Resonance Cascade across the facility (Cool video)

This guy created a video of the whole Black Mesa Incident top down, really shows the scale of the disaster. Also there’s the perspectives of the 3 protagonists.

I find this global perspective very interesting, and am already thinking about how it relates to Black Mesa (the game). There are a few things that immediately jump out to me:

  • We typically think of Freeman et. al.'s movements through the facility as very linear and purpose-driven, but this map makes it clear that much of what they’re doing is in fact just a lot of circuitous wandering around on what cannot be the most direct route to where they’re going (and that this gets more pronounced as time goes on and the infrastructure of the facility degrades). Looking at .RK’s and my maps, this seems to be about the same in Black Mesa- Freeman moves generally in sections of one consistent direction for longer at a stretch, but that direction often has zero relation to the current overarching objective- much of the post-WGH to Apprehension gameplay, for instance, involves heading directly away from the Lambda Complex.

  • In contrast to the opening of Blue Shift where everything immediately goes to hell within seconds of the AMS overloading, the rest of the map more closely follows the impression I got from H1 that the area of Xenian teleports and general anomalies is expanding out from Sector C not much faster than Freeman himself moves; and that outside of this area large portions of the BMRF were still mostly functional and trying to respond to the events within it in a fairly organized manner up until WGH or even beyond (probably way beyond in the case of areas like the infirmary in Opposing Force or the rocket command center in OAR). Black Mesa is somewhat vaguer on this point. Many of the PA announcements that originally ‘paced’ the spread of the disaster have been removed or relocated into the very early parts of Unforeseen Consequences, making it seem like the Resonance Cascade involved a brief, very aggressive period of failures and teleports before settling down with the facility already in a mostly destroyed state well before Freeman got to it. However, at the same time, there are messages and scientists with papers in Questionable Ethics that make it seem like that part of the facility was active and apparently performing research right up until the military got to it (and the temporary nature of the military’s fortifications implies that this too was relatively recent).

  • The additional messages in the video imply that the military, once they arrived, actually managed to take control of at least the most critical areas of the Facility relatively quickly, got them back in working order, and were actually ‘operating’ the BMRF on at least the level of basic services for a good while before finally being put on the run by the Xenians in Surface Tension. There’s not a lot to support or refute this in HL1, as while it’s tempting to think that the military has as hard a time moving around in the place as the player does I highly doubt that is actually the case. Black Mesa runs a bit more counter to this since the military fortifications are much more obvious and much more temporary-looking in their construction, and the soldiers don’t seem to have gone through the basic step of cleaning up bodies.

Founded in 2004, became one of the first online communities dedicated to Valve’s Source engine development. It is more famously known for the formation of Black Mesa: Source under the 'Leakfree Modification Team' handle in September 2004.