Improved Xen is a modification for Black Mesa game. It gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself into original and improved locations of Xen world from Half-Life. At the moment Improved Xen is supported by Lisovichenko Vladislav (zloikot)
Hello again, guys! Black Mesa itself is a modification in an earlier version and a commercial game in the present tense, so I divided Improved Xen and developed it for both versions of Black Mesa. Black Mesa 2012 works on Source 2007 base version. It was first time used in Ep. 2, Portal and TF2, but now it’s quite an old engine. Comparing to Source version 2013, the old one has lots of defects and bags in the optimization. But the fact is, those games got an update to the new version of the engine later, and Black Mesa 2012 didn’t.
Earlier, I did Improved Xen as an addition to Black Mesa 2012 mod, but after releasing Black Mesa 2015, I started to improve my mod to this version only. According to the fact, that the last BM version will get an update including the absolute remake of Xen, I decided to port Improved Xen 0.5 on the earlier version of Black Mesa.
The first version of Improved Xen (v 0.1) looked quite bad, had some bags and flaws, and was unfinished in general. Now I rebuilt this mod, improving the graphics and entity logic. The version of my mod, built on Steam Black Mesa, uses some features of the modified version of the engine, added by Crowbar Collective. However Source 2007 doesn’t have such functions like cascading shadow maps, real-time dynamic lighting and reflections, or godrays, because in 2007 it wasn’t implemented yet. Also it caused the necessity of optimization. For example I had to impair textures quality and to minimize the quantity of switching lamps plants to provide the best optimization of the game. Now, when I achieved the good quality of my mod, I’d like not to make it worse.
So I decided to add some changes into dynamic lighting with shadows to use it in some locations and to improve the graphics a little bit. My earlier experience helped me and I used it here. Eventually, I want to show Improved Xen as a nice modification despite the version of the engine. Changes, which I did with game files give the opportunity to start Improved Xen as a separate modification with using Black Mesa resources. It’s done in two latest versions of my mod. That’s why transfer from Lambda Core to Xen is impossible.
But to play the mod you don’t need even to download Black Mesa. Its lighter version is included into the archive with the mod. It’s enough just to download a tool Source SDK 2007 from Steam and also to download this mod. According to the fact, that this version of the mod is publishing sooner, I fixed most of bags which could occur in Xen 0.5. A small feature will be my choosing HDR lighting without engaging the LDR on the locations, because the LDR isn’t actual. This decision gives me a chance to reduce the weight of the map files.
I hope my three-years old work will give you a lot of positive emotions and you will write a positive comment about it, because your support gives me the inspiration and aspiration to become better.
Black Mesa 2012 Improved Xen v.0.5.1 will be published on April 7.
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