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10 for the Chairman: Professions in Alpha 3.0 Written Tuesday 14th of March 2017 at 04:43pm by CanadianSyrup, StormyWinters and Sunjammer

Chris and Tony are back with another 10 for the Chairman! Check out the questions the community chose for Chris Roberts and Tony Zurovec to answer.

As per usual, anything said during the show is subject to change by CIG and may not always be accurate at the time of posting. Also any mistakes you see that I may have missed, please let me know so I can correct them. Enjoy the show!

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

[3:56] Q: Will items and cargo on planets be in a visible storehouse?

  • A: Yes, you’ll be able to see the crates and boxes of the things you can buy. If you’re on a planet and there’s a huge amount of inventory, you’ll get a visual representation of what that warehouse, TDD or broker area offers and this will run on the same system as the shops. There will be practical limitations such as ship shops and larger weapons, so there will be samples of the smaller weapons and the bigger ones you will pick the size you want off an automated kiosk.

[7:26] Q: What are the plans for loading cargo on bigger ships? Will it be manual, using specialised ships like the Argo, or automatic?

  • A: It won't be "click a button and you're done". It will take a significant time to unload and would generate missions for NPCs and players. The current design is being iterated as it works well for smaller ship but doesn't scale so well. The goal is at bigger ports there will be loading and unloading services (and players could even take on that role) but at smaller ports the crew may have to do it themselves.

[11:51] Q: What’s in store for salvaging? What’s it going to be like?

  • A: Salvaging is broken up into two parts: One is salvaging functioning modules and repairing them to a state for sale or use, second is salvaging metals and such for raw resources. Players who are experts at salvaging a ship will know where to look to salvage the expensive stuff first and possibly just leave it at that whereas some players may want to dismantle and entire ship, but that takes more time and other factors could come into play such as being attacked if you’re not careful. 
  • The damage shader system is being reused for salvaging since it works so well and repair will be the inverse of the system so they’ve been planning ahead when creating certain tech for the game

[16:28] Q: In both cargo running and mining what types of hazards can we expect?

  • A: Besides your normal age and wear and tear on ships that you’ll have to maintain, there will be things you will encounter such as meteor showers, comets, micro black holes, derelicts, etc. These can all have their own potential dangers but also come with great benefit to you if you sell this information to the right people.

[23:41] Q: How will environmental persistence work? If I blow out a window in Port Olisar, will it magically get reset after a while?

  • A: So the road map for the year is to include more and more persistence. When it comes to breaking a window on a space station and staying there, yeah that will happen, but they want to balance that and not have someone break open a window and killing hundreds of people in a common area for example. If you land a ship on a planet or station, it will stay there because of its priority, but things like shells and debris will fade away over time. NPCs will also be responsible for the upkeep of the world so the minor stuff or cosmetic that don’t warrant a mission like knocking over a trashcan and spilling garbage, a NPC will come over and clean it up.

[28:34] Q: Clarification on loading/unloading, manual or automatic or both? Long term goals?

  • A: You will have the option of loading a ship manually or automatically, but that may depend on where you’re at and what size of ship. A very large ship may have automatic loading as that’s what normally would happen whereas a smaller ship landing at a remote location would have to unload by hand. Long term they hope to build more devices to help players move objects around for loading and other purposes.

[37:46] Q: Will we be able to move fluidly between professions? Or will we have to requalify?

  • A: Yes, you can move fluidly between professions without having to requalify if you come back.

[40:07] Q: With the recent progress update on the Prospector, is it safe to assume that we will have ship based mining to some degree with the launch of 3.0?

  • A: They are trying to do a version of some basic mining in 3.0, as when they first talked about 3.0 they had originally had a much simpler set of functionality and features they were going to do. Once they sat down, they ended up with four or five times more systems and features than they originally were thinking, so it won’t be the entire mining experience but will give players a lot of interesting gameplay.

[43:22] Q: To effectively perform a job will we need to qualify for them by earning a certain amount of rep or will it be as easy by having the right kind of ship?

  • A: If you’ve got a ship that can take cargo you can do basic cargo missions. To get more lucrative, interesting missions you’ll need to build your rep up with a merchant’s guild or cargo broker or the like. So, you need to prove your mettle and get a certain rep to move onto more interesting missions.

[45:24] Q:Will there be an autopilot in ships traveling from Point A to Z that will allow me to get up and move around?

  • A: Yes, if you’re solo there will be an autopilot function that can stop you from hitting something in a simple point A to point B trajectory. If you have crew, you can tell him to take the helm and they will operate at a higher level such as stopping, evading fire, escape the area while you head back from where you are in the ship.

Full Transcript

Intro With Chris Roberts (CEO, Director of Star Citizen and Squadron 42), Tony Zurovec (Persistent Universe Director). Timestamped Link.

Chris Roberts (CR): Hello and welcome another edition of 10 for the Chairman. Not quite as frequent as we’ve done in the past, but there’s a lot of other things going on so it’s not so easy for me to do them and also we’re deep in development on a whole bunch of big features for this year and today we have a special guest with me on 10 for the Chairman Tony Zurovec, the Director of the Persistent Universe who will be here asking or answering the 10 questions asked by you guys and we’ve done a bit of a departure now which I hope you guys will like, but the key here is that we’re allowing everyone to vote on the questions.

So as part of Spectrum which is the new platform that we’re rolling out for our forums and communication like chat and ultimately do VOIP, it has the ability to upvote questions or posts or threads and so I know it’s been a common complaint that well you didn’t answer this question we wanted answered, that was a silly question to pick or answer or why do people ask these basic questions. Well now everyone has an opportunity to vote on the questions they want to have answered and may the best questions win.

So it’s very important for all you subscribers to, if you care about having questions answered that you’re interested in, go out and vote when we run these because we'll be sort of running these on Spectrum, not just for 10 for the Chairman, but a bunch of other stuff. We’re building more and more features to sort of support the ability to upvote and sort of, highlight content that you’re all interested in. One of the next stages we’ll be rolling out, a new Reddit/stackoverflow thread ordering which also works on the same idea which is one of the reasons why I think a lot of people in our community use Reddit because it’s easy to figure out what people are interested in or where most of the heat or most of the conversation is at.

So it’s very important for you guys to be involved in this. It’s also good for us, certainly for Jared, and Ben, and the rest of the community team because they get blamed for picking the wrong questions. Now the people out there whose fault for the top questions will be you guys! So make sure you vote well and the only thing I’ll say is we’ve taken the top 10 questions, there were two that me and Tony went through all the stuff in the order of the highest votes to the lowest votes and there were a couple that we didn’t feel like we would be able to give a very good answer too at this period so we haven’t answered those ones. So there’s two that would have been in the top 10 that aren’t answered, but other than that we are answering it in the reverse order of the most votes. So the last question we  answer will be the one you voted the most for and the first one will be the 10th most voted for of the ones that we felt like we could answer.

So having said that, hopefully you guys will find it interesting and it’s kind of a fun process Tony and I because we get to discuss things that we’ve have plans for or there’s been a lot of design and even some implementation on, it’s good to always reconnect and make sure we’re all on the same page and go from there.

So the first question, number 10 comes from

[3:56] Klepto asks: Will Items and Cargo on Planets be in a visible Storehouse or will they “disappear” somewhere?

TZ: You want to take that?

CR: You want me to take that one, cause I’m Mr…. I like the visual stuff. So, from the standpoint of the way we’re going to run it is there’s going to be a visual indication in the appropriate sort of commodities places, not all commodities places necessarily will have a warehouse window you can see. A lot of them will and I really want that sort of feeling that maybe you had a privateer when you went to the commodities exchange and you can see crates or boxes of the things that you can buy. Now, of course, if we’re on a planet and there’s ten thousand tons of something we obviously can’t fit it all in your view of the storehouse. So what it really is is representation of the general inventory that commodities warehouse, TDD, broker area would have and it actually not dissimilar, in fact it is going to be exactly the same system that runs the shops.

So, the shops themselves have an inventory, obviously they’re probably going to have a lot more guns or armour or weapons in the back room then they do on the showroom floor. What you see on the showroom floor even when you go into a shop now is a representation of what the inventory that shop is holding and the same code that runs that is essentially the code that would run the visual representation of a storehouse. In fact the commodity exchange and brokerage is underneath it all, there’s no difference between that really and a shop you might buy weapons or armour or anything else. It’s a place that can buy or sell items, it has X number items and in the case of commodities area the price of it can fluctuate based on quantities. Price may or may not fluctuate so much in shops cause they tend to have smaller amounts. You will be able to get a visible representation in a lot of cases and that’s very much consistent with our feeling of a kind of visceral ‘what you see is what you get’ world, which is… cause anything about Star Citizen we’re very keen on that.   

TZ: I would just add in that there are a few practical limitations once you start talking about ship shops and some of the larger weapons and stuff. Actually putting them into that area and still giving you a significant selection becomes problematic, so we may give you representative samples of some of the smaller weapons and the bigger ones are basically, pick the size you want via the automated kiosk. Insofar as having that visual element, that’s actually something that you’ve always been very consistent on and that permeates a whole lot of what we’re doing over on the design side. Like one of the more recent examples would be the shopping where some of the initial design actually went more to a minimalistic design where you basically selected… more like a Grand Theft Auto thing where you’re selecting from a list and one of the things you specifically wanted was to actually be… it’s that’s tangible aspect of being able to touch, see the white t-shirt, the red t-shirt, the shoes that look like this and not just selecting it from a list of things. So, we’re basically trying to implement that concept throughout the entire interface for the game.

CR: Yep, that’ll be good. As much as I like Amazon, it’s still nice to go into a store and look at things in person

[7:26] Steve Apollyon asks: Are there any plans on cargo loading of the bigger ships such as the Hull series of ships and is the loading at a space station or even planetary going to be automatic or will we have a specialized small cargo loading ships similar to the Argo to load manually if we choose to.

TZ: Yeah, so we have talked about the fact that we don’t want the larger ships to just park it, click the button and it’s done. That these larger ships that have vast quantities of materials would actually take a significant period of time to unload. And they result in missions for NPCs and/or other players to undertake.

We’ve got a pretty comprehensive design right now but we’re still iterating through that because we want to unify some of the functionality for loading and unloading so that it’s the same basic concept on the smaller ships as on the larger ships. And right now what we’ve got in the design stage is something that works, I think, remarkably well on the smaller stage it just doesn’t scale so well when you start talking about several orders of magnitude more materials and how you don’t bottleneck in terms of getting potentially dozens or hundreds of other smaller ships to extract those resources.

So we’re still refining exactly how that’s going to work but that’s the general direction. So there is going to be commonality in terms of you’ll have the ability to work at a very localised scale and then you’ll be able to scale that very wide so that there’s content for a large number of players and/or NPCs on these bigger ships.

CR: So, yeah, but are you answering whether it’s automatic or not?

So like the way I was viewing it is that - and I think that we maybe have this as a later question in the series - when you go ... like on a big space station … like if I have a big container ship and a pull into the port of LA here a Long Beach there’s a whole set up: there’s longshoremen, big cranes and there’s services. And the crew of the container ship don’t actually unload the containers themselves - there’s equipment that does it and there’s people that are paid to do that. And I would say that in general in the bigger space ports you would have that same kind of setup where you would have the ability to unload the bigger ships, unload the containers. Potentially we’ve talked about having the ability for players to play the part of a longshoreman …

TZ: Right.

CR … they’re running around in a little Argo and taking off a container from a Hull E and dropping it to another place and doing that. Or having AI do that. And then there obviously will be cases where - which is probably a later question we have here - there’ll be manual loading and unloading of cargo where you don’t have the big services. Like if I just had a ship and I was off the coast somewhere and there wasn’t a port then obviously …

TZ: Right.

CR: … I would have to be doing that myself. And so I think we’ve been looking at way that you have the automatic option that the services provide for you …

TZ: The automatic option when appropriate but the fidelity so that on these smaller ships you can actually … and this makes for much more interesting gameplay a of times in a lot of different cases because you can imagine scenarios to where you need to deliver a smaller quantity - a half dozen, a dozen - specific crates of some sort of illegal liquor or something to somebody in a planet, and part of the mission is not just finding where to procure this stuff and then get through customs without being detected, but once you are actually on the planet now you’ve got to take these crates physically to that guy before he’s going to give payment. And so all of a sudden you start to get into a much more localised problem where you’re trying to avoid security guards or else you’re going at night because you may be …

CR: I think we have that … I think we have a question that basically asks the same thing a little later on but …

TZ: You threw everything off because you reversed everything ...

CR: … well … yeah … I kind of … I went from the big and the services to break it down to the other one.

Okay so I think … so the answer is there’ll be services but we’ll also have some specialised ships and equipment for unloading cargo. Especially in the case of the big Hull series.

[11:51] End-yo asks: Can you talk at all about what is in store for the Salvage profession? Will it involve carving up ships for scrap (or resources in the repair profession), specifically seeking out functioning or expensive parts of derelict ships, or some combination of those? Will this be like mining and require good scanning to effectively find salvageable ships and stations?

TZ: Yeah mentally I break salvage into two different concepts. One is what I call scavenging when you’re actually extracting entire pieces of value from other ships, could be engines, could be weapons, could be cargo whatever. Then there’s also what I’d call scrapping which is basically the extraction of the raw materials. You’re actually pulling off the metal plating from the wings and stuff like that.

We’ve talked about having these elements distributed in a logic fashion so that the players that are more knowledgeable about where the most valuable elements and stuff are on a particular ship can strip the most valuable pieces that much more quickly. So what you’re going to wind up having is a tier of players: some of interested in one thing or the other, some of them are interested in only the most valuable parts and then they quickly move on looking for other things to scrap. Other players are basically looking at completely reducing a ship down just a husk and leaving no value behind.

CR: Yeah to be more specific to answer the question. It is going to be a combination of both so you’ll be able to just take general sort of debris and essentially scrap it into whatever salvageable material that you will be able to use or resell. Then you can also look to salvage working individual items. So if a wing blows off, but maybe it has a functioning gun that hasn’t been damage or damaged very much, if you can find that and detach that from the wing than you’ve got a second hand item you can sell.

Both those are going to be part of the salvage profession and Tony was talking about the next level which is scanning and knowing the aspects of a ship that may be the best to salvage. So you don’t want to maybe salvage the entire hull, but perhaps this part of the hull has whatever titanium armour and therefore is more valuable than another part of the hull so that will be the part that you want to salvage or dissolve into your big salvage tank.,

TZ: And one of things I really like about that particular concept is that it scales really well to any number of players. In other words when you think about a salvage ship as having one laser or whatever it is that is basically going to pull the materials off of there, you’ve only got a single player that can actually engage in that and if you want more maybe we could add a second one of these devices, but you’re still going to be fairly limited.

If you start to turn this into something to where players with their individual hand controlled stuff, it can basically extract things then you have two things: one it becomes very time consuming at that level, at a personal level to scrap an entire ship, but it’s actually still very cost effective if you have done this enough as such that you know where all the most valuable areas are and that’s all you’re going to bother so. So what I would say is when you're talking about scrapping the entirety of a ship, that’s probably going to be you’re going to aim the fire house at it, the big dedicated device, but when you’re talking about just extracting bits of value you quickly get in get out maybe because there’s a lot of residual dangers in that area, then it actually becomes very effective to have you and four, six guys who's maybe other players, friends of y ours, other NPCs that you’ve hired to just attack it in mass, just hit the valuable parts and then go on.

CR: Yup, absolutely. So there you go. All those things will be there so I think salvaging will be quite and graphically kind of already handle it with the damage shader because you can sort of dissolve off the surface in a more regular pattern and you’re taking off the top of the hull for salvage.

TZ: This is a great example where we’re reusing technology from one purpose to another and we’re actually going to do the same thing, repair is actually going to be largely…

CR: The other way.

TZ: the inverse of this process to where you take all the raw materials that you’ve stored in your ship and you can dispatch three,  or four, or six guys or the big dedicated device depending upon how quickly you want to move across the entire ship and repair just select areas.

CR: Yup, alright so the 7th most popular question comes from...

[16:28] Cyrocommander asks: In both cargo running and mining, what types of hazards can we expect? Understandably, there will be the threat of pirates, but what other dangers will we run into, i.e., hitting a combustible methane vent will mining, or the consequences of a container malfunction during transport?

TZ: This is actually one of my favourite ones because I like the concept of exploration, discovery and just as I’m flying, going about my business, doing one thing maybe mining or whatever. I’m encountered other stuff and so in terms of the things other than pirates that might kick you out quantum travel for a period of time, this would include everything from meteor showers, comets, derelict ships that cross your path, debris fields, micro black holes, just a variety of things like that. The most interesting aspect about this I think is that all these things that you encounter can not only have potential value to you even though you’re currently engaged in something else because this represents information, if you cross paths with a comet and that comet’s not known to anyone else you can actually sell that information that may be very valuable to somebody who actually wants to mine it.

You start thinking about debris fields and derelict spaceships and those are very valuable to these guys that want engage in salvaging operations and micro black holes are very interesting to scientists that actually want to be able to study these things to extract value from them. So, you can see this whole circular ecosystem to where as you’re going about your business you’re encountering both directly and indirectly that can feed other parts of the economy. The other thing that I really, really like about this particular aspect is just the variety that it’s going to bring when you start getting all these players interacting in all these different ways.

CR: Yeah, I had else to say that the other things, well obviously we talked about mining potentially hitting a gas vent that can cause an explosion and those sort of things. Cargo and in general just transit we… besides things you can encounter, we very much have this high fidelity of simulation of various components of your ship and part of the big pink unicorn of Item 2.0 is the fact that we have age and wear and things will break down. So, that’s not currently in the game as you guys are playing it but it’s very much part of the systems that will be part when the full Item 2.0 comes online. Which means that under stress, being used a lot say in a long quantum drive like when you’re on a trading cargo run or something, the items… you’re powerplant, your engine, your thrusters, lights, whatever, they have aged, they can fail, they can misfire.

So, there will definitely be a certain amount of maintenance keeping your ship running especially in the bigger ships. If you’ve watched any science fiction movie and you’ve seen Chewie banging the Millenium Falcon or the crew of the Nostromo having to keep their ship running and stuff like that. That is going to be a gameplay component besides just things that… you know, pirates you can run across and everything like that. We mentioned that with the real vast scale that we have in the game, we’re not sort of compressing the star systems the way a lot of other space games have. I mean we are compressing it because if we went full real scale then it would take way, way longer for people to travel across one solar system than I think people would enjoy but we are still having a massive amount of scale. Much more so than other games will have and therefore when you’re in quantum drive at 0.2 speed of light, which is very fast you theoretically could spend half an hour to go from one side of the star system to another side of the star system.

Now likelihood is you’ll never be in quantum drive for that long because you’ll be pulled out for some reason or there’ll be something in the way but you could quite easily be in quantum drive for a few minutes, 5 minutes or whatever, 10 minutes and part of we don’t want you to be bored so you’re running around. There will be things for you to do to keep your ship running while you’re doing that, so it’s sort of like travel gameplay and that will be one of the parts of being a long distance explorer or cargo hauler where you’ll actually have things to do like you would if you were a sea captain on a container ship crossing the Atlantic ocean or the Pacific.

TZ: You mentioned boredom and that kind of goes back to that sense of discovery I was talking about. We don’t want these things that pull you out of quantum travel to always be viewed, if you’re currently doing something else, as an annoyance. We actually want make these things indirectly entice players to occasionally break off what they’re doing and explore a little bit more. There’s a variety of ways by which we can do that if you think about I’m currently mining and I’ve basically loaded up my ship with ore and I’m heading over the refinery and all of the sudden you’re kicked out of quantum travel, and you got a ping on your radar and all you know is at this distance is that it’s a ship and at conventional cruise speeds it’s three minutes away.

Do you now start spooling up your quantum engines after you’ve course corrected to get around it and you’re going to go ahead and jump out but the information that there’s a derelict ship there when you don’t know anything about it, its current state, whether it’s already been salvaged, what type of ship it is… that information is worth much less. Or do you go off the beaten path and now you’re actually going to invest three minutes to go… you were mining but it seems safe, so I’m going to head over and I’m going to get a little bit closer. Now I know what type of ship it is, I’m going to go a little bit closer still, now I can actually see it hasn’t actually been scrapped.

There’s a lot of value here, this key that I have is now very extraordinarily valuable when I go to sell that information to someone else but I got a little bit too close and it turns out there’s already some other people. You know pirates that have pulled up or scrappers and they don’t want anyone else to have this information so they’re moving to basically take you out so can’t alert other players and bring them there. All of the sudden you wanted to extract a little bit value about something you incidentally ran into and you ventured a little bit too closer and now you’ve basically walked into… not something that was intentionally meant as a trap but it works out that way none the less.

CR: Yup, when a lot of this stuff is working we have a much bigger play field which is in the off thing, that’s what we’re working on right now. I think the gameplay possibilities and fun going to be much better… well, I mean much better than it is now. I think it’ll be something really special so that’s going to be cool, so let’s carry on.

[23:41] Poison Taco asks: With 2.6 and 2.6.1 Star Marine has started to introduce destructible props in the game. Shattering glass, explosive barrels and etc. The most recent monthly report mentioned that the team was looking to add more oprs and items that can be destroyed in the game. Presumably this work will carry into the Persistence Universe. Have you put any thought into how destroyed props will be restored in the Persistence Universe? Example being, if a player could shatter the glass windows in Port Olisar, how would the game “reset” to a point where windows are replaced?

CR: So this is something that we’re focusing on long term. So it’s part of what we’ve talked about, persistence, we have a very basic version of persistence that we rolled out last year, but we don’t have full persistence as in the full persistences persisting state of you as a character, your ship, other items, other locations around the world and persisting state is important for like whether things are damaged or whether there’s a window broken or something like that.

That is actually part of the roadmap that we have this year that we’re working on is bringing in persistence more and more persistence as we go so we’ll be able to persist state pretty much most things as well as where they are, what their location. So if you go down on a moon and you drop an item or leave a ship there and leave that area which means it’s going to out of memory on your computer and then you come back to it, depending on the importance of the item, we want persist it which means it will be persisted to the online database that we keep all, you know it’s basically this online cloud save game for the entire universe and your ship should be there. Now obviously if you drop a gum wrapper and you leave the area, we don’t want to clog up the game with millions of gum wrapper items. So small items that don’t mean much like bullet shells or whatever would  just be discarded if you left the area, but certain items, especially items that you would own like a spaceship or something will persist and stay around and that’s what we call the entity owner manager.

So there’s basically a manager that would manage what’s in your ship, like in the cargo hold or what you’re owning or what’s inside the space station or what’s on an area in a planet and then that’s what responsible for managing the persistence of these items and whether they stay or not and then also is serial and then the items themselves are saving off their stay and so what that means is for something like Port Olisar if we wanted to allow you to break or destroy common areas which is another discussion because you know, we don’t want someone blowing out a window in an area where everyone else is and killing all the people hanging out in the space station.

So there will definitely be some areas where we will not allow you to have player generated mayhem, but there certainly could be the cases. You know you already see in the Comm-Satellite missions where you’re asked to go and turn them back on or not, well we’re definitely going to have stuff where there’ll be a space station or a satellite relay that's been damaged or broken by an AI or maybe even by a player and that will automatically generate a mission inside our system to say, “Hey come and repair me” and players or AI could respond to it and they would go there and repair it and then its persistence state would go from damaged to functional again.

TZ: That’s how

CR: If it’s broken then the cycle starts again.

TZ: That’s how I read the question which is basically we’ll have two different tiers of repairs I would say and one of them is significant enough as such that it warrants the creation of missions and this would be damaged satellites and things of that sort and if a player doesn’t do it then a NPC will. Then there’s also just the more stuff, I would say it’s more cosmetic. Windows getting shot out in Area 18 and there’s always going to be players there and so it won’t be so much an issue of well when the players all go away then we can just go ahead and reset things. That will be handled more by just the NPC community. There will be NPCs that actually do savage, not salvage, that basically do maintenance. Maintaining of a given area and when you break glass, when you basically shoot barrels of trash and garbage gets scattered about, some of the NPCs would have the responsibility of fixing that up, cleaning things up, etc.

CR: Cleaning up after the players.

TZ: which makes for that much more an interesting world because not only can you break things in interesting fashion, you can actually see the NPC community put it back to together.

CR: You’re going off to prison because you’re a vandal. Not a Vanduul, a vandal.

[28:34] Lethality asks: Regarding cargo hauling, can you clarify how the loading and unload of ships will work at both the initial; launch of cargo system, and what the long-term vision of the cargo system will be?

There has been some confusion regarding manual loading/unloading with all the cool logistics that presents (not to mention all the maglev containers and hand jacks!)

CR: So I’m thinking Lethality wants to physically load and unload and this is sort of an extension or along the lines of what we’re been talking about with the bigger Hull C class a little earlier on in 10 for the Chairman here.

So as we were saying, we are going to have both. So there is going to be physically loading and unloading and they’ll also be, whether you want to call it automated or AI unloading/loading in sort of bigger space ports or bigger landing areas because that’s generally what would happen in those cases, but there’s definitely  going to be gameplay that would involve you say flying out supplies to a remote outpost and there is no people there to help load or unload and you have to unload it. Or you come across some stuff you want to get that’s floating in space, you have to load that in manually and do all the rest. So there’s going to be both loading and unloading physically which we already have shown a small amount of like you looked at the Gamescom demo that we did of going to the moon after visiting Levski and Delmar and there were some crates, little containers and we picked it up and were taking it to the Freelancer we were flying at the time. That is an example of the more granular physical loading and unloading.

There will be equipment that will allow you to move bigger containers around. So we have some standard size, larger cargo containers and that will have sort of a grav lev jack stuff and potentially there will be other, whether we create some vehicles or things like the Argo to move smaller stuff around and then load it up onto bigger stuff.

So I think we’re going to have both, I don’t know if you want to elaborate on it because I know you already talked a bit about it.

TZ: Yeah that’s basically it. To me personally, lik the most interesting stuff is actually when you’re dealing with smaller quantities that you actually have to hand load because it just makes for more interesting mission scenarios when you don’t want to just deliver it to the shop. Now I actually have to basically travel through space with this material that I procured, land and then I have to do that last leg and now i’m on foot and it’s just a completely different type of experience, different types of challenges we can throw at a player.

CR: What I would say that like, smuggling would be a case that you’re not going to have a…

TZ: A supertanker full of fuel becomes hard to justify smuggling.

CR: Yeah, well… and there’s going to be all sizes of you know, there can be items that you can hold in your hand that you would potentially smuggle or carry it like diamonds or something, could be gems could be an example of that to a really massive containers that are just full of ore or liquids or whatever. So there’s all kinds of it so there is, besides big bulk cargo because you have bulk cargo stuff and more bespoke like if I was collecting I don’t know, sort of rare space truffles. So space truffles don’t come in massive ton container things, they would be small containers, but they would be worth a lot of money so that would be something you would probably take personally around and of course you have smaller things like I was mentioning gems or perhaps contraband or you’re smuggling drugs or things that you shouldn’t smuggle and those particular ones you would have to put away in a hidden compartment, that was shielded, hope you don’t get scanned or boarded by the Advocacy and then when you get on the planet you’re going to have to Han Solo style sneak it off your ship.

That’s the beauty of having it all based on essentially a kind of character level, first person level because it’s not just about the ship, it’s about also there’s extra mechanics once you’ve landed and how do I get past the guards with this stuff and so I think that’s going to add a whole bunch of like, fun gameplay for people.

TZ: Yeah to me, I’ve said before I tend to get bored fairly easily if I’m not constantly presented with different types of challenges and so I like the ability to take the high level concept of cargo transport and basically extend it as such that it doesn’t just involve ships, but you’ve actually got, whether you’re getting the stuff back to your ship and then do the space travel etc, or if you’ve landed with your ship and you need to actually get it to the guy in the back alley without security seeing you or whatever the case may be or you’re carrying something really valuable and now since you’re actually holding it, you’re at a disadvantage because it takes you a couple seconds longer to actually drop that, pull your weapon so you’re actually more vulnerable when you’re running through the CD tunnels of Levski or something like that. So all of a sudden you can see players starting to do this mental calculus and thinking, “Well am I going to go on my own? Do I basically try to recruit a few friends, do I hire an NPC body guard as I’m doing this?” It’s all that variety that to me, really makes it interesting.

CR: Yeah, well..

TZ: Every player is going to go about it in a little bit different fashion.

CR: Yeah, I mean.. Because obviously I read what people write out on our forums and elsewhere, but there’s a lot, like people go, “I want to know more about game mechanics”, but in reality  there’s a huge amount of, essentially what people would normally consider game mechanics or gameplay that comes out us building these core systems and we’ve really been pushing and it’s been taking longer than obviously we were thinking it was going to take and partly it’s because we’re building it to work at a scale and across a huge universe and with millions of players, but our belief is that if we build these systems that are super flexible. So like we talked about item 2.0 and I think in the last studio update from L.A. we showed a little prototype of the interaction and if you take a look at the interaction, that’s not an interaction system that you see in any FPS game. It’s like you can pick things up and use them and plug them into something else and put a battery into something to turn it on or open up compartments and take. So you have this ability to manipulate items and use them and they have the ability to do what you would normally expect like a battery provides power and if this radio needed power, then you put it in and now suddenly the radio can work and maybe that will help you achieve something else.

So we’re basically building this system and a good example of it is like when we’re talking about the smuggling because all the stuff we’re talking about in general falls out of the system of being able to physically own and manipulate, put stuff in areas and all the rest of the stuff so you know all we really have to do on top of that is just determine that these items are illegal and the AI logic for the law enforcement, the advocacy, whoever is that if they catch you with it, you’re in trouble, but in general the manipulation, the hiding of it and all the rest, that all falls out of the scanning stuff that we’ve been working on, the item manipulation stuff that we’ve been working on.


So a lot of our professions we’ve talked at the base level of what we want to have for 3.0 kind of fall out of these core mechanics that we worked really, really hard on, but I think once they’re done it’s just going to provide a platform quite a ways beyond what you can currently do in 2.6.1. And that’s when I get excited.

TZ: Yeah we’ve talked about this a number of times before to where basically you build the system and  you get it setup properly, then it requires very little tweaking to affect a lot of gameplay, a lot of interesting gameplay potential and this is basically the route we’ve gone since the very beginning. We didn’t want to go the route of having to custom code each one of these things and then yes the addition of new content becomes an enormously difficult task, and then you see this in a lot of other games to where the amount of content, the amount of new content that you can release always lags behind what the players can actually experience. They usually go out, they experience the new content and then they run in circles for the next 12 months until the next big update happens and in this case we wanted to eventually get to the point where we can put in place what I’d call a functional world and then basically we just give you entry points into that and everything else more or less falls out of that.

CR: We’re getting close. I think people will appreciate it when it’s there.

[37:46] Cap asks: Will we be able to move between professions fluidly, or will we have to re-qualify for a profession if we decide to switch to something else?

CR: So, that’s a pretty simple one to answer is absolutely you can move between professions fluidly. We don’t want to gate you as a player, we don’t have prerolled skills for you. This kinda comes down to the system versus different mechanics like an RPG game you would design different mechanics or sets for like, ‘oh here’s my smuggling role set, here’s my cargo role set, here’s my mercenary role set’ and it would have all these separate things. You would be sort of I’m either this or I’m that whereas with us you’re not, we just basically figure we try to simulate an open world. Obviously we’re not simulating it to a level that real life is but we’re trying to approximate it and then we let you pick what you want so really your ability to perform different professions whether you want to haul cargo or whether you want to be a mercenary is more down to the equipment you have. Then also there will be some level of access for missions like for instance, no one’s going to trust you to take a whole bunch of valuable cargo until you’ve done enough missions that have proven yourself as a reliable cargo hauler.

TZ: That’s the key point to me, that’s the key point to me which is there are no technical limitations in terms of you doing this but we still want to have just like in the real world, we want to give players the ability to progress. By that I mean that there will usually be entryway points where you can kind of do the junior mining missions, you can do the junior security missions, whatever it is. Then you will build up a personal reputation that’s global, everybody knows how good you are in general at this particular profession versus that one, etc. That opens the door to additional missions and then there’s another layer beyond that which is you can be an incredibly well known criminal but that doesn’t mean the mafia boss here personally trusts you. So you get into the personal relationships to where, well I basically worked my way up and I’ve become…

CR: I think we’re answering the second most popular question.

TZ: Ok then.

CR: So, yes you’ll be able to move fluidly between profession

[40:07] Kenzi Snow asks: With the recent progress update on the Prospector, is it safe to assume that we will have ship based mining to some degree with the launch of 3.0?

CR: So the quick answer is yes it is something that we’re absolutely trying to achieve. So we think we’ll be able to do some version of basic mining by 3.0, may not be the final more sophisticated…

TZ: Yeah, I would say we’re shuffling... the full set we’re looking at what we can trade off, what would be more interesting to the player community, what naturally falls out given the development trajectory. What we can pull in a bit more easily than what we originally though and you know at the same time what’s basically a little more difficult so we’re shuffling some of the 3.1, 3.0, 3.2 things around.

CR: Maybe move some stuff around cause when we first talked about 3.0 sort of last half of last year, we originally had in mind a simpler set of functionality and features that we were going to do. Once we sat down and said, well if we’re doing this we kind of need to do this, we kind of need to do this and it ended up being a lot more stuff to really deliver. Basically it was like anyone else’s ship in game, functionality and I think I said it before but we started with like… so what we put up on the cards was this much and now we got confluence pages of like this much at least four or five times as many of the systems and features than we were originally thinking. So what’s happened is that obviously means 3.0 is taking a bit longer than we were thinking. It also means that certain things like when ships are available and some of the professions we thought we could get to, we may move things around because some of the stuff… mining’s an example of this, some of the stuff will have equipment like ships, whether it be salvage or mining or whatever before. So, mining is definitely one that is on our radar and would like do it because it’s kind of a basic… it’s a resource collection profession and could really feed into the ecosystem.

TZ: We’re looking to trade that one for some other stuff, I think that there’s a lot of players that would very much appreciate that type of game play versus some of the other stuff that we talked about being in 3.0. I think that it would actually give us a much more well rounded set of professions… initial professions. I would also point out that you mentioned how we’re thinking about it in a little bit more… little bit larger terms in terms of the sum total of functionality that you’ll be able to engage in. The initial tier of stuff is actually… there’s an entire tier of functionality that we think we can actually get to and like you said it’s not the entire mining experience but it’s still going to give players a whole lot of interesting gameplay.

CR: Yeah, definitely.

[43:22] Dr_Murray asks: To effectively perform a job, will we need to qualify for them beforehand, like earning a certain amount of rep, or will it be as easy to get started as having the right kind of ship?

CR: We were kinda discussing this on the previous question about moving professional between professions fluidly. So, to do a job like if I just wanted to cargo haul, if I’ve got a ship that can take cargo I’ll be able to get basic cargo missions. If you want to get more interesting or more lucrative ones then you’ll have to build your rep up whether it’s going to be with a merchant’s guild or someone that’s a cargo broker or something like that. Much like the mission giver that we sort of showed at GamesCom last year, we’ll have characters out there that will be giving you sort of higher grade missions that pay better, that are maybe a bit more interesting, a bit more challenging. So you sort of have to kind of prove your mettle and then you get a certain rep as you were saying and you can move onto the more interesting missions. If you just want to haul cargo and you’ve got a Freelancer, yeah you absolutely be able to start doing that and then it’s up to you how far you want to go in that profession.     

TZ: So, there’s a lot of the smaller ships to where you could potentially fit a small number of crates, 4,6,8, 20 crates. The amount of cargo you can haul is obviously going to affect what type of thing you might be looking to transport, in other words… I mentioned earlier, illegal liquors and stuff which you know a dozen crates of that could actually have a pretty hefty profit margins. When you’re talking about hauling commodities, probably not so much. You’re usually talking about… unless you’re talking about some of the more valuable ones, you’re usually talking about greater quantities, you need a larger ships… those ships in general tend to move slower therefore you may want a security escort and on and on and on

[45:24] Daryell asks: Will there be an autopilot in ships traveling from Point A to Z that will allow me to get up and move around?

CR: The answer is yes, we’re already talking if you’re in quantum drive you’ll eventually have to move around your ship to fix whatever, a fuel rod that goes bad or there’s a leak somewhere or a fuse breaks. So, we were talking about this before, we were discussing you pry should be able to set an autopilot like singular point distance. So not just for quantum drive but maybe even just traveling in normal like SCM or cruise speeds and then you can sort of leave the helm and walk around. Then of course if your ship is going to hit something whether it's in quantum drive or regular space mode, it would pull you out, it would basically stop sort of like one of those auto sensing brake systems.

TZ: This kinda segues into the whole crew functionalities where not only can you go off and do something but you actually have a navigator, you can turn over control of the ship to him and basically give him some basic high level commands. In other words, I’m in convention travel I say go over there, it’s five minutes of flight, I’m going to check on my cargo or I’m going to affect repairs in engineering because I just took some damage and I can give him some basic instructions. What do you do if we come under fire? Do you stop, do you basically try to quickly escape, do you take evasive maneuvers. This kind of goes back to what we were talking about on one of the previous segments to where you'll be able to control your crew but at a very high, very macro level. We’re not going to turn it into this micromanagement game, but if you’ve actually made the investment, you’ve got another pilot, you’ve actually paid for somebody who’s got a significant level of experience… then you’re all the way back in engineering, it’s going to take you 60 seconds to get to the bridge, he needs to do something to not make you a sitting duck for the pirates you just ran across.

CR: So the bottom line is, if it’s just you solo, you do the autopilot. It’s simple point A to point B, will stop you so you don’t hit anything but if you have crew and you have some… tell him to take the helm and you go to the back to fix the engine, that crew can operate at a higher level like they can stop but evade fire or try to escape the area or do something while you’re heading back to take the helm.

TZ: Which is interesting too cause that doesn’t really involve any new coding on our side because we already got NPCs that know how to pilot spacecraft. So all we’re really doing is giving you an interface to this technology that we’ve already set up for other things

Outro With Chris Roberts (CEO, Director of Star Citizen and Squadron 42), Tony Zurovec (Persistent Universe Director). Timestamped Link.

CR: Alright there you go. That is the 10 most voted questions on Spectrum by subscribers for 10 for the Chairman here. So it’s been kind of fun answering the questions here and haven’t been getting to do this that much recently because I’ve been doing a lot of travel between all the different studios, but we’re going to try have 10 for the Chairman, it will definitely be happening, but maybe some of the other disciplines we have and we’ll be using the features of Spectrum which are not only going to get better to allow you guys to really ask the ones that you care about and not rely on us to pick the best ones. It’s much better for you to tell us which ones you really want.

So I think on the 10 for the Chairman side of it we’re going to try to do it at least once a quarter, maybe a bit more. We’ll see what happens on my travel scheduling and everything, but we’d like to be providing this kind of feedback with you on questions for the game, we’ve got the Subscriber Town Halls and things like that.

So thank you all for supporting us to be able to shoot this extra stuff and we’re thankful for you guys out there and girls that have backed the game to allow us to make it and with that I would say, goodnight. What are you going to say Tony?

TZ: Just thanks again for all your support. Without you guys none of this would be possible.

CR: Alright, bye guys.

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