Community Announcements - UWE.Strayan (NS2HD)
Build 234, our seventh post-launch update, is now live on Steam! It includes some serious Ready-Room redecoration and... Snow ball fights! Enjoy!
Product Update - Valve
- Added the name of the player being followed while waiting to spawn to the screen.
- Added server browser filter option for passworded servers.

- Improved the performance of lighting calculations.
- Changed fullscreen passes to be rendered using a single triangle rather than a two triangle quad to eliminate overshading pixels along the diagonal.

- Fixed bug causing text in a message box on the main menu to overflow outside the box.
- Fixed bug in the sv_ban command when banning a player not currently on the server.
- Fixed bug causing the Fade to "teleport" to the ground while Blinking into walls and the ceiling.
- Leading and trailing whitespace characters are ignored in the server list filters.
- Filtered out duplicates when mounting mods.
- Eliminated duplicate log messages when mounting mods for consistency checking.
- Fixed bug where returning nil from GetAttachPointCoords would result in uninitialized data being used.
- Fixed issue where having non-ASCII characters in the Windows user name would cause the game to not save mods, settings or cache files properly.
- The Command Structure health will no longer be displayed for enemy structures when they spawn in a nearby room.
- Fixed crash after alt-tabbing.
- Removed the "Attack" button from the ARC as it is not needed and was causing some problems.
- Fixed crash during precaching when a cinematic couldn't be loaded.
- Signaled Steam to stop refreshing the server pings when connecting to a server to avoid cases where the routers NAT table overflowed.
- Fixed issue where LaunchPad didn't properly specify the -game command line parameter when running NS2.
- Crash when acquiring physics models from different threads.
- Fixed bug where collision detection would fail on bodies which had extreme off-axis scaling applied to them (affected Harvester flinch animation)
- Fixed bug allowing the Alien Commander to cancel research on a lifeform egg at the end of research, gaining back the resource cost but not canceling the research.
- Fixed bug where ARCs didn't fire at targets when they had an attack order. They still need some work for actually listening to attack orders though. #3921.

- The "Update" button in the server browser now changes text when finished updating servers.
- Steam overlay based web views moved over to in-game web view.
- The load progress is now displayed as a percent instead of a count.

- Removing the shift-hover-select thing that just spams undo items. Some other polish/fixes.
- Fixed crash/bugs with copy/paste then undo.
- Hardcoded hotkeys 0-9 for viewport settings (perspective, lit/unlit, etc.)
- Made Tool Settings dialog taller to not hide stuff..heh.
- Added an origin cycle mode to put the gizmo at the first selected object, so you can move a group of props without bad grid-snap.
- Fixed editor bug where you could create empty props.
- Fixed bug when undo-ing face merges.
- Welding vertices will now auto-cleanup things like degenerate edges, duplicate edges (that were formerly different), etc.
- Made camera acceleration an option (tools|settings|general|display settings). off by default now.
- Fixing some issues with deleting faces, undoing, etc. Details: FaceIds are NOT reliable when faces are deleted, so each vertex now stores Face pointers rather than IDs.
- Work in progress checkin for fixes to welding. Just adding some un-used stuff for now.
- Fixed some bugs introduced by adjacent faces optimization.
- Move operations, with/out texture lock, should now be a lot faster and smoother. Using a adjacent-faces-set per vertex instead of doing global face search.
- On second thought, completely removing scale tool restrictions. Mappers use negative values.
- Changed some scale tool parameters so it's less restrictive when sizing small-ish objects.
- Added weld-selected-vertices command. Activate Select Tool, select a group of vertices, then Edit|Weld Selected Vertices (at the bottom of the menu)
- New "knobs" for texture mapping (and other) spinners. purely mouse-movement-based. Up/down arrow keys still work if cursor is in text box. CTRL and ALT modifiers work on both.
- Fixed lost-focus for hotkeys.
- Feedback about how many faces were affected by texture replace.
- Added ALT shortcut for texture replace; added F, C keys to move up/down when in first person camera.
- Fixed annoying scrollbar reset with prop/texture browser windows.
- Added Texture Replace tool (red paint bucket, all the way to the right of the toolbar)
- Removed (-1000,1000) range limit on texture shift spinners. This fixes some of the texture lock-move blank-field issues..
- Grid snapping for texture gizmo. There is some weirdness with snapping, but it works.
- Ctrl + doubleclick on face now adds a whole body to selection.
- Paint(Texture) Tool now has moving handles, in addition to rotate and scale.
- Switching to hash_set instead for faster "used asset" lookups.
- Texture browser now has "show used only" filter as well.
- Props browser now has "show used props only" checkbox. Same thing for textures browser coming soon.
- Custom colors now saved to *.level files.
- Custom colors now saved between selections. Next todo: save per-level custom colors to disk.
- Autobackup filenames now include level name, e.g. ns2_refinery.autobackup2.level.
- Tooltips for tool bar buttons now display bound hot key. Bug: If you change them, the tooltips won't update until restart. Ah well.

- Added the ability to specify default values for settings in a render_setup file.
- Added Clear Level menu option in the Cinematic Editor to clear out the currently set level file.
- Fixed issues with COLLADA files that contained instance_material nodes.
- Fixed issue where COLLADA files that referenced textures with spaces in the file name would not be properly loaded if the file name used a relative path.
- Fixed loading of COLLADA models in the Viewer.
- Enhanced the sound picker with a hierarchical folder display.
- Added support for hearing sounds effects placed in the level in the Editor.
- Added support for displaying cinematics in the Editor.
- Added support for displaying web pages in game.
Dec 7, 2012
Community Announcements - UWE.Strayan (NS2HD)
Community Announcements - WasabiOne
Friday Night Show Match - 420 v Scm Starting Now!
Community Announcements - WasabiOne
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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Jim Rossignol)

Natural Selection 2‘s intense multiplayer sci-fi corridor-combat has given me odd dreams. I am not sure why that’s relevant, but I wanted to mention it.

Unknown Worlds’ long-awaited sequel (since 2002!) to the original hybrid mega-mod has been out for a while now, and I’ve been snapping my giant, slavering jaws on the live servers during that time. I believe this means I am ready to send you an encoded transmission that tells you wot I think.> (more…)

Product Update - Valve
- Changed combat time-out to 3 seconds (was 1.5) seconds (makes Regeneration and Cloaking less powerful and easy to use).
- Reduced Shade cloaking radius from 20 to 14.
- Re-balanced Crags so they now self-heal, but only give 3% health every 2 seconds (min 10, max 40). (was 5%, min 10, max 50).

- Fixed error when starting Explore mode.
- Fixed bug where Crags were getting too much health.
- Fixed crash when a render_setup file could not be parsed due to improper formatting.
- Fixed bug where text with multiple lines was not properly printed to the console.
- Fixed bug where the spinner on the loading screen did not display if texture quality was set to medium.

- Added a second parameter to the callback called from Shared.SendHTTPRequest in the case of an error, which specifies the error message.
- Changed models to use a default material if one wasn't specified in the imported file.
Product Update - Valve
- Evolving Onos eggs now requires three Hives instead of two. Onos eggs are a complex matter, and are a work in progress!
- Reduced Onos armor by 100 (-8%, effectiveness vs. Exos and heavy weapons impacted less because armor).
- Welder research time increased from 10 to 15.
- Exo armor changed from to 300/390/480/570 to 400/460/520/580.
- Welder rate reduced from 125/sec to 90/sec.
- Reduced shadow step cost from 15 to 10.
- Increased blink momentum to be close to build 220.
- Increase start blink energy cost from 8 to 12.
- Shift Hatch now creates 2 eggs, but costs 5 resources and has a 5 second cool down (was 1 tres per egg, no cooldown).
- Increased trait structure (Shell, Spur, Veil) mature health by ~20%. Also increased their base health to be closer to their previous mature health.
- Reduced spore research time from 90 to 60.
- Hive build time increased from 150 seconds to 180 seconds.
- Reduced Onos Gore range by 0.5 meters.
- Added cooldown to shift hatch ability.
- Lowered max healing on Crag.
- Added minimum healing from Hives.
- Changed combat timeout to 4 seconds.
- Reduced mega regeneration (max regeneration is now 10 per second instead of 120).
- Doubled ARC rate of fire (halved damage)

- Fixed bug where the server would leak memory under some circumstances.
- The ghost Power Node no longer takes damage, fixes a problem where the Power Node could not be rebuilt after being destroyed in some cases.
- Fixed rare bug where a Hive could become invulnerable if it was killed in the same frame as it finishes building.
- Fixed sound bug causing ambient sounds in the world to not play correctly.
- Fixed unbuilt shifts being able to generate eggs.
- Fixed Exo and Mine tooltips.
- Fixed regeneration effect showing up in combat.
- Fixed the "filter modded servers" option not always working correctly in the server browser.
- Fixed ARC targeting issues.
- Fixed already recycled units still taking damage.
- Added protection against speed hacking.

- Added more loading screen tooltips.
- Added a display to the server browser to show the number of servers in the list.

- Added the ability to specify "passes" for build rules in the Builder to setup simple dependency relationships.
- Added SoundEffectInstance:SetCoords() function.
Community Announcements - UWE.Strayan (NS2HD)
Join WasabiOne on for some outstanding play!

Reviewer Apologizes For Factual Inaccuracies In Pulled GameSpot ReviewThe freelance reviewer who wrote a video game review that was pulled by GameSpot—and kept on Metacritic nonetheless—says he's sorry for the mistakes in his piece.

"I apologize to the readers and the fans for the factual errors in the Natural Selection 2 review and in any other reviews that I've done that had factual errors in them," writer Eric Neigher told me on the phone yesterday. "There really is a sacred trust between reviewers and their readers. You have to be confident that a publication and a writer are going to be giving you the facts as they exist, and are gonna be giving you an honest opinion. That's always what I strive to do. Unfortunately, I don't always get there."

"Understand that I'm just a human being and sometimes I miss things or get them wrong. It's not my intention to cut the legs out from any game or go after a game because it's not a big triple-A title—I don't do that. I just review games on their merits."

Neigher, an attorney who says he has been reviewing games for ten years, still stands by what he wrote about Natural Selection 2, "except for the stuff that was factually wrong... I feel like the score was definitely accurate. Again, everybody has different opinions. GameSpot reassigned the review to somebody else, and that guy had a different opinion of the game."

So why was it taken down? Neigher said he had a private conversation with GameSpot's reviews editor, Kevin VanOrd, who told him the Natural Selection 2 review would be pulled. Neigher wouldn't comment on what was discussed.

(When I reached out to VanOrd Wednesday as part of this story, he wouldn't comment beyond what he had written in his apology post on GameSpot.)

The main factual inaccuracy in the piece, Neigher told me, was the price, which he wrote was $30. Natural Selection 2 actually costs $25. "I kind of stupidly rounded the price up based on sales tax, as I usually do with store-bought games, not realizing that of course this is a downloadable game which doesnt have sale tax, so that was kind of dumb, but you know, that stuff happens."

"You have to be confident that a publication and a writer are going to be giving you the facts as they exist, and are gonna be giving you an honest opinion. That's always what I strive to do. Unfortunately, I don't always get there."

Neigher said there were two other common complaints: one omission—"I had omitted to say in the review that there were servers that were dedicated for new players, at the same time I criticized the game for being extremely hard on new players."—and one suggestion that he had exaggerated the game's loading times—"But that's all based on what kind of computer you're using and stuff, so load times are always kind of a subjective deal."

Any other factual errors? "Not to my knowledge," Neigher said. "You know, the load times thing I really don't consider to be a factual error, because you know, that was my experience. Other than those things, no."

When a GameSpot reader asked in the website's comments why VanOrd hadn't just fixed the errors and written a correction, VanOrd responded with an explanation.

"People scream about negative reviews all the time; but a well-argued review is an airtight review, meaning that its factual examples must support the argument," he wrote. "In this case there were multiple factual errors (regarding the price, regarding the load times, regarding the engine) as well as an overlooked but important detail (newcomer-only servers) that—while they could be fixed—cast a shadow over the review as a whole."

The people behind Natural Selection 2 told me that they never contacted GameSpot in any official capacity, although Hugh Jeremy, community manager for developer Unknown Worlds and a popular presence for the Natural Selection 2 team, did leave a comment on GameSpot's review to correct the price, among other things.

As I reported on Wednesday, this isn't the first time Neigher has run into complaints about inaccuracies. In a 2010 review of Elemental: War of Magic for 1up, Neigher talked about the game's multiplayer functionality—functionality that had not yet been out. The review was amended to reflect that.

"I think what happened in that review was I had meant to imply that the upcoming multiplayer would help with the problems and then, when it was edited, it was switched to a direct statement," Neigher told me. "But, yeah, so that was a whole big confusion. There was gonna be a multiplayer and then it wasn't released at the time of the version of the game I reviewed, so I think I put something like 'multiplayer will presumably fix these errors' and I think the 'presumably' got dropped or something like that, so it was just a big confusion."

In 2009, GameSpy pulled Neigher's review of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, also for factual inaccuracies. "We have decided to remove our review of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars after finding some factual inaccuracies in the text," the staff wrote on their website as part of a round-up of reviews for the game.

When I asked Neigher why that review was pulled, he said he couldn't remember. When I asked him about what seems to have been a consistent trend over the past few years, he said I'd have to compare his record to other game reviewers before coming to that conclusion.

"You're drawing a conclusion that there's a pattern that's commonplace," he said, "Presumably that only has value if you're saying that I have a more common instance of people complaining about my reviews for whatever reason. Then you need to at least base that on—it's higher than the average rate. So if other reviewers are also getting the same kind of things at the same rate, then we wouldnt expect it to be a problem with me, it's just endemic to the industry...

"Neither of the two of us knows really the average industry amount of complaints, revisions, and pullings of reviews by a website and by a reviewer," he said. "So it's hard to say—and also, I can only offer anecdotal evidence as far as my own experiences go, but the vast majority of my reviews have not really had any issues at all, and certainly have not been pulled."

Game reviews on major websites are not often pulled—even Neigher admitted that he doesn't think this sort of thing is common—so to an outside observer, two pulled reviews would certainly seem like a trend. Kotaku, for example, has never had to pull a review.

On a WordPress blog that Neigher started this week, he wrote a more in-depth apology.

"The process of savaging reviews is a commonplace occurrence in our industry, and I've certainly had my share of that—sometimes justifiably," he wrote. "This is, unfortunately, one of those times, and I apologize to everybody for dropping the ball."


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