Update 324 – CATALYST

Posted by WasabiOne 2 months ago

Update 324 is the start of something exciting! It’s the catalyst to our new development cycle! Over the last few years we have made changes and fixes to further develop NS2 with the emphasis on helping to stabilize the gameplay and create the best experience possible for every player. Today we start the sale of our limited time DLC the Catalyst Pack! This premium DLC offers the single largest skin pack we have ever released and it also includes future custom skins and items as a thank you for purchasing the DLC now. Sales of this DLC directly affect the budget for our development team and will help us to continue to bring you more exciting updates to the game. See more at naturalselection2.com/catalyst, but hurry because this DLC will only be available for a short time and then it will be locked away in the UWE vault forever!

We have spent the last few months working behind the scenes to develop a Roadmap for our vision of NS2 2.0. This isn’t a new game, but what we feel is the ultimate version of NS2. Once our objectives on the roadmap have been completed, we will work with our partners to do a large marketing push and even test some free to play options to get NS2 in the hands of those who haven’t had the opportunity to play.

While our focus is shifting towards new and exciting changes, we will still continue to fight for more performance both server-side and client-side. We are fortunate to have so many community contributors who are helping on both fronts. We’re excited and passionate about supporting their efforts and we can’t wait to see their work included with a future release.

With our push to both increase development productivity and shorten the time we can release this roadmap to you, we have hired an additional programmer. Not a stranger to NS2, please welcome Brian “Samoose” to the team! Over the years Samoose has been a big part of work done with our old customize menu and he has done lots of tinkering around the entire game. With his addition to the team, we hope to accomplish a lot of our tasks in a shorter amount of time.

We thank you for your continued support

See you on the battlefield!

Changelog

Gameplay

  • Fade
    • Decreased the size of the Fade’s hitbox slightly
      • In recent months, feedback from the community has illustrated that the Fade can feel a bit too vulnerable or “squishy”, leading to aversion from average players in choosing the crucial lifeform. In lieu of adjusting its eHP values, we decided to refine the hitbox to make it closer to the actual model, making it slightly harder to hit for inaccurate shots. We’ll be monitoring this change closely.

  • Gorge Tunnel
    • Added a new unique building sound that can be heard beyond the Gorge Healspray distance. (Thanks Sweets!)
      • This allows attentive Marines the chance to counter and contend aggressively positioned tunnels that are placed a full room away, but it should not heavily impact defensively placed tunnels that are predictable (such as Nanogrid). This has allowed us to lower the build time.
    • Lowered build time to ~8.5 seconds (from 12, was previously 5).
      • We received a lot of unhappy feedback regarding the longer build times, which were originally intended to provide time for Marines to discover them when laning. However, utilizing sounds should allow us to lessen this build time while accomplishing similar goals.
    • Added a new unique idle sound that can only be heard just beyond melee range by both teams (Thanks Sweets!)
      • This should aid both Aliens and Marines locating the tunnel in cramped and busy structure environments, especially when shaded. Aliens can no longer utilize silence to conceal a tunnel from a nearby Marine.
    • Removed the Tunnel cysts (“muffins”) inside the tunnel
      • These obstructions were originally intended to provide brief cover for Aliens traversing inside, but after years worth of experience, it is clear that they more often obstruct Alien movement instead. Commence Gorge bellyslide halfpipe stunts!
  • Webs: (Thanks Katzenfleisch!)
    • You can now place Clogs on Webs.
      • This allows for some creative Clog placement rather than simple Clog towers, and while it can better obstruct Marine movement it often provides a greater LOS for the Marine to shoot through.
      • You can place 3 Clogs on a web. Any more than this will break the web and your clogs will fall. Hydras and Babbler Eggs on the underside of these Clogs will be destroyed when a Clog falls, so be wary of their placement!
      • You can utilize this mechanic to get to previously hard to reach positions.
    • Webs are no longer destroyed on contact by Marines. Only Exosuits remove them on contact.
      • This was done to both accommodate Clogs on Webs (otherwise a single Marine can just run through your creation to destroy it) as well as provide a much needed increase in utility to the carefully placed Webs. As such..
    • Webs can be destroyed by the Axe
      • It takes 4 swings to destroy a web with no weapons upgrade, 3 swings at any other level. So better get a welder if you’re in a hurry!
  • Babblers
    • They will now reattach when a player evolves, even to another lifeform. They will also reattach to a player after leaving the Hive. (Thanks, Katzenfleisch!)

Tweaks / Improvements

  • Added the first batch of skins for the Catalyst DLC:
    • Toxin skins for all playable Kharra lifeforms.
    • Sandstorm skins for all Frontiersmen equipment including for the first time the Grenade Launcher and Welder.
  • Optimized the Marine droppable Catalyst Pack and Onos Boneshield effect shaders (Thanks Handschuh)
  • Players now lose their rookie status at Hive Level 15

Sound Effects / General Audio

(Thanks Sweets!)

  • Marine footstep distance for Aliens have been slightly increased to 12 (from 11)
  • Increased Jetpack looping sound at mid-distance. Jetpack looping sound now louder than the burst sound.
  • Gorge Tunnel ambient sounds now play everywhere inside the tunnel and are much more audible.
  • Hive pain sound no longer plays for the Marine Commander at full volume across the other side of a map. Volume rolloff dependenton how close the camera is to the hive.
  • Optimized sound banks including 150 sounds. Many critical sounds that are very short but needed to be played immediately were inefficiently being streamed from disk which created a small delay. Other Voice Overs and music tracks which are larger files are no longer loaded into memory. This will help players the most who are still using mechanical HDDs and it slightly lowers overall memory usage for all players.
  • Axe impact sound on organic materials (Lifeforms, structures, infestation) is no longer delayed.
  • FEV and FSB files are now part of the default consistency checks.

Fixes

  • Fixed Commander droppables not “snapping” to the target entity (such as an empty RT node or a Marine receiving a medpack) as intended.
    • The placement model flickering on and off unreliably was also fixed
  • Fixed that the lua garbage collector did not run while the renderer is finalizing the frame frame but afterwards. Additionally we made sure it doesn’t run longer than absolutely necessary every frame to decrease the time spent only collecting garbage every frame. This decreases the time spent to generate each frame for at least 0.5 ms.
  • Fixed that almost all sound and visual effects were networked and thus shown to the enemy commander even if they didn’t have any line of sight (LOS) to them. All known LOS issues have now been resolved except for the following:
    • Gorge Tunnel, Phase Gate, and Beaconing may still show the enemy transition to their new location on the map momentarily if LOS is achieved first.
    • Bonewall (from spectator only)
    • Webs remain (after gaining LOS at least once)
  • Fixed issue where gorge web placement model would persist after an invalid placement attempt.
  • Fixed that beaconing cared more about proximity to the command chair than room location. (Thanks, Katzen!)
    • For example, on Descent, a marine in Receiving would not get beaconed to Hydroanalysis
  • Fixed that you couldn’t drop a hive while hovering directly over the techpoint with your mouse.
  • Fixed that you could Echo upgrade chambers on top of Hive tendrils
  • Fixed that embryos appeared on the minimap using a different icon than eggs if they were your friends on steam, allowing marines to easily distinguish between eggs and evolving players.
    • NOTE: Despite the obvious balance implications of this change, this has been classified as a bug, and has been fixed.  The rationale behind it is that eggs and embryos appear identical in the world, therefore they should appear identical on the minimap.  The minimap should not be capable of providing more information to the team than they could collectively gather from in-world visuals alone.  In the future, the embryo world-model may be altered to appear different than the egg model, in which case the embryo minimap icon can be reinstated.
  • Fixed that using the bait ball inside a gorge tunnel caused all babblers to be destroyed.  (Thanks, Katzen!)
  • Fixed that babblers did not reattach after leaving a hive.  (Thanks, Katzen!)
  • Fixed that too many babblers could stop khammanders from dropping a structure.  (Thanks, Katzen!)
  • Fixed that the team’s skill tier was often off due to using incorrect player values.
  • Fixed that the server’s skill tier didn’t correctly account for bots and added a tooltip for the icons in the server browser.
  • Fixed that running the performance profiler crashed the application when a worker thread got interrupted by the operating system. However there are still some other less commonly known cases where using the profiler can crash the application.
  • Fixed that firing a shotgun into infestation (or anything that plays the “materials/organic/ricochet” sound event) caused a massive hitch.
  • Fixed that you could place Cysts on floors below gratings/stairs, despite collision geo inbetween, and floors being set to “commandernobuild.”  (Thanks, Katzen!)
  • Fixed that you could not open the Server console on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 or higher.
  • Fixed starting a server on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2012 or higher would result in an immediate crash.

Maps

  • Biodome
    • Fixed an issue with visible Seasonal items in the Ready Room (Thanks, Zavaro!)
    • Fixed z-fighting textures near Join Team entities (Thanks, Zavaro!)
  • Caged
    • Fixed a hole in Purification (Thanks, Zavaro!)
  • Derelict
    • Fixed an issue with cysts stuck under the stairs in Western Entrance (Thanks, Kash!)
    • Fixed hole in ceiling in Lookout (Thanks, Zavaro!)
  • Kodiak
    • Improved Command window visually and added additional Occlusion Geometry (Thanks, Loki!)
    • Added preplaced IPs in Marine Start (Thanks, Psyk!)
    • Fixed Marine Start hologram (Thanks, Loki!)
    • Fixed fullbright Hangar when power goes out (Thanks, Psyk!)
    • Improved Occlusion Geometry and performance (Thanks, Psyk!)
    • Improved and brightened lighting (Thanks, Psyk!)
    • Fixed an area where structures are unpowered in Command (Thanks, Zavaro!)
  • Mineshaft (Thanks, Kash!)
    • Fixed map visual issue near The Gap
    • Fixed unpowered areas in North Tunnels, Crusher, Water Pumps, Snake Pass
    • Fixed location entities not covering parts of rooms
    • Fixed stuck spot in Pilot Drill
    • Made the Cart Tunnel to Water Pumps vent exit more easily used
    • Added partial cover to the ceiling of Operations so that the hive tendrils attach to something when a hive is dropped there.
    • Added lights to eliminate black spots in brew room and the water pumps vent.
    • Added collision geo to make walking in the lower section of Pilot Drill less frustrating.
    • Tweaked a few props in North Tunnels to make it less of a mess visually.
  • Summit
    • Fixed some commander invisible issues with snow and waterfalls
  • Veil
    • Removed collision of props above all doors
    • Fixed Onos stuck spot in Topographical
    • Fixed various holes and minor gaps throughout the map
    • Polished up some glass around the map to be shiny
    • Added crate to allow Onos to get out of small pit in Topo near the gold pipes

Tools

  • Fixed that builder was attempting to use the wrong path for the nvcompress executable and couldn’t build any textures.
  • Editor
    • Added new Rotation Nudging tool to assist in getting precise placement and rotation of model props. New key-binds are available for this tool, but not set by default. These binds can be found under the “Edit” menu while using the Rotation Tools. To use this new feature, hover over the axis to rotate around and press the keys that were bound

SDK

  • Fixed that static prop collision visualization wasn’t properly scaled, and thus didn’t match the actual collision model.

Known Issues

  • There is a micro stutter that can occur for players with less than 70 fps held consistently, while circle strafing, and using Windows 10. (strafing around an object while keeping your view centered on it.) We have a fix ready for the next patch. This stutter has been in the game for months, and was not introduced this patch.