Hit targets harder, and join games faster. The Aim to Please update has been released! This update includes great new hit-detection, better play-now options, and a host of other improvements to Natural Selection 2.
One of the things we're actively trying to improve is the way we communicate with the community. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to reach us and each other.
As well as continuing to use Trello, we've started up a new Trello Board for our activities to allow you to follow our development progress. We will continue to use the UWE forum and the UWE development blog to post announcements and interact, but we think there is now a new faster, more fluid way we can communicate in the future.
Discord is a relatively new chat & voice service. It's a combination of Slack, Skype & Teamspeak all in one. We've been testing if for a few months as Subnautica use it for playtesting, and now we think it's reach the stage where we can open up the new official Natural Selection 2 Discord server to everyone.
If you want to have a direct chat with us or other members of the community, join up at https://discord.gg/0TKQwZWu7JDk5Lm8 - don't forget to claim your account. There are great Desktop & Mobile apps available if you don't want to use a web browser tab. It's all free.
We recently started a new NS2 feedback forum. This feedback forum will help us to gather your ideas and bug reports.
So far we received 64 ideas and 6 bug reports! We would never thought about some of those ideas and are very thankful that you decided to share them with us.
At the moment we are looking into implementing 9 of the most popular ideas while we already work on one idea. Of the 6 reported bugs 1 was fixed, 4 were known internally and 1 was added to our bug tracker.
We hope that these new communication channels allow more people to get involved in Natural Selection 2 development. Thanks!
Here's a cool little feature for all the clever modders and mappers out there: The Trim Tool. This tool allows you to create complex map details, fast. Trevor has put together a great video that explains what it does, and how it works:
Read more about the Trim Tool, and Trevor's other ideas for future Spark features, on the NS2 blog.
This tiny little update has been produced by a brand new NS2 'build' system, called Sky Marshal. There's a small chance it will not work properly. If we have broken the game, please Tweet at us or make a fuss on the forums. We can and will revert the update very quickly if something has gone wrong.
One of the biggest complaints we read in the forums and steam reviews has always been “why are my load times so long?”. For some it was infuriating to load the game and wait 4+ minutes to load a level, especially when staring at a loading-screen. It can sometimes feel like an eternity. Build 276 is a great leap forward towards resolving this issue.
By taking precompiled data and shipping it with the build, it allows your machine to not have to work through each of the individual files like before and so saves time getting you into the game. Prior to Build 276, a fresh install of NS2 could take over 4.5min or longer to load into a map for the very first time on traditional HDDs. This is now reduced significantly to around 2.5min. While this is still not perfect, it makes huge strides towards solving the issue for good. Where you will notice the most change is in load time after the initial loading process. On average all traditional HDDs should see a map load time of around 46sec, down from 1.5min or more, with SSDs being even faster again. Remember that everyone’s experience may be different, but you will notice a decrease in load times none the less.
Despite it’s small download footprint there is a lot more under the hood of this patch included in the changelog below, and there is still more to come! With the anniversary of Natural Selection fast approaching, we will be releasing one more patch to get into the spirit of the season and introduce some minor balance tweaks and more updates/fixes to our editor tools!
The Natural Selection League (NSL) has opened signups for two new NS events: A Newcomer Tournament, and NSL Season 7. These events cater to a wide range of skill levels, and will provide a more organised play experience than public games can deliver.
Natural Selection 2 comes alive when played in an organised environment. Teamwork, voice-communications, and the pressure of playing for a title all come to the fore.
The Newcomer Tournament is aimed at those with less competitive NS2 experience, who are looking to try a more organised play style. Matches will take place on September 19th and 20th. Anyone that does not play in the NSL or AusNS2 leagues is welcome to join up.
The Natural Selection League has a hallowed history, having operated since the early days of Natural Selection 1 in the early 2000’s. Now, season 7 is here. This is the defining competitive NS2 event – The best players and the best teams come together across multiple, skill-ranked divisions.
Fight for control of a derelict biological research facility in this brand new map for Natural Selection 2! Created by the NS2 Community Development Team, Derelict features bespoke environment art and a unique play style.
Derelict is available now on Steam, and is free for all NS2 players. The update also includes numerous improvements to NS2, including bug fixes and performance enhancements. A comprehensive run-through of all changes made in the Derelict Update is available on the NS2 blog.
The raw changelog starts below:
New map - Derelict
by CDT Mapping Lead: Loki
Map developed by Loki – artwork & contributions also from: BeigeAlert, SamusDroid, Zavaro, Flaterectomy, Howser & the CDT/PT/Map Test Teams. Special thanks to the SCC (Spark Crafters Collective) **Note for server operators: Don’t forget to add ns2_derelict to your mapcycle!
New Main Menu Backgrounds and Music
You can now choose your own main menu background and music from the options settings!
**All main menu levels have had an optimization pass to reduce file size in order to increase the speed at which the main menu loads.
NS2 is now being compiled using Microsoft Visual Studio 2013, an upgrade from VS2005. From our testing, some users may gain an improvement of increased fps. The following are other optimizations:
Avoid certain health/armor predictions on client Use fieldwatching to avoid some OnUpdate calculations Linux: use FixPathCase only if file is not found. Implemented filesystem cache to avoid file-lookup penalty for mods. Improved GUIMinimap performance. Improved performance of many GUIScripts. Alien hivesight related LOS-checking was being done even for Marine players, where it is irrelevant. Alien players are now always shown with Hive-Sight outlines, even when in LOS. Changed Scoreboard data to only update twice per second instead of once per frame. Cache OnosDirtEffectGeneration. Improved Onos camera shaking code Added caching surface beneath players, prevents additional traces for footstep sounds.
Fixed tons of code and libraries issues preventing the NS2 project to get compiled under VS 2013 (should also make NS2 more stable) Fixed first person spectating causing hitching movement to other players. Fixed that the server wasn’t necessarily using the same snapshot as the client when the client was extrapolating positions. (Other issues with hitreg will be getting fixed in upcoming patches!) Fixed cursor not centering properly in Fullscreen Windowed mode. Reject attempts to load resources using empty strings. MapCycle now automatically cycles to next map if the attempt to load a map fails. Detects that a map change failed and cycle to next map. The restriction that map mods had to be on the filesystem to be cycled to has been remove; the map mod will be downloaded if not present before being cycled to. Replaced hardcoded keys for spectator drawing with: Secondary Attack: Draw on the screen. Reload: Clear the screen. Bile bombs and gorge spit are now client side predicted. Gorge Tunnels can now be exited at any height in the tunnel. Fixed that Hive time-outs caused the “forceventeams”-vote to fail. Fixed that cached Hive data were not applied correctly onto reconnecting players. Fixed that the PAX badge was not applied on players who don’t have any Hive badges. Fixed that it was not possible to disable the team auto-balancer. Fixed Medpacks/Ammo/Catpacks not showing the pickup icons. Fixed bug where Loading screen wouldn’t use custom map backgrounds and made it scale with resolution. Fixed that mod downloading via the web admin interface did not work. Fixed Insight displaying Health for exos (they only use Armor). Fixed jetpacks left behind by dead marines not dissolving with the body on death. Fixed damage numbers and private sounds being sent to the original owner for MACs, Drifters, Whips, ARCs and Sentries. They are now sent to the current Commander. Old mods are now deleted 24 hours after new versions have been downloaded (kept around for a while just in case you want to play on a server that haven’t upgraded yet). Fixed that the Swedish translation wasn’t using the correct file. Fixed various crash issues of the Overview.exe. Added the latest patches from LuaJIT hopefully increasing the performance and stability of NS2 as well Fixed a script error with LayMines. Fixed a script error appearing sometimes when you tried to vote. Added a blank model check for dynamic props so to stop crashing the client. Added sanity checks to avoid client crashes from any kind of corrupted texture files Made net_loss a cheat command so people can’t use it to cheat anymore Added consistency checking for hmp files. Fixed embryos not having a taunt causing assert errors. Fixed sending blank chat messages causing messages to overlap Fixed being able to place an IP in eclipse where you shouldn’t be able to Auto deactivate mods on patch release Fixed menu being unresponsive if mousing over webview while a window was loading Fix highlighting of view models sv_tests console command added. This allows server admins to give certain people access to the command. Fixed error for Gorge Tunnel Enter/Exit screen FX preventing liquid effects from playing
Added remaining cannister ammo on the display for the flamethrower Lowered opacity for red colored low ammo warning on weapon displays. Chat now displays tags before the player names for Rookies and Commanders. Replaced the Reinforcement label in the Main Menu with a label linking to the CDT Trello page Added the Serbian translation Lowered the opacity of the tv_glare texture in the main menu so it distracts less from the menu background You can now change the used gamma correction value in the option menu. This allows you to adjust the brightness of ns2 overall. The default is 2.2 (even though it is not the center of the slider) Removed consistency checking for the screens folder. You can now have custom loading screens by putting jpg files inside a screens/custom folder. Removed consistency checking for models/marnie/male/flashlight.dds. You can now have custom flashlight textures Added a separate bind for movement override for commander TOOLS
Fixed invalid triangle bug! Displacement window is now properly sized. Added a default bind to open entity list (‘O’ key). Replaced “Create Color Grading” with “Create Reflection Probe” on the tools-ribbon. Added a filter decals button. Added a selection color option and a new light blue color option. Added a brightness slider.
Fixed scoreboard hiding the GUIHoverMenu every frame as long as the scoreboard wasn’t up. Introduce FieldWatcher, a way for a client to detect that a network field changes. Introduce a way for GUIScripts to run at less than full fps (set self.updateInterval). Improve AddTimedCallback to give you time since last callback, return time to next callback. Added MapChangeFailed Event Hook. Fixed console commands passed on the command line failing to run because they were running in the loading world. Added new server admin console command “sv_installmod <modid>” to download the given mod to the server. New command “hud_rate <mul>”: specify a multiplier for the hud update rate (impacts fps) Decals also load now in cinematics Added propnames development console command to show names of nearby props while in game Known Issues:
We are aware of some render distance issues with the Editor, this will be fixed in 276.
It's common knowledge that Natural Selection 2 has no bugs, issues, or problems.* It has never had any bugs. Ever. Fact. Full stop. Ok, maybe a few... And maybe Update 273 had a few too many. Some say that Onoses (Onii? Onosii?) were very upset by seriousr problems with their damage type.
Never fear though, Update 274 has arrived quickly from the Community Development Team, and it addresses some major issues that crept into the game in 273! Enjoy!
*This statement may not be entirely accurate.
Remove erroneous file exists check in particle handling (fixes Shotgun & other bad hitching) Ensure servers actually try to update all mods on changemap Remove curl progress reporting spamming server consoles Fixed damage types; Onos, bile bomb, Flamethrower, axe & Welder. (Onos were upset. Not good.) Fixed lua error on linux for users with certain locale settings
Natural Selection 2 has just received its first update for 2015, courtesy of the Community Development Team. Read all the details in their release blog post!
Improvement Added ability to click on a player’s row in the scoreboard to check their Steam/Hive profiles Added option to mute Text chat Added icon to the scoreboard indicating if someone is your friend on Steam Made it so the scoreboard shortens the player name if it overlaps Muting a player’s voice/text chat will last 6 hours so it’s persistent across map changes Rookies will always show the “(rookie)” tag in chat even if they’re not in your own team Spectators are now sorted above ReadyRoom players Dropping structures as a Marine Commander will display the location name and status of the Power Node for the structure Missing files will now show up in the log instead of being silently ignored Added a new variant of Alien Vision based on Huzes’ AV – Thanks Huze! Added no_ip material which disallows placement of Infantry Portals on this surface Added a separate bind for movement override for commander Added consistency checking for hmp files
Fixes Stop sounds from playing on destroyed entities Stop Insert from running destructors on uninitialized memory Linux should now support non-ascii Fixed being able to tell who’s the enemy Commander by their chat color Fixed that commanders bots did not work or got kicked by the AFK kick Fixed that the Alien Buy-Menu messed up with some translations (e.g. Russian) Fixed embryos not having a taunt in the ready room Fixed Babblers being invisible when cloaked by a shade Fixed menu being unresponsive if mousing over webview while a window was loading Fixed sending blank chat messages causing messages to overlap Fixed being able to place an IP in eclipse where you shouldn’t be able to
Steam Prototype – Added Utils\WorkshopBackup, a simple server to allow servers ops to add backup download for mods. See ns2\utils\workshopbackup\readme.txt for details. Added support for servers to point clients to a list of backup servers and clients to download from backup instead of Steam Backup servers also solves the problem of the server running an old version of a mod Fixed bug that required all http request to finish inside 15 seconds Made clients more stubborn when it comes to requesting downloading mods (10 retries) Improved progress reporting
Performance Relevance calculation offloaded from main server thread, freeing up about 5-15% main thread CPU. It is now recommended to run the server on at least 2 cores. Servers running close to the edge will now show up as Loaded in the performance browser
Known Issue The progress indication on mod download is broken – it stays zero until download complete. Late build blocker forced a revert, should be fixed in 274
Maps Removed holiday themed ready rooms
Kodiak Fixed stuck spot in hangar bay vent for fades
This is the raw changelog. Be sure to head over to the NS2 blog for more information about the update!
Seasonal The main menu is now festive! All ready rooms have also got into the spirit of the season! (except tram :( not sure what happened) Snowballs!
Fixes Fixed issues with dropping catpacks on exos not feeling as responsive as dropping stuff for marines Fixed server crash related to picking up a jetpack and weapon at the same time Fixed kill feed being obscured by the death screen fade to black Fixed voting to concede with only one player on the team requiring more votes than there were players Fixed sound explosion caused by being alt+tabbed for a while and then coming back into the game Fixed echoing harvesters into locations with multiple resource nozzles not always working net_blackout now requires cheats Fixed linux client crash when shooting a shotgun (thanks CERIBIK) Fixed child entity positions when placed in an a non-moving parent entity. Fixed that some attacks would be silenced for aliens with phantom even though no veils were built Fixed that a single catpack could be used by multiple marines Fixed alignment of server entry names Fixed artifacts on the Exo and Jetpack textures caused by the marine outlines Fixed mapper placed team-related props being highlighted in Alien vision. Fixed fans having decals projected onto them
Performance (Thanks to Wooza/ATFhome for running some test code) Server now spreads out player updates better, avoiding updating them all at once (source of late joining player getting extra lag) Server now uses more threads to compute network updates to avoid blocking main thread Server now uses a faster way of calculating what entities should be sent to each client LuaJIT will dynamically adjust parameters to avoid resets in the middle of the game (a reset means that the game runs without LuaJIT for a little bit while it recompiles, which could cause a hitch and is now avoided) Server no longer runs updates for tunnels with no players in them Fixed relevancy for tunnel contents; don’t send contents of all tunnels to all players Client no longer runs updates for all props in all tunnels all the time – it no longer knows they exist unless the player is actually inside a tunnel Client: skip setting bones for entities not in FOV, except for dynamic props if shadows are on (cause otherwise the shadow of a fan stops rotating when you are not looking at the fan). Significantly improved performance of the marine colored outlines by removing several render cameras and optimizing the shader Improved performance of alien parasite outlines by optimizing the shader Reduced amount of http-requests used to get player data from the hive
SDK Added Client.WindowNeedsAttention() which will cause the taskbar icon to flash when called if the user is alt+tabbed Improved performance of Editor Added circle entity indicators for ARC range, IP attach range, and relevancy range in the editor to more easily visualize the the game relevant ranges from within Editor Added console command removeoption to remove the specified option from your config. e.g. “removeoption graphics/infestationQuality” Added BaseModelMixin:GetIsHighlightEnabled() to specify if an entity should be highlighted in alien vision Fixed collision on biodome_outdoor_rock_03 Fixed path issues with some files New global function GetHiveDataBySteamId( int steamid ) to get hive data for the given users
Kodiak Hangar Bay performance has been improved Altered vent route from Hangar to Observation to make it easier to traverse Added new rock formation near Falls RT to help marines get to the “top” level of the rocks Added occlusion geo to the ice pillar in water production to improve FPS fixed .model. error in water production (had been causing fps drops)
Eclipse Moved Access Alpha RT to the top of the ramp Closed off Conduit exit vent (it still is open from Generator Monitors to Power Sub Junction) Improved Occlusion geo in Access Alpha in order to improve FPS
Mineshaft Fixed missing wall in Cart Tunnel
Refinery The vent in Containment has been changed to not overlook the room to prevent gorges from spit-harassing Command Chairs Fixed stuck spot in Turbine Lava under the walkway has been changed to a very high DoT instead of an instant death trigger
Tram Power node in Mezzanine is now connected to the wall It should no longer be possible to hide cysts under the tram in Repair Room
We’ve completely lost our marbles, and are offering a new ‘Natural Selection 2 Mega Pack’ for 90% off. This pack includes NS2 Deluxe Edition, all DLC items, & NS2: Combat by Faultline Games for the low low price of… I’m going to stop right there before I start sounding like a stereotype.
Here’s the short version: Everything NS2 is ridiculously cheap right now. Tell your friends. Tell your mum. Tell your cat.