Valve's Source engine is eight years old, which makes me feel eighty years old, but the tech hasn't been in stasis since housing the bleak blocks of City-17. All of the iterations and updates may soon be a thing of the past though if the discoveries of the sleuths over at Valvetime.net are as intriguing as they seem. Eurogamer spotted that Valvetime spotted that the Source Filmmaker script files contain "60+ references" to Source 2, making it distinctly possible that the new engine will be here sooner rather than later.
'''Return an str with the current engine version. If key doesn't doesn't exist, assume 'Source', otherwise invalid -- assume next-gen 'Source 2'.'''
What's all that about then?
It's tempting to start shouting about games that end in a '3' but given Newell's recent words about operating systems, there's a good chance that the big story about Source 2 might include a shift to OpenGL rather than DirectX, making Linux, in Valve's eyes at least, the "next-gen" of PC gaming.
With the current version of Source considered, by Valve, to be a distinct entity from the first release in many ways, for any possible "next-gen" Source 2 to be a graphical update, no matter how significant, might be seen as a deviation from the company's previous philosophy concerning their engine. A change of focus to OpenGL and Linux seems like a much more fundamental generational change than new technology, which Valve has been providing for years without feeling the need to stick a number on the end of their engine.
The next chapter of Half Life, whether episode or sequel in name, is surely the natural choice to launch any possible Source 2 though, with Ricochet 2 not yet ready for the big stage. When Valve employees can send the internet into a fit of the vapours by wearing the wrong t-shirt in the right place, it's tempting to take any news that causes cries of HALF LIF3 with a slug-sapping dose of salt, but Valvetime's discoveries seem compelling and it's hard to imagine Source 2 without Half Life 3. Then again, it was hard to imagine the wait would ever be this long.
Source 2's timing could also fit with the arrival of the next generation of Playboxes or this whole thing could be the beginning of an ARG that reveals a teaser for the release date of the release date of a new Left 4 Dead map. It might even be incorrect to pin these coded references on "Valve" rather than Jimmy Gubbins, the cheeky intern. These are dangerous times. The Speculatron is spitting out gouts of unhealthy smoke and it's not even lunchtime.