S&box is a platform and game development toolkit developed by Facepunch studio powered by Source 2, planned to be a spiritual successor to Garry's Mod. Initially, the development was based on Unreal Engine 4, but as soon as Half-Life: Alyx came out, Facepunch immediately requested the engine branch of the newly-published game. A few weeks later Valve gave Facepunch access to the terabyte large repository, after which, in 2020, S&box's transition to Source 2 was announced. This is the first (and currently only) time that Source 2 has been licensed to third-party developers.
Note:S&box is not just a modding game! It is a complete package including a modified and fully featured Source 2 engine toolkit with C# bindings, and a distribution platform named Asset.Party.
S&box is currently in closed developer testing,
now access was available from the addon developers page, which takes care of redirecting users to the Asset.Party home page.
An exact release date is unknown, but Facepunch plans to release S&box around 2023, according to a post on the project’s description page: “Our plan is to get to a releasable state over the next 6–12 months, then improve it over 10–20 years.”
The approximate dates for the completion of primary work were first announced by Garry Newman on February 19, 2022, on the official S&box Discord server:
S&box currently supports 5 types of projects:
- Project that run through the main menu of S&box;
Maps - Project that typically house maps to be played by a game addon;
Tools - from additions to existing editors to tools built completely from scratch, these addons are meant to help you improve, automate, or completely integrate your workflow into the engine, without having to build game-based or external toolsets.
Content - Asset storage for either individual games, Multiple Games, or just generic asset storage for asset party.
Addon - addons/extensions for games.
Note:It's important to note that Sandbox, (the official Garry's Mod style sandbox add-on for S&box) first introduced a feature called S&Works (Now it is Asset.Party), similar to Garry's Mod Toybox. Asset.Party, with its own website and support for all (currently available) types of add-ons. It allows you to download models and all their content on the fly, so you can load props from Asset.Party in real-time without restarting the game.
Hammer Dated July 26th 2022
Mappers are provided with a modified version of the Source 2 Hammer map editor, with some parts exposed for C# scripting for increased flexibility.
Project control panel
In the projects menu in the dev tools, you can restrict map selection for your game mode. You can limit it to specific curated maps or maps tagged with supporting the game mode.
Currently, maps can be included with a game mode or released as a separate project(one for each map). The map is published by clicking on a special button in the projects menu in the developer toolkit.
| Available territory
|| Unlimited for models, but 32768 units (624.23 m / 2048 ft) for meshes
|| Unlimited. The player currently sees approximately 78740 units (2 km / 6561,68 ft) in front of him by default, but values can be increased using C#
|Warning:Lighting baking beyond 32768 units is temporarily unavailable.
Warning:The nav mesh has not yet been adapted for large spaces, which will cause your OS to freeze if the size of the available territory exceeds 32768 units. In the event of a freeze, the only way out will be an emergency shutdown of the computer. Turn off the navigation mesh in the map compilation window!
Warning:There are problems with Floating point precision. Polygons start behaving incorrectly if you are too far from the zero coordinates (faint defects start after crossing 8 km, and are extremely noticeable after 20 km)
S&box user content is programmed with C#, Microsoft's managed, object-oriented programming language of .NET fame. S&box includes an API which provides bindings to the underlying Source 2 engine and to Facepunch's middleware. All code in user content is distributed in source form, which S&box later compiles on-demand with Roslyn. Language support is stated to permit C# 11, indicating that S&box requires a .NET Core 7.0 runtime in order to function. Only a specific subset of the baseline .NET Core complement is available for use.
Security is a primary concern with user content. C# and its ubiquitous pairing with .NET is a software ecosystem many magnitudes larger, more complex, and more powerful than s&box or Source 2. Awarding unchecked access to this leviathan would effectively turn user content into fully-fledged applications with potentially unlimited access to the host computer. To this end, s&box restricts the use of certain types and namespaces. For example, access to the local file system is only available through a sanctioned abstraction layer;
System.IO.File and similar types may not be used. This practice is common among applications which attempt to distill down .NET into a limited "scripting" platform for untrusted user code.
Currently, the C# API and tools are in a preview stage of development. Breaking changes happen often and the API is not yet complete.
- Confirm exact subset of available .NET Core components.
- Confirm whether S&box requires a typical .NET Core installation or if it includes a self-contained runtime.
There are many similarities between the use of C# in S&box and the use of the more primitive Lua language in Garry's Mod. Many concepts of Gmod's Lua environment have been carried over, including limited access the language's features and "hot reloading" of edited code.
S&box will also have a visual scripting solution called ActionGraph which enables a developer to script user content via nodes.
Shadergraph UV Rotation Example
You can create your own shaders either through HLSL or through the provided Shadergraph Editor and customize their interface for the material editor.
S&box supports HLSL Shader Model 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0.
Todo: Add more detailed information for the shader graph editor.