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 6 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
Portal

Portal Portal

Updated 1 week ago Released Oct 8, 2007 Single Player Puzzle Compilation

Portal is a first-person puzzle game. Players must solve physical challenges by opening portals to maneuver objects, and themselves, through the enigmatic...

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth

Updated 1 week ago TBD Single Player First Person Shooter

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth - a sci-fi action adventure first-person game. The story takes place in a world that is not yet destroyed by the Seven...

Crossroads Episode I

Crossroads Episode I Crossroads Episode I

Updated 1 week ago TBD Single Player First Person Shooter

The project is created on the engine, Source, immediately tell you that it has no connection with the world of coca Half-life, but it was a project inspired...

Faceless

Faceless Faceless

Updated 1 week ago TBD Single & Multiplayer Adventure

Faceless is a Greenlit Multiplayer Horror which sees players attempting to survive alone, or with up to three other players in Wakeland City to try and...

Lost Squad

Lost Squad Lost Squad

Updated 2 weeks ago Coming Dec 11, 2014 Single Player 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...

Post comment Comments  (70 - 80 of 318)
RoboTyphoon
RoboTyphoon Dec 9 2011, 4:01pm says:

When in the **** are you going to fix the L4D SDK model viewer?!

+3 votes     reply to comment
McKane
McKane Oct 25 2011, 12:32pm says:

The Source Engine 2008 really showed itself off in Left 4 Dead, the first one. The visuals and the edge smoothing is just amazing!

+3 votes     reply to comment
ProspectGames
ProspectGames Oct 22 2011, 9:35am says:

Does anyone know how, or know of, a tutorial for exporting models from Maya to Left 4 Dead 2?

+2 votes     reply to comment
tschumann
tschumann Oct 29 2011, 3:19am replied:

Export the model and animations as .smd files I think Valve may ship an exporter in the Source SDK, but I'm not sure) and create a .qc file and compile with studiomdl. There are tutorials on writing .qc files on the Valve Developer wiki.

+2 votes     reply to comment
WS-GS8
WS-GS8 Oct 14 2011, 4:04pm says:

Why you break hammer valve? My Gmod map was almost done!

+3 votes     reply to comment
david3
david3 Oct 19 2011, 6:57am replied:

agreed. rts games will look a lot more awesome with this engine.
just look at hl2:wars modification.

+3 votes     reply to comment
shadowdude1
shadowdude1 Aug 15 2011, 5:01pm replied:

You are a typical gamer
More advanced people will never claim Source as one of most powerful engine

+10 votes     reply to comment
McKane
McKane Oct 25 2011, 12:39pm replied:

Shadowdude, don't forget this engine is 7 years old. I know it has been slightly modified over the years, and yes, the most powerful engine I have ever seen is CryEngine 3.

But the CryEngine 3 is 2 years old though. Also the size of Valve compared to EA is massive.

+2 votes     reply to comment
MartyrT
MartyrT Sep 13 2011, 12:44pm replied:

Most powerful? Oh, absolutely not! But very versatile, very modifiable, and one of the longest running engines out there! They used it for HL2 7 years ago and are still using it on the new Counter-Strike!

+5 votes     reply to comment
xxx.xxx.xxx
xxx.xxx.xxx Oct 9 2011, 3:28am replied:

and it still looks great

+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

1061 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
10 of 666
Last Update
2 weeks ago
Watchers
1,179 members
Games
59
Files
31
News
240
Features
31
Tutorials
101
Reviews
94