Over the past weekend we had a great development team meeting regarding the status of the Firearms: Source 2.0 Beta. We came to the conclusion that we are comfortable opening the last stage of development up to the community. We have a few features still absent from the game and content that is still a work in progress. However, we are very much happy with the gameplay and the current feature set and are eager to finally get community feedback.
Over the next few weeks, we will be getting the necessary services in order, so that you can provide us with as much feedback as possible. We will have a few tools set up that will help facilitate that communication, such as:
Crash Reporter – Players will be able to upload their crash dumps in order to help us debug their crashes.
Issue Tracker – Players will be able to submit tickets for bugs and exploits, as well as track the status of those issues.
User Voice – Players will be able to vote for the features and bug fixes they feel we should prioritize.
Subversion – Players will be able to test the latest bug fixes and content changes before they are rolled out in the next patch.
In order to start ramping up communication with the community we cordially invite you to hang out on both our IRC channel (#firearms-source @ irc.gamesurge.net), and our Mumble Server (mumble.venomgamelabs.com: 64738). The community servers will also be cleaned up and reformatted in preparation for the beta.
Finally, we are looking for new developers and community managers to help us with the release. If you are interested, please email me at dyspatch [at] firearms-source.com. Also, If you are a Game Server Provider and have an interest in hosting servers for the beta, please email me at the same email address. Once we release, we plan on patching the mod on a monthly basis, so you will need to be open to patching your servers once a month. For the rest of the community, you can look forward to our soft beta release very shortly. We will keep you all posted on a frequent basis so that you can prepare for the release party.
As the summer begins to wind down, the heat turns up for us developers. Over the past month, we have been wrapping up the remaining features and trying to clean up as much of the game as possible until we hit our soft release. As I have mentioned before, we are approaching an Open Beta, which is essentially us bringing the game to you in raw form. What makes this Open Beta critical, is your feedback, and so many of our features will change based on the feedback you all provide. We want to make sure our Steam release is very polished in order to attract the over 4 million player community that Steam has. This is also why we would prefer to first bring in our existing community to give the new FAS gameplay a shot, and break as much of it as you can. The more bug fixes and game balancing we can get done during the Open Beta, the better our Steam release will be.
Our very own competitive gameplay tester, Deadly, has put together a nice frag video of a fairly recent gameplay test. Our testers have been rigorously testing the game to make sure that the critical bugs are resolved before the Open Beta hits. This means that our larger community can focus on stress testing the game for us, as well as pointing out all the subtle problems that can detract from the overall gaming experience. At FAS 2.0′s current state, the gameplay has never felt better. During our wrap up phase, we have had a large group of competitive gamers pubbing and scrimming in FAS in efforts to point out any major issues we may have with the gameplay. We have been tweaking weapon values, redefining weapon roles, and making sure that FAS delivers classic Firearms gameplay.
One thing to please note, as you read the list of features that we have added to the game, is that the FAS 2.0 Open Beta may not contain complete versions of the features listed below. One of the largest benefits of the Open Beta is that we can make heavy modifications and updates to the features listed below based on our community feedback. When it comes time to the FAS2.0 Steam Release, some of these features may even be removed based on what reactions
All New Player Design (Models, Textures, and Animations)
4 New Original Maps (AS_Caliber, TC_Sensou, TC_Avellino, TC_Frostbite)
New Weapon Attachment System with 8 Different Accessories (EOTech Reflext Sight, CompM2 Aimpoint Red Dot Sight, C79 Optical Sight, PSO-1 Optical Sight, Bayonet, Suppressors, Bipods, Extended Magazines, and more to come!)
New Skill Features (Target Acquisition, Hospice Flags, Proximity Sensors, Artillery Barrage)
New User Interface With Improve User Experience Design (Heads-Up Display & Loadout Menu System)
New Sounds (Weapons Sounds, Player Sounds, and Ambiance)
New Music (Menu, Victory Tracks, and Other Compositions)
New Particle Effects (Impact, Environment, and Weapon Effects)
Weapon Rebalance From accuracy and recoil to movement modifiers and damage decay, everything about the weapons have been rebalanced from scratch and have been put through rigorous testing with both competitive and casual players.
Skills Restructured The rate at which you receive skills as well as the skills themselves have all been modified to enhance the gameplay and user experience. We have included new Tier 3 items, as well as completely new benefits in the lower tiers.
New Bandage System Added health regeneration on teammate heal making field medics more useful and keep up with the fast paced FAS gameplay as well as allowing all players able to bandage themselves to prevent bleeding at anytime.
Ironsights A largely requested feature from our community, we decided our next iteration of Firearms: Source had to include some form of ironsights. Because Firearms gameplay is not geared for ironsights, we decided to add them as a purely aesthetic feature that players can use if they want to have a deeper sense of immersion. Ironsighting does not affect accuracy, it simply has a slight recoil reduction and an FOV decrease in order to see further down range.
Firemode Modifiers Making each firemode have its own unique role in the game, allowing you to shift gameplay styles on the fly. Whether it’s the front-loaded fast damage output of Burst, the precision shots of Semi-Auto, or a spray of Full-Auto, there is a firemode that certainly fits your needs.
Weapon Scavenging In the case you are always on the move and away from ammo crates, you can now pick up your victim’s weapon and temporarily use it against them for the ammo that left in it’s current magazine.
Unique Bullet Penetration Different weapon types now having varying bullet penetrationg and damage fall-off depending on its role. Support weapons, like Snipers and Machine Guns, have higher suppression whereas weaker caliber weapons take greater damage fall-off through walls, adding a whole new dynamic to FAS gameplay.
Broken Legs Bringing back a classic Firearms feature that allows snipers and other high caliber slow firing weapons to suppress their enemies. Worry not, in FAS2.0, broken legs regenerate so that you aren’t left gimping throughout the entire map.
Firearms: Source League
One area where we have given a lot of development and testing focus has been on competitive play for FA:S and preparing it as an E-Sport. With the guidance of many original Firearms clanners, we have been able to fine tune the gameplay and address the needs of competitive gamers. We want to deliver a game that is not only fun to play, but has a high skill ceiling that would reward players for their dedication, while always leaving room for improvement. Our competitive testing coordinator Eric “FattestPUNK” Kristofferson has been a huge help in organizing competitive gamers from not only the original Firearms but from various First Person Shooters. During the Open Beta, we will be hosting a local Firearms: Source League that will end with a tournament and a prize for the champions. One of our competitive testers, Anthony Kongphan, will also begin streaming some live FAS2.0 competitive gameplay on his TwitchTV Stream. We will try to get the game ready for streaming as soon as this weekend, and will post a schedule of when he will be streaming on our website, as well as our Twitter (@FirearmsSource) and Facebook.
To celebrate the release of CS:GO and to give it’s players a little something to enjoy while FAS gets closer to open beta, we’ve released an Official Weapon Sound Pack that replaces fire, distance and reload sounds for matching guns of both FAS and CS:GO! Stay tuned though because when we release 2.0 on Steam, this sound pack will change to version 2 and all the weapon sounds of CS:GO will be replaced with FAS sounds. We hope you enjoy it and we thank you for your strong patience!
We are now about a month into Summer and we are still progressing nicely and with Independence Day (in the US) about to kick in, I thought I should leave you guys with some fresh media. We have been developing the game daily and testing the game every week to make sure we are moving in the right direction with the gameplay and making sure our art is as immersive as possible without breaking functionality. I’ll make a separate blog post about how we have been balancing immersion and functionality as I feel its something that gamers will all have a different opinion on and is bound to spark conversation. As of recently, the things that we have been focusing on before we kick into the Open Beta are our player animations overhaul, user interface re-design, dressing up our new maps, tweaking muzzleflash particles, and finishing up the remaining weapon sounds. The two biggest hurdles for us at the moment are coding in the new animation system, and bringing in the new user interface. However, it looks like we will have something to show for both in a few weeks.
Open Beta Expectations
One of the biggest questions that may be on your mind is: What should the community expect from our FAS 2.0 Open Beta? You can expect a fairly complete game that will lack a bit of polish. What that means is that the gameplay will be very much complete, save for balance changes, and most of the art and content will be finished. The reason we are releasing the game sooner with the potential for bugs, is so that we can do the finishing touches (bug fixes and content tweaks) while you help us tailor the game based on your feedback. There will be bugs and game crashes during the Open Beta, but that is when we are going to need your help the most. Along with the standard servers that people will be able to host themselves, we will also have a couple experimental servers where the community can help us test bug fixes, gameplay tweaks, and anything else we want to double check before releasing officially. The period between Open Beta and the Steam release could be as long as 3 months or more. We really need to see how stable our game is upon release and how much content we feel is lacking before we make our big Steam debut. We are really excited to get the Open Beta out to you all so that you can enjoy the fruits of our labor.
Over the Summer, as development continues, we will bring you all some more videos of the FAS gameplay. The reason why we have always been a bit slow with pushing out videos is because we rather spend that production time on pushing the game out sooner. Now that the game is more stable and our maps are finally getting their art passes, we feel comfortable putting a few testers and developers on making some new frag videos. A couple months ago, we also experimented with live streaming one of our testing sessions, which was really fun despite the hiccups. I’d like to also explore live streaming Firearms: Source a bit more as we get closer to the Open Beta because it actually requires less production. I can simply turn on the live stream as we test. I also plan to get more game specific information on the website in regards to weapon statistics so that you all can start building loadouts on your free time or making complex algorithms in order to figure out what the best gun is in the game. Keep your eyes peeled as we have one of our developers currently working on a frag video that we will try to release in a couple weeks. I sincerely appreciate all of your patience and I hope that we don’t disappoint you.