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Relay Replay: April 2nd Written Monday 3rd of April 2017 at 08:59am by Erris

This week on the Replay...

Around the 'Verse

Studio Update: Frankfurt

  • Foundry 42 Frankfurt is just over two years old now going from just 6 employees to signing their 70th team member.

FPS Weapons Team:

  • Finished the second art pass on the Klauss & Werner Arclight 2, Gallant, and Arrowhead.

  • First art pass completed on the Kastak Arms Ravager 212 and second art pass on the Devastator

  • Ship weapons completed all rockets and rocket pods from sizes 1-3.

  • First art pass on the Knight’s Bridge Arms Ballistic cannons which uses the new modular tech for upgrading and combinations

Lighting Team:

  • Hired a Lead Lighting Artist who is working on integrating the lighting with the modular outposts and the challenges the procedural generation of the insides and outsides bring.

    • They’re also creating a visual target for the main rooms: Habitation, Hydroponics, Engineering, Storage to push the lighting interior even further.

Level Design Team:

  • Working on the space station and outpost modularity system.

  • Going forward they’ll start with the 5 outposts versions they’ve determined.

  • Truckstop is the first test of the modular space station system.

Engine Team:

  • Finished physics grid refactoring.

  • The old CryPhysics grid system worked on a fixed physics 2D array of cells in unified dimension which were huge. This worked at first, but due to scale they needed to change and as such they’ve created a fixed hierarchy of nested 3D cells of various sizes.

  • This change allows the scaling of objects as big as planets, to small pebbles.

  • Initial tests in Crusader showed efficiency up to 10 times less entities returned for small query and general queries of 1.2-2 times faster while using just slightly more memory.

  • Evo Herzig has been busy building the core foundation for AI movement.

  • His work has been about taking mocap data which is used for fixed and predictable scenarios, to unpredictable and varied interactions.

  • The system created is called parametric blending which seamlessly allows AI to perform a variety of animations in a natural motion.

  • The video played during ATV on his section shows how parametric blending works in detail.

  • Engine Team also made improvements to object blending with the terrain which will be shown soon.

QA Team:

  • New Senior QA Tester James stevens has joined the team in helping refine the loadout editor and testing the new solar system editor, Soled.

AI Team:

  • Completed mission functionality for SQ42 and the PU.

  • Worked on improving the setup for scenarios involving multiple characters interacting with one another simultaneously.

  • Subsumption tool has had some improvements for conversations and work on conversation sub activities has begun. Sub activities are the logic for multiple characters in one view

  • Completed first pass on refactoring the perception for spaceships to allow AI to interface with spaceships when inside them and control the behaviors of AI on spaceships.

Cinematic team:

  • Work on new SQ42 scenes and polishing existing ones.

VFX Team:

  • Continued work on planetary effects such as atmosphere and weather effects and more specific effects for various types of assets being used by the object scattering system.

Environment team:

  • Focused on finalising the moons and the procedural asset distribution system has made a lot of progress with improvements being made.

  • Brian Chambers said: “All the pieces that make up our procedural planets and moons are truly starting to fall in place you could say and things are looking great”.

Ship Pipeline Part 2: Greybox to Flight Ready

  • The final art stage is about the extra polish, making the ship function, feel and even explode in the right way

  • A favourite step is using POMs as decals to give the illusion of more geometry where none exists.

  • Animation is next in the steps and is described as a family affair

  • Function, timing, flair and then character interactions are the next foci

  • The process reminds Elwin of building and playing with puppets

  • VFX is now allowed to come in and work their magic and uses R&D, the ship's unique animation along with Drake lineage to create a first pass which is reviewed

  • After feedback, polishing, signing off and optimisation it's considered flight ready

  • UI likes to be involved from the beginning, but are hands off until the very end if they share the same template systems, but still give them their own unique feel

  • Audio production starts on large ships first as they need the most work, but all deserve the same emotional connection with the player's

  • Part of a Herald's charm is that it feels like it might explode any second

  • Many conditional layers are used to produce a very organic feel and give a voice and realistic flexible character to each ship, even in ambient sounds

  • Drawing inspiration and sound from the other Drake ships is not a simple copy-paste affair

  • Flight ready stage is the last stage and involves building damage

  • Lots goes into modelling setup, and lots of different meshes have to be adjusted and worked with to get things looking right.

  • Once the modelling is done, they do UV setups, which prepare for the damage models. Then there’s making sure pieces break off correctly, and making everything is powered, and adding smoke / light / particle effects, etc…

  • Lots of work, and lots of people, have a hand in creating even just the models and effects for ships, then the ships go to finalization.

  • When they’re being finalised, lots of things come back that were maybe not done quite right, that have to be fixed. At the same time, weapons and ship statistics get balanced, normally against other ships, to make sure everything feels good.

Happy Hour



Erris is Canadian. He does some random things for Relay, no-one really knows what, but still they're stuck with him. He’s also written one Young Adult novel that he can’t stand, which can be found here.

You can find him on Twitter too, if you want.