Post news RSS Chapter 4: Captive Freight - June 2022 Article

It's been a while since last article! See what's new on our Captive Freight chapter progress!

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After a long silence, we are happy to announce that we are back with news, and lots of it! We will also reveal a little behind the scenes of the development of the previous and current chapter. Let's begin!

Our article starts with exciting new content that we want to show off.

Starting from the warehouse basement!
This location haven't changed much in comparison with the original, but we've improved its gameplay and added interesting puzzles.

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Chapter 4: Captive Freight

The next screenshot is the freight yard itself. It has been significantly expanded, recreated in more realistic style. You will be amazed by the size of the indoor and outdoor areas!

All locations where we battled the HECU along the tracks, saving helpless scientists, while simultaneously fighting the HECU, have been significantly expanded, beyond recognition. They're extremely detailed and filled with complex, dynamic battles and puzzles.
And now we want to answer an important and very often asked question - why is development taking so long?

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Chapter 4: Captive Freight

We're going to explain the process so you can briefly understand how much time each chapter took and why each chapter's development was unique.

Living Quarters Outbound

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Chapter 1: Living Quarters Outbound

The uniqueness of its development was that this chapter was just an experiment for us, so we didn't expect all of the great support from the community.
This chapter was perhaps the easiest to recreate, it almost didn't require unique voice acting, and we didn't need have to develop different scenarios for the player's behavior. The player was locked in a tram, and all events were scripted as this tram moved along the rails.
It took us less than 3 months to create this chapter, because for about a month the maps were built from scratch just by a few team members, without using many resources.
We created most of the maps according to the visual from the screenshots of the Insecurity mod, and then improved upon them substantially.


Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Chapter 2: Insecurity

The first real challenge for us was the second chapter, Insecurity. Despite all difficulties, we think we did an excellent job and are proud of this chapter. We couldn't entertain player with some shotgun action for now, 'cause it was pre-disaster, so we dived into creating various scenes that revealed the final peaceful moments of Black Mesa personnel. With the help of voice actors from Crowbar Collective and more, ~400 voice lines were recorded. We tried to think over all the possible actions of the player in every situation. Maps were created from a few screenshots from Insecurity, and many were created completely from scratch.
By the way, we have to say that the whole elevator sequence was made by Cyv0 (except for the music, this part was handled by our great composer, Daver). Just think about it, only one person made it, including models!
This chapter took us about 4 months to finish. Worth mentioning that during development of the first chapter, some mappers were already making Insecurity maps.

Duty Calls

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Chapter 3: Duty Calls

The second challenge for us was to make player running, thinking, shooting, fighting monsters for his life. The poor design of the original maps caused a lot of troubles and discussions, and it took weeks to solve these problems. Skyms2263 helped with this by providing us his W.I.P. map sources to build off of, which saved us months of work.
Development took 4 months too, but if we didn't have the sources, it would've taken 5-7 months.
We can talk a lot about how we created those complex puzzles, but let's better move on to the new chapter!

Captive Freight

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Chapter 4: Captive Freight

Let's open the curtain a little and finally reveal some new details of Chapter 4 development.
After the release of Duty Calls, we took a short break of 2.5 months as we have done a lot in our remake and the team was taking a breather and gathering strength for further development. We decided to formally divide this chapter in two - from beginning to the meeting with the wounded scientist, Harold, and from that moment to the teleportation to Xen.
After our break, we put all our efforts into the first half. Step by step, we created maps, models and textures. Now we can safely say that the first half is 95% ready!

And so we, motivated by our success, were going to happily continue developing our best project! However...

A big war began which significantly affected us.
We have members from all over the world in our team, including both Russia and Ukraine. The first month of the war, development almost stopped due to the deep shock that covered the entire team. It was extremely hard for the team members from Ukraine, they're suffering the most. In particular, I (Faber) is from Ukraine, and I will not hide the fact that this impeded my work. At the moment, the situation has stabilized, but at any moment it could become even worse, which keeps us all in tension.

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Chapter 4: Captive Freight

Continuing the theme of Insecurity mod's sources — yes, we got them even for Captive Freight, they covered almost entire chapter, but the sources were extremely outdated, their state was far from what Skyms2263 posted on Moddb in 2016.
So we started a chapter completely from scratch. We didn't use the sources. This makes it different from previous chapters. This one is the biggest in the whole remake and its release will be the turning point from which we think we will enter the ultimate breakthrough which will be Focal Point.

Since we're discussing the readiness of the chapters, let's reveal a secret - the maps are 70% ready, the scripts for them are at 50%. Does this mean that the development will take another 7 months? No, we can't predict the exact release day or month. As it was said, at any time situation in Ukraine may change for the worse or better, which may slow down the development, or speed it up. But we see the release in the end of this summer or the beginning of autumn at best.

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Chapter 4: Captive Freight

Before we move on, I want to talk about the changes in the team roaster. 9 members were kicked or left on their own, for various reasons. BlackPriest, the founder of our team, is one of them. We appreciate everything they've done while being with us, and their work and mentions will always remain in the mod.
Also, we got one new team member, JustJacob. He's making good models (you can see one of them down below), and that's not the only thing he's working on in this project. These member count changes will not affect the productivity of the team and the development at all. But there comes another thing, that is written at the end of this article.

Okay, now let's continue with the best and most interesting stuff, that includes models, soundscape videos and grenade animation reel! Take a look at those!

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Model

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Model

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Model

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Model

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Model

Black Mesa: Blue Shift | Model

Spooky steam tunnels soundscape. Soundscapes made by Cyv0:

And lastly, our talented animator LIL-PIF made great animations for the grenade!

We really want to show you even more, but there's already so much, we'll save what's remaining for the future. We apologize for such a long silence, but we had our reasons.
And, there's the thing we were speaking of earlier:


Now we're looking for new mappers!
We need people with experience, people who've worked on large projects involving Black Mesa, or even just the source engine! Due to the war in Ukraine affecting our speed, we want to give people the opportunity of helping us fill in that lost time. Make sure you fit the criteria, or refer to someone you know who does! With the extra help, we can have a sooner release date! :)
You can find and contact us on our Discord server.


You can join and chat with us on Discord, VK and support us on Patreon where we post some exclusive content!

HECU Collective Discord ServerHECU Collective VK PageHECU Collective Patreon

Your support really matters to us.


HECU Collective

X-Ray. - - 977 comments

i legitimately thought the second image was real at first, the quality and effort you guys put in this mod is amazing!

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wmf776759 - - 472 comments

Slava Ukraini, heroyam slava!

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woopwoop1609067291 - - 9 comments

This is awesome work! Thank you all for this, can't wait to play this!! Stay safe, please.

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FlippedOutKyrii - - 3,496 comments

Absolutely stunning work, sucks to hear about the team moral following the war, hope you guys pull through!

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LadyJaneThrace - - 865 comments

I'm absolutely in LOVE with this, captive freight is going to be out of this world! Please stay safe & keep up the amazing work <3

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Pauolo - - 511 comments

Just the sight of the Freight Yard's outside area makes me understand the care you guys are taking into making this mod. You probably spent more time researching on how to make the levels look immersive than Gearbox ever did. I can understand the current international crisis being an obstacle, but the quality of the materials you just posted tells otherwise despite it. Hats off to you, and good luck for the next steps of the project.

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Guest - - 687,512 comments

Great improviments

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21Nikt21 - - 13 comments

Looks absolutely amazing as always. Definitely the best Black Mesa mod of all time!
And more importantly - hope you stay safe. Slava Ukraini from Poland!

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Daburubareru - - 738 comments

Awesome work on BM: BS, everything look so cool especially the Captive Freight I look forward a lot about Guard Duty's HL2 and Blue Shift for Black Mesa!
-Rayan "Dabu"

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Rvaoff - - 1 comments

А в моде будет русские субтитры ?
Слава Украине из России.

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StavaasEVG Author
StavaasEVG - - 74 comments

Были и будут.

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Pyornkrachzark - - 13 comments

Hope the development continues and more important you, your friends and families are OK
Слава Україні! (Glory to Ukraine!)

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Guest - - 687,512 comments

Thanks a lot ! :) continue like that !

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Guest - - 687,512 comments

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