Hello there fellow Citizens! It’s time for another episode of Around the ‘Verse!
Around the ‘Verse 40
– Last month’s slave-ring bust has hundreds of captives returning to their homes.
– Could an outer-system be the next real estate must-have?
– Navy Ship surplus may mean it’s the perfect time to buy a ship.
Around the ‘Verse
– $79 million – congratulations, everyone!
– Star Citizen Alpha 1.1.1 is out, and it’s what we’re officially calling it now. Chris’ Letter from the Chairman from last Friday explains the new naming system. 1.1.1 also includes basic multicrew – If you land on a platform in free-flight, you can get out and man the turret of another ship. People have gotten as many as 3 or 4 people into cutlasses as well.
– Pick up a Super hornet or Gladiator this weekend as well.
– People are asking a lot about gameplay balance, REC balance, and Auroras. None of it is final; it will swing back and forth as they go forward.
– Design Post on FPS breathing – the idea of having to think about breathing when you’re firing weapons is great.
3:00 – Spectrum Dispatch
Santa Monica – with Darian Vorlick and Lisa Ohanian
– Finishing the concept on the Hull series. It’s the next concept sale we’ll be seeing.
– Finishing up their character pipeline, making sure that, as things are gearing up towards character creation, things look awesome. Working on concepts for citizens of Terra: Upper class, middle class, sub-cultures, etc…
– Arena Commander: Before they start releasing 1.2 (which is the FPS patch) there’s an ‘in between’ patch, which will be 1.1.2, so many numbers. 1.1.2 will introduce the Tutorial, but it’s also a lot of setup for the FPS. 1.1.1 released some multi-crew tech, and now they’re fine-tuning that, refining it, making sure it can get done right for the PU.
– I’m Ron Burgundy? Stay classy, Star Citizen fans.
Denver – with David Langeliers and Chuck Brungardt
– No Travis today.
– Sataball – they’ve mentioned it a few times. It’s a zero-g sporting mode that will be in the FPS. Involves grappling hooks, zero-g movement, a ball you have to put in a goal, etc…
– Right now they’re mostly done the pre-vis for zero-g movement animations. Chris liked most of the movement. More updates are being done to pre-vis some other mechanics, but for the most part everything looks great.
– now they’re chopping that up, helping with the coding tasks, starting to really playtest the Sataball mode to see how it feels. Other programmers that could be doing this are working hard on FPS, so both are being done.
– Network profiling – working on getting better network performance. Lots of discussions with other studios to find out how to maximise things, lots of problems on the FPS have been isolated, and fixes will be rolled out over the next two weeks.
– More on Sataball – an animator has been pre-vising a ‘crumple jump’. This should allow you to, in zero-g, when you’re floating towards an object, twist around so your feet are facing the object. Then when you hit, you jump off in another direction you want. Looking good – it’ll probably be implemented soon.
– Chris has also asked for some tweaks to colours and sizes – colours are looking great, and the sataball has been sized down from a giant beachball to something more manageable for players.
Austin – with Jake Ross, Patrick Thomas, Mark Skelton, Cort Soest, Ian Leyland.
– Environment Summit going on right now in Austin, hoping to get environments out. Review done.
– Making sure the roadmap to build environments for the PU, SQ42, and FPS are all following the same system. Because they’re spread out over continents, you don’t get good communication sometimes with emails and skype. They’re sitting together, making sure everyone’s on the same page.
– Environments are quite complex, and they’re making sure all environment sets that are being created are being created the same. This’ll help them get the most out of each set.
– SQ42 is in UK, PU is in Austin, so it’s a good chance to see what everyone’s working on.
– Illfonic and Behaviour will be going to the Environment Summit later this week as well.
UK – Michael Dalston
– Just joined the QA team. Brand new employee.
– They’ve been monitoring the RSI forums extensively since the release of 1.1.1.
– Austin QA and Dev Ops have been working really well together. Steve Brennan, from the UK, has been going through the subreddit and watching Twitch streams, to make sure CIG can get to the bottom of all the issues.
– It looks like the server is allowing more players into the game than the rules will allow, which causes tons of problems.
– There’s no ‘greater chance’ of getting into Dying Star than Broken Moon. That’s a Red Herring.
– Don’t be put off by any of this! It’s still possible to play, and SC is still very early days.
– Some positive and negative feedback, but it’s all helpful, so keep giving them questions and feedback.
– Majority of QA testing has been moved to the Tutorial aspect of AC. They’ve been running through test cases, making sure it gets into a ‘complete’ state. It’s been exciting to see it grow from a buggy mess to something that’s playable now.
– You get to interact with your first NPC in the Tutorial. Follow his directions. Or else.
– FPS module – Lots of testing over the last few weeks. They’re getting lots of cross-CIG matches going.
– Praise the Sun.
– Video showing the Asteroid Hangar in Dying Star.
15:00 – Darian Vorlick interviewing Lisa Ohanian
– She’s the new Production Coordinator.
– How you doing, Lisa?
– I’m doing well, how are you?
– We’re working on 1.2, and it’s pretty intense. We just released 1.1, and we’re pretty glad it’s out the door, so now… you’ve been on Around the ‘Verse with me a couple times already, and there’ve been people asking who this new Production Coordinator is, where did she come from, how did she suddenly just appear on camera, so, why don’t we start by telling our backers and players a little about you? What do you do here?
– So, I am a production coordinator. Right now I’m the only producer on the art team, which is a little scary, but I think we have another one coming on soon, which is nice. The majority of my day tends to be, I do a lot of work with our art outsourcers. Making sure we’re all on the same page with what we’re doing at CIG, and what we need approvals for. Keeping track of approvals for ships, for characters, for, anything art related, really, to make sure that all the art producers and coordinators and Chris Roberts, that they all like the direction that we’re going, really. I also help keep track of the character pipeline, which is undergoing a lot of work right now, as you know, you’re laughing. And the ship pipeline as well, for art.
– So, up until recently, that’s been shared – not just with other offices, but kind of haphazardly. We had an outsourcing manager before, and after that individual left, we were left with a lot of balls up in the air, as far as who’s doing what work, where are we at, so you’ve also taken on the scheduling for our ships. So how do you think that’s going to help us releasing our ships?
– I think it’s going to be really helpful to have all of that in one place, because we do have certain parts of certain ships that we will give to outsourcers. And if you don’t have the same person on the same page with where things are coming from, it’s hard to know how to slot them into our schedule. For example, the ship box schedule that you’ve seen, where we sort of ballpark out all the phases of development and who’s going to get what, and what’s going to this person – it’s a lot easier if you have a sense of where people are coming from, because if I’m looking at how I need to move certain things around, I can say, well, we can’t give this guy more time because his contract ends this day, and he’s unavailable for a while, or knowing the strengths of different contractors and how we can give them certain things, switch them between different pipelines sometimes, so it’s useful to have that knowledge of where all the pieces are coming from when you’re determining how to move them around at a later stage in the game.
– So that block schedule that you’ve inherited, created by Alex – it’s important that we have this because it’s a much more efficient way of tracking what we have now. As a producer, that’s exciting to us. We get to organize everything.
– When Alex was handing it over to me, and this was only a few weeks back, and I was like, where’s the rest of it? And he went no no, I started this a few weeks ago.
– So, what can you tell us about that schedule? What exactly is it, how do you use it to keep track of everything?
– So, there’s a lot of different fancy tabs, a lot of different stuff in it, a lot of it inherited from Alex, a lot created by myself. The two big ones are the backlog, and the actual schedule itself. So, when we know, for example, we need a new ship. I’ll go into the backlog, and I know all the different phases the ship has to go through, from concept to when it’s flyable, and sort of a ballpark of how long each should take. And of course, different ships take longer in one area or a different area, so I always try to take that into account. I create all of these tasks in the backlog and then as soon as we get to a point in the schedule where we need to start planning what ships are coming down the pipeline next, I’ll take that, I’ll move it over to my big schedule tab on my giant Excel sheet. The schedule tab is actually pretty simple once you learn how to read it – it’s actually just a list of all the different people that we have on different art stages, from concept to final pass to greybox, all of that. I take those pieces and I put them under people’s names. It sounds really simple, but if you don’t have something where you can see across the board 10 different people, what they’re working on at a certain time, you might not realise that this guy’s not going to be done something in time to give it to this guy, in order to hit the state here that we’re shooting for. It sounds simple, but there’s a lot of value in something simple and easy to read, where you can see so many things at once.
– That’s important to us as producers, because, making order from chaos. It sounds like something so simple, but without out, where would we be?
– You wouldn’t be surprised, cause you’re a producer too, but you’d be surprised how many times I will get curveballs just from seeing that. We’re producers, we live by what our dates are, and what our milestones are, but not everyone does, so, you know this just as much as I do. So I try to have a weekly meeting with a bunch of the stakeholders in the art pipeline, and just go through and say, ‘so is this what this person’s working on, do they need any more time, what will be good to put on their plate next depending on their bandwidth and their strengths and weaknesses.’ And you – the proverbial ‘you’ – would be surprised about how many times you get someone saying, ‘wait no, we can do that there because this is probably going to change, and this guy is going to be grounded by this whole other team to work on this for a while,’ and it seems really straightforward, but when you get in there and start looking at it, it can get pretty tricky.
– Yeah, it’s pretty much a living, breathing document, and it’s incredibly valuable. That brings me to another point: Outsourcing. Not a lot of people know that we actually contract a lot of third party individuals, or even companies, to design a lot of our assets for us. And that requires us to not only keep track of their progress, but pay them as well. So I mean, I don’t think anyone wants to work for free. So you take care of that as well. So what do you do with our outsource and third party companies?
– So, one of the most important things is, I think, we do a lot of work with outside contractor, sometimes in the early stages. The tricky part there, is we have a really high quality bar here, and Chris has a very specific vision, so you have to be very careful when you give things to outsiders to make sure they’re on the same page about what this ship is, what its function is, where it fits in the world, ‘cause it’s easy for them to go off and create something – we’ve had this situation before already, and it comes back and we’re like, ‘this is really cool, but this isn’t the kind of ship that would have guns, why are there so many guns on it?’ They don’t really take into account that this is the kind of game where people are going to be walking around inside of the ship. And because it looks cool on the outside, when you’re on the inside, does it match up, does it make sense for what the ship is, does the scale match up? So that very early stage is one of the most important, I think. Again, also a lot of coordination, determining what people’s strengths are, finding out when they’re available, making sure that we have, I actually initiated this daily review system, for all of our outsourcers who are interested. They have certain milestones where they have to deliver things, but we really want to be involved in the process, so I encourage them, I give them all their own specific FTP, and ask them, or offer to them, if you want to drop anything in there, we will look at it the next day. So they know if they’re on the right track.
– Right – I’ve actually seen a few of them. And it’s important because, Chris has a very specific vision for this game, and because a lot of our outsourced artists, they don’t only work on this. They work on special effects for movies, so, this leads into the next question. This actually requires a lot of coordination with our design team as well. People writing up design briefs, etc… How much of that communication are you involved in in a daily basis, with design and artists and outsourcers, just to make sure these ships come to fruition?
– So, designers – like I said, right now I’m the only producer on the art team, so I try to let you handle the design things as much as possible. But I do try to check in with them to make sure the function matches to what we’re doing, and that what we’re creating is something that you guys can work with later on. So I do have a lot of check-ins with designers, but I try not to book large chunks of their time and dictate what they’re doing for the day.
– That’s what I do!
– That’s what you do. So yeah, I do check in from time to time, but I try to keep that to a functional minimum. That being said, once I have that information, I work a lot with our production design director, Rob, and I work with our art director, Lance, a lot. To make sure that they all know what those goals are. They’re invaluable because they have a really strong sense of Chris’ vision. They can look at something and predict what he’s going to say, and predict where he’s going to think it fits in the universe, what kind of changes it’ll need, so a lot of times we’ll have our contractors – again, this is the ideal pipeline for this. They create something, and they say ‘hey, this is due in a week, I hope it’s on the right track.’ They send it to us. We have background information on it, from when we sent them the creative brief, we’ve got all of that design information. I look at it with just Lance and Rob, we look over it, we send them feedback sometimes, and ask them to do something different, to try something new. Or sometimes, if it’s good enough, we try to have periodic meetings with CR as well, so he can look over the things that have already had iteration, and that we think are something good for him to get his eyes on, so I work with everyone at different levels.
– So, what’s the hottest thing you’re working on right now?
– I think the coolest thing I’m working on right now is the character pipeline, because we’ve done a lot of work on it, but there’s still a lot of aspirations that we have for it as well. So it’s really cool being in some of the early meetings, and seeing some of the things we thought went well, and changing our pipeline before we start, you know, cranking on it. It’s also awesome because we’re just starting to get a lot of concept art for some of the characters. Some of them are bigger characters, we’re getting a lot of Vanduul coming down the line, and there’s a lot of I find this really interesting, just character artwork from people on different planets, just people who are going to be around the planet, not necessarily a major character, and that is so interesting to me because as we’re refining that, i’m getting a much stronger sense of the worlds, and not just what they are on paper, their names, but what what their personality is, and that’s the cool thing to me right now.
– If you think about it, we’ve got 900 years of future history, where every planet’s going to have its independent culture, its own independent sense of fashion and what’s the norm, so that’s a lot of creative stuff that people have to come up with.
– And on that note, you’ve come up with a good point. We don’t just have one style for all of our planets. We have the regular class, the frontier people, the upper class, the counter culture, we have so many different sub personalities of every planet, and that’s the coolest thing to me probably because, the variety there makes it feel like it’s coming to life already.
– I want to work on that.
– well too bad.
– So, Lisa, thank you for taking the time with us for this conversation. So, once again, I’m Darian Vorlick
– Lisa Ohanian.
28:20 – Ben and the CS team are being silly, pretending they’re a Star Trek crew.
All part of more Sandi goes to Flight Training School.
– Sandi wins. Apparently.
31:26 – Ben will have his revenge in Space Marine
– Gamescom tickets are still available, but they’re going fast.
– It will be very fun, lots of people from the LA team, Sandi and Ben, James, lots of people.
– Also Chris Roberts.
– CitizenCon details will be available next month.
– Shot a series of new Empire report segments, and some backers have asked if they can create the green-screen for the report.
– Unlocking Racing ships this weekend. Pick up a M50, 350r or Mustang Gamma, or unlock them with REC.
– Let CIG know on the forums what ships we want them to unlock next time.
– The AC footage added to the show is from backers, and you can submit your own on the forums.
33:35 – Sneak Peek
– Character in armour in a T pose, rotating. Character model looks great.