Black Mesa: Half-Life's Amazing Source Remake


It takes serious guts to try and remake Half-Life. Valve's 1998 first-person shooter didn't change FPS gaming, it redefined it. Before Half-Life, blockbusters like Quake and Quake II were lone gunman affairs with little to no interaction with non-hostile NPCs (Non-Player Character). Half-Life took that entire model, and blew it apart. The train ride into Black Mesa gave players a glimpse of a vibrant, functional world. Scientists and security guards roamed the halls, interacted with panels and equipment, joked with each other, and expressed nervousness about the upcoming experiment.

Inbound, To The Black Mesa Complex

Half-Life used scripted sequence to illustrate the desperation and humanity of innocent researchers trapped beneath the surface, the callousness of the military sent in to cleanse Black Mesa, and the fundamentally alien nature of the G-Man. In amidst all that positive, there's just one major modern flaw -- the game has aged like crap. Built on the original Quake engine, the game's visuals show poorly now. Valve did a half-baked port of the game to the Source engine years ago, but without updating any of the character models, sound effects, or other details.

Black Mesa is the result of years of effort from a team determined to bring Gordon Freeman's first adventure into the modern age without compromising Valve's original artistic vision. It's one of the finest examples of fan-built mods that we've ever seen. This is no high-resolution texture update or lighting effects package. This is Black Mesa  -- and it's going to remind you why you fell in love with Half-Life fourteen years ago. Take a look at the original entryway for Sector C. This is right at the beginning of the game; you've only just gained control of Gordon. By 1998 standards, this was good stuff.

Black Mesa Lobby, Then

Here's Black Mesa:

The New Black Mesa Entry Point Lobby

Closeups on Barney and an unnamed scientist from original HL on the left, the BMS versions on the right. Note that in the original game, all security guards looked like Barney -- in BMS, the first thing a guard tells you is that Barney called in sick.

Original Game Characters (left) - Black Mesa Environment and Characters (right)

And the suit that started it all...

Let's get to it...

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