As we inch closer to launching Sven Co-op on Steam, I’d like to provide an update on our progress with the game. Since this upcoming release is important for us to get right, we’ve been taking extra time over the past few months to really get our ducks in a row. Even so, our team members have run into delays from real-life™. However, now that summer is over, things are picking up again. The team has been working full-force on getting major milestones accomplished for the launch.
I’m going to discuss a few upcoming major features in v5.0. These aren't all of our upcoming features, but they will be fairly important to v5.0’s release. Please bear in mind that we will be continuously updating the game after v5.0 is complete.
Upcoming Major Features in v5.0
The Angelscript Scripting Language
That said, this is the most groundbreaking feature coming to the next release. If you’re wondering what the big deal is – well, let me explain by providing the following video:
Well, there you have it. It’s that big of a deal.
Okay, so, now you're wondering what this will allow for...
Angelscript will allow mappers to change almost every aspect of the game. It's possible to create game entities, implement new styles of gameplay, trigger events, process and control NPCs, and much more. Each map will have the potential to be a "mod within a mod" allowing for the ultimate level of customization.
In v5.0, we will be bundling our own server administration toolset. A set of official plugins will be provided, but you can write your own using Angelscript. If you've ever used AdminMod or AMX Mod X, the transition should be pretty easy to follow. While it will be experimental at launch, we will eventually be recommending Server Administrators switch over to this new toolset as we stabilize on functionality and features. Sven Co-op's server administration toolset will have more integration points with the game, which should allow for the creation of more interesting and useful plugins.
We’ve made a lot of progress getting Angelscript up and running with all thanks to our new programmer Sam "SoloKiller" Vanheer. Sam joins the programming team after being an active beta tester for many years. His current primary role is technical lead for Angelscript.
I personally look forward to seeing what the community can do with these new found powers. We'll have more information regarding Sven Co-op's scripting documentation in the future, but for now I would recommend you start browsing the scripting language overview here to get an idea.
Scaled Model Support
NPCs can now be scaled during the game at any time. The AI and the Half-Life engine have been updated to account for scaling of hitboxes, eye positions, collision hull sizes, effect locations, and more. If you scale an NPC up, they’ll be able to see over obstacles, move faster, and jump down from greater heights (because they’re giants). If you scale an NPC down, they’ll be able to get into smaller areas, find cover from shorter objects, and move slower (because they’re tiny). Basically, scaling an NPC up or down has inherent advantages and disadvantages which will make for some interesting gameplay. We look forward to seeing what the community makes with it!
Streamlined Difficulty Settings & Modifiable Entity Attributes
We’ve heard things loud and clear from the community. We’re in the process of addressing difficulty levels with NPCs and Players. We’ve cut out the fat from the skill system and added a few new features in the process.
Half-Life’s numerous skill values for each NPC made balancing a difficult task. To address this, we’ve removed the “skill 1”, “skill 2”, and “skill 3” settings from the core skill configuration file. For older levels that relied on these custom skill values, they will continue to work through a backwards compatibility design that relies on the map’s specified skill level. Furthermore, "skill levels" can continue to be used if the map author wishes for their map.
In the process of updating the skill system to be more streamlined and fair, we have added new values to existing game entities (mainly for NPCs). Each entity will gain the ability to change their damage values in real-time through the use of per-entity attribute settings. Since each NPC or Weapon can have their own unique damage values, this allows for all sorts of gameplay possibilities.
A few quick examples could be:
- Attack waves / tower defense (difficulty increases each wave)
- Boss monsters
- Class based weapons – Players of a certain class might spawn with the same weapon as their team mate, but have a higher degree of accuracy and/or damage.
- Tech trees - Individual players can research upgrades that increase or decrease damage and health.
Without further ado, here is our preliminary v5.0 changelog. We’ll post a more up-to-date version of the changelog as we get closer to launch.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post in the forums.
Be sure to check back next week for more updates on v5.0. We have a few more things in store.