So maybe you, like me, are interested in making an item for Team Fortress 2. And maybe you’re new to modelling so you want to look at TF2 models in, say, Blender (though this will get you far enough if you’re using something else). With the new SteamPipe content distribution system, though, shit’s all hidden and confusing now ’cause they converted all the .gcf files into .vpk’s. Even if you’ve extracted stuff from TF2 before, maybe you’re having a hard time now. All the tutorials for how to do this are outdated and I can’t be the only dumbass who couldn’t figure this out in two minutes, so I am gonna put this here for anyone who needs it.
Step 1: If you haven’t done so already, install the Source SDK. Part of SteamPipe’s intention was to obsolesce the SDK launcher and instead, your TF2 development tools are going to be beta versions found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Team Fortress 2\bin, but you still need the SDK installed to decompile later. Hover over the Library tab, select Tools from the drop down menu, and install the Source SDK. Once it’s installed, run it once. It will take a while to copy some files. If it doesn’t, tell it to Refresh SDK Content. Once it’s done, close it.
Step 2: Go to Nem’s Tools and download GCFScrape. Even if you already have GCFScrape, go there and get the newest version. I had 1.8.2 and it wasn’t current enough even when the one out at the time of this writing was only 1.8.4. That .2 makes a difference. Once it’s downloaded, install it.
Step 3: Run it, and click the open folder. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Team Fortress 2\tf and open:
tf2_misc_dir.vpk if you’re looking for models
tf2_sound_misc_dir.vpk if you want sound effects
tf2_sound_vo_english_dir for voice clips
tf2_textures_dir for textures, I guess? It would seem the textures are separate of the models.
You always want to pick the files with the _dir in them. I let you figure out how to manage that other crap ’cause we’re talking about models here.
Step 4: Find the stuff you want, which I think you can manage on your own. When you find a thing you want, right-click all the files with the same filename (you can select multiple objects by holding down the Ctrl key as you click them) and select “Extract”. It’ll ask you where you want it and I strongly advise you to make a folder for it to keep all the files together.
Step 5: Next go to this Valve Developer Community page and download Hooch’s fixed version of the file at the bottom. Unzip it. Put the .exe in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\SourceSDK\bin\ep1\bin. Run it. If it gives you an error about MFC71.DLL, unzip the mfc71.rar file that was in the same folder as the .exe and drop the file enclosed in C:Program Files (x86)SteamSteamAppscommonSourceSDKbinep1bin too. Go ahead and make a shortcut to the .exe on your desktop too, that’ll save you a lot of hassle.
Step 6: Run MDLDecompiler and navigate to the folder you extracted your files from GCFScrape to. Pick a model and open its folder. Select the .mdl file. Then make a folder for your decompiled model and select it as your output location.
Step 7: I’m going to assume you have Blender installed already and it’s updated and not that antiquated shit they’re talking about on this VDC page. Download the .zip file but don’t extract it. If you have the ye olde Blender, follow their installation directions. If not, proceed here.
Step 8: Open Blender and go to File > User Preferences > Addons. At the bottom, click “Install From File”. Navigate to and select the .zip file you downloaded with the Blender Source Tools in it and click “Install from File”. It will install the entire .zip file. Then, in the Categories menu to the left in that window, select “User”. Find the Import-Export SMD/DMX Tools addon and check the box next to the picture of the stick figure flailing around. Now, go to the bottom of that window and click the Save User Settings button. That’ll make it so you don’t have to check that box every time you open Blender and want to saucemodel.
Step 9: Now when you go to File and look at the Import and Export menus, you’ll have options for a number of Source Engine file formats. Like .smd! Which is exactly what you want to import now. Go to File > Import > Source Engine and it’ll open a file browser. Navigate to the output file you selected when you were decompiling and there should be an .smd file in there. Select it.
Your TF2 model should now be there, textureless, ready to be edited.
The world is now your oyster!
I hope this tutorial helps you out, but if it doesn’t, please feel free to ask questions in the comments. I am not an expert in Blender or Source, so I can’t always help you with that, but a lot of times issues with following these directions have to do with updates to any and all of these tools. It helps immensely to have problems like that brought to my attention so I can keep this tutorial current with the tools used in it.
However! demonfox38 is working on an MVM map over at dfbuilds and they have already and will continue to post a lot of information about both Hammer and Blender that may be of interest and use to you if you have questions about what to do with this stuff once you’ve got it.