Update 335 – HIVE SKILL 3.0 Released!

Posted by WasabiOne 4 weeks ago

October is always an exciting time of year for our Natural Selection Development Team, and this year is no exception. 18 years ago a totally unique and amazing new mod for half-life hit the interwebs and for many us, changed our lives. Fast forward to today, and its sequel Natural Selection 2 is celebrating eight years since release. Our Team and dedicated community continue to get games active and going 24hrs a day around the world and today is our next step in supporting all of you into the future. Update 335 is the official release of Hive Skill 3.0 (see our previous blog detailing the changes), our latest update to the backend skill tracking and sorting system for NS2. Hive Skill 3.0 for the first time introduces per team skill tracking including commander roles too. Our hope is to help better sort teams for more even rounds and enjoyable gameplay, but we want to make sure you know that this wont happen instantly. The update to the backend code is being merged with current data and will take many new rounds to begin to fully flesh out its adjustments, but in general our new algorithm seems to be doing better from the start. And just to be clear, no existing skill data/rank is lost in the update. An absolutely huge thank you to CDT Member Moultano for all his math wizardry.

Under the hood we have some bug fixes and enhancements to various maps and cinematics to entice you with some fun new gameplay. You can read all about those and other changes with this update in the changelog below.

Happy Natural Selection Anniversary Week!

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

Changelog

Gameplay

  • Maturity and Gestation (Alien egg evolving) both now have a slight softcap in regards to their rate of completion being sped up by Nutrient Mist and/or Gorge Healspray.
  • Mines will now only show on the map for enemies if they have been damaged recently or are currently Parasited.
  • The Fade has had some movement changes with the goal of making it more visually consistent and predictable. 
    • Air friction has been increased (feels heavier) when achieving high speeds and not currently in Blink. 
    • Blink now has a minimum speed of 13.5
    • Blink now has an initial speed (first Blink) of 15
    • Additional Blink speed gained from each Celerity upgrade chamber is now 0.2 from 0.5. (Total of three chambers = 0.6 from 3)
    • Auto-crouch feature was removed until a better solution can be found. We recommend holding that crouch key at all times like in the old days.

Tweaks / Improvements

  • Your Hive Skill will now account for which team you play on or command.
  • Added new Research Notifications for field players, to help keep track of researching tech. You might notice that Research Notifications show on the left side of the HUD for both teams and as a result your in use upgrades are shown on the right side for both teams. This feature can be disabled in the NS2+ option “Research Notifications”. 
  • We’ve made multiple changes to the Marine flashlight to make it more useful in poor lighting conditions. Most notably a larger cone size, a greater range, and being brighter. It also has had its atmospherics setting brought down to almost nothing, so you won’t have to worry about your teammates blinding you anymore! Lastly it has specular graphics enabled for the first time and the color profile has been tweaked subtly to be friendlier on the eyes.
  • Tunnel collapse killfeed icon now has a fitting icon.
  • All weapon tracers created from firing weapons (e.g. Marine Rifle, Hydras, Lerk Spikes etc) will now be visible even when their origin point is not visible. This will help telegraph where attacks are coming from, even around corners.
  • New Gorge Spit effect and model, which now is highlighted in Alien Vision. This aids in the player’s ability to track the speed of the projectile for accuracy purposes, while also making it more visible for everyone to respond to.

Fixes

  • Fixed being able to very slightly shoot farther than what your camera was showing at the extreme angles when looking up or down.
  • Fixed being unable to connect to a server while already in a listen server.
  • Fixed throwing a grenade right away when a Marine player has no weapon in both primary and secondary slots while also placing a mine. 
  • Fixed Consume and Recycle playing the “Research Complete” effect when complete.
  • Fixed changing some options not saving correctly to disk unless Apply was used. You should’ve been clicking Apply anyways though, because it was the right thing to do. I bet you don’t even use your blinker in space.
  • Fixed “Mines” text being plural since there’s only one Mine in a pack now.
  • Fixed progress bar that shows up in the bottom-center of the screen not using the correct team theme whenever you see it correctly, then get forced onto another team, for example with cheats or via some balancing mod.
  • Fixed progress bar for Alien Commander UI where consuming something would incorrectly say “Upgrading…”.
  • Fixed Tunnel Collapse tip text saying “TIP” because.. well, it wasn’t much help was it?
  • Fixed repairs from MAC and Welders repairing too fast due to it ignoring the health-per-armor value.
  • Fixed the occasional displaying of the old loading screen concept art.
  • All child cinematics triggered by normal Cinematics playback now inherit their parent’s visibility. We encourage proper cinematic rearing around here, ok.
  • Hydras will no longer be shown on the killfeed when digested. You can safely eat them in silence, like a fat kid raiding the pantry at 2 am.
  • Fix the client crashing when failing to mount a mod when connecting to a server
  • Fixed reflections sometimes using the wrong tint. Super shiny infestation in dimly lit rooms are no more.
  • Fixed Bile mine not affecting structure health even when armor has been fully depleted.
  • Fixed tracers not being deleted rarely, which could cause them to continue to add up in the background and dropping your framerate to extreme lows. 

Maps

  • Caged (Thanks pSyk)
    • -Removed shadow casting pointlights to improve performance
  • Metro (Thanks Shrimm, pSyk, Mephilles)
    • Added Halloween assets in Ready Room
    • Performance improvements to Underpass, Slum and low lights quality
    • Fixes to GL bounce spots in Arrivals and Midtown
    • Added a fuel car in Arrivals to reflect the big crates used in Jambi’s Pipeworks
    • Opened the first door leading to Lobby coming from Lane to give Aliens more options to flank Marines in Arrivals without getting chip-damage.
    • Adjusted cover in Underpass, added pillar, rerouted road, moved lightposts and forklift around.
    • Improved lighting of several vent entrances and added details to make them easier to spot
    • Trick jump in Alley vent should be easier now.
    • Added Pre-Placed Infantry Portals for marines.
    • Improved clogability of Underpass->Midtown Connection. You can no longer sidle the walls as a marine
    • Reversed ceiling cover in Underpass->Midtown Connection. You can now use it against enemies coming from midtown.
    • Improved minimap appearance of vents, Should be easier to see some vent entrances from the minimap now.
    • Fixed issues with lobby minimap generation being too bright.
    • Minor visual fixes and QoL fixes here and there.
    • Increased ceiling space above Arrivals techpoint
    • Added minivents in arrivals from techpoint ceiling area to north side of the room
    • Changes to Atrium to help Aliens against ARCs
  • Origin (Thanks pSyk)
    • Visual tweaks ( wet decals )
    • Made the connection between Monitoring and Water Treatment slightly more alien friendly
    • Added 2 more small obstacles between Generator and Ventilation to help aliens against ARCs
  • Summit (Thanks pSyk)
    • Visual update (More details, better lighting, wet decals, etc.)
    • Added new cinematics (Thanks IronHorse!)
    • Moved res node in Flight Control
    • Removed open (negative) space in Flight Control by adding more rock slides
    • Added a bit of rock cover in the corridor between Flight and Comp
    • Widened the vents in that corridor, so it’s easier to drop into them
    • Removed one ceiling grating part in that corridor as well
    •  to give Aliens more vertical options
    • Moved the powernode in Comp Lab (can’t ambush a Marine from the vent anymore)
    • Added some elevation to the vent part between Sub and Maintenance so a single Marine can’t go to Comp from Ventilation (new vent exit!)
    • Added a medium container in Maintenance
    • Aliens can now use the Crossroad vent carefully to not trigger the Maintenance door
    • Added a new cover and ambush spot between Glass Hallway and Data Core
    • Made the power node chamber in the middle of Data Core more friendly for tunnel placement
    • Added 2 small obstacles near the res node area in Data Core to make it easier to engage Marines shooting res node and tunnel
    • Moved power node in Summit Reception to the pillar and made it thicker
    • Removed/Broke railings in Summit Reception and Crossroads
    • Shrunk the tree in Atrium so one Marine can catch a Skulk
    • Added floor screens/signs in Atrium as cover to make up for the smaller tree
    • You can now get out of the Crevice pit when you fall down onto the rock ledge above death trigger
    • Combined the two ceiling extrusions into one big one above the hallway between Sub and Comp
    • Reduced the length of the Glass Hallway troll vent so Skulks can only use 2 of the 3 gratings to parasite through.
    • Minor visual fixes and QoL fixes here and there.
  • Docking (Thanks Runestorm!)
    • Added many wetmaps in various places. (My shower locker rooms immersion is finally complete)

Tools

  • Updated Tracy profiler
  • In game Profile console command will no longer crash through loading
  • LaunchPad now correctly handles updating Mod descriptions and no longer adds blank lines when publishing.

SDK

  • Builder options under the “Build” toolbar are now saved.
  • Builder will now prompt a confirmation window if you attempt a Rebuild.

Known Issues

  • There’s still some typos with tips and the tunnel consume grid position is not consistent with other consume positioning. This is fixed in the next patch.