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Using alpha textures

Alpha textures can save you making lots of brushes for things like fences, railings, gates etc, Having a brush for each piece of fence also increases the r_speeds so what you often can do is produce a single texture to replace all those brushes. Its a simple process. Lets make some railings.

1. Firstly make a base for the railing to be placed on, I made a 192x192x16 (Grid size 16) floor. I used the "blimp" then "runway_m01_sm" texture

2. I now need to make the railing, I changed the grid size to "Grid4" by pressing "3". Now I made a brush where I want the railing to be. I made one 192x48x4, just make sure its fairly thin:

3. Now we can see its not the right texture, what we need to do is make the entire brush the "nodraw" texture, this texture can be found in the "Common" texture set

So select your railing and cover it in "nodraw"

4. Now for the alpha part. The alpha textures are special textures made with an alpha channel, which is the invisible part.

Load up the "alpha" texture set. You will see theres a few textures you can choose from, the black and grey backgrounds you might see on the textures is where it is invisible in game.

I just want a simple railing, sadly I know that some of these textures dont work right, like the fancy railings ones must have faulty shaders as they just come out black, they still have the invisible parts right, but the rest is pitch black.

So anyway I chose "ladder" (youll see why in a mo) got up surface inspector (press S) and rotated it 90 degrees and increases the vertical stretch:

Remember youll be able to see it from both sides of the brush, so it doesnt matter what side you put it on really. The ladder texture works well for the railing pieces in this case.

5. Now thats pretty much how to do them, and it looks like this in game:

Its not going to win any beauty contests but for the purpose of this tutorial you can understand how to use alpha textures now.

6. Also Remember that it will not be solid, put a clip brush around it if you need to have it solid.

Using alpha textures can save you time, not only when your making the map, but in compiling too, instead of having about 20 brushes you will have one, with the texture on, it saves a lot of time and effort, and it saves on the r_speeds, this doesnt mean to say every railing and every ladder you make should be made using this method, its up to you, you need to decide whether or not it will look effective and run ok.

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Tutorial by eyeronik
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