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The latest Black Mesa update makes it much smoother on Linux

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With Crowbar Collective enabling a Beta containing the full Black Mesa experience recently, it came with a major performance problem on Linux which now seems to be solved!

Previous to the latest update on the Beta branch, the game at many points would suddenly drop to single-digit frames and it wasn't good. Now though? A different world, the performance is like night and day and it remains smooth.

Here's a few more fresh shots of Xen taken today, it really does look incredible.

The team just recently put a few notes up on what's changed for the Linux version too:

- Added missing A16B16G16R16F Render Target support
- Applied RAM saving patch that is preferring compiling compressed GLSL and linking Vertex and Fragment shaders immediately on demand instead of storing intermediate compiled shaders that linked later
- Raised Audio Buffer size from 48 MiB to 128 MiB for Sound Subsystem to match one in Windows version
- Changed/Introduced shader cache key to automatically invalidate old user's cache stored in glshaders.cfg on either update or switching branches

If you've been living under a rock: Black Mesa is a fan-made and Valve approved recreation of the original Half-Life with much improved graphics and revamped game-play but it still follows the same story. To access the full content, you can opt into the "public-beta" branch on Steam, no password needed. You can find out more about the full beta release here.

You can pick up Black Mesa on Steam.

Still surprises me that Valve let other developers do games like this, it shows how open they are in a way. Personally, I'm glad Black Mesa exists so that newer generations of gamers can enjoy the story of Half-Life with an improved experience given how far computing power has moved on since the original in 1998 and Half-Life: Source from 2004. Not the first time we've seen such a thing though, there's also Half-Life 2: Update that has a lot of bug fixes and some graphical upgrades too.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Early Access, Beta, FPS, Steam | Apps: Black Mesa
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23 comments
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Mumrik93 23 Dec, 2019
Stuffs happening! Awesome! Should probably download it again and see how it fares!
sub 23 Dec, 2019
Black Mesa is a fantastic project.
Took its time. But absolutely a gorgeous result.

Btw, save games seems to be incompatible with every tiny update. :/
You have to start at the beginning of the chapter again.
appetrosyan 23 Dec, 2019
Quoting: 95ych0I've never played any of Half Life. I hear such acclaim about it. Can I get into the series by playing Black Mesa without playing the original?

I disagree with Liam. The original has an atmosphere that’s not the same in the remake. Partially because the sound design is the toughest thing to get right if you’ve never done it professionally. A lot of the bugs simply add to the experience, and as much as I like BMS, the original is better.
appetrosyan 23 Dec, 2019
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: 95ych0I've never played any of Half Life. I hear such acclaim about it. Can I get into the series by playing Black Mesa without playing the original?

I'm in the same boat and wonder about the same.

Play both. Preferably back to back. The level design is similar enough for you to recognise, but there will be enough differences to make it worth your time.
Liam Dawe 23 Dec, 2019
Quoting: BielFPs
Quoting: Liam Dawe
Quoting: 95ych0I've never played any of Half Life. I hear such acclaim about it. Can I get into the series by playing Black Mesa without playing the original?
Yes, this is the original, just enhanced.

It's actually a fan remake, but they are very faithful to the game's lore (in some points better than the original).
I'm very aware of what it is...

Quoting: appetrosyan
Quoting: 95ych0I've never played any of Half Life. I hear such acclaim about it. Can I get into the series by playing Black Mesa without playing the original?

I disagree with Liam. The original has an atmosphere that’s not the same in the remake. Partially because the sound design is the toughest thing to get right if you’ve never done it professionally. A lot of the bugs simply add to the experience, and as much as I like BMS, the original is better.
Wow, people get really really anal about Half-Life, who knew.

I was simply trying to be clear that this is the first party of the story.
appetrosyan 24 Dec, 2019
Quoting: appetrosyan
Quoting: 95ych0I've never played any of Half Life. I hear such acclaim about it. Can I get into the series by playing Black Mesa without playing the original?

I disagree with Liam. The original has an atmosphere that’s not the same in the remake. Partially because the sound design is the toughest thing to get right if you’ve never done it professionally. A lot of the bugs simply add to the experience, and as much as I like BMS, the original is better.
Wow, people get really really anal about Half-Life, who knew.

I was simply trying to be clear that this is the first party of the story.[/quote]
No offence intended.
Just pointing out that BMS is no substitute to Half Life classic, though BMS is in many ways better (it’s more stable, Xen looks much better, and much more story-rich), but... not the game I grew up with.
ElectricPrism 24 Dec, 2019
These Xen Chapter screenshots are basically half-life-porn. I'm in my playthrough right now so this is great news, only had one choppy moment at the helicopter overworld hanger scene. (edit: prior to the update)

This game is a masterpiece, major props for the developers for putting in the work for us and SteamOS.


Last edited by ElectricPrism on 24 December 2019 at 6:01 pm UTC
Thetargos 24 Dec, 2019
BMS Vs original.... tough call. Having the context of the original, especially given the computational resources available to consumers back then, many of the elements we see in BMS are missing, and even feel like prototypes rather than the final version, however, as stated above, one key aspect of the original game was the sound design. Up that point very few games had had such immersive soundscapes and environments, which even though in BMS has been carefully respected, feels a bit odd. I absolutely LOVE the amount of details they put into the environments (especially the first levels where the original felt a bit flat, even back then) and the Homage they present (for instance in the teat chamber, you can see in the screen of the emitters that Freeman has to activate), shots of the original level in the editor, nice touch.

Some of the voices, for us purists, sound off, as is the voice acting (and I do not mean it is 'bad', only different from the version embedded in my hypocampus as aural memories!), and hence collide to what my monkey brain expects.

The original has a fluidity, which confers a distinct feel to it, inherited from the original engine (quake) morphed into the GoldSrc engine, which the Source engine does not have, or rather is different (which is essentially the same as in HL2), and again collides with my propioception and how I remember it, so not bad, just different (though very polished).

I still hold the original Half Life dear, and IIRC, it has been staed several times that the final chapters had to be heavily modified from the original plan due to time contrains, or some such.

I still miss seeing video cards flying when you break crates in BMS, which I thought was a nice joke from Valve back in the day.
iiari 26 Dec, 2019
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Tried recently to get into HL2 (missed the entire HL series when they came out, as that was a personally and educationally intense period of my life when I had zero time to game). I can't say I've loved it. Narrative development is slow, and I'm tiring of the formula where each "level" is basically a series of escape rooms of puzzles connected by in-game cut scenes. I imagine the first HL plays out very similarly?

On the upside, the game is very "portable" as it's so light on resources that it can be run smoothly even on integrated Intel GPUs on, say, travel or work laptops, not that I would ever do such things.... It still looks great, though...


Last edited by iiari on 26 December 2019 at 2:43 am UTC
logge 26 Dec, 2019
Yay! I'm hanging in Zen where you have to hop through that mirror. Framerate was maybe 300fpm... No chance to hop along :)
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