Saber Raven to be released Flight Ready in 3.0
Intel Optane claims it comes with "exclusive digital spaceship" the Saber Raven.
Disco Lando is talking about what’s coming up during the day
No Sean Tracey during the tech talk - he’s working on a secret presentation for later
There are some TEST balls being thrown around
They’ll be designing FPS weapons on the floor with live input from convention goers, and the weapon will make it into the game
There are AI demonstrations going on, showing how they program subsumption
Brian Chambers just appeared
Everything’s being pushed back an hour
The graphics panel will have 118 slides.
Panel 1 - Empire on the Move
Brian Chambers is now on the stage.
Look IK is used to have an NPC look at the player or a target.
Morrow still being worked on
They’ve got different types of look IK. One where it’s off, one where it’s always on. When he’s constantly looking at the camera, it looks kinda strange.
They broke up look IK into three parts - 0 IK being off, and 100 being on. They did it manually at first, but they’ve changed that and it’s now done more automated.
Panel 2 - Tech and graphics panel
Due to technical limitations they can’t bake the entire lighting needed on an entire planet at once, so they are going to go in depth on the systems they use to render a scene
It is unfortunately not possible to transcribe all the detail going into how they process each frame. Watch the video. They go over dozens of different layers, explaining how each frame is processed to create the graphics of Star Citizen.
Computers are magic.
They’ve started to add anti aliasing in the form of TSAA and MSAA
Things in 3.0: Things already in 3.0 - P4K system, server performance improvements, planetary rotation, render to texture, temporal supersampling, improved screen space directional occlusion, filmic tone mapping curve, first of new material shaders.
P4K system increases the time for in-office patchine. They can now patch in seconds.
Patches from 3.0 and on will also take less time to download because of the P4K system
Server performance improvements - getting significant improvements to jittering and network bugs.
Near term graphics roadmap: improved hair, terrain occlusion, gameplay driven material shaders, gas clouds, new shield effects, DoF…
Color processing improvements, depth of field improvements, new motion blur, and support for complex shading models
Brian Chambers now comes on
There’ll be some Q&A here
Q: As far as tech goes, and what you’re involved in, what’s the most unique challenge for SC?
A: Scale. Compared to everything I’ve worked on previously, there’s physical scale, solar systems and planets, dealing with all that and having effects work on rotating planets. Normally you have a small level where you can assume stuff. You can’t make assumptions when you have a complete sandbox open universe. Same with the gameplay scale - you can’t assume anything is fixed. Everything is dynamic and emergent. It stops us being able to assume anything so we have to be much more creative.
Q: Possible thanks to render to texture to have internal bridge like in Star Trek, for the Polaris / secondary bridge?
A: Technically yes, it’s possible, but framerate is an issue. If you want everything in there, you’ll halve your framerate. They won’t apply certain post effects, they won’t apply AA to holographs, there’s lots of scope for doing things. Depth camera, heat camera, those are easier. Doing the full rendering pipeline would be very intensive. Question of performance.
Panel 3 - Xi’An History, Culture and Physiology
Panel 4 - The Art of Stanton
There are a large variety of locations in a system. Within one system, they want a canvas, and they want a variety of contrasts in the canvas.
Lately they’ve been building out moons from start to finish.
They’re going to build a moon live, and possibly show us a little glimpse of what’s coming next.
They want to stretch the areas between the planets out.
Hurston is appropriate - super polluted. Main landing zone is a city covered in ash.
Crusader has a large floating lattice of platforms, and the vista is 90% of what’ll be done. Lots of weather systems, dynamic weather, etc…
ArcCorp - totally urbanized; imagine a day / night cycle on a planet of cities.
Microtech - terraforming accident. Thick clouds. Lots of possibilities to do extreme weather.
They’ve been working on a corner of Stanton. Slowly they’re describing the stanton system. As they move forward, they can describe more and more.
They always start with lore, as that’s the best place to start within visual design. If they’re working in one corner, they’ll get to the rest of the system, and they’ll just have skittles - taste the rainbow. Lore helps with the initial starting point.
They start by thinking about biomes. They create mood boards; lore and location area easy, then they collect images to find a palette that works. They can start to see the tapestry of the moons.
There’re 100 dormant volcanoes on Cellin.
Thermal activity: good.
Daymar was described as the biggest of the three moons. Quite thick in atmosphere. They developed a physically based tool for atmosphere.
Four major levels of detail to look at. How does the planet read from a distance? Are there visible differences between area? What’s the shape of the terrain?
Original procedural planet implementation was artistically limiting. However, V2 vastly improved this and allowed for multiple biomes on one planet.
Daymar is defined by valleys and canyons.
Yela has mountain ranges, but also a giant ice-sheet. They have some examples as how they got to where they are now.
Gradually over time their level of detail has improved drastically to something that feels right.
They have a large variety of rocks, but they’re getting vegetation and colour in now. Lots of assets are reused with slightly different textures / colours.
Flora sets are almost ready and will be deployed soon
Work was done to get the terrain and textures in a good state and then it was followed up by scattering assets throughout the environment. Initial scattering looked quite wrong but there has been a big improvement.
Close up details came later and look spectacular.
Fantastic closeup materials for each area.
Closeup material palettes are blended together to give a good breakup to make the surface less repetitive.
No ice shader or fluid simulations yet.
Always try and come back to how things appear in nature and attempt to emulate that.
Panel 5 - The Consolidated Outland Pioneer
Q: Can you land a freelancer or something to increase the amount of materials you need on the feet?
A: Landing pad fits 40x40 meters. Lots of room. You could push it, but it’s got a lot of room already.
Q: Will the outposts be self salvage-able?
A: Should be, yes.
Q: Able to spawn at a medstation?
A: That’s the goal, yes.
Q: What ship does the pioneer fit in?
A: Doesn’t fit in any.
Q: What ship fits in it?
A: None. It’s just a landing pad, not a hangar.
Chris Roberts takes the stage.
Anyone at CitCon gets a free weapon designed at the con when 3.0 goes live.
Right now they’re working on getting 3.0 out. It’s currently in Evocati.
Delta Patching is great for the devs, also helps for the Evocati, not having to download 20 gigs each update.
Beyond 3.0 - what’s next.
Shift to a date-drive model vs. content driven model. Quarterly releases. There’ll be a roadmap of features they’re working on. Things that make the date make the release, otherwise they shift to the release after it.
More to iterate on and play.
For 3.0 it’s feature locked, they have to deliver everything at the time. After 3.0 though it’ll deliver more regular stuff.
Working on production report formatting. Will update it next week for close-down of 3.0. Beyond 3.0 they’ll update a full roadmap for order and content, as they go live with 3.0 they’ll release that, and then there’ll also be a roadmap for SQ42 during the holiday livestream.
What they’re working on beyond 3.0.
Sabre Raven - being shown off in Astro Armada right now. Lorville is a waypoint in the background; it’s a city on Hurston.
New Arc Corp being shown off, lots of NPC’s walking around. Much easier on the eyes.
No skybox in ArcCorp right now. Everything’s physical. It’s all there.
Much larger than ArcCorp was in the social module. Going out through customs. They’re jumping into a Terrapin. Vista is very Blade Runner. Nevermind, jumping in an Aurora. There is a Terrapin on the pad though.
They’re flying over the procedural ArcCorp planet. They’re gonna just fly around the ground. ArcCorp is procedural.
ArcCorp is an earth-sized planet completely covered with Earth-size structures. You can fly all over ArcCorp. Flying over the suburbs, city as far as the eye can see in all directions.
There’ll be multiple landing zones around ArcCorp Area 17, 18, there have to be more than just one or two landing zones.
They’re going to head to another planet now. Heading out of atmo, you can see towers off in the distance, the smoke pillaring, obscuring the sky above. As the ship rises, the sky clears, a haze visible below. A haze and a labyrinth of city, a mass of man-made attributions to the power and skill of humanity.
They’re heading to a orbital system now. No loading screens. They flew up from Area 18, and they’re heading to the orbital space station.
From the station, the city below looks like a million fires, the glow of the ashes reflecting on the clouds above, and back down, and back up, a view of a cracked, torn world, rent asunder by Humanity’s best, and most human, efforts.
They just jumped off.
The smoke in the atmosphere mutes the light from the cities below. Gravity is simulated all the way through, though it’s much weaker in space.
The station has a full set of interiors. They’re using an Aurora CL. He didn’t turn it off, so it’s still running. Smooth transition from procedural planet to procedural station, no loading at all.
The station is detailed to a level we’ve never seen before.
The atmosphere of ArcCorp obscures everything, even the beauty of the planet before. They head now to Hurston, a hopefully cleaner planet, one where we can appreciate more the beauty, without the lens of corruption.
They’re travelling 23,000,000 km. Takes ~8 minutes. While they’re jumping, they’ll look back at some of the tech we saw at ArcCorp.
Sean Tracy’s on stage now. Tech director of content.
They’re showing off the City Editor now. Their procedural city editor; they draw the perimeter of the districts. T’s are transportation districts, H’s are elevated areas. They all have to connect. After that, they fill the city layout. This fills everything with particles, shops, designs, etc… They can then set the actual districts; commercial, residential, industrial, etc…
Once they save the city layout, they have their city. It auto-populates on the fly. Comes from lots of artwork and very intelligent Engineers. They have an industrial area, elevated area, etc…
All the toolset is only one piece of the puzzle. Then they build the interiors. Load up a different toolset - the Layout Editor. Can be used for all kinds of things. They set up data in Dataforge. They use a flowgraph system; each node is a room. All rooms are connected in a meaningful way. Elevator rooms, treasure rooms, secret rooms, mission rooms, etc…
They give it a seed and the tool builds an interior area for them.
It generates a massive amount of content in mere minutes.
Shops are infilled; walkways, rooms, everything. They can put stairs nodes in to get multiple levels too. Change the seed, and they can generate different sets of interiors.