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Black Mesa, the Valve approved Half-Life remake from Crowbar Collective leaves Early Access with a much more modern take on the classic first-person shooter.

Did Half-Life actually need such a re-imagining? Graphically it was dated but it held up quite well overall because it was ahead of its time in quite a few ways. However, I'm glad Black Mesa exists as it's absolutely incredible. Some of the artwork that went into this, especially the later Xen chapter, is truly mesmerising in its beauty.

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If you just wish to see iconic moment it all goes wrong in the updated visuals of Black Mesa, we have a video up on our YouTube.

The original Xen was a pretty controversial part of Half-Life too, a pain point for many but in Black Mesa it's just awesome. It's a completely different experience to the original and to the rest of the game which is exactly what it's supposed to be. It's prettier and most importantly—more exciting. Black Mesa as a whole is exactly what it set out to be and what I hoped it would be: a faithful update to an already good game but Crowbar managed to put in tons of improvements to pull in a fresh audience.

Even if you know Half-Life like the back of your hand, Black Mesa is still a crisp and different experience because some sections on Earth have been entirely re-done to flow better. Not only that, there's vast improvements to the enemy AI in all parts of the game that make the gameplay worth it.

It's not just the big graphical enhancements or the updated AI, it's the sum of all the little things included that just make it so lovely.

Personally, I only completed Half-Life and Half-Life 2 when they came to Linux so to me Black Mesa hasn't really felt as long as it might to others. That said—it has been fourteen years in the making! Crazy but a fair amount of that was simply done out of passion and not professionally like the actual job it became for the team at Crowbar Collective.

Technically, this is at least the second remake of the original Half-Life, since Valve themselves gave it the Source treatment with Half-Life: Source in 2004 which wasn't what a lot of fans had hoped for when it released. As a result, two teams began work on their own updated version which eventually merged into one team and one game with Black Mesa.

Feature Highlight:

  • Nineteen chapters of fighting through top-secret labs, running atop harsh desert landscapes, sneaking into abandoned railways, and leaping across dimensions
  • Mind-Blowing graphics and effects, never before seen on the Source Engine
  • Face off against an army of classic enemies, updated with new features and engaging AI
  • Wield an arsenal of military hardware, scientific prototypes, and the iconic crowbar through incredibly detailed environments
  • The all-new soundtrack and voice acting create a more immersive experience than ever before

There's also online multiplayer, Steam Workshop support and all the usual modern additions on Steam like trading cards and achievements.

With it now released, the 1.0 update went live and had plenty of massive improvements over the previously released Betas. Upgraded Earth artwork, big human AI improvements, the Vortigaunts got a juicy upgrade too making them more menacing, lots of optimizations and the list goes on. There's supposed to be a new UI to replace the traditional Source Engine boxes but the Linux version currently doesn't have it.

As they mentioned, this is not the end of the road. They said "it will never be a perfect game" but the "1.0 release is the best, most polished, and most fun version of the game yet". Sometime after release, they will be giving it a jokingly named free Definitive Edition update to polish up any rough spots and continued improvements to the Steam Workshop support.

Black Mesa is the ultimate way to relive the original Half-Life story, find it on Steam.

Our livestreamer, Sin, has never played through the series before so perhaps now might be a good time for her to jump in. Make sure you follow GamingOnLinux on Twitch to be notified whenever she's live. We don't have an exact date yet on when it will happen so stay tuned!

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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57 comments
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Swiftpaw 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunktDude, what are you even talking about? XD

Since you're typing in English, I assume you understand English, so you're going to have to be a bit more specific as to what you're confused about.

Everything.

VR isn't that expensive anymore. SteamVR is a standard. And then you start talking about communism.

That's completely wrong. VR is very expensive still, and look with your own eyes at a VR game on Steam and you'll see specific headsets mentioned rather than a standard like OpenXR.

Samsung Odyssey+ is often on sale for ~$250.

And SteamVR is a standard that supports all kinds of hardware.

Great, a piece of hardware, sometimes, costs lower than the price of an entire gaming console. How special.

SteamVR isn't an open real standard unless it in turn supports OpenXR or something that is a real open standard. Can you make a game using SteamVR without Steam, and would that code be open source and controlled by you? Case closed.

Also, if SteamVR was a standard, then they'd just show that icon instead of the icons for different individual VR headsets, and headsets would be sold with a SteamVR icon on them to show they adhere to a standard.
kuhpunkt 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunktDude, what are you even talking about? XD

Since you're typing in English, I assume you understand English, so you're going to have to be a bit more specific as to what you're confused about.

Everything.

VR isn't that expensive anymore. SteamVR is a standard. And then you start talking about communism.

That's completely wrong. VR is very expensive still, and look with your own eyes at a VR game on Steam and you'll see specific headsets mentioned rather than a standard like OpenXR.

Samsung Odyssey+ is often on sale for ~$250.

And SteamVR is a standard that supports all kinds of hardware.

Great, a piece of hardware, sometimes, costs lower than the price of an entire gaming console. How special.

SteamVR isn't an open real standard unless it in turn supports OpenXR or something that is a real open standard. Can you make a game using SteamVR without Steam, and would that code be open source and controlled by you? Case closed.

Also, if SteamVR was a standard, then they'd just show that icon instead of the icons for different individual VR headsets, and headsets would be sold with a SteamVR icon on them to show they adhere to a standard.

And DirectX and Vulkan support hardware from different companies, yet they are listed - because people should know what hardware is supported.
Brisse 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Brisse
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunktDude, what are you even talking about? XD

Since you're typing in English, I assume you understand English, so you're going to have to be a bit more specific as to what you're confused about.

Everything.

VR isn't that expensive anymore. SteamVR is a standard. And then you start talking about communism.

For some of us it is expensive. I certainly couldn't afford it.

It's been on the market for several years now. You could have saved up some money. And I assume you have a gaming PC. How much did you spend on this? And of course it's going to get cheaper. Technology always does.

Sure, but I'm just not that attracted to VR in it's current state so I'd rather spend money on more important things. Maybe one day I'll change my mind.
kuhpunkt 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: Brisse
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Brisse
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunktDude, what are you even talking about? XD

Since you're typing in English, I assume you understand English, so you're going to have to be a bit more specific as to what you're confused about.

Everything.

VR isn't that expensive anymore. SteamVR is a standard. And then you start talking about communism.

For some of us it is expensive. I certainly couldn't afford it.

It's been on the market for several years now. You could have saved up some money. And I assume you have a gaming PC. How much did you spend on this? And of course it's going to get cheaper. Technology always does.

Sure, but I'm just not that attracted to VR in it's current state so I'd rather spend money on more important things. Maybe one day I'll change my mind.

Sure. And that's totally fine. I just find this hostility towards VR from some people so weird.
Smoke39 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: kuhpunktI just find this hostility towards VR from some people so weird.
If someone doesn't find VR appealing, then making a game that only works in VR looks like an arbitrary and unnecessary barrier to entry. That's why people are hostile toward it. People feel like games are being kept from them for no good reason.
stuff 7 Mar, 2020
Some games only work on a Playstation, some only on an XBOX, some only on a Switch and some only on Windows. Why are people not as hostile against Breath of the Wild but instead consider buying a Switch just for that game?
kuhpunkt 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: Smoke39
Quoting: kuhpunktI just find this hostility towards VR from some people so weird.
If someone doesn't find VR appealing, then making a game that only works in VR looks like an arbitrary and unnecessary barrier to entry. That's why people are hostile toward it. People feel like games are being kept from them for no good reason.

Being hostile isn't very mature. And people are stupid if they actually think that. As if they are owed a game...
Purple Library Guy 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Brisse
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunktDude, what are you even talking about? XD

Since you're typing in English, I assume you understand English, so you're going to have to be a bit more specific as to what you're confused about.

Everything.

VR isn't that expensive anymore. SteamVR is a standard. And then you start talking about communism.

For some of us it is expensive. I certainly couldn't afford it.

It's been on the market for several years now. You could have saved up some money. And I assume you have a gaming PC. How much did you spend on this? And of course it's going to get cheaper. Technology always does.
Y'know, people with money talking to people without money like they know shit is exactly what gets people talking about Communism.

What makes you think I have money? And we're talking about GAMING here. This is such a first world problem.
If you airily say to someone who says they can't afford something, that they can afford it, that's because compared to them you have money (and perhaps fewer responsibilities). And are clueless about the distinction.
kuhpunkt 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Brisse
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Swiftpaw
Quoting: kuhpunktDude, what are you even talking about? XD

Since you're typing in English, I assume you understand English, so you're going to have to be a bit more specific as to what you're confused about.

Everything.

VR isn't that expensive anymore. SteamVR is a standard. And then you start talking about communism.

For some of us it is expensive. I certainly couldn't afford it.

It's been on the market for several years now. You could have saved up some money. And I assume you have a gaming PC. How much did you spend on this? And of course it's going to get cheaper. Technology always does.
Y'know, people with money talking to people without money like they know shit is exactly what gets people talking about Communism.

What makes you think I have money? And we're talking about GAMING here. This is such a first world problem.
If you airily say to someone who says they can't afford something, that they can afford it, that's because compared to them you have money (and perhaps fewer responsibilities). And are clueless about the distinction.

That's rubbish. I'd really like to know the situation those people are in that they have the need to complain about not being able to play a stupid game. If they REALLY wanted to, getting a VR headset wouldn't be much of a problem. HL:A already needs a rather powerful system. Is that a problem?

It's just the same anti-VR nonsense over and over again.
Mountain Man 7 Mar, 2020
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: Mountain ManI'm not comparing VR to 3D television. I'm saying that my reaction when I had the opportunity to try VR was the same.
Which doesn't change the fact that VR does things that 3DTV doesn't. You can't play Beat Saber with Mouse and Keyboard or a Controller.
Which is entirely irrelevant to what I said.


Last edited by Mountain Man on 7 March 2020 at 9:40 pm UTC
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