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Relay Replay: March 19, 2017 Written Monday 20th of March 2017 at 05:27am by Erris

This week, on the Replay...

Lots and LOTS of content. The full summary is coming up, but if you'd like a more in-depth look through last week's news, check out the Relay Station!

And with that, the news!

10 For:

Q: Will items and cargo on planets be in a visible storehouse?

  • A: Yes, you’ll be able to see the crates and boxes of the things you can buy. If you’re on a planet and there’s a huge amount of inventory, you’ll get a visual representation of what that warehouse, TDD or broker area offers and this will run on the same system as the shops. There will be practical limitations such as ship shops and larger weapons, so there will be samples of the smaller weapons and the bigger ones you will pick the size you want off an automated kiosk.

Q: What are the plans for loading cargo on bigger ships? Will it be manual, using specialised ships like the Argo, or automatic?

  • A: It won't be ‘click a button and you're done’. It will take a significant time to unload and would generate missions for NPCs and players. The current design is being iterated as it works well for smaller ships but doesn't scale so well. The goal is at bigger ports there will be loading and unloading services (players could even take on that role) but at smaller ports the crew may have to do it themselves.

Q: What’s in store for salvaging? What’s it going to be like?

  • A: Salvaging is broken up into two parts: One is salvaging functioning modules and repairing them to a state for sale or use, second is salvaging metals and such for raw resources. Players who are experts at salvaging a ship will know where to look to salvage the expensive stuff first and possibly just leave it at that whereas some players may want to dismantle and entire ship, but that takes more time and other factors could come into play such as being attacked if you’re not careful.

    • The damage shader system is being reused for salvaging since it works so well and repair will be the inverse of the system so they’ve been planning ahead when creating certain tech for the game

Q: In both cargo running and mining what types of hazards can we expect?

  • A: Besides your normal age and wear and tear on ships that you’ll have to maintain, there will be things you will encounter such as meteor showers, comets, micro black holes, derelicts, etc. These can all have their own potential dangers but also come with great benefit to you if you sell this information to the right people.

Q: How will environmental persistence work? If I blow out a window in Port Olisar, will it magically get reset after a while?

  • A: So the road map for the year is to include more and more persistence. When it comes to breaking a window on a space station and staying there, yeah that will happen, but they want to balance that and not have someone break open a window and killing hundreds of people in a common area for example. If you land a ship on a planet or station, it will stay there because of its priority, but things like shells and debris will fade away over time. NPCs will also be responsible for the upkeep of the world so the minor stuff or cosmetic that doesn’t warrant a mission like knocking over a trashcan and spilling garbage, a NPC will come over and clean it up.

Q: Clarification on loading/unloading, manual or automatic or both? Long term goals?

  • A: You will have the option of loading a ship manually or automatically, but that may depend on where you’re at and what size of ship. A very large ship may have automatic loading as that’s what normally would happen whereas a smaller ship landing at a remote location would have to unload by hand. Long term they hope to build more devices to help players move objects around for loading and other purposes.

Q: Will we be able to move fluidly between professions? Or will we have to requalify?

  • A: Yes, you can move fluidly between professions without having to requalify if you come back.

Q: With the recent progress update on the Prospector, is it safe to assume that we will have ship based mining to some degree with the launch of 3.0?

  • A: They are trying to do a version of some basic mining in 3.0, as when they first talked about 3.0 they had originally had a much simpler set of functionality and features they were going to do. Once they sat down, they ended up with four or five times more systems and features than they originally were thinking, so it won’t be the entire mining experience but will give players a lot of interesting gameplay.

Q: To effectively perform a job will we need to qualify for them by earning a certain amount of rep or will it be as easy by having the right kind of ship?

  • A: If you’ve got a ship that can take cargo you can do basic cargo missions. To get more lucrative, interesting missions you’ll need to build your rep up with a Merchant’s Guild or Cargo Broker or the like. So, you need to prove your mettle and get a certain rep to move onto more interesting missions.

Q:Will there be an autopilot in ships traveling from point A to Z that will allow me to get up and move around?

  • A: Yes, if you’re solo there will be an autopilot function that can stop you from hitting something in a simple point A to point B trajectory. If you have crew, you can tell him to take the helm and they will operate at a higher level such as stopping, evading fire, escape the area while you head back from where you are in the ship.


Misc Information

  • Chris Roberts is back in the U.K. for several weeks.

  • Community Team members will be appearing at South by Southwest convention as well as several members of the Austin studio will be hosting a panel on Saturday to talk about the Evocati, Issue Council and more.

  • The end of ATV Features a sneak peek of in progress work on the MISC Razor, Javelin, Hull C, and Reclaimer

Studio Update

  • The office at Manchester has grown to 201 employees with an additional 9 employees at their new Derby studio which mainly handles facial animations and SQ42 body animation support

    • Since the year began they’ve hired an additional 22 employees and have expanded to an additional floor giving them another 76 desk spaces.

  • Programming Team has completed sprint two of the player interaction system to enable better interaction with objects and interaction with objects for the inner thought system.

  • Mission system is on sprint three and new tools are being used for setting up missions for the PU

    • With the new system it can scale much larger than before and with the Soled editor they can visually put together system maps to increase productivity.

  • Two sprints of locomotion has been completed with blending walking to a full run and back again, also improving AI pathing for close quarters for vastly improved logic.

  • Graphics Team has been improving and optimising lighting, specifically quality and accuracy. Networking finished off the serialized variable which helps reduce needed bandwidth for PU.

    • Also finished new message queue for more stable packets

    • Finishing the multiplayer megamap

  • Animation Team has been busy with weapon animations of all kinds and work on the P4AR, P8SC, P8AR, Devastator shotgun, Railgun, Gallant and Arrowhead.

    • Previs work on oxygen and stamina sprint.

    • Feedback for female rig to lockdown final posing.

    • No weapon locomotion pass, stop/sprint update, prone combat animation pass.

  • Facial animation work ongoing at Derby for Squadron 42

  • Concept Team has been working on the Aegis Reclaimers interiors.

    • Second pass on weapons to improve reload visuals and details

    • Ship weapons also being worked on.

    • Many concepts for PU and SQ42 environments such as planetary landscapes, habitations, landing locations, space environments and space stations.

  • Environment Team has been working on the truck stop experience and planetary service outposts are finishing their initial art sprint with base building set being complete.

    • They’re also working on creating a system to integrate the modular elements of base building with architectural terrain elements into a system that’s much faster than hand placing consistently.

  • Visual Effects Team has been working on supporting planetary environment effects such as atmospheric flight effects and modular procedurally generated surface spaces.

    • Work on damage and thruster effects for the Constellation Aquila.

    • Further polish to ballistic SMG weapons.

  • UI Team has been busy with new front end UI for SQ42 and the PU.

    • Work has progressed on the new kiosk shopping interface to make sure it works in all locations and shop types.

    • Also improvements to ingame UI when walking and in ships.

  • Audio Team has been supporting all the sprints and have been busy with fixing performance issues and tool improvements.

    • New audio for the Dragonfly, Connie Aquila, Prospector and Buccaneer.

    • Also work on music composition for Squadron 42 and the PU, speech processing and fixes to weapon audio.

    • Also final foley work for noises being accurate depending on different material types being hit or stepped on.

Behind the Scenes: Level Design

  • Star Citizen level design is not the traditional made-to-order type of process, but one that relies upon modularity to build archetypes for the extreme number of locations to be built while keeping the feel of repetition low

    • CIG does this by not only using tile sets, but by grouping these into larger entities like rooms all with a neutral feel

    • These neutral tile sets are augmented with their content, different architectural styles, tech levels, age and damage, cleanliness, activity and demographic location

    • These work together to provide a uniqueness to each location

  • Andreas and other level designer started about 18 months ago, now more resources are becoming involved

  • Art is working on how it can be done from an internal and external perspective; how to give things have a unique silhouette

  • A Tech Artist/Code is working on a tool which can generate random locations that can be played and tested building up the tools, the library of rooms and props, and the pipeline so they can ‘flip the switch’

  • The process:

    • A flow chart will be used to indicate where rooms are supposed to be

    • Applying a seed to the flow will generate a location

    • The same flow with different seeds will generate many different locations

  • It will be possible for a level designer to generate 20 to 30 layouts a day, however each still has to be tested and verified

  • Once they start producing 15 to 20 different truck stops they can see where the repetition is and work to reduce that

  • They should have enough archetypes the player should be seeing the same areas over and over again

  • In the white box phase: Artists are breaking down the tilesets for satellites, planetary outposts and truck stop

  • The system is intended to build out the lower and mid tier space stations: They will still have bespoke layouts like Grim Hex, Hurston, Area 18, etc.

  • In the future they would like to see if the system could be used to build a city but that's not its real purpose

  • They want locations to feel real and believable, places where people live/work for months at time, rather than a gameplay space

Happy Hour

  • There we go! The show is now live! Today's guests are L.As newest Community Manager, Tyler Nolin. Andrew Fernando from QA, and community Twitch streamer Gritspitter.

  • Today they're going to start off with some Star Marine. Also playing with them in J.J, their Cinematographer who’s responsible for their broadcasts.

  • [Delta Patcher update?] No ETA right now, but they're still hard at work on it.

  • [Tyler Nolin, What did you do before becoming a Community Manager?] QA in Austin, he had a good experience starting off there and learned a lot about the game and tools used.

  • [Spaceships in 2.6.2?] There will be spaceships (No there aren't any new ones)

  • [Jedi or Wizard in the Harry Potter universe?] Jared says Jedi.

  • [Super important question: Are you going to add space sharks?] No. [Space Whales?] Nope.

  • The next Gamedev Happy Hour will be a more visual scripting episode, think more Bugsmashers like.

  • [Can the engine support Gundam style suits for a total conversion mod?] The game won't have it, but if you have the skills, go for it.

  • [Did Chris approve the spider to be put into the game?] It hasn't been put through that process which is the pipeline so it's currently sitting on a pile with the other concept waiting for review.

  • [At which point will orgs be customisable in-game? Able to set ranks and budgets, etc] This Sunday(or next) they'll talk about that. First it'll go to Spectrum, then when it's relevant it'll be put in game.

  • [Do you like Pineapple on your pizza?] Jared: It's damage inside of your head for thinking that.

  • [2.6.2 to the PTU?] The plan was originally to get it to Evocati this week, but there are a few bugs to track down before that's possible.

  • [Can the Reclaimer scrap a ship with people inside it?] Jared: I don't know, you'll have to find out and tell us how it went

  • [Private servers?] Too soon for an answer on that right now. When the main game is finished or close to, then that becomes a more relevant question. It was a part of the original Kickstarter, but it's too soon to answer that how they'll work.

  • [With VR being harder and harder to implement with UI changing, is it still being considered?] Will Maiden has a great post on the forum talking about that.

  • [What is your plan for the game, what will you fly, what kind of occupation will you pursue?] Tyler Nolin: He wants to fly a BMM and become a smuggler.

  • [Will extra game packages give us an extra character slot, or will we have to have a separate account?] That's still something being figured out right now.

  • [When is the next concept sale?] No exact time locked down yet, but keep an eye on a thread in Spectrum where they will announce it when it's ready. They'll give a week's notice when they do.

  • [More love for Medical/SAR] Once the Cutlass Black rework is finished they'll move onto the Cutlass Red and Blue.

  • [From yesterday’s ATV we saw modular stations that will populate a vast majority of the universe, will we see non-human outposts and stations?] You'll have to find out down the road.



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.