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Relay Replay: June 26 - 30 Written Sunday 2nd of July 2017 at 12:00am by Erris

This week on the Replay, Shiver and Nehkara cover...

Studio Update -  Austin

Design

  • new pass on the Price Fixer Tool to ensure all items fall within the pricing balance of the game in line with the most recent design pass

  • doing an additional pass on mission rewards, insurance prices and respawn timers

  • setting up the shop inventories utilising the new shop tech from LA Engineering

  • getting NPCs into the main hub areas of our PU landing zones, starting with GrimHex

  • getting mission giver Miles Eckhart into the game has required a lot of collaboration:

    • Useables created the tech that allows us to link extraneous objects to other useables and still register items properly

    • Missions System provided the ability to find ‘Eckhart’ tagged missions, determine availability and pass to the player’s mission log

    • AI and FPS a ‘Feather Blending’ technique to blend between useable object animations and the conversation animations

    • Subsumption tech and programming facilitating all of this through tools and game code

Art

  • Josh Coons has been finishing the LODs and damage pass for the Cutlass Black; tweaks to the cockpit and rotating nacelles

  • Chris Smith has been working on the Xi’An Nox from beginning to end (and the vanity shots beyond)

Server Engineering

  • working with DevOps to integrate and test Diffusion in a QA environment

  • working with Gameplay Engineering to show how to utilise Diffusion’s features

PU Animation

  • started on the NPC useables for counters including working with shopkeepers and bartenders

  • set up a quick mocap shoot in the office to capture a few missing transition elements

  • getting the useable for the bar stool up and running

  • finished the Carry System animations for a standard sized box: you can now pick one up and walk around with it

Ship Animation

  • wrapping up setting up the standard for the cockpit experience; polishing and creating new improved animations

  • working to provide the same level of interaction for the manned turrets that you have in the cockpit

DevOps

  • adding more hardware and increasing network capacity to handle the necessary increase in build activity

LiveOps

  • completed the build out of the latest server side expansion, supporting the latest rev of shopping and Subsumption

QA

  • testing new features and preparing for 3.0: weapons, moons, Levski, missions, mobiGlas interface and apps and ships

  • stability and performance has been a major focus

  • Squadron 42 Testing has been working closely with the rest of QA. New tech = new bugs that affect both

  • continued providing additional support for the Animation Team

  • normal engine and editor testing has kicked into high gear as a surge of new tools and tech from developers

Player Relations

  • continue to prepare for upcoming 3.0 and can’t wait to reveal the new player experience

  • will be adding to the Evocati ranks in the coming weeks

Turbulent

  • Spectrum Update 0.3.6A has been moved to the PTU for regression testing, this is mainly for testing the backend changes that have been made.

  • 0.3.6 Will feature forum editing which enables drafts to be created by users so that they can post something they’ve typed earlier, later if desired.

    • They’ve also added support for inline images, styling links, and more.

    • Custom roles will come with 0.3.6 that gives better control of permissions within orgs and roles can be added via profiles with a simple click.

    • Mini-profiles are getting updated to show post count and replies again. They’ve also added Karma similar to the Reddit system.

  • More work has gone into voice, specifically the backend and how data channels will be handled by the server

  • Turbulents “Panic” crash reporting system has now been integrated to work with the games crash reports to enable better logging of crashes for developers and allows for priorities to be set and pushed to QA with the simple, but robust UI that Panic offers.

  • The welcome to SC website revamp is ongoing and is in full coding mode. Most of the design work is finished and they’re at the stage of building it at this time. There’s nothing to show yet, but hopefully in the near future you will see it.

Behind the Scenes: Engine Trails and VFX

  • VFX's challenge is maintaining fidelity and quality that scales with distance and yet still runs efficiently

  • Engine trails, entry and exit effects for atmosphere, as well as contrails when moving upon the planet at speed in vehicles in game were desired by Chris, but needed new tech

  • The old system was a linear beast that became a real monster as it was built upon repeatedly

  • Involving Graphics Programmers along with the VFX Artists were needed to solve this problems

  • The key solution was in generating a GPU particle system that was organized around how a modern PC works and reducing the data upload to the CPU

  • This was done via the use of deterministic and nondeterministic states enabling faster computation via less workload

  • The code written is very generic enabling the use of all kinds of particles and adjustment on the fly via DATAForge by the VFX artists

  • Upon completion this will form the foundation for setting up new effects

  • An example of finished code includes allowing particles to be affected as a ship passes through a particle effect and transforms it by its shape

  • Even the moons in 3.0 will have different levels of atmospheres providing very nice subtle effects

  • Engine trails will provide a nice reference for those flying together as well a visceral feeling with combat

  • So more effects, better effects and more efficient use of PC resources are the end result when compared to the old system all of which the VFX Artists find very exciting

Happy Hour

  • CitizenCon tickets will go on sale from the 1st of July! They will be available for sale throughout the weekend. If you didn't know yet, CitizenCon this year will be in Frankfurt.

  • The Carrack is currently Scheduled for 2018

  • The 600i has been confirmed to exist, but will not be the next ship for sale.

  • The Starfarer's fuel pods will eventually be swappable, but for now they'll remain until they build the accessories.

  • They're adding more tiers between 1-10 for the referral program and anyone who met those new tier requirements before the update will retroactively get them when it comes out.

  • Currently the studios are very focused and hard at work, but developers are excited for what's coming to backers in the near future.

  • Evocati will always be under NDA so no streaming, pictures, etc of 3.0 will be allowed. They also stated Evocati testers are not folks who get early access to the builds, but rather people who are dedicated to testing and finding bugs in the game to allow it to go later PTU waves. Often times Evocati have unstable and buggy builds and form coordinated efforts to repro the same bug constantly. If you would like to become Evocati, participate in the Issue Council as much as possible as every few months they may add Evocati members.

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.