List of things that could use improvements with 1.0 out of the way

From the mod release to 1.0, grenades are by far the worst utility to use against anything, even sniper nests. This is because the throwing arc is completely different from HL2 which felt a lot more natural. This means it’s better to throw the grenade next to your feet, pick them up using “E” and just throwing it with mouse 1.

Here are 2 videos showcasing the differences
Black Mesa

Half-Life 2

If that isn’t enough, here’s a quick paint image I made

The red cross is where the player would be aiming at, the red arc is how the grenade is thrown.


The worst weapon is the crossbow because of how it works compared to HL1 and 2.
It has far too much downtime between shots. Missing shots is very punishing especially with aimpunch because of this. Aiming down the scope also feels very bad and slow. Doing what HL2 does with scoping would honestly solve a lot of things with it. At this point it’s much MUCH easier to just use the magnum the zooming functionality to clear enemies from a distance.


Gibbing does not feel satisfying because of lacking feedback. When an NPC explodes they do not make any noise, just the ragdoll slapping noises as they hit the ground. Having a gibbing sound that varies in intensity depending on size of NPC.

UI stuff

There’s a few things wrong with the new and good looking UI.

Subtitles doesn’t scale with resolution (making it tinier and tinier the higher the resolution)

Getting an error when loading boots you into this screen which force you to use console to fix OR quit and restart the game in order to get menu buttons again.

Bullsquid A.I

The A.I for the bullsquid is terrible and weak. It doesn’t seem to chase the player or other enemies and rather sits around and waits for enemies come to them. This makes them feel like sentries rather than an alien bull that charges at people. Make them navigate more and actually chase after enemies and players.

Xen and no entity culling
With no entities being deleted when hitting the bottom of a skybox makes it so that everything just hits an invisible floor when enemies or props fall from the Xen areas. This completely breaks immersion because things just lie still “floating”. Adding some sort of way to delete ragdolls/props when they touch the bottom of XEN levels will fix this.

Mute zombie noises when not awake
A lot of early areas after the resonance cascade is littered with zombie noises even when not encountering them. This is because some areas have them as decoration but keep making noises even when they are “asleep”.

Cliffside map
Since this map doesn’t seem very updated compared to other surface areas earlier in the game I am assuming that CC either are working or will eventually work on updating this so I am not sure if this is helpful or not.

Adding props at the edge of the “playable” area and in the skybox to lessen the sudden change in colours and detail.

Same here, adding more detail to the skybox portion next to the cliffside will make the overall area look nicer I think.

Gamepad support

The new main menu has less functionality than the old menu did for gamepads. This kinda sucks as the new one looks great and actually scales with resolution. I hope CC considers adding support for gamepads in the future for a great time from the couch.

Other things that could be considered is a better crosshair as the current ones are barely visible from couch distance (HL2 console did this well)
A sort of aim-assist in some capacity.
A weapon wheel for a more quick select of weapons instead of awkwardly scrolling through a bunch of them.

1 Like

Excellent points.

During my last playthrough I remember thinking that it was great that Black Mesa had classic HL1-style gibbing, and that it could even happen from shotgun blasts rather than just explosives… but for some reason it didn’t feel very satisfying. I think you’re right that it needs something similar to the old classic KERSPLAT noise.

Actually, it would be amazing if the gibbing was a bit like in FEAR, where explosions or shotgun blasts could turn enemies into red mist! (Or in the case of aliens, yellow mist.)

Tau Cannon Penetration

The Black Mesa tau cannon seems to have far less penetrating power than it it did in the classic game. In HL1 you could shoot a wall or crate or railing and this would generate an invisible area of splash damage on the other side, like an explosion or a shotgun blast. The size and damage of this blast was huge if you charged up the tau cannon, you could gib several enemies simultaneously by shooting a crate or railing or wall in front of them, and this was a more effective strategy than shooting directly at them, as the only way to kill multiple enemies at once would be if they were all in a line.

And in mutiplayer, if you were armed with the tau cannon and someone ran away behind a wall, you’d go “aha!” and shoot in their vague general direction, and the blast would kill them. This was an intentional feature. In an old pre-release interview, Valve were talking about multiplayer and they mentioned how there was a railgun specifically for dealing with campers, because it could shoot through walls. Valve intentionally made the tau cannon able to cause large explosions on the far side of walls so that its wall-penetrating feature was useful without you having any kind of X-ray vision, you only had to vaguely know where someone was to within a couple of metres.

In Black Mesa, I’ve repeatedly tried to kill hgrunts behind walls and it doesn’t seem to work unless it’s a very thin wall or a wooden crate, and if the grunt is directly lined up with the beam. It seems to not be able to penetrate walls more than an inch or two thick, and it has no shotgun-style spread or explosion on the other side, it just keeps going as a straight beam. That’s vastly inferior to it’s HL1 ability.
Perhaps this was done on purpose because it was felt that the tau cannon was too powerful in multiplayer, but surely there can be several values for tau cannon penetrating power and spread in singleplayer and multiplayer.

Grunt dialogue about marines

It felt it bit weird to me in On A Rail when you come across two soldiers talking about Freeman, and instead of saying “All I know is that he’s been killing my buddies,” like in the original, in Black Mesa he said “All I know is that he’s been killing marines.”

Now I guess that’s intended to invoke US marine comraderie and loyalty etc, but in HL1 it was intentionally vague as to what part of the military the grunts are. I think it would be good if Black Mesa maintained that, and changed that line of dialogue to be about killing “buddies” like in the original.

In original HL1, most of the evidence points the grunts being part of the army. They use apache helicopters with ARMY written on them, and the Ospreys aircraft and their trucks have the army star on them. What’s more, most significantly the squad leaders have berets. US marines have never worn berets, that’s exclusively an army thing. (Everyone’s heard of the “green berets”, more properly known as US Army Special Forces.) And red berets are used by some paratrooper regiments. So that points to the grunts being some kind of army elite special forces unit, something similar to the rangers or green berets. Also, they have medics, while instead of medics the marines have “corpsmen”.

The only evidence that the grunts are marines is from Opposing Force, in which one of the random lines of soldier dialogue is “Let’s go, marines!”

Other than that, Shephard’s training is listed as “US Marines, Special Forces”. (A bit weird because back in the 90s the marines were not a part of special forces.) His current assignment is listed as “Hazardous Environment Combat Unit”, and it doesn’t specify if that’s part of the marines, or the army, or is some completely new seperate branch of the military. He might have been trained as a marine, then have some elite special forces training and put into this new top-secret branch of the army known as the HECU.

Also, the Opposing Force instruction manual is set out as a US Army Soldier’s handbook, and has several references to “this army” and “soldier” rather than marines.

Anyway, I’m not saying that Black Mesa should say that the grunts are army rather than marines, because the whole situation has always been vague and unclear. I’m saying that Black Mesa should keep that vagueness and remove the grunts talking about themselves as marines.

I have to admit that I’m not a hardcore fanboy. I don’t get into arguments about which Star Wars was the best one :slight_smile:

I remember playing Halflife to death when I was much younger. I recently went to Pax East and visited their booth. The gameplay I saw brought back a lot of good nestalgia. I’ll definitely be picking it up.

I understand there will be creative diffrences between the original and Black Mesa. I’m good with it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Walking and running (always run on or off) viewmodel bob. Feels very floaty right now, it’d be nice to have a toggle. cl_bob is framerate tied right now and sometimes glitches out and doubles the speed, so It’d need a bit of fixing, but it should be straightforward.

I just want to say that I greatly concur with the suggestions above.

I will also post my own suggestions from another thread here in the hopes of consolidating good feedback in one place.

Two major issues with the game as it stands.

-Sound effects- I just realized something walking into a room of head crabs scurrying around. There was a major missed opportunity with this game. It was pretty scary walking through that door and seeing those headcrabs jump out. But I realized something was missing. It would be so much more terrifying if I could NOT see them, but I could HEAR the soft shuffling of the headcrabs around me when there close. It would need to be subtle and very faint, but it would be scary and panic inducing.

In fact that is my biggest complaint about the game. The alien calls and soldiers shouts are all fantastic, but the sound of enemy movement in this game is basically non existent. There is no background music, so like Dark Souls, take advantage of that fact!

-hard difficulty- Hard mode is not hard at all in this game. And it is not because the ai is bad at all. It is very good in fact. It is because you have a ridiculously high amount of health with a full health and a full shield. Enemies die realistically but you do not. That design philosophy is fine, Gordan freeman is a badass and that should be so. But it needs to be balanced around that fact. They can literally double the amount of enemies and it would still be playable. Now I am not saying to do that for every encounter, I think the military fights are actually mostly fine, though a few more Marines in a squad in hard mode would be nice, headcrabs, zombies, basically all alien encounters are a mediocre challenge at best. Now of course we don’t want to turn this into a different type of game so I am not saying put enemies everywhere. In fact, keep them where they are. Just adjust those encounters and tweak them a bit to increase the challenge.

My suggestions

-More teleporting in of enemies during the encounters when they already teleport in. Have a second or third or fourth wave come in much more often for the Zorg and Agrunts and headcrabs. I can end most encounters with the at 75 % health or better. Keep em coming. Also, have some enemies teleport in behind you. It makes no sense that they just teleport in directly in front of the player in his line of sight.
-Zombies. Zombies are no threat at all and only require a crowbar. The entire facility was just taken over by aliens. People would group up in clusters. I shouldn’t be fighting one lone zombie over and over after maybe the initial reveal. They should be in groups of four or more and they should be accompanied by head crabs because that is how they turned. Perhaps add a non shuffling zombie variant that moves a bit more quickly.
-head crabs. They are also no threat. They can jump across the screen so fast but they move around as slow as a turtle? Give them actual walking and turning speed please. They are the size of a small dog or cat with long legs so they should be able to move faster.
-Those alien spit enemies ai could use a tweak as well. I can attack them from far a way and they seem to not respond at all. They have a long range attack have them chase after and move more to get into firing range during a long range battle.
-The AI for the marines is very good. They flank you, the move around very quickly and the advance on you like real marines would. They need no change.

Most of the other enemies are pretty good for the most part balance wise, just like I said have them cluster in larger groups together. It makes sense from a lore perspective as well. The game is fantastic though even if I feel it is very easy.

The Black Mesa tau cannon seems to have far less penetrating power than it it did in the classic game.

All throughout the game,I was wondering if I was either using it wrong or that my memory of the original was flawed. Yeah, the Tau Cannon in Black Mesa is a huge fuckup.

With the Tau Cannon only able to penetrate some surfaces and hardly do anything to anyone behind those penetrable surfaces, it turns one of the most iconic HL weapons to another one-shot-sniper crossbow, but without any usable scope (Read: useless).

I really hope that the next upgrade could focus on restoring this weapon’s capability and respectability.