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How to use detailtextures in a professional manner

Level Design/Theory Tutorial 4 comments

Hello everyone and welcome to my first tutorial.

Let me start with the basics:

If you don't know what a detail texture is, I shall explain.
Basically you have a normal texture on a brush, like a wall texture or ground tiles. A detail texture is an additional layer for a defined texture.

You could add dirt and small stones to a ground texture by using a detail texture or use scratches on a metal floor.

But this is nothing I really need because I can draw/edit textures with such details. So why am I writing this tutorial then? Because there is another technique to use them!

So welcome to my real detail technique.

You can use 512x512 textures in your map with this unique technique!

Uhh... But can't you do that already? You are right, but:
- 512x512 textures have to be downscaled in Hammer a lot to be usefull.
- 512x512 textures have big load times if you create a wad with like 100 of them.
- 512x512 textures when downscaled in Hammer will fill up your allocblock limit pretty fast!
- 512x512 textures scaled down also increase the wpolys a lot!

So time to show you some magic:

User Posted Image

This is a 512x512 normal texture, downloaded from cgtextures and edited by myself.

As you can see, it looks pretty sharp for halflife 1.
The texture is downscaled to 0.125 x 0.125 on the brush to look like that.
So we already have 112 wpolys only for this room.

User Posted Image

This is a 64x64 normal texture scaled 1x1 ( I resized the 512x512 texture down to 64x64 )
Look, only 34 wpolys, but an awful texture...

So what we want is the best quality and also low wpolys.
You think thats not possible? It is!

Now we start to use detail textures.
We need a 512x512 texture saved as 24 bit in .tga format.
In my example I named it: cg_textures_example_trempler.tga
Also we need a 64x64 texture in your .wad that looks the same as your 512x512 ( A resized version of it )
And we also need a 64x64 texture that is filled with grey color.

User Posted Image

Here I used a 64x64 grey only texture. Also 34 wpolys :)

So the next step is, create a mapname_detail.txt (yourmapname than _detail)
Now it should look like this:

cgtextex_tr_sma detail/example/cg_textures_example_trempler 1.0 1.0

The first information is the texture in my wad.
The second information is the path where my detailtexture is stored and named.
The last information is the size of it, 1.0 x 1.0 you also can use -1.0 x 1.0 if you want to flip it.

If you did everything and start your map again, check if r_detailtextures is set to 1 and also supported.

If so, we have this fantastic result:

User Posted Image
User Posted Image

I think you understand now, why I love this technique.
Someone asked me to share it, and here it is :)

Also you can do a lot of stuff, make the detailtexture smaller like 0.1 0.1 to have super high detailed floor tiles as example.

Oh. One last hint, all these grey textures could make you mad in Hammer. Create 2 wad files, one with the downsized 64x64 textures or what you need ( size doesnt matter much ) and one wad with the same textures but just all in blank-grey ! ( dont change names of them ) than you can swap before compiling the map to not work with grey textures :)

Here is the download:
Or use

Thanks a lot :)
Comments, Feedback, Questions are welcome !


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