Let’s Get Started
Making basic Team Fortress 2 custom maps is a task that is medium in difficulty. It will take you about 2 - 3 hours to complete the process but the time you require will decrease with practice. You’ll need a couple of items for the process of making maps for your Team Fortress 2 play time. The first is the Source SDK found under “tools” in Steam and the other is Team Fortress 2. The SDK is a 1 GB download, so bring a coffee. Once you have done the download, boot up the SDK, and click Reset game configuration. Once this is done click refresh SDK content and restart Steam. Load the SDK again. Select The Orange Box under Engine Version and Team Fortress 2 under the Current Game. Now, just double click on “Hammer” at the top of the SDK window.
Building a Basic Team Fortress 2 Map with Hammer
You’ll see four windows open on the screen. Hover the mouse in the top-left corner of a box to see its name. The one you want is the top right window, which is named Top (x/y) window. This window is an overhead view of your level. Head over to the toolbar on the left, click the white cube, and then drag out a square in the (x/y) window. You actually want a flat surface and not a cube. In one of the bottom two windows, which show the sides of your level, drag the top of the object down until it’s only 64 units tall. Click Enter and you have a floor.
If you want to check out your work click the red camera icon or press z. WASD and the mouse wheel will fly you around. We’re going to add walls. In the camera window, click on the floor and it will turn red and yellow in the other window. In one of these windows, hold down Shift and then click and drag to create a copy of it. You can now make it thinner but taller until it’s a vertical wall, shift-click again to copy it and make a facing wall and then repeat until you’ve got a wall on every side and a ceiling on top.
Assuming players are going to be shooting at each other while they’re playing with your map. To help them when they die, we’re going to build a respawn room. Using what you’ve just learned, create another smaller room inside the first room. Enter 90 in the z box to flip a wall around 90 degrees. Make sure you leave an exit from this room, or it’ll be a really boring game. Now, in camera view, hold down CTRL and click on each wall of the spawn room to select all of them at once. Once this is done, just do the Shift-drag clone trick I showed you earlier to create a second spawn room and then place it at the other end of the map.
Let’s Get Trigger Happy
Ok, now things are going to get a bit weird. Let’s just do the red team for now. You need to draw another cube around your respawn room but don’t panic about the door being blocked off. This cube isn’t going to be a real object in the game world. It’s just going to define this room as a respawn room. Click the green-sided cube underneath the white one and then click browse in the window that appears. Under Filter type “Tools/toolstrigger”, click on the orange square that appears. Click apply on the next screen and then close it.
Re-select the now-orange cube and hit CTRL+T. Under Class, type func_respawnroom and then double click Name and type redspawn1. Double-click Team, select Red on the right and then click apply. Just repeat all the same steps for the blue team, only using the word blue. First we are going to finish the red team, by adding player respawn points. Click the Entity Tool on the left. It’s the one that looks like a white chess pawn.
Click somewhere in the middle of the respawn room, move the little green man who appears slightly above the floor and then rotate him until he faces the exit. Right click on him and select properties. Double click on Team, select Red on the right and then duplicate him three times, to compete a team of four. Hold down the CTRL button while clicking on each of the team members and then shift and drag a few times to make as many spawn points as you want on your map.
Technically, if you repeat the process for the Blues, you’ll have a working deathmatch map. You need objectives to play Team Fortress 2. Build a small raised platform in the middle of the map - just draw another cube and then make it real short. You’ll need to use the entity tool again, as if you were creating a player spawn as in the previous step. Put him on the platform, right click and then hit properties. Under class, type item_teamflag. Give it the name redflag and then change the team to Red.
Time to Wave the Flag of Victory
Now, draw a cube around the whole platform and then change the texture as I showed you earlier. Select the new orange cube and hit CTRL+T. Under Class, type func_capturezone and press Enter. Change the name to redcap and the team to redcap. Clone the whole thing, so the platform, briefcase and the trigger cube around it and then using the right-click Properties, change the various Red mentions to blue mentions to create a matching Blue capture zone.
Everything will be brown and a little confusing at this moment. We need to spruce up the spawn rooms with some different textures. Hit Page-up to jump between various objects until you get the right one. Click the entity texture icon again and then type Metal under filter. This will display all the metal textures available for use, select one you want to use.
Let’s drop some ammunition in the environment or it will be a short and boring fight. Create a new entity inside the red spawn, right click to bring up Properties and under class type prop_dynamic. Click on worldmodel and then on the right type models/props/gameplay/resupply/locker.mdl. Give it the name you like, click Apply and then move and rotate as necessary. Drag a cube around it and texture it with toolstrigger as you did earlier. Click CTRL+T and then under class type func_regenerate. Select Red under Team and then under associated model select redlocker.
Just repeat the process for team Blue and you have a working map you can play on. Before you can play on the map, you need to save it and then go to File > Run and hit the OK button. The SDK will take a few minutes to think about it before it dumps you on the map. If you see any problems, just head back into the SDK and fix them. Now you’re ready to make basic maps for Team Fortress 2 whenever you want to.