It’s the last episode of 10 for the Chairman with Chris Roberts for awhile, so check out the transcript of the show!
Transcript by CanadianSyrup, Sunjammer, NYXT, Stormy Winters, Nehkara
[1:41] Q: Will we be able to turn off all lights in a ship? Would we be able to use this to help fend off pirates by using say, nightvision goggles?
A: Yes. This functionality is part of Item System 2.0. Each release new parts of Item System 2.0 are being added and once enough is in they’ll do a pass over all old items to get Item 2.0 functionality. This will allow seats to be reassigned to different tasks and control centres to manage lighting or door locking or power or even the gravity generator.
There will be tools inside bigger ships to micromanage internal systems. Items are connected via pipes, like a component might vent heat into pipes and if that’s damaged the component will overheat. Or if there is a targeting computer it might perform better if it is getting more “CPU cycles” from processor component(s). This is based on how players configure their ships.
It’s systematic, if damage happens on the outside, it could propagate in and damage internal components. If a power node goes down that could cause a blackout for a section of the ship – this could be fixed or on bigger ships power could be rerouted through an alternate node.
Yes. You can control the lights.
[7:38] Q: Will there be individual engine controls and stresses? If you push an engine too hard or an engine fails can you adjust the power or fuel mixture?
A: Yes. On bigger ships an engineer can actively adjust the engine settings. We may sell “overclocking kits” for racing ships. It’s always a balance: more power means more heat and greater potential for damage. This will also be true for many other types of items!
[10:05] Q: Why is the Redeemer taking so long to go to flight ready status?
A: Paul Dalessi was one of the core members of the team that built the ship for The Next Great Starship and he now works for CIG in Foundry 42. He’s currently working on ships for Squadron 42 which is a higher priority at this point and we feel that if anyone should be the one to bring the Redeemer to the standard we have set for ships today, it would be him. So once he’s free, he’ll begin working on that.
[11:15] Q: Will the reputation system end up being more basic or more nuanced?
A: System will be fairly nuanced, it will allow for players to who they want to align with or not. Your actions will affect it as well, negatively and positively depending on what you do.
[14:16] Q: Whenever I lose my guns in space will I have to buy new ones?
A: Generally if you damage your ship when you are flying it you will have to pay to get it repaired. Depending on the type of insurance you have it may pay for the ship and/or custom components. However there will be penalties for making repeated claims to prevent people abusing it: premiums increase, replacements take longer, there is extra scrutiny, etc. An advantage of having an Alpha phase is we get to find a nice balance for this with your help.
[18:33] Q: Will you party with SQ42 or SC launches?
A: It’ll be a moment worthy of a party. That’d probably be up to Ben & Sandi. Everyone will be very happy though.
[18:58] Q: Plans to improve the Issue Council? e.i website functionality/designated moderators.
A: Always looking for ways to make it better, have the bug reporting system now but always looking for ways to make things more efficient. Recently trying to change their ‘testing’ a little more to have more early testers and to enable more targeted, specific testing.
[21:28] Q: Will there be a possibility to show the back of the ship permanently on a second display/monitor?
A: Short term, no. Longer term, possibly.
[23:10] Q: Thoughts on where CIG will go after Star Citizen is finished? Will you develop additional content?
A: CIG will continue to produce features, content, functionality improvements, and new singleplayer campaigns for Star Citizen for the foreseeable future. (i.e. World of Warcraft, EVE Online)
[26:48] Q: Will you use motion capture on animals to have basic motion sets for pets and alien creatures?
A: I think we probably would do some animal motion capture. It’s always fun. But down the road, after we’ve got some of the more fundamental things going.
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 take 10 questions from subscribers that are apart of the Star Citizen community and answer them to the best of my ability.
Subscribers are a subset of our community that contribute money every month to enable us to do all our enhanced community content so thank you very much for that. So that allows this show and Around the ‘Verse and all the extra stuff like Reverse the ‘Verse and Bug Smashers and as well as this monthly magazine we do called Jump Point which is usually 50-70 pages of behind the scenes material about us building and designing ships, various game designs, background decisions. There’s lore and talking about the various parts of the Star Citizen universe as well as fiction that we have in every magazine issue.
So I recommend checking it out, it’s actually pretty cool. David Ladyman runs that as the Editor and collates and brings stuff together from the teams all around the world working on Star Citizen. So thanks to subscribers, that enables us to do a whole bunch of enhanced community content which I think is vital because we’re constantly sharing what we’re working on which is a lot and it allows me to do this.I answer the 10 questions as best as I can, sometimes it causes concern threads, but you know that’s the nature of a crowd developed game.
Here we go, first question comes from…
[1:41] Jmojo asks: Will we have the option to turn all of the lights off in a ship? Say Starfarer if we get pirates or other players try and overtake the ship, can we shut the lights out and pull on night vision of some kind as countermeasures to survive/kill them?
So, the nswer is Yes. This is one of the big things that we keep talking about Item System 2.0 which is really a refactoring of the items and the entity system and will fold across into how the characters – what we call players inside the code – and vehicles will function. It’s to allow a lot more functionality and control.
So right now on the ships, especially on the multi-crew ships, a lot of the functionality isn’t there because we have a lot of the old items and we’re just moving over to the new ones not fully implemented in there – we’re in this half way state.
Each new release we add a bit more of the code although we don’t necessarily change the items themselves over to using the new code yet. When we have enough of the base code in we’ll just pass on all the items and we’ll move over to the Item 2.0 functionality which will allow a lot more – for instance, for ships in multi-crew and seats, or stations, you’ll be delegate control over different things like passive control of a turret to another seat, have different seats have control over things like engineering, power distribution and stuff like that- shield management and also just ship systems.
Some stuff that we worked on- there’s some pretty cool prototype stuff. I think at some point we’re going to be showing it. Not necessarily in this session but during some of the prototype stuff that allows you to go to a control centre and turn off lights in sections or lock down doors or turn off power- potentially even turn off the gravity generator.
There’s going to be a lot of tools for people on ships – especially the bigger ships – to be able to micromanage the systems internally which you could potentially use to slow down or thwart people boarding and vice-versa. The other side of it is that people trying to take over a ship could potentially cause havoc and damage by cutting power nodes or getting access to a control room and then shutting other people in.
All this is pretty cool, of course, certain levels of control have certain security access has to come with a card or something else but all that functionality comes with Item 2.0. All the items that are connected by pipes. We’ve talked a lot about the pipe concept where they- power goes between items or items will vent heat and it’ll go into the pipe system and then you’ll have to get rid of that heat or else it’ll start to back into the items and damage them but we have other things like data or CPU power.
For instance if you have a targeting computer and it’s trying to resolve targets and it was connected to say a single core computer well it’ll only get so many data cycles from the CPU and so maybe it takes five seconds or six seconds to resolve the target whereas if you had a dual-core CPU so you have your avionics module and then you have two processors in two of the slots then potentially that could be maybe three seconds to resolve the target.
So we sort all sorts of stuff on how you configure ships and how we build out and configure ships that allow all sorts of nuance and control and then again if players get in there or subsystems get damaged during combat, what’s cool is that because each one of these items needs power, for instance, to operate and it needs, like I was saying, CPU cycles or perhaps it needs, for instance if you have a live support like on a ship then we have an oxygen pipe and that would go up in the life support unit and if someone destroyed the life support unit then there’d be no oxygen coming in therefore you better put on a space suit because pretty soon you would start to asphyxiate.
So it’s all systematic so if damage happens to the bigger ships as bits blow up on the outside there will be radial explosions and that potentially could hit items a little further in and those items themselves could be damaged or explode and they could hit further ones, and so you’d have a cascade of damage and it could effect- it could cut out the power node which is something that could therefore happen on a bigger ship is that you have a power plant and then power is distributed via nodes to turrets and various systems – lights, whatever – around the ship and obviously with the power plant going down you’re in trouble but even if there’s damage to the side of the- to one side of the ship, say the starboard side or something like that and takes out one of the power nodes then anything after that power node will be out of power.
Now, there might be gameplay where you would go to fix up the power nodes and reconnect the power, on the bigger ships there might be a lot of alternate ways – more than sort of one power node route and you could go to the systems management and reroute the power from one node to another node to get power going back to the remaining turret or something like that. All that functionality is going to be incredibly cool to have a massive amount of gameplay potential. It’ll make crewing and using the bigger ships – the multi-crew ships and obviously the cap ships that we’ve got – a huge fun experience.
So that’s kind of some of the stuff that we’re most excited by as far as the space adventuring combat side and I think you’ve not really seen that level of stuff in a game before and it is very much like the Sci-Fi movie, running about on the enterprise and Scotty’s trying to fix up the- the- warp drive and all the rest of the stuff. So we’ll definitely have a lot of that, and part of it will be turning of the lights and shutting the doors and that sort of stuff.
[7:38] Synoko asks: Are there any plans for maintaining individual engine controls or engine stress? Such as if you push your engines too hard or one fails you can turn up/down the power or fuel mixture.
Yes there definitely will be along the same lines as all the Item 2.0 stuff that I was just describing. The more … bigger ships will allow the engineer to have more control over various items or components of the ship, one of which could be the engines, and there’ll be the potential to try to push more power out of it. We may even sell “engine overclocking” style modules that you could put in for a racer ship or something. And it’s always a trade off: putting a bit more fuel or power into it potentially could increase the heat output but maybe also damage your ship.
So we’re going to have that whole overclocking style set up that we’ve talked about for weapons and it would be things for like engines and thrusters too. And that’s definitely on the bigger ships where the engineer comes in and they are tweaking and doing that and adjusting it based on what they are seeing on the feedback loops. And I think it will be pretty cool.
So those are all things that we are doing. That’s all why were are trying to make the components of the ship, what we call items but they are components … and by the way they’re not just for spaceships they can be on a vehicle, like a rover or something or a buggy; they’re on players, like if you’re running around in your armour suit then you’ll essentially be … you’ll have your armour suit on and it’ll have a power plant on the back to power it for instance and a little life support item on the back, and if you’ve got EVA you’ll have an EVA item attached to you. So players are set up the same way we set ships up. And weapons, guns, are the same: the ammo magazine is an item that plugs into the gun item. If you wanted to put a scope on top that plugs in. A silencer would plug on the front. So it all uses the same interconnected, what we call, “items” and “item ports” although really that’s … I say it’s “Entity 2.0” rather than “Item 2.0” because really this is the paradigm that works for everything we have. So it would be stuff that a player uses, plugs into; stuff a space ship uses; stuff that vehicles use. So there you go.
[10:05] Intrepid Corsair asks: What is the status of the Redeemer? Why has it taken longer than any other ship to go from concept to flight ready?
Well I don’t think it is the one that’s taken the longest to go from concept to flight ready. I think most of the Banu Merchantman owners would have a bone to pick with you over that one. In this specific case of the Redeemer, what we want to do is, we have Paul Dalessi that works for us now and he was one of the core members of the team that actually built the Redeemer when they won The Next Great Starship and he’s over in Foundry 42 hard at work on all the ships we need for Squadron 42 and he’s an incredibly talented artist, but we really feel like if anyone is going to go into the Redeemer and fix it up to the style we have now for Aegis and everything else, that he should be the one to do it.
He’s already done a fair amount of stuff, obviously he did the Vanguard, he was the prime artist doing the Vanguard so he will definitely do it, but we have to wait for him to finish the Squadron 42 stuff first.
[11:15] Belzoth asks: With regards to the reputation system, will it end up being more basic as in good guys and bad guys, follows UEE laws vs breaks UEE laws? Or will it be more nuanced? For example, if I’m opening up shop on my BMM and I see a pirate coming at me, I might know that while he breaks UEE laws, he doesn’t pray on other lawbreakers. In other words, will the reputation system allow an ‘honour among thieves’ approach?
The reputation system isn’t going to be simple and black and white like we have in 2.3, 2.2. Maybe we have in 2.3, anyway! All of our releases are blowing in, we definitely have it in 2.3.
In reality it really is you have, sort of, personal reputations in your organisations that your members will have reputations with other organizations and individuals and so every time you come into contact with an organisation or another individual, you sort of start at a neutral status unless the group, like for instance, if you’re a member of the UEE and you meet a Vanduul, well we already know that Vanduul and the UEE are locking heads therefore the Vanduul will probably be going after you. Most of the time, let’s say player or player groups, the reputation or kind of whatever you want to call alignment what you are versus the other player gets tracked.
So, as you do something negative to them it will go into negative as you do something positive will go into positive and we keep a track of everyone you come into contact with and track those relationships as well as tracking the organisation or the group relationships on a global level and, of course, we have whatever you want to call them, NPC or game organizations like the UEE or the Vanduul or the Merchants Guild, Mercenaries Guild, all those things are defined by us, but the reputation system will be a combination of your personal reputation with various groups that you come into contact will be influenced by groups you’re a member of that you publicly admit to be a member of and we track it as you do things and go from there.
It will be fairly nuanced and it will allow players to kind of make their way in the galaxy and decide who they’re aligned with, who they aren’t aligned with and I think it will be a lot more nuanced than good guy or bad guy, because in the world of Star Citizen there really isn’t going to be a good guy and bad guy. In just the UEE Empire, there’s a lot of different factions and interests that want different kinds of things and you could be aligned with one of them, but not the other one and that doesn’t mean you’re a bad guy, it just means you’re on one side rather than the other one.
[14:16] Creapola asks: I had my wings shot off in the ‘baby’ PU (ok,ok, I actually crashed into something) and my guns went with them. Will I have to buy new guns every times this happens when the game ‘goes live’?
So that is a pretty good question. These are all the “lovely” edge cases that come up with the lifetime insurance or the insurance set up.
But generally if you damage your ship when you are flying out there and you have to go and get it repaired you’re going to have to pay to repair it and typically, just like it would be in the real world if you drive and get your car messed up and the wheel goes and stuff then you have to pay to get that wheel repaired or whatever. If … depending on what kind of insurance … because don’t forget we’re also going to sell, besides the basic hull insurance, which is the normal insurance and the lifetime insurance, which covers you from catastrophic loss, there will be additional insurance you could purchase for item or weapons. So if you put a custom weapon on your ship and you take it out and you got in a fight and it got blown up, if you have the right insurance then perhaps it will pay out.
But that kind of insurance will obviously act a lot like real insurance would, so it’s not blind. If you go back and you make claim after claim after claim after claim after claim then your rates are going to go up and at some point they may not want to insure you any more. Because the one thing we have to juggle on the whole idea of your ship actually being something that you want to hold onto and keep and patch up and repair, and our insurance set up, is that we don’t want people to abuse the system. You don’t want people to just go and destroy … like “Oh look I’ve lost a wing so I’m just going to suicide into rock now so I can get an insurance claim to get a brand new ship back and not pay for the repair”.
So we are going to work in systems that will try to watch out for that and people aren’t going to be able to just claim, claim, claim, claim, claim, claim, claim, and get a ship instantly back. So there’ll be some penalties for going … losing your ship, and insurance covers it, but if it starts to happen too long then maybe it takes a while for you to get your next ship, maybe there’s a little extra scrutiny. Because what we don’t want to do is people use it to abuse the system, which you guys have come up with a thousand different scenarios of how that can happen.
It’s one of the good things about having the Alpha stage, it’s why we’re going to do Alpha UEC, sharpening the persistence up there and a lot of this stuff, is a lot of this kind of dynamics will start to experiment with the functionality of how the insurance and how you would respawn and all the rest of stuff, during the Alpha, Mini PU, basis. And of course we’re going to adjust it as it develops and that’s why we really want to have hundreds of thousands of you playing it. Because it is way, way, way, way better way to test it out and see what works and what doesn’t work compared to just the Dev team doing it. Because you just don’t have enough people and you are set in a certain mindset. And you guys can see it every time we take something to PTU, and then even sometimes Live, there are bugs or exploits that show up that the Dev team never even considered, that the QA team never came across. Mostly because we set on a certain way and the QA team, even though it’s a pretty big QA team now, there’s … it’s a huge game and a huge universe and lots of stuff to be done.
And so we will be working on exactly these things as … some of the key game mechanics that I’ve talked about, that I think can be really interesting, but I’m not stupid enough to say “it’s definitely going to work exactly this way” because you’ve got to get out there, Live, and play around when it’s Alpha UEC and we can reset people’s accounts and no one’s really lost anything at that point. So hopefully with all you guys help, and playing it, will come up with something that is a really nice balance between making you want to hold onto your stuff, care about your character and care about your ship and not sillily blow it up or sacrifice it, but also not be the other extreme where it’s so frustrating that you have to start from scratch every time you go out and some pirate shoots you up.
So those are all things that we will work on together. And that’s the beauty of the Mini PU cycle that we are doing.
[18:33] Xitix asks: Do you plan on doing an SQ42 or SC studiowide launch party?
Well I definitely think Squadron 42 or Star Citizen being “commercial ready” will be very worthy of studio-wide launch party, that’s not really my bailiwick so to speak so that would really be up to Sandi and Ben but I’m pretty sure we’ll all be quite happy and be partying a lot, so there you go.
[18:58] Sir Vulpecula asks: Are there any plans to improve the Issue Council, either through improved website functionality or designated moderators?
So on the Issue council, I mean we’re constantly looking at ways to make it better. I think you guys have noticed that we just had the initial council originally then we now have a bug reporting system and we’re constantly looking at ways to make it a lot more efficient. Recently we’re trying to tier and structure our testing a little more so we can have some very, very early testers because a lot of times we want very targeted testing which is for, “Okay let’s do a stress test and we need 24 people in 10 instances all right now at this particular time” and not everyone out there in our community is ready or willing to do that or ready and willing to put up with all the bugs and issues and problems that comes with that.
We’re working on lining up our testing to be able to sort of do some very targeted specific testing, some very early testing as well as the next stage of testing which is a wide degree, that’s the normal PTU where it’s 5,000 people and then we go out to live which is still really testing, but it’s out to all you guys. Also, don’t forget there are going to be some things that we have to test that we absolutely don’t want, even if we’re getting you guys to help us, the people that are helping us are going to have to be quiet about it.
For instance when we start to get people to start to help out with some more expanded Squadron 42 testing, we absolutely don’t want anything to leak there so that’s all the reasons why we’re building up these different groups of testers to be more efficient that way and on top of that it’s how to make the Issue Council better is an ongoing task. We think it works really well, it can definitely be better, but I think it’s gonna be one of the foundations that long term will make Star Citizen what it will be because we’re having this amazing resource of all you guys hammering on the game, trying all these different things and so it’s impossible for our internal tester to cover a whole bunch of the stuff you guys do.
All the work, blood, sweat, and tears; bluescreens of death, crashes that you guys go through now will just make the final product all that much better, so thank you for all that and yes we will be trying to make things better on the issue council as we go forward.
[21:28] Moutz asks: Will there be a possibility to show the back view of a ship permanent on a second monitor/display? Imagine a Thrustmaster MFD Cougar setup with an 8″ display behind to show permanently what’s going on behind your ship!
Really nice thought. The issue with being able to do that is one, A: CryEngine is not very good at having proper multi camera views. So in terms of having a camera here and a camera over here, it doesn’t really support that. Also, by the way, just to let you know on a rendering time, you just doubled your rendering time basically because you render one view and you render a second view.
I think short term we’re not gonna have sort of secondary camera views. Longer term it’s always something we kind of like although there is some fundamental structure inside CryEngine that isn’t very predisposed to it that may go away to some extent as we continue to refactor the engine, but right now that isn’t in the short term road map.
The other possibility and opportunity that we’ve talked about is potentially, which is not exactly the same, but we talked about viewer clients that you can basically log into the server and see a camera or control a camera so think of it like a traffic camera or something and so you can have a different view.
Potentially, maybe something like that could help out a little bit there, but at the moment we’re not planning on having that functionality right now. I do agree it would be cool, it’s more about the core fundamental structure of the engine which doesn’t support multiple cameras. So there you go.
[23:10] Epix asks: Have you had any thoughts on the direction CIG will go after Star Citizen is finished? Do you think you could put all that you as a company have learned and developed into creating additional content?
Well yeah, absolutely. I think I’ve said this for quite a long time but Star Citizen is never going to be finished and I don’t think people would say EVE is finished or World of Warcraft is finished now. Star Citizen will go on, that universe will go on as long as anyone is out there wanting to play in it – which I’m hoping will be for a long time obviously. The games I mentioned have been 10 years plus.
So, really what we’re doing with Star Citizen is we’re working on the game, adding features for an incredibly ambitious design – I don’t think there is any other game that is trying to do as much as we’re trying to do. So, degree of difficulty 11, not 10. And, we’ll have what we determine is a minimum viable product feature list for what you would call Star Citizen the commercial release which is basically when you say, “Okay, we’ve gotten to this point and we’ve still got plans to add a lot more cool stuff and more content and more functionality and more features…” – Which by the way includes some of the later stretch goals we have because not all of that is going to be for ‘absolutely right here’ on the commercial release. But we’ll have something that we’ll think, ‘Okay yeah, not everyone can play it but it doesn’t matter – you can load it up, it plays really well, it’s really stable, there’s lots of content, there’s lots of fun things to do, different professions, lots of places to go, we’ve got a really good ecosystem.’ So, when we get to that point that’s when we would say, “Now it’s not alpha, it’s not beta, it’s Star Citizen 1.0.”
But of course the team is going to absolutely continue working on it, just like if you look at World of Warcraft – they continue to add content and features all the time. The same happens on EVE. We will update stuff, so we’ll update the graphics, we’ll add new functionality, new content, new systems, coming across additional alien races – all that kind of stuff will be there. So, we’re going to work on this as long as you guys let us or support us doing it, because the world’s huge. There’s so many things to do out there.
It’s the same on Squadron 42. Once we’ve told the Squadron 42 trilogy then we’re going to move on and we’ll have other stories we’ll tell. Maybe they’re not necessarily military stories, maybe it’s more an adventure – sort of a Han Solo style adventure.
It’s just a huge universe, you know. Look what Disney’s doing with Star Wars. They’ve got a whole roadmap of the main ones and the spinoff ones and all the rest of the stuff.
So, you know, I think Star Citizen has the possibility to have a huge interesting universe. We’ve really put a lot of effort into the lore of it. I mean, you see from the very beginning that’s one of the things that we made foundational. Dave and his team constantly are fleshing out the world in addition to writing stuff for the Squadron series as well as doing stuff for the PU.
You know, we want to make this world as livable and believable and you guys spend many years adventuring around in it. And I think in today’s world, it’s not the way it used to be… where it was like, ‘Here’s a game, then you put it on the shelf, and then you come back to another game a year or two years later and you sort of iterate it.’ You know, where you have Grand Theft III and IV and V come out. I think with us, we’re just live and we’re just continually improving and adding stuff and more people are having fun and adventuring around. So, kind of like what we’re doing right now but obviously with more features and more content. Better stability, better performance under our belts and then at a certain point we’ll say, “Yup, ready for the full general public,” there you go.
[26:48] Kaochat asks: We know we’re going to have pets later on, so my question is: will you use motion capture on animals (dogs/cats) to have basic motion for pet and alien creature?
I think we probably would do some animal motion capture. It’s always fun. It seemed to be the best thing in whatever, was it Call of Duty Ghost? I can’t remember which one it was. They had the … they had the … the dog. And they had the swimming fish. But yeah, no, we’ll probably do some of that. We’ll have fun. It’s a great science fiction trope that everyone’s got the cat on the spaceship or their dog, their best friend.
And so we’ll definitely have them, collect them. We’ll have some alien ones too. We’re going to have alien wildlife longer term. So maybe some of those could become a pet and … Just a lot of fun we will have with it. Down the road obviously after we’ve got some of the more fundamental basic things like trading and mining and escorting and all the rest of stuff going. But there you go.
Alright! That is the end of this episode of Ten For The Chairman. Hopefully my answers were informative.
And I’d like to thank everyone that subscribes because, like I said at the top of the show, you guys make it possible for us to do all this and it’s really, really appreciated. I’d like to thank anyone that’s backed Star Citizen: I’m always blown away by the continual support. It’s great to see every day, every month, new people joining the Community. We do essentially no advertising or anything: it’s all done by word of mouth, you guys streaming videos, telling your friends about stuff. Obviously we do a fair amount of sharing what we’re doing in the game and all the rest of stuff but it’s not what you would call conventional advertising or marketing, because we basically don’t spend money on that because we are at the early stage of development.
So Star Citizen continues to have people join it, contribute, play around in the universe, give feedback, which is great. Allows us to have this talented team from around the world: we have four studios all working on this. All building the dream game which, I think, I and all you guys would like to play, and I think most of the … well I think pretty much all the team that works on it does.