Source SDK: Mastering the Source/What is Source?
Source, or the Source Software Development Kit(SDK), is a public accessible video game creation and editing program designed by Valve Corporation. It is the chief program used to develop all games made by Valve and many other mods. The Source SDK can be used to make maps for other video games that also use the Source Engine, or make stand-alone games. To date, over a dozen games run on the Source Engine, with many different companies using the program. The Source SDK is known for being the driving force behind many popular games, such as Half-life 2, Portal, Portal 2, Counter-Strike Global Offense, Garry's mod, and Team Fortress 2.
The Source SDK first found its spotlight in its debut with the launch of one of Valve's most famous titles, Half-Life 2. Half-Life 2, the sequel to the 1998 Thriller computer game Half-Life, was released in 2004 and was met with outstanding critical and personal acclaim. To date, Half-Life 2 is the highest selling FPS on the PC, even with 10 years under its belt. And Half-Life, which originally won the same title, is still trailing in the top 10s, even after 15 years. The Source SDK, and its primary application, the Hammer World Editor, was a prime example of ahead of it's time technology. The Hammer editor's amazing graphical abilities of the time, and its flawless performance on computers made it so beloved. Direct your attention to the images on the right, notice the face of Half-life 2's characters, and their deeply detailed facial design. Compare these graphics from Half-life 2 to the graphics of other popular games of 2004, the same year Half-life 2 was released. No doubt that the Source SDK's abilities are far superior to the others, a prime example of why the Source SDK is still used by thousands to date.
Pros and Cons
Though the Source SDK is a fantastic video game editing program, it comes with it's fair share of flaws that you should consider when making your choice for your ideal software development program, because they could "make or break" your decision to use Source.
- The Source SDK is highly acclaimed for it's easy-to-learn interface and creation tools that make it far simpler than most software development programs.
- Due to many games being created with the Source sdk, there are many outlets for you to exercise your creativity. The Source SDK currently runs on the following games, all of which sync with the Steam Workshop, allowing anyone to publish their own levels or weapons into the game: Garry's Mod, Day of Defeat Source, Portal 2, Counter-Strike, and most popularly Team Fortress 2.
- Though not in sync with the Steam Workshop, Steam also allows access to other versions of the Source SDK which are compatible with these following games: Left 4 Dead & Left 4 Dead 2, and Half-Life 2, Episode One & Episode Two. Since these games don't sync with the Steam Workshop, you can't directly upload your creations to the games, or to the gamers. However you can still upload to other sites, where people can download them and put them in the game themselves.
- Source is free to use and therefore available to anyone, and can be downloaded quick and easy in only a few minutes(provided you are a member of Steam, but in case you're not don't worry because Steam is also quick, easy, and free to join.)
- The Source SDK is known to have a number of glitches and bugs which have failed to be fixed by Valve Corporation, and will probably not be fixed anytime soon.
- Due to the Source SDK rarely being updated by Valve, the game has retained the same graphical abilities, and in-game speed performance that it had when it first debuted in 2004, which is considered fairly limited at this point. Making it's quality fairly obsolete to modern video game standards.
- Technically the Source SDK doesn't work on all games that use it. In order to make levels for a specific game you Must First: Purchase and Download the game via Steam. And Then: Use the specific version of the Source SDK designed for that game. But don't worry, all versions of the Source SDK are perfectly alike, meaning that "if you've learned one, you've learned them all."