The arch tool

You may have wondered how I made that curved road in the perfect curved texture tutorial. I did that using the arch tool. If you use this tool properly it will be a huge time saver! Plus, you can make curves that look right. This tutorial explains how we can make this staircase in the picture below.

Never-ending staircase of doom!

This is also easy!

First we’ll do an easy task: Make an arch; in the way we want it. Again, I’ll use lots of pictures to help. Here’s what we do:

The value “8” is the number of sides this arch will have. You can leave it for now. Select the block tool. (or press Shift + B) Now we’re gonna make something with these sizes:

Okay, now press enter… and this weird little window will pop up:

I’ll explain each thing in this window:

  • Preview: Shows a preview of your arch from the top.
  • Wall width: The width each “slice” has, in units. It measures from the edge to the middle.
  • Number of Sides: Speaks for itself. The more you use the rounder it is, but the higher the performance hit.
  • Circle: Press this if you want a circle. (make a cylinder if you don’t want a hollow arch :P)
  • Arch: In degrees, the angle of this arch. (90° is a quarter, 180° is a half, circle is 360°)
  • Start angle: The angle to start from. I used 90° here, so it starts from the left. I usually rotate the arch after I created it, so I don’t use this much.
  • Add height: Adds height to each “slice”, each slice will be higher than the last. Very useful for making staircases. (which we we use later in this tutorial)

Normally, an arch will be generated clockwise. (unless you use negative values, but let’s not do that okay?) Now press OK or <enter>.

Looks a lot like the preview huh?

Looks a lot like the preview huh?

Making the stairs

Now let’s try to make something more complicated and useful. Let’s say you want to make a curved staircase with trim on the sides and a pillar in the middle. Like what I made in the first picture. We want to make our stairs have a length and width of 256 x 256 units. (to fit it in our imaginary level easier and so that the player has enough room to walk on it.)

First you got to make the steps. We want our trim (the edge on the stairs) to be 8 units wide so make a selection of 240 x 240. Also make it 8 units high, this is the height of the steps.

Make a selection like this

Make a selection like this

Ok now select the arch tool like above or if you still have it selected press <enter>.

Use these values

Use these values and press OK

Boring explanation coming (skip if you want): Wall width is 96. Remember, our stairs (the trim + pillar + steps) will be 256 units wide. So the trim will be 8 units wide, this is on both sides, so times two is 16 units for the trim. Then our stairs itself will be 96 times two is 192 . Add up the width of the trim and stairs and this leaves 32 units for the middle pillar. It’s good to be precise sometimes so you can work neatly.

Add height is 8, as you can see in the above image. This means each “slice” of the arch will go 8 units higher. (or lower if you use negative values)

I set the start angle to 90, so the stairs will start at the top.

Now back to the tutorial.

You should now have something like this:

First part of the stairs

First part of the stairs

Give it the texture you want. I used: metal/metalstair004b. Just search for a good texture in your mod/game. (I used Episode 2) You can also cover the sides with the “nodraw” texture for extra performance, but that is not the focus of this tutorial.

Now onto the trim. Make a selection of 256 x 256 around your new arch. The height should again be 8 units.

Selection to make the trim

Selection to make the trim

Have the arch tool selected and press <enter>.

Set the wall width to 8.

It’s more or less the same as before, except the wall width is now set to 8. Press OK. It should now look a little like this:

Stairs with trim

Stairs with trim

As you can see I also aligned the texture on the trim with the texture alignment trick. I used the texture: metal/metaltrack001a.

Now let’s add the middle pillar. Select the cylinder tool. The value should be 16, since our arch has 16 sides too.

Now make a selection for our pillar, the height should be the same as how high you want the stairs to be:

Selection for the pillar

Make a selection and press enter

Now you can add some extra stuff if you want. For example, you can add clip brushes to the stairs for “smooth walking”. (meaning the camera won’t jump) Also you can copy/paste the stairs like I did in the first screenshot.



Be sure to hit preview lots of times to know if you used the right numbers. Oh, and PLEASE func_detail the stairs! Or else vvis.exe will not like you and your map WILL take ages to compile.

Have fun!


2 Responses to “The arch tool”

  1. 1 chuckstar
    11 July, 2008 at 15:14

    I’ll finish this tutorial in the evening.

    edit: ok, maybe a bit later 😛
    edit2: it’s done!

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