.VMAT_C File Extension
Valve Source 2 Compiled Material File
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What is a VMAT_C file?
A VMAT_C file is a compiled .VMAT file used by the Valve Source 2 game engine, which is used to create video games. It is a binary file that contains references to .VTEX_C files, as well as data specifying shader and material properties. VMAT_C files are most notably used by Dota 2 and Half-Life: Alyx.
Source 2 is a proprietary game engine Valve has used to create video games such as Dota 2 Reborn, Half-Life: Alyx, and Artifact. When creating in-game objects, developers use VMAT files to apply textures and shading to those objects. When a game is compiled to be run by a user, VMAT files are transformed into VMAT_C files.
While most gamers will never encounter a VMAT_C file, those who want to mod Valve Source 2 games or create their own Source 2-powered games may interact with VMAT_C files. For example, those who want to mod Half-Life: Alyx or Dota 2 using Valve's official modding toolkits may encounter or create VMAT_C files.
How to open a VMAT_C file
You can use the Valve Resource Viewer (Windows) to decompile a VMAT_C file into a VMAT file. Then, you can open your VMAT file in the Valve Source 2 Material Editor (Windows, Mac), which is included in the Dota 2 Workshop Tools and Half-Life: Alyx Workshop Tools utility packages.