NOTE: Depending on how you setup your editor the above screenshot and directions below may be somewhat different for you but still useful.
The ÜberRadiant interface may look very complex but thankfully you do not need to know very much before you can successfully build your levels. Noticing the orange text, you will see that I have labeled four different view ports and one bar of text field boxes with clickable arrows and buttons.
Starting at the top, the Top View is the main view port window you are likely to be working from. It is also the default view the editor starts up with. You can see which view port you are currently using by looking in the exact same spot the drop down menu is covering in this screen shot, the upper left corner. In addition to the Top View window, you can press CTRL-TAB to switch between Front View, Side View and Top View.
To the left of the main view port window is a slim view port that is the Height View. This view is helpful if you want to raise the side of a brush vertically or move any object in a vertical only direction.
To move within all 2D Views (Top, Front, Side or Height): Right click and drag will move in all directions. In the Height View if you right-click and drag you will only move up or down.
To zoom within all 2D Views: You can use the mouse wheel or INSERT to zoom in and DELETE to zoom out. The Height View does not have any zooming capability.
On the right side of the editor you will find the 3D View port. This view represents a camera that you can use to fly through your level. You control the camera with your mouse or arrow keys.
Move forward or backward: Right click anywhere in the view and drag your mouse forward or backward. Alternatively you can use your forward and back arrow keys.
Turn (pan) view left or right: Right click anywhere in the view and move your mouse left or right. Alternatively you can use your left and right arrow keys.
To move vertically: Hold CTRL-Right click and drag UP to move upward and drag DOWN to move downward. Alternatively you can press 'd' to move up and 'c' to move down.
To look up or down: Hold SHIFT-Right click and drag UP to look upward and drag DOWN to look downward. Alternatively you can press 'a' to look up and 'z' to look down.
The Texture view is where you can view all the textures being used for your level or all the textures that are available to you. To view only the textures currently being used press 'u'. To turn that of press 'u' again. When you are browsing through the Texture View window you can use the mouse wheel to scroll up or down as well as right-click dragging to scroll up or down. Holding down SHIFT will speed up the scroll.
Finally, down at the bottom of UberRadiant you will find a bar of text fields and buttons that are used to manipulate the textures you have applied to a brush. Once you have a brush selected or faces of a brush selected you can change the textures position and size.
To alter the textures position: The Shift H: and V: boxes that have arrows poining up/down can only be used when the text box to the right has a number entered. This number relates to how many units the texture should move when you press the arrow buttons. 8 units is usually a good number to enter and then when you use the box to the left of it by pushing the arrow buttons you will see the numbers increment by 8 each time (0...8...16, etc). Alternatively, within the 3D view you can hold ALT right-click and drag to move the texture.
To alter the textures size: This works exactly as it does for altering a textures position. A number of units must be entered into the blank text box before the box with the arrow buttons can be used.
To alter the textures rotation: This works exactly as it does for altering a textures position and scale. A number of units must be entered into the blank text box before the box with the arrow buttons can be used. Alternatively, within the 3D view you can hold CTRL+ALT right-click and drag up/down to rotate the texture.
Fit, X Flip and Y Flip: These buttons allow you to fit a texture to a face or flip the texture on the X or Y axis. Alternatively, you can fit a texture to a brush or face by pressing CTRL+f.
The rest of the buttons relate to patches which are entirely different beasts from brushes and are not covered in this tutorial. They are typically used for more advanced geometry.
To begin making your first room, you will need to choose a texture set to work with. For the purpose of this tutorial any one will do, select one by navigating to the Textures menu at the top menu bar.
After choosing your texture set you may have to wait upwards to 15 seconds for all the textures to load. Regardless of how long it takes you should see that it's working by looking at the console msgs or the text in the 3d view window.
Now that you have your texture set loaded you can begin building your level. First, press the number '4'. This will set your editor to use a grid size of 8 units. In the 2D Top View left click and drag from anywhere to anywhere. Your brush should be at least 256x256 units. You should see a box outlined in RED. This box is known as a brush and can be manipulated in many ways. To resize the brush left click outside of any side you want to change and drag in the desired direction. To move the brush left click anywhere inside of it and drag to your desired location.
Once you have your first brush drawn out you can deselect it by hitting the escape (Esc) key. To toggle selection of a single brush you can SHIFT+Left-click on it in any of the views (2D or 3D).
With the brush selected, left-click on any texture you find in the texture window that looks suitable for a floor texture.
Next we are going to copy this floor brush and make it into the ceiling for our room. With the floor brush selected, tap quickly the space bar. If you hold down on the space bar you will end up with MANY copies of your floor brush. After the copy, you should see another brush selected in red above your old brush (which is now deselected). Move the new brush exactly on top of the old one and then in the Height View, left click inside of it to move it UP at least 128 units from the original brush.
Feel free to find another texture to apply to the ceiling so it looks different from the floor. Then, deselect the brush.
Next, switch to the Front View by pressing CTRL-TAB once. Now drag out a new brush as you did for the floor. This time it will be used for one of the four walls. Make sure the brush touches the floor and ceiling in the Front View.
Feel free to choose a new wall texture for it. Then, press spacebar to copy it and move it to the other side of the room in the Front View.
Before we forget, lets save this room. Choose File > Save As... and give it a name, I chose room01. Hopefully, you set up your editor correctly and the default directory is 'maps' under the 'base' directory. You could create a sub-directory under maps if you choose to keep your maps seperate from other user made levels.
Continuing with the task at hand, deselect the last brush you made for the wall and CTRL-TAB twice to the Top View. Now, drag out a brush for the north wall, shown below.
To complete the room, press space bar to copy the north wall and move to into position for the south wall as shown below.
Again, now would be a good idea to save your level.
Now we should add a light to the room to make it interesting for the player (they can see what you built!). Lights have many different properties to play with to get the desired effect, however I will only discuss how to add a basic light to your level.
Deselect all brushes and while in the Top View, right click in the center of your room to bring up the Entity list. Choose 'light' from the list. Next, CTRL-TAB to another view and click inside the light entity to move it up towards the ceiling.
The last thing we need for our level to work correctly is the player start location. Deselect the light entity. CTRL-TAB to the Top View and right-click anywhere inside the room. With your entity menu open, select Info > Player > Start. Using the 2D views (Top, Side, Front) position the player start where you want it. Make sure the player start entity or ANY entity at all is completely inside your level and not stuck inside a wall. Doing so may cause errors. The finished room should look similar to the one below, except for the textures which were totally up to you.
Finally, save your map again.
At the top menu bar, locate the Build Map menu and choose, 'Full Compile'. You will see new dos prompt window appear with the status of your level compiling. Soon it should finish and you will now have a levelname.bsp file in the directory where you saved your levelname.map file. The .map file is what the editor builds and the compiler creates the .bsp file so that the game can display your level.
Run your game as you normally would. At the main menu screen, press the tilda key '~' to bring down the console. Within the console, type 'devmap mapname'. Using 'devmap' allows you to enable cheats such as 'noclip' or 'god' mode. Noclip allows you to fly through walls and god makes you unable to die.
This wraps up the tutorial on building your first room.