Last month, Valve released its Source Filmmaker application, allowing fans of Team Fortress 2 to create their own animated cut-scenes. Already, the Source Filmmaker YouTube page is brimming with community videos. Pretty cool, right?
Sure, but that may not be the most exciting part. Folks at the ValveTime forums say they've uncovered evidence of a successor to the Source engine inside the software's config files. One line stored inside an obscure Python file apparently states:
'''Return an str with the current engine version. If key doesn't doesn't exist, assume 'Source', otherwise invalid -- assume next-gen 'Source 2'.''
There are other "Source 2" references in other Source Filmmaker files, ValveTime adds. Also, according to Kotaku, Valve updated the Source Engine blurb on its website last September with the words, "And it's about to get even better." It doesn't get much more obvious than that.
Even more tantalizingly, another file tucked away in the Source Filmmaker directory hints at the next chapter in the Half-Life series. Note the "ep3" at the start of the file path in the following line:
somePropPath = content() / 'ep3/models/characters/alyx/maya/alyx_model.ma'
That's a likely reference to Half-Life 2: Episode Three, which has been in the pipeline since 2007—and which Valve mysteriously stopped talking about several years ago. It's starting to look like the company is quietly plugging away at the game using a next-gen version of the Source engine. It's too early to tell what's in store yet, but I hope next-gen graphics are in the mix.