Black Mesa

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Black Mesa
Black Mesa cover
Crowbar Collective
Release dates
Windows March 6, 2020
Linux March 6, 2020
Metacritic 84
OpenCritic 85
Microtransactions None
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Shooter
Art styles Realistic
Themes North America, Sci-fi
Series Half-Life
Black Mesa on HowLongToBeat
Black Mesa on IGDB
Black Mesa on MobyGames
Black Mesa on Wikipedia
Half-Life 1998
Sven Co-op (unofficial mod) 1999
Half-Life: Opposing Force 1999
Half-Life: Blue Shift 2001
Codename: Gordon 2004
Half-Life: Source 2004
Half-Life 2 2004
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch 2004
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast 2005
Half-Life Deathmatch: Source 2006
Half-Life 2: Episode One 2006
Half-Life 2: Episode Two 2007
Portal (series)
Half-Life: Decay (unofficial port) 2008
Black Mesa (unofficial remake) 2020
Half-Life: Alyx 2020

Key points

An unofficial remake of Half-Life.

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)
DRM-free on Linux when run directly from executable.
All versions require Steam DRM.
The original standalone release from September 2012 is no longer available for download at the official website, but previously provided download links still work (1 2).
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.

Essential improvements[edit]

Enabling the console[edit]

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

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

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

Save game data location[edit]

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.[2]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud


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

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Use -w XX -h YY parameters to force a custom resolution.
HUD is not centered.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
75-90° (horizontal based on Hor+ from 4:3); use fov_desired XX in the console for higher values (up to 120). 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 MSAA or SGSSAA in Nvidia Profile Inspector using the 0x000000C0 with the Antialiasing Fix set to "On".[3]
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
300 FPS cap by default. With console, can change "fps_max" up to 1000; use 0 for uncapped framerate.[4]
High dynamic range display (HDR)
Rendered image uses SDR color space. In-game HDR option refers only to HDR Rendering.

Refresh rate (Hz)[edit]

Use the -refresh ## command line argument to run at custom refresh rate

Ambient Occlusion[edit]

Use Nvidia Inspector: Ambient Occlusion compatibility - 'Left 4 Dead 2'[citation needed]


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

Toggle crouch[edit]

Add script to autoexec.cfg[5]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>/bms/cfg/.
  2. Open autoexec.cfg and add this:
    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 and enter exec autoexec.


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 in options, and use DSOAL for binaural HRTF mixing.[6]


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
Official translation.
Fan translation by «ZoG Forum Team». For Steam-version and mod-version – audio or text + audio
Latin American Spanish


Multiplayer types

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

Connection types

VR support[edit]

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

Issues unresolved[edit]

Chromatic aberration always on[edit]

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

Main menu flickering[edit]

This problem occurs since the new menu was added. It also seems to happen with some versions of Nvidia drivers and not in others, and at random points won't bug out at all. The only known solution is to use the old menu with the command -oldgameui

Issues fixed[edit]

Black screen while in fullscreen mode (Windows 10)[edit]

Enable borderless fullscreen windowed mode[7]
If an adaptive sync monitor is used, set it to run in windowed mode if possible. This is an option for G-Sync at least.

Flashlight not working on Intel GPU[edit]

Black Mesa does not support Intel GPUs but following these steps may fix the problem
To fix the flashlight not working do the following:

add these commands to the games launch options ; -force_vendor_id 0x10DE -force_device_id 0x1180 -dxlevel 95

Remove "-dxlevel 95" after you close the game or your settings will reset every time you run the game.

Here's how to add commands to the launch options.[8]

Very poor performance on AMDGPU kernel driver (Linux)[edit]

It is possible to run the game without starting Steam by running
Remove the included[9]
  1. Go to [SteamLibraryDir]/steamapps/common/Black Mesa/bin
  2. Remove
Run the game in Steam Native environment[citation needed]

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
OpenGL 2.1 Linux only.
Shader Model support 2, 3
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok Heavily modified variant.
Audio Miles Sound System
Interface Qt
Input SDL
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer Steamworks

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) Vista
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 playable on XP, it would likely cause problem due to 4GB RAM limits.
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