Chris is back on 10 for the Chairman this week to answer subscribers questions about Star Citizen, check out our transcript of the show.
Transcript by CanadianSyrup, Shiver Bathory, Sunjammer, WangPhat, Azwethinkweiz, Desmarius, Stormy Winters.
[01:48] Q: Will Squadron 42 be set in the equivalent year in game as the release (2946 currently) and the PU in the future? Or will the PU be the current year and SQ42 in the past? Will further episodes be set before the PU?
A: All Squadron 42 Episodes will be set before we start the PU timeline. Squadron 42 Episode 1 will be set in 2942.
[2:58] Q: Will the physics grid be able to process damage from impacts or using the environment directly as a weapon?
A: Physics grid will be detailed to maybe do this sometime in the future but it isn’t on the short term goal list. While the grid itself will handle sudden changes in position on larger ships by making objects and people react to simulated 0G or similar but it will also be dampened probably.
[6:17] Q: Since it was mentioned before, will we still get the chance to see Pirate Swarm in Arena Commander?
A: Yes, after developing and balancing the game’s functionality we plan on adding more modes.
[8:24] Q: Will active reconnaissance, and clandestine activity be part of gameplay?
A: Yes, you will be able to use in-game mechanics specifically for the purposes of executing reconnaissance and clandestine activity.
[10:02] Q: In most games animations are done with no regard to player position or action. Will NPCs react during scripted animation or will we just bump into them? Will they use other means to make us get out of their way, like squeezing by or ordering us to move?
A: Animations will be built up from fragments based on the context of the situation, they won’t just be canned animations being played. NPCs will adjust their look procedurally. If you get in the way of an NPC then it’ll shift into locomotion to avoid you. Aiming for on-par or better than Uncharted 4.
[11:38] Q: As there is no faster than light communication is it possible for a criminal to outrun their wanted status by jumping to another system?
A: Yes. Even though players can communicate instantaneous we will ensure that all the game systems themselves propagate properly. Therefore you could commit a crime in one system, jump to another system and before your wanted status has reached it. We have also introduced the fundamentals of reputation management in 2.2: you can reduce your wanted level in Security Post Kareah and taking down/putting up satellites determines if there is coverage in an area.
[15:33] Q:Will an achievement feature be implemented at some point and if it is will it give any rewards we can use?
A: Similar to real life, your in-game character can buy mementos when visiting places and display them for others to see. Sometimes having achieved something of note somewhere will unlock certain new items in recognition of this. We are starting to see a bit of this already with the fish tank, snow globes etc.
[16:53] Q: Will it be possible to play Squadron 42 without taking part in the FPS parts?
A: Squadron 42’s gameplay is a blend of ship combat and on-foot combat. It’s primarily flying missions – there will be missions where you land, have to EVA or get stuck somewhere. There won’t be an option to not participate in FPS but do the other things, it’s a holistic experience. You won’t need to be the best FPS player to play. It’s going to be more immersive than any past Wing Commanders.
[18:13] Q: Will players be able to upgrade body parts in order to better support their intentions and missions?
A: Yes, the long-term plan is to allow players to be able to augment their body parts for enhanced capabilities.
[19:09] Q: Can players vote in UEE elections? Can they themselves become a part of the Government?
A: Voting is one of the things being discussed as a benefit for players who have decided to become citizens. There are other things being discussed as benefits for citizens but it is still early days. Short term it is doubtful players will be able to run for office but longer term it might happen one day as player participation is very important to CIG.
Chris Roberts (CR): Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of 10 for the Chairman. For those of you who haven’t seen this before, this is where I answer 10 questions that have been put forward by the subscribers.
The subscribers are a subset of our community that contribute money every month to enable us to do all of our enhanced community content. So we thank you very much for that because it really allows us to do a higher degree of content and pays for a lot of the community staff and videographers and editors to allow us to put all the video shows we do every week and also do the extra amount of updates on our website and we have also for subscribers as part of a perk for subscribing there’s a Jump Point magazine which is usually somewhere between 40 and 70 pages of behind the scenes material, how we build and design ships or how we’re designing a game system or lore for the world or details about a system and also some fictional stories that we’ve published.
It’s really a pretty cool read and it has sort of I guess information a little sooner than we release to the general overall community so it’s kind of a perk for being a subscriber and then there’s also sort of flair that we add to the hangar and some other areas in terms of well, thank you for being subscribers and helping us do all this other stuff so because of that I also try to answer 10 questions put forward by the subscribers as the best of my ability that hopefully gives you a little insight into where we’re heading or some of the ideas we have or answer some of the questions you guys would really like answered. So the first one comes from.
[01:48] Furry Quandarys asks: It’s been stated that Squadron 42 is set a few years before the PU. So will S42 be set at the current-game year at the time of its release (ie 2946) and the PU ahead of the current year. Or S42 in the past and the PU in the current year? Will episode 2 also be set before the PU?
CR: I would think that in general we would set the Squadron 42 Episode 1, 2 and 3 would all be set before we start the PU timeline, I guess is the way to think of it. So, right now, we do this analogous, it used to be 2942, now it’s 2946, so we would probably be setting Squadron 42 in 2942 and between there and when the PU would start. Squadron 42, 2942, works pretty well.
[2:58] Zankyri asks: My ship has been boarded and I cut the gravity generator. Assuming I still have thrusters and potentially partial main engines. I wait until the boarders are inside the ship, my crew are strapped into crew seats and I use the thrusters/engines to generate G-force, pitch, yaw, roll forward, speed, hard stop, rinse repeat. If I am able to generate even 25 m/sec potential boarding parties will be hitting walls at 90 km/hour.Does the game have sufficient physics to handle this kind of damage implementation, and how effective would mag boots be in this scenario?
CR: So that’s definitely, a pretty detailed question and approach. So what I will say is that the longer term plan for the interior grid physics is that we will simulate a certain amount of external forces. So if a ship gets hit we’re planning to have a bit of that force propagate inside to the non strapped down or attached entities, one of which will be players. So you know that classic Star Wars shot where, or Star Trek really where the ship gets hit and everyone sort of staggers and braces themselves against walls. That’s all stuff that long term we are planning on doing. Part of what we’re doing with the physicalised EVA is some early stuff that will enable this combination of animation and procedural physical reaction to an environment.
So we’ll definitely do some of that and the bigger ships also in terms of they have to do a hard turn then what would be probably do even though they have their own gravity generators, is that maybe the gravity field or whatever is slightly laggy for where the ship position is. So if you’re turning really fast so that the gravity in stead of being straight down is there until it can move back there. You would have a little bit of this turning effect. You see it in classic Star Wars where it’s like, Empire Strikes Back “Take evasive action!”. The two, well actually three Star Destroyers all do this [gestures with hands] you’ll see people tilt on one of their bridges. We’ll try to do a bit of that, I don’t know if we’re going to do it to the point where you could generate that much force that you would, that is being described in this question.
The idea will be it’s damped it wouldn’t necessarily be full on, it would be a little bit of it would bleed into the interior physics stuff. Now if you turned all the gravity off inside the ship, then yes you would be in zero G and then as things move around you’re not attached to anything then we would have to probably, would have to see how to do that, because generally you would still be in the interior grid physics. So we would have to iterate through non attached entities and essentially keep them in their relative place within the overall ship. So basically they would stay in the world frame reference while the ship itself would move around. We can definitely do that but that currently would require a little extra code.
So I would say longer term that potentially will happen short term that’s not right on the immediate horizon for implementation. And if you had mag-boots that probably would secure you to something then you wouldn’t move around.
[6:17] Heavy Metal asks: A while ago, before the baby PU, there was talk of a ‘Pirate Swarm’ much like Vanduul Swarm. I know in some way that is what we find at the Com arrays in the PU but is there still a chance of getting that in Arena Commander? I would love to hone my skills and test weapons on ships after other than Vanduul, and I would love to see the larger ships in solo play.
So, Pirate Swarm essentially is what we got in Crusader. So, we were sort of building . . at the time when it was just Arena Commander, we want to change it around and have maybe some other modes to fight some other enemies. In reality the Crusader map, which is the mini PU map, which is really going to grow into the Stanton star system map, where we sort of decided to put these different encounters whether it was with AI or you could find other players to fight. And so that’s essentially where Pirate Swarm went.
So, in the short term we are not really planning on doing a lot of work on Arena Commander, because we really want to get the base game play and functionality into the proper large world map, the proper mini PU. Get the various rock, paper, scissors aspects, the various different professions, the various different forces in opposition, and the various mechanics that keep people aligned whether you’re good or bad or whatever. For us Arena Commander, now is a good place to test some of your dogfighting skills.Longer term we will add to it.
We will probably add some more challenge modes and definitely do better matchmaking and make that more of a competitive practice area. Of course we’ll do the same thing with Star Marine, but right now we really just sort of want to get everything into the mini PU because that’s sort of our foundation for the overall game. Then things will trickle later on into features for Arena Commander or Star Marine, which are really meant to be ultimately training modes for you to train in certain aspects of the game. Potentially also to test your skills against other players without having the same sort of risk you would have in the proper Persistent Universe because it’s persistent. So if you lose things or die, you will lose them, whereas in Arena Commander or Star Marine you won’t.
[8:24] Zilch asks: How will reconnaissance work, aside from relaying information through chat? Will there be in-game methods for ships to mark targets either physically or electronically? Will there be any value in sending ships or players as operatives in advance of an attacking force?
CR: So, absolutely, yes, there will be in-game methods for marking ships. I think I talked a long time ago and mentioned quite a few times about sort of the “person of interest”, and really “person of interest”, “point of interest” kind of gameplay where you would sort of tag a ship or tag an individual and you say “yes, I’m interested in them”. You could maybe say “Yes, I’m marking this person for my friends to follow” or you are going to say “Yes, meet me at this location” and tag this location and beam it to your friends.
So, definitely having someone out there sort of being sort of the eyes and relaying information to other players cooperatively would be a big part of gameplay and I think, you know, it will fall very much in line of what I think makes Star Citizen special, ‘cause I really sort of feel, and it’s kind of cool watching you know, all the people streaming 2.1 and 2.2 and videos people have made where you really, the –some of the coolest stuff is people working with each other to do things, you know. Helping each other out, rescuing someone, you know, working in unison to fly a bigger ship, and of course I mention this all the time, but those are things that are very high on the list to make sure, you know, all the full functionality is there for it ‘cause we’re still missing a bunch on the multi-crew functionality and the seats, and all the rest of stuff, which is being worked on as I speak.
But ,you know, the cooperative nature of the gameplay is really important for us, and obviously reconnaissance, and calling out targets, and all that would be part of it.
[10:02] Darjanator asks: My question is about scripted non-hostile NPC encounters. In most games these animations are done with no regard to player position or actions, but you’ve said this will not be the case here. Can we expect NPCs to not just bump into us if we get in their way during scripted animation? Will they use some other means to get around us along their path or make us get our of their way (maybe based on their personality, I.E try to squeeze past or ordering you to get the hell out of their way)?
CR: That’s definitely something that is big on the list, it’s a core feature to Squadron 42 which will also be used in the Persistent Universe, but in general what’s going to happen is the encounters, characters moving around, it’s not really going to be just some canned animation that plays.
What will happen is, AI will have all the different fragments and pieces of various things the characters can do and then it sorts of systematically plays them based on situation, y’know, where you are with respect to the character, it can also adjust it’s look procedurally or his or her look procedurally on the NPC side. So if you get in the way then it’ll just sort of shift into locomotion to avoid you there will also be co-operative animations for people trying to squeeze past you, so we’re really going to try to bring it a little more life-like.
I think Uncharted, y’know the videos for the new Uncharted 4 but, Uncharted does a really good job of this for some of the NPC moving around with interactions. We definitely aiming to be there or better.
[11:38] Corrin Avatan asks: In the recent 10 for the Chairman, there was mention of hacking a terminal to reduce wanted level. Given that in-universe, there is no FTL communication, will there be instances where someone can commit a crime in one system, jump three systems away, and the local police will scan them, but not realize they have a criminal, until the next ‘Criminal Information’ update comes in via Herald or Reliant News Van?
Yes. Absolutely, 100 percent. That is the design.
So even though we recognise that players can talk to each other on TeamSpeak or Discord or in channel chat, and that’s basically instantaneous so it would be faster than light if you were talking to your buddy in another system and we can’t block that because you can always just run an independent program, we will make sure that all the game systems themselves propagate properly in the game. So in terms of your wanted status in the game or when you are transferring funds or transferring goods they will all have to move via locations, to different things, as you would inside the physical setup of our game.
So yes you could commit a crime, jump out of there and that may not have reached the system you’ve got to just yet. At some point it will, because the information will travel through the UEE Advocacy network and you’ll become wanted in that system, but you’ll maybe be able to “beat” the information. But that is also one of the reasons why an info-runner has a job because on the less structured systems like … so a more regulated police system has a lot of communication satellites and information relays that are used to broadcast stuff around and then send the little drones through jump points to the other system which then broadcasts stuff around but that’s in the structured infrastructure in the core of the UEE system … the border ones you maybe won’t get that or it will only be in certain areas or patchy and so things like info-runners will be the courier that comes and passes information.
So that’s a good reason: maybe you don’t want the message to get somewhere. Maybe someone does. So there’s cool gameplay that comes from that.
And I think also I should mention that in 2.2 right now we already kind of have a little bit of this gameplay where you can adjust your wanted level in Port Kareah and it adds a goal to be in Port Kareah. Also taking down or putting up the satellites basically enables whether there is coverage in that area. So whether you commit a criminal act or not, if the satellite’s down then you can do what you want, if it’s up and you shoot someone that you shouldn’t shoot i.e. you shoot a lawful person, that isn’t wanted, that doesn’t have a bounty on them, then you become wanted too.
So that’s the very beginning fundamentals of the mechanic that we’ll implement in the bigger system, that will have a lot more details and nuance to it. So what we have right now in 2.2 is the first iteration, which I think is cool because it provide some structure to the gameplay, but obviously it’s a crude first implementation. So for instance we kick you when you are killed at level five to be your big penalty from the server now that is not a long term plan at all.
Long term what will happen is when, depending on side of the law you fall in, when you essentially get killed, say when you become an outlaw you’ll probably respawn in an outlaw friendly area or planet or asteroid base or whatever. And at a certain wanted level when you get killed you basically got captured and you’ll go to a prison. And then you’ll have to get out of the prison by escaping or just serving your time or bribing someone to come out it.
So we’ll make it more immersive and organic to the world but short term we needed … because we don’t have any way to pay people for money in 2.2 and we don’t really have any sort of … there’s no persistence so we don’t really have penalties so we sort of use the penalty of either locking you in your room for a little bit or kicking you from the server. But that is very short term.
[15:33] PartyFruit asks: Will there be an achievement feature in the near future (or at least in the final game)? If so, would they award the players with anything (such as weapons, in-game money, decals)?
CR: Alright well so, a couple of things. Yes long term it’s definitely going to be in the game but my goal for achievements isn’t so much the standard like Xbox goals or the Steam goals. It’s more the you get in-game mementos. So you know you visit a location and you got the snow globe from there. All those kind of silly things when you fly to different cities you bring back little mementos. That definitely would be an achievement feature and you would unlock or get certain items for doing things.
We have a simple thing right now, where you kill a level five outlaw in the current 2.2 build and you will get a laser rifle. Which is a short term kind of achievement thing that you can get. Of course that’s going to become much more sophisticated as things go on. But it will all be based on things that you would get in the world and kind of holistic to the world if that makes sense, and not be some, thing on a scoreboard or not like a little trophy that you get. That’s the idea of the fish tank and all those things you have in your hangar it’s to display your in-game achievements so to speak.
[16:53] Talinon asks: I really want to know if there will be a place for people in Squadron 42 and who don’t want to be part of the FPS but yet still want to be part of the game?
Fortunate to tell you, Talinon, that Squadron 42 has ship combat and FPS and it’s all sort of blended, so you run around on foot, you run around flying ships, you basically fly a Star Pilot so primarily you are going to be flying missions. But there will be cases where you land or you have to EVA to explore a ship, or you’ll get stuck on a base or an asteroid thing, and you’ll have to fight your way out. So it’s really a full seamless blend or running around on foot, flying ships, interacting with characters on the ship your based on or on other locations.
So I don’t think there will be an option to not participate in FPS but do the other things in SQ42, it’s kind of a holistic experience. I think it’s gonna be fun, it’s gonna be good. We’re obviously not going to make it where you need to to be the world’s best FPS player to get through, it’s just going to be a fun adventure, and I think the fact that you go between, it’s all from your point of view and you can do everything as you would almost in the real world, it’s going to make it a much more immersive experience than any of the past Wing Commanders I’ve done. So, there you go, that’s my answer on that one.
[18:13] Conflict Viper asks: You’ve mentioned before that veteran pilots may show their wear and tear with replacement limbs, has there been any thought to allowing pilots to augment their bodies with replacement limbs to allow for higher G endurance and less chance of a blackout during space combat?
CR: Yes, we have discussed that. I mean, we are, you know, longer term going to have replacement limbs and parts spare so you kind of have certain cyborg-y action that’s going on. We have talked about potential to get a better G suit that will let you have higher G tolerances. Potentially, if you have, you know, some augmented body part. Perhaps that would help you too.
So, long term, we have discussed that, and probably will be something long term, but short term, No. That would definitely be part of character customization in our overall long-term plan.
[19:09] Apportioner asks: Will players be able to participate in the UEE or any other faction’s elections? Can a player run for office in the UEE?
CR: I guess we have that because we’re in the process, in America anyway of nominating the various candidates for the next presidency of the United States and hopefully our UEE elections will be less dramatic than the ones happening here in the U.S. But this is early days for us on this. We definitely felt that being a citizen would give you some rights, and one of the rights would be able to, vote or have some effect on general things in the same way, I guess you do in the real world. Which is pretty not that much!
So that is a longer term goal to have some participation in that. Probably will be Game Mastered by us, because we’re planning to besides just having the simulation of the universe we also hand push it and guide it towards, ‘cause we have an overall story and timeline we have in our minds for Star CItizen. So we’ll create events and elections and seismic change events in the universe that will potentially affect players and AI.
One of those could be elections. I don’t think we’ll in the short term anyway, have a player run for the office in the United Empire of Earth but again long term you never know. We’re pretty big on player agency and participation. A lot of the fun that I see happening in the SC Alpha 2.1 and 2.2 is players doing stuff and creating content for other players and we’re pretty big on that. That’s our whole sort of mission. Our world system is built up to react to what players and AI is doing and based on that it generates other missions, so it’s sort of a feedback loop. So getting players involved in other things is good.
So longer term potentially, you never know I think they have a version of players involved in EvE in terms of running things as well. So I think as we said something we’re planning long term but we are going to give you benefits for being a citizen to allow you to participate or get certain things that you wouldn’t if you weren’t a citizen. And of potentially would be voting for this person or that person and then depending on which one you voted for, as an AI character it could have an impact on how the world unfolds in Star Citizen.
So that’s kind of the fun element we’re thinking that we really again player’s themselves doing things, changing, affecting the world and the game or us as Game Masters reacting to that, keeping it fluid and dynamic should be fun!
There’s the ten questions for this episode of this 10 for the Chairman, this is the last episode I will be doing for a few weeks. I’m actually already in the UK now, this is recorded in the past before I left but I am now in a much colder and rainier place than Los Angeles. I will restart it as soon as I am back in LA, back and forth with my schedule, hope the questions that I answered were informative for you guys and my answers were good. Thank you to all the subscribers for backing, first of all allowing us to do this enhanced community content, and all the backers in general for backing the game and allowing us to make a game of the ambition and scope that we’re doing.
A lot of these questions are not normally questions that most games would ever be able to say, “Yes, we’ll do” and one of the reasons why we say, “Yes, we’re going to do it” maybe not always doing it tomorrow but it’s on the plan is because of the support you guys have done. You’re enabling us to build a game of the scope and scale no one would normally in their right mind take on but I think it’s going to be awesome when it’s all said and done. Anyways, it’s been nice talking to you guys and I will talk to you in a few weeks time. Take care, bye.