Natural Selection 2 is the sequel to the popular Half-Life mod Natural Selection. It is built on our own engine and will be distributed through Valve's Steam platform.

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For this update we wanted to talk about the Crag, the first of four different alien structures the alien commander will be able to build in NS2. It will be available in the next patch update.

Posted by _Xero_ on Aug 19th, 2010

For this update we wanted to talk about the Crag, the first of four different alien structures the alien commander will be able to build in NS2. It will be available in the next patch update.

Alien tech/upgrade structures are now built by the Commander instead of the Gorge. This means they can do a lot more than those in NS1. Right now every alien structure has three abilities - a "passive" ability that is always active or that players can use, a "triggerable" ability which is an area of effect ability the Commander uses, and a "targeted" ability which the Commander triggers on a target. These structure abilities are designed to allow the Commander to support players on the ground, without taking over the actual combat. Most commander abilities won't deal damage and most will help teammates instead of affecting enemies.

The Crag fills the role of the Defensive Chambers, from NS1, providing Commander-researched, player-purchased, defensive-oriented upgrades. For example, Carapace (late game armor) and Feed for Skulks (health for eating corpses) and Bacteria for Gorges (upgraded health spray). The Crag’s bony shell helps serve as natural protection, making it one of the toughest alien structures to kill.

Unsurprisingly, the Crag's passive ability is Heal. It automatically heals nearby alien players and structures, ala the old DCs from NS1. Its Triggerable ability is Umbra (sound familiar?), which when activated by the commander, creates a particulate cloud of gaseous smoke which pours from the holes in its shell, and fills up the surrounding area. This temporary cloud intercepts and disintegrates bullets, allowing through only half of the shots fired by Marine ballistic weapons (doesn't affect flamethrowers, grenades, MASCs).

The Crag's late-game "targeted" ability is...Babblers! If you played early versions of NS1, you may remember this fun but unrefined feature that allowed Gorges to spew out small creatures (they were scaled down Skulks running the Half-life Snark code!). Well, we are bringing those back, but making sure to give them their own model this time around. In NS2 they are controlled by the alien commander, who will unleash a multitude of these small cat sized critters from the various openings in the Crag’s shell which swarm around Marines, obscuring their sight somewhat, slowing them down and inflicting a small amount of damage.

Below is a sketch page showing a variety of possible designs for the look of these small creatures. We’ve narrowed the choice down to a few favorites, but have yet to decide on the final direction to go in, so we would love to hear your thoughts:

Of course the Crag is still in development and subject to change as we see how it works in-game, but we think we've got a good start. We hope you enjoyed this update and stay tuned for more alien structure reveals!

Talk about it in our forums!

Post comment Comments
-Dusk- Aug 20 2010 says:

Number 1 or 7 all the way! The rest looks either too funny, or too "real" xD

+2 votes     reply to comment
Lupus_of_nox_noctis Aug 20 2010 replied:

Yeah!!! 1 or 7.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Callinstead09 Aug 20 2010 replied:

1 or 7 were my opinions as well!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Sierra-93 Aug 20 2010 says:

9 looks pretty cool

+4 votes     reply to comment
Worldwideweb Sep 11 2010 replied:

yeah, that was my thought too...but to say the thruth, all are looking great^^

+1 vote     reply to comment
Ickus Aug 20 2010 says:

neat, digging the design and how it feel almost like a coral reef

as far as the babblers, 7. and 8. silhouettes really catch my eye. I also fond of 10. due to giant isopod like frame, with some sun spider pinchers, and be set. ;D

+1 vote     reply to comment Aug 20 2010 says:

Wow, great news. And as for the babblers, I like number 1 and 9 the most.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Radu_IceMan Aug 20 2010 says:

I'd say number 1 would most likely pop out from one of those things. And number 6 looks like a tick. I hate ticks <_<"

+2 votes     reply to comment
Jashin Aug 20 2010 says:

8 looks like the hive bugs from starship trooper chronicles

7's probably the best suitable one

+1 vote     reply to comment
Ekonk Aug 20 2010 says:

1 or 3. They are nice and spider-like. The others are kinda fat. (or 6, he's fat in a malevolent way)

+1 vote     reply to comment
ValkyriA365 Aug 20 2010 says:

I like 3 and 9.

+2 votes     reply to comment
CadianConscript Aug 20 2010 says:

1, 4 and 7... but mostly 7. Yeah, 7 really looks like a creature came out of some other creatures' inside :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Hell_Diguner Aug 20 2010 says:

Not sure what you guys see in 7, but I'm thinking take 6 or 3, and add a sun spider head and pincers to it, and you'd hit it on the spot. I'm thinking of playing off all the insect-like things that give people the creeps: huge jaws, long spider-like legs, bulbulous ticks, long antennae, lots of eyes, etc.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Meraqel Aug 20 2010 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
~Mapster(WFc) Aug 20 2010 says:

#1: More scuttley and not really something i would want to have nibbling my flesh off. As well as the idea of seeing one of them exploding with guts everywhere would be epic!

#8: Looks more like a bug, if it were longer it would be VERY disgusting!

#9: Looks like a fast paced creature and wouldn't be very easy to hit so that would make them even more annoying!

#10: If there was a stronger creature type i would choose this as it's much stronger looking but wouldn't be very fast I'm guessing.

+1 vote     reply to comment
AhhRun Aug 20 2010 says:

i'm liking 1 & 3.
6 does look like a tick, which is gross.

+1 vote     reply to comment
tonton-bobi Aug 20 2010 says:

babblers !
we missed those :D

Looks quite interesting, waiting for the next update then :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
HounderKnight Aug 20 2010 says:

Nice update. :)

I'm liking 1, 2, 6, and 7. 1 and 6 seem like the kinds that would scurry around and pounce and latch onto your face or something (though 8 and 10 seem like type too). 2 and 7 are just badass in general and remind me of Oddworld; the Slog and Slig, respectively.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Pallorwag Aug 20 2010 says:

I vote 2 or 10

+1 vote     reply to comment
Analdin Aug 20 2010 says:

No. 1 is the best one, because if its thin legs it looks kind of creepy... I like it!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Micah Aug 20 2010 says:

9 or 3

+1 vote     reply to comment
Grindpantera Aug 20 2010 says:

2 looks like it would be incredibly difficult to get off you if it latched on. 4 is great though, its face is so disturbing that I'm sure that they'd be good decoys or panic players, which is the point right? :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
Forsete Aug 20 2010 says:

I like 6. the most. It looks very much like a Tick.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Suntz Aug 20 2010 says:

Everyone of them has a very nice a uniqe dessing. If you are going for a horror / nasty bug look, i would choose number 1 due to the small spider-like legs and body. It would look cool comming crawling down the side of the Crag and the on the floor.

If you are looking for a beetle / more aggressive looking bug, i would go for number 8, due to it compact body and head. The dessign itself is pretty good and makes it look more tough and able to couse alot of damage.

These where my favorrite ones..

But i would definetly say that all of them looks very awesome..

+2 votes     reply to comment
LopperUK Aug 20 2010 says:

I like 9 the most cus it looks like an Antlion

+1 vote     reply to comment
Drakel101 Aug 20 2010 says:

9 or 10.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Blandr3ws Aug 20 2010 says:

5 and 8 :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Hamtaro Aug 20 2010 says:

10 looks kinda cute.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Vcc2cc Aug 20 2010 says:

4 or 9 FTW

6 and 8 look like they can't jump or move quickly.

On a side note: EW EW EW EW i hate barnacle looking things. I'm gonna have to find a custom model for that cuz its so gross looking i'd attack it if I was an alien. umphumhphphm ack!

+1 vote     reply to comment
wafflewarrior7 Aug 20 2010 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
FJS Aug 20 2010 says:

2 or 4 =)

+1 vote     reply to comment
iopzx Aug 20 2010 says:

11 looks preety cool. Others look like some kinda of mutations of spiders

+1 vote     reply to comment
Classic319 Aug 21 2010 says:

Why don't you put every designs into game? Most of them look like they can function some other new rolls

+1 vote     reply to comment
Undying_Zombie Aug 21 2010 replied:

One word. Resources.

They have to be careful about how much resources the engine is using.

+1 vote     reply to comment
projektariel Aug 21 2010 says:

I`d vote 2 or 3 or even to use both if possible in order to have variety! :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Владимир Aug 21 2010 says:

I`d vote 9 or 11.
PS: Russian Hi! Русским привет! =)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Sergeant23 Aug 21 2010 says:

I want all of 'em. Why can't they spawn randomly like SC2's Dark Templars?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nynx Aug 21 2010 says:

1 looks to fragile while 7 is somewhat too harmless. I'd go for 8,9 or 11

+1 vote     reply to comment
Undying_Zombie Aug 21 2010 says:

I would have to vote for number 8. I like it the most out of the ones shown.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Kasplatt Aug 21 2010 says:

3 4 and 6 are my definite favorites.

+1 vote     reply to comment
cinco Aug 21 2010 says:

can't believe 3's not more popular. no one likes his huge bulbous eyes staring at you and that huge translucent sack atop his head? he looks like that monster that got scrapped from half life. mr friendly or something.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Freke Aug 22 2010 says:

9 or 11

+1 vote     reply to comment
dejap Aug 25 2010 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
thevladdo Aug 26 2010 says:


+1 vote     reply to comment
redgar78 Sep 20 2010 says:

Number 1

+1 vote     reply to comment
xalener Oct 5 2010 says:

It's late, but 9. The rest look too 'normal'.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Pearmorris Oct 23 2010 says:

9 :D

+1 vote     reply to comment
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