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  (60 - 70 of 331)
BE4STYxTROOP3R Jul 19 2012, 9:20pm says:

Yay for Valve

+6 votes     reply to comment
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 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 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 Jun 9 2012, 5:58am says:

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

+3 votes     reply to comment
tile Apr 29 2012, 8:54am says:


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.)

0 votes     reply to comment
Draiter Apr 27 2012, 11:35am says:

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...

+5 votes     reply to comment
houghtob123 May 24 2012, 9:01pm replied:

I agree with everything BUT Unreal Engine.

+2 votes     reply to comment
EnnemyOfficer Apr 4 2012, 11:47am buried:


The Source Engine is an outdated piece of **** that makes you spend 60% of your time trying to find alternative ways to make something because of the amazing number of bugs the SDK contains.

I want to make a laser that dissolves any NPCs ; I can't because the beam doesn't do any damages even if I set the properties/flags rightly. So I try to parent a trigger_hurt to the beam but even if I set "Damage Type" to "Beam", it is only turning a NPC to a ragdoll and doesn't dissolve it as I wanted. Great, now I have laser that just turn without blood a combine into a ragdoll, very realistic !

I want to make an introduction sequence with a point_viewcontrol that will fly over a path_corner/path_track, I can't because the viewcontrol doesn't stop and still continue to fly in a direction even when it's out of the map. Great, I have to use it in a static way.

There are so many stupid bugs that force you to change things you wanted in your mod.

And please don't tell me "wfgo I make css map and soucre 4 ever !!1!1 never had problems", since the Source Engine may seems nice only when you make what Valve is making now.

-10 votes     reply to comment
SmashBalls Jan 7 2014, 6:36pm replied:

It seems you haven't studied it enough to find work-a-rounds on things like you were describing, or you just don't have a lot of patients, I have spent up to 4 hours trying to find a solutions to things sometimes but they always worked even if they had to be strange. I agree with you that Hammer is stuffed with more bugs then every game combined on the face of this planet, sometimes it makes me fear, anger, or puke, but after over 2 years of putting up with it you learn to not get so sick and to avoid these strange problems. Yes its got alot of issues but its an extremely easy program once you get a hang of it and learn from your mistakes (which only happens if you atleast try everything in your power to fix problems your map has such as deleting and redoing somethings).

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dearnike Oct 19 2012, 11:16am replied:

Oh My God i think we got a kid and a bad mapper here.
You cant do cutscenes because Half Life 2 didnt yet,YOU NEED TO MAKE A ******* MOD.
Well if you hate Source SDK then just walk off from your stupid CSS mapping then,your maps sucks.

+2 votes     reply to comment
alexch Oct 17 2012, 1:52am replied:

What games did you do on the engine? You can download?

+2 votes     reply to comment
Gunship_Mark_II Apr 15 2012, 6:33am replied:

Bugged, yes, i agree. But any engine have bugs. I tried many of them. Indie engines, commecraial, some very old ones. All of them have bad sides.

If you can't make something on it then it don't mean it "outdated piece of ****", get some skills.

+8 votes     reply to comment
Theuaredead` Apr 27 2012, 8:05pm replied:

Source and GoldSource are very modifiable and more easier to use, compared to other engines.

+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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