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By Chan Karunamuni

Fixing Half-Life 2 and Portal Mods on SteamPipe: A Quick Guide

Modding & Development Source

As described in our Roundup, due to SteamPipe a lot of Source mods are in a pretty dire state right now. Whilst there is a lot of information on the topic in various places, the aim of this post is to provide a general fix for Half-Life 2, Episode 2 and Portal 1 that you can use to easily patch up the majority of the casualties and get them limping back into action.

Fixing Half-Life 2 and Portal Mods on SteamPipe: A Quick Guide

The first step is to download and install the mod as usual, placing the folder in the Steam\SteamApps\sourcemods directory. Now load up Steam and try it out, as some mods such as those using an SDK Base and new releases may be unaffected.

If you’re not in luck, this is where things can get tricky. Navigate to the mod folder and open the gameinfo.txt file. Gameinfo.txt tells Steam all the content that needs to be loaded. The issue is that thanks to SteamPipe, the locations of these files have changed.

You need to determine which base game the mod is for – Half-Life 2, Episode One or Episode Two. If you don’t already know, you can look at the SteamAppId tag: 420 is Episode 2, 380 is Episode 1, 400 is Portal and 220 is HL2.

steampipe-step2

Once you’ve worked that out, select everything from the SearchPaths header downwards, and delete. Copy and paste the code below in its place, choosing the correct one for your mod.

For Half-Life 2: Episode 2

SearchPaths
{
game+mod |gameinfo_path|.
platform |gameinfo_path|.
game_lv hl2/hl2_lv.vpk
game+mod ep2/ep2_english.vpk
game+mod ep2/ep2_pak.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic/ep1_english.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic/ep1_pak.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_english.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_pak.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_vo_english.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_misc.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_misc.vpk
platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform/platform_misc.vpk
mod+mod_write+default_write_path |gameinfo_path|.
game+game_write |gameinfo_path|.
gamebin episodic/bin
game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2
platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform
}
}
}

For Half-Life 2

SearchPaths
{
game+mod |gameinfo_path|.
platform |gameinfo_path|.
game_lv hl2/hl2_lv.vpk
game+mod hl2/hl2_sound_vo_english.vpk
game+mod hl2/hl2_pak.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_misc.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_misc.vpk
platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform/platform_misc.vpk
mod+mod_write+default_write_path |gameinfo_path|.
game+game_write |gameinfo_path|.
gamebin hl2/bin
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2
platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform
}
}
}

For Portal

SearchPaths
{
game+mod |gameinfo_path|.
platform |gameinfo_path|.
game_lv hl2/hl2_lv.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|portal/portal_pak.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic/ep1_pak.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_english.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_pak.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_vo_english.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_misc.vpk
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_misc.vpk
platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform/platform_misc.vpk
mod+mod_write+default_write_path |gameinfo_path|.
game+game_write |gameinfo_path|.
gamebin portal/bin
game |all_source_engine_paths|portal
game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2
platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform
}
}
}

What this code does is give Steam the various new file locations for Source engine content, inside the .VPK files that are now used to save it more efficiently.

Now, close and restart Steam and load the mod from your Library. With any luck, the mod should now be loaded and and running correctly.

Whilst this method has been tested on a lot of mods, it is far from perfect and there are undoubtedly many mods which will require more work to repair. A working fix for Episode One mods has not yet been found. You can also check the sources at the bottom of this post for further help. Please leave a comment to let us know what mods you have got working, any problems you have encountered, or perhaps a better solution to fixing things.

Article Sources

Steam User Discussions - SteamPipe fix for HL2 and EP2 mods, SourceMods (HL2 & Portal); PlanetPhillip.com - Steampipe and current issues

18 Comments

  1. Hi there! I’ve just read through your article on how to fix mods for these games, and think these are fantastic ways to fix them, but I am now having troubles loading the Half Life 1 Source mod, “Half Life: Source Coop Beta 1″. Have you fixed any Half Life Source mod troubles?

    • Hi, sorry to say I don’t have any experience with mods for Half-Life: Source (I don’t own it). The easiest solution for you might be to try Sven Co-op, as it is a similar mod but runs on the original version of Half-Life.

  2. I think a lot of the problems are being caused because well obviously the updates, but another factor is the new file type.

    Valve Package File or .VPK, Valve Material File or .VMT before Steam used Game Cache Files or .GCF that’s why the path-ways need to be re-stated in the Game Information Sheet. Also, always keep the Game Info Sheet in the main directory of the modification, if you move it outside of the modification or delete it the modification most likely won’t even run.

    Food For Thought:I suggest if this worked for you to at the very least consider keeping the Game Info Sheet that did fix the modification as a guideline. It won’t work for all modifications, but it may be a useful source of information should you ever happen to need it again.

  3. You are very welcome!

    I wish I could do more, but I am also limited on how much information I can provide.

    Also, remember you do need to actually have Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode 1, Half-Life 2 Episode 2, and Half-Life 2 Death-Match for the Game Info sheets to work. Essentially, what the Game Information sheet does is it directs traffic as you can see from the code all it’s doing is telling what assets need to be used, and what path-ways go where.

    For example if you had Half-Life 2, but you downloaded a modification that uses assets from Half-Life 2 Episode 2 it wouldn’t work since it uses customized maps, props, models, textures. Assets that aren’t the same as what you will find in just Half-Life 2.

    That’s why you may run into those Giant Red Error Signs or Purple Checkerboard Pattern it usually means the path-way isn’t assigned or those textures are missing. To my knowledge the Error Signs indicate that you are getting a Sprite Error or a Model Error usually from a model not being found.

    The Checerboard Pattern Error is caused by Textures that are missing or aren’t indicated in the path-way.

  4. Thank you SO F CKING MUCH for this!

    :D
    :D D
    :D DDDDDDDDDDDD

  5. The code given by this website I can guarantee you “won’t work for every mod”. I know this because I have test over 20 Half-Life 2 modifications. A lot of the older modifications “will only work with this code”, and if you try to add any of the code above it won’t work.

    That is mainly for the older modifications mostly that don’t required most of the extra code. This code still works with modifications like The Fiona Project and Absence.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Half-Life 2 Old Code:

    “GameInfo”
    {

    name “Absence”
    game “Absence”
    title “Absence”
    type singleplayer_only

    FileSystem
    {
    SteamAppId 215
    ToolsAppId 211

    SearchPaths
    {
    Game Abcence

    Game |gameinfo_path|.
    Game sourcetest
    Game hl2
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Can’t Find Background Image:

    If you are getting that error I know this particular line of code will resolve this issue. You just need to add this to the Game Info Text that is located in your background directory.

    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Red Error Bar For A Weapon:

    You may also encounter this error as well to get rid of it you may have to remove the Search Paths primarily this path way (Game hl2) for some reason having this chunk of code in your Game Info Text will cause that error.

    SearchPaths
    {
    Game No Escape

    Game |gameinfo_path|.
    Game sourcetest
    Game hl2
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Pre-Cache Error:

    Adding this bit of code may also cause issues as well that I have found. You may get an error that says “Pre-cached Model*5. You may have to remove this bit of the code to bypass that error.

    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_pak.vpk
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Altering The Game Info Text:

    You have to be very careful when moving the code over even if you move in a few centimetres. It seems to break really easily unless you are careful. You may want to make a copy of the Game Info Sheet before moving code around. That is a bit of a common problem I have noticed when altering the Game Info Text.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Log Out Of Steam When Steam App Id Is Changed:

    This is another common issue, if you change the Steam App Id from say Steam App Id 220-Steam App Id 215. It won’t take effect unless you save the Game Info Sheet and completely log out of Steam and log back in. Most likely the changes won’t take any effect until you do this if you have altered the Game Info Text Sheet.

  6. You have to use both parts of the code from both the Half-Life 2 Game Info Sheet, and from the Episodic Game Info Sheet that you can find in Half-Life 2 Episode 1 or Half-Life 2 Episode 2. You can’t run a Half-Life 2 modification that uses assets from Episode 1 or Episode 2 with just one part of the code.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Half-Life 2 Game Info Sheet Required Code:

    game_lv hl2/hl2_lv.vpk
    game+mod hl2/hl2_sound_vo_english.vpk
    game+mod hl2/hl2_pak.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_misc.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_misc.vpk
    platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform/platform_misc.vpk

    gamebin hl2/bin
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Half-Life 2 Episodic Game Info Sheet Required Code:

    game_lv hl2/hl2_lv.vpk
    game+mod episodic/ep1_sound_vo_english.vpk
    game+mod episodic/ep1_pak.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_vo_english.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_pak.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_misc.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_misc.vpk
    platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform/platform_misc.vpk

    gamebin episodic/bin
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Example:Both parts of the code combined into the Game Info Sheet. All you have to do now is you need to know what Steam AppId to use or what game bin pathway is needed.

    SteamAppId 215//SDK 2006
    SteamAppId 218//SDK 2007
    SteamAppId 220//SDK 2009
    SteamAppId 320//Death-Match
    SteamAppId 380//Episode 1
    SteamAppId 420//Episode 2

    Change the gamebin pathway depending on if it’s Half-Life 2 Episode 1, Half-Life 2 Episode 2 or Half-Life 2 Death-Match. If you download Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode 1, Half-Life 2 Episode 2, and Half-Life 2 Death-Match Steam should be able to pick up the SteamAppId.

    gamebin hl2/bin //Half-Life 2
    gamebin hl2mp/bin //Half-Life 2 Multi-Player Death-Match
    gamebin episodic/bin //Half-Life 2 Episode 1 and Half-Life 2 Episode 2
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    “GameInfo”
    {

    name “Intrusion”
    game “Intrusion”
    title “Intrusion”
    “icon” “resource/ol_icon”
    “developer” “Turboluigi”
    type singleplayer_only

    FileSystem
    {
    SteamAppId 220
    ToolsAppId 211
    AdditionalContentId 420

    SearchPaths
    {
    game Intrusion

    game+mod |gameinfo_path|.
    platform |gameinfo_path|.

    game_lv hl2/hl2_lv.vpk
    game+mod ep2/ep2_pak.vpk
    game+mod ep2/ep2_english.vpk
    game+mod ep2/ep1_pak.vpk
    game+mod ep2/ep1_english.vpk

    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_pak.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_misc.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_english.vpk

    game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic/ep1_pak.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic/ep1_english.vpk

    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_misc.vpk
    platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform/platform_misc.vpk
    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_vo_english.vpk

    mod+mod_write+default_write_path |gameinfo_path|.

    game+game_write gameinfo_path|.

    gamebin episodic/bin

    game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2
    game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic
    platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform
    }
    }
    }

  7. For Episode 2 mods, you might need to include the line

    game |all_source_engine_paths|ep2/ep2_pak.vpk

    inside the braces after ‘Search Paths’.

  8. Why won’t these fixes fix the mod “Half-Mind”? Those don’t help that particular mod at all. :/

  9. I’ve been avoiding the steampipe updates for awhile now by deselecting “automatically update” for hl2, ep1, and ep2 in steam. In doing that, in the past steam would give me a warning that I needed to convert these apps before launching them (steampipe). I usually just clicked “cancel” and then the games would load with no problems. This worked for mods that called upon hl2, ep1, etc. But now, today, when I try to launch hl2 or any mods that rely on it, the warning pops up, but when I hit cancel the games don’t load. So I’m assuming that steampipe is now officially out of beta and I’m forced to update to the new more “efficient” mod-breaking versions of hl if I want to play any mods? Is this true? And is there any current way to avoid the steampipe versions of hl2? Now when I try to load a mod that requires these games, steam automatically tried to download updates to hl2, ep.1 etc. even though I have those set to not autoupdate. Steam is showing these updates as “required” now. Steampipe breaks a ton of other older mods not even listed in this thread. And up to now, I’ve been able to avoid installing the steampipe versions of hl2.

    • I’m surprised you’ve been able to avoid SteamPipe for this long. As far as I know there is no way to stay on an older version of a game via Steam. You may have some luck using Offline mode to prevent getting the updates, but I wouldn’t recommend that since it disables a lot of other features and doesn’t always work in my experience.

  10. I’m trying to fix the mod Half – Mind, and when the first map starts… Well…. It works like it was supposed to work, but! When i “Use” one of the citizens in the train, he don’t explode…. Yes explode, he was in THIS mod supposed to explode but he don’t, and maaany other things are not working, like when the 2nd map is loading… It IS loading but when it loads… An error message pops up…. Now it’s just crashing so i forgot the message. Please HELP!

    • I’ve just had a quick look at the mod in question, and as far as I can tell there are issues with the map files themselves that are making them incompatible with the newest engine version. The mod also has a lot of custom script and scene files which could be an issue.

      Unfortunately that means that there is no “quick fix” and it is probably up to the original creator to release an updated version. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  11. What about the Ep1 code?

  12. The Episode 1 issue is particularly annoying. That valve would push Steampipe live without at least giving us a working gameinfo.txt for their own game is ridiculous :( Maybe I’ll fire an email off to them and see what happens.

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