I still remember when Ben White — Kotaku’s web designer/extreme Valve fan boy — showed me the trailer for Black Mesa: Source for the first time. I was blown away. You were probably wondering what the hell happened with that project. Well, RockPaperShotgun has a great interview with Carlos Montero, Project Leader, to find out what’s going on.
Well, the good news is — it’s still happening, the team is still working on polish and creating sections of the game itself. The bad news is, given the nature of the project, the team doesn’t really have any concrete final release date.
There’s been a lot of speculation that we have been doing nothing but polish for the last year or longer. This is simply not true. There were and are still parts of the game that we are actively developing, because the game isn’t done yet. It is true that over the last year we have put a ton of polish into the game, but this has largely been because some members of the team are less needed on the forefront of development and have taken to polishing old things and trying to achieve quality and consistency across the board.
There is also work that some may casually classify as “polish” that is really more about making sure we are hitting the quality bar we want. If we are examining level flow, pacing, weapon progression, puzzle challenges, player intuition, where people get lost, or stuck, or confused, is that polish? Perhaps it is, but often I think many people are specifically thinking we are sitting around remaking the same assets over and over a little better each time, or trying to find and fix every bug so our game can be “perfect”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
This hasn’t been about polish for polish’s sake; it’s been about learning all there is to know about how to make great games, and using it to make a great game. There aren’t any shortcuts there. We just had to learn by doing, by making mistakes, by screwing things up and starting them over again. Sometimes along the way we have learned things that fundamentally changed our way of thinking, and sometimes we have gone back and fundamentally changed parts of the game to reflect that.
It’s a great interview, with some really good insights into the direction the team is going with the Black Mesa project. Worth reading.