This article came together by accident. I was fighting through the backlog of games I had on my PC, when I realised that I'd played three amazing fan remakes in a row. Black Mesa, The Dark Mod, and Pioneer were all lined-up beside some of the year's biggest releases, and I barely even took stock of where they came from or how they came to be. They just seemed like great games and I wanted to play them. They are, and they're not alone: the PC's capacity to enable fans to engage with their favourite games in the most direct way possible has given us piles of amazing games to play, and here are ten of my favourites.
Since the release of Black Mesa, modders have been bending and shaping its spruced up Half-Life assets to create Source upgrades of every one of the game's expansions, demos and curios. But mod group Tripmine Studios are attempting to go it alone, Sourcing up Gearbox's Opposing Force expansion entirely from scratch. The name of their project? Operation Black Mesa. Wait, what?
After using a Xen relay to slingshot itself across an interdimensional portal known as "the Internet," Black Mesa and its updates to Half-Life 1 continue to influence satellite mods that restoreextendedchunks of Gordon Freeman's tale. Next in line for Black-Mesa-fying: the Hazard Course, Gordon's optional and educational pit-stop for teaching movement and shooting basics.
Now Black Mesa has fallen through a Source engine resonance cascade and out into the world, modders are piggy-backing off its upgraded assets to fill in the extended family of Gordon Freeman's original adventure. Black Mesa: Insecurity hopes to remake Gearbox's second expansion, Half-Life: Blue Shift, starring everybody's favourite beer-owing security guard Barney
Black Mesa's overhaul of Gordon Freeman's educational field trip is a lovingly crafted tribute to the FPS classic, but it's still not entirely done. Although the team is working on the concluding Xen areas, certain earlier parts took cuts to stay on schedule. A notable example is the Surface Tension chapter which abruptly cuts off after a one-man assault on the dam section. Luckily, one gamer took it upon himself to design and restore missing levels with the Surface Tension Uncut mod.
Remember Uplink? (No, not that Uplink.) Valve called its original demo for Half-Life "Uplink" in 1999. It took place during Gordon Freeman's journey through the spooky Lambda Core, but Valve eventually cut the content, later repackaging it as a separate demo. Black Mesa: Uplink reproduces Uplink's levels through Black Mesa's art assets and textures.
Choosing the best thing out of a pile of really good things is always a tough decision, but hey, we're used to it. You too can participate in the careful choicemaking by voting for your favorite mod and indie game of the year over at Mod DB and Indie DB, where the top 100 nominations were just plucked from a gargantuan pool of over 9,000 mods and 5,500 indies.
Clear your schedule and make room on your hard drive: there are over 9000 mods up for consideration as ModDB's 2012 Mod of the Year award nominees, and only a little over five days to nominate them. A big green button on each mod's page makes it hard to miss the opportunity to give your favorites a bump.
Nailing down the range of possibilities afforded by modding's creativity yawns past the comprehension of us mere mortals. Yet, for a platform housing exploding horses, rug-cutting Combine, and the nesting-doll appeal of Minecraft's game-in-a-game sandbox, the PC keeps its lot of closed environments precipitated by developers and publishers as a means for balanced gameplay or brand protection. In an interview with True PC Gaming, Black Mesa Project Lead Carlos Montero flatly stated such a hindrance for mod growth "doesn't make sense."
Evan returns from the depths of space to join Tyler, Omri, and T.J. in discussing all things Project Eternity. Also kind of a lot of things are coming out right now, and we go over the big ones including Torchlight II, Borderlands 2, FTL, Black Mesa, and Mists of Pandaria. You'll also not just hear, but experience, updates on what's going on with BioWare and Bohemia, a new special segment in which T.J. administers shotgun blasts to the face to all of his coworkers, and extended FTL and XCOM discussion in Playlists.
We don't want to bury you in posts. For one thing, it would hurt - they have really sharp edges. But also, if we posted every PC gaming announcement made in a day, the most interesting stories would be crowded out. So here's our solution: a daily list of the news we didn't post. (If you've been reading the site for a while, it should look familiar.) Grab a strip of today's HTML ticker tape inside...
If you're itching to expand your game music collection without expending any resources beyond the energy it takes to click your mouse a few times, you're in luck today! The maestros behind the sonic accompaniments for Black Mesa and Torchlight II have made their respective compositions available completely free.
Today, Valve announced the first 10 games which have amassed enough votes of confidence on Greenlight to be approved for worldwide distribution on Steam. Among the chosen are Half-Life remake Black Mesa and our 2011 Mod of the Year pick No More Room in Hell. Each game will release independently in the coming months as its development is completed. See the full list inside!
Only a few days remain before Black Mesa's Higgs-inclusive LG Orbifold teleportation (thanks, Kleiner) zaps it onto our PCs this Friday, and the team's latest batch of screenshots invokes a similar sense of mystery and alien terror Half-Life's original preview shots carried so long ago. Check out Resonance Cascadians the Vortigaunt, Houndeye, Bullsquid, and Gargantua inside.