April 14th, 2011
wo0t wrote a tutorial on how to do sky replacements in Team Fortress 2, as seen in the Loaded frag video. Here's a quick tutorial describing how to replace the Well skybox.
1.) You can either download premade skyboxes at FPSBanana or make them yourself in Terragen. Terragen tutorials:
For the purposes of this tutorial I'll be using this skybox from FPSBanana, I just chopped it down so it would fit in TF2.
2.) Alright, so you've got your files, most likely in .vtf form. If they aren't, convert them with Photoshop or any other image editor. To get them to work in TF2, we need to rename them and match them up with their respective .vmt's First, you'll need to use GCFScape to browse "team fortress 2 materials.gcf". Drill down to tf/materials/skybox
and select all the non-HDR Well files
Drop these in your tf/materials/skybox folder and delete all the .vtf files, since those are what we are replacing. Leave the .vmt's alone. Grab your previously downloaded skybox files and extract the .vtf's to your skybox folder.
3.) Normally you would need to rename your .vtf's to match the .vmt's. For example, "setting_skybk.vtf" needs to be renamed to "sky_well_01bk.vtf" and so on. The "ft" "rt" "lf" etc., are tags that tell the skybox which section to load. Don't confuse them. When you're done, it should look like this:
I've already done this for you, so you're good to go.
4.) You can load up TF2 now and start a local server, the skybox will be there. You'll need to disable HDR (unless you can figure out hdrmaps) sv_pure has to be set to 0 to use skyboxes, if you want to use them on a POV demo of a match server, you'll need an sv_pure bypass hack. Before:
There are two major issues with custom TF2 skyboxes. The first is that a lot of skyboxes straight from FPSBanana don't display properly within the TF2 world, so it is preferable to make your own using Terragen. The second issue is that it's very hard to find/make a skybox that actually fits within the TF2 motif. Experiment with it.
Hope this helps.