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Basic Mapping Guidelines

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Official Mapping Guidelines are coming but in the meantime, here's some basic info to get you started. Note that the game is in active development so these can change at any time! We'll do our best to keep you up to date when and if it does though. A Spark pre-alpha update in the nearish future will include the official Mapping Guidelines.


Both the marine and alien teams have up to 16 players each and spawn in their own base at the beginning of the game.

NS2 layouts will typically have 6-10 rooms (bases plus smaller rooms for some resource points) and are simpler than the sprawling, nondescript corridors found in Natural Selection 1 maps. Rooms, resource points and other high-conflict areas should be relatively simple geometry-wise to lower confusion and interference with aiming. They should also be a little bigger than in NS1 for less chaos.

You can find Mapping Guideline under .../steam/steamapp/common/Natural Selection2/Mapping Guildines.pdf there is also a link to it in Speark Launch Pad.


To make maps easier to learn, rooms should use landmarks wherever possible. Landmarks are unique features such as lights, props, soundscapes or themes to make them unique in the minds of players and easy to remember and describe. They should be easy to describe ("Warehouse", "Sewer", "Glass corridor", "Loading bay") or easy to remember (loud machinery hum which covers up footstep sounds, one huge mining drill coming down through the ceiling, a huge lava waterfall, etc).


All sizes are in inches. Missing data to be added as it is announced.


  • Primary routes 160" - 192" wide, 160" tall
  • Secondary route entrances/exits are 80" wide, 128" tall


  • Wall textures are 128 tall
  • Floor textures are 128 wide


Need crouching sizes too.




  • Skulk: 36 wide, 36 long, 36 tall
  • Gorge: xx wide, yy long, zz tall
  • Lerk: xx wide, yy long, zz tall
  • Fade: xx wide, yy long, zz tall
  • Onos: 90" wide, 120 long, 120 tall (<100 crouched, he must crouch to get through some doorways)


  • Drifter: 44" wide, 84" long, 24" tall
  • MAC: 40" wide, 48" long, 56" tall
  • ARC: 55" wide, 92" long, 64" tall


  • Resource towers 128 wide, 128 long, 100 tall ?? approx
  • command chair
  • hive
  • armory


Marine Spawn

The marine base must have a Command Station and room for all 16 players as well as a collection of other marine structures. Marine Start shall have 16 Marine_Start entities. These will be used for the game start spawn.

Hive Area

The alien start must have a Hive hanging from the ceiling and room for 16 players (including the huge and fearsome Onos) and room for some alien structures. Hive areas shall have 16 Alien_start entities.

Tech Points

Resource Points

There are also 4-8 resource points which can be captured and built by a team to give that team extra resources.



Vents offer limit access for different creatures. Small aliens will fit. Humans will need to crouch. Onoses will not fit. The current guess for vent sizes is 40x40. approx

Other Rooms

There should be 2-4 other main rooms that can be used for either marine or alien bases.


Due to the differences between ranged vs. melee combat, marines have a distinct advantage in wide open areas without cover. Medium to large hallways and rooms should have plenty of objects and props as cover for aliens. Marines will occasionally need to take cover as well.

Variety of cover can add to the uniqueness of a space. Cover should support the function of the area and not exist solely as a gameplay element. Tell a story with the cover items. Ore carts, processing machinery, equipment lockers, constricted access ports, job boxes, forklifts, and work stations all provide cover and add the feeling that people were there doing work before all this trouble with the aliens started. In short, crates are lazy.

Avoid Level-Over-Level

The Marine Commander and Alien Commander view the game from a unique top-down perspective. This is handled automatically by the game but does place special limitations on level designers: maps can't have “level over level” geometry. If one room is built on top of another, the commander can't give orders in or see into the lower room. Because of this problem, overlapping hallways and areas that cross over other areas should generally be avoided.

Girders, catwalks, balconies, pipes, and other smaller geometry can overlap as long as they don't really block commander access to the area below them.

Props have a commander alpha setting, making it possible for mappers to either tun on/off (1/0) the visibility and clipping for commanders. Eventually you will be able to set this to other values to get varying degrees of opacity for props. Faces have to be placed in a special case-sensitive group called CommanderInvisible, everything in this group will become invisible for commanders.

Q&A Update

  • Marine and alien start locations are both fixed. There are NOT three hive rooms like in NS1.
  • For vents, use our special vent models (they are coming in an update soon).
  • Nope, we're not supporting multiple levels for Commanders.

See Also