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Source 2

Source 2
Initial release2015; 9 years ago (2015)
Written inC++

Source 2 is a video game engine developed by Valve. The engine was announced in 2015 as the successor to the original Source engine, with the first game to use it, Dota 2, being ported from Source that same year. Other Valve games, such as Artifact, Dota Underlords, Half-Life: Alyx, and Counter-Strike 2, have been produced with the engine.


Plans for a successor to the original Source engine began following the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two in 2007.[1][2] The first engine tech demo was created in 2010 by remaking a map from Left 4 Dead 2.[2] Images of this were leaked onto the internet in early 2014.[3] At the 2014 Game Developers Conference, Valve employee Sergiy Migdalskiy showed off a Source 2 physics debugging tool being used in Left 4 Dead 2.[4] Source 2 was first made available via Steam Workshop tools for Dota 2 in 2014 prior to it being officially announced at the 2015 Game Developers Conference.[5] There, Valve stated their intent for it was to allow for content to be created more efficiently.[1][6][7][8] Valve also stated that it would support the Vulkan graphics API and use a new in-house physics engine called Rubikon, which would replace the need for the third-party Havok tools.[4][9][10]

Gabe Newell, president and founder of Valve, said that the company were prioritizing the development of their own games before they would release the engine and its software development kit to the public as a means of ensuring the highest quality for developers; adding that they were intending to make the engine free to use for game developers as long as the game is published on their Steam service.[5][11][12]

In June 2015, Valve announced that the entirety of Dota 2 would be ported over to Source 2 in an update called Dota 2 Reborn.[13][14][15][16] Reborn was first released to the public as an opt-in beta update that same month before officially replacing the original client in September 2015, making it the first game to use the engine.[17][18][19][20] Source 2 has also been used for Valve's Artifact and Dota Underlords, with the engine later being supported on Android and iOS for the latter.[21][22] The engine also supports the creation of games in virtual reality, being used in SteamVR Home, the Robot Repair tech demo within The Lab, and Half-Life: Alyx.[23][24] Source 2 tools made specifically for creating content for Half-Life: Alyx were released in May 2020.[25]


Year Game Developer Note(s)
2015 Dota 2 Valve Ported from Source; originally released in 2013
2016 Robot Repair A tech demo included within The Lab; the rest were created using the Unity engine[26]
2018 Artifact
2020 Dota Underlords Released in early access in 2019
Half-Life: Alyx Made for virtual reality headsets
2022 Aperture Desk Job Tech demo created for the Steam Deck[27]
2023 Counter-Strike 2 Port of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (2012)[28]
TBA Sandbox Facepunch Studios Stylized as S&box; development shifted from Unreal Engine to Source 2 in 2020[29]


  1. ^ a b Marks, Tom (March 23, 2020). "Valve Explains Why Half-Life 2: Episode 3 Was Never Made". IGN. Archived from the original on March 23, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Keighley, Geoff (2020). Half-Life: Alyx - Final Hours.
  3. ^ Phillips, Tom (January 28, 2014). "Source 2 images show next-gen Left 4 Dead 2 prototype - report". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on January 31, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Migdalskiy, Sergiy (April 14, 2014). "Physics for Game Programmers Debugging". Game Developers Conference. Archived from the original on April 22, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Kollar, Philip (March 3, 2015). "Valve announces Source 2 engine, free for developers". Polygon. Archived from the original on March 5, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  6. ^ Walker, John (November 11, 2012). "Gabe Newell Might Have Announced Source 2, Possibly". Rock Paper Shotgun. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Mahardy, Mike (March 3, 2015). "GDC 2015: Valve Announces Source 2 Engine". IGN. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  8. ^ McKeand, Kirk (March 2, 2017). "Gabe Newell on Source 2: 'For us, it's useful. For other devs, it's not as useful as Unity'". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on July 23, 2020. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  9. ^ Mahardy, Mike (March 3, 2015). "GDC 2015: Valve Announces Source 2 Engine". IGN. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  10. ^ Migdalskiy, Sergiy (March 2015). "Physics for Game Developers: Physics Optimization Strategies" (PDF). Game Developers Conference. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  11. ^ Zacny, Rob (February 16, 2016). "Khronos and Valve reveal details of Vulkan API, show Dota 2 running in Source 2 on Intel integrated graphics". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on March 7, 2015. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  12. ^ Savage, Phil (March 5, 2015). "Source 2 will be free; won't ask for royalties". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on April 25, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  13. ^ Anthony, Sebastian (August 8, 2014). "Valve quietly releases Source 2 engine, Source 2 version of Dota 2, and new Hammer map editor". ExtremeTech. Archived from the original on August 9, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  14. ^ Plaugic, Lizzie (June 13, 2015). "Dota 2 is getting overhauled with a new game engine". The Verge. Archived from the original on April 22, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Martin, Michael (June 13, 2015). "Valve Announces Dota 2 Reborn". IGN. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  16. ^ Macy, Seth (September 9, 2015). "Dota 2 Now Valve's First Ever Source 2 Game". IGN. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  17. ^ Nunneley, Stephany (June 13, 2015). "Dota 2 being revamped with Source 2 engine and upgraded DotaTV experience". VG247. Archived from the original on April 22, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  18. ^ Boudreau, Ian (June 13, 2015). "Dota 2 Will Update To Source 2 Engine Soon, Valve Says". GameRanx. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  19. ^ Livingston, Christopher (June 12, 2015). "Valve announces Dota 2 Reborn, new engine coming". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on June 15, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
  20. ^ Macy, Seth (September 9, 2015). "Dota 2 Now Valve's First Ever Source 2 Game". IGN. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  21. ^ Bailey, Dustin (March 8, 2018). "Artifact will use Source 2, bringing the engine to iOS and Android". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on March 9, 2018. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  22. ^ McWhertor, Michael (June 13, 2019). "Valve's Auto Chess competitor is Dota Underlords". Polygon. Archived from the original on June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  23. ^ Heaney, David (March 25, 2020). "Half-Life: Alyx Highlights Valve's Powerhouse Physics Engine". UploadVR. Archived from the original on July 23, 2020. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  24. ^ Hollister, Sean (November 21, 2019). "Half-Life: Alyx is officially coming March 2020, and here's your first look". The Verge. Archived from the original on November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  25. ^ Fenlon, Wes (May 15, 2020). "Half-Life: Alyx now has Steam Workshop support and official mod tools". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on May 17, 2020. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  26. ^ James, Paul (June 2, 2016). "Valve Releases 'The Lab' Unity Renderer for Free". RoadToVR. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
  27. ^ Werner, Adrian (March 2, 2022). "While It's Not Portal 3, Valve's New Game Collects Accolades". Gamepressure. Archived from the original on March 3, 2022. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  28. ^ Roth, Emma; Clark, Mitchell; Hollister, Sean (March 22, 2023). "Valve announces Counter-Strike 2, a free replacement for CS:GO". The Verge. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  29. ^ Newman, Garry (October 27, 2020). "New Engine". Facepunch. Archived from the original on January 19, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2022.

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