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, thanks for joining us here at CIG for another Around the ‘Verse, the weekly look behind the scenes at everything Star Citizen. I’m Chris Roberts.
Sandi Gardiner (SG): And I’m Sandi Gardiner. For those of you keeping track, we’re just a little over a week away from this years CitizenCon.
CR: Yes we are. So as we continue working towards the big event, team members from every studio will be arriving here in L.A. next week. It’s going to be a really full house, hard to believe how much we’ve grown since last CitizenCon here in L.A.
SG: Yeah it is, and to find out all the latest details for the event make sure you check out the RSI site. We have a post that outlines everything from where to watch the livestream online to trophies, to what backers attending in person can expect.
CR: Yup, absolutely so check that out. Every department and team have been working really hard to make sure this year’s CitizenCon is a memorable one.
SG: Very cool and of course you’ll have to wait till the livestream next week to see, but don’t worry, with a whole universe being created there’s still plenty left to share.
CR: There is always lots to share. So right now let’s go visit the U.K. to get an update on some of the latest efforts underway at Foundry 42.
Mici Oliver (MO): Hi everyone and welcome back to the UK. I’m Mici Oliver, QA Tester to give you this week’s studio update. After a successful show at Gamescom, the team have been working really hard on the 2.6 content and also some exciting new things to show you at Citizencon. First up, we’ve got David and Will to talk about the improvements to the scanners and the radar systems – let’s take a look.
Will Maiden (WM): So radar scanning is a very fundamental mechanic – so many of the careers are going to be based off it. Not just combat but policing and smuggling, mining, exploration – they are all going to be using radar and scanning in some way or another so making sure that this system works for all of them can and compliments them and feels natural has been an interesting challenge to overcome not just in space but on foot as well. So whether you are in Star Marine or you are just exploring a planet for the first time, the system needs to work in every case.
So, having an eye on working for the future but what do we have right now and making sure we don’t ruin an already good experience has been an interesting challenge to overcome and something we have I think at some point five or six different disciplines are all contributing to making sure that we’re not overlooking one area to make one other area better. So it’s a continued system that’s been in development and something that I think we are going to need the community’s feedback on.
David Pollard (DP): We’ve been breaking it down into different tiers so the cross section you take the 3D shape that you are detecting and it works out the dimensions that you can actually see and it gives you a result from that. So if you’re looking at a ship from top down it’ll have a bigger cross section and side-on it’ll be a smaller signal that gets to you.
As well as cross sections we got infrared and electromagnetic which are systematically worked out from the items on the object that you are picking up on the radar and so the different items draw different amounts of power and give out different amounts of heat and that’s all added together and then radar looks at that signal and works out how much of it it can see to determine whether it is detected or not.
For the FPS we’re thinking of adding- we’re working on adding a decibel signal as well for sound so if there are guys walking around a corridor or firing weapons they’ll be making sound – that will feed into the radar signal system which means we can use the same radar on a player as on a ship and it basically uses the same code under the hood.
Fundamentally the ships and player radars are the same, because it is all systematic and players- player characters, NPCs all have items on them in the same way that ships do, they also emit infrared and EM in the same way based on the power draw of their life support systems and helmets and weapons.
So we’ve- in the past we’ve had just passive radar on ships and with Will’s design we’ve been adding new features as well which the active ping – which allows you to send out a pulse which amplifies the signals that your passive radar might not be able to pick up and so I’ve implemented it. It’s done on a golf-swing type mechanic where you hold down the button, wait for it to charge up and if you get it right, let go, then it sends out a ping that is much more powerful than the passive radar and that- with the active ping the last quarter of the power up power is the sweet spot you gotta get.
If you don’t quite get there then- by letting go too early or if you don’t let go in time then that’s when it sends out a really loud signal which other people could detect and the guys in LA are going to be taking over this scanning and radar stuff and running with it – it’ll be good to see what they do.
WM: Up until now we’ve had a system in-place that works great for combat, you can- a ship will come into range and you can pick it up and then it tells you everything you need to know about it – who it works for and the name of the ship and you can fight it straight away. But moving forward we’re going to need to know specific information that you can gather from a scan – what it’s cargo is, and things like that and you took the system out and we started to implement some of those new features and we keep them all robust and future-proof so when we start working on it for the future careers that stuff is already solid groundwork.
We’re going to be seeing a lot more scanning and radar focused ships- more utility ships I guess, say, where the focus isn’t on combat but gathering of information – we’ve seen it recently with the Terrapin, we’ve also got the Freelancer DUR and the Constellation Aquila – ships that are designed for exploration or data gathering – that are going to have additional utility mounts used specifically for scanning or increasing radar range – that allows them to capture information but also bounty hunters can scan a ship – look who is onboard, find out their criminal status – but also on the other side, smugglers need to be aware of the system so they know how to trick it, how to stay hidden – spies need to know how to keep themselves quiet and disappear off radar so it’s a two system of “I improve my systems one way” and then this guy is trying to quiet himself down.
One of the things we are looking at is the ability to scout ahead so a ship might jump ahead, recon an area, gather information about what forces have been gathered and then bring that back to the rest of the fleet where they can make a valid judgement of “OK, they are exposed on this side” or “actually, no, they are too strong, let’s leave it” but it means that you can start to plan out larger attacks and have multiple stages of “oh, I’ve bought a Herald to gather information quickly and run but maybe not fight” and now there’s a value in having those recon ships as part of your fleet, as part of your group’s collection. And also if you don’t want to fight it yourself, you can sell that information to the police or to other gangs who may want to act on that information.
MO: Next up we’ve got Vehicle Artist, Paul, to show you some cool alterations we’ve made to the Vanguard to make a dropship called the Hoplite.
Paul Dalessi (PD): I was given the task of creating a new dropship for Squadron 42 – the Vanguard was chosen to be a source material for that – the Vanguard originally has a pod in the middle that can eject and be given different functionalities for different variants – that plan wouldn’t work for a dropship variant, you have to strip out all the walls to make space for the seats to make sure people can walk inside the interior space easily. We’ve put in the bigger ramp so people can get in and out easier, bring in some cargo – a lot more space – the original Vanguard had a bit of a tapered ramp, you can only get in one person at a time – new bigger one you can just walk in with four people at the same time no problem – it’ll be a much easier fit.
It’s not displacing any work, it’s not going to delay anything, it’s just going to help Squadron 42 come out faster. The Vanguard Warden’s black – default Aegis black – the Hoplite is green, it’s a UEE ship – it’s a UEE dropship so it comes in the UEE livery of green similar to the Gladius. The Warden variant had middle pod which was an escape pod, it had beds in it, the dropship does not have that, it is it’s own unique variant, it doesn’t have swappable pod in the middle, it’s got essentially the same weapons capabilities, the same turret on top, it’s just that the internals have changed and it’s got a bigger loading ramp.
MO: A lot for you guys to discuss. That’s everything for this week, so thank you for watching – I hope you enjoyed our updates and we’ll see you in the ‘Verse.
CR: Thanks for the update Mici, and to the team for taking their time to show their work cause they’ve been working very hard on CitizenCon work right now.
SG: Yep, it was really great to see the Vanguard transform actually and it sounds like the radar and scanning update is going to unlock some pretty cool and big gameplay.
CR: Yes – definitely and so it’s one of the things I’m really excited by because it’s going to add a whole extra dimension to the Squadron 42 gameplay that I didn’t have in Wing Commanders and then if you take it to the Star Citizen side of the Persistent Universe, it’s opening up a whole host of options in exploration, in piracy, in policing, enforcement so it’s going to be really cool.
SG: Very cool and definitely I’m going to need someone to do the scan operator on my Connie.
CR: Yes, I’ve got a feeling skilled scanner operators are going to be in high demand. I’ll will perhaps train to be your Scanner Operator, we’ll see.
SG: Wow. Now we’ve gotten a glimpse of what our devs have been up to – let’s take a look at the hard work you guys have been doing – here’s this week’s Community Update with Tyler in Austin.
Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey everyone. Tyler Witkin, Community Manager in the Austin, Texas studio, here to bring you this week’s Community Update. Last week the Aegis Retaliator won the title of Galactic Tour’s Bomber of the Year, landing it a spot on our pledge store for one week, and that sale ends tomorrow. Fast forward to this week and now we have the Sabre verse the Delta competing for the title of Galactic Tour’s Dogfighter of the Year. We’re going to post the results of that poll on our website tomorrow.
Now I know we’ve been talking a lot about Bar Citizens lately. Just last Saturday there was an event in Denver, Colorado; Vienna, Austria and Rennes, France that all look to be an incredible time. And thanks to the efforts of a citizen named Ricko, you can now go to BARCITIZEN.SC to find all the news and updates about Bar Citizens around the globe. The site is jam-packed with information and even an interactive map to help you find events in your area. Speaking of Bar Citizens we’re going to be hosting two official events the weekend of CitizenCon, Friday and Saturday night. You can find out all the details about those events on the CitizenCon information page, which is on our website now.
Now it’s time for this week’s MVP award. A huge congratulations to Leadhead for his extraordinary efforts in creating a 300i sand sculpture. This was a week long endeavor, and they even had to battle it out with some rain, but it turned out fantastic. So congratulations again Leadhead, you’re this week’s MVP.
Lastly the week would not be complete without Reverse the Verse so make sure to tune in live tomorrow at 8:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time at Twitch.TV/CIGCommunity where we’re going to talk about everything that you saw on today’s episode. Thanks again everyone for your support. We’ll see you in the ‘Verse.
Sandi Gardner (SG): Wow, that sand sculpture was awesome. Between 3V, 3D printing, oil paintings, Legos, wood carvings and now sand I’m excited to see what the community will create next.
Chris Roberts (CR): Yes, well maybe they’ll have a Close Encounters tribute next. You never know.
SG: Never know. Now I’m trying to figure out which ship would look good shaped out of mashed potatoes.
CR: Yes, made by Richard Dreyfuss. So speaking of shaping ships, let’s catch up with Andrew Nicholson and Jonny Jacevicius in the U.K. to hear all about the new improvements they’ve been making on the flight model.
Andy Nicholson (AN): For the upcoming 2.6 patch we want to start digging into balance on a larger scale than we have done before. Go back to the drawing board a little bit – not too far obviously – so that meant finding out where do we start? What’s the first thing we do? There’s always dependencies with everything, so try and find the fundamental thing that we might end up changing that’s going to affect a lot of other things.
The flight model was that thing.
And what we decided, and what we started to do to test it, was to pick one ship – we picked the Gladius – we lowered the SCM speed to try and make combat, not really slower, but a little easier to control so you’re not flying backwards and forth at really high speeds. I mean the Newtonian physics that we use, the IFCS flight model is complicated – it’s complex – it allows for a lot of depth to the combat, but it’s also kind of intimidating. Especially when you’ve got an SCM speed of 350. You’ve got ships going really fast and a lot of throttle management to do to get decent in combat.
So we took the Gladius, we lowered the speeds down to, I think, about 140 – it’s like a rough halving of the speeds to see how it would affect gameplay. And then rebalanced a few ships around that. Okay make everything slower how does that feel in a dogfight situation?
And also, not just speeds wise, but we sped up the accelerations so the stop times were lower. Which meant there was less slide when it comes to ship maneuverability. It can take a little bit of time to get to top acceleration when you are turning so that even … that staggers the speeds as well. It makes everything feel heavier. Gives the ships more character.
But to fill that gap where we’ve cut into the SCM speeds we’ve made some changes to the afterburner. We’ll be making further changes to the afterburner, but we wanted to tweak the fuel limit on that so people used it more. The idea that in a combat situation if you’re not moving fast enough or you need to escape faster afterburner’s what you’d use now because … it should be like a … something you don’t use all the time, something you use every now and that then, that just gets you out of a combat situation if you need to. Afterburner didn’t really have that much of a purpose before: now it does.
We set up some tests where all the Designers were invited to playtest and see what their opinions of it were. And it was mostly positive, you know, say overwhelmingly positive, which has meant we’ve put together a patch, based on the 2.5 build, so it’s like an interim patch that includes fixes, well rebalancing of, the ships’ speed. But we’ll go out to the Evocati for them to playtest and give us feedback on that. And eventually more players will get to try it too if it’s favourable. Or, you know, if it’s not we’ll still try and make changes based on that too.
Ship flight, ship handling, is the main fundamental. What we build upon from there is … in ship balancing will be ship shields, ship health, missiles and weapons.
Right now I’m starting to look at weapons but we’ve already done a pass which should be in the Evocati build as well on shields. And what we did was … we’ve got some preplanned numbers – future numbers – where we wanted to take the shields later when they’ve been redeveloped and refactored and we ported them into the old system we have with the shields, which should mean we get a little taster of how those shield classes might perform. I expect there’ll be a lot of feedback on that and there’ll be a lot to change but that’s why we did it. It’s a good chance for Evocati to get there hands on it and go “er, that’s not quite right” and we’ll react to that when we can.
But yeah the missile changes I think Jonny will be talking a bit more about that.
Jonny Jacevicius (JJ): So the problem we have with our current missile rack system is a lot of the missile racks are bespoke to ships and that they’re tied onto them, you can’t swap them out for any others. You can swap the missiles in and out but we’d rather you had the choice to be able to swap it out for a different rack of a different size so you can put different size missiles on there if you prefer more smaller ones or a less amount of larger missiles.
Another problem is a lot of the size allocations we had on the missile racks that we’ve got at the moment is that some would be size three that could hold, for example, two size three missiles, and some would be size two that could hold two size three missiles. So we really just wanted to bring all that in line, fix the problems with that, and then obviously build a system that’s flexible enough to allow you to swap in and out these missile racks.
Say for example if you don’t have a ship that has a bespoke missile rack on there, like the Starfarer Gemini the rack on the front or the Constellation wings, you’ll be able to use one of these new missile racks.
The Frankfurt lads have been working very hard on actually making all of the missiles the correct size. So all size one missiles, instead of being huge … having huge variances in sizes, they’ll all now be the same size but we’ll still have the opportunity to make them look unique. And this just means that instead of having these different sized missiles floating away from missile racks they’ll actually be connected to the missile racks properly, will disconnect properly, and it will look good.
If you play something like an FPS you’ll have your sniper rifle as something that is the long ranged, powerful shot weapons. You’ll have your SMG that is your burst like … kind of like high rate of fire, lower damage, high spread weapon. You’ll have a shotgun that’s high spread, very high damage. So we wanted to reflect that in our ship weapons so that if someone is using a cannon you immediately know that they’ll be trying to engage you with it from long range. A repeater: you’ll have an idea of what the fire rate will be, how much damage it will cause and things like that.
So that’s not to say that all cannons will be the same and all repeaters will be the same. All of the … there are many different things that can have varying effects on the ship weapon statistics. So if it’s, for example, an energy weapon over a ballistic weapons it might fire faster, it might consume more power. And if it’s … say if it’s … if you’ve got additional things under energy, say additional damage types under energy – so if it’s a laser weapon, if it’s a plasma weapon – there’ll be different attributes to the projectile it fires but also to possibly the gun’s rate of fire, it’s power consumption, it’s accuracy and all of these things.
We want to get these changes in on our current set of weapons just to make sure that we can get those locked down first and make sure we get them feeling good with the new flight model. And then, in the near future, we’ll hopefully start getting some of these … getting some more variation in there, getting some of these additional damage types in, and making these weapons feeling more and more unique.
SG: Yeah I can’t wait for the players to test all the tweaks first hand when we implement this into the Alpha. Do you think people are going to have to adjust their flying styles as these adjustments come in?
CR: Yeah, no absolutely. Actually I think it’s going to give a much more fun, close feel … up close feel to the dogfighting. Which is what we’ve been looking for: that visceral Wing Commander feel. And of course we’ve got these beautiful ships that Nate and his whole ship team build and we want to show that off and …
It’s actually kind of ironic because it’s exactly the process I ended up going through 24 years ago when we were doing Strike Commander. So Strike Commander wasn’t based in space, it was modern jet fighters in this futuristic vision of the Earth where mercenary squadrons were working for the highest bidder or the corporation. And we’d based it all on … we’d done accurate flight modelling and all the speeds and everything were based on what an F16 would be, or a MIG 25 or the various craft that you would be … fighter planes you would be fighting with. But we found when we were flying around and dogfighting that we really weren’t getting this up close dogfighting feel that we wanted and Wing Commander had from what was done previously. And, yeah, it wasn’t helped by the fact that resolution was really low – 320 by 200 – and 256 colours.
So we were trying … we were wracking our heads to see how we could do that better and we basically said “let’s try halving the speed of … basically the distance and speed of everything”. And when we did that it felt right. So even though it wasn’t fully, actually accurate and right it was … it felt good as a dogfighter up close, firing guns.
And that’s kind of the same process we went through here on the flight model changes we’ve done. So we’ve … the speed’s crept up over time and everyone gets further and further apart. And now we’re bringing them back together for a more up close, Wing Commander style dog fighting but with a much more sophisticated physics model and all the rest of stuff. And so hopefully people are going to like it but that’s up to the Community – it’s the process we do. So the first up will be the Evocati and see what they like, and then after that a larger group of the Community. But we’re pretty excited by it.
SG: Wow, that sounds like I am going to need to up my Arena Commander game. Which fortunately is a little easier thanks to Zane and Trevor and speaking of those guys we now go to a first look at the work they’ve been doing on our brand new lobby interface.
Trevor Wernisch(TW): The initial user experience and the onboarding experience in Star Citizen kind of needed a fresh look, actually an entire overhaul. So, we’re sort of burning the old system to the ground and rebuilding it all from scratch visually and from a code base. So, user experience is a lot cleaner and should be more fun to use.
So, the initial pass will be launching in 2.6, internal feedback has been great so far. We anticipate the user base will be just as excited, you should be able to match up with your friends quicker, jump into the lobby much quicker, you’ll be able to customize your marine in Star Marine now. It’ll have unique loadouts for the different factions.
A big focus of the revision is having big hero pieces. We have really unique and detailed planetary system Star Marine models and Arena Commander ships. So, kind of to bring out those hyper details we want to spin around models, zoom in on that or just kind of a get a feel for how amazingly they’re built. We want to do some really interesting fullscreen ship customization here, the system’s still pretty heavy under development but gives you an idea of, you know, we’ll be able to spin around ships, focus in on parts and switch out items. You’ll be able to drill down individual items and gets those item stats when you’re swapping them in and out of your ship.
So with the visual redesign we’re actually going to bring the leader boards from the web into the game so players have less reason to jump in and out when they’re tracking their score on the leader board. With bringing the leader boards in game, we’re going to actually try to expand out the system and build a bigger feature set for users to track. We’re going to have official ranking systems and matchmaking, will be a lot more improved.
A few months ago our Lead Designer, Zane already showed concept… visual concepts on where we want to take Mobiglas so we’ve taken those concepts and started to flesh them out ingame. We have a working prototype in game and we’re kind of building different applications now. The mission management system and inventory systems to kind of build a baseline style guide, make sure everything is readable and legible in all kinds of different types of environments. Just a really fun unique system to use.
Zane Bien(ZB): Reason why we kind of wanted to do this overhaul was to make the Mobiglas feel a bit more inworld. That includes utilizing more of the arm to communicate that this UI is associated with your arm and the projector.
TW: One of the great features from Mobiglas we’re trying to build out now is while everybody has come to know the blue LED visual style that we have, we’re looking to implement a feature that will let a feature kind of customize the colour to their liking so if there is any issues with the blue they can make it their pink or purple that they want.
ZB: We also have this idea of adding more customization into the home screen so what you’ll be able to is much like a support screen in the ship is customize what different blocks displace. So we have just these kind of placeholder live elements here, so anything can then go in each of these little blocks here and you’ll be able to customize what displays where. So, eventually we’ll have… you’ll be able to kind of drag one of these apps here whether it’s like your UEC, bank account or cargo manager, your StarMap and you drag it into one of these blocks and what that’ll do is turn it into a real… overall status display for that application. As you can see this is our initial implementation, you can see it’s very much a work in progress then after 2.6 I’m excited to get this out to you guys so you guys can play around with it and test it. We’re expecting it to come in roughly around 3.0, so it’ll be exciting.
CR: Really cool work on the lobby and also the mobi customization, a great way to end the show.
SG: Yup and as always we’d like to thank our subscribers whose monthly contributions allow us to make extra community content like this.
CR: Like this show, so thank you. So not only Around the Verse, Reverse the Verse, the Town Halls, Bugsmashers, Loremakers, Jump Point magazine, 10 for the Chairman, the Vault, hangar flair and so much more so thank you guys for allowing us to be able to do this.
SG: yes, thank you very much and a huge thanks to everyone who’s supported development of Star Citizen, we could not do this without you.
CR: Yes, we definitely couldn’t so thank you guys. So be sure to join us for Reverse the Verse tomorrow at 8am Pacific, aka 4pm GMT, aka 5pm Frankfurt time where Johnny and Andrew will be providing further detail on the flight model changes. Make sure to have your questions ready.
SG: Yup have them ready and while there will be a brand new Loremakers next week, ATV and RTV will be on Hiatus so we can focus on preparations for CitizenCon.
CR: Yes, there’s lots of preparations in process. So make sure to tune into our livestreams next Friday and Saturday and of course the big event on Sunday. I’m excited to share with you everything that we’ve been working on, it’s pretty awesome.
SG: And again head to the RSI website for all the details on how to watch and more.
CR: So until then, we’ll see you…
Both: Around the Verse!