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After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week

Fear Not The Long Road on Steam is a post from the Crowbar Collective saying to expect the full release of version 1.0 of Black Mesa on March 5th. This will mark the conclusion of a shockingly long 14-year development cycle for this Source-engine remake of the original Half-Life, Valve's seminal first-person shooter. Here's what the team has to say about this momentous occasion:
In March 2006, two of my college classmates got onto the Black Mesa mod team. I applied as an artist, and they more or less vouched for me. The team “hired” me without even completing an art test. From there I became the art lead, a partner in the new “Crowbar Collective LLC”, project lead, and eventually owner of the company.

As I write this, I am realizing that we plan to FINISH Black Mesa exactly 14 years to the month from when I first joined the team. 14 years working on a single project, with a dedicated team, that had a vision, and saw it through.

There are probably a fair number of people who if you asked them “Do you want to own a video game company?”, would say “Yes! Absolutely. Whatever it takes!”, but it is easy to commit to something when it is guaranteed. If instead in 2006 someone said to me “This will be difficult. You will consider quitting multiple times, and it is going to take you at least 14 years to complete.” I am not sure I would have signed up for that.

Who would have blamed me if I didn’t? For the majority of its development, Black Mesa was a volunteer project. Even after we got the green light to sell the game, we still did not make any money until late June of 2015.

I have heard “you should never work for free”, and I really couldn’t disagree with that more. I did multiple free side projects in college that either eventually paid off, or got me connections I otherwise would not have had. I learned communication and leadership skills in my volunteer fire department. I got my first game industry job because of my free work on Black Mesa, and then after a round of layoffs, my job BECAME Black Mesa. The thing that was supposed to be a portfolio piece to launch my career, became my career, and I would not have been in that position if I didn’t commit to the work as a volunteer.

The key to doing work for free is it has to be important to you AND it has to be important to other people. For Black Mesa, the quality of the source material, and the excitement of the community when we would post even the smallest amount of media is what kept us going.

The fact is, all roads are long roads. If you fear that, you’ll shy away from choosing the one that excites you most, and has the biggest reward. Not everyone is going to have reliable friends to pull them onto projects, not everyone is going to have the opportunity to own a video game company, but if there is something you want to accomplish there’s nothing left to do, but to do it. You can not win the game if you don’t play.

Through luck, hard work, and maybe a bit of ignorance we didn’t shy away from our goal of bringing this game to completion. We are proud of what we built. We think this upcoming 1.0 release is the best, most polished, and most fun version of the game yet. The anticipation and excitement around our project is beyond flattering.

Black Mesa is a video game, it is our video game, and it has its strengths, and its flaws. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned” and while we plan to fully support this game after 1.0 with bug fixes and more, it will never be a perfect game.

This is not to downplay, or make excuses, but as the person who drafts most of these media posts, I think it is important to break away from the marketing and the “hype”. Before Astroneer launched, they made a blog post about managing expectations for their game, and it really resonated with me, and inspired me to someday write a post like this one. We are super excited to have Black Mesa be “complete”, but acknowledge it is not perfect and won’t ever be perfect.

I hope that everyone has something that inspires them as much as Half-Life inspired us. I hope that everyone embraces the setbacks and challenges that come, and I hope no one fears the long road in front of them.

Black Mesa 1.0 will launch Thursday March 5th on Steam.

Thank you,
-Adam Engels
-The Black Mesa team
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23 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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23. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 26, 2020, 10:40  wtf_man 
 
After 14 years, I will finally play this!

I will purchase upon my next visit to Steam.
 
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22. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 26, 2020, 09:12 phinn
 
Just added to Steam wishlist, looks like I'll be getting this when it hits 1.0, a little busy atm anyway so timing might be perfect.  
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21. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 20:19 Drayth
 
I just finished a full play through (beta, obviously). The graphics in Xen are F'ing amazing, but WOW did that go on, and on, and on, and on... got a bit tedious. Only complaint. Everything else makes for a fantastic remake.  
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20. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 17:53  Prez 
 
aka_STEVE wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 15:13:
Someone needs to get on Remaking this Remake immediately..... adding in RTX

...and it would still be done before we get Half Life 3 .

Games that have been out for shorter time periods than Black Mesa has been in development have received remasters. Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare was remastered after it had been out for 9 if I remember correctly. They had better start on the remaster the week after next.
 
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19. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 16:48  Primalchrome 
 
Damnation.....I'd forgotten I had it.  
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18. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 15:34  jdreyer 
 
Quit yer whining and finish the damn game!

/s
 
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17. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 15:27  Prez 
 
Finally! I've been waiting for years to play this. I've mostly resisted playing it so as to get the final version and play it through.  
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16. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 15:13 aka_STEVE
 
Someone needs to get on Remaking this Remake immediately..... adding in RTX

...and it would still be done before we get Half Life 3 .
 
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15. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 14:14 Kristian Joensen
 
"Of course by then development had shifted from the Quake II Engine to the Unreal Engine to an internally developed engine and then to the Quake 3 Engine."

Yeah, they never used the Quake 3 Engine. I think this person meant Doom 3, but they didn't use that either. Also they never developed an internal engine completely from scratch for DNF. But it is true that they rewrote large part of the engine, but they kept a small base from the Unreal Engine.

As for WoW, yeah there is no doubt that the 3DR crew in general and George Broussard in particular were big fans. I vaguely remember that quote around the time of the Jace Hall footage as a joke from George's side. I have no idea if WoW had any real impact on DNF development, I doubt it. But in any case there is no way they actually stopped development at any point just to play WoW.

There were plenty of things wrong with DNF's development, there is no need for exaggeration or anything like that. It was completely messed up, that is for sure.
 
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14. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 13:38 Sepharo
 
Kristian Joensen wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 12:30:
Sepharo wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 12:01:
Kristian Joensen wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:58:
Beamer wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:26:
Mr. Tact wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:21:
14 years? Pfft. No problem, Star Citizen will crush that.

It's close to DNF territory, though that wasn't continually worked on (though, it was worked on by professional teams doing it as a full time job, so...)

I guess it depends on what you mean by "worked on continually". I think there was a month between 3D Realms laying off its development team and Triptych Games being set up and taking over development.

If you are referring to restarts of the project, that is a bit complicated. after they switched to the Unreal Engine it was never the case that they just threw everything out from one day to the next or that they ever stopped working on the game.

They admitted to playing WoW for like a year without doing any actual work.

I am going to have to pull a [citation needed] on that. Heck even if you can find a quote, it is almost certainly something said in jest. I am far from an insider or anything like that, but I think I followed the development pretty closely.

It was in some retrospective they did shortly after the announcement of the hand-off to Gearbox... but I can't find it.
But while searching for it I did come across this:

https://i.imgur.com/1wJAaxP.png
https://twitter.com/georgebsocial/status/682861865546874880

lol

edit: more stuff that's not the actual interview but referring to it:

(guy on a forum):
"No, but during development Broussard mentioned in an interview in 2008 on the Jace Hall Show that they had been playing a lot of World of Warcraft. Of course by then development had shifted from the Quake II Engine to the Unreal Engine to an internally developed engine and then to the Quake 3 Engine. They were a mess after the first engine switch but allegedly WoW dominated that office for quite a while."

I'm probably exaggerating about no work, and for a year, but they definitely admitted to wasting significant time on WoW in 2004 instead of development
 
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13. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 13:30  Beamer 
 
Kristian Joensen wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:58:
Beamer wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:26:
Mr. Tact wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:21:
14 years? Pfft. No problem, Star Citizen will crush that.

It's close to DNF territory, though that wasn't continually worked on (though, it was worked on by professional teams doing it as a full time job, so...)

I guess it depends on what you mean by "worked on continually". I think there was a month between 3D Realms laying off its development team and Triptych Games being set up and taking over development.

If you are referring to restarts of the project, that is a bit complicated. after they switched to the Unreal Engine it was never the case that they just threw everything out from one day to the next or that they ever stopped working on the game.

It's such ancient news that I'd forgotten. I could have sworn there was like 5 years between.

It's weird - DNF feels like it came out very recently to me, and 3DR collapsing feels like forever ago, but they were very close in time.
 



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12. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 12:56 Luke
 
That can only mean HL3 is in the owen  
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11. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 12:34  RedEye9 
 
El Pit wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:50:
Valve time...
Now, where is the VR patch for Black Mesa? Release in 2034?
Devs have said they won’t be adding vr, so your guess is probably close.
 
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10. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 12:32  RedEye9 
 
chickenboo wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 12:13:
Yay, I've been waiting for this! Now to decide whether to finish my playthrough where I left off or start over to experience the little changes they've made since I played a year or two ago. I know they improved the AI on the grunts so that they don't simply rush me.
They have made enough changes in earthbound to warrant another play through if you’ve the mind to.
 
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9. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 12:30 Kristian Joensen
 
Sepharo wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 12:01:
Kristian Joensen wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:58:
Beamer wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:26:
Mr. Tact wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:21:
14 years? Pfft. No problem, Star Citizen will crush that.

It's close to DNF territory, though that wasn't continually worked on (though, it was worked on by professional teams doing it as a full time job, so...)

I guess it depends on what you mean by "worked on continually". I think there was a month between 3D Realms laying off its development team and Triptych Games being set up and taking over development.

If you are referring to restarts of the project, that is a bit complicated. after they switched to the Unreal Engine it was never the case that they just threw everything out from one day to the next or that they ever stopped working on the game.

They admitted to playing WoW for like a year without doing any actual work.

I am going to have to pull a [citation needed] on that. Heck even if you can find a quote, it is almost certainly something said in jest. I am far from an insider or anything like that, but I think I followed the development pretty closely.
 
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8. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 12:13 chickenboo
 
Yay, I've been waiting for this! Now to decide whether to finish my playthrough where I left off or start over to experience the little changes they've made since I played a year or two ago. I know they improved the AI on the grunts so that they don't simply rush me.  
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7. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 12:12  Mr. Tact 
 
Sepharo wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 12:01:
They admitted to playing WoW for like a year without doing any actual work.
I would say I wish I my job had been like that -- but it was for 2-3 years. Although since I was sitting in a corporate office, playing WoW wasn't an option. I did however come as close as most anyone to browsing the entire Internet...
 



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6. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 12:01 Sepharo
 
Kristian Joensen wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:58:
Beamer wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:26:
Mr. Tact wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:21:
14 years? Pfft. No problem, Star Citizen will crush that.

It's close to DNF territory, though that wasn't continually worked on (though, it was worked on by professional teams doing it as a full time job, so...)

I guess it depends on what you mean by "worked on continually". I think there was a month between 3D Realms laying off its development team and Triptych Games being set up and taking over development.

If you are referring to restarts of the project, that is a bit complicated. after they switched to the Unreal Engine it was never the case that they just threw everything out from one day to the next or that they ever stopped working on the game.

They admitted to playing WoW for like a year without doing any actual work.
 
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5. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 11:58 Kristian Joensen
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:26:
Mr. Tact wrote on Feb 25, 2020, 11:21:
14 years? Pfft. No problem, Star Citizen will crush that.

It's close to DNF territory, though that wasn't continually worked on (though, it was worked on by professional teams doing it as a full time job, so...)

I guess it depends on what you mean by "worked on continually". I think there was a month between 3D Realms laying off its development team and Triptych Games being set up and taking over development.

If you are referring to restarts of the project, that is a bit complicated. after they switched to the Unreal Engine it was never the case that they just threw everything out from one day to the next or that they ever stopped working on the game.
 
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4. Re: After 14 Years, Black Mesa 1.0 Next Week Feb 25, 2020, 11:53 jacobvandy
 
Yeah, there are plenty of other mods that have taken a ridiculously long time to make... I dunno about 14 years, exactly, but time has a way of flying by when it's more of a hobby than a job. It can't be called a development cycle, per se, when there's no set structure to the work. Which this guy says was the case for the majority of that time.  
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