Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

Spare some change? I'm just a poor, hardworking headcrab who's been let down by The System.

Halfy birthday, Hap-Life! Well, I guess it’s technically the day after your birthday now, but an upgraded version of Source-powered Half-Life tribute Black Mesa still counts as a gift, I think. You might remember that the free labor of time, love, and more time was greenlit a while back, but now it’s finally taking the Lab Facility Train Ride of Ultimate Auspiciousness over to Steam. Better still, Gabe and the knights of the Valve table have given it their blessing, allowing the Black Mesa team to earn some especially pretty pennies for their hard work. The Steam version will include new features too, but not Xen. That’s apparently still “a ways off,” sadly.

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PC Gamer
Black Mesa: Source


Black Mesa: Source, the free high-def remake of Valve's first-person shooter classic Half-Life, is a clear example of how awesome the PC gaming/modding community is. For no reason other than they wanted to, the team behind Black Mesa painstakingly rebuilt Half-Life inside the Source engine, prettied up all the art, and released the result for free. On Tuesday - Half-Life’s fifteenth birthday - Black Mesa received permission from Valve to be sold on Steam.

“Last year, Black Mesa was one of the first Steam games to be Greenlit by you, our amazing fans,” project lead Carlos Montero wrote in a post on the community forums. “We've had quite a year since then, with a lot happening internally that we haven't been able to talk about... until now. Black Mesa has been given the opportunity to be sold as a retail product on Steam!"

The big surprise is Valve allowing Black Mesa to profit from what is, basically, a work of fan tribute. Although a groundswell of popular support put Black Mesa on the Steam store, there was never an expectation that the game would ever be anything other than free-to-play. "The use of Valve's for monetary gain was not predicated by our being greenlit," Montero tells PC Gamer. "This was really the only thing we thought to be possible at the time." It says a lot about the quality of Black Mesa that Valve is allowing them to profit from the Half-Life universe.

"This is an incredible honor—one we never expected—but also one we found hard to accept," Montero continued in his forum post. "We never developed Black Mesa with money in mind. Our team is made up of average, hardworking people, and no one joined the team to make money. For us, Black Mesa is purely a labor of love.”

While no price has been set, you'll soon be able to support the Black Mesa team for a “relatively low” price. The free version will still be available, however, and the team continues to plan frequent updates. High on that list is the release of Xen, the much-anticipated final chapter of the Half-Life remake, but unfortunately that update is "still a ways off."
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Half-Life celebrates its 15th birthday today. Valve’s genre-exploding, literal game-changer first appeared on the 19th November 1998, taking the well-loved first-person shooter and crafting something extraordinary. It was considered a turning point. A new bar for games to beat. And one that was safely broken by, er, Half-Life 2 six years later. Below are some of RPS’s favourite memories of the old, old game.>

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

I’m not sure how I missed this back in August, but it’s splendid enough to warrant a belated post on a Saturday. The two men of Corridor Digital have been creating extraordinary movie shorts for years (one of my all-time favourites being The Glitch), primarily based on videogames, featuring extraordinary special effects that rival those of big budget Hollywood studios. Certainly their profile is a lot larger in recent times, and their work is now very often paid for by the publishers of the games they’re recreating. (This live action video of Rayman Legends (no, really) being one of the most bizarre.) However, they still create projects for their own entertainment, and their origin story for the Gravity Gun is absolutely stellar.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cara Ellison)

what a terrible person

In the depths of late night despair you might sometimes lie awake thinking about how you are a life-long PC gamer and have never played through the original 1998 PC darling Half-Life. The thought lingers on you like some grotesque bug with the ability to whisper: ‘You are an impostor. You are fake. You are phoney.’ Well even if you don’t have terrible self-esteem, I do. I’m like Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. Except the kiss is Half-Life. And Gordon Freeman is that guy from Alias that ends up kissing Drew Barrymore awkwardly on a baseball pitch.

Or whatever.

Here’s my first time with Half-Life, documented in badly made videos recorded whilst I was travelling Europe.

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PC Gamer
Concept art source: ValveTime.net
Concept art source: ValveTime.net

Half-Life 3 remains in a state of existential limbo, just like it was around a week ago, before the long, long, long-awaited sequel cropped up on this European Union trademark site. As discovered by Valve Time, the trademark has now been removed, suggesting that it was most likely a hoax. Considering the proximity of the Portal 3 trademark listing, there's a good chance of that being a fake too. In better news, HomeLand season 3 starts on Channel 4 tonight, which...oh God, it's happening again.

Of course, that trademark listing was soon accompanied by a revealing peek through Valve's Jira database - which seemed to confirm that there are high-profile teams at Valve working on Half-Life 3 and Left 4 Dead 3 - and this probable hoax can't undermine that. What it does mean is that there's now nothing to suggest a Half-Life 3 (or indeed a Left 4 Dead 3) announcement is happening anytime soon, if indeed that's what a trademark listing even indicates in the first place. It's disappointing news, perhaps, but take heart from the Jira stuff - there are some very talented names knocking around there.

Thanks to Game Informer.
Community Announcements - alfred
We have released a Beta update for Half-Life and associated games.
Changes in this update are:
  • Fixed crash when loading maps with malformed entity data
Community Announcements - alfred
We have updated the public release of Half-Life.

Changes in this update are:
  • Fixed mouse not working correctly in VGUI1 based UI's, mods and TFC make use of this
Community Announcements - alfred
We have updated the public release of Half-Life. This update contains all the changes from the recent beta, thanks to the whole community for their help with testing and suggesting new features.

Changes in this update are:
  • Added support for a crcclientdll key in liblist.gam to turn client.dll crc checking back on, useful for 3rd party mods
  • Make sure the Close button has keyboard focus when you see the disconnection dialog
  • Made the play command obey speak_enabled cvar
  • Door movement sound fixes, make sure you stop playing the moving sound if you get disrupted
  • Fixed hang when loading maps with corrupt entity data
  • Fixed being unable to load map resource files if they started with the UTF-8 BOM
  • Fixed audio artifact in sound track Nuclear Mission Jam
  • Fixed hud_centerid to apply correctly in Half-Life 1 games
  • Fixed crash if you hit retry while in control of a func_tank
  • Fixed sprays not loading from the correct path causing them not to update
  • Fixed a crash if you started a local multiplayer game, disconnected and then loaded a save game
Community Announcements - alfred
We have released an update to our Half-Life 1 SDK. This update adds support for mods to allow them to build Linux and Mac OS X versions. You can get the tools via the "Half-Life SDK" tool in Steam, and the code is available via our <a href="https://github.com/ValveSoftware/halflife">GitHub</a> page.
...

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