Valve’s Source Engine debuted in 2004 (I feel old) with the release of Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike : Source (along with a favourite of mine, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines). Many gamers consider the engine to be long-in-the-tooth, and believe that the aging engine doesn’t produce the visual acuity gamers expect from modern engines.
That doesn’t mean that Valve is planning or working on a new Engine; quite the contrary in fact. Valve plans on updating and refining its modular engine instead of scrapping it for a new one.
Speaking to Develop, Valve’s rotund boss Gabe Newell extolled the virtues ofÂ â€œadvantages on iterating on a mature and stable and shipped codebase, as opposed to starting over again.â€
â€œI think, when you see a game like DOTA 2, you’ll see how developers can get a lot more out of Source than most companies can get from a scratch-built engine,â€ he said. â€œI think that incremental updates model has worked really well for us. Does that mean we’ll reach some architectural tipping-point where we’ll need to change? Noâ€¦ so far we’ve been able to keep the engine moving ahead, robustly. I mean, I think it looks great.â€ He has a point; their recently released Portal 2 might lack the visual effects of some of other contemporary titles, but it’s still a visually remarkable game. Its lack of photo-realistic graphics hasn’t impacted its quality either; it’s one of the highest rated games on Metacritic at the moment. Still, you’ll not hear any complaints from me if future Source-based games spiffed it up a bit, especially when Half-Life 3 finally rolls around.
Newell also elucidated on why Valve isn’t all that interested in licencing its technology out.
â€œWe’re really happy if another studio wants to use our engine, but we’re not going to go out there and try and muscle in on what Epic Games does,â€ he said. â€œA few people have used our engine, and I think a few more will find it useful now that we have a PS3 edition. Y’know, we’re happy if people want to use our tools. We’re also super happy if people want to use Unreal Engine. We’ve worked hard with the guys at Epic Games to integrate Steamworks into Unreal Engine, which we think will be a great solution.
Last Updated: May 16, 2011