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Hammer Source Interface Crash Course in 15 Minutes

Category: Source: CSGO SDK, Source: L4D 1 & 2
November 30, 2010

Hammer Source Interface Crash Course in 15 minutes. The tutorial covers the entire interface to get you started mapping in Hammer Source. Most commonly used functions are covered.

After watching the 15 minute video you will be comfortable navigating around the viewports in Hammer Source and you'll be ready to start mapping.

If you don't have Hammer Source or don't know how to get it, make sure to check out this tutorial.

Launch Steam, SourceSDK or Authoring Tools

Launch Steam.

Then head over to Library --> Tools

Launch the Hammer Source Editor with either SourceSDK or Authoring Tools.

Start New Map

Once Hammer Source is launched. Go up to File --> New

Set Your Grid

First thing you want to do is check and set your grid options.

Go up to Map --> Snap to Grid/Show Grid.

Check to see if these two options are checked.

Grid Settings

Increase/Decrease Grid by using the bracket keys. This hotkey is going to be very commonly used throughout your mapping in Hammer Source.

[ - smaller grid

] - larger grid

Snap On Grid Setting

On bottom right notice the Snap On Grid value. This value and option tells your current grid size and if your grid has snaps turned on.

[ - smaller grid

] - larger grid

Always Stay on the Grid and Snaps Turned on

Super important is to always stay on the grid and have your grid snapping turned on.


Autosize 4 views.

Camera Perspective Viewport Options

In perspective viewport you will notice camera text. If you click on camera, view options for that viewport will come up.

Here you can change how you are able to view your objects within that viewport.

Perspective viewport should be kept in:
3D Wireframe
3D Flat
3D Textures (most commonly used)
3D Shaded Textured Polygons (most commonly used)
3D Lightmap Grid

3D Lighting Preview
3D Ray-traced Preview

Ctrl+E: Center on Selection and Center 3D View on Selection

Ctrl+E is a common shortcut that centers orthographic (top, side, front) viewports on selected objects.

View --> Center Views on Selection

View --> Center 3D Views on Selection

Shft+L: Texture Lock

Tools --> Texture Lock. Make sure this is checked on. This helps to keep textures locked in place if you are resizing and moving brushes.

Configure Hammer Options

Tools --> Options

Map Tool Bar

Commonly used functions are found in the Map Tool Bar. You'll be using all of these during your map production.

Watch the video at the beginning of the post for explanation of each function.

Top/Side/Front Viewport Navigation

  • Hold Spacebar + Move Left Mouse Button = Move around the viewports
  • Mouse Wheel = Zoom In/Out
  • Ctrl + E = Center on Selection

Perspective Viewport Navigation

  • Tap Z = on/off Free Mode
  • While in Free Mode = Use WASD keyboard keys to move around and Mouse to look around
  • Mouse Wheel = Zoom In/Out

Maximize Viewport

Shift+Z maximizes selected viewport

Begin Creating Maps with Hammer Source:

L4D 1 and 2 Tutorial List


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My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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