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!
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.
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.
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
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.
Fixed fall seasonal stuff appearing in Caged ready room when it shouldn’t be.
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
Gorges can now place tunnels behind the counter in Terminal.
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.
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
Alien Egg Spawn
Every hive spawns an egg every 13 secs instead of only one hive at a time.
Decreased damage bonus against players to 150% from 200%
Decreased costs to 20 pres.
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! 🙂 )
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)
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
Declared some missing optional constants for the ScoringMixin and BaseModelMixin
Added proper support for Lua style multi line comments
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.)
Due to recent Kharaa invasions, we are in need of reinforcements on the frontlines of testing! Enlist HERE [forums.unknownworlds.com]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.
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 .