Puzl Interview

Interview with puzl

Recently www.nsplayer.net had the opportunity to interview puzl from the NS Development team. He talks about his experiences with NS as well as 3.2 and NSS. Thanks to puzl for answering their questions.

1. Who are you, and what do you do for NS?

I am known in the NS community as puzl and I've been programming professionally for over a decade, and for NS since 3.0 beta5. Before that I performed various support roles for the team going back to the start of 3.0 development ( or 2.1 as it was called then ). I was the main contributor to the code changes for 3.0 beta6 and since then tankefugl and I have been sharing the code workload. All combined, I think I've been working on NS for more than two years. It seems like only yesterday that I first cranked up visual studio and got lost in the wonderful world of ns coding.

2. Is the website fully functional yet? When will we expect a release of it? Is there anything new to look forward to on the website? 

From a user perspective the website is pretty much complete. It is currently in testing with the constellation members so I don't think the public release is too far out. A lot of effort was put into keeping the presentation of the site the same as it was before it went down, so apart from the upgrade to IPB 2.1, most people won't notice much of a difference. There is still a lot of work to do on the various tools we use to admin the UWE site so Zoc is very busy working on completing these tasks. The UWE portal admin interface integrates with the forum software so it isn't an easy task to make these changes in a way that allows us to quickly and conveniently apply official patches from Invision. I know we sound like a broken record whenever we say 'soon', but the forums have come on leaps and bounds lately and they are really starting to feel ready. 

3. What is the predicted 3.2 release date?

We don't have a release date yet but we are probably going to take 3.2 into Constellation testing as soon as the site admin tools are in place. We have completed all of the feature changes in the 3.2 design document at this point, but we still have a few bugs left to fix before we are complete. If you are a constellation member, then we hope you'll join us in testing 3.2 when it starts.

4. What are some things we should look forward to in NS 3.2?

We had three major goals for 3.2: Reduce MC first dependency, fix some of the long standing annoyances in the game, and to continue our recent efforts to make the game more accessible. We have updated some of the maps and are still testing and improving the new map submissions. J from Squad 5 joined the team shortly before 3.2 commenced development, and he has contributed a number of art updates for the patch. We're not in a position to give specifics on much of the changelog at this stage, as it is all still subject to change, but here are a few exclusive snippets from it:


o Increased defense chamber healing effect:
- Along with the usual 10 health a player gains when near a defense chamber, there is an additional 1% of the player's maximum health restored. The percentage does stack with multiple chambers. 

o Added new inventory indicators to marine HUD:
- welder
- mines
- hand grenades

o Webs
- Webs now harden 1.5 seconds after being formed
- Unhardened webs can be destroyed by marines walking through them without causing the player to get entangled. 
- web sounds and sprite updated to allow marines to differentiate between the two states.

These are just small teasers from the changelog. We'll announce more changes shortly before CM testing starts, and the full changelog will be publicly disclosed when the testing actually starts. 

5. Will 3.3 follow 3.2 or is this the final update?

I wouldn't rule out the possibility of a 3.3 patch, but we won't even consider it until the need arises We're planning on spending 100% of our time on NS:Source. We will continue to assess how 3.2 plays following its release and produce server side tweaks as needed.

6. What do you think of the general HL exploits still evident in NS (for example bunnyhopping) and do you think they should be kept in the game? 

This is a difficult topic to discuss because everyone has a different definition of what an exploit is. Bunnyhopping is not an exploit, it is part of the game by design and will continue to be for the lifetime of NS on the Half-Life engine. Although no decisions have been made on source player movement, I personally would like to see some skill based movement acceleration for skulks implemented in a way that is easier to learn and less FPS dependent. We have fixed a number of exploits in 3.2, but mainly NS specific exploits such as silent structure placement.

7. What do you like most about NS? 

It would have to be the community. I now there is sometimes some negativity in the community, but this is dwarfed by the amazing dedication of those who love NS and want to see it continue to be one of the most successful independent games out there. I am always awed by the support our players give us, especially the constellation members. The playtesters also put in hard work that often isn't as exciting as some of you might think, without their dedication, NS development would progress much slower.

The art style of NS is also something that I really dig. My first experience of NS was similar to most of yours - I downloaded it on that Halloween release day ( wow, almost 4 years ago ) and was blown away by the amazing and unique look and feel of the game. There was so much of it to take in, and all of it beautifully designed. Walking out onto the landing pad on hera still reminds me of those early days where you took the time to just look at the amazing level design and texturing. 

As for gameplay, I still love the fact that my favourite role in the game is constantly changing. Sometimes I really enjoy gorging, and a couple of weeks later I'm back to really enjoying playing as a marine. At the moment, I'm probably enjoying fading more than anything else. The fade is a high pressure role, but that leads to a great feeling of accomplishment that can be euphoric at times. I'm probably not explaining it very well, but I bet each one of you understands exactly what I mean.

8. The NS playerbase has decreased in recent times, is it possible for NS to regrow its playerbase? 

Well, I expect NS:Source will definitely increase the playerbase a lot as everyone is waiting for a really interesting source mod, but I guess you're asking about NS on Half-Life. Following each release we have a significant increase in player activity. We're hoping that the changes in 3.2 might persuade some of these players to hang around.

9. What are some map changes that will arise in the release of 3.2?

A lot of maps have changed for 3.2, I think six of the maps currently in 3.1 have updates in playtesting at the moment. In addition to this we are considering four new classic maps and two new combat maps. Merkaba, of Hera fame, has been busy working on his latest masterpiece Machina which offers some of the most visually stunning architecture ever seen in an NS map. The "sub bay" area of Altair has been completely reworked to increase the strategic value of that location and some small tweaks to the venting system will change the dynamics of some of the existing choke points. There are also some updates to the ever popular Eclipse, but you'll have to wait a bit longer to see what is in store for that map ;)

10. According the Flayra's post NS:S is about to begin production, are there going to be many major changes between NS and NS:S? When would you think the likely release date for NS:S will be? 

We're not giving out any information on NS:S now because things are still very much in flux at the moment. Once we start talking about NS:S you'll have a tough job shutting us up again :D

Date: 26/07/2006
Source: www.nsplayer.net
Interviewer: haymo


Drakonis on 26 July 06 04:17


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