Editing Tutorial - Creating Coloured Logos for Half-Life/TF1.5
Colour Logo
The easy way :
If you're not up to the rigours of image manipulation using PaintShop Pro and Wally there's now a simple tool you can use to convert an image of your choice directly into a Half-Life logo. Go and visit the home of the Half-Life Logo Creator if you want to try creating a logo the easy way.
Alternatively, you could visit one of the many sites that carry ready-made logos for you to download, such as LOGO Warehouse, l33tsite.com, BostonBrothers, or Edit-Strike.
Tools Needed :
To create a coloured logo the way I describe you'll need to download and install the free (and excellent) Wally texture editor. You will also need a good graphics editor such as PaintShopPro, although you could create your logo entirely using Wally.

Everyone who plays Half-Life DM and Team Fortress 1.5 knows that when you customize your character to choose your player model (HL DM) and name you can also select a spraypaint logo which you can use in the game. Quite a few people also know how to create a greyscale bitmap image of their own which can then be selected in this menu and used in the game.

What nobody seemed to realise until recently is that there is no reason why a player logo should be restricted to being a greyscale image and that in fact any appropriately-sized 256 colour image can be used as a logo once it is converted into the WAD format that is used by Half-Life for all in-game textures.

What I will describe now is the process by which you can create and use a coloured logo in the game using the Wally texture editing tool.

Step 1 - Creating the image
The final image that will be converted into a WAD file must be a 256 colour (8 bit) BMP file. The image must be dimensioned in multiples of 16 pixels and is limited in overall kb size ( to roughly 15.7Kb). The following table shows all possible valid logo dimensions.
Possible logo dimensions
x by y 16 32 48 64 80 96 112 128 144 160 176 192-208 224-240 256-336 352 368-512
16 10* 10* 8* 7 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 1 1
32 10* 7 5 4 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 X
48 8* 5 4 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 X X X
64 7 4 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 X X X X X
80 6 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 X X X X X X X
96 5 3 2 1 1 1 1 X X X X X X X X X
112 5 2 2 1 1 1 X X X X X X X X X X
128 4 2 1 1 1 X X X X X X X X X X X
144 4 2 1 1 1 X X X X X X X X X X X
160 3 2 1 1 X X X X X X X X X X X X
176 3 1 1 1 X X X X X X X X X X X X
192-208 3 1 1 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
224-240 2 1 1 X X X X X X X X X X X X X
256-336 2 1 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
352 1 1 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
368-512 1 X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
A number means that an image of these dimensions will be valid.
A number larger than 1 means that you can make an animated logo containing n frames of this size. (*) The available number of frames appears to be limited to 7 - the larger number of frames shown here is the theoretical limit based on file size.
The most commonly used logo dimensions are highlighted in yellow.
An 'X' means that an image of these dimensions will be invalid.

Another important feature of the final BMP file is that the palette used must contain the full-blue (0 0 255) colour within it, even if it is not used. There must be just one full blue entry in the palette and this must be in the last position of the palette.

In PaintShopPro the best way to achieve all this is to include the standard windows colours when reducing an image to 256 colours and then to edit the palette to remove multiple full-blue entries and put the remaining one into the last position.

If you need more help preparing the image you can follow my detailed example.

Once you've created an image and saved it as a 256 colour BMP you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step 2 - Importing into a WAD
NB: The process I describe here may not be the most efficient way of creating the WAD but it works, so I'll stick with it.

Start Wally and select File -> New from the top menu bar.

In the Create New Texture dialog box that appears, change the Type: to be Half-Life Package [wad3] [.wad] then click OK. A new untitled WAD package will appear.

Go back to the top menu bar and select File -> Open. Find your BMP file and Open it. Your bitmap image will appear in its own window.

Right-click on this image and select Copy then select the Untitled WAD window and go to the top menu bar.

Select Edit -> Paste -> Paste Into Package File. In the dialogue box that appears enter the name as LOGO and click OK. Your texture will now be visible in the WAD package.

With the WAD window still selected go back to the top menu bar and select File -> Save As and save the WAD somewhere as pldecal.wad.

Step 3 - Using the logo in-game
You now have a file called pldecal.wad which contains your logo. To use this in the game it must be copied over into the Half-Life/valve and/or Half-Life/tfc folders where it will replace the existing file.

NB: If you go into the Customize menu in-game your new WAD file will be overwritten with a standard grey-scale image so keep a copy of your WAD file somewhere safe. Also, if there is a problem with you WAD it will not appear in-game. Try starting a LAN game first to check whether it works and how it looks.

Note : Animated logos
It is possible to create an animated color logo but the effect in-game is very limited for a number of reasons.
  • The logo will only play through its frames once before stopping, although when you spray the logo again any existing examples of the logo will run through their animation sequence once more in synch with the new spray.
  • The animation framerate is fixed and very fast so the frames flash by very quickly.
  • The size of an animated logo is very limited and the image must be smaller the more frames you want to include. See the table above for the possible sizes. Also note that for some reason the maximum number of frames seems to be limited to 7 even if the resulting WAD file size is within the maximum size limit.

An animated logo is made in the same was as an ordinary color logo except that multiple images are inserted into the WAD file. The names of the images must start with a +n where n is the frame number from 0 or 1 upwards (e.g. +0logo, +1logo, +2logo ...). Note that the order in which the frames play doesn't seem to be completely predictable - the best way of working out how it works is to try it.

Common Problems
My logo does not appear in the game
  • Make sure that the logo is not too large (max approx. 15.7Kb)
  • Check that it has the correct color depth (8 bit / 256 colors).
  • Verify that your pldecal.wad file is in the correct directory (half-life/valve, half-life/tfc, half-life/cstrike etc.).
  • Make sure you've waited long enough for the logo to be uploaded to the game server and downloaded to the clients.
  • Check that the server has not disabled custom logos.

My logo appears as a greyscale / washed-out

  • Make sure that you haven't entered the Customize menu since you copied in the pldecal.wad file.
  • Make sure that the palette of your image contains just one full-blue entry (0 0 255) and that this is in the last position in the palette (index 255).