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Relay Replay: January 29 Written Sunday 29th of January 2017 at 09:41am by Erris

This week, on the Replay, we cover, well the week in Star Citizen, as always! Below, a summary of the topics we covered, and some we didn't!

Relay weekly Star Citizen News Summary

Notes by Shiver Bathory

Around the Verse:

Miscellaneous

  • Chris Roberts will be in Europe for the next couple weeks.

  • Martin Whip from Zurich, Switzerland sent some goodies to the team in the form of chocolate and Swiss knives.

  • The 2.6.1. production schedule is up on the RSI site and will update every Friday till its release.

Studio Update

  • Team has been busy with 2.6.1 which will feature fixes, balance passes and more.

  • Misc Razor is currently in the white box stage with Joe Navel

  • Drake Caterpillar and Herald are undergoing VFX polish and optimisation.

  • Surface Outposts are starting to come online now and designers are eager to begin placing them on planets.

Star Citizen: AI

6:03 Q: What do you oversee at CIG?

  • Tony Zurovec focuses on the architecture - basic capabilities, how it is exposed - this includes working on the editor the designers will use.

  • Francesco Roccucci takes the architecture and implements it. He manages the AI team consisting of Andrega Boni and Mario Sarini in Frankfurt and Rich Walsh in the UK.

6:51 Q: Current state of AI in Star Citizen

  • They’ve almost completed the initial tier of architectural functionality. Francesco now needs to work with the team to get it working and they’re aiming in the near term to expose functionality to designers for mission creation.

  • Missions will look like what we’ve seen but they will be created quicker and will have an algorithmic component.

    • Locations tend to be fixed right now, this will change.

    • Missions won’t be the same every time - a stranded pilot might be friendly or hostile, alone or with a group, healthy or needing medical attention.

  • There are lots of ways to take a simple mission and make lots of experiences out of it.

  • Francesco is happy with the architecture of the code - it is architected to scale very well. It will be much more fluid and quicker to add stuff.

  • They are discussing the last bits that have been added - reusable pieces of logic - it’s been much easier to add now and everything feels like it’s getting quicker.

  • They are still working to try to create “object-oriented content”.

    • Large missions are broken down into component parts that can be reused. With an initial library of functionality, designers are able to craft stuff much more quickly and do more interesting, varied things.

12:22 Q: Subsumption

  • First part of subsumption will be the mission system. It’s more straightforward as their isn’t any animation overlap.

  • Animation isn’t typically considered with AI but it’s important as AI needs to be able to anticipate animations to look fluid. A smart AI can still look stupid if it doesn’t work well with the animations. They’ve had conversations about whether they might do a small iterative release of this.

  • Major issue with the Vertical Slice was animations integration: heads orientating incorrectly, etc. A lot of the AI logic was actually operational: activities, sub-activities, secondary sub-activities. They wanted the animation to do justice to the system and the developers.

17:42 Q: 3.0 NPC AI

  • 3.0 will start make landing zones feel alive: different characters with their own interests and behaviours.

  • The first iteration of combat will include coordinations between AIs e.g. covering fire

  • Players will now encounter AI ships in space and can do more with them

21:14 Q: For NPC ships, are those under the control of a single AI or will it be multiple AI working together? What are the challenges of this?

  • Multi-crew ships will operate a similarly to the chain of command you'd expect on a vessel. It will be at a high level rather than micromanagement: it's not going to be "Sim Citizen"

  • It will be easy to integrate players into roles otherwise controlled by NPCs. You'll be able to customise as much or as little as you want

  • Moving away from the ship to a character in a seat having behaviour. More realistic: if you kill the pilot the ship doesn't fly automatically

  • You'll be able to buy AI modules (computers) and assign them to some seats. Not all roles, e.g. medical officer, can be substituted

24:24 Q: What advantages/disadvantages would there be in running an AI-crew versus an all-human crew?

  • An all human crew won't be definitively better: it will depend on their skill

  • How much you are willing to pay for NPCs will determine their skill

  • Players will probably do the roles they are good at or interested in and hire whatever NPCs they can afford for the remainder

  • NPCs will have characteristics that will govern how they deal with tasks

  • Player strategy on how crew assignments are made and what missions are taken will determine their success and if and how their NPCs will improve and learn adding another level of game customization

27:57 Q: What do you anticipate to be the largest ship capable of operating effectively with an AI crew?

  • Larger ships will require larger crews though it can be mediated by smaller crews with higher skills, but there is no hard coded limits

  • Higher echelon ships will probably require more experience. Assigning a low level quality of crew member to a task would lead to bad decisions and buckling under pressure as you would see in the real world

29:48 Q: What kind of relationships do you expect us to develop with AI NPCs? Will an NPC react differently to me based on prior actions? If I ruin a relationship with an NPC, will there be ways to repair it afterward?

  • CIG's intention is for the player to form long lasting relationships with all of the in-game characters. Players will develop reputation in a number of different fields that will determine how NPCs will respond to you

  • One to one relationships will be based off your personal interaction and history with said character. As characters get more comfortable with you they will act differently

  • You must continue to perform job/tasks to maintain your reputational status within the community for that job, if you discontinue your reputation will gradually decrease back to baseline

  • Future AI will probably head more towards algorithmic but not purely algorithmic(ability to algorithmically create variations of things)

  • They’ve been pursuing the ability to create all these handcrafted items for awhile so designers can build on top of that and link those pieces together Further iterations giving variety to where choosing the right weapons for the scenario will be vital.

  • Long term, having encounters with AI becoming more meaningful and using AI you’ve encountered as a baseline for future ones. Say you encounter a pirate while hauling and he beats you up pretty good, they could then take that pirates bio, and create scenarios down the road that you may encounter him again in different ways so that you carve out your own little universe of connections amidst everyone else’s.

39:20 Final Thoughts

  • Adding wildlife is going to be exciting because that’s what can really bring a planet to life and having different kinds of wildlife from primitive frogs, to animals that you’d expect intelligence out of. *Getting 3.0 out the door and watching how players interact with it is something they can’t wait to see. They’re curious how players will interact with the various systems and the data they’ll acquire from numbers as well as using the spectator camera to see in person what the player is doing.

Happy Hour

Starting things off is Jared and Tyler talking about their plans for PAX South. CIG will not be attending PAX south officially. Any CIG employees there will be because it's on their own time as fans.

  • Character Art Director, Josh Herman will join the stream shortly. Currently they're browsing GrimxHex and doing a quest involving finding three datapads.

  • Josh Herman

  • [What does a Character Art Director do?] Oversees the production of character creation and essentially anything to do with characters he has a hand in.

    • Josh likes the Xi'An because they're quite different from the other races in that they live a lot longer, as well as their anti-gravity tech which gives an opportunity to make them stand out from the other races. They're also a trade oriented race and travel alot which will play into their style.

  • [Are the Xi'An "Animal" like in a way like the Vanduul are humanoid, but reptilian in a sense?] They're aggressive looking, like a predator would, their skin is translucent which makes them more shiny, so you could say they have a reptilian nature, but still humanoid.

  • [Do you think we'll see things less humanoid and more creature like?] Josh: I'm sure we will, but they have to fit a certain paradigm in that they can fit in cockpits and etc. Non sentient animals will definitely fit that question though as you've seen the giant worm and you can expect to see more. Also Flying Spaghetti Monster confirmed by Tyler.

  • Disco got the gift of missiles to his rear while talking to Josh

  • [Time of making a character from concept to final] It depends on armoured or costume. Armour is more complex because they have an undersuit and then putting armour on top so you're creating two characters essentially. For a costume though it's a simpler and that takes around 40-60 days, it's broad because of other factors that can be involved but a costume head to toe is about that much time. Just to make a t-shirt however is about 4 days.

  • [What's your favourite character so far?] Probably the Nomad character so far.

  • [Are you looking into more cloth physics for other clothes?] Yes they're looking into more than just the clothing the nomads wore. Also they're looking into capes as well.

  • [When designing a costume do you give them themes?] They theme things in the sense of what the costume is designed for like mining, combat, etc. It helps artists distinguish what is asked of the costume, but it's by no means restricted in that they can only do certain styles because of what the occupation is.

  • [Having worked on Ironman, do you feel developing for a game rather than property gives you more freedom?] He's worked on quite a few Marvel characters that have their own specific style, but it is restricted in that you can only do that style, whereas Star Citizen you can get very creative, especially with alien races.

  • [What sort of customisation can we expect for a character to wear?] Goggles, glasses, hats. They're working on earrings and studs for your nose, but that presents its own challenges. Jackets, shirts, pants, shorts, shoes. The one thing they're working on now is making it so if you have a t-shirt and you put a jacket on, it won't erase what's underneath.

    • [Will pockets or holsters be a feature?] To add onto a previous question, this is where themes comes in that do we want a costume to have pockets or certain capabilities? If we don't, what advantage can we give to supplement that.

  • They're asking chat for designs on an ingame t-shirt they'd like to see. One of them is a Tony Zurovec, "You know". They also asked Tony if he knows how many times he says it, and he said, "He knows". He also joked it would be fun to have a button in the verse you could press that would simply say, "You know". Someone mentioned a shirt would the three Vanduul moons.

    • A couple more ideas, "Replace me" shirt that's red. Another shirt that says "All landings pads are full".

    • Chat wants a Red ONE shirt. Jared was muted so Tyler could give his idea of a red shirt with a ONE on it.

  • [Do you have any information that you'd like to share about Female character models?] Currently they're working variant animations for the female alongside the male model as since they're two different models they have to make two sets of animations. They don't have an ETA, but soonTM.

  • [Will clothing be restricted to gender?] They're not sure right now, most things are built to be worn by everyone, but that's a design question in what is restricted. There will be certain items for sure that are restricted however.

  • [Will hair be modular in how it looks? Short, long, curly, etc?] They're working towards about 30 styles, but you won't be able to modify that style.

  • [Will hoods on a jacket be able to be put on or off?] It's a good question, but they don't quite know yet. They would like to, but that's something for design to figure out.

  • [Will different armours have different stats?] Yes. Armour will come in heavy, medium, light, but will also be geared towards certain environments or scenarios.

  • [Progress on facial hair?] They'll have options for it. They're currently working on the facial hair for Squadron 42 characters. There's a little more tech involved with it and once they're happy with it for Squadron then they'll bring it to players.

  • [Tattoos] They want to have them, but have to figure out the design around them. How will it implement them, can they draw them, place them where they want, etc.

  • [What's your best memory since working at CIG?] The last CitizenCon was his biggest memory. He had only worked at CIG 4-5 months prior and being able to attend it and meet the backers who have supported the project was awesome.

    Relay weekly Star Citizen News Summary for The Base FNS
    Shiver’s notes in brackets and italic Around the Verse: Miscellaneous
    • Chris Roberts will be in Europe for the next couple weeks.
    • Martin Whip from Zurich, Switzerland sent some goodies to the team in the form of chocolate and Swiss knives.
    • The 2.6.1. production schedule is up on the RSI site and will update every Friday till its release.
    Studio Update
    • Team has been busy with 2.6.1 which will feature fixes, balance passes and more.
    • Misc Razor is currently in the white box stage with Joe Navel
    • Drake Caterpillar and Herald are undergoing VFX polish and optimisation.
    • Surface Outposts are starting to come online now and designers are eager to begin placing them on planets.
    Star Citizen: AI 6:03 Q: What do you oversee at CIG?
    • Tony Zurovec focuses on the architecture - basic capabilities, how it is exposed - this includes working on the editor the designers will use.
    • Francesco Roccucci takes the architecture and implements it. He manages the AI team consisting of Andrega Boni and Mario Sarini in Frankfurt and Rich Walsh in the UK.
    6:51 Q: Current state of AI in Star Citizen
    • They’ve almost completed the initial tier of architectural functionality. Francesco now needs to work with the team to get it working and they’re aiming in the near term to expose functionality to designers for mission creation.
    • Missions will look like what we’ve seen but they will be created quicker and will have an algorithmic component.
      • Locations tend to be fixed right now, this will change.
      • Missions won’t be the same every time - a stranded pilot might be friendly or hostile, alone or with a group, healthy or needing medical attention.
    • There are lots of ways to take a simple mission and make lots of experiences out of it.
    • Francesco is happy with the architecture of the code - it is architected to scale very well. It will be much more fluid and quicker to add stuff.
    • They are discussing the last bits that have been added - reusable pieces of logic - it’s been much easier to add now and everything feels like it’s getting quicker.
    • They are still working to try to create “object-oriented content”.
      • Large missions are broken down into component parts that can be reused. With an initial library of functionality, designers are able to craft stuff much more quickly and do more interesting, varied things.
    12:22 Q: Subsumption
    • First part of subsumption will be the mission system. It’s more straightforward as their isn’t any animation overlap.
    • Animation isn’t typically considered with AI but it’s important as AI needs to be able to anticipate animations to look fluid. A smart AI can still look stupid if it doesn’t work well with the animations. They’ve had conversations about whether they might do a small iterative release of this.
    • Major issue with the Vertical Slice was animations integration: heads orientating incorrectly, etc. A lot of the AI logic was actually operational: activities, sub-activities, secondary sub-activities. They wanted the animation to do justice to the system and the developers.
    17:42 Q: 3.0 NPC AI
    • 3.0 will start make landing zones feel alive: different characters with their own interests and behaviours.
    • The first iteration of combat will include coordinations between AIs e.g. covering fire
    • Players will now encounter AI ships in space and can do more with them
    21:14 Q: For NPC ships, are those under the control of a single AI or will it be multiple AI working together? What are the challenges of this?
    • Multi-crew ships will operate a similarly to the chain of command you'd expect on a vessel. It will be at a high level rather than micromanagement: it's not going to be "Sim Citizen"
    • It will be easy to integrate players into roles otherwise controlled by NPCs. You'll be able to customise as much or as little as you want
    • Moving away from the ship to a character in a seat having behaviour. More realistic: if you kill the pilot the ship doesn't fly automatically
    • You'll be able to buy AI modules (computers) and assign them to some seats. Not all roles, e.g. medical officer, can be substituted
    24:24 Q: What advantages/disadvantages would there be in running an AI-crew versus an all-human crew?
    • An all human crew won't be definitively better: it will depend on their skill
    • How much you are willing to pay for NPCs will determine their skill
    • Players will probably do the roles they are good at or interested in and hire whatever NPCs they can afford for the remainder
    • NPCs will have characteristics that will govern how they deal with tasks
    • Player strategy on how crew assignments are made and what missions are taken will determine their success and if and how their NPCs will improve and learn adding another level of game customization
    27:57 Q: What do you anticipate to be the largest ship capable of operating effectively with an AI crew?
    • Larger ships will require larger crews though it can be mediated by smaller crews with higher skills, but there is no hard coded limits
    • Higher echelon ships will probably require more experience. Assigning a low level quality of crew member to a task would lead to bad decisions and buckling under pressure as you would see in the real world
    29:48 Q: What kind of relationships do you expect us to develop with AI NPCs? Will an NPC react differently to me based on prior actions? If I ruin a relationship with an NPC, will there be ways to repair it afterward?
    • CIG's intention is for the player to form long lasting relationships with all of the in-game characters. Players will develop reputation in a number of different fields that will determine how NPCs will respond to you
    • One to one relationships will be based off your personal interaction and history with said character. As characters get more comfortable with you they will act differently
    • You must continue to perform job/tasks to maintain your reputational status within the community for that job, if you discontinue your reputation will gradually decrease back to baseline
    • Future AI will probably head more towards algorithmic but not purely algorithmic(ability to algorithmically create variations of things)
    • They’ve been pursuing the ability to create all these handcrafted items for awhile so designers can build on top of that and link those pieces together Further iterations giving variety to where choosing the right weapons for the scenario will be vital.
    • Long term, having encounters with AI becoming more meaningful and using AI you’ve encountered as a baseline for future ones. Say you encounter a pirate while hauling and he beats you up pretty good, they could then take that pirates bio, and create scenarios down the road that you may encounter him again in different ways so that you carve out your own little universe of connections amidst everyone else’s.
    39:20 Final Thoughts
    • Adding wildlife is going to be exciting because that’s what can really bring a planet to life and having different kinds of wildlife from primitive frogs, to animals that you’d expect intelligence out of. *Getting 3.0 out the door and watching how players interact with it is something they can’t wait to see. They’re curious how players will interact with the various systems and the data they’ll acquire from numbers as well as using the spectator camera to see in person what the player is doing.
    Happy Hour Starting things off is Jared and Tyler talking about their plans for PAX South. CIG will not be attending PAX south officially. Any CIG employees there will be because it's on their own time as fans.
    • Character Art Director, Josh Herman will join the stream shortly. Currently they're browsing GrimxHex and doing a quest involving finding three datapads.
    • Josh Herman
    • [What does a Character Art Director do?] Oversees the production of character creation and essentially anything to do with characters he has a hand in.
      • Josh likes the Xi'An because they're quite different from the other races in that they live a lot longer, as well as their anti-gravity tech which gives an opportunity to make them stand out from the other races. They're also a trade oriented race and travel alot which will play into their style.
    • [Are the Xi'An "Animal" like in a way like the Vanduul are humanoid, but reptilian in a sense?] They're aggressive looking, like a predator would, their skin is translucent which makes them more shiny, so you could say they have a reptilian nature, but still humanoid.
    • [Do you think we'll see things less humanoid and more creature like?] Josh: I'm sure we will, but they have to fit a certain paradigm in that they can fit in cockpits and etc. Non sentient animals will definitely fit that question though as you've seen the giant worm and you can expect to see more. Also Flying Spaghetti Monster confirmed by Tyler.
    • Disco got the gift of missiles to his rear while talking to Josh
    • [Time of making a character from concept to final] It depends on armoured or costume. Armour is more complex because they have an undersuit and then putting armour on top so you're creating two characters essentially. For a costume though it's a simpler and that takes around 40-60 days, it's broad because of other factors that can be involved but a costume head to toe is about that much time. Just to make a t-shirt however is about 4 days.
    • [What's your favourite character so far?] Probably the Nomad character so far.
    • [Are you looking into more cloth physics for other clothes?] Yes they're looking into more than just the clothing the nomads wore. Also they're looking into capes as well.
    • [When designing a costume do you give them themes?] They theme things in the sense of what the costume is designed for like mining, combat, etc. It helps artists distinguish what is asked of the costume, but it's by no means restricted in that they can only do certain styles because of what the occupation is.
    • [Having worked on Ironman, do you feel developing for a game rather than property gives you more freedom?] He's worked on quite a few Marvel characters that have their own specific style, but it is restricted in that you can only do that style, whereas Star Citizen you can get very creative, especially with alien races.
    • [What sort of customisation can we expect for a character to wear?] Goggles, glasses, hats. They're working on earrings and studs for your nose, but that presents its own challenges. Jackets, shirts, pants, shorts, shoes. The one thing they're working on now is making it so if you have a t-shirt and you put a jacket on, it won't erase what's underneath.
      • [Will pockets or holsters be a feature?] To add onto a previous question, this is where themes comes in that do we want a costume to have pockets or certain capabilities? If we don't, what advantage can we give to supplement that.
    • They're asking chat for designs on an ingame t-shirt they'd like to see. One of them is a Tony Zurovec, "You know". They also asked Tony if he knows how many times he says it, and he said, "He knows". He also joked it would be fun to have a button in the verse you could press that would simply say, "You know". Someone mentioned a shirt would the three Vanduul moons.
      • A couple more ideas, "Replace me" shirt that's red. Another shirt that says "All landings pads are full".
      • Chat wants a Red ONE shirt. Jared was muted so Tyler could give his idea of a red shirt with a ONE on it.
    • [Do you have any information that you'd like to share about Female character models?] Currently they're working variant animations for the female alongside the male model as since they're two different models they have to make two sets of animations. They don't have an ETA, but soonTM.
    • [Will clothing be restricted to gender?] They're not sure right now, most things are built to be worn by everyone, but that's a design question in what is restricted. There will be certain items for sure that are restricted however.
    • [Will hair be modular in how it looks? Short, long, curly, etc?] They're working towards about 30 styles, but you won't be able to modify that style.
    • [Will hoods on a jacket be able to be put on or off?] It's a good question, but they don't quite know yet. They would like to, but that's something for design to figure out.
    • [Will different armours have different stats?] Yes. Armour will come in heavy, medium, light, but will also be geared towards certain environments or scenarios.
    • [Progress on facial hair?] They'll have options for it. They're currently working on the facial hair for Squadron 42 characters. There's a little more tech involved with it and once they're happy with it for Squadron then they'll bring it to players.
    • [Tattoos] They want to have them, but have to figure out the design around them. How will it implement them, can they draw them, place them where they want, etc.
    • [What's your best memory since working at CIG?] The last CitizenCon was his biggest memory. He had only worked at CIG 4-5 months prior and being able to attend it and meet the backers who have supported the project was awesome.

Erris

Founder

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.