Rory: With release in September, will NS2 be available on other online stores and perhaps platforms?
Hugh: Release is slated for summer – We can’t give an exact month, but it will absolutely be this summer. NS2 will be available on the Steam store. A Mac port is currently planned, and we can’t wait to sink our teeth into that post Version 1.0. Consoles are tricky for a small developer like us, but there is a remote possibility of an Xbox 360 version, depending on the PC version’s success.
Rory: You’ve been very active and open with your community, was this always your plan?
Hugh: We wouldn’t describe it as a ‘plan,’ so much as a ‘way.’ We think people should be able to share in the experience of game creation, and that games benefit from community involvement. Some of our most successful balance changes and bug fixes have come from the community. Our first stop when adding or changing a feature is to read feedback on our forums. We don’t believe we are the best game creators ever, we believe that if you give people the tools to create, they can create brilliance. NS2 is effectively a mod for our new hyper-moddable Spark engine, and we believe that by being open, the community could very well create a better game on Spark than we ever could.
Rory: What are your hopes for the competitive scene? Will you aid it in any way?
Hugh: Competitive Natural Selection 2 play is awesome. We hope it will take off, and we are already taking steps to aid it. The spectator system is getting a lot of attention at the moment, following the lead of professional Counter Strike casting overlays, StarCraft 2, and DoTA 2. We are also working hard to balance the game for competitive play as well as public play. You can see competitive games being streamed on our Twitch channel, and commentated on our YouTube channel as well as on NS2HD.com.
Rory: I see you’ll be at PAX East soon, will you be unveiling anything? Any hints?
Hugh: Probably the biggest feature we will release at PAX East is… the entire development team. Every one of our developers will be in attendance, on the floor; talking to everyone we can see about NS2. We would love to meet you.
Rory: You’ve come a long way since 2001, what are your prospects for NS2 and the future of UWE?
Hugh: First up, we will continue to work on NS2 full-time post release. There are entire units, maps, and art sets that have been started, but will not appear at Version 1.0. Weekly patches will continue long into the future. As for UWE, we are growing (We’re hiring!) and we want to continue to grow. Much of NS2’s development has been the development of Spark, our own engine. We can’t wait to both create new games on Spark, and actively support those who want to use Spark to create their own worlds.
Rory: Final question, got any advice or encouragement for the aspiring developers out there?
Hugh: Get out there and make a game. Make any game. It doesn’t have to have fancy graphics, or a big budget. Just force yourself to create something. Got some basic programming skills? Got a friend who messes with sound in their spare time? Know someone who dabbles in art? Sounds like you’ve got your first development team.If you’d like to follow the progression or see more footage of NS2, you can head on over to NS2HD’s YouTube channel and website. Much thanks to UWE for taking the time to answer our questions.