Relayhttps://relay.sc/feed/articles/atom2017-02-21T12:02:40+00:00https://relay.sc/article/dissecting-stanton-system-mapDissecting the Stanton System Map2017-02-18T15:00:00+00:002017-02-18T15:27:32+00:00Nehkarahttps://relay.sc/contributor/Nehkara Yesterday on Around the 'Verse, Foundry 42 UK showed off a map of Stanton they have been using as an internal tool.
I've taken a long, hard look at this map and there are some interesting features.
I think the first thing to point out is that the scale is impressive, zooming out from microTech:
to the local microTech system (planet and moons):
and then to the entire system:
Once you can see the whole system you can hardly see where you started off.
The second major topic is that I believe this map is entirely focused around mobiGlas production (indicated with a green circle) on microTech.
Visible in yellow pentagons on the map we have:
Optical ProcessorsQuantum HyperconductorsThermoplasticsSynthetic Gems?????? (There is a resource represented by a yellow pentagon that is illegible)These are factories or facilities producing intermediate products, components, for the mobiGlas. Some of these facilities seem to be located on space stations while others are based on moons or planets. Large space stations seem to be indicated by white circles indicating Hubs.
Red squares seem to indicate an ore hub or refinery, with red triangles representing the sources of the ores, and the red lines showing the flow of ore throughout the system to the various factories. The source here is obviously asteroids.
Blue squares seem to indicate a liquid hub or refinery, with blue triangles representing the sources of the liquids, and the blue lines show the flow of liquids throughout the system to various locations. I would guess the sources would be nebulas or comets.
Similarly with gases, orange squares for gas hub or refinery, with orange triangles for the gas sources, and the orange lines showing the flow of gases around the system. For gases in this instance I believe the source is likely nebulas.
I suspect some of these liquids and gases are fuels while others may be raw materials.
You can clearly see the lines from all of these materials flowing to stations and factories.
In addition, the teal circles are jump points to other various systems (Magnus, Pyro, Terra).
From looking at the map I also believe that it is showing the nearest sources of the required items.
What this shows us is the complexity of the underlying economy in Star Citizen. For every product such as mobiGlas in the game, there are components that go into producing it which are themselves created from raw materials.
Raw materials are mined, transported, refined, possibly transported again, and then used to make components (such as Optical Processors). Those components are manufactured and then transported to another factory to be combined with other components to create a product.
This type of complex economy should create a dynamic game universe as disruption of any of these processes would have a rippling effect through the economy and spawn missions to resolve the disruption. Beyond missions, this ripple would also affect the availability and pricing of the raw materials, components, and final product itself.
- A MISC Prospector pilot takes a mission to provide platinum ore to an ore refinery, as the refinery is running low on its finished product. The Prospector finds a platinum ore field nearby the refinery and begins mining. Once full of ore, the miner flies to the refining station.
- The ore refinery pays the Prospector pilot for delivering the unrefined ore and produces pure platinum from the ore.
- Component factory aboard a space station contracts a MISC Hull B to deliver pure platinum from the refinery.
- Hull B pilot picks up platinum shipment from Refinery and transports it to the component factory.
- Component factory aboard the space station pays the Hull B pilot for delivery of the refined platinum and uses it, along with other raw materials similarly sourced, to manufacture Optical Processors.
- Factory on microTech contracts Freelancer pilot to deliver Optical Processors to be used in production of mobiGlas.
- Freelancer pilot picks up shipment from Optical Processor component factory. However, before he departs he visits the local bar and contracts a Sabre pilot to defend him as the Optical Processors are very valuable cargo. Bartender overhears conversation and informs local pirate group.
- While trying to deliver the cargo to microTech, the Freelancer and Sabre are interdicted and attacked by a pirate fleet consisting of 3 Cutlass Blacks, an Avenger Warlock, and a Caterpillar. Unfortunately despite a valiant effort the Sabre is quickly destroyed, although the pilot escapes in time. The Freelancer is disabled and boarded, its cargo stolen by the pirates.
- The Freelancer pilot initiates call for help and then EVAs and recovers the injured Sabre pilot, providing first aid once back aboard.
- Freelancer messages factory on microTech about pirate attack.
- mobiGlas factory issues missions to:1) Find and destroy pirate fleet.2) Deliver new shipment of Optical Processors- New order for Optical Processors initiates new missions for:1) Platinum ore at Refinery2) Pure platinum at Component Factory
- Crucible pilot receives distress call and quantum jumps to the disabled Freelancer. Crucible repairs the Freelancer rapidly. Freelancer pilot pays Crucible pilot for repairs.
- Rescued Sabre pilot agrees to serve as gunner aboard Freelancer until his new Sabre is ready.
Thank you for reading! Keep in mind this article contains a lot of inference based on the available information. It should not be taken as fact.
Stanton Map in ATV
Album of Images from Stanton Map https://relay.sc/article/january-2017-monthly-report-summaryJanuary 2017 Monthly Report Summary2017-02-11T04:04:38+00:002017-02-11T04:04:38+00:00CanadianSyruphttps://relay.sc/contributor/CanadianSyrup January 2017 Monthly Report
CIG Los Angeles
Engineering has been busy with the new Modular Character Customisation screen.Working on bringing the core systems online that allow Solar system sized mapsThese include reimagining entities, fundamental components such as lights, radar system and level hierarchies.First technical application of node-based controller managers was introduced which enables improved networking of item components that also benefits Multi-crew gameplayNew damage controller for explosive props and destroyable objects to the Item System framework.Tech Design
Buccaneer and Cutlass black have entered greybox phase.Aurora update coming along well.Prototype by Calix on players interacting with the world and items.Kirk worked on ingame pricing, ship balance and underlining systems.Art
Elwin Bachiller, Daniel Kamentsky, and Byungjin Hyun worked on the Buccaneer which has moved to the final art stage and the Aurora rework.Justin Wentz is creating concept art for a new Anvil ship.Explorer suit has been created for the PU as well as Heavy Marine Armour for Star Marine.Continued work on more clothes for shops and NPCsTech Content
Sean Tracy has been working with 3lateral and other outsources on R&D projects that will be revealed soonFps weapon optimisation to ensure universal compatibility with male and females.R&D on foot anchoring that adapts leg IK and ground alignment based on whether characters are on their feet or heels.Alex Remotti recently joined the team and has taken initiative on procedural environments for planets and has integrated the initial system into the planet editor which allows for outposts and buildings to be spawned using splatter maps for ecosystemsUpdates to older ships such as the Mustang, Super Hornet and others.Improvements made to animation tools such as prop rigging, health tests, bone influence reduction tools, automated LOD creation for facial assets, and an improved tool for managing the Database of Animations.Updates to the facial and head assets which is over 120 currently.Updates to the Female Rig: Gripping of weapons, skinning tools for the rest of the team.Facial idles for pilots has been added to 2.6.1Narrative
Fleshing out mission stories for 3.0Building a database of text needs for SQ42: Terminals, Galactapedia entries.Continued work on building out the Xi’An language.Quality Assurance
Ship self-destruction, damage states, missile functionality, character loadouts and early iterations of Item 2.0.CIG Austin
Busy with defining details for PU shop Archetypes and making design doc outlining specifics. This helps in the long run with having shops having universal requirements.Work on the foundations for the first iteration of the PU economy.Final approval for the Shopping Kiosk feature and has been given the go ahead to start developmentArt
Emre Switzer Wrapped up work on lighting for Star Marine and moved onto SQ42Chris Smith finished his work on the Super Hornet and is now working on a new vehicle.Josh Coons is working on the Cutlass Black which is in the greybox phase.Animation
Work on usable interaction animations for Sq42: Pushups, stretches, leaning on a table and polished some of the useables to work for use by players in first person.Ship animation team has finished work on ship enter/exit combat speed animations and await approval.Work on animations for the Prospector and Buccaneer have begun.Backend Services
Refactoring the backend infrastructure to new architecture being labelled as Diffusion which improves scalability.Quality Assurance
Network Message Queue, Serialized Variables, Particle Preloading, Megamap, and AI balance tests.Also focused on issues with Gamedev steam to ensure stability of SQ42 and 3.0 development.Player Relations
Caught up with backer’s support requests from the holidays. Last years holiday requests took till April to get caught up.IT/Operations
General housekeeping.Focus on expanding bandwidth between offices.LiveOps/DevOps
Multi-region support and efforts towards network and server side of services which will be a boon that will be explained why soon.FOUNDRY 42 UK
Focus on lighting improvements: Shadow quality and performance within interiors.Cubemap capturing is almost complete and begun writing systems to maximise the tech for truly dynamic lighting on planets and stations.Work on area lights have begun.Early stages of planning for a new and more efficient particle system.Programming
Leaderboards and MegaMap implementation.Networking: Serialized Variables, message queue rewrite.FPS actor code refactor for reliability and robustnessMission system, item pickup and drop improvements, 3d minimap, etc.VFX
Internal data cleanup using Asset Manager.Improving particle streaming for better dynamic loading.Pipeline documentation updatesPlanning breakdowns of Atmospheric Flight Model EffectsExperiments with new assets to blow upQA
SQ42 testing, weapon balance, Star Marine bug fixes.Shoutout to Evocati and frequent PTU testers.Art
New to be announced ships entering concept and wrapping up a new Anvil designReclaimer is in production with two teams working on exterior and interior.Prospector has received polish for LOD’s and preparing it to be be made flight ready.MISC Razor has been adapted to work within the constraints set by animation and resulted in a sleeker technical design.Technical and sanity pass over SQ42 interior sections.Props for medium ship components and dressing sets.Destructible props were added to 2.6.0, further will be added on a larger scale.Narrative assets have been added to certain environments for 2.6.1Allocating more resources to universe development including moons, nebulas and space stations.R&D on improving the planet's material systems to keep the same fidelity and realism from space to the ground.R&D on what space will look like visually.Audio
Housekeeping: Bugfixes, cleanup of assets for older ships.First pass of the Mix System which means SQ42 will have a full music logic set.UI
Leaderboards for 2.6 and a new pause menu.Planning and scheduling large scale UI features for upcoming releases such as purchasing and selling through the kiosk interfaces.Animation
Two new additions to the team.Improvements to animations for 2.6.1 such as fps assets, and grenade throwing.Ongoing improvements for weapon animations that will be used for new weapons in the pipeline.Improvements to Prone Locomotion assets.Female mocap data implementation for subsumption.Design
Preparing for the new, more robust Mission System that will replace elements previously done in Flowgraph.Maximising the performance of the Object Contain Stream System by splitting chapters into logical object containersFixing bugs and implementing a scoring rebalance for Arena Commander and Star Marine.Moving ship functionality to Item System 2.0Adding lots of detail to the multi-crew Seat Actions frameworkFOUNDRY 42 FRANKFURT
The team started with a week long summit in Los Angeles.Subsumption core functionalities being put into the Subsumption Mission SystemThese are being integrated into existing Crusader missionsContinuing work on changes to the Cover System and Posture Manager to allow the AI to be able to make use of the environment and work within the Object Containers systemRefactor work on flight control towards removing some of the complexity involved from an AI perspectiveQA
The month of January has been spent catching up with test requests that were low priority A time was spent revamping Editor checklists and documentation and providing additional training for testers in the UKCommunity feedback for Star Marine was addressed and test cases done to provide more information for the Design TeamsLiaised with Production over bug tracking procedures to ensure the process is smooth as possibleAdditional debugging was implemented to the Game-Dev branch to track down a bug in the ZoneSystem, that lead to a crash introduced in 2.6 release and is now fixedCinematics
Part of the team is working towards a more final look and feel for the conversation system for player to NPC communicationUI text placement and animation for dialogue choices.Solving if, how, and when to slow a player down running towards and NPCHow to make gentle collisions between charactersAdjusting performances based off where the player is or changes positionDynamic camera effects for when a conversation starts.Conversations should feel as a film, but giving player freedom.Steps were taken to gradually tune the FOV so that it doesn’t cause distortion issues if the player is too close and brings it to a wide angle lens.Engine
Work started on the Solar System Editor to create a top/down universe view for better customisation.Continued work on procedural object distribution on planets,moons, etc.Initial passes on object containers such as small outposts and also adapting them to adjust to the parts of the terrain and coloursZone system fixes and optimisations.Work on new Pak system for patcher updates (Delta Launcher).Tech Art
Support from technical artists in frankfurt on FPS features and weapons for 2.6.Improvements to the weapon IK grip setup.New cVars for previsualizing and testing new weapons in engine with their functionality.R&D on improving foot planting.Design
Prototyping the modularity system for Satellites, Surface Outposts and Space Station Interiors is almost complete.Continuing work on the Truck Stop, Refinery and Cargo Station in preparation for when that gameplay becomes available.Refactoring the Useable System to allow both AI and players to make use of objects (e.g. tables) at the same time.Adding support for multiple actions (e.g. eating, talking) to be performed inside a useable state.Started implementing the Oxygen, Breathing & Stamina systems.Started implementing the Landing and Take-off systems and unifying the S42 and PU mechanics; implementing an air traffic control system.Making small additions to the designs for the Mercenary and Bounty Hunter careers, and Customs.VFX
Working with programming on tools required to spawn particles across planets.Rewritten the planetary wind system to account for the spherical nature of planets.Environment Art
Two new people have joined the team.Building assets for individual moonsRefining procedural tech and tools for moons, planets and full systems.Focusing on the procedural scattering system to enable rule-based scattering of rocks, plants, trees, etc.TURBULENT
To release alongside of 2.6.1 and to be used by the community’s many orgsIncludes web version of private and public chat, forums, search functions, member presence and a decent mobile experienceEvocati reports helped to focus our fixes on the most important of these toolsImprovement will continue upon release with continued feedbackCustomization and dedicated mobile apps will be added past this introduction and stabilization phaseMore to comeSales
A revamped Vanduul Swarm and Pirate Swarm competition awarded an aggressor badge upon successful completion as well as the opportunity to purchase a Vanduul Glaive and Pirate Caterpillar respectivelyAlso new were the Dragonfly Posters and Squadron 42 hoodies that won’t last longCOMMUNITY
Continue to balance Around the Verse showcasing progress versus monopolizing developer’s timeA rare inclusion of Chris & Erin Roberts, Tony Zurovec and Todd Papy happened in the Subscriber’s Town Hall of JanuaryA new show, Star Citizen Happy Hour, was introduced that focuses on fan streamers, CIG developers and gameplay while hanging out with the communityAnother introduced new show is Citizens of the Stars highlighting the community contributions to the game and includes Quantum Questions, a two minute quickfire Q&A session from the community to the devsIteration continues Events
Tyler Witkin and Jared Huckaby a stellar Bar Citizen in San Antonio and attended Pax SouthBeing 100% fan organized Bar Citizens for your area can be found at barcitizen.scThis Week in Star Citizen
A weekly front page post that has replaced the old Community Manager’s Log and Schedule highlights the week’s events and points out community content that you may missYou can join the testing of Spectrum that will replace our current forum and chat systems at ptu.cloudimperiumgames.com/spectrum.Builds are released each week and will be iterated based on your feedback https://relay.sc/article/image-and-wallpaper-showcase-january-2017Image and Wallpaper Showcase2017-01-20T19:55:00+00:002017-01-20T21:36:56+00:00Nehkarahttps://relay.sc/contributor/Nehkara This is a gorgeous winter wallpaper of one of my favourite ships, the Carrack, done by Ungineer:
Wallpaper by Ungineer
Source: Wallpapers Central @ RSI Forums
Next up we have a lovely view looking up at a passing Polaris at night by Foy AKA OHDFoxy:
Wallpaper by Foy aka OHDFoxy. Beware, full version of image is very large (5K, 19 mb).
Source: OHDFoxy @ DeviantArt
Here we have an astonishingly gorgeous, if haunting, wallpaper of the Gladius, by GarfieldICHI:
Wallpaper by GarfieldICHI.
Source: Wallpapers Central @ RSI Forums
Following the Gladius we have a pair of wallpapers by SpoofGhost! The first really caught my interest because of the intricate details. The second fueled my imagination and made me eager to race through planetary terrain.
Wallpaper by [ACESHI]SpoofGhost.
Source: Wallpapers Central @ RSI Forums
Wallpaper by [ACESHI]SpoofGhost
Source: Wallpapers Central @ RSI Forums
This next one is by icemaneli186, featuring a beautiful environment and a crashed Buccaneer:
Wallpaper by icemaneli186.
Source: Wallpapers Central @ RSI Forums
STARMEDIC is famous for creating gorgeous Star Citizen wallpapers for years. Here are two great entries from him, the first featuring the Reclaimer and a crashed Polaris, and the second featuring a scene from the Big Guns of the UEE trailer that STARMEDIC recreated for a wallpaper:
Wallpaper by STARMEDIC.
Source: Wallpapers Central @ RSI Forums
Wallpaper by STARMEDIC.
Source: Wallpapers Central @ RSI Forums
The next contestant in our parade of stunning wallpapers is a piece done by Martin Vlas:
Wallpaper by Martin Vlas.
Source: Martin Vlas @ ArtStation
Last entry for wallpapers is an incredible piece by Tom607. This one is titled "The Fall of UEES Olympus":
Wallpaper by Tom607.
Source: The Fall of UEES Olympus - Reddit Thread
The big development on fan content of late has been the introduction of "Director Mode" into Star Citizen, vastly improving the tools that players have to create gorgeous screenshots. Below are some great examples:
Screenshot by Recon_NL
Source: Album of Screenshots by Recon_NL
Screenshot by Berdu
Source: Album of Screenshots by Berdu
Screenshot by mr.hasgaha
Source: mr.hasgaha's Flickr Photostream
Of course the last image above is from the legendary mr.hasgaha, as is the featured image at the top of this article. If you haven't visited his Flickr to check out his incredible collection of Star Citizen screenshots, please do immediately:
mr.hasgaha on Flickr
I hope you enjoyed this highlight of incredible fan artwork and screenshots, let me know in the comments below if you'd like to see features like this in the future! https://relay.sc/article/lets-talk-about-the-nature-of-community-updatesLet's talk about the nature of community updates2017-01-17T17:09:00+00:002017-01-18T04:20:46+00:00Dolvakhttps://relay.sc/contributor/Dolvak In this article we got what I would describe as the biggest look at the 3.0 update that there has been since Citizencon 2016 in October. There are many exclusive images in the GameStar article that happen to be behind a paywall. These images, and a translation of the article, were posted nearly instantly to Reddit so access isn’t a big issue, but the point remains that this content exists nowhere else but inside a German gaming magazine behind a paywall.
You’ve pledged your money to earn your Citizenship. Now it’s our turn. We, the Star Citizen team at Cloud Imperium, hereby promise to deliver the game you expect. You, the tens of thousands of pledgers, have allowed us to cut out the big publisher and build the game on our terms. To let us focus on quality free of the pressure to deliver by a certain financial quarter. To nurture a new original IP. To put fun ahead of shareholder profits.
Chris Roberts, The Pledge
When the Star Citizen project started we were promised consistent updates moving forward, and in my opinion CIG, in general, has done a fantastic job. They are shockingly open with the work they do. Currently there is one weekly news show (ATV) and the weekly live show (RTV) is looking to be replaced. This matter is still up in the air so honestly who knows what the future of community updates will be like. Returning soon is a special edition of 10 for the Chairman, a now-defunct show where the man himself, Chris Roberts, would address community questions and issues, and sometime today we are supposed to get a Town Hall, with the likes of Chris, Erin, and Tony answering questions.
2016 has shown that CIG is willing to change up the formula when it comes to keeping their community in the loop as well. ATV was overhauled and shows were canceled and replaced to try and improve communication overall, and I applaud that. There is, however, a fundamental issue with communication between CIG and the community that I feel needs to be addressed.
The trend of outlet-exclusive content bothers me greatly, and I recognize that it might sound odd coming from someone who runs a news outlet about Star Citizen. However, the trend of major project updates not coming through official channels is, well... not exactly anti consumer but anti backer? Yeah that term works for now. Don't get me wrong though, marketing is very important. Bringing in new money and new fans is critical to the game's future, and the truth is that this community is going to change and expand greatly as the game grows and gets closer to release. I am in no way against interviews, that would be ridiculous and hypocritical as there are quite a few interviews with CIG personnel right here on this website.
We, the Developer, intend to treat you with the same respect we would give a publisher. You will receive regular updates about the progress of the game. We will do a show and tell for each major milestone. Your voice will be heard and represented in our development docs and our feature wish list. You will see art and video and learn about how we intend to implement gameplay mechanics well before the rest of the world. The website will be updated and the community will be maintained. Though the limitations of technology may slow us, we will always do the best for you: if it breaks, we will fix it. There may be delays and there may be changes; we recognize that such things are inevitable and would be lying to you if we claimed otherwise. But when this happens, we will treat you with the respect you deserve rather than spending your money on public relations. When we need to change a mechanic or alter something you believe should be in the game, we will tell you exactly why.
Chris Roberts, The Pledge
The problem is, over the past year, CIG updates have been very unclear about the status of the project itself and oftentimes relegated critical information to 3rd party interviews. Take for example the interview with Dan Truffin that was recorded at a recent BarCitizen. Amazing information, but it had to come from a 3rd party.
Instead of the critical updates to the project that we should be getting, Star Citizen focused outlets and Reddit have been scraping together pieces of the puzzle that is the Star Citizen project for months. Many times very important information and status updates are released on personal twitter accounts such as Sandi Gardiner's and other CIG developers. The majority of the time these images are not featured on the official website or on any official outlet for Star Citizen or the company. This means we have to hunt for information instead of it being readily available as we have been promised multiple times.
I feel it necessary to clear the air before my words are taken out of context by various parties. I am in no way bashing one person or a group of people here. I feel this criticism is important so we, the community of backers, can push for the level of communication we find satisfactory. There are several easy ways to address these issues.
When it comes to various personal sources publishing images, I have no desire for this to stop. If a talented artist wants to show what he or she worked on that day that should be encouraged by us and by CIG. However, having a formal outlet for these types of showings would greatly improve the scattered nature of production images. I suggest a section of the website similar in nature to the Subscribers Vault. If someone is going to post an image externally to their choice of social media then publish it to that feed on the website as well so there is a easy and concise list of all media coming out of the company.
Exclusive content is a big deal to many news outlets and a big deal to many developers. I don’t want CIG to stop their marketing with these outlets. It’s good for the company, good for the community, and generally having good, accurate information is beneficial for the project as a whole. Like the proposed official outlet for media on the RSI website I suggest that all media given exclusively to outlets be posted to the offical site within a reasonable amount of time. I’m not saying have someone sitting waiting for the article to go live to press a button but simply within a day or two have that media available to backers, rather than stuck behind a paywall.
Now, information that comes out of interviews is a bit tricky; CIG is a bit notorious for having critical bits of information slip out casually in interviews that the community then has a large reaction to. While these events are usually positive, they highlight a critical failure in communication when it comes to getting core information to backers.
We have been seeing buildings on planets for the last several months in images, and in the GameStar article mentioned Chris finally talks quite a bit about player housing and building on planets. This is something that has never been formally talked about, and only small tidbits and mentions have ever been public. If this information has been around for months, why exactly was it not mentioned on one of the weekly shows? Did the design for player housing jump into Chris’s head while he was being interviewed?
It sounds like i'm frustrated with Chris here but I'm not. I’m frustrated with the apparent gap of what the community wants to know and what CIG wants to tell us. I hope that the backer community can together figure out a solution to these issues and advocate for a positive way by which CIG can address these issues, now, and in the future.
Your support over the past month has been incredible. You’ve done your part, and we will now do our utmost to live up to your expectations. We will build you the game you are dreaming about.
Chris Roberts, The Pledge
Cheers to that Chris, See ya in the 'Verse. https://relay.sc/article/saitek-x56-rhino-review-by-errisSaitek X56 Rhino Review By Erris2017-01-10T17:16:42+00:002017-01-10T17:16:42+00:00Errishttps://relay.sc/contributor/Erris
The Saitek X56 Rhino is
the most recent HOTAS offering from Saitek, one of the larger
Joystick manufacturers around. A larger controller setup, the Rhino
retails for around 330$ Canadian. It has switches, toggles, buttons,
triggers, LED lights, the works.
The fate of Saitek is
currently up in the air though. Formerly a subsidiary of MadCatz, Saitek
were recently bought out by Logitech. The Rhino was designed and
manufactured while Saitek were still with MadCatz. This review was performed before Logitech bought Saitek, and the joystick was provided for review by Saitek.
How does it feel:
Let’s start with how
the Rhino feels. The stick portion feels solid enough, and while
constructed of plastic, it feels sturdy, it doesn’t have much give,
and even during my most frantic, flailing attempts at flight, it
stays upright. The stick is large as well; even with a riser on the
wrist-rest, my hand didn’t rest on it. Not that its size is too
much of an issue; all the triggers, buttons, and hats are easily
Unfortunately, one of
the triggers on the stick, the pinky trigger, feels… weak. And it
is weak, as I’ll detail later in this piece. It just doesn’t feel
On the other hand, the
Rhino’s throttle feels even better than the stick. It feels somehow
more solid, while still sporting the same plastic
construction. It feels weighty in a way, and all the switches, hats,
and toggles on the throttle just feel… right. The only issue with
the throttle is a very minor one; the throttle is a ‘split’
throttle, and when it’s in its split configuration, the two halves
rub against each other slightly. It’s so minor a complaint I’m
almost hesitant to mention it, but it does appear to be a strange,
and intentional, design decision. I just don’t get it.
Inputs on a joystick
are important, we all know this. Your hands are more or less glued to
the controller, and having to move to press shortcuts on a keyboard
is pretty much out of the question, so a lot of inputs on the HOTAS
itself are pretty key.
Thankfully, the Rhino
has plenty of switches, toggles, triggers, hats, and buttons.
Seriously, they’re everywhere. The throttle itself is the best
example of this, with two hats, two swivelly things, an analog
thumbstick, 7 switches, two dials, and more. It’s got a lot.
Seriously. And most of those switches are pretty easily reachable.
Remembering what you’ve bound each one to is a different matter,
but that’s more an issue with me being a horrible pilot; nothing
the stick can do to remedy that, sadly. Needless to say, I’m a huge
fan of the throttle.
The joystick on the
other hand, has the aforementioned flimsy pinky trigger as its main
standout problem, and then it has three hats at the top of the stick
that just… they don’t feel right, personally. Neither does the
thumbstick. I feel like in including so many hats, the joystick
misses out on things like triggers, or a missile toggle, that I feel would feel better.
Sure, the hats provide a lot
of customization options, but I don’t feel like the stick needs
three at the top. One hat, and some other buttons, would likely serve
That said, aside from
the pinky trigger, all the hats, triggers, and buttons on both the
stick and the throttle feel good. I don’t like the
thumbsticks yet, but I might get more used to them with time. All in
all, the stick does fairly well, input-wise.
First off, what is the
plural of axis? Weird word.
Aside from that, not
really much to say on the axis question. The Rhino is standard. The
throttle provides forward and back (or just forward, if you’re
simple like me), pitch, yaw, and roll. Anything else you’d have to
bind to hats, thumbsticks, or dials. No fancy six degrees of flight
Axes: 5/10? 7/10?
How do you rate ‘standard’?
Profile software is an
important part of any advanced joystick solution. Unfortunately, I
have almost no experience using profile software, and I sometimes get
confused when using internet browsers, much less complicated HOTAS
That said, the software
appears to be very detailed, with both basic options for plebs like
me (I’ll pick a standard acceleration curve, thank you), and with
more advanced options for people who can actually fly.
Confusing, but clearly
regular games (War Thunder)
So, lets talk about how
the Rhino performs in actual games. Here it gets a bit more difficult
to figure out what to talk about. Things are less concrete, and even
more of a personal opinion.
Still. The ‘regular
game’ (read – not space game) that I played most often was War
Thunder, because I like the game, I put a lot of time into it with
keyboard and mouse, and it has a fairly detailed ‘realistic’
In War Thunder,
atmospheric flight seemed to work really well, and the joystick
didn’t reduce my skill too much. It was definitely more difficult
to fly and be accurate with, but flying just felt better. I did have
some issues with keybindings; anytime I used the pinky trigger the
game would open the ‘pause’ menu, and I still have no idea why
that was happening, but overall the stick just… worked like you’d
expect a stick to, really.
Regular games: 8/10
Performance in VR
(War Thunder, Elite: Dangerous)
In VR, I tried out two
games, War Thunder and Elite: Dangerous. Both games, in VR, looked
amazing, and flying with a throttle and stick while looking around
just felt… it felt amazing. Dizzying, exciting, thrilling, and
really just a whole lot of fun.
But that’s down to
VR, and to the games. The Rhino felt good in VR, its sturdiness
lending a bit of credence to the VR illusion, but it was also plain
hard to work.
The stick and the main
portion of the throttle are easily accessed; you know where your
hands are on them, and you can find all the input options they offer.
The base of the throttle though is virtually impossible to use. All
the switches feel the same, and trying to put down landing gear
rather than abandoning ship proved…
Lets just say I ended
up suiciding more times than I would normally prefer to.
Now, this isn’t
necessarily a problem with the Rhino exclusively. Any current HOTAS
will have the problem. But it’s a space that joysticks could use a
lot of improvement.
VR is great for flying
games. Where VR suffers in FPS games, due to inducing dizziness when
moving. In driving and flying games, you’re stuck in your seat, and
can fully enjoy some truly jawdropping visuals. I will want to play
any and all flying games in VR from now on. And honestly, I’ll want
to play them with a HOTAS. The extra immersion added is perfect for
VR, since that’s what it’s all about.
For serious VR
implementation, though, next generation HOTAS’ might need to start
considering ‘trackers’, so with a system like the Vive, a vague,
shadowy overlay of the HOTAS could be displayed to you. So that you
can move your hands from the joysticks and still have awareness of
where they are.
It’s a complicated
suggestion, and might not make sense if you’ve never played a game
in VR, but… if Star Citizen ever becomes a VR game, this is
something that joysticks will need.
VR performance: 5/10
Performance in Star
Again, the Rhino feels
pretty solid in Star Citizen. While the thumbsticks on the throttle
and stick don’t control gimbals too well, they’re better than
nothing. In Star Citizen, the stick really suffers from the same
drawbacks it did in other games. The stick itself has too many hats,
making it impossible to bind all weapon groups and missiles to
That said, Star Citizen
has a lot of control options, and all of the toggles and
switches on the throttle give a lot of options for things like
ejecting, self destructing, turning on lights, power management, etc…
Overall the stick
performs well for Star Citizen, but as the probable predecessor to
the Star Citizen HOTAS, there’s a lot about its design that should
probably be improved.
Star Citizen: 7/10
Here’s where we get
to the fun part. A while ago, when the Star Citizen HOTAS was first
announced, I wrote an article theorizing that Saitek’s QA might
have improved, based on recent improvements by Madcatz, and based on
the knowledge that Star Citizen would probably be a huge market.
The first stick broke
within the first two days. The pinky trigger, the one I’ve said a
few times before is very wonky, simply stopped working. That pinky
trigger, to me, is the worst feeling and most worrisome part of the
whole stick. I don’t know why it’s there, and I don’t really
think it should be.
On the other hand,
aside from that pinky trigger, the joystick, while plastic, feels
solid, and the throttle honestly feels amazing.
acquired Saitek from MadCatz. Now, Logitech hasn’t made joysticks
in a while, not since they tried to create a force-feedback joystick
that failed miserably, but before that ill-fated attempt, Logitech’s
sticks were a standard for superior quality. That’s all to say
that, with some luck, Logitech’s QA process (fun fact; my most
recent mouse, a Logitech G700, has lasted me longer than any other
mouse I’ve ever owned. I normally go through two a year. It’s a
problem) will bleed over to Saitek’s, improving the quality of
Logitech’s acquisition of Saitek, it’s unclear who will be making
the Star Citizen HOTAS. We don’t know if the contract for it was
with Saitek or with Madcatz, or even if the contract will carry over.
What does this all
It all means that,
overall, the Rhino is an okay stick. Its QA is worrisome, and some of
its design decisions don’t make too much sense, and don’t bode
too well for the Star Citizen HOTAS, but the recent acquisition of
Saitek by Logitech throws a shadow of doubt on, well, everything.
I haven’t tried other high-end sticks yet. The Thrustmaster Warthog
is supposed to be the pinnacle of HOTAS excellence, but it’s also a
fair bit more expensive. If you’re looking for an all-around decent
HOTAS, and can come to terms with possibly having to RMA it a few
times, then the Rhino will serve you well.
Overall Score: 6/10
Oh hello, I’m glad to see you all today
Stay a while, and listen, just… don’t go away.
Before our show starts, I’ve a story to tell
Of a cold night in Space, and some ne’er do-wells.
‘Twas the night before Chris-mas, and all through my ship
Not a Vanduul was stirring, not even a bit.
The shotguns were stacked up by the door with care
In the knowledge that Pirates might soon appear.
My crewmates were nestled, all snug in their bunks
With visions of shore-leave, keeping them up.
And I in my Captain’s chair, wearing my cap
Staring out at the void, and loving the black.
When from all the sensors, there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
And so to the comm-suite, I flew like a flash
Twisting some buttons, tapping the dash
The silence and darkness of deep, empty space
Shone off of the monitor, and lit up my face.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a small radar blip, sounding quite near.
I punched on more knobs, dreading the quiet
Till the Radar confirmed my worst fear: pirates.
More rapid than Hornets, the Cutlass it came
My intercom buzzing a frightful refrain
You’ll die, oh you’ll die, painful and slow
We’ll rip off your limbs, and break all your bones
We’ll take all your cargo, but leave you alive
Then blow up your ship, with you still inside.
I dry-heaved several times, then woke up my crew
And we all gathered our shotguns, plus a pistol or two
The silence, interminable, the wait it seemed endless
The anticipation, cruel. Our fear left us breathless.
And then, in a burst, I heard from the hold
The sealed docking collar, being ripped from its post
As I stuck out my shotgun, and aimed down the corridor,
The first of the Pirates, like a madman, came closer
He was dressed all in red, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished, with ashes and blood
A brown burlap sack, he held clenched in one fist
A sawn-off double-barrel in the other, no less.
His eyes how they steamed, his scars, how angry
His cheeks were all pitted, his teeth were quite lacking
His sharp, angry mouth, was drawn up in a sneer
In his beard, bits of food, weeks old I fear.
The blade of a knife he held tight in his gums
And his feet they were bare, his toes withered like plums
A squint of his eyes, and a crack of his neck
Made me sure one of us soon would be dead
He said not a word, he just roared, and then charged
So I blew off one arm, and his charge faltered hard
Blood slowly pooling, he collapsed to the floor,
As two more bloody pirates, leaped through the door
We said not a word, just went straight to our work
The shotgun shells flying, body parts piling up
And then without warning, without word, without hint
The last of the pirates turned and ran, at a sprint.
He sprang to his ship, to his crew gave a cry
And away they all flew, or at least they tried.
For I dialed up his comms, ere they were all gone
Saying ‘Missiles locked and away; Merry Chris-Mas you scum’ https://relay.sc/article/relay-argAlternate Reality - The Past, Present, and Future of Relay's Community2016-12-22T02:04:41+00:002016-12-22T02:04:41+00:00JakeAcappellahttps://relay.sc/contributor/JakeAcappella Now, this is a very unimportant, somewhat personal blog post, so if you're not into that stop reading now. But I wanted to talk about the events leading up to Relay’s launch, as well as what we're going to be doing going forward on the community side.
Everyone is now likely aware of the viral marketing leading up to Relay’s launch. But for those unaware, on Monday, November 28th, I made this tweet:
Slowly but surely, more and more people shared it and it spread like wildfire across twitter, and eventually Reddit. A lot of people were confused, thinking it was CIG doing this, but one thing was sure: All eyes were on it. From there, more images popped up, along with twitch glitches:
CLICK HERE FOR GRAYHEADEDGAMER'S CLIP
All of this eventually culminated into the unveiling of Relay, with this video from our new Twitter account. As we planned out our new site, our team worked tirelessly for weeks preparing, coding, and writing. While they did that, they gave me one task: Make sure people see. And I think, with all the good and bad, it was a success. But I'm not here to pat myself on the back. The real reason I wanted to bring all this to your attention is because of the enormous support from people in the Star Citizen community. Including our team, nearly 30 content creators worked together to make this happen, and it wouldn't have happened without them. Please follow every last one of them if you aren't already.
The true significance of this group of people is that they're from all corners of this community. From YouTube to Twitch, from TEST to Redacted, from Bad News Gaming to the Base, thank you all. We all came together and did something awesome.
And that’s going to be the philosophy of the community front of Relay going forward. We want to showcase as many people as possible. All the amazing things the Star Citizen community does every single day. We want to bring creators together to collaborate on amazing new things, just like we were able to do with the ARG. So if you're doing something awesome, throw me a ping. Tag me or Relay in your posts. I want to see it all, and share it with everyone. And that's only the beginning. We will never stop finding ways to bring us all together. That's what you can expect from Relay.
Thank you all for your overwhelming support. We wouldn't be able to do any of this without you. See you in the ‘Verse. https://relay.sc/article/holiday-livestream-postmortemHoliday Livestream Postmortem2016-12-19T21:33:00+00:002016-12-19T23:21:12+00:00Nehkarahttps://relay.sc/contributor/Nehkara It took me a few days to write this. There are a couple of reasons... initially I just wanted to let things settle in my mind. Then I got sick, so here we are on Monday.
Prior to Friday, the Holiday Livestream was looked upon with great anticipation by many in the Star Citizen community, while a significant contingent of other fans were taking a wait-and-see approach.
The fans excited for the stream were looking forward to seeing the vertical slice of Squadron 42 and/or expanded 3.0 gameplay. Originally both Squadron 42 and Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 were expected and announced for 2016 so it was not ludicrous to expect to at least see the progress on these portions of the game.
Unfortunately what we actually saw on Friday was not only very little new content, mostly restricted to the MISC Razor and expanded details of the Vanduul race, but also a very poorly done livestream.
Throughout the 160 minute runtime of the livestream, there were a plethora of audio issues, missed cues, flubbed transitions, and general disorganization. Adding on to this was a myriad of reality TV style cringe-worthy skits, and equally bizarre and stilted voiceover of the "Emergent Gameplay" video.
Even worse was that most of the skits were introductions to pieces of content that very few in the community wanted to see. Just 4 weeks ago we got to see a live competition in 2.6 - there was no reason to repeat that content.
Well, perhaps there was. What became quite obvious throughout the livestream was that they obviously didn't have anything else to show right now. So why didn't we know that going in?
CIG has been very open in terms of development in some ways, however, in other ways they are frustratingly closed-off.
After the Squadron 42 vertical slice narrowly missed being shown at CitizenCon, according to CIG, we were assured it would be shown soon. With two events left in 2016 and nothing planned for 2017, the natural conclusion was it would be shown during the Anniversary or Holiday livestream. What we learned 10 minutes before the livestream on Friday was that not only would it not be shown in 2016, it sounds like it was actually scrapped quite some time ago. Why didn't we know that beforehand?
After we made the decision before CitizenCon that the Squadron 42 vertical slice wasn’t ready to be shown publically, we spent some time on reviewing how far off we were and what we wanted to achieve in order to be comfortable showing a full chapter of S42 gameplay. After all the effort we expended for CitizenCon, we didn’t want to spend additional developer time polishing intermediate solutions if it wasn’t going towards the final product. A slick demo isn’t that helpful if it pushes back the finished game, so we decided that the priority should be completing full systems over getting the vertical slice into a showable state.
Chris Roberts, Friday December 16 Newsletter
Additionally, 3.0 gameplay was shown off at Gamescom and CitizenCon. Surely it has made some progress from October to December - so why didn't we see it? I heard from a fair number of fans who would have been much more content with the Livestream if it had been spent exploring procedural worlds.
This seems to be partly answered in the newsletter as well, with indications that 3.0 became a #3 priority internally behind 2.6 and Squadron 42:
Since CitizenCon we’ve been working towards 2.6 as our priority, with Squadron 42 core tech being second priority, followed by 3.0 development. Almost all Squadron 42 core tech is also needed for 3.0 and the aspects that aren’t, like Networking, have their own team who don’t get distracted by Squadron as it’s a single player game.
Chris Roberts, Friday December 16 Newsletter
While this makes sense, it would have been nice to actually know this earlier.
CIG has two weekly shows where they could easily share this kind of news. Something like this would have worked nicely:
"We also wanted to mention that we are examining whether to continue work on the Squadron 42 vertical slice. We have discovered we may need to create some interim solutions that wouldn't contribute to the final game. We'll have our decision for you next week."
"Last week we mentioned that we were internally examining whether it was worthwhile to move forward with the vertical slice for Squadron 42 and we have determined at this time that we would prefer to rededicate our efforts to finishing the final game. We can't wait to show you all we've been working on but unfortunately it will need to wait. Thank you for all of your support."
Note: These are both hypothetical statements but I believe they would have defused the expectation that we would in fact see Squadron 42 soon.
The last part of Friday's newsletter I would like to address is this:
One thing that I think helps to understand the challenges of working on such a big complex project in the open is the visibility into our internal schedules. Sharing the 2.6 schedule was an experiment that a lot of people internally were very worried about but now everyone agrees it was the right move as transparency helps build trust.
Chris Roberts, Friday December 16 Newsletter
He's right. Transparency does build trust. So why half-ass it?
The community has been incredibly supportive of the increased transparency CIG has shown in some areas (showing more of the game in ATV, production schedule for 2.6, etc). So why keep it under wraps, until 10 minutes prior to your highly anticipated Holiday Livestream, that you are working very hard on 2.6 and therefore can't deliver demos of SC Alpha 3.0 and Squadron 42?
It's pretty frustrating, from a fan's point of view.
The combination of poor content, disappointments, and a very poorly executed livestream led to a torrent of discontent throughout the community.
This was, however, stemmed somewhat by a Friday-night release of 2.6 to the PTU, for the 1st wave of PTU testers. To be frank, 2.6 is good. It's a significant improvement to the playable Star Citizen product. Star Marine plays well and is fun. Arena Commander, in my opinion, plays better and I enjoy the new flight model. There's even some new goodies in the Crusader map. Better graphics, better animations, better UI, better FPS combat, better space combat, and vastly improved load times.
That said, I am rather concerned about an upcoming vacuum of content and news simultaneously. It seems unlikely we will see 3.0 any time soon and there are no scheduled events for at least 8 months. I would highly encourage CIG to schedule some sort of event between now and Gamescom 2017 once they have notable content to show. The PU Townhall event in 2015 was fantastic - do that again.
In closing, congratulations to CIG for what they've accomplished in 2.6. We still have a lot of faith in the developers working on Star Citizen. They are doing an incredible job in creating a pair of games that push the envelope, and we would like to take a moment this holiday to thank them.
However, the great work by the developers doesn't excuse the mess on Friday. Communication and event quality must be improved. Clean it up CIG. https://relay.sc/article/november-monthly-report-summaryNovember Monthly Report Summary2016-12-16T22:47:00+00:002016-12-16T22:49:47+00:00StormyWintershttps://relay.sc/contributor/StormyWinters NOVEMBER MONTHLY REPORTCIG LOS ANGELES
Progress on the vehicle system and flight controlLaid groundwork for further development of the item systemImproved first person radar mechanics should allow for new gameplayFirst version of atmospheric volume system rolled outContinued work on systems that support/control interactions and tools for designers to flesh out the universeTech Design
Dividing efforts between Star Marine, SQ42 and PUShip team put finishing touches on the Caterpillar Moved onto Drake Buccaneer making progress on whitebox and now greyboxCharacter Art team worked on planetary fauna to add to the many landscapesUpdating and working on humanoids by improving textures on the Outlaw and Marine BDUsSeveral 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 assetsCharacter items revisited and improved, setting the stage for inventory system yet to comeNew scripts and pipeline tools will allow for artists/designers to bring even more to the ‘Verse in coming buildsAsset and profiling fixes led to zero asset build errors in the gameNarrative
After last month’s motion capture shoot, the team worked with the editor to review footage to put together selected footage for Chris to reviewIn anticipation of the November Livestream, helped script some of the events/segmentsContinued to tackle 2.6 needs, the vast catalogue of items being created and working away at 3.0Will and Adam faced each other in the Electronic Access InvitationalQuality 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 playtestsLooked at the latest Afterburner and flight balance changes, also new missile systems John Pritchett was working onEarly looks at the new slate of ships for SC alpha 2.6.0: Caterpillar, Herald and extra early look at 85XNew tester joined the team, Andrew Hernando from Turtle Rock StudiosCIG AUSTIN
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 ReindellPresented latest iteration on Shopping kiosks designs to ChrisReviewed upcoming design requests for Character Team with Josh HermanHas been working on another iteration of the Shopping Kiosk and working with the UI team to get some good mockupsExperimenting 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 accountFirst batch of Shop Archetypes addressed are: ‘Bar’, ‘Clothing Shop’, ‘Security’, ‘Personal Weapons Shop’Pete Mackay focused on economy as it relates to 3.0Tweaking his Price Fixer tool which takes varying gameplay aspects into account to generate value for items/componentsThese will help inform final in-game pricing for items/shipsHe’s also been defining aspects of the ‘Commodities’ list, distribution of said commodities and how this informs the establishment of trade routes within Stanton SystemArt
Chris Smith putting final touches on the Hornet refactor Josh Coons in the middle of Greybox pass for Drake Cutlass refactorBoth 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 DesignBryan Brewer and David Peng worked on Idris Deck Crew sequence, splitting up various roles within Deck Crew to be operated completely as AIDavid 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 previouslySpecifically 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 releaseJay 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 screensCreated a new Leaderboard service that grabs info from the website leaderboards and posts them in the new in-game LeaderboardsIan Guthrie at Wyrmbyte helped implement new admin commands that will help LiveOps and Customer Support teams better navigate servers and identify problemsQA
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 teamWorking to combine US/UK support teams into single organization that can expedite support for backersLater 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 environmentsIT/Operations
Paul Vaden and Mike Jones spent time on LA with Dennis Daniel preparing for November Livestream eventFor 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/AegisAlso 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 MarineCompleted several publishes to Evocati, deployed countless publishes internally for QA teams across all studios to test onSpecial kudos tp Ahmed and his team, Andy, Nathan and Jeffrey for all their work on the publishing pipelineFOUNDRY 42 UK
Big focus was the Prowler Also worked on the 85X, MISC racing ship and Caterpillar promoWork started on Vanduul StingerMajor lighting pass on the Idris to make sure characters look amazing in the ship’s interior environmentSeveral more rooms checked off the Javelin, only a few left til interior is complete!Three new FPS weapons in conceptTon of previous work for more Klaus and Werner energy weaponsAdditional work with Knightbridge Arms ship weapon family and fleshing out modular barrelsPushing 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 environmentsMore work needed on the texture and composition thoughHurston: 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 statuesMicrotech: 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 vistaVFX
Full pass on two of the new ships going into 2.6 including 85X and CaterpillarStar 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 VFXClean 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 particlesDesign
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 gameVertical slice level enabling them to prove out gameplay mechanics that allow designers to polish up the greybox missionGuys working on 2.6 are fixing bugs and last second polish actionsAudio
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 musicExtensive work also done to include announcers for the teamsSQ42: 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 fireUI
Continued implementation of the new front-end menus and Electronic access lobbiesEntire front end mostly in functional stateArtists working on further visual polish and animations for each screenWorking on Star Marine and Arena Commander loadout interfacesShip 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 interfaceAdditional headway on Star Marine game HUDIncludes better AR callouts for friendly players, offscreen icon boundaries, improved rendering of 2D UIDesigned 3D icons for in-game pick up items in Arena CommanderStarted 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 gamesArena Commander: Now implemented missile and ammo pick ups, work on new camera system including the new spectator cam modeWork on Arena Commander mega mapMost work required for dynamic gamerules has been completed and it’s at the testing stage to find out what isn’t workingLobby refactor means they can now connect/disconnect to a server without have to completely load/unload a whole mapProgress with message queue rewrite, serialized components, lobby refactor and entity bind culling Graphics
Depth of field effect getting a complete overhaul to improve its speedFine tuning shadow system to achieve greater shadow resolution and many more shadows through introduction of static shadow maps for environmentsFocus on achieving cinematic quality lighting on SQ42 in-game rather than just in hand crafted cut scenesMajor upgrade of the bounced light system(global illumination), first step being GPU acceleration of reflection/cube map captures to remove previous offline/CPU systemAnimation
Supporting upcoming Star Marine releaseContinued work on AI combat animation assets so design/programming team can get core functionality implemented and ready for next round of animation iterationAll existing base weapons have been through a second animation passReloads/hand positioning improved, and various other tweaksFurther work in previz for next round of weapons due to come down the pipelineLegacy weapons spruced up for initial Star Marin release with improved hand positioning/firing animationsProne 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 goodProgress on player combat signals and AI reactions to danger/soundsQA
Team was split into three groups to prepare for live stream: SQ42 testing, Arena Commander and Crusader testing, Star Marine testingWorked 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 shipsFOUNDRY 42 FRANKFURT
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 situationsCompleted 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 timeFor 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 RSIVFX
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 explosionQA
Focus on Star Marine, SQ42 and testing new engine-side featuresChris Speak and Glenn Kneale worked on Star Marine ad-hoc testing and regressionGlenn also tackled SQ42 testing and AI sync meetingsParticipated in multiple playtests ranging from dev playtests to cross studio playtests with UK/ATX/LAChris worked on creating various test levels for the dev team to use for their own feature testingMelissa 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 crashesMelissa 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 artistsEnvironment 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 efficientWorked on various megastructures for SQ42 level including modeling, UV mapping and making prefabs out of components for designers to placeTech Art
Focus on 2.6 and SQ42Worked with designers and updated a large amount of animation for FPS especially improving select/deselect/reloadsUpdated and re-exported numerous weapons/gadgets to accommodate new left hand grip post which is functioning using runtime IKCompleted 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 weaponEngineering
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 SIMDFixed some aliasing problems inside occlusion code which results in a more stable frame during movementMassive 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 shipsImproved low level memory redirection functionalityChanged their core system allocators, they went with JeMalloc Working on their Area systemAreas 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 areasThey moved the old system directly into the zone system to allow them to reuse spatial information for a much more efficient algorithmWeapons
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 rifleStarted same process for Arrowhead sniper rifleShip 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 designLevel 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 locationsSatellites and surface outposts passed onto art teamSystem 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 systemsProgress on AI skills and stats system which should allow each AI to have an individual personality/needs/wantsBased on these skills/stats, AI will change priority of their Subsumption behavioursThis 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 CallbacksA 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 behavioursFor combat/non-combat environments they introduced an ‘Emotion component’ to allow the ability to control facial animations based on the emotion of the NPCWorked on improving animation flows to allow proper blending between states and make sure characters feel more fluidWork 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 bugsTURBULENT
Spectrum Alpha v.0.1 to members of Evocati test groupAnniversary sale, older ships made a comeback but also new variants and was capped off by a two day Grand Finale ---
https://relay.sc/article/holiday-livestream-sale-past-and-presentHoliday Livestream & Sale - Past and Present2016-12-16T02:00:00+00:002016-12-16T02:05:54+00:00Nehkarahttps://relay.sc/contributor/Nehkara History
The big feature of Holiday season 2012 wasn't a sale or a livestream but the introduction of the ability to give Star Citizen as a gift.
The 2013 Holiday season was marked by a 2 hour livestream including a dogfighting demo, which illustrated precisely why Arena Commander was not ready for release.
This period also featured the opening of Foundry 42 Manchester, the introduction of the famous Drake hoodie, and the addition of Star Citizen gift cards to the pledge store. On top of that was Hangar patch 10 which introduced an update Avenger and the Cutlass to the Hangar Module - accompany this the Cutlass also got a game package in the store.
A 4.5 hour livestream punctuated the 2014 Holiday season for Star Citizen. This was one of the largest transcription projects I have ever personally taken on and my complete notes on it can be found here. Highlights were some great gameplay design information from Tony Zurovec, an early prototype of the Starmap, a lot of interesting thoughts for the future of Star Citizen, the Consolidated Outland Mustang commercial and introduction, the Pegasus Escort Carrier unveiling, new website reveal, new Idris images, as well as the Imagine trailer.
This period also featured the release of Arena Commander 1.0.
In terms of the sale, the Mustang series were on concept sale and 200 Idris Frigates were sold. In addition, there were a few new top tier packages created.
This occasion also marked the introduction of some new physical merchandise (mouspads, dogtags, Squadron 42 shirts) and the introduction of their new method of selling merchandise - pre-orders and then manufacturing/shipping.
2015 featured a 3 hour livestream which showed off procedural planets with a live demo as well as the famous From Pupil to Planet video, the ship pipeline in two parts (part 1, part 2), a blockout of the Javelin Destroyer, and a behind-the-scenes as well as an interview with John Rhys-Davies. Notes for the livestream can be found here. You can find the Holiday Livestream Ship Gallery here.
Of course Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 was also released to Live around this time frame on December 11th (the livestream was on the 16th), and was followed by SC Alpha 2.1 release to an all-player PTU on December 24th.
In terms of ship sales, one of the main features was MISC Reliant variant sale which began on December 16th. Also on that day there was limited availability of the Idris and Javelin, 5,000 discounted ($30) Starter game packages, as well as availability of the Sabre. In addition, pre-orders began on the 16th for Jump Point Volume 2.
The Holiday Ship Sale began 8 days later on December 24th and ran through December 28th. In addition to the continued availability of the Reliant variants and Sabre, this sale featured: Endeavor, Carrack, Cutlass Blue, Caterpillar, Herald, Gladiator, Super Hornet, Retaliator & Retaliator Modules, Starfarer & Starfarer Gemini, M50, 350R, Mustang Delta, Khartu-al, Merchantman, Reclaimer, Starliner, Orion, Aurora LX, Freelancer MIS, Constellation Phoenix, Hull A/B/C/D/E. In addition to THOSE ships there were also these new ships: Crucible, Avenger Titan, Avenger Warlock, P-72 Archimedes, and the Vanguard. Some Master Packs were also available, including many ships.HUGE, right?
Well, there was an extenuating circumstance. As of January 1st, 2016 they were updating the Euro exchange rate to be more reflective of the changing value of the currency. This sale was held as a last chance to get the "old" rate before it changed.
So what does all of that history tell us about what will happen tomorrow?
I think some rather obvious conclusions are that the livestream will be long (2-4 hours), and will show off some interesting things. CIG has a shown off a lot in the past two Holiday livestreams.
The official party line is as follows:
"Join us on our Twitch and YouTube channels for our Holiday Live Stream next Friday, December 16th at 11 AM PST / 7 PM GMT. Expect to see 2.6 gameplay and features, a friendly international competition, more details about an alien race, a new concept ship and details on our upcoming Holiday Promotions."
You could also draw the conclusion, and CIG have themselves mentioned, that it will be somewhat less formal than their other recent livestreams.
Now, I am going to go out on a limb here (not very far in my opinion) and guarantee that CIG also has a fair amount of additional content for the livestream that they are not talking about.
Today Sandi Gardiner tweeted out an image that includes what looks like a drill instructor featuring a Star Marine logo on his hat - so look towards seeing a cutscene or trailer for Star Marine.
The elephant in the room is obviously the Squadron 42 demo/vertical slice. I personally believe that we will in fact see this tomorrow. The livestream is certainly long enough to house that kind of content - the vertical slice was reported to be about an hour long. In addition, when I met the Roberts brothers at CitizenCon they both seemed confident that although it was not shown at CitizenCon that it would be shown by the end of 2016.
I also expect we will see an update on Star Citizen Alpha 3.0, an update on the progress of Spectrum, and probably some unexpected goodies.
Now - what is the new concept ship?
There have been some hints recently that it may well be a "space motorbike" of sorts - a competitor for the Dragonfly. The original source of this speculation being Chris Smith's hint during RTV 2.16: "One little thing in between... I'm actually not sure if I can even announce it yet but... it's gonna be a 'vroom vroom' *mimics revving a motorcycle*." This speculation has also focused on the name Nox - brought to light on Reddit by /u/bar10dr2 - which was mentioned in an Empire Report on December 13th:
"People think that riding a Dragonfly or a Nox means partying hard, but that’s just wrong. It’s about being who you are, you know?"
In the clip from RTV Chris Smith also mentioned he has been focused on Anvil ships - the work he did on the Hornet as well as the F8. This leads me to believe we may see the Anvil Aerospace Nox tomorrow. However, this is all of course just speculation.
Regardless of what precisely happens tomorrow, the Holiday livestream is always a great time. I encourage everyone who can tune in, to do so.
Relay will have a pre-show live on Twitch.TV/Relay_SC at 10 AM PST (6 PM UTC). Once CIG goes live (scheduled for 11 AM PST), we will host the official livestream so you can watch from the relative quiet of Relay's Twitch, and then once CIG is done we will have a post-show as well to share our reactions.