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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Hello to you, dear reader, and greetings from Triple Star Studio!

In this article we would like to tell you about our game SnakEscape and it's development story: from simple cubes to flat-style minimalism.


Perhaps everyone remember the classic "snake" game, but this time you'll play as the food for the snake :)

Meet Mr. Apple - his task is simple: escape the snakes while collecting stars on the level.


starOh, and yeah, snakes like to eat them too :> snake red

Also there are other elements in the game that can save or kill you:

glider Slipper - slip away from the snakes in style.

spikes Spikes - very unpredictable way of becoming an apple pie.

breakable Unstable tile - change the world!

finish Finish tile - reach and and you're saved.

Some history for you.

It all began when our programmer has decided to try out Unity3D. At first the idea was simple as day: go through the maze levels while avoiding a snake. The style was minimalistic: the gameplay area was flat, the player and the snake were just cubes. A week later the game was ready and the team was reviewing it. We appreciated the effort, but we also did mention that the game was mostly boring after some sessions and the idea was dumped.

simple view

However, back in December 2014 we've decided to take part in GamesJamMicrosoft that took place in Moscow. Our programmer gave us the "game" source files and sent us to Moscow, while conducting a remote development back at his comfy couch :D


The game concept was redone during the Jam, as the 3-star game mechanic was added into the gameplay, music was added and the final build was complete. There were in total 200 projects in the Jam, and we took the 11-th place.

3d simple

After the Hakaton we've decided to take a break and the development has begun again just this may. We began with fixing some problematic moments to make the game as interesting as possible.

Firstly we've redone the background by making it more "alive" and adding some flying food too. The basic concept is about hungry snakes hunting an apple, so that was the source of the "flying food" idea. We've also added swipe controls for mobile devices.

back ground

Our 3D modeller suggested remodeling the visual aspects of the game more in favor of the players and his idea was approved. Mr. Apple and the snakes got new flat-style models. The models were based on the same concept, and so was the logo of the game.


We've encountered several problems during the head modeling, but we will tell you about it next time.


After adding new models the game looked empty and uninteresting. It was at that time when we've launched the open beta-test and testers had pointed out several inconsistencies in controls and the overall of the game.

Controls were really buggy - the PC version had the mobile swipe control scheme made for the keyboards. The Apple could go anywhere but the place you needed him to go.

buggy controls

At first we've decided to make mouse controls. Pinpoint the needed tile and click to move there - simple! The new control scheme was well received by the testers. As the controls were made for the PC version, we've decided to release our game at Steam as well.

mouse control

After our work in controls we began working on the general redesign to make levels more colorful and vivid. After a conference we've conducted we've decided to... make the world of floating islands. It was safe to say that now this is a completely different game from the original concept.

floating island

We thought that the game was still a little bit boring even after the redesign. Which is why we've added new features like gliders, spikes and destructible tiles.


Once everything was done, we thought: what kind of a game would be without music? That's right - a poopy one! And so, we've decided to add our fellow gamedev and a composer Kähm to write a soundtrack for the game.

And that's pretty much it, the game was done completely! We still had a month of bug fixing and polishing, but we were done by September 24, when we uploaded our game at Steam Greenlight.

If you're interested in the game, please, vote for it at the Steam Greenlight page.

green light

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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...
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Post comment Comments  (300 - 310 of 331)
Shadow85 Mar 9 2009 says:

How can I activate a mod through Steam?

+1 vote     reply to comment
emMKai Feb 26 2009 says:

loving the source engine!
i wonder - if you made a really good game with this, would Valve possibly put it on Steam as a download?

+1 vote     reply to comment
mike_app Feb 13 2009 says:

come on HL2 EP3 we cant wait any longer! Whens the black mesa TC being released too :P

+2 votes     reply to comment
NinjaDuck Dec 31 2008 says:

Well, you can get SDK by doing this: Steam>View>Tools>Source SDK

+1 vote     reply to comment
kramersize Nov 9 2008 says:

Source is the best, Lets develope some blue tooth tech or something so we can put on sensors on our bodies and be able to move in Gmod or maybe any source game, I am interested in making Gmod vids and think it would be fun to be able to pose and move the characteres with my own movement.

+2 votes     reply to comment
pfannkuchen_gesicht Dec 3 2008 replied:

have you heard something about the WiiMod?

0 votes     reply to comment
Nokiaman Jan 21 2009 replied:

Wiimote is very sucky

+2 votes     reply to comment
zuriknet Sep 15 2008 says:

I can't say enough or too much. I LOVE the video. If a doctor could classify what is happening I wounder if it would be classified as a disease of the mind or a virus. I would have to say that either way the video is true.

I love Source, and can't wait to see what is in store next.

+1 vote     reply to comment
mokies Aug 7 2008 says:

Anybody knows when will be the release of HL2:EP3?

It's kinda long I guess... it's the last of HL2. Then another story will come again...

+3 votes     reply to comment
jacko1121 Jul 17 2008 says:

Source is one of the better engines out there, to me even better then the unreal engine just because the amount of detail.

+3 votes     reply to comment
leilei Jul 25 2008 buried:


any engine can be 'detailed' too if you had a texture artist with a camera and a sharpen filter.

-8 votes     reply to comment
Soviet529 Sep 25 2008 replied:

you obviously don't know much about making games.

+3 votes     reply to comment
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Released 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 by Half_Kill

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