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May Monthly Report Summary Written Friday 3rd of June 2016 at 04:45pm by CanadianSyrup

Another month, another report, another summary. Check out our slightly easier to chew summary of the Monthly Report. May Monthly Report The summary of the May Monthly Report was done by Stormy Winters, Shiver Bathory...

Another month, another report, another summary. Check out our slightly easier to chew summary of the Monthly Report.

May Monthly Report

The summary of the May Monthly Report was done by Stormy Winters, Shiver Bathory, Erris and CanadianSyrup, Enjoy!

LOS ANGELES

Engineering

  • Much of the 2.4.0 happenings have been based on what the engineering team has been doing such as shopping, persistence, bug fixes, etc
  • Mark Abent focused on 2.4 Phys Controller and Seat Integration, he and Paul Reindell have been supporting the engineering team in persistence and shopping features
  • Ariel Xu going over his Port Editor and Loadout Editor and recently implemented simulation parameters into Loadout Editor
    • Allows simulations between similar assets such as collision proxies, ropes, etc
    • This helps streamline design and engineering process
  • Chad Zamzow started work on Coolers and Heat Sinks
    • Updated technical design doc and started testing the system in ships with testing functionality of how IR and heat signatures can be tuned
  • Patrick Mathieu did a code merge for the Seats and Controller managers and also had a hand in other systems such as Energy Control manager, Flight Controls and game’s event systems
  • Chad McKinney wrote a technical design doc for the engineers on Signal Pipes after working on the Entity Health components
    • Also was helping the QA team by providing custom builds for QA to test specific parameters of the game
  • John Pritchett currently in the UK working on positional controls for capital-class ships

Tech Design

  • Lead Tech Designer Kirk Tome started testing the Power Plants and Shields 2.0 systems and designing an overview of how overheating/heat spiking will affect ship components
    • On ship side, he’s been working on the Origin 85x and coordinating with the Engineering team on how heat and wear will function in terms of design
  • Tech Design team also performs the designing of how ship functionality will operate in-game
    • Calix Reneau started working on F7A Hornet, Prowler and space stations
    • Matt Sherman working on white box for Drake Herald while getting Reliant flight ready
    • Matt also working on supporting the Buccaneer and added updates to Carrack design brief
  • New member of the team, Stephen Hosmer

Art & Animation

  • New Character Art Director, Josh Herman
  • CG supervisor Forrest Stephen working on clothing support for character team for 2.4.0 and his efforts look ahead to what what they are currently delivering and extend out to 2.5.0 and further
  • A large number of artists dedicated to building the upcoming Caterpillar
  • Gurmukh Bhasin and Justin Wentz doing exterior passes on the Caterpillar
    • Including adjusting the Command Module, turrets, decals, tractor beam room, engines and cargo as well as materials pass
    • Interior side, Daniel Kamentsky and ‘Jin’ Hyun busy with interior cargo module
  • Other half of CIG LA art staff continues with character art
    • Omar Aweidah and Cheyne Hessler’s character hair in progress
    • Jeremiah Lee’s costume concepts perfected/approved to move into production

Global Technical Content

  • New Associate Tech Animator joined the team, Erik Link and is working with animation team
    • He’s currently working on cleaning up Mannequin and digging deep into their systems to help increase their deliveries
  • Gaige Hallman resolved some bugs in regards to the clothing volume system and has been working on asset rigging for Shubin Miner uniform
  • John Riggs working on fixing Vanduul Hand Geo and Skeleton
  • Matt Intrieri working on asset validation tool and started work on Tech Art white box for Drake Herald
  • Patrick Salerno working on the Reliant grey box Tech Art
  • Mark McCall completed work on skinning and implementing RSI Pilot Flight Suit Jetpack

Narrative

  • Squadron 42, Squadron 42, Squadron 42
  • A couple people were in the UK to help with the pick up performance capture shoot
    • Some familiar faces back, some new actors joining
  • On PU side, not a lot to tell that can be talked about at the moment
  • Revamping of the Ask A Dev forum thread
    • If you have a question unanswered from the old Ask A Dev, repost it in the new one and they’ll try their best to answer it

Quality Assurance

  • Focused on all the new 2.4 features including new PU clothing, shopping system, large amount of persistence and performance testing and troubleshooting stability issues
  • Saitek provided a Saitek X-56 Rhino HOTAS peripheral so they could put the controller through its paces
  • Early look at preliminary large scale solar systems with procedural planets, going from space to atmosphere and landing
    • Terrain is pretty sparse looking but still early stages

CIG AUSTIN

Development

  • Most of the month spent wrapping up tasks for 2.4.0 and planning ahead for 2.5.0
  • Design team polishing features in 2.4.0, specifically shopping and Port Modification
  • Robert Gaither helped out with placing all item ports in the hangars so you’re able to customize the layout of flair objects/ships
    • He made sure item port placement makes sense for each type of flair and linking item ports so placing larger flair and ships cancels out the ability to place smaller flair and ships in immediate vicinity
  • Lead Designer Rob Reininger has been polishing/fixing bugs with Shopping experience and planning for several features coming down the pipe
  • Got a final design for ‘Kiosk Purchasing’ in front of CR and awaiting feedback
    • This feature will allow for purchasing of items that are too large to display in a conventional shop such as ship components, ship weapons, ships…
  • Focusing on designing additional phases of ‘Try On/Inspect Mode’, each clothing asset will have a specific camera record that ‘zooms in’ to specific parts depending on what you’re trying on
    • Ex: trying on shoes, camera will zoom in to your feet
    • Also specific ‘Try On’ animations for the character as well
  • Rob and Robert have been working with Character team to create briefs for/schedule in additional assets for future releases
    • The goal is to have new clothing assets ready for every new release
    • Sometimes just material/texture variants of existing assets, sometimes brand new assets from all new clothing line/manufacturers
    • Focus for 2.5.0 will be to have some more grungy frontier clothing
  • Designer Pete Mackay has been iterating on ship pricing formula
    • Also been designated as the Design Owner for Game Analytics going forward
    • He’s been talking with Gameplay Engineering team, Server Engineering team, DevOps team and Platform team to nail down best approach for capturing/displaying game analytics from various aspects of Star Citizen
  • Backend Services team smashing bugs with the Persistence Backend all month
  • Most massive change to their core tech since the debut of Large World tech and many hiccups to iron out
  • Near term taskload includes Persistent UEC which will allow them to actually use UEC as part of Persistence instead of test currency Alpha UEC
  • Ian Guthrie at Wyrmbyte helped create an Analytics service for Gameplay Engineers to hook into to provide data that Pete Mackay needs
  • Art/Animations teams working on longer term tasks
  • Ship team working on Hornet F7A and Herald
  • Jay Brushwood was on set of mocap shoot at Imaginarium capturing new enter/exit animations for all ships
  • Daniel Craig wrapped up work on updated 300i enter/exit animations and moving onto Avenger next
  • PU team supporting SQ42 with implementing background animations, specifically animations for the Mess Hall scenes and interacting with ship terminals
    • Also helped by getting in some new ‘weapon inspect’ animations
  • Emre Switzer doing a lighting revamp for several areas of the game, already tackled ArcCorp and moving on to Crusader
    • Also be touching up some of the ships as well
  • Big thanks to Mark Skelton for his efforts but he’ll be moving onto a new project and new chapter

QA

  • April’s 2.4.0 testing went well into May with build making its way to the PTU
  • QA has deployed 14 builds to PTU since initial release to Evocati testers
  • With assistance of testers, they’ve been able to reliably reproduce a number of issues resulting Code 7 disconnects
    • This assisted Network Engineers to address them as they were identified and as a result a significant number of disconnects were corrected
  • A number of server/client crashes fixed, improvements to Port Modification system and a number of fixes to shopping
  • Improvements in item persistence to allow them to begin persisting the database across multiple builds
  • Internally, gathering lots of server/client performance data for Engineering team to analyze to see if any improvements can be made short term to help performance
  • New member to the QA team, Tori Turner

Game Support

  • Chris Danks and Will Leverett spent first part of the month with Evocati Test Flight, helping get bugs into Issue Council and then into dev pipeline
  • Opened up 2.4.0 to 1st Wave testers and then Subscribers
  • If you’re interested in participating in Evocati or PTU, it’s possible through being an active member of the Issue Council
  • Turbulent visited for a week and they discussed a variety of topics such as Issue Council improvements
  • They’re interviewing for Game Support roles to help with tasks such as account security, tech support, publishing process, etc

IT/Operations

  • Progress on patch reduction size project and they’re hoping to start seeing real world use of the new system for internal testing
  • This month was about incorporating changes which support the new patching system into the build pipeline with affecting regularly scheduled deployments
  • As they work through the build pipeline, they found it might be possible to obtain further optimizations in the process
    • Identifying ways they should be able to increase granularity in build process
    • If successful, they might be able to compile portions of the build down to certain individual changes further reducing dependencies on other aspects of the larger build
    • This reduces getting build changes out in seconds rather than minutes or hours

LiveOps/DevOps

  • Delivered 18 publishes to PTU and countless deployments for QA and individual use dev testing
  • Primary build cranked out 145 builds generating 18,350 gigs of data
  • Reworked a number of internal tools and docs
  • Completed planning for new publish orchestration system
    • Goal for this project is to make publishes for automated and configurable
    • Persistence has shown they need configuration changes done quickly and easily rather than manually and the new system will enable them to do that

FOUNDRY 42 UK

Concept Art

  • Large amount of work for future ships, these aren’t needed for SQ42 but are needed for the persistent universe and to keep expanding the roles in the game
    • Four unannounced ships/vehicles in concept right now that are almost complete
  • Continued work on ship items – mainly power plants, coolers and shield generators
  • Weapons continuing on FPS and ships
    • Working out upgrade paths for different sizes of ship gins and how to be efficient with designs
  • Props and prop dressing has continued, list of required props is getting longer so theyll take on additional resources to fill that gap

Environment Art

  • Last remaining bugs for 2.4 have been fixed
  • Working SQ42 development, ending the greyboxing phase for Shubin interior levels and Final Art on some other undisclosed locations
  • Moving forward on Final Art for their VS level – from lighting, materials, atmospheric, props, terrain, etc

Props

  • Focusing on ship items and props to add narrative to SQ42
    • The way they approach props allows anything they create to be used anywhere in the game
  • Ben Curtis putting a lot of time on documentation
  • Now they have the new shader tech they need to get documentation together and update old ones
  • Focusing on ship items for awhile to make sure there is plenty of content when the feature goes live

Spaceships

  • Work continues on Idris, Javelin and Bengal
  • Interior work on Idris has largely wrapped up and move to building some story specific SQ42
  • Javelin and Bengal exteriors ongoing
  • Work ongoing on the F7A Hornet, which is the hero ship for SQ42
  • Completed work on ‘pods’ for the Argo transport, which will allow you to use it for different utility functions
  • Finishing work on Drake Dragonfly
  • They may have come up with a plan for very cool, very small ship, more on that soon
  • Several designs pitched for Aegis’ next ship

Graphics

  • Major upgrade to the particle lighting system, it’s been changed so that it uses the new tiled-lighting system and matches the rest of the lighting better
  • Added volumetric shadowing,  they can now get accurate shafts of light passing through particles
  • Tiled lighting system had a major upgrade, primarily to achieve greater performance on modern GPUs
    • This has been deactivated on recent public builds but expected to be enabled in next major release
  • Started improving the quality of rectangular area lights
  • Work on various high dynamic ranges features continues, with completion of the light linking feature to allow realistic levels of brightness and flow from lights
  • Focusing on exposure control system next to make it better approximate the complexities of the human eye and brain’s ability to adapt to environments
  • Uncapping the GPU texture budget so GPUs with more memory can benefit from higher texture resolutions and less likelihood of seeing any ‘popping’ from texture streaming
  • Completion of internal render profiler
  • Continuation of major UI refactor

Engineering

  • Much of the month involved 2.4.0 and helping get it in a state for release to live
  • Finishing off port modification system, now complete and in final stages of bug fixing/polishing
  • Shopping all in and working, again bug fixes and polish
  • Network team busy fixing up disconnection issue
    • These are coming from changes required for persistence not working well with current networking system
    • The ability to resuse entity IDs has resulted in issues as the engine was never really designed to do that
    • George is working on a new message queue system which should help this
  • Craig spent more time on carrier takeoff and landing
  • Steve making progress on Object Container system and entity component system, he will be leaving UK for LA
  • Gordon doing more polish work on the cover as well as vaulting and mantling
  • Romulo doing player refactor and moving armour over to new Item 2.0 and weapon polish
  • Jens working on player moving and head stabilization

Audio

  • Lots of work correcting and setting up ship audio, setting up the Idris audio scheme
  • Adding sounds for cockpit interfaces for shields etc…
  • Aurora now has a bespoke whoosh sound, should be more easily identifiable
  • FPS sounds for hit confirmation, and friendly / enemy kills
  • Lots of work keeping WWise organized and formatted correctly, as well as adding new FPS sounds
  • More audio work at Imaginarium studios for add-on shoots to the SQ42 cinematics
  • Growing work on music logic system
  • Adding in ambient sounds to SQ42 levels
  • Setting up the AI battle-chatter
  • Making sure that only needed audio will load in; gunshots etc… need to be ready to go instantly, they’ll be loaded always, whereas other sounds that require less immediacy won’t stay loaded
  • Work progressing well on in-game VOIP tech; an internal tech demo was readied, went over very well.
  • Also worked on various other additions, tweaks, and bugs with the audio system, as well as beginning work on the audio inventory script.

VFX

  • Bug-fixing and fine-tuning for 2.4 (specifically particle effect memory leaks).
  • Optimization pass on Plasma Shotgun
  • Taking SQ42 effects to ‘polished’ level.
  • Diverse range of SQ42 environments and set pieces (lots of explosions).
  • Clean-up of impact effects libraries.
  • Surface-specific impact effects.
  • Procedural planet VFX plans being fleshed out.
  • Close to moving to tiled lighting system for particles (allows accurate shadows).

FOUNDRY 42 FRANKFURT

Cinematics

  • The 2nd performance capture shoot for Squadron was done. This was completion and along side scenes.
  • Final shoot due in July.
  • This shoot even included some in universe show sections with a funny host!
  • Cinematic Animators have been supporting the Gameplay Team in the UK as they wait for data from the mocap shoot

AI

  • The Subsumption editor has been updated and enabled them to implement more functions from the tools now available to designers
  • AI has had some combat situation awareness added. Moving to specific locations, shooting from cover and querying the tactical point system
  • A way for designers to suggest the NPCs next activity or subactivity was implemented
  • The first pass for AI to support Action Areas has been implemented
  • Action Areas were explained in April’s monthly report but are elements in the world that designers can mark with certain information. This can be used to mark out a specific room i.e. the engine room, hangar etc. This allows NPCs to better decide what activity they should be doing
  • This system can also be used to notify other NPCs when another NPC is enter or exiting the area
  • Basic Subsumption code was also implemented. AI should now be aware of things going around them in the environment, which Subsumption tracks
  • First pass implementation of Usables/Interactors as navigations links. This was needed for Sq. 42 as well as SC and allows AI to find their way around areas and open doors to get to their destination
  • Behaviours are being implemented through so called ‘mental states’ to allow regular NPCs to know what to do during cinematic scenes and when at a crew position i.e. pilot, gunner etc
  • Ship behavior first pass almost complete. This is for telling ships what areas to patrol or guard and what areas are considered a no-go zone
  • Also some time was spent on stability and performance of the live game

Weapons

  • Weapon Art Team finished two ship weapons
  • Extensive work on the material library for weapons
  • Modelling a new ballistic submachine gun
  • Final touches on Scourge Railgun details and textures
  • The Weapon Art Team has increased to four

Design

  • Level Designers are finalising the Outlaw Base layout
  • First Art Pass on Outlaw Base has been done
  • Work also proceeding on the Truck Stop base, small refreshment areas for pilots to stop at
  • Working on adding landing sites to procedurally generated planets
  • System Designers have finalised the Power Distribution System. When the system is implemented all ships and stations will make use of it
  • Looting, Inner Thought and the Usable/Interactor systems are fully designed and going into production
  • Work has been done making sure props and animation metrics are properly standardised
  • A system is being designed to generate NPC archetypes and loadouts so the team doesn’t have to manually craft each individual NPC
  • Lots of work going into designing tools for use with Subsumption based

Engineering

  • Some housecleaning and optimisation for Renderer refactor
  • Refactor work under the hood to how the Renderer works with a systems GPU
  • Ongoing work to the Data Patcher mostly infrastructure decisions
  • Optimisation to the streaming code
  • Tag System introduced to the ZoneSystem. This allows items to be tagged and recorded as a specific item. I.e. marking a chair as a chair so the A.I. can recognise the item, how many there are, where they are and so on
  • Work on Runtime Skel-Extensions. Used in character customisation to replace every deformable item on a character such as clothing
  • The underlying system was changed into a runtime-feature to be less CPU intensive and allow the base-skeleton to be extended anytime the game is running.
  • The Full-Body Experience was given some attention. The main goal to make head bob customisable.
  • As the current bob is a side effect of using mocap data for the animation a new IK-solution was used to eliminate the unwanted side effects from the mocap head bob effect

Tech Art

  • The TechArt team have been helping with eye stabilisation for FPS the ultimate goal to stabilise the camera movement when playing FPS
  • Support work and research work for the itemport IK system
  • Fixing bugs and supporting various assets on all fronts

VFX

  • Working on Sq 42 missions this past month
  • Everything from ambient noise to some cinematic effects were worked on

QA

  • A lot of close work with the in-house Engineering Team to test procedural planets work
  • Some time was spent checking on characters that are currently in SC
  • Helped Chris Raine and Chris Bolte with gathering profiling and concurrency data for the PTU servers

BHVR

Design

  • Worked on implementing shopping in 2.4
  • Worked with Turbulent to ready flair objects for item port system
  • Worked on the next design map, the Pirate Base
  • Set up a ship components shop ‘coming soon’ to Port Olisar
  • Worked on shop design / layout for Pirate Base

Engineering

  • Mainly worked on debugging 2.4, focusing on shopping & Cry Astro.

Art

  • Worked on art for new locations, including the pirate Base location & new ship components shop
  • Worked on item racks and shelves for shopping system

TURBULENT

Multi-factor Authentication(MFA)

  • MFA is in the home stretch of development for the website
  • Once QA starts, they’ll work with CIG to test it and finally roll it out to the community.
  • Support for MFA on the launcher is continuing as well

Communication Platform

  • Work has been going well on Org 2.0. They’re still a few months away from beta launch, but the Evocati group will be used to help test the new platform

Game Launcher

  • The new launcher will support multiple environments, PTU,Live, etc and multiple games, Star Citizen, Squadron 42 and allow for background patching.
  • First phase will look like the current one, but under the hood it will allow for subsequent phases to add new functionality and design going forward.

Sales

  • The Buccaneer sale has been a resounding success
  • Backers who participated in the April fools Big Benny’s gag and entered the Shubin recruitment program were rewarded with coupons.

Behind-the-Scenes

  • Work on the platform to accurately display what’s reflected in game onto the website and vise versa from upgrades, damage status, location in the world etc.
  • Several members went out to Austin to have face to face meetings to talk about various issues such as server infrastructure, analytics, persistence and the issue council.

COMMUNITY

Day-to-Day

  • It was a tough month with Ben and Alexis away for two weeks on Bereavement leave, but with members like Tyler to help Jared out, it wasn’t too bad in the end

Broadcasts

  • With Chris to the UK for awhile. Several members participated in 10 for the developers and chairman such as Sean Tracy, Forrest Stephan, Adam Weiser, Omar Aweidah, Eric Kieron Davis, Gaige Hallman, Mark Abent, Randy Vasquez, Dave Haddock and Ben Lesnick.
  • Around the ‘Verse saw a diversity of content this month with exploring the universe of Star Citizen with Loremakers, interviewing the  folks of HCS Voice packs and several whitebox editions of Ship Shape with the Drake Herald and Caterpillar.
  • Concept Artist Jim Martin was around to do a detailed discussion about the new Drake Buccaneer.

You guys

  • A big thank you to all PTU testers for their writing of thousands of bugs and feedback during the Month.
  • The Evocati focus test group was a huge success as well.
  • Twerk17 provided entertainment with his early morning streams to CIG and the Design and QA team in the UK have utilized his stream to watch/analyze gameplay and bugs.
  • STLYoungblood’s family has grown by +1 citizen!
  • Geekdomo had a successful surgery and is recovering well.
  • Another shout out to everyone in the Star Citizen community for their inspirational support of the project and the passion they display that drives the team to work that much harder on the game.

Looking Ahead

  • On the horizon 2.4 as it’s being testing right now will introduce persistence and the first of the ingame economy.
  • Alongside 2.4 is the Starfarer which is toted as being as big as an fps level.
  • Planning for Gamescom, DragonCon and Citizen is full steam ahead and details of the events will be made shortly.

If you want to read the whole Monthly Report, click here.


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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.