Source

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id Tech 2 Quake engineGoldSrc GoldSrcSource SourceSource 2 Source 2

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Screenshot in-game of Counter-Strike: Source Counter-Strike: Source, using the Source Engine.
Screenshot in-game of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, using Valve's latest branch of the Source Engine.
Promotional screenshot of Apex Legends Apex Legends, which runs on a heavily modified version of the Source Engine, featuring DirectX (Direct3D) 11 and better graphics, plus increased the engine limit, allowing maps to be larger.

Source Source is a 3D game engine created by Valve Valve in 2004, and is the successor to GoldSrc GoldSrc. The Source engine is well-known for its advancements in physics, AI, and graphics which made the game realistic for it's time, while being scalable on older, less powerful hardware. One game, Half-Life 2 Half-Life 2, earned several awards for it's graphics, which were made possible with Source. Source has been used by Valve, third-party companies, and (much like GoldSrc) countless community mods by people around the globe, with at least 100 games developed on Source. Today, it has largely been replaced by the Source 2 Source 2 engine for first-party usage since 2015, but it's still being commonly used today by modders and some third-party companies, and it's still regularly being maintained with engine and security updates.

Clarify: not all Source Source games have VAC Valve Anti-Cheat. See Apex Legends Apex Legends.
Clarify: The features list below may not apply to third-party or newer Source engine branches. For a list of branches, see this category page.

Renderer

Note.pngNote:Some third-party games can also support Shader Model 5.0 and later by using Direct3D 11 and later, like Titanfall engine branch and Strata Source.
  • Anti-aliasing support
    • Source is the first Valve engine to support anti-aliasing, prior to MSAA (4X) being added to GoldSrc in 2013.
    • MSAA is the traditional anti-aliasing method, works by samples (renders) each pixel multiple times at different locations within the frame and averages the samples to produce the final pixel value. It is commonly used in most older video games, including almost all Source engine games (except Black Mesa Black Mesa (since the Xen update), Apex Legends Apex Legends, etc...). Up to 8x MSAA (or 6x MSAA in Source 2004) is supported. Older GPUs (such as pre-Maxwell Nvidia cards) also support CSAA.
    • FXAA is also supported in CS:GO engine branch. Unlike MSAA, FXAA has less performance hit than most other AA methods due to it being a post-processing effect, which meant that it can be unofficially added to older Source engine games (or even other video games, other engines and other applications in general), using software such as ReShade, or even built-in via the graphics driver settings, and unlike MSAA, FXAA and other post-processing method will affect transparent textures, however, due to it's nature, this makes FXAA looks worse than many other AA methods as it's appear to blur the image, plus it does not reconstruct the pixel which was missing due to lack of an traditional anti-aliasing.
    • TAA is a modern AA method commonly used in most modern games, superseded the MSAA method for anti-aliasing, it works by combining information from past frames and the current frame to remove jaggies in the current frame. However, as mentioned, TAA combines information from past and current frames can cause blurring and ghosting effect while in motion, more noticeable with low FPS. In Source engine case, it is only available in few games such as Apex Legends Apex Legends.
      Tip.pngTip:If the game is running in 4K resolution or above, or by downscaling 4K to 1080p or lower, the need for anti-aliasing is greatly reduced.
  • Bump mapping and Normal mapping on models and the world
  • Author shaders with HLSL
  • Cube and environment mapping
    • Cubemapping also supports Anisotropy (in all games since Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)
  • Phong shading for models
    • Phong is also supported on world brushes (in all games since Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)(also in Mapbase)
  • Dynamic lights, vertex lighting and lightmaps, many light types including flickering, pulsing etc.
  • HDR (in all games since Source 2006) and SDR/LDR (not in Left 4 Dead 2and later) lighting
  • Water with refraction, real-time world reflections and fresnel effects
  • Advanced particle systems that can emit sprites or models
  • Render-to-texture shadows allow for a large number of characters per scene (in all games since Left 4 Dead) (also in MapbaseXengine)
  • 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
  • Real-time Cascaded Shadow Mapping that comes from the skybox (in all games since Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) (also in Alien Swarm DeferredXengine)
  • Effects include but are not limited to: particles, beams, volumetric smoke, sparks, blood, & environmental effects like fog and rain
  • Scalability
  • Physically Based Rendering (only in Strata SourceTf-16px.pngRTX RemixHunt Down the FreemanPortal 2: Desolation)
  • Parallax Occlusion Mapping(only in XengineStrata Source)
  • DirectX Levels
    • DX6(only in Source 2004)(not in Source 2006and later)
    • DX7(only in Source 2004Source 2006Portal with RTX)(not in Source 2007and later)
    • DX8 (only in Source 2004Source 2006Source 2007Source 2009Source 2013)(not in Left 4 Deadand later)
    • DX9(in all games since Source 2004)
    • DX9c(in all games since Source 2006)
    • DX10(only in Source Filmmaker SFM)
    • DX11(only in Tf-16px.pngStrata SourceVindictus)
    • DX12(only in Apex Legends)
Note.pngNote:Apex Legends is DirectX 12 is enable by the launch option -eac_launcher_settings SettingsDX12.json
  • OpenGL(in all games since Source 2009) which is a graphics API that replaces DirectX for macOS and Linux.
    • Dxlevel 92 is the OpenGL to equivalent DirectX 9 (Dx9)
    • Dxlevel 97 is the OpenGL to equivalent DirectX 9 Shader Model 3 (Dx9.0c)
  • Vulkan which is a graphics API that replaces DirectX or OpenGL (only in Half-Life 2PortalPortal with RTXLeft 4 Dead 2Portal 2Counter-Strike: Global Offensive)
Note.pngNote:Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has Vulkan support only on Linux
Note.pngNote:Source allows up to 8 LOD Models, although it does not have automatic level of detail out of box. Manual LoD is supported, however.
Warning.pngWarning:Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive currently does not support level of detail. $lod will be ignored, but the model will still work. Try to avoid using this command in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

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 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 speak naturally in many languages
  • Skeletal/bone system for animation
  • Layered animation system can synthesize complex animations out of several pieces

Physics

  • Uses Havok physics engine, licensed from Havok Group (now acquired by Microsoft)
  • More responsive world with realistic interactions
  • Sounds & graphics follow from physics
  • AI characters can interact with physically simulated objects
  • Ropes/cables, machines, constraint systems, ragdoll physics
  • Can be controlled by level design
  • Kinematic animated bone followers
  • Custom procedural physics controllers
  • Vehicles
    • Wheels slip and skid
    • Realistic suspensions with springs on each wheel
    • Realistic leaning during acceleration/deceleration and turning
    • Individually tunable parameters such as horsepower, gearing, max speed, shift speed, tire material, tire friction, spring tension/dampening, etc.
    • Multiple players in a vehicle in multiplayer
    • Hovercraft support for cheaper simulation

Advanced AI

  • I/O system allows level designers to control AI
  • Sophisticated navigation: characters that run, fly, jump, crouch, climb stairs and ladders, and burrow underground
  • AI senses things using sight, sound, and smell
  • AI relationships determine friend/foe status of other entities
  • Battle AI allows squads of AI characters to operate together, know when to advance, retreat, lay cover fire, etc.

Sound System

  • 7.1, 5.1 surround sound, 4 speaker surround
Icon-Bug.pngBug:On system running Windows Vista and later, due to the game engine using DirectSound and older version of Miles Sound System, the game may output only 5.1 surround despite 7.1 selected or 7.1 audio may not work properly without custom dsound.dll (such as Creative Alchemy, DSOAL or IndirectSound). This issue is not affected by some third-party games, such as Titanfall 2 Titanfall 2, Apex Legends Apex Legends.
Note.pngNote:Some Source games (such as Alien Swarm Alien Swarm, Portal 2 Portal 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) may not include options to enable 7.1 surround sound without using console commands.
  • High-quality 3D spatialization
  • Custom software DSP
  • Automatic DSP based on environmental geometry
  • Microsoft ADPCM-compressed WAV files
  • 16-bit 44.1 KHz (CD Quality), stereo wave data with all features
Warning.pngWarning:48 KHz audio (DVD Quality) is not supported by default. Not to be confused with 44.1 KHz, which is the CD Quality audio.
  • MP3 decompression (requires Miles license)
  • Support for audio streaming on any wave [Clarify]
  • Real-time wave file stitching [Clarify]
  • Pre-authored Doppler effect encoded waves
  • Pre-authored distance variant encoded waves
  • Commentary system

UI

Screenshot of Half-Life 2: Episode Two Half-Life 2: Episode Two main menu, which is rendered using VGUI, with New Game, Options, and Achievements window opened.
Screenshot of VGUI's Gamepad UI used in Source 2013 Source 2013 games. This UI was enabled by default when playing on Steam Deck Steam Deck.
  • Server browser — Displays all active game servers and allows a player to choose which one to participate on. Players can filter and sort server lists in order to speed up the display and selection of a server.
  • VGUI — Valve's custom GUI interface mimics most of the Windows controls but is rendered using the Source engine for both in game and out of game uniform UI display. Some features:
    • Dynamic in-game HUD display
    • Many widgets/controls (e.g., buttons, treeview, html control…)
    • Themes/custom visualization allowed
    • Platform independent
    • Localized text (Unicode compliant)
    • Gamepad UI (Source 2013 Source 2013 version) — Since the release of Half-Life 2 Half-Life 2 (and it's episodes) aswell as Portal Portal updates in 2022, Valve have added a modern UI which is designed for consoles and handhelds like Steam Deck Steam Deck. With the new Gamepad UI, it was more scalable across any resolution (including 4K and higher), unlike the regular VGUI (which, the higher the resolution, the text and UI will become smaller). This UI can be also enabled manually by using -gamepadui command line argument (which will also enable Vulkan renderer that may not work on some older GPUs unless -dx9 is used in combination of -gamepadui).
      • Blank image.pngTodo: Create a page about it.
  • Scaleform (officially called Scaleform GFx) — Introduced with CS:GO engine branch CS:GO engine branch at launch until 2018, this is a vector graphics rendering engine used to display Adobe Flash Adobe Flash-based UI and HUD for games.
  • Panorama (in all games since Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) — Introduced in 2018, replacing Scaleform, Valve's new Custom GUI interface that resembles modern web design and authoring (HTML5/CSS/JS). Using .XML and JavaScript files, developers can create dynamic and clean huds and menus and even high-quality in-game intractable panels.

Programming

  • All code written in C/C++ using Visual Studio .NET 2003 and later. Easily and quickly derive new entities from existing base classes
  • Internal context sensitive performance monitoring system
  • Graphics performance measurement tools built into the engine
  • Modular code design (via DLLs) allows swapping out of core components for easy upgrading or code replacement
  • VScript scripting system allows using external coding languages, such as Squirrel and Lua, in maps to create more complex systems (in all games since Left 4 Dead 2) (also in Team Fortress 2Mapbase)

Tools

  • HLFaceposer HLFaceposer
    • Facial expression tool used to craft speech and emotions
  • Hammer Valve Hammer Editor
    • WYSIWYG World editor
    • Create world brushes
    • Terrain editor
    • Place detailed world models and AI NPCs
    • Set navigation points/paths for NPCs
    • Place triggers, clip brushes, logic, etc.
    • Allows level designer to hook up I/O between entities to control AI within the game
  • HLMV Half-Life Model Viewer
    • Full model previewer
    • Rotate models in any direction
    • Set up hit boxes
    • View physics hull
    • View normals
    • Wireframe, shaded or textured view modes
  • Studiomdl
    • Model compiler
  • VBSP, VRAD, VVIS, VMPI
    • Map compilation tools (bsp, lighting and visibility)
    • VMPI — distributed compilation tool allowing level compiles to be spread across many PCs greatly reducing compile times
  • Exporters
    • XSI, Max and Maya .smd exporters for exporting 3D models

Products using Source ViewDiscussEdit templatePurge

Products made by Valve

Third-Party

Games, tool and mods made by third-party companies and mod teams.

Released

2004 - 2009
2010 - 2019
Year Title Developer(s) Publisher(s) Engine branch
(currently)
Platforms Notes
2010 Bloody Good Time Bloody Good Time Outerlight Ltd. Ubisoft Source Multiplayer Source Multiplayer PC: Windows
Consoles: Xbox 360
2010 (Website)
2012 (Steam)
Vindictus Vindictus devCAT NEXON Korea Corp. & NEXON America Inc. Source 2009 Source 2009 (heavily modified) PC: Windows Heavily modified, and uses proprietary file format to store game files. Also support DirectX 11.
2010 Blue Portals Blue Portals Reepblue Reepblue Source 2013 Source 2013 PC: Windows
2011 Dino D-Day Dino D-Day 800 North and Digital Ranch 800 North and Digital Ranch Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch PC: Windows Originally Left 4 Dead engine branch Left 4 Dead engine branch when it was released, later upgraded to Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch.
2011 E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy Streum On Studio Streum On Studio Source 2007 Source 2007 PC: Windows
2011 Nuclear Dawn Nuclear Dawn GameConnect, InterWave Studios Iceberg Interactive Left 4 Dead engine branch Left 4 Dead engine branch PC: Windows
2011 No More Room in Hell No More Room in Hell No More Room in Hell Team Lever Games Source 2013 Source 2013 PC: Windows
2011 Postal III Postal III Trashmasters Akella Source 2009 Source 2009 PC: Windows This game is infamous for being the worst commercially released Source engine game at all time, leading to Akella eventually becoming bankrupt. Originally delisted on Steam in Dec 2022 due to ActControl DRM server issues, which was later resolved after the remains of Akella gave RWS limited access to the game store page, and, RWS, with Zoom Platform together patch the game with bug and crash fixes by injecting the (🖿p3.dll file into the game, plus making it DRM-Free.
2012 (Steam) Dear Esther Dear Esther The Chinese Room, Robert Briscoe The Chinese Room, Secret Mode Source 2007 Source 2007 (Mod)
Source 2009 Source 2009 (Steam)
PC: Windows The 2011/2012 version of the game, which runs on Source 2009 Source 2009 is no longer sold on Steam, being replaced by Landmark Edition remaster that runs on Unity engine. However the original 2009 mod of this game is [still available on ModDB].
2012 Revelations 2012 Revelations 2012 Dark Artz Entertainment Dark Artz Entertainment Left 4 Dead engine branch Left 4 Dead engine branch PC: Windows
2012 Hybrid 5th Cell Xbox Game Studios (formerly Microsoft Studios) Unknown Consoles: Xbox 360 Console-exclusive title.
2013 (delisted) Tactical Intervention Tactical Intervention FIX Korea, Co.LTD, FIX Games, Co. LTD FIX Games, Co. LTD Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch[confirm] PC: Windows No longer available.
2013 The Stanley Parable The Stanley Parable Galactic Cafe Galactic Cafe Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch PC: Windows, Mac, Linux This modified branch was later used in The Beginner's Guide The Beginner's Guide. A sequel, expanded and re-imagination of The Stanley Parable was later released in 2022 as The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe, which runs on Unity engine.
2013 Counter-Strike Online 2 Nexon Nexon Source 2009 Source 2009 or Source 2013 Source 2013 (heavily modified)[confirm] PC: Windows Currently unknown whether it uses Source 2009 or 2013. Like Counter-Strike Online, it's also used propertiary file format to store it's game files.
2014 (delisted) Consortium Interdimensional Games Interdimensional Games Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch PC: Windows Delisted in favor of the upcoming remaster running on Unreal Engine 4.
2014 Blade Symphony Puny Human Puny Human Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch (confirm) PC: Windows Originally released as a Early Access game in 2013.
2014 Insurgency Insurgency New World Interactive New World Interactive CS:GO engine branch CS:GO engine branch (earlier version) PC: Windows
2014 Titanfall Titanfall Respawn Entertainment Electronic Arts Tf-16px.png Titanfall engine branch PC: Windows
Consoles: Xbox 360, Xbox One
Likely delisted on PC (Origin/EA Play and Steam) due to low player count and constant server issues due to being DDoS attacked, plus the game also have multiple security vulnerabilities. Existing owner can still play the game. The engine was heavily modified from Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch.
Also first Source engine game to be released on eighth-gen console.
2014 Contagion Contagion Monochrome, Inc Monochrome, Inc Left 4 Dead engine branch Left 4 Dead engine branch PC: Windows Spiritual successor to Zombie Panic! Source Zombie Panic! Source.
2014 (Steam) NEOTOKYO° NEOTOKYO° STUDIO RADI-8 STUDIO RADI-8 Source 2006 Source 2006 PC: Windows Originally released in 2009 as a SourceMod that requires Source SDK 2006 to be installed, later released on Steam in 2014, which is completely standalone.
2014 (Steam) Fistful of Frags Fistful of Frags Hoobalugalar_X Raptor Byte Source 2013 Source 2013 PC: Windows, Mac, Linux Originally released as a mod in 2007 on ModDB.
2014 Lambda Wars Lambda Wars Vortal Storm Vortal Storm Alien Swarm engine branch Alien Swarm engine branch PC: Windows
2014 Team Fortress 2 Classic Team Fortress 2 Classic Eminoma Team Eminoma Team Source 2013 Multiplayer Source 2013 Multiplayer PC: Windows First Team Fortress 2 Team Fortress 2 Source Source mod to be released.
2015 Portal Stories: Mel Portal Stories: Mel Prism Game Studios Ltd. Prism Game Studios Ltd. Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch (earlier version) PC: Windows, Mac, Linux Requires Portal 2 Portal 2 to be installed to play.
2015 (Steam) Codename Cure Hoobalugalar_X Raptor Byte Source 2013 Source 2013 PC: Windows, Mac, Linux Originally released as a mod in 2013 on ModDB.
2015 Double Action Double Action Factory Double Action Factory Source 2013 Multiplayer Source 2013 Multiplayer PC: Windows, Linux
2015 The Beginner's Guide The Beginner's Guide Everything Unlimited Ltd. Everything Unlimited Ltd. Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch PC: Windows, Mac, Linux Based off modified version of The Stanley Parable The Stanley Parable engine, which itself was also modified from Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch.
2016 Wilson Chronicles Frere d'Arme Frere d'Arme Source 2013 Source 2013 PC: Windows
2016 INFRA INFRA Loiste Interactive Loiste Interactive Portal 2 engine branch Portal 2 engine branch PC: Windows
2016 Titanfall 2 Titanfall 2 Respawn Entertainment Electronic Arts Tf-16px.png Titanfall engine branch PC: Windows
Consoles: Xbox One, PlayStation 4
A sequel to Titanfall. First Titanfall game to have a singleplayer campaign.
2016 Day of Infamy Day of Infamy New World Interactive New World Interactive CS:GO engine branch CS:GO engine branch (earlier version) PC: Windows, Mac, Linux
2017 Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop Alien Swarm: Reactive Drop Reactive Drop Team Reactive Drop Team Alien Swarm engine branch Alien Swarm engine branch PC: Windows
2017 Entropy : Zero Entropy : Zero Breadman Breadman Source 2013 Singleplayer Source 2013 Singleplayer PC: Windows
2018 Hunt Down the Freeman Hunt Down the Freeman Royal Rudius Entertainment Royal Rudius Entertainment Source 2013 Multiplayer Source 2013 Multiplayer PC: Windows In later updates, the game was transfered from Source 2013 SP to MP codebase. Engine is now heavily modified over time, adding feature such as: Parallax Corrected Cubemaps, PBR textures, WebM (replaces Bink), FMOD for audio, and much more...
This game was largely criticized by players due to numerous reasons like bugs, poor design, developers of this game's were not being paid.
2019 Apex Legends Apex Legends Respawn Entertainment Electronic Arts Tf-16px.png Titanfall engine branch PC: Windows Heavily modified, like previous Titanfall games. Replaced HBAO+ ambient occlusion and MSAA anti-aliasing to SSAO and TAA respectively, aswell as the only Source game that supports DirectX 12 (incl. Direct3D 12) natively.
2019 Open Fortress Open Fortress Open Fortress Development Team Open Fortress Development Team Source 2013 Multiplayer Source 2013 Multiplayer PC: Windows The fourth Team Fortress 2 Team Fortress 2 Source Source mod to be released, with TF2Vintage having been released in 2017, and Team Deathmatch Classic being launched in 2018.
2019 Pre-Fortress 2 Pre-Fortress 2 Pre-Fortress 2 Team Pre-Fortress 2 Team Source 2013 Multiplayer Source 2013 Multiplayer PC: Windows The fifth Team Fortress 2 Team Fortress 2 Source Source mod to be released.
Year Title Developer(s) Publisher(s) Engine branch
(currently)
Platforms Notes
2020 - present

In development (Unreleased)

This section are for unreleased 3rd party games and tools that are in development, not publicly released, or is in Beta/Early Access.

More Third-party Source Engine games

See also

External links

Blank image.pngTodo: How relevant and current these guides are? Keep links to current manuals instead of all at appropriate places. Use Special:LinkSearch for this.