Half-Life 2: Crossbow Endurance

I think this my new favorite video…

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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]

Valve Software has unveiled Steamworks

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Valve Software has unveiled Steamworks, a free suite of tools ranging from copy protection to social networking tools designed to simplify the development and publishing process for new videogames.

The software suite is available for all PC games released via retail and digital distribution platforms such as Steam. The included programs are the same as those used in Valve’s hit releases Half-Life 2 and The Orange Box, and include real-time statistics on sales, gameplay and product activation, anti-piracy encryption systems, version control, automatic updating, matchmaking functionality, development tools, and much more.

“As more developers and publishers have embraced Steam as a leading digital distribution channel, we’ve heard a growing number of inquiries regarding the availability of the platform’s services and tools,”said Valve Director of Business Development Jason Holtman. “Offering Steamworks is part of our ongoing efforts to support the needs of game developers and our publishing partners.”

Gabe Newell, president of Valve, added, “Developers and publishers are spending more and more time and money cobbling together all the tools and backend systems needed to build and launch a successful title in today’s market. Steamworks puts all those tools and systems together in one free package, liberating publishers and developers to concentrate on the game instead of the plumbing.”

Steam is one of the world’s foremost digital distribution platforms, currently offering over 250 games to a membership of more than 13 million. More information about the Steamworks suite is available at www.steamgames.com.

[Via Escapist Magazine]