Eric Kieron Davis (EKD): Hello and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse. I’m Eric Kieron Davis.
Josh Herman (JH): And I’m Josh Herman.
EKD: Paging Mr Herman. Mr Herman? Well. Nice.
Today we check in with the VFX team on thruster effects; get the scoop on some new weapons coming in Alpha 3.5; Jared returns; - I don’t know if I’m ready for that - and we get a lot closer to ArcCorp with a look at environment tilesets.
JH: I love environments!
EKD: Okay. And I love tilesets!
Last week the Somber Corporation got together for King of the Ground - a PVP event that pitted duners against marines in a battle to seize control of an outpost.
JH: I really enjoyed seeing all the different armours in action in events like these.
EKD: You would.
JH: I do.
Last week we invited our community to take the Gladius Valiant for a test flight and show our best formations in celebration of Australia Day.
EKD: As usual we had a tonne of great submissions. Head to Spectrum to check out the winners.
JH: I never cease to be impressed by our community. There’s some really cool shots.
EKD: Yeah. Absolutely.
Now back at CitizenCon we introduced our upcoming new flight model, and over the past few episodes we’ve been exploring how the different aspects are being developed. And that includes VFX work. Now let’s go to Jacob Beckley for more on that.
Jacob Beckley (JB): With the new ICF system you’re going to be able to have your thrusters damaged on your spaceship. This is really going to affect how combat works and the way your ship flies. However there needs to be a visual representation of this to the players. They need to be able to see how damaged both their opponent’s spaceship is and their own.
We’re currently in the research and development stage: trying to achieve a visual goal that we want to get across all spaceships so that there is the same band of quality across the board. This phase is really fun: I get to throw stuff and see what sticks. I can just throw loads of fire in there, loads of smoke, loads of sparks, and get to be excessive. I don’t have to worry about optimising anything or making it work too much. I can go, “This is what we want. This looks awesome. How can we make that work and make it work well?”
Within the visual effects there’s going to be a lot of sparks and dust from fire, plasma, anything you … looks chaotic. And it’s got to look really obvious. We’re wanting to put in really big plumes of fire coming out - big explosions of smoke coming out maybe. Once your thruster gets absolutely destroyed we’re going to have big whirling fire wind coming out back if we can.
The way I go about creating these is using our Particle Editor as I would for spaceship thrusters. However I need to go inside DataForge and we’ve got new things with the IFCS2 that allow me to control the damage amount being fed into my particles and use them to manipulate how things work and how things look at specific points in the damage. It needs to work on all levels of damage. All the way barely being hit to fully being destroyed.
The more variants we can show to people the more we can decide and get more feedback.
BACK IN THE STUDIO
JH: Hey Eric.
EKD: Hey. Yep?
JH: What is your favourite ship in Star Citizen?
EKD: It’s funny you should ask that question. It’s actually immortalised on my licence plate out there. The 890 Jump.
JH: What a successful transition.
EKD: Thank you. Yep. Right? Now let’s got to Jared to find out more about it.
Jared Huckaby (DL): The Ship teams around the world are firing on all thrusters building out the ships you’re going to see in the upcoming Alpha 3.5 and beyond.
For the Origin 890 Jump we’re in greybox phase where the teams have completed the whitebox layout and are now building out the geometry that will lay the groundwork for final art.
Part of what we’re doing right now in greybox is determining the proper turret placements for this very well armed superyacht. Some of which you can see here … and here. We’re also exploring the overall exterior window sizes and shapes, as well as thruster orientation. These aren’t the final signed off locations yet but that’s quite literally what whitebox and greybox are for: to work these things out.
For the interior what you see here is a mix of whitebox and greybox design as work continues. In the atrium we really thought Times New Roman really sells the notion of luxury.
Hi John Crewe.
I’m teasing: it’s temporary.
And work has begun on the master suite, - with some really cool stairs that double as decor - the medical bay, and everyone’s most requested amenity the bathrooms.
As development continues one of the things our teams want to address with the 890 Jump is the sparseness found in its predecessor the 600i. As this is still greybox we’ll have more to show you on that in the ... as the work progresses.
Now looking farther ahead into the future we’ve got work continuing on the Anvil Carrack which is also in mid-greybox.
Now up first we’ll take a look at the drone bay sans drones. You can see the drone control station there on the back and the hooks for the drones up above. The mess hall, - social center of any spaceship and where your bathroom gameplay loop begins - and the bridge where all the action happens. Now you can see here that we’ve still go the three hanging seats on extension rails. And after experimenting a bit in whitebox with radar globe from the Idris we’ve actually decided to go back to the mapping table idea found in the original concept.
While work continues on the exterior - which you can see here. Now of note the various retractable antenna on the top are simply retracted here and will be a triggerable state so that you can decide if you want to fly with the pointy things or not pointy things. It’s your call.
Finally just as we experimented with the radar globe we’ve made additional iterations to the landing gear and profile of the ship - bringing the overall silhouette lower to the ground less looking like a Datsun. You may also notice progress on the retractable cockpit shielding too. Overall I think the Carrack is coming along pretty well and it’s a good thing because everyone knows this is my favourite ship. Actually it’s looking so good it is becoming my favourite ship.
BACK IN THE STUDIO
JH: For ships in greybox those are looking pretty great!
JH: We’ve got some updates from the world of weapons. Here’s the Coda pistol from Kastak Arms.
EKD: You can never have too many pistols.
JH: The S71 Assault Rifle from Geminii.
EKD: Looks as cool as the SR71. Huh?
JH: Nope. And for ships and vehicles this concept for the mighty Tarantula Ballistic Cannon from Gallenson.
EKD: Now that the one I most don’t want to be shot by.
JH: Do you prioritise these things?
EKD: Well I am a Studio Director Josh: we prioritise everything.
Finally this week one of most highly anticipated features of the upcoming Alpha 3.5 is they Persistent Universe debut of ArcCorp. Unlike the natural beauty of Hurston, ArcCorp is covered head to toe in man-made structures.
JH: Planets have heads and toes now?
EKD: That’s what happens when you miss meetings.
JH: Yeah that’s true.
EKD: Yeah. Let’s check in with Luan Vetoreti for a look at the work he’s doing building the buildings of ArcCorp.
Luan Vetoreti (LV): So since the last time we’ve seen ArcCorp a lot has happened. We done a lot of work with the industrial and suburbs area … areas. And right now we’re really trying to nail the look of the buildings and how those scatter. How the buildings around Area 18 might look. How the transition between that and the industrial might look. So we’re really trying tool at the planet as a whole and trying to blend all these elements in.
The main focus right now for me has been on the suburbs. The suburbs and lower suburbs area are pretty important because that’s the immediate area around the landing zone. So the landing zone is compose of Area 18, some city tiles which are kind of like if you think about Austin - downtown Austin - where the tallest building would be Area 18. And then you have this gradual rise that would be the downtown area and the lower suburbs. And then it would go off into the industrial areas.
For the lower suburbs we’re looking at buildings that are no higher than 350 to 400 meters. The reason for that is because we’re exploring different heights for the no-fly zone. We’re trying trying to validate these buildings on an artistic side from anywhere from 350 to 600 meters in height. We found more comfortably now we’re at about 400 meters and that makes the buildings look just good enough even though they are low poly that they are believable for the player.
And they integrate pretty well with the ground texture which is essentially these buildings take from higher up and baked down into a flat plane with parallax occlusion to create depth. So this creates enough of a blend that it looks like a really dense city and it looks believable enough at about 400 meters. So the no-fly zone can come into effect at that point.
So from the lower suburbs you go onto downtown. Downtown is all about these higher buildings that go towards Area 18. So the city tiles are a little bit more bespoke but they’re not scattered procedurally by the planet.
So one of the tests we’ve tried is, “How will this look if it’s just procedural buildings? How would this look if it was just tile … tiled buildings? How would this look if it’s a mixture of both?” So now we’re looking into maybe having more bespoke buildings around Area 18 whereas the rest is all these procedurally scattered buildings but maybe we can take a few more of these city tile downtown buildings and put them around the ecosystem so that you can have areas to look towards and go to. And areas to go and land on and fly around.
With downtown buildings we’re looking at anywhere between the no-fly zone height to 800 - maybe even a kilometer - tall buildings. So these are dense enough but there’s enough of them that it can create enough of an opportunity for the player to fly around when they’re going towards the spaceport in Area 18.
With ArcCorp having the no-fly zone much lower and these buildings much taller not only will we be able to fly around them really nicely but IFCS2 is an opportunity for us to look into how to create that experience that isn’t frustrating for the player. For example if you just fly through the no-fly zone and you just die that’s a little bit annoying - having to go back to, say, your spawn zone, get your ship again.
Maybe one of the things we can do - that we’re looking into - is as you fly past the no-fly zone IFCS2 can warn you and take control of your ship and bring you back up. So that’s one of the things we’re testing. There’s three more tests to go but we’re a good balance between an experience that’s fun for the player and an experience that validates art from a good enough distance.
So I think the main takeaway for trying to achieve ArcCorp is to create an experience that’s not only very believable but create a sense of wonder. The … city that’s the size of … of a planet. So I think ArcCorp should be a really, really good opportunity for the players to meet up almost anywhere and create all kinds of different gameplay scenarios - like missions that could be really interesting and even … even landing on top of these buildings and maybe ... getting your sniper out and just watching for the right opportunity to strike against a player. So that could be one of the things that ... really excites me.
EKD: Now while we aren’t promising that you’ll be able to fly or land everywhere, we are as excited as you are to fly through the man-made canyons of the city covered planet.
JH: I’d just be happy if the no-fly zone didn’t immediately blow me up.
EKD: That’s on the list too.
EKD: Alright. And that just about wraps us up for this week’s show. Remember the Tumbril Cyclone Commercial contest is still accepting entries. So get out there and kick up some dirt.
JH: Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow at 8am Pacific for the return of Reverse the Verse live on Twtich.tv/StarCitizen. Jared will be sitting down with Todd Papy to answer your questions about the current state of the game and work on the upcoming 3.5 patch.
EKD: As always thank you to our Subscribers for sponsoring these shows.
JH: Yes and, of course, thanks to all the Backers for making the development of our games possible. Until next time we’ll see you both …
JH: I added that in there.
EKD: … around the ‘verse!
JH: Around the ‘verse.
[unintelligible off-camera comment]
JH: Both! Where did that word even come from.
EKD: You two. No one else. Just you two. Figure it out.