As we approach E3, everyone’s talking about what the “big three” companies are up to. But we PC gamers are much more interested in a different kind of “big three” – the latest entries in the many impeccable series from Valve.
A reliable secret-agent-man from within Valve has told us a few interesting things in regards to the Source 2 engine. As has been hinted, rumored, and leaked over the past year or so Source 2 is in-fact in development and is powering such upcoming games (that also totally exist) as Left 4 Dead 3, Portal 3, and Half Life 3. No word on a possible Team Fortress 3, Dota 3, new IP, or Source 2 versions of other games coming from Valve, but with just these three huge sequels being made all at once we can look forward to a lot of great stuff from valve over a short period of time. It also lends more credence to the notion of a new Orange Box package being made available.
But the best bit of information we received is that we may not have to wait much longer to at least see these much-anticipated games. We have been told that Source 2 is nearing completion and that the current internal build of the engine at Valve Studios is at Beta #3. This is great news in-and-of-itself as it confirms that Valve is capable of making a third version of a thing, but more importantly it indicates that the engine could be ready for public consumption as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. That is if the original Source engine is anything to go by, as it had 5 betas before being released. This doesn’t mean that a new game running on the new engine will be out by then, but if development is this far along we are likely to see some exciting things from Valve through-out the rest of this year and into the next. This is especially true when you consider that Half-Life 2 will have its 10-year anniversary this November which is not expected to go un-celebrated.
Also, Source 2 is said to be “optimized for Nvidia cards”. Exactly what that means can only be confirmed with official details as it varies from game-to-game but it likely means that Source 2 games will take full advantage of Nvidia-exclusive technologies and rendering capabilities such as their enhanced versions of ambient occlusion, anti-aliasing, ray-tracing, stereoscopic 3D, and the PhysX engine. All this by using the power of Cuda-Core processing with support for SLI. Assassin’s Creed IV and the Batman: Arkham series are good examples of what Nvidia-optimized games can bring to Valve’s visuals.
Valve is not scheduled to have any sort of event at E3 this week, but there are some rumors floating around that they could drop some information as part of Sony’s (or someone else’s) conference. Of course, Valve could also simply make any announcement they want anytime by way of a banner ad on Steam which would be just as effective. But according to our information Valve is in talks to finally join E3 in 2015, which would no doubt be THE year for the company to flex its muscle and show off a slew of both software and hardware that are all aimed to “take over your living room” but might have the secondary effect of making Valve one of, if not the, most powerful company in the industry.