The blog for the bleeding-edge news in the server of Research and Development.

CSRD Update: 11 February 2017

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Happy new year!

Here's your irregular newsletter on what's new with the server. Some of it was previously outlined in the changelog history on the main page, so if you think you saw it mentioned before, you probably have.

Client feature additions

  • The Chat Control plugin now prevents players from using their say binds completely if they have opted out of seeing other players' say binds.
  • Replaced Spray Tracer with my Spray Inspect.
    • Instead of hovering over sprays, you now have to press your +inspect bind to see spray information (as an annotation). It's a little more out of the way, but hopefully a lot cleaner at the same time, and more fitting with the Team Fortress 2 style.
  • You can now switch teams without switching to Spectate if a bot is on the other side using my internal Cross-Team Bot Swap plugin.
    • I do want to publish it in full sometime, just gotta clean it up.

Map-related changes

Backend changes

  • Replaced the long-standing PHP-fragment rendering version of the MOTD with a statically generated one. That particular site is rendered with Hugo.
    • Most of the content is the same, except the server status has been replaced with the latest changelog, and there are a few updated common decency rules. Nothing particularly noteworthy, and nothing to be concerned about.
    • I also published the Hugo theme for the MOTD as a GitHub repository, if those of you with a TF2 server would like to generate a similar MOTD for yourselves.
  • Updated a few backend pieces for embedded navigation mesh support.
    • This includes my map "linter" (which spits out a list of maps with missing navigation meshes, images, etc. for me to work on) and the Bot Map Runner.

In the works?

  • Extensive support for download-free animations on robots.
    • At the moment, some animations just aren't available for playback on most robots (excluding the Engineer). While sigsegv's Robot Animation Fixes are great, it does require that the client and server both have them installed, otherwise there are possible hitbox mismatches.
    • And of course, we try to keep downloads at a minimum here.
    • This will fix robots going into the reference pose whenever they come into contact with water, and will open up the possibility of letting bots use taunt items.
  • The HTTP service backend (currently using PHP and Slim Framework) will be replaced with one written using the Hug framework. PHP manages well enough, but it's looking like a pain when it comes to maintenance further down the road.
    • (That's a half-truth. The actual reason is that it's really easy to support both VDF and JSON output formats in Hug; not so much in Slim. No need to repack the raw data.)
    • Provided this ever gets done, I do want to set up a unified bot navigation mesh listing interface so SourceMod plugins and the mapcycle listing can all refer to the same list.
  • Speaking of minimizing downloads, I'm thinking about redoing the entire round end music setup with streaming via HTML MOTDs. This was actually done at one point in the Nom Nom Nom TF2 community, but back then, it was dependent on a bulky Flash plugin. We have HTML5 now. We have the technology.
    • It's literally 8 lines of clean JavaScript for the page, including volume support. Plugin side is a bit more complicated, but not significantly.
    • The volume can be set relative to each person's game volume, so it doesn't murder ears.
    • The music will still be opt-in. If you don't care one bit about the round end audio stuff, you don't have to change a thing.
    • The music won't work for players that have disabled HTML MOTDs. Which is somewhat unfortunate, but they probably wouldn't be interested in it in any case.

That's all for now!

(Up you go!)