3 Ways of increasing your productivity/efficiency in Hammer

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by grazr, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    Each function has its place in Hammer and some are more useful than others. But i could not live without these 3 and encourage others to utilise them too.

    A) I'm a format freak. When things fuck up for me 99% of the time it's because i wasn't organised. Visgroups make it significantly easier to control and view portions of your map at a time and allow you to work on multiple pieces of work at a single location, such as working on 3 different aesthetic resolutions to a single building.

    [​IMG]

    B) Centre 2d views. Simply put, using this function saves you orienteering in your grid windows to where you are currently working. Select your brush, CTRL+E, nuff said.

    It saves seconds at a time, but seconds add up. This could easily double your productivity.

    [​IMG]

    C) This one is simply for people who cannot comprehend their compile logs at a mere glance. Personally, and is the case for many individuals who have worked with this software for years, one can pick up on tell tale error signs simply through experience and familiarity of compile logs. But for most people they do not discover problems with their maps until they have run them in TF2 and noticed something a'miss (such as low performance, poor lighting or a non-updated .bsp).

    This is particularly helpful when dealing with simultanious/trial and error bug fixing, running the point file after every compile is the sure fire way of making sure your map compiled properly before taking the time to run HL2.exe and getting ingame. You can resolve several seperate leaks in the time it would take you to open TF2 and load your map once.

    If clicking this button returns "missing pointfile" consider your compile successful. It's that easy.

    [​IMG]

    Lastly: Use the save function frequently. Better to use it and not need it, than to need it and not used it. Software crashes get the best of us.

    This may or may not seem like simple stuff. But simple is often fundamental and stating the obvious is not always a negative thing. It's usually the obvious things we overlook.

    Make these a part of your Hammer'ing protocol and i garauntee improved work capacity or your money back.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  2. Ravidge

    aa Ravidge Grand Vizier

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    I would like to add:
    Learn to use the Entity Report, it's immensely useful/powerful, especially for batch work.

    For example, changing all the cliff rock models in the map to the snow skin
    [​IMG]

    Finding all the prop_statics that doesn't have a fade distance set
    [​IMG]

    Or for putting all your env_sprites in a user visgroup.
    I use it a lot for skin changes from blue->red when mirroring maps. Signs, computer props and other junk.

    Limitless uses basically, and saves time like nothing else.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
  3. Lancey

    aa Lancey Currently On: ?????

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    I'd like to contribute the fact that Move to Visgroup has a button on the toolbar.
     
  4. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    You can also hit Alt-Enter when you have any number or type of objects selected, hit the visgroups tab, and check or uncheck the whole bunch to assign or unassign them to particular existing visgroups.

    Kep
     
  5. Leminnes

    aa Leminnes

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    Hey grazr, I was wondering, would using Manifests save time as well? I toyed with them a while back and it seemed like they may be useful, but I'm not sure.
     
  6. Huckle

    Huckle L4: Comfortable Member

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    In regard to saving, I'd like to add that you should every couple of hours save to another file, just in case your first one gets corrupted and you can't fix it. You never know what could happen.

    Another way is to change the autosave settings in Hammer to save every 10 minutes and keep 10 different files or so.
     
  7. Prestige

    aa Prestige im not gay anymore

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    ah CTRL+E will help me out a lot. thanks.
     
  8. Tapp

    Tapp L10: Glamorous Member

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    Use them as you would prefabs. Extra awesome is using them to mirror your map, for blocking.
     
  9. honeymustard

    honeymustard L9: Fashionable Member

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    This. I always wanted to do this but didn't know if a short-cut existed. Cheers Grazr :)
     
  10. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    If a hot key exists it's listed to the right of the tabbed function.
     
  11. Godslayer57

    Godslayer57 L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    We all love Entity Report. Save us searching for that one func_ that we just can't find.
     
  12. cornontheCoD

    cornontheCoD L7: Fancy Member

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    Thanks, Grazr. I didn't know about the ctrl+E one, sometimes I just don't pay attention to hotkeys :rolleyes:
     
  13. Tapp

    Tapp L10: Glamorous Member

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    ctrl+e is excellent, but did you know that ctrl+shift+e is the 3d version?
    Other helpful tricks are:
    *cough*
    *cough*
    hold space and click and drag to pan quicker
    use ctrl+t to quickly func_detail stuff
    tap z to enter noclip mode
    shift+drag a brush to duplicate it
    ctrl+b to snap to grid
    ctrl+shift+b to snap each object to the grid individually
    shift+a to texture
    use the brackets '[' ']' to resize the grid
    Dimensions

    Went a bit off topic there, reiterated some common knowledge, but may have helped someone out somewhere!
     
  14. Ravidge

    aa Ravidge Grand Vizier

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    There is already a sticky about hotkeys in this very forum.
     
  15. Mr. Happy

    Mr. Happy L6: Sharp Member

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    I think the most useful feature by far is nudging. If you go to Tools>Options>2D views and select "arrow keys nudge selected object/vertex" then the arrow keys will move objects by the grid size. Works in 3D view as well, and you can clone nudge!
     
  16. Draco18s

    Draco18s L9: Fashionable Member

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    Wait, it'll nudge by the grid size and leave verts off grid?
     
  17. Ninjilla

    Ninjilla L7: Fancy Member

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    I was actually going to ask about a 3D view center screen button, now I know. Thanks everyone, good article!
     
  18. Boylee

    aa Boylee pew pew pew

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    I think it's worth mentioning that one of the best ways to increase productivity in hammer is to plan properly before even opening it, and to prioritise tasks. The number of times I used to go off on little detail binges when gameplay areas were unfinished is silly, don't do this it's a bad habit, write lists and work through them.

    That's my two cents on the subject.
     
  19. Mash

    Mash L1: Registered

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    I just wish that the keyboard shortcuts didn't use a modifier. A bit like the QWERTY shortcuts in Maya. That would really help productivity, as well as dedicated 'mapping' and 'texturing' layouts. Maybe there is a third party program that can do just that.
     
  20. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    That's just self discipline :/ of which i am dreadful at.

    Still, it doesn't take much to create a layout. Even the most complicated layout could probably be done in a day.