Trying to release a “Valve quality” Half-Life Source mod by 2009 was a harrowing and frustrating experience, the project lead on the title has revealed.
Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun, Carlos Montero said that Black Mesa: Source’s entire development had been difficult since the team started work on the game in 2005.
But after the team's first trailer in 2008, which teased a 2009 release for the mod, he said the developers began to cut corners and lost touch with their original ideals in a effort to get it released at any cost.
“We were determined to make this release date come hell or high water, and we killed ourselves to do it,” he said.
“We were cutting corners everywhere, cutting chunks of maps out, rushing through everything, making rash decisions. Basically, we ended up going against all of our core values just to hit this deadline we had set for ourselves.
“It was harrowing, frustrating, and as we came to find out, ultimately futile.”
The team later made the decision to miss the release date and keep developing the title in an effort to meet what it calls "Valve quality", but has since recognised this was a tough undertaking for a team of students and hobbyists.
Despite more than 80 developers working on the project in total since the project’s inception, the team has struggled with engine documentation, global development, internal communication and retaining standards in trying to release the game.
“The biggest issues have always been related to meeting the very lofty goal we initially set for ourselves,” said Montero.
“We have always wanted Black Mesa to be Valve-quality. Turns out that is very tough to do from every angle of development. Imagine that!”
He added: “It has taken us many years not only to make this game, but to learn more and more what Valve-quality actually means. To embody those standards is to fully realise what it means to be an expert in any given field of work. It’s an insanely difficult thing to achieve.”
Despite opening up on the mod’s development issues, Montero did not disclose a potential release date for the game.