Creating a war paint

War Paints are a vital part of Team Fortress 2. When you are killing your foes with the grace and ease of a soaring eagle, you best have war paint on your weapon to make it look nice and shiny, for the children! It is understandable that one may want to make one of these magnificent pieces of war-time art, but most don't know where or how to start off making one. This page will show you how!

Creating a War Paint requires an image editing program to create the textures, VTFEdit to convert them into .vtf format that is used for War Paints in game and Team Fortress 2 installed to preview your work. GCFScape is useful for finding filenames of vanilla War Paints, which are used for importing custom War Paints into the game.

Each texture should be either 512×512, 1024×1024 or 2048×2048 pixels in size. The full process of creating textures won't be covered here as it depends on the idea and software used to make it.

War Paint textures are applied repeatedly next to each other onto the weapon's surface. To make a good-looking War Paint, make sure all its textures have no visible seams when tiled.

Phong mask determines how reflective are certain parts of the texture. To create a phong mask, add an alpha layer to your texture, darker (more transparent) parts of the mask will reflect less light.

Once you have created a texture, save is as a .tga file. Open VTFEdit, click “File” and then “Import”, select your texture, then just click “Save as” and save the .vtf file.

Team Fortress 2 doesn't have official tools for importing and previewing custom War Paints, so testing them in-game is done through replacing textures of one of the existing War Paints by a client-side mod.

When booted up, the game will look through folders inside a special folder and if it finds files with the same name and path as some of game's normal files, it will override them in-game. This means that to get your War Paint to replace an existing one, you'll have to put its textures into that folder and give them proper names and paths. For example, to override Civic Duty's main grey texture, you'll have to make your texture's path be /materials/patterns/solid_grey.vtf

Enter TF2's local files (right-click on TF2 in Steam library, hover over “manage” and click “browse local files”), go to tf/custom and create a new folder (folder's name can be anything you want). This is the folder for your mod. Inside that folder, create another folder named materials, and inside that folder another folder inside named patterns. This is where all of your custom textures will go.

If a texture that's being replaced has a different path (for example Bovine Blazemaker's main texture's path is /materials/patterns/2fort/cow.vtf) you'll have to create extra folders to keep the paths identical.

You can browse TF2's files and get necessary paths for War Paints using GCFScape. Open GCFScape, click “File”, then “Open” and select tf_textures_dir.vpk, which is located in tf folder inside local files. Once there enter /materials/patterns to browse all War Paint files and find the names of textures you want to replace.

Start TF2 and start inspecting a replaced War Paint in the inventory. If everything is done right, your own creation should appear in its place. Keep in mind that client-side mods won't work on official servers (but they work on creators.tf servers).

Create some promotional art and thumbnail that contains weapons with your War Paint on them to showcase it on the workshop. First person screenshots without HUD or putting cropped weapons onto a fitting, contrasting background should be enough.

Save all your War Paint's files inside a zip folder. Open TF2 and press the workshop button (on default HUD it has a wrench icon and is located at the bottom of main menu), click “publish new item” and choose “other”, select your zip file and add name, description, tags and thumbnail and press “publish”.

Once your submission has been made public and approved by Steam moderation, you can submit it to Creators.TF's workshop after you've uploaded the files to another site where they can get accessed by C.TF staff (such as Google Drive).

  • en/content_creation/creating_a_war_paint.txt
  • Last modified: 30/12/2020 01:12
  • by Alibi