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Black Mesa Nearing Completion, Trailer Released 103

Today, the Black Mesa Team released an impressive trailer for their remake of Half-Life . The remake is a total-conversion mod for Half-Life 2, bringing the updated graphics and AI of the Source engine to the original game. The team has been dropping hints lately that the project, which began in 2004, is almost done, and the trailer confirms that it will be out in 2009. They also recently announced that they've "dropped Counter-Strike: Source as a requirement for Black Mesa, and from now on, the only thing you'll need to play the mod is a Steam account with any Source engine game installed! Black Mesa is now running completely off of our own content and base Source shared content, and we felt the vastly increased user base more then [sic] justified creating all the extra assets needed to make this switch."
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Black Mesa Nearing Completion, Trailer Released

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    • Ok, they got me...

      I never made a steam account but I will for this mod. I've been waiting for this mod for ages now. This is definatly worth a few bucks.

      Half-Life 1 is in my books simply the best game ever made. From what I gathered this mod team has really put in a lot of effort in the remake. I say bring it on...

      I wish the modteam all the best in their future carreers, by the looks of it they just secured it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        You'll still have to buy something that uses the Source engine.
        • Re:One word! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @05:06AM (#25956971)
          Suggestion: The Orange Box is worth every cent.
          • even better - over Steam you can buy a package [] with all Valve games (including left 4 dead and one free pass of HL2, guest passes, etc..) for only $99.99 US. (gosh, I sound like 2am TV)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Or download a demo.

          The AC is right, of course -- Orange Box is worth it, or if you don't want to spend that much, Portal is absolutely worth it. But if, for some reason, you don't realize that yet, it'll probably work by downloading the Left 4 Dead demo, say.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Blimey85 ( 609949 )
            From what I've read the Left 4 Dead demo is no longer up. They pulled it so the servers could be used just for people who bought the game. Is that incorrect? I have Orange Box for my 360 but I don't have a legit copy for PC. Not really wanting to buy it a second time so I can play this mod, but from seeing the trailer, this mod looks pretty damn awesome so I'll end up buying something so I can play it.
            • After the full version was released, when I try to play the demo, I get a message that says "A locked copy of L4D demo has already been installed on your computer. Purchase it now and start playing immediately!"
              I bought the game, but I'm kind of disappointed in valve for doing that. They should just let people run their own demo servers. You'd think they'd want to keep the demo around to keep bringing in new players.
              • The demo still works fine on the 360.

              • Create a shortcut to "C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\left 4 dead demo\left4dead.exe" or whereever your l4d exe is stored, and you're back in business.

                I'm still not sure whether Valve simply goofed and locked out everyone by accident, or they purposely deactivated the demo on purpose.

          • Sorry, it doesn't work. You can download the mod and install it alright, but as soon as you try to run it you'll get a little message box telling you that you're not licensed to run source games.

            Why do you think Valve is so supportive of the mod community? To play source mods, you NEED to give them money.

          • The Left 4 Dead demo no longer exists. If you have it on your Steam account, Steam will insist you don't own it and will try to get you to purchase it (which is impossible since it's a demo).

            Also Source mods have NEVER been playable using a demo of a Source engine game. You need a full game, which will unlock the Source SDK Base (and Source SDK Base - Orange Box) which needs to be installed to play Source mods.

        • And make certain it doesn't generate any R6034 [] errors.

  • Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @04:24AM (#25956811)
    So, now they're going to get started on Opposing Force, right? ; )
  • As much as I hope this mod pulls off the feel of the original Half Life, I think an even bigger hope will be for the mod to be actually finished.

    Either way, I hope these guys get the recognition and financial success they deserve.

    • I agree. While I give them my emotional support ("Go, go, go!"), I can't be too excited until the mod is finished and released. Showing a trailer is nice and all, but if I can't play it, then the trailer is just a tease.

    • Either way, I hope these guys get the recognition and financial success they deserve.

      I agree. This has to be some kind of record in terms of the breadth of effort put into a mod. They apparently re-designed all the levels of a full game, re-created the models in higher resolution, added additional models, made new cut scenes (and I would think the HL style of cut scene where the player retains control are harder to do well), and did original voice acting. I've been reading their dev blog and it sounds like they've done some relatively low-level tweaking of the base game mechanics as well

  • Wow that's very impressive. I wouldn't be surprised, if this does well, that the modders might see a future in the game industry.
    • by bblount ( 976092 )
      No kidding. Judging by the quality of the media released so far, these guys really have what it takes. I am also very impressed with the opening score on their website. If only all games had music this good!
      • If the game is as good as the trailer led me to believe, I sure wouldn't mind paying for it. The Minerva mod for HL2 was also very high quality, for those that haven't seen it yet.
  • Legalities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @05:00AM (#25956961)

    Are they legally allowed to do this if Half-Life is still for sale and as Half-Life: Source exists?

    When we built a port of the original Teamfortress Valve came to us and made it quite clear we can't use the same set of weapons, names for classes and so forth because that would infringe on their IP even though all our assets and code were built by us from scratch. This was admittedly for a different, competing engine to Valve so I suppose it's slightly different and looking back I can imagine thus Valve probably weren't completely honest about what we could legally do.

    I'm suprised Valve are willing to allow this if it will risk the admittedly small sales of Half-Life they may still get or do they feel this will instead increase sales of newer source engine games?

    Of course the other question is how is this any different from Half-Life source?

    Still I don't want to detract too much from the achievement this is. Releasing a mod of this scale can truly be a time consuming task that requires a lot of effort and discipline and I have to congratulate them on reaching this point. I truly hope Valve don't waste their time with a last minute cease and desist!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pwolf ( 1016201 )
      you pretty much answered your own question... first off you were making a port for a competing engine, not using Source. Second, they were developing TF2 so why would they want someone else making a newer version of it on a different engine while they can make money off of theirs? I bet they haven't made a big deal about it because they had no plans to make a Half Life remake and the modders are using Source.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by pwolf ( 1016201 )
        sorry, let me rephrase slightly... Yes there is already "Half Life: Source" but it looks like the old version with updated textures and physics. I don't think they had plans to do a complete remake like TF.
        • Re:Legalities (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Barny ( 103770 ) <> on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @06:02AM (#25957231) Journal

          And with the original HL now for sale for less than a dollar on steam combined with the fact you will be paying a minimum of $10 to be able to play this (must own a "source" game already), I don't think Valve will mind at all, the fact this has gotten so far along without them nay-saying is likely a good sign.

          • And with the original HL now for sale for less than a dollar on steam...

            That was a 10th anniversary sale that only lasted for a few days. It's back up to 10 bucks now, and has been for a few weeks.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by andy9701 ( 112808 )

            Plus, I believe that this mod was originally called "Black Mesa Source" (hence the website URL), but Valve requested the name change so that it wouldn't be confused with an official project. If they didn't approve of the project at all, they would have just shut them down then instead of only requesting a name change.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Stormwatch ( 703920 )

      Are they legally allowed to do this if Half-Life is still for sale and as Half-Life: Source exists?

      Valve certainly knows this exists, and did not object to it; their only interference was requesting it not to be called Black Mesa: Source, as once planned, so people wouldn't think it is an official mod.

      Of course the other question is how is this any different from Half-Life source?

      Half-Life:Source took the original game and moved it to the Source engine. Same old models, same old levels, same old textures

    • Half-Life Source is the original half life maps, textures, models etc running on the new graphics engine. It looks and feels pretty much exactly the same as the old game. Black Mesa... is something else. Every level of the original Half-Life has been rebuilt from the ground up based on the graphical style and engine of Half-Life 2.
    • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

      Valve has mentioned Black Mesa more than once in Steam news updates, usually shortly after Black Mesa releases a media update. They've said they're really looking forward to it. As such, Black Mesa has been officially sanctioned by Valve, and there should be no legal concerns. It'd be very strange for Valve to sue them after promoting them.

    • When we built a port of the original Teamfortress Valve came to us...

      Seriously? You were part of that first Source port of TF? I mean, no offense, but I would have imagined a dev on a project like that would know the huge difference between HL:Source and Black Mesa.

      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        No, I've not done any mod work with Valve engines, as mentioned in my previous post it was for a competing engine.

        I've not really had much to do with Valve engines at all other than playing through their games without really playing with available mods or their mod tools bar a little bit of mapping for the original Half-Life many years ago.

        • Ah, that's cool as hell; I would imagine working on mods would be very satisfying. If you're looking for some nice ones on the source engine, though, there are some fantastic ones, like Gary's Mod and, one of my favorites, Goldeneye: Source ( which is exactly what you would imagine it is). Black Mesa looks like it's going to be really, really nice. They recently announced that they had switched to the Orange Box revision of the Source engine and that CS is now no longer a requirement. They have a couple of
          • Re:Legalities (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @11:03AM (#25959507)

            I was fortunate enough to work on quite a few good mods through the years but it was the politics that put me off in the end.

            There's a lot of time wasters out there and you find yourself spending a lot of time dealing with them. As your mod picks up pace you can start to get some good people on board and not deal with this but getting their is tough. When you do get there you still have the issue of people having differing visions and sometimes showing their true colours when they don't get their own way and stuff like that.

            This is why I have to have a lot of respect for people behind projects like this here because I know all too well what the hazards are in getting this far. Building a mature team that's willing to accept a single person in charge of the actual vision of the mod/game whilst having someone capable of carrying that vision through in a solid manner and not pandering to personal nags or people on the team simply not adhering to that vision is easily as hard as actually producing the game assets and code- particular in a distributed environment like many mod teams across the internet.

            The alternative is to go it alone and build code based mods- presumably this is how Garry's mod started, I don't know if that's still that way if it ever was but his mod is about the only HL2 mod I tried and even then only shortly after it's early releases but it was pretty fun to play around with.

    • Valve could swoop in and force them to abandon the mod, but I doubt they will. This hasn't exactly been a low-profile project, and whatever sales of HL they get are more for the mods than anything else.
    • I think all considerations of legality are rendered moot when Gabe Newell knows about the project and says: "Dude, you can call it 'Black Mesa' but you can't call it 'Black Mesa: Source' because 'Source' makes it look like an official Valve product."

      In other words, would it be illegal to do so without the original author's permission? Probably. But it's quite clear that Valve has said: "Go on, you crazy kids, have fun, go nuts!"

      How is this different from Half-Life: Source?

      HL:S was redesigned with the HL2

      • One nit to pick - the original Half-Life wasn't a DOS game. It ran under Windows.

      • Yeah, you pretty much summed up what I was going to say. Everything you said was accurate except for the DOS thing.

        "Half-Life: Source" was done as a proof-of-concept. In other words, Valve made Half-Life: Source, to find out how long it would take a mod-team to port from the GoldSrc/HL engine to the Source/HL2 engine.

        If I am not mistaken, the end result of Half-Life: Source is the exact same as the original Half-Life. The only value added is shiny water and rag-doll physics. Which to be quite honest, Ha

        • I've only played HL:S, myself. With it being so cheap, I'm wondering whether I should bother getting the Goldsource version of the game. (Besides, I didn't really like HL:S, compared to the masterpiece that HL:2 was... it was just... wow.)

    • I think part of it is probably an interest in seeing just how well this mod does. I've been pining away for years for a section of the game market that does nothing but update classics like HL. I don't really know how this could be handled, but perhaps if the mod gets enough buzz Valve might look to acquire the rights to it or something and try and turn it into a commercial success. They might just be waiting to see how potentially profitable a remake like this could be, without actually committing the reso
    • by Catil ( 1063380 ) *
      In the media business, remakes and sequels actually increase the sales of the originals prior to their release. HL1 and HL:Source should be directly benefiting from Black Mesa right now, which might even be one of the points for Vavle to still market those games.
      They likely didn't discourage you to continue on your mod because of the original TF but because of their own sequel, TF2, already in the works, which would have had to compete against a similar product without a pricetag. "Nah, don't buy the lame
  • PS3 (Score:1, Redundant)

    Please release it for the PS3. PLEASE!!!

  • Though modders have a completely different ethics about free/non-free they do put lots of work into stuff they basically give away for free (beer). The entire community is one the FOSS crowd should look into, as it hints towards the quality we can expect once the race for better GFX is over and we've reached realistic RT rendering and OSS engines finally can catch up.

    Right now modders use the best engine they can get (often Valves Source for Windows nowadays) and the best tools they can get (non-commercial

    • By all rights, we should have a good open source game engine already.

      Technically, we do, they're just a generation behind -- but there's still quite a lot of good open source mods for Quake 2 and 3.

      But it always frustrated me how pitifully slow CrystalSpace development seemed to be -- and how pitifully slow the results were to run.

    • Please don't knock the FOSS programming crowd.

      Applications don't normally get as much interest as do games and if you do show a genuine interest in a FOSS project as a potential user with some good ideas, they do normally listen to what you have to say - just bear in mind that these people have a "because it's there" attitude and if you express positive and negative things about what they're programming, they're generally very receptive.

      And if we're talking FOSS games, then let's not forget World Of Padman,

    • by grumbel ( 592662 )

      It will take some more time to bridge that gap, but I do see this coming.

      I don't. The reason why Mods work is because they are based on already successful and well known things, which for one thing limits your workload a lot, since you already have an engine, level editors, level designs, textures, physics, weapons and items that you can reuse. But even more importantly Mods allow you to share a common goal very easily, you can say "I want to recreate Half Life 1 on Source Engine" and everybody will know what the goal is and many will happily join you. If you are doing it comple

  • Oh my god, this is gonna be sooo great! Just in time to soothe the pain of waiting for EP3!
  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @07:20AM (#25957597)

    Ok, I do not know if HL1 is the greatest game ever; for me it was. I never had so much fun with a computer game. The reason? a note from the article that I really liked may shed some light into it:

    "Maybe I'm leaning too much on fond remembrance here, but I prefer the isolated, solitary feel of the first Half-Life to the more character-driven atmosphere in the sequel."

    I couldn't agree more! I like HL2, but it did not give you the isolated solitary feel of HL1. I really like FPS games that put me as the solo action hero against the universe. I really miss FPS games of this kind. I have put all my hopes on DNF, but it seems like it will never be released...

    • "Maybe I'm leaning too much on fond remembrance here, but I prefer the isolated, solitary feel of the first Half-Life to the more character-driven atmosphere in the sequel."

      I couldn't agree more! I like HL2, but it did not give you the isolated solitary feel of HL1. I really like FPS games that put me as the solo action hero against the universe. I really miss FPS games of this kind. I have put all my hopes on DNF, but it seems like it will never be released...

      I find that sort of thing can get rather boring. Half-Life 2 I thought was a great technical exercise but a tremendously boring game. Why? They got the storytelling all mucked up. Half-Life was a breath of fresh air after Doom because of how much further they pushed the ideas. Doom was just about shooting crazy monsters. Quake was nothing special, just shades of brown and no other shooter had really beat Doom at its own game. Now here comes Half-Life simulating a world with speech, characters, all this shit

      • I couldn't put my finger exactly on it but Half-Life 2, for me, lacked a lot of imagination. Consider some of the "bosses" in the first game: we had Xen, a giant baby faced hollow headed leader; a spider with a huge sack of eggs.

        What did we have in Half-Life 2 for the final encounter? A human man--no doubt evil--cackling as he took the world's slowest elevator while we shot flaps on the side of his creation. Not to mention the hordes of thousands of drones running at you, the player, in a slightly different

      • I will agree that HL2 did seem to be missing the "Holy Shit" moments that the first one had, (although for me, the final explosion and going into the broken reactor core in Ep1 were close.) I thought, though that the AI was really pretty good. At least for the enemies, wish the friendlies would learn to use cover more effectively.

        I wouldn't necessarily say, though, that they "mucked the story and pacing." It does definitely have a different feel, because the setting is completely different. HL1 was all

        • I wouldn't necessarily say, though, that they "mucked the story and pacing." It does definitely have a different feel, because the setting is completely different. HL1 was all about Gordon Freeman, one man just trying to survive. HL2 was about Gordon Freeman, somewhat of a legend but still just one piece in a planet-wide war.

          Everyone was going on about how cool the striders were. Where? I didn't see cool, I saw yawn. It didn't feel like a war. That Medal of Honor game in the late 90's, was it Allied Assault? The one with the huge D-Day mission. That felt like a war. And those same guys went on to do the Call of Duty games. Those felt like huge wars. The river crossing at Stalingrad was unbelievable.

          It's all a matter of the imagination of the designers working with the tools they had at hand. We've seen limited 8-bit games that

    • Man, I'm right there with you. I run through HL every couple of months just because I enjoy playing it so much, there's just something so transfixing about. I do also love HL2 and Episode 2, and I have a Triforce tattoo, but the original HL takes my cake for best game ever.
    • "Maybe I'm leaning too much on fond remembrance here, but I prefer the isolated, solitary feel of the first Half-Life to the more character-driven atmosphere in the sequel."

      Especially in Ep. 1 when she tagged around with you pretty much THE WHOLE TIME, and gave you directions, directed your attention, etc. ("There must be a fuse box around here. Gordan, see if you can find it.")

      How would it be to play HL1 with Alyx? []

      It got worse in Ep. 2 when SHE forced y

      • It got worse in Ep. 2 when SHE forced you on a major side quest. In HL1, you could kneecap a scientist who got in your way and just keep going. In Ep. 2, you had to save the life of an NPC. Even on the side quest they gave you a sidekick (the Vort).

        Yeah, I'm really sick of being dependent on game "AI" for my own survival/success in a game. HL1 was perfect: you were the only one who HAD to survive. You could make your life easier by helping others (escort a scientist who opens a door to goodies, keep a gua

  • if this mod team isn't already pro, they've just written their own ticket.

    The work I see is excellent. very polished stuff.

  • I'd so love some modders to try doing total conversions of non-FPS games.

    Can you imagine replaying an action RPG from the inside? RTS?



    Guitar Hero, Angry Mob. "After his first try at Through the Fire and Flames, The hero tries to get back home alive."

  • I just bought Half Life off of Steam. Valve had a deal where you could get it for $0.99 and I figured I liked Half Life 2, so why not.
    • It was $0.99, and Black Mesa won't be released until 2009. I think you might be okay. Plus, assuming it is your first time with the original Half-Life, you get to play through it, then experience the upgrade when Black Mesa drops.
  • Ha ha, fat chance!
  • I wish someone would make a DNF mod for HL2. That would be priceless.
  • Never mind the legalities of this, this game is going to be amazing. It brings a new look on a old awesome game and it is free which is gonna make it even better. This is a sort of open source produced game that will show a new way of producing games.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.