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.

Add game Games
Half-Life
Half-Life

Half-Life

Updated 1 day 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...

Counter-Strike
Counter-Strike

Counter-Strike

Updated 1 week 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 1 week 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 2 weeks 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 2 weeks 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  (70 - 80 of 159)
supra36
supra36 Mar 11 2011, 9:21am says:

Someone should finally explain in form of a news or something that GoldSource is based on Quake 1, not Quake 2. It has only minor parts from Quake 1.

+1 vote     reply to comment
ytres
ytres Mar 12 2011, 10:40pm replied:

Just posted.

+1 vote     reply to comment
MahtXL
MahtXL Nov 7 2010, 9:13am says:

Condition Zero, and Nightfire on the PS2 are both shining examples of what this engine can really do. Half life in my opinion is not a good example for this engine, since it was the first game built with it, it obviously is not what this engine can pull off.

+3 votes     reply to comment
TheLP
TheLP Jan 12 2011, 10:12am replied:

Nightfire!
Aahhh, the multiplayer memories :3

+1 vote     reply to comment
tschumann
tschumann Nov 7 2010, 8:39pm replied:

Was the PlayStation 2 version of Nightfire on GoldSource? I didn't think Gearbox did that version.
You're right though, Half-Life really doesn't take advantage of all the features of GoldSource.

0 votes     reply to comment
MahtXL
MahtXL Nov 12 2010, 6:48am replied:

Yeh its GoldSource, and that game looks amazing. I actually was surprised it was this engine thats how good it looks.

+1 vote     reply to comment
tschumann
tschumann Dec 13 2010, 11:00pm replied:

Do you know if the Xbox and GameCube versions are on GoldSource too?

+1 vote     reply to comment
TheDiddyHop
TheDiddyHop Oct 14 2010, 12:03pm says:

how do you make a mod for half life 1?

+1 vote     reply to comment
tschumann
tschumann Oct 25 2010, 2:53am replied:

You can get the SDK here: Filefront.com

+1 vote     reply to comment
LizardGamer
LizardGamer Oct 4 2010, 6:02pm says:

lol, they already have done that

+1 vote     reply to comment
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this engine is known all around the world... This was, is and it will still be half-life

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