June has passed and it’s time to look at what happened at CIG during the month with The Relay’s summary.
As is with any information on our transcripts and summaries, everything posted is subject to change by CIG and in some cases may not always be 100% accurate at the time. While we strive for accuracy, mistakes do happen so please let us know if you find something amiss that we didn’t catch. Enjoy!
Summary by CanadianSyrup, Shiver Bathory, Erris, Stormy Winters, NYXT.
- ItemSystem has been the main focus across the team for this month.
- Paul Reindell has been a great example of a leader by coaching, training, giving interviews, all the while programming and helping fix bugs on the game.
- Ariel Xu over the last while has been working on the PortEditor tool for designers on editing content of a port.
- Chad Mckinney and Patrick Mathieu completed major steps in the Use/Interaction system
- Work on implementing revised component-specific IR/EM signatures, cooling systems, and shield emitter changes and Mark Abent has been working on features for power plants and ship seat interactions.
- Tech Design Lead Kirk Tome fixed 28 bugs alone and updated information on cool/heat functionality of ships and balance for ships like the Xi’an Khartu-al and clipping/collision issues for Mustang Delta and Cutlass
- Calix Reneau has been focused on the Caterpillar and has completed the design aspect for the ship’s tractor beam.
- Matt Sherman’s focus has been largely on the MISC Reliant and some bug fixing in general.
- New hire Stephen Hosmer has fixed 33 bugs and tasks so far and a lot of amount of his tasks included adding functionalities to Dataforge and bug fixes for the Gladiator, vanguard, Cutlass, Constellation, Sabre and more.
- Big focus on clothing for 2.5 as well as support for Squadron 42
- Gurmukh has been working on Space Station stylization/looks
- Justin Wentz has been working on fine tuning Caterpillar concept pieces.
- Omar completed creating pristine materials for Light Armour phase 1 and is moving onto the Medium Marine Armour.
- James Ku has been working on creating asset geometry for the female model, and in-game heads.
- Caterpillar engine room and Cargo module interior have been completed by Elwin and Daniel.
- Currently receiving the motion capture animation from Imaginarium for quicker ship entry/exit animations and adapting them for each ship
- Work on life animations for the PU and Squadron 42 such as mess halls, nightclub and bars, medical, etc.
- Finalizing the feel of gameplay for the base stock weapon (rifle,shotguns,etc) and pistol animations and working on railgun animations.
- Working on the cover system to make sure it’s consistent and easy to understand and use.
Global Technical Content
- Sean Tracy converted the armour and loadouts to item system and is now working on helmet 2.0 setup
- John Riggs has been working on the Male Navy Doctor asset rigging and reviewing PU clothing
- Gaige Hallman has been creating female clothing and R&D for standardizing neck sizes.
- Mark McCall completed work on character archetypes for Sq42 and male Shubin miner uniform animation.
- Matt Intrieri has been hammering out bugs and working on lighting, LODS, VFX, and damage issues on the Cutlass
- New hire Erik Link completed a tech implementation pass for inspecting weapons and assets through Mannequin.
- QA spent the majority of time on 2.4 and prepping for 2.5.
- Work on bugfixing shields for the Mustang and taking the Reliant out for test drives for flight ready status
- Colby Schneider has done work on procedural generation for planetary exploration and did some testing with the Dragonfly and Reliant.
- Eric Pietro worked on 2.4.1 and has been looking into EVA physics, keyboard/controller functionality, and in game animations.
- Backend Services team reached a milestone with the release of Persistence in 2.4.0
- Since release of Persistence Jason Ely, Tom Sawyer and Ian Guthrie have been cleaning up edge cases that were causing issues on the Live environment
- Some crashes that cropped up with the persistence cache that have been resolved/released with the 2.4.1 patch
- One major feature run out of Austin in 2.4.0 was Shopping
- Lead Designer Rob Reininger and team have turned their attention to fleshing out the Shopping design, adding elements for Purchasing via Kiosk, Selling, Commodities and Remote Storage to their to-do list
- Primary focus right now is iterating on feedback for Purchasing via Kiosk that was received from CR
- They want to get this functionality online soon to add some new shops and inventory to the game including Dumper’s Depot and its inventory of ship components and weapons
- Design intern Robert Gaither has been working with a program called Axure to help them visualize how user experience will work with the Purchase Kiosk
- Hoping to have next iteration in front of CR for approval/sign off soon
- Ship Artists working at their tasks for the Hornet F7A and Herald, both ships in ‘Final Art’ phases
- Lighting Artist Emre Switzer working with the UK to wrap up initial lighting pass on a new space station called GRIMHex
- Received data back from Imaginarium that Jay Brushwood helped run last month and the Ship Animation team has started reviewing this data and getting it into game
- Getting data back for brand new ship enter/exit animations and they’ll use this data to reauthorize their ship animations to account for varying enter/exit speeds
- Tracking well on the Hornet and Super Hornet right now, look for speedier enter/exit animations on these ships soon
- PU Animation team has changed course by request of Design to try and get specific animation sets in game to be used with Subsumption, NPC AI system
- Polishing animations for sitting on couches, leaning against walls,interacting with terminals, etc
- With the aid of the new Tech Animator in the LA studio, Erik Link, they’re able to get these animations into game post-haste so Design can start hooking these animations up for NPCs to use
- Lead Animator Bryan Brewer has been nailing down interaction metrics for several animation sets including sitting on couches, getting into bed, gripping tools/handles, sitting/standing console interactions, and the Bar scene
- These metrics will make it easier to standardize how NPCs interact with what they call ‘Usables’ which are items/props characters can interact with in the scene
- Big focus on 2.4.0 and 2.4.1, providing support for 11 PTU pushes and 2 Live pushes over the course of the month
- This included everything from build testing, patch notes, databases checks build to build and post-deployment support
- Persistence testing was a major focus throughout the month as they worked closely with the engineering team to overcome the remaining hurdles of 2.4.0
- Acting as a point of contact for both network engineers and platform team to ensure everything was functioning normally
- Conducted a number of stress tests with PTU play testers and started a new round of global performance captures with the entire QA department
- Latter half of June, QA switched gears towards getting department stream stabilized for 2.5.0 and providing support toward 2.4.1 patch
- Several members were pulled into testing several new web and launcher security features for the site alongside Turbulent
- Providing information on functionality of the new security features and recommendations to the Game and Customer support teams
- Big focus on clearing out a significant portion of their JIRA ticket backlog
- Marissa Meissner and Andrew Hesse focused on laying down foundational work for QA over the next several months including updated test plans, further training new hires and ensuring new tools and procedures are documented for the global QA team
- New QA hire, Michael Blackard and promotion of Andrew Rexroth to QA Specialist
- All hands on deck for 2.4.0
- Worked closely with QA, DevOps and Production to run daily builds and tests with Evocati and 1st Wave PTU testers until rolled out to Live
- Then working to track down issues related to Persistence into 2.4.1
- Continued to isolate and fix specific one-off situations that needed particular investigation
- For those wanting to participate in Evocati or PTU, they’ll be adding both Evocati and PTU ranks later this summer
- Internally refined/updated some publish processes to streamline the way they get the builds out resulting in less downtime, fewer mistakes and increased communication
- Addition of one member, Eric ‘Proxus’ Green
- New developments in their patch reduction size project
- Continued to work on some internal delivery tools
- As planned they’ll roll out the new patching mechanisms to QA and developers to work out kinks prior to working the new system into the new public launcher
- Ran into some challenges where their core technology was concerned but were able to work past these problems and design an even better internal delivery approach
- Still need testing but it’s looking like they may now be able to reduce their own storage footprint for all these builds as they are currently producing 36-40 TB of build assets/month
- LA studio got some core networking upgrades
- As the LA team expanded there was some exponential growth in network traffic per day due to the amount of builds being transferred across the network to each of their multiple testing systems
- Upgraded build storage which provided a major increase in build delivery performance to entire LA studio
- Deployed 12 publishes to PTU and 2 publishes to Live
- With addition of persistence it’s added more complexity to the publish process but the team is keeping up with the game dev schedule while writing optimizations to their publish orchestration system
- Ahmed has been busy gathering/analyzing data from the servers and also appeared on Reverse the Verse where he answered questions about servers and publishing
- Work continued on build system optimization with their goals moving slightly from build performance to build stability
- Major improvements in stability and they still managed to pull out some minor gains in performance
- This is an area where they continue to focus as build iteration is top priority for a development effort their size
FOUNDRY 42 UK
- Concept team is growing, added two new artists, one for environments, one for props.
- Dragonfly concept wrapped up.
- New ship (unnamed) has been wrapped up, work is switching to FPS weapon designs.
- New small vehicle has been worked on.
- Working more on Caterpillar
- Main focus is SQ42 levels. Moving into final art phase for Shubin interior.
- Working on Levski landing zone, and bedding it into procedural tech.
- Blocking in lighting for GrimHEX
- Final push for shields, coolers, power plants, and quantum drives.
- 3 new artists started in June.
- Work has progressed on useable props / environments.
- Working on pushing visuals of procedural tech.
- Going to start on the smaller vehicle components to support the Dragonfly.
- Substantial progress on the Bengal – main hangar, hangar lift, interior & exterior bridge all wrapping shortly.
- Idris interior is almost complete, ready for polish then lighting.
- Time spent on the Javelin hangar, which will appear in SQ42.
- Argo wrapped up this week. Dragonfly production has started. Working on the Vanduul Driller (carrier) currently.
- Focused on bug fixes for next release.
- Refactoring render code for future features. Phasing out DirectX 9 code.
- Gas cloud tech is getting a major change, moving to a voxel format.
- Work continues on improving HDR effects.
- Focusing on FPS elements. New jump mechanic, cover, and blind fire being worked on.
- New pistol and reload animations
- Testing new camera and eye stabilisation.
- Got 2.4 out.
- Working on enhancements to CryNetwork.
- Working on streamlining data sent over the network.
- Working on optimizing Audio tech workflows
- Reworking code to make area transitions more realistic
- Improving ship sound sync, and ship explosion sounds.
- Working on GrimHEX audio
- Working on a self-managing, context-sensitive music director for the Persistent Universe.
- Migrating Ship Computer dialogue over to the new communication system
- Working on multi-positional sounds to optimize number of voices required.
- Working on asset cleanup. Making sure no particle libraries are missing textures, etc…
- Converging generatl animations for fire, smoke, etc… to a new heat map tech.
- New heat maps should be seen in the next live release, with optical bloom and flares.
- 4 new designers added.
- Working on content for 2.7 release of Stanton system.
- New landing and take-off work will be part of that.
- Adding StarMap app to the mobiGlas
- Refactoring AI for combat and interstitials.
- UK QA focus was on Alpha 2.4.0 going live.
- Required to work in sync with Austin, TX and the Evocati group.
- It was recently patched to 2.4.1 to fix a infinite loading screen bug and issues with ship persistence.
- Squadron 42 development continues and dedicated SQ42 testers perform daily smoke tests (preliminary testing to reveal simple failures) to narrow down persistent issues.
- Adam Parker, ship expert, putting Reliant and Argo through initial paces.
- Mark Tobin, FPS extraordinaire, leading group tests on FPS systems.
- Mark White, senior QA, leading testing of additional systems we’ll hear about soon.
FOUNDRY 42 FRANKFURT
- The Weapon Art Team has polished Behring weapons that are in the game
- They have also completed a new Size 5 Behring variant
- FPS ballistic Smart Ammo has been finished
- 1st pass on the Behring P8SC submachine gun texture work has been done
- Behring Pro-Line grenades have been updated
- The model has gone through the first pass so is ready for rigging, animation and debug testing
- New addition to the team from Wilmslow UK is Glenn Kneale
- He’s taken position as QA Technical Lead in Frankfurt
- His first action in the position is setting new grounds for personal development with the EU QA Technical Team
- QA spent most of the month testing the procedural planet along with support from Mark White in the U.K.
- A hard to track down, crash bug related to missiles being fired at other ships in Crusader was tracked and debugged
- Character ragdolls, physics, physicalised objects and other in game items are being tested in specially created physics test maps.
- Moving on to testing for Gamescom alongside QA in the U.K. and Austin, Texas
- The first half of the month was spent getting ready for a new Mocap shoot.
- It’s the last fully scheduled shoot for Sq.42 though they have left the possibility open of a return to film any additional material needed
- The Animations Team spent some time doing animations to test NPC head looks
- Ivo has worked smoothing bits of animation code, worked on the head-bob, Eye and head stabilisation.
- Good progress on Procedural Planets and the associated tools for artists. The Tech Team is getting close to showing off what they’ve done
- Rotating VisAreas tech is being worked on. The system is explained with a room with windows metaphor. The system will allow the devs to cull objects that wouldn’t normally be visible through the windows. Referred to as classic portal culling
- The ZoneSystem is being expanded to cover more systems and items within the game universe. Work has been done on the system to expand its capabilities by using smaller ‘tree-lines’ of queries, the new system is in the final stages of local testing
- Assisted with the Engine Team on things like head stabilisation
- Ongoing work supporting the weapons team and rigging new weapons as they are completed
- Some weapon select research and design on the animation driven IK with the aim to look smooth in various frames and still maintain responsiveness
- Continued to address any and all incoming bugs and issues from the global team
- A lot of ongoing work on the Subsumption system
- Worked with Tony Zurovec to improve the tool set and connect to the system code
- AI tasks with parallel subtasks/activities have been hooked up.
- Archetypes for tasks can now be created and serve as the start of a multiple chain of subtasks, as well as manage the life of the subtask and how they should be executed in parallel with the overall task and how to handle interruptions
- The functionality of checkpoints has been introduced so AI can reach certain checkpoints in a task to return to later after a subtask or interruption
- Work on the local navigation mesh is close to complete, which will allow characters to move inside ships and planets.
- DataForge has been set with the definition of a spaceship crew for the spawning system, this allows devs to easily setup this content without the hassle of editing an xml or similar config file
- Ship behaviour has been worked on and a new ‘boundary patrol’ behaviour added that will trigger when a target cannot be reached
- Design spent a lot of time figuring how Vanduul behaviours will work, and what makes them unique as an enemy compared to a human pilot
- Started to rework how docking in stations will work and the services available to you
- An automated system to handle how pads get allocated, and how you dock your ship, and how it’s stored if you leave the craft
- Starting work on a criminal and security system that will help them detect criminals and report them to the NPC police who in turn take action
- The FPS suit is getting a more modular rework allowing characters to fit out their gear
- Started to look at a new modular deployable weapon
- Level Design has finished work on a lawless base to be released in 2.5
- Iteration work on Levski to prepare it to be placed on the Stanton planet
- Integrated last missing feature for optimized Holograms – Render to Target.
- Improves framerate on ships with holograms – Constellation, Retaliator, Aurora, etc.
- Ships with previously empty screens (Vanguard, Sabre, Avenger, etc.) now have holograms.
- Polish and bug-fixing for shopping.
- mobiGlas will give better feedback on status of purchases.
- Armor racks will display full mannequin when trying on instead of floating head.
- Improved stability through client/server fixes.
- Working on new outlaw space station – GrimHex.
- Francois Boucher and Jesse Kalb working on shops in GrimHex – clothing store and personal weapon store.
- Artists were working with tight layouts in the stores.
- Whiteboxes and plans for future shops in GrimHex and underway.
- Continued work on GrimHex.
- Lots of work on polishing – adding life to designer’s vision – and finishing remaining structures/visuals.
- Focus of polishing was on storytelling – environments designed to give clues about what happened.
- Shops designed to show how the shop conducted business, etc.
- Expect landing pads, hangars, exteriors/interiors, etc. to have the same life and style.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- QA Phase completed last month with help of CIG team.
- Getting ready to launch MFA for website and game launcher.
- Initially will be set up using email address or mobile app.
- There will be a post/tutorial/FAQ on how to use MFA.
- It is completely optional.
- Releasing functional version of new platform internally – includes chat/forum.
- Will go through internal QA.
- Continued work on adding features to the platform – bookmarking, searching, etc.
- New version of launcher in the works.
- There is a large feature list with CIG’s requests and suggestions.
- Targeting a first release by end of summer.
- Will support multiple environments (PTU, Live, etc.) and multiple games (Star Citizen, SQ42) and allow for background patching.
- Will have same interface as current version but future versions will include more features.
- End of June launched Dragonfly concept sale with two versions – black and yellow.
- There was also a Caterpillar and Caterpillar/Dragonfly combo.
- Continued work on Gamescom presentations.
- Includes first showfloor booth – modelled around bridge of Idris.
- Will be livestreaming gameplay from latest builds on the showfloor over the five days.
- They will be giving away ships and swag.
- Anticipate broadcast times to match Gamescom times.
- June dedicated to run-up of AtV 100 episodes.
- Effort directed to creating video infrastructure in all studios for community content improvement.
- New community content changes will become visible in July, August and beyond. Work leading up to this was focus in June.
- Last month PTU testers were highlighted. This month too – for 2.4.1 PTU.
- Happy to see Geekdomo is back with Starcast.
- Congratulating Farasalt for going full-time with his streams.
- Austin, TX Bar Citizen events are continually improving thanks to Scrapped, Pyrothoric and Gany.
- Terallian has released new cinematic videos that they love to see.
- Simoniac impressed with his USUK Hauling Interactive Starmap.