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!
Prevented gravlev vehicles(Dragonfly, Nox) from being able to fly in gravity
More time to focus on combat rather than avoiding obstacles
You can steal points collected by leaders/joint leaders when you kill them
Crafting arenas inside the asteroid ring of Yela
These arenas finally having density of obstacles that makes the ground races fun
Working to get current asteroid tech to spawn minable asteroids with proper composition and appropriate materials
Contest running currently to make the ultimate Prospector commercial
Working on VFX for industrial and downtown buildings for Lorville
Make it look dirty and gritty
Make it feel a little more like a moving, living city
Main challenge being is working with a prefab system is not to make things repetitive
Code improvements for the oceans and bodies of water that will be found on the planets/moons
Functionality is being added to allow artists to tweak the wave strength, colours, opacity of the water and how water interacts with beech line and terrain
Looking into future components that will allow global weather system to influence the way oceans behave
New culling features for the renderer that will hopefully give a performance boost in both the PU and Squadron
CitCon tickets back on sale
Digital streaming option tickets for those who can’t make it in person
New Jr Copilot tickets for younger citizens to attend as Long Center is a family venue
NOTE: The digital streaming option tickets since the posting of this AtV video have been retracted and the streaming of the event will now be free in its entirety to anyone with a Star Citizen account. There is still the option of a digital goodies package for anyone wanting to help CIG offset the expense of CitCon itself.
Ship art team have been revising and improving liveries for Tumbril Cyclone variants
First sound effects pass on Karna assault rifle
Charging animation is accompanied by complex sound that evolves while you hold the trigger
Sean Tracy(ST): Hello and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse, I’m Sean Tracy.
Chris Roberts(CR): And I’m Chris Roberts.
ST: In this week’s update we check in with the devs on the evolution of scramble races, asteroid mining, core tech and more but first let’s see what’s been going on in the game.
CR: Yeah, so as we’ve seen over the last few weeks our community loves to race and recently the Citizens Coffee Company hosted a huge contest spanning the entire Stanton system.
ST: Now for this particular event, racers had to compete in Starfarers…
CR: Yeah, not really a traditional racing ship...
ST: Not really, well five organizations entered, the joint task force provided security and a good time was had by all except the Starfarer that finished in last place. They came in awfully hot and salty.
CR: Speaking of salty, Jared and the rest of the Star Citizen community team joined several developers in Cologne, Germany to greet backers at Gamescom 2018.
Jared Huckaby(JH): Hey guys...Jared, Tyler, we’re here at Gamescom 2018. Tyler, we’ve been here all week, pretty good week, right?
Tyler Witkin(TW): It was an incredible week and the Star Citizen community outdoes themselves every single event we go to.
ST: Now throughout the week they interacted with Star Citizen fans, gave out exclusive Crusader Industry pins coinciding with the Mercury Star Runner manhunt and mixed with backers at four consecutive Bar Citizen events around town.
CR: Pretty busy, looks like they had a lot of fun. They also hosted a special Gamecom edition of Reverse the Verse, it’s up on our YouTube channel now if you missed it.
ST: Now let’s march onto development updates, starting with the PU Mission team. Their continuing work on scramble races, honing this new mission type into experiences that are equal parts harrowing and hilarious, here’s Lead Mission designer Luke Pressley with more.
PU Mission Team
Luke Pressley(LP): Just a quick update on scramble races, we’ve prevented gravlev vehicles such as the Dragonfly and Nox from being able to fly in gravity which is really led to some exciting races. This is because you get more time to focus on combat rather than avoiding obstacles, we’ve also catered toward the more combat heavy focus by allowing you to steal the points collected by leaders… joint leaders when you kill them. This leads to some really unpredictable races when the leaders can swing this way and that.
We’ve also continue to improve the space races by crafting their own arenas inside the asteroid ring of Yela. This is finally got a density of obstacles we were lacking and what makes the ground races so much fun.
Back to Studio
ST: When I first saw that I mean I really wanted to jump in…
CR: Yeah, the landspeeder stuff is pretty cool. I think that should be fun to see people playing it and we’ll be expanding that going forward as well.
ST: Checking back in on mining though, the gameplay feature team has been working to get our current asteroid tech to spawn minable asteroids with proper composition and appropriate materials.
CR: It’s going to be fun to see how asteroid mining compares with the planetside mechanic, I suspect it’ll be fairly similar, and how it expands the mining experience overall which I suspect is mostly about having more places to mine.
CR: So there you go.
ST: For all you miners and aspiring filmmakers out there we have a contest going on right now, calling for you all to make the ultimate Prospector commercial.
CR: So we did one of these for the 600i a few weeks ago and got some great content from our community and we can’t wait to see what you all do with the Prospector.
ST: Taking another look at Lorville, here we see the city’s gargantuan outer walls currently in an early design pass.
CR: Yeah, so the devs are working on a lot of different elements for Lorville from big pieces like those city walls to smaller details that sell it as a living, breathing kinetic space. Let’s go to VFX artist Aran Anderson to find out how these more subtle details are implemented into the environmental design.
Aran Anderson(AA): So I’ve just been primarily working on the VFX for the industrial and downtown buildings for the Lorville city. So been trying to get that very dirty, gritty industrial environment and trying to sell what Hurston has. So here’s some steam I’ve been placing in trying to get the smoke and steam rising from the environment, trying to make it a bit more subtle than over the top. So, you’re not just engulfed in smoke when you come to land in Hurston. Placing a lot of flashing lights atop the roofs as well to try and sell it and lots of moving traffic to make it feel a bit more like a moving city and a bit more alive when you’re coming into Hurston.
I’ll show you what it looks like at night. At a distant shot this feels a bit more alive from a distance when you come to land in Hurston. So coming down something like this. The main challenge is that it’s a prefab system so it’s just trying not to make it so repetitive, trying to dot some effects around rather than being one big smoke plume around the city. I feel that the city is coming on pretty well as a whole, it’s a bit more alive and a bit more fun and you’ll come to land and see the landing zone.
Back to Studio
CR: That’s cool to see all those little details getting in there, I’m sure there will be a lot more. I know this since I’ve been sitting in on some reviews.
ST: I really love how it looks at night, that transition is pretty cool. Sticking with environmental design, code improvements for the oceans and bodies of water that will be found on the planets and moons are also being worked on. As the planetary feature team gets these environments ready for Hurston. They’re adding functionality that lets the artist tweak the wave strength, colours, opacity of the water and how the ocean interacts with the beech line and terrain. They’re looking into future components that will allow the global weather system to influence the way oceans behave.
CR: Yeah, that’s going to be pretty cool.
ST: Super excited for this.
CR: A bit of a ways off but that’s actually one of our R+D things that I’m most excited to have, dynamic weather systems on planets. So the ship art team has been working on revising and improving new liveries for the Tumbril Cyclone variants, adding a welcome pop of colour for the offroad sets.
ST: And here we see work continuing on the lower decks of the 890 Jump.
CR: Checking in on the audio team, let’s listen to the first sound effects pass for the Karna assault rifle from Kastak Arms. We’re hearing early work on the rapid burst and charge firing modes, you can hear a strong mechanical element in the sound that emphasizes the low tech nature of the gun and particular attention is being put into getting the right sound and timing for all the small moving parts within the weapons body.
ST: So much respect for the weapon guys.
CR: There’s still more, there’s animation now.
ST: The charging animation is accompanied by complex sound that grows and evolves while you hold the trigger. The objective here is to create an intuitive sound progression that clearly tells the player how charged the gun actually is.
CR: All right, let’s keep the demo train rolling, choo choo and check in with Director of Graphics Engineering, Alistair Brown for a look at some new tools that will make level design a much smoother process where rendering is concerned.
Alistair Brown: So this month the graphics team has been working on some new culling features for the renderer that will hopefully give us some nice performance boosts in both the PU and Squadron. I’ll give you a quick demo of what we’re talking about. So, what the artists currently do when they have a level like this which is the Idris hangar, they have to chop up each room into small sections here like you see and these are typically boxes or simple primitive shapes. The renderer uses these to work out which rooms need to be visible and which rooms we need to render and you can see here the highlighted rooms are the ones that actually will be rendered.
It gives us a huge performance savings that you can see here we barely have to render any rooms in the Idris when we’re outside of it, only the ones that have large windows on them. However, the simple shapes we have to use is really limiting for the artists especially when they have a complicated ship and especially when they have to pack them in so tightly inside the hull. So one of the improvement we made is to allow them to have overlapping shapes and if I can show you how important this is for us.
We have sections like this here where we have this overlapping area that sticks out into the hangar and previously what the artists had to do is to chop this, not out the windows where they like to but into the room and this causes some quite complicated issues for the artists. They end up having to duplicate geometry and lights and cut things along this border to make the culling work efficiently and for the new set up they can now put the boundaries between the rooms exactly where the actual boundary is, in this case the glass.
I got an example of this over, this is the new set up for this area where you can see the windows correctly, the walls diagonal and the windows correctly protrude into the hangar. So these new culling features should really gives us a nice performance boost both in the PU and Squadron 42 and be in your hands soon.
Back to Studio
CR: I think that’s pretty cool and I think it’ll help the artists cause I know they’ve always struggled to solve the puzzle of getting the vis areas visible and not have glitching and people seeing this demo or occasionally when they’ve been playing the game in various releases, there will be places you walk to a certain area and all of the sudden…
ST: Everything disappears.
CR: That’s partly because it’s not easy for them to set up vis areas so being able to actually have shapes to represent areas accurately will I think really help out and help them solve the puzzles so that’ll be good.
ST: Definitely and Ali gives us nice stuff if we’re going to improve performance and set up better culling, it’ll be great.
CR: So finally we have some big CitizenCon news, if you head to the website you’ll be able to see we’ve added details about the presentation schedule. We’ve really expanded the show this year so we have two separate tracks as opposed to the one track that we had last time. So it’s much more like a GDC or Con, so we basically doubled..over doubled it in size. There’s a lot more going into it, there’s a whole bunch of cool in fiction we’re doing as well, I’m really excited by it and excited by the presentations. So I think it’s going to be certainly something you want to definitely want to come visit in person cause there’s also some goodies we’re giving you if you’re coming in person and tickets are back on sale.
ST: That’s right, we have a handful of premium tickets available. A digital streaming option for those of you who can’t make it in person.
CR: I think the digital streaming option also gets you some digital goodies.
ST: Digital goodies so everyone is getting goodies and even new Jr Copilot tickets so younger Star Citizens can attend.
CR: I know that’s going to be kinda nice cause some of the Gamescom shows we’ve done and CitizenCon shows, cause we’ve done them in sorta nightclub venues. Their insurance doesn’t let them have underage people in but the Long Center is a family venue, it’s one of the reasons we chose it so we can have younger folks come with their parents, that’ll be great. So you can check all the details on the site and we provided a handy link down here in the episode description to get there.
ST: For even more on CitizenCon, tune into Reverse the Verse back on Twitch.
CR: Yes, do that. Thanks to our subscribers for sponsoring the shows and thanks to all our backers for obviously making all this possible.
ST: Until next time we will see you…
ST/CR: Around the Verse.