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Maybe there’s more to Half Life 1 mod Cry of Fear than screaming, gibbering faces and jump scares – the trailers have shooting, conversations and chainsaws – but my nerves, frayed rather than reinforced by years of vacationing in Silent Hill, failed to survive the opening scenes when I played last night. There’s something about the look and feel of the dated engine that unnerves me far more than something draped in bells and whistles ever would, although I’ve just conjured the image of a jester at a rave and that’s as petrifying as it is ridiculous. The Half Life engine has taken on the quality of a museum or funhouse packed with animatronics, and it’s perhaps that aspect that is most troubling. Well, that and the jump scares. Here’s how I got on.>
I’m off in the strange, far-away land of Las Vegas right now, and I just got done watching Gabe Newell and JJ “Warring Trek of the Stars” Abrams chat each other up on stage. I’ll have more from the talk for you soon, but here’s the big take-away: Valve and Abrams are officially collaborating. “What we’re actually doing here,” Newell said at the talk’s conclusion, “is recapitulating a series of conversations that have been going on [between Abrams and I]. This is what happens when game and movie people get together. And we sort of reached the point where we decided that we needed to do more than talk. So we’re gonna try and figure out if we can make a Portal movie or a Half-Life movie together.” Meanwhile, Abrams added: “And we have a game idea we’d like to work with Valve on.” Finally, Gabe wrapped it up: “It’s time for our industries to stop talking about potential and really execute on it.”
Way back in time, when the world was in 8-bit and we all paid for our cholera gruel with children’s teeth, Valve were working on Half-Life. It wasn’t very good, and Valve took the decision to rewrite most of the game. Somewhere in the multiverse there’s a universe where that version of Half-Life was released. The first difference between universes is that the 1997 alpha wasn’t improved. Valve and Steam are no more, and SiN is the game we all remember fondly. Games For Windows Live is the main digital distribution channel. We clearly have the better universe, but if you want a glimpse into the world that could have been, then I have videos of the original Half-Life alpha for you. (more…)
Half-Life is back. Back in Black Mesa, the fan-made, Source-powered remake that’s been years in the making. It was never going to happen, and then suddenly it did. After all that, is it a polished recreation of Valve’s beloved shooter, or an awkward perversion? I’ll be waiting for you, in the word chamber.> (more…)
“A People’s History” is a three part essay series that argues for a long-standing but suppressed tradition of amateur involvement in the first person genre. This is part two. Here’s part one.
“Amateur” may mean unprofessional or of lower quality, but it’s also French for “lover.” Even if it’s difficult and time-consuming, even if you’re 15 years old and you have to figure out this complex physics engine to try out a cool idea you have — it’s because you love it.
I was 15 when I joined Nightwatch, an epic Half-Life 1 mod made by a dream team of veteran modders, replete with new weapons, voice acting, monsters, scripted sequences, and a 10 hour single player campaign with 99% custom art. We were the Black Mesa Source of the Half-Life 1 community, except we never released anything.
Maybe that’s because we didn’t really love modding. In fact, we hated modding. (more…)
We now bring you this transmission, directly from alternate universe evil (or are they the good ones?>) Bizarro RPS:
John: Goodness, what a boring day it’s been. Probably the least exciting in recorded history.
Jim: Here’s an idle musing for you: joy is dead. And so is God.
Adam: Wouldn’t it be amazing if a spiritual successor to Total Annihilation just made $2 million, a thinly veiled follow-up to Planescape: Torment was just announced, and an agonizingly long-awaited Half-Life remake finally launched – all in the same day?
John: Well, I mean, Ubisoft just announced its new always online double-DRM. If you disconnect from the Internet, it kills you. That’s something, right? Something that kills you, I mean.
Alec: [Says nothing. Still on vacation. Evil vacation.]
Me, under the iron grip of the Neo-British Colonial Extermination Empire: Can I… ? Can I eat now? It’s been days.
Black Mesa is coming this Friday. THIS FRIDAY. Can you believe it? I still can’t believe it. And yet, so it has been written. To whet your appetite for all things Lambda, the Black Mesa Modification Team (really guys? That’s your name? You’ll be writing yourself into a corner after you finish Xen) have released seven new fancy pants-sized screenshots of iconic moments and locales from throughout the fan-made reboot of Gordon Freeman’s original adventure, including a glimpse of both a Gargantua and a distinctively creepy looking Bullsquid. Those tentacles…
I have the most terrible guilt about gazumping Jim’s sterling Sunday Papers, but I do so with signficant news. SIGNIFICANT. So significant that I’m attempting to post this from my phone while on the train. Will it work? Will you ever see these words? Such a vague, mysterious situation draws certain parallels with the subject of this post – the fabled, long-delayed, oft-accused of non-corporeal status Half-Life 1 fan remake Black Mesa Source. Which, would you Adam & Eve it, now has a release date.
Allegedly, at least. This footage of the aeons-in-the-making Half-Life 1 remake seems far too elaborate to be a hoax, so the real question mark hangs over whether it’s out there by accident or not. ValveTime.Net say they received it from an anonymous reader, and have no clue as to whether the footage represents a recent build of the Source Engine-based mod or not. (more…)
The rumors of Black Mesa‘s death have been greatly exaggerated. It has, however, been over three years since Gordon Freeman went for an all-too-brief jog in his shiny new hazard suit. No, gaming’s favorite man of zero words and 1000 crowbar swings per minute hasn’t suddenly affixed a chainsaw to his gun or moved his adventures to an unnamed wartorn Middle Eastern setting, but a lot’s changed.
Once upon a time, this was Valve’s firstborn with a fresh coat of paint. Now, though, the Black Mesa team’s pouring its own blood, sweat, and tears into one of gaming’s most sacred holy grails – for better or worse. Only time will tell. But how much time? One more year? Two? Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (aka, a billion)? And what state is the remake in now? I spoke with project lead Carlos Montero about all of that and more.