Source Engine 2 is confirmed in development, Source Filmmaker code reveals

Forget yer Mars, because it turns out Source Filmmaker’s script files are peppered with references to a next-gen Source engine. Over 60 mentions of Source 2 can be found in the SFM code, reports ValveTime, confirming that the engine’s been in development alongside the filmmaking tools, with one line specifically stating that "If key doesn’t doesn’t exist, assume ‘Source’, otherwise invalid — assume next-gen ‘Source 2’.’" Assume next-gen ‘Source 2’! How’s that for a smoking gun? That’ll be your new Source engine then.

A set of Source 2 specific tool icons were also revealed by a Facepunch member, with names like ‘terrain_tool_edge_smooth’. Fie on your jagged hills and pointy buttes, Source 2 won’t be having them. No further nuggets have yet surfaced on what, exactly, Source 2 will be capable of, though Gabe Newell has previously mentioned an interest in image-based rendering, which (as long as you don’t think about it for very long or with any effort) is a bit like a modern take on voxels.

Valve’s current Source engine has been knocking about since 2004, receiving constant incremental updates to keep it looking sharp. "We don’t like to brag," writes Valve on their company info page, "but Source is considered the most flexible, comprehensive, and powerful game development environment out there. And it’s about to get even better."

It’s telling that the publicly available Source Film Maker would be vaguely forwards compatible with Source 2, suggesting that the new tech is somewhere on the horizon. And what a lovely smooth horizon it will be.

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[Via PcGamesN]

5 Alternatives to a Game Design Doc.

Excerpts from [Source] – See more details and images at the source.

1) Illustration

Few things can sum up your goal like an illustration of the desired result.  Even if you’ve embraced the philosophy of rapid prototyping and iteration, at each stage you need a goal to iterate towards. A visual goal can focus the team on what’s important, and help the designer avoid the temptation to add extraneous features. And don’t underestimate the daily inspiration such an image can provide.

2) Slide Show

What if your game needs moving parts to explain what’s going on? Not to fret. Presentation software is a remarkably easy way to present the actions of a game in sequence.  I made a new slide for every animating progress bar and score increase. It took me about two afternoons to put together, a small amount of time compared to the 6 – 7 week dev cycle ahead.

If you’re lucky, a series of mock-ups like this can do more than explain your goal: it can energize and inspire the team to do their best work. These particular mini-presentations were popular enough that sometimes a few of the senior faculty would sit in on our meetings. The goofy placeholder art and the informal nature of the presentation invited questions and discussion.

3) Flowchart

I first heard about [this] from Steve Swink. The idea is to diagram all the basic components of your game and visualize how they interconnect. Let’s take Pac-Man as an example; Start by writing out all the game’s nouns. Most likely these are the components represented by art assets. Then connect those nouns with the appropriate verbs. This is what the player does in the game.

Next, write out any of the higher-order relationships between various nouns. These aren’t necessarily in the player’s direct control, but they do serve to make the game more fun. Note the many actions that add to the game’s score, and how eating has many different purposes in the game.

If you try diagramming your own game, watch out for nodes that don’t connect to anything. Everything in the game should have a reason to exist, and this is a good way to cull the things that aren’t important.

4) Prototype

One of the surest ways to communicate your vision is to make it playable. These are screenshots of an earlier build of Gravity Ghost, a game assembled from basic geometry, a few simple scripts, and a single art pass.

You might think your coding skills aren’t up to snuff, but please take my word on this: you don’t need a lot of programming experience to make something playable in its most basic state. There are plenty of resources online for this sort of thing.

5) Cloning

One easy way to demonstrate your design vision is to steal it from a game that already exists. Keep a close eye on the top 100 paid iPhone apps, and simply copy the most successful… just kidding. Never do this. Every time you clone a game an angel smacks a puppy.

5) Illustrated Game Design Doc

If you absolutely must explain your game’s systems using large blocks of text, use a visual aid whenever possible. Challenge yourself to present your ideas both visually and in words – people tend to learn better when given redundant information.  The spec doc outlines the entire scope of the game in a broad sense – I created it to show to potential programmers.

HeroCloud – Essential Middleware

We are very excited to announce some great news for HeroCloud developers. We have purchased the following licenses for all HeroCloud developers. This means you no longer need to secure your own licensing for any products in the Cloud.

SpeedTree – all relevant downloads (CAD and Library) are in your downloads tab on the account page. (currently the Cloud supports v 4.2).

DPVS Umbra – is now doing line of sight occlusion work for you, saving your game resources and man power. You can toggle it off via the renderer panel to see the amazing difference it makes.

FMOD – You can now create sounds in FMOD Designer and use them in your game. Check out this post to get started:,641.msg2795.html#msg2795

FaceGen – It’s all wired up to the cloud and ready to go. Morph targets, scaling, tinting, oh my. Dive in anywhere in the wiki relating to characters and you’ll find mention of what Facegen is doing and can do.

RAD Game Tools – is the art and animation pipeline, and is already doing everything you need it to do.

We are serious about our mission to remove all barriers to creative development for devs, and this latest announcement is a testament to this!  See below for the full press release

Via [Source]

Unlimited Detail?

Well I’m surprised I’ve not heard of this before..    and I’m mad I’ve not been following this a heck of a lot sooner!!
Euclideon has developed what seems to be a branch off the voxel technology.  By using ‘atoms’ they are able
to produce a unlimited amount of atoms, enough to drop polygons all together.   In the demo above you’ll
see a 1 km square island created with 21,062,352,435,000 atoms.    Granted right now it reminds me of a level
of Quake.. really brown.   But  if this is where graphics are heading, this could be EXTREMLY cool.

Epic releases free version of Unreal Engine

by Michael French 


UE3-powered UDK is ‘an unprecedented milestone in game development’ studio says

Just a week after Unity announced its engine was now available for free to indie users Epic Games has revealed a free version of its popular Unreal Engine technology.

Called the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), it is a free edition of UE3 that allows community, modder and indie users more access to the engine’s features and is available for all.
Epic said game developers, students, hobbyists, researchers, creators of 3D visualizations and simulations plus digital filmmakers can all take advantage of the UDK for non-commercial use.

The UDK can be downloaded at, which also offers detailed product features, technical documentation, commercial licensing terms and support resources.

Epic is calling the move ‘an unprecedented milestone in game development’ – the Unreal Engine is widely used in games for a variety of projects. Almost ever major publisher has signed up big licensing deals for the engine to form the basis of a number of high profile titles.

The UDK contains all the most recently added features in UE3 including, the studio says, “many that have yet to be seen in an Unreal Engine game”. Epic has also promised to keep releasing ongoing, upgraded builds of UDK for free.

Currently the UDK only supports PC development – but Epic said it was ‘considering’ a console version.

The studio also reckons that the commercial terms for those switching from the free version should they choose to sell their project or have it published will find that is is “easy for independent developers, start-up firms and seasoned professionals to use UDK with minimal financial barrier from concept to deployment”.

“I’m excited about the possibilities the Unreal Development Kit opens to those who are looking to get into the game business but don’t otherwise have the means to acquire world-class technology and tools like ours,” said Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games said in the announcement of the tech.

“UDK is Unreal Engine 3, which has been used to create games in a wide range of genres, as well as military simulations, 3D architectural walkthroughs, animated movies and more. Users are only limited by their imaginations. Go ahead make something Unreal!”

Signature Devices, Inc. Launches Open Source Video Game Development Engine

Signature Devices, Inc. Launches Open Source Video Game Development Engine

July 30, 2008: 08:31 AM EST

Signature Devices, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: SDVI) is pleased to announce that the Company’s open source video game development platform, the Elemental Engine II, is now available for download. Signature Devices will be showcasing the Elemental Engine II on the the company’s social networking site ( Signature Devices initially unveiled the platform in San Fransisco, CA, at this year’s Game Developers Conference in February.

Elemental Engine II is a full open source game engine capable of editing and creating 3D video game worlds in real time. Elemental Engine II covers all video game development features, such as 3D rendering, 3D audio, and graphical user interface (GUI) design. The Engine contains built-in networking capabilities including multiplayer online games with tournaments and statistics that integrate into the website. It also features artificial intelligence using hierarchal state machines and LUA scripting. Elemental Engine II is fully capable of working with next generation consoles and includes LUA scripting, particle system, and is backed by a full physics system. There is also a fully functioning world editor complete with source code.

Support for the Elemental Engine II is through a community-based system at and source is available at To obtain access it is required to register at as a developer and the registration is free.

“Signature Devices has naturally felt that we needed to give back to the game development community. The Elemental Engine II received an overwhelmingly positive response at this year’s Game Developers Conference and we believe it will become very popular among industry insiders,” stated Kenneth Hurley, CEO of Signature Devices, Inc. and Graffiti Entertainment, LLC.

About Signature Devices, Inc. and Graffiti Entertainment LLC:

Based in Redwood City, Calif., Signature Devices, Inc. creates, develops and manufactures advanced information technology, including computer systems, software and electronics products. One of the Company’s premier technologies includes a blend of hardware and software for image generation technology used in video games and simulations. Signature Devices also owns Graffiti Entertainment, Inc. (, a publisher of interactive entertainment software for advanced entertainment consoles.

The information in this press release includes certain “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the Safe Harbor provisions of Federal Securities Laws. Investors are cautioned that such statements are based upon assumptions that in the future may prove not to have been accurate and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, including the future financial performance of the Company. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in its forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations or any of its forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date of this release, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, events, or circumstances after the date of this release except as required by law.

For more information, please visit:
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