We didn’t get Half-Life 3 (no surprise there), but Valve did have quite a bit to announce at this year’s Game Developers Conference.
Arguably the biggest news of the week so far is Valve’s announcement of the Source 2 engine, which will replace the Source engine that Valve has used since Half-Life 2.
The focus of Source 2 will be increasing creator productivity, lowering the barrier of entry for user generated content. Source 2 will be free to content developers, although Valve has not revealed if there are royalties involved like Epic’s Unreal Engine.
A version of Source 2 will also be Vulkan compatible. Vulkan is a cross-platform graphics API that’s meant to compete with Microsoft’s DirectX. It’s part of Valve’s larger mission of pushing the PC gaming community away from Windows and towards Linux.
Steam-powered PC/console hybrids from Alienware, Falcon Northwest, and a dozen other partners will be released this November. Baseline Steam Machines will be priced around the same as the current consoles, but according to Valve, will offer much higher performance.
Steam Link is a standalone device that will act as a mini-Steam Machine. It will basically allow you to stream Steam content from any PC or Steam Machine on the same home network at 1080p, 60Hz, with low latency. It will also be available in November, priced at $49.99, or bundled with a Steam Controller for $100.
Vive VR Headset
Valve has been demoing the VR headset they are working on with HTC. Developer versions of the device will be available as early as this spring, with consumer models available by the end of the year.
Valve also elaborated on the tech behind the device. They’ve been working on a room scale tracking system they’ve codenamed “Lighthouse,” that will reportedly allow for high resolution, high speed tracking. Interestingly, Lighthouse will be made freely available to any hardware manufacturers interested in the technology, and considering it is compatible with TVs, monitors, headsets, mobile devices, and more, I’m sure many companies will take them up on that offer.