Charlie Cleveland on Natural Selection 2

Charlie Cleveland on Natural Selection 2


Unknown Worlds Entertainment is working on Natural Selection 2, a revamped version of the Half-Life mod. We sat down with Charlie Cleveland, developer and founder of Unknown Worlds, to discuss Natural Selection 2's progress.

Hooked Gamers: In the past, you’ve put out video casts demonstrating how the dynamic lighting system works and one of the examples was how light from the outside of a facility penetrated the shutters, creating an incredible atmosphere. In the latest beta version of Natural Selection 2, the available map does have the great lighting, but all the shutters are closed and so it doesn’t make use of the great lighting seen in demonstrations past. Is this still going to be implemented in the final version or have you ditched the use of outside lighting for inside ones?

Charlie Cleveland on Natural Selection 2
Charlie Cleveland: Yes! We don’t have any shutters or many moving parts in our current maps, but we’ve just been focused on the core game and performance. We’ll be adding that stuff in again for sure - once everything else is working better. We also don’t have our atmospheric lighting enabled by default, something that’s going to make the game look incredible when we turn it on. We think the game will really “pop” visually near the end of beta when we start turning those back on again.

Hooked Gamers: On a similar note, the last video cast demonstrating the features of Natural Selection 2 was done in 2009. Do you guys plan on releasing any more video casts before the game is released or are you finished with them?

Charlie Cleveland: We used to have a friend (Jon Finger) who filmed and edited these videocasts. He moved away for work and we got especially busy so we let these kind of drop off. We did just get a little Flip HD camera that I’ve been using around the office constantly and we’ll probably be releasing the first “Meet the Team” video pretty shortly. As a tiny indie studio, we need to rely on unconventional channels to get people to know about and support us. We think that our “open kimono” development strategy works well for this and we just like sharing what we’re working on.

Hooked Gamers: I know you’re busy and want to keep this interview short, so I think we’ll wrap this up with a little tradition here at HookedGamers where we allow you to comment on something we haven’t discussed that you think the readers should know, or just something in the industry that you find interesting. The floor is yours Charlie.

Charlie Cleveland on Natural Selection 2
Charlie Cleveland: Oooh - really? I want to make sure everyone knows that we are extremely thankful for the support you’ve given us so far. We’ve had over 20,000 pre-orders to date, and many thousands of those were when we were offering nothing other than a teaser video! The closed beta represents the very beginning of Natural Selection 2 - we are putting out new versions weekly and even after we hit v1.0, we’ll be adding tons more to the game. So what you can play now is just the seed of what the game will ultimately become.

With Steam, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, online collaboration tools, etc., it’s absolutely an amazing time for indie game developers. It’s a huge amount of work, but I want to really encourage anyone with a fire burning deep within to pursue development of their own game. It’s my favorite thing in the world and you CAN create your dreams if you pursue them seriously, with dedication and in a big way.

Hooked Gamers: Thank you so much for conducting with interview with me, I know a lot of guys back at HookedGamers as well as dozens of users on Steam who are very interested in your game and will be glad to learn a bit more about the development of Natural Selection 2. For those who are now interested in finding more media on your game or even pre-ordering it where should they head and how much will it cost them?

Charlie Cleveland: The pleasure was mine! The latest videos, screenshots and the pre-order page can always be found at You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and our development blog... phew!

We hope to see more of you... it’s good to have you with us.