• Register


The Source Engine is a 3D game engine developed by Valve Corporation. Its unique features include a large degree of modularity and flexibility, an artist-driven, shader-based renderer, accurate lip sync and facial expression technology, and a powerful, efficient and completely network-enabled physics system.

The Source engine was first shown to the world by being the power-horse behind the hugely anticipated Half-Life 2 which was released in late 2004. Since then the Source Engine has been upgraded with the release of such titles as Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, Team Fortress 2 and the Left 4 Dead series to name a few.

Whilst it has been years since the release of the Source Engine they haven't yet unveiled a 'next-generation engine' as the Source engine is always updating and is just as relevant in the gaming world today if not more than when it debuted in 2004. It has been aided by the release of the free Source Development Kit (SDK) which include such features as HDR for developers to use in their projects. Hence the reasons stated we have yet to see 'Source Engine 2'.

On July 10th 2012, Valve released the 'Source Filmmaker' - a freeware client to allowed anyone to make movies inside the Source Engine. More information on the Source Filmmaker can be found here.

Below you can find a list of amazing features that the Source Engine boasts:

Renderer

  • Version 2.0 (and below) shaders, bump mapping, LOD on models and world
  • Author shaders with HLSL
  • Cube and environment mapping
  • Dynamic lights, vertex lighting and light maps, many light types including flickering, pulsing etc.
  • High-Dynamic Range lighting
  • Water with refraction and fresnel effects
  • Advanced particle system that can emit sprites or models
  • Projected shadows allow for a large number of characters per scene
  • 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
  • Effects include but are not limited to: particles, beams, volumetric smoke, sparks, blood, environmental effects like fog and rain
  • Scalability
  • Dx6-Dx9 hardware supported

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 based 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 naturally speak in many languages
  • Skeletal/bone system for animation
  • Layered animation system can synthesize complex animations out of several pieces
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
Post article RSS feed Related Articles


Introduction

Last time we've introduced you to the photogrammetry technique telling you about our first steps in creating high quality content using such technology. This time we will continue our tale about our research in such field of work but this time we will be focusing on material creation. Well, let's get to it.

Photoshoot and processing

After our first photoshoot at our closest forested areas it was quite clear that we had to find a perfect spot with variety of interesting objects to shoot and varied landscape in order to use our time more effectively. City park areas though is not abundant with fallen trees, huge rocks and rocky cliffs. After a short search we've managed to find a perfect place - a federal reservation «nearby» the city area.

Long story short we've gathered and took off over there on a small «expedition» over 130 kilometers which turned out to be quite a fairy tale to tell!

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 stuff

Shooting various surfaces for the sake of creating materials was quite troublesome and difficult experience. In order to create an interesting material with a wide range of details it is required to make photos of rather wide area - at least 3×3 meters. That said, one has to shoot an object in close proximity in order to get the highest level of detail possible and each close shots have to intersect one another, ideally close shots have to intersect at least for 50-60% (this exact intersection will be used later in the process of photogrammetry).

That process requires slow paced movement along the required territory and taking a lot of shots (150-200 photos) in one try while being in a very uncomfortable state. Taking breaks is risky of losing the precise spot you've stopped at or because of a chance of losing the required lighting if a sun comes out of the clouds while you were resting. The other matter to be taken into consideration is where you step. A moved branch, a bootprint, even forgotten belongings in the shot - everything can be accidentally added into the game which would be really really bad.

Even though at first we thought that shooting different surfaces for material creation seemed more difficult (at least physically) than shooting objects, it turned out to be even faster eventually. We've managed to shoot six natural materials, lots of forest photo-references, couple of models and some brick material on our way home, even though it wasn't in our plan, and all done in a single day! Brick material turned out to be quite useful though.

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 stuff

Photo processing for material creation is not that much different than the process described in the previous part of the diary, the only difference is a bigger number of polygons on models. You can see the results on the image above - high poly models of the surfaces (11-16 mln triangles) each with 16 384 pixel albedo map.

Tiling

Since we've decided to use photogrammetry initially as a method of creating landscape materials (ground, grass, rocks), eventually we had to come across the tiling problem. Tiling - is a method for 3D graphics optimization used for filling wide spaces when only one texture is being applied on polygons. This texture then reappears in every direction filling the said space. The edge transitions of such texture should be as smooth as possible in order for the texture to look as nice as possible.

It is quite obvious that smooth continuous edges are very hard to get with photogrammetry. One variant for solving such issue is decking together nine copies of high poly model and using a special software custom change the shape of the polygonal net to get smooth transitions. Unfortunately such process takes a lot of time and each new material will have to be processed from the very beginning. That means this method isn't suitable for fast processing of photogrammetry results. This is why we've chosen another way.

Our decision was to work with texture maps that we already have from our high poly models and to prepare them for tiling in one of the special programs used for creation of procedural materials. The best thing about it is that we've managed to create our own custom graph templates and saved a lot of precious time on creating similar materials.

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 stuff

We've created two big templates (see image above) consisting on dozens of operations. One of them is designed for materials with chaotic structure (grass, dirt, moss, rocky surfaces and other natural materials), the other is for materials with more or less repeating pattern (brick, tiles and other hand-made materials). But both templates are similar in the ability to extract and adjust additional texture maps for creating a full material without any quality loss.

In order not to lose quality while preparing materials for tiling we had to drastically change standard tiling graph-scheme included with the program. Our new graph-scheme allows us to use additional detail height info for mixing different tiles (copies of the original texture map).

The original graph simply mixes the edges of texture map tiles. Such method is plausible while creating albedo map tiling, but using the same method with normal maps is risky in terms of losing information on tile intersections. This is the reason for refusing to use the original graph. You can compare the results of normal maps preparations on the image below.

Based on our newly made tiling graph we were able to create another graph for tiling materials with patterns (where we've added more settings for mixing mask and tile deformation). The second tiling graph has grown into the second template.

That said, after we've prepared the first material we've already got a fully functional template that we can now use to create new "chaotic" materials in two day's time (photoshooting time excluded). And the brick material turned out to be a great base for the second template that will definitely help us in creating patterned materials in the future.

Results

Well, it's time to draw the conclusion of our two developer diaries. And what's better to summarize our conclusion than images of our final results? That's right, nothing! Here below you can see the renders of the final materials.

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 stuff

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 stuff

We've also prepared a small scene on the test map to show you the new models and materials as they would look in-game. In the same video you can see the changes of our map that occurred during the two days of preparation. Please tell us if you enjoy such format.

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 Media

We would also like to point out that this is not the final build for natural locations. We still have to work on new trees, grass and other natural materials, as well as the skybox.

And some more screenshots for closer detail inspection.

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 Media

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 Media

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 Media

Lost Story: Dev.Log #4 Media

And now let's get back to our results in the text format. We believe that our photogrammetry experiment turned out a success. Not only did we get new experience but we've also created a chain of methods on working with such technology.

Photogrammetry has proven to be a reliable and powerful tool for developers that can help in solving a variety of difficult issues with limited resources and we've enjoyed working with it. We will definitely do more photoshoots out in nature to gather new objects and materials and we are also thinking about getting in the industrial zones for unique hand-made materials (even objects perhaps). Stay tuned, this is going to be fun!

And that is all we have for now. Stay tuned and don't forget to share your opinion with us regarding the Dev.Logs and the project's wellbeing in general!

Your hedgehogs in shades from
Rock Path Collective.

Lost Squad 2016 Update | Day Three | Procedural Sky Rendering with Source Engine Pt.2

Lost Squad 2016 Update | Day Three | Procedural Sky Rendering with Source Engine Pt.2

Lost Squad 9 comments

Hello our dear friends! It's time to share the second part of our procedural sky article with you. In the first part we talked about more basic things...

Lost Story Dev.Log #4 - Part One: Photogrammetry for Models

Lost Story Dev.Log #4 - Part One: Photogrammetry for Models

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth 6 comments

Winter is finally stepping back and spring is taking over, which means that we are happy to present our new Dev.Log! Initially the topic for this article...

Major Update and Sale!

Major Update and Sale!

INFRA 1 comment

Hello everyone! The bigger update is here. Every level in the game has been updated. We felt that some of the levels were lacking with detail, gameplay...

Lost Squad 2016 Update | Day Two | Procedural Sky Rendering with Source Engine Pt.1

Lost Squad 2016 Update | Day Two | Procedural Sky Rendering with Source Engine Pt.1

Lost Squad 9 comments

It's day two of our 2016 update! Today we're talking Procedurally Generated skies.

Add game Games
Hunt Down The Freeman

Hunt Down The Freeman

First Person Shooter

You are a shadow of Black Mesa who waited for years for revenge form the man who killed all your friends. Gordon Freeman. You are trying to hunt down...

Refresh Time: Part One

Refresh Time: Part One

First Person Shooter

Game about business rat. City in tragedy now and in future and in past

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth

First Person Shooter

Lost Story: The Last Days of Earth - is a sci-fi action first person shooter set in the Half-Life universe, which allows you to witness the events set...

Crossroads Episode I

Crossroads Episode I

First Person Shooter

The project is created on the engine, Source, immediately tell you that it has no connection with the world of coca Half-life, but it was a project inspired...

Garry’s Mod 10

Garry’s Mod 10

First Person Shooter

Garry’s Mod is a sandbox mod for the Source Engine. Unlike normal games there aren't any predefined aims or goals. Players are given tools and are left...

E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy

E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy

First Person Shooter

After unending war with metastreumonic Force, the powerful organisation Secreta Secretorum that you belong to is finally ready to undermine the head-strong...

Lost Squad

Lost Squad

First Person Shooter

Lost Squad - is Source Engine based game about what happened to Barney Calhoun after Half-Life 2: Episode One events and why he was not in Half-Life 2...

INFRA

INFRA

Puzzle

Those most overlooked are often the most important. INFRA puts you into the shoes of a simple structural analyst. Nothing more than a quiet desk jockey...

The Ship

The Ship

First Person Shooter

The Ship is a multiplayer game of subterfuge and assassination, played on a series of 1920s cruise ships. Hunt down and murder your quarry while looking...

The Beginner's Guide

The Beginner's Guide

Adventure

A narrative video game from Davey Wreden, the creator of The Stanley Parable. It lasts about an hour and a half and has no traditional mechanics, no goals...

Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 331)
Guest
Guest

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Guest
Guest

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

dragon122
dragon122

Source 2 HYPE
Polygon.com

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Dr.Octavia-Pus
Dr.Octavia-Pus

HYPE is real!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Cheeky_Bi_Agnostic
Cheeky_Bi_Agnostic

One of my favourite engines to work with.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
abdullahsaleh16
abdullahsaleh16

Sadly, the tools are a bit out-dated compaired to other commercial engines.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Sockman111
Sockman111

Well the hammer editor is a GREAT tool even today.
Also with source 2 valve is going to make the tools easier to work with, so that's always something to look forward to.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Bassethound
Bassethound

Does anybody know how to download source?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Guest
Guest

you go to steam and download one of the Source Bases, the Source SDK, and the Dedicated Server if you are making multiplayer games.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
FelixDman
FelixDman

thanks guest one

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Guest
Guest

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Post a comment

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community. Or sign in with your social account:

Platforms
Windows, VR, X360, XBOX, PS3
Company
Valve
Contact
Send Message
Licence
Commercial
Release date
Engine watch
Start tracking
Share
Community Rating

Average

9.6

1069 votes submitted.

You Say

-

Ratings closed.

Highest Rated (18 agree) 10/10

Even tho it is aging and it is beginning to show its weakness comparred to other more modern engines, it is still my most preferred engine and the only one I was able to get into succesfully. And with all of the updates Valve is giving it, I think the source engine will be with us for a long time. I wouldn't really recommend this for a commerical product, just because there are so many more modern engines out there that will be a lot easier in the long run (like UDK), but all of the commercial games…

Nov 16 2010 by Half_Kill

Lowest Rated (2 agree) 1/10

The Source Engine is an outdated piece of shit that makes you spend 60% of your time trying to find alternative ways to make something because of the amazing number of bugs the SDK contains. I want to make a laser that dissolves any NPCs ; I can't because the beam doesn't do any damages even if I set the properties/flags rightly. So I try to parent a trigger_hurt to the beam but even if I set "Damage Type" to "Beam", it is only turning a NPC to a ragdoll and doesn't dissolve it as I wanted. Great…

Apr 4 2012 by EnnemyOfficer

Twitter

Latest tweets from @steam_games

Daily Deal - Dungeons 2, 75% Off: #SteamDailyDeal #038;newsId=21616&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

12hours 10mins ago

Daily Deal - Move or Die, 35% Off: #SteamDailyDeal #038;newsId=21615&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 29 2016

Now Available on Steam - N.E.R.O.: Nothing Ever Remains Obscure, 30% off!: #SteamNewRelease #038;newsId=21645&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 29 2016

Now Available on Steam - SONAR Steam Edition, 30% off!: #SteamNewRelease #038;utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 29 2016

Now Available on Steam - Pharaonic, 15% off!: #SteamNewRelease #038;newsId=21618&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 28 2016

Free Weekend - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - First Assault Online: #038;newsId=21572&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 28 2016

SECOND ANNUAL STEAM ANIME SALE ON NOW: #038;utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 28 2016

Free Weekend - Duck Game, 40% Off: #WeekendDeal #038;newsId=21596&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 28 2016

Daily Deal - Hard West, 40% Off: #SteamDailyDeal #038;newsId=21589&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 28 2016

Daily Deal - Battlestation: Harbinger, 40% Off: #SteamDailyDeal #038;newsId=21549&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter">Store.steampowered.com

Apr 27 2016

Embed Buttons
Link to Source by selecting a button and using the embed code provided more...
Source
Statistics
Rank
26 of 667
Last Update
Watchers
1,207 members
Games
40
Downloads
89
Articles
484
Reviews
101