sprites that is rendered in additive mode and had "alphtest" during the compilation. For example, blood decals uses the world lighting and doesn't glow in darkness. Both sprites and models don't just use the world lighting, but also consider lighting of the closest brush model if there is one.

Player model display in the menu.

Instead of a usual player image you can see his 3D model in the menu and track all changes right on-the-spot.

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XashXT: custom build. Parallax & Water shot 2. XashXT: custom build. Parallax & Water shot 1. XashXT: custom build. Grass test. Shot 3
Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: XashNT in development

9 comments by Qwertyus on Sep 6th, 2014

Hi, all. There are some new information about the project. Currently all official (by Unkle Mike) work at development of Xash3D/XashXT has been stopped for an indeterminate time, for the reason that another work has been started. Unkle Mike decide to switch his efforts on development of the new engine, XashNT. This engine will be a further continuation of Xash3D/XashXT, with a support of most usual modmaking tools, but now it will be much more farther from GoldSrc even before. It will be totally independent engine, intended exclusively for creating of new games. It will not support any of already existing Half-Life mods. Its' code will be totally rewritten.

The code of a rendering system will be based on GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language), this will make the new engine faster. New renderer will support all popular modern graphics enhancemets, as bump, parallax, water effects, daytime changes etc. Client/server part of code will be revised for better optimization. Also, with a refusal from support of GoldSrc now it will be possible to implement a fully working multiplayer system. Other planned features are: new map format (with a support of huge spaces, env_cubemaps and other things), new game physics (probably now without using of PhysX), extending of GoldSrc model format (old models will be supported too, but new models will also have some advanced features, as ragdoll etc.). Entity system for a first time will be the same as in XashXT.

When a pilot version of XashNT will be ready, a closed beta-testing will start. Members for CBT will be chosen personally by Unkle Mike (probably most of them will be only active game/mod developers, who already have appropriate projects based on Xash3D+XashXT and ready to move on the new engine, or skilled enough to experiment with it). If you have any ideas for the new engine, you are welcome to tell about them in the following thread (the forum is on russian, but you can use english easily):

Update from December 13, 2014:

Xash3D Engine has been updated to the build 2867, which is available now in Downloads section! By the way, you can call this build "The anniversary edition", because already 10 years have been passed from the beginning of the developing of Xash3D! Also dont' forget about XashXT which is ready for your pleasure too!

Xash3D Engine v0.96, build 2867 (with extras)
Xash3D Engine v0.96, build 2867 (with extras)

XashXT v0.65 rev.1 (Xash3D mod & toolkit)
XashXT v0.65 (Xash3D mod & toolkit)

If you a new with Xash3D, please, check this manual about proper installing of the engine. XashXT should be installed in a same folder with the engine, as addon/mod for it (with its' own executable - xash.exe).

P. S. Useful information about compatibility of Xash3D and different singleplayer Half-Life mods and maps is in The list of tested Half-Life mods and in The list of tested Half-Life maps.

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Post comment Comments  (50 - 60 of 346)
Justus200 Sep 9 2014, 8:44am says:

Hi, I have a problem with the func_screenmovie entity. I use a ambient_generic for the sound of the movie, but there is a problem to run both synchronously. If the player is standing at the movie brush and the ambient_generic and the movie is started, everything is fine and the sound is synchronous, but when leaving the hearing range of the ambient_generic, the sound stops at the last heared position and the movie continue in the background even if the player is far away. Coming back into range continue the sound playback at the stopped time, but now it is no longer synchronous to the movie. The "play everywhere" flag is no option, I am afraid. Is there a way to solve this or can't it be done without rewriting the moviesystem?

P.S. Now that the new renderer is not so far away anymore, I was wondering, will the first version be 100% XashXT compatible? Will the normal Half-Life still be 100% supported or must be everything coded from scratch if you want monsters, weapons and so on? I spend a really long time on coding the XashXT SDK and hope I can merge my new code and changes with XashNT. Besides the new features, I really would like to have a lot better performance to use effects like mirror and shader water already in XashXT in common.

P.P.S. Is it normal, that the player flashlight (XashXT) boosts the epoly count into the roof when activated? It seems my epolys are doubled if the flashlight is on. I only use HD models so this is even more a reason i would like better performance. In some cases the flashlight alone produces over 100000 epolys. The normal HL flashlight do not increase the epolys. Is this a bug or the "paranoia" flashlite feature?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Justus200 Sep 9 2014, 6:41pm replied:

Thanks for the answers. I will do some tests with the movie feature.
Even if released next year, I am very interested in XashNT and really hope it will be fully compatible (with the today XashXT) and all old file formats will be supported too. It would be sad if all my work was for noting on release day of the new renderer and I must start from scratch.
Keep up the good work.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Qwertyus Creator
Qwertyus Sep 10 2014, 12:23am replied:

You will be able to release this work under Xash3D anyway. But I'm pretty sure, that you'll have no problems with porting your of work to XashNT too. The main idea is to make all old stuff potentially compatible, it only will need some work for adaptation. Just save all the sources of your work for the future.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Justus200 Sep 10 2014, 7:13am replied:

Thank you. Then I am reassured. It is not only the code, but models, maps, sprites, textures etc. I was worried about.
I'm looking forward to follow the progress of XashNT.
If you look at Xash so far, it can only be fantastic.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Justus200 Sep 10 2014, 7:35am replied:

I almost forgot, I had another question. I have a strange bug with env_projector. If on a map, there is a strange graphic glitch box on the left side in the hud (looks like 2-3 camera screens of my view). This occurs even on the official testmap. The glitch is only visible if in sight of the entity and if turned on. Is this a bug, or am I using the env_projector wrong?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Qwertyus Creator
Qwertyus Sep 10 2014, 8:21am replied:

Are you using modified opengl32.dll together with XashXT? If yes, it's a problem of this dll. This is its' reaction on dynamic lighting in XashXT. It doesn't support Xash properly and can cause other glitches, depending on its' settings and videocard used.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Justus200 Sep 10 2014, 1:29pm replied:

Ah, ok. I'm using QeffectsGL for anti aliasing and SSAO (bloom is deactivated and activated in XashXT's build in feature).
I will decide later if this entity is worth it or if I skip it in my maps.
Thank you for all the help and time.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Qwertyus Creator
Qwertyus Sep 10 2014, 2:47pm replied:

Enabling SSAO in this plugin causes totally black screen on NVidia cards with recent drivers. And you may have significant performance drops because of this dll when using specific lighting effects (including possible issues with XashXT flashlight). Of course, you still can use it for your own needs, but there can be problems if you want to share this with other people. Also, you can set anisotropy directly in Xash3D using gl_anisotropy cvar.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Justus200 Sep 10 2014, 5:04pm replied:

My main PC is a powerful gaming system with a nvidia 780GTX and my second computer has a nvidia 670GTX with latest drivers and no black screen issues. I used this dll from the start with Xash3D and besides the env_projector bug now, I never noticed any problems so far, but what you said makes me think.

After some tests with and without the dll, I can not confirm a performance hit. My main system can handle my test environments easy with 60fps, even at over 350000 epoly's, but what are "bpoly"? The other values with r_speeds 1 active are clear, but I do not know what bpoly stands for. If these rise above 60 with many epolys together, my framerate drops. There are only a few spots with these high bpoly values and only if I look in the right angle. The strange thing is, there is in most cases nothing but simple walls in view. In a old mirror testmap I got over 800 bpoly and my fps dropped to 25-30. Removing the opengl dll have no effect on the fps in these cases. For now I made the custom opengl dll optional just in case, but keeping it for further tests in my workversion.

The gl_anisotropy cvar I already use since the beginning in my userconfig. What i meant was Anti-Aliasing also known as Multisample (smooth edges of 3D objects). This is not by chance already supported by Xash3D too?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Qwertyus Creator
Qwertyus Sep 11 2014, 12:21am replied:

Specific lighting on a map can cause performance drops, especially with bloom enabled. But your specs are high enough and you can have no problems with this. Multisampling is not presenting in Xash3D options, as I know.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Qwertyus Creator
Qwertyus Sep 9 2014, 4:11pm replied:

Well, no one tested this video/sound sync issue before. So you can only experiment with this on yourself. Possibly adjusting of some entity settings will do the trick. Or make this event timed (to disable both video & sound after some time) or something else. What about XashNT, I think it will be possible to move your project on it from XashXT, because the list of entities will be the same. But XashNT is not so close for its public release, as I can assume. And about flashlight. In XashXT flashlight produce a dynamic lighting on objects, that's why it causes a perfomance drop. It should be possible to disable extended lighting via cvars, as I can remember.

+1 vote   reply to comment
ciba43 Sep 9 2014, 12:13pm replied:

About the XashNT part of your message:

As I understood, XashNT will be a something even more different from GS and it compatability will not be the main thing. The Devs will make it, so it would run better, faster and have more additions. XashNT will be similar with Xash3D, but it will be whole different beast.

+1 vote     reply to comment
hikkiccino Sep 2 2014, 8:46pm says:

I was wondering if the team will port Xash source code to VS2010/2013.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Qwertyus Creator
Qwertyus Sep 9 2014, 4:07pm replied:

It will barely happen now. Only if someone except Unkle Mike will do it.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Ryuq Aug 31 2014, 1:04pm says:

Is there's way to compile XashXT source with cygwin? Downloading VS is nearly impossible for me...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Qwertyus Creator
Qwertyus Aug 31 2014, 5:16pm replied:

The only way to compile with another program is to rewrite the code itself.

+1 vote   reply to comment
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Release Date
Released Apr 23, 2011
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Highest Rated (2 agree) 10/10

Very good work,Uncle Mike.

Jun 19 2011, 7:14am by red-bear

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