The content creation update that Valve Software released yesterday for the hugely popular DotA 2 has excited more than just MOBA map makers, as some tinkerers have discovered a bunch of new elements among the application files and libraries that suggests at least parts of it are from the next iteration of the Source Engine (thanks GI.biz
The news is being widely referred to as a "soft launch" of Source Engine 2, whatever that might mean, but Rust and Garry's Mod developer Gary Newman probably explains it better:
"The Source Engine is pretty modular," he told GamesIndustry.biz. "The components talk to each other through interfaces. It's possible to upgrade certain elements like physics, sound, GUI, renderer, engine without having to upgrade the entire engine.
"What we're seeing here could be Source 2, or it could be that a bunch of components from Source 2 have been backported. Either way it's kind of meaningless... If the game looks and plays the same what difference does it make?"
The new version of DotA 2 workshop tools reportedly has higher system requirements, necessitating DirextX 11 compliant graphics card and a 64 bit Windows install, but doesn't really showcase any amazing new features you would expect from a major version iteration. Enthusiasts over on Reddit
seem to be most excited about the improved modularity.
As with every small movement Valve makes, obligatory hopes of certain shooter sequels are being thrown around in anticipation. The developer will have some manner of presence at next week's GamesCom 2014, but whether they'll have anything to announce remains a mystery.