Half-Life Color Logos


Hey everyone, I have finally updated the page for the first time in a couple months. I have added some answers to common questions I receive in email, as well as updating my Links section with some useful sites in case you don't find all you need on mine. You can check both of these out at the bottom of the page -- click here to jump there directly.

Bad Dimensions Can Ruin Your Spray!
(click screenshots to enlarge)
In-game shots prove that improper dimension can severely degrade the quality of your image! If at all possible, trim your image down in order to make it fit in a 128x64 or 256x32 space.
128x80 bitmap
in-game spray
128x64 bitmap
in-game spray
Here you can view both in-game sprays right next to each other to more easily see just how the rendering engine will ruin your poorly-dimensioned spray (note the blurriness around edges):


This page will instruct you on how to create your own full-color custom spraypaint logos/decals for use in Half-Life and mods -- Counter-Strike, Team Fortress Classic, Day of Defeat, Front Line Force, Firearms, etc. It's not too complex of a process, and if you have the right software and knowledge, you can make a beautiful logo that people will know you by for years to come! You will need a graphics editing software package such as Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, or LView Pro to properly create a spray, though any editor which allows you to edit the palette and save images as bitmaps should do!

Dimension Rules

First there are a few rules you must follow when making your image. The horizontal and vertical dimensions (in pixels) must be multiples of 16. Also, for whatever reason, servers will reject your spray if the WADfile is more than about 15kb, so this means your bmp should be no bigger than about 12kb.

Quality Considerations

When the logos are sprayed in the game, they are blown up to fill a certain space, and there is a certain amount of distortion because they are larger than the actual file size. You will find that your sprays look best if the long dimension is 256 or 128 pixels and I would not recommend making them with any other sizes because they will be ugly and blurry. For the short side, it does not matter quite as much, but you will achieve maximum quality if you use dimensions of 16, 32, or 64. Check out the pictures to see in-game examples of this ugliness. Because of the size limit of 15kb, this means that you will be limited to a max of 128x80 or 256x32. You can make them other sizes if you like but I would recommend 128x64 or 256x32. If your image is smaller than this, or you have shrunk it to be smaller, you can always just put the smaller image in with transparent space around the sides. This is a VERY important part of making your spray look nice!


Palettes Are Important!
(click screenshot to enlarge)
In Photoshop, you can access the palette for your image (if it's in Indexed Color mode) by selecting the following from the menu bar:

        >>Color Table
Make sure only the last square in the 256-color palette is colored with 100% blue! Other programs should have a similar palette view where you can verify this.

The palette for your image is important also, and is often the part of the process that people get hung up on. It must have a 256-color palette, and the last color in the palette must be 100% blue. (In RGB this is 0 0 255). When you spray your logo, anything that is colored in with this 100% blue color will be transparent (it will not appaer). I am not sure if it matters or not but don't let any of the other colors in your palette be 100% blue.

Photoshop Tip: A simple way to get this working in Photoshop is to complete your image how you want it, and instead of coloring the parts you want to be transparent in 100% blue, color them some other odd color that's not used in your picture. Now, convert the image to indexed color (Go to Image->Mode->Indexed Color) using the Selective Palette option, and choose 255 colors. This will leave one empty space in the end of your palette (go to Image.. Mode.. Color Table to view it) which you can double-click and change to 100% blue! Now color the transparent areas with this new blue color and you're finished.

Requirements Recap

Before you move on the next step, make sure your image is in the proper format! Here are all the rules which must be followed in order for your image to be processed correctly into a WAD file to be used as a spray:

  • Both dimensions must be multiples of 16
  • Must have a 256 color palette
  • Last color in palette must be 100% blue

    Saving The File

    The next step is to save your file. Make sure you double check the palette, as well as the dimensions, and if they're correct, save it as a bitmap, 8-bit if you are asked a question about the bit depth. If you're going to run the batch file from this webpage to create your WADfile, you'll want to save it as 'pldecal.bmp' so you won't have to rename it later. After you've saved the bitmap, browse with 'My Computer' or 'Windows Explorer' to look at it and make sure it's no larger than 12 kbytes.

    Compiling The WAD

    I have included a set of software utilities that will make it easier for you to process your newly created bitmap and turn it into a spray usable in the Half-Life game of your choice. If you are a snobby smart guy who already knows how to build wad files, please try doing it however you like, but I'm not going to provide any instructions. For the rest of you, here is the link:

  • Download colorlogo.zip [50kb]
    (Thanks to dsm@australiamail.com for this stuff!)

    Unzip these files into their own directory somewhere, and make sure you remember where you extracted them, as they will be used to turn your bitmap image into a nice spraypaint. When you have your image prepared, move it into the same directory as these tools and make sure it is named 'pldecal.bmp'.

    Running The Compiler
    (click screenshot to enlarge)
    Browse to the directory where the utilities are unzipped (I have mine here in D:\temp\cs) and make sure your image is in the same directory named 'pldecal.bmp'. Double click the file 'runme.bat' to compile the WAD. Make sure there is only one bitmap in the directory!

    Place it in the directory with these files, but make sure it is the ONLY bitmap in the directory. If there are others in the same directory, the compiler will group them all together and your WAD will be wrong! When you're ready to go and the pldecal.bmp is in the dir, run 'runme.bat' (double-click it). This will process your bitmap and create pldecal.WAD, which is your spray. Guard this file now with your life!

    Installing Your Spray

    Take the brand new 'pldecal.WAD' and stick it in your half-life\cstrike directory and you're good to go. Half-Life will automatically detect that file and use it as your spray, you don't have to select it anywhere. If you are using for a game other than Counter-Strike put the WAD in the corresponding directory for that mod, it should be only one level down from Half-Life. For example, to use it in TFC you would place the file in half-life\tfc and for Front Line Force, put it in half-life\frontline. For regular Half-Life deathmatch games, put the file in half-life\valve.

    Don't go into the "Customize" screen in Half-Life or it will be destroyed. If you need to change your name you'll have to do it through the console or GameSpy. Make sure you keep a backup of this WAD file so you can copy it back in if you ever do accidentally erase it.

    Using Your Spray

    Keep in mind that some servers have custom color sprays disabled and will not show your custom logo even if it does work! If the server does have color sprays enabled, you still must have your spray uploading and downloading enabled to allow yourself and others in the game to view your decal. To enable this, you must enter the following commands into your console, or place them into a config file like config.cfg or autoexec.cfg:
      cl_allowupload 1
      cl_allowdownload 1
      cl_download_ingame 1
    If you have all of this completed correctly and your spray still shows up as the 'not found' spray, which is a plain Half Life logo in a yellow-orange color, make sure you have given yourself a minute or two after joining the server or enabling your upload/downloads. It takes your computer a while to actually send the decal to the server, so it will not be active immediately the first time you install it. If you can't figure out how to spray your logo, try pressing 'T' while aiming at a wall or floor (this is the default key for spraying).

    Having Trouble?

    I get several emails a day from people asking for help with their spray, or telling me that they can't get it to work, or it comes out wrong. I am going to put up answers to the most commonly asked questions here so you guys don't have to write me so much.

    Question : I am trying to use MS Paint or a similar program that won't let me edit the palette, where can I download Photoshop on the internet?

    Answer : First of all, Photoshop is a retail product sold by Adobe and is not available for download for free over the internet. However, a shareware program that many people like to use in its place is called Paint Shop Pro, which you can download
    here from Jasc Software. [ http://www.jasc.com/ ] You can find specific instructions for Paint Shop Pro on some of the linked sites at the bottom of this page.

    Question : I finally got my spray to compile and show up in the game but then it comes out with the colors in black & white, or all one color, or similarly messed up. What am I doing wrong?

    Answer : The simple answer here is that your palette is saved improperly. You must have a palette of 256 colors, and the last entry in that palette must be 100% blue (RGB: 0 0 255, hex: #0000FF).

    If you are having trouble with saving the bitmap properly, configuring your palette, or understanding the dimensions, or whatever, here is the bitmap image of a spray I made for myself that you can use for an example. Check out the palette, dimensions, etc.

  • Download mudhippo.bmp [12kb]

    Still having problems? Check out some of the other sites I have linked at the bottom of the page. There are a few great tutorials that offer more than mine can. If you're still so stuck at this point that you think it's hopeless, try to hop on IRC and visit #counterstrike on gamesnet and ask some people to see if they can help.

    Various Links

    AtomicWARRIOR.com Logo Warehouse
    If you don't want to create your own spray, try looking here for some that are contributed by artists on the internet. Or, if you're a budding artist yourself, send in your logo here for others to use! They also have links to various spray-creating resources.

    Hardware Pub Logo Tutorial
    An excellent guide to making your own color spraypaint or logo. If my page doesn't quite give you what you need to figure it out, check here for more in-depth help.

    +BB- Counter-Strike Drama
    A collection of some screenshots from Counter-Strike that I put together for fun.

    Page by +BB- ... do you like? [Updated 07/05/01]

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