Natural Selection 2 - WasabiOne


Happy 5th Anniversary to NS2! Five years ago… Wow saying that makes me sit back in my chair a moment. It’s crazy to think that much time has passed, it seems like only yesterday we launched. So much happened to make the game become a reality even before release on Steam and even more has happened since.

We wanted to do something special for the Anniversary patch beyond just celebrating and we think we have done just that for Update 319. To say this update includes a lot of under the hood work would be an understatement. In fact, Update 319 includes changes to over 80,000 lines of code. Ghoul has been working for some time on making as much of the game code able to use LuaJIT as possible. Taking advantage of this function allows for the code to run faster and create a smoother experience for the user. These changes will not necessarily add additional FPS, what it does do is help diminish the disparity between what your FPS shows and how it feels.

Additionally, Update 319 includes some changes to two of our official maps. Summit has had some changes made throughout the map to give additional coverage areas and allow for more interesting engagements between Marines and Aliens. A lot of you may already be familiar with these changes, they are part of PsYk’s Summit_andabove mod. Seeing how the map was playing on public servers and testing it ourselves, we really enjoyed the changes and decided to merge them into the game. PsYk has also provided us with an update to Derelict. This update is mainly a performance pass throughout the map, fixing some long sight-line issues and changing a lot of lighting throughout the map. We hope that all of you will enjoy these changes as much as we do.

As previously stated in our last blog post, Update 319 marks the “End of Support” for our 32-bit client and server. While we are sad to do this, we are also thrilled to now be on 64-bit. Upgrades like this will allow us to continue more advanced updates to the game and content within the game moving forward. In fact, some of that new content is available now on STEAM!

Clutch your weapon tight for warmth, the Nocturne skins will chill your enemies to the bone!
Click here to view on Steam!
(Thanks to Ieptbarakat for the name, Nocturne!)



..but it doesn’t end there!

Forge your destiny! Show the enemy that fire cleans filth with the Forge Skin pack.
Click here to view on Steam!



Finally, we have felt for some time that the flamethrower still just didn’t feel right. An expensive upgrade weapon that just doesn’t seem to have much effect on anything, in essence it just didn’t feel like a flamethrower. The changes included in this update definitely make it a more viable weapon choice for groups on assault and we look forward to seeing how the community uses them.

From everyone at Unknown Worlds, thank you for a great five years! Now, go and dominate the other team while we get back to work  ;)

Update 319 Changelog

Gameplay
  • Flamethrower
    • The following changes aim to make the flamethrower a still unique but efficient primary weapon. To be considered worthwhile a primary weapon has to offer a decent amount of power in PvP (Player vs Player) engagements. That’s why most of the changes focus on increasing the damage in PvP engagements. The unique characteristic of the Flamethrower is kept by dealing mostly conditional damage with the focus on supporting other players and taking down alien structures:
      • The flamethrower now only hits the first target in line of fire but deals Area of Effect (AOE) damage:
        • Any enemy inside a small range (2 meters) of the target will be hit as well.
        • Every target hit receives 10 (was 8) damage and gets set on fire.  
        • A flame puddle is created below the first target.
      • The flamethrower deals now light damage to players, so armor will cover more damage.
      • The conditional damage of the flamethrower has been increased:
        • Flame puddles deal 27 (was 12.8) damage per second (dps) but each puddle only lasts 3.1 seconds (instead of 5.6)
        • Enemies take 5 dps (was 3) while being set on fire but each hit only sets targets for 3.1 seconds on fire (instead 6)
      • The flamethrower now hits targets more consistently:
        • Increased the fire cone width to 0.3 (from 0.17)
        • Flame puddles now deal damage 3 times a second to enemies in range (instead of 1.6 times)
      • Decreased the amount of energy the flamethrower removes from a target to 1 (from 3) per hit.
      • The flamethrower no longer removes applied enzyme effects from a target on hit
        • The flamethrower still can destroy enzyme clouds (including spores and umbra clouds)
      • Increased the cost of the flamethrower to 15 (from 12) personal resources
  • Hive
    • Added a biomass 4 research
      • Costs 60 team resources and takes 60 seconds to research.
      • A very efficient strategy for Marines right now is to rush the from the Alien start nearest tech points and lock them down. Blocking Aliens from getting a second Hive forces them to regain control over those tech point or get out-teched pretty quickly. The Biomass 4 research offers Aliens the opportunity to compensate the lack of control over tech points through their economy. Allowing them to get access to much needed abilities to fight back Marines. Locking down tech points will still be a strong strategy for Marines as you deny Aliens a upgrade path and spawn tickets that way. However it’’s not enough to focus solely on locking down the tech points anymore.
  • Contamination
    • Now Requires Biomass 10
      • Moved Contamination so it isn’t possible to unlock it immediately with the third hive utilizing the new biomass 4 tech. Marines still have time to take down the new third hive before they have to tackle contamination getting dropped in their base.
    • Can now be set on fire and doesn’t spew bile while on fire
      • This allows marines to stop contamination from destroying structures, ARCs and Exos on it’s own. The design goal for having contamination spew bile is to shorten the time it takes Aliens to destroy the last Marine base when they have map dominance. However Aliens started rushing Contamination to quickly win the game. This is especially frustrating for Marines on maps with 5 tech points where they may hold 2 tech points but the round just ends shortly after biomass 9 has been reached no matter how hard they fight back. We will monitor the effect of this change closely and are willing to revert/change it to make sure the frustrating end game siege / turtle situation does not return.
  • Observatory
    • Fixed that enemies could avoid getting detected by staying out of range by just flying over the observatory in high rooms. The observatory will now detect an enemy regardless of their height. (Contributed by Nin)
Tweaks / Improvements
  • Removed all x86 (32-bit) specific binaries. Support for 32-bit systems has ended.
  • Optimized game code for LuaJIT
    • Optimized most world update runtimes. So the game runs slightly faster on average.
    • Decreased input delays.
    • Stabilized frame times, so the game feels smoother.
  • Rewrote the cyst chain logic (Contributed by Katzenfleisch)
    • Placing a cyst will now create a optimal cyst chain utilizing existing cysts instead of creating new cysts close to them (saving team ressources).
    • Optimized the cyst chain routine to run faster and not cause fps spikes.
    • Fixed that the client and server logic generate different cyst chains.
    • Fixed that you couldn’t place cysts at various map locations or that they were not connected correctly.
  • Improved the shaders linear srgb transformation methods using a more precise and faster approximation (Contributed by Nin)
  • Improved the memory management of the soundsystem (FMOD) by adding a static memory pool. This improves how long it takes to load a sound on average and avoids possible memory leaks.
Fixes
  • Reintroduced an updated version of Intel’s TBB library for the job parallelization due to implementation issues of C++11’s atomics in vc++13 causing significant memory leaks over time. The version of TBB used still provides the core-spreading and multithreading benefits introduced with Update 318.
  • Fixed issue with Engine’s memory allocators being unable to access all available system memory for clients and servers. This increases the amount of memory it can allocate but does not mean it will.
  • Fixed PhysX not initialized correct which generated an errors on startup and shutdown
  • Fixed issue with FMOD libraries not being linked correctly for Linux clients
  • Fixed two memory leaks in physics layer of the engine.
  • Fixed that the position the commander clicked didn’t match where the structure ends up being dropped (Contributed by Katzenfleisch)
  • Fixed that spectator slot clients used player slots after a map change causing the server to end up with negative player numbers after they disconnect.
  • Fixed issue where returning to ready room while waiting to respawn would sometimes cause the player to be stuck in 3rd person view.
  • Fixed issue where changing skins in the customization menu wouldn't always immediately apply to the weapon you were holding.
Maps

Special thank you to pSyK (the original author of Summit) for doing all the updates to these two maps

Summit
  • Minor visual improvements
  • Fixed stuck spots
  • Added more cover and los-blockers around the map,
  • especially Flight Control, Sub Access, Crossroads, Crevice, Atrium
  • Added half closed doors around Computer Lab area for more cover/ambush spots
  • You can move faster into Ventilation coming from Data Core through that pipe-gap (Thanks Mephilles!)
  • Added more starting-cysts around Harvester, so Marines need more time to harass it
  • Made corridor between Crossroads and Summit Reception more alien friendly
  • Turned some railings in Crevice and Ventilation into railings with cover
  • Fixed hidden cysts exploit in Crevice
  • Added more cover to Flight Control entrance from Computer Lab
  • Gorges can now place a tunnel in the north-west corner of Flight Control
  • Created more space behind resnode in Atrium, more dodging space for skulks, gorge tunnel possible
  • Adjusted pipes in Reactor Core, easier navigation around them and dodging of marine bullets
  • Added more cover geometry/spots to Crossroads, which can be used to dodge marine fire or approach easier.
  • Added another little alcove in Atrium for upgrade structures, cover or a gorge tunnel
  • Fixed Arcs being able to hit some spots in Atrium from Glass Hallway / Crossroads (Thanks ydy)
Derelict
  • Improved/Fixed Occlusion Geo
  • Added some rocks and more Occlusion Geo to Glass Hallway / Biome area to improve performance
  • Removed many lights from the low light quality option
  • Made the map slightly brighter, if you use low quality light option
  • Removed "inefficient" props in the map to reduce primitives count
  • Removed a lot more ceiling geo and props from commander view, especially around Administration.
  • Added two more pillars and another Truck into Garage
  • Added more sand rocks into Geothermal to cover the hive
  • Added more view-blocking tarp in Western Entrance
  • Covered one of the windows in Plaza with moss, added a 3rd row of pipes, and scaled up the crate in the middle of Plaza to block view for better ambushing and to improve performance
  • Modified pathing mesh, so you can cyst across the broken bridge in Plaza
  • Added more obstacles in Nursery, created space for lifeforms between the vines and carousels
  • Widened vent from Garage to Alley; removed connection to Administration
  • Added vent from Biome/Lookout to Plaza
  • Added vent from Plaza to Administration/Overlook
  • Added a second vent exit in Turbine
  • Added vent from Atmospheric/Botany to Biome
  • Replaced some glass pipes with solid ones in Glass Hallway, so aliens can hide on top
  • Improved Infested Corridor for aliens
  • Slightly moved the hanging grating tile blocking the glass hole in Geothermal, so aliens can move around on all sides
  • Slightly decreased the size of the pipes above Geothermal
  • Added a broken pipe section in Geothermal to make it harder for bile bombing gorges to hide
  • Adjusted surrounding rocks in Geothermal so players can get up on the pipes via the rocks, too
Known Issues
  • The game client still leaks memory which may cause crashes on long runs. We will be continuing our efforts on reducing memory usage and addressing leaks with future updates.
  • We strongly recommend running in DX9 Fullscreen only for the time being, without any 3rd party overlays such as MSI afterburner, Razer Synapse etc.
SDK
  • Fixed the build_setup.xml so that builder converts texture files again.
  • Replaced nvcompress with another version so the output contains less artifacts and you can convert textures without a resolution of power 2. The engine still requires textures dimensions that are multiples of 4.
Natural Selection 2 - WasabiOne


Release the KRAKEN! Wait?!?! Wrong mythology reference, this is NS2, not Clash of the Titans.

After months of back end work, we are pleased to be releasing the NS2 64-bit Beta to the public. Those of you already using a 64-bit Operating System will automatically start the application in 64-bit. If you are currently running a version of Windows or Linux in 32-bit, you can still launch the game but you will be notified of our impending end of support for all 32-bit users. Once support has ended for 32-bit you will no longer be able to launch NS2 unless you upgrade your Operating System to a 64-bit version. We have been working on and communicating this impending change to players over the last year, and hope that those of you that are not using a 64-bit OS recognize that as an actively developed game, we strive to keep building and improving NS2. Supporting all of this on a system that can barely manage 3.5GB of system memory sadly is just no longer feasible.

A note to our non QWERTY keyboard layout users: We’ve fixed a bug regarding keyboard layouts not being detected correctly, now your keyboard will work as intended but this means you’ll need to go and fix some of your key binds in the menu. (Such as the Console key)

Next up, NS2 celebrates it’s fifth anniversary! We have some cool things in the pipeline, there is still much more to come.

Changelog

Tweaks / Improvements
  • Migrated to 64 bit architecture
    • Updated related dependent libraries
      • This fixed various dependency related issues.
    • Note: NS2 now detects your keyboard layout correctly.
      All non QWERTY keyboard users may need to rebind certain features (e.g. the console).
  • Reworked job & thread scheduling:
    • Now able to utilize all your CPU cores
    • Slightly increased performance and increased core spread load.
    • Removed dependency on Intel’s TBB library (linux)
  • New Auto Crash Collector!
    • If your client crashes, it will quickly show a dialog that automatically begins uploading your crash report and all relevant information to us. This is going to be a very helpful tool for us to diagnose issues, and it should be a simple process for you, since the only button you’ll have to press is “Restart NS2” if it occurs!
  • The Server’s dns address is now propagated to the clients via a server field instead the tags string allowing operators to use a longer dns address.
  • Dedicated Servers can now use the `-autorestart` argument (no parameters needed). If the server should crash, it will immediately restart with the previous start-up arguments. The crash will also be uploaded to our collector at the same time and not delay the server restarting.
Fixes
  • Fixed that the Shared.SortEntitiesByDistance method returned corrupted results at Linux causing all kind of issues and crashes. This also fixes that you couldn’t play the alien commander tutorial on Linux.
  • Fixed that Whips sometimes didn’t face their targets correctly (Contributed by Katzenfleisch)
  • Fixed that Whips sometimes didn’t get removed from the nav mesh correctly after getting moved (Contributed by Katzenfleisch)
  • Fixed a server script error occurring when a client with a custom badge selected connected.
  • Fixed a client crash occurring due to the tutorial reminder popup which gets displayed to new player when the access the server browser
  • Fixed an issue where dying in an exosuit during the warm-up period would sometimes cause the HUD to remain hidden even after respawning.
  • Fixed an issue that affected some maps that would cause marine mini maps to appear blank.
  • Fixed a very specific nasty crash that could occur when disconnecting from a server at a very specific point in the loading process.
  • Fixed issue where opening server browser with a mod mounted would make it unresponsive.
  • Fixed issue where certain maps (such as ns2_mesh) would allow for structures to sometimes, or always, be invisible on the marine minimap.
Maps

Derelict
  • Modified pathing mesh to ignore tech points (Contributed by Zavaro)
    • This helps ensure drifters can always build hives
Kodiak
  • Modified pathing mesh to ignore tech points (Contributed by Zavaro)
    • This helps ensure drifters can always build hives
Known Issues
  • If you are using a Firewall, it will prompt to Allow/Deny access for a new executable. This is normal as the 32 and 64-bit are new and separate binaries from previous builds.
  • The Dedicated Server console is not accessible on Windows 10
  • Linux 64bit client has issue on start-up. This can be fixed by recreating the symlinks for FMOD libraries (in the x64 sub-folder within the NS2 install directory):
    ln -sf libfmodex64-4.44.58.so libfmodex64.so
    ln -sf libfmodevent64-4.44.58.so libfmodevent64.so
    ln -sf libfmodeventnet64-4.44.58.so libfmodeventnet64.so
  • The Cinematic Editor is temporarily broken for this build
Natural Selection 2 - WasabiOne


Skulks, Specs and Whips OH MY! Update 317 is now available to the public and there is plenty to sink your teeth into.

First off, we’ve added a new training module called ‘Skulk Challenge’. This will help you learn to hone your skulk wall jumping abilities, while also giving you an opportunity to reach a global rank and earn badges. Another cool feature, you can download other players ghosts and race them too! You be surprised how addicting this challenge is and how much you can learn by watching others.

Next, we come to an entire reworking of Spectator Slots. No more will you be confused in the server browser by how many playable slots are actually available, or see 25/24 slots in use and wonder, “what the heck?.” The other major benefit is that server operators can now run a full 24 player server and spectators will not use playable slots but up to 24 of their own! You can read more about this feature and how the rest of the system works in the changelog below.

Lastly, we as developers can only do so much with the time that we have and NS2 has always prospered from the incredible contribution of the many community developers out there. This update include some awesome fixes to both Whips (thank you, Katzenfleisch) and MACs (thank you, Twiliteblue). Along with these awesome contributors are also our playtesters and other community players who have done an outstanding job. This update has been working hard to get out to the public for nearly a month and a lot of testing and time went into getting it ready, so thank you again to our playtest team and to the community players that showed up for our public playtests as well.

Looking forward, 64-bit is finally going into beta and will be released shortly as a smaller update. Players and servers alike will be able to run the upgraded platform and help us make sure it is finally ready for full release in the coming months. What does this mean for players using 32-bit Operating Systems? Well, it means you won’t be able to play the game without an upgrade. Luckily of all our monthly unique players this is far less than 1% of you, but we care about all our players nonetheless. So let this serve as official warning of the end of 32-bit support. Within the next 30 days or more NS2 will move to a 64-bit only environment on both servers and clients. In general there are many benefits across the board for NS2 to go 64-bit only but as a system owner, you too can open up some serious local benefits to both your system and performance by biting the bullet and finally upgrading too!

Until the next update, skulk forward and let those bullets fly. Oh and watch out for whips, no seriously, watch out!

CHANGELOG

GAMEPLAY
  • Introducing the “Skulk Challenge!”
    • Available in the training menu.
      • Hone your Skulk wall-jumping skills as you race to earn the fastest time.
      • Study other players’ racing techniques with our replay system, or even better: race against their ghost!
      • You can view your friends’ times in the leaderboard, or view the global leaderboard by clicking on the globe icon.
      • If you’re fast enough, you’ll earn a badge to be displayed in game! Be sure to enable it in the Customize Player menu.
  • Improved/Fixed Whips (contributed by Katzenfleisch et al)
    • Overall rewrote the Whips attack routine to make it more reliable and less expensive performance wise. They are quite formidable now.
    • Fixes:
      • Fixed that the Whips animation state and damage dealt was not synced between client and the server correctly
      • Fixed that Whips did often not deal any damage (especially against static targets)
      • Fixed that Whips did not slap immediately after a bombard
      • Fixed that Whips had a rather random cooldown between two attacks due to how inconsistent the animation tags are fired for the Whip animations.
      • Fixed that the Whips used a trace ray starting from its bottom instead of it’s top to validate that a target is in line of sight.
      • Fixed that Whips did not deal any damage if another target blocked the original target while the the Whip already started slapping.
      • Fixed that the Whip’s bombard bomb was sometimes not created and networked correctly.
      • Fixed that Whips were able to hit through walls.
      • Fixed that Whips did not attack unmanned exosuits.
    • Improvements
      • Whips now continue to focus the same player while slapping until they get out of range (instead of switching to whoever is closest)
      • Optimized performance by decreasing the number of traces needed to acquire a target to slap
      • If a player moves in between a whip and it’s target, it hits the blocking player (instead of missing)
      • Adding a new method Whip:OnAttackEnd() so mods can detect when a Whip attack has ended.
      • Alien structures will now try to move into random direction instead of only forward while repositioning (after getting moved etc. )
  • Improved MACs (contributed by Twiliteblue)
    • MACs now follow and weld moving players, and can continue to move while turning.
    • MACs on automated build/weld orders will return to their original position after they completed the order, or if target moves too far away (distance greater than 15 units from MAC), or in case the automated target moves out of a range of 30 units from the original position.
      • This should stop MACs from moving all over the map without the commander giving them the explicit order to do so
    • Decreased the fov zone that MACs will avoid to block to 60 degree from 180 and increased the weld range slightly by 0.5.
      • This should force MACs to evade the player’s fov less often while still making sure that they don’t block line of sight.
    • MACs no longer stop moving when taking damage while following a target.
  • Improved Onos Stomp (contributed by Steelcap)
    • Stomps shockwave now can move up stairs.
    • Stomp behaves much more like you’d expect it to: unable to reach high heights, but still able to reach the same lows if there’s a gradient, and will not pass through obstacles it should not etc. It will not work across deep gaps, like standing on the columns in Crevice on Summit, for instance.
    • The marine knock back behavior is more reliable now so you don’t end up getting knocked back even though you jumped up in time.
    • Slightly optimized Stomp to use less traces
TWEAKS / IMPROVEMENTS
  • Added dedicated spectator slots. Reasoning: Players want to know that they can join a server that truly has player slots available and won’t just get thrown onto spectators, wasting their time. Server operators want the ability to have spectators without going over the 24 player limit. Lastly, the Quick Play feature was unable to determine if a server had actual player slots available to play without official spec slot support. So while you can run 24 players with 24+ spectators and still be a ranked server, do keep in mind that your performance will vary if those spec slots are active; Adjust accordingly.
    • Servers can now have dedicated spectator slots. Use the new -speclimit server startup parameter to set up a limit for the dedicated spectator slots (default: 0). If left to default of 0, players that join spectators will still count towards the player slot count (-limit parameter) and the server browser will always report 0/0 spectators.
    • Clients that attempt to join servers that are full but still have spectator slots available will receive a prompt asking them if they wish to cancel or spectate before joining.
    • If a client joins as a dedicated spectator they will automatically be placed on spectators and restricted to it until a player slot opens up, where they can then join the ready room and then a team. Before that point, the player cannot join the ready room. Shuffle or force even team votes will not change this, and neither will admins when attempting to manually move the player.
    • Player slots and dedicated spectator slots will remain assigned to the same players even through a map change. This means if you were a dedicated spectator before the map change, you will still be one after the map changes, if no players leave. No cutting in line allowed!
    • Clients can switch from a dedicated spectator slot to an available player slot by going into the Ready Room, if and when a player slot is available.
    • Clients using a player slot can still spectate. However, they will be giving up their player slot if another spectator joins the ready room or a team. (Unless the spec limit is reached already.*)
    • Clients will never be restricted from going into spectator mode, but if the player limit and spec limit is reached, doing so will not change the amount of players reported in the server browser until a player leaves the server.
      • Clients will only give up their player slot if there are spec slots available.* This means that if there are 16/16 players and 5/5 spectators, and a player using a player slot joins spectators, the server browser will still report 16/16 players and 5/5 spectators. This is to ensure that a new player cannot join the server, and thus permanently create an ever increasing pool of spectator slots. (See known issues below.)
        Refactored the reserved slot system to be handled by the engine API instead of custom server tags.
    • The server performance rating in the server browser (the smiley face) will only take the player limit into account if you have no active spectators. However, if you have active spectators they will begin to impact your performance, albeit less than actual players using player slots.
    • Known Issues with spec slot feature:
      • * When the spectator slots are full, if a player using a player slot joins spectators, then that player will retain their player slot even while spectating. This can prevent players from swapping out with spectators in a full player + full spectator server (Will be fixed via an extension).
      • Spectators can vote. (this can be disruptive for server wide votes, depending on the size of -speclimit)
      • The password prompt will show up twice for passworded servers that only have spec slots available. Once when you double click the server, then you receive the spectator popup, then the password prompt will show a second time. You’ll need to enter the correct password twice.
  • Improved the server browser password prompt (contributed by Keats, Absurdon et al)
    • Updated the windows style to match the rest of the server browser
    • Obscure the password input by default so you can stream without worrying about leaking a server’s password
    • Added a button to show/obscure the password input.
    • Removed some fields from the move packet that were never used except for debug purposes. Result is slightly reduced network traffic from moves sent and move packets being slightly faster processed.
    • The menu now preloads when after loading a level. This means that a (sometimes very long) hitch caused by opening the in game menu for the first time is gone.
    • Added in-game badges for the 11th ensl.org season winner. We will hand out the badges as soon as the season has ended.
    • Removed that the client buffered up to 8 seconds of moves because the buffer wasn’t used and may caused performance issues.
    • Removed the leftover hive profile page link at the in-game scoreboard
FIXES
  • Fixed that the crash dumps created by the crash reported were missing the exception information
  • Fixed that curl handler were not released correctly and stayed active even after usage which caused curl to run out of available ports at some after some time and all http request to just time out.
  • Fixed that the damage taken/flinch sound effects didn’t play after the first time. We are planning to redo the complete flinch sound system in one of the next builds to make the damage feeback more consistent.
  • Fixed that “guard” orders were not canceled when the target left the team.
  • Fixed that Focus decreased the players attack speed even after Veils were destroyed.
  • Fixed that the Regeneration effects played even after Shells were destroyed.
  • Fixed that Fade Metabolize switches back to the weapon you had selected before using metabolize after it finished, even if you switch the weapon while performing Metabolize. This means Blink is now disabled during Metabolize.(contributed by Twiliteblue)
  • Fixed that Boneshield doesn’t reduce Grenade Launcher projectile, pulse, or cluster grenade damage. (contributed by Nin)
  • Fixed an issue that would cause web pages displayed in-game (like the news feed) to disappear if the user alt+tabbed out of the game in DX9 mode.
  • Fixed some script error spam caused by the help screen attempting to display keybinds for actions that were unbound.
  • Fixed a bug that caused team message (eg “Warmup Mode”, or “Hive under Attack!”) to not appear until user had displayed help screen at least once before.
  • Fixed a bug that caused the help screen to appear if a player happened to press the help screen keybind while typing a chat message. (contributed by Salads)
  • Fixed that you could vote to reset the round without a round started yet (contributed by Keats)
  • Fixed the player ping (red box w/ location name that appears when you hit middle mouse button) is already visible and animating when you first join a team – even if nobody has pinged.
MAPS
  • Fixed fall seasonal stuff appearing in Caged ready room when it shouldn’t be.
SDK
  • Fixed that multi line lua comments were not parsed correctly and could cause script errors if the included a end tag
  • Added a few new API methods in regard to the spectator slots. Please check the api docs json for further details about each method.
  • It is now possible to multiply two Vector objects together. This just performs a per-component multiplication between the two vectors.
Natural Selection 2 - WasabiOne

Happy Summer everyone! We are back with another update and this time our focus was based on the theme of Fix and Polish. There are plenty of changes throughout the log below to sink your teeth into, so I won’t go into detail and let it speak for itself. Enjoy!

Update 316 Changelog

Gameplay
  • Onos
    • Boneshield has been redesigned and repurposed:
      • No longer regenerates armor in any circumstances
      • Now allows movement (speed of 3, which is roughly half) while active
        • Celerity bonus does not increase Boneshield movement speed, but still provides all speed bonuses otherwise.
      • All Frontal (approx. 110 degree forward-facing cone of Onos) damage from bullet-based weapons is reduced by 80%. With default FOV settings, if the attacker is on screen the damage will be reduced by Bonesield.
      • No innate health/armor regeneration while Boneshield is active. Healing from a Gorge or other source is still allowed.
      • Does not consume energy to initiate, but costs 22 energy per second while active. It also requires a minimal amount of energy to start. Use your energy wisely.
      • Minor cooldown of 0.4 seconds after being used
      • Energy does not regenerate while Boneshield is active. This includes energy recuperation bonus from Shifts.
        • These changes should provide utility to Boneshield without it being overpowered or removing the need for team composition, such as Gorges healing you. You can utilize it defensively (blocking entrance to hive room) or offensively (decoy / bait to assist teammates, or faking out an enemy in 1v1). We feel this improves the nature of Boneshield while adding more fun, variation, and tactical gameplay choices.
      • Reduced the base max speed to 6.6 (from 7.5) and the base max Charge speed to 10.5 (from 11.5).
        • This reverts back to Build 253 values to have the Onos commit more to a map position to hold it, instead of being able to easily rotate between two positions and therefore be the jack of all trades in the late game.
  • Improved Gorge Bellyslide
    • Increased max belly sliding speed to 14 from 13.
    • Decreased belly slide cooldown from 1.5 to 1 second.
    • Reduced slide friction on infestation from 0.068 to 0.039.
    • Reduced slide energy cost from 25 to 20.
    • Increased belly slide control from 10 to 18.
    • Speed loss sliding uphill is reduced by 25%.
    • Decreased the air friction from 0.8 to 0.2 so the Gorge doesn't move like a brick while jumping.
      • These changes allow Gorge movement in general to be easier to control and slightly faster, to give Gorge players a powerful tool to avoid previously lethal situations, and to allow for easier use of keeping up with teammates and being a combat gorge.
  • Fade Personal Res cost increased to 37 from 35
    • This change restores the Fade timings to from before the Pres rate change.
  • Alien structures grow only twice as slow without a drifter or gorge now, instead of three times as slow.
    • The growth speed punishment for not using a drifter to build was mostly affecting new commanders. So we increased the build speed without drifters so teams without an experienced commander are less punished, but can still notice the difference in build times.
  • Focus upgrade attack speed changed to a static 33%
    • The focus attack speed was changing from 16% to 33% to 50% with each veil level, and this created inconsistent attack timings to learn during combat. The damage bonus is unchanged, however. This nerfs focus with 1 veil, but buffs it for 3 veils.
Tweaks / Improvements
  • Swapped the button positions for "Server Browser" and "Training" in the Play Menu, to make the mouse travel distance significantly less from the main menu to the play menu.
  • Added Onos Boneshield ricochet FX to better communicate when the ability is active.
  • Improved damage indicator feedback (Thanks to windsurfer & twiliteblue)
    • The red arrow damage indicator will now quickly animate and fade, and was made larger as well. This should make it easier to notice and react to recently received damage from multiple directions.
  • Owned Babblers show up grayed out for the gorge at the Babbler Status HUD elements even when they are not actively attached to the owner. This helps to keep track how many of your babblers are still alive. (Thanks to jack^)
  • The crash reporter now sends the crash reports with a few further details to our new crash reporter backend. Hopefully this will allow us to track down some of the more common crashes we and our playtesters are unable to reproduce. Thanks to everybody who sent us crash report via discord, the forum and emails the last month!
  • Rookies (players below level 25) will now see a popup that highly recommends they play the tutorial, whenever they open the play menu. (occurs once per restart of NS2)
  • Rookies are now able to join all servers without any further restriction. However Quick Play will still favor rookie only servers for them.
  • Quickplay now ranks servers you’ve played in the last 10 minutes as less favorable
  • Improved the art style of some menu pop up windows.
  • Alien commander bots will now re-cyst if they lose part of their cyst chain that results in damaging a structure, and will nutrient mist if needed.
  • Alien commander bots will no longer spam cysts like they’re fireworks on the 4th of July.
  • Added a notice about the required tech to the description of each weapon or class in the marine buy menu in case they are not available yet. So players understand why they can’t already buy a certain weapon.
  • Added server config options for the “add commander bots” vote (Thanks to Keats)
  • Removed some outdated tip videos and updated a few in-game tooltip strings (Thanks to Kash)
Fixes
  • Fixed a bug with dynamic mesh rendering using DirectX 11 that caused the clients to crash when players tried to place gorge webs or a sentry battery.
  • Fixed that hallucination caused a server script error when they tried to attack a target.
  • Fixed that the training link in the play menu opened the last visited main menu window
  • Fixed a bug in the animation system that would, in rare cases, cause some of the "Infinite bone coords" error spam.
  • Fixed that the skulk animation got disorientated after repeatedly jumping in a short time. This caused Skulk to sometimes clip through walls while wall jumping. (Thanks twiliteblue)
  • Fixed that Quick Join didn’t find any servers if you have joined all available ones less than 10 minutes ago.
  • Fixed that the Friends tab of the server browser didn’t show any servers. Note, you still need to be logged into Steam Friends for this to function.
  • Fixed a script that occurred when babblers attached to an aliens after the babler owner had died. (Thanks twiliteblue)
  • Fixed that the Death and score number display counts overlapped at the first person spectator HUD (Thanks to Keats)
  • Fixed that the status of techs that dependent on tech with a higher tech Id was not updated when the status of the dependency changed. E. g. if an observatory is killed and rebuilt, you could not build or research phase gates until two observatories are built.
  • Fixed an issue which caused the Marine HUD to be stuck on the screen after spectating an exo.
Maps
  • Cleaned up the pathing meshes on all maps. There were issues on some maps where structures could not be placed where it looked like they should be able to.
Docking
  • Gorges can now place tunnels behind the counter in Terminal.
Mineshaft
  • Added an invisible block between Operations and The Gap to prevent Lerks from spiking marine extractors from a location the marines could not reach. It was very annoying.
Natural Selection 2 - WasabiOne

Summer is finally upon us and with that the forthcoming mighty Steam Sale. Sales usually bring in a lot of new faces to the game and over the years, we have worked hard to make changes that help those new to NS to learn and enjoy the game as all of us do. Please welcome these new players as they become familiar with the game.

With Update 315 we have consolidated the PLAY menu, updated the server browser and added new help screens for players. While in game you can now bring up an overlay that explains your individual player or lifeform controls all based on your key binds. We hope that this feature will help to better explain abilities and even upgrades to new players.

Alien egg spawning has been adjusted to scale with players which should lead to better spawning and encourage alien hive expansion too! Some additional improvements were made to gorge tunnels to allow for quicker and easier placement. See more about the gameplay changes in the changelog below.

We are also aware of some stability issues that players were experiencing in the previous update. We have worked to resolve those with this release and hope that this provides a better experience for those of you dealing with this problem.

Update 315 Changelog

Gameplay
  • Alien Egg Spawn
    • Every hive spawns an egg every 13 secs instead of only one hive at a time.
      • Scales down with the team’s player count:
        • 6 players: 13
        • 9 players: 8.6
        • 10 players: 9.75
        • 12 players: 7.5
    • Every hive can spawn up to 2 eggs (was 3).
    • The hive’s egg hatch tech spawns 2 eggs (didn’t scale previously).
      • ² Scales up with the team’s player count:
        • 6 players: 2
        • 9 players: 3
        • 10 players: 3
        • 12 players: 4
  • MG
    • Increased base damage to 8 from 6.
    • Decreased damage bonus against players to 150% from 200%
    • Decreased costs to 20 pres.
  • Gorge Tunnel
    • The gorge tunnel is now less “picky” about it’s placement so you can drop it in areas with slightly rougher terrain.
  • Made wall walking less unpredictable for skulks
    • Skulks can sneak around sharp corners on the ceiling much more reliably now.
Tweaks / Improvements
  • Added a new Play Menu
    • Replaced “Play Now” and “Server Browser” links on main menu with a single “Play” button.
    • Menu creates more visibility of the arcade tab by giving it a nice, big button, alongside the server browser button, training button, and play now button.
    • Can’t decide on a server to play on? Try out the big, flashy Play Now button. You can’t miss it!
  • Added an in-game help screen
    • Displays useful (and silly) information about the weapons/abilities you have currently equipped.
    • Modders: see SDK section below for how to “play nicely” with the help screen. (don’t worry, it’s easy! 🙂 )
  • Bots
    • Optimized performance
      • Lowered performance costs of each bot by about 80%
      • Optimized path finding (Thanks to Katzenfleisch)
      • Optimized memory routines
      • Optimized decision making routines
    • Improved the commander bots
      • Marine Commander Bots drop now med and ammo packs on request
      • Alien Commander Bots drop Mist on request (both for players and structures)
    • Added a player vote to add commander bots and start the game
      • The vote will autostart 5 minutes after the first player joined a team if there are still commanders lacking to start the round
  • Optimized the Effect Manager so the update routines of all kind of in-game effects are on average about 40% faster.
  • Slightly improved the design of the server detail window of the server browser
  • Standardize and improve the cooldown HUD display of all alien abilities (contributed by twiliteblue)
  • Fixes and improvements to the Caged menu background. (contributed by ieptbarakat)
Fixes
  • Fixed an issue causing server crashes while processing move packets.
  • Fixed some race conditions between the render and main thread causing client crashes on texture allocation.
  • Fixed an issue with the physics culling while the concede sequence is playing.
  • Fixed that the skulk plays running animation after leaping (contributed by twiliteblue)
  • Fixed that the research progress in the commander UI was reset when a player logged out of the Command Station and back in again (contributed by Keats)
  • Fixed that badges connected to steam items did not unlock correctly
  • Fixed a script error that occured when you blinked as Fade in 3rd person camera mode (contributed by twiliteblue)
  • Made ready room players mortal and fixed a script error that occurred if a player died in the Ready Room (contributed by Las)
  • Fixed that css files using the old css format did not work properly (contributed by Brute)
  • Fixed a script error that occurred when Marine.GetMaxSpeed was called without that given Marine owned a weapon (contributed by Las)
  • Fixed that the Flamethrower always dealt extra compound damage to burning structures instantly instead after 2 seconds.
  • Fixed that the warmup mode started the game after limit of 12 players was reached (Thanks to Person8880 who fixed this via the Shine mod previously)
  • Removed the leftover links to the deprecated hive website in the main menu
SDK
  • Declared some missing optional constants for the ScoringMixin and BaseModelMixin
  • Added proper support for Lua style multi line comments
  • Help Screen
    • When the help screen is displayed, all other GUI elements are hidden (to avoid ugly overlapping and undesirable effects).
    • Example mod showing how to properly implement this: Dropbox, Github
  • Cinematic Editor: Fixed a hang caused by zooming in too far into the graph window.
  • Overview: The program will not whine as easily for mismatched minimap_extents dimensions.
  • Added a function GUI.Message(string), which is the exact same thing as Shared.Message(string), except that it is accessible from inside a GUIView VM.
  • GUIView objects can now be set to render “always” (past behavior), “once”, or “never.”. Useful for scenarios where a gui view is rendering something complex to a texture, but only needs to do it once.
  • GUIView render targets are now cleared with transparent black, instead of opaque black.
  • Added two new functions, Client.GetLastRenderResetTime(), and Client.GetLastPresentTime(). These are useful for determining if certain resources need to be reloaded/rendered. For example, see “lua/menu/FancyGUIViewManager.lua”.
  • DynamicRenderMesh objects are no longer emptied when the game is alt+tabbed.
  • GUIItem: Added GetTextureWidth() and GetTextureHeight(), which return the width/height of the texture, in pixels, or -1 if there is no texture assigned to the GUIItem.
  • Added numerous enums, a few constants, and a boatload of associated Client functions to integrate Steamworks Lobbies functionality (see docs/ClientLoaded.json)
  • Added a function GUIItem::GetCanFontRenderString(string fontName, string text) which allows you to determine if the given font name is capable of displaying all characters of the given string (eg some fonts only have numbers, or maybe the string has non latin characters, etc.)
Natural Selection 2 - IronHorse
Due to recent Kharaa invasions, we are in need of reinforcements on the frontlines of testing!
Enlist HERE to join the Natural Selection 2 Playtest Team to ensure smooth battlefield updates can occur for the rest of your fellow brothers and sisters.

Keep in mind that we only need the most dedicated of enlistees to jump aboard this mission, with availabilities to strenuously test and provide thorough reports. If you think you can take up this honorable task, you’ll be awarded with a designated badge that demonstrates your commitment to the TSF.
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 .
...

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