Black Mesa - [BMS] Adam-Bomb
Happy fall from the team,

We will put out some tasty updates soon, but FIRST it is #Blocktober! We wanted to not only post images, but also show how our maps have progressed and evolved.

Xen A - The Badlands
For the first map of Xen, we wanted to capture the desolate feeling of the original HL1 map, while putting our own spin on it. In the original, the desolation of the outer islands gave way to more life as you accessed the interior of the level, which was a theme we expanded on across multiple maps. Our version of the badlands is rocky, with patches of water and arid plants, but no soil for true, vibrant Xenian life to grow. This is the first of the multiple biomes that players will progress through in the Xen chapter.

First Blockout - Houndeye Arch Island
This was the first version of the Houndeye Arch Island, following our original and detailed plans for Xen’s first map. This was built directly off the paper plan. This first version was extremely basic in scale and style, and although it captured the core ideas, we would not truly understand some of the underlying flaws in its construction until we progressed further down the art pipeline.

First Blockout and Art Experimentation
We began to experiment with textures and artstyle, using the early version of this island as a base. We originally went for something colored similarly to the original Xen, except utilizing a dark base rock to bring about the feel of a desolate wasteland. We took a more realistic approach to the skybox, using brightly colored nebulae to remind the player of the original Xen feel, but attempted to keep it more grounded in reality. The environmental light source was a giant black hole in the sky, which we eventually deemed too distracting.

Here you can see the art continuing to evolve as we sculpted the island a bit more and started utilizing some new props and textures. The arch prop was amazing, but we felt like it did not fit the way the island had been built. And this led to...

Second Blockout
It was at this point we identified some of the fundamental issues with the way the map had been constructed. It was not hitting the correct notes for scale or for player guidance. One of our mappers did a significant rework of the entire map, rebuilding every island from scratch, aiming for a far better sense of grand scale. For the screenshot, focus on how the surrounding landscape frames the arch in a better way:

Second Blockout and Art Experimentation

It was with this second revision that we continued to build the map’s art style. The “green” Xenian feel from the original was moved to a later map, to represent a more lush Xenian biome.

We went with giving the Badlands a purple feel. The screenshot shows how we changed to more of a galaxy cloud style skybox, heavily inspired by Homeworld. We made progress on the lighting and the “feeling” of the level. We trimmed the island down, and made the arch feel like a gateway to the rest of the map, to guide the player and frame the next section.

“Final” Art Pass
Lastly, there is the more completed level, which we have shown off previously. We completely rebooted the skybox, based the level lighting off of it, and did a proper rock and small foliage pass. We went for lighter base textures for the rock to better play with the light colors and feel. Even this shot, which we considered final art for the game, has seen a number of improvements on the dev side since we previously revealed it.

Thanks for reading. More to come.
Black Mesa

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before: Half-Life remake Black Mesa's Xen chapters should be out very soon. You may well be sceptical—Xen has been delayed multiple times—but in an update this week the developers said that the five chapters are going through external playtesting, and two of them are pretty much "locked in".

The first chapter, itself called Xen, is mostly done, and the team need to simply "polish one or two rough edges". The third chapter, Interloper, is playable from start to finish, and the final chapter, Endgame, is locked, and just needs some final minor tweaks. "There are some dependency assets and some polish we have to implement once the rest of the game is complete, but other than that, it is ready to go."

Admittedly, the other two chapters still require a little more work. The second chapter, Gonarch’s Lair, still needs some art and design changes, while the fourth chapter, Nihilanth, still needs work on scripting and animation.

You can expect the chapters to be much more rich than the original's Xen sections: currently, the first two chapters clock in at two hours combined, whereas in Half-Life, all five chapters could be completed in an hour.

Xen doesn't have a release date.

Half-Life - (Dominic Tarason)


Sometimes, things just take time. When an amateur team remake an FPS classic up to AAA standards in a modern engine in their spare time? Yeah, that’ll take a while, but the patience seems to be paying off for fans of Black Mesa. While so so far the ambitious (and Valve-endorsed) Half-Life remake has mostly adhered to the structure of the original, developers Crowbar Collective reckon that they can do better with Xen. While the core concepts and story beats are still present, everything else is being re-designed from the ground up. It’s looking lovely, and nearing completion.


Jun 21, 2018
Black Mesa - [BMS] Adam-Bomb

Summer Sale
Hope everyone is having a great summer. Black Mesa is now on sale for 60% off! It’s a GREAT time to pick up the game at a discounted price ;)

There has been lots of progress on Xen. We have started external playtesting. The first two chapters, "Xen" and "Gonarch's Lair", clock in around two hours. For reference, all five chapters of Xen in HL1 can be completed in approximately one hour! We are really excited to show our work to everyone, but we also want to save the majority of Xen as a surprise.

Here is a brief breakdown of our current progress in each chapter:

Xen - Final Polish
We have locked the majority of the Xen levels. Most of the design and art is completed, and we are polishing one or two rough edges in the design.

Gonarch’s Lair - Art
As you can see, we have a good amount of art completed for Gonarch. We are doing some last minute design revisions to get the gameplay tight and consistent throughout the chapter, and then we can drop in our already created art. As you might guess, this chapter is very heavy on code and animation. The first map is locked, the second map is finishing its main art pass, and the final map is undergoing some design iterations, with some art already implemented.

Interloper - Final Gameplay
This chapter has gone through a hefty number of positive and ambitious design revisions since we started it. We are really happy with the direction and iterations that have gone in, for all five maps. They are very close to gameplay complete, and are playable start to finish. We are currently finishing the modular art pieces, trimming some of the chapter’s “fat”, and polishing the last of the rough design edges to produce a streamlined and action-packed conclusion to Xen’s main story.

As Interloper is a significant departure from the rest of Xen, our intention is to get Xen and Gonarch’s Lair completed through the final polish stages first, before shifting the entire team onto Interloper at once, to finish this chapter up in one quick fell swoop.

Nihilanth - Gameplay/Art
The art for this level is completed. Without giving too much more away, we have a really exciting evolution for this chapter, and we are starting the final push to get this chapter completely coded, scripted, and animated.

Endgame - Final Polish
This chapter is locked. There are some dependency assets and some polish we have to implement once the rest of the game is complete, but other than that, it is ready to go.

Multiplayer Playdate - 6-30-18
The Black Mesa devs are getting together for a play date on on Saturday June 30th at 12:00 PM EST (midday). We are looking forward to filling some servers, blowing off some steam, and having a good time.

Celebrating 20 Years of Half-Life
Oh cool, so it’s already JUNE. Time flies when you are grinding toward a deadline having fun. As many of you are probably already aware, Half-Life will be TWENTY this November. We obviously plan on doing some BIG THINGS to celebrate the game that inspired us and became such a huge part of all our lives.

One of the events planned is Black Mesa (Crowbar Collective) having a booth at Syracuse’s Retro Game Con November 3rd and 4th. Stop by if you are in the area and chat with us. I went last year as a guest and had a great time (and got some sweet video game themed magnets too). More info on this event to come.

We are also considering doing a dev marathon stream of Black Mesa, Half-Life 2, Episode 1, and Episode 2. Would anyone be interested in watching us do that? We would have to figure out the logistics, as we are all not in one place, but that is something that sounds like a good time to us.

There are some other big ideas we would really like to do, but can’t talk about just yet. If you have any ideas, please let us know!
Black Mesa - [BMS] Adam-Bomb

Hey all,

A quick mini update for everyone.

We have deployed a number of fixes for the latest version of the game.

We fixed:
  • The tentacles in Blast Pit not responding to explosives
  • Problems with CSM on lower settings and improved CSM performance
  • Humvee using experimental texture that caused FPS drops
  • Invalidated old saves as we forgot to set that with the first deployment. Sorry if that inconvenienced anyone.
We are currently troubleshooting
  • Flashlight not working on some machines with dedicated video cards
  • Game not launching on some machines
  • Black screen on Linux when launching

We also found a nasty bug on our Linux servers. We are working on getting that sorted as soon as possible. For the time being our MP servers are down. Once we have them up, we will plan a play date so we can REALLY test the servers and blow off some steam with everyone!

Thank you to everyone who reported bugs and helped the community fix problems.
Black Mesa

The fan-made Half-Life remake Black Mesa took another step toward completion over the weekend with the release of a Xen engine patch that fixes a number of issues including freezing and crashes on Radeon 300, 400, and 500 series video cards. 

"We will probably do one more 'Engine' release just before we drop Xen, in order to make sure that everything is running smoothly on everyone's machines," developer Crowbar Collective wrote. "We want the Xen release to be as close to a simple content release as possible." 

Black Mesa is largely a faithful recreation of the groundbreaking FPS Half-Life, but it makes some changes as well, shortening or otherwise editing some levels while expanding others in ways that the old GoldSrc engine wasn't capable of. The one thing it's lacking, despite being in development since at least 2005 (seriously, Black Mesa: Source, as it was known then, won ModDB's "Mod of 2005" award), is Half-Life's concluding Xen location. 

And that's perfectly fine by me: Gordon Freeman would've been better served with a Poochie-style sendoff than the ugly, tedious slog through Xen he ultimately got stuck with, as far as I'm concerned. But that's how Half-Life ends, and so—eventually—that's how Black Mesa will end, too. 

There's no word on when Xen will actually be added to the game and even if there was I'd strongly suggest taking it with a handful of salt: The rollout has already been delayed twice, most recently in November 2017, just ahead of a "do-or-die deadline" that had been set for December. (Obviously, it did not.) There are, however, patch notes and a list of known issues available for perusal on Steam

Black Mesa - Valve
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Black Mesa - [BMS] Adam-Bomb

Xen Engine Public Release
We have patched the latest version of the Xen Engine and released it to everyone. Please let us know on the Steam forums if you run into any game breaking issues. As we have mentioned before, this is important to test our new features so that the Xen release can be as flawless as possible. We will probably do one more “Engine” release just before we drop Xen, in order to make sure that everything is running smoothly on everyone's machines. We want the Xen release to be as close to a simple content release as possible! Here is what is in the latest patch:

April Patch List
Fixed screen freezes / crashes on Radeon RX 3XX 4XX 5xx cards!

Fixed most dynamic shadows flickering and improved the overall quality and performance

Fixed most dynamic lights flickering on lower quality levels Nvidia GPUs (and some AMD GPUs)

CSM quality and perf improvements

Fixed CSM not working on some AMD cards

Fixed decals flickering in some maps

Fixed full screen blur when using dynamic light godrays

Fixed zombie headshots with the crossbow. Now when you headshot a zombie using the crossbow, they will no longer spawn a live headcrab.

Fixed assault points for Houndeyes

Added texture scrolling for dynamic light cookie textures

Fixed tilemap animation bug in light cookie textures.

Fixed rim lighting not working with old light entities

Fixed Phong/skin shader specular not working on static props

Flashlight intensity and range increased

Settings optimization for new deferred lighting and shadows

December Patch Notes

Known Issues
Flashlight Doesn’t Have Shadows
We have a more advanced plan for the flashlight in the works. This will be deployed at a later date.

Haloing Around Props/Object
MSAA is causing outlines around certain objects. MSSA is a performance killer and we hope to have a better solution for anti-aliasing with the Xen release. To remove the haloing/outline, simply turn off MSAA.

Dynamic Shadows Flickering On Moving Dynamic Lights
These should be completely fixed, but if you DO get them try:
Try running the game in windowed borderless mode.
Try turning off Vsync, lowering your overall settings, or turning off dynamic shadows entirely.

Stencil Shadows
We have removed the old Source stencil shadows. This helps performance and fixes the double shadows that happen in outside environments where CSM is used. We plan on using new dynamic lights to get more realistic shadows in key interior sections.

Always Run
Always run has an issue where after every map load you have to press “shift” for it to work. We will be fixing this for Xen.

Outlines Around Weapons
If you move the screen fast in areas using dynamic lights, you may see small outlines around your weapon. This is very minimal and is something we will look into fixing.
Apr 9, 2018
Black Mesa - [BMS] Adam-Bomb
Here’s some more info on the upcoming LOOT ME$A!

Of course we are kidding. We wanted to take the time to inform everybody about our REAL game updates.

We’ve made a lot of progress since December. With the exception of a few places (mainly loading between chapters), Xen is playable from start to finish. The levels have had multiple gameplay passes to get them to where we want them in terms of fun and challenge. While we worked on these iterations, we built art in parallel so we can implement the art as soon as the gameplay gets completely locked down.

We’ve put a lot of effort into some levels to get them ready for outside testing. We look forward to getting feedback and see what we can do to support Xen and Black Mesa, even after we leave Early Access. We want to continue to make the best game for our community, old veterans and new players alike.

In that spirit, here are our latest updates:

There have been a few major issues with our new renderer. The bugs fought tooth and nail, but we think we have solved most if not all of the major issues. We are preparing a patch for the Public Beta that we will switch to mainline as soon as possible. Here are just a FEW of the big ticket items we fixed for the Public Beta:

-Game crashes on certain Radeon graphics cards
-Shadows and lights not rendering properly on certain Radeon graphics cards
-Fixed full screen blur that was associated with dynamic lights using god rays
-Fixed dynamic shadows flickering as the light cast onto perpendicular surfaces
-Fixed decals flickering in maps

We have a lot of work left to do, and we have decided not to give timelines so that we do not let our community down again; however in the grand scheme of Black Mesa we are VERY close, and we are super excited about delivering our version of Xen!

We hope everyone has a good week, and we will have more info on our beta patch soon.
Apr 1, 2018
Black Mesa - [BMS] Adam-Bomb

Loot Boxes
Black Mesa is introducing some exciting changes to encourage player creativity with new character and weapon skins. These skins are cosmetic only and are designed to increase player choice in our game. These skins can be used in single player or online to show off each player's individual personality.

Skins can be found in Black Mesa’s new loot crate supply drop system. As players play the game, they will occasionally be rewarded with a loot crate supply drop. Players can then buy key badges to gain access to a random skin within the supply drop.

We spent a lot of time creating and balancing this system so that players could express their creativity, and because it was such a requested feature before we released out of Early Access.

Here’s a look at some of the Season 1 skins:

9MM Golden Gun Skin

9MM Digital Camo Skin

Loot Mesa Easter HEV Skins

Last Freeman Standing ROYALE
We have also added a new game mode, Last Freeman Standing battle royale! Players can now run, shoot, and think in an ever shrinking arena, to fight to be the last Freeman, in this fresh and exciting new game mode.

Happy Holiday from the Black Mesa team!