It’s been two weeks since our last update, be honest you missed us! Moving to this model has allowed for us to make some much needed changes to our way of implementing and testing changes to the game. This update may seem light, but it has some good fixes and more enhancements to our server browser including a friends filter. This filter will allow you see what servers your steam friends are playing on and get you connected to them.
One of the new additions I mentioned above is “Playtest with the Dev’s,” a weekly opportunity to jump into the beta of next update and play a series of games and give your feedback on the upcoming changes. We strive to make changes that have a positive impact on the community and next to our discord or forums this is a nice direct interface for the players and devs to communicate.
Our newly implemented feedback system has given us some nice results over the last couple weeks. The most selected option for lower rated rounds was “Uneven Teams” and for newer players was “Inexperienced Commander.” To attack these issues we have begun work on a set of new features, the first being a long needed update of our backend Player Skill tracking system HIVE. Hive 2.0 will go a long way towards helping us resolve some old internal bugs, and add some much needed speed to the communication between servers and the database. The second feature is our continued expansion on the tutorials available to players. A new Commander Tutorial is being drafted and developed to give players a better grasp on commanding a team for both Aliens and Marines.
These two features are only the beginning of our Phase 3 plans. We will be starting a new series of QA videos on our YouTube channel to better explain and show off upcoming development on NS2. There will be another blog post next week going into more details on how you can submit questions and feedback for us to talk about in our series.
See the full changelog below and happy hunting!
UPDATE 305 CHANGELOG
Tweaks / Improvements
Added a Friends tab to the serverbrowser
Easily join your friends, wherever they are
Bots will now fill up empty servers up to 12 slots by default
Makes it easier to form teams as player can directly join the team they want to play
Makes Warmup mode engaging even without other players
Makes it faster to start a game without many human players
Bots are ignored by the Warmup Mode check
The cooldown of Belly Slide and Charge get now displayed by the HUD (Thanks Steelcap!)
Increased the rate with which each Minigun heats up from 0.2 to 0.3 to compensate for them being independent now
Autobalance doesn’t stop players from spawning anymore when teams are uneven
Fixed the description of the Machine Gun and Lerk Spores
Fixed that sometimes you couldn’t evolve if you had babblers attached to you
Fixed most issues with stuttering when running past clogs caused by desync of the clog collision in the predict world
Fixed that the server browser was sending significant more pings than needed
Fixed issue with NS2+ causing health bars to show up when players were spawning in
With the summer sale now in full swing, we decided to take a lighter approach to the update this week. Minor tweaks and improvements over last week’s patch should address some of the feedback we heard. Moving forward, we are adjusting our patch cycle to be bi-weekly. This allows us to start tackling some larger features and helps with our testing schedule.
As many of you know and for those of you that don’t, each update to NS2 comes with not just hours of development time but lots of bug and gameplay testing. Our playtesters are community volunteers and give many hours each week so that you can enjoy the fruits of our labors. Our EU Playtest Lead Asraniel has been around since the beginning of time and given so many hours that I couldn’t even begin to list all the many influences and tasks he has helped address. Asraniel is taking a step back to focus on his next step in the world and we wish him nothing but the best in his endeavors. He has left his mark on not just this game but our community as a whole, thank you and good luck!
Update Notes Tweaks / Improvements
Exo miniguns will not overheat each other
Feedback UI – “Out of sight, out of mind”
Every time you close the feedback UI will increase the time it won’t show up afterwards
Every time you give feedback will increase the time the feedback UI shows up
You can also close the feedback UI using the Escape button
Feedback UI doesn’t show up at listen servers anymore
Added a close button to the feedback UI (as requested)
Sandbox Mode – “Back to the roots”
Restored the tooltip functionality of the sandbox mode (no idea how that broke)
Explore the map and all game elements with descriptions
Made sure all weapons, upgrades, classes and abilities get unlocked in the sandbox mode
Limited to Docking at the moment
Many game strings still need to be updated (Weldable Doors are still not planned)
Running an experiment to see if changing the default setting for health bars, damage numbers, and hit sounds makes a measurable difference to new player behaviors (this will have no impact to current players)
Removed British alternate tutorial VO
Fixed that the feedback UI blocked various button presses
Fixed a script error caused by the arcade achievement
Fixed issue where forward movement was dependent on view angles.
Fixed right click preventing sprinting
Fixed arcade achievement not being given on ns2large servers
Fixed phase gates not setting angles correctly for people who use inverted mouse (boo, hiss)
Fixed guns floating in midair when dropped.
Fixed guns held by marines sometimes not following the marine.
Fixed exploit allowing instant switch to rifle once per life
Fixed that the boot camp stayed invisible after closing the popup with escape
Happy Summer Marines! We are ushering in the sunshine with update 303. This is a lighter patch focused on some bug fixes and a couple tweaks and additions to the game. With this update we are introducing a new post-round feedback system, this will help provide us with more details about your games and comparing round data to support future changes.
The last six months has seen a lot of changes and experimentation to the game and we aren’t done yet. We are working on developing plans over the next week to continue to build on the new foundation that we’ve created over these last few months. Be on the lookout for some exciting new opportunities and changes to come.
As always, thank you for being part of our community and your continued support of our team.
UPDATE 303 DETAILS
Tweaks / Improvements
Added a round feedback UI – Help us to improve the game based on your feedback
Rate the last round you played
Select multiple reasons on feedback based on rating
Added new Achievement “Arcade Champion”
Explore for at least one hour the various community made custom game mode which wait for you in the Arcade section of the server browser:
Removed all outdated tip videos in the training menu
Updates the “VS. Bots” tab of the training menu
Commander bots can now generally be replaced by entering the command station
Restored the spawn animation of eggs (broke a long time ago)
The spawn animation of alien structures is less obscuring now by lowering the size of the initial infestation blob
Fixed that parasite never timed out if an entity was outside the relevancy distance
Fixed a bug that stopped the scoreboard from showing up after connecting to a server
Fixed an script error which occurred when you used escape at the tundra unpack menu
Fixed that the cancel button of the tundra unpack menu wasn’t functional
Fixed Gorge structures not being destroyed in warmup mode
Fixed various in-game tooltip descriptions (e.g. power surge, contamination and mines)
Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause a research button for a commander to permanently disappear — forcing the commander to either let someone else start the research, or return to ready room to reset it.
Fixed that marine upgrades stayed available after an arms lab has been power surged
Power nodes no longer play the flinch animation and buzzing sound when they are infested but their armor is gone. However, the lighting in the room will continue to flicker to indicate the power node is infested.
Power nodes will now be properly infested if they are rebuilt from death in an infested area.
Cysts will no longer “flash” infestation right before it begins to spread.
Fade stab will now work even after switching to a different weapon mid-stab.
Marines can now immediately shoot upon spawning from infantry portal — they no longer play the rifle deploy animation. IP-biting skulks beware!
Marines will now always look in the proper direction after using a phase gate. Before, having previously used a gorge tunnel would cause the view angles to be different.
Command station will no longer leave behind the login screen after being killed.
Fixed Gorge tunnels and Phase Gates are deactivated during the concede sequence.
Fixed exiting a hive or command station, the commander will now face the direction they were facing when they entered.
Fixed that bots were counted as human players by the concede and commander eject vote
Fixed various script errors caused by the Marine commander bot
Fixed that Commander bots placed structures in warmup mode
Caged (Thanks Flat!)
Made ceiling geometry around the fans in Ventilation commander invisible
Fixed misaligned trim textures on the curved corners of the doorways in Main Hold
Added collision geometry behind pipe in east corridor of Central next to Access entrance so Fades cannot get behind it
Made various props and sections of geometry commander Invisible in Life Support and the east corridor of Central
Tram (Thanks Zavaro!)
Fixed the Occlusion Geometry in Shipping around the door towards South Tunnels
Fixed a bug that would cause the displacement tool to crash the editor.
This week is all about fixes and fun! As you will see in the changelog below we have made many adjustments to all of the maps including our newest awesome addition Caged. After the re-introduction of projectile spores last week, we decided to continue and tweak values and it shows progress but will probably still need some adjusting. Flamethrowers also are seeing some love as before they were just heavy lighting effects, now they do some damage.
New this week is the addition of a new pre-game mode called Warm-up. Our testing has shown that players generally avoid seeding servers, but with Warm-Up players can play a simple format of the game with all the tech unlocked and no resources required. As soon as there are 12 or more players, or two Commanders, the game will flip into regular NS2. This mode will no doubt go through some additional changes, however we’ve seen many positives to it even now.
Additionally, we have decided to extend the ABYSS unlock achievement until 10AM PST on Monday, June 13th. For those of you of unfamiliar with this, players that complete 2hrs of gameplay on the new map Caged will unlock the ABYSS skulk skin.
So get in the game and earn one today!
UPDATE LOG Tweaks / Improvements
New Pre-Game mode added: Warm-Up
Active until 12 or more players joined the teams or each team has a commander
All abilities, weapons and upgrades are available for free while Warm-Up mode is active (except for commanders)
Bots will work in Warm-Up Mode
Increased base damage to 9 (was 8)
Increased on-fire damage bonus to 2x when directly damaging structures (was 0.5x)
Increased damage range to 9.5 (was 9)
Marine maximum Sprint speed reduced by 0.25, now 6 (was 6.25 max)
Energy cost increased to 27 (was 15)
Increased range to 17 (was 12)
Increased Spore-Cloud radius to 4 (was 2.5)
Changed rate of fire to match attack animation, results in slower rate of fire for Spores.
Updated cinematic effects for Spores (Thanks Ironhorse!)
Marines see the same Spore effects as Aliens now, which obscure less.
Added world sound when Spores impact something
Alien Bot Commander now researches Metabolize and Advanced Metabolize
Improved the movement routine of Fades, Lerks and Oni. They will now use Blink and Metabolize, their wings or Sprint.
More bots will now save up for Onus and Fades.
Bots are more afraid of human players and will retreat faster with higher lifeforms.
Updated several Commander tooltips
Updated the fastload shader achieve to make sure loading time stays short even with the recent updates
Fixed Lerk Spores and Umbra having inconsistent trajectories compared to where a player is aiming.
Fixed Umbra cinematic cut-off due to length mismatch (Thanks Ironhorse!)
Fixed GetRandomPointsWithinRadius server log spam
Fixed Scoreboard not displaying number of connecting players when number of bots was at or above 12
Fixed that Cysts did not update their cyst chain parent correctly sometimes leading to various script errors. (Thanks Brute)
Refinery (Thanks Zavaro!)
Fixed holes in ready room enabling players to escape into oblivion
Summit (Thanks Zavaro!)
Beautified Atrium, Flight Control, and Glass Hallway with actual glass and reflection probes instead of greasy-glass prop
Tram (Thanks Zavaro!)
Fixed occlusion issue in main tramway facing Platform
Derelict (Thanks Loki!)
Updated occlusion-geo in Biome
Reduced some lights and cinematics in Biome
Caged (Thanks Flaterectomy!)
Added Low-Lights support
Fixed z-fighting DAT-1 vent
Fixed greybox between Ventilation and Airshaft on ground
Fixed holes at top of Airshaft
Fixed holes under catwalk Airvent (part of the catwalk geo)
Made the catwalk in Airshaft be supported
Fixed players getting under the Airshaft stairs leading into Ventilation
Fixed players getting behind diagonal ceiling pipe in Ventilation
Fixed stuck spot on the pipes in the corner opposite the northwest exit of Ventilation
Fixed players jumping behind crate near vent entrance under catwalk in Ventilation
Fixed players getting under stairs near RT in Ventilation
Fixed greybox textures behind the fans in Vent (at TP and Shipping exit)
Fixed z-fighting on pipes prop in Access -> Shipping vent
Fixed occlusion issues in Vent -> Life Support vent
Fixed small hole ceiling above TP in Ventilation
Fixed small hole middle of ceiling just under the 45 degree angle near TP on other side of airshaft
Deleted old red mockup geo that stuck through floor of elevator platform under diagonal Airshaft pipes in Vent
Fixed floating pipe west of TP on south wall in Ventilation
Fixed holes next to wall props in Vent -> Shipping vent
Added missing light prop east of Central
Fixed greybox bottom of pillar on higher floor near Marine entrance in Ready Room
New “Disable Hidden Lights” option in the Viewport menu allows mappers to completely hide the effects of lights that are in hidden layers. Useful for when making low-lights.
Calling all rookies and veterans! Further your knowledge of Natural Selection and gain a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie by joining the newcomer draft tournament! New to competitive? Play on a team, get coached, make risky plays! Veteran player? Profess your love for smashing in your opponent’s teeth by teaching players how to ‘git gud.’
The NSL is hosting a brand new Newcomer's Draft tournament! Read more about it by clicking the link. This is a great opportunity for new players and veterans alike to come together and share knowledge, come up with sneaky gorge tunnel strats, exo rush your way to victory, but most importantly have fun! The tournament begins on June 18th at 12pm EST/ 6pm CEST. Anyone of any skill level is encouraged to sign up.
After the successful construction of a new mining station on asteroid codename: Kodiak, the crew of the Industrial Construction Vessel “Caged” sent out a distress signal. ALTERRA Corp quickly dispatched a private military unit to investigate the source of the distress, what they found was an empty vessel and no signs of human life…
Welcome to Caged, the newest official map in the NS2 universe. A throwback to the original NS1 Map by Nelson ‘manah’ Ferryman, Flaterectomy and other community contributors and testers have worked to honor the original but also offer a new take for the current state of play. Caged offers players a fun four techpoint map with plenty of res and unique rooms and corridors for epic combat engagements.
What would a new map be without some other goodies? As a special treat, players who play on caged for two hours or more within the first week of release will unlock a new skulk skin. This can only be earned until June 10, 2016. After this date you will only be able to trade or buy it from players that earned it in the community marketplace. Get it FREE while you can!
Travel deep into the heart of Caged and see what skulks in the cold darkness. With its piercing blue eyes and ravaging look, this Skulk is sure to make many a marine wary of the fight ahead.
Update 301 sees continued tweaks to the new features we’ve added over the last few weeks and also sees a newer variant of Alien Vision and Spores! With the help of Ironhorse we have gone over a lot of the effects and cinematics and made them friendlier to engagements and less screen clutter. See more in the update log below.
These last few weeks of development have been very interesting with new features and balance tweaks and we have appreciated all the feedback. Thank you again to our Playtesters and Leads for helping us get through the faster rate of updates to the game. Also a big thanks to those of you in the public that have been coming and playing the public beta with us, it has been a huge help. We have seen a recent influx of new players to the community and we hope we can only continue to grow these numbers in the future, but this also happens with your help in supporting and helping the new players feel encouraged. Thank you to those of you taking the time to teach and show new players why we love this game so much!
Tweaks / Improvements
New Map Caged by Flaterectomy:
Remake of the original NS1 map ns_caged
4 Tech Points and 10 Resource Points
Added loading screens for Caged (thanks Samus)
Added an achievement “Unleashed” for playing on Caged for 2 hours
Added the new “Abyss” skulk skin, which is rewarded free for a limited time for unlocking “Unleashed”.
Added a new main menu background.
Remind the server operators to add the map to their mapcycle!
Alien bots evolve now into Lerks, Fades and Oni.
Improved the Lerks, Fade and Oni bot behavior.
Alien commander bots now manage better with their team ressources
Marine commander bots will also research The MG now.
Gorges and Babblers are highlighted and outlined in green
Friendly units are highlighted orange instead of red and are less highlighted than enemies
Enemy parasited outlines are now yellow to differentiate from friendlies
Spores are now a ranged ability like Umbra
Spores require now biomass 4 (instead of 6)
Lowered damage to 15 health points (was 20)
Increased energy costs to 16 (was 8)
Umbra requires now biomass 5 (instead of 4)
Boneshield requires now biomass 6 (instead of 5)
Added a new visual effects for bone shield
Boneshield now cost only 20 energy (instead of 40)
Boneshield restores now 112.5 armor per second (was 100)
The cooldown time of Boneshield now depends on how long it was used
The maximum cool down has been increased to 12.5 seconds (from 10)
You can now trigger Boneshield again after a misclick, and not have it instantly go on full cooldown
You can move now very slowly
The health points of a mature Cyst is now based on the length of the cyst chain to the hive. Cysts will have a minimum of 200 health points.
The Cysts redeploy radius has been increased to 7 (was 6)
The Cysts chains will now update when a hive is destroyed or completed.
Optimized cyst chain code to run faster
The cooldown of hallucinations has been increased to 12 (was 6)
Silence also stops attack sounds from playing
Increased rate of fire by 50%.
Increased costs to 12 pres (was 10)
Lowered damage to 8 (was 16)
The Flamethrower now does more damage to structures over time (up to an additional 50% damage) when directly damaging a structure.
Removed Flamethrower making hit targets weigh more.
Improved the sounds
Enemies are now marked (when first hit) based on server-authoritative damage, to make them more accurate
Updated the line of sight routine to make the hide and show correctly
Blood splatter HUD damage effects have been improved (Thanks IronHorse!)
Ping and performance values will now be displayed via icons in the server list.
Choosing a server list tab will also reset the server list slide bar.
Fixed a critical script error when babblers tried to cling to a dead gorge causing the server to lag until the map got changed.
Fixed that the Alien Vision outlined the skybox.
Fixed the dropped MG outline not being red.
Fixed that marines with a MG didn’t have a red ammo bar for Commanders
Fixed that Umbra didn’t block any damage from the MG.
Fixed that Lerk ragdolls did not dissolve.
Fixed Hive-UI Icons scaling misalignment for 16:10 resolutions
Fixed that the Alien Vision made entities blur when you blinked as Fade.
Squad 5 Silver @Zavaro - Being a PT Lead, MT Lead and now the ENSL Admin. All of these take a phenomenal amount of time and effort, and absolutely deserves our thanks and gratitude
Squad 5 Blue @Well - For all his work to get Natural Selection 2 speaking Russian. It's a difficult task to translate that much, but it's a worthy endeavor as it brings more players into our community. We appreciate everything you've done.
@Scatter - For his various mods e.g. “NS2:Assault”, “NS2:Overhaul” and “Modular Exo”. Furthermore, he was always a driving force in ensuring the Australian NS2 Community stayed healthy and strong
@Oozle For being another force inside the Australian NS2 Community. Without him hosting NS2 servers for years Down Under we would have never known how passionate the Australian folks can be about Natural Selection.