Tram Ride: Barney Calhoun

Posted: September 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

Today it’s just a really quick update looking at the moment in the tram ride where you go past Barney Calhoun pounding on the door the very same person you take control of in Half-Life: Blue Shift.

Today’s post will consist of two more distant shots before the breaks and two more close up shots after the break.

Hey it's Barney Calhoun!

Hey it’s Barney Calhoun!

Looking at the screenshot one can’t help but think about the massive amounts of money they poured into construction of the Black Mesa Research Facility when they built the place. The least they could do is make sure the doors work.  Back in the day I was simply impressed by the largeness of the facility and that I even had to RIDE a TRAM to get to work!

Hey look it's Barney Calhoun!

Hey look it’s Barney Calhoun!

As one can see in Black Mesa the development team was able to make things big enough to have trams in and out making a looped system. This seems to fit naturally within the reality created in Half-Life and the Gearbox Software expansions, that map of the system certainly hints at the possibility of a looped system at least in part.

It’s also more than a bit safer as the door is situated in a well lit alcove with nice LED lit boards saying Security.

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Restart: Tram Opening Station

Posted: September 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hello again and welcome to Half-Mesa where I’ll still be sharing one composite a post but for the most part we’ll be looking at how the Black Mesa Development Team overhauled the First Person Shooter that changed everything way back in 1998: Half-Life!

I won’t be writing many words but simply sharing “Before and After” screenshots of the same locations. They will be similar pictures compared one to another so One from HL and one from BM rise and repeat.

So here’s the shots looking to the left in the opening tram station after the fade in from the title from Half-Life and Black Mesa:

To the Left of the Tram

To the Left of the Tram

I really like this it’s actually still really dynamic with the forklift operators busy doing their thing and the tunnel into the darkness does a good job of intimating that this is just a small part of a huge facility. I also love the pools of light on the ground. Also the size of the station structure we’re in is a testament to much government spending!

Looking to the Left.

Looking to the Left.

This still looks immense, however it also looks lived in. It’s clear that these are in fact the Level 3 Dormitories as the Tram Announcement tells us. The escalators offer the same depth that the tunnel did in the shot from the original above. And the hints of a further lower hallway behind the wall behind the escalators also hints at the Dormitories beyond. The slanted handrail on the right of the picture points to a pedestrian bridge that extends over from the other platform.

Speaking of which….

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Hello to anyone who’s still following along!

I’d like to apologize for letting this blog fall off the face of the earth for far too long. With my film in heavy post production I just haven’t had the time to post at all.

That said when I do resume posting starting next Monday or Tuesday I will be taking a slightly different tack than I have been before.

I’ll be doing a reboot of sorts and setting each post up as Half-Life before the Break and Black Mesa after the break with a final single composite at the end of each post combining the two shots.

Why is this all going to require me to wait until Tuesday?

I’m going to be taking new screenshots of Inbound/Anomalous Materials and the start of Unforeseen Consequences again and making NEW Composites until we reach where we left off currently which is just after the Resonance Cascade event.

I don’t have a current picture of that area from Half-Life available but in Black Mesa it looks like this:

Attempting to Revive the Guard in Black Mesa

Attempting to Revive the Guard in Black Mesa

The above is the exact same shot I used in the composite I posted last time for that scene so for completion I’ll add that one again into this post:

"He's still dead Jim."

“He’s still dead Jim.”

As you can see the guard in Half-Life was facing the other direction and there was a pretty neat dangling light that flickered on and off. And also some fallen ceiling tiles on the floor.

So next time we’ll to a much quicker trip through the first two levels looking at only a few major talking points using the new style…and then we can continue through the Black Mesa Research Facility.

See you early next week!



I’m back, from wherever I’d been, but I can hear the sound of fire and smell the choking smoke. I open my eyes and see the destroyed Anti-Mass Spectrometer above me. The smoke smarts my eyes.

"Aw man...I bet-" *Cough-cough cough* "Get up and move!"

“Aw man…I bet-” *Cough-cough cough* “Get up and move!”

I slowly stand glancing to the right and as I do electrical discharges zap the walls and floors.

"It's all about survival now."

“It’s all about survival now.”

I try and stay below the worst of the smoke moving quickly, somehow the energy of the blast forced the doors open about the only thing to be thankful for right now. I clamber over the wreckage on the floor and approach the skewed blast doors.

"I can't believe I survived...the energy to ensure this kind of destruction is staggering."

“I can’t believe I survived…the energy to ensure this kind of destruction is staggering.”

The fire suppression system has gone off in the chamber lock keeping the flames at bay, but it can’t bring my fellow scientists and friends back to life.

"Looks like the fire set off the Halon System. Good thing I'm wearing this H.E.V. Suit."

“Looks like the fire set off the Halon System. Good thing I’m wearing this H.E.V. Suit.”

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So, when I was last able to post we’d been getting ready to load a sample into the Sample Receptacle.

Just starting rotors…and waiting for samples…pushing them around and waiting to get readings.

"Alright fellas here goes nothing!"

“Alright fellas here goes nothing!”


"What the-"

“What the-“

This cannot be happening…

"Hey guys?!" "Attempting it won't shut down!"

“Hey guys?!” “Attempting Shutdown…it it won’t shut down!”

As I cower in abject horror I watch as the beams get closer and closer to the control room window-



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After thinking about it and checking out the number of composites I made for the Test Chamber I realized that I’d better split it into two parts.

The Anomalous Materials test chamber in Half-L...

The Anomalous Materials test chamber in Half-Life , during the experiment which results in the resonance cascade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So in this update we are let into and fire up the Anti-Mass Spectrometer and await the sample…and in the next update we do the really dangerous part of the job.

Really the differences between the Chamber Lock and Test Chamber between Half-Life and Black Mesa are more about size and detail than anything else. Both are very similar in fact it can be hard to make out the 50/50 elements of each composite because I managed to frame some of the shots so well.

Chamber Lock-

"Please no speech just let me in."

“Please no speech just let me in.”

The Main Doors to Lab 33/a-

"I'm seeing 4 of you...must be damn...could you clean my glasses on your tie."

“I’m seeing 4 of you…must be damn…could you clean my glasses on your tie.”

Scientists saying things-


"Look just because I'm tired and I'm late doesn't mean I forgot how to do my job."

“Look just because I’m tired and I’m late doesn’t mean I forgot how to do my job.”

Let me in gents-

"Well let's let him in then."

“Well let’s let him in then.”

Test Chamber doors open-

"We have complete confidence in you."

“We have complete confidence in you.”

Sealed in with the Anti-Mass Spectrometer-

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I’ve determined to be a bit quicker with my updates but once I’m through with the rest of Unforeseen Consequences there will be less composites per post.

In today’s post we’ll be looking at the section from the Conversation in the Control Room up to the Test Chamber Airlock.

Here is where you could see the much awaited Test Chamber for the first time it was impressive in Half-Life and it’s equally impressive here in Black Mesa. Black Mesa also ads that the emergency shutdown switch was broken on the control panel which was a nice touch.

The Halls and Rooms were actually pretty intense and cool in Half-Life and the redesigns in Black Mesa have only built on that. It’s great to see “Izzy” and Eli with some great voice work…and the scientist conversation down below (heck) the vast majority of Black Mesa’s immense new dialogue through the game is exceptional.

So let’s enter the Control Room-

"Alright I'm here let's get to work."

“Alright I’m here let’s get to work.”

Moving forward-

"Fine let's get things going."

“Fine let’s get things going.”

Looking to the left-

"Are we sure everything's in working order?"

“Are we sure everything’s in working order?”

Entering the room to find Eli-

"Eli!" "Izzy!"

“Eli!” “Izzy!”

Lightning jars-

"Impressive...erm...lightning jars..."

“Impressive…erm…lightning jars…”

After the break things start to go critical-

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