Citizens! Greetings and welcome to Episode 64 of 10 for the Chairman!
Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of 10 for the Chairman.
So, this is my first 10 for the Chairman after the release of the Social module which we released on Friday. So, hopefully you guys are banging at it pretty hard – I’m sure it’s going to fall down a few times since we’ve tested it in the PTU and there’s been quite a few people help out there and it’s been great but not had a fuller load.
But anyway, it’s kind of a cool milestone – we’ve got a bunch more stuff happening this coming month and next month so… hopefully you guys are enjoying it! It seemed like on the PTU people were having a good time. The guys in Austin did a really good job to push that out and the guys at Behaviour – because the PTU release was mostly sort of Austin and Behaviour with some support from here in LA and support in the UK.
So, there you go! Hopefully you’re having fun.
Let’s get to the business at hand. This is where I answer 10 questions for subscribers. Subscribers are the subset of our community that contribute money every month and their subscription helps fund various community content that we do. So, this show is one of them but also Around the ‘Verse, we do Jump Point which is sort of a 50 to 70 page magazine… although I think this past month’s one was 80 or 90 pages… pretty crazy. We do various shows, Bugsmashers, ShipShape, and all of that enhanced community content is made possible by subscribers who, by their generous contributions, allow us to do a lot more community interaction and content which I think is great. Certainly it makes Star Citizen very special.
So, thank you all for doing that.
As part of the reward for that, I get to answer 10 questions from you. I think the other thing that we launched, by the way, this past Friday was the Community Hub so hopefully that will be going strong and well for you guys and you’ll also like that.
We’re pretty focused and working pretty hard to try and give you as much of the Star Citizen experience as we go as we possibly can. There’s definitely some very cool stuff ahead for the rest of this year and obviously next year.
Anyway, thank you guys for all of your patience and support!
So, the first question is from Wrex Blackthorne who asks…
What is the state of the NPC crew AI? Will we be able to throw a few NPC into our multicrew ships when Arena Commander 2.0 goes live, or is that something that will come in the future?
A: So, that will definitely come in the future . In Tony’s outline of what we’ve been doing on the social/persistent universe, he outline’s when we’re going to bring AI into the Planetside environments with Subsumption which is a sort of a higher level AI system that we have that runs the daily lives of the AI and allows them to get up in the morning, go to their job, go get lunch somewhere, go back to their job, go home, go to sleep, etc. So, Subsumption and a few other basic AI things need to be finished off so we can have it run universally around the place so it can work inside zones, inside ships flying. So, that’s not going to be for the very first release of multicrew but it will hopefully be a few releases after that. We’ll definitely have AI going about their daily lives in the universe or in the multicrew test large world map, hopefully not too far after multicrew. We’ll definitely have AI that you will encounter even with the release of multicrew so there will be PVE opportunities as well as PVP opportunities in this big soundbox map we’re going to give you guys. There will be a lot to do but having actual specific crew that can work on your ship will not be part of that initial release, that will be a longer term thing. So, there you go.
Next question comes from Lothar who asks…
We know ships will show wear, tear and damage. What about clothes? If I get shot or stabbed while doing shady business, will that damage show? Will the damage persist? Do I have to buy a new shirt? Because I really liked that one…
A: So, we have a new character shader tech that we’ve been working on, Okka who’s our Senior Graphics Engineer here in LA has actually been working on that. It’s very cool and it has a whole bunch of layering which includes the same sort of wear and tear systems that we have for the ships and the buildings so we will definitely have wear and tear on the clothes. So, over time they will become a bit older and then you will either have to buy some new ones. I don’t know if you’ll necessarily have to take them to a tailor and fix them up kinda thing, the ships will definitely have that, not sure about clothes. On the damage side of it, we haven’t finalized how we’re exactly handling the external damage. Long term we want to have something that is not too dissimilar to what we’re doing for ships, for character damage for where you get shot on your arm and stuff like that. If we get that working, it would persist the same way we do for ships. For right now, you definitely have wear and tear on clothes longer term when the new shader’s in. It’s not in the social module yet but it’ll probably be in multicrew when we release it.
Next question comes from Traz Ion, of Ion Industries who asks…
With the social module pending, the question of the Character Creator is on many a mind. Can you speak to the intentions of how robust it will be in regards to a player’s ethnicity, hair styles, colors and physique?
A: So, the character creator is something that is fairly high priority for us but it won’t be around for awhile because we have to resolve some issues with how we do the character heads. We have these very, very, very fancy heads, you can see a little bit of them in the game now but we’ll be showing some sort of next step up stuff at CitizenCon.
The concept is we’ve already sort of taken a bunch of scans of different people, male and female, of different ethnicities and the concept is you’ll be able to morph or blend between different face types, to create the face that you want when we’re ready to do that. There’s some behind the scenes technical stuff that we have to do, we have to move from pre-baked animation conversation stuff to sort of run time interpolation stuff which we are working on. We have an incredibly talented animation Senior Engineer called ?Ivo Herzog? who is in our German office and he actually is the guy who wrote CryAnimation in the first place. So, that’s actually his next task right after he finishes the ragdoll zero-G stuff we’re working on right now. Once we get that running we’ll be able to blend between the heads.
So, the initial stage for customizing your character will probably just let you pick one of, I think we have right now 8 male, 8 female heads. You’ll be able to pick one of these heads types. We’re working to put a process in place for clothes and stuff like that so you can sort of decide what clothes you’re going to wear. Right now, of course, all you can do in social module is you can be just one of the 6 characters that will be with the FPS. Light, medium, heavy marine. Light, medium, heavy outlaw.
Longer term we want you to dress up in the clothes, the outfits you want to so we’re just finishing off our character pipeline in terms of some of the new tech we’re getting in place. The shader tech I was talking about, the process and then we’re going to just try to ramp it up to generate a bunch of clothes, doing our last tweaks on our base male, base female meshes. Then hopefully we’ll have a whole pipeline for clothes. This is not with this social and will probably be a few months before you see that but when we get around to activating the shops, certainly before the end of this year there will hopefully be clothes and stuff you can customize your character in. Not too long after that you will be able to customize the head. We’re not sure about body type because if we do too significant of a difference in body type we would need a different skeleton so we have one standard player skeleton which I think you’ve seen all our updates where we’ve changed every one of these skeletons, seven times now. For lots of good reasons but it’s a massive retarget whenever you change them so the concept is we’re going to have one base male skeleton and one base female for players. We will have some specific skeletons for other characters, NPC characters, so like in SQ42, certain characters will not be the standard sizing and then on top of that we can change some level of the appearance so you can have someone who’s slightly fatter or slightly thinner but not necessarily changing the general proportions or bone proportions. That’s the real issue with the skeleton, if you suddenly start the length of the legs or length of the arms then you have to retarget all of the animations and we have thousands, and thousands and thousands of animations. We don’t just have running around FPS combat stuff, we have all these sort of living in the universe animations. Getting in and out of your ship, sitting down at the table, taking a nap in your bunk bed in your ship. All these sort of things… dancing, which people are quite fond of doing right now in social, all those kind of things. So, that’s why we can’t have players decide now I’m going to have a small character, a medium sized, or tall character, for that skeleton reason. We’ll do some height differentiation based on the head because that can give you…. and we’ll do some body size differentiation but not general sort of proportion differentiation, that’ll be more reserved for NPCs. So, I hope that answers that question. I didn’t answer the bit about… ethnicities I did – hairstyles, colours and physiques so you will be able to pick different hairstyles and you’ll be able to pick different skin colours, etc. Physique was what I was sort of talking about, like body type. There you go Traz Ion, of Ion Industries I hoped that helped answer your question.
So, the next question comes from Delwin who asks…
The new exterior damage system from ships is stunning, but what will happen with the interior?
A: We’re working on that. The interior will have some form of – it will probably use part of that damage system and then we’ll also potentially switch out sections, you know like blown up or destroyed montior or VDU will have damage effects like sparks and stuff like that. So, when you’re inside the ship and it’s taking damage you should also feel a certain amount of inside with… you know, suddenly steam coming out of a vent and stuff like that or things breaking or sparking or shutting down.
So, hopefully that helps go with that and I think that the multicrew would be the first place you’d feel more of that. So, you’ll see some of that on the Connie and the Retaliator. We’ll always be trying to improve it and make it better.
Next question comes from Citizen 2900 who asks…
Will we be able to roam one of the big floating structures in the Murray Cup Map at some point for spectator purposes?
A: Absolutely. That’s a big goal of mine is to have all of these different locations that you go an visit and there’s as much sightseeing as anything else.
That’s one of the exciting things about the multicrew module is that we’re just basically building a really large world map sort of as a sandbox to sort of be our test kitchen for the PU. So, the large world map won’t really be a real location in the Persistent Universe because we’re sort of going to pack a lot of different things in this one system or area but it will be great for us to sort of test everything out and then once we’ve got a lot it going – and in the background we’ll be working on these other systems… we’ll just sort of switch over to the system and… the first stage of the PU will come online. I kind of refer to multicrew as sort of baby PU because we’re going to make the large world map be more of a sandbox so it’s not so much Arena Commander – get in, have points to win, beat the other people. We’ll still let you do Arena Commander for a competition thing but that will be sort of in a limited arena area. The large world map for the multicrew will be spawning in, kind of the same way that we’re doing for the social where you can just go, hang out, come in and out, fly around and people can work together or go fight/engage NPCs/AI in certain areas or you know… mess around with other people. So, we’ll see how that goes but I think it’s a really good base for all of the PU stuff that we need to work on… and actually a good base for a lot of stuff that we need for Squadron 42.
So, longwinded answer but yes. I’d like you to go and be on the floating structures – look down as a spectator and see races and ultimately in the final game we’ll definitely have the Murray Cup go, just like Formula 1, between different locations and one will be a race through asteroids and another will be a race through structures and we’ll have these different locations and you can go and spectate and we’d have qualifiers and then we’d actually have the competition that players could come to and other players could come and watch and we’d also have sort of livestream it and that’s all the sort of stuff that we want to do to make this universe feel more real and more alive.. you know, get lost in it. I think it would be really cool.
Alright, next question comes from MooKids who asks…
How will ship parking work in the PU? Will we be landing on instanced pads? Will our ship be pulled into a parking hangar after we land in order to make more room for other players?
A: Yes, we will definitely be landing on instanced pads in the PU. So, you’ll get landing permission, then you’ll fly down to the planet, there’ll be a pad assigned for you. You’ll get out of the pad, then you’ll walk into Customs and be able to go in… so if you’re in ArcCorp now you’ll see the Customs area, see through the window whether there’ll be a landing pad where you would land in Area 18 and we would instance a fair number of those. You could see perhaps some other players landing around, so you can sort of track people coming and going but you’re one particular pad will be instanced. There is some debate depending on whether we would have that ship taken off to a hangar or it would stay out on the pad for you in your sort of universe but maybe perhaps someone else would be different, we sort of gate going to the pad. You and your friends could go to your pad but someone that didn’t know you and your friends or didn’t have permission couldn’t go to your pad. We’re going to play with some of those ideas anyway that’s one of the nice things with the multicrew stuff, we’ve got some ideas for spawning and stuff like that in that too.
We definitely will need to instance it, we’re not going to have a massive landing pad where you could have 50 people all landing at once because that’s a huge space port. Potentially on Terra there could be a space port that has quite a few people landing on it but we’ll definitely have some cases where there will be landing pads that are for one ship or maybe two ships that are instanced but that’s all sort of stuff to play around with. Again, this is one of the really good things with multicrew. This is the sort of conversation that I have with Tony to try and solve the best ways to deal with it. It’s the same thing as going into the social module and taking the elevator from your hangar so at what point do we put you out in ArcCorp with the other players, do we do it inside the elevator, do we do it when you step out of the elevator, what happens if someone tries to block you from getting in and out of an elevator – so there’s a lot of edge cases that we have to work on.
With the release of Social Module, FPS and finally Ac 2.0, I was wondering what currency we would be using when PU beta is up and running? Will we use UEC or REC and will it be deleted when PU goes Live?
A: Well, as soon as we get the PU up and running properly it will definitely be UEC. We may actually experiment with using UEC in the Large World multicrew map when we turn on shops and the ability to buy items. So, whether or not it will get deleted when the PU goes live… I’m not sure. We have to sort of consider what’s happening. We may very well have a situation where, you know, what you do or what you earn in the multicrew area of the large world map – we’ll sort of call it… beta or test UEC or it may be the real stuff, I don’t know. To be honest with you, we haven’t had a chance to think about that. But you would definitely be using UEC, not REC. REC is what you have for Arena Commander which is sort of the gamy credits whereas UEC is the actual in-universe credits. I’m soft of looking at multicrew as being the baby PU – so that’s kind of how we’d do it and the question would just be whether it would be – you can use the UEC that you have and earn some more UEC but the UEC you actually earn in the multicrew would potentially go away once the game goes live. Of course, the UEC that you had purchased would not – that would carry over to the proper one because obviously that’s the UEC that you’ve purchased or the UEC that came with your pledge.
Next question comes from Josh who asks…
When you were looking to hire programmer on your team, what kind of process did you go through and what kind of qualifications did you look for?
A: You know people send in their resumes, I think we sort of specify on the job description what we’re kind of looking at, how many years of experience or if it’s even relevant. Also for engineers we have some basic technical tests we send out and have the applicants test to make sure we feel they’re at the base standard of technical competency. Really for me, obviously if someone has worked on some interesting or complicated games in the past that’s obviously is a plus but we’re much more interested in end results than any degree. Like, if someone’s made their own game in Unity or Unreal or CryEngine or something. If they’ve built their own prototype. They worked on a modding team, they worked on other teams in the industry. All those things matter much more to us than actual, whether you’ve got a degree in computer science or not, because you know, in making computer games there’s a lot – you have to have a passion, you have to have a love for it. When people put together their own demos and examples of systems they’ve written, it shows how they think and how they apply their engineering knowledge to achieve an objective. That’s all much more interesting. So, you know we have Mark Abent here in the LA office who we hired, who was a relatively junior programmer, but he’d been working on mods for quite a long time and he’s fantastic. He’s one of our best guys and it’s because he is willing to roll up his sleeves and look into the code and figure out what’s happening, and he’s sort of self-starting. So, all of those things are super important. So, I would say if you are looking, obviously having experience in the industry helps but if you don’t have any experience in the industry, then I would say doing a demo or if you worked on your own game, all of those things are actually very – they work well for us, that impresses us.
So, there you go. I don’t know if that answers the question but that’s kind of what we go through when we’re looking for programmers – and generally also anyone else. If an artist comes to us and they built a really great spaceship or a great character that says a lot more than anything else.
The next question comes from SP3CTREnyc who asks…
Will players automatically orient when traversing a ship in zero-G? Do characters automatically orient to a y-axis in the ship zone regardless of gravity effects?
A: So, I’m guessing you are working in a 3D engine or modelling package that has Y up. In CryEngine and 3DSMax, Z is up. Z is up for us, Y is going forward, X is side to side.
But, we’re not going to have the players automatically orient to “up” if it’s in zero-G. You know, that’s the whole thing with zero-G – there is no specific “up”. So, what would happen if gravity does come on – obviously they will orient to wherever the gravity pulls them down. But, once there’s no gravity they can turn around, roll, move around and there is no up. So, you can be interacting, moving around, fighting someone and you can all have your own particular frame of reference which would be based around you.
Alright, last question comes from LordRazor X who asks…
For the science/research curious of us. How much realism can we expect? What resources are you using to bring interesting content to the PU? Are you consulting with real scientists and physicists? Will we be able to solve the mystery of Dark Matter in the Star Citizen Universe?
A: So, you know David and Will who are our stalwart writing team have been actually having some conversations with proper real scientists because we’re finishing up the Star Map which is another thing that we’ll be sharing with you guys at CitizenCon and I think you guys will really like it – it’s pretty damn impressive. So, we’re consulting with real astrophysicists to try and flesh out the rest of… some of the science and the physics of the fiction, the universe, and the planets. So, we’re definitely doing that.
Tony is very keen on having quite a bit of scientific research and realism so we actually have some dedicated ships – we have the Endeavor that’s coming up which will be its own science platform. We have a variant of the Reliant that will be more of a science/research based vessel. We have a few other things where there will be non-combat-based gameplay. So, one obviously is exploring and charting areas but another one will be actually analyzing – basically like getting on the tail of a comet and figuring out what the composition of the comet is when you’re following behind it and then later on you can maybe – based on that, you take that data back to the UEE and sell that for money.
So, we’re going to have various parts of gameplay that involve science and research whether it’s researching stuff down on planets or in asteroid fields or things like comets as I mentioned. Obviously we sort of have a science fiction universe so there’s a certain amount of fantasy elements to the science fiction because if it was hardcore science, probably in 2900 it wouldn’t look exactly the way it does in Star Citizen. Star Citizen’s sort of more a… kind of our childhood-imagined cool SciFi universe. But we do try to infuse in various principles from science and various physical stuff to make it feel more tactile and more real.
Don’t know if we’ll be able to solve the mystery of dark matter in the Star Citizen universe… but you never know.
But, we are actually working and talking to people who know what they’re talking about as far as all of this, to make everything feel more real than normal.
There you go, I hope that answered the question.
Alright, so thank you! That’s the end of this episode of 10 for the Chairman. Hopefully you guys are enjoying the Social aspects of our most recent release. We’ll be sort of on a fairly regular release schedule now and trying to get you guys more content as it all sort of pulls together.
So, we’ll have the social and the FPS and the multicrew are all gonna pull together – and you know, the multicrew is basically going to be like a baby PU. You’ll wander around these different areas, you’ll be able to socially interact and if you find a weapon out in space or get a weapon from someone, then you’ll be able to use that in first person against AI or other players and stuff. It will be sort of the first place where you see things coming together and then we’ll be feathering in all of the aspects that Tony was talking about in his Persistent Universe social post and other gameplay features that we need for Squadron 42.
So, it’s going to be fun. It’s going to be exciting. I’m kind of looking forward to seeing people longer term use all these things together because I think the combination of the multicrew ships, the scale and scope, and the ability to do stuff in person whether it’s EVAing around or walking around in person or flying your ships – it just sort of gives a scope and a scale to the gameplay experience that you haven’t seen before in a space game and then we’ll just carry on adding functionality and stuff. I think this is why people were excited when we showed what we showed at Gamescom and when people get their hands on that, I’m really excited to see what people get up to because you’ll be able to do all of these things with your friends and I think there’ll be a whole bunch of stuff I never imagined. We’re constantly going to add fun things to it, so it’s going to be cool and i think it’ll be a great ride.
Thank you guys for supporting and enabling myself and the rest of the team to build the game we’ve always wanted to build. I suspect it’s also the game you guys want to play and we all want to play in it with you. Thank you very much to all of the backers out there. Again, thank you to the subscribers for allowing us to sort of do this extra enhanced community content and I guess I will see you next week!