Friday, May 11, 2012

Black Mesa Source News

It's still alive! That's the big news. Black Mesa Source is a complete modification that is recreating Half Life 1 in the Half Life 2 source engine. The developers have been working on this mod since 2005, often with a dozen or so people working on the mod. Back in 2008 they released a trailer that looked fantastic and showed an expected release date of 2009. They didn't release Black Mesa Source in 2009 and since then most people assumed that mod had died, especially since news and updates for it ended sometime in 2009. Nathan Grayson Rock Paper Shotgun did an interview with the project lead of Black Mesa Source, Carlos Montero, earlier this week and he explained what has happened since then. Most importantly he explained that they are still working on the mod and they are hoping to have something out for it in the near future. Before I go over some of the really interesting parts of that interview let me show you the trailer that got everyone so hyped up for Black Mesa Source back in 2008.


Looks pretty spectacular right? Well they wanted to release the mod back in 2009, but they have had very many difficulties. There has been numerous problems with quality control, meaning parts of the mod were not up to snuff with the level of quality that other parts, so they have spent a long time trying to keep the quality of everything consistently high. They have also had problems with internal communication and dealing with their team of developers who are located all around the globe. In the interview Carlos explains that one of their biggest problems has had to do with balance. They've had to a lot of work trying to make Half Life 1 meet the modern standard and trying to keep make it not too challenging for modern gamers. According to him many gamers don't have the patience to work through difficult puzzles like they did back then, but I'm not sure how true that is. Look at Dark Souls or Legend of Grimrock, both of which require a great deal of patience from the player and are quite successful. If you want to see how the Black Mesa Source has been developing they have a nifty Time Line available that shows what has been publicly released for it. On that timeline it is interesting to see where they implemented their media blackout. Since 2009 they felt quite bad about hyping up the game and then not releasing it, so that's why they haven't been hyping it up anymore in anyway. Now that it's nearing release, again, we may start to see a lot more on it. 

Black Mesa Source has turned into something different than it originally intended to be. It's not quite a port, especially since Carlos explains in the interview that it is illegal to actually port it, but it is going to be a standalone game. He explained that it is going to be free, it will have 2,000 custom models, 5,000 custom textures, 6,500 lines of dialogue, 2,300 custom sounds, 2,000 scenes and a whole bunch of custom systems.  Everything about the game is re-designed from HL1 and made almost entirely from scratch. They originally started with a version of the source engine that would look quite dated, but they switched to a far newer version of the source engine in the middle of development. Does this shot look familiar? 

Black Mesa Source still doesn't have a solid release date and the only thing Carlos was willing to say, with some prodding by Nathan, was that they are working very hard on getting something out to fans soon-ish. Hopefully someday we will see the fruit of their labor and it will be a splendid trip back to Black Mesa and Half Life 1. The Rock Paper Shotgun interview has two parts and in it they cover a lot more than what I brought up. If you want to check out that in full head on to the links below to read it all. Thanks for checking this out. 
RPS Black Mesa Source Interview Part 1
RPS Black Mesa Source Interview Part 2
Black Mesa Main Website:

*All information taken from RPS interview and with permission. 
-Written by Sean Cargle


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