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!
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hello and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse. I’m Sandi Gardiner.
Josh Herman (JH): And I’m Josh Herman.
SG: This week we’ll check back in on Player Habs, get a first look at new moons, as well as updates on props and ships. But not before checking in with the Star Citizen community.
JH: On September 22th there’s a community driven gathering in Mulheim, Germany called CON42. If you’re in the area you’ll definitely want to check it out.
SG: Yes you will. It’s always great to see fans put on their own gatherings from impromptu Bar Citizens to larger conventions like CON42.
JH: Meanwhile the Daymar Rally folks are back at it again. The filthiest racers in the ‘verse put together a GreyCat social event over the weekend. Players were transported to an undisclosed location on the moon where they were engaged in a multi lap time trial all in GreyCat buggies.
SG: Very cool and they got some really impressive shots there.
Now let’s march into the development updates beginning with the Modular and Lighting teams who are currently working together on Player Habs.
JH: We’ve already seen the designs for the progression of Player Habs and these earliest forms of in-game housing continue to be built out and improved. The developers are currently taking a lighting pass, so here’s the Lead Lighting Artist Chris Campbell to walk us through that process.
Chris Campbell (CC): So the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on the Lorville Habs units: the lobby and the habs themselves where player has their personal items and a bed to sleep in. And so the first step in the lobby is we usually get a piece of concept art from the art director or the concept artist which show the basic mood of the environment and some colour tones and stuff like that.
So the first thing I do is I block in the main key lights so we know immediately that the player can go up these stairs. And then once we have that we have the habs units themselves need to be the primary focus. And then everything else is detail lighting to support that. So we have, like, these alcove - off to the side - areas which don’t serve any ... any gameplay purpose but it adds a bit of flavour and a bit of contrasting colours so it’s not just the same shades of yellow and orange throughout the entire environment.
So once we have that blocked in the next steps that I have - apart from lighting the interiors of the habs themselves - is I’m also adding lighting variations within each layout. So players might have a choice of what kind of style lighting they want in their habs.
SG: That looks very cool Chris. As a character designer Josh, what is your relationship to lighting.
JH: In characters lighting is bit more … it’s a little different. Characters are going to traverse through different types of environments. An environment like a hab you’re able to set a specific mood or tone. So each player can have their own different style, right? But for characters it’s a bit more unique because I’ve got to walk through each one of those environments. So it’s more about describing the form of the character than it is creating the mood.
SG: Alright. Here we see conceptual renderings of Lyria and Wala - two of ArcCorp’s moons. It’s interesting to see the earliest stages of visual development as the artists and devs dig into content that will come online further down the road.
JH: The artists have to think about all the visual subtleties that give each moon a distinct look and feel. Wala is a simple barren moon with outcrops of geode-like minerals. Lyria’s surface consists of dirty ice scarred by deep crevices and dotted with cryo-volcanoes that create a constant cold - but humid - atmosphere on the moon.
SG: While we’re on the topic of concept art a few weeks ago we showed you early renderings of the new lockers. They’ll be used in missions - both new and existing - as an alternate means for players to pick up and drop off items.
JH: Let’s let Props Artist Joel Phelps and Mission Designer Daniel Reynolds shed some light on the design process and their in-game functionality.
Joel Phelps (JP): Recently I’ve been working on the drop off lockers. These are for collecting and delivering cargo within the game. Early on we were working on the dimensions of the whole prop and we wound that the size of the screen next to the cargo hatch made it a really wide prop and this didn’t really work with the original concept. So we reevaluated. We decided the … the screen didn’t need to be this big. So we scaled it down and ended up with something that suited the concept a lot better.
Yeah, so one of the things I did was design the door. We decided to go for a shutter door - rather than at swing open hatch - that you can see here. And this is so that when the player’s interacting with the prop the door doesn’t swing open and collide with them. It’s all self-contained this way.
So we’re pretty much finished with this now, it’s just up to the Missions team to take it on and implement it into the game.
Daniel Reynolds (DR): So with the addition of the delivery lockers, it's added an extra element to the delivery missions. Alongside the admin desks and the outpost shelves the player may now get asked to pick up or drop off a mission item at one of these delivery lockers. When the player goes to interact to these lockers it'll first check to see if you have a delivery record. If the player doesn't have a delivery mission or they go to the wrong locker it'll deny them access to the locker and return back to the start screen. If they do have a mission and are at the right locker it'll check and then succeed at which point it'll open the shutter up and either display the item to pick up or ask the player to drop the item off at the shelf. We use Subsumption to create the mission module which controls which locker gets selected and also controls the mission broker record to detect when an item has been attached or detached from these lockers. So that currently for 3.3, there's still some work to be done for the UI and it's currently going through testing at the moment.
SG: Sticking with props the team is finishing the final hangar assets which are being placed in the environments by the Design Team.
JH: They've also made progress on their major location signage for Loreville which will add movement and context to the city's transit areas.
SG: A few weeks ago we saw the motion warping tech being developed and refined for both Squadron 42 and the PU. That's the system that adapts character animations to allow for realistic traversal of obstacles. Let's go to Mike Meaden for a look at what the new toolset has to offer and how it will factor into the design of both games.
Mike Meaden (MM): Recently the Attribute Teams have been working on motion warping. We've been working on this for a little while, but now we're actually working on the workflow and the tools that we use to implement this in game. What you're going to see here is an asset that we've put together for vaulting without any motion warp points. So this is … this is how it looks … kind of as one asset without anything put on it. What we need to do is actually put these warp points onto the animation to tell the game where to transform this asset. So you'll see here Meko, the gameplay coder who's actually creating the system and these tools for us, and you can see here he's about to demonstrate how you add those warp points directly within Maya. These are plug-ins and things that he's actually built for us. So you can see him adding each of these points. What these do is tell us specifically at what point you warp and it also gives us that data to read once we go in game. You do this the once in Maya in the animation, and then once you have all of those points set up we can actually export that asset out, and it will keep those points. Once we have those warp points we can actually export that animation into the game. As soon as we're in game you'll see that, that now the engine will actually read those warp points and translate that onto the animation so it can adapt in to various situations. Once we're there we can actually continue to visualize scenarios that maybe we haven't encountered in the levels. We can use the tools that we have at our disposal to just drag those same points that were created in Maya around. You know, just kind of the limitations of those assets. The benefit of doing this is that it allows our developers to iterate much quicker and easier. It's definitely a massive quality of life improvement especially when it's using technologies like motion warping which aren't always the best. The easiest thing to visualize how it's going to work, especially ... it's the kind of technology … the idea is that it's adaptable to a large variety of situations. This way we can do it really quickly.
SG: Fun! Who doesn't like quality of life improvements? Finally let's take a look at some recent work from the Ship Teams. The Hammerhead is nearing the end of its final art phase with lighting states recently completed for all areas of the ship.
JH: The Banu Defender has been completely blocked out in white box, and the interior has entered the gray box phase with designers working to establish the Banu's distinct architectural and design style.
SG: Looking good. Remember CitizenCon tickets are back on sale. Head over to the website to grab yours and to check out all the details including the presentation schedule, and if you can't make it to Austin to join in the fun firsthand you will be able to stream all of the day's presentations live.
JH: That just about does it for this week. Don't forget to tune in to Reverse the Verse live from the UK tomorrow on Twitch where Jared will chat with some of the folks working on Object Container Streaming. We want to thank all of our subscribers who sponsor the shows.
SG: Yes we do, and thanks of course to each and every backer for doing what you do. Until next time we will see you …
SG & JH: … Around the Verse. [Exaggerated Hand Wave]