View Full Version : Valve Source Models -- WTF Are They?

01-18-2010, 07:44 PM
Here I'm going to explain what exactly a model is and how it works for anyone interested in modeling for CS:S or any other Source game.

Ok, let's get started. Please look at the following screen shot:


This pic was taken on my test server a year or 2 ago. So, what's going on in this picture? Most of what you see is called world geometry. That would be the walls, floor, ceiling, desks, and the textures that cover them (carpet, the dry erase boards, etc).

Models and world geometry use textures. If the textures were not loaded properly you would see both the models and the world geometry covered in that purple and black checkerboard shit.

Okay, so what else is in this picture? Well, you have the HUD, but everything else is a model. The models in this photo are:

- The CT SAS
- Sailor Moon
- The Filing Cabinets
- The Light Fixture
- Trash Can
- Soda Can

A model is not the same as world geometry. Models can be incorporated into a map from the beginning (like the file cabinets) or spawned into a map by server commands and shit. For example, the players do not actually start off inside the map. The server spawns you into the map. To some extent world geometry can be created by a server but this has very limited applications and ways to do it. I'm not going to cover that here.

Okay, so all those objects are models. But wtf makes them up?


A model is made up of either six or 7 files. I'm not exactly sure what they do, but the optional 7th provides support for XBOX source games. The main one is the .mdl file. Let's take a look at sailor_uranus.mdl in Half-Life Model Viewer (HLMV):


Double-Clicking on the .mdl will pop up something like this. HLMV comes with Source SDK so you must install that to view models. Anyway, as you can see here, this player model, although it could certainly be inserted into a map, exists independently of it as well. All models exist on their own. Maps can incorporate them and

--- I'll finish later ---

01-18-2010, 08:19 PM
lol nat got distracted i see lol
good points thou nat

01-19-2010, 01:40 AM
Lemme help you out with that Nat =D

-> DirectX 80 Mesh Information [triangles, mesh, skin info
-> DirectX 90 Mesh Information [triangles, mesh, skin info
-> Software Mesh Information [triangles, mesh, skin info
-> Xbox Compatable Mesh Information [triangles, mesh, skin info

-> Animation; Bounding Box; Hitbox; main Skeletal

-> Stored collision data for the .mdl

->Bone weights; normals; vertices; tangents and textures for the mdl.

Remove the vvd; you still have an operational model, however the model will be completely invisible.

Remove any of the others, and you will get the ERROR sign.

01-19-2010, 02:44 AM
so I am guessing when people are seeing the error sign in game from our servers, its basically because the download messed up.... so they have to delete that model all together and redownload it right??? if I had to guess lol :P

01-19-2010, 07:54 AM
Remove the vvd; you still have an operational model, however the model will be completely invisible.

lol now i know how to hid in stealth on zombie mod and they will never find me looooooooooool


01-19-2010, 08:33 AM
lol kami.... fail

:P wont work if its only on ur pc

01-19-2010, 08:38 AM

*but they don't know that that's the fun part of it

besides i am the ubber hider i hide in vending machines and barrels and dumpsters
you name it i could probably hide in it

01-19-2010, 09:46 AM

I had almost completed the damn thing but I hit backspace and it was all lost forever.

01-19-2010, 01:24 PM
yeah I hate when the browser goes backwards when you hit backspace...grr.
But, thats why type everything out in word pad first....