Where is Half-Life 3? No one knows, but hints are buried in the Source Filmmaker tool. Not to the game but the technology it will likely be built on: The next-generation of Valve’s engine Source.
Valve is evolving at a swift and unpredictable rate. Revelations about the enigmatic company abound in 2012. Following the leak of the video game developer, publisher, and Steam digital distribution runner’s employee handbook, a stream of beguiling announcements have come out of the company, ranging from its hiring a full-time economist to a shift to new operating systems.
Valve has been quiet about new games though. Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, its new multiplayer efforts, are on the way but both are evolutions of existing games, not the sort of groundbreaking events that the company built its reputation on. As always, the question on everyone’s mind is: Where is Half-Life 3?
That question is loaded though, not just asking after the sequel to a popular and beloved entry in the gaming canon but inquiring as to the state of Valve’s new ideas in game design. Half-Life 2 changed both how physics are implemented in video games and how they are distributed to the masses. Half-Life 3 is shorthand for the company’s next-generation of technology in many people’s minds. Now it has a new name: Source 2.
Valvetime.net has uncovered numerous lines of code in the Source Filmmaker’s script files referencing Source 2, a successor to the company’s now 8-year-old Source engine that first went into service with Counter Strike: Source and Half-Life 2.
Line 1387 of the referenced file path in Valvetime’s post reads:
Return an str with the current engine version.
If key doesn’t exist, assume “Source”, otherwise invalid—assume next-gen “Source 2”.
There are, sadly, no direct references to Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3 buried in the code. Since Half-Life is the usual showcase for Valve’s new technology however, it’s safe to assume that Source 2 and Gordon Freeman’s continuing adventures will go hand in hand.
Valve is gathering resources. As referenced earlier, the company hired Yanis Varoufarkis as its in-house economist to advise on how to regulate, study, and aid the trade of user-made goods in Steam. Linux, the open-source operating system, is also new territory Valve is expanding into with a Steam client and ports of Source-based games like Left 4 Dead 2. This is a video game company though, and even as it prepares for an era when cutting edge technology doesn’t drive the market, it’s still looking to create the most technologically advanced tools.
Expect to hear more about Source 2 in the very near future.
Pictured: Half-Life 3 concept art.