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November Monthly Report Summary Written Friday 16th of December 2016 at 02:47pm by StormyWinters

Hello Citizens, welcome to our summary of the November monthly report from CIG.

NOVEMBER MONTHLY REPORT

CIG LOS ANGELES

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Engineering

  • Progress on the vehicle system and flight control

  • Laid groundwork for further development of the item system

  • Improved first person radar mechanics should allow for new gameplay

  • First version of atmospheric volume system rolled out

  • Continued work on systems that support/control interactions and tools for designers to flesh out the universe

Tech Design

  • Dividing efforts between Star Marine, SQ42 and PU

  • Ship team put finishing touches on the Caterpillar

    • Moved onto Drake Buccaneer making progress on whitebox and now greybox

  • Character Art team worked on planetary fauna to add to the many landscapes

    • Updating and working on humanoids by improving textures on the Outlaw and Marine BDUs

    • Several new clothing items that will be in the shops soon in the PU

Tech Content

  • Focused on cleaning up the animation streaming system and unified the character assets

  • Character items revisited and improved, setting the stage for inventory system yet to come

  • New scripts and pipeline tools will allow for artists/designers to bring even more to the ‘Verse in coming builds

  • Asset and profiling fixes led to zero asset build errors in the game

Narrative

  • After last month’s motion capture shoot, the team worked with the editor to review footage to put together selected footage for Chris to review

  • In anticipation of the November Livestream, helped script some of the events/segments

  • Continued to tackle 2.6 needs, the vast catalogue of items being created and working away at 3.0

  • Will and Adam faced each other in the Electronic Access Invitational

Quality Assurance

  • Primary focus was supporting local developers, providing QA support and participating in November Livestream

    • This involved a number of Star Marine and Arena Commander playtests

  • Looked at the latest Afterburner and flight balance changes, also new missile systems John Pritchett was working on

  • Early looks at the new slate of ships for SC alpha 2.6.0: Caterpillar, Herald and extra early look at 85X

  • New tester joined the team, Andrew Hernando from Turtle Rock Studios

CIG AUSTIN

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Development

  • Looking ahead to 3.0.0 for majority of the month

  • Rob Reininger went to LA to discuss various topics such as Shop Entity setup with Chris and Paul Reindell

    • Presented latest iteration on Shopping kiosks designs to Chris

    • Reviewed upcoming design requests for Character Team with Josh Herman

    • Has been working on another iteration of the Shopping Kiosk and working with the UI team to get some good mockups

  • Experimenting with ‘Shop Archetypes’(archetypes establish fundamental parameters every shop within a certain ‘type’ will follow)

    • Parameters include specific metrics that need to be followed such as: types of NPCs, prop requests, animations and any gameplay considerations that need to be taken into account

    • First batch of Shop Archetypes addressed are: ‘Bar’, ‘Clothing Shop’, ‘Security’, ‘Personal Weapons Shop’

  • Pete Mackay focused on economy as it relates to 3.0

    • Tweaking his Price Fixer tool which takes varying gameplay aspects into account to generate value for items/components

    • These will help inform final in-game pricing for items/ships

    • He’s also been defining aspects of the ‘Commodities’ list, distribution of said commodities and how this informs the establishment of trade routes within Stanton System

Art

  • Chris Smith putting final touches on the Hornet refactor

  • Josh Coons in the middle of Greybox pass for Drake Cutlass refactor

  • Both also worked on creating variants on the Hornet and Herald, the Wildfire and racing variants respectively

  • Emre Switzer working at lighting the Star Marine maps, OP Demien Station and Echo Eleven

Animation

  • PU Animation team supporting SQ42 by implementing animations for various Usables that have been set up in the Idris by Design

  • Bryan Brewer and David Peng worked on Idris Deck Crew sequence, splitting up various roles within Deck Crew to be operated completely as AI

  • David and Vanessa incorporating what their calling ‘lego piece transition’ animations into existing animation sets

    • These pieces captured at Imaginarium Studios and once stitched in to various animations allow AI characters to interact with Usables at more angles than previously

    • Specifically working on stitching these into the Mess Hall and Sitting Console animation sets

  • Ship Animation team wrapped work on Drake Caterpillar and Origin 85X in preparation for 2.6 release

  • Jay Brushwood moved on to improving the G-forces animation in various cockpit types, taking into account improvements in other tech like Eye Stabilization

  • Daniel Craig finished implementing all updated enter/exit combat speed animations

Backend Services

  • Tom Sawyer fixing up bugs to help smooth out lobby/matchmaking services

    • Also supported the UI team in implementing new Frontend Refactor of the Lobby, Matchmaking and Leaderboard screens

    • Created a new Leaderboard service that grabs info from the website leaderboards and posts them in the new in-game Leaderboards

  • Ian Guthrie at Wyrmbyte helped implement new admin commands that will help LiveOps and Customer Support teams better navigate servers and identify problems

QA

  • First half of the month testing focused on Star Marine and Arena Commander to ready for November Livestream

  • Second half, focus on testing 2.6.0 and supporting multiple deployments to Evocati

  • Worked with Turbulent in a series of destructive tests of the new Spectrum website

  • Michael Blackard, Elijah Montenegro and Dash Wilkinson tasked to assist Animation Dept with special projects

  • Justin Bauer joined the team

Player Relations

  • Newly created encompassing three areas: Game Support, E-Commerce Support(formerly Customer Service) and Community Support with Will Leverett as Director of Player Relations overseeing global department out of Austin and Ray Roocroft managing the UK team

  • Working to combine US/UK support teams into single organization that can expedite support for backers

  • Later part of the month preparing 2.6.0 to go to Evocati, special thanks to Proxus, Mac and George for their efforts in managing test environments

IT/Operations

  • Paul Vaden and Mike Jones spent time on LA with Dennis Daniel preparing for November Livestream event

  • For this event, IT team coordinated to build and deploy 12 gaming class systems that were used in the head to head matchups between Team Anvil/Aegis

  • Also built new live streaming solution capable of switching and mixing all players into live stream plus cameras

LiveOps/DevOps

  • 2.6 huge focus preparing all servers and publishing systems for Star Marine

  • Completed several publishes to Evocati, deployed countless publishes internally for QA teams across all studios to test on

  • Special kudos tp Ahmed and his team, Andy, Nathan and Jeffrey for all their work on the publishing pipeline

FOUNDRY 42 UK

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Art

  • Big focus was the Prowler

  • Also worked on the 85X, MISC racing ship and Caterpillar promo

  • Work started on Vanduul Stinger

  • Major lighting pass on the Idris to make sure characters look amazing in the ship’s interior environment

  • Several more rooms checked off the Javelin, only a few left til interior is complete!

  • Three new FPS weapons in concept

  • Ton of previous work for more Klaus and Werner energy weapons

  • Additional work with Knightbridge Arms ship weapon family and fleshing out modular barrels

  • Pushing to close out 2.6, particularly Star Marine maps OP Station Demien and Echo Eleven

  • Further work on visual development of ‘surface outpost’ set and planetary surface assets for vertical slice level

  • Team Behaviour focused on adding life to the three planets they’re working on

    • Each planet evolved from whiteboxed to textured and modelled environments

    • More work needed on the texture and composition though

  • Hurston: Two main areas, interior streets and vista shots of the planet. Wanted to go for an oppressive feel to the place.

    • Interior streets: Added obstructed skylines, narrow alleys covered with machinery, ever present security checkpoints and expressionless statues

  • Microtech: Focused on one dome only in an effort to make the planet a more feasible endeavour while maximizing visuals

  • Crusader: Worked on utilizing building silhouettes and gaps between buildings to present breathtaking vista shots

    • Spent time on background buildings to complement the planetary vista

VFX

  • Full pass on two of the new ships going into 2.6 including 85X and Caterpillar

  • Star Marine: Completed final optimization pass for Demien/Echo Eleven maps including destructible props and surface type impacts, implemented new VFX pass on energy shotgun and did initial pass on dead player fadeout VFX

  • Clean up of ship and FPS weapons, implementing new projectile shader and improved missile effects to tie in better with new missile assets

  • Cleaned up library of generic particles

Design  

  • SQ42 designers working out of the Frankfurt office in an effort to work efficiently as possible with system designers that are helping with Subsumption implementation

  • Tech still being developed but they are starting to get behaviour types into the game

  • Vertical slice level enabling them to prove out gameplay mechanics that allow designers to polish up the greybox mission

  • Guys working on 2.6 are fixing bugs and last second polish actions

Audio

  • Heavily focused on Star Marine and 2.6 needs

  • 2.6: Finished up audio for Caterpillar and 85X including everything from thrusters, moving parts to extensive work on internal ambience

  • Star Marine: Created and implemented ambient and environment sounds for levels, weapon sounds, player sounds and ambient music

  • Extensive work also done to include announcers for the teams

  • SQ42: Developing their outsourced editorial pipeline to handle massive amount of dialogue that’s been recorded, optimizing AI battle chatter code, working on ambient and cinematic music

  • PU/Arena Commander: Overhaul on Announcer and Ship Computer Systems including implementation of a Ship Computer Verbosity setting into options menu, fixed some issues where sound was dropping out during Quantum travel and during some weapon fire

UI

  • Continued implementation of the new front-end menus and Electronic access lobbies

    • Entire front end mostly in functional state

    • Artists working on further visual polish and animations for each screen

  • Working on Star Marine and Arena Commander loadout interfaces

    • Ship customization: 3D holo-objects rendering in the UI with smooth rotation and zooming

    • This work will eventually serve as base system for revamped in-world holotable interface

  • Additional headway on Star Marine game HUD

    • Includes better AR callouts for friendly players, offscreen icon boundaries, improved rendering of 2D UI

  • Designed 3D icons for in-game pick up items in Arena Commander

  • Started work on insignia designs for Star Marine and Arena Commander leaderboard rankings

Programming

  • Working on all the features and polish for 2.6 and FPS for Star Marine games

  • Arena Commander: Now implemented missile and ammo pick ups, work on new camera system including the new spectator cam mode

    • Work on Arena Commander mega map

    • Most work required for dynamic gamerules has been completed and it’s at the testing stage to find out what isn’t working

    • Lobby refactor means they can now connect/disconnect to a server without have to completely load/unload a whole map

  • Progress with message queue rewrite, serialized components, lobby refactor and entity bind culling

Graphics

  • Depth of field effect getting a complete overhaul to improve its speed

  • Fine tuning shadow system to achieve greater shadow resolution and many more shadows through introduction of static shadow maps for environments

    • Focus on achieving cinematic quality lighting on SQ42 in-game rather than just in hand crafted cut scenes

  • Major upgrade of the bounced light system(global illumination), first step being GPU acceleration of reflection/cube map captures to remove previous offline/CPU system

Animation

  • Supporting upcoming Star Marine release

  • Continued work on AI combat animation assets so design/programming team can get core functionality implemented and ready for next round of animation iteration

  • All existing base weapons have been through a second animation pass

    • Reloads/hand positioning improved, and various other tweaks

  • Further work in previz for next round of weapons due to come down the pipeline

  • Legacy weapons spruced up for initial Star Marin release with improved hand positioning/firing animations

  • Prone animation set being looked at to make some improvements

  • Core poses will be updated and transitions to/from different stances are prepped and ready to be worked on

  • New animator based in Frankfurt studio mainly going to be working with design/code team on getting AI functionality looking/feeling good

  • Progress on player combat signals and AI reactions to danger/sounds

QA

  • Team was split into three groups to prepare for live stream: SQ42 testing, Arena Commander and Crusader testing, Star Marine testing

  • Worked on filling servers to ensure they had a steady platform to push to Evocati shortly after live stream

  • For live stream, they tested new flight balances put in by tech team and the new ships

FOUNDRY 42 FRANKFURT

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Cinematics

  • SQ42: Work on video comms, several conversational scenes, cleaning/editing required animations and setting up and lighting them

    • Experimented with camera/character based lighting rig as some conversations can happen in dark alcoves/corridors/other non-controlled situations

  • Completed the 10 separate ‘Galactic Tour’ segments for Anniversary Livestream

    • Used a modified Tier 2 character head and only had some basic animation cleanup done for body and face due to time

    • For Expo: Built the ex-Navy airbase and hangars that got converted into show floor halls and different manufacturers for a 3D version of their logo including Drake, Aegis, Anvil and RSI

VFX

  • Focused on polishing effect for 2.6 release

    • Including full environmental VFX passed on several levels, some effects created specifically for the FPS aspect of the game like new variations of blood impacts for when a player is shot, screen effects for player damage triggered via flowgraph and a new MK4 frag grenade explosion

QA

  • Focus on Star Marine, SQ42 and testing new engine-side features

  • Chris Speak and Glenn Kneale worked on Star Marine ad-hoc testing and regression

    • Glenn also tackled SQ42 testing and AI sync meetings

  • Participated in multiple playtests ranging from dev playtests to cross studio playtests with UK/ATX/LA

  • Chris worked on creating various test levels for the dev team to use for their own feature testing

  • Melissa Estrada working closely with Chris Bolte te test newly developed integrated page heap for Game Dev builds that will allow them to capture more robust crash core dumps for engineers

    • These will provide much more info for an engineer to use to resolve low reproduction crashes

  • Melissa also spent time learning/testing Sascha Hoba’s planet editor together with Pascal Muller in order to formulate a new checklist that will specifically check the planet editor’s core functionality to ensure it’s in working order for environment artists

Environment Art

  • Senior staff spent some time getting new hires acquainted with internal processes

  • Primary focus for existing team was procedural planets tasks, defining/creating bespoke ecosystems(ex:canyons, mining pits), improving blending of terrain materials to get more detail, and iterating on tools to make workflow more efficient

  • Worked on various megastructures for SQ42 level including modeling, UV mapping and making prefabs out of components for designers to place

Tech Art

  • Focus on 2.6 and SQ42

  • Worked with designers and updated a large amount of animation for FPS especially improving select/deselect/reloads

  • Updated and re-exported numerous weapons/gadgets to accommodate new left hand grip post which is functioning using runtime IK

  • Completed new weapon pre-visualization pipeline enabling their modelling dept to test their WIP weapons directly in a game for quicker review and identify any problems with the weapon

Engineering

  • Engine Team: Improvement on Physics, Shader system, Texture Array Streaming, Animation Ragdoll and Terrain/Ecosystems

    • One of the tools allowed artists to punch holes in planet terrain for smoother embedding of large mass structures

    • Switched to multi-threaded memory allocator which will improve efficiency but also unify the use across the engine, game, tool and editor

  • Improved reprojection based occlusion systems by cleaning up previously existing code and converting it to pure SSE2 SIMD

    • Fixed some aliasing problems inside occlusion code which results in a more stable frame during movement

  • Massive clean up of their Zone transition code, making zone transitions more stable

    • This was also synced with physics which should fix the cases of players being teleported to space when entering/exiting ships

  • Improved low level memory redirection functionality

  • Changed their core system allocators, they went with JeMalloc

  • Working on their Area system

    • Areas are special mark-up used by game designers to give rooms or areas some specific context, they have now extended this system to track the overlapping status of all entities within all areas

    • They moved the old system directly into the zone system to allow them to reuse spatial information for a much more efficient algorithm

Weapons

  • FPS weapons artists polished weapons/gadgets for upcoming releases, built prototypes for a range of new Kastak Arms guns, spent some time making modular irons sights for P8 weapon family

  • Completed first pass for new re-worked ATT-4 laser rifle

  • Started same process for Arrowhead sniper rifle

  • Ship weapon team has been blocking out a new range of ship weapons base on the updated Knightsbridge Arms manufacturer style which will include a more modular design

Level Design

  • Working on locations required for 3.0, building out space station and archetypes and satellite variants as well as a few surface outposts

  • Looking into supporting the art team on larger planetary landing zones, also progressing on a modular approach for locations

  • Satellites and surface outposts passed onto art team

System Design

  • Busy setting up usable records for SQ42, which will lay groundwork for cinematic scenes and player interactions, adding background conversations between AI and in general making AI feel a lot more alive and natural in environment

  • Worked on finalizing Mercenary and Bounty Hunter careers for 3.0 and breaking these careers into their component systems

  • Progress on AI skills and stats system which should allow each AI to have an individual personality/needs/wants

    • Based on these skills/stats, AI will change priority of their Subsumption behaviours

    • This will encourage players to crew ships with AI who have a variety of skills for every situation

AI

  • Completed first pass on Mission Functions and Mission Callbacks

  • A mission in Subsumption will first start with an Init function and will end with an Uninit to allow designers to both prepare and clean up their logic

  • Subsumption: New improvements to the Combat behaviours

  • For combat/non-combat environments they introduced an ‘Emotion component’ to allow the ability to control facial animations based on the emotion of the NPC

  • Worked on improving animation flows to allow proper blending between states and make sure characters feel more fluid

  • Work on ground turrets to make sure that they can easily be controlled by the AI and execute proper behaviours

  • Progress in improving stability and fixing existing bugs

TURBULENT

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  • Spectrum Alpha v.0.1 to members of Evocati test group

  • Anniversary sale, older ships made a comeback but also new variants and was capped off by a two day Grand Finale

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Notable Images:

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StormyWinters

Director of Fiction

Moonlighting as a writer in her spare time StormyWinters combines her passion for the written word and love of science fiction resulting in innumerable works of fiction. As the Director of Fiction, she works with a fantastic team of writers to bring you amazing stories that transport you to new places week after week.