Citizens! Greetings and welcome to Episode 65 of 10 for the Chairman!
Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of 10 for the Chairman. By the way, in front of me, is a very cool, sort of 3D printed game prototype set. I have an old friend of mine who used to work with me a long time ago back in Origin, is doing this sort of new board game startup and is doing things with 3D printing and tile sets and it’s actually quite cool. This one I think is called Mechro Virus (sp?). He dropped it by today as a present, and its cool. It’s kind of amazing what you can do now with 3D printing, but, let’s get back to Star Citizen.
So this is 10 for the Chairman, this is where I answer ten questions asked by subscribers, subscribers are the subset of our community that contribute money every month to enable us to have a really high amount of community interaction and content. We really appreciate it, but it allows us to have this show 10 for the Chairman, Around the Verse, all the things like Bugsmashers, Ship Shape, and also Jump Point which is this huge behind the scenes monthly magazine that goes into how we build or design the ship, or where we came up with a certain game feature, has also fiction and talks about various locations in the Star Citizen Universe. Thank you very much, subscribers, for funding that, because all of that content really trickles into the web site and the full game, so that allows us to have more and better interaction than I think
any other game out there has. So thank you guys very much.
I think it’s been a pretty big week this week, so I recorded my last 10 for the Chairman on a Friday, and it played on a Monday, so that was just before we launched the Social Module which I think has gone over really quite well. Not quite a lot you can do in Arc Corp, but it’s amazing how much people can get up to when they get together with their friends and they can emote and they can glitch through walls. It’s pretty awesome to see people figure out how to fly a Merlin around or get out to certain areas we didn’t think you could get to. I have to say it puts a smile on my face to see people working together and sort of, doing things to achieve even if it’s glitching through a wall in Arc Corp. We’re actually going to be planning to do fairly continual updates on the Arc Corp social side, and we’ll add more locations and more cool stuff in the multi-crew. Tony’s got some pretty cool things planned, we’ll hopefully have a pretty decent drop towards the end of this month that will have a whole bunch of new stuff for people to do. So that should be fun, because we’ll see what people get up to doing that. It’s great to see everyone play it, it’s just a small of the overall game, but I think people are now starting to see the pieces and a better idea of how they come together. More and more of that will be happening, so that will be great and congratulations to Tony and the core team in Austin who playing lead on the Social Module supported by behavior who did a huge amount of the construction on Arc Corp and they’ve been doing a lot of our other environments that we saw a little bit of a preview of. There’s Nix, but there’s a lot more than Nix, it looks fantastic, but we’ve got quite a few other locations that look amazing, so as we get to the point where we can fly between them. there’s going to be atmosphere, and identity, and you’ll feel the places. They won’t feel generic, they won’t feel random. We don’t have AI, or we don’t have NPC’s running around these locations. You can’t even buy things yet, so I think it’s going to be great. I’m kind of excited, kind of like a little kid in a candy store, I just don’t want to wait too long until Christmas basically, but its doing very good so thanks for everyone’s support on that.
I mentioned last week, I’m recording this on Friday for Monday, which is a bank holiday, its Labor day in the US, so I did mention that the community hub should be available, but it wasn’t because we were testing it and Jared, and a few of the people who were helping him test it found some issues that need to be addressed and everyone is hard at work getting on that, and it should hopefully, fingers crossed, by the time this airs on Monday which is Labor Day,
Grand Chef asks: Is the “multicrew ship tech” something specific to multicrew ships or will it be generic enough to be used for single seat ships? For instance, will my Aurora be “coded” like the Retaliator allowing me to have one person in the bed while I pilot the ship and a 3rd one just standing behind me even if the ship is tagged “single seat ship”?
A: So the short answer is yes. So what is going to happen is on all our vehicles is if they have an interior like the aurora, it has a very small interior but it does have it. 300i is an example of this, if they have interiors you can move around in they will have their own local physics grid. Therefor you can someone piloting it and someone back on the bed. We have not implemented sort of life support and oxygen issues yet but the system we have in terms of the pipe system and item system is something we have that is fairly easy for us to do so some time in the future we would probably have some sort of life support system so you would only have so much oxygen or air and the ability to support so many people. possibly there would be a case where you have to many people and it stresses the system I dunno but you in the multi crew release should be able to get into a aurora and someone else get into the aurora and fly and it will have local physics.
Xanik asks: When, or if, procedural generation content is implemented, will a location be saved after being generated so that returning to the same location remains the same as when it is first visited?
A: Basically the answer on that is yes. What we are doing with procedural generation is that it’s deterministic and deterministic is that it will always deliver the same outcome every time that you visit that location. Now normally how it is, for instance is that you have a planet and that planet happens to be in this 3d location well that 3d location can be used to be sort of the magic number you use to generate that surface of the world and so that planet will always be in that 3d location therefor it’s surface will always be the same because you are putting in the same magic numbers to the procedural system to generate that. And that is the key to the procedural generation system so when you look at something like no mans sky you can go and come back and go and come back and it will be the same sort of planet when you do that because it’s based on all sort of maths and magic numbers and planets here in this location or whatever particular seeds they are using for the procedural system in general. So yes that is the case and generally things could change on it but you would same the delta and changes on it on that procedural location so if it was an asteroid and you came and mined it, mined some of the voxels we would have an asteroid with sort of it’s starting state the delta of the voxels get taken away and that sort of determine the current state of that asteroid.
Xondor asks: Various games have had issues with creating a social community in bars, will there be things to draw players to bars in the PU?
A: So yes, I think I have talked about this for quite a while. So the bars in general will be a place to go get missions. So there will be more formal places to get missions like jobwell that is the official arccorp place to go get jobs where arccorp is giving people jobs to trade things, to escort things to do various missions out there but if you go into a bar maybe there is someone sitting in a back corner and he has a special mission for you or you can go talk to the bartender and he will give you a tip or a tidbit to lead you on a search out in space to find a derelict where there is some valuable equipment to salvage so bars are sort of the place to keep your ear to the ground and find out what is happening in that area of the galaxy and potentially get some non standard missions and sort of places where you can meet up with friends and see who else was hanging out in the galaxy and we will probably do some fun things like let you get a drink and if you drink too many of them you will sort of stagger around kinda what we did with the drinks cabinet in the hanger. So yes there are quite a few things you can enjoy at bars.
Baddonkey asks: How can players warn NPC’s of an impending attack? For instance, a player finds out an organization is planning an attack on a lawless base ran by NPC’s, will there be a mechanic to warn the NPC’s to activate the base defenses and defend against the incoming fleet or will the organization’s fleet be allowed to disembark en masse and start slaughtering the base’s NPC’s
A: Well I am not sure about player necessarily warning NPCs of a incoming attack but generally if we have NPCs on a base and it’s their base and they are defending it then they are not going to be dumb. They will have perimeter defenses and detect those that are hostile to them so if an organization wants to come and take over their base they certainly will defend it like you would expect AI or NPCs to do. So that’s kinda what would happen there. So we would have a level of NPCs control and command. For instance if you hire NPCs to be part of your crew on your ship or an NPC to fly escort for you than you can give them basic instructions and it’s a bit in the wingcommaner style you know if you are talking about wingmen than you can say form on my wing or retreat or attack my target so we will sort of have that kind of stuff that will be available for AI or NPCs that you are communicating with whether they are a bigger ship that you have them escorting you with a cargo hauler full of goods. There you go.
William George asks: What is the difference between a missile and a torpedo in Star Citizen? They seem to fill very similar roles, but are apparently distinct sizes / types of weapons.
A: Yeah, I mean in space not the hugest difference between really the functionality of a missile and a torpedo. For us, really the determination is more about the size of the payload and the speed and turning ability. So, torpedoes are really much bigger yield missiles essentially, they can’t move as fast, they can’t turn as fast but do vast amounts of specific ship to ship damage. So, technically I don’t know if you want to think of them as super big, super slow missiles but that’s essentially what they and sort of more keyed for bigger ships, the multicrew ship level or above of ships. Missiles in general are much quicker, accelerate much quicker, turn much quicker, have more sort of tracking options but not as much of a payload or yield. So, there you go, hopefully that helps.
Kyron asks: With the recent mention of the various multi-crew roles on Ship Shape, are there any plans to add additional seats to the Retaliator and like in other ships its size?
A: We have quite a few, obviously each one of the turrets has it’s own sort of seat so to speak. We have the engineering station, we have the pilot’s station…so the first release of the Retaliator I think those are kinda going to be there. For some of the extra modules we’ve added, those potentially will add some seats and we’ll review it as we go along, if you think about what’s happening in the Constellation, I mean you basically got your gunner’s seat, plus you have a co-pilot’s seat and your captain’s seat and really a second co-pilot’s seat that can sort of do other things but they’re essentially controlling functions that say the engineer will be controlling back on the Retaliator. I don’t think we’re planning to add additional seats just yet. Of course, as we play the game and balance the game you never know if we deem it needs it. Definitely going to have more functionality happening in all the multicrew ships and have the ability to do things like shield management, power management, equipment management, repair, all the rest of the stuff.
Medinchen asks: I know a (lot) of games, where the gameplay was destroyed by bots and gold sellers. How will you prevent this?
A: Well, we’re going to like everyone that try to build big online games, we’re going to try our best to prevent that. I wouldn’t say that we’re like any more….we’re smarter or more of a rocket scientist than some of the other people doing online games. I will say that I think gold selling happens but one of the reasons, for instance, why it happens in let’s say like World of Warcraft….you can’t get the gold from Blizzard, or at least when I used to play you couldn’t. In our particular game, our sort of plan to bring revenue in that will pay for the servers, and will pay for the customer support staff, and will pay for us to build additional features and content is to either sell the base game to people joining the game. They just come in, they buy their game, their ship and now they’ve joined Star Citizen or you know people who don’t have a lot of time but they really want that shiny, brand new weapon or that shiny new ship. So, they’re like, ‘you know I’m just going to buy some UEC this month or this week so I can go and buy that thing I want instead of going out there and flying ten missions to earn the money inside the game. So, we are essentially, with caps, we’re going to be selling the equivalent of gold so when you can buy it through the source that’s a big difference than getting it from somewhere else. Then on top of that we’re going to have just like you would have in the real world some level of control over like player’s transferring money to each other and stuff like that. You’ll never be able to stop someone from selling their stray account but you won’t be able to just go, ‘oh here, I’m wiring a million UEC to someone’. You can’t do that in the real world here, if I send too much money to a friend of mine it’s deemed as income to that person and they’ll have to report it as taxes. So, there will be some level of control in the same way as the real world to prevent people from sort of doing that kind of thing. We’ll probably have some sort of limit on the amount of cash transfers between players but it’s super early days to figure that out right now. So, there’s a bunch of ideas in how to try and make it fun and fair and balanced but it’s super early. I’m sure what I just said may have gotten a bunch of people up in arms but I wouldn’t start getting concerned just yet cause we’re going to try and have something we think works for everyone, that makes it as fair as possible to try and get rid of the gold selling. Bots, again that just something that you’re concerned about, we’re using a policy of semi trusted client but checking on the server side that we’ll be looking out for people who will be trying to ‘game’ the system. I think the other thing to remember is that it’s not kind of the same competitive set up as you’ve got in let’s say World of Warcraft where everyone wants to race to the top level so they can hit the end game. I think there will be a lot of things for people to do and they can fight and play against NPCs or against other players, it’ll be up to them to choose their own play style. I’m just hoping the open world nature of it will allow a lot of people to have fun but like I said we’re not necessarily smarter or better at this than anyone else. I’m sure we’ll have to combat this and we’ll try our best to make sure that it doesn’t ruin the game experience for the rest of the community. There you go.
ZenMonkey asks: With the newer ship designs (vanguard, retaliator) as well as the reworks of some other multi-crew ships I’ve noticed a move to “isolate” external facing positions (pilot, gunner, etc.). I’m curious if some of these choices are a way to use design to help solve technical issues.
A: Not really. I’m assuming that when you’re saying to isolate external facing positions it means, you know, that you have a gunner and a turret and a pilot over here and they’re not in the same place. If you take a look at the Constellation there’s three people in the front seats of the Constellation. There’s not a particular design choice, I think it comes out of what we think that works for the ship itself so a lot of the functionality is driven by the needs so something like the Vanguard or the Retaliator, sort of military ships, in those sort of cases it feels like you’ve got the pilot and maybe you’ve got the gunner and they’re obviously not necessarily going to be in the same place. Where as the Constellation is sort of more of a communal, team ship and is more general purpose so you can see the three main crew members sitting in those front three seats. So, it wasn’t really to do with technical issues, it sort of depends on the ship itself.
Archangel asks: If Arc Corp is a relatively small landing area (as shown in the social module), and there was talk some time ago about 1000 players per server instance, how many landing pads will be on Arc Corp? How will selecting those pads, landing, and keeping those pads occupied work? Or will you just not be able to land until there’s a clear pad?
A: I don’t think we have ever talked about 1000 players per server. I think the number we wanted was between 50 and 100 and currently as of the social release we are at 25 and hoping to bump that up significantly with the next social release. In the game right now we have to do quite a bit of optimization on the space ships and vehicles because they are very heavy and they are not as simple as just a player because I think just a hornet itself has 70 items that all work and do their own thing and have to be networked so they are much heavier than a person running around Arccorp but with the game we have a whole bunch of optimization stuff we are going to do next so we can have much more ships flying around. So there wasn’t talk of 1000 per server instance. There was talk of something that was a longer range goal that was the possibility of multiple servers to work cooperatively on one big area or instance so if that was the case and you had 10 server then every server would handle 100 people then potentially get 1000 people but that is a long term goal and it does have some issues because at some point you run into rendering issues and all the other things that would happen. But in terms of arccorp I think we have discussed having more than one but it’s segregated in such a way that the landing pad to the customs to going through the customs that is to allow us to almost instance the landing pad area so while you go out someone else could be landing in that pad while your ship was put away in its hangar somewhere. This is all stuff we want to get moving as smooth as possible. We got some stuff we are going for the multi crew that is sort of in that direction but in general we will normally allow you to land if their is slots in arccorp. So there will be several options for that and we will go from there.
Lock Ostrie asks: Will there be a pipeline for landing zones like there are for ships? Also, will landing zones be released in stages like Arc Corp is with the stores and the like coming in later or will the landing zone be fully fleshed out by the time we are able to walk around it?
A: So definitely, there is a pipeline. We don’t call them landing zones, we call them the environment pipeline, that’s actually lead by Ian Leland in the UK who runs the UK environment team and also supervises the environments that are being built by Behaviour. Great, strong team you’ve just seen a little bit of their work, they’ve done a whole bunch of stuff Shuban looks amazing, Nyx looks amazing, a few of the other locations we’re working on look amazing. So, it’s a pipeline not too dissimilar to ships in terms of some of the modeling, building set ups. We start with concept and then we move our way onto whitebox, then greybox, then we start applying the materials and alpha mapping and textures and stuff like that. As far as the landing zones being released in stages like Arc Corp, what will happen as time goes on and we create, like where we’re at the point where we’re leaving one zone, going to space, landing on another zone….those zones will come in more full featured. They’ll come in with ships, they’ll come in with AI running around, doing their stuff. The reason why Arc Corp is pretty bare right now is because some of that functionality is still being worked on so it’s not ready for primetime. So, when we need to persistence working properly for us to really sort of have the shops work. So, persistence is us saving your state, your equipment off to the database up in the cloud for your character or your player account. So, what happens right now is when the game starts up it just looks up what you have on your web account, your RSI account, and says, ‘oh he’s got the Hornet and the Constellation and he’s got this item’ so it adds it to your account. But it’s not particularly persistent, you change what you’re wearing or change your load out, that’s really not saved back to the database. We save it locally on a local XML file but that’s a really short term solution. The real proper solution is changes to your state, changes to your ship, whatever. Whether it’s getting old, dirty or broken, they get saved back out to your entry in the player database, the persistent database. That’s what we need to have running so it’s actually one of our next milestones. That’s what we need to have running so you can go buy or sell stuff in the persistent universe. You can go to a shop and buy a weapon and now you’ll have that weapon when you come back into the game and you’ll be owning that weapon. So, once the shops and all that kind of stuff is working, persistence working, when we launch a new environment, it’ll just come in with it’s appropriate ships and it’s appropriate AI going about their daily schedules. I would say later as the new environments come in they will be much more fully fleshed out. You’re just sort of seeing Arc Corp grow and functionality and features come in. It’s sort of like our….test kitchen or test bed for some of the PU and social stuff. That’s what happening in Arc Corp, same is going to happen in multicrew, so multicrew is like the space version of that and Arc Corp sort of the ground environment version of us testing a whole bunch of stuff. So, Tony’s got a whole bunch of plans for really cool AI interactions, some things to do down on the environments that just isn’t walking around, emoting or waving at people or glitching through a wall. I think you’ll sort of see that the possibilities come around via multicrew and social, then a background will be finishing out these other environments and we’ll sort of at some point just turn on some systems for you to explore around and bam it will be kind of there. So, you’ll see a lot of the functionality and features come in like I sat multicrew and social and you’ll be able to give feedback and sort of kind of see how things come together. That’s all aiding towards getting the persistence universe done and out there and also aiding towards Squadron 42. So, there you go that’s it, last of the ten questions. Thank you very much for listening I hope you’re having a great Labor day, those of you that are in the US and those of you that aren’t, well, I hope you’re just having a great Monday. It’s been great talking to you, the social module release has been great, I’m hoping you guys will like the community hub and we’re all heads down working but having a lot of fun and really appreciate everyone’s support. Everyone out there that’s backed the game, thank you so so so much and thank you very much to the subscribers. All right I will see you next week. Bye.
The Relay note: Sorry this is so late guys! we are dealing with a bunch of stuff and a ton of growing pains are biting us in the butt right now. This one is kind of a mess as Stormy winters and I stayed up to ~4 am getting this out.