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.

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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.

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Post comment Comments  (10 - 20 of 159)
HipsterEli Oct 29 2013, 9:25pm says:

Sorry for being a ******* here. Just a question, Where can I get this GoldSource? Can I download this? Any links?

-3 votes     reply to comment
Paynamia Mar 11 2014, 4:54am replied:

GoldSrc is a proprietary engine by Valve. You can develop a modification using the engine by using Half-Life as a base. A more open alternative, however, is Xash3D. It's a complete rebuild of the GoldSrc engine.

+1 vote     reply to comment
gamer12071 Jan 18 2014, 9:00am replied:

This is a game engine get half-life to use it.

+1 vote     reply to comment
dizzybox Jan 3 2014, 11:50pm replied:

i have no idea maybe gooogle can help

-1 votes     reply to comment
Guest1982 Oct 20 2013, 3:38pm says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
Alberto309 Aug 26 2013, 11:00am says:

GoldSRC is the best!

+6 votes     reply to comment
SupaCubis Jun 23 2013, 4:25pm says:


+4 votes     reply to comment
parkerchace May 21 2013, 5:17pm says:

Why are people demonizing GoldSRC? It's nearly fifteen years old and is far batter than Call of Duty's 10 year repetitive IW engine, which is supposed to be updated(not really) for COD: Ghosts. GoldSRC is everlasting and should be treated as such.

+10 votes     reply to comment
TwiceGoneBAD Sep 11 2013, 9:37am replied:

GoldSrc may not the best engine out there, but it's the one I'm sticking with. Most of my modding experience only applies to this engine (and in some cases the quake engines and source). I really can't be arsed learning other engines.

+3 votes     reply to comment
cooljoshua2002 May 8 2013, 11:35pm says:

I love Gold Source.

+7 votes     reply to comment
MisterMan123456789 Apr 9 2013, 9:55pm buried:


face it guys, the goldsource engine sucks the source engine is much better

-23 votes     reply to comment
staffssuckshit Apr 22 2015, 7:44am replied:


+1 vote     reply to comment
Landman Apr 14 2013, 5:24pm replied:

Um..... duuuuuuuhhhh.... Jeesh dude. Gold Source is nearly 15 years old.

+19 votes     reply to comment
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Released Nov 1998
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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

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