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Other namesGoldSource, Half-Life Engine
Developer(s)Valve, id Software
Written inC, C++
PredecessorQuake Engine
SuccessorSource Engine

GoldSrc (/ˈɡldsɔːrs/ GOHLD-sorss) is a proprietary game engine developed by Valve. At its core, GoldSrc is a heavily modified version of id Software's Quake engine. It originally made its debut in 1998 with Half-Life, and would power future games developed by or with oversight from Valve, including Half-Life's expansions, Day of Defeat, and multiple games in the Counter-Strike series.

GoldSrc was succeeded by the Source engine with the releases of Half-Life: Source, Half-Life 2, and Counter-Strike: Source in 2004. However, Valve continues to support the engine with periodic updates[when?].


The basis of GoldSrc is the engine used in the video game Quake, albeit with heavy modification by Valve. While the engine served as the basis for GoldSrc, Gabe Newell has stated that a majority of the code used in the engine was created by Valve themselves. GoldSrc's artificial intelligence systems, for example, were essentially made from scratch.[1] The engine also reuses code from other games in the Quake series, including QuakeWorld and Quake II, but this reuse is minimal in comparison to that of the original Quake.[2]

In 1997, Valve hired Ben Morris and acquired Worldcraft, a tool for creating custom Quake maps.[3] The tool was later renamed to Valve Hammer Editor and became the official mapping tool for GoldSrc. The engine supports skeletal animation, which allowed for more realistic body kinematics and facial expression animations than most other engines at the time of release.[4]

Prior to the creation of the Source engine, the GoldSrc engine had no real title and was simply called "The Half-Life engine". When the need arose for Valve to work on the engine without risking introducing bugs into Half-Life's codebase, Valve forked the code from the Half-Life engine, creating two main engine branches: one gold master branch titled "GoldSrc" and the other "Src". Internally, any games using the original branch were referred to as "Goldsource" in order to differentiate it from the second branch, which evolved into the Source engine. Eventually, "GoldSrc" became something of a moniker for the engine and was adopted as the official title externally.[5]

Valve released versions of the GoldSrc engine for OS X and Linux in 2013, eventually porting all of their first-party games utilizing the engine to the platforms by the end of the year.[6][7]


Half-Life series[edit]

Half-Life was Valve's debut title and the first to use GoldSrc. It received critical acclaim, winning over fifty PC Game of the Year awards.[8] The game was followed up with two expansions, Half-Life: Opposing Force and Half-Life: Blue Shift, both of which ran GoldSrc and were developed by Gearbox Software.[9][10] Half-Life: Decay, an expansion pack for Half-Life only released on PlayStation 2, was released in 2001 alongside Half-Life's debut on the platform.[11] Unlike other games in the series, it never received an official version for Windows, however an unofficial version of the game was released by independent developers in 2008.[12][13][14] Half-Life: Decay was the final iteration in the Half-Life series to run on GoldSrc, with all future entries in the series using the Source and Source 2 engines.[15][16]

Other Valve games[edit]

Valve developed several games using the GoldSrc engine, many of which were based on original user-made modifications. Valve's Team Fortress Classic, released in 1999, was developed primarily by two of the developers of the Quake mod Team Fortress.[17] Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat were also originally Half-Life modifications that Valve purchased the rights to and re-released as standalone titles.[18][19] Counter-Strike evolved into its own series with the debut of the Japanese arcade game Counter-Strike Neo in 2003[20] and Valve's own follow-up in 2004, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, both of which run on the GoldSrc engine.[21][22] Although Valve's further instalments in the series starting with Counter-Strike: Source use the newer Source engine instead, Counter-Strike Online and Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies, two spinoff titles released by Nexon in 2008 and 2014 respectively, utilize GoldSrc as their basis.

Third-party games and modifications[edit]

The GoldSrc engine was also used for a variety of third-party games and modifications not directly developed by Valve. Rewolf Software used the engine for the game Gunman Chronicles in 2000, and the PC version of James Bond 007: Nightfire was developed by Gearbox Software using a modified version of GoldSrc in 2002.[23][24][25]

Unofficial, community-made modifications of GoldSrc have also been produced. Notable games include Natural Selection, Cry of Fear and Sven Co-op, with Valve's Team Fortress Classic, Counter-Strike, and Day of Defeat all being based on GoldSrc mods of the same names. Cry of Fear and Sven Co-op have since been released for free as standalone games on Steam.

Games using GoldSrc[edit]

Year Title Developer(s) Publisher(s)
1998 Half-Life Valve Sierra Entertainment, Valve (digital)
1999 Half-Life: Opposing Force Gearbox, Valve
Team Fortress Classic Valve Valve, Sierra Entertainment (digital)
Sven Co-op Sven Co-op team Sven Co-op team
2000 Counter-Strike Valve Sierra Entertainment
Gunman Chronicles Rewolf Entertainment Sierra Entertainment
Ricochet Valve Valve
2001 Deathmatch Classic
Half-Life: Blue Shift Gearbox, Valve Sierra Entertainment, Valve (digital)
Half-Life: Decay Gearbox Sierra Entertainment
2002 James Bond 007: Nightfire Eurocom, Gearbox Electronic Arts
2003 Day of Defeat Valve Activision, Valve (digital)
Counter-Strike Neo Namco Namco
2004 Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Valve, Ritual Entertainment, Gearbox, Turtle Rock Studios Sierra Entertainment, Valve (digital)
2008 Counter-Strike Online Valve, Nexon Nexon
2013 Cry of Fear Team Psykskallar Team Psykskallar
2014 Counter-Strike Nexon: Studio Valve, Nexon Nexon


  1. '^ Bokitch, Chris (1 August 2002). "Half-Lifes Code Basis". Valve. Archived from the original on 1 March 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  2. ^ Newell, Gabe (1999). "Half Life: Interview With Gabe Newell". GameSpot UK. Archived from the original on 23 July 2001. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
  3. ^ "Valve Press Release". Valve. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Modeling and Animating for Half-Life (Interactive Graphics Lecture 22 notes, Professor Denis Zorn)" (PDF). NYU Math Dept. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  5. ^ Johnson, Erik (1 September 2005). "Talk:Erik Johnson". Valve Developer Community. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Counter-Strike 1.6 Beta released". Valve. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  7. ^ McWhertor, Michael (25 January 2013). "Valve releases original Half-Life for Mac and Linux". Polygon. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  8. ^ "Awards and Honors". Valve. Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Half-Life Expands". IGN. 15 April 1999. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  10. ^ Trueman, Doug (30 August 2000). "DC Half-Life Includes Blue Shift". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  11. ^ C. Perry, Douglass; Zdyrko, Dave; Smith, David (19 September 2001). "Half-Life Preview". IGN. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  12. ^ "Half-Life: Decay - Valve Developer Community". Valve. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  13. ^ Dzhura, Vyacheslav; Zhatov, Denis. "PC:Decay". Dimension Force. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  14. ^ Hoaxer. "ModDB Half-Life Decay". ModDB. ModDB. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  15. ^ Butts, Steve (8 May 2003). "Half-Life 2 Preview". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  16. ^ Machkovech, Sam (22 January 2020). "Valve opens up about Half-Life: Alyx, Source 2 engine on Reddit". Ars Technica. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  17. ^ Craddock, David (16 March 2018). "Threading the Needle: The Making of Quake Team Fortress". Shacknews. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  18. ^ Wolfe, Clayton (22 November 2000). "Counter-Strike". IGN. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  19. ^ "Valve signs with Activision, exclusive Day of Defeat screens". GameSpot. 4 April 2003. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014. The first Valve game to be released through Activision will be Day of Defeat, a Half-Life-powered first-person shooter set in World War II.
  20. ^ "ナムコ、「カウンターストライク ネオ」のβテストを実施" (in Japanese). GAME Watch. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  21. ^ Kasavin, Greg (25 March 2002). "Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Preview". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  22. ^ "ナムコ、「Counter-Strike NEO Ver.2」を今夏に全国展開新コンソールデザインを発表 βテストは今春を予定" (in Japanese). GAME Watch. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  23. ^ Varanini, Giancarlo (1 September 2000). "Sierra Unveils Gunman Chronicles". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  24. ^ Blevins, Tal (4 December 2000). "Gunman Chronicles". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  25. ^ Ajami, Amer (18 July 2002). "James Bond 007: NightFire Preview". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 25 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.