With the initial success of Eclipse in Natural Selection 1.0, a follow-up felt like a no-brainer. Veil is essentially Eclipse 2, boasting more varied geometry, more dramatic elevation, and more vibrant colors. Veil was added as one of four new official levels in Natural Selection 2.0.
Veil started as a symmetrical level, providing near-perfect timing to each hive from the marine start, but pure symmetry made for a boring layout. I started hacking up each side over the course of a few rounds of playtests to settle on the layout at release. Veil's layout feels a bit more sterile than Eclipse due to the symmetric base, but the original gameplay benefits remained intact.
Thanks in large part to its layout and timing, Veil also became one of Natural Selection's more popular levels, particularly in the competitive community. It wasn't uncommon to see both Eclipse and Veil ranking first and second in active player count.
Due to its popularity in the original mod, Veil was re-made for Natural Selection 2 by Shawn Snelling and officially added to the game in August 2012.
After stumbling through two rough drafts of levels in the Natural Selection Tech Release, I started sketching out a to-scale layout for a third attempt, Eclipse. Only two locations from the original paper layout would remain by the end, but that was the jump-start I needed to get the level rolling and join the official NS playtests.
The playtesting process resulted in sometimes drastic evolutions to Eclipse, such as a 3 week stretch in which I rebuilt 80% of the level to tighten up a sprawling layout. During this same span I transitioned from the grungy wall_black texture set to the clean wall_lab texture set and orange lighting that would become the signature "Eclipse style."
Eclipse was selected to be one of seven official levels for the Natural Selection 1.0. The level quickly gained popularity and became one of Natural Selection's most played levels.