I would like to see more implementation of 'cinematic physics' (opening sequence in P2, bridge collapsing in EP2, the destruction of ancients in Dota2). I could be wrong, but I'm assuming the simulation of scenes that utilize this are done outside of Source, in what program I am not sure. Whether I'm wrong about that or not, I'd like to see it become a feature of the new engine, or at least have the creation of these scenes be a more streamlined process with the new engine. In my untrained mind, precomputed physics seems like an awesome way to add depth to any 3D environment, and I'm not sure why they didn't use it more to spruce up their more modern games. I mean, once the 'cinematic physics' scene is activated, the computer is simply running through precomputed numbers as to the position of the 3d models involved in that scene, right? I'd imagine the biggest demand from the scenes on the player's PC is the sheer number of 3d objects on screen. But even if you scaled the number of 'particles' down, it'd still breathe life into a relatively static environment.
In regards to these physics scenes, I'd also like to see Source 2 allow players to be thrown into the thick of the action. I'd like to have not only the visual representation of debris flying everywhere, but a collision mesh, as it were, that when intersected by the player, either kills them, hurts them, or knocks them to the ground. If this were the case, bomb explosions in CS:GO would be more interesting. Sure, if you are close to the blast the concussive force would put your lights out, but how cool would it be to retreat to T-Spawn and think you're safe, only to have a flaming piece of crate rain down from the sky and annihilate you? And if these scenes are as easy (given a decent amount of skill in hammer, of course) to construct, possibly many different scenes could be chosen from depending on where the bomb is planted on a given site.
More generally, I would like to see Valve find ways for the characters that inhabit their worlds to interact with said world in more realistic ways, whether that's the danger of being decimated from stray debris from a realistic bomb explosion (imagine the whole wall between mid and CT spawn on Dust 2 being blown out and burying you underneath its rubble), or a character model looking like he's actually walking up stairs when he does so in the game. The shaders and brushwork (again, given a decent skill level in hammer) of the Source engine, really, I think are fine. What needs to improve is the interaction between characters and their environment as a whole.
decided to ask the ask the OBM guys what they would want that could speed up development. they said and i quote "Functioning properly" Kind of sad how that's a big reason so many interesting mods are taking such a long time to be developed.
As I mentioned in this thread a while back, the feature I most want to see in Source 2 (from a player standpoint) is dynamic map loading. That is, you could be playing a level, and as you progress through the stage, the game is consistently loading the next map, effectively eliminating load screens all together (aside from one single load screen upon booting up the game).
The quirky little Unreal Engine-powered game Quantum Conundrum pulled off this type of dynamic loading, but it was so poorly optimized that transition levels were often reduced to single-digit framerates.
I know it's unlikely because cloth is one of the most notoriously difficult-to-program materials in the entire industry, but I'm hoping that Source 2 can pull off some cool stuff with more realistic clothes and fabric - billowing curtains, outfits that aren't textures on a model that tuck and crease and fold with a character's movements, scraps of cloth blowing about in the environment... It'd be really impressive if they pulled it off well and developed some special tool to work with fabric, given its aforementioned infamy, and I think it'd be a nice touch that would add believability even to stylized titles. Imagine how neat of a detail it would be to see the hood of Alyx's sweatshirt flopping around as she runs, or to have the hem of a L4D character's unzipped jacket splay out on the ground behind them when they're incapacitated.
In the same vein, I think improved hair textures would be cool, too. I'm pretty sure Caroline is the only Valve character with long, loose hair (and she doesn't even have a model) and I think that's probably because hair is hard to model and having all your characters wear it short or tied up is just simpler. But even so, Alyx, Chell, Zoey, Rochelle, and Mossman all have fairly long hair that's tied up or held back in some way, and it sits on their heads pretty stiffly - there's little motion or slight shifting, like you'd see in real life with someone wearing a ponytail.
It'd be interesting if environments were a little more destructible, too - like a Portal game where falling from a certain height or with enough velocity and landing on the long-fall boots would crack the floor a bit. Or more realistic body physics - Tanks whose muscles ripple when they punch something, Half Life enemies whose skulls crack or faces open up when you smack them with the crowbar and whose corpses retain those injuries, instead of just falling to the ground as a blood texture sprays about for a bit... or surfaces with more detail and texture (in the physical sense, not the programming one) where individual bricks or wooden planks or stones are modeled and cast slight shadows... Dynamic lighting improvements would be great, too, but considering how much they've worked on that in Source over the past ten years that's probably a given.
Most of mine really just have to do with additional details to motion and modeling that would make it feel less like a stiff video game world and more like the real one, I guess. I also agree with a lot of stuff already mentioned here - dynamic map loading and better interaction with the world from NPCs would both be fantastic.
"In all seriousness, there's actually not much I could think of as primarily a level designer. Hammer works very well and everything is generally organized and good for workflow. Stuff like a real-time 3D view would be nice (or at least a more accurate lighting preview mode), but if the next engine remains BSP I'm not sure how likely that is. Having to wait a couple minutes to see small changes in lighting can get old pretty quickly and take up a lot of time. An If/Else type of system would also compliment the I/O system incredibly nicely instead of dealing with 15 different entities. Keywording models, as well as the ability to flip and scale them, skewing textures, tons more keyboard shortcuts (I dream of the day when I can place a specific entity with just a keypress)...
I could basically come up with a wishlist of neat features, but as far as general productivity goes I really can't think of much that's reasonable. I do think if they gave us better GUI-based tools included with the SDK instead of having to find third-party replacements (like VTFEdit), it could save a considerable amount of time.
OH, and if a "Propper" type system existed natively and wasn't so wonky, that'd be pretty great."
next I'm going to see if i can get an answer from the BMS guys on what they want changed, the guys from wilson chronicles as well after that hopefully.
I'm not a tech whiz, but the GoldSrc scene was world changing for amateur developers and modders.
Yet I've heard nothing but nightmares from day one about the Source engine, which was particularly disappointing.
I'd like them to not fail their mod communities this time. You listening, Valve? Please. There's a reason the games you greenlight more often use platforms like Unreal Tech than your own in house game engine.
EA, Crytek and Epic are rather organized with their engine builds, always having dedicated teams devoted to updating their pipline/tech between iterations. Valve firing the guy that was supposed to fix the hammer editor woes says alot about Valve's priorities on Hammer editor.
I will laugh if Source 2 "SDK" is basically authoring tools.
A decent full SDK is the only thing I care about. One would expect the new engine to be some what of an improvement over whatever we have now, so that is a given. When Valve were first pushing Source, there was a period of exciting optimism from them about creating a better base for modding than ever before. We had the free Softimage release, and beta tools that came out before Half-Life 2 did.
The problem came when Valve's own plans for the engine outpaced the toolset by a wide margin. Ultimately it came down to updates being too time costly for Valve to create at the rate they were releasing major engine updates, and major changes to the file structure which have crushed the old toolset entirely. The Source SDK of 2013 is held together with duct tape and string.
What I want to see is Valve learning from the past, and creating a toolset and file structure that is resistant to major overhauls.
Part of me is afraid that total conversions of a full code base aren't in Valve's vision for the future, and any future tools will be limited to the creation of individual assets instead of entire games. I really, really hope to be proven wrong.