Halfy birthday, Hap-Life! Well, I guess it's technically the day after your birthday now, but an upgraded version of Source-powered Half-Life tribute Black Mesa still counts as a gift, I think. You might remember that the free labor of time, love, and more time was greenlit a while back, but now it's finally taking the Lab Facility Train Ride of Ultimate Auspiciousness over to Steam. Better still, Gabe and the knights of the Valve table have given it their blessing, allowing the Black Mesa team to earn some especially pretty pennies for their hard work. The Steam version will include new features too, but not Xen. That's apparently still "a ways off," sadly.
The Black Mesa team explained in a forum post:
"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."
So then, how's the price tag looking? Well, the Black Mesa team isn't going into specifics yet, but it's currently aiming for something "relatively low."
As for Xen, it's still in the works, but things are going a bit less swimmingly at the moment. "To be totally honest, Xen is still a ways off," the team wrote. "Over the past year, we have spent a HUGE amount of time porting the game to a new engine and fixing hundreds of bugs. The work to port to the new engine was not because of the decision to go retail, this was work that had to be done to get Black Mesa onto Steam and support our future plans."
But hey, at least we have something to look forward to in the near-ish term. The Steam version is coming "soon." And as for Xen, the ability to afford food while toiling away on the project might grease its wheels a little. But if not, well, I suppose Half-Life's 30th anniversary isn't that far away.