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March Monthly Report Summary Written Saturday 9th of April 2016 at 06:00am by CanadianSyrup

March was an exciting month at CIG, catch up on what happened with a summary on the Monthly Report! The summary of the monthly report was done by CanadianSyrup and Stormy Winters Los Angeles Engineering...

March was an exciting month at CIG, catch up on what happened with a summary on the Monthly Report!

The summary of the monthly report was done by CanadianSyrup and Stormy Winters

Los Angeles

Engineering

  • Two new Gameplay Engineers join the team, Patrick Mathieu and Chad McKinney.
  • New interaction system being spearheaded by Allen Chen and Mark Abent.
  • In early stages of implementation, being incorporated into ship seat interactivity.
  • Chad McKinney helping Allen on doors/ramp interactions.
  • Making steady progress and hopefully behind implementing components in near future release.
  • Chad Zamzow testing new Shield Emitter system currently in implementation stage of development.
  • This will add greater dimension to shield function especially larger capital class ships with multiple shield emitters.
  • This will give ship engineers greater control over how much energy is routed to a particular shield’s facing to maximize protection, great progress on this but still quite a bit of work left to do.
  • Engineering Lead Paul Reindell at work to bring persistence to Star Citizen.
  • This allows players to acquire items through in game shopping system. 

Tech Design

  • Last couple of patches tackled some bugs.
  • Lead Tech Kirk Tome worked on the Xi-An Aopoa Khartu-Al,now flight ready.
  • Matt Sherman working on getting MISC Reliant hangar ready.
  • Calix Reneau working on whitebox of Drake Caterpillar.
  • On component side, new component class added to Holotable.
  • Power plants are latest component ship owners are able to swap out.
  • Two new power plants, the AEGIS Regulus and Amon & Reese Overdrive have been added and can swap out the standard power plant.

Art

  • Concept Artist Gurmukh Bhasin concepting the Drake Caterpillar Cargo module.
  • Concept Artist Justin Wentz completed concept art for Caterpillar’s crew habitation quarters.
  • Next step, to model the habitation based on Justin’s concept which is tasked to Art Lead Elwin Bachiller and Associate Artist Daniel Kamentsky.
  • On PU side, newest character artist is creating materials for Navy jumpsuit.
  • Jeremiah Lee doing a second concept pass on light armour.
  • Art Supervisor Forrest Stephan is creating materials for flight suit helmet and clothes for the PU.

Tech Content

  • Tech Content Director Sean Tracy has been working on developing the tech for character customization.
  • Artists have been using this to prototype how character customization will function.
  • Associate Rigger Gaige Hallman working on the PU side of the game, creating clothing template layers.
  • This allows for each article of clothing to occupy a certain amount of volume to ensure various articles of clothing can co-exist without clipping each other as a long as they are properly fitted to those geo volumes.
  • Senior Tech Artist Mark McCall has created a test level called GearValidator.
  • It’s sole purpose is to test and ensure the landing gear of ships are functioning properly.
  • A series of tests is run, a report generated to let them know if a ship’s landing gear is performing as it should.
  • Matt Intrieri’s work on getting many Khartu-Al related bugs fixed is what allowed it to be ready for release in 2.3.
  • More fixing and tweaking needed though.
  • Associate Tech Artist Patrick Salerno continues to review/add LODs to normalize mesh count on legacy ships, currently progressing through the 300 series.

Quality Assurance

  • Primary focus was push for 2.2 LIVE release and 2.3 PTU and LIVE releases.
  • Xi-An Khartu-Al lfight performance.
  • Starfarer hangar readiness and preliminary flight performance.
  • Early testing of persistence features.
  • Investigating server stability and performance issues.
  • Gathering ship feedback, month’s subject being Drake Cutlass.
  • Eric Pietro started training for his new role as Animation’s Tools Specialist, his goal to ensure animations tools are functioning properly and suitable for animator’s needs.

Narrative

  • Lead writer Dave Haddock is back from Manchester.
  • Spent a month in the UK looking over whitebox levels with Designers, helping determine additional dialogue might need to be included.
  • Senior Writer Will Weissbaum and Dave have been putting everything needed together to make sure SQ42 brings you into the world of Star Citizen.
  • Dave also sat in on Chris’ final editorial selects sessions, closing out lingering odds/ends from previous performance shoot
  • Besides News Updates, Galactic Guides and Portfolios, Associate Writer Adam Weiser has been naming the massive amount of components/items/clothing being developed.
  • Writing item descriptions and compiling a glossary for some of the more unique terms to standardize the language within the company.
  • Cherie continues with organizing internal wiki and processing scientific data for various planets and stars.
  • Kicked off final batch of scientific data to their science consultants.
  • Started compiling an initial list of potential entries for Galactapedia and a chronology of events that have ‘happened’ in the universe.
  • Alien language specialist, Britton Watkins visited the office to discuss next steps for Vanduul as well as other languages.

Production

  • Overseeing the hiring of new staff for development teams.
  • Increase the number of artists and engineers but are also looking for designers, writers and engineers.
  • Global Head of Production Erin Roberts and Producer Ricky Jutley visited from the UK to discuss strategies for the PU with Todd Papy, Tony Zurovec and Chris Roberts.
  • Senior Producer Eric Davis overseeing the development milestones for 2.3 and 2.4, also largely overseen the ongoing construction as they move closer to completing new office in Los Angeles
  • Associate Producer Mark Hong is managing the tasks for Tech Content and Art.

CIG Austin

Development

  • Shopping was the major focus this month with getting Persistence integrated into the development stream which is now complete and are currently ironing out the bugs that came with it.
  • Work on how transactions will be and how they’ll look has been headed up by Lead Designer Rob Reininger with Pete Mackay setting up the pricing for all the various items that will be available in the near future and the testing currency Alpha UEC.
  • The Hangar Module’s code revamp has completed so in the near future you can customize the layout of your ships and hangar flair. Website will not be used anymore for moving things around as it will be done through mobiGlass app which is currently being worked on by the UI team
  • The animation team has been doing R&D on cockpit comparisons for male and female characters as well as the different speeds for entering and exiting cockpits with two sets of entry points for ships.
  • Work on defining animations for various interactions such as dining at a booth, standing/sitting at a console, or even serving some champagne is being drafted to help the prop team know what dimensions their assets need to fit the metrics laid out for them.
  • Support for Foundry 42 and implementing locomotion sets for various characters in Squadron 42 to bring more and more of the characters to life.
  • The Xi’an Scout wrapped up this month as it’s now flight ready thanks to Chris Smith and Josh Coons. Resources are now being put to the Hornet upgrade to bring it up to the current standards with Chris Smith handling that. The Drake Herald is also being work on by Josh Coons and is currently working on the whitebox model which will continue into April.

QA

  • The team managed to deploy 18 PTU builds and 5 official live builds in March thanks to the combined efforts of LA and the UK QA teams.
  • The office has grown with 3 new hires to the QA team: Jesse Mark, Don Allen, and Scott McCrea and a new community manager Tyler Witkin who was promoted from the QA lead position which is now held by Marissa Meissner.
  • Testing on the very beginnings of persistence has begun by Todd Raffray along with several engineers Jeff Zhu, Ahmed Shaker, Jason Ely and Tom Sawyer.

Game Support

  • Will Leverett was in Manchester for two weeks to make sure everyone is in sync for the coming months of testing ahead for the Persistent Universe.
  • A process has begun to collect website bugs on the Issue Council this month.
  • PTU feedback has been crucial to their QA and the list of PTU testers will be updated for 2.4.0

IT/Operations

  • Progress on revamping the way patches are delivered in size has been largely successful with the low level changes on how data can be read by the engine is finished and now work on modifying the build pipeline to support the new format has begun.

LiveOps/DevOps

  • A great deal of work was completed on the test build system which during tests saw an 80% reduction time in performing jobs. While the system is not feasible for as a production build system, it will still have uses with special builds and one offs that do happen several times a month.

Foundry 42 UK

Engineering

  • FPS side, Gordon finished up most of his work on the cover system, last piece being procedural cover which allows you to slide/shoot around edges and had moved onto vaulting/mantling mechanics.
  • First stages are working with animators to do procedural alignment of animations.
  • Also change the markup so it’s now a normal entity in the zone system.
  • This gives all advantages of zone system so vaulting in a moving spaceship will work seamlessly.
  • Jamie has been doing work on grenades and general bug fixing.
  • Romulo has been carrying improvement to weapons including interrupting the reload and general balance.
  • Craig’s improvements to the landing are progressing and he’s completed the second stage of implementation which is a more simplified way of using the automatic landing.
  • Now moving on to third stage which involves landing inside another ship.
  • First bit of doing the landing once inside now complete, next job: getting automatic landing to work while the ship you’re trying to landing is moving.
  • Dave has started implementing radar and scanning mechanic, worked on getting it working while in a ship scanning other ships and extended it to also work in FPS mode.
  • A lot of work ends up being on UI side so he’s been working closely with Simon and Zane to get the UI working nicely.
  • Rob is working again on conversation system and integrating it with their Subsumption system which is what’s going to drive it going forwards.
  • Steve’s been continuing on Object Containers and nearly at the point where we can use them to set the ships up.
  • Using Retaliator as a bit of a test bed.
  • Slight snag in networking synchronization side which needs Spawn Bundle system to make it work correctly so his concentration has moved to that.

Graphics

  • Looked into facial animation tech, fixing several cases where wrong detail level would have been selected and made improvements to data compilation step, vastly reducing the number of vertices that need to be stored and processed.
  • Working on a performance profiling system that unifies all the important data into one screen with built in filters to allow them to see what they have too much of, where it is and which team is responsible for fixing it.
  • Built a system for linking lights to emissive surfaces so luminance of the surface is automatically calculated from intensity of the lights that are linked to it.
  • Done a pass over the particle effect shaders, adding an HDR temperature gradient option to let them have hot sire and dark smoke within a single particle, fixing conservation-of-energy when viewing particles from different angles and correcting animated particles to warp smoothly from frame to frame.
  • Work continues on rendering gas clouds and started responding to bugs/feedback from art and design.
  • Revisited the tiled lighting system to push past last few performance hurdles stopping them from switching over and deprecating the older system.

Ships

  • Starfarer and Khartu-Al in hangar.
  • Progress on Idris and Javelin.
  • Managed to get Idris bridge, gravity room, armory, cargo room and escape pods done.
  • Javelin: Bridge and entire engineering deck.
  • Bengal: Wrapped up final texture sheet on the exterior and creating the building sets needed for interior.
  • Progress on Drake Herald and Caterpillar as well as new Hornet F7A for SQ42.
  • All are now in full production.

Environments

  • Big push on SQ42 including one level which is now moved to Final Art Phase.
  • Whole facility is locked in terms of content and layout which will include terrain based traversal, maintenance bays, habitation sections, technical areas.
  • Other locations of the campaign progressing nicely, greyboxing out the areas and translating the elements from concept art in 3D.

Weapons & Levels

  • Tackling both SQ42 content and areas for the PU.
  • Gary spent time on Xi-An transport ship interior.
  • Jort on Space station interiors and exteriors configurations.
  • Dan on components and Javelin hangar.
  • Stu on ship weapons.
  • Sarah on ships components and props.
  • Gavin R on a new small ship.
  • Miles on the second pass of Behring FPS weaponry, integrating a more visually interesting rail system and designing the ‘family’ (sniper, CQB, shotgun, etc).
  • Took a trip to Lionhead Studios to see if any of their staff would be interested in the project as they are closing.

Character Team

  • New character outfits.
  • Mike has been working on Bridge crew outfits.
  • Jon on the Vanduul.

QA

  • QA was busy with 2.3. This past month to make sure the Starfarer was epic for the hangar and the X’ian Scout flyable..
  • The Squadron 42 QA testers have been playing through new chapters that have been integrated in the builds and putting the new Devastator-12 shotgun and Arrowhead Sniper rifle through their paces.
  • Work on 2.3.1. Has neared its final stages with the goal of eliminating infinite loading screens and trying to coax the excessive amount of pirates away from yela.

VFX

  • VFX team was focused on Live releases with attention given to the Starfarer and the large amount of subtle interior effects and for the flight ready tasks later ahead. Supported Frankfurt for the Xi’an scout as well.
  • Effects for some new weapons and tidying up existing ones.
  • Working with graphics engineers to finalize several particle lighting improvements which will enable things like sparks and other “hot” items to look more natural. These improvements will be seen in later live releases.

Design

  • The design team have been making the Starfarer fly around and working on having the refueling system coming online very soon.
  • The Argo is very close to being finished and the Javelin Destroyer is currently on the tech design table.
  • Idris has had some hilarious footage of landings as testing on it continues.
  • Automated landing vertically feels great with tuning to horizontal landing ongoing with a new UI waiting to be implemented.
  • First pass of refactored controls is going into 2.4.0 to better unify between FPS, EVA, and space combat.
  • MobiGlas refactored design has been signed off and is in production with the updated holotable design going into the engineering and UI teams for final implementation.
  • SQ42 is still using the bulk of the design resources, but the levels are locked down from a design/art standpoint.

Props

  • Ship components have been given more resources and the team better understands what needs to be done for players.
  • Shopping has been a big focus with bug fixing and optimisations and finishing touches on some props for the new tech being finalized.

Audio

  • Starfarer’s thrusters and interior soundscapes have been busily worked on by Darren Lambourne. Luke Hatton has been giving many ships a review to make sure their audio is working as it should.
  • Work on getting a new level of interactive score into live release soon has been ongoing with another orchestral session happening in March and lots of material is coming in to mix with a film score mix engineer to make those recordings even better.
  • Another Exterior gun recording session took place in March with some great material coming out of it.
  • Ship explosion debris cloud sweeteners has been worked on by Jason Cobb and other areas of Audio along with re-structuring the Wwize project to benefit procedural and linear-style mixing
  • Progression on the Ship Computer dialogue system has been ongoing.

Animation

  • Continuous work on start stops and steps to improve player movements and responsiveness.
  • Initial implementation of railgun animations has gone in.
  • Support for AI to allow them to do animations such as checking vents, reacting to sounds and etc.

Foundry 42 Frankfurt

Weapons

  • Finished modeling a new ship weapon with two more new ship weapons and many FPS weapon concepts are in production and should be ready for show soon.

Engine Code

  • Additional work was done on atmosphere rendering and research into large scale soft terrain shadows for planets.
  • After the base functionality of physicalized EVA was in, they began to fine tune the transitions between gravity and zero gravity to be as smooth as possible and inherit the physics during transition so that inertia of the players actions is kept and looks natural.
  • Optimisation on 3DEngine to increase the supported object count.
  • Work on optimising the stream code led to improvements to the JobManager which made them realize they could massively improve thread communication and load balancing so CPU cores in parallel can be utilized more effectively and and reduce the latency of those operations.
  • Next focus will be on the rendering side which details on that will come next month.

Environment Art

  • Focus was solely on supporting the new procedural planet tech and R&D on surface detail of the planet procedurally.

QA

  • Chris Speak has been designing automated tests for AI spawning, death, and ragdolling after being killed by weapon ship fire. Once complete it will prove a valuable asset to the QA team.

Tech Art

  • Worked on expanding the animation pipeline and focused on the Asset Manager.
  • Finalized a new rig for the weapon team and supported other team with bug fixes.

Cinematics

  • Work on Shubin station performance capture scenes that involve Old Man & Graves.
  • Finalized 1st pass on a part of Chapter 3 scenes and still working on more of Chapter 3.

Design

  • Level designers worked on major landing areas that will be used in the Persistent Universe with Port Olisar getting a lot of work done to bring in a brand new Shopping District which make the place feel a lot more alive.
  • Adding a pirate/lawless base where naughty players can respawn after dying.
  • Hurston landing zone is getting a lot of attention which will consist of a large planetary settlement centered around the Hurston family building and its gigantic strip mining ops; The area has gone through its layout phase and is moving towards the first art pass.
  • System Designers have been setting up the groundwork for a lot of AI features with quite a bit of AI code coming online and managed to do a lot of behavior prototyping that focused on their perception and reactions of events, aiming and out of combat activities.
  • The Loot Generation system has been worked on and how it will handle loot spawns. The goal is build a system that encourages exploration rather than staying in one place and farming resources.
  • Quantum Travel is getting overhauled to make it a challenge that rewards players by allowing them to enter QT faster or travel for longer distances in a single jump. They’re also implementing Interdiction so players can prevent QT jumps with damage and weapons and deployable devices.
  • Power distribution system has been hooked up on the Idris which will handle all the power throughout a ship such as cannons to small lights on a ship and dictate how power is routed, where it comes from and what happens when it’s in short supply.

AI

  • Functionality has been added to allow designers to create patrols and general pathing.
  • Perception system has been added to the new build to allow designers to customize how AI react to different audio.
  • For Behavior three main assignments have been introduced: Defend Area, Combat Move, and Hold Position. These are basic “high level” commands that level designers can use to create interesting gameplay situations.
  • Lots of progress has been made on Subsumption which supports a wider variety of functionalities that give the designers more tools to customize AI behavior and ways for the AI to interact with the world.
  • Work on improving stability and flying behavior of the ships and started refactoring the ship’s behavior to allow the support of multiple crew members inside a ship.

BHVR

Design

  • Work continued on shopping and setting up Casaba Outlet with the new dynamic spawning system for items since there are items players can actually wear now. A long term solution is in place which will be used for upcoming shop locations to make future shops easier to make.
  • Worked on making the Revel and York hangar bigger.
  • Worked on the Hurston landing zone whitebox and are at a stage where they’re cleaning up the area and polishing it up for handing it off to the Art team.

Engineering

  • Created a new AR-based shopping interface for clothes and personal weapons along with a catalog based shopping system for vehicle components.
  • Created a tryout camera for the clothes you can buy so players can preview them on their character.
  • Work on a new shop inventory and layout randomizer.
  • Preparations to hook everything up to the persistence.

Art

  • Time was spent polishing the Market area in Levski to optimise and debug it and create a nice ambience.
  • Polished the shop facades to make them look unique and pop out to the player as they walk by.
  • Working on the next space plant.

TURBULENT

Ship Stats

  • Final stages of the design phase for new ship reference matrix, start development soon
  • Grouping all ships by chassis and switching the layout so you can see everything on one single page, you can select the chassis you want to compare and view each ship’s production status.
  • Will reduce left to right scrolling and enable to view variants for each chassis easier.
  • While working on ship stats page, different ships are in different stages of development and some have been updated to draw from new component system and others not til further down the pipeline.
  • Meaning some of the info may still be in temporary or early concept values and need revisions once designers start integrating actual ItemPorts and hardpoints into each ship’s in game assets and collecting info on what does/doesn’t work.
  • These values can’t be solidified in ship stats pages until that happens and then need to reiterate based on feedback from Live build and Arena Commander testing data
  • ‘Subject to change’ means they’ll get multiple balance passes on the road to final launch.

Multi-factor Authentication(MFA)

  • Now in static integration phase.
  • Will include two options: sending authentication code by email or by specifically designed and skinned Google Authenticator.
  • In future release, they’ll be able to send the code by SMS directly to your phone.

Communication Platform

  • Working on a rough prototype for new communication platform, which will merge forums and chat systems into a single page module.
  • Prototype has already started testing and they’re refining interfaces to make it as easy and intuitive to use as possible.
  • Also coming up with novel ways of filtering and organizing conversations and topics.

Ship Happens

  • New concept ship unveiled, Esperia Vanduul Blade announced with concept sale.
  • Joins the ranks of the Scythe and Glaive.
  • Free fly week which included all flyable ships to anyone who created an account.
  • Ship sale for all flyable limited ships.
  • Xi-An Scout and Starfarer went for sale on a dedicated promo page with a few new modules like browsable magazine-like layout.
  • Reused it on the Big Benny’s food delivery menu.
  • With 2.3, Scout is now flight ready Starfarer in hangar for first time.

Sales

  • First customizable SQ42 dog tags went on sale.
  • Starmap posters were offered up.
  • Preparation for this year’s CitizenCon, tickets went on sale for the event in Los Angeles.

COMMUNITY

  • Tyler Witkin(Zyloh) is the newest Community Manager working out of Austin, Texas studio.

Videos

  • Continued to put out the regularly scheduled segments and ended the month with a great 10 for the Chairman starring Erin Roberts, Global Head of Production and Foundry 42 Studio Director.
  • Released a video of the hangar ready Starfarer done by Nathan Dearsley which featured a new piece from Pedro Camacho
  • Released a behind the curtain video of Andy Serkis.

Website

  • MVP section of the community hub is now fully up to date.

Live Events

  • No events were attended in March, but the details and tickets for CitizenCon 2016 was released which will be in Los Angeles at the Avalon Holkywood on October 9th.

Perks

  • Space plant for March Subscriber Flair was the Tuserac Plena, also known as the Emperor Blossom.
  • Had a great freefly promotion from the 11th-22nd.

 

That’s all for the March 2016 Monthly Report. Stay tuned for more Star Citizen News at The Relay


 

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CanadianSyrup

Director of Transcripts

A polite Canadian who takes pride in making other peoples day brighter. He enjoys waffles with Maplesyrup, making delicious puns and striving for perfection in screaming at the T.V. during hockey games.