You are an old-school level designer, or just decided to become one, but tired of limitations of Valve Hammer Editor? Radiant seems to be too complex and unusual? Wanna use new cool features? Seeking for a user-friendly level editor for Half-Life, Quake, Quake II, or Quake III? It's time to test our new level editor, J.A.C.K., previously known as Jackhammer, in action! News, updates, tutorials, discussions and much more.

Post news Report RSS J.A.C.K. 1.1.1064 Is Out

J.A.C.K. (previously known as Jackhammer) is a brand new level editor for games with a quake-style BSP architecture (Half-Life, Quake, Hexen II, Quake II, Quake III, Gunman Chronicles). The aim is to develop a convenient cross-platform tool capable of incorporating the best features of existing editors, e.g. Valve Hammer Editor, Q3Radiant and others. The list of supported games will be extended. Today we release another cumulative update 1.1.1058. Remember that your feedback is always welcome!

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Greetings to ModDB community!

Jackhammer has been renamed to J.A.C.K. because of copyright issues, but there is also good news: we've finally passed Greenlight. This means that J.A.C.K. will be eventually released on Steam (Q4 2016). Thanks everybody for support! Today we are presenting the last pre-Steam version 1.1.1064 with more bugfixes and improvements. Further, there will be two versions of the editor: the Steam one, commercial, with SteamWorks features and automatic updates, and non-Steam, completely free, although updated not very often. Again, lots of bugs were fixed, so if you experienced critical problems with older versions, don't hesitate to update!

UPDATE: this version contains a hotfix for the previously released version 1.1.1058, and replaces it in out public release history.

What is J.A.C.K.?

J.A.C.K. (previously known as Jackhammer) is a brand new level editor for games with a quake-style BSP architecture. The aim is to develop a convenient cross-platform tool capable of incorporating the best features of existing editors, such as Valve Hammer Editor, Q3Radiant and others. Despite Quake and Half-Life having been released a long time ago, the large community have arisen around, still developing mods and games on their bases. However the existing editors suffer from fundamental disadvantages their users are well familiar with. J.A.C.K. does aspire to be the universal level design tool for classic games. But not only the classics! The editor shall become a key development tool for the Volatile engine, that is why its second name is Volatile Development Kit.

We present you the latest public beta - version 1.1.1064. Despite not all the ideas being implemented and not all the functions being completely error-free, you are already able to download almost fully functional version of the editor, install and evaluate J.A.C.K. in action. Please don't forget that beta may contain some issues. We are interested in a vast testing of the editor and grateful in advance for your comments and suggestions! In addition, you can provide J.A.C.K. with financial support, donating funds for the further development. Also, feel free to join our ModDB group to recieve minor news and updates, and to watch some videos showing the editor in action.

Supported Games

J.A.C.K. currently supports the following games/engines:

  • Half-Life (GoldSource)
  • Gunman Chronicles (GoldSource)
  • Quake (Quake engine)
  • Hexen II (Quake engine)
  • Quake II (id Tech 2)
  • Quake III (id Tech 3)

Please don't be confused with such a small list! Many games on the listed engines are also supported, especially if there is also a FGD file. E.g. you can use J.A.C.K. to make levels for Counter-Strike 1.6 (GoldSource) and Tremulous (id Tech 3).

Win32 Jackhammer 1.1.1064 (Win32 Version)
Linux Jackhammer 1.1.1064 (Linux Version, 32-bit)
Linux Jackhammer 1.1.1064 (Linux Version, 64-bit)

Features

Here is a list of highlights of the new editor version's. The list of new abilities is far from being complete, therefore don't hesitate to look through the habitual menus and dialogs thoroughly!

  • Hexen II Support: now the editor supports Hexen II, the game based on Quake engine. There are compilers, FGD file and palette in the install package. Game configuration of the editor is identical to Quake's.
  • VMF Format: now one can import and export maps in VMF format; this is a Source engine format. Although the support is still in beta mode, and not all the features are supported (e.g. the editor can't process Displacements), you can use the feature to transfer your projects between VHE4 and J.A.C.K., and also to include other utilities to the development pipeline (e.g. HammUEr - an UE4 plugin).
  • User Cameras: now it is possible to place, move and delete user cameras, like in VHE. There is also an ability to load and save such cameras to JMF, RMF and VMF formats.
  • Triangulation: a special command enables triangulation of non-planar faces that frequently arise during vertex manipulation. This helps to get rid of many "Invalid Solid Structure" errors, and to facilitate creation of curved columns and other complex geometry using vertex rotation tool. Simply triangulate your complex stuff after you're done. This command, along with others, is added to a new context menu in Vertex Manipulation mode.
  • Incremental Save: a new version saving command automatically adds version number to the file name. Such behaviour is familiar to 3DSMax users; it enables easy creation of checkpoints during prolonged project development.
  • Improved Entity Report: now hidden entities in "Include Hidden Objects" mode are marked in italic; also there are Hide and Unhide buttons added, to hide and show selected entities. Besides the dialog remembers last parameters entered, even between sessions.
  • Advanced Patch Texturing: Naturalize and Set patch texturing functions now account not only for scale, but also for shift and 90-fold rotation (i.e. 0, 90, 180 and 270 degrees). Along with that, Set function now performs in "naturalized" mode, i.e. taking into account segment lengths. These features greatly facilitate texturing of curves in Quake 3.
  • Other Useful Stuff: tabs in Texture Browser, ability to hide triggers and unknown entities, ability to "lock" texture axes in Scale Vertices operation during vertex manipulation, display of selection center in status bar, tear-off mode for submenus, support for deformVertexes autosprite and autosprite2 in Quake 3 shaders, and many more.
  • Lots of Improvements: the new version traditionally contains lots of bugfixes and improvements in comparison with the previous release. The editor became much more stable and functional. You can read the detailed changelog here.

New triangulation function enables fast creation of brush curves:

Triangulation Triangulation

Hexen II support and improved Camera Tool:

Hexen II Support Camera Tool (improved)

And more new features that were also present in the previous versions of the editor:

  • Cross-Platform Editing: the editor is being developed on a cross-platform Qt framework and is available both for Windows and Linux users. We do our best to provide the same level of comfort to Linux users, revealing them finally a convenient level editor!
  • Large memory addressing support: 64-bit version on the editor overcomes the 2 Gb memory limit. Now you can store more history items and undo more recent actions.
  • Extensibility: the editor supports plugins to extend its abilities. Plugins can be very versatile: from new brush primitives, texture and model formats to new game configurations with their own import and export formats. Plugins can share the functionality with each-other: so that WAD3 texture format used by Half-Life can be easily "plugged" into Quake and used along with its "native" WAD2 format, certainly with compilers that also support it.
  • Game Formats Support: because of flexible plugin system the editor supports many formats of game resources and correctly displays them. They are models of different formats(Quake MDL, Half-Life MDL, Quake2 MD2, Quake3 MDL and ASE), sprites (Quake SPR, Half-Life SPR, Quake2 SP2), map sources (MAP, RMF). There is an ability of import and export in RMF format preserving most of its specific features (object colors, grouping, visgroups), so that J.A.C.K. can be used along with VHE.
  • Archive Support: J.A.C.K. can load models and sprites from game archives (PAK, PK3). This is useful if you open other's map which uses models, and your game resources are not unpacked.
  • Color Schemes: the editor's look-and-feel can be easily customized using the color schemes, both predefined and user-created. Almost all colors in viewports are customizable - from a background color to a color of Vertex Tool bullet's frame. Besides a general color of the application's window can be altered. In addition one can define his own presets in a configuration file.
  • Realtime Texture Effects: transparency, texture animation and scrolling support promotes a higher grade of perception of a level under development. Now one can estimate translucency of windows not only in a game, but also in the editor. You will be able to see your Quake III shader scripts almost the same as in the game! Along with that, special rendermodes of textures in Half-Life models are supported.
  • Improved Decal Rendition: you can preview Half-Life decals (colors and transparency) in a 3D-View just the same as in the game.
  • Embedded Shader Editor: now the creation process of shaders for Quake III and other games based on its engine becomes delightful. You can not only preview effect changes in real time, but also utilize such convenient features, as automatic source code formatting, syntax highlighting and keyword auto-completion.
  • Large Map Support: the editor enables working with levels of large size, up to 262144 x 262144 units, now it is simply set up in the Preferences. Now one can easily crate levels for mods with a support of large outdoors.
  • Multiple VisGroups per Object: hence an object can exist in several visgroups. In J.A.C.K., VisGroups are never created automatically upon hiding a level fragment: hide/show mechanism doesn't rely on grouping anymore. However VisGroups allow to hide certain logical groups of objects along with color coding, in other words, act as a regulation tool.
  • Textures Bound to Game Configurations: one more important innovation is texture binding to game configurations instead of a global texture list. This feature allows, for example, address different WAD files in different mods and work with them independently.
  • Loading Resources on Demand: to speed things up, the editor precaches the resources on startup. However within a considerable amount of game configurations this process may take a long time. To deal with this issue, there is an option to precache only the resources needed in the immediate work. Working with a Half-Life level, the editor precaches only models and textures for this game, saving system's memory. Upon loading a Quake level, J.A.C.K. will add its resources to the load.
  • Curved surfaces: the editor supports curved surfaces (patches) used in games based on Quake III engine, and also contains instruments making work with them easier: rotating around a control point, randomizing control points, and other.
  • Path Tool: a new instrument considerably facilitates the process of creating paths for trains, mosters and other objects. You can copy and paste paths in a map, join and split them, invert and convert to linked set of entities.
  • UV-Lock: the new feature emulates 3D model editor functionality where texture coordinates are bound to vertices. Although such emulation is not completely possible, the editor sometimes allows to achieve previously almost impossible ways to texture faces, e.g. skewing a texture along with a brush side.
  • New Texture Application Modes: "NULL to Selected" (applying NULL or caulk texture to selection), "NULL to Unselected" (same as the previous mode, but texture is applied to the other brush faces; handy fast removal of backfaces), "Apply (texture + values + axes)" (copying texture axes information, simplifying texture application to complex objects and landscapes, especially when combined with "Align to View" mode).
  • Additional Instruments: along with Worldcraft/Valve Hammer Editor instruments one got used to, the editor supports some specific features: either original or adopted from Radiant's ideology. For example, there are such new functions, as brush merging, scaling texture lock, validity restrictions in Vertex Manipulation mode, model rendition in 2D viewports (including the translation/rotation preview), scaling models with Alt key pressed. On a new level creation, the editor prompts for a basic room, which is very convenient for validation of a game configuration or, perhaps, testing specific entities.
  • Compiling in Editor: now it is much more convenient to compile maps in the editor, because the compile process doesn't block it. You can continue editing the map while the long compilation takes place. You can also terminate it at any time simply by closing the Process Window.
  • Automatic Selection in 3D: you can select multiple objects by pressing mouse button in a 3D-View and then dragging a cursor. This mode is convenient for quick selection of lots of nearby objects (e.g. landscape brushes), when clicking can become annoying.
  • Snap to Grid Revised: subsequent calls to it change anchor point, looping through all eight bounding box points (previously only the lower bounding box point was used as an anchor). In Vertex Manipulation mode this instrument snaps using selected vertices, thus enabling alignment of the whole object that ensures the certain vertex on the grid. In addition, VHE-style snapping to grid during movement of the selection was added.
  • Keep Internal Connections: option to preserve internal connections (targetname-target links) in entities during copypaste and cloning (i.e. dragging with Shift pressed) operations.
  • Model View: you can specify an external model viewer (e.g. HLMV) and open any model simply by a context menu command. Also it is now possible to reload a model from disk without restarting the editor.
  • Extended FGD Format: the file format describing game entities was extended for the specific needs of J.A.C.K. For example, the new format enables displaying angles of entities using arrows, rendition of light sources as octahedrons, and introduces a help system for entities and their parameters. You can extend your own FGD per existing samples (e.g., halflife.fgd distributed with the editor).
  • Autosave: you can setup autosave function to protect your project from editor crashes or own design errors.
  • Update Check: the editor can automatically check for new version available and notify you, so you can immediately download and install the update.
  • Multilingual Support: switch to your native language when using the editor! Now there is no need to consult a dictionary to find out what either menu command does, or to understand a reason for an error. Presently there are English, Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian and Polish languages supported. Languages can even be switched dynamically without restarting the editor.
  • Miscellaneous: the editor supports precise selection of models in 3D viewport, loading and rendition of portal files (*.prt), assigning a random yaw to entities, multiple texture fitting, texture replacement with scaling, context menus for entity creation and many other pleasant little things, and there is no good to enumerate them all. Just install the editor and look at your own!

Disclaimer

J.A.C.K. is not based upon any existing level design software; it uses neither any proprietary code nor results of decompiling and/or reverse engineering of the proprietary software; reconstruction of design and functionality of Valve Hammer Editor is intent because many modders got used to the familiar look and feel.

Useful Links

Complete changelog of version 1.1.1058 can be found here. Please visit the official website for more information, F.A.Q., articles and manuals.

If you're already using the editor for your mod or game, let us know, and we'll probably feature you in the next release news!

Comments
Slartybarty
Slartybarty

I really don't like the name change. It sounds odd.

It sounds childish.*

EDIT:
I take all of that back, it was worth it just for the VMF importing, and the HL1:S VMF conversion tools, like the texture conversion and such.
If you can get trigger conversion working asap I won't be able to thank you enough.

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Thanks.
Full trigger conversion will be possible after the input-output system is implemented. Some HL1:S triggers use it, instead of classic targetname-target links.

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Lateralus10k
Lateralus10k

What does J.A.C.K stand for?

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Just another creation kit.

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Slartybarty
Slartybarty

Just wanted to tell you, in some maps the UV coordinates on certain textures are massively broken, try comparing c1a0.rmf in regular hammer, and then in the current version of J.A.C.K.

It also affects the maps that I'm currently working on, and I can't continue until this is fixed.

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

I can't see any difference when I open c1a0.rmf in JACK or in VHE.
Can you explain what exactly have you done? And a couple of screenshots please.

P.S.: are you using exactly the same WAD files in JACK and VHE? UV coordinates are actually wad mip size dependent.

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Slartybarty
Slartybarty

Here's a link to an Imgur album.

Imgur.com

The first two images are how the map appears in regular VHE
The two images after that are taken in JACK

The WADs I used are exactly the same.

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Now I see, thanks.
Seems that JACK doesn't guess a proper texture alignment for some reason. Yes it is a regression in the new version. Sorry.

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

It seems that I've figured the problem out. It exists only in old-style format RMFs (i.e. saved not with the latest VHE/JACK). c1a0.rmf is the case: it has version 1.79 instead of 2.20. Also, the problem exists when importing Quake1/2/3 maps.

Please check this hotfix for Half-Life ASAP:
Rgho.st
Unpack to the "plugins" directory overwriting files.

If everything is fine, then I'll make a full hotfix for all games, and update the installer with fixed plugins.

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Slartybarty
Slartybarty

Yep, that new patch works fine! Thanks!

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Hotfix has been released as version 1.1.1064, which replaces version 1.1.1058 completely.

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tr!gger_zc
tr!gger_zc

Can you make a new advanced GoldSource only(like the VTFEdit, it's Source only) texture software? Wally is good and easy to use but too old. It's also have many worthless tools(Except the color palette and logo create).

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

The best texture software is Adobe Photoshop.
It can save paletted BMPs and all you need is to pack them into a WAD, and Wally is perfect for such tasks.

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bett-url-you-will-ev
bett-url-you-will-ev

so can i create quake maps with out having the original game from id?
someone said i can create my own game mut i'll have to put my own models and textures in it, can you explain it a little bettr please?

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

To create quake maps, you need quake assets (models, textures, sounds, etc.) So you have to buy Quake before making maps.

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bett-url-you-will-ev
bett-url-you-will-ev

can i not make my own models textures and all?

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Sure, you can create your own assets. But to get rid of Quake copyright, you must replace *all* Quake assets including sounds, pics, HUD, etc, with your own.

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bett-url-you-will-ev
bett-url-you-will-ev

yeah i was just asking where i have to put all the files then

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

You should replace the originals I guess...

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Guest
Guest

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bett-url-you-will-ev
bett-url-you-will-ev

again with my originall account: The originals? You mean the ones in the game that i dont have? Can i not create something without the game?

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bett-url-you-will-ev
bett-url-you-will-ev

can you please help me again?
i got the original quake files but it never works

** Executing...
** Command: Change Directory
** Parameters: C:/games/1DOS/Quake

** Executing...
** Command: Copy File
** Source: C:\games\1DOS\Quake\id1\maps\firstquakemap.map
** Destination: \firstquakemap.map

* Could not copy the file:
Source: C:\games\1DOS\Quake\id1\maps\firstquakemap.map
Destination: \firstquakemap.map
* Windows gave the error message:
"Access is denied."

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Destination is not correct, possibly empty. Did you use an automatic game configuration setup during the installation?

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StefanBerthold
StefanBerthold

Exellent editor.
Support is planned for return to castle wolfenstein? He is on the engine quake 3.

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

It should be supported, although I didn't test it.
But why not? All you need is to write a FGD file or convert a def file to fgd, using def2fgd (https://bitbucket.org/FreeSlave/def2fgd)

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StefanBerthold
StefanBerthold

Thank.

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Foxtrop
Foxtrop

not sure if it was reported but the orientation is broken(at least for light_spot) im using version 1.1.1064, when i create an light_spot and orientate it to "DOWN" it aims up, when I orientate it to "UP" it aims down

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

There are some nuances how light_spot is handled in Half-Life. There is a "Pitch" field which sets the direction: -90 is down and 90 is up. Down/up angles don't affect the direction, that is why it doesn't draw an arrow in 3D views. Hth.

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Guest
Guest

Hey, XaeroX.

I have problems with J.A.C.K (all versions) What ever I try to click in options "checkboxes, popup list etc", I have to double click them. Also in grid view, if I holding mouse button, keeping selected vertices, and starting to move nothing seems to happen like ealier. Instead after I release mouse, finally I see where it scaled selected brush.

I use Windows 10
Ealier I fixed that.. I used probably 32 bit installation, instead 64 and something also I did in program's properties -> compatibility settings.. like using Windows 8, and run as administrator. But I haven't been using J.A.C.K after installing this new Windows10, and I kind of forget what I did back then.

Is it different to install J.A.C.K to ProgramFiles(64x) versus just ProgramFiles, or should I install it to totally different drive like D in my case? What am I doing wrong.

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Hello,
You should install the proper version, 32 or 64 bit; the installer will automatically detect it for you, including all the paths. It is not recommended to install JACK to "Program Files" of any kind unless you are an admin, although it is generally possible.
The problem described has been never encountered by our testers even in Windows 10. We'll test it deeper, thanks for the report.

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cnpi
cnpi

Hey,

I am making levels for Sven Coop, and it has a best practice to save compiled maps into a separate folder (svencoop_addon, rather than svencoop). However, I would still like to use svencoop as the mod directory.

In Hammer you can change the "Compiled Map Directory" ($bspdir) in configuration; I would love to have the same configuration within J.A.C.K. so I don't have to change the compiler settings by hard-coding it—I'd rather use $bspdir.

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Hello,
For such specific cases you can use Expert Mode and there you can specify any path you want, including full paths.
I've removed "Compiled Map Directory" because it was confusing; for most games/mods, it is a duplicate setting, since they can load compiled maps only from the "maps" directory.

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cnpi
cnpi

I would like to not change the compiler options (hard-coding the paths) and rather be able set $bspdir through configuration. I don't see how that would be confusing, as it's possible for mods to have multiple folders for their mod depending on content, like Sven Co-Op (svencoop, svencoop_addon, svencoop_downloads), Half-Life (valve, valve_hd, valve_downloads) and Counter-Strike (cstrike, cstrike_hd, cstrike_downloads).

I'd propose to either make $bspdir configurable—by default if it's empty use the Mod Directory, otherwise use the specified path—(which would make most sense, and less effort or give me the possibility of selecting a different mod directory for compiled maps.

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XaeroX Author
XaeroX

Hello,
You can override any path in Expert Mode, it's fully configurable.

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By_X_RaY
By_X_RaY

Hey could u improve the hlrad? when i make the light textured walls with func_wall and give fx amount "255" its have light in-game when i compile from vhe but when i try this with J.A.C.K (or jackhammer) its not working.

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Hlgamer423
Hlgamer423

Dude Srsly how to make doors ?

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banan2288
banan2288

Does anyone have a problem with textures in Jackhammer? They are rendered in much worse quality. I'm NOT talking about texture filtering, they just looks like gets scaled down. In prevoius version of Jackhammer they looked fine.

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banan2288
banan2288

Well nevermind, there was option "Halfsizetextures" set to "true", don't know how I activated this, set it to false in "VDKSettings.cfg" to return normal textures, cheers ;)

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