Black Mesa (formerly Black Mesa: Source) is a Half-Life 2 total conversion remaking VALVe Software’s award-winning PC game, Half-Life. Utilizing the Source engine, Black Mesa will reintroduce the player as Doctor Gordon Freeman, along with the original cast of memorable characters and environments seen in Half-Life. Black Mesa was built and founded on the basis that Half-Life: Source was inadequate as the Source engine port of Half-Life, regardless of the intentions of VALVe Software. As such, Black Mesa was founded to fully reconstruct the Half-Life universe utilizing Source to its fullest potential in terms of art detail, level sizes and code features. This total conversion will not require Half-Life: Source to play – only legitimate copies of Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source on Steam.
Black Mesa is set in and around the Black Mesa Research Facility as depicted in the original Half-Life game. The research facility is a former Cold War missile complex based in New Mexico, and features a diverse array of locations ranging from abandoned rocket testing silos to modern administrative offices, from underground physics laboratories to a full-scale hydroelectric dam. The game continues beyond, into an inter-dimensional border world known as Xen. What will set Black Mesa apart from other Source engine modifications in development is the attention to environment detail. Levels will be faithful to the original Half-Life concept and built from scratch, yet will feature higher-resolution textures, detailed world models, and a higher quality of audio ambience courtesy of the Source engines soundscape system. The end goal of such attention to detail is an immersive single-player environment, which will engross the player in a story that is yet to be matched by any other first-person shooter.