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!
- Started the week with 17 must-fix issues outstanding to close down the shopping, cargo, and commodity trading game loop.
- Other areas of focus are: missions, ships & vehicles, traversal, mobiGlas, and performance & stability.
- Cargo is looking good, only minor issues remaining.
- Most of the missions are content complete and just need polish.
- As features have been introduced to the evocati it has also introduced instability and performance issues - these have been given high priority.
- As of ATV there were 15 must-fix issues for the close down of the shopping, cargo, and commodity trading game loop.
CitizenCon 2947 Retrospective
- Great CitizenCon with introduction, 5 panels, and keynote. I suggest watching this segment or the video of the whole event, no easy way to summarize here.
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hello and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse, our weekly look at Star Citizen’s ongoing development. I’m Sandi Gardiner.
Sean Tracy (ST): And I’m Sean Tracy.
SG: Today’s feature will take you behind the scenes of CitizenCon 2947 to reveal all the work that weant into making the show.
ST: But first on today’s Burndown not only will we be looking at the issues the team’s been tackling this week but we’ll be sharing our Alpha 3.0 closeout schedule.
SG: Let’s go to Eric for all the details. Burndown!
Eric Kieron Davis (EKD): Welcome back to Burndown - our weekly show dedicated to reviewing progress on the release of Star Citizen Alpha 3.0.
Last week we were at seventeen remaining must fix issues to close down our next game loop of shopping, cargo and commodity trading. Because we’ve been making solid progress on that game loop we now want to share the other aspects we’re focusing on for PTU. They are missions, ships and vehicles, traversal, mobiGlas, and performance and stability. While we’ve been closing down shopping the number of issues have being going down in these categories as well. So let's jump over to the team around the globe to see how we’re progressing.
Todd Papy (TP): So this we we focused on shopping as well as other bugs that we had. We’ve worked on commodities and the kiosks associated with that, the cargo, and also the physical shops.
Leads Meeting 10.30
Matthew Webster (MW): We had quite a few fixes in, commodities for example, we’re able to now buy stuff from the shops and able to equip your items through the personal manager. We also had all of George’s network updates and changes went in as well. In terms of the Evocati shopping push there’s only a handful of issues by the looks of things right now before we can call that feature Evocati ready as it were. We’re having shopping syncs daily on this with the team at about four o’clock - which involves Todd as well - to go over any issues that they come up with and any problems they just need to talk through, which seems to be pushing things along quite nicely.
Spencer Johnson (SJ): So today I’m working on a “try on” bug where when you try on clothes - like t-shirts and shoes and stuff like that - if you’re wearing your flight suit you do try on the clothing but they’re being hidden by your flight suit. So it’s not really useful at all. You’ve caught me in a pretty good time where I’ve got this, ah, unintentional side-effect: when I try things on my character is naked except for their helmet. And that’s because I’m trying to hide the flight suit so that you can see the clothes you’re trying on underneath.
I realise now that rather than just making the flight suit invisible we’re going to need to detach it and then make it invisible. That way the clothing underneath does not get occluded by it. So the problem you’re seeing here is the flight suit is invisible but the code is saying “well it’s still there so it’s still covering up the other clothing.” So it’s invisible. The other clothing is covered up. But really it makes it look like you’re naked.
Pete Mackay (PM): I’ve also been chasing down a lot of bugs with missing assets for the icons and images used in the shopping kiosk. Things like the icons that represent each item in the store. Some of them are missing so I’ve had to go and hunt those down and hook them up. And some of the other things that were missing were a few of the images of the cargo boxes that were used, so I’ve had to track those down and just make sure that everything is using the right assets.
Will Maiden (WM): Cargo’s in a really good state at the moment. At the start of the week the LA guys who were working on the cargo system and they’ve … they’ve reached a point where they couldn’t go any further. And now the directors are back from CitizenCon they’ve been able to give them a heading to take for the last few tests. So … yeah, it’s looking really good now. There’s just a few last problems we’ve been having with how much cargo to put on the cargo grid in the back of the ship and things like that. Now we’re all pointing in the same direction it shouldn’t take too long to get fixed up.
Robert Gaither (RG): This week there’s been a little bit of a hang up … they have these counters here that have items in them that you can purchase - like ammo and grenades and things like that. And the way the shopping system works is that a ray is cast from the player camera to the item: that’s what makes it highlight - that’s what gives you the shopping AR display. And well … they’re behind glass and right now the glass collides with the ray that shoots out so you can’t actually interact with anything behind it. But if we take out that glass collision then you can just walk right into the glass part of the counter and people could stand in it and that would just be obnoxious. So we’ve had to - last minute - come up with … we’ve got Art and engineers all scrambling to make sure that we have a separate colliding surface for glass that will properly block players from walking into it but will allow raycasts to come through so you can still see things, purchase things, and do that whole spiel.
Now I’m dropping in to finalise shopkeepers and their loadouts. Making sure they’re all working as they’re expected to. And getting everything exported for what should be the last time for 3.0.
MW: We want to make sure that when we say there to the Evocati group “Okay, shopping is now ready for you guys to run with it.” We don’t want to have the instability that we’ve got at the moment so people are only getting fifteen/twenty minutes’ worth of game time. We want to see see that come up.
Luke Pressley (LP): Work we’ve done this week has included getting about 59 of our 60ish missions actually playable, let’s say, content complete if not polished. Although we have now got dialogue into at least one of them. We have a little issue in that currently that only works in single player. So that’s one thing we’re going to have to fix but it’s all there and once the code is fixed it’s ready to go. And another massive thing we’ve done this week is get all of the missions that are given by mission givers … we’ve got those all behind a gate as it were.
Kirk Tome (KT): So once we designed the MFDs to work in the ships so that you can have control over the various items in the ship - including all the power related items, the shield related items, the heat and the weapon related items - that went to the UI team - which now includes Calix - and he’s implementing those screens to be useful as far as putting them on MFDs on the ships.
Calix Reneau (CxR): The bug that I’m working on right now is for the heat screen and it … basically is that the buttons that we have on the heat screen which are to suppress your IR - which does so at the cost of actually increasing your item heat per system - as well as a button to allow you to do that globally that is … well for one it’s not telling you what it’s doing - which is problematic - and for another problem is that when it does activate there’s actually a delay before you’re allowed to interact with it again - toggle it on and off - and this prevents edge case behaviours from cropping up … what happens when you flip between suppressed IR state and not too quickly so we just don’t allow you to do that. However at the moment there’s nothing letting you know that you can’t do that. So one of the things that I am doing is making it so that when you select it it will turn on and let you know that these are the ones that are being altered and why they can’t turn on or off. And then making it so that when you turn off it tells you that too. Super simple.
U.K. Second Stage After Burner Review 11.1
Matthew Lightfoot (ML): So the question Chris is what … what do we want to tackle for 3.0 with the afterburner now? What are the specific tasks what we want to …
Chris Roberts (CR): I do like the suggestion of the thrust management … I guess you were putting out … that you were discussing with Calix ...
[someone]: ... Calix has got a little mock up ...
CR: … where you could go and tune your thrusters so you can …
John Crewe (JC): Yeah.
CR: ... have more finer control and you could maybe even have a preset on your thruster.
Live Release Sync 10.30
MW: We knew we had the issue with the quantum travel overshooting you from your location … from your intended destination. That seems to be something that Mike Dillon needs to take a look at over the next day or so.
Michael Dillon (MD): We had an issue come up with quantum drive where it was dropping us out … effectively seven and half million kilometers before Hurston. Prior to that we hadn’t really had a jump that millions of kilometers to worry about. It’s usually just jumping from moon to moon. That’s all we were really worried about so the math issue wasn’t really a huge deal. But once we got larger jumps were coming much further out and the last frame of quantum puts you where you should be. So you had this jump from nothing to Hurston right there.
Solution came out to be we were simply doing our math of the wrong acceleration values so we have an initial acceleration. Some slow speed like accelerating your car up … we had refer to it going to 88 miles per hour in the Delorean. At which point you hit the max speed … your max acceleration as we accelerate up. We were using the wrong value there so when we were calculating how far you should be going it was much shorter than you actually would go which would put us in the wrong spot once you slowed the ship down to that final point. Swapped those values around and we finally would start showing up as we saw in Germany at CitizenCon, the ship coming right up to the planet like it should.
L.A. Engineering Stand-up 11.1
Julia Wilson (JW): The build has issue on Aurora … on Auroras opening mobiGlas in the ship’s bed will cause the UI to clip through the ceiling ... I don’t know why they say UI ... to clip … oh, okay … to clip through the ceiling becoming unusable and trap the player.
[someone]: Started off okay.
JW: And … yeah, right. Get’s worse and worse. Then the next one is mobiGlas PMA is missing all assets and functionality. So …
[someone]: Feature. Decided to cut it.
JW: As for the QA TR we had yesterday, when I was sick, on the dynamic nav points system caused no issues related to your code. So if you’re happy with what was done there I can go ahead and close it out.
Leads Meeting 10.30
MW: Over the last few Evocati builds we’ve been paying attention to the feedback from the guys in the Evocati. We’ve also had people in Austin and over here as well monitor the server performance and try and get as much information as can client side as well from what people tell us. And we have noticed that performance - as we’ve introduced new features … as I’ve said previously you introduce new features but you also then potentially start to see some instability come in - and that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing over the last few Evocati pushes. That the performance is not upto what it was when we first pushed to Evocati through ... some various crashes that have crept in and there’s been some server instability as well - some server crashes. So what we’ve done is we’re prioritising them up a little bit higher up the list.
Erin Roberts (ER): So we need to get back with Austin and say “Look I understand it’s a weekend server up but it would have been nice if someone had gone in over the weekend so when we came first thing on Monday that we could have had that information so we could then be passing that out to people, people be looking at that because we need to know on the server side why the performance is going up and down. If we now have to wait for a QA to do it this time zone then we’re not going to be looking at this stuff until later today. Or we need to at least get … if Clive, George, whoever can get access to that information they can at least be doing that. It’s a bit of a problem we’ve got. That needs to be the number one thing for that team. Basically going in and breaking down and just working out what these issue are and getting ourselves … we’re now getting down to fewer features stuff which is typically what breaks the build but we need to get this … we need to get the performance and we need to get the stability back so we have that. And that means we can keep on working towards it through the end of the year, making a choice when we deliver and so forth.
It’s great that you’re doing the dailies Todd, because I think that really helps. Trying to get the feature stuff done but we just need to get this build working so it’s fast and so forth and things like that because that’s number one … for me on that side.
EKD: At the time of filming this we’re at fifteen issues and we’ve checked in over 529 updates onto our 3.0 branch across the categories of shopping, ships and vehicles, traversal, mobiGlas, and performance and stability. Tomorrow on our production schedule we’ll be showing the remaining issues needed to finish to release to PTU. Don’t miss that update. And come back next week to see the progress we’re making here on Burndown.
ST: You’ll be able to check out the production schedule report tomorrow on our website.
SG: Now let’s head back to Frankfurt. Last week the Star Citizen team took to the stage at the Capitol Theatre for a full day of panels, a keynote address from Chris Roberts featuring our procedural city tech - from Sean - and much more.
ST: Pulling all these pieces together whilst also working on Alpha 3.0 and Squadron 42 took a lot of planning and coordination.
SG: Let’s see how it all came together in this exclusive behind the scenes look at CitizenCon 2947.
SG: Guten tag alle. And welcome to CitizenCon 2947 in Frankfurt Germany. So without further ado we hope you enjoy the show.
Compère: Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Roberts.
Chris Roberts (CR): Alright. Hello Frankfurt. So we’re really excited to have you all here in Frankfurt Germany at CitzenCon 2947.
So let’s see what the box delivered. So here we are: the Optane 900P which is the fastest SSD on the planet and we’ve actually been working with Intel for quite a bit of time on this one. And it’s some really, really cool tech. And … here I’m going to throw one to the audience here. Who’s going to catch? Right here goes! Sorry it’s a little wet from the the dry ice.
David Lundell from Intel come out. So David’s going to talk a little bit about the Optane and … before we kick off everything today.
David Lundell (DL): Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much for having us here today. We really appreciate this opportunity. And today at CitizenCon we’re actually launching the product that Chris just tossed out into the audience.
CR: Yes. So it’s a big deal for Star Citizen the fact that we’re actually part of a launch of a major piece of hardware. It’s very, very cool.
DL: It’s a major launch for Intel. The Intel Octane 900P SSD. And really it’s the first SSD for desktop and workstation users that uses Intel Octane technology. We got together over a couple of years ago. We started talking about the attributes of this technology and we thought this was a perfect connection. So what do you think you can get out of this in the upcoming release?
CR: Yeah, it’s the first generation of the technology. It’s …
CR: … going to improve. And the operating system is going to embrace it better and it’ll be pretty cool. But it’s definitely helping our development now and I think it will be good for anyone playing Star Citizen too.
DL: Yeah and we definitely look forward to working with you on the future. And as part of this collaboration some of you may have noticed something new out in the Atrium. Did anybody see anything new? A little, small thing?
No, ah, seriously what we thought is “Hey, you know there’s a technical collaboration it’ll make the gameplay better, make you guys have more fun with this thing, trying new experiences but also we thought we might translate that into a ship.
Jared Huckaby (JH): Hi everybody. Welcome to CitizenCon 2947: Exploring New Worlds.
Ulf Kuerschner (UK): We do have the big Sabre Raven model right here. It was done by JR Fabrications. It’s not a life size one as I told you before but it looks super amazing and it packs a punch let me tell you that.
Enhancing Mocap Data With Procedural Systems
Jason Cole, Ivo Herzeg and Steve Bender
Jason Cole (JC): My name’s Jason Cole. I’m the Lead Cinematic Animator for Squadron 42 and today I’m going to talk to you guys about Look IK or PCap Look Transformation.
Right so the left is Look IK, the original system, always on. And the right is Look IK with a little bit of polish and animation toolkit, or the Look IK Toolkit. I’ll let this run a few times but you can really see the differences pulling through now. You can see he’s looking right and left and he’s constantly looking back towards Seetow. And we’re getting lots of smaller things in here like head nods and and little head turns.
Ivo Herzeg (IH): So this video was showing only a few issues we have with stairs and random obstacles but this list can’t really add less. One way to solve this is to tell Animators to make additional animation assets. But I think that won’t always help because this is one of those problems you can’t fix with animation data alone. There are way too many unpredictable situations and we just can’t consider all of them. The only thing we can do here is try to find a procedural solution.
Steve Bender (SB): But in Star Citizen it’s really not that simple. As Ivo is showing here I’ve never seen this planet before. And you have situations where it’s possible - what you’ll see throughout the day today - where you could be on a mountain, on a planet that potentially nobody else has been on before. Or I’ve never been to. No QA has seen it. Up in some corner of this world and you get into a gunfight for your life. And in those situations the animation system needs to hold up.
JH: That panel. When we put up the summaries like “Animate … “ What was the discovery? “Enhancing Mocap Data With Procedural Information” Not exactly the sexiest of all titles. But I think it was a misnomer. You slid it under the radar. That was an amazing presentation.
UK: This is your fifth CitizenCon is it?
Citizen #1: Yeah it is. Austin, Los Angeles, Manchester, Los Angeles, and now Frankfurt.
Graphics and Tech Development For Star Engine
Alistair Brown and Sean Tracy
Alistair Brown (AB): Temporal techniques work by looking at the previous several frames of motion. In our case we look at four frames prior and we work out from those previous four frames what the results should have been there. So we wobble the image ever so slightly - which is imperceivable to you - and then over the four frames we’d have to work out what the details should have been in that one pixel and we can recover that and get a nice soft result.
But the problem with using the previous four frames - well there’s all sorts of problems to be honest - it caused us a lot of headaches. So we have a … we also have … we have a lot of moving objects obviously. We’ve got spaceships that move. We’ve got planets that are moving. We’ve got all sorts of things going on we might not have in a normal game. We also have a UI - transparent UI - a transparent glass screen, a transparent visor. All of these things make it quite difficult to account for the previous four frames motion because your visor might be spinning this way. The cockpit might be going that way. There’s all sorts going on so we’ve recently done a change that hopefully will work round them but … yeah, you’ll be able to see this in 3.0 once you get your hands on it.
Right. So that’s our final frame looking nice I think you’ll agree.
JH: How many members are in your team?
AB: So we have me and five others in the UK and then we work really closely with our Frankfurt team so there’s two or three guys there that do a lot of graphics but it’s very tightly coupled. CPU optimisations and the planetary work.
UK: Why don’t you tell me about your experience at CitizenCon? What do you think of it so far?
Citizen #2: This is a really great event and I have seen many people. I have seen many new technologies coming. Many new technologies integrated in the project. It’s really appreciated by the whole community I think. It’s all appreciated by all people who came tonight.
Xi’an History, Physiology and Language
Dave Haddock, Josh Herman and Britton Watkins
Dave Haddock (DH): The first moment of being tasked with creating a civilisation there was one question that popped into my head immediately. Which was that. And abject fear and terror. But once it ended it was a very simple question of “Who are they?” That sort of thing seems like a very obvious and silly approach but it actually can give you a lot of good answers.
Josh Herman (JH): This is our line up of our big four ... plus one. And so we have … this is the current of where everybody is. So we have our Vanduul warrior. We have our ronin, the Tevarin. We have traders in the Banu. We have humans there. And then we have our Xi’an that we’re talking about today.
It’s important as we progress that we don’t necessarily make a drastic change. Right? We want to keep true with where everything’s going. If we need to retcon something we can do that but it’s not something we want to do at every opportunity. We want to keep it consistent. And I think that’s - going back to the Marvel way that you were talking about - how typically you work in broad … you work in the broad shape first and then you go into the details. And that’s something you do for a whole race as well. We’re not going to try to nail it on the first shot. We’re not going to go and maybe try to to make the perfect the first time. We’re going to do a lot of images and see what sticks. We’re going to go back to those. See what were successful and move on.
Britton Watkins (BW): [speak Xi’an]
JH: What possesses somebody to go into that kind of field. To sit there and say “I want to create a language. That’s my contribution. It’s an amazing contribution, don’t get me wrong, it’s … I have no relation … I can’t relate.
BW: Well it’s not really a field yet I would say. There are a handful of people - getting to be two handfuls people - who’ve done professional language creation for entertainment franchises
UK: We set up 24 gaming PCs and people can enjoy the “Planetary Playground” demo. Planetary Playground demo you might have heard about that. We already had it at Gamescom. But this is a new one. We got rid of some bugs and we put in new stuff. One of those is actually the Sabre Raven, so people here at CitizenCon can already enjoy the Sabre Raven, fly it around.
The Art and Tech of Stanton
Ian Leyland, Pascal Miller and Michel Kooper
Ian Leyland (IL): So you might have heard a bit of this before but hopefully there’ll be some new stuff in there.
So we always start with lore. So what this means is it’s always the best starting point for visual design. It ensures that our ideas sit within a system tapestry - what we said before - because if we’re working in a corner and we’re like “Yeah, we’re going to have some blues and reds and whatever” then we’ll get to the rest of the system and we’ll just have Skittles: taste the rainbow. So …
Michel Kooper (MK): You want to balance stuff out.
IL: Sure, you want to balance it out.
MK: The fact that we were able to make terrain that’s completely spherical and just holds up and works, that’s been a challenge in itself. So even when we got to that previous slide where it was “This is terrain and it’s on a sphere and it’s connected.” That was something new completely. It brought it’s own set of challenges. Obviously.
Pascal Muller (PM): Just the idea that you can walk on forever and you’ll end up at the same place at some point. Couple days.
MK: It’s a very long walk.
PM: I don’t know. I’ve never tried.
And then there’s a bit of improvement. Some more detail. We had to add another layer of detail on top. And, yeah, this is what you can see here. In the front you still see a little bit of blurriness - like how the textures go into each other - you have snow going soft into rock. That was the next thing we had to work on. So you see some early shots of how the terrain was blending. So here you see the scullery map - the splat map - doing its work saying “Here we have some soil, rock, snow, whatever.” And then we just iterated on how we blend the texture together to get more variety. And more variety until you have something … something more nice looking. And in the end you end up with something this. And you can have two completely different ecosystems right next to each other.
The Consolidated Outland Pioneer
Paul Jones, Todd Papy, John Crewe and Tony Zurovec
Todd Papy (TP): So we’re here to talk about the Pioneer and other things that are associated with it.
Paul Jones (PJ): So right off the bat you know that you’re dealing with function over form. It’s not going to be super sexy. It’s not going to be pretty. But it’s still going to have really good, well thought out, industrial design feel to it. So even as you’re walking through this thing you’re still going to appreciate it and you’ve got your own essentially flying factory.
Tony Zurovec (TZ): Knowledge - information - within Star Citizen is very often an analogue concept. You don’t necessarily know something or not know something but rather you know things to varying degrees. And the easiest way that I could give for an example would be to consider a car that you’re thinking about purchasing.
If you … if you’re being asked to purchase a car and you haven’t actually seen it you’re going to be very conservative in terms of your estimate of what it might be worth. If you’re able to see it, even from the exterior, and verify there’s tred on the wheels, the paint job looks okay, etc. then that going to increase your perception of its value. If you're able to actually turn the car, make sure it’s running or better yet have a mechanic take a peek under the hood, then that’s going to bring it even farther up the scale.
And so a lot of what we’re doing with the value of land - which ties over in the Pioneer because you’re going to be setting up these outposts ideally in optimal locations in order to exploit a lot of this value that’s sitting on the surface of these planets.
John Crewe (JC): Tony talks about knowledge - what it all means - but to get that knowledge you’ve got to go and find that area to figure out what’s there, is it right for you? And that’s where all the exploration ships come in. You could take your Pioneer and do all this with your Pioneer but it’s probably not going to be the best ship for scouting locations. We’ve got a whole wealth of exploration ships that are designed for finding that information out.
TP: Know what you’re building so that you don’t do five trips to Hornbach to build something. So if you know what you’re building and you know the resources that you going to need for that, you’ll save yourself multiple trips. Or it will be one of those things where you’ll need to have these resources brought to you.
JC: With the greater speed comes greater risk and you’ve only got half the weapons so if you mess that up you’re in trouble.
UK: We see your mouth moving while you answering my question - that’s pretty amazing itself.
Citizen #3: And I really like this. Like you can unlock your face and move your head around.
CitizenCon Keynote Address
SG: Meine damen und herren, meine bessere hälfte Chris Roberts.
CR: Alright. That’s … that’s some pretty loud music there. So thank you very much for the nice entrance. We are now going to give you a bit of a preview of what we’ve been working on beyond 3.0 for Star Citizen. So this is the fun bit.
SG: As you saw it took an incredible amount of effort to bring it together. And we’d like to thank everybody who volunteered or worked at the event.
ST: That’s all for today’s episode. And a big thanks to all our subscribers for your support on our show. November’s subscribers’ ships of the month are the MISC Starfarer and Origin M50. Log into the game to test fly them today.
SG: And thanks to all of our backers as well because your dedication to Star Citizen is what allows us to make a game that pushes boundaries. We could not do this without you.
ST: And until …
Both: … next week. We will see you around the ‘verse.