Social media is a revolution for small game developers. Chatting on Twitter, Facebook, Google+,Reddit and the Steam Group allows us to talk to you all directly. We don't have to worry about whether a third party is pushing information to you. If you want to hear from us, you can.
The conversation is not one sided. Every comment, every @NS2 Tweet, every message that you post to our social media feeds gets read. Often, it is just a cursory glance down the list of comments on a photo posted to Facebook. But they are read nonetheless, and that is important. Taken together, we can use your responses on social media to guage the 'feel' out there in the community. If a larger than normal proportion of replies complain of crashes after a patch, we know to deploy Max. If a smaller than usual number of people respond to a post about performance improvements, we know you guys aren't interested in us improving performance.
(That's a joke!)
Over the past week or so, our attenae have detected an increased interest in maps. Mo' maps. Where are the maps? UWE, make new maps. Why is UWE not making new maps? Etc. Luckily, we are! Cory and his dedicated crew of environment / concept artists and mappers are spending long hours working on new official maps. Here are some glimpses of a few:
Most of the current official NS2 maps have red, blue and orange leaning colour palettes. This fits their mostly industrial, grungy settings. Docking stands out as an exception, with its green garden boxes. Biodome will shatter this norm, with swathes of green and lush vegetation. While this map will not arrive in the next few months, it is well on its way. The reason Biodome is taking longer is that it is not just a map, it is an entire art set. Most of the current official maps are based on existing art sets. Biodome will be unique, and open up the possibility of an entire sequence of maps based on its art set.
Yes, that is actually a screenshot of the map Descent. Yes, we are teasing. Descent is in active playtesting, and will arrive for your fragging pleasure in February. Over the next few weeks, you can except us to dribble out more and more screenshots of this pretty looking thing. Like the undamaged areas of Docking, Descent is a mostly 'clean' map, significantly different to the functional grubbiness of say, Refinery.
If you had your eyes peeled at launch time during launch, you might have noticed a screenshot of a wide open area in Descent (Hint - Press). It is outdated now so we won't repost it, but it did reveal that Descent is located in space. Until now, all official maps have been firmly planted on the surface of planets. It seems only fitting that as the game gets better and better, it should be launched into orbit! And we have not even talked about Discovery yet...
Maps, performance, bugs, gameplay features, balance... All of it is being worked on all the time. NS2 may have been released, but full time development has not ceased and will not cease for a very long, long time. Keep chatting to us on all the channels mentioned earlier, and we will do our best to keep you informed about what is coming, and add what you want to the game!