Update: Really sorry for the delay in replying to everyone... there's been a massive response to the news post, and sorting through all of the e-mails is taking some time.
Since the full Source SDK is now available, this might be a good time to let you all in on some of our plans for Sven Co-op 2.
First of all, I should mention that we'll be focusing on the basics for the first release: Establishing smooth, fun cooperative gameplay, and allowing level designers to start working on co-op maps. Features such as new monsters and weapons will be coming, but mostly in subsequent releases. Trying for too much at once would only delay things in the long run... and anyway, this way you'll have something to play while waiting for multi-user vehicles/etc.
Cooperative support for the Half-Life 2 single-player storyline is something that has been requested by a great many people, and as such, it is one of our priorities. Some changes to the maps will be necessary in order for cooperative play to work smoothly, but we will strive to keep things as true to the original experience as we can (another thing that has been heavily requested). Partly in the interests of this -- and also due to performance issues, balancing issues, and the fact that the maps were simply not designed with large player counts in mind -- the maximum player count for HL2SP maps will likely be fairly low. Higher player counts will be supported for cooperative maps.
One of the features we mentioned last year is our mapper-defined class system. This (optional) functionality will allow mapmakers to set up anything from simple player model or spawnpoint selectors to full TFC-like class systems (there might be a Hacker class who could break into enemy computer systems, for example) or whole game modes (such as an escort-the-VIP map, or maybe a map where the players are split into two groups... one group defending a position, and the other attempting to rescue them before it's too late).
Something we haven't mentioned before is the flexible lives system we have planned. This system is designed to break up the monotonous spawn/rush/die cycle sometimes present in Sven Co-op games, as well as preventing the need for challenge being founded on constant player death or monsters with huge amounts of health, while still allowing people of differing skill levels to play together without problems.
Basically, the system will make it possible for the AI to win... something that has previously been near to unheard of in Sven Co-op. I realise that this will concern some current players, but I urge everyone to try it out before lodging any protest. Our system will auto-balance based on past wins/losses, and has been designed to minimise the need for Counter-Strike-style waiting in spectator mode. We're not making Sven Co-op hyper-competitive, just adding an element of challenge not based on time-consuming repetition. It will also eliminate the need for long walks back from spawn zones as a method of punishing players for dying, allowing spawnpoints to be moved up more frequently.
A feature that fits in with the lives system is the player revival system. In SC2, rather than dying instantly, players will normally lie unconscious for a time before dying... and during this time, other players will be able to revive them via a functionality of the medkit. This will take a few seconds, however, requiring players to guard each other's backs while someone is being revived, or maybe drag the unconscious player to a safe position before beginning the revival process.
More is planned, but many things won't be decided until we're further into development, and some things may well be left as a surprise. Expect more information, and screenshots/etc., at a later date.
The Sven Co-op team is currently looking for an additional programmer to help develop the Sven Co-op mod for Half-Life 2. We're also thinking about taking on additional artists, including 3D modellers, animators and/or texture artists.
With over 300,000 recorded downloads of the 3.0 installer, Sven Co-op is already the biggest co-operative FPS available for the PC, and has the chance to be perhaps the first big-name mod available for Half-Life 2. As there is already a considerable demand for Half-Life 2 cooperative play, we feel that Sven Co-op is currently a good choice for those looking for a chance to work with the Source engine.
If interested, please contact Sven Viking with details of past experience, and examples of past work if applicable. Reliability essential.
And level designers are always appreciated, of course! Sven Co-op maps are handled in a free-lance fashion, similar to the way maps were handled on the Counter-Strike mod. That is, anyone interested in making Sven Co-op maps is more than welcome to. Some of the best maps are then selected by the Sven Co-op team (with influence from the community) to include with the mod installer or to release in separate map packs. The rest are made available for download from Map Showcase and from a number of excellent community sites such as Sven Co-op Central and Snark Cafe. We'll most likely that be releasing a mini-SDK for map makers before the first release of Sven Co-op 2.
Just one more thing... if anyone feels like nominating Sven Co-op for Mod of the Year, or maybe Sven Co-op HL2 for Best Upcoming Mod, it would be greatly appreciated .