UPDATE 329 – ORIGIN

Posted by WasabiOne 2 months ago

Welcome back to “Colony Zero,” the forgotten mining facility on the moon Freya IV. Greed and a continued push for dominance brought the TSF to this moon, but what they found while mining deep was something they felt was far more valuable than ore or minerals; little did they know it would start a pandemic reaching across the entire galaxy. 

Our newest official map, ORIGIN, a remake of the NS1 map, holds the answers to the Origins of Kharaa and is now available to play. You can earn the special Abyss Gorge skin after playing five rounds, but hurry as this skin is only available for a limited time! Thank you to pSyk for all his hard work on re-creating this classic map and to our map testing crew for all of their time reviewing and assisting on the map.


Thank you RuneStorm for creating and editing the Video

Update 329 also brings another set of balance changes aimed at creating more variation of play and strategy. A new menu system has been designed and built for a better player customizing experience and allows for easier implementation of future features to come. We have officially moved to DirectX 11 and added support for Temporal Anti-Aliasing, both of which can help produce better quality of play and visual upgrades to your game. Additional changes to other official maps have also been added to support better gameplay and help new players learn the maps.

A reminder that with the release of 329 we have officially dropped support for the Linux client of NS2. We will continue to support and update the Linux Dedicated Server. For those using the Linux client, you can still play NS2 via the Steam Play compatibility tools (Proton). Proton is still in Beta and being actively developed so there may be some features or functions that do not work. We have confirmed that playing the game while connecting to a dedicated server does work and in some cases the performance is much improved from the Linux client.

Check out the full changelog below to see all the goodies contained within.

Remember all sales of NS2 and DLC directly affect our development budget and allow our team to continue work on NS2.

Changelog

Gameplay

  • Alien
    • The “Heal” sound is no longer played on individual Aliens when another  Shell is built. (Thanks ASDF!)

This will eliminate the consecutive sounds emitted when players spawn with carapace or a shell completes, removing the possibility  that a players position is inadvertently given away.

    • The Umbra shader that shows on the viewmodel of an Alien is now instantly removed when Umbra expires instead of slowly trickling away.

This will remove any confusion for players as to how much and for how long they are receiving the damage reduction from umbra.

    • Khammander
      • Supply
        • Drifter supply reduced to 5 (from 10)
        • Whip supply increased to 30 (from 5)
        • Crag supply increased to 25 (from 5)
        • Shift supply increased to 25 (from 5)
        • Shade supply increased to 25 (from 5)
      • New Ability: Consume. Allows a Khammander to recycle alien structures and return the supply cost. Structures do not return team resources.(Thanks ASDF!)
        • Ability is cancelled if orders are given to units that are being consumed.
        • Consume ability cancels any existing orders for the unit.

Both commanders are receiving supply changes in this update- Previously the supply cap was very rarely reached and subsequently had very little to no impact in most games. The goal with the adjustments is to reduce excessive structure spam in the late game, helping to improve both gameplay and performance.

    • Upgrades
      • Carapace
        • Decreased armor bonus for Skulks to 15 (from 20)
        • Decreased armor bonus for Lerks to 20 (from 30)

The impact of triple shell carapace in the early game previously created a dramatic disparity in the survivability of skulks and Lerks (especially when stacked with babblers and mucous membrane use),reducing the benefits of carapace slightly on these two units is intended to soften the survivability spike of the early game lifeforms when selecting carapace.

    • Lerk
      • Changed hp to 180/30 from 150/45 (shifting more hp to health)
      • Spikes
        • Increased spread to 3.6 radius (from 3.1)
        • Deceased spike diameter to 0.045 (from 0.06)
      • Umbra
        • Now requires biomass 6 (up from 5)
        • Decreased damage reduction to 20% (from 25%)
        • Decreased umbra cloud life time to 2.5 seconds (from 4)

By shifting a small portion of the total health pool of the Lerk to health, the Lerk will recover health slightly slower and be exposed to light damage slightly sooner. Lerk Spike adjustments are intended to slightly reduce the effectiveness of Lerk spikes at extreme ranges. Umbra damage reduction duration is being reduced to accommodate the previous fix to the umbra effect sticking on players correctly. Additionally, Umbra has been swapped with Boneshield in the biomass tree to move it’s power spike slightly later in the game.

    • Fade
      • Blink
        • Blink’s initial cast (when you first activate ability) will now cancel All velocity across all axis’ (used to only cancel Up/Down velocity)
        • Blink initial cast speed set to 16.25 (up from ~15.6)
        • Removed spurs reducing Air friction for fade. Originally this reduced 0.01 air friction per spur. Fade air friction is 0.17.
        • Energy regen rate of adrenaline reduced from 80% to 30%
        • Blink “boost” feature (successively tapping blink ability to build up speed) now only works in the same direction your momentum is. You can’t do a 180 and build up speed. The speed boost tapers based on the angle your second blink is with respect to your current momentum.

Blink should now feel much more responsive, and should have more consistent speed gains. The highest burst speeds have been toned down (in particular, the burst speeds previously attained with Celerity). 

    • Onos
      • Decreased base health to 700 (from 900)
      • Increased biomass health bonus to 50 (from 30)
      • Increase Boneshield Movement Speed to 4.5 (up from 3.3)
      • Boneshield is now available on Biomass 5 (down from Bio 6)

Onos scaling has been adjusted to scale more smoothly with biomass. Low biomass onos will have slightly less HP than before, but high biomass onos will have slightly more. Boneshield is available earlier and should be more versatile now with less of a movement penalty.

    • Cyst & Clogs
      • Receive 7x direct damage from welders, flamethrowers and cluster grenades (up from 2.5x)

Welders now destroy clogs & cysts more quickly than before, providing a slightly more specialized niche for the weapon in alternative to the axe.

  • Marine
    • The “Heal” sound is no longer played when marines finish an armor research. (Thanks ASDF!)

This will remove the possibility that a players position is inadvertently given away.

    • Commander
      • Supply
        • Sentry Battery supply increased to 15 from 10
        • Increased observatory supply to 40 from 30
        • Mac supply reduced to 5 (from 10)
        • Armory supply reduced to 0 (from 5)
        • Arc supply reduced to 25 (from 35)
        • Robotics factory supply reduced to 0 (from 5)

Both commanders are receiving supply changes in this update- Previously the supply cap was very rarely reached and subsequently had very little to no impact in most games. The goal with the adjustments is to reduce excessive structure spam in the late game, helping to improve both gameplay and performance.

      • Power Surge
        • Removed damage (was 25)
        • Removed “electrify” debuff (slowed aliens by 25%)
        • Cooldown reduced to 4 seconds (down from 10)

Now that Power Surge is bundled with both Catalyst and Nano shield, we feel the amount of frustration having this unavoidable player damage & player debuff caused as being unnecessary. By refocusing the ability to one core mechanic, this helps us align its use and better balance its effectiveness and impact on field players. It should still have a unique and interesting niche for commanders, but the “hand of god” field-player effects have been stripped away.

    • New Ability: Grenade “quick throw” binding (Thanks ASDF!)
      • By default the “B” key will now instantly deploy and throw any grenades the marine has purchased.
      • The key can be reassigned in bindings option menu.
      • Key can be held to hold the cooked grenade.
    • Grenades
      • Cluster
        • Now deals 5x damage vs. flammable structures, 2.5x vs. all other structures.
        • Now sets targets on fire
        • Burns away umbra, spores and bile bombs
      • Nerve Gas
        • Decreased cloud lifetime to 4.5 seconds (from 6)
        • Decrease grenade max life time to 7.5 seconds (from 10)
      • Pulse
        • Decreased damage to 50 (from 110)
        • Damage radius reduced to 3 (from 6)
        • Decreased detonation radius decreased to 0.17 meter (down from 3)

Hand grenade adjustments are intended to both make them more accessible to use mid-combat, and as such, specialize them more into their respective niches and move away from being direct-damage dealers.

    • Machine Gun
      • Decreased player target damage to 12/13/14/15 from 12/13.2/14.4/15.6

This is intended to normalize the damage scaling of the MG to be more in line with other marine weapons.

    • Shotgun
      • Removed the damage reduction/falloff based on distance
      • Change the spread pattern to 13 (1/5/7) pellets total with variable calibers and damage values:
        • 1 pellet in the very center causing 20 dmg and a caliber of 16 mm
        • 5 pellets with a center offset of 0.5 (inner ring) dealing 16 dmg and and a caliber of 16 mm
        • 7 pellets with a center offset of 1.5 (outer ring) dealing 10 dmg and and a caliber of 32 mm

Shotguns no longer have falloff- The move away from the harsh falloff of 327’s shotgun was made due to both public and internal feedback. Subsequently, the spread has been adjusted to be larger again, however the SG still retains it’s new 100 damage core of 6 pellets to preserve a feeling of consistency.

    • Mines
      • Damage type changed to Normal (from Light)
      • Damage increased to 150 (from 125)
      • HP increased to 50 (from 30)
      • Mines should no longer detonate when killed while deploying

Mines are overdue for a bit of love- Watch out now!

    • Ammo and Cat Pack
      • Now use the same snap radius as the med pack
    • Nano shield
      • Decreased snap radius to 3 m from 6

Both of these are quality of life changes for commanders to normalize drop behaviours with medpacks.

    • ARC
      • Damage reduced to 530 (from 630)
      • Changed hp to 2600/400 fromm 3000/200 (shifting more hp to armor)
      • Fixed that ARCs didn’t save and restore their previous armor value properly when changing their deployment state.
      • Changed ARC’s radial damage falloff to use XZ distance (ignore Y (height) axis). So ARCs total damage is consistent and doesn’t depend on the height of the main target’s model origin.

Slightly reducing the damage of ARCs will extend the siege times it takes for them to destroy hives, and gives aliens a slightly longer window to respond. Additionally, shifting some of their health into armor will encourage commanders to un-deploy them to attain that survivability under alien pressure, giving aliens a stronger counter-play option.

Optimizations

  • Fixed that all cinematics were being updated every frame even when they didn’t need to be.
  • Fixed that Lerk Spores were not being properly cleaned up, leading to a perpetually climbing particle count in a round for all clients.
  • Limited the relevance range of spore and umbra clouds so they are no longer relevant to all players on the map.
  • Optimized Unearthed menu background to be more performant with the new menu

Tweaks / Improvements

  • Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA) has been added as an option.  This provides a smoother, more stable image than FXAA, but at the cost of additional performance. https://imgur.com/LsR6d8C 
  • Added “High”, “Medium”, and “Low” Atmospheric-quality options, for crisper godrays.  Looks really nice on high, but be warned: can require quite a beefy system to handle it. Default is still “Low”.
  • New Main Menu
    • The old menu hadn’t aged well, and had become quite difficult to work with under-the-hood, so we decided now was a good time to modernize NS2’s menu with a sleek new design, while at the same time improving the code underneath.
    • Part of the work was enhancing the underlying GUI system that is used throughout all of NS2 — not just the menu.  This means any sort of UI work going forward will be much much easier for the team.
  • Added new “Abyss” Gorge skin. Unlock it by playing 5 rounds (that are longer than 5 minutes) on Origin. Only available for a limited time!
  • Added new special skill tier icons for the current champions of the ensl.org open tournament
  • The game renderer will default to DX11 now, as DX9 will no longer be supported. 
  • Load and initialize the DX11 interface at application start instead of delayed to resolve issues with DX overlays
  • Improved the handling of steamworks mods to be more reliable and not cause the system to hang up on a IO lockdown.
  • Updated loading screens for the new Veil changes, as well as Origin
  • Added text to server and client log files that mention which team won at the end of a round, for purposes of future auditing and comparing with Hive backend results.
  • Disabled the random collectible Steam item drops for now. (Such as “Sticky Shoe” or “Calcified Babbler egg” items) They served no purpose besides collecting them for one achievement.

Fixes

  • Fixed hit registration issues with the Axe (Thanks Steelcap!)
  • Fixed that Grenade Launcher projectiles did not detonate on contact with an Alien if they bounced off world geometry first.
  • Fixed that Drifters couldn’t pop Marine blueprints
  • Fixed that Clogs and Eggs couldn’t be set on fire
    • Constantly producing fire retardant mucous from Gorge nasal cavities were taking a toll on their mental well being
  • Fixed that Marines didn’t pick up the targeted weapon when a welder was laying nearby, but instead picked up the same weapon they dropped. (Thanks Steelcap!)
  • Fixed that the killfeed was invisible for spectators
  • Fixed that the Echo animations of Alien structures stuttered
  • Fixed that the movement of the Umbra cloud projectiles stuttered
  • Fixed that Aliens could keep their previously selected upgrades for free when evolving into a higher life form
  • Fixed that neither the Gorge Toxin or Shadow skins applied their respective “Toy” skins, such as for Hydras or Clogs etc.
  • Fixed that no second Infantry Portal spawned in the Marine base when the ninth player joined the team
  • Fixed that servers sometimes didn’t report rounds to the hive backend
  • Fixed that the spectator HUD could disappear at the end of a round or after a map change
  • Fixed that the server’s spectator count wasn’t always correct. Certain scenarios lead to overflows and confusion
  • Fixed that spectators weren’t counted as such while they are loading
  • Fixed that the mod tab of the server’s webadmin interface didn’t display any mods
  • Fixed Gas Grenade clouds would jitter wildly when visible
    • Such faulty Gas canisters have been shipped back for civilian use in Alterra night clubs
  • Fixed that weapons would not have their health reset to full when picked up by a marine, to better match the behavior of the visible decay timer

Sounds (By Sweets)

  • Increased Marine walk/sprint footsteps on metal for enemy by 1 dB – should help with sound traveling through walls a bit more
  • Reduced sprint volume for Marine and allies on all materials (not for enemies)
  • Slight increase to pistol volume at max audible 35-40m relevancy range
  • Disabled female panting while sprinting and spamming a/d (can still occur by tapping the sprint key for the time being)

Maps

  • New Map: Origin (by pSyk)
    • Remake of the original NS1 map ns_origin
    • 4 Tech Points and 11 Resource Points
    • New tree models contributed by Paul Wolfe
    • Several new materials and shaders contributed by RuneStorm
  • Biodome (Thanks pSyk!)
    • Made southern Hydro entrance more marine friendly.
    • Changes to Filtration to improve combat and remove LOS issues.
    • Added more cover in the corridor between Atmospherics and Agri Labs.
    • Added rocks between Bridge and Seeding to make Bridge more Skulk and ambush friendly and to improve FPS around that area (rock has occlusion geo inside).
    • Added another obstacle into Bridge location.
    • Moved the Powernode in Bamboo Pass into the corridor away from the ceiling vent.
    • Moved the Powernode in Falls into the middle of the room (no more cheap bilebombing).
    • Removed invincible spot for Aliens in ceiling in Platform.
    • Removed collision from railings in Hydro and added collision-geo for passing bullets and parasites.
    • Plenty of little fixes for issues found by maptesters.
  • Descent (Thanks Zavaro!)
    • Improved the usage of signs throughout the map to help with player routing.
  • Summit (Thanks pSyk!)
    • Fixed high occluder counts in Flight Control, Crevice and Atrium
    • (from above 400 to below 200).
    • Fixed lighting performance by removing/tweaking some shadow casting lights, especially in Reactor.
    • Fixed stuck spot for crouching Marines at the chair in Flight Control.
    • Added snow decals in Crevice for better visuals.
    • Plenty of little fixes for issues found by maptesters.
  • Veil (Thanks pSyk!)
    • Fixed holes in pathing and a bot stuck spot in Topo.
    • Fixed Fade stuck spot in the Sub Sector to Y-junction vent.
    • Plenty of little fixes for issues found by maptesters.

Tools

  • Editor
    • Added an Observatory range circle (contributed by Samusdroid)
    • Added a toggle option to hide the skybox, accessed in the Viewport menu (defaults to On)
    • Fixed that scaling or changing a prop could cause some weird states to occur

SDK

  • Fixed Locale.GetLocale returning a garbage string
  • Added Render Mask support to all Cinematics playback, see Cinematics.json
  • Added GetMaterialFilename to RenderMaterial objects, see Render.json
  • Added Main Render Camera exclusion zone feature, when active, preventing the main rendering buffer from being updated in a specific zone (saves draw calls). See the ClientLoaded.json file in ‘docs’
  • Fixed multi line lua comments weren’t removed correctly by the script preprocessor which could lead to various script errors.
  • Fixed that NS2 would crash if it attempted to update reflection probes with RenderDoc attached.
  • Added additional particle rendering information to the “r_stats” command
    • No more will particle or emitter counts evade our peering eyes, no more are we relegated to merely hoping that Iron makes optimized cinematics
  • Added a new debug command “dump_cinematics” to list all cinematics in use to your console and log file

Known Issues

  • Under Proton 4.11-5 (Linux):
    • Starting a listen server (tutorials) crashes the application
    • Crash reporter instantly crashes
    • NS2 stays black when the NS2 window loses focus during round start/end
    • Enabling Physics Multithreading causes the application to lock up on start 
  • Server browser server details can occasionally show duplicate users in the player list.
  • The state text for mods in the mods menu can be wrong occasionally. It might say subscribed even though you are not, for instance.
  • Customize view in player Profile can have lots of “pop-in” of the art assets when first loading the game
  • The “Glint” shader effect in the Customize player menu can sometimes effectively be doubled
  • The NS2+ menu option “Reload and cooldown indicator” has two competing marquees on one line, making it difficult to read before you click the drop down box. 
  • Certain features are missing from our new menu for the time being, such as the ability to rotate your player in the Customize menu, or our Discord link, or even the News/Blog on the main menu. We plan on having these included in future patches.