Archive for October, 2009

From the archives: Flatline interview

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

This team review and interview was made for the first 9L website, back in 2006. At that time, Flatline was still a fairly unknown team, although they were quickly gaining recognition as they worked their way to the upper echelon of European NS. Since then they’ve been one of the most stable and successful NS teams of all time and have built up an impressive record of tournament achievements. In season 9, they finally won their first ENSL title and joined an exclusive group of champions.


Check it out!

Forum watch: Skulk bunnyhopping, net code and more

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Reading the forums lately, I’ve noticed several great posts. Thinking about this for a while, I thought it might be a good idea to collect the most interesting ones in a news post, as I know many of you aren’t very… fond of reading said forums. So, here goes:



Our very own plant in the NS2 dev team, dux, clarifies their current stance on bunnyhopping

You can still bunny as a skulk.



Cory, also a developer, lists the current weapons included in NS2

As it stands now, the marine’s weapon arsenal consists of the melee weapon, pistol, assault rifle, grenade launcher attachment for the assault rifle, shotgun, flamethrower, and minigun.


Personally, I’m not sure about the flamethrower and minigun — the dual wielding “HA” in particular — but it will be interesting to see how they’re implemented.



Yet another dev, Max, clarifies why he prefers a prediction based net code

I’m not sure why people think Quake 3 offers accuracy, in my mind it’s really the opposite. If you shoot where a player is on your screen and you have lag, you will miss them (you have to lead your target based on your ping). In Half-Life, if you shoot where the player is on your screen and you have lag you will hit them, no leading necessary. The drawback is that sometimes, especially if you’re really lagged, the player your hitting might feel like the shot was unfair (“Hey! I was around the corner!”). I’m not sure how the networking works in Source and haven’t really played any Source games multi-player, so it might be different there.


Our netcode is written from scratch. I originally integrated RakNet and OpenTNL (the Tribes networking library), but I had problems with them and didn’t like the idea of using those black boxes for something as critical as the networking. My implementation borrows ideas from Quake 3 and Half Life, though for the things you guys are discussing it’s more like HL than Q3A.


In my opinion, I find it difficult to argue with this. The no-prediction net code some players are pushing for would make high-ping matches (EU vs. USA for one) unplayable, not to mention putting even more focus on latency. There’s already more than enough of that if you ask me.



Past CAL-NS admin homicide delivers a great argument for the kind of gameplay we want in NS2

What he missed was the difference between micro level combat and macro level strategy.


Micro level combat (jumping, aiming, dodging, blocking, flying, blinking, leaping, bhopping, knockback, etc) is easily separated from macro level strategy (situational awareness, map control, res control, flanking, ambushing, team coordination, etc). NS1’s greatest achievement was merging great micro combat with great macro strategy. This is THE signature of Natural Selection and it needs to remain the THE signature of Natural Selection 2.


Most combat in NS1 is based around fast marines shooting and dodging faster aliens. The exception is the Onos, who just barrels straight for marines; it’s bad gameplay. Granted…the Onos adds strategy to the game, but it destroys the micro level combat. The only reason the Onos gets away with this is because it plays a support role and the cost keeps their numbers limited. If the exo-skeleton also plays a support role that is limited to only a few players, it might be acceptable to sacrifice their micro gameplay in order to increase the game’s overall strategic depth. The LAST thing we want are exo-trains that kill the combat system even more than HA in NS1.


If anything, our (the competitive community) main goal for influencing the developers should be hammering this point through to them. They may very well already be aware of it though — or at least I hope they are.



And last, but not least, this week in comedy.



Suggestions for future updates would be great, just drop some comments or give me a shout on IRC!

From the archives: ENSL S5: Road to the final

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

This short article was written in late October 2006. It sums up our trials and tribulations in the group stage of the fifth ENSL season. Much fun was had and many fond memories gained.


The end of the story did not live up to the events detailed here unfortunately. We beat Levitacus 4-0 in a dull final and the promised cash prize went up in smoke as Google reclaimed their money. Oh well!


Check it out!