It was not out of place, it brought a fresh scenario and I love alien worlds (and I have no problem with platforms). Also I would wish the same for you, but hell was "invaded" so many times it would be a walk in the park donw there... bring marshmallows. =P
It just felt weird going from a connected research lab thin that sort of felt like it could be a real place as long as you did't examine things too closely(those weird offices that have no practical way for the scientists to enter or leave that you can see from the opening) to super freeman bros with dull artwork.
Thing about hell is, doomguy has some sort of super not dying from the heat from nearby lava pools powers. You on the other hand would quickly be Hell Fried Human. Finger lickin' good!
Yeah biggest problem with Xen was platforming in a game that wasn't really constructed for platforming. I'm pretty sure the Black Mesa Source crew realize this so they're putting extra effort into designing the Xen levels with this in mind.
If they get the votes, I don't think there will be a problem. It's more or less publicity for Valve. HL2 went on sale yesterday, 75% off. Perhaps I'm naive (probably so), but my intuition is that the severe discount on that game, this week, is no accident and happened because Valve knows that the hype about Black Mesa will sell copies of HL2 and its two episodic entries, not to mention the original HL for comparison.
I can easily see Valve might feel weird about promoting something like Black Mesa, but at the end of the day, it's a win for everyone, I think.
This process appears to be designed to largely replace whatever their old process was. A lot of worthy mods never did make it to Steam, though half of them were probably IP violations (Goldeneye: Source comes to mind).
If Valve saw anything wrong with Black Mesa they'd have said something negative about it, sent a C&D, etc. Mogul's hunch sounds about right: Valve is going to make a pile of money indirectly from Black Mesa and they know it. They also know the PR will be good, especially if the mod turns out to be good.
The launch was hilariously inept; trying to make Valve proud, I guess. Not sure why they built so much hype if they knew they were only going to have one direct download and one torrent on some no-name tracker. Once more mirrors popped up it got better, but still.
I started both a direct download and a torrent, and it looks like they're both going to finish in about twenty minutes.
Just finished the "Office Complex" chapter.
So far it's very nice. Only complaints I have is that it's a little on the quiet side and then of course seeing (and especially hearing) the HL2 Disney version of the vorts in HL1 is a Jar Jar moment.
Been playing it for a few hours. Just finished the Blast Pit chapter. For an "amateur" project it's really quite spectacular. Props to the team for finishing what they set out to accomplish all those years ago (lack of the Xen chapter notwithstanding).
But I have a couple of complaints. Having to crouch jump all the time to climb every object is irritating, and makes jumping puzzles a nightmare. And the marine combat chatter is abysmally bad; so bad that it breaks the immersion of the game for me. Considering that the rest of the NPC dialogue is professionally done, I honestly don't know what they were thinking.
The crouch jumping is excessive. Why would you design your environments like that? Typically, there might be a small handful (say, three) required crouch jumps in a game. This game practically forces you to do it for every single jumping task.
Also, in my opinion, if you're going to spend all these years redesigning the levels, you should make them easier to navigate than a game from 1998. You will spend a great deal of time running back and forth through the same area looking for some hint you missed that will open up the next area. That might have been compelling gameplay (it wasn't) 15 years ago, but it just strikes me as a waste of my time today. It's not fun or challenging or interesting -- it's just boring and probably evidence of lack of talent for the level designers. That, or the game has a bit of an identity crisis, a la DNF, due to its excessively long development period.
I'm pretty sure that running back and forth in the same area is part of the puzzle solving element of HL. It forces you to observe the entire environment. I enjoyed it in the original and I enjoy it now. Also, for some reason, heights in Black Mesa have given me a sense of vertigo that I don't often get in other games.
All in all, I've pretty much liked everything I've seen so far (up to where I have to kill the huge green bird arm things that attack sound). Crouch jumping doesn't bother me because I spent years playing HL1 engine games every single day. The team did a really, really good job and you can't beat the price (free) for the content you get.
As someone who regularly dusts off his old copy of Half-Life, I'd have to say if anything, I've been pleased that they've eliminated quite a few of the jumping puzzles from the original game. Yeah, there are still a few, but not nearly as many as in the original. It's nice to see them looking at those puzzles and recognizing that they don't add anything. This is especially obvious in sections where you're climbing ladders in elevator shafts... The original game would have you constantly trying to leap from ladders to narrow ledges, whereas in Black Mesa, they provide makeshift walkways.
My biggest gripe so far is simply that my computer is kind of old and they really pushed the Source engine to its limits. The first brief section topside with the military was practically unplayable on my machine, and I hate how many hits I'm taking due to my computer randomly stuttering in the middle of a fight. Other than that, though, I feel just as immersed in the game as I did the original when I played it all those years ago.
Mogul said: The crouch jumping is excessive. Why would you design your environments like that? Typically, there might be a small handful (say, three) required crouch jumps in a game. This game practically forces you to do it for every single jumping task.
Not to go all "HURR REALISM" but when was the last time you vaulted straight onto a waist high wall/box without bending your legs/using your arms?
Right, I thought about that. But bent knees are pretty much always part of jumping animations. It's reasonable to assume that your character isn't straight-legged when he jumps. And besides, when pretty much the only times you have to jump, you actually have to jump+crouch, what's the point of jump+crouch? Inelegant design, imo.
Crouch jumping has never bothered me, probably because of Half-Life, but the jumping in this feels really off for some reason. I actually fell a couple times during the hanging box section, something I haven't done in the original since I first got the game.
The only other thing that's really bothered me about this so far is purely engine related, and it's all of the loading screens. I had completely forgotten how annoying those are in the (Gold) Source games.
That section was pretty obnoxious. I can't remember how it was in the original, but I'm sure the solution didn't blend into the background as much as it does in this.
spoiler - highlight to read:
Did you find the area where you can use the joystick to move the little bridge thing on the crane? On the wall near where you enter that room there's a tiny button that opens one of the shutters. You just position the bridge in front of that open shutter and jump into it.
If you didn't get that far, you basically drop from each conveyor belt onto the one below it, you'll get to the area I'm describing eventually.
The same buttons are used solely for detail all over the place, so I walked right past it about four times before I finally took notice to it.