It's no secret that Valve is working on a next-gen version of its Source engine. Some Source 2 screenshots leaked out about a month ago, and they showed a marked improvement in visual quality—but that's not all that in store, as Valve's Gabe Newell himself revealed during a reddit AMA yesterday.
Newell was asked "What improvements will we see out of the Source 2 engine?" He replied:
The biggest improvements will be in increasing productivity of content creation. That focus is driven by the importance we see UGC having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won't work if users themselves have to create content.
UGC stands, I believe, for "user-generated content." In short, Newell is saying that Source 2 will be tuned for modders. Valve has always gone out of its way to support modding with Source games, and it's good to hear that will continue. Modders won't be the only ones to benefit—we PC gamers also stand to gain from an active modding scene.
In addition to Source 2, Steam machines were brought up in the AMA. Newell gave perhaps the most concise sales pitch for the new systems:
We see Steam Machines (along with SteamOS and the Steam Controller) as a service update to Steam, porting the experience to a new room in the house. As we've been working on it, we've focused first on the customers who already love Steam and its games. They've told us they're tired of giving up all the stuff they love when they sit in the living room, so it seemed valuable to fix that.
Newell also responded "Probably" when asked if Linux would become "not only be the future of gaming, but also the future of desktop?" I'm not sure I agree with him, but then again, Newell's enthusiasm for Linux has been known for quite some time. I wonder if this means the Source 2 modding tools will be available for that platform, too. (Thanks to Rock, Paper, Shotgun for the link.)