Source engine

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Source's physic engine is demonstrated in this screenshot from Half-Life 2, with the body of a soldier, along with other debris, thrown away from an explosion.

The Source engine is a game engine developed by Valve Software for their first-person shooter computer game Half-Life 2 and for licensing to other developers. It provides rendering, sound, user interface, networking, artificial intelligence, and physics.

As usual, to utilize the new graphics and visual effects, players require fairly recent video cards, giving GPU manufacturer ATI Technologies an opportunity to partner with Valve on a joint product release [1] (, which, unfortunately, was spoiled by the product delay. Half-Life 2 requires powerful hardware in order to run with all visual and audio effects enabled, but due to the Source engine's ability to scale according to the level of the hardware, a modern PC system is not required. The Source engine's interactivity promised to tie emergent gameplay with the scripted sequences that Half-Life was already known for, but few examples of emergent behaviour have been displayed. Valve has licensed the Source engine to other developers, on the condition that their games were delayed until the release of Half-Life 2.

The engine's debut was Half-Life 2. Valve have also ported the original Half-Life and mods such as Counter-Strike to the Source engine (appropriately titled Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life: Source).

Troika Games' Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was the first publicly announced licensee of the Source engine. Valve later announced licensees including Arkane Studios (for Arx Fatalis 2) and Smiling Gator Productions (for Twilight War: After the Fall, an MMORPG) [2] (


The most obvious improvements of Source over the old Half-Life engine are in the areas of rendering and physics. Rendering now takes a shader-based approach that allows greater control over the graphics to create interesting visual effects. Source uses DirectX exclusively for its rendering.

The physics, based on the Havok physics engine, allow for an extra dimension of interactivity in the games that use Source. Character death can now be handled by ragdoll physics. It also provides more sophisticated vehicle physics than were available for the original Half-Life.

Source features "three-dimensional" skyboxes, which are basically collections of non-interactive geometry outside the playable area of the map but within the confines of the traditional skybox. This adds a greater sense of depth to the surrounding environment.

Source also has the unique ability of the characters to simulate emotions and facial speech movements on the fly. The characters are language independent, with the facial features being created and executed in real-time, with the help of script file. Valve says that forty-two digital "facial muscles" make this possible.

External links

Template:Half-Lifefr:Source engine


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