Ratz Instagib - Lizzard
Hello everyone!

Wow… what a fantastic weekend Ratz just had! I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in the free Ratz Instagib weekend, and if you bought the game in that time… thank you again! I hope you all enjoyed it!

Of course, in the process of the free weekend taking place, some new bugs occurred. These were:

- Ratz fails to authenticate with Steam
- In CTF mode, if the flag carrier gets switched to the other team, the flag disappeared
- In Duel mode, the game didn't end when your opponent ragequits (I'm not 100% sure if it's fully fixed, so please report if it still happens. It's hard to debug! ><)

But don't worry, they're all fixed now!

I've also come up with something I hope you're going to like…

Enhanced Mouse Input V2
While I was working on the new Map Editor and the inclusion of Multi-Threaded Lightmap baking, I got a great idea for a new type of mouse input! Enhanced Mouse Input V2 now runs in a separate CPU thread - this results in super fast mouse polling with almost zero performance impact. This approach is probably the best mouse input you'll find in any Unity game right now… give it a try and let me know what you think!

Simple Matchmaking
Since we have a lot of new players now, I thought it was time to try out a new matchmaking system. When searching for a game now, the system tries to separate players into two tiers. So, if a player reaches a rating of at least 150 points over time, the chances are higher that they'll then be matched with more experienced players (only in ranked modes). Hopefully, this will help new players to get a better start at playing and enjoying Ratz!

Have fun everyone!
Ratz Instagib - martTM
Hi everyone!

What's that? You think Ratz Instagib is brilliant and think more people should play it? Well, now's the perfect opportunity to spread the word… because Ratz Instagib is totally free to play for the entire weekend!

From 10am PDT today (9/10/15) to 1pm PDT on Sunday (9/13/15), you can play Ratz Instagib as much you like for free. Tell your friends, tell your relatives, tell strangers on the street - it doesn't matter, as long as people get playing!

On top of this, we've got two added bonuses for both new Ratz players and long-time fans:
  • 50% off of the game's regular price from today until 10am PDT on Monday (9/14/15), meaning you can keep playing after the free weekend is over!
  • Three super-rare 'Space Rat' customisation items (helmet, chestplate and shoulder pads) that can ONLY be unlocked by playing this weekend – once the free period is over, they'll never be available again!

Spread the word, because this weekend it's open season on Ratz Instagib! Have fun!
Ratz Instagib - martTM
Hello Ratz fans!
It's been a while since the last update to Ratz Instagib but today, I'm happy to tell you about a whole heap of updates to the game that I hope you're going to love!

First, the big news…

Announcing the Ratz Map Editor!
Yes, it's finally in the making! The Ratz Map Editor will allow you to create your own game maps and play/share them with the community. Thankfully, the development of it doesn't seem as complicated as I first thought, but it's still too early to give exact details on when it'll be finished. Nevertheless, my goal is to provide simple tools to allow everyone to create nice maps, but at the same time give advanced users the full customisation options they need.

Check out these early screenshots:

Next up…

The new Rooftop map!
This mixes things up quite a bit, so I hope you enjoy playing on it…

New Customisation Items!
I've created 17 (!) new items, including one special item for everyone who supports Ratz while it's in Early Access – the Improved Jetpack! This item won't be unlockable once the game leaves Early Access next year, so be sure to grab it while you can!

And on top of this new content, I've made lots of improvements to the game too…
  • Tweaked Player movement – Lower Jump height and increased Gravity
  • Bigger Player Hitbox – Adjusted the Hitbox size of players to balance it with the player outline/equipped items
  • Precise mouse sensitivity – This should give more room for exact mouse speed settings
  • Zoom multiplier – Set how much the zoom should affect the mouse sensitivity
  • Improved AFK-System – It's now less aggressive and has some bugs fixed…
  • Pixel Beam looks improved

As always, I hope you continue to enjoy playing Ratz Instagib and look forward to the full release early next year!
Ratz Instagib - martTM
Hello everyone!

Let's get straight on with today's update information, since I know you've all been waiting for it...

Network Update!
Yes, it's finally done! I've worked hard to improve the network code of Ratz, since it's been the top comment people have had about the game since it arrived in Early Access.

If you score a hit on someone, they will die at least 50% faster – especially if you have to play with high ping. It's also much more consistent, which should make the game much, much better to play! So, if you are one of those people who were getting a ping of 150+, you should give Ratz another try!

Please keep in mind that I had to rewrite some pretty sensitive code to get this updated networking going – as such, if you come across any bugs or issues, please let me know straight away.

I prepared some gifs for you (they should run at 30fps, i hope they don't slow down):

I've also now added a feature that, to be honest, should have been already in Ratz from the start: you can set a separate Zoom FOV to your own liking with the option of toggling it on or off. I hope that helps some of you!

Even More Customisation!
Some truly explosive new cosmetics are ready for you to unlock!

Anti-Idle/AFK System Enhancements
Ever since the Customisation side of Ratz was launched, I've had a lot of complaints from players about people going AFK and idling in the hope of unlocking items without actually having to play. On top of the system that was there before, I've now improved the Anti-Idle System to weed out these AFK players – hopefully, this new update should solve the problem.

Remember, folks: idling doesn't unlock customisation items, it just annoys everyone around you!

Additional Fixes
  • Assigning Mouse Buttons 4/5, Shift and Alt in the Options menu works as it should now.
  • Item Unlock will no longer unlock the wrong item.

Have fun everyone!

Ratz Instagib - martTM
So, today's a special day for Ratz Instagib...

To celebrate the massive addition of customisation options, we're running a promotion over this weekend with some prizes to give away! Plus, big discounts on buying the game!

First up, the competition. As you'll know by now, playing the game in most modes gives you the chance to earn special customisation items for your rat. This weekend though (and until the winners appear!), we've added a very special item: a Golden Ticket that, if found, can win you a prize!

The rules are simple: play the game as normal and keep your eyes open for a Golden Ticket drop in your inventory. If you get one, add the developer on Steam (Lizzard4000) and trade him the ticket item as quick as you can... if you're one of the first two people to do this, you'll win a signed Mad Catz R.A.T. gaming mouse worth £60!

Please note: only the first two people to trade their ticket to Lino will win. There are more than two tickets in the system, but the item will be removed once we have our winners.

On top of this exciting promotion, we're offering Ratz Instagib this weekend only (22-26 May) for 33% off! This discount applies to both individual and 4-pack key purchases so, if you want to introduce a friend to Ratz, now's your chance to do it for less.

Have fun everyone and good luck finding those tickets... we'll see you on the rat-tlefield!

Ratz Instagib - martTM
Hello everyone!

I've been overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback I got for the addition of customisation! A lot of players have coming back to Ratz every day and the player count seems to be more stable as of late… that's great! Now though, it's time for another update.

Mac Support

Finally, Mac players can get into the enjoyment of Instagib action too! And even better, the Mac and Win builds are cross-platform compatible, so you can fight it out for supremacy!

New Customisation Items

I've added ten more new items for everyone to unlock including a pirate / pool party set and the super special 'Ster' Armor!. Ster helped me a lot to build up the Ratz community and if you're one of his fans, you can represent him in-game!

Also you can now access the Customisation Menu in-game – there's no need to leave the game to equip new items any more.

Steam Market
Got duplicates of the same item? Then sell them in the Steam Marketplace! Please note: this feature is still very new so if you experience any bugs, please let me know.

Please keep in mind that Item Drops are disabled in Custom Hosted games!
Ratz Instagib
Want this vest? Scroll to the bottom for instructions.

Lino Slahuschek, the sole developer of Ratz Instagib 2.0, was modest when we spoke over Skype yesterday. Speaking in English might have contributed to his short and sweet answers—Slahuschek is from Austria—but I sensed that Ratz is a genuine passion project for him. It began as an experiment.

"I thought I would like to try to make a little shooter in Unity in a week or so, just to try it out, how network and stuff works, but I couldn't stop," said Slahuschek. "And it evolved into the webgame after some months, and then got greenlit [on Steam], and the big idea of releasing on Steam came to me, and I redid the whole game."

I like the game he's made: Ratz is an arena shooter stripped to the essentials, with one-hit kills and one hitscan weapon for everyone. There's no question of where the inspiration came from: when I asked, Slahuschek said impassively, "Yes, Unreal Tournament." He made Ratz to recreate the experience of his favorite UT instagib server. I'm personally a huge fan of UT2K4 instagib, so Ratz immediately appealed to me.

Other people like the game, too—the reviews on Steam are 'very positive'—but the number of concurrent players in Ratz at has dwindled since it launched. I think it's fair to say that maintaining a healthy player population is the biggest problem multiplayer shooters face on PC, and it's not just smaller games like Ratz. Evolve's concurrents are often sub-1000 lately, which is minuscule considering how heavily the game was marketed and how well it was initially received.

So, Ratz is a bit quiet these days, and Slahuschek and his publisher, Rising Star Games, are trying to pull players back in. How do you do that? "Items, I guess," said Slahuschek, chuckling. It's about "giving the players something to work for," added Rising Star Game's Samuel Elphick, who was also on the call.

Taking a cue from Team Fortress 2, the latest update adds cosmetic items which have a random chance of dropping every so many hours of multiplayer play. (Slahuschek told me how many hours that was, but wanted it to be a mystery.) The items are tradeable on the Steam Marketplace. 

The update also makes changes to the Freeztag mode, and adds the chance to draw one of two 'golden tickets,' which win you a signed Mad Catz Tournament Edition R.A.T. mouse.

Further down the line, Slahuschek plans to add more maps and translations before leaving Early Access. I asked him if there was any hope for community-made maps—something I think is near-vital for the long-term success of multiplayer shooters—and he was interested in the idea, but said it wouldn't be easy.

"It would be nice, but the way the maps are done ... this wouldn't be possible with a map maker," said Slahuschek. "So the custom maps by users would look a lot different. If I could figure out a way to make it look good with a map editor, then yes, but they would be a lot different—very different—to the normal maps."

"I really want a map editor now," said Elphick.

"I could do something like Minecraft," Slahuschek continued, considering the idea. "Like you put a lot of boxes around and form the maps. This could be possible but I don't know how it would look."

So, that might not happen soon, if at all, but Slahuschek says Ratz will continue to be supported and updated after it leaves Early Access. "It has a lot of potential, I think, and right now it is successful for me," he said. "It's my first game. I don't know how much bigger it can get—I think a lot."

Rising Star Games contacted me last month and asked if Slahuschek could add a PC Gamer item to the game. Hey, why not? Just type 'pcgamer' (one word) quickly on the main menu screen to unlock it.

Ratz Instagib - Lizzard4000
Hello everyone!

It's been a while since the last update, but that's because I've been working hard on the biggest one yet. And now, after almost two months of work, I can finally release it!

Make your rat look fancy! Now you customise your avatar in four different places: one headpiece + three body extras.
But what to customise them with? Well, when a match ends, there's a chance you'll get a random customisation item drop with rarity ranging from Common to the super rare Legendary!

Currently there are 27 unlockable items, but I definitely want to increase that number a lot in the coming months. And I will!

Please be aware that the Inventory system is still beta and being heavily worked on by Valve. Steam trading of items you don't want/need should work in most situations, but Steam marketplace isn't working right now – this will be enabled in the coming weeks. Once it's in, you'll be able to sell your duplicate items to other players.

I've been working hard to make Freezetag better for a number of reasons.
The problems we faced in the original version of it were pretty obvious, as the teambased game types in Ratz had some issues.
Specifically, if the best players were randomly assigned to one team, the other team would have barely a chance… it just ends up in a slaughter,
with lots of demotivated players! Sadly, letting players decide to switch teams wasn't an option, as it could be abused (like switching in the last round to the winning team).

Thankfully, I've come up with some improvements and now if you play a ranked Freeztag game, some things will be different:
• After every round, the teams get re-balanced so you get a new fair team composition every time.
• Because of this rebalancing, it's now not about which team wins but rather how many rounds YOU as a player win.
• Win more than 50% of the rounds in a match to improve your rating!

Other changes apply to both ranked AND custom Freezetag games:
• Now if a teammate is frozen, you will be able to see them even through walls. That way, you can always know where they are and be quick to help unfreeeze them!
• Preparation time at the start of each round has been reduced to three seconds.
• In Freeztag only, maps now have a lot of extra 'barriers' to hide behind. They can be used as cover and should make it easier to help you unfreeze teammates. But be careful!
If you rush forward alone and your team gets out of range, chances are that you will be in a position none of your friends can help you...

Mouse Input
Every shooter that is made in the Unity engine has the same problem with mouse input: it's not frame independent.
After a bit of thinking, I came up with a new experimental solution to capture the mouse position multiple times per frame!
This leads to much more responsive mouse handling. So, if you're one of those people who've been thinking that the mouse control doesn't feel quite right in Ratz, I'd encourage you to enable the Enhanced Mouse Input in the Options menu and see how it feels then!

With this, Ratz Instagib is now one step closer to full release. I hope you all enjoy these new improvements… please let me know what you think in the comments while I continue to make the game even better!

Some more images, in case you're curious:

Ratz Instagib - Lizzard4000
Hello everyone!

Pink Map Update!

Ratz Instagib will have it's own stand at EGX REZZED !
Therefore i think it's the perfect time for a quick Map Update!

See you at EGX REZZED !

Ratz Instagib - Lizzard4000
Hello everyone!

A big update for Ratz today, with some things that a lot of you have been asking for.

The biggest new feature is the arrival of bots to play against. The implementation caused me some nightmares, but they are finally done and I think they’re pretty good! Host a private match (Deathmatch only at the moment), add up to eight bots, set the difficulty and test your skills against them. And if you’re familiar with the best Ratz players out there… well, you might recognize some of them!

Can't find any players in the matchmaking queue? Play against bots while you wait!

Next, a new map: the Classroom. It features a lot of obstacles to use as cover, and I can't wait to test this unique layout with you all!

Tired of playing Deathmatch all the time? Then hit ESC and click the ‘Vote Gametype’ button. After the vote has passed, the next match will switch to your desired gametype.

Also, there’s now an ‘Open Room’ notification next to the Gametype selection. This will let you know where to find a game, so you’ll never miss out!

On top of all these pretty massive improvements, there are also some minor fixes such as:

Separate Mouse Speed X/Y
Set individual speed for you mouse X/Y axis in the options menu!

Hit Outlines
Opponents’ outlines flash white if hit, makes it more obvious that they are about to explode (this feature was disabled by mistake in the last patch, but it works again now).

You can now also respawn with the ‘Jump’ key (default: Space Bar). That way, you won't accidentally fire a shot upon spawning and revealing your position to the opposition!

Please be aware that there might be some bugs (especially with the bot implementation) so if you find anything weird, please tell me!