Natural Selection 2 is an immersive multiplayer-only online game where up to 16 marines and 16 aliens battle our own sci-fi universe.
NoFrag: For starters, could you tell us how far along the way you are: how much of the development is done, how is Unknown Worlds doing, and how many of you are working on Natural Selection?
Charlie « Flayra » Cleveland: We have four full-time in-house people working on Natural Selection 2 (lead programmer, lead designer/operations, lead/concept artist, artist) plus about 3 people working off-site (3D art,time animation, level design). A lot of our tech is done but that will remain ongoing (especially in the tools department). A lot of the game’s core systems are in place so it’s technically playable but not fun yet. We’re doing great!
Have you modified the game’s basic mechanisms: moving speed, weapons damage, health system, reinforcements system, STR view, etc.
A lot of these numbers use NS1 as a starting point. The marines still spawn from infantry portals the same way but aliens currently spawn from « egg clusters » – eggs are produced at a certain rate and then aliens hatch out of them. They can choose which egg they hatch from and when. Our health system is similar although it’s similar to Call of Duty IV in that there is no number on your display, but you definitely know how hurt you are from other feedback.
What are the new features for each team?
The biggest ones are the addition of a Commander role for the alien side and dynamic environments (including infestation). There are lots of other smaller new features (new resource system, new abilities for both sides, automatic squads, etc.) but these are the biggest. We’re still learning how the Alien Commander should work but we think our dynamic environments will make every game play differently.
Could you tell us more about how the Infestation works?
It grows automatically outward from all alien structures. Also, the Alien Commander can make it grow wherever he wants through the placement of infestation « nodes ». As the infestation grows, it turns off lights, breaks through doors, etc. Aliens can also morph to new lifeforms and automatically heal when they are infestation. Finally, the Alien Commander has special abilities that can only be used on infestation. We think the marine team will be able to burn infestation away with their flamethrower.
Is there a Marines’ equivalent to the Infestation?
Nope. We want the two sides to be totally different.
You created NS2 with an objective of how many players per team in mind?
Anywhere from 4v4 up to 16v16 should be good.
You count on the community to create maps, but the game needs some to be released. How are you going to managethis?
For NS1, we released a huge collection of textures, props, our mapping guidelines and an early version of the game to the public. People then used that to make maps, many of which made it into the final game, either for v1.0 or later. This has been the plan for NS2 as well, although we are rethinking it a bit now.
Will the game have new environments?
Yes. We are working on environment artwork for a futuristic refinery filled with lava and ore processing machinery, as well as a biodome artwork, for which is mixture of man-made environments and nature.
Are there any ‘open’ maps?
If you mean outdoor maps, no. We’re focused on indoor environments for NS2.
The LUA will allow us to create any scenario, but what kind of game types will already be implemented in the game when it is released?
I think we will ship only the basic NS2 gameplay with the game. We’ll let the community make Combat or any other scenarios they desire.
Do you confirm that the game will be selling at $20 on Steam?
We haven’t decided on a price yet!
Are you going to implement physics into the gameplay?
We do have physics implemented already, but we’re not sure how much of a role it will play in the gameplay. Probably not too much, as the game is mostly about player movement, shooting and communication.
I bet NS didn’t make you rich. Do you have a side job? How do you manage staying motivated after so many years?
Nope it didn’t…but NS was free! The point of it was to build an audience that we could build off of, which we are doing now. Many players did donate towards development of NS though, which is how I lived for many years. Motivation has never been a problem for me.
How many copies must you sell to ensure the perennity of your company?
The nice thing about being a small, independent is that we’ll be doing well if we sell even small numbers of units. If we sell 50,000 units we’ll be in good shape, although we hope to sell more. It’s not like we can just sit back though, we’ll have to keep working to make sure we have a healthy company.
According to your website’s statistics, are your fans mainly from Europe or the USA?
Our fans are mostly from North America (US and Canada), 2nd biggest group is Europe and the 3rd is Australia/New Zealand. This time around we hope to reach beyond that to Asia and South America. Our goal is to unite the worlds through play, so need to reach the world to do that!