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
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
Post article RSS feed Related Articles

Hello, our dear friends, today we are going to show the first part of our media update dedicated to procedural sky rendering. In this part we will talk about basic things of our new techonology. The whole material is very complicated, so we decided to split it in two parts.

Introduction.

We have been dreaming for a long time about making more dynamic sky with moving clouds and replace the static one. We had three options: make a rotating model with cloud texture and place it inside 3D skybox; make clouds using particle system or write a custom sky shader. The first two options are easy to implement, but we still can't create something that we can control in real-time and something that physically simulates with them, so we have chosen to write a shader.

Despite the fact that in Lost Squad we don't have day/night cycle, we have flashbacks where player gets teleported to a completely different location with different weather and time of day, so option to write a shader seemed for us the most convenient.

Same 3D-Skybox, but acting as a sky sphere.

The first thing we have done to improve current sky was an ability to use on 3D-skybox textures designed to be used on skysphere. That allows level designer, even if he doesn't want to use procedural features, create better sky without artifacts usually seen when using skybox.

Usually, people create 3D model of a sphere, place it inside 3D-skybox and use sperical texture on it. We wanted to make our technology as simple for use as possible, so everything happening automatically inside our shader.


An example of static sky with sperical texture.

No artifacts that usually seen in skybox.


Physically-based skylight model.

After that, we impemented procedural skylight model.

Sunset with Physically-Based skylight model.

We have tried a lot of different skylight models and very early implementations looked like this:

Very early and very simple skylight model.

More advanced model but still far from ideal.


As a result, we took "An Analytic Model for Full Spectral Sky-Dome Radiance by Hosek & Wilkie" as a base. Currently, this is the most realistic skylight model used in games and realtime renderers.

Sunset with Hosek & Wilkie skylight model.

Sun near zenith with specific light setting.

Nightsky.

For nightsky we tried to generate stars procedurally, but result were far away from being good. After trying a lot of different techinques, we decided to simply use a starfield texture. We created spherical starfield texture and applied it to our "pseudo sphere".

Skylight model for night is much more simplier, but still gives good enough results.

Nightsky with static starfield texture.

Nightsky with static starfield texture.

So, we got seamless sky with realistic skylight model and day & night suppport. We are only lack of clouds here.

Procedural cloud generation.

Working prototype of our new sky was almost ready, but without clouds. Our task was to implement procedural, physically-based clouds for real-time.

One of early implementations of procedural clouds.


We quickly realised that this task is too complicated, almost impossible even on better next-gen engines.
Perfomance and quality were very poor, don't even think that something is "physically-based" here.

Another attempt to get realistic clouds.


But despite all the difficulties, we saw the potential in these clouds and tried to unlock it.

Not bad, but 26FPS.


The work was very slow, unproductive, but still there were some progress.

  1. FPS is OK and quality is good too, isn't it?

Recently, we managed to create something similar to what we wanted originally and with good perfomance.

More or less good result.


However, there was still a lot of problems, which prevented us to finish the work and forced to think about finding more simple alternative. Although the results have been impressive we still do not dare to use procedural clouds on real maps in the game.

Clouds test on one of old maps.


So, that's all for today. In the next part we explain functionality of our shader in more detail, demonstrate some dev-videos and finish with clouds.
Finally, let's look at this old sky demonstation video recorded when we have just implemented Hosek & Wilkie skylight model:


Thanks for reading,
Have a nice day!

US servers coming BACK
Tactical Intervention

US servers coming BACK

Tactical Intervention 0 comments

Hey guys, okay, so this has taken us a while - but here they are: two brand new, shiny DSs, one on the East and one on the West Coast.

Day of Infamy now compatible with live branch
Insurgency

Day of Infamy now compatible with live branch

Insurgency 7 comments

Official WWII Insurgency mod created by New World Interactive and open sourced to the community, available now on the Steam Workshop.

RTSL: 2015 Awards

RTSL: 2015 Awards

News 7 comments

Check out the winners of the Run Think Shoot Live, Awards 2015.

INFRA released!
INFRA

INFRA released!

INFRA 2 comments

Hello everybody! INFRA Part 1 has been released on Steam! Huge thanks for everyone who have followed and supported us during the development!

Add game Games
Lost Squad

Lost Squad

First Person Shooter

Lost Squad - is Source Engine based game about what happened to Barney Calhoun after Half-Life 2: Episode One events and why he was not in Half-Life 2...

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth

First Person Shooter

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth - is a sci-fi action adventure first person shooter set in the Half-Life universe, which allows you to witness the...

Garry’s Mod 10

Garry’s Mod 10

First Person Shooter

Garry’s Mod is a sandbox mod for the Source Engine. Unlike normal games there aren't any predefined aims or goals. Players are given tools and are left...

Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2

First Person Shooter

Pick up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted...

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

Adventure

First-person roleplaying game, based on White Wolf's popular Vampire: The Masquerade pen-and-paper RPG. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines combines...

Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

First Person Shooter

Team Fortress 2 is the sequel to the game that put class-based, multiplayer team warfare on the map. It delivers new gametypes, a signature art style...

Half-Life: Source

Half-Life: Source

First Person Shooter

Winner of over 50 Game of the Year awards, Half-Life set new standards for action games when it was released in 1998. Half-Life: Source is a digitally...

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

First Person Shooter

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) will expand upon the team-based action gameplay that it pioneered when it was launched 12 years ago.

Tactical Intervention

Tactical Intervention

First Person Shooter

THIS is TI. Command attack dogs, deploy breaching charges, perform drive-bys and control hostage situations that have clearly gotten out of control…...

Insurgency

Insurgency

Tactical Shooter

TAKE TO THE STREETS FOR INTENSE CLOSE QUARTERS COMBAT, where a team's survival depends upon securing crucial strongholds and destroying enemy supply...

Post comment Comments  (60 - 70 of 331)
RandomArmy
RandomArmy

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.)

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
harrison1703
harrison1703

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
:)

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
BE4STYxTROOP3R
BE4STYxTROOP3R

Yay for Valve

Reply Good karma Bad karma+6 votes
HelderMartins
HelderMartins

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

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
LittleDizzle
LittleDizzle

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

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
InsanityDeath
InsanityDeath

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

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Niki49
Niki49

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

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
tile
tile

@ennemyofficer

dude, really? sounds like you pirated the game your modding. i have a point_veiwcontroll parented to a func_tracktrain and it works FINE.

and yes, it has bugs, but that doesn't mean it's oudated.

(even the newest tech has bugs. the source engine has been updated for every new game that valve makes. your argument is invalid.)

Reply Good karma Bad karma0 votes
Draiter
Draiter

I don't know about you guys, but this here is the BEST gaming engine EVER released... Yeah, I said it and I mean it, in my opinion at least... I take it over CryENGINE 3, Unreal Engine and even ****** up, full-of-**** Frost **** Bite 3...

Reply Good karma Bad karma+5 votes
houghtob123
houghtob123

I agree with everything BUT Unreal Engine.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Post a comment

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community. Or sign in with your social account:

Platforms
Windows, VR, X360, XBOX, PS3
Company
Valve
Contact
Send Message
Licence
Commercial
Release date
Engine watch
Start tracking
Share
Community Rating

Average

9.6

1070 votes submitted.

You Say

-

Ratings closed.

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

LAMEST GAME ENGINE I'VE EVER SEEN

Jan 14 2011 by jonas6910

Embed Buttons
Link to Source by selecting a button and using the embed code provided more...
Source
Statistics
Rank
5 of 777
Last Update
Watchers
1,200 members
Games
61
Downloads
262
Articles
600
Reviews
100