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Valve reveals Source 2, free to all developers

Also shows off Steam Link, VR, Steam Machines and controller

Thirteen years after the release of the original Source, which gave rise to Half-Life 2, Portal, Garry's Mod, DOTA 2 and Titanfall, Valve has finally announced Source 2 - as well as the fact that it will be completely free.

"The value of a platform like the PC is how much it increases the productivity of those who use the platform. With Source 2, our focus is increasing creator productivity," said Valve's Jay Stelly. "Given how important user generated content is becoming, Source 2 is designed not for just the professional developer, but enabling gamers themselves to participate in the creation and development of their favourite games. We will be making Source 2 available for free to content developers. This combined with recent announcements by Epic and Unity will help continue the PCs dominance as the premiere content authoring platform."

As well as being free, Source 2 will also support the Vulkan graphical API.

Given that Half-Life 2 was a launch title for the original Source, speculation is naturally rife that the long-awaited Half-Life 3 will be announced soon, but don't hold your breath on that one - Valve is also busy with a few more announcements. First up was Steam Link - a streaming device which connects to TVs via HDMI and streams PC content at 1080p, 60fps. Operating via ethernet cable from the local network, Link should deliver a low-latency streaming experience which will be the natural evolution of Steam's existing big screen mode. Link will cost $49.99. Compatible with Link will be the company's forthcoming Steam controllers, which were also priced at $49.99 for the US.

On the VR front, Valve spoke briefly about its partnership with HTC, working on the Vive headset, but also announced an accompanying technologies: a tracking system called Lighthouse which will be integrated into Valve's headset.

"In order to have a high quality VR experience, you need high resolution, high speed tracking," said Valve's Alan Yates. "Lighthouse gives us the ability to do this for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices."

the Lighthouse technology, which may have been the small sensors which were embedded in the front of the Vive mock-ups shown earlier this week, will be freely shared with any hardware manufacturer which wishes to use it.

Lastly, there was more news on Steam Machines. New units from Alienware and Falcon Northwest are on display, with half a dozen more expected soon.

"We continue to see very strong growth in PC Gaming, with Steam growing 50% in the last 12 months," said Gabe Newell. "With these announcements we hope that we are helping build on that momentum."

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