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.
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 that I have seen on the source engine are fantastic (like Bloody Good Time ect.)
The Source engine is a must for just about any mod, it is very easy to change and manipulate the engine, there are a **** ton of tutorials floating around the internet, and also because if its good enough, steamworks!
Long Live the Source Engine.
The Orange Box (TF2) engine is getting very bogged down with the continuous updates to TF2. With the amount of stuff they add with each update, I will not be surprised if they move on this year or the next, because 2.8 GHz dual core users like myself can no longer run the game with efficient and decent performance.
The engine is starting to show it's age if it hasn't been doing so already, mods like Portal Prelude pushed the engine to it's limits and the author had to compromise on the last level of the mod, because of the limit. Many users crash on that final level, myself included, and cannot complete the mod.
However, even with all of it's drawbacks, I still see it as a decent, if not great engine to have. At the same time, I know that Valve can do better and improve things with a completely new engine, even for the rather small amount for resources that it has (compared to other game developers); nothing is perfect, but there is always room for improvement.
It's my favourite engine, so why do I give it only 8 points? Not because it does not have the best graphics or something like that. Content-quality is something that you should find in game-reviews, not the ones for the engine.
I give it only 8 points because it is a pain in the a** to use. Why do I have to sit through a long (map)compile before I can see if I changed the brightness-value of one single lighting-enity correctly? Why can't I add materials via drag and drop and edit its properties in realtime? Besides that it's really getting old. I don't need graphics and such big maps like Dunia has, but with Source I have to cut big maps into small ones or I run into its limits if I make it detailled. Look at Cinematic Mod. It pushes Source beyond its limits and still looks crappy against Crysis, while having much higher system-requirements. That's one of the cases where you see how old Source is and that it wasn't made for the quality-standards of 2011. The standards raise faster than Source. Back then, when Source got relased, it was unbelivable that it has Radiosity, now games do that in realtime. Just as lighting. "But Portal 2...", you might say. Portal 2 still has not "real" realtime lighting, because props still arent lit properly and you still have to compile.
This review is not to bash VALVe or Source, I am trying to be objective here, because I hate people that defend Source in points where it is just stupid to do so. It's time to stop being a fanboy, stop being biased and just go on.