The creators of the Black Mesa Classic mod have taken on a quirky project: they want to port the Black Mesa remake back to the original Half-Life engine, using the Half-Life 2 engine. Progress is slowly underway, and the team has published a new demo that includes an entire chapter.

To recap, according to the developers, Black Mesa Classic aims to achieve several goals:

  1. Transfer the improved level design from Black Mesa while preserving the original Half-Life feel.
  2. Add a touch of their own modifications.
  3. Enhance the graphics within the framework of the original Half-Life engine.
  4. Maintain the low system requirements of the original game.

In mid-2022, the Black Mesa Classic team released a demo, but since then, several changes have been made:

  • Classic no longer uses textures from Black Mesa; they have been reverted to materials from the original Half-Life and its add-ons, with a mix of custom textures.
  • The first demo ran on the Trinity Render engine, but it introduced too many minor and unfixable bugs. Now, Classic runs on SteamHL25 (apparently referring to Valve’s recent reissue) with its own code. Due to this, Classic may not work on the popular Xash3D amateur engine in the Half-Life modding community.
  • The current render version displays improved effects, including flashlight and explosion lighting, allows for a more diverse appearance of NPCs, enhances their AI, and includes various other adjustments.
  • Some changes, such as an alternative stamina system, weapon swaying, and shadows, can be disabled in advanced settings.

The current demo, featuring the Office Complex chapter, is available for download on the ModDB portal. Currently, the team is working on another demo that will include more chapters, from the first (Black Mesa Inbound) to the sixth (Blast Pit). However, the authors are not ready to specify when this will happen.

The Black Mesa Classic team is currently seeking additional help, particularly in the areas of animation, modeling, and mapping. If you’re willing to contribute, you can contact the authors through Discord.

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