Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Fans resurrect Half-Life video game (bbc.co.uk)
122 points by anons2011 on Sept 3, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments

Here's a video of the game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n54ILGwO68c

Looks fantastic, especially considering that YouTube's compression apparently did some bad things to the visual appearance[1].

[1] http://forums.blackmesasource.com/showthread.php?t=12124: The compression YouTube applies has blurred and darkened everything, even at 720p settings...I've got the original video at 1080p, and everything looks fine.

It does look great. I'm glad the project got out of vapourware hell. Any longer and the whole thing would have become completely dated itself. Also great that Valve is allowing projects like this that are using their assets without asking for royalties or suing everyone in sight.

For those that are wondering: they're allowed to release this because it's a mod (so you can only play it if you have a Source engine game installed) and they aren't charging anything. It's higher profile than most, but it's just like any other mod in that respect. They did drop the "Source" from the game title for trademark concerns from Valve.

What's funny is that now Team Fortress 2 is free to play, and counts as a Source engine game, so you don't have to pay Valve any money to play Black Mesa. Of course, now you have Steam with all its sales installed, and the likelihood of you wanting to play it without having purchased any of their other games is pretty small...

Looks like there won't be OSX/Mac support


will probably run fine in Wine though, all Source-Engine games tend to.

So how is this working legally? Has Valve blessed it explicitly or something? (One would assume so since it's going through Steam.)

It was originally titled "Black Mesa: Source," but Valve contacted the team and asked them to drop "Source" so that it wouldn't be confused with an official Valve project. To my knowledge, that's the only world they've given, which sounds like an implicit "blessing" to me.

Given that this is free, community driven and effectively celebrates HL1 I don't think Valve will rain on their parade. Besides, Valve tries to support the mod community as best as they can.

If they tried to sell it for profit I'd imagine there would be some very pissed Valve lawyer breaking down doors though - because I don't think its officially & legally blessed.

When someone makes something that's marketable out of one of Valve's games, Gabe Newell normally gives them a job or a publishing deal. That's how all video game companies should operate.

For those that cannot wait:

Have (immature) fun with their 404 page: http://www.blackmesasource.com/404.php

The soundtrack is released ahead of time for your pleasure: http://www.blackmesasource.com/soundtrack.html

The referenced "fun" appears to be jokes about anal rape?

It looks like it is serving up random quotes from some sort of fortune file compiled from irc logs or forum quotes or something.

I didn't have any of those, just stumbled on the page and reloaded through a few.

It's random; there's some misogynistic jokes as well.

Why the heck do I learn of this from the BBC and not from nofrag (kudos to my french-speaking fellows ;)

This is a mod I have been waiting for a loooong time. Can't wait to dust off my fps skills while enjoying the game.

A long time in the making, I hope the devs are proud of their work and that their work is going to give them pride.

There was a mod for HL1 which allowed you to play as the alien race, similarly to what blue shift and opposing force did for Barney and corporal Shephard respectively. However, I haven't been able to find it on the web for quite some time now. Does anyone know this mod and where it lives nowadays?

Just tried some googling... is this it?


It was called "Point of View". You should be able to find it on moddb.

Half-Life creator Valve released an updated version of the game in 2004 that was built around its Source game code or engine. That official update of Half-Life was generally regarded as unsatisfactory and led to the Black Mesa project which aimed to do a better job.

Citation needed. Load times aside, Half-Life 2 was a spectacular game, and one of the best-reviewed games of all time. Metacritic's score for it was a 96 with 81 positive reviews: http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/half-life-2

edit: OHHHHHHHH. My bad. Thanks for pointing out that they were referring to Half-Life: Source.

They're not talking about HL2 but instead Half-Life: Source which was a port of the original to the Source engine. Although they ported it to the Source engine, they didn't update graphics or gameplay (unlike, for example, CS: Source), so fans felt they could do better.

In addition to failing to update graphics (I suspect upgrading gameplay would actually piss more people off), the experience was, at least in my experience, actually degraded. The game handled differently with the Source engine compared to GoldenSrc, and not in a good way. The original had a much crisper "quake-ish" feel that was lost.

Additionally in Source there are (or at least were, I played it years ago) several places where there are graphical glitches. Textures missing from certain surfaces and whatnot. Each of those little things really built up a general feeling of "they did not really care about this".

Fairly certain they're referring to Half-Life Source, not HL2.

The 14th release isn't the complete project but it plays all the way until lambda core chapter:


>This will include our re-envisioning of Half-Life all the way up to Lambda Core. We believe this is a great way to provide a complete-feeling 8-10 hour experience with a solid ending, make our fans happy and help us make the best overall game possible.

>We are still working hard on Xen and BMDM, but instead of making you wait we are giving you Black Mesa as soon as it's ready!


Still waiting...

Would it even make sense to release a HL2:EP3 now, rather than a new game called HL3?

It's been so long since EP2 was released and I'm sure the new game will feature vastly updated graphics as well as some new gameplay mechanic (like that gravity gun did to HL2).

Valve have already stated multiple times that they are done with the episodic model, so yes, the next Half Life release should be HL3 rather than episode 3. Which is likely why it's taking so long.

Half-Life 2 is Steam's daily deal for today.

just check their release time policy: https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Valve_Time

Looking good.

Hopefully I can recommend this to a friend who hasn't played HL at all. He isn't really into games but recently bought a laptop with a decent graphics chip. I told him that if you are only going to try one PC game then it should be HL but the graphics of the original look very dated now and don't work well on 16:9 and jumping straight to HL2 may be a little confusing without understanding the context.

I remember when they promised it would be out by 2009 [1]. I guess it's to be expected when you're working on Valve time. I was starting to wonder if the project would get released before Valve either dumped or completely renovated the Source engine.

[1] http://forums.blackmesasource.com/showthread.php?t=2416

Oh my word, this is finally happening? I've been looking forward to this for a LONG time.

I still have yet to play Half-Life. Should I play Half-Life original or Source or This?

If you are up in the air between the original and Source, play the original. Despite being older it received a lot more QA attention than Source.

Play this. The original Half-Life is great and much fun, but it is going to look dated, and not just the graphics.

This mod aims at making the experience have the same feeling, while updating the gameplay, graphics and architecture of the environments to more closely match the original designs that had to be scaled back because of performance.

I think we'll have to wait and see. It's awesome that they're updating mechanics and gameplay (as it allows them to be game designers, not just stenographers), but it does mean that it could end up a terrible gameplay experience.

The original half-life is very dated when it comes to graphics, and the pathing of the AI is sometimes hilariously bad, but other than that it's still extremely fun to play and gets a decent little story out of the tiny amount of time actually spent on narrative.

>gets a decent little story out of the tiny amount of time actually spent on narrative.

This is the real genius of half-life: it doesn't go down the awful Hideo Kojima route of 45 minute "LOL HERE'S THE STORY!" cutscenes, rather the story is simply there in the game, it happens around you. It is possible to pretend you're playing quake and blast through without taking any notice of it, and it's also possible to play it a bit more slowly, and upon consideration the story is actually quite deep.

Disclaimer: the above opinions lifted wholesale from the recent zeropunctuation retrospective review. They're still true though.


Maybe you'll find someone else to help you. Maybe Black Mesa THAT WAS A JOKE. HAHA. FAT CHANCE. Anyway, this cake is great.


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact