Vehicles. Vast outdoor environments. Focus on teamplay. Base equipment and trinkets. Jetpacks offering full freedom of movement. Mixing and matching gear to create your own roles. Never the same game twice. Even today these features make Tribes stand out in a crowd of other FPS games, but in 1998 when the original Tribes was released, it was downright revolutionary. Whether you bought the box, downloaded the demo, or “borrowed” it from a buddy, chances are you’ve tried Tribes. If not, then you’ve still experienced its influence in any number of other games that have since embraced its successful combination of features.
Starsiege: Tribes was the first major online-only first-person action game. Long before Counter-Strike, Battlefield, and a host of other imitators, Tribes offered up more than 32 player support, different player classes, a variety of weapon kits, a handful of multi-passenger vehicles, loads of gameplay types, a wide variety of maps, and plenty of team-oriented features. This combination created a game that was an instant hit among fans.
Black Mesa, the forever in development fan-made recreation of Valve Software’s Half-Life, is getting close to being complete. Black Mesa originally released as a free mod back in 2012 before later being released in a more polished form as an “early access” title on Steam in 2015. I completed the early access version of Black Mesa a few years ago and found it to be an excellent remake except for one glaring omission: the last few levels.
In the original Half-Life, Xen consisted of a number of short level segments filled with a lot of annoying jumping puzzles and a fairly unspectacular boss battle. It was easily the weakest part of Half-Life. While most of Black Mesa is a faithful recreation of the original game, they decided Xen needed a lot of additional design work in order to get it up to standards. They also had to build some custom lighting tech in order to support the visuals they were going for. It has taken the Black Mesa team a few years to re-imagine these final levels, but it looks like it was worth it.
As to when we will finally get our hands on the complete Black Mesa Package:
Our goal is to release Xen on Steam in Q2 2019. This will allow us to finish Xen to a place where the entire product is stable, smooth, and most importantly…fun! We are already happy with the design state of Xen as it stands currently: almost everything is design locked and functioning as intended. We are going to be using the remaining time between now and launch to bring it up to our art and polish standards.
Playtests show that all of Xen will take roughly 6 hours to complete; longer for those who like to explore. The levels and design for Xen are largely original work (with cues taken from Half-Life), rather than just simply a remake of Xen.
I have been working on a bunch of Infiltrator related directives lately, so that’s mostly what you get in this video. So if that’s not your thing, sorry! The next video should be something else since I mostly have those directives completed now, and going for directives is the main thing that has been keeping me playing lately. At least I got this cool helmet now…. it is cool, right?…… right?