Join Combat: The trailer that needs you!
The current month is April, but we may as well rename it Modril, because mods are absolutely modding everywhere. Last week, UWE held a week long modjam. It was a total blast, and reminded us just how awesome modding can be. After all, Natural Selection was originally a mod!
Don’t be modded out. Because this week, it’s time to talk about a mod that is modding awesome: Combat. Combat was a staple of NS back in the day, and there was never a doubt in the collective community hive mind that it would return on the Spark Engine. Return it has, with a vengeance!
Combat is a variant of Natural Selecti0n play in which an alien and marine team fight in close-quarters, with a time-limit, attempting to destroy each other’s Command Station / Hive. Players receive experience points for getting kills, damaging critical structures, assisting team-mates, and being in proximity to the action. These experience points can be spent on weapons, upgrades, lifeforms, evolutions, traits, abilities, equipment, and other cool stuff.
An intrepid team including Winston Smith, Jibrail, Jim West, Puschen, Sphinxter, and Ice have spent just under a year lovingly crafting this intense, fast-paced multiplayer experience. It draws on the best of the original Combat, while adding more Combat. Creative mappers have produced a plethora of arenas in which to fight. It kicks ass.
In fact, the amount of ass-kickery warrants a little bit of celebration. Some time in the next month, all NS2 media channels (twitter, facebook, google+, steam, blog, etc) will feature a Combat trailer. This trailer will feature an original soundtrack, stunning special effects and a Combat kill-reel that will make your kitty cry. The release of this trailer will coincide with the activation of a large number of new Combat servers that UWE is providing to the Combat team.
To make this trailer, the Combat team needs your help. You need to get out there and get kills, assists, and pull sweet moves. Record your play, and it could end up in the Combat trailer. Here’s how:
1: Record your play
All plays must be recorded at 1280w720h30+p. That is shorthand for saying your resolution must be set to 1280 x 720, and your frame-rate must be 30 progressive frames a second or higher. Use whatever recording method you like, but pay attention to the ‘Encode your play’ section below!
Each play must be 4 seconds or less in length. Anything longer than 4 seconds will not be accepted! All plays must be recorded with graphics set to maximum. That means shadows on, AO on (may be set to medium rather than high), atmospheric lights on, etc.
2: YouTube your play
Put your play up on YouTube, and post it in the comments thread of this newspost. Everyone in the thread should pick out their favourites! Put more than one play in a youtube video, but be sure to separate each one with a second or so of black screen.
3. Encode your play
Here’s the tricky part. If your play is awesome, the Combat team will tell you your shot has been selected in the forum thread. To get it into the trailer, you need to put in a format that Hugh can use in his magical video editing castle. That means creating a file with the following attributes:
Container: Mpeg-4 (abbreviated .mp4)
Video Codec: h.264
Bitrate encoding: Constant bit rate
Frames per second: 30+**
Video dimensions: 1280w720h (1280 x 720)
Pixel aspect ratio: 1.00
Audio Codec: AAC
Audio bitrate: 192kbps
*This bitrate is very important. If you are using a recording program that does its own compression, make sure you are recording a bitrate well, well in excess of 25,000kbps. If you try recording at 20,000kbps and then sending a 25,000kbps file, it’s not going to work!
**Your frame-rate must be or exceed 30 and it must be constant. If your rig gets 30-60fps during a 4 second recording, you need to record at 30. If you provide a clip with an oscillating frame-rate where your PC couldn’t keep up with your recording FPS, it won’t be able to be used in the trailer.
Oh my goodness why is that list so specific! Why can’t I just send a divX video I encoded with this awesome program I found in the basement of the internet? Answer – Because this Combat trailer is going to be epic. And that epic-ness requires quality. The ultimate enemy of video quality is encoding steps: The more there are, the crappier the video looks. That means that the clip that gets dropped in the timeline must be top notch, or it will stand out like a sore thumb. It is also impossible to accurately add effects like motion blur to poor quality, inconsistently encoded clips.
Of course, many video encoding programs don’t expose all these granular settings. Whatever you are using, try to get as close as possible. If you get very close, it’s likely the clip will be usable.
4. Upload your play
If your play is selected by the Combat team and you encode it, upload it to Dropbox, Skydrive, GDrive, or other place where the team can download it from. If you have followed the encoding instructions, each clip will be about ten megabytes in size.
Everyone whose clips get included in the Combat trailer will be featured in the credits post, and will win eternal gratitude from UWE and the Combat team. Some of you out there are incredible shooters, biters, and blinkers. Show us what you’ve got, and help Combat shine!