Black Mesa Secrets FAQ v2.9 - herringtonTbass
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: : : : Black Mesa Secrets FAQ

Black Mesa Secrets FAQ

by herringtonTbass   Updated to v2.9 on
Black Mesa Secrets, Cheats & Tips

version 2.9

I thought this faq was complete, but I have recently made many new discoveries!
I now realize there are a blue million more secrets buried the game.
Plus they have not even released the Xen portion of the game :)

This faq is far from finished, in fact I may begin documenting many of the
secret rooms, so check back periodically :)


IMO "Half Life" is one of the best games of all time. It is a classic FPS with
plenty of platform jumping and puzzle solving. Many of the shortcomings and
control issues of the first game have been overcome in this reconstruction of
the original game. I could go on and on about this nostalgic trip back to
gaming's roots but everyone has their own opinion and you will either appeciate
it or think it's outdated crap.

My personal thanks go to the developers.

Purists don't like cheats or mods, many believe that it is a slight against
the developers to change the game from its original design and play.
But for myself, they give a game more replay value. I may become bored once I
played through the game several times. Going back through and playing only
with a super pistol or shotgun, or being able to use a weapon like the hornet
gun or tau cannon in the early levels adds spice and variety to something that
no longer provides much diversity or challenge anymore.
For me it is about playing a level or sequence perfectly. Picking just the
right weapon or tool for each situation, experimentation and fine tuning has a
reward of its own. That is a great thing about the source engine and all the
source games. The whole source game platform and gaming community is based on
the open source (no pun intended :) nature of the source engine. I think that
is what keeps the source platform one of the most popular in the gaming world.

I created this faq because most of the cheat pages I found contained inaccurate
or erroneous information. They seemed to be a combination of old Half Life and
Half Life 2 codes, many of which don't work anymore, if they ever did. Anything
you find here has been tested and was accurate at the time of writing.

Half Life was the first game I learned how to tweak and mod. Many veterans can
figure out the codes themselves, however when I first began looking into the
Half Life config files, 12 odd years ago, I found it very confusing and worried
that I might actually hurt the game, especially after I saw all those red code
mistakes :) So I wrote this faq in a very explanitory and easy to follow format
that is hopefully easy for anyone to use.


This next section is a little primer on cvars and cfg files.
Veterans can just skip to the codes.

The cheat system works off of cvars and cfg files. (There are a several
different definitions of cvar: command variable, control variable, and console
variable are some you might encounter) To use and access them, you must first
enable the developers console in the keyboard section of options. Once enabled,
the developers console is accessed through the tilde ~ key. Pressing the ~ key
will pause the game and open a code window.

Simply type the code and hit enter or submit, if it is valid it will appear in
white, if invalid: red text will tell you it is invalid. This is the same in
all games based on the source engine.

In the game directory you will find a folder named cfg, that folder is filled
with a series of configuration files. Open one of those files and you will
find that they are just a list of cvars. The autoexec.cfg will automatically
load. This is a good place to set up a few bind commands.



The bind command links a key to a command. bind key# "command"
bind z "givecurrentammo"
bind q "exec myCheats.cfg"

and yes, the quotes surrounding the command you are binding are needed.
If the console says: bind add command - then you have written it incorrectly,
and source is looking for the command to bind. It is usually because the quotes
are missing or in the wrong place.

Cvars can be submitted one at a time through the developers console or by lists
created in cfg files. The lists can be activated by submitting with the exec
command, such as in the earlier bind example, only without the quotation marks.
exec myCheats.cfg


Now to the codes.

In the past to use any cheat code, they needed to be enabled by setting the
value of sv_cheats to 1, like this:
sv_cheats 1
However, in Black Mesa almost all the codes work without being enabled.

But cheats must be enabled to use the impulse 101 command which gives a player
all the weapons. Cheats also need to be enabled to give yourself the super
weapons made by the Lamba Core, alien weapons, the longjump module, and noclip.

If you enter a cheat value without having cheats enabled, a weapon code like
weapon_tau will be displayed in red and said not to exist or as in the case of
the impulse commands and noclip they just will not do anything.



the give command gives you items and weapons
give item_healthkit
give weapon_357


weapon_glock (9mm or pistol)
weapon_357 (revolver)
weapon_mp5 (automatic rifle w/grenade launcher)
weapon_rpg (rocket launcher)
weapon_hivehand (hornet gun)
weapon_snark (alien ankle biter :)

weapon_tau (tau cannon or gauss gun)
weapon_gluon (egon or matter displacer)

These last two are the super weapons developed by Lamba Core Scientists.
Cheats must be enabled to receive these weapons early.

The tau cannon is a very precise weapon, it is a good long range weapon even
with out a scope and is a fantastic turret killer. I suggest you increase the
amount of ammo held to at least 500.
sk_max_energy 500

Both the tau and gluon share the energy ammo reserve.



sv_maxspeed 320

hl2_normspeed 190
hl2_sprintspeed 320
hl2_walkspeed 150

These are the default values

In the past, I normally lowered the normal speed for greater control and
increased the sprint speed to get out of the way quickly, but for the life of
me I don't see much difference after I make the changes to sprintspeed. The
code is accepted and values are recorded but I don't see much of a change
if any.

Even though there is still a code for walkspeed, the key setup is no longer in
the game. I found this script in the forum.
Credit for its creation goes to "geekofalltrades"

alias +walk "sv_maxspeed 65"
alias -walk "sv_maxspeed 320"
bind "ALT" "+walk"

Just add these three lines to your cheat, autoexec, or config file and Gordon
will walk when you press the alt key.



Jumping is a critical skill to be learned in both Half Life and Black Mesa, 
especially the crouch jump. The crouch jump must also be mastered to use the
long jump module. But jumping in Black Mesa is more difficult than in the
original Half Life game.

Increasing your jumping ability can be handled two different ways, through a
reduction in gravity or by increasing your jumpspeed.

default value is 600
When you reduce the gravity, Gordon will jump higher and the jump will be alot
longer, which can cause problems.

By increasing the jumpspeed, gravity affects Gordon the same so the time length
of each jump remains unchanged, but Gordon covers more distance within that

default values are 160

I recommend adjusting all three values. A small reduction in gravity and small
increase in jumpspeeds.



Damage is set up with the sk_plr_dmg_weapon command.
sk_plr_dmg_crowbar 30

sk_plr_dmg_9mm (this also sets the damage for the mp5)
sk_plr_dmg_bolt (crossbow)

sk_plr_dmg_energy (tau & gluon)



The hornet grenade is fired by the Hivehand and is one of my favorite weapons
in the game. The hornet is more like a self guided bullet than a grenade and
dmg does not need to be set very high to be very effective. However, it is
made a lot more effective by increasing the speed at which the hornet flies.
sk_grenade_hornet_airspeed (1200 is default)

Here are a couple more hornet cvars to play with:
sk_grenade_hornet_golbal_lifetime (5 is default)
sk_grenade_hornet_hit_lifetime (1 is default)
sk_grenade_hornet_search_radius (512 is default)

If you increase any of these Gordon will probably take damage if used at close
range, however it is great for taking out multiple enemies in a room or hallway.

sk_tau_beam_charge_max_velocity (500 is default)

There are also sk_ commands for max distance and radius of grenade dmg but set
too high both the dmg and radius of damage will damage and even kill Gordon, so
keep that in mind when setting them.

These values are for mines set by the military that Gordon finds in Black Mesa.



There are commands to set the max amount of ammo for a weapon and there are
item/ammo/weapon commands to give you ammo for each of your weapons.
sk_max_357 50
sk_max_mp5 250

However, raising the max amount carried and setting a bind command to give
Gordon more of each one is both redundant and tedious, so here is an easy
workaround that makes the process a lot easier.

Simply bind a key to the givecurrentammo command like this:
bind z "givecurrentammo"
Now when z is pressed whatever weapon is currently being used is filled.

Weapon fired grenades work a little different, because they are considered
alernate fire commands. First off, they are items rather than weapons or ammo.
You only get a few of them at a time. If you have them, the givecurrent ammo
command will refill them to the max, However if you don't have any it won't,
You can get around this by increasing the max ammount held and picking up
more each time.

sk_max_grenade_mp5 25
sk_item_grenade_mp5_pickup 10

The first command sets the max amount of mp5 grenades to 25,
and the second command sets the amount gained whenever you come across a
pickup. These amounts are only examples, any number will work.


the hud:

I personally think that the standard crosshairs are too hard to see.
There are several variables available.

This draws a larger circle type recticle with crosshairs that differ with
each weapon.

This draws the same recticle as above but adds health and ammo info.

Find which one you like best and simple add it to either your cheat file or the
autoexec file. I personally like adding codes like this and the walk script to
the autoexec.cfg and leave my cheat file to cheats.


Some other codes of interest:

default value is 30

Once a chapter is unlocked a new game can be started from that chapter.


these two codes set the amount of energy and health gained from pickups

This code allows you to walk thru walls (to boldly go where gamers are not
allowed to go :) Be careful when you use this! Quicksave before going through
a wall or door, many place will kill Gordon. I suggest you bind it to a key.
It is a simple on/off code. (type once for on | type again and it is off)
I also suggest you use the walk code I posted in the movement section,
otherwise you might move right out of the game or into an adjacent level :)

So Why on earth would you want to walk through a wall, you ask...



There are hidden rooms, pictures, and messages all through the game.
There is an on-going mystery that is still not solved even at this late date:{
The Great Pizza Code Mystery!
There are pizza boxes laying around all over Black Mesa. There are messages
written on the walls about pizza and Dr. Horn. These are not carry overs from
Half Life but something entirely new created by the developers of Black Mesa.
For more information, check out the pizza code mystery thread on the Black Mesa
and The Pizza is a Lie wiki:

After checking this out, I guarantee you will want to take another look at the
game. So much for the purists who think the game should be played without
cheats. These clues and rooms were created so most can only be accessed
through using cheats. The developers themselves have answered questions and
given clues though the websites created to follow the mystery. That means the
developers whole-heartedly embrace cheats and experimentation.

There is a lot more information about Black Mesa and the Xen wildlife in this
game than the original. It is in the form of whiteboards, on computer screens,
photographs, notes, and messages written on walls. Some is information about
the xenian wildlife, but some of mysterious pizza code info os also present.

Here is a link to a collection of whiteboards seen in the game.

Feel free to fall deep into the conspiracy, but be prepared to lose hours,
days, and possibly even your sanity. It is actually easy to guit playing the
game and just explore. I am not going to go deeper into the Pizza stuff yet
because I had no involvement in its discovery and don't want to take any credit
for it. Though I do plan on adding a section on hidden rooms soon.


There are 2670 cvars and that does not include item and weapon names.
A good way to explore them is to type cvarlist then a space and then a letter
or letter combination like this:
cvarlist sk
That will bring up all the sk_ commands. You will find most of important codes
here, but there are a ton more to play with.

Take a look at the skill.cfg file in the cfg folder. You will get a good idea
of the how source goes about doing what it does. How much damage is inflicted
by Gordon, the other npc's in the game, and also the aliens, soldiers, tanks,
etc. This file is just for imformation and does not affect the game, quite
nice of the developers to include it. The cvars are accurate, but the amounts
have quotations marks around them, which is the same as commenting them out.
I do not recommend editing this file, instead use it as a basis to create your
own cheat file.


I am constantly playing and experimenting so keep coming back for more updates.
If you like this faq, have suggestions, codes, tips, discoveries or have any
questions please feel free to contact me at

I will be give credit to the submitter for any tips, codes or discoveries I use


Good gaming!
Chris Harrison