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The Builder is a system tray application that automatically detects changes to source files and loads them into the NS2 engine on the fly.

  • Converts .DAE (COLLODA) model files to the .model format for the Spark engine.
  • Converts Photoshop .PSD files to the DX5 : ARGB : 8bit : Interpolated Alpha .DDS file format.
  • Handles Sounds, Cinematics, Maps and SWF Files. These will be documented at a later date.

Getting Started - Setting up the Spark Builder


  • Double-click Natural Selection 2 in your Steam games list
  • Select Run Launch Pad...

Configure for Natural Selection 2

This stage tells the Builder where to copy your compiled materials/models/etc to.

  • Click the Create Game button.
  • Name: Natural Selection 2 or Your Mods name.
  • Output Directory: Select the ns2 folder where Natural Selection 2 is installed (Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2)
    • (If you are creating a mod, replace any instance of "ns2" in this document with your own mod folder name.)
  • Press OK and the game will appear in the Drop List.

Launchpad.jpgLaunchpad game-properties.jpg

Source Files Directory

This will contain all your Textures, Models, Sounds, Ui's, Cinematics, Levels and LUA source files. These files will have the same directory structure as the NS2 directory. The Builder will maintain the folder structure when it copies/converts contents to ns2 or your mod.


You can put it anywhere you want on your hard drive. Example: D:\Developer\NS2\Builder

Directory Structure

The Builder requires the following folders inside the directory to compile and copy game resources to the NS2 folder:

  • materialsrc - Converts .PSD
  • modelsrc - Converts .DAE, .PSD only
  • mapsrc - Copies .level files. (TIP: Save your levels Spark Editor to this folder)
  • cinematics - Copies .level and .cinematic
  • soundsrc - Converts/Packs .fdp to FMOD format/library
  • ui - Copies SWF, converts PSD
  • lua - Copies LUA files
  • shaders - Copies/Compiles Shaders

  • D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\materialsrc - represents Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\materials
  • D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\modelsrc - represents Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\models
  • D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\mapsrc - represents Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\maps
  • D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\cinematics - represents Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\cinematics
  • D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\soundsrc - represents Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\sound
  • D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\ui - represents Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\ui
  • D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\lua - represents Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\lua
  • D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\shaders - represents Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\shaders

The Builder also supports subfolders:

D:\Developer\NS2\Builder\modelsrc\custom\my_folder\mytexture.psd will be converted and placed in: Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2\ns2\models\custom\my_folder\

Configure the Builder

Now we have our working directory sorted out and we understand how it is going to work we will now launch the builder and configure it.

Spark builder.jpg

The following step only has to be done once when you first launch the builder.

  • File > Load Setup...
  • Open builder_setup.xml (Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\natural selection 2)
  • File > Settings...
  • Set "Source Directory:" to the source files directory you created before (D:\Developer\NS2\Builder)
  • Set "Utils Directory:" to (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\natural selection 2\utils)
  • Set "Output Directory:" to (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\natural selection 2\ns2)

Spark builder-settings.jpg


If you have managed to follow this setup guide correctly then you are ready to produce ns2 content and mods.

Building Textures

See Importing Custom Textures

Building Models

See Importing Custom Models