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October Monthly Report Summary Written Friday 4th of November 2016 at 03:00pm by Nehkara

The monthly report is finally here! check out INN's summary of the report.

As is with any information on our transcripts and summaries, everything posted is subject to change by CIG and in some cases may not always be 100% accurate at the time. While we strive for accuracy, mistakes do happen so please let us know if you find something amiss that we didn’t catch. Enjoy the show!

October Monthly Report

LOS ANGELES

Engineering

  • Progressed on vehicles within Item System 2.0 and all it contains
  • Delved deeper into Object Containers and Object Container streaming
  • Accompanying bugs found and corrected

Tech Design

  • Aided local engineers to implement Item System 2.0
  • Constellation Aquila and Drake Herald brought closer to flight readiness
  • Assisted global team with the bug queue

Art

  • The Character team grew while increasing character quality and deliveries
  • Clothing and general pipeline improvements and progress were included

Narrative

  • Provided lore posts, Jump Point and captured content for 3.0 mocap shoot in London this past month
  • Progress also made on 2.6 content, new component descriptions, the Galactapedia, and other unmentionables

Quality Assurance

  • Vincent Sinatra played the Homestead demo at CitizenCon
  • Tested Item 2.0 daily and supported LA Engineering

CIG AUSTIN

Design

  • Focus on upcoming landing zones
  • Rob Reininger and Robert Gaither created blueprint level design docs for various shops and services in Crusader, microTech and Hurston
    • These provide the basis to generate requests to other teams like clothing from Character artists so they can begin to populate these locations
  • Peter Mackay working on ‘Trade Slayer’ which is and end-to-end economic model of how an item gets created from mining commodities, refined, manufactured and placed on store shelf
    • He also aided UK design in balancing FPS weapons and items for Star Marine
    • Finalizing first iteration of ‘Price Fixer’ which will generate in-game values based on characteristics and component costs for all ships and inform their pricing in PU
  • Rob Reininger working with UI team on ‘Shopping Kiosk’ GDD to create mockups and how that system would interact, this will be passed to Engineering for implementation

Art

  • Josh Coons finished the Herald which is in QA testing and he’s moved to Cutlass variants refactor, already progressed the ship into Greybox phase
  • Chris Smith completed final pass on Constellation Aquila
  • Emre Switzer worked on lighting for Star Marine maps

Animation

  • PU Animation Team tackled implementing a new set of background animations such as characters interacting with datapads, using PAW tool, getting in/out of bunks and eating at mess hall table
    • These will be used in both SQ42 and PU and must work within parameters of Subsumption Usables(nodes that AI navigate to and interact with)
  • Ship Animation Team supported animations tasks for Ursa Rover, Drake Caterpillar and Drake Herald while providing insight for ships like MISC Prospector and Drake Buccaneer
  • Added ‘combat speed’ animations to Retaliator, Merling, M50, Scythe and Freelancer, these save time when entering/exiting a ship

Backend Services

  • Jason Ely spent most of the month rewriting their Hub Server, this provides more scalability as the community and player base grows
    • Jason will be working on grander changes within the backend infrastructure to better optimize services
  • Tom Sawyer worked on optimizing the Lobby System, also as a part of their Frontend Refactor he wrote a new Leaderboard that allows it to display in-game instead of just the website
  • Ian Guthrie at Wyrmbyte was busy creating admin tools for their servers
    • These tools will give their Game Support Team more capabilities, such as reserving a game master slot on a server, providing slash commands to better identify specific player info and presence and allow for better instance controlled testing    

QA

  • Don Allen and Todd Raffray spent September and October testing the Homestead Demo
  • Andrew Rexroth and Tory Turner with support from Tyler T tested the Vertical Slice and provided SQ42 support
  • Scott McCrea, Brandon Crocker and Matt Gant focused on Star Marine
  • The team also tested and deployed multiple 2.5.0 builds for Evocati to test and provide initial feedback on ship-balance changes considered for 2.6.0
  • Bryce Benton started rebuilding the QA documentation on server stability diagnostics and bugging
    • With Katarzyna Mierostawska he also work with UK team to test and verify several new automation tests
  • Jesse Mark assisted in building a new set of web dashboards for LiveOps and NOC teams
  • Michael Blackard and Elijah Montenegro assisted Austin Animation Team with new ship enter/exit animations  

Game Support

  • Provided onsite and home office support
  • Spent a lot of time on Evocati Test Flight and doubled their size to over 800 people from 40 countries speaking 18 different languages.
  • Evocati played a full game balance pass in 2.6.0
  • Hired more folks and are working closely with Customer Service
  • Plan to unify our teams for better and quicker service
  • Cross-trained a ‘base’ team for the foundation that will be needed closer to launch

IT/Operations

  • All studios supported the CitizenCon show with prep work weeks prior and a week afterwards
  • Thanks so much to the volunteers who provided tremendous support with its setup and teardown
  • Supported Dennis Daniels, Mike Jones and staff in the building of matching computers for final development polish, testing and presentation
  • Computers Used:
    • ASUS X99-A Motherboard
    • ASUS STRIX 1080 GPU
    • Intel i7-5820 CPU
    • 64 Gig Corsair Vengeance RAM
    • Corsair H55 Cooler
    • Intel 750 Series 1.2 TB PCI-Express SSD provided by Intel.

LiveOps/DevOps

  • Provided around the clock build and deployment support for CitizenCon
  • Governed each branches build timings to prevent replication conflicts for the global dev teams
  • Focused on live server infrastructure optimization and reducing patch sizes after CitizenCon

FOUNDRY 42 UK

Art

  • CitizenCon happened.
  • Lots of artwork and designs produced for Polaris.
  • Started work on new MISC ship.
  • Started work on Banu archetypes.
  • Wrapped up first round of Esperia Prowler.
  • Finished Kastak Arms sniper rifle and pistol.
  • Usual work on ship items and props.
  • Environment Team worked on both Star Marine maps.
  • Worked with Frankfurt to ensure art and engineering can make planets better and allow easier integration of assets.
  • Planets must work well with continued work on landing zones - microTech, Crusader and Hurston.
  • Frankfurt studio designers supported artists on surface outposts, modular space stations and satellites.
  • These are main thing players will visit.
  • All SQ42 levels are in final art and are gearing up to reveal the vertical slice.
  • First true look at SQ42.
  • Ship team working on Drake Herald and Vanguard Hoplite for 2.6.
  • Both of these ships are flight ready.
  • Also working on capital ships. Final phase of closing out Idris, Javelin and Bengal.
  • Started development on Vanduul Hunter.
  • Driller is wrapping up.
  • Applying lessons from Driller to rest of Vanduul ships.

Graphics

  • Focused on several new features.
  • Rotating asteroids; physically accurate spot light falloff; complex shader glow for alien ships.
  • Started rework and unification of shadow systems.
  • Will vastly increase number of simultaneous shadow casting lights.
  • Also brings higher res shadows and improved performance.

Props

  • Last month was hectic and rewarding.
  • CitizenCon highlighted areas where pipelines could be improved.
  • Lots of work in SQ42.
  • "Low tech" props set continues to grow.
  • Converted older assets to new material system.
  • Looks better and more efficient.
  • Dressing asset library continues to grow.
  • Destructible props being worked on.
  • Exploding barrels, lights and windows.

Audio

  • Setting up music log system.
  • Cinematic cues for Homestead demo.
  • Worked on ambience, scavenger voices, epic sandstorm and more.
  • Star Marine music logic, ambience and SFX support.
  • Grenade bounce work and bug fixes for SM.
  • Refined various ships like Dragonfly and Caterpillar.
  • Refactored Xi'An Scout engines.
  • Improvements to quantum drive, ship weapons and player death.
  • Music system reworked to support multiple concurrent music suites for seamless music.
  • Cinematic flow node made more robust.
  • Audio dynamic range changed to dropdown with three choices.
  • -Improved workflow and collision interpretation - different clothing, armour, weapon sounds when bumping/scraping.

QA

  • Focus on Star Marine.
  • Control game mode put through paces.
  • Tested music logic system - adds drama to experience.
  • New ships tested - Hoplite and Herald.
  • Sweeping balance changes for flight model, shields and ship weapons kept team busy.

VFX

  • Cleanup and optimization of Arena Commander.
  • Worked on Herald and Hoplite.
  • Improvements on both ships and FPS weapons (including shader fixes).
  • Worked on general ambient Star Marine VFX.
  • Bug fixes and particle library/texture cleanup.
  • For Homestead, supplied ship controls (driven by code/data), general ambient effects (sand, debris, weather), weapon improvements (incl. blood impacts), upgrades to Dragonfly explosions and Ursa Rover effects.
  • Atmospheric VFX entry fully driven by code/data now.
  • Continued R&D for automated VFX placement on planets.

Programming

  • Large overhaul of camera system completed.
  • Unified code between different modes - chase, orbit, passenger and spectator.
  • More dramatic and cinematic cameras.
  • Provides more control over DoF, FoV, operator shake, point of interest and zoom.
  • Big changes to lobby UI.
  • Can now change loadout without ever going to hangar.
  • Investigating new "mega map" that allows switching between Arena Commander game modes and maps without having to load in and out.

Animation

  • Lots of Star Marine work.
  • Implementing loot animations for weapon pick-ups.
  • Working on grenade functionality and visuals.
  • Bringing legacy weapon reloads to current standards.
  • General bug fixes.
  • Captured assets for stealth kills from various angles.
  • Combat ready AI responding to noises.
  • Work done on general AI combat animation sets - focused on enter/exit cover, blind fire and under fire.

Design

  • Split between 2.6 and SQ42.
  • Live Team added mission content for Crusader (incl. many secrets).
  • New asteroid tech that improves ring around Yela.
  • Tweaked station security.
  • Improved wreck sites.
  • Arena Commander upgrades - incl. persistent missile inventory between deaths, pickups and pirate swarm rebalance and improvements.
  • SQ42 designers worked on vertical slice.
  • Slice is selected as it contains almost all aspects of gameplay and avoids spoilers.
  • Focus on this section is paying dividends in terms of issues being fixed.
  • Some issues would usually persist late into development cycle.

UI

  • Team focused on HUD/UI needs for planetary demo showcased at CitizenCon.
  • Since focused on UI for 2.6.
  • Significant overhaul to front-end menu system.
  • Affects game lobbies for Arena Commander, Star Marine and in-game leaderboards.
  • Provides much needed visual update to main menu and pause screens.
  • Should provide improved user experience (esp. for new players)
  • Worked with Character Team on creating new first person helmets and HUDs that have unique look/feel.
  • Game-mode specific UI should function properly and be consistent with rest of game.
  • Finally supported environment team with ambient screen assets/animations - gives live/movement to environments.

FOUNDRY 42 FRANKFURT

Programming

  • Focused on coding for CitizenCon and the global road map
  • Work done on ecosystems, vegetation, object spawning and terrain blending
  • Vegetation rendering CPU performance was improved
  • Cloud models and shading received some attention as well as ocean rendering
  • Physics and occlusion optimisation work with local grids
  • Internal Planet tools were worked on in conjunction with the Environment Art Team
  • Facial rigs and wrinkle map triggering/blending accuracy improved

AI

  • Focus on Squadron 42 AI
  • Primary and secondary sub-activities for Subsumption were implemented
  • NPC personal logger used to help debug their state and behaviour decision process
  • Subsumption combat behaviour given first pass
  • Cover system work
  • Navmesh for characters was refactored to allow the AI to identify possible shortcuts
  • Improvements were also made to the collision avoidance code and also allows AI to identify a player as an entity
  • The pseudospeed calculation was reintroduced to NPC characters to Animators and Designers can select the right animation for the right speed
  • An emotion component was added that will affect NPC character's behaviour
  • AI pilots can now directly use quantum travel and afterburners as well as be triggered by Designers

Design

  • The entire team travelled to the U.K. last month to help out with CitizenCon
  • The Landing System was refined for docking, landing and how it looks in game
  • Work was done on a space station locations for 3.0 release
  • Much progress has been made designing the modular building system for space stations
  • Continued work on planet outposts and modular satellites

Build

  • The resource compiler process, which takes the most time when in the build process was optimised.
  • This system will be hooked up with the new patching system/launcher when that is complete

Environmental Art

  • Most of the team spent their time generation the ecosystems shown at CitizenCon
  • Five systems were created in total over a short space of time
  • Working with Engineers in the U.K. to create additional assets and terrain

Cinematics

  • Work was finished for the camera path in the CitizenCon demo
  • In-cockpit and in-helmet comms were readied for Squadron
  • Ongoing research with the goal of making Look IK and AI locomotion blend fluidly out of captured story scenes
  • A small side project for the Star Marine release was also completed

Weapon Art

  • The focus was mostly on missiles this past month
  • Existing missile assets were optimised and polished with a small amount of variants added
  • The FPS team were busy with grenades and grenade variants
  • The Behring P8 weapon family iron sights were worked on

Quality Assurance

  • After testing Squadron and Homestead demo for CitizenCon regular test activity resumed
  • Testing Star Marine and engine features
  • Gravity boxes and areas ragdolls as well as checking zone transition changes to the interior physics grids
  • An internal playtest of Star Marine's current state was completed and feedback gathered

VFX

  • Focus on effects for the CitizenCon demo and Squadron 42
  • Environmental effects like clouds, heat refraction and sand blowing in the wind were completed for the demo
  • Many of the effects achieved in the demo were done while working closely with the Cinematics and Animation departments

BHVR

Art

  • Focusing on upcoming milestones.
  • Lot of effort showing diversity of the universe.
  • Variety of different climates, architecture and story of different locales.
  • Going to show progress of Stanton landing locations.

Hurston

  • Desert mining world controlled by powerful corporation.
  • Life is harsh.
  • People are like indentured servants.
  • Architecture exhibits wear and tear.
  • Daily life constantly monitored.

MicroTech

  • Arctic environment.
  • Inhospitable.
  • Domed cities constructed to avoid natural hazards.
  • Inside it is very clean, lots of technology and simple elegance.
  • Transparent glass is prevalent building material.
  • Reinforces architectural themes with interactive tech and view matching environment colour scheme.

Crusader

  • Gas giant with city in clouds.
  • Multiple floating platforms, long and slender.
  • Ships traverse between buildings.
  • Structures have varying elevations.
  • Breathtaking vistas surprise players between silhouettes.

TURBULENT

Communication Platform

  • Revealed Spectrum at CitizenCon.
  • Designed to integrate forums, chat and other features into streamlined platform.
  • Initial launch will be a web application.
  • Future releases have more functionality, including game integrated overlay and voice chat.

Ship Happens

  • Polaris went on sale at CitizenCon.
  • Many ship packages made available.
  • Backer-only free-fly for all ships happened.
  • Followed by free-fly to everyone.

RSI Newsletter

  • Newsletter saw an overhaul.
  • More curated content and community information.
  • Recaps subscriber updates, current promotions, top pilots, fan creations and sometimes new content.

COMMUNITY

  • Had an unforgettable time meeting people at TwitchCon Bar Citizen.
  • Support from CitizenCon was great.
  • Meeting everyone gives the team a big boost.
  • Community in Germany hosted their own CitCon event.
  • Staff from Germany showed up and had a blast at the event.
  • Becoming difficult to keep up with streamers and podcasts.
  • Good to see veterans helping people out.
  • MVP is difficult to pick with the great content.

LOOKING AHEAD

  • Continuing to work hard on Squadron 42, SC Alpha 2.6, Alpha 3.0 and beyond
  • Star Citizen Anniversary Livestream in two weeks to focus on our ship pipeline

Nehkara

Founder

Writer and inhabitant of the Star Citizen subreddit.