giovedì 7 maggio 2015

Black Mesa ora su Steam

Diversi giorni fa un misterioso countdown è apparso sul sito di Black Mesa (ricordate il remake del primo Half-Life? Quello in corso dal 2005 con una parte rilasciata nel 2012?) e ovviamente la community si è scatenata su cosa stava per arrivare. Ho sperato fino alla fine che si trattasse della seconda parte su Xen, ma i segnali presumevano qualcos'altro di ugualmente interessante.
Lo si può vedere chiaramente nell'immagine: Black Mesa è ora disponibile su Steam alla cifra di 19,99 dollari. La differenza con la mod gratuita consiste in una serie di fix, migliorie grafiche e implementazioni al gameplay nella campagna e il comparto multiplayer che riprende le storiche mappe di moltissimi anni fa.


Queste sono alcune delle dichiarazioni per avere qualche dettaglio in più, presi da 4char:

Heavily updated single player experience – The Black Mesa single player experience has greatly improved from the mod release; new visuals, new voice over, updated gameplay encounters, stability changes and more. Xen is not part of the Steam release of Black Mesa, but will included as a free update when it is ready.
Black Mesa Multiplayer – Fight with or against your friends, in two game modes across six iconic maps from the Half-Life Deathmatch universe: Bounce, Gasworks, Lambdabunker, Stalkyard, Subtransit and Undertow.
Custom Modding Tools – Use the same tools the developers used to create your own mods, modes and maps for Black Mesa and Black Mesa Multiplayer …
Fully integrated Workshop – … and then share your work on the fully integrated workshop!

Complete Steam Integration – Collect trading cards, backgrounds, emoticons, achievements, and everything else you would expect out of a Steam integrated game. 

So to be clear:
1) The existing free mod release is as it stands. While we all know plans can change, we are pretty confident in saying that at this time there are no plans to upgrade or add to the "mod" release.

2) The "retail" release or Steam version (yes, you will finally get to throw us some change) is is going to have upgrades, bug fixes, a multiplayer addon, and a port to a new engine. That said, because it is a steam version, this also means that any additional fixes or add ons after the initial launch can be done on the fly. No more sending you off to other websites to download patches or upgrade to newer versions. That is the beauty of Steam that we all appreciate.

3) Now regarding the 4 Xen chapters; They are not currently slotted to be included in the mod release or the steam release. You see, it isn't that we are done with it and are just holding onto it for some special occasion or to tease our beloved fans mercilessly. Far from it. It means it is simply not done, and we are unwilling to slate it for any of our release projects at this time.  

Again, everyone who says this vastly underestimates how much work Xen is. Xen would still be extremely huge amounts of work, even if we were aiming for just a straight 1:1 remake. You still wouldn't have it today, even if we'd gone that route and put everything into it.

Our version of Xen is not extremely ambitious because we're making it super long. We're making it longer, yes, but it certainly won't be a third of the game as someone said. It's super ambitious because the detail and design are meticulous and extremely difficult to pull off in the Source engine. Trust me, we tried looking at how 1:1 would look/play. Many times. It sucked. We wanted to do better than that. We can do a lot better than that. Game design is hard. Designing an organic and beautiful alien border world on the ageing Source engine? Creating a believable and fully functional ecosystem which has detailed science behind everything? Creating some of the most ambitious and beautiful landscapes and skyboxes the Source engine has ever seen? It. Takes. Time. Xen's landscape design, to make it right, requires a lot more attention and refinement than anything earthbound by orders of magnitude, and requires a very different design pipeline to the rest of the game. Much more time consuming and hard to get right.

Honestly, whenever anyone makes posts about how we should have prioritised Xen and how it's "bizzare" and "selfish," that we're doing stuff on MP or whatever, it really does come across to me as "I want Xen why aren't they giving me Xen?" There are a lot of circumstances which have led our team to be in the position we are in. They are complex. Nobody on the team wanted to just work silently on Xen until it came out. Lots of us, without the prospect of the MP release on the horizon, would have dropped out. The project may have died. It's as simple as that. We're bloody human, we have fleeting motivation, we face challenges. And it's not like MP is the only thing we've been working on, either.

We have had huge numbers of people complaining to us that we should have just bunged the BMS mod on Steam so they could get the Steam version, as soon as we were Greenlit. The legal requirement for us to switch engines prevented that from being possible. The engine port fiasco set us back hugely. It stalled development for a very long time and crushed a lot of our motivations. But, when it was said and done, we didn't want to do just a straight port of the mod release, but we knew we did want to get BMS on Steam before Xen was done, so we could keep deploying updates for people and build up a community, while we finished Xen. We wanted to take the "mod port" to the next level. So we've done what we think is the best compromise for everyone. There's a fun and cool MP. The existing SP parts have been touched up hugely based on feedback from before. At the end of the day, it's a compromise. You can't satisfy everyone. We've poured huge amounts of love and hard work into all of this and we're extremely proud of it. I know I am. It's always a bit disheartening to see posts like yours, for that reason.

Everyone seems to be forgetting that MP was an original part of Half-Life too, we haven't just run off and started doing whatever we feel like while we completely ignore Xen. You will get Xen. It will be amazing. We need time. 

Sembra ancora lontana la release della seconda parte della mod, eppure l'impegno di voler creare qualcosa di inedito è sicuramente un incentivo ad aspettare. Black Mesa arriverà anche in versione scatolata a 24,99 dollari. Vi lascio infine con il trailer della nuove release, buona visione:

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