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Black Mesa's Definitive Edition update makes it just about finished

Performance improvements and extra prettiness

After over a decade of work (and nine months after actually releasing the game), the Black Mesa gang are finally just about finished remaking Half-Life. Today they launch a big update they're calling the 'Definitive Edition', with changes including a visual refresh of many areas, performance improvements, extra polishing, and a redo of one level from the bit with all the trains. They... still have a few wee fixes to follow, but it seems they're really, truly, mad, deeply almost done with it.

The developers, Crowbar Collective say the Def Ed is the "final big update" for Black Mesa. The dozens of tweaks and fixes include...

  • Massive polish and art updates throughout the game
  • Complete lighting and gameplay pass to the chapter "Power Up"
  • Complete redesign of second "On A Rail" map (map B)
  • Significant optimizations across the whole game that will improve performance on low to mid range PCs
  • Outdoor art passes for "We've Got Hostiles", "On A Rail", "Questionable Ethics", "Surface Tension", and "Forget About Freeman"
  • Fixed multiple issues with the in-game audio sliders. Fixed the "sound effect" slider adjusting everything except footsteps and gunfire, resulting in poor audio mix. Now you should be able to hear everything mixed as intended, which really improves the audio experience for anyone who has adjusted their audio sliders!
  • Autosave pass on the entire game to reduce frustrating deaths that send you back really far in the level
  • Fixed soda cans from vending machines not colliding with each other

Very glad to see that cans issue fixed. Gotta get those bumpy cans. But they note a few issues do remain, including controllers not working on the main menu. They also say they're still looking into how best to release the source files for maps. But by and large, that's it, Black Mesa is basically done.

"So, Half-Life, then," Graham said in our Black Mesa review when it left early access in March. "I used to say it was my favourite game of all time. Now, I'd say it's a first-person shooter that is occasionally great, mostly good, and sometimes charmingly crap. Black Mesa smooths out most of the crap, and maintains the great and the good. It doesn't modernise the antiquated design – but then, it wouldn't be Half-Life if it did. As it is, it's the best way to play Valve's original design if you haven't done so before, and it's a brilliant way to retread those old ventilation shafts, if you have."

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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