Freeware Game of the Week (UNBELIEVABLE! Re-Visit the World that started the Half-Life continuum)

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Sep 24 - Sep 30

This latest news has shocked the gaming world with the release of one of the most anticipated mods in years. How about playing Half-Life for free?  No, am not talking about the original Half Life by the billion dollar gaming company Valve, which is still a commercial game but one of its mods (a total conversion/standalone game) that was created by a dedicated team of 40 Half-Life fans with almost modern technology over a period of eight long and frustrating years and that too for free! This game is a fan remake of the legendary Half-Life which won over 50 game-of-the-year awards with universal acclaim by critics and hailed to be one of the greatest games ever made, including its sequel Half-Life 2.

Black Mesa

Alright this wait has been extremely long but worth it. Firstly I congratulate the effort taken by the team because you need guts to mess with the original game of its calibre and bring a polished version of modern day standards, which not only improved the physics and environmental effects of Half-Life, but also character models, sound effects, lighting, level design, textures, and nearly everything to create a highly detailed environment to play in and even some interesting gameplay modifications. Yet the game stays faithful to the original having similar weaponry and vehicle sets.

Back in 1998, Valve's first game Half-Life that helped it to achieve the status it has right today, had used cutting edge technology that no other game could boast about, but playing by today's standards you need something more and that's what Black Mesa has offered. What makes this offering to be nothing short of splendid is that, a First Person shooter game with a damn strong single player campaign and an unmatched storyline of around 8-10 hours (upto Lambda Core) and that too for free is nearly unmatched by any other.

Black Mesa is certainly a love letter to the fans of the original classic and deserves respect. The opening sequence of the game recreates the iconic scenes of the original and gives you this feeling of deja-vu and tension that it's going to be a memorable experience like what Half-Life did 14 years ago. The team has just pushed the limits of the powerful source engine to create a masterful mod and you can see this for yourself, the fruit of every single drop of sweat they've shed for designing the game.

The voice acting is just brilliant; some of the voices sounds insanely similar to the voices of the original and there are over 2,000 choreographed scenes and over 6,500 lines of dialogues. There's an all new sound track which is quite immersive and plot specific with over 2,300 custom sound effects. Commenting on the graphics, the team has utilized over 2000 custom models and 5,000 custom textures and this is even more than what Half-Life 2 offered!!

Certain chapters have areas that were reworked and various unnecessary portions even removed to give a modern and more realistic design. There are still a few glitches here and there, especially with the enemy AI at times, and the load time is really long, but the hard working team is listening to fan requests (wait, they themselves are fans), improving the game and sorting out bugs.

Alright you still have to stomach the fact that the game is still not complete, but playable upto 14 out of 19 stages. I wonder how long would it take for the next major update to flesh out, nevertheless I strongly suggest you to dive into this world of Half-Life again. The experience is more expansive and immersive than ever before and play Half-Life, the way it was meant to be played. And the game is Free as in Gordon FreeMan :)


Steps for downloading and installing the game: 

This game is totally freeware. Unlike other mods you don't need the original game to run. All you need is a copy of the game, Steam Client and the Source Engine, all of which are free. 

Alright, make sure that you've a pretty fast internet connection and download speeds as the total size of the game is over 3GB. 

Homehttp://release.blackmesasource.com/

Genre: First Person Shooter

System Requirementshttp://wiki.blackmesasource.com/System_Requirements

Steps:

  1. Download the game:

    Links: http://www.blackmesasource.com/download.html (3.8GB)

    Torrenthttp://gameupdates.org/details.php?id=5152 (3.1GB)

  2. After downloading the game, install Steam client, the community Platform provided by Valve. Install it in the default folder specified. Register an account on Steam. 

  3. Double click Steam icon on your desktop. Login to your account using your username and password. Go to your Game Library in the Steam Client. Left click on "All Games" drop-menu next to the Search Bar. Left click on Tools. Find Source SDK Base 2007 (2.9GB) and Install it. ( Screenshot ). After installing it make sure to Exit/Close Steam. 

  4. Next after your download of Black Mesa is complete, put all the 3 files (BlackMesa.7z, BlackMesa.md5, BlackMesa-setup.exe) in the same folder. ( Screenshot ). For Direct Downloads extract the .zip file and put the 3 files in same folder. Do not extract BlackMesa.7z file. Run BlackMesa-setup.exe (as admin) and the game will be installed. If possible try to install BlackMesa in the same drive as Steam, otherwise it may give issues.. 

  5. Restart Steam client, re-login to your account. You'll see Black Mesa in the Game Library, double click it to launch the game and enjoy :)

  6. In case you didn't get it to work properly check the troubleshooting guide below.


TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS

  • Files may be corrupted during download: Verify that the blackmesa.7z and setup.exe files you downloaded are intact, by checking their MD5 hashes. Use this program to do that. Instructions on how to use the MD5 checker is given below.
  • After downloading, put all 3 files in a single folder, and run the setup.exe file. No need to extract the .7z beforehand. The setup process will do that for you automatically.
  • If you’re hitting a 502 bad gateway error while trying to open the file pages on Game Front, CTRL+F5 a couple times. They should come back.
  • To launch the game, open Steam. Black Mesa should be in your Steam Library now. If it isn’t, try restarting Steam.
  • BlackMesa not present in Steam Games Library, do the following:
  1. Open your Steam library and right-click on any game you don’t already have a shortcut for on your desktop and and just click on “Create desktop shortcut”.
  2. Right-click on the newly created shortcut and under the “web document” tab for the URL field, remove what is there and instead put this line: steam://rungameid/13540830642081628378

  3. Save it and restart steam and then try to run that shortcut and see if it works.

  • Make sure you have the 2007 Source SDK installed, which is freely available on Steam. Click the dropdown next to the search bar, click “Tools,” and select the SDK. Restart your computer after it’s installed.
  • If the blackmesa.7z file is giving you trouble (i.e. if the setup file “can’t find” the .7z file), try uninstalling and then reinstalling 7-zip.
  • Always run the setup.exe file in administrator mode. (Source: Gamefront)

Using MD5 checker:

  • Open Md5Checker.
  • Click the +Add icon, fourth button from the top left.
  • Browse for wherever you have the blackmesa.7z file, and select it.
  • That’ll get it queued up, and the program will start to analyze the file and then spit out its md5 hash.
  • Now you need to check that against the md5 hash you downloaded from GF. Double click the md5 hash that md5checker spit out. You’ll see a little pop up window. Copy/paste the hash you downloaded into the empty field.
  • If you see the word “same” come up, you’re all good. The file is perfectly intact. If it says “different,” something went wrong with the download and the file is corrupted.

Have fun! See you next week...smiley

 

George.J

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Comments

Wow just found this thread. I love Half-Life, thanks for posting.