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:

Renderer

  • 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
Image RSS Feed Latest Screens
Hammer Editor Source Model Viewer Faceposer
Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: The Bush Update

About INFRA with 5 comments by assassini on Oct 24th, 2014

Hey guys! The game has come a long way since we first started working on it. We put together some comparisons to see just how much everything has changed over the years.

In case you were wondering about the post title, we also spent some time improving the foliage in INFRA. We turned on "alpha to coverage" for all foliage. This basically allows the leaves of trees and bushes to be anti-aliased. It's not really visible in the thumbnail, but be sure to click the image and marvel at its full glory.

We also made some changes so that the foliage sways in the wind now. It looks super amazing and really makes the levels come to life.

The flashlight also has volumetrics now. It basically looks like that it illuminates dust floating in the air. Adds a ton of atmosphere to dark levels.

It's really expensive to render at the moment, but we are hoping to optimize it so that it runs a bit better. If that doesn't work, we'll just leave it as an option for the "ultra" graphics level or something.

It has been a fruitful couple of weeks. Oh, and we're hoping to get a new gameplay video out in the near future, so stay tuned for that!

Media RSS Feed Latest Video
Games
Abatron

Abatron Abatron Indie

Updated 4 weeks ago TBD Single, Multiplayer & Co-Op First Person Shooter

Abatron is space warfare on steroids. Blurring the lines between Real-Time-Strategy and First-Person-Shooter, Abatron is the next evolution of hybrid...

Access To Reality

Access To Reality Access To Reality Indie

Updated 4 months ago TBD Single Player First Person Shooter

Summary: The story, which is complicated, as our world. And character will see it whole, in different times. THREE TIMES: -The Future, Past and Present...

AI: The Awakening

AI: The Awakening AI: The Awakening Indie

Updated 1 year ago TBD Single & Co-op First Person Shooter

Technology keeps mankind evolving ... But what if innovation keeps us running into our own doom? In AI: The Awakening you're slipping into the role of...

Alien Swarm

Alien Swarm Alien Swarm

Updated 7 months ago Released Jul 18, 2010 Single & Multiplayer Arcade

An epic bug hunt featuring a unique blend of co-op play and squad-level tactics. With your friends, form a squad of four distinct IAF Marine classes...

Black Mesa

Black Mesa Black Mesa Indie

Updated 2 months ago TBD Single & Multiplayer First Person Shooter

Black Mesa is a re-envisioning of Valve Software's classic science fiction first person shooter, Half-Life. Powered by Source Engine, You will re-visit...

Post comment Comments  (40 - 50 of 316)
Dearnike
Dearnike Oct 19 2012, 11:10am says:

Is this engine's even outdated? Cmon tell me.
Because it ISNT.
This engine is faar better than FreakBait3,Cryengine.
Just because it was created at 2004 it wasnt outdated yet.
No Im not a fanboy,so **** you who think i am.
See Ya.

0 votes     reply to comment
jawnkwan
jawnkwan Oct 13 2012, 4:59pm says:

Hello out there, I am in the beginnings of creating a Terminator game, using the Source Engine. It takes place in the Future War shown in the 1984 film. Currently, I have only a friend and myself working on this project. We need help.
Anyone with experience and interest in contributing contact me for further details.
Thank you for your time.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dearnike
Dearnike Oct 12 2012, 8:17pm says:

Some people says that this engine was outdated....
Yeah,dipsh**s these days.

-1 votes     reply to comment
RandomArmy
RandomArmy Sep 23 2012, 1:55am says:

Anybody want to help with a game in Source SDK? (Need help with models, weapons, and textures. I'm all set with ,enus, GUI's, HUD and level design.)

0 votes     reply to comment
harrison1703
harrison1703 Sep 25 2012, 6:54pm replied:

ask me im makin a mod called operation kill gordon for half life 2 a recreation of all the half life games i started just a few weeks after the release of half life 2 im about 90% finished. i can help
:)

0 votes     reply to comment
BE4STYxTROOP3R
BE4STYxTROOP3R Jul 19 2012, 9:20pm says:

Yay for Valve

+6 votes     reply to comment
HelderMartins
HelderMartins Jun 9 2012, 12:11pm says:

Hi, there! I am new arround here, so can you tel me how to download source engine? thank you.

+1 vote     reply to comment
LittleDizzle
LittleDizzle Jun 11 2012, 3:18am replied:

the sdk that you actually use to make maps/mods/games is free to anyone who owns half life 2 or many other source powered games on steam where it can be found under the tools tab

+2 votes     reply to comment
InsanityDeath
InsanityDeath Dec 14 2013, 7:49pm replied:

Wait how do you make a full fledged game? I only see the "Create a Mod" choice.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Niki49
Niki49 Jun 9 2012, 5:58am says:

This engine is just freaking awesome, its extremely realistic and looks really good.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

Platforms
Windows, PS3, X360, XBOX
Company
Valve
Contact
Send Message
Official Page
Valvesoftware.com
Licence
Commercial
Release Date
Released Oct 31, 2004
Engine Watch
Track this engine
Share
Community Rating

Average

9.6

1059 votes submitted.

You Say

-

Ratings closed.

Highest Rated (16 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

Embed Buttons

Promote Source on your homepage or blog by selecting a button and using the HTML code provided (more).

Source Source
Source
Statistics
Rank
3 of 659
Last Update
6 days ago
Watchers
1,176 members
Games
59
Files
30
News
240
Features
31
Tutorials
101
Reviews
94