Poll Question 314 – Have you or will you play the Black Mesa mod AND purchase it from Steam?

26th May 2015

As you probably know, I haven’t played the Black Mesa mod and I haven’t yet purchased the retail version either.

I wanted to wait until it was finished before I played it, but with the probable release of SP maps for the retail version, my hope of waiting for a Steam Sale seems futile.

So that got me wondering how many people have or will play both versions. Of course, I know that some have, but I am curious about RTSL readers.

In fact, putting aside the issue of SP maps for the retail version, would you say the retail version is worth it?


  1. I have paid for it on Steam and played it.
    I played it for free a few years ago but the opportunity to create and release content through Steam Workshop makes the whole thing a lot more exciting. Already some nice maps appearing there so well worth it.

  2. Derpmind

    I’ve heard that there are some huge gameplay changes between the mod and the retail version, but I’ve yet to find anyone who’s analyzed that or reviewed the changes. It’s a big deal for me because when I played the mod there were tons of problems it had as a first person shooter in addition to the gameplay just not feeling like Half-Life. Here’s a video review of the mod that’s the best analysis I’ve found. (He hasn’t played the retail version and says he won’t until it’s out of Early Access.) I’m never going to buy Black Mesa unless someone convinces me that the retail version actually is drastically improved over the mod version. (And even then, since the mod is basically a demo, IMO it’s a fudging disgrace that that version might be some people’s first introduction to Half-Life.)

  3. Mentioned previously that I had played the mod version and was going to wait for a sale before getting the Steam release, then it got gifted to me anyway so that’s that.

    I hadn’t actually looked into the workshop in detail until last night. Will be nice to see some custom singleplayer maps since the deathmatch isn’t really that good at the moment.

  4. Unq

    I am only now playing through the mod version. I have also bought the game version and will play that later on. It might be weird but it’s important to me to experience the mod version I waited for (as we all did) before I play the improved game version. Perhaps so I can experience the before-and-after, or that I can appreciate the improvements more.

  5. I did play the mod and was originally going to wait until the Xen chapters was released to buy it but I heard the price will go up once its finished so I might as well get it now. I also want to mess around with modding and mapping for it.

    This is worth my money. I can see old Half Life mods getting remade. Maybe They Hunger?

  6. JG

    I played the mod version for a bit, up to Blast Pit, I think. At the time it was a test of patience, because the HECU were so maddening to fight. At that point, I hadn’t played through HL1. Eventually I did, but I didn’t revisit the mod both because I realized it was way off and because the promise of a better retail release was around the corner. I did buy the retail version, but mostly for the potential of making singleplayer maps with Steam Workshop support, which is something Valve couldn’t be bothered to add.

    putting aside the issue of SP maps for the retail version, would you say the retail version is worth it?

    Putting the Workshop aside and the vague “supporting the developers” rationale, no, I wouldn’t say it is. Having a Workshop-supported means of distributing Half-Life singleplayer content is pretty much the only attraction for me. While the sheer amount work that went into Black Mesa speaks for itself, the retail version isn’t exactly the night-and-day improvement over the mod that it should have been. It still has a long way to go and the addition of deathmatch before Xen is a distraction that leaves me dumbfounded.

    In fact, even with Workshop support, I’m quite surprised that users are expected to do the ghetto “type map blahblah on the console line” to launch a singleplayer map. There’s a perfectly good Workshop Add-Ons menu on the title screen. How hard would it have been to add a button that launches the currently selected map? For people who started off as modders, how could they have missed that?

  7. Zekiran

    Having been a Black Mesa Source apologist for many years, until they turned around and said ‘but now we’ll charge you’, I will *not* be buying it from Steam. Period. As dedicated as they are to this task, their attitude has proven to be the breaking point for me on that issue. Finish the game, put Xen out, use multiplayer as extra downloads not ‘but it’s part of the original!’ It’s *not* part of the GAME. It’s part of the RELEASE, but it was never, in any way, part of the Half Life game. It’s been really frustrating to see how carefully they manage their comments in facebook posts, and how quick they are to dodge questions and such. I’ve played through the existing, already released, free version, and that I suspect is all I’ll ever do. I don’t honestly believe that Xen will *ever* be released for that version, because screw you kids you’ve got to pay for the thing that they’ve promised was free for 8 years… Yeah, not happening.

    For many years we wanted a way to donate, use paypal or whatever to say ‘thanks for your work’, and Valve seriously should have just *let them take donations*. Not ‘and you can pay for mods now’ – that trick obviously failed in a spectacular fashion. I’d be happy to donate money in appreciation. I am considerably less enthusiastic about paying for the privilege of playing something which in its entire development cycle was emphatically ‘going to be free always’.

    1. I don’t honestly believe that Xen will *ever* be released for that version

      I believe they have already publicly stated that Xen will not be part of the free mod version.

      1. Zekiran

        Then they’ll never see my money. Pretty straightforwardly: they lied, and that’s what they get. As I said, I don’t think they’re bad modders, their skills are amazing. But as far as telling us one thing and then suddenly doing a one-eighty on us, that’s where I balk, and that’s where I have zero respect for them in doing. If they’re not going to finish *what they actually started*, they can reap that reward. I’m sure plenty of people will have bought it, great, but… not me. If they’re going to do a bait and switch, after years and years of telling us one thing, nope. Not for me. Very sad, because Xen is one of my favorite parts, and I’d really love to see it. Oh-freaking-well.

    2. That is how PC gaming works nowdays. Games become more complex and more demanding. Even Free games need some way of making money because its a job like any other and for work you want pay, otherwise you would not be working at all.

      I see your point though. The same happened to DayZ. They realised it was popular so they put a pricetag on it.

  8. FWIW I’m with Zekiran on this, though I’m clearly not a mapper or anything. I watched the years and years of little hints and drips that “leaked” about the mod, and like many others thought it might not happen at all, like so many overly ambitious projects that have fallen by the wayside along the way.

    It does appear as if there have been some high level negotiations in the background, perhaps once Valve realised that BM was serious, and hence we have the mess that is “now”.

    The long-standing status quo has always been that modders/mappers couldn’t charge for their efforts. Fact. Certainly there have been one or two examples of Valve taking mods under their wing and moving the goalposts on this fairly major point, and it is a subject that has been discussed here before, but overall it’s what we’ve been used to.

    Apart from taking actual modders into their fold and making them professional, but that’s a different subject…

    We have been lead up the garden path about the subsequent release of the Xen chapters, after being teased for so long, and it’s easy to be cynical about it. I agree that they will probably not be released for the free version, at least not “legitimately”, which is a shame, but now the project has effectively been “bought” from the “volunteers” who conceived and executed the mammoth undertaking in the first place, with who knows how much help from Valve? (Probably none to start with, until they saw how it was panning out)

    What a way to treat the market, tens of thousands (at least) of loyal fans who have waited for whatever the next official chapter/episode of the HL franchise might turn out to be. Test the waters, then change “free” to “£/$”.

    I’ve happily looked at the many “before & after” images out there and can’t be bothered enough to spend money on a game that effectively I’ve played through so many times I’ve lost count, I mean the original, I’ve played BMS three times so far, and was happy, but not “blown away” by the experience. I’ve better things to spend my money on, like anything.

    Still, I regret not being able to see it through to the finish, I enjoyed what I have played and am grateful for the efforts of the many team members who gave their time for free in pursuit of something to replace the utterly waste-of-time that was HL-source. Well done people, hope it was worth it?

  9. Mega Sean 45

    I have played the mod, but getting on Steam, that would be a maybe. Like you, Phil, I’m waiting for Xen. No use buying an unfinished game, am I right? :3

  10. I have played the mod several times, so I would only be interested in purchasing it if there was enough new content that I hadn’t seen yet.

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