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Black Mesa Source

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On 12/18/2019 at 10:14 PM, FMPONE said:

It felt great to immerse myself in the Half-Life universe again, but I can see why Valve decided only VR would be suitable to bring Half-Life back. These games consist of novel ways to press the player forward, and I think many of the best ways have already been explored in the traditional game format: Black Mesa includes every single possible permutation of how to unlock a door, climb into a vent, boot up a machine, enter a portal, etc. 

Playing this game felt really cathartic and reaffirmed that the community is capable of much more than people think, but I doubt a Half-Life 3 following the same pattern would have lived up to the hype — we know the formula to the recipe by now a little too well.

I just experienced VR for the first time today. I tried the Steam VR environments with teleportation movement, Ethan Carter with an xbox controller (my stomach) and Boneworks with continuous movement. The feeling of actually being there and interacting with the objects is pretty amazing. I can't believe how mind blown I was by throwing a rock. A GOD DAMN ROCK! And then in Boneworks when I used the jedi force pull to bring back the crowbar in my hand. I can see why Valve got hyped by this. However, motion sickness is a thing indeed. The continuous movement is just hard to handle. The way it fucks your brain because your legs are not moving is incredible. I tried to mimic a bit of walking in place to see if that does anything, but didn't help that much. 

I can imagine it being cool for some games, but not for others - actually the broad majority. Although it has potential, I'm still sceptical about it. I still think it's going to be something similar to how 3D is to films. It's very gimmicky and quite limited if continuous movement is not an option.

And so I have to disagree with what you said about HL3 not living to the hype in any other way than being developed for VR. From my point of view, all Valve has to do is improve the combat, the way the weapons handle and the enemy variety, and go for a systemic approach similar to Bioshock or Dishonored. They had a good recipe with HL2 and kept improving on it all the way through EP2, which many consider to be better than the base game. If you take those improvements and combine them with Mark Laidlaw's epistle 3, I think you'd have a pretty darn good game. For me that's enough, making a good game. Why would that not be enough?

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1 hour ago, Radu said:

For me that's enough, making a good game. Why would that not be enough?

I think there would need to be a radical re-thinking of the formulas that went into the Half-Life games. Not really on-topic per-se, but if you look at Black Mesa for example, the basic formula is something like 1) enter new area 2) fight 3) locked door has to be unlocked in some puzzle/combat way 4) encounter some vistas, friendly AI 5) move onto the next area. 99% of Black Mesa fits into that groove, and I think it becomes very samey after a while. When the game does mix it up, such as when Gordon Freeman gets "captured" or when some friendly AI stops your railcar and has forced dialogue, that's much more akin to how HL2 would break up the pace by having Alyx or some other AI talk to you. But generally speaking this level of variety is just not much compared to other full-price Single-player games these days.

What do people think of as amazing, world-class single-player pc games nowadays?

Something like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Skyrim or GTA5 or The Witcher or soon-to-be Cyberpunk, etc. They are not only mostly open world, but they have a level of replayability inherent in the experience. I think HL3 would need to have moved more in that direction rather than trying to do the Call of Duty route and just do "really polished" short SP campaigns, which aren't replayable and only barely justify their price tag. I think the HL style of games in the traditional format became too formulaic, too linear, and not replayable enough to sit comfortably by the open world games which really push the envelope for singe-player. When people think amazing single-player games these days, that's more what they think of IMO. The days of just a 16 hour linear campaign being enough to justify the HL3-level hype, to me those days are over. Even if those 16 hours were balls-to-the-wall, incredible, super polished... I just don't think that would be enough for all the hype. Again, all of this is slightly off topic, but since you asked, I thought I would elaborate a bit.

As for why VR changes the calculus more than just more polish/production values, IMO filtering a time-honored formula through a totally novel headset adds enough benefits to be worthwhile. It's a format you're used to, but with all these little new gameplay experiences such as kinetic reloading, immersive presence, etc. Perhaps the most important point of all is, with VR, Valve is at least taking a risk with doing something new and exciting. With a HL3 that was mostly just what EP3 would have been, that's not taking any big particular risk, and it's a lot easier to make a case that's a let-down.

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13 minutes ago, FMPONE said:

Not really on-topic per-se

What do people think of as amazing, world-class single-player pc games nowadays?

Something like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Skyrim or GTA5 or The Witcher or soon-to-be Cyberpunk, etc. They are not only mostly open world, but they have a level of replayability inherent in the experience.

Might be a bit of a stretch, but I think Black Mesa is a good opportunity to talk about this type of traditional design. Yeah, it doesn't offer much replayability. You can play through it once or twice and can say that you're done with it, whereas an open world game can offer sometimes an entirely different experience with each playthrough. But how many people even manage to get through to the end? This is entirely personal, but when games go over 15-20 hours, they become almost a chore to finish. Sure, there's some exceptions, like Borderlands, you do need a bit of a change every now and then. However, every Far-Cry game, although I've enjoyed, felt like it overstayed it's welcome after 20 hours. I would rather play something more directed that has a proper sequence of events and gets you to the end of the story. Since you mentioned "pc games" I can't really use Naughty Dog's games now can I?  but I would point at those for more recent examples. Hell, take Titanfall 2 for instance. Its short 4 hours sp campaign is regarded as one of the best, which I have to agree with. Doom 2016, even more of a stretch back than Black Mesa or Half-life 2 in its design. And there's plenty of hype around the upcoming Doom: Eternal. As much as companies have shifted to big open world games (which are easier to monetise), there's still a big space to be filled by more traditional linear games.

Regarding the hype, idk, look at every successful game/film sequel and what they did right. Take what made your game good to begin with, improve on the weaker areas and then add that extra something which might be what I was mentioning earlier - a systemic design or if you're into a more open metroidvania level design - maybe what Metro: Exodus went for.

The VR might work for the novelty, but it's still gonna be limiting compared to traditional games. That's what kind of sits bad with me. We're taking a step forward when it comes to immersion, but taking one backwards in terms of gameplay. How will it hold out over the years, because HL2 still does even now, as rough around the edges as it may be.

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3 hours ago, Radu said:

Might be a bit of a stretch, but I think Black Mesa is a good opportunity to talk about this type of traditional design. Yeah, it doesn't offer much replayability. You can play through it once or twice and can say that you're done with it, whereas an open world game can offer sometimes an entirely different experience with each playthrough. But how many people even manage to get through to the end? This is entirely personal, but when games go over 15-20 hours, they become almost a chore to finish. Sure, there's some exceptions, like Borderlands, you do need a bit of a change every now and then. However, every Far-Cry game, although I've enjoyed, felt like it overstayed it's welcome after 20 hours. I would rather play something more directed that has a proper sequence of events and gets you to the end of the story. Since you mentioned "pc games" I can't really use Naughty Dog's games now can I?  but I would point at those for more recent examples. Hell, take Titanfall 2 for instance. Its short 4 hours sp campaign is regarded as one of the best, which I have to agree with. Doom 2016, even more of a stretch back than Black Mesa or Half-life 2 in its design. And there's plenty of hype around the upcoming Doom: Eternal. As much as companies have shifted to big open world games (which are easier to monetise), there's still a big space to be filled by more traditional linear games.

Regarding the hype, idk, look at every successful game/film sequel and what they did right. Take what made your game good to begin with, improve on the weaker areas and then add that extra something which might be what I was mentioning earlier - a systemic design or if you're into a more open metroidvania level design - maybe what Metro: Exodus went for.

The VR might work for the novelty, but it's still gonna be limiting compared to traditional games. That's what kind of sits bad with me. We're taking a step forward when it comes to immersion, but taking one backwards in terms of gameplay. How will it hold out over the years, because HL2 still does even now, as rough around the edges as it may be.

Ultimately I'm not sure yet another traditional sp campaign would really raise the stakes much. So, let’s say they did do a really nice Titanfall 2 style HL3... I'm not sure that would be that hype or new or different or exciting enough at this point, or even a few years ago. They themselves raised the stakes so much by delaying EP3 on and on, to the extent that they would really have to do something crazy. At least VR is a big enough risk to meet that burden.

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Replayed BMS to check out the new Xen part, and honestly the first part of the game hasn't aged well at all. And it's still the soldier combat that feels so lacking, no cool radio chatter, they basically out gun you from >15m engagement ranges. The submachine guns feels so bad to shoot, idk just didn't sit right at all. Xen on the other hand I am very impressed with. Looks great for a source game, and is a fresh take on the whole Xen part

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Update time!

https://steamcommunity.com/games/362890/announcements/detail/1711867920418803575

@Pampers I urge you to replay the earthbound maps with our new marine AI and combat space refinements. The AI is an incredible improvement imo. They have classes, bark all their voice lines loud and clear, and will flank the ever living crap out of you :P

We also implemented our improved vorts from the alien maps into all the earthbound chapters. The new vorts run around the combat spaces a ton more, actively dodge your attacks mid fight, and had a lot of their timings changed so they feel like an actual thinking creature out to get you. They also have a new AOE slam attack that damages you and pushes you back if you get to close so watch out!

I really cannot state enough how much the combat has improved its legitimately like a whole new game in certain areas and that much closer to the old half life feel.

 

Edited by JeanPaul

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1 hour ago, JeanPaul said:

They have classes, bark all their voice lines loud and clear,

Hey I just played it and was wondering a couple things

-Are the different voice lines indicative of different classes, I noted most of the shotgun soldiers have the deeper pitch and play more aggressive soundbytes. But at the same time some regular soldier used the pitched down voice lines?

-Are the new voice lines just pitch down versions of the old ones or are they new in some way and were they also voiced by Mike Tsarouhas?

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2 hours ago, JeanPaul said:

Update time!

https://steamcommunity.com/games/362890/announcements/detail/1711867920418803575

@Pampers I urge you to replay the earthbound maps with our new marine AI and combat space refinements. The AI is an incredible improvement imo. They have classes, bark all their voice lines loud and clear, and will flank the ever living crap out of you :P

We also implemented our improved vorts from the alien maps into all the earthbound chapters. The new vorts run around the combat spaces a ton more, actively dodge your attacks mid fight, and had a lot of their timings changed so they feel like an actual thinking creature out to get you. They also have a new AOE slam attack that damages you and pushes you back if you get to close so watch out!

I really cannot state enough how much the combat has improved its legitimately like a whole new game in certain areas and that much closer to the old half life feel.

 

:elrey: :celebrate:

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Awesome @JeanPaul, I still have never played Black Mesa, waiting for the Xen maps. Been playing on the PS4 as of lately but a good jump back in HL would be nice.

I was being put off the thought by what was being said, of the discrepancy in quality between Black Mesa and Xen levels.

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Well now is your chance ;)

20 hours ago, fewseb said:

Hey I just played it and was wondering a couple things

-Are the different voice lines indicative of different classes, I noted most of the shotgun soldiers have the deeper pitch and play more aggressive soundbytes. But at the same time some regular soldier used the pitched down voice lines?

-Are the new voice lines just pitch down versions of the old ones or are they new in some way and were they also voiced by Mike Tsarouhas?

Only the gasmask marines use new lines which are just pitched down Tsarouhas recordings.

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Played the mod version upon release back in 2012

Played it a second time upon commercial release on steam in 2015

Guess I'll be playing the third time soon, now that it's complete with Xen and out of early access.

Well done to the devs for persevering for so long against all odds.

@JeanPaul @shawnolson great work and congrats on the release!

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