The Source Engine is a 3D game engine developed by Valve Corporation. Its unique features include a large degree of modularity and flexibility, an artist-driven, shader-based renderer, accurate lip sync and facial expression technology, and a powerful, efficient and completely network-enabled physics system.

The Source engine was first shown to the world by being the power-horse behind the hugely anticipated Half-Life 2 which was released in late 2004. Since then the Source Engine has been upgraded with the release of such titles as Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Team Fortress 2 and the Left 4 Dead series to name a few.

Whilst it has been years since the release of the Source Engine they haven't yet unveiled a 'next-generation engine' as the Source engine is always updating and is just as relevant in the gaming world today if not more than when it debuted in 2004. It has been aided by the release of the free Source Development Kit (SDK) which include such features as HDR for developers to use in their projects. Hence the reasons stated we have yet to see 'Source Engine 2'.

On July 10th 2012, Valve released the 'Source Filmmaker' - a freeware client to allowed anyone to make movies inside the Source Engine. More information on the Source Filmmaker can be found here.

Below you can find a list of amazing features that the Source Engine boasts:


  • Version 2.0 (and below) shaders, bump mapping, LOD on models and world
  • Author shaders with HLSL
  • Cube and environment mapping
  • Dynamic lights, vertex lighting and light maps, many light types including flickering, pulsing etc.
  • High-Dynamic Range lighting
  • Water with refraction and fresnel effects
  • Advanced particle system that can emit sprites or models
  • Projected shadows allow for a large number of characters per scene
  • Occluder entities for visibility blocking
  • Indoor/Outdoor environments
  • Deformable terrain
  • 3D skyboxes extend the horizon and add parallax on distant objects
  • Dynamically rendered organics (grass, trees etc)
  • Subdivision surfaces, diffuse & specular bump maps
  • Real-time radiosity lighting
  • Effects include but are not limited to: particles, beams, volumetric smoke, sparks, blood, environmental effects like fog and rain
  • Scalability
  • Dx6-Dx9 hardware supported

Materials System

  • Instead of traditional textures, Source defines sets of materials that specify what the object is made from and the texture used for that object. A material specifies how an object will fracture when broken, what it will sound like when broken or dragged across another surface, and what that object’s mass and buoyancy are. This system is much more flexible than other texture only based systems.
  • Materials can interact with objects or NPCs such as mud or ice for vehicles to slide/lose traction on.

Multiplayer Network Code

  • Time and gamer tested by millions of gamers around the world
  • Support for both LAN based multiplayer and Internet based multiplayer games
  • Prediction analysis for interpolating collision/hit detection
  • Optimizations for high-latency, high-packet loss 56k connections

Advanced Characters

  • Detailed and believable characters
  • Realistic eyes
  • Focus on player/object, not simply parallel views
  • Proper eye “bulge” for realistic eye reflections
  • Simulated musculature provides outstanding emotions, speech and body language
  • Language independent speech, characters can naturally speak in many languages
  • Skeletal/bone system for animation
  • Layered animation system can synthesize complex animations out of several pieces
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6 comments by Harikien on Feb 26th, 2013

The premise of The Thing is that you don't know who is going to kill you next. I love that feeling, especially in gaming. But the actual game i'd like to see come to life, wouldn't be in an actual thing universe, but rather use some ideas.

The game would be a multiplayer class based mystery shooter with horror and role playing elements, and I would hope it to be first person. There would be twelve classes, including The Thing, that would have jobs aboard a spaceship. Each class would have a particular room which would enhance their own expertise, for example, an engineer would work in the work shop to fix randomly generated issues aboard the ship such as lights going out, a room being filled with toxic gas, an engine going out, or even a hole in the ship sucking everything out into space. The point of the game would be to do your role on the space ship, until the character that is secretly The Thing, would pop out and start killing people. The Things goal, is to infect/kill all remaining players. The players goal would be to totally eradicate all threats of The Thing. This would sound over powering, but The Thing would have the ability to infect another player, which would basically make it so they can turn into a thing whenever as well. To nerf that, the initial Thing is the only player that can infect. Infecting would have to be done stealthily so no one sees you do it, otherwise your dead. You would be able to hide bodies in closets, lockers, or even vacuum them out into space. You would have to clean up blood spilled onto the ground to make sure no one is aware.

So the classes would be listed as such, with such abilities:
(P.S.: Every player could wield a gun, it would just help eliminate trollers and such.)

Commander - Has overall authority over everyone else. He/She could be killed if being unfair(Mutiny) or if The Thing has broken loose, and everyone is panicking. He has the authority to wield a gun.

Engineer - Can fix any randomly generated issues upon the ship.

Officer - Would be a tattle-tale of sorts, and would watch players to see if they are misbehaving(Killing, stealing, cheating, being unresponsive, etc.) and report to the Chief of Security.

Chief of Security - Second in command to the Commander, he/she would order about the two other Security Guards. Has the ability to wield a gun. Can take arrested players, and put them in jail. Jail would be a room where players are disarmed and cannot do anything but chat. They can escape with help from other players, or if a random event unlocks them.

Security Guard X2 - Patrols about and shoots or arrests anyone misbehaving. Follows the word of the Chief of Security. Can wield a gun.

Storage Clerk - Controls all stock of guns, items, food storage, etc. Guns and certain items could only be taken out of storage with permission from the Clerk and Commander, unless the Storage Clerk dies.

Doctor - Would treat wounded and revive the dead(Depending on how dead they are*You can't heal bits of people*). If the Doctor were to die, no person could be revived or healed.

Scientist - Can do a blood test within certain time increments to see who The Thing is. The Thing can fake a blood test only once or twice, before just popping out and killing as many as he/she can before dying.

Janitor - Has the duty of cleaning up blood, dead bodies, and food messes.

Chef - Cooks food to help restore hunger bars(That's right, SURVIVAL). Other players can make and eat food without the Chef, but the Chef offers more replenishing food.

The Thing - After receiving this class, they get another class randomly chosen for them(That hasn't been chosen yet) so they have a secret identity. They can pop out and start killing people with the push of a button, or infect people by being alone with them and knocking them unconscious(Which would put a player into a state where they can watch through The Things eyes while they are unconscious). Player chat would have specifying capabilities(Whispering), but if a player has been infected by The Thing, they cannot type in any players name or the phrase The Thing, or just the word Thing. In no way would they be able to communicate who the thing is.

Other features such as lockable doors, an extra class such as a hacker or something would be added to make it so twelve players could play at the same time.

These are my ideas that have been growing for about a year or two now. I have played this in an acting sort of game, where you actually walk around and act out the game, but I've always wanted it to be a video game; to let everyone else experience it. Please, someone grab onto this. I'll respond to any messages or comments sent my way.


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Post comment Comments  (10 - 20 of 331)
TominatorGaming Jan 17 2015, 3:02am says:

Lets say I wanted to make a free game that I would put on the internet, would I be allowed to use this engine for it if I'm not making money?

+1 vote     reply to comment
AndieRTaylor Jan 22 2015, 6:53pm replied:

No money made from it, no license needed.

+2 votes     reply to comment
PortalPlayerSteam Aug 23 2014, 3:05pm says:

Can't Wait For Source 2 Engine For Left 4 Dead 3, Half Life 3, And Lots More!

+3 votes     reply to comment
Guest May 2 2014, 1:22am says:

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Crypt May 28 2014, 5:42pm replied:

If you want to make a commercial game you need to purchase a commercial license.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Guest Feb 25 2014, 2:33am says:

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Dukenukem1234 Dec 7 2013, 9:51pm says:

can some one help me make a duke nukem 3d remake on source sdk plz!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guest Aug 23 2014, 8:57pm replied:

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Wolfyboy Dec 23 2014, 3:23pm replied:

Just a fair warning to you guys: people tried making Duke Nukem Source before, and they got shut down by 3D Realms. They are really stingy when it comes to their copyright.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Bogdyalive Aug 18 2014, 12:05pm replied:

I could help you with mapping.

+1 vote     reply to comment
racerautov8 Dec 29 2013, 2:48am replied:

That's a big job to do there.

+5 votes     reply to comment
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Released Oct 2004
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Highest Rated (17 agree) 10/10

Even tho it is aging and it is beginning to show its weakness comparred to other more modern engines, it is still my most preferred engine and the only one I was able to get into succesfully. And with all of the updates Valve is giving it, I think the source engine will be with us for a long time. I wouldn't really recommend this for a commerical product, just because there are so many more modern engines out there that will be a lot easier in the long run (like UDK), but all of the commercial games…

Nov 16 2010, 3:48pm by Half_Kill

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