6781_sourceengine2conceptarthalf-life3Analysis: Valve and the Third Game

Yesterday Valve is reported to have launched their long-awaited Source 2 engine as part of the new DOTA 2 Workshop Tools. Valve isn’t confirming that this is actually Source 2 – but Steam and DOTA 2 communities are confident that is the case. Why is this important news?

Well it may not be. Let’s start this story from the beginning.

Valve Corporation was founded by long-time Microsoft employees Gaben Newell and Mike Harrington on August 24, 1996. Newell and Harrington privately funded Valve through the development of a little game called “Half-Life.”

“Half-Life” was developed using the Quake engine which featured real-time 3D renderings and was originally created for the 1996 game “Quake.” “Half-Life” was originally planned to be released late 1997, but was delayed till November 19, 1998. Valve later acquired TF Software PTY Ltd, the makers of a mod called “The Team Fortress Mod” for “Quake,” with the intent to create a stand-alone game titled “Team Fortress.”

gabe-newell“Half-Life” won over 50 Game of the Year awards. After the success of “Half-Life” a team led by Keiran Wright worked on mods, spin-offs, and sequels. They were built on a new engine called “Source Engine” developed by Valve.

It debuted in June 2004 with “Counter Strike: Source,” an updated version of the 2004 release “Counter-Strike” which previously ran on the GoldSrc engine, followed shortly by the highly anticipated sequel “Half-Life 2.” “Half-Life 2” earned 39 Game of the Year awards. Using the same Source engine Valve developed games “Portal” in 2007, “Left 4 Dead” in 2008, and a follow-up to a previously unsuccessful (by Valve standards) game “Day of Defeat” titled “Day of Defeat: Source.”

Here is a list of notable games Valve developed chronologically (not including mods/add-ons):

Half-Life (November 19,1998)
Team Fortress Classic (April 7, 1999)
Counter-Strike (November 8, 2000)
Day of Defeat (May 1, 2003) (Followed by “Day of Defeat: Source” in 2005)
Counter-Strike: Condition Zero (March 20, 2004)
Half-Life 2 (November 16, 2004) (Followed with “Half-Life 2: Episode 2”)
Team Fortress 2 (October 10, 2007)
Portal (October 10, 2007)
Left 4 Dead (November 18, 2008)
Left 4 Dead 2 (November 17, 2009)
Portal 2 (April 19, 2011)
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (August 21, 2012)
Dota 2 (July 9, 2013) (Sequel to “Defense of the Ancients” a mod for “Warcraft III”

valve-hints-at-half-life-3-gordon-half-life-3-logoValve is known for its support of games in the modding community, and have released many additions and mods to a lot of the franchises listed above. One other big thing they’re known for is Steam.

Steam is bigger than ever. It was developed back in 2002 (beta testing began in 2003) and is used as for digital distribution, rights management, and social networking. You can keep a game library on there and purchase several games digitally.

It’s become a popular joke amongst many gaming communities online about Valve not being able to produce a third game in each of their franchises. It seems like rumors float around the internet everyday about “Left 4 Dead 3,” “Team Fortress 3,” “Portal 3,” “DOTA 3,” but most importantly “Half-Life 3.”

Fan_pickets_HL3_gabeAt this point, it feels like there is a new “rumor” every day. This news about the Source Engine 2 is big though. In late 2012 Gaben Newell confirmed that Source 2 engine was under development and that Valve is “waiting for a game to roll it out with.”

January 2014 a Neogaf user known as CBOAT posted a leaked PowerPoint presentation showing multiple screenshots of the Source 2 engine. The screenshots show an updated version of the Plantation map from “Left 4 Dead 2” with enhanced lighting and shadows, improved foliage, and higher quality models.

The latest news occurred yesterday. Valve announced the alpha release of DOTA 2 Workshop Tools with the entirety of the game’s code and assets ported over to a new engine. Many speculate that this is a possible “soft” release of the Source 2 engine.

L4D2-2Again, nothing is confirmed. If you see anything on the internet that says “Half-Life 3 confirmed” it is a long running (and still very funny) joke.

Valve’s original games have all been very well received critically. Fans are dying for a third “Half-Life,” “Portal,” “Left 4 Dead” or anything. Will they get it? It’s obvious that Valve is listening, but they may be waiting for the right time, who knows if the development of this Source Engine 2 is that, or if we’ll just see more original games from them.

Either way we will play them. Valve Corporation, founded by a Harvard drop-out and his fellow Microsoft co-worker, took a major risk financially when they poured money into developing and producing their first game. “Half-Life” and its sequel were two of the best video games ever made.  Valve has made it into the history books with their Steam Engine and its distribution of video games. They’ve also made it in there for developing great video games. We can only hope to see the third game, eventually, but for now we got a nice collection of modern classics.