Howdy loyal FA:S Fans! Today we are extremely proud to present our breaking new FANet, our matchmaking service to replace dedicated servers. The matchmaking service will run along side Steam, and will match you up with players of similar skill. It will also mean there are no dedicated server lists, and that you'll rely on FANet for matchmaking your games, though private matches will still remain possible.
From a development standpoint, it's a step forward in how we access and update the Firearms community. I know the rest of the team has huge plans for what FANet develops into, and this is just the beginning. FANnet adds a load of new features that the majority of Source mods have never had before, and allows us an infrastructure to continue to update and improve on the game post-launch. Most importantly, it takes the benefits of dedicated servers and allows them to be utilized and accessed by every player, right from launch, while removing the barrier to entry for players intelligent enough to install our mod, yet simultaneously unaware of how to navigate the confusing tangle of raw data which is a server list. You need no longer fear the frustration of hackers, irritating plugins, or unfamiliar user content again, valued reader - a single press of a button (and a modest period of clearly less-than-interminable waiting while FANet matches you with 31 others of similar ability) and into the world of Firearms you will go.
Many of our forum members and followers on moddb or twitter seemed skeptical to hear of FANet's development, and understandably wish to know what spurred our departure from the dedicated server model, as well as how we intend to improve upon it with the advent of FANet. Despite the criticisms commonly levelled at peer-to-peer matchmaking and the locking of content via similar online services, we believe FANet will unilaterally improve the quality of every user's experience. How does it do this?
Matchmaking & Smoother Gameplay: Before FANet, joining a server in a major online game required a steely resolve equivalent to that of completely removing one's head with naught but a roll of dental floss, ensuring that a sad majority of gamers never even saw the online portion of the game. Thus relegated to repeating training missions and staring at the menu screen in abject despair for hours on end, these poor, misunderstood individuals went their lonely way, all too aware of what was lying just beyond their mental reach. The barriers to these tragic souls were all too obvious: exclusive and civilized communities not tolerant of asshattery, distracting and confusing degrees of choice and customization, tyrannical server admins, custom rules and server mods, players better than them providing unwanted challenge, to say nothing of the thousands of available servers making the flip of a coin or roll of a dice incompatible as a stopgap matchmaker. It was a grim and uncompromising reality.
With FANET matchmaking, all of this is taken into account for you. You need merely select a playlist (pre-set game types with custom rules) that fits the style of play you are in the mood for. This doesn’t mean that you will be thrust into a random game! Based on mystical properties of fate beyond the ken all but our most astute software engineers, FANet will place you in the game you are meant to play. Never will you stare at server lists, paralyzed by the indecision of karma and manifest destiny again. FANet decides your future for you.
Cheat / Hack Free Games: The biggest benefit of using FAnet by far is the fact that players will no longer dread joining a server full of aim-bots, wallhacks, or other unrepentant cheaters. No longer will they rely on the server admin to constantly be monitoring, banning, and policing their game. FANet allows us to control the quality of the game much more than ever before, utilizing the VAC (Valve-Anti-Cheat) system already in use on all the respectable dedicated servers you already patronize to keep your games clean of hackers and cheaters. As we have direct control, hackers will have to face the moral quandary of screwing with the FA Team face to face. Already proven as a potent deterrent by psychological studies worldwide, that is a burden of guilt none but the truly wicked are capable of shouldering.
In the event that you should encounter a hacker, simply stand up and back away from your computer until the individual becomes bored and departs the game. This method is proven to reduce playtime with cheaters by up to 99%.
Text Chat: Do your ears bleed when subjected to the ape-like ululations and mad screams of despair commonly transmitted across the internet by voice communication protocols? Does this daemonic cacophony drive you from otherwise pleasant online matches with friends and family? Do your fingers tire of tapping out Morse code or incessantly dialing the phone numbers of acquaintances to make them aware of their impending pwnage?
Worry not - in a daring and radical departure from convention, FANet supports text. Yes, you are reading this correctly. Text, as a form of communication. TEXT.
Graphics Options: They exist. What other online platforms sport the uncanny flexibility required in order to allow you, the user, to customize the very world as you perceive it? No longer are you a slave to your hardware.
Map Packs Available For Purchase: This has happened to all of us - one day after clawing through the mire of confusion that is a dedicated server list to find a game, you spot a strange collection of characters following the normally familiar "Next Map:" field. "Good lord! I didn't pay for for this!", you scream in dismay, and yet oblivious to your display the level begins to load unbidden. "You don't understand! I am not a thief! Stop this instant! I have nobody to pay! Why are you doing this to me?!", you try in vain to reason with the ever-progressing bar. Despite your anguished cries, with a final lurch and the sound of subtle laughter from far below, it is done. Against your will you have taken that which was not yours, and you have done it without offering compensation. You have sinned.
Guilt is a horrible thing, friends. We assure you that all map packs available from our website will come at the respectable price tag of no less than $10 to set your mind at ease. In a show of good faith, level designers not associated with the Firearms: Source team or FANet will find no alternative by which to silently damn you, as only official map packs will function with FANet. This brings us to...
Custom Content: Members of the Firearms: Source community who wish to contribute custom maps, models, skins, or other third-party content will be pleased to learn that they can't, thereby saving them from the very real, very dire threat of Communism. Players can look forward to spending money on no less than the pinnacle of quality content, 100% supplied by the FA Team, rather than punishing FA Team members by endorsing whatever third party content slips from the feces-smeared virtual ghetto that is the extended community.
All in all, FANet adds a load of new features that Source engine mods have never had before and allows us an infrastructure to continue to update and improve on the game post-launch. We look forward to serving the new FANet community this change will no doubt foster.