Well, that’s a bit of a mess

Posted by 9 years ago
Natural Selection 2

Today a new NS2 update was released on Steam. It seems it didn’t go quite to plan. There may be some major technical issues with it, centred on hit-detection.

This is an awkward situation. Last week, UWE resumed NS2 development. Yet the transition from full-Community Development Team  (CDT) development has not been a clear cut one. Update 278 was developed by the CDT. It seemed to UWE that proceeding to release 278 was a good thing to do. The CDT put a lot of effort into 278 and it would be rude of us to just throw it away.

At the same time, 278 is not consistent with UWE’s objectives for NS2 development. It’s a monolithic update built in the same manner as all updates for the past five years. Moving away from monolithic updates as soon as possible is a critical core objective for UWE . That means we can’t spend time trying to fix 278, now that it’s out in the wild.

Of course, many people on the CDT are super keen to fix it themselves. Which is awesome, but also presents problems. Either UWE is resuming NS2 development and experimenting with new methods, or the CDT is still developing NS2 as they have. The two can’t coexist, or we’ll get an uncoordinated crapshoot of conflicting changes.

So it’s a rock and a hard place. Today, Brock completed crucial components of UWE’s new iterative update system. It’s a good bet UWE will start making changes to NS2 as soon as Monday. At that stage, the old monolithic build method is going to get the chop. That means the CDT has some time to do what they would like to update 278. If they can fix it, that’s sweet and UWE backs that 100%. If it can’t be fixed, we will probably have to simply revert NS2 to 277, and proceed to being iterative change without it.

This is a messy situation, with lots of competing interests. I’ve written this post to try to give the UWE perspective. There’s no single point of decision making here, because the transition between full-CDT and full-UWE development is a blurry, gradual one.

It’s no-ones fault. The CDT has, as usual, done a really great job. I think that with 278, the CDT is suffering unfairly at the hands of a flawed development model.  UWE came up with the model, and the CDT was stuck with it. No matter how effective the CDT is, and it is clearly highly effective, the deck is stacked against it, and that means 278’s are going to happen occasionally despite everyone’s best efforts.

Conclusion: Don’t rush into any rash actions. While NS2 might be hurting for a time, I think it best that we all just chill out and carefully consider the big picture. A few hours of broken gameplay are ok if the end result is an amicable transition into UWE’s development resumption.

– Hugh

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