Natural Selection 2 – Spark Editor

By: Derek Yu

On: December 2nd, 2009

Natural Selection 2

Though the original intended release date (Fall 2009) has come and gone, Unknown Worlds is still hard at work on the sequel to their ground-breaking FPS Natural Selection. Last week they released a pre-alpha which contains a work-in-progress version of the Spark level editor as well as a good deal of the game’s environmental art. UW is comparing Spark Editor to Google’s SketchUp, and indeed, it looks quite intuitive, if the video tutorials are any indication.

Players who pre-order NS2 will get access to the pre-alpha as well as any other pre-release goodies. You’ll also be supporting a small team of five people in their quest to make a great game, so that’s nice!

Also: pictured above is one of the first in-game screenshots from NS2, depicting a skulk’s eye (skulk’s mouth?) view of a vent and another skulk. For those of you not familiar with Natural Selection, the game pits two very different teams, human and alien, against each other, and combines the first-person shooter and real-time strategy genres. For another screenshot and some more information about the game’s ongoing development, check out this post.

  • Raz

    Is it anything else than Tremulous with better graphics?

  • Eclipse

    is Tremulous being Natural Selection 1 with slightly better graphics.
    Also no, Tremulous has a worse gameplay than Natural Selection 1, so I expect great things from this sequel

  • salejemaster

    all hail the mighty NS2, takes me back to the good days of NS1 :)

  • xot

    I can’t believe this old Half-Life mod is still going strong. It’s even harder to believe that was seven years ago!

  • Thomas

    Having pre-ordered and played around with Spark, I can say it’s very easy to use. Much more intuitive than GtkRadiant or Hammer.

    I’m also amazed that this indie team has built it’s own engine/toolset from the ground up (making sure it runs on the older hardware of NS1 vetarans). The game is looking amazing so far.

  • The Monster King

    Can’t wait for this, this was the best HL mod and would’ve been worth 20$ in the day. And now it’s freaking GORGEous GET IT HHHEH

  • Hideous

    Hell yeah, preordered now.

  • Dodger

    The graphics are very impressive and are a cut above the Doom 3 engine. I’m not quite prepared to pre-order it, but I am certainly impressed and look forward to the release of this one. I hope this game is a lot of fun. That’s one of my big problems with these type of games though, like Doom 3, Crysis, and even games such as Riddick (Chronicles of, and Dark Athena), and even Bioshock to a certain extent – though it is by far the most fleshed of the bunch, as sharp as the graphics might be, they are usually overcompensated for. Although I was dazzled and even a little fascinated by the graphics of those titles I was also left with a feeling of being dumbfounded and addled because something was missing. The games might have pushed the player forward from beginning to end for sometimes 3 – 10 hours (beginning to end of game), but they left me with a feeling that I hadn’t accomplished or achieved anything, except maybe unlocking the end credits.

    Bioshock is by far the least offensive in this regard, because I did enjoy the game and story, but even after playing through it a couple times I feel that the slight changes in the environments were all that saved the game from being monotonous. Had it not been for the fact that I believe that the decent story could have been told in perhaps one or two elaborate. I also felt that the game was dragging on at certain points and by the time you’ve reached the last few levels you’ve already repeated everything you had done in the first two areas of the game. I didn’t feel that my time was maximized but rather that the developers just decided to throw in extra “stuff” to prolong the play time. I enjoyed the story told in Bioshock much more than those other games I mentioned, but I still left with a partial feeling of emptiness. The dramatic “plot twist” really wasn’t much of a plot twist since I kind of expected it. Perhaps this is some sort of transference from playing System Shock 1 & 2…

    The other games I mentioned were fun in limited doses but also felt extremely shallow. Riddick would probably be my next pick for least offensive because I did enjoy some of the “Quest mode” gameplay… some of it, and I did appreciate some of the stealth elements and the fact that the game remained true to Riddicks character (what we knew about him at least). Aside from the sharply detailed environments and crisp graphics, I felt that the everything else was a “Pay For” tech demo.

    These are just my opinions on those games but I’d really like to see NS2 develop and evolve into a fun game WITH amazing graphics… not a Graphically amazing game that is sometimes fun.

    So far it does look great. A story for an action game like this doesn’t need to be as elaborate as Bioshock if the experience is fun.

    By the sounds of it the Level Editor sounds great so far, pre-ordering is definitely a great prospect for those who enjoy modding and making user created levels for 1st person shooters, or even for those that enjoy tinkering with new software technology, as a person who just wants to enjoy a game though I’ll hold off for now. I’m still looking forward to the finished product though. The graphics engine looks good so far.

  • Jay

    you know this is a multiplayer game? and bioshock is singleplayer?
    so i don’t get your point….

  • Bob

    Dodger, have played the original NS? It’s quite different from your average FPS or RTS.

    Looking forward to this.

  • aeiowu

    hey derek, i think you’ve got an unclosed link tag in there since the “posted in” is highlighted in blue and treated as a link. just delete this comment when you moderate/fix.


  • Derek

    Thanks, Greg. :)

  • jrjellybeans


    This game looks amazing! If only I had the money :(

  • InfiniteAlec

    I love me some NS. <3

  • Dodger


    Is it like Savage? It looks very good, and no I haven’t played the original NS, I was just judging by what I’ve watched of it and I knew that it was an old Half-Life mod. If it’s multiplayer only then it should be a great game, and if it looks this good and plays as good as it looks it’ll be quite a feat. I’m looking forward to it. I guess my apprehension comes from being disappointed with so many FPS’s lately (especially for the PC). That’s not a knock against this game though. I can’t wait to take it for a spin when it’s complete.

  • madrain

    I was disappointed when I first found out how long NS2 would take after I got absorbed in NS1 (with cel-shaded graphics modded in), but now I’m getting excited again. NS was my favorite HL mod since its launch. It was much harder to get into than most mods, but it was fun and the sense of accomplishment when you finally learned to survive was great.

    I’m hoping this will be as fun with both two teams and humans vs alien bots.

  • InfiniteAlec

    NS1 was one of the few games I actually got addicted to. Yikes.

    I’d say its blend of RTS and FPS elements is pretty original and it relies really heavily on teamwork.

    As such it can be completely exhilarating when your team works well together regardless of whether you win or lose. On the other hand, your team usually falls apart in a really painful way.

    I’m curious to see how the developers try to address the gap between super fun games and super frustrating games in the new version. One of the great things about the first one is the freedom for the commander to come up with his own weird strategies and implement them… I hope they don’t “lock down” the gameplay too much and lose that freedom, while still managing to make the game a little more accessible.

    (note: i’m only talking about the strategy levels, not the combat levels)

  • fartron

    Tremulous? NS1? This is clearly Gloom 4:Source.

  • Hideous

    The level editor is fucking awesome. I made this:

  • harkejuice


    but yeah, real excited NS1 was great :D

  • replicarolex

    good post