Post news RSS Sept/Oct. 2022 Update + A Request

A status report (if you can call it that) for BMSC and a request for assistance.

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Hey, been a little while again. Not much to report on BMSC specifically, I'm afraid.

Xen hasn't gotten much further since last update - chances are pretty good we're going to go back and refine some of the Earthbound chapters a bit first. Rebalancing, bugfixes, adjustments and additions, and so on. Keep an eye out for that!

Anyway, the main reason I'm making this article...

After the last article about the Interloper Xort crash and the workaround mod I made for it, the amazing PluMGMK reached out to me to inquire about the issue and the investigating I'd done. To my eternal amazement, within just a few days they not only managed to track down the cause of the crash, they even managed to put together a hex-edit for Black Mesa's server binary that fixes it! At least, in my testing, it does - I have not been able to get the game to crash due to Xorts a single time since they sent me the details and I gave it a shot.

(here are some screenshots from one of the xen museum maps to satisfy ModDB's 2-image requirement and to demonstrate how stable this fix is - note all the electric scorch marks on the ground)

bm c4a3a 12778 redo3 mining fina

bm c4a3a 12778 redo3 mining fina 1

I can't overstate how blown away I am by this. I'd pretty much resigned myself to having to use the workaround mod as a base for BMSC Interloper - which, while it kinda sorta gets the job done, really wasn't something I was very keen on. It's slapdash and buggy, and while I'm reasonably happy with how well it works, there are still some issues with it that I'm not happy with. Being able to just use Xorts without having to worry about stability would be a much nicer option.

So that leaves me with a conundrum. I'd very, very much like to use Xorts, both for the smoothness of the end result and for convenience on my part - but there's no good way to distribute this patch. I'm not a lawyer, but I feel fairly confident in saying that distributing a modified server.dll file would be legally grey at best, and there's the matter of modified .dll's being a surefire way to get VAC-banned if you happen to connect to a VAC-secured server by mistake. That's really not something I want to be held liable for.

Could a Sourcemod plugin fix the issue? I doubt it, and I'm not well-versed enough in C++ to make a standalone server plugin to fix the issue on my own (though this is a route I'm investigating). There's also the matter of distribution, since I'm not sure the Workshop would allow for uploading that kind of plugin either.

That leaves me with one option I can think of, and it's simultaneously the most obvious, straightforward option, but also the one I have the least faith in, frankly: getting CC to acknowledge the problem and fix it.

I've forwarded PluM's findings to them on their Discord server, as well as the fact that I've heard three different accounts of the crash - which is allegedly AMD-exclusive - happen on non-AMD hardware, and they have yet to acknowledge it (which, frankly, I'm not surprised by, unfortunately).

Hence the point of this article. As mentioned, I've had reports - from PluM themself, my co-developer, and another user - of crashing happening on Intel/non-AMD machines. It's clearly not an isolated problem, even if CC allegedly can't reproduce it - so getting a list of hardware setups afflicted by the crash would be useful in determining how widespread it really is.

The TL;DR -

I've created a thread on the Steam Discussions for Black Mesa here, for people who have experienced the Xort crash to report their specs in. So far, it hasn't gotten any responses, but - anyone reading this article who's had Black Mesa crash in the village on Interloper A, or when fighting Vorts throughout the rest of the chapter, if you could share your computer's specs in this thread, it'd be very much appreciated. Hopefully, a compiled list of setups that are afflicted will help elicit an official statement on the matter from CC.

Hopefully we'll get some acknowledgement from them at some point, and hopefully we'll have more BMSC news to share sometime soon, but for now... Thanks for reading and sticking with us!

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