Crowbar Collective, the creators of Half-Life remake Black Mesa, spent a few hours last night letting the internet shout questions at them (opens in new tab) until they broke down into a series of carefully crafted answers. Aka, a Reddit AMA.
As part of it, the team confirmed that the Xen levels coming to Black Mesa's early access release will not be making it to the free mod version.
"It's impossible," wrote level designer Joe R (opens in new tab). "In order to make Xen look the best it possibly can look, we need to upgrade the engine with new features. These new features will make it incompatible with the mod version."
Elsewhere, level designer Jordan F explains what exactly makes the versions incompatible. "Organic environments are not something the Source engine does particularly well," Jordan writes (opens in new tab). "Making Xen look as good as we want it to requires lots of improvements to the way the engine handles rendering and lighting. We can't port these changes back to the mod because we don't have source code access to that engine version."
This isn't the end of mod support, however. According to Joe, the team are looking at porting bug fixes from the early access version to the mod version.