Valve has just pushed out new Workshop Tools for Dota 2, but while that in itself might not thrill you, this could be a trojan horse for something much, much bigger.
A bunch of modders have been sifting through the new tools and have discovered that the code is significantly different - so much so they believe this is a soft-launch for Valve's anticipated Source 2 engine.
The new tools' high system requirements - a 64-bit version of Windows, Direct X 11 compatible graphics cards - were the first clue, but further digging has revealed many more changes which suggest the game has been shifted to the new engine.
"Everything in this package is a new game," wrote RoyAwesome on Reddit. "It's all the Dota assets and code ported over to Source 2. That's why Hammer is different. That's why the console is different."
He later added: "The general consensus around the Source reverse engineering community is that this is really Source 2."
Source 2 is expected to be the foundation on which possible future titles, including Left 4 Dead 3, would be built on. So you can understand why we're more than a little excited.
Hype hype hype
All .dll files have now been renamed with an added "2" (engine2.dll, vphysics2.dll) and one Redditor pointed out a reference to "Source 2" in the program file path itself.
A rumour from earlier this year claimed that Valve would launch Source Engine 2 alongside its Steam Machines, some of which were meant to be available by now.
With the Machines getting pushed back to 2015, it's possible that Valve is ploughing ahead with Source 2 regardless. However there's been no confirmation from above, so we can't fully verift that this is definitely the new engine.
It's expected that Valve is preparing Left 4 Dead 3 to launch with Source 2 when it arrives in its full-fat form, and needless to say, this latest news will get the Half-Life 3 speculation firing up again. All aboard the hype train.
- Hands on with Valve's Steam Machine controller
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