Waiting in the "Waiting to spawn" queue, I've often wondering what exactly I'm waiting for. There must be some calculation and/or queue equation that determines how long I have to wait before I can get back into action.

What determines spawning rates for both the Frontiersman and Kharaa?

Potential variables: number of eggs, number of infantry portals, current team resources, amount of dead team members ahead of you in line, unbalance of team sides, etc.

  • I think it's just a constant. But, only one (or more, depending on how many spawning thingys you have) can spawn at a time on marine; and only as many players as there are eggs can spawn on aliens. Nov 2, 2012 at 7:55
  • I don't think that's true, as far as aliens go. As an alien, I've seen the countdown start at 12 and start at a lot less when respawning. I think the lowest I've seen is somewhere around 5 seconds.
    – johnjon
    Nov 2, 2012 at 14:43

1 Answer 1



For marines, it's fairly simple. An Infantry Portal will respawn a dead marine after a 7 second delay. If a marine is dead and all powered IPs are currently spawning someone else, the marine goes into a queue.

When you are spawning, your camera moves to the IP and you can see your character model slowly materialize. If the commander activates a distress beacon, all IPs in the area immediately spawn the next marine.


For aliens, it's a bit more complicated: First, you must understand how eggs are created:

  • Each hive automatically creates one egg every 4 seconds, up to a maximum of 9 per hive.
  • The alien commander can create an egg near a near a Shift at the cost of 1 resource.

Aliens spawn in waves, which occurs every 13 seconds. All dead aliens (up to the number of active eggs) are randomly assigned an egg, which they spawn from 3 seconds later. The egg is destroyed.

If there are more dead players than the number of eggs, the remaining ones queue up for the next spawn wave, by which time there will (hopefully!) be more eggs around to spawn from.

The game automatically prioritizes eggs as follows:

  1. Eggs built by the commander are used first.
  2. Next, eggs near a hive that has recently taken damage are used.
  3. Finally, a random hive is selected.

The alien commander can spend resources to "upgrade" eggs to different lifeforms (Gorge, Fade, etc). When an alien spawns into this egg, they will spawn as that lifeform instead of a Skulk.

Team auto-balancing

On top of all this, if your team has 2 or more players than the other team, you will be put into an additional queue after you die so that the number of players actually playing will be equalized. For example, in an 8v8 game, 4 people on the alien team leave. At this point, Marines will stop respawning until there are only 3 alive, when the first one to die will finally get back in the game. When you are in this queue you see a message saying, "You can respawn faster if you switch teams."

  • Wow, way more thorough than I was expecting. Do you have inside info or just really intense about your research?
    – johnjon
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:12
  • The NS2 wiki plus beta experience, mainly. :)
    – Brant
    Nov 5, 2012 at 14:54

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