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Black Mesa

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the unofficial remake. For the original game, see Half-Life. For the Source engine port, see Half-Life: Source.

Black Mesa
Black Mesa cover
Crowbar Collective
Release dates
Windows March 6, 2020
Linux March 6, 2020
Metacritic 84
OpenCritic 85
Monetization One-time game purchase
Microtransactions None
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Action, FPS
Art styles Realistic
Themes North America, Sci-fi
Series Half-Life mods and fangames
Black Mesa on HowLongToBeat
Black Mesa on IGDB
Black Mesa on MobyGames
Black Mesa on Wikipedia
Subseries of Half-Life
Sven Co-op 1999
Synergy 2005
Half-Life: Before 2013
Headcrab Frenzy! 2015
Prospekt 2016
Transmissions: Element 120 2016
Half-Life 2: DownFall 2017
Half-Life: Caged 2017
Entropy: Zero 2017
Half-Rats: Parasomnia 2017
Base Defense 2017
Half-Life 2: Year Long Alarm 2018
Halfquake Trilogy 2018
Hunt Down the Freeman 2018
Black Mesa 2020
Half-Life: Restored 2020
Half-Life 2: Genry's Great Escape from City 13 2020
Half-Life: Absolute Zero 2020
Amalgam 2020
Snowdrop Escape 2021
Requiem of Science 2022
Half-Life 2: VR Mod 2022
Evacuation 2023
Half-Life: MMod 2023
Half-Life 2: VR Mod - Episode One 2023
Half-Life 2: VR Mod - Episode Two 2023
Swelter 2023
Wilson Chronicles EA
Half-Life Decay: Solo Mission TBA
Lost Squad TBA
Operation: Black Mesa TBA
Hard-Life TBA
Obsidian Conflict TBA

Black Mesa is a singleplayer and multiplayer first-person shooter game created in the Source engine, and an unofficial reimagining of the original Half-Life from 1998.

An incomplete version of the game was released as a free standalone mod on September 14, 2012, and consisted of only the earth-bound chapters of the campaign, and no multiplayer mode. The game was released commercially in Early Access on Steam on May 5, 2015 and included a multiplayer mode as well as made use of a newer version of the Source engine. On March 6, 2020 the finished version of the game was released.

General information

Official Discord server
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Icon overlay.png
DRM-free after installation through Steam client (notes may include more details)
The Linux version is DRM-free when run directly from executable.
The original standalone release from September 2012 is no longer available for download at the official website, but is available here.
MP3s of the official soundtrack are available for free with the option to donate at the official website, as well as at Joel Nielsen's Website. Lossless formats are available for purchase from Bandcamp.

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Steam <path-to-game>\bms\cfg\
This game does not follow the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux.

Save game data location

System Location
Steam <path-to-game>\bms\save\
Saved games cannot transfer between the mod release and Steam release. Use sv_unlockedchapters 15 in the console to unlock all chapters.[1]

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud


In-game general video settings.
In-game general video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Custom resolutions
HUD is not centered.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
75-90° (horizontal based on Hor+ from 4:3); for setting FOV higher, see FOV. To change viewmodel/weapon FOV subscribe to this addon.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Up to 16 samples.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
FXAA toggle.
Nvidia users can force a separate AA method on older builds using Nvidia Profile Inspector, see compatibility flags; this does not work as of the Xen update.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Double buffered [2], Triple buffered (Vulkan)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
300 FPS cap by default. See Refresh rate (Hz) for a higher or even unlocked FPS cap.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
Rendered image uses SDR color space. In-game HDR option refers only to HDR Rendering.
Ray tracing (RT)

Refresh rate (Hz)

Use the -refresh ## command line argument to run at custom refresh rate[citation needed]
Use "fps_max XX" console command[3]
Allows for values up to 1000.
Use value 0 for uncapped framerate.

Custom resolutions

Use -w XX -h YY command line argument to set custom resolution[4]

Ambient Occlusion

Use Nvidia Inspector: Ambient Occlusion compatibility set to '0x00000014 (Left 4 Dead 2)'[citation needed]


Use fov_desired XX command in the console[citation needed]
Command allows values up to 120.


In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.
Input settings.
Input settings.

Toggle crouch

Add script to autoexec.cfg[5]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>/bms/cfg/.
  2. Open autoexec.cfg and add the following lines:
    alias t_duck "duck1"
    alias duck1 "+duck; alias t_duck duck2"
    alias duck2 "-duck; alias t_duck duck1"
    bind "ctrl" "t_duck"
    • Replace ctrl with desired crouch key.
  3. Launch the game and bring up the console.
  4. Type in exec autoexec.
  5. Press Enter.

Toggle ironsights

Run console command
  1. Launch the game and bring up the console.
  2. Type in cl_ironsight_sticky 1.
  3. Press Enter.
Revolver doesn't use classic ironsights when toggle ironsights is enabled; see Revolver uses ironsights when classic ironsights is enabled for workarounds.


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
4.0, 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. 7.1 output may require DirectSound3D restoration software.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Can be toggled in audio options.
EAX support
Set snd_legacy_surround 1 in console, 4 speakers, 5.1 speakers, or 7.1 speakers in options, and use DSOAL for binaural HRTF mixing.[6][7]
Royalty free audio


The language of the Subtitles is configured from the Audio Options of the game. The interface language is linked to the language of Steam.
Note: It can happen in some languages that the interface cannot be set to the desired language because steam does not support the language but if the subtitles because the game does allow you to configure them
Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Simplified Chinese
Traditional Chinese
Brazilian Portuguese
Fan voice-over by «GamesVoice».
Latin American Spanish


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
32 Versus
Online play
32 Versus

Connection types

VR support

3D modes State GG3D Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
See Helix Mod: Black Mesa.
G3D, DirectVR
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
Novint Falcon

Issues unresolved

Chromatic aberration always on

Chromatic aberration stays on even after disabling it through the video options. Its associate variable mat_chromatic_damage_enable doesn't work either.[8]

The game closes abruptly right after you hit play

Workaround: apply the -oldgameui as a command line argument[9]
Using this command-line argument, will force the game to boot with the legacy Source engine menu, which has been unsupported by the developers of the game since at least May 2020 and might contain bugs and missing features.[10]

HUD post-processing broken on AMD GPUs

Ever since the 2019 Xen Beta was released, the bloom effect on the player HUD was broken on AMD GPUs, preventing the HUD from glowing like it does on Nvidia GPUs.
There are no known fixes for this issue.

Issues fixed

Flashlight not working on Intel GPU

On system using Intel GPUs, flashlight may not illuminate certain objects.
Override the reported graphics device to the ones supported by the game.[11][12]

Add -force_vendor_id 0x10DE -force_device_id 0x1180 command line parameters to the game's launch options. This will make the game reports the GPU as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 680.

The game may also fall back to Direct3D 9 with Shader Model 2.x. Which may cause some graphical features such as parallax mapping or Phong shading to be disabled. Force either D3D9 w/ Shader Model 3 or D3D9Ex with either -dxlevel 95 or -dxlevel 98 command-line parameters. Launch the game once then remove the corresponding parameters above to prevent the game from reset the settings on subsequent launches.

Very poor performance on AMDGPU kernel driver (Linux)

It is possible to run the game without starting Steam by running
Run the game in Steam Native environment[citation needed]

Dynamic light flickering on Linux

There are reports of lighting flicker when using dynamic lighting/shadows on some Linux systems.[13]
Force game to use Proton instead of Native Linux version.

Force the use of Proton in the game properties in Steam library and select Proton Experimental

Proton will use DXVK instead of the native OpenGL renderer
Change dynamic lighting quality to "Potato" in the video settings.

Revolver uses ironsights when classic ironsights is enabled

Use a separate key for ironsights
  1. Launch the game and bring up the console.
  2. Type in bind <key> toggle_zoom.
    • Replace <key> with desired ironsight key.
  3. Press Enter.
Add script to autoexec.cfg for weapon category keybinds
The Next Weapon, Previous Weapon, and Last Weapon Used keys will not switch between Secondary Attack and ironsights.
When the player has the pistol but not the revolver, selecting Category 2 with the pistol selected toggles between the pistol's Secondary Attack and ironsights.
  1. Go to <path-to-game>/bms/cfg/.
  2. Open autoexec.cfg and add the following lines:
    alias bind_attack2      "bind mouse2    +attack2"
    alias bind_toggle_zoom  "bind mouse2    toggle_zoom"
    bind 1  category1
    alias bind_category2_p1 "bind 2 category2_p1"
    alias bind_category2_p2 "bind 2 category2_p2"
    bind 3  category3
    bind 4  category4
    bind 5  category5
    alias category1     "slot1; bind_attack2;       bind_category2_p1"
    alias category2_p1  "slot2; bind_attack2;       bind_category2_p2"
    alias category2_p2  "slot2; bind_toggle_zoom;   bind_category2_p1"
    alias category3     "slot3; bind_attack2;       bind_category2_p1"
    alias category4     "slot4; bind_attack2;       bind_category2_p1"
    alias category5     "slot5; bind_attack2;       bind_category2_p1"
    • Replace mouse2 with desired Secondary Attack key.
    • Replace bind # with respective desired Category keys
  3. Save the file.
Add script to autoexec.cfg for weapon keybinds
The Next Weapon, Previous Weapon, and Last Weapon Used keys will not switch between Secondary Attack and ironsights.
  1. Go to <path-to-game>/bms/cfg/.
  2. Open autoexec.cfg and add the following lines:
    alias bind_attack2      "bind mouse2    +attack2"
    alias bind_toggle_zoom  "bind mouse2    toggle_zoom"
    bind 1  crowbar
    bind 2  pistol
    bind 3  357_magnum
    bind 4  smg
    bind 5  shotgun
    bind 6  crossbow
    bind 7  rocket_launcher
    bind 8  select_tau
    bind 9  select_gluon
    bind 0  frag_grenade
    bind f1 tripmines
    bind f2 satchel
    bind f3 snarks
    alias crowbar           "use weapon_crowbar;    bind_attack2"
    alias pistol            "use weapon_glock;      bind_attack2"
    alias 357_magnum        "use weapon_357;        bind_toggle_zoom"
    alias smg               "use weapon_mp5;        bind_attack2"
    alias shotgun           "use weapon_shotgun;    bind_attack2"
    alias crossbow          "use weapon_crossbow;   bind_attack2"
    alias rocket_launcher   "use weapon_rpg;        bind_attack2"
    alias tau_cannon        "use weapon_tau;        bind_attack2"
    alias gluon_gun         "use weapon_gluon;      bind_attack2"
    alias hivehand          "use weapon_hivehand;   bind_attack2"
    alias frag_grenade      "use weapon_frag;       bind_attack2"
    alias tripmines         "use weapon_tripmine;   bind_attack2"
    alias satchel           "use weapon_satchel;    bind_attack2"
    alias snarks            "use weapon_snark;      bind_attack2"
    • Replace mouse2 with desired Secondary Attack key.
    • Replace bind # with respective desired Weapon keys
  3. Save the file.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9.0c, 9Ex
OpenGL 2.1 Linux only.
Works via DXVK translation layer (Only Windows)
Shader Model support 2, 3
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok Heavily modified variant.
Audio Miles Sound System
Interface Qt v5.9.9
Input SDL, XInput SDL v2.0.4.0, XInput v9.15.779.0
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer Steamworks

Enabling the console

Set through options menu[14]
  1. Go to Options and click on Game.
  2. Set Developer Console to Yes.

DXVK translation layer

DXVK (Direct3D-to-Vulkan) can be used to improve the games performance.[15]

The game will stutter while the cache file is being generated for the first time.
Use DXVK on Windows[citation needed]
  1. Download the latest DXVK release Assets → dxvk-version.tar.gz
  2. Extract the dxvk-version.tar.gz archive
  3. Copy d3d9.dll from the x32 folder.
  4. Paste d3d9.dll into the game's bin folder at \SteamApps\common\Black Mesa\bin.
bms.dxvk-cache file will be created in the \SteamApps\shadercache\362890\DXVK_state_cache directory.
Use launch options via properties in Steam -oldgameui if you can't see menus/options in-game (may break some mods).
Linux: force game to use Proton instead of Native Linux version[citation needed]
DXVK is included in Proton.
DXVK runs faster than the native OpenGL renderer on Linux.[citation needed][dubious – discuss]

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 10
Processor (CPU) 2.6 GHz Dual Core
System memory (RAM) 6 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 20 GB
Video card (GPU) 2 GB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Support for Windows XP has been dropped as of 2016, while the game can be played on Windows XP, limitations imposed by the OS 4 GB memory limitations will most likely cause performance issue and out-of-memory crashes. Support for Windows Vista to 8.1 were also dropped with the release of Necro Patch update.
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) Ubuntu 14.0
Processor (CPU) 2.6 GHz Dual Core
System memory (RAM) 4 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 20 GB
Video card (GPU) 2 GB of VRAM
OpenGL 3.0 compatible


  1. Transfer savegame from the Free Black Mesa :: Black Mesa General Discussions - last accessed on May 2023
  2. Black mesa vsync is double buffered - last accessed on 2024
  3. Verified by User:Mr. obsolete 341 on 2021-11-22
  4. Resolution Issue? - Steam Discussion Forum - last accessed on 2022-09-24
  5. Toggle crouch? :: Black Mesa General Discussions - last accessed on 2022-09-24
  6. Black Mesa Xen w/ 3D spatial sound 🎧 (OpenAL Soft HRTF audio) 2020 New Year's special! - last accessed on 9 June 2023
  7. Verified by User:Harmiess on 2024-01-15
    Comment (4, 5.1, or 7.1 speakers can be selected when enabling EAX.)
  8. Verified by User:Mrtnptrs on 2022-09-24
    Clearly visible at loading screen when you die when taking damage; game is then showing last frame where you clearly see chromatic aberration even though it was disabled in the video options.
  9. i can't play black mesa - last accessed on 2022-09-24
  10. Frequently Asked Questions - Steam Discussion Forum - last accessed on 2022-09-24
  11. Black Mesa Flashlight bug - last accessed on May 2023
  12. Verified by User:Fudgesiclesxd on 2022-06-25
    Only on Windows version.
  13. Bugs with dynamic lighting/shadow? - last accessed on 2023-08-06
  14. Verified by User:Keith on 2020-03-12
  15. Vulkan performance on Windows is 15% faster than D3D9