Citizens! Greetings and welcome to Episode 63 of 10 for the Chairman!
(Retaliator – Mr. Combustible and Firespikez)
CR: (Opening the lid on a giant box) Alright. Okay, we seem to be missing something. (Puts down screwdriver on table) Gift One. Jared. Gift One. (Jared is seen entering from background with a model ship of his own) Ah. Look at that. Apparently this was built by Mr. Combustible and Firespikez, with the patronage of Jared, here. But, look at that, that is a Retaliator, which is quite appropo, because this was sort of the centerpiece of the multi-crew demo we did in Gamescom. I got to say, that’s pretty awesome and that will definitely be going in a nice display case when we get to our new offices at some point (laughs), which we’re not there yet, we’re kinda crammed in here, but this is brilliant. (Turns to Jared) Thank you Jared. I would like to point out that during our Gamescom presentation, even though I was saying Jared Red One or Red Five, that’s mostly because he wasn’t on the controls, he was over, he was actually talking or instructing the local German video switcher guy to do it, and I think there were some language problems, and so it was fairly frustrating for Jared. I know it turned into an internet meme, but really he did a really great job, as did Thomas, who is behind the camera now and you can’t see him, but they both rocked out the Gamescom presentation, and I think it was the best one we did, so.
CR: Pretty cool. In fact, I think you can see that there are some torpedos in here (pointing to Retaliator model) and bomb bays, and the turrets maneuver, like here (articulating the top turret). Very cool, so thank you very much, Mr. Combustible, and Firespikez, and Jared, of course. So, ah, that’s pretty awesome. But, let’s get down to the questions.
Ten For The Chairman is where I take ten questions from our subscribers and answer them to the best of my ability. Our subscribers are a subset of our community and backers that kick in extra money every month and allow us to do this extended community interaction and content. Their contributions fund Jump Point, which is a 50 to 70 page monthly magazine, with a lot of behind the scenes material, making of, background on certain areas of the universe, and fiction, plus fictional stories set in the Star Citizen Universe, which are actually quite cool, if you get a chance to check it out. Then there’s the video shows we do, such as this show, Around The Verse, Bug Smashers, and now we have Ship Shape, and a bunch of other stuff. So, that’s all very cool, and that’s all down to you guys, so thanks for allowing us to do this, and much appreciated. So, let’s get to the questions.
Its actually nice to be back, we spent a fair amount of time working hard to get the unveil of the proper Multi-Crew working for you at GamesCom, which was fun! Admittedly, the Retaliator got a bit damaged in its first combat, but we did it again and rescued it properly the second time, but it was really great, because it was one of the first times we got to show a lot of the elements of Star Citizen itself coming together, which is really important. I know a lot of people talk about how “It’s just a dogfighting module” or “You’re just going to have a little social component” or “It’s just FPS” and “how are all of these elements going to fit together”. Multi-Crew is where it all starts to come together, and is in some ways for us the “Baby PU” which is our big playground for everyone to play around in.
Our road map, going forward, we’re working hard to get out the first iteration of the Social Module out, which is going to have a lot more stuff over time, but this is the first time the players can get together and and wander around a basic landing environment and interact with each other in a basic form, so that’s sort of a baby step. The FPS will be after that, and then both of those roll into our Multi-Crew release which is going to be right after that. At that point, you will have all the social stuff, all the FPS stuff, and all the flight stuff and it will all be available together. I think if you saw some of the press demos we did, inside the social module you could pull out a gun and fire at other people. We don’t let you do that, as it may be a bit chaotic at the moment, but the systems are all there, and Multi-Crew is where we’re going to have all of them. You’ll be able to spawn at whatever space station, get into your various multi-crew ships, fly around, and we’ll all do things like put some weapons out in space or you can take some stuff, so people can play around with trying to board each other, or we’ll have some AI spawning around this large-world map in different locations that you can go and interact with. It’s really going to be a big playground, and it’s the long term, going forward test-bed level for a lot of what’s going to be in the Persistent Universe. It won’t just be combat, long term, it’ll be things like mining, or hauling cargo, data running, stuff like that. I’ve got the questions here, but since we’re talking about it, these are sort of the questions everyone’s been asking about what we’re doing. We’re generally mapping out every one of the months in terms of what we’re releasing, so Social is the first thing we’re doing, then we’re rolling in FPS before going to Multi-Crew. From there, we’re building in features that pertain to any one of those, but it’s all really one package. Once we have Multi-Crew out there then we’re continuing to add the various interaction and social stuff; shops, persistence, all those things that make the Persistent Universe, plus more ships, more functionality, more gameplay, and then we’re going to keep rolling through that. Before you know it, there’ll be a pretty detailed, full-featured game experience, which is pretty cool.
It’s a lot of work, we’re trying really hard to focus to close all this down to make sure we can roll all this out at a regular pace. I think that’s something we didn’t do that great, earlier this year. We had a bit of a gap, because we were working hard on all the technology, which we showed at GamesCom, but we didn’t keep going with updating and fine-tuning things in Arena Commander, and then the FPS was taking longer than we wanted it to, there was a gap of progress that you actually saw. But that didn’t mean that everyone in all our studios weren’t working really hard, and you saw the cumulation of all that. As we go forward, you’ll see a lot of those results. It’s definitely going to be rough in areas, it’s definitely going to be broken, it’s definitely going to need feedback, but that’s what’s great about this process is that you guys are involved in this process early enough that you can give feedback and make a better game. We’re not doing our Beta Test three months before we’re actually going to ship it, which means you really can’t do many changes to fundamental gameplay systems. We’re involving everyone along the way and I think that’s what makes Star Citizen special.
Along the way, there’s been a fair amount of noise about how long it takes to do all this, but it is a really big, ambitious game. I think, long-term, once it’s all done and finished, the fact that it took a little longer than we wanted and you guys wanted will not be a big issue, because it’s all about the game you get to play and the universe you get to spend time in. We’re definitely building something that we want to continue to build and continue to grow for a long time even after what we call the first initial commercial release. We’re not looking at Star Citizen as a one-off product at all. We’re looking it as a universe, a lifestyle that we’re going to continually add cool stuff to and build. I’m as excited as I ever have been, which is pretty awesome, and it’s really nice to see these elements come together. So, thank you for everyone’s support and how enthusiastic everyone was at GamesCom. That was really nice to go there and, after working so hard, see the results in terms of how excited everyone was. That was very cool, and I am excited going forward. The next big thing will be CitizenCon where we’ll be showing some stuff with Squadron 42 that I think you guys will like, as well as stuff that’s happening in the Multi-Crew as well as everything else. Okay! There you go, there’s a long preamble from me, so let’s get to the ten questions.
First one comes from Admiral KHAAAN…
Can we expect to have any Chris’isms in S42 and the PU? It’d be great to hear someone yelling “Can’t fire, can’t move. This is bullshit!” while your ship is falling to pieces during a battle.
CR: Well, I’m sure we’ll sneak some stuff in there. I haven’t had an opportunity to do – I normally when I direct games I do a little cameo thing for the fun of it. If you go back and look at Wing Commander 3 or 4 you can spot where I was in those. So, we’ll definitely – I’m going to do that in Squadron 42 and we’ll probably put a few little things in for the fun of it. So, the answer is yes!
Next question comes from zerocrys…
Can we look forward to concept sales of more alien ships such as Xi’An, Vanduul, Banu, etc?
CR: Well, we’re working on, now, the Xi’An Scout, so that’ll be something down the road here that we’re aiming to get to you this year. And then, the Banu Merchantman is going to go into production after that, there’s probably going to be some cases, longer term, that there can potentially be more Xi’An or Banu ships. We don’t have them on the horizon right now but those would be the ones we would do. We probably wouldn’t do the Vanduul ones because humanity is at war with the Vanduul, but can definitely see Xi’An and Banu ships in our Persistent Universe, so that would be sort of long term, but we have quite a few to finish up right now. We still have several concepts that we owe, we have the Endeavor, the sort of science ship, we have the Crucible which is a repair ship, both of which are coming along and looking very cool. We’ll be sharing those in the near future and the Prowler, that’s a boarding ship, I think it’s Esperia but if not it would be Drake, but I think it’s the Esperia Prowler and you know that’s a boarding ship and we have to start working on the concept. One other one that we are working on that I think will be something that you guys will like, and we’ll be sharing that at CitizenCon because that’s more military themed. It’s one that I’m excited by and it’s looking pretty cool too. So, there will be stuff, but right now, no exact plans or dates, but I’d say probably next year once we’ve got past the backlog of ships. We’re always looking to add new cool ships to flesh out the universe and make it feel alive and breathable.
Okay, next question comes from ChroneChrone, who asks…
I understand in space you have the ships (obviously), then you’ll have space combat with weapons and other sorts of equipment such as grenades and so on. However on the planetside of things you only have weapons and equipment, oh we can’t forget the buggy! But what about other types of vehicles for planetside?
CR: The Constellation Aquila came with sort of a rover exploration buggy and I think we can show you a nice little piece of concept art so check this out:
and we will probably do other forms of transportation down on the ground. It’s sort of early days yet so we are still working on some stuff. I don’t really want to talk about it just yet, we got a lot of stuff we still gotta finish and show but we do have some stuff that’s in R&D that long term people will be excited by and I think will enable some more sort of ground-based stuff. So i’ll just leave it with that and i’m sure there will be lots of speculation. Longer term we are going to have some pretty cool stuff.
Next question comes from SmackyTheFrog.
How do you plan to address players sprinting everywhere in social settings? In most MMOs you see social areas populated with NPCs walking around like we might in the real world, and every single player sprinting maniacally about (which may not be completely immersive). Is this something worth pushing against or is it something that you plan to allow in the name of convenience?
CR: That is a pretty good question. I must say I’m guilty of it too. When I was showing the Social module I was always sprinting around to show stuff. I think – my sense is as much as I love immersion, as much as I love it to feel realistic, that we would probably let you sprint around. Although, we do have a stamina model so if you did look at some of the demos that were video recorded, you would see that my guy in his heavy armour after a little bit ran out of breath and wasn’t really as quick. But, I think we would probably let you sprint around just to move around quickly if you wanted to.
It’s like the same issues we’ve got… we’ve got a lot of in-game/in-fiction stuff like in terms of being able to transfer credits and all the rest of the stuff that happen at sort of the speed of the game but there’s some things like team communication that – as much as I would like it to be realistic and you really can’t talk in real time to someone in another star system – we kind of acknowledge that we can’t really stop that because people can have Teamspeak or Skype open while they’re playing the game and talking to all of their organization mates. So, some elements of the game will take a slight departure of the absolute 100% full immersion and probably that will be… people running around. I guess everyone that is a player character is just in a hurry basically…
Okay, next question comes from Vellah…
With the stretch goals cutoff, for obvious reasons, I’m wondering how far you are wanting to take Star Citizen. How long after the final release do you intend to roll out major additional features? For example: new game modes/mini games, planets, star systems, ships, etc.
CR: I think I touched that on my opening sort of preamble to these questions, but from my standpoint, as long as you guys let me. Basically, we’re not looking at Star Citizen to be a static one-off release, we’re looking at once we have it out there, that we’re constantly adding features and content, and improving. As long as there is an audience, as long as there are people playing it, we will be constantly be improving it, making it play better, making it look better, making it perform better. I view Star Citizen as a living product, and we’re just trying to get to the basic functionality that we can consider as V1.0, and then at that point hopefully people like it, and then we’ll continue to add to it and improve it. I think that’s true of many big online games if you look at something like World of Warcraft or Eve Online, they do the same thing. So, that’s our plan.
Next question comes from Firefly85 who says…
I’d like to know more about planets and how do we interact with them. It seems nearly impossible to make a whole planet explorable to us. Will there be like Landing Zones where we’d be directed to and from there we can explore a part of that planet?
CR: So yes, the answer is that is our plan. The first stage is planets that you can land on will have one landing zone or multiple landing zones, and then you would go and land in them and most of the time you would deal with traffic control where you will request permission to land and then fly down to the planet where you can still move around your spaceship and look around, but you’ll be on an autopilot mode when you fly down. That’s to stop players from moving off the beaten path or crashing into the city, and doing other sorts of things that could be disruptive (laughs). As we move forward and work on new tech, which I’ve been hinting at, but we’re not ready to share or really talk about, we’ll probably open up some areas on the planet where we would have besides, say a populated environment like we’re releasing with the social module, say Area 18 in Arc Corp, we would have some other areas you could explore. Nice, pretty landscapes where perhaps there are some minerals to be found or mined, or some ruins to be explored. So, we’d start to open up some stuff that way which would encompass some of the procedural stuff that we’ve been doing research on, and was one of the stretch goals that we had a while back. Long term, my dream is to have as much of a planet as we can, the caveat is that we do everything with such a high level of fidelity and detail that we can’t have that more simplistic feel that you see in No Man’s Sky, which is super cool, but if you have cities like we have with that detail, you’d expect there’d be more than one of them on a planet, and there’d be traffic moving between them. It would feel inhabited, and to build out worlds with that level of fidelity is a level above, but that will definitely be long term, after the base game is out and we’re adding features, that would certainly be something we’d be questing after to try and deliver because I believe it would increase the believability of the universe we’re trying to build.
Okay, next question comes from SwordfishLspear who asks…
Are there plans for other NPCs to actually pronounce the names of your characters and ships when they are talking to you?
CR: Well, it depends on what we’re talking about. If you’re talking about names that you give yourself or names you would give your ship versus sort of, you know an Aegis Retaliator for instance – then right now we don’t necessarily have plans for that because that would be more speech synthesis. So at the moment most of the – whether it’s the NPC dialog that we have in Squadron 42 or in the Persistent Universe, that’s pre-recorded. So, I would say at the moment no.
If we can ever make decent speech synthesis – because I’ve yet to hear something that’s really great – then that potentially could change but right now I would say in V1.0 that’s not on the board because there’s a lot of other things that we have to do.
But we do have a really talented sound group, we actually have – most of them are based in the UK – we actually have 3 sound engineers, besides the sound designers and all of the rest of the stuff. 3 sound programmers. We’re planning to do a lot with our sound, a lot of situational environmental stuff. So, like – we’re going to have an in-game VOIP solution – if someone’s behind you and they’re talking to you, you’ll hear them behind you in your game, they’ll be filtered if they’re through a helmet and stuff like that.
So, there’s some longer term stuff – looking at speech recognition and other stuff to help with controls and ships. So, we’ll do some very cool sound stuff. Don’t know if it’s pronouncing the names of your characters and ships but if the speech synth stuff gets good enough then it’s definitely something we would consider.
Okay, next one comes from Grammaton…
Can you give us some insight as to how electronic warfare will work in the PU?
CR: Next week I think we are going to talk about some of the Vanguard variants, one of them which will be an Ewar version and will go into some of the basic high-level design that we are thinking about for electronic warfare, that you will also be using for the Hornet Ghost that sort of has the kind of Ewar component to it. It will be pretty good, I mean there’s basically sort of a couple of different ways of going about it. One we have long-range intercept and blocking of signals and transmission so obviously not necessarily when you are talking to people because you can sort of sort of circumvent that with Teamspeak and Skype but if you are giving sort of direct commands to people to attack this target or do that and also the fidelity of the targets – being able to scan and do all that sort of stuff. You can intercept those, you can jam ‘em, you can do all that stuff. Shorter range you can, we have concepted sort of these data missiles you can send out and that will allow a connection to your target and then if you get in there you can sort of hack the systems and shut down some of the critical systems on someone else’s ship. So we have a combination of sort of blocking, spoofing and sort of disruption stuff and then obviously the defenses against that plus we sort of have a kind of like hacking control component and we will go into more detail next week but I think it’ll be pretty cool. Again just be another sort of specialized role that if you’re in a two seat ship, one person could be trying his best to disrupt the other people around and while the other guy/girl is flying and keeping you out of harms way. Pretty cool.
Next question comes from =BAD=Chopper…
I was wondering if there will be some kind of Cargo storage facility that will be player owned or a place where we can rent a space for storing our excess stuff? Like if I buy a cargo load of fabric from Planet A and the prices aren’t satisfactory in Planet B to sell them. Could I take it to this place and maybe wait till prices go up?
CR: So yes. Your hangar will have cargo storage capacity and you will be able to rent storage capacity on various planets. So you could be far away from your home where your hangar is and still go and rent space for storage on another planet, like renting storage in the real world. So yes that will definitely be available and you will also be able to have more than one hangar around the universe so if you want to have a couple of bases because you don’t want to travel that distance then we will let you purchase hangars or rent additional hangars in the persistent universe long term.
Okay, last question comes from WarpSpeedSlothWarpSpeedSloth – probably wants me to say that really quickly… WarpSpeedSlothWarpSpeedSloth…
Will there will be integration or support for the new Steam controller that is coming out later this year?
CR: Well… if Valve send me it. I had an email exchange with a couple of the guys at Valve who I know quite well, Scott Lynch and Gabe, and they did promise to send me a Steam controller a while ago when they revealed it. So maybe I need to rattle their cage a little bit. But yeah if we got a Steam controller we would be happy to hook it up and make sure it works in Star Citizen. It looks really cool and we are into that and we like what Valve has done. I have a million games on Steam that I keep downloading but I never seem to find time to play because i’m always building this universe. But yeah we will try and do that.
CR: Ok that’s it. That is the end of the 10 questions. Thank you very much for listening. I hope some of them were informative for you. Thank you everyone for you support and especially the subscribers who make all this happen. It’s nice to be back here in Santa Monica after to Germany – Gamescom and Cologne – which was fun but a lot of work and so I am looking forward to working and closing down a bunch of stuff and showing you a bunch of stuff at Citizencon so take care and i’ll see you next week, bye!