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How to Get and Install Source SDK and L4D1/2 Tools

Category: Source: L4D 1 & 2
October 23, 2010

How to get and install Source™ SDK and L4D1/2 Authoring Tools?

How to begin creating maps for any of Valve games?

I get this question asked a lot. In this tutorial you will learn everything you need to know how to get the Source SDK and L4D1/2 Authoring Tools.


SOURCE™ = game engine from Valve

SOURCE SDK = Source Software Development Kit. For Games such as HL2, HL2: EP1/2, Portal, CS:S, DoD:S, TF2.

L4D1/2 Authoring Tools = Source Software Development Kit for L4D1/2.

Hammer: Source = Level Editor for Source based games.

  • If you want to create maps and custom content for HL2, HL2: EP1/2, Portal, CS:S, DoD:S, TF2 you need Source SKD.
  • If you want to create maps and custom content for L4D1/2 you need L4D1/2 Authoring Tools.


1. Purchase the Game

Any of the following games purchased and installed: PC version only.

  • Half-Life 2
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Pack
  • Portal
  • Portal 2
  • Counter-Strike: Source
  • >Day of Defeat: Source
  • Team Fortress 2 (free to play and free to download)
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • The Orange Box (contains TF2, Portal, HL2: EP2)
  • >Half-Life 2: Game of the Year Edition (contains HL2, HL:Source, CS:S, HL2: Deathmatch)

You can purchase the above games from the walk-in stores, online stores, Amazon, Gamestops etc. You can also purchase any of these games from Steam.

2. Install Steam

You can download Steam from here. Steam is required for you to authenticate Valve games. You can purchase any games from the above list as well.

Steam will also be installed if you bought the games from anywhere other then Steam's website.

3. Launch Steam

Launch Steam and head over to Library --> Games. Here you will find a list of games that you own.

4. Download Source SDK or L4D1/2 Authoring Tools

Download Source SDK or/and L4D1/2 Authoring Tools by going to Library --> Tools in Steams interface.

  • If you want to create maps and custom content for HL2, HL2: EP1/2, Portal, CS:S, DoD:S, TF2 you need Source SKD.
  • If you want to create maps and custom content for L4D1/2 you need L4D1/2 Authoring Tools.

Install by Right Mouse Click on the SDK or Authoring tools and choose Install Game.

5. Open Source SDK or L4D1/2 Authoring Tools

After you have installed Source SKD or the L4D1/2 Authoring Tools open it up by double clicking on the SDK or Authoring Tools.

Choose the game you want to create custom maps for and Launch the Hammer World Editor.

Update: You no longer need to install L4D2 Addon Support.

Resources/List of Tutorials:

L4D2 Tutorials

L4D1 Tutorials

Level Design Tutorials and Tips


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My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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