Valve’s community is on fire about Source 2, and there are already a number of ways for users can tinker around with it if they know where to look.
Source 2 is the next version of Valve’s Source engine, and it’s an upgrade in many ways according to those who have seen the full suite of tools. For everyday users to try their hand at Source 2 and the Hammer editor, follow the instructions below. If players have never dug into the engine that powers Dota 2 and Half-Life: Alyx, here is a brief explanation of what Source 2 is and how players can download the Source 2 editor.
Both Source and Source 2 are game engines. Games need a way to move information from one place to another, render graphics, and receive instructions from players, and all Valve titles use some version of Source. There are even games outside of Valve that use Source, such as Apex: Legends. These engines come with Valve’s Hammer editor, a way for users to interact with the engine and create maps, mods, and new modes for Source titles. Just as is the case with other engines such as Unity and the Unreal Engine, games use the engine as a base and then build on top of them in order to create new content.
Valve has worked on the upgraded version of Source for years, but it wasn’t until Half-Life: Alyx’s release that map makers and modders understood just how much work Valve had done to the engine.
Valve’s popular first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been rumored to be due for an upgrade to Source 2 for some time now. So it’s no suprise that CSGO players in particular have been eager to get a better look at Source 2.
There are currently two ways players can get their hands on Source 2’s editing tools. The first way completely free since it uses the tools packaged with Valve’s MOBA Dota 2. Dota 2 is a free game and is available via Steam. Under its DLC tab, users will find a packaged set of Source 2 development tools, as well as examples and templates to get users started making their own content. Games such as PolyStrike, the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive mashup mod for Dota 2, have been built using this suite of tools. They’re great if players want to poke around or try their hand at creating a Dota 2 addon.
Step 1. Right-click Dota 2 in the Steam Library and select “Properties.”
Step 2. Click the DLC tab at the top of the window and make sure that “Dota 2 Workshop Tools” is checked. If it isn’t, users can check it and then exit the box. They will automatically begin downloading.
Step 3. Once downloaded, the tools can be found as a new option for Dota 2 called “Launch Dota 2 Tools.” It’s as easy as that.
Half-Life: Alyx’s tools released soon after the game, and they’ve seen improvements along the way in 2020. In order for players to get their hands on Alyx’s version, they’ll have to own the game itself. Once they do, it’s fairly easy to launch the Workshop tools. Users will go through the same process as above.
Step 1: Find Half-Life: Alyx in the Steam Library, right-click the entry, click “Properties,” and then select the DLC tab.
Step 2. Check the box next to Alyx’s Workshop tools, and then exit the properties window.
Steam will then begin to download the tools, and users can then play around with them simply by launching Alyx and selecting the tools from the two available options.
Here, players can either enable or disable virtual reality support in the editor and create their first addon. Valve has included a few different examples and templates, much like it did with CSGO’s development kit back in 2013.
Remember to save early and often, because Hammer may crash frequently. Without a full development kit available, players will have to make do with the options that come with both Dota 2 and Half-Life: Alyx, but they’re already proving to be an impressive suite of tools.