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10 for the All Stars: Episode 1 Written Monday 19th of October 2015 at 05:52pm by CanadianSyrup, Shiver_Bathory and Sunjammer

Hello citizens! Here’s a look at the 10 For The All Stars – Episode 1

Hello everyone! Above is the very first episode of 10 for the Allstars! This is a very long episode so we apologize for the delay in getting the transcript for this video to you

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

No TL:DR available; our apologies.

Full Transcript

Intro With Eric Kieron Davis (Senior Producer), Adam Wieser (Associate Writer), Forrest Stephan (CG Supervisor), Calix Reneau (Tech Designer). Timestamped Link.

EKD: Hey everybody and welcome to a special “10 For …”. We’ve got something a little more unique this time; we’re going to do something a little bit different. We’ve got somebody from each of the disciples to kind of do a little round table. We’re going to go through a lot of the questions we’ve got from the forums and talk about how that impacts each of our jobs.

EKD: But first we want to thank subscribers because without you guys we couldn’t do this. Our subscribers kick us a little bit each month to allow us to do enhanced community content that we hope you are going to enjoy.

EKD: So I want to go real quick around and introduce who I’m sitting with. To my right …

AW: Adam Weiser, Associate Writer here at CIG LA.

EKD:  And I’m Eric Kieron Davis. I’m a Senior Producer here in CIG LA.

CR: Calix Reneau, Tech Designer.

FS: Forrest Stephan, CG Supervisor.

EKD: And we’re super excited to go through these questions, You guys kicked us a lot of really good ones and so we’re just going to start off. If you guys are ready. You guys ready?

Others: [answer in the affirmative]

Zeshio asks: Who generally starts the idea process for a ship, a planet, etc? Are there writers the ones who start with the lore first, or do they just fill in the details if an artist comes up with a really specific good ship idea from scratch? Do you all follow a specific guidance from CR, or are you all allowed to submit ideas through a creative development process that vets different game features?

AW: There’s definitely when it comes to planets and a lot of the starmap stuff definitely did originate with the lore team. When it comes to ships other elements like that there are definitely ideas that we have that we have vetted through Chris that are going to be implemented in the game and maybe we do take a lore first perspective on it, that then trickles down to the other departments but there have been plenty of other moments that you guys have come into our office to and said “Hey we’re working on this really cool thing how can you help us build the world around it or how can we justify the lore to a certain degree it definitely works both ways dependent on what it is and what’s needed to get done. EKD: I’ve seen a lot too even from the art side you do get that enhanced back and forth you may have the straight script that you guys have written but it doesn’t work right artistically and these guys come in and imply “would this work within that world?” and it’s this cool back forth I think the point of this question is there is no one starting point there’s many different avenues that we follow and i think it’s really cool and exciting.

Chaplain asks: From a team perspective, producers, writers, artists, and designers. How have the ship pipeline and development/balance process changed since the original ship packages were put on sale? Did those changes, if any, change how the ships and the lore involving those ships have been developed since then to account for balance those ships with other ships that have been introduced after the first batch?

EKD: So the question is … [laughter] … From the beginning right, from the beginning of making ships, from the beginning of the idea of what Star Citizen would become, has that process changed? Now, do we do things differently developing ships, maybe from the lore side? And maybe there’s only a few people here who can speak to the original, but I think at the same time how’s changed? Or has it change? For the better or how’s it going? FS: I think the lore side is quite similar only we have more writers obviously and we get better fleshed out ideas earlier on; we’ve got more designers so we get more designs earlier on. Previously, obviously, we started with running preproduction, production at the same time; and we started from scratch with no company. These ships, we had to build these pipelines for how the ships work as we were building the ships themselves, which explains a lot of the reasons we go back to the Connie and go “now that we’ve got it figured out, let’s revamp it a little bit and do it right”. Probably, initially we’ve seen that a lot of things, is it compatible: the original Constellation is a perfect example, we got the ship going, we wanted to get it out there but “okay wait a minute how do the escape pods actually come out of the ship?”; when you lower the elevator “wait a minute do I really want to only one person to be able to get into the ship at a time, maybe I want three“. So these are things that are part of the evolution process and pipelines in general, you get it going, get it started and then you have to use it a couple of times and then you figure out what works and what doesn’t work and then it continually evolves. I think with design as well, one thing that we absolutely learned is how important it is to get design and the literature as early as possible; and as much fleshed out as possible because it significantly helped and it significantly saves time. And spending that time at the beginning saves a lot of time at the end. EKD: To speak to, because I’m at six months I think, so I haven’t been here since the original; but what I was really excited about with the Endeavour , the most recent one, I felt like, and I know we’ve done this with a lot of ships recently, that was the first time I saw everyone that needed to get involved, get involved really early. We’re doing that right now on a couple of other ships but I was really excited because I got to sit in those meeting that got everybody involved: Tony, and Ben; and the key stakeholders from the beginning. It wasn’t like “hey we’ve got this far down the ship concept and we never showed Bill over there, we never showed this guy, we never even showed the writers”. It was kind of cool to see that one come together and all the ones we’re starting to do now it’s got this level of polish from the beginning so when we’re getting into these phases and we start developing that ship it’s like “yep!” FS: And the goal is to get it in … we’ve learned the most important thing is to get it in the game as soon as possible. EKD: That’s cool FS: Even if it’s just shapes. Get it flying, get it moving. See what works, see what doesn’t work. And not try to build an entire ship from scratch and then get it in the game. But build the ship up very simple, what we call “white box” which is more like proxy-based, and then get it in where it’s functional for design to start balance and testing. And then they can already be balance and testing while we’re actually doing the final art and then we’re just swapping things out as we go. And then we start with the white box phase, which is again just the proxies. And then we move onto the grey box phase, which is like the Constellation during our previous GamesCon demo, and that’s like the ship is there, you see it; it’s not final but it’s pretty close and you can visualise what it will look like. And obviously we do our final pass which is our pristine version. CR: Context is everything in making these artistic decisions: how this thing should feel; how this thing should behave; what it should look like. And we’ve gained all this experience from creating Arena Commander; from creating all these ships that are flyable. And the combat and the flight behavior and all of that; we can see what the game is like: just load it up and play it. So it’s the same thing: that informs our decisions, that informs how we want to make the thing grow, and [turns to FS] to your point of getting it in as early as possible, we need to see what it is in order to see what we want it to be. [General agreement] FS: That helps; we barely had a game. You could fly around. I remember the first demo I ever saw was Chris showing me the Hornet on a landing pad and you could kind of fly it around but we didn’t have all these game modes back then. So now we have all these game modes so we can throw these ships in at a very early stage and see how does this ship handle against a swarm of Vanduul ships: Scythes and a Glavie. EKD: The ship pipeline has gone through a lot of changes but I almost feel like that just very natural. FS: It’s very natural. EKD: What you had from the beginning, like right now if we made an RSI ship we might be able to steal pieces from previous ships. You didn’t have that when you started the pipelin; you’re making everything from scratch. It’s like doing sequels of movies and stuff, I already got … CR: Iteration! EKD: Exactly! FR: It’s about evolving and not doing things from scratch. And a lot of times it seems we’re doing things from scratch but really we’re evolving. EKD: Totally. AW: And from the lore perspective too a lot of the stuff that you guys are talking about, they’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting before for this. Dave and Will and I ???, with Chris and Ben involved in that too, setting those guidelines, putting the ideas or our thoughts into the Corporation Matrix or in certain places so designers, artists can go in and look and see exactly what the intention behind all those and form their design to it. EKD: That’s great!

Monster / L’Mac asks: Will the starmap be available on the App Store for iPad/iPhones? Will we be able to download an offline version of the Star Map to our devices for those times when either don’t have an internet connection or don’t want to use mobile data?

AW: Regarding the Star map we just did a Q and A this week which everyone should check out on the main RSI site that’ll explain a lot of that. We are looking into the ability to have a tablet kind of android app for it, not quite yet, but that’s definitely something we realized it’s something people want and would be a pretty cool thing to do. The offline mode i’m not sure exactly where we are it does seem like a function that would be useful but the technical behind that is definitely going to be a Turbulent thing less of a lore kind of team thing but glad everyone loves it. EKD: It’s awesome. AW: It’s a lot of fun to run around in. EKD: I just want to do that all day it’s all I want to do. FS: He’s doing it right now. EKD: I’m doing it right now I just planned my next jump point!

BuzZz Killer asks: In the monthly report there was talk of restructuring understand to bring the various disciplines together in a more cohesion team. I’m guessing this also to take full advantage of the increased space in the new la office building. How much of an impact will this have on the team’ productivity and efficiency? Will there be drawbacks now that the teams aren’t working around the clock in different time zones?

FS: Oh we are definitely still working. EKD: To answer that first question I think we are still going to continue to be that around the sun development. We shut down and the UK get’s going that’s definitely not changing. I think the idea of bring us all closer together and reorganizing is a great idea.How do you guys feel about it, what’s your take away from that? CR: I passed off a bug last night to the UK that I was like “I got this far on it but couldn’t figure out this piece if you guys can take it..” And they did and were done in the morning. Why would we stop doing that? EKD: Right? Exactly and I don’t really know the goal of the restructure it’s definitely not to take away from that it’s actually to just keep enhancing that. FS: It’s to concentrate the disciplines. So you can put more people together that are doing the same thing to make them more successful so it’s not a negative thing it’s a very positive thing. It’s actually helped the employees. Which is already began doing so (?) AW: From the lore perspective it’s great cause all four of us are based here; Dave, Will, Cherie and I so that is really fantastic we do lunch everyday together so it gives us a chance to get out of the office. Because sometimes some of the best work you’ve is done when you’re not working too, when you’re just out and about and doing other things so it’s nice to kind of bring that together and if we really do have to jam on something to get it done we’re all here together to support each and get stuff done. EKD: That’s great

Doc asks: Can you explain in short what DataForge is and how it is used in the different areas?

EKD: I’m going to look at Calix for this CR: Shortest version of DataForge is it’s how we integrate our XML into the game. We put in new stats. That’s what it’s for. It is to create new objects because there are so many things in the game. not just the entities that appear in the game but all the structural elements of the game rules and levels and those have their own connective tissue and this is to support all that and it’ s a great many files which without DataForge has a lot of opportunity for human error and that’s one of the places bugs come from this is how Mark (Abent) gets to do his deal but DataForge is still being built out so it’s currently used for SQ42 primarily it’s built to support those things and is being pushed over to working on the live game as well. We’ll be overtaking our previous tool Statsmonkey which just read from an Excel sheet and populated XML data and has its own pitfalls of it’s you take your life in your hands when you pull a Statsmonkey FS: Yeah we went from massive XML’s that just got kind of unsustainable they were so large we do it but its very large scripting files that we have to clean (?) and it is a lot of user error possibilities and then we used the Statsmonkey to help start using spreadsheets to control these numerical values in all these XML’s and then DataForge is the end solution. It’s the true interface the true machine that drives all of this data. CR: It includes integrations, validations all of it. EKD: It’s cool FS: We are checking everything. EKD: That’s great. FS: So when people like me tweak a label or something *laughter* AW: You guys won’t let me touch that stuff. EKD: Yeah. Not yet!

Krel asks: How does having the level of open development that CIG strives for impact how you do your jobs, compared to a more traditional company? How do you decide what’s okay to share and when?

EKD: That’s a great question. Let’s answer the first question how does this open level impact your jobs? CR: Completely EKD: Yeah? CR: Completely. EKD: Why? CR: Particularly the things I do very directly impact the final experience. The balance things like behaviours like if I make a change someone has noticed it. So being able to hear back from backers is exciting and terrifying and it’s incredible I don’t want to underplay that but there’s also an element of I definitely the backers in mind I have all one million voices in my head when I make a change and I’m like *strokes beard* how’s that going to play? Which is good. I definitely think EKD: I think to say that i’m not sure everybody knows but Calix implements a lot of the balance right? It’s a company wide discussion everybody has their hands in it. FS: Having people in access so early it makes a huge impact. EKD/CR: Yeah. FS: For me I love the transparency because being able chat to the community in regards to the actual tech involved and kind sub them (?) our methods and the geeky side of the art is pretty fun like I very much grew up in mod communities where everyone shares information and I had a lot information shared to me which allowed me to do what I do and to be able to interact with modders on our forum and they ask questions on how some of the tech works then I can explain how we do things. I think it’s kind of cool because it allows me to give back what was given to me and I know if I was younger I would have loved for a company that had this high end art to have access to one of the developers and ask them questions and to get answers would have been the coolest thing ever. CR: it’s also kind of inspiring. FS: Yeah it’s really pretty neat. EKD: To add into that you’ve been doing a lot of character work recently and Sean just voiced over that great video we saw at CitizenCon that was tech you guys had just shutdown or gotten to that point days before how does that feel to go I literally finished that and here we’re showing everybody? FS: Yeah that was exciting cause definitely the Gary Oldman and then the characters in the Morrow tour were all using that new tech. From the heads to the bodies and there are lots of people involved to help make that happen and is pretty remarkable tech and i’m looking forward to kind of sharing some of that tech with our fans as far as our approaches and how we do it and maybe we’ll make some videos like a tutorial or some videos on how it works so we can give modders a head start. EKD: So from the writer’s side AW: It looks great because it means more lore. Because it means that every week we’ve got something new to share with you at least and the jump points to and it helps us define the world in even greater detail than you normally would in a game at this point which is fantastic. We also have the messages to be able to take people’s responses on the message boards and use them to kind of like, especially the role playing stuff that’s being going out recently around the attack at Vega we’ve been able to use some of the great role playing down there by the fans and by everyone help us fill out certain aspects of that too. It’s really great and every once in a while we’ll do a lore builder segment where if we want to help build out the history behind Sataball or behind maybe how a certain parlour government is structured. It’s great to get the input from the backers because there’s a lot of people out there and there’s only four of us we can only know so much. The community is so vast and has such a great experience and such a depth of knowledge it’s great to be able to have there and dip into see what they’re feeling and just tap into that knowledge and expertise. It’s really nice EKD: I would say we buttoned up on the production side right? definitely where I came previously or where I’ve been previously it’s very abnormal to share everything all the time. I think my first week at the company my second day on the job they’re like hey that meeting you were just in? Now go on camera and tell everyone what you just talked about. It was a wild experience but kind of freeing also to know that i’m getting feedback and i’m working with them and i get to talk to you guys. It’s a wild experience but I think the benefits are immense because we can afford these benefits here at this place there are fewer restrictions coming from the business side where you can’t do certain things but I think it’s great we can do that stuff. CR: We try to talk about anything that’s in the game obviously anything that Chris has talked about is always safe. I tend to sort of gauge the sort of things I talk about either by the level of authority I personally have over it. Like if I have done this thing and I know everything about it then I feel a bit more comfortable talking about that. Cause the things we want to avoid we don’t want to promise things or make it sound like we’re doing things we’re not. Miscommunication is probably the hardest thing about this. If you lead people to believe something whether you think it’s true or you misspoke if that ever happens there’s a lot to be held accountable for. So you try to be open and honest but you also tend to be very careful speaking speculatively. So like if something isn’t a sure thing I try to, play with it ok we’re open to these ideas because that much is true, we’re trying to do these things but until it’s in the game it’s not real. So that’s why I sort of leave it to you to tell me when things go out because until that happens… EKD: Yeah that’s absolutely right and I think back to our original question. If you worked in the creative industry you know that we’re coming up with crazy stuff in every meeting all the time. So if we were to say all that crap all the time out we would be all over the place. But obviously that’s not the case that’s just how we flesh out these creative ideas it’s how we get to that final product FS: It’s brainstorming EKD: Yeah exactly. When we go to that last part of the question i think that’s the point. When do decide to share it? When we know like you said *nods to Calix* it’s going to be there or right in there and we need your help cause we do want your feedback but at the same time we don’t want to be like here’s the craziest stuff we thought of today FS: Sometimes we try these things and they don’t work out. EKD: Exactly FS: You got to take that idea and evolve it to see if it works EKD: And that happens everywhere. Anywhere I’ve ever worked. On the writing side the first script you don’t go that’s it see you. AW: Yeah you don’t walk away at that point. EKD: So if you shared that script wait why does that guy say that. Cause that’s dumb and I shouldn’t have written that.

Karl Ricco asks: What computer games do you guys play? Arena Commander doesn’t count, of course.

EKD: So we’ll start to my left. Forrest what computer games do you play? It doesn’t say ever or now or currently so you can take it how you want! FS: I played Battlefront all weekend. EKD: Battlefront FS: I mean, of course! Loved. It’s great! EKD: Anything else? Just Battlefront. That’s your game, your game right now? FS: Well I got to play it for three days! Um … [thinking] … what else do I play? I love, obviously, The Witcher: I’m still playing The Witcher. Um … [thinking] … EKD: Was it good? FS: I got a stack this big .. [gestures] … that I never have time to play unfortunately. I got Metal Gear Solid at home, don’t have time to play that. Others: [laughing] AW: The secret of the industry: we work in games, we have no time to play games! FS: So many games I want to play and I don’t get to play them. CR: My Steam backlog is intense. I’ve being trying to catch up on some of the indie darlings that I’ve missed out on playing. Played through Gone Home and Her Story both of which I really enjoyed. The Oil Blue I believe it’s called; I was enjoying that one. And Metal Gear Solid 5: I’m like twenty six percent of the way in after, like, a hundred hours. FS: I couldn’t even beat the demo! Others: [laughing] FS: I was like “this is it, this is all I need” EKD: For me I’ve been play Witcher, I got back on The Witcher 3 last week or the week before. Call of Duty: do like to jump in, shoot some people and jump out. Battlefront I was playing, played the same time Forrest was playing. That’s all console, that’s technically not PC. The question was “computer games”, but the a console’s a computer right? Doesn’t say it has to be PC … Others: [laughing] FS: It doesn’t matter, Fallout’s coming over then everyone’s life is going to be over and then … EKD: That’s it for me. AW: Basically I’ve just been focusing on The Witcher 3 right now, just trying to get through that. CR: Dude, it’s not going to happen. AW: Yeah, I’m not going to be able to get to everything. FS: I can’t stop hunting for treasure! AW: That’s the problem there’s too many question marks. FS: Yeah if there were no question marks … AW: It would be a lot easier. I’m to the point where I’m almost done the main story and I know that so I’m clearing up some Witcher contracts and secondary quests. I’m still probably … CR: Just play some some Indie games. You can beat them, they have an end. AW: What I do is balance it with Rocket League then, so if I go home and I just need to do something and not get sucked into a story for the next hour then I just play a bunch of matches of Rocket League and it’s fantastic. It’s a lot of fun. CR: The real answer is of course Arena Commander. EKD: Yeah that’s very true. AW: And I haven’t tried the buggies yet in ArcCorp. That’s something I want to go tried to set on fire soon. EKD: That’s a lot of fun. I was enjoying that thoroughly.

Kieren Akari asks: In the live stream for Subscribers, Chris mention that players potentially can avoid combat entirely. I have tried to play many different games peacefully in the past, but most games almost “require” combat to advance or progress. The daily “work” was just a grueling grind– and my IRL job was more fun. How is the team working together to make peaceful occupation exciting, fun, and intriguing– and how big of a priority will this be moving forward?

FS: I think the starmap does a pretty good job showing hostile zones as opposed to safe zones. AW: That’ll definitely be a way for players to be able to plan routes around that and limit the amount of interactions they may have with unlawful forces so to say or hostile forces. The size of it too being able to see how much size between everything. So hopefully you’ll be able to be like “alright I know there’s something over in this direction I want to avoid stuff” FS: I imagine its being about being conservative. Otherwise if you want that high risk high reward situation that’s where it’s starting to get more dangerous but if you’re going to be more conservative about it and get a steady flow then you’re going to avoid all that stuff. CR: There’s the PvP slider which will help you hedge your bets on that but ultimately you’re probably not going to be able to completely avoid combat. However there’s all these things in the game like the contract system. You’ll be able to hire NPC’s to come escort you places there’s no reason you need to pull the trigger just run away from those things and let the NPC’s take care of you. There’s also all these support roles that we’re really pushing on making interactive and deep and skill based and fun. All the things from mining, salvage to repair to running tactics in a larger ship. All these things where you might find yourself in combat you might be actively in danger zones but the thing you’re doing is helping your people helping your side as opposed to harm the other side. There’s the Endeavour for going for the research and hospital and the space farming even. We are building that out basically with each new ship, looking at new ways. WE got combat what else are you going to do with this ship? Are you going to do cargo are you going to do repair? FS: I’m just going to have our QA team guide me everywhere, they know everything. Or you can do what was super popular back in the 90’s and early 00’s running your own dedicated server cause we do support that. Then you have complete privacy which is super awesome and people forget about that we allow gamers to do which is very PC oriented and I miss those days cause you don’t get to do that very much with games anymore. AW: From the lore perspective too we’ve seen the response from the community not everyone wants to be dog fighting or shooting all the time. The latest lore post was about the relief response to the attack on Vega and how there were merchant marines running supplies in people that don’t want to fight but maybe want to go and help out if there’s some kind of crisis, civil war or famine somewhere in the verse we understand that there’s not only people who want to go in there and be a part of the action but also maybe want to try to help the community there get better. It’s already in the back of our mind that we’re planning mission that don’t necessarily always need to end with you drawing your gun or firing a weapon that you can resolve things in other ways too. So we’re very conscious of that we’re ready to make sure that’s a part of the experience to for those that want it. CR: I’m always impressed with how resourceful communities are even in other games. I’ve seen people running taxi services in other games and we are supposed to support that. Here’s a thing we’re going to do and we’re trying to find as many of those avenues as possible and I have no doubt the community is going to show us new ways to do this.

Phoenix Branson asks: We have seen many manufacturer logos for Star Citizen. Will CIG also create new logos for fast food restaurants for the Persistent Universe, such as a pizza join, taco stand or ice cream parlor?

EKD: But the question for this group really, and it goes back to how we work together, we’re going to have a lot of stuff happening in our game all over the place, we’re going to have all kind of shops and things like that; what level does that impact you guys in the way that you do your job? Again this goes back to, and I’m feeding from the first question, when you see how a shop works is that more driven by you [Adam] do you come up with a name? Or do you [Calix] say “no I think the name should be this”? Based on a shop how does that stuff come together? How does that usually work? CR: I work mostly with the ships, and so the ships obviously integrate with the rest of the game but as those parts come online we have things like the billboards that go on the Hull series; or the whole commercial bazar that goes on the Merchantman. So we have those things being build out and integrated into our ships and there’s a back-and-forth on that: what makes for a good walkable space in your ship; what makes for a good thing to just find out in space; what’s been designed to be on the terrestrial when you go down planetside. So those things definitely intersect. FS: It’s generally a combination of art and literature because they’ll put shops in the stories some time, right? AW: Yeah, we’ve definitely seeded a bunch of specific locations and specific shops that are either universally around or just in a specific location so if you’re going to go to this specific landing zone we probably already know the name of the shop there, who running it, so that way when you guys get to that point of building it out. having to design it, you can come to us and we can let you know “oh, this is going to be the dark bar where people are going to come in and do info agent stuff” AW: I know from our perspective too, we already have a working doc open for all the writers so that if we have an idea for a fun billboard or something that might elicit anything, and it doesn’t have to be related to a product in the game it could be for like “learn Xi’an today” so it’s like instead of “learn Spanish” or “learn French”. We have a working doc, if you think of one you just drop the idea in there because we have had request from the PU Team in Austin to be like “hey we just need stuff to be able to populate the backgrounds and the street corners and stuff like that”. So we’re maybe not focusing every day on it but if you get one of those ideas over the course of the week you drop it in and you slowly build up that list so when it comes time for them needing more of them we’ve got already a database set aside for that. CR: That seven hour workshop, perfect for the trader on the go! AW: Yeah. Exactly. Exactly! EKD: Perfect. FS: We make sure that all the style guides are taking the literature and starting to build out these logos. You see it in ArcCorp right? We’ve got some logos. I’m sure we’ll repeat, we’re very modular, environment so I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t have corporate shops or a string of shops that show up in different locations. AW: Cubby Blast and Casaba Outlet and all those. Those are meant to all around the UEE. So it’s perfect for us too because it’s familiar for the player and it’s easy for design to go in and just replicate. EKD: Cool. FS: Absolutely.

CC Corp asks: I would love to get what the thought process is throughout each stage in re-building or re-designing the older ships, for example the hornet or 300 series. Does a lot of talk between each department happen or is it just tossed back and forth till it’s perfect and not something completely different from the original.

EKD: What I love about this question is, it’s happening. We kind of talked about the pipeline a little bit but we didn’t touch on older ships. We didn’t talk about, we talked a little about the constellation. Do you go this ship isn’t what we originally planned, hey guys let’s talk about, or is it tech is the new thing? What normally happens? FS: Usually the first thing that we do is we look at the one of the legacy ships and there’s some obvious fixes that we need to do, make it more modular right? standardize the parts that are inside the ship, that way we have an external library we can pull from so if you have a seat and a joystick, instead of building it unique to one ship, we keep that sort of separate and that’s a thing now that we can potentially put in other ships. We also learned very early that we had to standardize all of our interface as you’re sitting in the cockpit. Create templates and create kind of proxy examples of animation works because we can’t have an unlimited amount of animations so it has to be fairly reusable from ship to ship and we kind of started targeting in on individual manufacturers so each manufacture has kind of a specific layout that’s kind of consistent throughout the ships. The other thing is we obviously have switched a lot of our tech. we went from the traditional unwraps and doing textures from scratch to doing more of a tiling system. Obviously with physically based renderer came on we had to start converting the ships over to the new rendering system which required us to update all of our textures and all of our materials so that’s still kind of a big challenge and were still porting over the ships from that system and we have stuff like the Argo system that’s starting to get standardized which now we had to update all of our cargo holds to actually support the new designs, which you know the constellation is the best example of taking a legacy ship and now bringing it into our next gen pipeline. You know everything from the seats to the interface to the cargo system, to the materials, to our modeling techniques, and the reusability and to the modular aspects, and then the gameplay requirements so that was kind of a big chunk that was required and we decided to tackle that and it took some time but now that we have all these system in place, it ended up being a very good example for what we needed to do for some smaller ships. EKD: Is it all generally system or have you guys gotten involved later to reimagine a ship? AW: I think while I’ve been here the biggest thing has been more about the components you use in the ship is that there is a really long list of components different manufacturers that have been created in lore that we realized there were a lot of double, triples, that maybe just for simplicity sake, if we kind of tried to pair those down so it was just easier for the designer, for the artists like oh it’s going to be this one manufacturer that produces this one thing, we don’t need 40 different company making shield generators., we can have the standard few that has their obvious pros and cons. That’s been a big thing, sometimes there are ships that we’ve had ideas form that we want to be able to work on but maybe some of the thing stuff that you guys are doing kind of affects that, oh we’re going to have to make sure that this one feels distinct enough and it’s not just a copy of this to a certain degree. EKD: Yeah it’s really interesting and from the scheduling side, from the production side, were always looking at what’s next, what makes sense because we have a limited amount of resources right? We’re all a resource at this company so it’s always like well, we’d love to get back and redo some of these older ships but we don’t have bandwidth because we really want to get onto the new ships it’s always kind of a balancing act, something that we just become passionate about because we’ve been really looking at it for 3 years and some were like we’ll get back to it, it’s really more important to get onto to these items. CR: It’s also as features come online. EKD: Yes exactly. CR: Like there’s more thing to refactor, we can go back and make the aurora series up to current systems but the time it will take to do that, we will have another system up so we’ll need to do it again. So to a certain extent we have to look at how of out of date things are versus how much we’d be able to bring them up to speed and how much were still building the game to be. FS: We want to minimize how much we, we don’t want to rebuild the ship from complete scratch, there’s some situations that we kind of have to but for the most part, for me the most important thing really is the efficiency and optimization of it and a lot of the reasons we’ve had to go back to older ships and we still need to go back to some older ships like the cutlass because when we originally built them, we build them like a game model and now we have all this tech that takes advantage of certain approaches, we need to go back and abide by those approaches to make it efficient for the game because obviously having these extremely expensive ships in the game hurts performance and after we kind of initially started getting stuff out there we were like we gotta make this game run well because people are going to be today and they aren’t going to be playing when it theoretically come out you know years down the road. You actually you know, we had to decide a year or two years ago we need to figure out the most efficient way to make these ships because this is going to be important because this thing needs to sustain for a long period of time. and also you know I’m not real big in completely redesigning the old ships, i think it’s kind of cool, it’s kind of like a classic car, you know I’d rather see a new model of the ship, get it efficent, get it using all the systems work the design and not do too much to it right and then create a new version of the ship right that’s a new model like a car you know what I mean and when you see someone flying around in that 2014 model, you know it’s kind of special. [Everyone agrees in approval] EKD: Because you could even break this down in a production standpoint, we just have a rebuilding team right? and then we have the team that’s building the ships that we all want to see that we’ve have been talking about, then we have the live time. We have several different kinds of games happening all at the same place with the same resources and I think that always comes down to pros and cons, what do we want to see before other things and so on and so on. BONUS question! Alright last question! this comes from Doc.w

Doc Asks: How do you decide priority of the different departments regarding new game mechanics, ideas, concepts? Is there a weekly boxing fight between department leaders to decide this, but we backers are missing out on? …. Just kidding, :-D For new backers it would probably be interesting when you describe generally how the usually process goes from concept to release and how the different departments are involved.

EKD: So I can answer the first question, priorities. This is a very very difficult question. Generally the leads of each of the teams are aware of what they need their team to do, we meet frequently ,we do weekly goals, we have a master schedule that were trying to drive the long term of things, we’re’ trying to get all the ideas out of chris’s head, we trying to put it all in one place put it all together, very much on the production side that doesn’t burden you guys at all, you guys keep making awesome stuff. But then we do have constant priority clashing. Forrest and I have been experiencing this a lot lately because it’s the same resources doing multiple different things. FS: Because we know we all need to get it done and that’s when you know if you have two leads that want to both to get something done it kind of clashes that’s when you raise it up to production and that’s why I like Eric here to help make the decision on what does come first and it’s not a boxing match it’s actually a steel cage match [Everyone laughs] FS: You have the top with the ladder, you put tacks all over the ground EKD: I think the perfect example right, let’s use something very realistic to now that Forrest and I just talked about. The amazingly wildly talented Mark Mcall, upstairs right. FS: He can do technical ships and do technical animations for characters. EKD: He’s excellent at everything he does and so that means everyone wants him and wants to use him for things, that’s a frequent conversations between Forrest and I the design leads, whos’ going to use mark for what this week and what’s the long term thing so we’re constantly battling the, we got the long term vision but we got the short term things we need to achieve, so when events come up and it’s already tech that we’ve been developing and were about to show it off to so we can keep going, we’re shifting things around frequently and we’re all tense. So we’re all trying to get things done and everyone wants to use the same person and so, there’s aggressive conversations but it’s generally healthy, it’s usually for getting the the thing done, we all want to get this thing done and make it awesome, make it look great and we all try to drive for our peace, that’s usually how it works, but then at the end of the day the leads or people who are leaders of places or points of contact need to work together, alright I’ll give him up to you for this week but this means that will mean this this and this for the schedule and so that kind of comes down to where like you said work with production, look at the long term with all of our studios global, it’s a complex little beast. FS: and there’s also the director’s role you know and if the leads have a clash on what the priorities are because they both want their own individual disciplines to have priorities and then it gets raised up to the directors who can kind of work things out. EKD: And then ultimately Chris. We present that to Chris and say hey the directors agree with this, the production agrees with this, this is the what the team wants to do, Chris which way should we go? I think he does a great job at kind of seeing this whole somehow, seeing this massive thing and going let’s put this there , there and there, it’s a big puzzle. CR: Star Citizen is an experience and it’s a very unique one, it’s driven by the things that you can do and the places you can do it and so that means that we have art and design and programming all these things really need to add up to the star citizen experience that Chris’s vision is for. On a given thing that balance might skew differently because, also at a given time because you know, sometimes it’s really easy to get something functional but ugly, sometimes it’s very easy to get something pretty but not functional and then we fill in the rest right? and it comes back to what what were talking earlier about context of get as much of the thing so that that informs decisions and informs the thing that you’re creating and when the thing exists you can say Yes that is right or no that needs to be a little bit different and for these reasons, that continues to build upon itself into a real thing. It’s really important.

Outro With Eric Kieron Davis (Senior Producer), Adam Wieser (Associate Writer), Forrest Stephan (CG Supervisor), Calix Reneau (Tech Designer). Timestamped Link.

EKD: Totally and I think on that beautiful note, I think that’s a great way to end. Again I hope you guys enjoyed this very interesting and unique 10 for the, I think we had a great time. Again thank you to the subscribers for allowing us to do this additional content we love getting this stuff out in front of you guys as soon as possible as discussed in question 4 I think it was? I don’t know. But again thanks, come back we got more for you. I want to thank Adam and Calix and Forrest and hopefully we’ll do this again very soon.

FS: And for reading all those question

EKD: My pleasure! See you guys next time!

[Everyone says goodbye]



Director of Transcripts

A polite Canadian who takes pride in making other peoples day brighter. He enjoys waffles with Maplesyrup, making delicious puns and striving for perfection in screaming at the T.V. during hockey games.


Director of EU Operations

The consummate English gentleman, Shiver Bathory can be found posting news to The Relay, when not making puns that is.When not typing furiously at his keyboard he enjoys hanging in chat with The Relay community and every once in awhile can be found playing some game or another. Every Wednesday on The Base he hosts Dead Air - An alternative and extreme metal music show



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