Prey Tell: Community Now In Charge Of Natural Selection 2

By Nathan Grayson on May 26th, 2014 at 10:30 am.

Well here’s a thing. Unknown Worlds is (mostly) moving on from excellent humans vs aliens multiplayer FPS Natural Selection 2. It’s a relatively small team, and Subnautica isn’t going to build itself. NS2, however, will. Sort of. A community dev team has been given UW’s official blessing, so expect to be gorging yourself on their creations soon. Details below.

The new community dev team outlined how and why things are changing in an announcement post:

“Unknown Worlds Entertainment is a small team, currently their time and resources are going into exciting new projects. However, because they love NS2 so much, they have entrusted their very valuable IP in the hands of the NS2 community, who will nurture and cherish it in order to continue to evolve NS2, as it always has. This win-win scenario will allow Unknown Worlds to focus on their next project and we get to potentially continue to create new patches for NS2.”

“Now with Unknown World’s blessing, we as a community can forge patch 266. We can hopefully start to incorporate the best the community has to offer, such as bug fixes and popular features…with many more ideas for the future!”

The team is made up of 14 community members led by “WasabiOne” and “Obraxis.” They plan to make development a lot more transparent as time progresses, and the community From Whenst They Came will of course be a big part of the process. Details on patch 266 will begin to emerge in the coming days.

I’d be at least little bit worried if any other game did this, but Natural Selection 2 has always been, in large part, sculpted by its community. Unknown Worlds has shown that it knows how to work with its primordial alien ooze of modders and community devs before, so I imagine it’s picked the cream of the crop for this effort. Here’s hoping fans’ faith has not been misplaced.

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30 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Tom De Roeck says:

    Oh my.

    NS2 is fully built on LUA files, modability is high! Looking forward to new craziness in the game.

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    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      The interface or the whole game?

      • Premium User Badge

        Cephas says:

        From what I remember the engine itself is in C++, but the gameplay itself is all scripted in LUA.
        There’s a LUAWorkshop video about it somewhere on YouTube.

        They also, very nicely, released an IDE for use with LUA.

  2. Ansob says:

    Mostly this should mean that a lot of the stuff that servers have to implement as mods for convenience’s sake (like player names showing on the minimap, or map voting controls, etc.) will probably be integrated into the base game, and probably that a bunch of third party maps will end up being made official, all of which is good. The only thing I’m a bit worried about is balance changes around movement.

  3. SkittleDiddler says:

    Given how rabid the remaining fanbase of this game is, I’m not sure whether handing them the keys is a good idea or not. Hopefully they don’t implement a bunch of hardcore changes that turn away occasional players like myself.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      They did a Twitch Q&A after the announcement and answered questions like this. Based on what they were talking about, it sounds like it won’t be any more or less “hardcore”. They mentioned working on the tutorials, improving the UI — very little balance discussion, but that’s always on the table. Most of these fan devs aren’t pros at the game.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        So does that mean that Unknown Worlds is going to retain “overlord control” of NS2? What’s going to stop the community (particularly the more elitist portion, a.k.a. the Toxics) from doing whatever they want with the game?

        • ns2Decoy says:

          Hi there – I’m part of the community dev team. Unknown Worlds does still have control over NS2. Essentially how we’ve done it for this first patch is that we created a google document with everything we’re intending to put into our next patch – This one was mainly bug fixes to small quality of life changes. The google document then gets shared with a number of employees from UWE. They sign off on it, then we get to make the patch happen.

          As for our rabid fanbase, we have no plans to make the game any more hardcore. We have a mix of public and competitive players on the team, the competitive players being a significant minority. While balance changes aren’t outside the realm of possibilities, I can’t imagine it would be anything extreme. The lovely thing is that there is a competitive mod for NS2 now – anything that the wouldn’t be great for competitive or needs tweaked they can do without it adjusting the vanilla game.

  4. Rich says:

    What, if anything, does this do to pricing?

    • RanDomino says:

      It’s in bundles a lot. I think I picked it up for like $3 a few months ago.

  5. Shadowcat says:

    This article title was (just) wrapped such that the first thing I saw was this:

    Prey
    2

    • Gilead says:

      It’s obviously some kind of code.

      Half-Life 3 confirmed!

  6. Senethro says:

    Last time I tried to play I got auto-kicked from a bunch of servers for not having 500 hours played (no exaggeration).

    So I don’t think much good can come from this really. The remaining community is apathetic or toxic, and guess which half of that wins arguments.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      First I’ve heard of anything like this. This isn’t even remotely representative. But given the nature of 3rd party dedicated servers, anything goes. If you don’t like the rules of a particular server, go somewhere else.

    • Crainey says:

      Given the deep learning curve of NS I don’t doubt this, but to label the community as toxic because of one server’s restrictions seems very unfair. From the small amount of time I spent playing NS2 all I ever received was helpful commanders and players, on a number of servers. Generally these niche games tend to have hardcore fanbases who are eager to grow the community.

      • Senethro says:

        I did my time as a helpful commander during free weekends to try to support the game, so to suddenly be excluded as not having played enough hours for high skill publics was kind of a dick move I felt.

        • KingCovert says:

          Don’t get too uptight about those servers, there are very few servers that restrict based on playtime and honestly as someone who occasionally plays on those servers, the level of play is significantly higher…. and they are far more fun to play on if you are looking for a more serious game. Unfortunately players that aren’t as skilled can ruin those games and could possibly get shouted off the server… Best way to avoid that, playtime restrictions… Playtime is very indicative of ability and understanding of NS2 at a high level. Just how it works. 90% of the servers on NS2 have no playtime restrictions so join one of those next time.

    • ns2Decoy says:

      :( there’s a couple of servers that have policies like this enabled. It’s kind of the counter to rookie only servers. If you don’t have enough hours, there are other servers run by the same group that have lower hour requirements. It kind of sucks, but that’s not how it is on any of the official servers. It’s just something you have to deal with if you choose to play on that group of servers. It’s definitely not official and I really can’t imagine us ever making it official.

      I really do disagree with you that the community is either apathetic or toxic. The majority of our community is pretty great, but we’ve got assholes like anyone else. You should try the Tactical Gamer servers – really great group of admins, nice community, and no hour requirements :)

  7. Rao Dao Zao says:

    If it’s going to be developed for free by volunteers, are they still going to sell it? Or will “the community” get a cut of the wonga?

    Would seem a bit mean to keep earning money if they’re no longer paying for it to be made.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That was my initial thought too. Sounds like one hell of a cushy deal—a fanbase so rabid they’ll work for free to bugfix the game they’re paying for.

      • plsdeleteme says:

        Well, the people in charge now have basically already done that before. eg. during alpha almost all of the performance fixes concerning turrets (which were a massive resource hog) came from the community.

    • PseudoKnight says:

      They’ve already given community developers a cut in previous instances, like the recent Kodiak pack.

  8. Hunchback says:

    This sounds quite interesting. Will the new devs be payed for their work tho? Cause of it’s them officially handling this, and Unknown Worlds getting the cash from any future sales… It seems a bit odd

    • Artist says:

      You must be new here.. Modders are working for no pay for the past 2 decades! Try to imagine where Half Life would have been without modding? Its a miracle that no modder so far contested the developers TOS for their right to their self-coded IP. Its as if Adobe would declare that youre not allowed to sell stuff made with Photoshop.
      Yeah, but modders arent very bright overall. Curious if the new UT will bring a change?!

      • Hunchback says:

        I know how modding works. But this is different, we are not talking about modding, we are talking about completely taking over the IP development, the OFFICIAL development… Mods are, so far, not sold… but the base game is, so…

  9. Crainey says:

    Like you said, typically that wouldn’t be a good idea for most games, but with a community as enthused as NS’ it may be for the better. The game doesn’t seem to be gaining any traction from the developers’ efforts anyway (to be blunt). Seems like an incredible offer for the community members involved in the continued development of the game, trusting that they are compensated of course.

  10. RanDomino says:

    Delete the Alien commander and I will play NS2 day and night. I played NS religiously for years and the best part was the asymmetric organization, how the aliens players needed to work hard just to communicate and coordinate.

    • Arona Daal says:

      I too played Ns 1 a *lot*,and was quite surprised how fast NS 2 fell out of my Graces.

      Actually what i would prefer:

      1.Back to the gritty Artstyle,no more glowing Armor/Eyes/Ipad Design please.

      2.And for Gods sake: let us place CCs and Hives wherever we want,almost every public game in NS 2 plays out similar.

      3. IMHO retro Jetpacs and Fade Blink were way more dynamic Fun, also HAs > Exos

  11. KwisatzHaderach says:

    I think this is a very smart move by UWE. The Kodiak update has been great and was partly fan-made. It also offered the option to buy some cosmetics to support the modders. That is how it should be done! Release the map for free alongside a map-themed cosmetic DLC. Seeing how I have been burned with Respawn lately (CTF is still not selectable in the DLC) I long for the days when I was addicted to NS2.

    And there is going to be a stand-alone game of the current combat mod, developed by a newly formed dev team of former modders and published by UWE. I just love how a mod going retail spawns another mod which is now going retail as well!