Chris Roberts is back on his rightful throne on 10 for the Chairman! Check out the transcript.
Transcript by CanadianSyrup, Shiver Bathory, Sunjammer, Stormy Winters, WangPhat, Psylence, Desmarius.
[2:58] Q: Will we have some kind of on ship navigation system for going around the universe?
A: There will be something similar to what’s on the website now on your Mobiglas in the form of an app named Skyline. Ships will have a far more in depth system and map and the more advanced equipment will allow you to share various bits of important date with friends or such.
[4:44] Q: Will we be able to test drive a ship before we buy it from a dealer?
A: A cool in-game, in-fiction way we could do that is allow you to try out the sim version in Arena Commander.
[5:45] Q: What will happen with when the game goes live? Will our current endeavours remain?
A: There isn’t a hard and fast rule. There will be a Alpha UEC that will be wiped and used for testing in the baby PU. Things bought with proper UEC that’s been earned will not be wiped – things bought with proper UEC can be sold back at full price, whereas with Alpha UEC it will have depreciated. There may be a point where we just ‘Go Live’ and remove Alpha UEC entirely and use only proper UEC.
[7:35] Q: When you exit your moving ship, will you ever maintain the velocity of your ship?
A: Yes, but only below a certain speed.
[10:16] Q: Will repairing in the field or applying medical aid require player skill?
A: As with other deep dive mechanics lesser tasks are simplified, but higher level tasks will rely upon player skill.
[11:57] Q: How will smaller ships be launched from and recovered by capital ships? Will there be catapults and an arrestment systems?
A: We’re not going to have catapults or an arrestment system on the carriers. To take off you’ll lift up, hover and then accelerate forward and out. To land you’ll have to come in, match velocities and descend. We’re currently testing landing on the Idris: it can be quite tricky so one of our tasks is to develop an automated landing system.
[15:02] Q:Will there be game wide events, huge events going on that have changes in the game universe?
A: Yes, GM’s will be creating a few events with an overall plan and story to tell. These will be in reaction to player actions and somewhat even to AI actions. These can range from a Vanduul incursion to an entire planet being destroyed.
[16:35] Q: Why are you moving forward on concept/designs for new ships while variants of existing ones are still not flyable/hangar ready.
A: Different teams of people are working on building them versus concepting them. Need to continue that pipeline to keep content releases consistent. Also to continue to add new content to the game at all times. One team is not blocking the other.
[19:55] Q: Can we rent more hangar space so I can see all the ships I’ve bought at once?
A: Long-term renting hangar space is they want to do. If you had 2 dozen ships, then half your ships could be in one hangar in one system and half in another – a forward operating base if you will. You’ll also be able to customize the hangars in terms of flair initially, but soon in terms of extra space or rooms. You won’t be able to have a insane amount of ships, because that starts to affect performance, but they’ll try to have a high limit. Bigger ships might need to stay in orbit.
[23:34] Q: Would it be possible for players to perform acts of anarchy or terrorism in high security areas like Terra?
A: There will be areas like Terra or Earth where something like that will be impossible to do, but there are also areas that you could do that with extreme difficulty and there are also totally lawless areas. The example given was intercepting a transport ship with gold coming from Terra going elsewhere. Maybe other AI or players are running security for it or even competing for it. You could probably attack it in space in between the two areas but not when in Terra due to too high security.
Chris Roberts (CR): Hello. Welcome to another episode of 10 for the Chairman. For those who haven’t watched this before this is where I take 10 questions from the subscribers and answer them to the best of my ability, questions obviously about Star Citizen and Squadron 42, and our subscribers are a subset of our community that contribute money every month every month to allow us to do enhanced community content.
So this show, Around the ‘Verse, a bunch of other things we do like BugSmashers as well as the Jump Point Magazine which is usually 40-70 pages of behind the scenes material on the development of Star Citizen. It’s a really great read if you haven’t read it. It has sort of in depth dives on how we design and concept spaceships, do game mechanics, lore about various parts of the galaxy and has fiction and it’s by David Ladyman who does a fantastic job and has various contributors from around the company contributing great stuff to do. I’d recommend checking that out, but subscribers make all this possible so thank you very much and obviously thank you to everyone that’s backed the game because a combination of all the backers and subscribers would, I wouldn’t be sitting here if that wasn’t the case.
So anyway I have these 10 questions. Speaking of backers of the game we’ve got a couple of a little gifts that came in this week which is sort of cool because the last few times I’ve asked various folks like Jared and Thomas going “Hey do we have any cool stuff?”. It was pretty barren for a while and I was a sad puppy, but now we’ve got some cool stuff. Look we’ve got a cool Star Citizen. This is from the FMJ Operations, “Never outgunned, only out numbered”.
This was sent from Space Ghost and cool patches, they want to sew on, not necessarily on this sweater. Looks like a challenge coin, but done as a keyring and some pretty cool little sort of pins, Star Citizen and the FMJ Operations so very cool!
Anyway that’s actually kind of cool stuff and over here from Sniffle Wizard which is Aka Windo Jackson, I think that’s who is in the game and our forums. Little Cozes which he sent in here for a whole bunch of folks like the community team which is cool and some yellow dog tags if the various other dog tags we have out there aren’t good enough. The original ones with the black edges that we did here on our side and then some new metal ones. Pretty soon everyone will be weighed down with dogtags, but anyways that’s very cool, matching yellow ones so thank you Sniffle Wizard. So there you go, anyways thanks for the cool little chotskies here and I should probably get onto the 10 questions.
Let’s see the first question comes from…
[2:58] Maxx Overseer asks: I love flying around in Horus System but I’m lost with what and where things are at. Will our ships have something like the ARK Starmap built in so I can at least know where I stand in the system.
So i’m assuming that you mean the Stanton system which is sort of where Crusader is based and we just really have the area around Crusader although we are planning on expanding it in the near future to have the whole star system in. So that will be whole bunch more. That will come with the debut of procedural planets and a few other things. So that’s something to look forward to. But generally you’ll have Skyline which is an app on your MobiGlas which will be your personal sort of Star Map so not too dissimilar to what you can do on the web.
And then we’ll have a more in depth Nav Map that ships will have. Especially the bigger ships that have charting and stuff like that. So like the Carrack will have sort of a big Holo Table with a Star Map that you can manipulate and look around. The ships with the more sophisticated Nav Computers will allow you to do more planning, sharing Nav Points and charting things with your friends as you just generally explore stuff. So yes you will have all that. That’s actually one of the key features when we expand out Stanton system to allow you to adventure out. It’s in the works, it’s in development. It’s a fair amount of engineering, and we’ve got a bunch of earlier UI/UX that has to debut first but it definitely will be there. So you won’t get lost, and also will be able to message your friends or give out your location and stuff like that.
[4:44] Mattheus asks: Hey Chris, I just finished flying a few of the ships that you let us fly during the last free fly weekend that I currently don’t own. I thought that it was pretty cool, but I did have a question. In the ‘Verse when we go to buy ships from a ship dealer will they have an enclosed track/shooting range for us to test out the ships before we buy them?
That is a pretty good suggestion I would … we haven’t necessarily thought about that but one way probably to do that would be to allow someone that goes into a ship dealer to potentially boot up a quick sim, which is essentially what we do in Arena Commander, to allow you to feel the sim version of the ship around and feel it for a bit. So maybe you get a token to use that ship inside the Arena Commander simpod to see if you like it or not. And then perhaps you can go buy it.
So we’ll consider that because I think that’s actually a pretty cool in-fiction, in-game way for people to maybe do a test drive. So thanks Mattheus.
[5:45] Blade of Akire asks: As more and more features are made live within the baby PU, such as persistence, what will happen at ‘Go Live’? Will the universe be reset to first positions a la Truman Show style or will our current endeavours persist over the threshold?
Again, that’s another good question. So, we haven’t made a hard and fast rule of it, so the plan is for the current mini PU, especially when we started with persistence which will have some currency, it’ll be Alpha UEC, and Alpha UEC we can reset at any time. We will still let you spend some of the actual proper UEC that you guys have collected or have been given and in that case we won’t reset things that you’ve bought with that.
I think I mentioned this last week that we also won’t take those things back if you’ve bought them with them and we’ll let you trade them in for the full UEC price whereas on the Alpha UEC it’ll be more like how the final implementation will be where it’s as if it’s like if you buy a new ship, a new weapon and you come back to sell it back again, it’ll have had some depreciation.
So, will it occasionally reset stuff? I think until we have the dynamic economy working over quite a few star systems we won’t have felt like everything’s balance and free of exploits and glitches. Until then we probably will reserve the right to reset stuff, but there may very well be a case before we consider it final, ‘Go Live’, that we just decide: “no, this is it, we’re switching to proper UEC, everything is stable enough, and we’ll go live from here.”. And things that from that point on that you build up would stay with you, although, to be honest with you, that probably is a good definition of ‘Go Live’.
That’s kind of it, like I said, not a hard and fast rule but those are kind of the thinking that we have for approaching it.
[7:35] Byetor asks: I have a question about EVA while moving. When I leave my moving ship I instantly stop relative to the ship. Following Newton’s First Law of Motion I should remain at the same speed as my ship, and be able to do an EVA regardless of velocity i.e. 2001 a Space Odyssey. Will this ever be an option in the game?
This is something we’ve debated internally. The conflict with it is, we want to cap your individual player velocity so it doesn’t become too big to control or arrest. For instance your EVA pack doesn’t have nearly the amount of fuel or thrust power that say, for instance, your spaceship would necessarily have. Although the other flip side of that, is that you should inherit the velocity of your parent object. So if you step off a Freelancer that’s going 200 m/s, I should probably be flying 200 m/s, or moving at 200 m/s.
We sort of go back and forth on our debate on this because essentially what happens is the EVA system has several thresholds. One, it has a normal one which is 15 m/s, and then it has the “boost” one, which is 50 m/s maybe 100 m/s, I honestly can’t remember what that is. Those are the ranges that it caps you in, in the same way that ships themselves are capped.
Don’t forget that there is only a certain amount of thrust on your EVA pack. So there’s a certain point where, just for instance if you were like designing it so people couldn’t get themselves in trouble, you probably would cap how fast you would let them accelerate to because they would need to have enough thrust available for them to decelerate back down to zero; or else you would get up to a certain speed and you would never be able to stop unless someone else stopped you.
As an individual in an EVA suit, getting stopped when you’re at a fast speed would either be very painful, fatal, or would take someone a lot of care to do. That’s kind of it. We sort of have the trade off. I would think that what we would probably do, is if you went out EVA’ing at speed, you would go out at speed and it would bleed your speed down to a more controllable amount, but you should inherit the velocity of your parent ship. I don’t know whether we’d let you open the airlock doors and get out when you’re in cruise or anything really fast. At precision mode, definitely, SCM, again that would depend on the speeds you were doing.
[10:16] Seraphina asks: Will repairing ‘on the fly’ or suturing wounds, etc be something you’ll have to get good at doing, or will it consist of you clicking ‘F’ where the game tells you to?
So, if we’re talking about repairing you as a player. Definitely the better or the deeper fixing up, which is what we call targeted healing, will require some element of skill. So, the simple one is bam [makes stabbing motion]med pen, just give myself a quick… whatever… whatever in the future we’re doing it. The sort of cortisone, steroid boost… adrenaline shot gets you back into it, but to actually do repairs some greater damage we’re going to have a certain amount of skill in terms of targeting and being able to apply it and all the rest of the stuff.
I would say to a certain level we probably have that on a more complicated repairing as well. Maybe if you’re patching up a hole or something like that we… is the same kind of idea of mechanics for we’ve been talking about for mining where there’s a certain amount of skill in drilling, using a laser at a certain frequency, gauging how much your frequency is, kinda what the vibration of the rocks that you are drilling into, whether you are possibly penetrating some dangerous gases or rest of the stuff.
So, what we will try to have some of the higher level stuff requires some skill and the lower level stuff like I said, just a med pen is bam [makes stabbing motion] pop it, give you a sort of short term boost, but to really fix someone up or some ship up we’re going to have some level of player skill.
[11:57] Nimrod_77 asks: What plans are for launch and recovery of single seat craft on capital ships, etc? Will there be a catapult system or similar to the ones used on carriers today, or do we simply ‘take off’ like we do on a landing pad now? Will there be an arrestment system for landing like on real aircraft carriers or will we just land as we do not on the landing pads in free flight?
So on the Idris and the Bengal we’re not really going to have a catapult system to the same level. We have a little bit where I think … I don’t know if we showed it but there’s some blast … I don’t know what you would call it … shields that come up on the flight deck so when the Gladiuses lift off and thrust away it will shield the back of the flight deck from from the blast shield.
But essentially the take off mechanism will be a lot like, if you remember the original Squadron 42 trailer that Hannes did and you saw the Hornets lift up like this [hand hovering over desk] to a hover position and then “whoosh” accelerate out. So that’s essentially how most single seat fighters will launch.
Coming in it will be the same … they’ll come in and arrest … they’ll have to match velocity with the ship they are landing on, the Bengal or the Idris or whatever other ship they are landing on, and then they’ll come in, match velocity and land.
It’s actually trickier than one would think. We are actually doing landings on Idrisses at the moment on the development side and there’s been a few cases of people smashing in Idris and the side of the walls. So one of actually the tasks we’re working on for the landing system is to also have an automated landing for alignment and bringing you in. Because unless the ship you are landing on is not moving it actually becomes fairly tricky. So if have, say, the Idris doing 100m/s and you’re trying to land, you’re actually landing faster and you’ve got to be … and if it’s doing any movement changes and you’re doing any it can be … it can be challenging!
So we’ll have the ability to hook into the “auto landing system” or land manually yourself but it will be the same kind of landing pad mechanic where you’d come in, and as you came in … so basically you come in at 200 … the IFCS would actually adjust your velocity so that as you come inside you’re of course entering the ship itself so you’re inheriting the ship’s velocity, so if I was going 200m/s and entering and Idris at 100m/s, once I’ve crossed the threshold I really … relative … would be travelling 100m/s to the Idris flight deck. Of course we don’t really want to be travelling at 100m/s while we are entering way to fast: you’d probably want to be entering around a hundred and … if the ship was going 100m/s, the Idris, then you probably want to end up entering into it at around, I don’t know, 120m/s or something?
So there will be skill in doing it but it will be more the landing pad and just making sure you are coming through the opening in the door.
[15:02] Thunder_Kraken asks: Will there be cataclysmic events in the PU? Planets/space stations blowing up, stars going supernova, rogue meteor showers, mass migrations occurring, plague, etc. Would one day everyone be talking about a certain planet or place as if it were a distant memory?
So we are definitely going to do a cataclysmic events, acts of God. That will be more us on the PU, whatever you want to call it. So Gamemaster side, where we’ll look at what’s happening around in the universe and then we’ll create occasional pockets of chaos. Maybe there’s a famine over here, maybe there’s a bit of civil war over here. That will create events and missions for the players and the AI to participate in.
So we’ll look at it and there will be places where people have to be made to come into fight off a Vanduul incursion or all sorts of stuff and potentially space stations or who knows a planet could even get raised. But that would all be, I guess overall manipulation of the full PU to, riff off what all the players are doing, kind of what the AI is doing it’s kind of systemic play then we sort of, like throwing a pebble into a smooth pond, put a few pebbles here and there to create ripple effects and create a little interest. So yes we will definitely be doing that.
[16:35] Ethnine asks: I would like to know what the reasoning is behind moving forward with concept/designs of other ships when we still have ships like the Freelancer variants and Redeemer still not flight ready and in our hangars?
The reason why we are doing that is because… so the people who are actually building the ships to put them in the game is a completely different group of people than who do the concept and design of ships. The reason why we’re continuing to concept ships now is because the whole idea was with the universe especially once its up and running.
It’s going to be like the real world, there will be different… new models of ships coming out, new variations and things for people to earn money towards so they can buy this new ship that comes out or buy this new gun or buy a little piece of real estate. Everyone needs goals for the game and so we want to keep a constant supply of ships and weapons and other features for people to work towards acquiring and use in the game.
So, we really need to keep the pipeline going so there’s been a few cases where we’ve just stopped on the pipeline and the it kind of dried up for a while which isn’t a good thing. You’ll see now that we’re pretty steadily delivering ships into the hangar and delivering ships into a flyable state because we have a pretty large team of 3D modelers, technical artists all working on the ships and technical designers all setting them up.
The concept side is the front end of that pipeline so we’re continuing to flesh out the various ships that we think we want in the ecosystem because you want to fly around in the universe of Star Citizen and it should feel like a busy, alive universe with variety and all sorts of things. Whether it’s ships or equipment you can use or even races, we want to make it teeming and real and it’s been there for hundreds, millions of years.
It should feel like a living, breathing universe so as part of that we need to complete pipeline to carry on because right now if we don’t do some of the concepts by the time some of the modelers have finished they won’t have new stuff to roll onto. So, that’s kind of the plan that is encompassed so we continue to work on some of the concept stuff to make sure that we have a pipeline and some of the ships maybe not in the hangar right now are already in process in the background with the modeling team.
That is why, to maintain the pipeline because our goal is to basically to constantly be adding content, even when the game is what we would consider live release or whatever. We will constantly be adding all sorts of things to it, content in terms of ships and equipment, clothes, characters, missions, star systems, all those sort of things…functionalities and features we’ll continue to add. Part of that is ships which is why you have concepts happening as well as the modeling so different folks, one is not blocking the other which is the easy way to answer that.
[19:55] Elwood Short asks: I have recently bought a ship bundle pack (Combo War Pack), but unfortunately I discovered that I can only use five hangar bays, so I can’t have all my ships out at once, even close to all of them. Will the hangars be able to be made bigger in time, or will renting extra hangar space be an in game feature?
Longer-term absolutely being able to rent and get bigger hangar space will be something that we will have as a game feature, also, I think, depending on how you play, you may actually want to have some of your ships in various areas around the Universe, depending, I mean, obviously, we just have the Stanton system, there isn’t as much need for that as possible.
But as you can already see, there’s different kinds of gameplay based on different kinds of ships, like Hornet is great for dogfighting but it’s really- well it can’t carry cargo, so you may need a cargo ship – Starfarer or a Hull C or a D, you may also want to get- go and do a mercenary mission and that may need that you want to take a Hornet or something like that with it and so the idea- maybe there’s some missions or adventures that you want to do on one side of the known UEE universe and maybe there’s some stuff you want to do over here.
I could definitely see at the point where you’ve acquired a fair amount of wealth in the game and a fair amount of ships that you may actually have – just like rich people in the world do now, they have houses in different cities – I think you could potentially own hangars in different planets with some of the ships you have, so depending on where you are you’ll always have somewhere you can go quickly to switch out a ship – because you’re only going to ever be able to switch your ships based on where they are in the hangar.
So if I am operating seven systems away from my homebase and I’ve got twenty ships in my home hangar and I want to change out one of my ships, I need to go all the way back to my homebase, or have someone fly it out to me just to change out that ship, so a lot of times, I would think if you said “oh, I’m going to operating in this system and do some trading here”, you may want to have a almost forward operating base that you would have some of your ships in.
I definitely think you’ll be able to rent stuff and have more- and customize your hangar too, so in the persistent stuff that we’re doing, that we are going to start to roll out, you are going to be able to customize your hangar in terms of place where your flair is initially, then sort of expand it out and buy some extra space or some extra rooms and do all that, and the only caveat that would have is potentially a sort of rendering caveat, at some point if you had seventy ships and you wanted to see them all on one long run, that’s probably more than we could render at once, which is one of the reasons why we had limited hangars to a certain extent and you could pick which ships you could have in the hangars, just essentially to not have the machine go to five frames-per-second.
Now, we’re optimizing things, so that will definitely be bigger but probably- there’s not likely to be a case where you would have this sort-of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” hangar because as far as you can possibly see with as many ships as you can possibly see will put- I will promise that we will try to get as many ships in as we can and so, ultimately I think we will move towards something that you will like, although I’m not sure if we can have every single ship in it.
But, it potentially will, of course, the hangars won’t be able to have very bigger ships in because they’ll have to stay in orbit, but anyway, there you go. Not sure if that answer helped you out that much, but that’s kind of what the plan is.
[23:34] WLB asks: Given that spaceport security and armistice zones are meant to protect against griefing, would it be possible for a really skilled or coordinated team of players to circumvent that security for nefarious purposes? Like say a handful of players roleplaying as violent extremists wants to stage a terrorist attack on Terra.
That is an interesting question, I would say that there will be places that it will be almost impossible to do anything in. And then there will be places where there is security and armistice zones that if you’re very determined and shut down security systems and do near anything else, you could potentially cause some mayhem and we’ll gradually build that in such a way so that, doing a terrorist attack on Terra is out of the question but there may be some space stations and stuff that are kind of in between where maybe the security isn’t as close to the power of the UEE although it does have security and law enforcement. But a determined group of pirates could for a very short period of time cause some mayhem there. And we’ll have a few of those, we’ll have some safe places and then we’ll have some completely unsafe places and probably the risk-reward of all those places will be factored in.
So you can probably make the most money in the unsafest areas, but of course there’s a higher risk. In the safe areas you don’t make as much money say trading or doing stuff but it’s pretty safe and you’re not likely to be attacked and if you are attacked there’s a lot of backup and help that will show up. But we will make it so that for instance perhaps there could be a heist in a really like something like the Terra system for a cargo ship full of gold bullion or something but that heist would have to be incredibly well planned.
Think of it like the Heat heist. At the beginning of the film Heat with DeNiro and Pacino where you would have to take down all the security systems and do all this and coordinate and do it all at once, and you would have a window of a very small amount of time before you get away with the loot. Those kind of heists would be much more NPC AI driven in terms of what you’re heisting. So maybe that shipment is something that’s getting shipped from the Bank of Terra to somewhere else and someone else gets wind of it and it’s a criminal mission and then of course it could also be players and other AI that are also performing security. So that would be really hard to do but if you managed to do it the payoff would be really big. And of course you obviously have the risk of being a wanted person and all the rest of the stuff. We’re going to build all those aspects in. So we’re going to have areas that we’ll let that kind of gameplay work and potentially there can be some less safe space stations. But there will definitely be some places that aren’t just going to let you go in and destabilise. So like Terra or Earth, those kinds of one’s will be pretty safe havens. And even when you go down on to pass through the Customs or Immigration you’ll have to cash in or pass in your weapons that you have, you can’t take any weapons with you and they’ll scan you going through and I think if you look at the ArcCorp you’ll see the scanner setup and everything.
So you have to land on the outside and pass through Customs and it’s all sort of secure. And there’ll be some places that don’t have that I definitely think Nyx or really Levski will be less secure in the long run and that will have more law on the ground so to speak. So if you went in there and took a gun and started shooting maybe the local Police guys would come after you. Those are one of the things we’ll play with. So they’ll definitely be places that will be safe and they’ll be places that won’t be safe. And that’ll be kind of up to you and what sort of challenge you’re interested in.
Alright, I think that’s the 10 questions. So, hope they helped out, hope some of those were interesting. Thank you guys very much for subscribing and supporting us in doing all of this enhanced community content, I say this every time but the fact that we do all this constant communication, we try to find new ways to do it is one of the reasons why Star Citizen is so successful, is you guys are along the ride with us as we are making this incredibly ambitious game, we couldn’t do it without you so thank you very much for that.
Our determination is to share as much as possible with you, having the interaction – you guys testing the game on the PTU and even on the Live releases, giving feedback helps us hone, change and basically work the game in the direction that I think will be just a great experience. It’s a really fun way to make a game actually, seeing it grow up in front of your eyes, and have everyone contribute, so thank you guys very much, thank you for everyone out there that’s backed and I’ll see you next week.