Half-Life Remake Project 'Black Mesa' Shares New 'Xen Engine' Patch Details

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Fan-projects are the best. They keep beloved franchises alive long after developers have moved on. Such is the case with this highly cared for Half-Life remake project, Black Mesa, and the team behind this overhaul promise more has yet to come.

"We have patched the latest version of the Xen Engine and released it to everyone," said the Black Mesa team in a new update on their Steam page. "Please let us know on the Steam forums if you run into any game breaking issues. As we have mentioned before, this is important to test our new features so that the Xen release can be as flawless as possible. We will probably do one more “Engine” release just before we drop Xen, in order to make sure that everything is running smoothly on everyone's machines. We want the Xen release to be as close to a simple content release as possible!"

This project has been over 8 years in the making. If that's not dedication, we don't know what is. The latest patch, seen below, addresses a plethora of issues while also making the project much more dynamic. Check out what's new below:

April Patch List

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  • Fixed screen freezes / crashes on Radeon RX 3XX 4XX 5xx cards!
  • Fixed most dynamic shadows flickering and improved the overall quality and performance
  • Fixed most dynamic lights flickering on lower quality levels Nvidia GPUs (and some AMD GPUs)
  • CSM quality and perf improvements
  • Fixed CSM not working on some AMD cards
  • Fixed decals flickering in some maps
  • Fixed full screen blur when using dynamic light godrays
  • Fixed zombie headshots with the crossbow. Now when you headshot a zombie using the crossbow, they will no longer spawn a live headcrab.
  • Fixed assault points for Houndeyes
  • Added texture scrolling for dynamic light cookie textures
  • Fixed tilemap animation bug in light cookie textures.
  • Fixed rim lighting not working with old light entities
  • Fixed Phong/skin shader specular not working on static props
  • Flashlight intensity and range increased
  • Settings optimization for new deferred lighting and shadows

Lnown Issues

  • Flashlight Doesn’t Have Shadows
    • We have a more advanced plan for the flashlight in the works. This will be deployed at a later date.
  • Haloing Around Props/Object
    • MSAA is causing outlines around certain objects. MSSA is a performance killer and we hope to have a better solution for anti-aliasing with the Xen release. To remove the haloing/outline, simply turn off MSAA.
  • Dynamic Shadows Flickering On Moving Dynamic Lights
    • These should be completely fixed, but if you DO get them try:
    • Try running the game in windowed borderless mode.
    • Try turning off Vsync, lowering your overall settings, or turning off dynamic shadows entirely.
  • Stencil Shadows
    • We have removed the old Source stencil shadows. This helps performance and fixes the double shadows that happen in outside environments where CSM is used. We plan on using new dynamic lights to get more realistic shadows in key interior sections.
  • Always Run
    • Always run has an issue where after every map load you have to press “shift” for it to work. We will be fixing this for Xen.
  • Outlines Around Weapons
    • If you move the screen fast in areas using dynamic lights, you may see small outlines around your weapon. This is very minimal and is something we will look into fixing.

Black Mesa is now available on Steam.