FGD Released!

Date:  18/Dec/01

The FGD file for the public beta (a file used by mapmakers) can now be downloaded by clicking here. There's also a new screenshot, showing the magic sword from the updated version of SvenCoopRPG... really good for destroying monster lairs. ("Magic" sword uses electric crowbar system, so most people'll have to use the normal sword in net games, BTW). 

Umm, last chance to get the bonus features is now, by the way. Anything within 20 hours of this news post should be OK, after that, no guarantees that you'll get them 'till 2.0 Final. If you do donate, make sure that you send your WON ID at the same time!!! By the time I send E-mail asking for IDs and get a reply, it may be too late. 

Info on attaining your ID is here. Remember to start or join an Internet game, otherwise you'll get the "LAN ID" (which is always the same number, for everyone, it seems). I suggest that you E-mail the ID to me at dd2@iname.com (SvenCoop.com mail is down) along with the E-mail address you used to donate.

As for progress, you're best to check the progress page (use the link above this news post)... most of the details are there. Generally, if we continue at the same rate (which isn't as easy as it sounds, with RL stuff always getting in the way), we should just manage. This skin-of-teeth business seems to have become a fairly common thing, with us :/.

Kune's made us a really good promotional image thingy for the public beta, BTW... hopefully it'll be on PHL tomorrow or sometime. 

-Sven Viking


  Small update     (Updated)

Date:  17/Dec/01

Another update: Could anyone who's somewhat reliable and able to mirror files on a high-speed server E-mail me, thanks? Also E-mail me if you run a high-speed Win32 SvenCo-op server and would be interested in upgrading to the new version just before the release.

Unrelated blathering: Sure hope things work out OK. Even a small problem could mess everything up at the moment :(. Wish us luck... especially Another1, 'cos coding's the main thing we need done at the moment.

Well, the site's working again... for now, at least :). So is the "up-to-date information on the status of the 2.0 Public Beta" page... unfortunately, though, SvenCo-op E-mail is down :(. Any E-mail to sent to sven@svencoop.com over the last 2-3 days, or in the near future, will most likely be lost forever. Use dd2@iname.com to contact me, for the moment, thanks.

BTW, sent Planet Half-Life some shots of Barnabus, the default Evil Barney model... hopefully they'll post them soon.

Update: The shots have been posted on PHL... click the thumbnails to the left to see them.

-Sven Viking


  SvenCo-op Release Countdown Begins!

Date:  13/Dec/01

To start off the SvenCo-op Release Countdown, we're revealing the SvenCo-op Secret Weapon to the public! (I know that a lot of you have figured it out, but there are also many people who haven't, judging by the amount of E-mail I get about it)

It's the Banana Bomb, from Worms! (A grenade that spews out high-explosive bananas). To use it, press the alternate fire button while holding ten hand grenades. Hilarious fruit-related carnage will ensue. Be careful, though - use it in the wrong situation, and you're liable to blow yourself to bits.

Seeing as it was no longer intended to be a secret after the release, the Banana Bomb will be toned down (less bananas) in 2.0/the 2.0 public beta, and disabled on some maps. So now, before the release, is the best time to try it out!  If you get things just right, and you're lucky (banana count is random in 1.9), you can actually kill a Gargantua in one throw.

Unimportant note: Someone-or-other apparently thought we'd copied this weapon from another Half-Life mod. This is incorrect... we both copied it from Worms (a crazy and extremely fun multi-player 2D artillery game). And anyway, we had the Banana Bomb working before the other mod was conceived, as far as I know (v1.9 was released nearly a year ago).

I wasn't sure of whether to say this earlier, in case we missed the release date and people got angry or something (if we do miss the date, it'll be a while before we can release the beta... 'cos unfortunately, I'm going to be working pretty-well non-stop around the end of this month/most of January :(  )...  But now that it's almost (which I type in red to make sure that nobody fails to notice it) definite that we'll manage a release, though, I guess I'd better mention: 

Anyone who successfully donates and instructs me of their WON ID number within the next four days will get the bonus features (electric crowbar and gilded Uzi/s... minor conditions apply. See the Support page for details) in the public beta, and all versions thereafter. After that, new donors'll have to wait 'till the next release before being able to use the upgraded weapons.

Some of you may prefer to try the public beta and the bonuses and all before deciding on whether to donate, since hopefully the next release won't be overly far off after the public beta. This sounds good to me. Just mentioning the above in case anyone wants to know.  

P.S. - Remember, if you've donated and want the bonuses, but haven't sent me your WON ID, you'll need to send it to me really soon to get them in the public beta. Click Here for instructions.

Random Stuff of the Day: Santa Strike is fun. Or used to be, way back when I had time to play games. (Friday).

Wow, two news updates in two days... it's been a while since this happened. Enjoy it while it lasts ;). By the way, I'm going to send PHL a couple of shots of Barnabus, the default Evil Barney for 2.0, tomorrow or the day after, so keep a look-out for that.

-Sven Viking


  Uzi, 9mm (or, There and Back Again).   Also Note: Woohoo!

Date:  12/Dec/01

Hmm, it looks as if the previous news update's request for readers to wish an absence of bad luck upon the mod, paid off!! Seemingly due to an unprecedented SvenCo-op bad-luck shortage, LiquidGamerX turned up on ICQ last night (thanks to Kune for E-mailing me to say he was online), and sent me the finished Uzis... and the file wasn't corrupt... and they worked, and everything! 

That was unexpected.

To celebrate (and prove the authenticity of) this occurrence, I've made a movie of the finished Uzi/s in action! CLICK HERE to download it... it zipped down to under 2meg, so even if you're on 56k like me, it shouldn't take long to download. You'll need a recent version of Quicktime to view it. 

Please keep in mind that the movie was taken from a model viewer, and the framerate is much lower than what you'd see in-game (as well as the resolution being too low to let you pick out all of the nifty skin details)... it looks pretty impressive despite that, however. They're great models. 

Many thanks to LiquidGamerX for modelling, skinning, and animating the new Uzis... and most importantly, ultimately managing to send them to me :). Also thanks to those who offered to assist in communication with him!

Anyway, at about the same time that this was happening, the SvenCo-op site started working properly again (we can upload to subfolders now), so we're off to a good start as far as releasing the public beta before Christmas... before I was thinking we'd be lucky to manage a really buggy, untested, generally bad release before Christmas... this saves us a lot of time, though. 

If the aforementioned bad luck remains absent for a bit longer, and the team and I work like heck over the next few days, we should be able to get a fairly good (though still noticeably beta-ish) beta released before Christmas... and even if something goes wrong, we should be able to release something. And if I'm lucky, the bugs and unfinished features won't seem as bad to the rest of you as they do to me, since most of the bugs are in 1.9 anyway, and most of the unfinished features aren't in 1.9 at all. Just don't forget that it's an unfinished beta, when you download it, thanks.

Of course, it's fairly likely that all this lack-of-horrible-stuff-happening is just a ruse to give us a false sense of security... so we won't be prepared for the really, really horrible thing that's about to happen (this is more common than you may think)... so please continue to wish us an absence of bad luck, up until when you actually have the beta release successfully installed on your system (yeah, I know it sounds silly, but it worked last time, right?).  :).

Random Stuff:

Though this is a strange time to announce it, in case this is of use to anyone: We've had multiple, reliable reports that SvenCo-op works perfectly with Counterstrike Retail (though you won't be able to play the Valve SP maps). So if you have friends with CS Retail but not Half-Life, recommend the mod to them! :D

Also, a good thing to do while waiting for SvenCo-op would be to play Joust... a lot...

And I recommend that you check .the .product. It weighs in at 63.5 kilobytes, which shouldn't take long to download even if you're on 300 baud. And no, it's not a trick, all the information required to do all that really is contained in those kilobytes... except some DirectX rendering-type stuff (DirectX 8 is required). Still nigh unbelievable :o.

Sven Viking


  Powernode Released || Anyone live in Minnesota? || Message to donors

Date:  9/Dec/01

Almost a month since the last news update :/... I have a good excuse this time, though -- the site's FTP went wrong quite a while ago, and I haven't been able to upload things. Afraid it still isn't fixed properly... can only upload to the root directory, now. Makes things a bit tricky.

Anyway, as to what's been happening: I've been going mad trying to arrange a public release before Christmas (not 2.0 final, but a public beta version)... unfortunately, as you probably know if you check this page regularly, everything always goes wrong for us.

I'll try to get something released before Christmas -- even if it's got serious problems (should still be considerably better than 1.9)... but it may not be possible. Wish us luck (or, at least, the absence of bad luck... might be a more achievable goal).

One of the two major problems is the Uzi models being unfinished (half the animations are missing). They were being made by LiquidGamerX, but he disappeared when his hard drive shut down. 

I've phoned him many times over the last couple of months, with varying results... at the moment, though, the situation is that he bought a new hard drive quite a while ago, with the help of some money donated by the SvenCo-op community, and has finished the Uzi animations... but for various reasons is unable to send them. Then he sent me an E-mail recently, saying he'd get them to me by the weekend... that was about eleven days ago.

Now, the problem is, since I live in New Zealand, and he lives in Minnesota, the toll charges are building up... especially since I usually get an answerphone when I ring, or someone saying he's not home... even when I do get someone, the line can be a bit unstable. Don't want all the donation money to go on long-distance phone calls. 

What I was wondering, is whether there was anyone who lived in the US who was able to pass on messages? Particularly people who live near enough to Cedar/East Bethel in Minnesota to be able to call toll-free (the area code is 763, in case that helps). If you might be able to do this, E-mail me at sven@svencoop.com for details, thanks!

Powernode, by c00leyo, a series of three maps in which the players "are the IBR infiltration team, sent on a covert operation to destroy illegal contraband weaponry located within the Powernode complex", is now available from the Files page. The map series is quite long and quite difficult, has some story elements, some puzzles, some traps, some variation... it's generally a really good all-around map. 

There's not much eye-candy, admittedly, and the architecture isn't astounding (though better than in quite a few maps), but the gameplay is good, and that's what matters. A recommended download.

Important message to all SvenCo-op donors: I haven't received the WON IDs of several people who've donated... and if I can't add their IDs to the code, they won't be able to use the bonus weapons on Internet games. 

If you've donated (especially if you know that you haven't sent me your ID, but even if you have, it might be wise to re-send it to be absolutely certain), please E-mail me with your WON ID, the real name you used when donating (the name that would have been on the credit card or such), and/or other information that'll help me be sure of who you are. 

For instructions on checking your WON ID, click here. P.S., if you haven't donated, don't send your ID in hoping that I'll add it to the bonus list accidentally... if you do, it might end up getting added to another, less desirable list (which also starts with B)... ;). Thanks all.

-Sven Viking


  Mega-Update:  I Live!, New Maps, BlueYonder UK server, etc.

Date:  10/Nov/01

Hi all... guess you've been wondering what's been going on. Well, we're not dead or anything :). Basically, just after the last news update, my free time was reduced to such a level that I could either work on getting 2.0 finished, or continue to update the news/read my E-mail/read the message board/etc., but not both... so I figured that people'd probably prefer to get 2.0 sooner, and spent my time on that. 

This went on for over two weeks, and we finished and released 2.0 Beta 2 to the beta testers. Most of the bugs from Beta1 were gone, and there were some improvements, but there're one or two new bugs, and some problems are still big enough to prevent it from being of a publicly releasable quality.

Then for a week or so after that, some things happened in RL, and I was too busy to get on the computer at all... and then, I'm afraid, for about the last week, I've been in a rather strange nervous-breakdown-like state where thinking about anything SvenCo-op-related made my head hurt. I've forced myself out of it, now (mostly :)  )... sorry about not doing so sooner.


Anyway, as for the state of the mod, we're pretty close to having the public beta finished... Unfortunately, as when installing Microsoft operating systems, or downloading larges files from servers that don't support resuming, the final one or two percent is usually harder to get past than the previous percentages put together. We'll see what we can do, though. On to the real news:

I've finally got around to adding two new maps to the Files page. The first is GruntWar, by Ike_Brovlofski, a high-quality map in terms of both design and gameplay. In the map, you slowly force back enemy forces to the final objective, which you then destroy. Nice use of friendly monsters - they're helpful, but certainly don't make things easy. 

Something that makes this map different is that it uses a Skill setting of 3, meaning (in SvenCo-op) that a single headshot or a couple of chest shots should usually fell a grunt, and the players aren't much safer. Skill 3 in 1.9 is unfortunately a bit unbalanced imho... with enough players, the map should be a heap of fun, but even so, you might want to download the 2.0 skill.cfg file, below. The map will become a bit easier, but should still prove to be quite challenging.

The second map is Battlefield, by }{aVoK. It consists of multiple arenas that players must battle through to complete, one at a time, with monsters respawning (think Doom co-operative play on Nightmare). The sheer difficulty of managing this makes it impossible to complete by yourself (or for me to complete, anyway)... should be great with a lot of players, though. The only real problem is that the r_speeds are quite high :/. Also, for some reason it causes v2.0 to crash... but hopefully we'll find and fix the problem before the release (The map works perfectly in v1.9).


BTW, I've uploaded the skill.cfg file from v2.0 Beta 2 to HERE. It's quite a bit better than the 1.9 file, in my opinion... only problem is, since 1.9 lacks some of the 2.0 skill settings, it might unbalance a weapon or two. Might be best to back up your current file, just in case. The zip should be extracted to your SvenCoop\ directory, by the way (unlike the maps, which should be extracted to your Half-Life\ folder, with Directories enabled).

Remember, to download the maps described above, visit the Files page.

Thanks to Abomination and others, BlueYonder (a large British ISP, from what I gather) has set up a high-speed SvenCo-op server, complete with forum and IRC channel (#bysvencoop on Quakenet)... even a league and ladder are apparently coming soon. Pretty nice! The address for the server itself is:

Together with the Mr. Magic server, this should make playing SvenCo-op in the UK about as lag-less as it's likely to get... until 2.0's released, anyway (there are some lag-reducing features). Now we just need a good New Zealand server :/.

Well, that's most of the important news... I'll try to update again soon, though if past events are any guide, I might not find time for a while. A thing or two before I go, though: 

  • We should be getting a new site design in the near future

  • There are now several SvenCo-op Bloopers comics on-line... unfortunately, at the time of posting, Basicbee.com seems to be down :/.

  • Paul Shuttle has finished BurnOut, it appears, and is working on a second SvenCo-op map, named Wired. Check his site for information, as well as a screenshot or two.

  • In case you haven't already noticed, there's a clue to something in some of the screenshots above. <Insert Mysterious Music of Some Kind, Here>

Oh yeah, and one more thing: As mentioned above, I've hardly been reading any of my E-mail for quite some time now :/. I'll try to sort through and reply to it all over the next while, but still, if you E-mailed me about anything important, and didn't get a reply, it might be best to re-send the message.

-Sven Viking


  Lots of Information, Lots of Screenshots... And a Comic!!

Date:  28/Sep/01

Hi all... again, sorry about the lack of updates, but I've only had about an hour a day to do SvenCo-op things lately, due to RL stuff :/... and I've been spending most of that working on 2.0, and trying to encourage and/or force team members to do the same :). 

There's a beta test status report on Hangar 16 (You'll have to scroll down a bit, to "Sven Coop Beta 2.0 | Posted Thursday September 20". It's sort of like an interview, but without all the annoying questions :). And there are also ten exclusive tester-submitted screenshots from Beta1, taken on a variety of different systems, as you'll be able to see. These screenshots do not depict the final version of 2.0, of course :). Things will change, yet.

There's also a more recent, less optimistic general status report on the SvenCo-op Forums... I was depressed when I wrote this, and things aren't quite as bad as they sound...:

Mark wasn't gone, and is still working... I just hadn't seen him for a bit, and I'm paranoid about this sort of thing due to prior experiences. Commando thinks he's got the Grunts2 problems fixed. Remy is ICQing Shattered to me as I type this. Tylak hasn't disappeared, and has sent me the current version of Hostile Planet. Sniper will hopefully be uploading his files really soon. I've got the Commandmenu fixed, and I think the current fixed SvenCoop2.bsp map is working properly (already fixed SvenCoop1, and added a surprise or two :)  ). 

Mostly we just need Another1 to find time to do a few things, and everything else should be manageable.

Here are three new screenshots from Hostile Planet... I've only had time to check the very start of the map, but everything looks really amazing. Much better than it looks in the screenshots. Don't know exactly why...

Paul Shuttle updated his site with news about, and screenshots of, his SvenCo-op map a while ago (scroll down to "BURNING OUT - 24.09.01"). I haven't played the map yet, but it's getting close to completion, and it's likely that it'll be included with SvenCo-op v2.0.

King_Cobra, a SvenCo-op beta tester and the maker of the SvenCo-op map "Warhouse", was recently attacked, and narrowly escaped more serious injury and/or death. He recounts:

"was walking to work, got to subway, 2 guys came up behind, whacked me across back of neck with massive pole like piece of wood i turned round, said 'what the f***', the guy then went to hit at me again but luckily i put arm up quick enough and he hit that instead broke arm, i legged it as fast as my legs can carry me through subway then got sent hospital basically if i hadn't of got my arm up quick enough i'd of prolly been killed due to the amount of force behind the swing it was aimed for my head dunno who/why they did it and they didn't [say] anything..."

Please note: This is not Cobra's normal writing style... it's not so easy to type with one arm in a cast :/. The incident was reported on the local radio station. Hope he has a quick recovery, and hope the thugs are caught, though at the present time it sounds unlikely.

There's a preview of BasicBee's upcoming comic series, SvenCo-op Bloopers, Here. Even this first comic is unfinished as yet, but it certainly looks promising! From what I've heard, it shouldn't be long before more are ready. Update: There are now two comics :D. The second is more funny if you've played 2.0 Beta 1, in which tripmines are even easier to abuse than in 1.9 :)  (fixed in Beta 2).

As you may have noticed, two new maps were not released today, but should have been. Just too busy to sort it out just now... will do it as soon as possible... have way too many things to do :(.

-Sven Viking


  Site Working Again! Etc.

Date:  18/Sep/01

UPDATE: The HL patch was released today, and a lot of people have been having overflow problems after installing it (they can play for about a minute, then they're kicked off the server due to an overflow). From what I've heard, it seems that it's a bug that effects certain graphics cards, and it can be temporarily remedied by playing in Direct3D mode instead of OpenGL. Hopefully Valve'll release a fix really soon.

Well, the site's back! In case you were wondering where we were, Smidge.com (our host) was in the process of moving to a faster, more reliable server, so hopefully SvenCoop.com'll be online more than half of the time from now on! ;). Some information on this, along with four screenshots of v2.0 that haven't been posted here before, is available here, at PHL.

Unfortunately, the files are down at the moment... you can still download from any of the mirrors listed on the Files page, but some files aren't mirrored at all. Hopefully we'll have the files back on the SvenCo-op site sometime tomorrow. Update: All the files should be working again, now.

I'd also better mention that svencoop.com E-mail was down for a couple of days, and any mail sent within that time was lost... so if you sent me an E-mail recently, and I didn't reply, please re-send it (just make sure that your return address works, thanks :).

Anyway, about progress on 2.0: Another1 had some more satellite coding to do, so that slowed him down a bit, but he's had some more time lately, and has got several bugs fixed. We've also just signed up an extra coder, Mark, and he's fixed quite a few bugs as well, so we're finally making real progress again!

Our main problem at the moment is that LiquidGamerX has once again disappeared without a trace... hopefully he's just seeing about buying and installing that new hard drive, and will turn up again soon. Very soon.

A few new maps should be released soon, by the way... watch out for that.

-Sven Viking


  Good news and bad news and bad news... and so forth

Date:  5/Sep/01

Update: Information on Sniper's problems has been added, below.

Really sorry about not updating in so long, but I've been extremely busy with trying to make sure that v2.0 Beta 1 was finished, then actually starting the test, organizing the testers, and keeping it running in general... among other things. Anyway, here are some screenshots from the beta test, to partially make up for the lack of updates. The last row shows pictures of 'skydiving' on GargHunt3, a pastime that's become popular during the beta (if you do it right, you don't die).


There's also a lot of news. As referred to above, the beta test started a while ago, and many bugs have been found, making it easier for us to finish 2.0... a lot of the rest of the news isn't so good, however.

You know the SvenCo-op map DaveJ was working on? (Working title: Argh!... Seems that it was appropriate :/  ). His hard drive crashed, and the RMF, map, and BSP files were lost and/or corrupted. He had no backups :((. Some possibly good news, though is that he also said this: 

HOWEVER, I am working on some new textures which were going to be used on a TFC map... it's possible I might make a very unique SvenCoop map from it. Maybe. Depends on time." 

Another piece of bad news, though not quite as bad, is that progress on 2.0 has been very slow for the last week or two, because Another1 (our coder) has been extremely busy coding control center software for the satellite "BIRD", which is to be launched at the beginning of next year. 

The good news is that the deadline for the program/s was two days ago, though, so he should be able to start concentrating on SvenCo-op again, really soon. P.S. - Happy Birthday to him, for yesterday!

A piece of bad news was that LiquidGamerX, modeller/skinner/animator extraordinaire, disappeared without a trace for over three weeks, leaving us with great-looking but, since only half the animations had been completed, unusable Uzi models :/. 

Good news, though, is that he turned up again today (side-note: he was in a car accident, today... so was one of our testers, just a few days ago... nobody was seriously hurt)... His hard drive had crashed thoroughly, and he's finally been able to properly re-format it (he had the Uzi files backed up on CDs). His drive's still getting worse, though, and over 4 gigs of it is already totally corrupt... could go down at any time. 

I've sent him a grant out of the donation funds, though, which will allow him to buy a new (and, actually, considerably better) hard drive in conjunction with his own resources. Once again, many thanks to everyone who's supported the mod by <shameless advertisement> donating. Without LiquidGamerX, we would have been in a real fix.

On a vaguely related topic, a new method of donating has been added to the Support page, allowing people to donate using a non-US credit card quickly and easily... the service that provides this charges higher transaction fees, though, so anyone with US credit cards is still best to donate through PayPal</advertisement>.

Sniper's situation wins the prize for the worst piece of news, though... not a prize you want to win, of course :/.

The good news is that Sniper's father is getting better... unfortunately, though, since he's been unable to work, Sniper and his family are in danger of going bankrupt, having their computer taken off by debt collectors, etc. This is obviously not good at all, and on top of it all, this sort of thing won't be at all good for Sniper's father, there being a danger of him having a stroke if he does/worries too much. And Sniper's dog just died. Really, really not his day, it seems :((.

The only hope seems to be that Sniper's family was promised an amount of money from some relatives (has to do with an inheritance, I think... I don't entirely understand it all), large enough to pay off the bills and give them a chance to get back on their feet... nothing's on paper or anything, though, so this may not happen... which would be, well, quite horrible, basically.

I've asked him about various things I might be able to do to help, but it seems that there really isn't anything. Even if the donation money quadrupled, it wouldn't be in the same league as the problem. Seems that the only thing we can do is pray... might not solve the problem, but it certainly couldn't hurt.

P.S., in case anyone doesn't know who Sniper is, he set up the SvenCoop.com site design (and has nearly finished a new and improved design scheme), made most of the images you see around the site (such as the logo), made the maps Osprey and GargHunt3 (being included with 2.0), etc.

To cheer you up a bit after all that, I suggest you read Friendly Garg's Friendly Garg story, which is SvenCo-op-related :).

And you should also go here and check Xiaoxiao 1, 2, 3 and 4... they're not SvenCo-op related, but they're really great :D.

-Sven Viking


  Beta Test Nearing, Brand New Message Board, New Screen Shots, etc.

Date:  18/Aug/01

Ugh, we nearly get the beta finished, and I suddenly have to go away again. Leaving early Monday morning, might not be back 'till Thursday or Friday :/. The Curse at work again, maybe... Ah well, there are only a very few bugs and changes left to see to, so everything should be ready for the test to begin, as soon as I get back. Could be a lot worse.

I'll see if I can manage to choose and E-mail the testers, tomorrow, to save time, but will probably be too busy :(. At least we've got the new message board set up and working thanks to Sniper (who's father's condition has (from what I've heard) improved considerably since the last update, by the way)!

The board is the latest version of vBulletin... it was paid for out of the donation money, and is very, very fancy. Features in all directions :), so many that it's a bit confusing just at first, but great once you get used to it. As well as giving the SvenCo-op community a great place to communicate and grow, it'll be a great help during the beta test, as we need to have a separate section of the board for testers to report bugs and check the latest testing news, for us to keep an updated list of known bugs on, etc.

Had we tried this on the old board, there would have been a lot of trouble... there were a great deal of bugs, some of which occasionally brought the whole forum to a halt. Quite a few people couldn't even register or post :/. The new board should make the testing process much more efficient, ultimately allowing us to release 2.0 sooner. Many thanks to everyone who donated for making this possible!!

Another thing the donation money's being used for is to help LiquidGamerX (who modelled and skinned the new Uzis, and is currently in the process of finishing their animations) to buy a new hard drive. His current hard drive is having problems similar to those mine was having, a while ago, and it sounds as if it won't last long. I just hope that it hasn't conked out already... haven't seen him on-line for a couple of days :(.

Here are three screenshots showing me and all the friendly monsters standing together in Stadium3 :). Please note that a few of the skins pictured may change before the final release.


-Sven Viking


  New Map, Beta Update, Screenshots, Interview, etc.

Date:  11/Aug/01

Update: Sniper (Web design/2D Art/mapping... maker of Osprey)'s father recently had an aneurysm, and is currently in intensive care... detailed information is available here. If any of you could pray about this, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Hi everyone... sorry about not updating in so long (seem to have to say this every time I update the news :/  ), but I've been spending all my time trying to make sure that the beta test version gets finished (and have a really bad cold, which doesn't help). 

The beta version's taking a lot longer to finish than I'd hoped, but we're getting fairly close now... there should only be a few bugs to fix, and one feature to add (I hope). If anyone's been working on any skins for the skin contest and hasn't contacted me about them, please do so ASAP!  I'll (officially) stop accepting skin submissions in about 42 hours from now (late Sunday night in the US). 

The beta test applications forum has already been closed. And just so everyone knows, none of the testers have been officially contacted yet, so if you haven't heard anything, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're not in the test. Keep in mind that testing positions are quite limited, though.

A new map has been added to the Files page... StarCraft2 by Epyon (It's not actually StarCraft-related, just by the way). Among other things, it features friendly grunts and an interesting ending sequence. It's not exactly an eye-candy-intensive map, and has its problems... The gameplay's good and there are some interesting situations, though, so if you're getting bored with the old maps, it's definitely worth a look.

An interview with our head coder, Another1, has been posted on PlayHalfLife.de... in German. You can use Babelfish to read it, though it'll unfortunately reduce the quality of the grammar and such to 'blocker'-like depths :).

Tyler Munden, aka Tylak, Lead Level Designer for the FireArms mod, sent me some screenshots of the SvenCo-op map he's working on (which seems to be called Hostile Planet). In the map, the players spawn in a spaceship and set out to conquer an alien planet. He reports: "I've finished the spaceship part, now I'm working on the planet surface and the buildings the players must take over". Sounds like it'll be a great map!

Paul Shuttle has also posted a screenshot of the map he's working on, Burnout, on his site.

Sven Viking


  Beta Test Update, Music Track by Steve 'BLEVO' Blevin!

Date:  28/Jul/01

Hi all... just thought I'd better mention that I'll be away from the day after tomorrow (30th) 'till the 4th of August, so the beta testers won't be picked 'till sometime after then... Best to think of the 5th as the final deadline, though, because it's quite likely that it will be. 

We haven't been getting many skinning contest applicants, by the way... surely there're more SvenCo-op fans out there who're good at 2D art? If you're one of them, click here! If you missed the beta testing announcement, check the previous news post for full information!

One more thing: If you submitted a skin or posted an application on the message board, and haven't received a reply, don't worry... we're not E-mailing any of the beta testers 'till the selection process is complete.

Steve "Blevo" Blevin (the composer and sound technician who, among other things, created music and effects used in the retail game Gunman) has recently made a re-mastered version of Cyborg, especially for SvenCo-op. 

Cyborg is a music track that was originally created for Gunman, but never actually used. Don't know why, but I expect that it was due to the switch to an "ambient" style of music that I once heard mention of in an interview. It's a great piece of music, though, and I've always thought it'd be a pity to have it just disappear without more than a very few people ever having listened to it. 

I asked Blevo about it and the end result is that Cyborg (a new, cleaned up and improved version of Cyborg, in fact) will be included with SvenCo-op 2.0 as an example file to be used with the MP3 player. To download an excerpt from the track, Click Here!

Just a note... since the SvenCo-op MP3 player has no effect on anything unless you actually activate it, it won't cause any of the stability problems that some other mods have encountered due to their MP3 support. That is, if it does cause stability problems on your system (and we haven't actually seen this happen, as of yet), just don't use the MP3 player.

P.S., it'd be appreciated if you could send any questions and such that don't have to be answered specifically by me, to Mad Jonesy, while I'm away. This way I hopefully won't have mountains of E-mail to sort through, when I get back, and won't end up forgetting about some of them for a month or so like last time :D. Thanks!

Also, just so that nobody gets worried, this won't actually delay 2.0 by five days... most team members already have plenty of things to do, and I'll arrange a few things before I leave, so hopefully while I'm gone everyone'll continue to work hard to get 2.0 finished. Right, team members??? ;). Well, Cya all.

Sven Viking


  Beta Tester Selection Process Begins!!

Date:  23/Jul/01

Well, as usual, things took longer than was expected. Better late than never, though :).

We've very nearly got a version of 2.0 ready that's good enough to allow us to take on outside testers. There are three ways of getting into the test (well, four counting nepotism and such)... first, though, here are the basic conditions of the beta. By applying for the beta, you assert that you've read and agreed to these conditions:

  • The test period may start and end at any time

  • You will NOT give or release any beta files, or information that might be used to obtain beta files, to anyone without express permission from me. Breaking this rule may have severe repercussions.

  • There may be times when you can't play, while we try something out, or such.

  • The beta will be able to be played on our test server (kindly provided by Spacemonster) only. This is necessary for various reasons.

  • We can kick you out of the test for any reason (obviously we're not going to kick people 'cos they looked at us funny... this is just a safeguard)

  • You need to accept that it's an unfinished version - there will be bugs, unfinished features, etc. That's why we're having the test. Don't go around saying "2.0 sux!" or something to other people because of this.

  • You're not allowed to give anyone details on the beta or features of the beta, or publish information on the beta, without permission from us. No stealing our ideas, either :).

  • We want feedback, not flames. If you don't like something, tell us why.

  • Testers will need to register on the forums... we'll probably use them for bug reports and such.


Anyway, the three possible ways of getting into the test are:

A: By entering the monster skinning contest. Please do not enter this unless you're pretty good at 2D art and/or skinning (if we have to spend days sorting through thousands of submissions, it might delay 2.0 slightly :).

B: By supporting the mod! - The top so-many donors will get into the test.

C: By posting a testing application on the forum with some brief information on why we should pick you (would suggest that you include system info and info on any previous testing or development experience). We'll choose however-many more beta testers we need, from this list, once the rest are sorted out (might also choose a few more sometime during the test, if we don't seem to have enough).

Applications must be on the "Beta application" section of the forum. Each application must be in a new topic, with the subject line containing your E-mail address and/or nick. You must use a valid E-mail address to be considered... should you be accepted, this address will be used to identify you during the beta. Posting multiple applications will get you banned. If you make a mistake, or accidentally double-post, use the "Edit/Delete" link shown to the bottom-right of your message to correct matters.


You can try more than one of these categories if you want, just try to use the same E-mail address. I'm not sure of exactly when the test will start, at the moment... going to be away for about 5 days sometime next week, which might mess things up slightly :(. We'll hopefully be releasing a public beta version sometime after the closed test, by the way.

Hezus sent me this SvenCo-op comic that he made. It seems to be a continuation of the situation presented in Commando's comic. Hezus also mentions that he's working on a map based on the comic, where you have to save Me (portrayed by a HL scientist) :).

Sven Viking


  Gut Reaction for SvenCo-op Released! New Uzi shots, etc. etc.

Date:  18/Jul/01

Hi all... you may have been getting some pop-up ads when you come to the site :(. This is the work of our host's sponsor. I asked Smidge (who runs Smidge.com, our host) about this, and he said he'd already contacted them about it... so if all goes well, the pop-ups will be removed soon. I hope.

Here are a couple of shots of the new Uzi model, in-game... it looks even better in motion, BTW :).  The maps in the shots are from Gut Reaction (details below).

P.S. - The reason the ammo is 50 in the first shot is that I'm using it as an MP5 replacement.

I missed a few support-related frequently asked questions in the last update. They are:

  • What if a donor distributes the bonus files to everyone?: There are no bonus files, so they can't be distributed. The system works by the server code comparing your WON ID to a list... if you're on the list, you get the bonuses.

  • Can people get the bonus features through hacking?: While it might be possible to hack the server .dll to give yourself the features, even if it was done, it'd only affect things when you were running your own server. If you joined anyone else's server, things'd be the same as ever. Since everyone can use the bonuses in single-player anyway, there's not much reason to go to all the effort. If someone tries to hack into WON to change their ID or something, they'll have Sierra to deal with.

  • Are donations refundable?: Since it'd actually cost us money to do so, no. Unless we decide to due to special circumstances.

  • An electrified crowbar, and gilded Uzis that're slightly more powerful aren't worth $6: That's the whole point. It's a donation, not a purchase... the idea is to support SvenCo-op --- to help us to make the mod better. The bonus features are just that - an extra bonus as a thank-you for the people who support the mod.

We've just released a co-operative version of Tim Johnston's critically acclaimed Gut Reaction SP mission pack! It was altered (with permission, of course) by Mad Jonesy to work properly with SvenCo-op -- you might be telefragged once or twice, but other than that it should work perfectly... it did during our tests, at least.


The maps all have excellent architecture, some of the visuals are quite stunning, and there're lots of nifty details and situations. Though Mad Jonesy added some monsters to make the maps harder, there are still less monsters than in most SvenCo-op maps... personally, however, I found this refreshing. There's a feeling of exploration and puzzle-solving, and not knowing when monsters are going to turn up (as opposed to knowing they're going to turn up continually) makes things a bit scarier :).

For more information on the map pack, check this review of the SP version. For info on what was changed in the conversion to SvenCo-op, check Jonesy's readme file.  To download the SvenCo-op version, click here!

One more thing... I've added two more mirrors for the SvenCo-op v1.9 installer, on the Files page. And just as a matter of interest, next time I update, it should be to begin the beta test contest.

- Sven Viking