Source 2 engine driven by focus on user-generated content

Source 2, an engine Valve has confirmed in 2012 and has--in typical Valve fashion--spoken nothing of since. A new Reddit AMA with Valve's Gabe Newell gives us at least some insight into what's happening.


It's been nearly a decade since the Source engine debuted with Counter-Strike: Source. While it's still being used in modern games like Titanfall, it's clear that a new engine is necessary.

Enter Source 2, an engine Valve has confirmed in 2012 and has--in typical Valve fashion--spoken nothing of since. A new Reddit AMA with Valve's Gabe Newell gives us at least some insight into what's happening.

When asked: "What improvements will we see out of the Source 2 engine?" Newell responded: "The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation. That focus is driven by the importance we see UGC having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won't work if users themselves have to create content."

Given how popular Steam Workshop and Trading Cards have been, it's unsurprising that Valve would want to focus on user-generated content for its upcoming engine. One more tidbit revealed in the Q&A: "Alex Vlachos is working on... getting Source 2 working well with VR," another unsurprising development, given Valve's interest in VR.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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  • reply
    March 4, 2014 6:30 PM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Source 2 engine driven by focus on user-generated content.

    Source 2, an engine Valve has confirmed in 2012 and has--in typical Valve fashion--spoken nothing of since. A new Reddit AMA with Valve's Gabe Newell gives us at least some insight into what's happening.

    • reply
      March 4, 2014 7:39 PM

      Valve sure does have a lot of stuff in the pipe.

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      March 4, 2014 9:51 PM

      How about more focus on Half-Life3 on Source 2

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        March 4, 2014 9:53 PM

        Simul-release? :]

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          March 5, 2014 6:43 AM

          That seems rather plausible. Many other engine developing studios (id) do things like that.

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        March 4, 2014 10:14 PM

        thats going to be left to us to deliver.

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        March 5, 2014 1:49 AM

        Nah, we won't see HL3 or Ep3 until Source 3. Gotta be three's.

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        March 5, 2014 2:53 AM

        Everytime the Hl3 subject comes up with Gaben he mentions how they learned their lesson from announcing games too early, and that lead to a lot of difficulty for them and the audience.

        Don't you think this total silence approach is causing just as much frustration? It seems odd to me, because portal 2 was first unofficially spoken of as in development in 2008, was officially announced in 2010, and then released the following year. I don't recall flipping out between 08 & 10.

        It's probably too late for them to take that approach with HL3 now because they've allowed anticipation to get out of control. Would be hilarious if they finally announced it and said it was due for release in 2017.

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          March 5, 2014 4:32 AM

          Man, I'd be happy just knowing that it's coming out at all. Fuck, I'd be happy to get any SP experience from Valve at this point.

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            March 5, 2014 5:56 AM

            I think they will probably still occasionally make games and I would also love a Half Life or other SP game form Valve but in the end they've done so much more for PC gaming with Steam that I'd rather have them keep focusing on being a distributor than a developer.

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              March 5, 2014 6:37 AM

              I doubt this can be true. Gabe talks so often about retaining talent at Valve. Hell, one of the reasons they cited for going episodic with HL2 was due to staff burnout on working on these big 5 year + projects.

              Inversely I don't see how they can hope to hold onto all those talented people if they're planning on just updating TF2 and DOTA forever. There's oodles of talented artists, level designers and game designers at that company, and they'd walk if they didn't have anything else to focus on.

              My guess is like with TF2, they've really struggled to figure out what HL3 should / could be. And as a result its taken waaaay longer than they expected.

              That still leaves us wondering whether they found an an answer to that, and its not just a case of getting it done, or are they still aimlessly experimenting? It would be nice to know, for sure.

              A nice idea would be targeting HL3 for VR, the first big budget first person game to target the devices, and really show what can be done with those devices. Its the perfect killer app for VR, and it would put steam as the home of VR way ahead of everyone else.

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            March 5, 2014 6:33 AM

            honestly at this point I wouldnt mind it just being outsourced to wrap up the story. Can even be same engine etc. I just want closure.

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              March 5, 2014 6:40 AM

              Eh, i really don't find that story that .. important. Really when has Half Life given us any big answers or closure? The story is great because it works as an interesting setting for the gameplay. Half life games have always been important because in some sense they've forged a path for new gameplay ideas.

              Seeing gordon kill all the bad guys isn't enough. I want to play as gordon with new mechanics i've never seen before in an FPS.

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            March 5, 2014 10:34 AM

            It is coming out. There you go.

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              March 5, 2014 10:45 AM

              Hi GabeN, it's really cool that you started posting on the shack

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          March 5, 2014 6:03 AM

          I think it would be pretty awesome if they pulled an Apple and announced the game and made it available the next day! People would flip their shit.

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            March 5, 2014 6:38 AM

            I doubt that would be possible, if it were a steam exclusive they may be able to keep it under wraps internally, but with consoles and certification processes someone down the line would spill the beans and it's going the be on those consoles day and date if / when it happens.

            It definitely would be awesome tho

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              March 5, 2014 10:27 AM

              They should totally go there and do that. Total Apple-style Source 2\HL3 same-day announcement and release. Steam exclusive with console ports to follow a few months later.

              Then just sit back, relax, and watch the internet collectively jizz all over itself.

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            March 5, 2014 6:42 AM

            That would actually be pretty funny. And an industry first.

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          March 5, 2014 10:14 AM

          There is undoubtedly a point in HL3's development where they know that it is X% from shipping that they use in deciding to announce the game.

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      March 5, 2014 6:49 AM

      HA! It would be a seriously interesting concept if Valve just gave us the Source 2 engine and asked the community to develop HL3 using the new tech. That would actually have significant marketing ripples for them.

      1. Gabe's statement about the important of UGC. This would show how easy it is to do with their engine, thus validating how anyone can, and should, use the S2 engine.

      2. It would be a showcase for the power of Steam Workshop.

      3. Let's face it, there's some seriously talent people in the community. Why not utilize them? Sometimes user stories end up being far more imaginative.

      4. Mass media coverage of all of this going down. No such things as bad PR.

      5. Ya, I'm just making all of this up

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        March 5, 2014 10:16 AM

        Then Gabe could ask us where HL3 is. The tables have turned.

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          March 5, 2014 11:38 AM

          I bet it could be hashed out in less than 6 months using the community. Get crackin' boys!

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            March 5, 2014 12:10 PM

            i'm sure there are many who've already worked out their own visions of how the story could end!

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        March 5, 2014 10:43 AM


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        March 5, 2014 10:57 AM

        The plot would be incomprehensible.

        Gordon fights zombies, then suddenly cats appear. Alyx was a combine spy the entire time! You ally with a headcrab named Richard and can can control him telepathically to disable mines. The gravity gun will be replaced by a procedurally generated hat launcher.

        In the end, Gordon will wake up in Black Mesa on the toilet and resume begrugingyly cleaning the bathrooms in his biohazard suit. Today _was_ taco day, after all...

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          March 5, 2014 11:33 AM

          That's almost on par with the original games, I'd say...

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