Why Black Mesa doesn't support Mac/Linux Platforms

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    • Why Black Mesa doesn't support Mac/Linux Platforms

      Before I start, this isn't a complaint thread. I created this thread to clear up confusion as to why the devs can't and won't port BM to Mac/Linux.

      I have seen many complaints, especially around the "Ask the devs" threads, about the inability to play Black Mesa on a Mac/Linux Computer. I am here to clear up the confusion as to why this is. So, without further ado, let's start:

      Let's start with the basics. The first thing that you should know is what the Source Engine is. In case you don't know, the Source Engine is Valve's video game engine - meaning, it is what powers the core of the game: from drawing shapes/polygons onto the screen, to developer tools, to AI, to code handling, the list goes on. The Source engine is one of the things that truly makes BM truly special: it really "feels" like a Valve game.

      The Source SDK is what developers can use to make modifications, or mods, to a game. Black Mesa, obviously is a mod. This means that Black Mesa is literally a modified version of Episode 2's game code (this is explained below). Alternatively, the Source SDK can be used to create levels for existing games/mods with the Hammer Level Editor, create choreography with the Face Poser, and pretty much anything else besides actual game coding, which is done with Microsoft's Visual Basic.

      There are 3 different types of the source engine that are used in the modding world. The first is Source Engine 2006. This is the first engine used by Valve. Source Engine 2006 powered everything that Valve made, from Half Life 2 to EP1. One thing to note about Source 2006 is that Valve has released the core code of Source 2006 to the public - meaning that if someone wants to make a mod of the Source SDK, they literally have Episode 1's core game code to work off of. Many popular mods were started by downloading this Source SDK Base 2006 (sound familiar, eh? ;)). Also note that SDK2006 only supports Windows, NOT Macs/Linux systems.

      The second version of Source that was released was Source 2007. This is the version that Black Mesa Uses. Source 2007 is commonly referred to as the "Orange Box" Version, because Source 2007 code is shared between the different Orange Box games (EP2, TF2, Portal 1). When you download "Source SDK Base 2007" with Black Mesa, you download the core of Source 2007. Also note, Source 2007 doesn't support Mac/Linux Either. This is why Black Mesa doesn't support Macs or Linux Systems.

      Oh yeah, and there was a special SDK released for Alien Swarm, but nobody really uses/cares about it...

      But wait, isn't there a third version of Source available? Yes there is. It is called Source 2009. The entire point of Source 2009 was Mac support. However, you may notice that there is no "Source SDK Base 2009" available on Steam. This is because Valve only releases Source 2009 to trusted developers. I honestly have no idea why, but that's just how it goes. Garry's Mod uses SDK 2009, as well as many other extremely successful, popular mods. This is why they can be played on Macs. The BM team could very well get access to Source 2009, but even if they do, it is still a HUGE pain in the ass to port SDK versions. I believe it took Garry a LONG time to port GMod from SDK 2007 to 2009, and he does it full time.

      Also note that there are more recent versions of Source, which power Portal 2, Dota 2, CS: GO, and (possibly) HL3. None of these engines have been released.

      So, I hope this admittedly long thread helped you understand what Source, Source SDK, and all of these big words mean, and by extension, why BM for Mac won't happen in the foreseeable future. Thanks for reading!

      EDIT: Valve has released the Source 2013 code to developers. This means that the BM team now at least has the ability to port to linux/mac. Whether or not they will actually do so relains to be seen. You can find this code here: github.com/ValveSoftware/source-sdk-2013

      -Flafla2
      My reaction to the BM release announcement:

      Post was edited 2 times, last by Flafla2 ().

    • dragunov2 wrote:

      I guess Episode 3 and HL3 gonna run on Source 2012, after this I think they gonna release Source SDK Base 2009


      Half-Life 3 will run on Source 2.

      Eric Fong;95479 wrote:

      If i am a girl i would have sex with him.(if he is metro cop)

      If i am male i would try to sneak on his back and neck break him.


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    • Flafla2 wrote:


      Valve only releases Source 2009 to trusted developers.

      Translated in common english:
      Those lads that have a Source Engine license.

      How to get it?
      Buying it

      Don't know guys if with the greenlight process, Valve will give them a License.
      If yes you could see a mac version.

      Don't bother to ask about it in these forums:
      they have signed an nda, they won't answer you.

      Otherwise use wine(linux) or other softwares....

      Post was edited 1 time, last by elivance ().

    • your-name-here wrote:

      No, not minimal effort. We haven't even attempted to compile BM for Linux or Mac. This could take a significant amount of time. As I said in another post, we are still investigating how much work this is going to be.


      The ambiguous 'relatively' is the keyword there. I know the transfer of code from Windows -> Linux/Mac can be quite troublesome (I'm a coder myself). The biggest impasse (Source SDK incompatibility) is gone, and that was my point.

      Lots of the time, one of the bigger hurdles in cross-platform support can be the language/compiler. Switching to Makefiles can be a huge pain - so there are usually ways to ease a transition of a cross-platform language to another compiler/platform.

      I assume Black Mesa is programmed using C++ and Visual Studio? I haven't scrawled through most of this forum, so I'm not sure.

      I'm always willing to help in the porting effort to Linux, if it needs be.
    • Kupiakos wrote:

      The ambiguous 'relatively' is the keyword there. I know the transfer of code from Windows -> Linux/Mac can be quite troublesome (I'm a coder myself). The biggest impasse (Source SDK incompatibility) is gone, and that was my point.

      Lots of the time, one of the bigger hurdles in cross-platform support can be the language/compiler. Switching to Makefiles can be a huge pain - so there are usually ways to ease a transition of a cross-platform language to another compiler/platform.

      I assume Black Mesa is programmed using C++ and Visual Studio? I haven't scrawled through most of this forum, so I'm not sure.

      I'm always willing to help in the porting effort to Linux, if it needs be.


      Yes, we use VS2010 and C++. I appreciate the offer but we cannot accept help at this point in time. The code will be released in due time. If we haven't ported it by then, we (the BM programmers) would be more than willing to sanction a port.
    • your-name-here wrote:

      Yes, we use VS2010 and C++. I appreciate the offer but we cannot accept help at this point in time. The code will be released in due time. If we haven't ported it by then, we (the BM programmers) would be more than willing to sanction a port.


      Alright then. My personal recommendation would be to take the code, import it into KDevelop (a Visual Studio-esque IDE for Linux) and repeatedly remove parts that are not Standard C++ or incompatible with Linux until it builds properly. That'd probably be the best for those that are not Linux-programming gurus.

      I can't give any advice on the Mac port - sorry X(
    • Kupiakos wrote:

      Alright then. My personal recommendation would be to take the code, import it into KDevelop (a Visual Studio-esque IDE for Linux) and repeatedly remove parts that are not Standard C++ or incompatible with Linux until it builds properly. That'd probably be the best for those that are not Linux-programming gurus.

      I can't give any advice on the Mac port - sorry X(


      Thanks for the advice, however, I've been working with Linux for four years and programming for eight. We're not retarded you know :)

      Post was edited 4 times, last by Cpl.1nsane ().

    • Flafla2 wrote:

      The second version of Source that was released was Source 2007. This is the version that Black Mesa Uses. Source 2007 is commonly referred to as the "Orange Box" Version, because Source 2007 code is shared between the different Orange Box games (EP2, TF2, Portal 1). When you download "Source SDK Base 2007" with Black Mesa, you download the core of Source 2007. Also note, Source 2007 doesn't support Mac/Linux Either. This is why Black Mesa doesn't support Macs or Linux Systems.


      So now that the Source SDK Base 2007 CAN be downloaded on a Mac, does that still require a lot of difficult code rewriting? Because that was the main reason you gave as to why Black Mesa doesn't support Macs, but now it's possible.

      Post was edited 1 time, last by socceryo3: Reduced quote to only the part of the post that was referenced. ().

    • socceryo3 wrote:

      So now that the Source SDK Base 2007 CAN be downloaded on a Mac, does that still require a lot of difficult code rewriting? Because that was the main reason you gave as to why Black Mesa doesn't support Macs, but now it's possible.


      There is a lot of confusion in this post. Source 2007 does not support Mac or Linux. Source 2013 however does. We have ported the game to Source 2013 for Windows. We will be putting our code up on github for the next release to allow people to port our game to the platforms they wish. We have a lot on our plate to contend with so it's doubtful we'll have time to do a Mac/Linux port ourselves.
    • your-name-here wrote:

      There is a lot of confusion in this post. Source 2007 does not support Mac or Linux. Source 2013 however does. We have ported the game to Source 2013 for Windows. We will be putting our code up on github for the next release to allow people to port our game to the platforms they wish. We have a lot on our plate to contend with so it's doubtful we'll have time to do a Mac/Linux port ourselves.


      I'm sorry. I feel like a complete idiot. Basically, a few weeks ago I was looking at the tools list in Steam on my Mac and I saw the Source SDK Base 2007 in the list and got really excited for a few minutes. Then I noticed that it said "not available" instead of "not installed." Apparently I later somehow forgot seeing that it actually wasn't available and mistakenly got it into my head that it was. My mistake. However, I'm curious about what you said. What does porting the game to the new version of Source change? Better graphics, textures, etc? Essentially a refreshed version? Or just better compatibility and such?
    • SDK base 2007 might not support Mac, but base 2007 games work fine. I installed Black Mesa into a Wineskin wrapper on my Mac, which basically just makes Black Mesa think it's being run on windows, and it worked marvelously. It crashed if I ramped up the graphics too high, but I could at least play the game with a not atrocious framerate.
    • socceryo3 wrote:

      I'm sorry. I feel like a complete idiot.

      No worries :)

      socceryo3 wrote:

      Basically, a few weeks ago I was looking at the tools list in Steam on my Mac and I saw the Source SDK Base 2007 in the list and got really excited for a few minutes. Then I noticed that it said "not available" instead of "not installed." Apparently I later somehow forgot seeing that it actually wasn't available and mistakenly got it into my head that it was. My mistake. However, I'm curious about what you said. What does porting the game to the new version of Source change? Better graphics, textures, etc? Essentially a refreshed version? Or just better compatibility and such?


      The Source 2013 engine (aka the TF2 engine) is much more stable, has VR support and of course, allows Mac/Linux support. It also gets more love from VALVe than Source 2007 which means if there is some fatal engine bug in the game that causes crashing, chances are VALVe will fix it since they are actively updating it.