Players of the award-winning sci-fi FPS Half-Life 2, developed by Valve, would have been able to finally play the long awaited re-make of the game when it was released on September 14th 2012. Black Mesa, a free total conversion modification of Half-Life, began in 2004 being driven by a volunteer development team who are also fans of the game — the project came about due to the belief that Half-Life didn’t quite live up to the potential of the Source engine’s capabilities (used by the Half-Life sequel, Half-Life 2) and so they took the storyline and packaged it up into a new polished version which included work on new models, maps, soundtrack, voice acting and textures.
Of course, this is definitely not news to any Half-Life fans who have been eagerly awaiting this mod for some time, but when I actually saw the transformation of the old game to the new one I must admit that I was totally blown away and was kicking myself for not having played Half-Life sooner. So much effort has gone into this that I’d challenge anyone not to be impressed with the results, take a look a the example below from the Black Mesa website:
In this release fans are able to play in single-player mode only, Black Mesa have confirmed that co-op play would potentially arrive after the release of single-player but that the development of this part of the game would not be delivered by the Black Mesa team. Also, in this release you will be playing from the chapter ‘Inbound’ (where our main character Dr. Gordon Freeman starts his day riding a tram headed to the Sector C Test Labs) until Lambda Core (when Gordon finally arrives at the Lambda Complex, an advanced teleportation research lab where the remnants of the Lambda team have taken refuge), the Black Mesa re-vamp of the game ends here when you jump in the portal to Xen. The second part of the single-player release will add the Xen chapters and will be done in the form of an update to the game.
What do you need to play it?
1. You must have a source game. You cannot use the free Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, Half-Life 2: Lost coast or any demos.
2. The 2007 Source SDK. You can install this from the Library > Tools menu in Steam.
Access your Steam games library.
Click the dropdown beside the Search bar and select Tools.
Find Source SDK Base 2007 in the list and select ‘Install game’.
Once installation is complete restart your computer to ensure all files update correctly.
3. The Black Mesa mod. Which you can download from the Black Mesa homepage.
If you are like me and haven’t played Half-Life then why not download a copy from Steam where Half-Life 2 is only £6.99. Black Mesa is a great piece of work and an amazing achievement for the development team, I’ll definitely be adding this to my library.