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Source engine

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Source Engine
Source engine logo
Developer(s) Valve Corporation
Stable release Build 5595 / 2014
Development status Active
Written in C++
Operating system Windows
Platform Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Type Game engine
License Proprietary

The Source engine is a video game engine created by a company called Valve Corporation. The engine made it's first appearence in 2004 with a game called Counter-Strike: Source, and was also included in Half-Life 2. Source has been worked on ever since that date, and is included in many of Valve's games.

Source is meant to power first person shooter video games, but has also been used to create other types of video games as well.


A full list of features can be found at Valve's Developer Feature List.


Source SDK

The Source SDK has been criticized for being out of date and hard to use.


The Source engine originated from the GoldSrc, which was a changed version of John D. Carmack's Quake engine. Caramack said on his blog in 2004 that there's "still bits of Quake code in Half-Life 2".

Valve worker Erik Johnson explains the origins of the GoldSrc engine on the Valve Developer Community:

When we were getting very close to releasing Half-Life (less than a week or so), we found there were already some projects that we needed to start working on, but we couldn't risk checking in code to the shipping version of the game. At that point we forked off the code in VSS to be both /$Goldsrc and /$Src. Over the next few years, we used these terms internally as "Goldsource" and "Source". At least initially, the Goldsrc branch of code referred to the codebase that was currently released, and Src referred to the next set of more risky technology that we were working on. When it came down to show Half-Life 2 for the first time at E3, it was part of our internal communication to refer to the "Source" engine vs. the "Goldsource" engine, and the name stuck.

The Source engine then continued to replace the GoldSrc engine, until Source was mostly used at Valve.

Valve Developer Community

In 2005, Valve launched a website called the Valve Developer Community, which told users how to use the Source engine.