Black Mesa was once a long-awaited community-built Half-Life 1 total conversion mod for Valve’s Source Engine. It was finally released in September 2012, to the great enjoyment by many (including myself).
Valve has now approved the mod for sale as a retail product, but the Black Mesa team is of two minds about this, as they discuss in a blog posting on the Steam community page:
Black Mesa has been given the opportunity to be sold as a retail product on Steam! This is an incredible honor – one we never expected – but also one we found hard to accept.
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. We believe this philosophy has significantly contributed to the overall quality and feel of the game.
Our decision to sell Black Mesa rests on two key points. One is we believe we can make the game even better by having full access to the Source engine. This lets us tackle and fix limitations instead of working around them. The second is because frankly, our team could really use the financial help.
Soon you’ll see Black Mesa available on Steam for a relatively low price. But we aren’t dropping all support for the free version. In fact shortly after the Steam release there will be a completely new free version of the game. We also plan to open source our maps and some game assets to the modding community!
Purchasing the Steam version of Black Mesa is more about supporting the team and our efforts than anything else. However, the Steam version will include features that the free version simply can not have. We will be paying careful attention to feedback, and you’ll have a very real say in how the final game turns out.
The Black Mesa mod (originally Black Mesa: Source) is a community project started back in 2004 with the aim to recreate the original Half-Life using the advanced features of Valve’s Source Engine and modern high-resolution textures. Black Mesa requires only a free installation of the Source SDK Base 2007.
The project makes use of the 2007 Orange Box version of the Source Engine, bringing advanced particle effects, facial animations, and multi-core rendering support. Black Mesa hasn’t merely recreated Half-Life 1, but has tweaked level designs where the team deemed necessary, meaning some segments are shorter, while others are scaled up.
You can head on over to the Black Mesa website and download the mod files from a mirror or via BitTorrent.
Have you played Black Mesa? What would you pay for a retail version of this mod?