State of Development: March 2020

Posted by sebastian 3 months ago

Hello Everyone!

There hasn’t been a game update in the last months as we have been busy working on some larger features. To keep you all in the loop here is a short summary of what we are working on. And what you can expect from the next game update.

Gameplay

Since December our Balance Team has been busy cooking up the latest set of tweaks and shake ups for gameplay.

We said a bittersweet goodbye to BeigeAlert during this time as he pursues an exciting new opportunity. However this caused a bit of a delay for the development of gameplay changes.

Enter Katzenfleisch joining the team! He has been working together with Ghoul since February to get us back on track. Trucking along and implementing the balance changes requested by the balance team (led by Rantology).

To have a look at what is cooking in the stove join a server running the UWE Balance Beta mod. Look for servers with “UWE Beta Balance” in the title.

Engineering

The last update decreased the connection timeout to 5 ms from 5 minutes to get rid of ghost player entities. Those blocked players from reconnecting to a server. However this resulted in some players being unable to connect to servers without timing out while loading.

Looking into the issue we discovered multiple critical issues. The engine currently doesn’t handle file assets as well as it should. It doesn’t schedule some tasks properly onto the cpu. And it fails to manage some callbacks properly. All of that slows down loading on some systems drastically. Making the client unresponsive to incoming network messages, causing the server to assume the client timed out.

But it also has some very negative effects on the stability of the frame time for all systems.

So fsfod and Ghoul integrated some new debug tools to better diagnose these kind issues. And are currently resolving them one issue at a time.

If you are affected by client timeout issues please join our discord server where we regularly publish new experimental builds with the latest iteration of those fixes. (Often found in pinned messages in the NS2 chat channel)

New Map: METRO

Loki, Kash, Zavaro, Runestorm, Rantology, Ironhorse, Shrimm, Psyk, Mephilles, Samoose, Vlaad, and the Map Testing team have been busy working on an epic new map called METRO for quite some time.

Right now the art team is busy detailing and optimizing the final stages of the map. METRO will make its debut in the upcoming patch. For now, here is a teaser image as an appetizer for you:

Preview ns2_metro

Darwin’s Thunderdome

Does it also take you too long to find a good match? Are you tired of waiting to get a slot on a server? Or ending up with players of a totally different skill tier? Or having to play with a way too high ping because there are no servers in your region?

Darwin’s Thunderdome aims to answer those questions. Essentially it’s a system that groups players based on their geographical region and hive skill. Then spins up a dedicated server as close as possible to the players.

Additionally you will be able to create private lobbies. So you can play with your friends without having to worry about finding a server or setting up your own.

Currently Thunderdome lobbies are limited to 12 players and only support the vanilla NS2 game mode with some essential mods. Additionally we may add support for alternate game modes, and potentially have playing while queuing on special skirmish servers.

Existing community servers will still provide a different kind of social experience. Thunderdome is not meant to replace them. But as a way to play a good match of Natural Selection 2 as quickly as possible.

Bug fixes and QoL changes

As usual we and the community developers also fixed reported bugs and various QoL changes. For more details we can only recommend to have a look at our bug tracker trello board. Most of the fixes that will likely make it in are usually in the Fixed and Tested column.

Thank you

We would like to thank all Natural Selection 2 players for their ongoing support. And can’t wait to hear your feedback in the comments. If you would like to directly get in touch with us just join our discord server.