Natural Selection 2 - Ghoul

This is an short update for last month post about the ENSL.org Season 11.

The sign ups for the 11th Season of the ENSL will close today. So this is your last chance to sign up.
The season will start at the 22nd of March. It will take 2 to 3 months with around 1 match per week. Matches will be schedule by the teams through the match pages.

Each Team needs at least 6 players on their roster until the 17th March to participate in the 11th Season of the ENSL.
Also each player has to make sure they only signed up with one team for the season. Otherwise the ensl.org admins will remove them from all teams except the highest seeded one.

The final teams seeding will get published on the 17-18th March via a forum post at ensl.org .
Natural Selection 2 - WasabiOne

Since the holidays we’ve seen an influx of both new and old players coming back to NS2. We continue to receive lot of positive feedback to many of the changes we’ve made over the last year. With this update we’re focused on some maintenance but also continuing to improve smaller features in the game to enhance the player experience.

Beyond update 314 we’re looking at ways to help players quickly find and play games. We’ve noticed more and more people at peak times around the globe are idling in the server browser, trying to join the populated servers. This long wait can cause them to quit; an improvement is clearly needed. To that end, we’ve been working on ideas on how to better seed servers with these idling players and have been making good progress on a potential match-making system. Keep your eyes peeled for more info on that soon!

Lastly, I am happy to announce that we will begin public testing of our 64-bit server sometime in the next week. Our amazing community of server operators seem to be very excited to get their hands on this BETA server and we are just as thrilled. We hope that the 64-bit client beta will be coming to you all soon as well. The move to 64-bit will open up a lot more opportunities to our development team, such as better utilization of more modern hardware and adding more content to the game. Sadly, we’ve reached the limits of what 32-bit allows the game to do. Many other games are facing the same transition; you may have noticed similar announcements from other studios recently on this topic as well.

We’re always looking for ways to build our community of players, modders, operators and playtesters. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. We have the excitement and desire to keep moving forward and hope that you will join us in the journey!

Gameplay
  • Improved Babblers (Contributed by twiliteblue!)
  • They are more likely to attack nearby enemies now.
  • They cloak and uncloak now properly.
  • Improved attack distance calculations which makes them more effective against stationary targets
  • Power surge now also surges powered structures, so you can cast it before the power goes off.
Tweaks / Improvements
  • Added the “All” tab back to the Server Browser and introduced a new server ranking system for the default sorting:=
    • The rating is trying to find the best server for you by player count, skill, latency, performance. It will also prefer your favorite servers and servers with steam friends playing on them. (Thanks moultano!)
    • Also made the game mode tabs visually noticeable.
  • Added a dedicated label for the number of players that are actively searching for a server to the server browser.
  • Improved Play Now:
    • Uses the new server rating as well for better search results
    • Validates servers now before joining them so it doesn’t pick full servers anymore
    • It will ignore servers you have or tried to connect to in the last 10 minutes.
    • Fixed some smaller bugs with querying the server list.
  • Re-wrote a large part of how clogs work, so there should no longer be any jittery movement or the dreaded "phantom" clogs.
  • Gorge tunnels will now "eat" clogs to prevent entrances from being blocked.
  • Local clients can now execute all admin (sv_*) commands at a listen servers without having to set up the serveradmin.json.
  • Added an option to add bots (will add 12 bots incl. commanders) to the “Create Server” interface. Bots still cause serious performance issues, especially on listen servers! Use them at your own risk! We will try to optimize them with the upcoming updates.
  • Improved the sleep behavior of the ns2 threads for Windows OS to resolve scheduling issues.
  • Optimized the TechTree class to minimize its functions execute times.
  • Added routine in Hive to retroactively update players levels to correct for XP update bugs (does not impact Skill)
  • Improved how weapon pickups work. The weapon you are looking at should now be the weapon you pick up, as well as the weapon that appears in the popup.
  • Added the March Mod Madness badges to the game.
  • The player’s badges are now displayed below the player’s hp bar in-game in pre-game only and will not be shown while a round is played. (Thanks Brute!)
  • Added tooltips with the badge names to the badge selection menu. (Contributed by Keats!)
  • Removed the Play Now button at the Training menu.
  • The game is no longer reset when switching between warmup and pregame state.
Fixes
  • Fixed a minor rendering anomaly which caused specular-lights beneath a surface to still somehow appear to be reflected by that surface.
  • Fixed that the ensl.org newcomer tournament badges did not unlock properly.
  • Fixed a bug that would make the build tool flicker on and off rapidly when building a new power node in most cases.
  • Fixed a bug where sometimes clogs would not be able to be destroyed by the gorge who placed them, at least not until the gorge exited and re-entered relevancy range.
  • Fixed a bug where sometimes a gorge would attempt to consume a hydra, but instead the hydra would continue to live, but would no longer be consumable.
  • Fixed a bug where the holographic marine being "printed" (respawned) in an infantry portal might not accurately reflect the actual spawn progress.
  • Fixed that Shifts could not echo themselves (was hotfixed via extension).
  • Fixed bug in Hive that prevented new players from earning new levels (no effect on Skill calculations)
  • Fixed bug in Hive that prevented players above level 100 from earning experience (no effect on Skill calculations)
  • Fixed bug where gorges could place gorge structures and bile bomb from inside a clog.
  • Fixed the final fade-out in tutorials 1 and 2 to not flicker off before disconnecting.
  • Fixed many bugs in the alien commander tutorial, including bots blocking structure placement, or the gorge getting stuck under the floor in crew quarters.
  • Fixed a bug that would prevent the "Hold E to Digest" popup from appearing with clogs.
  • Fixed that the level progression in the main menu didn’t update properly.
  • Fixed a bug that allowed players to reach very high speed with the Exosuit via “bunny hopping”
  • Fixed that the warmup structures spawned multiple times.
  • Fixed that Onos hallucination interrupted a marine from firing his weapon when using Gore. (Contributed by twiliteblue!)
  • Fixed a script error that occurred when dead players directly joined the spectators and a round ended afterwards (Contributed by Brute!)
  • Fixed that you could load/inject code via the game’s css files without being detected by the default consistency check.
  • Fixed some minor style issues of the server browser.
Maps

Refinery (Contributed by Samus!).
  • Fixed stuck spot in the vent of Heat Sink going into Containment
  • Fixed spot in Transit where some structures could be placed inside map geometry.
  • Fixed spot in Transit where geo/decal z-fighting occurred.
Tram
  • Fixed some seasonal geometry not being assigned to correct seasonal group as a result showed when not in Fall season setting
SDK
  • AddFieldWatcher can now be used in Predict VM.
    NOTE: This should be used very conservatively, and keep in mind it can fire more than once due to how prediction works. I recommend only using this for cases where a predict world network field update requires further action (e.g. an update to "modelIndex" should be accompanied by a physics update to ensure the model is actually changed). -- Beige
  • Fixed a bug (clog digest bug above) that would prevent an entity from being properly picked up by the GetEntitiesInRange function, or any of its variants.
  • Added a second “hidden” parameter to the map command. So “map hidden” will now start a hidden listen server that works offline. Perfect to test mods locally.
  • Commander.Logout now returns the new player entity (Contributed by Las!)
Community Announcements - Ghoul

After the newcomer tournament and the upcoming season of the competitive league we are happy to announce the Mod Madness tournament! This tournament is dedicated to those who are looking for a little less competitive but fun evening event.

What is it and what can I win?
The Mod Madness tournament is a unique event for all players to try out the amazing custom game modes that have been created for Natural Selection 2. All game modes (except NS2:Combat) can be found in the NS2 Steam Workshop or under the Arcade tab in the server browser.

Every participant will get a brand new in-game badge! Furthermore the tournament winner will receive a gold version while the second and third will receive a silver one.


In addition anybody who has to play a Combat match will receive a free copy of it! http://store.steampowered.com/app/310110/

The tournament will take place at the 4 March 2017 from 19 CET / 13 EST till 23-24 CET /15-16 EST

Till when can I/we sign up?
Sign ups for the tournament will end on the 2 March 2017 on 22:00 CET

Who can sign up?
Everybody! You only need a copy of NS2 and good sense of humor. Most likely nobody has played every game mode of this tournament before! You can sign up as a team of 8 or as an individual.

Where do I sign up?
You can sign up at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSclrRoWlI-AwjVXosSWZztrA1DKhm4f3hbq1dtZcoYEyBoPBg/viewform
Feel free to introduce yourself to the other players on the forum: https://forums.unknownworlds.com/discussion/147888/march-mod-madness-tournament-signups

Do I need a team?
Nope! You will be assign to one before the tournament starts.

How will the tournament be structured?
First you will play a match of NS2Large (16 vs 16) where two teams group up for each side. Afterwards the winning teams will choose which tournament division (set of game modes) they want to play in. The losing teams will be randomly assigned in the remaining positions in the division.


The division matches will be run as double elimination:
When a team loses a match, they switch divisions. Losing another match eliminates them from the tournament. So each team will participate at least in the 16vs16 match and 2 more matches after that.
Each match will be a best of 3. Before each match a random team will select the map to play at, and the other team chooses which side they want to start with.
Community Announcements - Ghoul

First of all we would like to thank everybody who took part at last week's Newcomer Tournament. We hope both participants and spectators enjoyed it as much as we did.

In addition a special thanks goes out to Ixian, Luchs and Hoeloe who casted this event and every ensl.org referee and admin. Because without them this tournament would never have happened.

In case you participated your badge is now available in your steam inventory. You can enable it in-game via the Customize Player menu. Should somebody miss their badge please leave a comment below.

For all of those who are now fired up for some more competitive Natural Selection 2 action we have good news:

You can now sign up for Season 11!

To see which teams have signed up for Season 11:
http://www.ensl.org/contests/357

How to create a team/join a contest:
http://www.ensl.org/topics/1773

How to find a Team:
http://www.ensl.org/topics/1774

Pros of signing up for Season 11:
  • Play NS2 together with your friends.
  • Play against similar skilled players/teams in each league's division.
  • Improve your in-game teamwork and enjoy NS2 at it's finest.
  • Improve your map awareness, decision making, time management and class/lifeforms play in competitive NS2.
  • Get another fancy in-game badge.
  • Earn your spot on the Hall of Fame of Competitive NS2: http://www.ensl.org/articles/402

So don’t be shy! Grab your team and sign up. The exact date of the seasons start will be announced at ensl.org .
Community Announcements - Ghoul

What is the Newcomer Tournament 2017 and what can I/we win ?
The ENSL.org Newcomer Tournament is an opportunity for all the players (rookie or veteran) to test their skill in a competitive environment balanced for 6vs6.
You can find a rundown of the differences between the normal and competitive balance (Comp Mod) at http://www.ensl.org/articles/998

Every participant receives as special treat a brand new in-game badge. The teams making it first and second receive a golden and silver badge everybody else that shows up and plays a Match gets a blue one:


Newcomer tournament will happen:
4 February 2017 start 19 CET / 13 EST till 23-24 CET /15-16 EST
5 February 2017 start 19 CET / 13 EST till 23-24 CET /15-16 EST
On the maps: Tram, Veil, Summit, Biodome, Descent

We will use Teamspeak 3 for communication.
Please show up for the tournament on 4 February at 18:30 CET/12:30PM EST.
on the ENSL TS3 Server:
IP: ensl.org
Channel: Newcomer Tournament early 2017 ReadyRoom

You can download Teamspeak 3 at https://www.teamspeak.com/teamspeak3 . Please make sure you have it set up before the tournament starts.

Till when can I/we Sign up?:
Sign ups for the Tournament will end on the 2 February 2017 on 22:00 CET

Who can sign up?:
Anybody who hasn’t participated in any season of Natural Selection 2 tournaments of the NSL or AusNSL can sign up as regular player.

Everybody else is free to sign up as coach or commander. You may be able to play as regular player in case you haven’t played a full season yet.

Where do I Join Up?

What is ENSL.org(nsleagues.org) ?
The Natural Selection League (NSL) is an organization that provides a platform for all Natural Selection 2 players for organized and competitive play. The vision of the NSL is to gather Natural Selection 2 players for international organized play. At its very core, we would simply like games to be played, in the hopes that this fosters tangible and meaningful relationships among its participants. We realize that its participants span the range of commitment, skill, and time zones and will do everything possible to cater to everyone’s needs and create the most enjoyable experience.

How are the teams arranged?
We will create team lists internally after these criteria:
  • Nation for low ping
  • Wants to play together with….
  • Skill and if you will/can command
  • Can he stand his teammates/coach

We will post a list of the teams here: http://ensl.org/forums/28
If people have complaints please voice them in the given forum thread and we will try to adjust the list accordingly.

How should i get used to 6vs6 games ?
We strongly advise all players who wish to take part to read some NS2 tutorials:
You can find a few here: http://ensl.org/forums/22

It also helps to play some Gathers when you are no longer challenged at regular servers. (Warning: The average hive skill can be above 2000) :
How to play Gathers:http://www.ensl.org/topics/1751
(They usually happen often from 20:00 CET to 4:00 CET)

Gathers will give you a feel for fast-paced competitive 6v6 NS2 before the tournament Matches!

Also we recommend to watch the
Season 10 division 2 Finals and see how the more experienced Players play:

S10 Div2 Finals:
Isay vs Close One 101
29 January 2017 19 CET / 13 EST
Casted on/by: http://twitch.tv/dkrecon / ReconDK

S10 Div2 Finals:
HBZ vs Horror Show
29 January 2017 20:30 CET / 14:30 EST
Casted on/by: http://twitch.tv/naturalselection2 / Ixian

~ ENSL.org admins
Community Announcements - Ghoul


A happy new year to all of you out there! I’ll bet some of you thought we hit the snooze button around the holidays and never woke up, but no! We’ve been tinkering in the shadows and working on some fun new stuff to show you.

First off, we’re finally finishing up on our changes to NS2 training and bringing you the new Alien Commander tutorial. As per usual, BeigeAlert has put a lot of love and once again, yes, even an easter egg into this new training scenario. Special shout out to all our contributors in tutorial-committee for their input and advice. We decided to also make some slight changes to a couple gameplay features to continue and round out some of our changes made during the last year.

The patch is filled with lots of little bug fixes and updated features such as; a new updated machine gun texture, a refactored badge system allowing us to have better and quicker control over distribution of badges and some improvements to cyst placement.

Lastly, and to the future… I am happy to announce that while work is still being done to test stability, NS2 is now being beta tested in 64-bit! FSFOD and others on the team have been hard at work upgrading lots of code and plugins to allow this to happen and so far our testing is proving great. Why do I mention this now? Well, with the update we will be able to open up a variety of new features and abilities within the game and engine that were a bottleneck in 32-bit, memory consumption being primary concern.

Also we will be working reaching out to some of our community server ops to help us run public tests on the 64-bit platform to see what gains or stability or problems arise. So look for more information about 64-bit in future updates.

We at Unknown Worlds would like to thank the community for its continued passion and dedication to NS2!

-Dillon “WasabiOne”


Gameplay
  • Lerk
    • Increased base health points to 150 (from 125)
    • Lowered the biomass health bonus to 2 (from 3)
    • This change makes the Lerk slightly more durable in early engagements.
  • Machine Gun (MG)
    • Decreased weight to 0.21 (150% of the Grenade Launcher) from 0.26
    • This change helps players with the MG to aim more quickly in combat and mobility.
  • Mucous Cloud (Drifter Ability)
    • Increased the amount of extra health point mucous grants to 20% (from 15%) of the target’s base hp.
    • This change makes mucous cloud more viable compared to the hallucination cloud which generates hallucinations with 32% of the target’s base hp.


Tweaks / Improvements
  • Replaced the Machine Gun texture with a higher quality version.
  • Added new Alien Commander tutorial
    • Learn the basics of Alien Commanding.
    • Includes some hidden achievements and easter eggs.
  • Added new badges (steam items) for the competitive ensl league:
    • Added a badge for the winner of the 10th season
    • Added badges for the world championship 2014 finalists
    • Added badges for the upcoming newcomer tournament
  • Refactored the badge API:
    • API is now handling the badge enum correctly
    • Supports multiple columns for each badge which may be user specific
    • Adds support for Steam Item based badges
  • Improved Cyst placement routines to ensure they are more consistently and evenly placed along paths.
  • Improved Cyst placement to be accurate per mouse cursor position
  • Optimized the update routine of clogs, webs and alien weapons (Thanks Katzenfleisch).

Fixes
  • Fixed that Whips kept attacking invalid targets instead of searching for new targets.
  • Fixed that parasite was not correctly applied onto players logging out of the command chair.
  • Fixed that the ghost model for certain commander drops wasn't matched up with where it actually is when spawned (eg hives were sunk half way into the tech point instead of hovering on top of them).
  • Fixed that mines had the wrong ghost model when commander was dropping them.
  • Fixed that the evolution chamber wasn’t selectable sometimes due to relevancy issues.
  • Fixed slerp calculations which would result in player models twitching rapidly (Thanks Nin).
  • Fixed that the Exo flashlight was facing towards the floor (Thanks Nin).
  • Fixed that the “purchase” sound of the marine buy menu didn’t play correctly (Thanks Brute).

Maps
  • Refinery
    • Fixed two stuck spots in Ready room for Winter seasonal theme.
    • Fixed non-seasonal stuck spot in Lava Falls.
    • Fixed reflections maps incorrectly using Biodome map.
  • Mineshaft
    • Fixed stuck spot in ready room for Winter seasonal theme.
  • Kodiak
    • Fixed several stuck spots in ready room for Winter seasonal theme.
  • Caged
    • Fixed Fall seasonal in-game props showing for other seasons in Shipping Tunnels.
  • Tram
    • Fixed Fall seasonal prop showing for other seasons.
  • Summit
    • Fixed missing collision on some props near Sub Access.
    • Fixed flickering texture in Atrium.
    • Fixed missing collision on glass pane in Flight Control.

SDK
  • Fixed the perfanalyzer.py to work with the latest plog format version.
  • Fixed that the Entity.AddTimedCallback early parameter had no effect on callback behavior.
Community Announcements - WasabiOne

The Halloween event and free weekend went great, but it was not without its issues. Luckily we were able to resolve the issues without needing to do a steam update by using our extension system (these are the Lambda, Delta, and Omega extensions you see when you join a server). We try to limit our use of the extension system to avoid conflicting with mods, and that is the main reason we are patching this week, and why it is a light one. With this maintenance patch we are integrating those fixes into the main game, clearing out the extensions, and attempting to deploying the badge customization UI for the second time. We also realized that not enough people knew about the new shoulder patch that was able to be earned during the Halloween weekend by playing Infested, so we’ve decided to remove the time lock on it, and allow it to be earned at any time through games of Infested.

There are plenty of other exciting features coming down the pipeline, but they are not quite ready.

Our NS2 Roadmap is continuing to be updated as we have been working on our long term goals. https://trello.com/b/njrpasjl/ns2-roadmap

Gameplay
  • Red emergency lights are no more, and have been changed to orange for all seasons
  • Removed Halloween player effects (the files are still available for now, so mod away)
Tweaks / Improvements
  • Moved player’s badge customization from old Hive website to be in-game via the Customize player menu
    • Menu restores hive 1 order at first use.
  • Play Now changed to use a different ranking function when trying to join Infested
  • Updated description of Pumpkin Patch in new item popup notification
  • Updated description of Infested in play now popup
  • The Pumpkin Patch is now able to be earned regardless of the season, if you are playing Infested
Fixes
  • Fixed performance issue caused by new badge API due to deprecated code in the status UI
  • Fixed that badges were not broadcasted correctly to all connected clients
  • Fixed that the badge selection menu did not close correctly
  • Fixed incomplete merge of Hive 2 extension
  • Fixed issue with progress bar not showing proper values for levels 8 through 14
  • Fixed that players were recording the wrong playtime at launch (this is relevant for our data analytics)
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Halloween is an extra-special time of year for sci-fi FPS-RTS Natural Selection, as the birthday of both the original Half-Life mod and its standalone commercial sequel [official site]. In celebration, developers Unknown Worlds have opened up NS2 for the weekend and let everyone play for free. Battling aliens, knee deep in bacterial gunk, or chomping on the juicy heads of space marines seems fittingly frightful Halloween fun. … [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - Hugh


Natural Selection 2 is free to play on Steam all weekend! This Halloween, NS2 celebrates its fourth birthday, and NS1 its 14th!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/4920/

Come and see what this Alien vs Marine shooter / strategy hybrid is all about. We've got new-player-friendly servers springing up all over the world, so don't be shy, come and get bitten by a Skulk!

NS2 has continued to receive constant updates over the past four years, with Update 311 being released earlier today. Even if you've played NS2 before, chances are there are lots of new features and improvements to explore.

- Unknown Worlds ːmacː ːwelderː
Community Announcements - Ghoul


It’s crazy to think it has been four years since NS2 was launched and even more so to think that many of us were playing Natural Selection 14 years ago. Things have come a long way since then and to allude to the perfect pun, they continue to evolve.

We decided to run a free weekend starting today at 10 am PT to invite every player out there to celebrate this anniversary with us!

Furthermore we wanted to do something special for you ... So say hello to The Infested - an entirely new game-mode which we will be releasing on the Steam Workshop this Friday (October 28th)!



You have been dispatched to deal with a dangerous pathogen which has been detected within a remote TSF outpost. Race to repair the air filtration system before the pathogen corrodes it too severely and the air becomes overwhelmed by infectious spores. But watch out, one of your teammates has already been infected!

Work is also continuing on our conversion to 64-bit, FSFOD is hard at work chipping away at the pieces of this large puzzle and we get closer everyday to unlocking more potential for the future of Natural Selection. Signs of life are appearing, so stay tuned ‘cause there is plenty more to come over the next few months! We can’t wait for you to see what’s in store for NS2.

Additionally this patch includes some spooky/fun enhancements to the official maps and yes, you can throw candy in the ready room again!

Happy Anniversary and Happy Halloween!

Update 311 Changelog

Gameplay
  • Players can now see who the enemy commander is during pre-game, to help get games started faster
  • Made lights more spooky
Tweaks / Improvements
  • Revamped Training menu to be more orderly and useful for new players
  • Added the beginnings of a new Progression System to Hive
    • Just a first step to pave the way for many future enhancements
  • Moved player’s badge customization from old Hive website to be in-game via the Customize player menu
  • Play now window restyled to fit new themes and look nicer
  • Made some changes to prepare for Infested’s launch
  • Added new Halloween effects to various parts of the game, which will automatically change per a server’s seasonal setting. (Thanks IronHorse!)
  • You can now throw candy during warmup mode
Fixes
  • Fixed several edge-case issues with Hive’s skill calculations
  • Fixed edge-case issue that prevented Hive from updating round data when submitted
  • Fixed conflicts with Hive changes within Hive Challenge and Tutorials
Maps
  • All map readyrooms have been made more spooky (Thanks Zavaro, Flatrectomy, and Samus!)
SDK
  • Fixed Overview.exe to not render seasonal groups
  • Fixed Decoda update.dll load error
  • Added more non colliding and commander invisible seasonal groups for use by mappers
  • Fixed that Modloader.SetupFileHook returned an error message even on success
  • Fixed that Filehook entry files could not be used as filehook
  • Added “Badges+” API to manage in-game badges
...

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