Hello Citizens! Welcome to a new segment here on The Relay, where we interview the weekly MVP from Around the ‘Verse.
This week, RenderG!
These interviews are organized and run by Psylence.
MVP starts at 26:00.
Recently we had the creations of RenderG brought to light in Around The Verse’s MVP(Most Valuable Post). We at The Relay reached out to this maker of fantastic controls. If you haven’t had a chance to see his work, here are a couple of direct links to his posts:
(SC Control Panel – MVP)
As I said, we reached out and we sent him a slew of questions in hopes that he would respond to a couple. RenderG – according to his Citizen dossier – is currently in the Russian Federation, Moskva and is fluent in English, Russian and Spanish. Without any further delay, it’s time to dig into the interview.
Q: So how long have you(RenderG) been following Star Citizen?
A: Well, I’ve got the Golden Ticket from the start. I’m one of the largest Russian space-sim community (elite-games.ru) administration team, so following Chris Roster’s activity was kinda my duty.
Q: What about the game drew you to it?
A: Definitely Freelancer, spent a few thousand hours on EG Main HQ 24/7, Hamburg City Server and Just 4 Fun server. Actually I spent around 7-years playing Freelancer online. Meeting many old friends, and enemies, on the CIG forums was really great!
Q: Do you have an engineering or technical background?
A: Well, yes and no. Back in the 1980’s-90’s in each USSR school you learned how to solder wires, drill holes, and work with your hands. That’s all my technical background. Actually I’m a Graphics Designer, 3D Modeler, and Motion Effects Designer, so I got some sense of style and know how to build things at least in 3D. Hands came next.
Q: What are the specifications on the computer you use for your modeling?
A: Since my main job is motion graphics and each frame can render about an hour, I use a dual CPU workstation.
Intel s5520sc dual socket Motherboard
2 6-core e5645 Xeons
24 GB of RAM
A couple Intel SSDs
A couple BIG HDDs for storage
A GTX 980 for StarCitizen
All packed in a HAF-X case(It fits!)
It looks like this:
Q: What program do you use for the initial modeling?
A: I use Cinema 4D for modeling and rendering. I already modeled all the assets like toggle switches, pushbuttons, LEDs, etc., so now I just arrange them. For the labeling I use Adobe Illustrator.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to make these control panel boxes and throttle?
A: I think I needed more buttons for my Cougar HOTAS. The first controller I made for a Space Sim(that one was for Elite Dangerous) was pretty ugly. I made it from scratch without predesigning it in 3D and drilling without sketching it. After a few days I added a few buttons. This was my Mark 1 (Mk1 Control Panel). I was pretty satisfied for my own use, but a few people from the community like the overall idea of a button box and I designed the Mk2 variant and was mostly labeled for ED. I sold 20 of these on eBay, and a few to community members. The funniest thing was that buyers covered all the continents, except Antarctica, so I became an International manufacturer.
Q: I see that you construct all the hardware by hand, do you plan on continuing to do it all yourself?
A: Actually yes. I don’t think I’ll get more than 50 orders, since the use of the device is pretty limited by space-sims/aviation-sims and the price is more than a casual player would like to spend on an extra controller.
Q: Any plans on investing in different tools now that you’re opening up construction to the Star Citizen community?
A: Last year I bought a simple vertical drilling machine, and yesterday I told my wife that I really, really, really, want a small desktop CNC router to craft more complex devices. I don’t think she liked the idea of the router.
Q: On average how long does it take you to create each?
A: It’s pretty hard to calculate. The first Mk3 took about 3 days for assembling and hardware, but now I’m going to be able to drill 5 top panels at once using my vertical drilling machine; however, soldering, while keeping in mind the layout, takes up most of the time. Each button or switch must have a diode attached and all of them must be soldered to a big 6×6 diode matrix. Also assembling the buttons and switches takes a while, since once bad move and you’ve got a pretty deep scratch in the paint of your panel from a screwdriver or wrench. Labeling also takes a while because if you get it wrong and misplace the label you have to print it again, laminate it again, cut it again, etc. So I’d say one per weekend.
Q: What gave you the idea to make the panels?
A: I just don’t like trying to reach the keyboard. ;-)
Q: On that note, what gave you the idea to make your throttle?
A: Actually that is an easy question. My THM Cougar Throttle stiffness lock died and I just couldn’t hold the grip. I started to modify the whole construction, make it workable, shared it to the community, and just couldn’t stop modifying it. The last thing I added was a full qwerty keyboard.
(See link near the top of the article for his Throttle modifications)
Q: What was the most difficult part of the project?
A: Well, the most difficult part was the electronics and firmware. There are plenty of Arduino firmwares on google, but since the last time I programmed in school was 20 years ago and in Pascal, that was really hard.
Q: In working through your project, did you make any discoveries in regards to how you use different controls that pushed you in a different direction than you original planned?
A: Yep, I’m thinking of replace one encoder to a 4-position rotary switch, so it can have 4 positions, for stabilizing power distribution. Then it would be Default Position, G1, G2, G3, and adding RGB LED indicators so you could always know which power distribution preset you are in.
Q: Do you have any plans to customize these controls further beyond the MK-3B?
A: The initial design is not final yet. For example, I was not satisfied with the quality of the small push buttons I used and I’m going to replace them with ones that make a small click. I already told you about the rotary switch on the MK-3B. Also I’m thinking about a throttle model based on these panels.
Q: In relation to the project, what are you proudest of?
A: Well, the project is only at the starting phase, so I guess I’m proud with learning something new and that I can now make some really cool stuff for my son like
Q: So what is your favorite ship?
A: Tricky question. Right now I like the Super Hornet, but that is with only Arena Commander and the baby PU available. On release I have really high hopes for the Retaliator and the Vanguard.
Q: How did you feel when you were announced as the MVP?
A: That was cheering.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: No, I think that about cover it.
Check out more from Render G at the links below!
Do you like this new segment on The Relay? Do you have questions or concerns? Get in touch!