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
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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: Devblog #49

About INFRA with 4 comments by GonaUho on Apr 29th, 2015

Hey guys,

It’s strange how fast time flies when you’re working 7 days a week, a productive week for sure, but the whole team is exhausted. Working on the game in general, the new trailer and the Indiegogo campaign are really setting the tone for our efforts.

Peaceful pier

Some have been melting their faces over compiling issues, some have been constantly on the move while trying to work almost around the clock. Then there’s the one happy camper who got to try working in our office.

An alley

It’s been great seeing the team work and seeing the updates on the Steam version of the game. The detail these guys go into when working on each independent structure or puzzle is mind-boggling. Just a few days ago we had a debate over which drawbridge operation regulations or standards should our drawbridge follow. Not only is it difficult to actually find relevant information about drawbridge regulations, these guys had been at it for hours when the debate started.

The Retired Fisherman

To have that sort of commitment and passion to perfect every little intricate, and sometimes seemingly meaningless detail is admirable, borderline ridiculous, but it all adds up to the bigger picture. We should take pride in that.

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Those most overlooked are often the most important. INFRA puts you into the shoes of a simple structural analyst. Nothing more than a quiet desk jockey...

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Updated 1 day ago TBD Single Player First Person Shooter

Swarm is a first person shooter were you play as an area 51 employee killing Aliens that are attacking earth.

NAG

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Updated 3 days ago TBD Single Player First Person Shooter

Nag is an Indie FPS Adventure in a fantastic steampunk 1900' world based on the Source Engine. Actually working as a side project, so slow development...

Half Life Dead Spark

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Portal 2

Portal 2 Portal 2

Updated 1 week ago Released Apr 18, 2011 Single & Multiplayer Puzzle Compilation

It’s been a long time. How have you been? I’ve been really busy being dead. You know... after you murdered me?

Post comment Comments  (70 - 80 of 328)
EnnemyOfficer
EnnemyOfficer Apr 4 2012, 11:47am buried:

(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
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
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
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 Online
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`
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
CrazyDarkDemonMonkey
CrazyDarkDemonMonkey Mar 8 2012, 5:30pm says:

Even though it was outdated, its still get the job done for awesome mods and etc. I have outdated source engines and they work so OutStandingly (mortal combat voice and silence, dripping blood in background with the fatality music...) but hey its what you think, so okay...But outdated source engines work is a fact. Well at least it worked for me.

+1 vote     reply to comment
CrazyDarkDemonMonkey
CrazyDarkDemonMonkey Mar 8 2012, 5:22pm says:

This is the best engine for all mods...if theres any other engines that are good for some other mods that source isnt, speak up and disagree with a comment supporting your disagreement about this comment.

+4 votes     reply to comment
epicbox
epicbox Feb 14 2012, 8:05pm says:

This keeps being the best engine for mods, in my opinion. Even if the source code for the 2009 version isn't available.

+4 votes     reply to comment
matheuslike9
matheuslike9 Jan 29 2012, 12:52pm says:

How can I own a Source Engine ?

+1 vote     reply to comment
EnnemyOfficer
EnnemyOfficer Dec 30 2011, 2:32pm buried:

(buried)

This engine was one of the best for modding before it became an outdated piece of ****.

-6 votes     reply to comment
strikers_alliance
strikers_alliance Jan 1 2012, 7:35am replied:

Just think: Source engine provides acceptable graphics while it's a lot more lightweight than other mod-able game engines. That's its advantage, dude.
Also, Valve keeps polishing it. It's becoming much better, not outdated at all. Who even needs to make a new engine when the current one is so good and is still becoming better?

+9 votes     reply to comment
Gjsdeath
Gjsdeath Feb 13 2012, 3:24am replied:

Sadly they don't release these updates in code form. I would of loved to actually mod Portal 2, not just create maps and assets for it. Wouldn't it be cool to see NPCs running around, maybe guns or vehicles? More than one env_projectedtexture active? Same goes for L4D1/2 and TF2.

And don't forget those... things... they call "tools". Most tools are command line, and anything that has a GUI is the very definition of unstable. I'm trying to mod AlienSwarm(it's the best codebase we have atm), and it's version of Hammer is the worst I've seen(and when I thought it couldn't get any worse). I swear it has a memory leak(cause I don't think a few brushes need 1.4GB of RAM) and it crashes 90% of the time I touch the model selector.

Valve seems to pride it's self on the fact that so many people mod it's engine. I would imagine they would try to keep us, instead of trying to kill us off with these SDK & mod-breaking updates and by releasing tools that make you want to kill the nearest living thing out of frustration.

I'm not the only one, many Source modders are jumping ship for far more stable and powerful tools(UDK). A few really good looking mods have already converted, and I know one that might be converting soon.

I'm still modding it, I'm really trying to hold on. Not sure why, either because I like the way Source works or I'm just too lazy to learn something better. But really, it's just a matter of time before Valve breaks my SDK again and I just say **** it and walk off.

Come on Valve, where is the love?

+5 votes     reply to comment
KEVLAR60442
KEVLAR60442 Jan 10 2012, 4:12pm replied:

The biggest issue IMO is that the improvements to the Source engine are minimal compared to other engines of the same age. Even the IW engine, the engine that people bring to mind when they think of old engines overstaying their welcome, brought massive improvements in 2007, and arguably looks better than Valve's default Source engine ATM.

+1 vote     reply to comment
strikers_alliance
strikers_alliance Jan 12 2012, 8:16am replied:

Yeah, Valve keeps doing incremental updates to Source engine instead of major changes, but I have to admit that they introduced some good ones, such as better HDR system, dynamic lighting, better animations as well as less map limitations.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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Platforms
Windows, X360, XBOX, PS3
Company
Valve
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Official Page
Valvesoftware.com
Licence
Commercial
Release Date
Released Oct 31, 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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