Half-Life Fallout: HLF Debate: A New Source? - Half-Life Fallout

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HLF Debate: A New Source?

Poll: HLF Debate: A New Source?

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Hupsakee!

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#1 Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:13 AM





Today, on HLF debate, Suicide Mission, Brumisator and the returning hero Retro X, discuss the possible future graphical engines for Valve games. Should they trash it all and license a 3rd party engine, Should they reinvent a new engine altogether, or should they keep iterating on Source? Come in and voice your opinion.





Retro_X
Source has been out in the wild for many years now. Debuting with CSS, then the amazing Half Life 2. They've worked on it, improved it a lot and it has really shown how well it can handle different types of games such as TF and, DOTA2. As with old game engines it's starting to show its age. With engines like CryEngine 3 and Unreal Engine 3, developers would rather look to those than Source. At least it seems that way. So the questions is, should VALVe start Source 3 from scratch and start licensing it or include another engine in their future games?


Surely they have the resources to create a new engine from scratch, but is it worth it in the end to have a brand new engine from the ground up, keep trying to improve an aging engine or use something else?







suicide_mission
Thank you Retro for the lovely intro, let being with my point of view, first off, when you ask me what comes to mind when you say the word Source, the first thing that pops into my head is blocky!


Yes, source is a nice engine, it runs on older systems, is well supported, has improved lighting, blah blah, yes, yes I know, but even from its start, all games that have been made with it have been characteristically squary, levels that still look like they should exist only in 1998, that is why I propose Valve should drop the core of Source and begin licensing other engines, like CryEngine 3 or ID Tech 5 for example. They have the money and the know how to do it.





Brumisator
I wouldn't consider it a smart move for Valve to completely abandon their own engine. They have years of experience working on it, and even so, borrowing someone else's engine would limit their capabilities with it.
Doing something as unique looking as TF2 needed entirely new shaders, and a level of familiarity with the engine that's nigh impossible to achieve by licensing another engine.


And nobody wants to see a homogenized aesthetic for all games, like UE3 is bringing us. Bioshock looked great, but you could plainly recognize the unreal engine powering it





Retro_X
@suicide_mission: The problem with licensing other engines is that all their games might look like all the other games that license the same engine, as Brumisator points out. Which is a big problem, things will start to feel generic. This is what made Half Life 2 shine above other games of the time (also, it was HL2!!), it was on the Source engine and looked great. Physics being a big part of it.


VALVe definitely has the resources in terms of time, money and man power to develop a new engine from the start. They already 'repurposed' it for console with the 360 first and PS3 later on. Yes they did wonders with Team Fortress 2 with a completely new aesthetics, but think how much more they can do with a new engine with different style of games in mind. They can build a more focused engine and license *some* technologies from other companies rather than full blown engines.







suicide_mission
I doubt Valve would be interested in a building a new engine from scratch, it took 6 years for them to build the first version of Source and another 3 years to implement better lighting & shaders. Just to get a new engine to modern times would take 10+ years to get back to where they are currently at.


I have to say that I believe the "plastic" look of other engines (UE3, etc) is due to developers not dedicating enough time to properly design textures & lighting normals and other goodies that make a game differentiate graphically from another. Its a matter of time & cash (or a lack there of) that makes most other games look so similar.


Source is getting old, and crysis et all demonstrates that its on a path to being a relic in a few years. If valve wont adopt a new engine, then I cant see them creating new titles that match the potential of the latest games with it, worse, I see them porting Source to iPhone or some other portable device and putting their back catalog there, at that point, Valve will be purely a game distributor than a developer.





Brumisator
Valve is continuously hiring and maintaining very talented game creators, I can't see them going anywhere than continuing to make top quality games for the PC, and major consoles for many years.


We're currently pretty much plateau'd on graphical engines. Source is not the shiniest diamond, bit it's dragged its butt this far, why would it stop now? Even John Carmack said about ID tech 5, powering the game Rage, that it's not the mad race for graphical superiority it was when 3D was in its infancy.


Pretty much all game engines are built on top of older technology. Source is based on Goldsource, is based on Quake 1's engine, which probably still had elements of Doom 2 in it.


Starting everyting from scratch would be a serious waste of resources, resources that should be used to make HL3, and are being used to fill Valve's snack bar.





Retro_X
I honestly wouldn't be surprised if VALVe is currently working on either a major update to Source, or a semi-brand new Source engine (Source3), they do have the time and resources. But they cannot last forever on the current Source code base. I'm still a firm believer that in some cases, starting from scratch is the best way forward instead of tweaking and reworking an aging project.


I'm sure if given the time, VALVe could do wonders with Unreal Engine or CryEngine for their next few titles. With only two major engines out in the market, games would start to feel generic, even if it is the developer's fault, we won't see that much variation. DICE is doing wonders with their Frostbite 2 engine and I'm hopeful gaming companies would look at that too instead of just UE3 or CE3 to give us some variation. And this is why I want VALVe to push out a whole new version of Source, not only to give their current and future games a nice update, but to give developers a choice for game engines and give us some variety.







suicide_mission
Finding common ground with your enemies is a sure sign of weakness, I SHALL NEVER BENT MY WILL TO THE GODS OF COMMON SENSE!!!


With that, no doubt that Valve will milk Source for all its worth, but there simply isnt enough to make a tasty bowl of corn flakes, look at developers, you had a plethora of mods for gldSource, but so little for Source, not that there aren't, but the amount of work needed with the tools to make something nice becomes insurmountable, and thats the crux of my position, the people who made valve, the modders, have in a certain way been forsaken now that valve no longer needs them to make their fortune.


Not saying that Valve doesn't love modders, just that their needs are no longer #1 given the capabilities and tools for Source. A new licensed engine will open up the community, bring in people from different corners and provide the tools they need from a company dedicated to game engines and not game distribution.





Brumisator
The source engine sees a whole lot of mods being made for it, but modding in general is not the powerhouse community it used to be. Nowadays, it's easier for serious people to pick up a cheap or free license (unity, limited UE3, etc.) and make your own game, with all the tools included.


So, we're all in agreement with my original point, then? Source is alive and well, and will continue to be improved and built upon for years to come. Well then. I rest my case.




Well then, those were our views, what do you think, reader?





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Mr Macintosh

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#2 Posted 15 September 2011 - 10:37 AM

To me they have improved it enough to keep up people not minding its the same engine, I haven't heard anyone complain about graphics in recent source games, Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 are as good graphically and technically as any game currently thats out at the moment.

I think Source has some life still in it... maybe even some... Half....Life in it! lolololololol



G-Man Personal Aid

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#3 Posted 15 September 2011 - 02:33 PM

Stick with Source, it looks great and it plays great.

And maybe, they are already building a new engine for Episode 3... Who knows...



Prowler

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#4 Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:28 PM

What really makes a new engine? In all of the coding classes I have taken so far I have been taught that it is a bad idea to reinvent the wheel. Code should be reused where ever possible. I strongly doubt that many engines are really built from scratch. I am sure it is more a marketing thing to make people think more work is going into a game. That is not to say that a lot of the code is reused. I just think people are too obsessed with new engines.

I also hate how better graphics are always the reason for a new engine. Looking at mods like DarkPlaces for Quake and New Vision for Deus Ex I find it hard to believe better graphics are worth making a whole new engine. Another thing to look at is the fact that most modern engines are probably modular. It is hard to picture game developers not dividing up their code which is another basic programing concept. Game engines are a sum of many parts. Graphics are just one of these parts. There are many other places where Source is falling behind.

Source is falling behind in other areas like using brush based levels that require props for detail. New engines not only have better level designing methods but let the user create their levels in engine and not have to recompile their maps all the time. The same can be said about the lack of scripting support. Many engines are moving away from coding and use scripting. This also allows the user to preview changes live in engine. In an interview in May Robin Walker claims there are just as many people working on new tools and improvements for Source than are working on other project. Only time will reveal if Valve will call this a new engine.
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I am a Lie

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#5 Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:14 PM

I hear all these people saying that the source engine is showing it's age or looks like shit, they either must be playing a completely different game than me or have the graphics turned down really low. Each new version of the source engine looks great and I don't think they need to do anything different than what they've been doing.
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Mr Macintosh

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#6 Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:18 PM

Also do you purposely make the most hideous new post images urrrrggghhhh



I am a Lie

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#7 Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:33 PM

No, it's either me being lazy so that I can get the news post up as soon as possible (in case I'm at work and suddenly get a call) or my lack of photo editing skills.
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Hupsakee!

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#8 Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:37 PM

You're the best scapegoat ever, Cake.
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I am a Lie

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#9 Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:39 PM

I hate you all
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Sex bomb

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#10 Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:49 PM

idTech5 will only be used by Bethesda and other Zenimax subsidiaries. It's not going to be a licensable engine.
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Gordon Freeman's Personal Aid

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#11 Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:32 PM

Man I've missed you retards. Let's go be retards together!

I'm of the mind that they're doing quite well upgrading source as they go. Sure it is still based on a lot of older engine concepts, but it still does quite well.

However I would love to see them remake some aspects of the engine. Tech 5 looks to have some pretty powerful tools when it comes to making game content... stuff like that would be nice and probably help modders out quite a bit.



Fanboy Extraordinaire

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#12 Posted 15 September 2011 - 07:06 PM

I would love to weigh in on this in detail but I honestly have no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to coding a game engine. All I know is what looks good and what doesn't, and I think Source still looks good if a little too familiar/plain in comparison to the cinematic feel a lot of other games are taking on. Back when MGS and MGS2 were cutting edge the epic cutscenes and gritty effects were relatively unique in games. Now I feel like the Call of Duty generation have come to expect that out of every game released. Valve at least seems to still gear their games/engine towards the old school crowd who like playing games instead of paying $60 for some awesome pre-rendered cutscenes.
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Lolicopter Pilot

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#13 Posted 15 September 2011 - 08:32 PM

I thought Portal 2 looked fantastic.

The code that was used to make the gel appear fluid was cool.
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Sex bomb

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#14 Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:13 PM

Portal 2 was Loading Screen: The Game.
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Mr Macintosh

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#15 Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:18 PM

View PostEl Inspector, on 15 September 2011 - 10:13 PM, said:

Portal 2 was Loading Screen: The Game.

I think that was for the consoles benefit, other wise I think valve would have made longer levels between load times. Wish a valve game had streaming of levels, I remember the ones in hl2 were annoying.

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