On Building in Garry’s Mod

Garry’s Mod has always been like ten games in one. On top of the ol’ posing and stuff like that using the default Half-Life 2 items, there’s a ton of multiplayer stuff as well, and that often gets the most attention. While it requires Counter-Strike: Source for most of its mods, there are so many mini-games to play. There’s everything from Trouble in Terrorist Town to the Hidden to Prop Hunt to weirder things like Half-Life Roleplay servers and weird custom zombie survival maps. But sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and build.

Building is actually quite complicated. There are many, many ways you can stick things together, and none of them use the right-click freeze feature on the advanced gravity gun. Your basic way to stick things together is the Weld Tool, which literally just glues two things together. You can also use the Easy Weld Tool with right click, which will teleport one object to the side of the other. Easy Weld is very useful if you have a lot of space and is a little more precise than Weld, which will stick things together regardless of where they are.

The other tools are pretty varied when it comes to how much they let you move. The Rope tool will literally just link two things together with rope, but the Winch tool will allow you to link two things together with a rope and allow you to lengthen and shorten said rope. A Ball Socket tool lets things connect and move around in any direction while the Muscle tool lets things move in one axis.

Movement and other activities though generally come in the form of wheels, thrusters and hoverballs. A lot of these allow you to bind their activation to a key. For example, you could bind the 5 key on your number pad to activate the thrusters on a vehicle to make it go forward, or set it so the + and – keys extend a winch or something like that.

There are downsides to all of these tools though. Sure, you get a ton of tools to build things with, but they’re kinda not really enough on their own. By default, you kinda lack the accuracy to be able to precisely build things. This can cause issues down the line if you need delicate work done. Oh, and be careful not to accidentally weld your stuff to the map. Because that’s a pretty easy mistake to make, and a pain in the ass to fix. The Undo tool will help a little, but you might have to undo most of your work if you’re not careful.

Your biggest enemy though is the physics engine. When things collide in Garry’s Mod, they freak out. They freak out even more when things get stuck inside each other. This is fine if you’re doing something fun, but it can completely destroy what you’re building. Maybe you’ll get lucky and undoing will save the day. Maybe you won’t and your work will turn into a twisted mess of metal. You never know. And it’s hard to avoid as well! Not unless you remove collision on literally everything!

Building in Garry's Mod...
Physics killed my helicopter.

Another downside used to be the ability to save things. Until the Duplicator tool got an overhaul. These days, you can just right click on whatever you’ve built, go to the Dupes tab in the Q menu and simply hit Save Dupe. You’ll then be able to save your contraption and spawn it in any map. Even in multiplayer if the server allows it. And fortunately, if you’re not much of a builder, you can always just mess around with Dupes that other people have made.

Assuming they actually work.

Actually, I say that, they probably worked fine in the original creator’s game, but it’s often the case that you’re simply missing mods. Things like Advanced Duplicator and Wiremod are required for many dupes you see in-game. You also need any models or ragdolls used in the dupe, they’re not automatically downloaded to you the same way mods and maps are when you enter the server. There’s still a ton of dupes that don’t work anyway though. Few of them have instructions as well, so if you’re browsing by Latest, you might have no idea what you’re spawning.

Just whatever you do, don’t build in multiplayer unless people are actively helping you. It is so easy for another player to fuck up your work. And I don’t even mean sabotage, like another player welding your constructions to the floor, or filling your building with dynamite or anything. Even if you don’t have people messing around, it’s so easy to ruin anything just by them playing around with Dupes and spawning things that cause everyone to lag out and die.

Really, whether you want to build things or just want to play around with dupes, stick to single player. Because people in multiplayer are dicks.


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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