One of the nuisance limitations of modding Source Engine was proprietary asset formats. VTF for textures, VMT for materials, MDL for models, BSP for maps, and so on. Having a proprietary format for assets is not a bad thing, in fact almost all engines do, but the problem with Source Engine is that you are required to convert custom content into these proprietary formats by hand, and in doing so, you were required to learn how to use special softwares which apply only to Source Engine. This extra work results in a reduced workflow, and for beginners, a steeper learning curve. With S&box, you are no longer required to convert assets into a proprietary format.
Facepunch Studios have come up with an elegant solution to this problem, and it gives creators the ability to import assets of any format, from any game, without having to dick around with external softwares. Their solution also works seamlessly during live gameplay. This will dramatically improve workflow, expand gameplay possibilities, and greatly reduce the learning curve for beginners who wish to create their own mods. All of these pros sound great, but what are the cons? There has to be some strings attached
Every positive has its negative. In the design of gameplay features, there’s always some sort of drawback that has to be dealt with in one way or another. In our case, the drawback is that importers need to be created in order to work with the file format of your choosing. After an importer is created, it can be used in a modular fashion, whenever and wherever. These importers work by deciphering a format’s data, then inputting that data into the S&box engine, which then creates an asset matching S&box’s proprietary format, and that asset is then usable in-game.
Finding an importer:
It’s no doubt that the modding community will create importers for all sorts of file formats and games. The S&box developers have already created importers for a few popular formats, including from Source Engine and Grand Theft Auto. The source code of these importers will be available for us to modify, extend, or study in order to learn how to create our own. If you’re not a programmer, and an importer does not exist for the game or format you are interested in, you could do it the old fashion way by re-compiling assets into a usable format, or you could simply ask a programmer to create an importer for you.
I will be tracking the developments of S&box and bringing you content on a regular basis. When S&box is released, I will broaden my content with both modding and gameplay, and collaborating with modders to showcase features and other cool stuff. Subscribe to be notified when I publish new content, and leave a like on this video to show some support. As always, thanks for watching, and have a good day!