Community Spotlight

The Half-Life Saga Story Guide

By Chan Karunamuni

Half-Life: Minecraft – Amazing Minecraft Project

Community & Projects Half-Life

Ah, Minecraft. The hit indie game (that just went into beta on the 20th) that has taken our imagination and put it to good use, whether it’s hollowing out entire mountains with TNT… or building 16-bit ALU calculators. But, when you give people a game in which they can create anything, they’re probably going to recreate other games in it.

As you may have expected, Half-Life is one of those games. From simple recreations of the HL2 logo to building the G-Man, to Portal in Minecraftto actually constructing City 17, we’ve seen some pretty impressive stuff. But none as impressive as what we’re showing you next:

Meet Cameron. He’s done work for Operation Lambda, Guard Duty and Fourth Reich. If you’ve been to the Black Mesa forums, you might know him, as he is a regular poster over there. He, and a friend, FireTime, have begun building the entire Black Mesa Research Facility (and its environs, we assume), as seen in Half-Life… in Minecraft.

Also known as “Block Mesa”, or “Block Mesa Research Facility”, if you prefer, Half-Life: Minecraft strives to be a complete recreation of the original Half-Life. Currently, Cameron and FireTime have recreated the Anomalous Materials and Unforeseen Consequences chapters. Office Complex is still in the works, and they may be skipping Black Mesa Inbound and the Hazard Course.

The IP isn’t available yet, to avoid griefing. But if you become a regular over at the Black Mesa Steam Group chatroom, you might just get in. Overall, this looks great. We can’t wait to see more videos in the future. Will this take more time than Black Mesa itself? Who knows.

We asked Cameron and FireTime if they were up for an interview, and they kindly said yes!


Since when have you been working on this?

Cameron: We started working on it in early October. I first brought up the idea of it with a few people in the Black Mesa steam group chat but never thought that the idea would actually take off. One day I joined the Minecraft server of one of the members and there is the first section room all complete, it just took off from there. After about a month or so, we made the video.

FireTime: I had a small server going for a few of the US bound BM fans as Cam’s original server at the time was a little underpowered and a few thousand miles too far away to get any sort of building accomplished (about 30 seconds between removing the block and it finally disappearing). I just started digging out a large room beneath my house and decided to make it the tram platform. (who doesn’t want BMRF as your basement) After building that, as well as the foyer and a few for the neighboring rooms, I invited Cam over to my server. About the time we got to the office complex, Cam had acquired a faster (US based) dedicated server. I found a suitable location and combined the map files.

 

Will you be remaking Inbound, perhaps with some minecart goodness? Perhaps the Hazard Course?

Cameron: There weren’t plans to remake Inbound (the small section of track you see just connects with the rest of our server-wide transport system) but it seems like quite popular suggestion so we may re-think that now. As for the hazard course, not many people have suggested that, but it could be done I suppose, although probably not until the rest is completed.

FireTime: The primary reason Inbound was not created in the first place was that minecarts did not work in SMP at the start of the construction (hell they only just recently got working 100%, thanks Notch :D ) but as for upcoming minecart goodness, On a Rail is not too far out. In fact, I was planning on connecting it to the server subway system. See if we can get everyone on the server lost down there.

 

Will you be taking inspiration from Black Mesa (the mod) for any future sections?

Cameron: Maybe, I don’t know the exact reason why the foyer is based off the Black Mesa – I didn’t build that part, but regardless, it looks kind of cool and I like it. There have been mixed responses to the foyer, but is the Black Mesa team have done something in one way that looks cool and is easy to reproduce in Minecraft, we may use their ideas.

FireTime: I think so. My reasoning behind the BM foyer was the increased detail available. Any opportunity to make a room not a big cube is a huge plus in MC. As the resolution we get to play with is 1 meter cubes, any chance to add detail goes a long way in recreating something.

 

Were there any areas that were particularly challenging to build?

Cameron: Right now we have run into a bit of a problem, we seem to have completely looped around on ourselves and part of Office Complex has run into the Anomalous Materials entrance foyer so we need to go back move everything up a bit, or extend some hallways. That will be quite fun, although it’s not the first time we’ve run into that same problem, another part of Office Complex went through the very top of the test chamber so we needed to add a few stairs in to fix that. Clearing large areas such as the test chamber or the box smashing room is also a bit of a task, but lots of TNT never goes astray, ever.

FireTime: At first things were fairly simple but the more we build, the tolerances are getting a little crazy. I can count several locations where a previous part of the facility is just one block away. So far we haven’t had to make any drastic changes to layout apart from making a few hallways a couple blocks longer/shorter, but I’m praying that we can just make it to a nice long tunnel so we can leave this rats nest of hallways and get to some fresh dirt.

 

Did any animals get in the set? Did they kill any scientists?

Cameron: There is quite a funny story, actually. We had been building away, and for about half an hour all we could here was this squawking chicken. Eventually it just drove us mad so we started smashing through all the walls trying to find it. After about 10 minutes of searching we found this 1x1x1 space with about 5 chickens and a few pigs jammed into it. Great satisfaction came from setting fire to them, but it took a while to repair the damage we did to the project. Part of office complex also uses grass as a green carpet, being well lit it means that pigs and chickens occasionally spawn there. As for scientists, we haven’t actually seen any, they must go into hiding or something whenever any other people are near the facility.

FireTime: HA, we did go insane. The area when you first see the hound eyes was torn to shreds. Happy day when the glitch that caused animals to spam hurt sounds when stuck was fixed. As for scientists… I do have a few ideas for the new mod API that is coming out.

 

How many people have contributed to Half-Life Minecraft?

Cameron: FireTime and myself are the main ‘builders’. We both regular the Black Mesa forums and spend all day in the Steam group chat. Many of the other regular players on our server have helped out with bits and pieces here and there – we’ve even had a bit of help from one of the Black Mesa developers – JamesKane, he helped us build a hallway.

FireTime: A few players here and there but almost all of the work was completed by was Cam and me.

 

Cameron, you’re also a level designer for Source?

Cameron: I suppose you could call it that, I know both the engine and the tools quite well, yet I lack the patience and creativity to be able to design full levels myself. Most of the work I have ends up as one well detailed area and the rest just blocked out. I also seem to the one of the top go-to people on my Steam friends list for “my map doesn’t work” problems.

 

Have you tackled any mods?

Cameron: When it comes to the modding world, I prefer the website side of things. I am on the development team for 3 mods, but I’m not doing actually doing any mapping for any of them. For Operation Lambda I host the website and help out where I can. We’ve just had our second media release, make sure to check that out. For Guard Duty I am responsible for the website design, a brand new site should be here by the new year. I also design particle systems for them. For The Fourth Reich I am supposed to be responsible for the website, no progress has been made in that area so far.  

 

Anything you want to say to all the readers out there?

Cameron: Buy Minecraft if you have not already, it means you can save money in future as you will never need to buy another game. Almost every person who I’ve shown Minecraft too has started off saying how bad it looks and how boring it sounds, admittedly it does look quite bad but it both grows on you and suits the blocky nature of the game, now all of those people are addicted just like me. We’re also likely to open our server up to the public (or set up another one with this part of our world in it) when we finish so that anyone can explore the facility themselves, so you want to own Minecraft to see that, don’t you?

FireTime: The idea/plan you have been putting off? Do it. Who cares if it not perfect. Just get the ball rolling.


And that’s it! We’d like to thank the two for doing the interview with us! Cameron also sent us some exclusive screenshots of Office Complex! Even though they’re still working on it, they look great! Check these out! Keep in mind that these are unfinished. Work In Progress, gentlemen.

oc1

wgh2

Thanks for reading, and once again, we’d like to thank Cameron and FireTime, and wish them good luck on their massive endeavor!

12 Comments

  1. Link?

  2. This is boring….

  3. DUDES OMFG NOOOOOO .. how culd you let so many mistakes to be done ! when you enter the first sequrity post it IS IN FRONT of you ,then the control room is not that widht , the portal room is a cilinder not .. something that , eint cilinder and the portal it self loks abit difrent ( I dont recal corektly how .. ) , SHit .. i stardet writing before reading … ok :D I NEED , ,,, I MUST JOIN THEM !!! NOW ! how can i contakt them ? ! my skipe is sauron.1 ( wiktim of lord of the rings xD ) can anyone help .. i’ll continiu the serching of theyr contakts .. AN sory for broken english :(

  4. Hey, you liked to my video on youtube. That’s so cool :)

  5. ‘Block Mesa’ is some really amazing stuff,
    Good work!

  6. Sadly, they came up with it the same time I started the exact same thing. Happily I’d say my work is different enough, though I suspect we will end up looking slightly similar in the end.

    I’m also making a minecraft half-life recreation. I’ve already done the hazard course (something these guys haven’t), and am planning to do Inbound soon. Here’s my thread link: http://www.minecraftforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=103799
    And also, mine is in SSP (Survival Single-Player) instead of SMP (Survival Multi-player). And sadly, mine seems extremely unpopular :( .

    Oh well, such an idea as this wasn’t original. IIRC, when Black Mesa started out, there were at least 2 teams working on it seperately, then they merged (I think).

  7. Wow, I wonder if they started around the time I started City 17? I began that project around October, but, going completely solo on it, haven’t done as much as these guys.

    I’m planning on making the entire Half-Life 2 world…

  8. Must have taken ages to make this :L. Good on em!

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