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!
Steve Bender(SB): Hi everyone and welcome to your weekly source for everything Star Citizen, Around the Verse. I’m your host Animation Director, Steve Bender and joining me to today is CG Supervisor, Forrest Stephan. Happy ATV Forrest
Forrest Stephan (FS): And happy ATV to you Steve! How about we start with a quick update on Alpha 2.6
SB: So the Evocati are hammering away at the build and helping us test Star Marine, Pirate Swarm, all the new ships, Spectrum, and more. A lot of progress has been made so far and the team is smashing a ton of bugs every day.
FS: We’re hoping to release 2.6 for a wider PTU testing within the next few days. So that we can get more backers contributing to the Issue Council. Until then you can hop onto the website to view the latest details on our up to date production schedule report to see where every single thing is at.
SB: We’ve also been busy getting everything ready for the holiday livestream on Friday, December 16th
FS: QA has begun running through what we’re going to show, but with all 2.6 work going on, we reached out on the forums for some local Los Angeles backers to come into the studio and lend a hand with the play testing and preparation and so far it's been a significant help.
SB: Well so much help that we might reach out to the forums in the future when the needs arises in L.A. or at the other studios.
FS: Now let's head to Austin for this weeks Studio Update.
Jake Ross (JR): Hey guys, Jake Ross here, Producer of the Austin studio, here with you this week to talk a bit with you about what’s going on here in Austin. I’m going to pass you on to Jay Brushwood and Daniel Craig to talk about what’s going on on the Ship Animation Team.
Jay Brushwood (JB): Lately we’ve been focused on updating the user experience inside these spaceship cockpits - a lot of that has to do with the reactions you get when banking, accelerating, decelerating and updating the g-force blend spaces to give the user this real visceral experience of being inside a modern futuristic space flier out there and so we’re really excited to be working on that, in addition to that, we are updating the Caterpillar which is a larger ship and it actually uses some of the main metric seats that we have in the Freelancer so this allows us to repurpose animations - we don’t have to create unique animations for every single ship, it allows us to get these ships done faster and quicker out to you.
Daniel Craig (DC): So we’ve been editing and implementing the combat speeds for the ships- ship animations. Earlier this year when we did the shoot, we created the templates based off the models so the animations we actually got out of it are very close to the actual models in game which helps when you are implementing, it goes a lot faster when the hand actually reaches where it is supposed to, where before we were a little more flexible, it wasn’t 100% accurate, now we have the models based on- built on set, so that helps a lot.
Ultimately, we’re trying to get all the combat speeds in this year, for all the current ships and the upcoming ships and in the near future we’d like to also get the emergency speeds which are even faster than the combat and the walk speeds which are going to be the slower ones in so that when the player enters or exits it’s depending on the situation the speed will change - so if you are trying to get out fast, it’ll go super fast, if you’re trying to roleplay slow then you can get out a little bit more leisurely.
JR: Alright, awesome, thanks guys, let’s get an update on the hornet improvements that Chris Smith has been doing.
Chris Smith (CS): So lately I’ve been working on the rework of the original Hornet F7C model - it’s- the original model that was in the original trailers essentially was slightly reworked a little while ago but this time I was tasked with really bringing it up visually to match up with the rest of the ships and on top of that I was also tasked with doing a special livery version of that which was called the Wildfire - let’s have a look.
So here we have the new hornets lined up, which are actually the original hornets but they’ve just been remodelled essentially. So really nothing changes on the model itself - on the functionality or anything dimension wise - everything stays the same. All I’ve done is basically go through and clean up the model itself and our new modelling techniques with the palm detail and the new materials that we use and basically bring the ship up to the level of our other current ships that we have in the game.
So here we get a good look and just how I changed it, it’s a lot smoother - if you remember the old one, the textures aren’t quite as clean like this, for example, I have the old model over here and it just gives you a good visual standard of where it came from. So here’s the old model, and here’s the new model.
And so as I did this model, the Hornet - the basic Hornet model - is shared throughout all the variances so all the other variances use this same mesh as the base F7C - so here we have the new updated F7C model. Take a look at the bottom - some of the components haven’t been updated quite yet but they will as well - as you can see it’s just a lot cleaner overall.
And that was the main goal for this. So as you can see here, I’ve put a little more thought into the modelling, you can see here I’ve modelled the wing in now, it doesn’t just smash into the geometry like in the old model.
So I’ll move onto the other models, since it all shares the same mesh - all the other models will get updated as well. So here we have the Hornet Ghost. Some of the materials are still going to be tweaked by the time it is released, it’s initial pass right here. And then we have the radar-equipped Hornet. So as you can see, all that updated mesh just propagates to the other models which is very cool and helps out.
And so here we have the special edition F7C Wildfire Hornet, this one has a special story to it, it was piloted by a Aria Reilly and this was her special paint job that she used and she really was fond of the Hornet F7C and so we turned this one into a special version for that which comes with the custom decals that we created for this - also made a little nose art treatment in a classic style and again, it’s got the updated mesh and everything.
I’ve also updated the cockpit of the F7C. If we swoop in here real quick, I’ve really kept the style of it the same, I didn’t really change the style of it, but mainly the model has just been cleaned up so the geometry doesn’t have any weird fragmentations on it and all that stuff has been cleaned up and the decal is a lot more crisp and also the chair was updated.
I did keep the original style for everything as much as I could and just some slight updates like I said, so yeah, this should make it much nicer to pilot.
JR: Alright, that’s all we have for you this week guys, thanks, we’ll see you around.
FS: It was really awesome to see all the new ship pipeline improvement applied to the Hornet, it was one of the first ships ever made for the project so the tech has come a significant way since it’s initial implementation and it’s never looked better - fantastic job Chris Smith.
SB: It’s also really great to have those new cockpit entrances going in - when we recorded those on the MoCap stage - we actually built out full-scale cockpits for the performers to interact with. We would have the actors familiarize themselves with the ship and then record the motions to get them at the right speed - they’ll get even faster when we start working on the emergency entrances and exits.
FS: Wow, sounds awesome. Now, let’s go back to Austin for the latest community update with Tyler. Take it away, Tyler.
Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey everyone. Tyler Witkin, Community Manager in the Austin, Texas studio here to bring you this week's Community Update. Next week is the holiday livestream, and if the past tells us anything it's that there's probably going to be a lot of Bar Citizen viewing parties around the globe, so make sure to head over to BarCitizen.sc to see if there's an event happening in your area. Now if you can't wait until next week and you live anywhere in or around Utrecht, Netherlands, head over to BarCitizen.nl for all the details for an event happening this Saturday, December 10th.
And now it time for this week's MVP award. With all the excitement and hype surrounding patch 2.6 we were super excited to see a lot of 2.6 themed content flowing into the Community Hub. So first, I'd like to give a congratulations to Deadweight for his detailed efforts in creating a 3D printed Drake Caterpillar. Additionally I'd also like to congratulate Jumbify for his delicious efforts in creating a Drake Caterpillar made out of gingerbread. So congratulations the two of you, you're both MVPs this week. Lastly, the week would not be complete without Reverse the Verse, so make sure to tune in live tomorrow at 10:00 am PST at Twitch.tv/CIGCommunity where we're going to be talking about everything that you saw on today's episode. Thanks for all of the support, and we'll see you in the verse.
SB: The just released Caterpillar is getting a lot of love this week and no surprise there. The ship team did a fantastic job with it.
FS: Yeah, they really did. It's looking fantastic. I feel like we need to team up with Deadweight and Jumbify together to get a 3D printed cookie gun.
SB: Ooo, or maybe a procedural cookie planet.
FS: [Long Pursed Inhale] With realistic frosting biospheres?
SB: [Lost in Thought Look] Ah, speaking of realistic the animation team has been creating a whole slough of new animations to further flesh out the PU and Squadron 42 and implement some of the missing pieces that are going to tie everything together. Let's take a look at what they've been working on.
Bryan Brewer (BB): Squadron 42 animations. Do you remember recently we talked about metrics ... a lot? Well recently at IMS we captured a whole bunch of Universal Transitions. These are transitions that get us into and out of Usable objects.
Some of the stuff that we have been working on are Lego pieces. Do you remember the metrics we had talked about before in previous episodes? Well here’s one of the examples of what I’m talking about. These are some of our Universal Transitions. We went to the stage and actually shot a bunch of animations that fit our template for metrics. So as you can see we have all these arrows here showing the metrics of how to get into an object and we went to the sound stage over at Imaginarium Studios and we shot a bunch of Universal Transitions.
You can see all the different ways a character can enter this in particular Usable. This can be used across the board: it can be used for ... In this case we have it set up for a mess hall table you’d see in a caffettiera but it could be used for anything. It could be like cockpits in certain ships. It could be … anywhere where a character can actually sit down. And you can see that we have a bunch of different ways that an AI can actually approach an object and enter it. And then exit.
And the reason why all these are important - and the reason why we shot these Universal Transitions - is so that we have one piece of animation that we can go to for everything. And what we’ll do is we’ll take this and we’ll motion edit this to work with the mess hall table. We’ll do another motion edit and we’ll edit it to work with booths inside of bars and restaurants and other various venues that you can go and sit down in.
This allows AI, and in some cases characters - players - to actually approach a Useable and when they hit the Use button they’ll play a much smoother, much nicer animation to be able to sit down. These are all in the works and we should be able to see all these at some point in Squadron 42 and in Persistent Universe.
Along with some of the other things we’ve been doing which are setting up metrics for Useable objects, so grabbing something - in this case a datapad and being able to actually use it. This happens to be a transfer of data animation that you’ll see inside Squadron 42 at some point where you go aboard this derelict spaceship and you see this datapad floating: you got to grab it, you got to interact with it to achieve the mission. So we’re doing a lot of these in particular interactive animations as well.
Here’s an example of when you first interact with an object, in this case a datapad, you need a boot up sequence. So just boot this thing up here and get ready to transfer some data.
And we’re going through and we’re fine-tuning these animations of grabbing things, holstering these things, if it’s an NPC walking around we’re doing lots of finger articulation. All the animators here are hard at work polishing a lot of these animations that we’ve been working on for so long.
This also includes something that is kind of the pet project for our Animation Director here and that’s the Deck Crew sequence where you get to experience as close to this amazing jet pilot military takeoff as you possibly can from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
David Peng (DP): Hey guys. So I’m working on the Deck Crew animation. So let’s take a look.
So what you’re going to see here is I’m going to play two different camera angles. The first camera angle that you’re seeing right now is what the player will see. It’s a rough representation - so still work in progress. The next will be a camera switcher so you can see all the different positions.
These animations are fully interactive. They are not canned. That is if there’s an explosion, if they get shot, if the ship lists or something like that you’ll see them fall over, get sucked out into space and react to whatever’s happening around them.
So the other thing too is that these are completely scaleable also. So on a bigger ship like the Bengal for launching bigger ships we can go through and we can adjust for that.
Right so I’m going to play the second camera angle here. Okay. And I’m going to talk about the different crew positions.
So this is the “yellow plane director”, he’s going to step out, let everybody know that things … that everything’s safe. Everybody comes in from the orange safe zone and starts checking to make sure the craft is ready for launch. These are the “green shirts” that are doing all the checking here. Yellow plane director says “Hold. Is everybody safe?” Okay now get ready to pass this off to the shooter. Pass the ball off. Ball goes to him. Jet blast deflect goes up. They give the thumbs up. Shooter finishes the hover hand signal and signals the pilot to throttle up. And the shooter - once everything is safe - launches the craft.
And that’s it. Hope you guys enjoyed it
SB: These new animations are really helping to keep things fluid and more immersive. As we continue to expand the animation set, the designers and players will have a lot more options available for interactions.
FS: Yeah it’s fun seeing how details everything is now. Did you do a lot of research on those take off animations?
SB: Yeah we did a bunch of research on how real military personnel and watch video of aircraft carrier take offs, but we usually use that as a starting point. We always want to incorporate our own Star Citizen flavour.
FS: Totally, we did the same thing on the character side, use a lot of real world reference and then blended it together with our own style.
SB: Well that’s all we have for today’s show. We’d like to thank all our backers new and old for making the development of this game possible.
FS: And a special thanks to our subscribers for going that extra mile to help support additional community content like this episode’s ATV, and tomorrow's RTV.
Also make sure to tune in Friday, December 16th for our annual holiday livestream. We’ll have more details about that up on our website very soon.
SB: Since we’re having the livestream next week and the CIG offices will be on holiday break a few weeks after it, this will actually be the last ATV until we return next year January 12th.
FS: But do not worry there will be plenty of updates. Make sure to look at the weekly community managers log to see what is in store.
SB: But until next year, we’ll see you..
FS/SB: Around the Verse
[Crazy waving action]
[Forrest wrapped his arm around Steve]