With NS v3.0 beta 5 out the door, the NS development team is already hard at work on beta 6. After a development meeting that laid out the foundation of what we need to include (bug fixes/balance) and what new elements we feel make sense at this time, we are beginning to feel like there is a possibility that beta 6 will bring us to our objectives and allow us to make beta 6 NS 3.0 final. We’re planning a number of balance changes, specifically to improve the gameplay experience of alien players in very small and large games, a number of cosmetic improvements, and of course, more bugfixes.
Now onto some new introductions. There have been several additions to the dev team that have not been formally announced, so I’d like to take a moment and recognize who they are:
Daniel "TyrNemesis^" Polcari – Level Design overseer. Tyr just celebrated his 1 year anniversary of being in the NS community, and now gets the task of organizing maps, reviewing them, making suggestions and assigning maps for playtesting.
Dave "MaDMaXX" Monks – Sound artist. MaDMaXX is the fellow responsible for the tasty new welder sound, as well as the recent reworks to the JP and LMG noises.
Harry "puzl" Walsh – Linux support, and "secret projects" programmer. Harry has been helping with the site, mirroring and much more for many months now, but now he is officially on board to handle aspects of Linux development, perform some system administration, and to work on upcoming projects (think, "BUS").
Mark "^Zunni^" Windle – Public relations. Zunni has just recently joined the team, and has already begun informing the fans of NS about new features coming in the future.
There has also been some shuffling of roles and responsibilities to improve the efficiency, consistency and quality of our development work:
Joel "grepdashv" Rubicam has taken on the responsibility of QA Manager and is tasked with ensuring that NS remains one of the highest quality mods available for any engine.
Joe "joev" Vaughan is now responsible for managing the development process. Basically this means he’s the one who gets it in the neck if things aren’t done on time and up to standard.
Florian "NemesisZero" Schwarzer, in addition to all the other work that he does as the NS community lead, has also taken on the role of "Producer" for NS. In essence he is responsible for the product "Natural Selection", deciding timeframes, schedules, and giving crucial input on release contents.
Charlie "Flayra" Cleveland is still doing all design and directing the future of NS, but is no longer doing NS programming.
We continue to be committed to bringing the NS players the best possible game that we can, and strive to make each release more balanced and a better playing experience than any of the prior releases. As work continues, keep checking the front page of nautral-selection.org or the announcement forum for new news regarding specifics that are being included for B6.
In competitive news, CAL-NS just went into their fourth season, and there are two European tourneys, one organized by the folks at GamingOrb.com, and one carried out by NS-Game.com, which just extended by adding an English sister site. Check them out if you’re interested in some high-quality gaming.
Lastly, the new NS website is almost ready for prime-time, expect an announcement within a week or so.