Black Mesa mod is exceeding Half-Life 2

And out of nowhere, a random Black Mesa update appears.

If you’re a Half-Life fan, you’ve no doubt heard of or have indeed been following the development of the Half-Life 2 mod, dubbed Black Mesa.

The mod has been in development for about 7 years, and is effectively a complete remake of the original Half-Life using the Half-Life 2 Source Engine, with added (more contemporary) features and updates.

Development of the mod seemed to be going ahead at full steam at one stage – and then it suddenly got hit with delays, set-backs and general bad luck. In 2008, the team released a rather impressive trailer toting a 2009 release…which never happened, either.

The current status of the mod is “ongoing” – with the team taking a very fitting Valve-esque “done when its done” attitude to it, but with valid reason: this isn’t their job; they’re not getting paid to do it, it’s a labour of love.

Lead Developer, Daniel “Raminator” Junek, took to the official forums not long ago to dish out a few stats on the mod – indicating that Black Mesa is much larger than most of us had thought – even surpassing Half-Life 2 in almost every way.

“Some statistics I compiled today that might be of interest to a few people,” he posted.

  • Half-Life 2 contains 68 maps totalling 610 MB; Black Mesa contains 53 totalling 1748 MB
  • Half-Life 2 contains 4412 textures totalling 1015 MB; Black Mesa contains 5084 totalling 3135 MB
  • Half-Life 2 contains 2095 models totalling 409 MB; Black Mesa contains 2166 totalling 461 MB
  • Half-Life 2 contains 5514 sound effects (including NPCs and dialogue) totalling 960 MB, Black Mesa contains 5930 totalling 2305 MB
  • Half-Life 2 contains 1836 choreographed scenes; Black Mesa contains 2245

“At the time of posting (31/12/2011), Black Mesa is 7884 MB. Using standard WinRAR compression, it packs down to 3682 MB,” he concluded.

Speaking about the development status, Raminator said “Progress hasn’t been great, and it has slowed down a bit. That was never a secret. Nevertheless, work is being done, tasks are being completed, and progress is being made.”

He went on to explain that the reason development has slowed is because there are hundreds of small tasks to do – and only a select few people on the already limited team can do them.

“We’re tying up loose ends, replacing outdated content, polishing unfinished features/areas/assets/mechanics, fixing bugs, optimising performance/load times/memory utilisation, preventing potential crashes, negating exploits, improving consistency in terms of art direction/gameplay/pacing, tweaking the difficulty, reworking things that aren’t fun/intuitive…”

“The last few percent of the development takes up a disproportionate amount of time because the aim is extremely diffuse. There are hundreds of tiny tasks to attend to, and only a small number of people can do them.”

“This is all being done by a handful of volunteers in what little free time they have.”

You could argue that 7 years in development is enough to make this the Duke Nukem Forever of the mod community – but despite how many people might feel the mod is no longer a point of relevance, it still remains one of the most anticapated Half-Life-related developments.

Check out the impressive 2008 trailer below.

Source: Black Mesa Forums 1, 2

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Black Mesa mod is exceeding Half-Life 2

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