Brief Overview on How to Play Garry’s Mod

Server still needs to be set up. Meanwhile…

This is not for anyone who already knows how to use Steam and has played an FPS game before. I’m sure there are better explanations on how to use Steam and play’s Garry’s mod, but whatever.

Get Garry’s Mod

You can get Steam here. Click on the Get Steam now button, download the MSI and follow the instructions. You should be able to register an account within the Steam Client.

Note the basic system requirements for Steam, some of these are common sense:

  • Windows XP, Vista or 7
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 1 Ghz or faster processor
  • 1GB HD space (recommended)
  • Internet connection (broadband recommended)

You can get Garry’s Mod here. Garry’s Mod by itself costs only $10, but it requires a Half-Life 2 or a Source Engine game in order to play. Make sure you have at least one of the following games:

  • Counter-Strike Source
  • Day of Defeat: Source
  • Portal
  • Half-Life 2
  • Half-Life 2: Deathmatch
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Team Fortress 2

If you don’t have any of the above games, I recommend getting one of the bundle packs (Team Fortress 2 or Counter-Strike: Source). Note that aside from vanilla Half-Life 2 itself, having another Source Engine game provides access to props and ragdolls from that corresponding game–which isn’t a necessity but is useful if you want to play with specific stuff.

How do you connect to a server manually?

How to Play Half-Life 2

If you’ve never played a first person shooter before, note that Garry’s Mod is based off Half-Life 2, which is an action/adventure FPS game. The most basic controls for most contemporary FPS games are typically as follows:

W, A, S, D – Move character
Space – Jump
Ctrl – Crouch
Shift – Walk
Mouse – Look
Mouse 1 (Left Button) – Primary Attack
Mouse 2 (Right Button) – Secondary Attack

There are more controls than that, but I won’t go over them. Refer to the control configuration screen in the options menu.
This is what the game looks like.


You will always have the following weapons unless you install an addon. For the most part weapons are not useful for anything other than killing NPCs or if you’re feeling violent towards other players, but they can be useful for testing some things with the physics engine.

Gravity Gun

A weapon from Half-Life 2 used for manipulating and throwing objects. Listed here because it is the predecessor of the Physgun, which uses a model based on the Supercharged Gravity Gun from the final levels of Half-Life 2. It is also one of the only weapons from the original game that is remotely useful in Garry’s Mod. Unlike the Physgun, you can’t carry objects larger or heavier than a person, though you can still knock over anything that is light enough.

Physics Gun

Based on the Supercharged Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2, except fundementally different. This is the tool you will be using most in Garry’s Mod, as it is used for moving things around and assembling things. Hold Mouse 1 on an object to drag it around, Mouse 2 while dragging to lock an object in place. Unlike the Gravity Gun, you can hold just about anything with the Physics Gun, except for the map itself.

Tool Gun

This is a weapon you will also be using quite a lot in Garry’s Mod. The function of the Tool Gun varies depending on what you are trying to do—usually, instructions are provided on the screen depending on what tool is selected. Press Q to select a tool or summon a prop, ragdoll or NPC.

The rest of the weapons aren’t as important. By default players will spawn with armaments including pistols, SMGs, grenades, a crowbar, etc., but for Garry’s Mod purposes they aren’t useful for anything other than malice, or testing things such as explosive props.

NPCs and Ragdolls

Combines are exactly as they are described in Half-Life: Hero Beggining.

Non-Player Characters are characters that the players normally interact with in a game featuring them. If you decide to spawn an NPC, make sure you know what you’re spawning. Some of them will be friendly, and others will be hostile. Armed Combine soldiers and automatic turrets will fire upon players and human NPCs and Vortigaunts, and vice versa. Xen creatures (Headcrabs, Barnacles, Zombies, Antlions, etc.) are hostile to everything, and will attack vehicles if you’re in them.

Avoid doing this.

Contraptions that rely on vehicles, explosive components, etc., can be ruined, so be careful. Note that killing human NPCs and Vortigaunts doesn’t ever make them hostile to you, they were never programmed that way. Depending on the server, NPCs can be flagged to ignore players and/or just flat out do nothing at all.

Ragdolls were created to simulate realistic death animations in games. In Garry’s Mod, non-NPC ragdolls (like ones you spawn) can be manipulated like mannequins, which can be used for machinima videos and skits. Killing NPCs will turn them into ragdolls, but they can’t be used.


Here’s an example of third party add-ons for Garry’s Mod.

If you have an add-on you want to install, it goes in the garrysmod/garrysmod/addons folder. For instance, the above addon is Lyndis from Fire Emblem. The folder it comes packaged in is lin. That means that it should be installed like this:


If you’re trying to install a mod which can’t just be installed in the addons folder, check to see if there are instructions. If there are none, it’s probably a shoddily made addon. Don’t try and install them unless you know what you’re doing.

The Tool Gun

There are a lot of tools in the tool gun. I haven’t used all of them, and they may take some time to figure out and get used to. Here are some examples of construction tools that you can expect to use often:


Connects two objects together in their assumed position. Note that this means that if you weld two objects that are far away, then yes, they will assume that exact position when you pick it up with the Physgun. An “easy” version of this exists, which automatically attaches the object such that the two objects are visually and physically connected.

Ball Socket
Attaches two objects so that they can rotate together on a ball joint. Comes in Easy and Advanced versions, which allows you to define limitations or moves the object such that the two objects are physically connected.


“Easy welds” two objects so that they rotate on a one-dimensional axis.

Connects two objects on a rope. Unless the rigid option is checked, the rope will be flimsy, like a real rope.

Connects two objects with a spring-like rope which can compress and stretch, and attempt to return to its original length.

Copies and duplicates an object or a group of objects assembled together. Unfortunately, this cannot be used to save contraptions. They can “save”, but they will only be saved to the game’s memory temporarily.

Adv. Duplicator
This is a third party tool that comes with Wiremod. Designed for copying and duplicating objects with Wiremod circuitry, this tool can save contraptions to disk.

More tools exist, such as tools that add wheels, thrusters, etc. to objects, tools for posing ragdoll faces, and so forth.

And John Freeman was happy.

For more in-depth information on how to use Garry’s Mod, refer to the Gmod Wiki.

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