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Lighting Calculation Errors

Mapping » Miscellaneous

Understanding and Solving Mapping Errors

Visibility Errors (Page 2 of 5) by satchmo · 74,168 views · comments(1)
LoadPortals: couldn't read mapname.prt
VVIS cannot find the portalfile, a file that vbsp creates which specifies the location of portals and leafs.
Usually because of a leak or other fatal error (see further upwards in your log) in the vbsp process, but may also be because your directories are set up wrong.
WARNING: Cluster portals saw into cluster
(I think) VBSP has made a concave leaf(or in other ways invalid) that can see into itself. The solution is to simplify your leafs (func_detail) as much as possible to avoid this error, but usually (or sometimes) you will find no bad things come from it and your map runs as it should. If you got unexpected low FPS somewhere, this may be the cause. Finding it may be hard, and usually ends up in using cordon tools or just not doing it at all. First look at complicated parts of your map, try to use glview to find it. I've also heard about this being caused by overlapping brushes or brushes that are off-grid. Allthough i find this unlikely, I am not sure if it isn't, so keep those possibilities open too.
vvis is slow / stuck on portalflow / normal setting
You need to do some optimizing. vvis is trying to calculate what parts are visible from what parts and which parts are not, and that takes a lot of time of you don't optimize your map. vvis should never take more than two hours, even one hour is probably too much. go here for a nice tutorial about optimizing. You may also check the HL2 WIKI
warning: Vis decompression overrun
I think you have hit some kind of limit in the vvis process, considering the process (vvis) I suppose this is visleafs, if so, optimizing may work.
You may also try to reduce the amount of props in your map, (grasses), I've heard this can help too.

Common And Steam Related Errors
the instruction at #hex# referrrenced memory at #hex#. The memory could not be "read"
This is a hard one, because it can be caused by anything. simply put, the program was trying to read a variable that hasnt been specified yet. The engine reports errors to avoid this error, therefore when you do get this one, the programming from valve has failed a bit.
possible causes are:
-entities that have certain important things not specified, like a prop_static without a model specified, or a ambient_generic without a sound. Usually errors caused by these things should be sifted out with other errors.
-broken ram
-broken executable or dll's
-bad drivers
-cpu goofed up (overclocking?)
-and a whole lot more
overall, it just means crappy programming or bad-working hardware
* First check this list to see if it can sort out your problem.
* Once you've made sure its caused by anything in your map (try another pc), try to use the cordon tools to find out which brush or entity is causing the problem.
* If it is caused by your map, try to delete the last few entities you added and try again. Usually you will find the error there. If you made any weird things, experimented with entities in mods that dont support them, this is the time to fess up and remove them. Recently added custom sounds, models, sprites.
* If it is caused by your map but the method above doesnt work, you must use the cordon tools or visgroups to find out what is causing it.
* If this happens during buildcubemaps, make sure you aren't running hl2 in a window. Possible causes in a list so far are:
-model entities or sound entities with no models or sounds specified
-invalid brushes (that somehow got past hammer, vbsp and vrad
-too many of a certain kind of thing
-too long or invalid filenames/paths
-intersecting brushes
-intersecting entities
-the use of infinites (including zero) in any entitiy
-path entities linking to themselves
-entities triggering themselves (infinite loop)
-physics anomalies (including too complex stuff), like towers or constraintsystems that hang onto themselves
-bad models
-bad collisions
-bad entity naming (only use 0-9, a-z, A-Z, and "_". for special occasions, you may use "*" or "!". Not avoiding curly brackets or quotes will make your map crash, and become unreopenable.
-linking to non-existant entities
-using bad textures or other resources
-normals in a funky direction
-bad map (bsp structure, or a bit messed up)
-hardware anomalies
-software anomalies
-making unexpected constructions (non-geometric, mean I/O's and physics)
If you got anything to add to this list, contact us

After working in the SDK for a little while, my machine runs out of resources and crashes!
According to
There is an issue on some user's systems with the SDK Launcher and Steam Play Games window consuming large amounts of system resouces if they are left open. As a workaround for this problem, close the SDK Launcher and Steam Play Games after launching SDK Tools. This issue will be fixed in an Source SDK update.
(to my knowlegde this fix has already occured)
Just close the play games and sourcesdk menu's after hammer has started. Mind that you may need to reopen them to change the game you are working on.
Also, make sure your system has enough memory, 512 megabytes should be minimum on windows xp.

alternatively, you can run hammer using a direct shortcut to hammer.exe (sourcesdk/bin directory).
But remember to open the sourcesdk menu once after any small update or hammer will not function.

Cache Needs Repair
According to
This error occurs when certain game cache files have encountered an internal problem (usually after a crash while running a game).
To repair the cache file, simply shutdown steam and restart Steam, and then run HL2 and any of it's mods if neccesairy. The programs will fix their errors once they have run once.

Cache Needs Decryption
This error occurs when you try to use the SDK without starting HL2 first. Just run HL2, sourceSDK and any mods neccesaiy to fix this error.
(missing) gameinfo.txt
A certain file used to configure hammer and its tools is missing. simply start the game you are mapping for once, and this problem should be gone. Else, you'll have to make one yourself
This application has failed to start because Tier0.dll was not found
start sourcesdk menu through steam once before you try to run hammer or compile.
Error opening mapname.bsp
Half-life couldn't open your map. Did you recieve any errors in the compile process? got your paths set up right?
The command failed. Windows reported the error: The system cannot find the file specified.
Something has gone wrong in compiling your map, so when Windows wants to copy your map to the maps-directory of your game, it cannot find the file.
The cause is usually some fatal error in vbsp.exe (the program that generates the bare bsp-file) so check for other errors in your log.
The other cause is some invalid setup of directories, or bad mapnames, too long pathnames etc. In which case you should also see the effects further upwards in the log (something like the other programs not being able to load your map). For mapnames, remember to avoid any strange character, like brackets, dots, commas and spaces. try to build your mapname out of characters ( a-z ), numbers ( 0-9 ) and the underscore ( _ ) only.
Failed to load the Launcher.dll. The specified module could not be found.
Some properties of your game setup haven't been saved properly. Please refresh your sdk content (use the link in the sourcesdk menu from Steam). You may also try to start your map/mod manually (not via Hammer).

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Bandwidth by Level (3) and N-Layer Communications Wednesday, 16-Apr 01:29:49 · feedback
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