Maintainer Update JUN2023

Hello CMSS13. I’ve been Maintainer Manager, alongside Harry, for the last 3 months. This is the first update in quite some time and a first for me. I’ve spent some time thinking about various concerns in the community and I’ve found a lot of issues seem to stem from a lack of communication. The way I’ve been handling communication with the community has been mostly just hanging out on the discord or answering ideaguys threads on the forums. Expanding on that to community-wide messages should help with overall propagation of information. I have a few topics to touch on and then info on upcoming projects towards the end.

Github Stats

In the last three months we have merged a total of 568 pull requests. Of those 568 we had 240 bug fixes. That is about 6 pull requests merged a day for the last 90 days and if we keep at this rate it’ll be another 1700 by this time next year. For reference, in our total history of github we have had 2300 pull requests merged. I cannot thank enough the countless effort of our contributors and maintainers who have put in hours and hours and hours of their free time to make content, fix bugs, and maintain standards in our codebase. It is a pleasure working with you all everyday to make this passion project better.

Development Triage

“The assigning of priority order to projects on the basis of where funds and other resources can be best used, are most needed, or are most likely to achieve success.”

I was a medic in the US Army for four years. The word “triage” is burnt into my mind and the concepts that come with that have helped me out over the years. Developing this behemoth with hundreds, if not thousands, of contributors over decades is a hugely difficult task. Just this week we had an exploit which allowed people to call commands and turn everyone into xenos on the server.

Bugs are plenty, random abusable balance issues or strategies are just laying around for someone to find, shoddy backend systems are causing problems, and the list goes on and on. We have only so many active personnel and only so much free time to work on this project. No one is paid to do any of this. This is a passion project for everyone involved. I personally have a list of bugs and things I’d like to get around to that is a bit over a hundred lines long. When something flares up as getting abused or causing outsized influence on a round consistently then it gets bumped up on the list of things to “handle.”

This is triage. It’s not a punishment or a knee jerk reaction, it is the nature of things. Please try to keep this in mind when something doesn’t seem to be working just right. Have patience, everyone is trying their best.


This section will cover the maintainer team’s current direction. These will be general pushes and objectives rather than anything specific.

First, we’d like to see rounds “slowed down”. Speed rounds are generally not satisfying for anyone. The average length we’d like to see is around 90-120 minutes. Thankfully, we already do a fairly good job on this but keeping it consistent and minimizing speedruns is going to be a priority. Giving time for more roleplay elements to thrive and evolve is important.

Second, any additions to complexity for medical are likely to be approved. Our current system is pretty barebones and the skill/knowledge ceiling gives something to be desired for our more veteran players. This doesn’t explicitly need to be in the form of “realism.” The goal is to give more without making it impossible to understand. We plan on slowly introducing these new concepts and ideas so community knowledge can propagate nicely.

Third, objective based gameplay to run alongside the current “TDM” gameplay loop we have is big. We currently have the nuke after 120 minutes and I’ll be going into detail about xeno round ender later in this document. We don’t intend to go away from TDM wins but having the option to shift the focus of a potentially stagnant round is a way to keep things interesting and avoid long cadehugs/cavehugs even 2-3 hours into a round.

Fourth, we’d like to see harder mechanical incentives for teamwork. This could come in many forms and objective gameplay pushes towards this slightly. Xenos are already pretty good about working together with a focused leader as the queen. Getting more incentives for marines to “follow the leader” groundside without taking away from the game is a priority.


CMSS13 is constantly changing. Different minds and ideas are always at work and that brings pros and cons to the table. We all have a slightly different vision of what should be happening. Part of this is testing new things and being willing to throw something out if it doesn’t work out. The next section in this document will go over some stuff that I plan to work on for the game. Please keep in mind this is fluid. Some things just won’t work out when plans impact with reality.

We’re doing our best to make sure the game is enjoyable and balanced. This whole project is a journey. Your vision and wants won’t always align with what is happening. That is OK. All we ask is that you engage with us in good faith.

Upcoming Projects

Note: unless otherwise stated these are personal projects. It will take time to get to them and nothing here should be taken as a “promise.”

Auxiliary Support Officer - The Auxiliary Support Officer will be a new role that is third in command of the USS Almayer. They will oversee Engineering, Requisitions, Intel Team, and the Hangar. Along with this, the Chief Engineer and Requisitions Officer will be getting demoted and potentially renamed. Both are not final at this time. Read more in depth here.

Hijack Objectives - Currently Hijack has become fairly stale and focused heavily on holding lifeboats. We’ve slowly added flavor and feel to hijack to really make it feel like a ship during a disaster. In addition, I’ll be adding a few objectives that must be completed before lifeboats will function. First will be fueling, which will require holding fueling ports on the upper deck. Second will be holding CIC, astronav, and engineering to speed up the process. All of these holds will augment the required time and success rates. At this time, I am not personally going to be working on a self-destruct objective.

Armor Rebalance - Armor and armor penetration has had a bit of an arms race for quite some time. Marines get a new fancy way to kill xenos, xenos get a little tougher, and all of a sudden the base marine is left feeling a bit out of the loop. The goal of this project is to overall reduce the impact of armor pen, reduce the total armor of most xenos, and convert most armor increasing abilities to some other form of survivability (not shields). There should really not be a time where a marine is doing quite literally zero damage to a xeno. Note, the M2C is unlikely to survive this change. Instead, the M56D will be moving into the serious HMG niche and will be getting reworked with some buffs and some nerfs.

Eschar(otomy) - Eschar will be added to be a “permanent” damage like bone breaks but for burns. There will be two tiers: eschar and deep tissue eschar. Eschar will give debuffs like fractures and be treatable by a surgery medics can do. Deep tissue eschar will make a limb completely unusable. If it is on the groin/chest/head you will not be able to wake up. This is only treatable by doctors. Both of these will slowly do brute damage while untreated. The overall goal is to make burn damage sources feel a bit more impactful after the initial revive scare as well as increase the impact of acid based xenos who feel a bit left behind.

Egg Morpher Removal - We have slowly shifted away from more gamey xeno special structures. This is another step in that direction. This will coincide with quality of life features for eggs and an increase to production. The goal is to really hit some of those soulful hives with quite a few eggs around as well as add to the horror of finding your dead comrades in the hive (rather than them being deleted via the egg morpher). A secondary goal is to hook carriers into this to some extent and find them a more solid place in the more modern hive since Shaman removal.

Xeno “Nuke” - FOB sieges are at a rough point for xenos. It generally doesn’t feel great and once marines are dug in it’s a serious uphill battle. To that end we can push some objective gameplay in. The current thought is to tie comms in as xeno objectives. Once the xeno team holds both comms with clusters, they can build the old spawning pool nearby a comms tower and it will give larva over time as well as a special larva once every X minutes. This special larva will be a siege caste. The first two or so will be upgraded warriors that have siege based abilities. After a period of time it will spawn a much larger xeno (likely using the old reaper sprites) which will have devastating abilities to clear structures.

All in all, we’re excited for the future and hope to see ya in-game!


I look forward to seeing it come to fruition.

Everything written in the thread sounds great. I’m looking forward to any new medical concepts and expansion in the depth of the system.

I wasn’t entirely sold on my beloved RO being demoted. But after reading the document…I kinda like the idea.

Though, the RO can still refuse service, right?

I strongly agree with a lot of this, and I commend the strong desire to improve the game evidently clear in this message. However, I don’t know about this “Xeno nuke”. Which I am lukewarm to mainly by its proximity to a “larva surge” mechanic.

In my opinion, and this is applicable to the hypothetical groundside larva surge in the post as well as the shipside larva surge, having any mechanic whereby the xenos are granted “free” larva cheapens the marine’s effort in killing any xenos. Furthermore, it runs contrary to recent development that really want to focus on removing “more gamey xeno special structures.”

What I want instead would be a “hive evolution” instead of a “hive surge”. I would much prefer it if the individual xenos (who spawned thanks to getting caps) became harder to kill instead of there being more of them. This would be achieved by boosting evolution rates and the ratio of t1s:t2s:t3s higher. Which means that, although the individual xenomorph is harder to kill, and can do more damage, ultimately when one dies its death is not cheapened.

You could even add “t3.5” classes (or strains) that are only available whilst “xeno evolution is in effect.” Caveat to all of this would be that when the hive core (for shipside) or the telecomms (for groundside) is destroyed, the xenos slowly begin to de-evolve back to their original classes (if no standard slots are now available) and the evolution boost is halted.


A sort of enhanced strain for T3’s that the Queen is able to hand out if the xenos hold both comms for long enough might be ideal for what your aiming for.

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Correct, the RO/QM is still in charge of req and can refuse people.

Oh and. Any chance the RO name could stay?

Or at the very least, not as Quartermaster.

I think the QM name is going to lead to some confusion. I’m a onesider, but I know xenos use QM to refer to their version of HC.
I think keeping initals as one thing is a lot better for everyone.

very poppin ASO uniform concept


Personally the ASO should have a beanie that matches up with the clothes. And probably being able to choose the colour of the clothes.

colors will be map camo based like everything else, also a beanie is a bit goofy. there’s plenty of headwear options like beret (cringe) or patrol cap (based)

There is no ss13 if there is no goofy moments.

On an OOC level on the Discord perhaps, but we already have many terms that have multiple meanings in-game as it is. Marines will hear QM and always know it’s the Quartermaster. A Xeno will always know it’s Queen Mother. Since these two avenues of gameplay are totally seperate from another, there actually is not really much of an issue.

finalized ASO design concept


It’s all pretty good honestly, and doesn’t feel like it’s being too ambitious. I think every change listed is a good direction.

On this I think it’s important to note that it is very trivial to get 600 burn damage on someone - normally people will die at ~150 - 200 brute/burn combo, and the brute will never increase past that in any serious way, but flamers setting bodies on fire, mortars, OB’s, etc. very quickly push burn to the cap and that can genuinely take several minutes and 5+ defibs, per person, to fix.

I think if we are going to extend what burn damage can do we should also be considering a lower cap on the burn damage or some similar change that makes dealing with 5 marines at 600 burn + each is permacrit + every body part has “eschar”… that’s just getting to be too much to realistically handle.


I love the idea of the ASO, it’ll definitely take off alot of weight from XOs and stop them from getting arrested because they missed an appeal request over comms :joy:. The idea of a role that solely deals with shipside’s shit sounds fun.

But i do have some concerns, especially for: M2C removal from the game, Eschar sounding abit broken, and especially the direction survivors are going. I think day by day the role feels constantly nerfed and neglected. I get that survs are supposed to be hard but you shouldnt be spawned in a completely locked room that you can’t break out of, call for help for 5 minutes, get no answer, then capped by 2 runners, or build a fort with other survivors only to have it be completely ruined in 30 seconds because a single defender picked the steelcrest strain.

Do you and the dev team have any plans to balance survivors out and make the role somewhat playable? And is Survivor being slowly phased out of the game?


Will the ASO get a cool ceremonial sword or no?

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any chance AP stops being a thing entirely and armor piercing will instead be dependant on weapons themselves - for example M4RA having more than m39 and better suited to killing the armored xenos? I’ve always felt having “ammo+” which you have to get in order to be relevant is horrible for gameplay (not to mention pointless fob clutter and req being forced to spend budget on something dull boring gameplay-wise rather than the cool items it has plenty of).
Do note it already functions this way for shotguns pretty well (buckshot/flechette/slugs each having clear use cases and feeling like separate weapons) and that messing with armor is an easy way into endless number balance spiral - gun damage and xeno health would have to be changed alongside it.

Perma from burn is fine but please don’t introduce permacrit again with the groin/chest/head damage - nothing worse than lying there for 30 minutes cause a medic’s bald. I also don’t think burn should apply more severe perma effects than brute, maybe something mild like simply organ damage from burn at X to Y ratio? Since most acid sources are applied at range and as people pointed out, stacking burn is rather easy this could lead to a REALLY long balance spiral.
I also hope current weird leftover medical mechanics get handled before new things are introduced (for example RNG heart damage on defib either turned static or removed, or the medic surgery kits which are currently useless)

Half of these stem from player skill imbalance due to player distribution, fixing that’s pretty much impossible. Something that might help with this and would be cool to see is more map interactiveness for engineers to play with, like re-activating static sentry posts or shutters/blast doors to buy time.
The other half is mostly due to screech, a queen off ovi getting one or two good screeches off is enough to end the game because of how gigabroken some (otherwise fine) abilities end up with it - stuff like berserker eviscerate, boiler clouds or the worst offender - acid runner ending the game in one explosion by killing everyone on screen.

Good to know the game has some direction again and some sort of a readmap anyways, thanks for keeping people updated.


Morrow, thank you for providing this document. It helps keep the community informed. Only issue I have is the chain of command. I think the CE should come before the CMO and possibly the CMP. However, I am willing to concede on the CMP. Really a coin flip. All in all great work.

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I dont see ASO adding much to the game. How is he supposed to help the departments he is in charge of ? CAS can be run by 1 PO with no issue, CE and MT doesnt need to do stuff shipside and having them deploy to fob turns them mostly into squad engies, REQ can be mostly run by 1 guy other then making ammo boxes, getting metal and such. IO seems to be the only one that can benefit from having a ASO to use the overwatch console at the IO place and go through intel and such. I dont see what a ASO player is supposed to do when departments are staffed, the players are not bald and know what they are doing other then helping IO but at that point add a role thats job is to stay shipside and help IO rather then adding all this other stuff.
(Also isnt chef already under RO ? Chef is gonna help REQ deliver pizzas to marines unless he wants to get brigged !)

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