Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

I chew-chew-chews you

Here’s a cautionary tale, and a stark reminder that digital goods are still the World Wide Wild West. While a majority of PC games these days seem to ultimately involve a Steam key (which is itself an understandably controversial state of affairs), ownership of one of those keys can be sold by any number of third parties. So we see online stores both reputable and troublesome striving to offer downloads for less than a direct Steam activation, less than each other and, most commonly, less than the frequently outrageously inflated official pricing in some territories. Such was (and presumably is) the case for Natural Selection 2. Revealed developer Unknown Worlds yesterday, “Recently, a batch of 1,341 NS2 Steam keys were purchased using stolen credit cards. These keys were then offered for sale by various resellers. The owners of said cards disputed the transactions, and thankfully received their money back.”

Thankfully for them, but less thankfully for a) Unknown Worlds and b) the people who had bought the keys.

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Product Update - Valve
In the battle that is the shipping of a big patch, we do our best to achieve total victory. The bane of our development lives is the ‘hotfix.’ Hotfixes are horrible. They suck up disproportionate amounts of development time, they are inefficient uses of development resources, and just generally suck.

But try as we might to avoid them, sometimes they are needed. Gorgeous needed one, and here it is! 241 is small and won’t make big differences to the way you play. It will fix some hidden nasties that snuck out it the Server process, and some bugs causing consternation to people using babblers, wall jump, and fullscreen windowed mode.

At their release, Babblers were a little bit useless. This uselessness boiled down to the fact that they were too slow to keep up with their host Gorge, catch friendly players hit by the baitball, and close distance with marines. Now, they are much faster, and much more useful.

Winrates in Gorgeous have been exceptionally good. After 25,798 games (on Sunday), the probability of a marine win in a randomly sampled game was 0.507, our best result yet, and a big improvement on build 239′s ~0.41. However, some of this improvement came from a bug causing Skulk’s to lose momentum when they hit the ground. That is fixed in 241, so we expect the probability of marine wins to decrease back below 0.5 for now.

Servers will update over the next hour or so, so if you can’t find games at the moment, sit tight. Here is the full changelog:

Improvement

Added super-sampling when generating reflection cube maps to improve quality.

Balance

Increased Babbler run speed from 5 to 7.

Fix

Fixed bug that prevented an Alien from evolving if they had Babblers attached to themselves.
Eliminated uninitialized data when sending packets with strings less than the maximum length (may cause problems with some firewall rules)
Fixed exploit which allowed Gorge tunnels to be build outside of the map.
Fixed bug which caused Skulks to lose all their momentum instantly when touching the ground.
Fixed bug where mines were ignoring damage falloff.
Fixed bug where Alien attacks got blocked by attached Babblers.
Fixed bug where fullscreen windowed mode forced vsync on.
Changed the maxfps console command to only allow values above 30 FPS to prevent exploitation

Optimization

Reduced overhead of isa method.
Improved server performance.
Reduced the cost of updating entities in the query manager.
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Product Update - Valve
Added
•Railgun Exosuit now available at Prototype Lab. Explodes things.
•Gorges may now spawn Babbler eggs, which hatch into Babblers!
•Gorges may now create Gorge Tunnels
•Bait Balls – Direct babblers by flinging it at enemies of friendlies
•New map: Descent
•New contextual help system, ‘TipVids.’
•Insight Spectator System Mk 2 – Redesign and interface overhaul.
•First Person Spectating
•Damage decals
•Reflections
•Refraction effects
•New alien cloaking effects
•New main menu background scene

Change
•Disabled wall walking on Command Stations.
•Added one second cool-down between Gorge structure drops
•Claw damage increased to 75.
•Claw range increased by 10%
•Rifles will now get destroyed when purchasing a new weapon at the armory to prevent a pile of Weapons in big games (manually dropping or picking weapons up is unchanged)
•Removed foresight from Alien Commander.
•Increased frequency of alert message when a base power node is under attack.
•Whips no longer hit multiple targets with their melee attack.
•Doors are no longer usable.
•Removed exo backwards speed scalar.
•Updated personal resource icon in Alien buy menu.
•Reduced phase gate rate from 0.5 to 0.2 seconds.
•Exosuit movement speed depends now on weapons weight (minigun heaviest, railgun lightest)
•Slightly increased Axe range to prevent situations where you could not hit an enemy below you even when crouching.
•Skulk movement adjustments – Movement code now makes them slightly less erratic when dancing in your sights.
•Cloaking system is now analog rather than binary – Allows for more nuanced use of cloaking trait
•Decreased the amount of time it takes for the game to start once both teams have a Commander.
•Doubled the rate that the “Game will not start until both teams have a Commander” banner message appears on the screen.
•Enemy players are now damaged while near the enemy Command Structure before the game starts.
•Bile bomb can now destroy dropped weapons.
•Reduced Bile bomb single target damage by ~20% (and reduced force from 13 to 11, so shorter effective range)

Editor
•Added the ability for death triggers to do damage over time instead of instantly killing the entity.
•Max distance that initial Cyst spawn points can be from the Hive increased by 50%
•Changed the texture list in the Editor to “and” all of the search terms together by default (old “or” behavior can be reproduced by using ? in front of a search term)
•Changed the texture list box to allow selection of materials in any directory (not just the materials directory)

Feature
•Added ‘-logdir ’ command line option to let server admins override the location of log.txt.
•Added pagination to the mod browser in the dedicated server web admin.
•Added search capability to the mod page of the dedicated server web admin.
•Added resource graph in Insight (Press Q)
•Added commander research bars in Insight, replaces monolithic research block
•Added player energy/ammunition indicators in Insight

Fix
•Fixed bug causing Skulk hitbox and worldmodel to be misaligned on some vertical surfaces (Makes the buggers easier to hit).
•Fixed bug where emissive only surfaces would not be properly bloomed (caused cloaked Alien structures to be somewhat visible)
•Fixed issue where enabling double or triple buffering while in fullscreen windowed mode would cause the display to not update
•Fixed swipe not triggering effects / draining energy when quickly tapping primary attack button.
•Fixed script error when firing a Rifle that had been previously fired and dropped on the ground.
•Fixed holo Marine model being visible for a few frames for the already respawned Marine.
•The unban button now works in the server web interface.
•Fixed health bars showing up in ready room.
•Fixed bug where caps lock couldn’t be bound in the input settings.
•Fixed bug where tapping primary attack key with Skulk bite selected wont deduct energy / trigger sound.
•Fixed clogs appearing for one frame at world origin.
•Fixed bug where Marine Commander could select cloaked Alien units.
•Fixed bug where the “retry” console command would not attempt to reconnect to the last server joined using the “connect” console command.
•Fixed health/armor not being properly predicted for growing Alien structures.
•Fixed bug where tech point remains smashed after the Hive got replaced by a Command Station.
•Fixed camera hitch when crouch jumping as Onos.
•Fixed sentry battery destruction effects.
•Fixed unsocketed power nodes not considering LOS properly.
•Fixed bug where units recloak when Marine who touched them is still in close proximity.
•Text chat now displays above the “Fade to black” death screen.
•Fixed Alien structures playing metallic sound when attacked by Skulks.
•Ghost structures disappear now immediately when killed.
•Commander no longer triggers a ping during entering a chat message.
•Fixed Aliens losing abilities when a Hive gets destroyed and they evolve an upgrade without changing life form.
•Fixed issue where chat text would sometimes be displayed escaped in the web server admin console.
•Players can now damage each other after the round ends.
•Changed behavior of Gorge build menu: You no longer need to re-select things to build more of them.
•Fixed bug where hitting alt-enter would not cause the options menu to be updated based on the current windowed/fullscreen status.
•Fixed bug where the microphone would be stuck on if the server changed maps while a player was recording.
•Fixed infestation decal not showing up for Hydras.
•Fixed bilebomb effect not showing up on MAC model.
•When a team surrenders, everyone will be notified.
•Fixed prediction error when jumping in rapid succession.
•Fixed clogs blocking phase gates.
•Fixed bug where Aliens could barely see cloaked units when dark vision is enabled.
•Fixed welder ignoring the deploy animation.
•Fixed bug where Commanders could drop structures when help mode is enabled.
•Fixed Marine structures showing Alien blood when hit by flame throwers.
•Fixed adrenaline / camouflage banner not being displayed.
•All team members will be notified when someone votes to concede or to eject the Commander.
•Robotics Factory can’t cancel research.
•Fixed bug which gave Aliens abilities which are not researched.
•Fixed Editor bug that would occasionally cause a vertex to be created a large distance away from its intended location.
•Fixed issue where a change to a shader template file would not necessarily trigger shaders to be rebuilt.
•Fixed hitch when first encountering Infestation after the shaders have been updated.
•Fixed issue where dynamic props wouldn’t be animated on the dedicated server due to missing animation graphs.
•Spectator Mouse Hover no longer misses.
•Recycled/Refunded structures are no longer added to total team resource gathered.
•Fixed exploit in server web admin (Thanks confused!)
•Fixed issue where mods that specified a specific version build was required would not mount the file system in the proper order.
•Fixed bug causing pre-placed Cysts to sometimes die at the start of the round.
•Fixed bug where HTTP requests did not follow 301 redirects (fixes the mods list in the web admin)
•Fixed bug where Aliens were able to evolve both upgrades from one Hive type.
•Fixed exploit where selecting multiple shifts allowed it to bypass the global cool down for hatch ability.

Improvement
•Exos display now the thruster duration / cooldown in their HUD.
•Added smoke effect for Spike attacks.
•Added missing minimap icons for shift, shell, spur, veil.
•Insight text now much more legible

Optimization
•Reduced the number of bits used for network fields.
•Optimized determination of whether or not Orders should be relevant to a client (improves server performance)
•Optimized querying the world for entities.
•Infestation blob coordinates are now saved after being generated once (Thanks Mats!)
•Sped up the compiling shaders process.
•Reduced memory usage by compressing animations – also reduces load times.
•Tweaked texture streaming – reduces load times.

Docking
•Cafe is now now a random marine spawn again
•Lockers is now a random spawn for both aliens and marines
•Redesigned how Cafe connects to Bar
•Redesigned Central Access so it now connects to cafe
•Redesigned Back Alley
•Moved Bar further west to prevent sieging of Lockers
•Moved Cafe RT to the lower level to prevent LOS issues
•Some changes to courtyard to fit the Central Access changes
•Some cosmetic changes to Ball Court
•Some cosmetic changes to Bar
•Reflection Probes added

Refinery
•Made Smelting a marine spawn.
•Removed route from Smelting to Conduit.
•Added new route from Smelting to Routing.
•Bug fixes including building placement and power grid issues.

Summit
•Improved Atrium RT location (less claustrophobic)
•Added more cover and flanking options for aliens in Flight Control
•Added missing lights in Crevice vent

SDK
•Moved all processing of input into script.
•Fixed visualization of the emissive map in the Viewer.
•Added the ability to make an external cinematic loop in the Cinematic Editor.
•Improved error reporting when a material as assigned in a model with an absolute path.
•Increased the timeout for HTTP requests.
•Fixed issue where defining a class on the server but not on the client would cause crashes and other bugs.
•Added the ability to materials layered on models to inherit parameter values from the underlying material.
•Fixed bug where the Ok/Cancel buttons in “Create Mod” window of Launch Pad would not be visible if the Window’s font size was set to large.
•Added animatable shader parameters for objects in the Cinematic Editor.
•Added support for vertex colors in .model files.
•Fixed bug where specifying a float2, float3 or float4 value for a surface shader input would corrupt the value.
•Added the ability specify float2, float3 and float4 parameters in a .material file.
•Added support for optional commas in SJSON files.
•Added “LocalPlayerChanged” engine event when the local player on the Client changes.
•Added ServerClient:GetSpectatingPlayer() and ServerClient:GetPlayer() methods.
•Added Client.VoiceRecordStart and Client.VoiceRecordStop functions.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

When you look at RPS, wherever you might be, RPS looks back at you. We’re a lot like The Void in that way. Fear not, however, for our uncanny glare should not intimidate you. Usually we simply squint through the screen and ponder what it is about our words and faces that attracts the most handsome readers of all. I can’t confirm whether or not Natural Selection 2 developers Unknown Worlds watch players of their game battling one another in the people vs aliens team-based shooter, but they are evidently pleased with their lovely playerbase because today they are releasing the Gorgeous expansion for free. “It includes Railguns, Gorge Tunnels, Descent, and quite a few fun surprises.”

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Community Announcements - UWE.Strayan (NS2HD)
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