Valve has just revealed Source 2, a new, more powerful game engine, at Game Developers Conference 2015.
“With Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity,” said Jay Stelly of Valve in a press release today. “Given how important user generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not just for the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favorite games.”
Valve announced that Source 2 will be “available for free to content developers,” pointing to similar recent news about Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 and the Unity engine.
Valve also said there will be a special version of Source 2 that will be compatible with Vulkan, a “cross-platform, cross-vendor 3D graphics API that allows games developers to get the most out of the latest graphics hardware.”
Vulkan is the new generation, open standard API for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs. This ground-up design, previously referred to as the Next Generation OpenGL Initiative, provides applications direct control over GPU acceleration for maximized performance and predictability.
Gabe Newell said: “Industry standard APIs like Vulkan are a critical part of enabling developers to bring the best possible experience to customers on multiple platforms. Valve and the other Khronos members are working hard to ensure that this high-performance graphics interface is made available as widely as possible and we view it as a critical component of SteamOS and future Valve games.”
Some of the features of Vulkan are:
- Direct control over GPU operation, with minimized driver overhead for maximum performance
- Multi-threading-friendly architecture to increase overall system performance
- Designed to be used in a wide variety of devices including mobile, desktop, consoles, and embedded platforms
- Uses Khronos’ new SPIR-V™ intermediate representation for shading language flexibility and simplified drivers
- Extensible layered architecture enables innovative tools without impacting production performance while validating, debugging, and profiling
- Simpler drivers for low-overhead efficiency and cross vendor portability