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
  • View media
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The Journey Continues...

Since porting to Unreal Engine 4, quite a bit has not only improved because of the engine, but because our team has simply grown in skill since you've last seen us. While the time it has taken to port everything over has been tedious, we are overall happy with how much the game has improved as a whole. Here are some samples of our updated units, plus a beautiful shot of our environment for the planet Nekros:
(more screenshots on our Website)

rocketbelly rts game fps shooter

thrasher rts game fps shooter mu

manalock rts game fps shooter mu

abatron firstperson shooter rts


Now that we've got updated units and a sweet playable map, we can finally begin doing playtests. With up to 8 different people playing at a time, things have gotten really interesting. Especially since we have different team members with different playstyle preferences. Some like to focus solely on RTS, or vice versa FPS. Others switch between the two freely. Not knowing exactly what might be coming your way certainly helps keep you on your toes, no matter which mode you're in. Here's a few shots we've managed to grab during the recent sessions:

shooter unreal ue4 thirdperson 1

rts indie game play 20

fps hybrid online multiplayer 2

rts indie game play 2

Stay Tuned!

If you've enjoyed this update and want to know more about Abatron, or simply want a more steady stream of news, then you're in luck! We have several different ways that you can keep up to date with everything Abatron. Here are our top picks!

Website ( with weekly updated blog) :



Monthly Newsletter:

Thanks so much for reading and we will do another update soon!

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Post comment Comments  (310 - 320 of 332)
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
GisleAune Jul 4 2008 says:

Source is the best game engine EVER!!!!!

The bump mapping is GREAT, the capabilities is GREAT!!!!

keep up your good work on HL2 EP3

+5 votes     reply to comment
mr_peters Jun 13 2008 says:

just great... and they are using games in it that i have played/playing... feels like this clip is about a part of my life, or whats gonna happen to my life if i keep sitting at my comp 10 h each day xD, well, **** happens and im still 15 years old ;)

+1 vote     reply to comment
HunGub May 25 2008 says:


-1 votes     reply to comment
LORDDEREX Jun 10 2008 replied:

u cant download Source Engine u need to buy games like Half-Life 2 and u get Source SDK with it

0 votes     reply to comment
jazminas May 11 2008 says:

there i can get this engine?

-1 votes     reply to comment
viper276 May 6 2008 says:

this is one of the best engines ever used for games

+5 votes     reply to comment
LORDDEREX May 18 2008 replied:

Source is the best for realism-made games!

+5 votes     reply to comment
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1069 votes submitted.

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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

Lowest Rated (2 agree) 1/10


Jan 14 2011 by jonas6910

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