As is with any information on our transcripts and summaries, everything posted is subject to change by CIG and in some cases may not always be 100% accurate at the time. While we strive for accuracy, mistakes do happen so please let us know if you find something amiss that we didn’t catch. Enjoy the show!
Chris Roberts (CR): Hello and welcome to episode six of Around the ‘Verse. I’m Chris Roberts, Director of Squadron 42 and Star Citizen
Sandi Gardiner (SG): And I’m Sandi Gardiner. Today’s episode is coming at you from the L.A. office of Cloud Imperium Games.
CR: Yeah it’s good to be back. After almost being gone for almost a month at Gamescom and spending time at our Manchester and Frankfurt studios. I’m very happy to be here in L.A.
So big news, we’ve crossed another landmark, one and a half million citizens have signed up onto our website.
SG: That’s amazing.
CR: Yeah it’s definitely amazing and we’ve got a great show lined up for you today. We’re going to check in and get an update on the Drake Caterpillar which I know a lot of people like.
SG: And we’ve also sat down with our Technical Art Team to see how they make great art work.
CR: Yup, but first let's go to Eric and see what the LA team’s been working on.
Eric Kieron Davis (EKD): Welcome back to Los Angeles, I’m Senior Producer Eric Kieron Davis here with your regular studio update. First up, here’s character art director Josh Herman and character artist Omar Aweidah to give us an update on some of the new armour for Star Marine and beyond.
Josh Herman (JH): So with Star Marine coming online we really wanted to focus updating our marine models - Star Marine highlights our light marine with a custom color variant for that but expanding on that we also want to focus on updating our medium and our heavy marine armours as well. Omar has been focusing on and is almost done our medium marine, he’s finishing up the game topology now and he’s going to be moving on to texturing. After he’s done with that we’ll probably be having him roll onto our heavy marine so that we can round out the whole set and make them all look really, really good.
Omar Aweidah (OA): One of the biggest things that you’re going to notice with our new character system is the fact that it is completely modular - from armour type to the material that’s on that armour and we are working currently on the medium marine which is almost complete and we just finished the light and then we are moving on to the heavy and some of the things that have increased is the quality of the asset, the quality of the materials, the quality of the texture resolution and the increased player customization which is one of the things we really wanted to focus on.
EKD: I’m really excited about the amount of customizations we’re building into these characters, up next our Engineering and Design team dive just a little deeper into this overhaul of one of our major systems - Item Interaction.
Mark Abent (MA): So with Item 2.0 we wanted to have like, I guess, more control over what the items do and allow designers to do a lot more. We have this test Hornet and I have two power controllers that I set up where if I’m sitting in the pilot seat I get both of ‘em. But when a co-pilot comes in, he gets automatically the auxiliary one. But, I can just swap it over and give it to him. So we have the flexibility for designers to say “this guy should get this by default” or “he should always get this” or “this guy should this sometimes but only when this guy is there.” so there is a lot more flexibility that we give the designers, even the players, that our old system couldn’t support. So we have these crazy new interactions that are not just for entering and exiting a seat, but you could use ‘em on shenanigans, items, power plant, whatever the designers have in their mind.
EKD: I know I’m personally looking forward to that level of interactivity inside of our ships and really throughout the entire Star Citizen universe - it’s really next-level stuff. Well, with exploration being a major part of the SC universe, we continue to focus on large world and multiplayer experiences but one ship is going to take us on a whole new horizon - the Constellation Aquila. Here’s a brief look of the progress of this exciting variant.
Stephen Hosmer (SH): So I’ve been working on the design of the Aquila and one of the biggest differences is the nose - we’re swapping out the nose to be a circular nose as opposed to the pointy nose on the Andromeda and so the way we had to do that was we had to take the Andromeda first starting out and so we had to do a lot of work on the Andromeda in order to make it so we could swap out the nose and swap out the geometry of that so that meant basically breaking the Andromeda - like completely taking it apart. That gave us the ability to basically swap out the nose for the Aquila. And then that’ll also help us be able to swap out the noses on the other variants and that type of thing later in the future so now that we have that groundwork done we can actually go forward with the other variants.
EKD: Those new additions to an outstanding ship are really going to make exploring a vast universe so much more fulfilling. Well, that wraps us up here in Los Angeles - thanks for watching and see you next time.
Elwin Bachiller (EB): For the last month we’ve had Jin, Daniel, and myself essentially building out everything that was concepted by our Concept Artist Justin. Jin’s been working on the exterior engines for the ship, he’s actually done a little bit more than that, he’s moving onto the body as well. We’ve had Daniel working on filling in the final rooms inside of the main body of the Caterpillar so that’s staircases, hallways, some of the component rooms, powerplant room, server rack room.
Daniel Kamentsky (DK): One of the coolest parts about working on the Caterpillar, I think, was the idea that it’s one of the first ships in the game the one of the larger scale cargo ships. You have the MISC Starfarer and the MISC Freelancer, but this is one of the first times where you have a really, really big cargo ship. Another thing that really makes the Caterpillar unique is it’s the first... So we have the Gladius and the Retaliator which redefined the way that Aegis looks and then we had the Constellation which came in and redefined the way RSI looks. The Caterpillar is the new Drake look, it’s what we’re going to hopefully be using going forward as a style guide. It’s really fun and it will bring a lot of life to Drake as a manufacturer I think.
Justin Wentz (JW): We recently finished up the Command Module redesign from a concept perspective. We had a few things to figure out with this rework. We wanted the Command Module to both look like it can look like its own ship, have it make sense, and also look like it belongs attached alongside the Caterpillar. That was a little tough but we’re pretty happy with how it's turned out. Some of the shape language has been integrated between the large body of the ship and the module itself has a new type of nose on the front which is pretty cool looking.
EB: Once we’re finished doing all of the art on the Caterpillar the next step is to move it over to the Tech Art Team and the Tech Design Team and their job is to make it all actually function. So you can actually walk to a door and open it up or interact with a component or detach the Command Module, those kinds of things so that takes some time. Then after that we’ve got the Sound Design Team, Particle Effects Team, the Animation Team that come in and actually finalise the entire asset as a real ship so you guys can get your hands on it.
SG: I’m always amazed by the level of detail and complexity that go into all of our ships.
CR: Yeah, well maintaining that level of fidelity requires a lot of technical considerations to make them work in the game engine as well as they look.
SG: But we aren’t the only ones who’ve been hard at work. As always our community has been producing amazing things as well.
CR: Yeah, they always do. So for this week's highlights let’s go to our Tyler Witkin for the Community Update.
Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey everyone. Tyler Witkin, Community Manager in the Austin, Texas studio here to bring this week's Community Update. The battle of the speedsters continues. We've unlocked the M50 and the 350R for use by all backers through tomorrow. Take them out for a test flight and then cast your vote at RobertsspaceIndustries.com The M50 seems to have the winning edge so far, but there is still time left. The winning ship will also return to pledge stores soon, so choose wisely.
We've been absolutely thrilled with the amount of Bar Citizens that we've seen pop up all around the globe. These are an incredible opportunity for you to get together with local citizens and just talk shop. As far as upcoming events go there's actually a Bar Citizen in Austin, Texas this Saturday, and you can find out all the details at AustinBarCitizens.com And then fast forward one week later, September 17th, there will be another Bar Citizen this time in Orlando, Florida. Find all the details for that one at TinyURL.com/FloridaBarCitizen
Now it's time for this week's MVP Award. A huge congratulations to Citizen 404 for his extraordinary efforts in creating the new Star Citizen Wiki. This site is jam-packed with content and information, and I encourage you to check it out for yourself at StarCitizen.tools Congratulations again Citizen 404. You're this week's MVP.
And lastly the week would not be complete without our Reverse the Verse live stream, so make sure to tune in tomorrow at noon Pacific at Twitch.tv/CIGCommunity where we're going to discuss everything that you guys saw in today's episode. Thanks again for all the support everyone, and we'll see you in the verse.
Sean Tracy (ST): The Tech Content Team here at Cloud Imperium Games, or sometimes called “Tech Art” - as it would be called in most other studios - is an amalgamation of two different groups. One of the groups is Tech Art and the other group is Tech Animation. So we kind of put the two together into a singular Tech Content team. Now … today we’re going to talk a little bit with Forrest; we’re going to talk a little bit with Matt; and we’re also going to talk a little with Vineet. And these guys are working on specific pipelines within Tech Content.
So Tech Content is meant to serve as a support department for pretty much all the content creation pipelines. And to give you an idea we’ve got about five really major content creation pipelines. One of them is characters, which Forrest and Vin will talk a little bit about. One of them is faces, which kind of goes in line with characters. The second one … sorry, the third one is ships. The fourth one is environments and, finally is actual animation itself. So we’re going to talk about three of the five big pipelines that we support and we work on today just to give you an idea of what a Tech Artist or even a Tech Animator does.
Matthew Intrieri (MI): One of my favourite aspects of working on the ships is blowing them up. So it starts off as we break apart the ship into debris, then we add our effects, we add vectors and health and the ultimate explosion at the end - the “death mask” as we call it. These are all the things that go into the damage system.
Forrest Stephan (FS): Character Tech Art is the unsung heroes of the Art department. Character Tech Art provides the bridge between Design, Graphics Engineering, and the Character Artists themselves. So they allow the magic that shows up on the screen that the player get to see, whether that’s the customisation of characters, the visual fidelity. While the Character Artists help push the visual fidelity, the Tech Artists help to ensure that it’s going to run efficiently. And they’ll work closely with the Graphics Engineers to make sure that that can happen. Whether that’s profiling, managing the poly counts, managing the draw calls. They will ensure that the tech is in place and that it’s user-friendly for the artists themselves. So when an artist uses a tool that an engineer creates, they’re designing the tool to ensure that you can work as efficiently as possible and push the visual fidelity as much as possible.
Vineet Chander (VC): I’m the Technical Animator currently working on head rigs, preparing head rigs for artists. The head rigs come from 3Lateral which come pretty much in a raw format, they’re not ready for CryEngine or the artists. So my job is to prepare them so both artists and also whenever working in engine they could be ready to be seen, ready to be animated, and to be worked on.
FS: So there’s a tonne of work that go into the character heads. You have character artists that are in there touching up the textures balancing all the values so it renders properly, the skin shader is rendering properly. But say there’s a bug, say there’s an issue with the eye, say there’s an issue with the skin, you rely on the Character Tech Artist to understand what is require from the actual art perspective but to have enough technical knowledge to understand why it may be breaking, so they communicate that information to the Graphics Engineer to ensure the bug gets fixed.
Somebody needs to compile the heads together: you have eyelashes, you have a mouth, you have a tongue, you have head itself, you have the hair. Somebody needs to tie all these elements together and ensure that face … the Technical Animators, when the face is moving, all the aspects of the art that is actually being moved is moving properly. And in place because somebody has to say “This is where the eyes go. This is where the mouth goes. This is where the head goes. This is where head … this is where the hair goes.” When the mouth moves the beard has to move. When the animation drives the eyes the eyes have to look right when they’re looking from side to side. Stuff like that.
ST: There’s a big thing that we’re doing in 2.6: we have a new, naked male that we’ve brought online. This new naked male, he’s slightly different but we have to make sure all the clothing fits him correctly. We do do a lot of overlap and culling and these sort of things, but because his arms are different than the old naked male ... People might have noticed that the arms and the hands of the naked male are fairly low rez: there’s just not much to them right now. They look like mannequin hands: they don’t look like people hands. So this new naked male looks awesome, the assets are fantastic so we just want to make sure that that’s applied throughout the entire game, so that means all the armour has to update in terms of positioning, all the clothing has to update and we’ve got to reskin it all. So it’s a lot of updating but that’s absolutely something we want to get in: is this nice … nice, new, naked male.
SG: They’re always up to such interesting stuff. Whenever I walk by Forrest’s monitor there’s always something awesome on it.
CR: That’s our show for this week and thanks for joining us.
SG: And as always a big thank you to all of our backers and subscribers who kick in a little extra every month to make shows like this possible.
CR: Yeah definitely, thank you very much guys.
So join us tomorrow on Reverse the ‘Verse where members of the LA team will be around to answer questions about this week’s show.
SG: And next week we’ll check in with our Austin office to get some updates on 2.6
CR: There you go. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you.
Both: Around the ‘Verse.