24 January 2009

Bot What About Bots?

At the Firearms: Source page on ModDB, Naota responds to a person asking about bot support in FAS.

Naota begins with, "Though there's no official bot support planned, nor can I at all guarantee that FAS will even support them if a third party takes an interest and programs them to use our mod-specific functions." He continues on stating that because the FA:S code is built from scratch, he is unsure how existing bot scrips for other HL2 games and mods would work with FAS.

Naota looks toward the community for bot support for FAS, but does state that the FAS Team may help if "anything not too extensive is needed mod-side to make such an endeavor possible".

He finishes with restating that there will be no bot support for RC1 and has not be planned for any future versions, with the caveat that most bots are third party endeavors.

20 January 2009

Not That Crazy

In Hitman's developers journal, he reveals why tc_asylum - a often talked about map - will not be included in the first RC of FAS. Hitman states "I enjoyed Asylum, but I think with a mostly-indoors, mostly-CQB map like that, you're going to find newcomers wandering around wondering where to go." He continues, stating that the upstairs of the hospital area was not well done and possibly could lead to balance issues (though in test, none came up).

Hitman thought about removing one of the three tc_points but came to the realization that it would make tc_asylum to much like tc_iwojima and tc_rubble; Hitman believed the small tc_map lineup was full enough.

Finally, the map didn't really have war theme.

Hitman plans to release the map with FAS though as a third party map and convert it to a Firearms themed L4D level when the L4D SDK is released.

Hackin' Wackin' and Smackin'

Hitman reveals more information about the second melee weapon - the machete - in FAS in this post under the 17 JAN 2008 News topic. He reveals that the machete "does a lot more damage, but swings slower and has a longer attack range to it" making it ideal for those that love melee combat and want something more powerful than the knife.

The machete has two attacks that are different from that of the standard knife. The secondary attack is a quick downward swing that does less damage than the primary attack, but benefits from a faster swing time. The main attack is a brutal side-to-side swing that "takes longer to recover from but totally fucks up the target." While powerful, this secondary attack does take longer to connect, making timing everything.

Currently the machete ignores body armor and hit boxes (so it does equal damage no matter where you hit) which makes it powerful in melee. However, Hitman is debating to change its mechanics so it mirrors that of the bayonet on the AK47 so that it takes into account hit boxes and armor allowing it to make head shots lethal, but limb hits doing only moderate damage.

Finally, in a later post, Hitman says that the machete starts off clean, but the more you hit people with it, the bloodier it becomes. After a killing spree it can become quite stained.

18 January 2009

FAS Website Tweaks

Hitman has listed some changes to the FAS Website in his developer journal.

- Desert Eagle in .50AE added to the list
- In-game SS for the Vollmer added
- Entry for 1911 added
- Word 'Bipod' added for the M24 and M249 SAW (thanks Grunt!)
- Removed reference to the AK74, which is no longer an RC1 weapon
- Slight change to G36C description

In addition, tc_asylum and ps_juarez will not be in RC1; the former due to layout issues and the latter due to FPS problems. They will however will be available for download as third party maps with the release of RC1.

"New" Weapons Added

The Desert Eagle and 1911 have been added to the FAS armory. You can check them out on the FAS Weapons Page.

17 January 2009

FAS Website Tour

The FAS Team has updated their website in conjunction with their latest news update. Much has changed from its previous design that was its standard for more than six years.

Home Page

The home page's layout has undergone the most change. The links to the pages such as weapons and maps is now at the top. On the right side of the screen are items such as picture of the "time", the latest media release, a key feature list, the latest FAS video, quote of the "time" and way at the bottom, community pages.

While the community page is at the bottom, it is only the way to contact the FAS Team to get your FAS related website on the main page. It is unclear were the community pages will actually be listed. Hopefully, they won't be so far down the page that a passer-by won't notice them.

This right bar is present for every page but the weapon's page. There is a lot of information on this bar, mostly due to the "Key Features" list which seems big enough for its own page up at the top.

The right side of the page are all the news post which haven't changed format wise.

Team Page

The FAS Team page has undergone little change. All the team members are there, with the option of contacting the FAS Team at the top if interested in helping with the mod.

FAQ Page

The FAQ page has undergone no change in terms of content.

About Page

The About Page has undergone no change in terms of content.

Downloads Page

The Downloads page teases you with a simple quote "When it's done..."

Media Page

The Media page has undergone some formatting changes. The top part of the page shows many in game screen shots of ps_snowstorm, tc_rubble, sd_mine and tc_iwojima. Below the in game screen shots are weapon renders of the weapons featured in previous FAS weapon showcases.

The Media Page is missing many of the older FAS videos, as well as many of the older screen shots making the page seem very sparse. Having many pages within the media page allowing people to see more screen shots and the progress of FAS would have been interesting. Yet this lack of content an be explained by the FAS team only wanting to showing the best of their work.

The Media Page would also benefit from a custom right panel display similar to that of the weapons page allowing you to easily skip to in game screen shots, weapon renders, videos, ext. In addition, links to older screen shots in a separate gallery would allow people to view how FAS has progressed without cluttering the media page with outdated screen shots.

Weapons Page

It is important to note that this page is still under development and many weapons that will be included at the final release do not yet have descriptions.

The weapons page is back in action after being down for five months. The format of the weapons page is the only one that is different from the other pages, featuring the weapons list on the left and the weapon's picture and description on the right. The weapon descirptions include the credit cost, magazine size, ammo used and any secondary features the weapon may include. Also included is a picture of the weapon in game, as well as a descritpion of how it preforms in game which range from the practical to the poetic.

Some of the more interesting things about this page is the re-introduction of the bayonet to the AK47 and no mention of a bipod feature for the M249. The G36C mentions it as an alternative of the AK74, but that weapon is no longer listed (probably because the description hasn't changed to reflect the new weapon list). The planed bayonet and scope for the SSG550 are no longer present on the model or mentioned in the descirption. The M79 now list 5 grenades in reserve and the only supressed weapon listed is the 92FS.

Many weapons that were previously listed for FAS are no longer included. The weapons scrapped from the current weapon list are the Desert Eagle, Colt Anaconda, MP7, Uzi, the Jackhammer, AKS-74U, RPK 74 and M60GMP.

However many weapons have been added which include the Glock 20, OTS-33, Vollmer, M14, M249, M60E3, SR25, M1 Smoke Grenade, M84 Flashbang, and a machete.

Maps Page

Like the weapons page, the maps page is still incomplete.

The map page list many of FAS's Maps, including a screen shot, a short descirption, credits and the game mode. Show currently are tc_iwojima, tc_rubble, sd_durandal, tc_mine and ps_snowstorm as well as three new maps that have not yet been announced which are ps_sand by undertone and ps_crossfire and ps_ghetto by Shinobi.

Not listed are tc_asylum, ps_forest, ps_juarez.

The Maps Page, like the weapons page, would also benefit from a custom right side navigation panal to allow people to skip to specific maps so people won't have to scroll down the entire page once more maps are listed.

Overall, the website upgrade is just that, an upgrade. The addition of more media, more maps, and more weapons and the addition of custom navigation panels on the media and maps page would make it perfect.

FAS News (17 JAN 2009)

The FAS Team have overhauled the FAS Homepage as well as giving insight into the progress of FAS and officially announcing ps_snowstorm.

PS_snowstorm by DysPatch is the spiritual successor of ps_sandblast, a FA map included with the retail release of Firearms in 2002. DysPatch has recreated the map with permission of Valve and updated it greatly for FAS changing it from "another boring desert map set in the Middle East...into a beautiful, war-ravaged winter landscape."

DsyPatch's remake is as action packed and fast as the previous, having only three capture points, while still having the option for sneaky players to flank the other team.

Media updates should also progress quicker now as they work toward FAS eventual release. The FAS Team still needs animators and skinners to help with the art aspects of the mod.

Lastly, if you have a FAS related fan site, you can get your link on the FAS homepage by e-mailing the FAS Team for instructions on how to do so.

16 January 2009

Update Immediate

Hitman said in his developers journal, "I'm working on the next news update and some website changes, which I'm hoping will go live tonight or tomorrow sometime. The update includes a full weapons list and most of our RC1 maps." After this update, news will occur less sporadically.

11 January 2009

Media Forcast

Hitman has updated his developer journal with more news and information about some hardware problems, the continued work on FAS, and the scope of the next news post for FAS.

Hitman has had some serious hardware problems late 31 DEC 2009. However, he has quickly made up the time lost with a third revision of sd_durandal and more coding.

Likewise, everyone else on the team is working hard: Naota is almost done with the M24, Timn is working on the animations for the M79 and shotgun and mappers are continuing refining their maps.

The up coming news/media update won't be as large as previously announced. The upcoming update should feature a complete weapon list along with renders for each weapons. The rendering progress is slow as Schmung states, "this [render has] been going half an hour and it's only at 2.1%." Taking approximately 24 hours per render, the update could still be a couple of weeks away.

Hitman also says that, "we are planning on making such updates more regular now that we're hitting some of the internal milestones that we had set out late in 2008." So after this update, you may expect to the earlier update cycle of one update a month.

03 January 2009


Vote for FAS in MOD:DB's 2008 Mod of the Year Award event.

Just visit the FAS MOD:DB page and click the big "Vote For This Mod" button.

01 January 2009

Achivement Unlocked!

In Hitman's 31 December 2008 developer's journal update, when mentioning the various types of updates FAS will receive after its release, one of them are achievements. It can only be assumed that this means that FAS will incorporate Steam's achievement system with its release.

Steam's achievement system seem to be linked to the Steamworks service that mods such as Insurgency and Age of Chivalry use. Does this mean that FAS will be able to be downloaded though Steam? While nothing indicates it as such, it would make sense with Hitmans hope for constant updates. However, PFS's comments about many sponsors for FAS's release would contradict this.

Year In Review

Hitman has updated his developer's journal with a look quick look back into the past of FAS but mostly focuses on an optimistic future of the mod. As always, information is sparse as not to work up hype for a feature that may be axed, but again he is hopeful that a news update will come up within two weeks.

In 2007, FAS was planed to be released by this time.
Hitman said, "It's been a tough year on FAS, with the lack of artists and lack of time among many of our team members." Much of the progress of FAS has been seen over the summer with many updates to the code and the hiring of the art team which has been working on the various art aspects of FAS.

Hitman hopes that FAS will be a "popular, well-accepted mod in the world of Half-Life" and have a large active community. To accomplish this task, the FAS Team plans for new content and patches quickly as possible; as fast as every month. Updates can range from a new weapon, map, model, or player skin.