Yeah, they delayed Xen because they realized they couldn't get it as good as they wanted it in the timeframe they had given themselves. IMO it's still worth buying now, even if you don't intend to play it until it's finished. Also if the earthbound sections are any indicator, Xen is going to be awesome, unlike Xen in HL1, which is meh.
I was pretty sure I had played Black Mesa up to the end - yet I look at these screenshots and don't recognise a single one of them. Did they really change it so much since I played it? Or did I never really play it? There's only one way to find out.
Yeah, I'm in that camp as well. I played the mod version through to the end, same with the retail version. I'm waiting for Xen now and I'm gonna start from the beginning when it drops to add to the anticipation.
To bad that the unofficial uncut chapter packages wont benefit from the new graphic effects and seeing that the author of these is now a long term dev member himself I doubt we will see em anytime soon.
As for the related grunt aim question:
In recent patches their accuracy appears to have been slightly nerved. And in this patch finally the A-grunts as well.
You shouldn't change graphics settings in-game then either load a save or transition to the next level:
Made yesterday with the "public" build (not the December beta). Looks like Black Mesa also suffer from the "changes aren't saved" syndrome from other Source engine games/mods (HUD post-process isn't saved, texture quality isn't saved).
I'll try the beta once I've finished with the hat achievement ^^