Gold Source (also known as Gold Src) is a heavily-modified version of the original Quake 1 engine, that powered some of the most critically acclaimed games of it's day:

  • Half-Life
  • Half-Life: Opposing Force
  • Half-Life: Blue Shift
  • Team Fortress Classic
  • Counter-Strike
  • Day of Defeat
  • and many more.

A powerful and versatile engine for it's time, it helped propel modding forward quite a bit with its mod development tools. And even though it's already 10+ years old, it's mod projects are still going strong.

Image RSS Feed Latest Screens
Half-Life Half-Life Half-Life
Blog RSS Feed Post news Report abuse Latest News: Clearing up confusions about Valve's engines.

19 comments by ytres on Mar 12th, 2011

I have made this news post in an effort to clear up misconceptions about GoldSource and Source.

GoldSrc is based upon the Quake 1 engine, not the Quake 2 engine.
GoldSource is a heavily modified version of the Quake 1 engine. It has a few lines of code from the Quake 2 engine, to fix bugs, but at it's core, it's the Quake 1 engine. Ken Birdwell from Valve explains it in further detail:

"It is fundamentally just a heavily modified Quake 1 engine. There are about 50 lines of code from the Quake 2 engine, mostly bugs fixes to hard problems that Carmack found and fixed before we ran into them."

At its core, it's a Quake 1 engine. You can tell this by comparing Half-life's map compiling tools with those shipped with Quake1. You'll find very minor differences -- none of them are fundamental. The core rendering is architecturally identical to Quake1, the only "significant" change is removing the fixed palette, making map lighting RGB instead of 8 bit, and converting software rendering to be 16 bit color instead of 8 bit color, which was pretty easy and only required minor code changes. Our skeletal animation system is new, though it was heavily influenced by the existing model rendering code, as were a lot of our updated particle effects, though less so with our beam system. Decals are totally new, our audio system has some major additions to what already existed, and at ship time our networking was almost totally Quake1 / QuakeWorld networking but about a year later Yahn rewrote most of all of it to be very different in design. The most highly changed sections are the game logic; ours being written in C++ and Quake's being in written interpreted "Quake C". Our AI system is very very different from anything in Quake, and there's a lot of other significant architectural changes in the whole server and client implementations, though if you look hard enough you can find a few remnants of some nearly unmodified Quake1 era entities buried in places.

Jay Stelly adds, "We also took PAS from QW and/or Q2 and a couple of other minor routines I can remember (no more than 100-200 lines of code there). There was some feature overlap (as Ken mentions) like game code DLLs and colored lighting, but we developed our own solutions to those independent of Q2."

- Ken Birdwell, Valve

Source is a heavily modified version of GoldSource, with mostly new code. Also has Havok physics (albeit heavily tweaked) incorporated.
It's not based on the "Havok Engine", it has the Havok Physics Engine incorporated in it however.

Hopefully that will help clear up some things for our users.

Add game Games


Updated 4 days ago Released Oct 1998 Single & Multiplayer First Person Shooter

Named Game of the Year by over 50 publications, Valve's d├ębut title blends action and adventure with award-winning technology to create a frighteningly...



Updated 4 days ago Released Nov 2000 Single & Multiplayer First Person Shooter

Play the world's number 1 online action game. Engage in an incredibly realistic brand of terrorist warfare in this wildly popular team-based game. Ally...

Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
Counter-Strike: Condition Zero

Counter-Strike: Condition Zero

Updated 4 days ago Released Mar 2004 Single & Multiplayer First Person Shooter

Counter-Strike: Condition Zero advances the #1 online action game series by introducing objective based single-player action, the official CS bot, and...

Cyber Arena
Cyber Arena

Cyber Arena

Updated 6 days ago TBD Multiplayer First Person Shooter

This mod is made to restore the atmosphere of classic shooters. Classic maps, favorite weapon is a guarantee of great gameplay.

Gunman Chronicles
Gunman Chronicles

Gunman Chronicles

Updated 1 week ago Released Nov 2000 Single & Multiplayer First Person Shooter

Gunman Chronicles is a futuristic first-person shooter computer game using the Half-Life game engine. It was originally planned as a total conversion...

Post comment Comments  (120 - 130 of 159)
Bioko Oct 15 2009, 11:16am buried:


Guys... You know that you are mapping for an engine who is nearly 10 years old ?

And by the way, check this :

-20 votes     reply to comment
Awesome_ninja Dec 11 2009, 5:40pm replied:

One of the best engines out there... hopefully, VALVe will create their own engine one day to become truely legendary =)

+1 vote     reply to comment
m82sniper Dec 23 2009, 11:21pm replied:

Valve created the Source engine...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nokiaman Jan 20 2010, 11:55am replied:

Which is hardcore modified GoldSource so Quake-based engine again :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Jelemonde Mar 22 2010, 2:11pm replied:

With a bit of Havok Physic Engine :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
patrickul87 Nov 22 2009, 4:26pm replied:

not very bright ,now are you?

+1 vote     reply to comment
SiPlus Nov 17 2009, 6:43am replied:

STFU, GoldSrc is good for non-graphic oriented mods (The Trap) and can be upgraded (HLFX, Paranoia).

+3 votes     reply to comment
MBang Jan 6 2010, 2:39pm replied:

Yeah, and look at Earth Special Forces

+2 votes     reply to comment
m82sniper Nov 14 2009, 2:25pm replied:

Right. **** off.

+2 votes     reply to comment
RavenITA Oct 29 2009, 7:26pm replied:

Yea, a 10 years old engine that can still kick some *** out there and its still remembered and always will. Who will ever remember CryEngine 3 in 2020? NO ONE I'm sure. They release new engines at the speed of light these days. Or better... tech demos passed off as "games"

+8 votes     reply to comment
_Erebus_ Oct 24 2009, 8:22pm replied:

It's simple, workable, and great for noobs.
Now go away. :P

+7 votes     reply to comment
PedobearNED Oct 21 2009, 8:20am replied:

shutup this engine is great and alot of awesome games are made on it and still there are mods for it and made for it so shutup with that sucky engine

+9 votes     reply to comment
Bioko Jan 29 2010, 11:13am replied:

All of you are just stupid geeks, I have nothing said bad about this engine and I got all retarded geeks attacking me. I just said that it was getting (very) old and that you should really evolve just a little (at least if want to make a carrer in the video games, who will want you if you only know how to work with 11 years old engines ?)

-3 votes     reply to comment
bassetfilms Dec 4 2010, 1:44pm replied:

you know it's not that old I mean 10 years isn't old if Goldsource was like 80 years old then maybe people would stop using it but they most likely still will in 80 years. because all the new stuff like the UDK or
Cry-engine they're not a classic, when VALVe started out they had not idea what they were doing! but they made one the greatest games ever, so of course people will use they're first engine.

+1 vote     reply to comment
KarimIO Mar 16 2010, 1:53pm replied:

Evolve to what? Show me an engine better than GoldSrc. GoldSrc has legendary games. Half-Life, Opposing Force, and Counter Strike. And those have legendary mods. Half-Life is probably the most inspiring game ever. Maybe the graphics aren't that great, but so what. GoldSrc can do wonders, when put to the test.

And besides, we're making mods for fun, and for learning. Everyone needs a base.

GoldSrc is still awesome. I'm tired of people leaving it because it's "old". So is Queen Elizabeth. Does that mean those in england should leave it? No. Technology updates every day, but that doesn't mean it's better.

Another example, Disney. Around 6 years ago they were great. But then, they got Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Phil of the Future, Kim Possible, and all kinds of other dumb stuff, that the devil wouldn't play for anyone. Newer doesn't mean better.

+4 votes     reply to comment
coldroll Oct 10 2009, 11:19pm says:

second best engine around is gold source for fps games.

+3 votes     reply to comment
LORDDEREX Nov 2 2009, 4:05am replied:

and the first is Source, But are most HL1 mods on the gold engine?

I have played many single player mods for hl1 and its few of them that have the Gold Engine: Sven Coop, Afraid Of Monster, is those I can recall is on the Gold engine. (I know SC is both single and multiplayer)

And yes its more SP mods that useing gold, but i dont remeber the name of those, sry.

Agree it's the easiest modable engine if u look at the thing u need to learn from start, then Source/unreal/etc

-2 votes     reply to comment
KarimIO Mar 16 2010, 1:55pm replied:

Goldsource is simply the best. Not second. It has the best games, the easiest to mod, and the best community. Source is absolutely GREAT, but GoldSrc is better. More people should mod for GoldSrc. None should ever leave it.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

Send Message
Official Page
Release Date
Released Nov 1998
Engine Watch
Track this engine
Community Rating



369 votes submitted.

You Say


Ratings closed.

Highest Rated (10 agree) 10/10

this engine is known all around the world... This was, is and it will still be half-life

Jan 21 2011, 2:46pm by bluluxabica

Embed Buttons

Promote GoldSource on your homepage or blog by selecting a button and using the embed code provided (more).

GoldSource GoldSource
11 of 722
Last Update
4 months ago
394 members