This can be frustrating, there are so many settings for VTF/VMT files, but they are there so the game can work well, if set up properly the game works very well, stuff this part up and you make crap custom files!
Ok you have your crosshair file, it’s a TGA with a Alpha layer, just 4 pixels in the middle… a “one Dot X hair”. Lets fire up VTFEdit!
Go to “File” then “Import” and find that TGA, double click on it. The “VTF Options” has opened up.
“Normal Format” and “Alpha Format” For these two select “DXT5” your image has an Alpha Layer. The formats are best described on the Wiki VTF page.
Set on "Volume Texture" but it does not matter for this crosshair, there are three settings Animated Map, Environment map, Volume Texture.
It will work with any of these but why not investigate it a little now? (you can skip this and come back latter if you like)
A little bit about "Texture mapping" first. Texture "mapping" is a method of wrapping a flat 2D image on a 3D shape. Each pixel in the 3D object is mapped to a corresponding texel, in the 2D texture map.
In other words there are locations on the player model, (a MDL file and others that are in the dod\models\player folder) in the picture to the right that match up with flat 2D image (a VTF/VMT set of files)… when all the locations are matched up you get the textured 3D image… just like a player models face.
Some VTF files do this some do not, they are just 2D images, like a HUD graphic...a crosshair, it's just 2D, we are not wrapping around a 3D object in the game like a rock or a chair. But remember this section as it can be important.
For this crosshair, the three choices up there you can make via asking yourself …
Animated Map… does it have to be animated? No.
Environment map… does it have to react to light or shadows? No.
Volume Texture… A volume texture is simply a texture that has data in three dimensions. Well this is the closest … if you have got to pick one for a hud graphic, pick this one… to be quite honest for a plain crosshair it does not matter.
Resize: Set on “Nearest Power of 2”
Resize Filter: “Box”
Sharpen Filter: “None”
Clamp: Just un-tick or Width and height “64” for the both.
Mipmaps: Just un-tick
Normal Map: Also untick.
Press OK. One more item! It is some Flags to be set…. Very important, read below and note well!
This is a HUD graphic and a crosshair to boot…it has to be nice and clear, if you don’t set two important “Flags” it will be blurry on Low video settings in-game….
Now, this is a HUD graphic... I am not saying “use this at all times on all VTF files”... just for HUD stuff. There is a good reason for that!
Imagine if someone made a whole map full of VTF files with those settings… no one on low spec PC’s could play! They are appropriate for small, important HUD files… but not for all the brick walls and ground surfaces in a map, now those material types you DO want to lower sometimes… who wants to look a nicely texture rock, I would rather have a good crosshair I can see on any settings!
So now you have set all those, go to “File” and “Save” a box pops up, give it a name and it has saved your VTF, you are not done yet…sorry.
The file can be moved into the dod\materials\vgui\crosshairs folder and it will work… that is provided you name it crosshair1, crosshair2, crosshair3 or crosshair 4, the standard crosshair files, this will work because there is a VMT file for these file names already in the GCF files.
Putting a file crosshair1 in the game folder will override the one in the GCF file and your custom one will use crosshair1.VMT in the GCF file.
But don’t worry these are easy to make… in fact why not just fire up GCFScape or VTFExplorer and copy one!
All you have to do is grab say crosshair4.VMT and put it on your desktop, rename it whatever you called your VTF file lets say you called it “custom_DOT”, now open it up with a text editor (Notepad will do). Change the file name crosshair4 in the address to custom_DOT
DO NOT PUT THE .vtf after the file name!
Now put the custom VTF and VMT files in the game folder… dod\materials\vgui\crosshairs
That’s it, now you will see the name “custom_DOT” when you select your crosshair via the in game Options GUI menu, where the standard ones are.
All this seems like a big hassle for a small item like a crosshair, you soon get good enough with all these programs and they become quite easy to use. The process is around the same for more complex items… more work in the Gimp and different VTFEdit settings, but now at least you have taken the first step. Enjoy.