It’s time for Around the ‘Verse with some more Erin Roberts and Loremakers! Check out The Relay’s transcript of the show.
Transcript by CanadianSyrup, Shiver Bathory, Sunjammer, Stormy Winters, WangPhat, Desmarius
Jared Huckaby(JH:) This week. More Erin Roberts than you can shake a stick at. Warning do not shake a stick at Erin Roberts
We ask how much could a lore maker make if a lore maker could make lore, the answer may surprise you.
And we take an early look at AI Subsumption in ATV Fast Forward
All this and more on this week’s Around the ‘Verse.
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Wow that’s a lot of ships.
Ben Lesnick (BL): Yes that was as timelapse of Port Olisar. Someone stuck a camera above the landing platforms during the free fly. So you saw a variety of ships coming and going and it’s neat how it works pretty much like an actual time lapse of an airport or port, just came together that way.
SG: Lots of ships in StarCitizen. Greetings and welcome to Around the ‘Verse, your weekly look at Star Citizen’s development and community, I’m Sandi Gardiner.
BL: I’m Ben Lesnick.
SG: And Ben what can we do in Star Citizen today?
BL: Well I’m pleased to announce Star CItizen Alpha 2.3 is now available on the live server. This update adds the hangar ready Starfarer, the flyable Xi’An scout, a couple of FPS weapons hidden in Crusader and new engine components for the component pipeline that’s coming together now. It looks like the release went great, it’s nice and stable, folks are having a good time.
SG: We’d be remiss if we didn’t thank the thousands of PTU testers who made this launch possible, we couldn’t have done it without you. What is the team working on now though?
BL: Well in addition to Squadron 42 our single player adventure which is currently being put together by folks in the UK, the team, the Persistence Universe team is moving on to Star Citizen Alpha 2.4. We’re a ways off from the content cutt off so we don’t necessarily know what’s absolutely going to be in this patch, but we’re talking about all sorts of systems including the possibility of persistence.
SG: Do you want to explain persistence?
BL: Right now when you log into Crusader, Mini PU, everything resets every time. So you’ll have a different bedroom, things will be arranged differently, your ship will reset, it won’t have the same damage or the same criminal level or anything like that. A big step towards the finished universe is making things carry over from game session to game session and one of the things they’re working on, not necessarily for 2.4, although we’re hoping that it will be available in the next couple releases is persistence and QA just started testing their very first build which includes that.
SG: So we’re finally getting the P in the PU, Ah? You like that one? I’m becoming more like Ben.The Starfarer and Xi’AN Scout are on sale until Monday. These two ships couldn’t be anymore different. One is a tiny alien fighter and the other is practically a flying level in itself. Foundry 42 put together a great trailer to show the Starfarer in action.
BL: We also put together a cool website to promote the Starfarers launch into the verse. It has a interactive magazine that shows a day in the life of a Starfarer and it follows one crew through sort of ordinary activities and shows off how some of the NPCs are going to work in Star Citizen. There’s also a map of the Starfarer since it’s pretty easy to get lost in there.
SG: We’re also making the Starfarer available for everybody for the weekend so that everyone can check out what we’re doing on larger ships regardless whether or not you have purchased one.
BL: The guys at Foundry 42 have put so much love and sweat and blood into this one and it’s just the first example of the many many larger ships we’re working on building, we want to everybody to get to experience that so check out your hangars this weekend.
SG: We have a new Star Citizen mousepad available starting tomorrow featuring the current lineup of Anvil Aerospace ships including the Carrack, Crucible, Gladiator, and Hornet. Get yours before they’re gone. We also have the dog tags which are on sale until Monday and the Squadron 42 and a couple other styles of T-shirts which are five and ten dollars.
BL: The really small ones.
SG: The really small ones, tinee, tiny ones. So I saw a reddit thread actually, people were wearing them as understuff for workouts, why not?[Ben throws the mousepad dramatically]
Randi Vazquez: Hi how you doing? This is sunny Santa Monica and today I bring a special guest. My name is Randy Vazquez one of the Producers here and this is:
Chad McKinney: Chad McKinney: Gameplay Engineer
RV: He’s a new addition to our Team. So here in L.A. The Engineering Team has really been focusing on the item system and getting all the underlying things like components for ships, FPS, everything starts going into a new system and everything.
Then art side they’ve been working on a lot of character stuff, they’ve been working on a bunch of ships. Some of the new ships, that they can’t even talk about and then some of the ships, like some of the favourites.
I think I saw them doing some of the stuff on the Caterpillar, that was really awesome. Design wise they’re working on a few other ships that I can’t talk about yet, that should be coming out soon. Then we’ve also been working on the engineering for components. What have you been working on?
CM: Right now i’m just figuring everything out. Looking through all the code and documentation. But i’m starting to look at the new item components and looking at doors soon. Yes, yes doors. Automatic doors.
RV: That’s awesome! Well if anything you all know Star Citizen’s such a huge project. So take the long ramp up
RV: Nice. Well thank you this is Santa Monica and you guys take it easy. See you in the ‘verse.
Jake Ross: Hey guys Jake Ross here, Producer of the Austin studio and i’m here with you this week to give you a little update on what’s going on in ATX. So first starting off the bat, we’re full blown into shopping at this point. We are not messing around, we’re trying to get it out there and in your hands. And part of that is making it bigger and better than we originally planned. So originally we had a scope and we are realising that we can “Oh let’s get this thing in here and that thing in here”. Without going in too much detail we are looking at, we have our sights on Port Olisar. So we want to try and bring in a few shopping experiences to Port Olisar as well. So the Port Olisar, obviously wasn’t built with shops in mind per se. So we’re having to kind of go back and rejigger some things, some of the spaces to make sure we make room for some of these experiences we have in mind. But that’s in the works.
In addition to that we are also setting up additional shops, beyond just Casaba Outlet like we were originally planning. So we are trying to bring Dumper’s Depot online, bring Cubby Blast online. We’re looking into the Medical Unit to help sell some medical supplies. All that involves some, kind of additional features including what we’re calling Kiosk Terminal Shopping. Which is basically you go into the shop and let’s say you’ve got a bunch of shelves in the back you that can’t access or you have really big items like ship weapons.
Obviously you can’t go up to a ship weapon on a shelf, it’s just too big. So we have what we call Kiosk Terminal Purchasing, where you actually have to go up to a kiosk and cycle through an inventory and purchase that way. We’re still working on that whole entire loop, ‘cause we want to make sure it still feels like, it’s not just a gamey type shopping experience, but we’re making it special so, but just the reality is we can’t fit sixty or so ship weapons into a shop, so we have to come up with a solution for that.
We’re fleshing out the rest of the shopping experience and getting that online here, so that’s really exciting. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel here. Last thing I want to mention with regards to that is persistence is now fully integrated into game dev. Which is our main development stream. What this means is that, for the longest time our Server Engineers, have been with support from Jeff Zoo have been developing in their own stream and now it’s all integrated into our main development stream. Which means that we can never go back. We can never go back to what was before. So things will now forever persist in our main development stream. Which is exciting but it also brings with it a lot of bugs that we’re having to fix. So we’re ironing out those kinks but now it’s exciting ‘cause Behaviour can go in and they can hook into our persistent back end, with their shopping interface, so that things are actually persisting now.
We can actually set-up things like the port modification tool in the hangars. So you guys can go in and customise things in the hangars. QA is having a blast with that by the way. I was standing over the shoulder of someone recently just watching them walk around and shift things around and just move their fish tank from one spot in the hangar to the other and “No I don’t want an Avenger there I want to put my new Scout there. So let’s just swap out that Avenger real quick, put the Scout right there”. You can actually switch hangars now in the main menu now, which is cool. So you don’t have to go to the website or anything. So there’s a lot of cool things coming online now that we have persistence in game dev and a lot of people are really excited about it, so that’s pretty cool.
We also put out 2.3 last week. Very late on Friday night. So I want to give a shout out to a few folks: The Operations team, and the QA. We had a lot of people just go above and beyond last week, trying to get that into your hands. Sometimes these patches are not full of new content but they have a lot of important new backend features that you just don’t see, and every single patch is still really important to us and it’s important to the Operations guys as well ‘cause that’s their thing. And getting this content out into your hands. So shout out to those guys, and we’ll look to do it again next month with 2.4!
Also lastly want to give a shout out to the unsung heroes of this video content you’re watching: Thomas Hennesey and Jared Chambers. Justin Chambers excuse me! Thanks to those guys and all that they do.
Tom Johnson: Hello everyone welcome to the UK. Tom here. I brought along Matt with me this week, he’s a Live Producer and Audio Producer and just wanted to give you guys an update …. different talk a little bit more about the live production
Matt Webster: Yep.
TJ: Could Matt just give us a feel about what’s going on, on the live side?
MW: Lot’s going on, absolutely filled up I’ll start with 2.3 which came out pretty recently. We had the Starfarer go into the hangar. Massive, massive ship, multi crew ship. We, absolutely enormous … ship walking around all of it myself. There’s just so many nooks and crannies … but everyone’s absolutely loving it. Good responses on the forums.
MW: Yeah people definitely see the next big step in Star Citizen [hand waving silence] and the Scout is flight-ready as well. Again, really cool, new ship.
TJ: Pretty nifty.
MW: Pretty different yup, nothing else like it that we’ve done before, with the exception of the Vanduul, it’s still an alien ship, it still looks like a spaceship ship.
TJ: Looks like a Starfish.
MW: Now the Xi’An scout looks- yeah, like a Starfish. [mumbles]
MW: Yeah, yeah, it’s awesome. We also stuck the new weaponry in there as well, we stuck in the shotgun and we’ve added the Devastator-12 and the Arrowhead sniper rifle. So, all-round got a bit of variety in the FPS. something Kareah station, so yeah, waiting in the corner, camping…
TJ: You wouldn’t do that.
TJ: So, does the effect the [mumbles]?
MW: We’ve got the server issues. We basically trying to track down. [hand shaking mumbles] And yeah, we’ve got the found that. [more mumbles]
TJ: And then we found more work [mumbling].
MW: It is underway.
MW: You’ll just have to wait.
TJ: Alright, thanks guys, that’s it for this week. See you later.
MW: See you later.
Brian Chambers: Hey everyone Brian Chambers from Frankfurt. This week I don’t really have a huge meaty update with what the team’s been doing. With the Easter break and days off and so on and so on. People have definitely been working but I don’t really have anything substantial and wouldn’t make sense to run through each department ‘cause they’re pretty much finishing up or continuing on what they were doing last.
One thing we, I did get a question from Disco Lando the other day. We talked about VR and asked if we could say anything about what’s going on there. VR is definitely something that’s going to be done. Right now to be honest with you it’s a little bit, I guess you could say on hold, not on hold indefinitely, it’s just when we’re tech items, design items across any discipline whatever it might be we set priority and VR is something that with the guys here we know we can accomplish. We know what we need to do to get it there, it’s just not the highest thing in priority right now. It’s building up those other foundational things. Getting tools work done, getting, continuing on the procedural stuff, so on and so on. Getting things optimised, getting them to where they need to be.
We have a whole tech planned, VR is definitely on there it’s definitely it’s going to get the support and love that it needs. But it’s not on the priority just yet. I’ll try to give an update on that once I realise where it is, and when it’s coming online. Besides that team is doing good, we’re still growing we just had another contract. I think we’re up to 41 people now here, which is great. Getting good group of talented guys that;ll be able to pull off what we need. Yeah, besides that things are good over here. It’s starting to warm up finally which is good. If you guys have any more questions for Frankfurt team send them through the channels.
I’ll try to get on the forums a little bit more, i’m going to try encourage the guys here as well so we can, we can jump in and interface with you guys a little bit more directly and answer questions and just chat and you guys can get an idea of kind of what we’re doing and what it’s like to be here. Cool thanks again for all the support we’ll see you next week.
SG: Thank you everyone. Next up Jared sits down with Erin Roberts to discuss the future for the Persistent Universe, over to you Jared.
JH: You’ve sort of lead me into this now, we’re talking about different departments: there’s the audio, there’s the Designers. Give me just a short breakdown of Foundry 42. What departments exist in Foundry 42?
Erin Roberts (ER): So we have, Foundry 42 now, we have the Audio Department staff, we have the environment pipeline is lead out of the UK so we have about, I think it’s about, 18 Environment Artists in the UK but then we also have environment support in Canada as well.
JH: From Behaviour?
ER: From Behaviour right. And then the ship pipeline is lead out of the UK as well and we have about 17, 18 ship artists in the UK. And I’ll tell you what, you need them when you’re making capital ships. I mean I guess you guys have seen the Starfarer …
JH: [laughing] Yeah!
ER: But when you see the size of some of some of the other the ships we’re making. And the Idris, which by the way looks amazing and is pretty much done, but then we have a Javelin, we have a Bengal, we have stuff like that …
JH: [to camera] Pretty much done. Not: ‘done’, guys!
ER: But it’s like, so, we have all, so … team … so that’s lead out of there. We also obviously have a ship team here in LA and a ship team in Austin as well, smaller, but things like that.
We have the props pipeline is out of the UK, so basically all those sort of props and stuff is lead out of there as well as Behaviour once again helps with that. What else have we got in the UK? It’s pretty much a lot, I mean, the UK has obviously the largest body of employees and so forth so we basically do a lot of the horse power in terms of making sure the assets and stuff come out for the teams.
JH: And not just for Squadron 42 but for Star Citizen?
ER: Yes. It’s global so all the environments and ships for the PU, Star Citizen and stuff like that on our pipelines are pushed through the UK. And then also we have a bunch of animation work that comes out of there as well as Austin does a bunch of animation work and the German office has got some animation as well. And the German office is part of Foundry 42: they have the cinematics pipeline team and also they run the FPS side of things. Although a lot of … they work very closely with the UK.
The German office and the UK office, like I said, are the same company, and we’re the same time zone, so we’re very close even though some of the production is lead out of Germany for that stuff there’s a lot of people in the UK who work on that stuff with the German office. And then … once again it’s the other way round as well. And Germany does a load of the core tech because we were very fortunate to pick up a bunch of the guys who know, who pretty much wrote the CryEngine in the first place …
ER: … and they have been doing a bunch of work and you guys have seen that with stuff like the procedural planets and things like that.
JH: Cool. Now 2014 was mostly building infrastructure, building the company up, building the foundations for Squadron 42, getting the tech stuff. One of the popular terms that gets thrown around a lot, that many people may not understand, is vertical slice. Can you talk to us about what a vertical slice is?
ER: So vertical slice is taking one part of the game and making sure that it hits up all the different areas of what you’re trying to achieve in that game. You don’t get everything typically but you try and say “Right”. So say the vertical slice for Squadron 42 would be you’re out flying. So you’d pick a mission that has you flying around, getting out, EVAing, doing something in space, landing on a structure, going into the structure, wandering around, having a big FPS battle: that kind of stuff. And then you basically trying to hit up all the elements: space, ground ..
And then also you’d have interactive. So a big thing in Squadron is the whole idea that you live in a living, breathing ship. So a vertical slice would have you also wandering round the ship you live on, talking to people, doing stuff, as well as then the story elements and the cinematics and stuff like that. So that’s kind of what it is. So you’re taking a little section and saying this is basically the game in this little section and this basically proves that we can get all the stuff done. And then you sit there and you look at it and if you go “Wow that’s awesome”. Then you know that all we are doing now is going down there, knocking out all the rest of the stuff.
JH: Gotcha. So anything else you’re working on in 2014: vertical slice, getting the technology ready, 64 bit conversion …
ER: 2014? No I mean a lot of 2014 … so basically I said we came on to do Squadron 42 work but then there was a … originally when we came on the team we weren’t planning on actually having a large studio. That was not the plan. It was maybe we’ll be 40 or 50 people, we’re going to work on some stuff, we’re going to do some outsourcing and so forth. One big thing happened in UK which was … which actually then changed … changed round the way we do developing, which was the UK government brought in a tax credit which meant that, for development of games and so forth, in the UK that is to incentives, to bring back … because the games industry in the UK has been pretty run down and stuff like that. Especially where I live, the north west, even more so and so forth. And so it’s been really good for the UK in terms of a lot of things … great … because like I say we’ve been bring people back to the UK as usual. But they give you this tax credit where they’ll give you money back for the money you spend.
And so it just all of a sudden became a really … you know, obviously … when you have that sort of ability to not only … obviously we’re very lucky to have all the support from the backers. But then if we can use the backer’s money to get more support so we can put more money into the game because of the government’s tax credit … which meant that we’d decided that we were going to expand the workforce in the UK. And it made much more sense to base more bodies in the UK than in other areas where there wasn’t this sort of incentive from the government.
So that’s what happened. We built the whole team up for that kind of stuff. And as we built we then said “Well, okay, well it’s not just Squadron 42 which we’ll be doing in the UK, then we should actually be supporting the PU”. And so no we … the UK … yes we are heavily doing Squadron 42 but the same thing is we get a lot of support on Squadron 42 from the US as well and from the German, the Frankfurt office as well as Austin here. So everyone works together on Squadron 42 and everyone works together on the Persistent Universe but then we also do a lot of … so we do the FPS stuff like we talked about the German office do that kind of stuff but we do a bunch of stuff on everything together as one company.
And I think originally when … it was an interesting dynamic when we first started because you could have this between the studios because you have an ability to work really well together if you do it right. Because we’re working on something in the UK and then, like now I’m in the US blah blah over here, and then they do a hand off and so now I’m here we’ll have the hand off and then if there are any issues we get to fix those stuff, and then we do a hand off back to the UK. And it works really well. So you’re almost getting 24 hour development and support and so forth. However if it’s not organised right it can go the other way because then you’re waiting a day to hear back from someone.
So we worked through a bunch of those issues in the early days, early 2014, of how we’re going to work together as an organisation. And then getting people. And then also really working out who owns what in a lot of ways because it’s really important that you don’t feel … everybody understands what their ownership is, what they’re in charge of. Because if you get a situation where two people aren’t sure who’s doing what or who’s in charge of what then it can lead to … you know …
ER: Discussions and problems and moral issues and so forth. Everything. So a lot of the stuff that I’ve been doing and we’ve been working out exactly who’s in charge of what and it’s very clear production responsibilities within different producers in different studios. And even if there’s other people they’re working with in other studios, they’re the guy in charge of that sort of stuff then they know they are the people coordinating it. So you don’t have stuff … because it’s not just that fact that people might upset “Oh, they’re treading on our toes”. But it’s also the fact that stuff just doesn’t get done because everyone goes “Oh, I thought you were doing that”. “Oh no, I thought you were doing that”.
ER: And so now we been, just as an organisation, as we grow, we been working through all these issues, making it a lot better. And now it’s like really great the way the organisation works together. It just it’s really solid.
JH: We didn’t have the benefit of being a company that’s existed for five years before we started this project.
JH: So we’re having to discover these procedures, write these protocols.
ER: You’re building everything. I was going to say … you’re building … it’s everything to do with that. So we’re trying to build a game … we’re trying to fund a game the way it’s never been done before, we’re trying to build it in a way it’s never been done before and we’re trying to build an organisation at the same time. And it’s a lot of fun!
ER: And … and … but we are really fortunate because I have to say we … we have … I have never worked with such a talented bunch of guys. They’re just … this group of people … just … from all over the world … just really good. So it’s a lot of fun.
JH: Well, you’re welcome Erin. I do what I can.
JH: Alright so 2015. Now we’re getting ready for the performance capture shoot.
JH: For Squadron 42. What was that like? How do you set up something like that? How did we get in bed with Imaginarium?
ER: So that was more … once again … because originally we were thinking about doing it was going to make sense to do the shoot in LA but once again because of the tax credit situation … once again, as I said, masterstroke by the government as far as I’m concerned … we decided to move it to the UK because once again any money that’s spent in Britain is net of tax. And so we’re working in Imaginarium, working in Ealing Studios and so you get that tax incentive back again. So that was the reason for doing it in the UK.
And Imaginarium was because we went and spent some time going round talking to the different houses, and the people who we really felt were in sync with us, and felt really good to work with, had very good conversations with and stuff like that, and really seem to share our ideas of what we wanted to do but also in terms of where technology was going and how we might work together and do stuff were Imaginarium. And so we had very good conversations with them and so we decided to go that route.
And then John Schimmel, who obviously comes from the background of linear production, then put the whole thing together. We got the people in. It was a bit of a … getting the right people in, building the team … And a performance capture shoot is not unlike a film shoot. You pretty much need the same people doing the same sort of stuff. You’re basically filming people but in a different way. And so it’s very … that side of business is … people pretty much know how that works.
JH: Alright. What was it like getting those emails from John Schimmel or whoever like “Oh yeah, we’ve got Mark Hamill”. “Oh yeah, we’ve got Gary Oldman?” Were those good moments?
ER: Yeah, I think with some of those guys, yeah, it’s fantastic. The cast was a really, really great cast to have and so that was a lot of fun. It really helps because Chris has got some good relationships with some of those guys from his past and stuff. And so it’s kind of like … it’s fun when they get on the set as well just … seeing … seeing the guys there. And I think they had a lot of fun coming on there and doing … working on the … and doing this as well. So it was, all round, a great experience.
JH: So we do three or four months of the initial shoot? I don’t remember exactly. Yeah three to four months.
Tom Hennessy (TH): [off camera] It was.
ER: I think it was … no, it was about eight weeks I think.
JH: Okay. The extra … oh, then there was the set up, the production. I’m thinking the time Chris was …
ER: Yeah. You always have … you always have to have the production teams running beforehand to make sure it’s all set up. But the actual time on stage I think was six, seven weeks. Something like that.
JH: Gotcha. And then that stuff comes back to Foundry, to Foundry UK, I guess? Well it goes to everybody, whoever needs it right? What happens, what do we do with that footage?
ER: So all the footage goes in. It then, it gets processed so we can use it. And it goes to the Animation team. And there’s two lots: there’s obviously the body side of it and there’s the facial side. And we have one team of guys, which is lead by John Jones who’s in Derby. And he has a crew of guys who get all the facial stuff and then they work with Cubic Motion who get all the camera stuff and bring it back and make sure that the facial stuff is working on the characters and stuff. And then you have the body guys. All the body stuff comes back to our teams in Austin, in the UK, and in Germany. And then they take all that information and then we get it in the game. And then we have all the facial scans which go off to 3Lateral team and they’re the ones that come up with the faces and so forth that then take all that information and play the stuff on.
JH: So we have the performance capture shoot done, we’re processing the animations… what’s the last half of 2015 for Foundry 42, what are we working on now?
ER: Obviously Squadron and also you know, that was the big, big, heavy lifting for 2.0 and getting that stuff out and that was a mammoth effort from a lot of people. Not just because of the huge technology, can you imagine you basically have all this work going behind the scenes and you get it running and then that was probably the longest PTU cycle we were on with people. Basically you’re throwing out a whole new code base, so you’re working through and you’re working through and that was a good amount of work.
JH: So, the decisions made to create the mini PU, the baby PU, Tony had an interesting name for it… protoverse, he wanted to call it the protoverse. When did that decision come about? When did we decide we were ready to start the baby PU?
ER: That was always the plan once the tech was involved but we couldn’t do it without this in 64 bit so we could have the huge spaces. Then also, there’s a lot of other tech and stuff that had to be built for that but as soon as we had that then the idea was what we were going to do was get actually the seed of the experience of what Star Citizen is out there. We were going to start with basically doing a little corner in Crusader and so that sort of area and build out Crusader to basically become the first system with all the different planets in there and the system is…
JH: Stanton system.
ER: Stanton, thank you. We talked about this before and it always slips my mind. So basically what we were building out is the Stanton system and we’re going to build out all the locations of Stanton system, we’re going to get all the players doing lots of stuff. You know how all the systems are so huge, there’s a huge amount of gameplay, there’s more gameplay in one system in our game then there would be most games out there.
So, now what we’re doing is seeding in all the different locations and we’re putting in the ability to do missions, you could always kind of do but persistence goes in very soon and with persistence then basically you’ll have the ability to go in and earn money and do stuff and buy stuff and play and trade. Obviously, as we layer these things in you’ll be able to trade, you’ll be able to go mining and stuff and you’ll be able to do different missions and be able to do things like that.
So this is what we’re doing. So right now this year what people are going to see is a huge… they’re going to see the whole of Star Citizen taking shape and the ability to do that, along with obviously all the sort of capital ships that are coming on line. So people can really just do really cool things together on that sort of level as well.
JH: Shopping is going to come online soonish, no dates. That’s not just for ArcCorp there will be some component of that eventually…
ER: No, we will be putting shopping in Crusader.
JH: Gotcha, so there will be a little boutique…
ER: In the Stanton system, you’ll go there, you’ll basically be able to, yes. So you can go down, you’re playing the game and you earn some what we’re going to call Alpha…
ER: UEC and you’ll be able to go in and be able to play the game and literally will play it like you’d play a game. You go and trade, earn some money, spend some money, items you’ll be able to buy and so forth and things like that. We’re going to run this Alpha UEC cycle for probably a long, long time. Every time we come out with a new version, we’ll probably wipe it and start people again and then the level just starts again and we’re going to use as a huge balance pass and keep on going with people.
All the time people will be able to play and go and experience and build stuff up, buy new stuff and weapons and components to put in their ships. Buy clothes and do those sort of things like that and buy armour and weapons and then do stuff and get together with people and do things like that.
JH: To clarify for those, we’re in alpha and we have UEC but what we’re talking about is a new temporary currency that at the moment we’re calling Alpha UEC…
ER: Yes, so basically anything… UEC is something at the moment that people have paid their good, hard earned cash on and if you buy anything with that, you get to keep it and use anytime. If you bought it with actual UEC then you’ll have that when you go into Crusader and be able to use those sort of items. All we’re talking about here is we’re going to give the ability which finally a lot of people have been looking forward to… so basically when you go in you’ll now be able to earn UEC in the game but it won’t be the same as that money you paid for…
JH: Like funny money.
ER: Yes, it’s funny money because basically we want it in there so people can go there and test it and use the system and buy stuff and build themselves up. Obviously at some point it’ll get wiped when we maybe do a new version and sometimes we may not wipe it, sometimes we may and so forth. The idea is when we have big, new upgrades then probably wipe it and get people started again to test this, we may well be changing prices, we may be doing this sort of stuff, we may be adding new features or items and so forth, new missions and things and all kind of stuff and so forth.
So basically the Alpha UEC is for people to go in and play that, so if you just got your Aurora and that’s it and you’re going to get to go in and if you work really hard and do a lot of missions and get lots of credits, you’ll be able to upgrade your Aurora. Buy a new ship all that kind of stuff although buying a new ship in the game is quite expensive. It’s like if you want to buy an aircraft carrier nowadays it’s going to take a long time to get there and so forth and things like that.
JH: It’s a thing we can use, we can dump a bunch into the market, we can pull a bunch out of the market, it’s how we’re going to figure out the entire economy basically.
ER: The great thing is we’re going to have our community with us helping us, explore that balance, get their feedback. Already on the PTU stuff we do it’s fantastic, just right now in the middle of getting 2.3 out the feedback we get is immense because every morning… I know I’ve said it before but we literally are on the forums on a daily basis we have guys who just go through, look at the issues, get them down, look at are some of the issues are just a single thing or is it a lot of people and so forth.
We get that sort of feedback and we get feedback every morning and we go through it and then we get to implement that stuff and that’s why we can have fast turn around which you don’t get anywhere else. We can’t afford to hire 100,000 testers so it’s like it’s great having this community who supports us not only financially but actually just to come and work with us to give us the feedback we need to make the game as good as it’s going to be.
JH: Ok. So, we’re adding shopping, we’re adding cargo cause that’s necessary for trade I assume. Mining, I assume that’ll be some part of Yela in the asteroid field I imagine. We had Luke Presley on this show a couple weeks ago, we talked about voxel asteroids, eventually coming to support that. What…
ER: Of all the stuff you get, our procedural stuff is just around the corner.
JH: I noticed Crusader moved a lot closer to the space station in 2.3. So procedural we’re going to be able to fly down to Crusader.
ER: You’re going to be able to fly down… well, maybe not Crusader but you’ll be able to fly down to areas and planets and stuff like that and so forth. Yes, that’s the whole idea and that was actually one of the awesome things about getting the German office onboard, not only because they can run the tech really well which helps in a lot of different areas, and really helped actually getting 2.0 out. I mean it’s because procedural stuff for us was a stretch goal which was like…
ER: It was like. “Yeah, we’ll get to that when we get the game out” and so forth. Then the guys came onboard and did this amazing stuff and now already because we have that, it’s not just the fact we’ll be able to fly down to a planet, that procedural stuff allowed us to do loads of other stuff. It allows us to… we have asteroid bases in space, which would be procedural so you can build them up and go do stuff and things like that as well and so forth. All that tech allows us to do a lot of things that people are going to see the goodness of pretty soon.
JH: I remember the day Chris came, we’re in different halves of the office and he usually doesn’t usually come to our half unless he’s leaving for the day. He comes over with a flash drive, he comes to my desk and Chris is walking to my desk and I’m like, Chris is walking to my desk and he goes, “Put this in and watch this”. He was so happy, it was the very first iteration of people to planet. We were, “Ben, come here” and we all gathered around and watched it, we were all just flabbergasted. We here already! We’re here!
ER: The funny thing is Chris was out there before and Marco’s who’s been working with some of the guys over there just said, “I think we should show this” and I didn’t really know what to expect and then it was like, well ok. Then they handle the tech work and then Sean did a lot of work on that as well and getting stuff… it was pretty amazing stuff.
JH: Marco’s fantastic, I’ve tried… I’ve sent him a couple requests for interview stuff and he’s just like, “I just want to make the game”. He’s very… just wants to make the game.
ER: The German office are not very big on interviews, to be honest, we’re not in the UK either. I think it’s a European thing, cameras are not our friends so we try and stay away as much as possible.
JH: It’s worth it for you guys to make the game you guys are making so we’re happy. Some folks are like, “Why don’t you get them on camera more often”. It’s like, they’re making the game, us Americans are a little celebrity happy so we’re happy to be in front of the camera. Hi mom! This gets asked a lot, what happens when Squadron 42 is done?
ER: When Squadron 42 is done then we basically move onto Episode 2 and obviously a bunch of other work for the PU. It’s one code base, the teams are interchangeable so the people working on the different things and stuff like that. A lot of the work we do now for the Persistent Universe is we drive it all with Squadron 42 features and assets and then basically when those come online, the Persistent Universe guys can then take that and then put it into the game.
ER: So, when we see updates will come and stuff will start working like, “Look, the radar scanning is doing a lot of cool stuff”, of course this is also for Squadron 42 and then it’s used in the Persistent Universe. Then the great thing then is people in the persistent universe are using it and we’re working out, ok, this is how they’re using it or this is cool or this isn’t cool and then we make those changes back in. The great thing is it just enhances the experience for Squadron 42 because basically all the fixes, everything they’re doing, all the feedback we’re getting means that when we actually ship Squadron 42 it will have had a couple years of feedback on what works and what doesn’t work.
Which is why I’m really excited by it because I think we have this opportunity to make this game which is really well thought through and a lot of the systems and where things work because it will have so many rounds of feedback and all that stuff
JH: I’m super excited about Squadron 42, I’m more a multiplayer kinda guy, I haven’t played a lot of single player games in the last couple years but everything I’ve seen for Squadron 42… and I’ve tried to stay away, which is hard working here. I’ve tried to stay spoiler free as I can but everything I’ve seen is so amazing.
ER: When you’re wandering around the Bengal carrier…
JH: As one does.
ER: The Javelin, all those kind of stuff. It’s a funny thing cause a lot of the… like I said we got this huge ship team and they’re working on stuff but the vast majority of assets we’re working on are Squadron 42 assets, we use a lot of the PU stuff will be Squadron 42 as well but there’s a lot of assets that aren’t in the PU now and won’t be til Squadron 42 ships.
So, yes we got the Starfarer out which is in Squadron 42 as well people can play that and obviously the Idris and that stuff will come out. There are so many other ships there you won’t see and of course at some point we’ll start putting them in the PU but that will be pretty impressive, you go a system and then you jump in and there’s just a huge Bengal carrier sitting there with it’s fighters around it and stuff. You better not be a pirate at that point.
JH: Which leads me to my last question for you, this is a big one from our community so I have to ask it, the Idris… are we going to see it in the Persistent Universe in our hangars, obviously not in our hangars but are players going to get access to it before Squadron 42?
ER: That’s still up for discussion. There is two chains of thought on that and I don’t think it’s going to be ready like soon but whether…
JH: Not tomorrow.
ER: We’re using it in Squadron 42 right now. It’s been set up in games, lots going on with that, actually some of the backers have come to our office. We love to showing them everything and they’ve seen it and walk around and seen it. It’s just more about whether, because it’s a big part of Squadron 42 and its actually the ship you start living on for awhile. It’s whether we feel we may be spoiling it for the players if we put it out there and everyone knows it inside and out, when it comes to Squadron 42 it’s not going to be such a novelty. So, we’re going to have to make a call on that about what we do.
JH: There are virtues on both sides of the argument.
ER: Obviously I know people who have paid for their Idris and want it will go, “I want my Idris and I want to do my kind of stuff with that”. There are other areas where it would be, although the ship will be done, and t will be working for Squadron 42 cause it’s a single player campaign and because you’re not actually piloting the ship yourself and so forth, it completely flies properly but a lot of the sea action stuff because it’s a big Capital ship and the way we do seats for larger ships and you’ll start seeing that with the Starfarer and stuff like that are kind of different. There’s a lot of UI drill down on what each seat can do, so there’s a little bit of work around that as well. Yeah, I can’t give a… right now we’re holding onto it, that may change depending.
JH: You gave exactly the answer I was wanting. So, we’re still deciding.
ER: Completely ambiguous.
JH: No, we wanted to get that information out that, that a call had not been made yet. So Erin, thank you so much for taking your time to chat with us. It was a very long interview, we had to split that into two pieces, we’ll put the whole thing up after the fact on our Youtube so people don’t have to watch it in two pieces. Thank so much.
ER: No thank you, it was fun being here.
JH: Have a good flight back and back to you guys.
Hello and welcome to another edition of Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m your host for today, Will Weissbaum, Senior Writer, here at CIG in beautiful sunny Los Angeles, California. On today’s episode we’ll be taking a look at Elysium, which is a fantastic system for all its history. Let’s go take a look at it now.
So we are starting off on Earth. This beautiful blue marble we all call home, but not for much longer as we’re going to expand out through the stars. [whispering] Let’s go . . to Elysium. How about that? Magic. So it is a five planet system that was discovered way back in November 15, 2541. And what was so noteworthy about this system upon it’s discovery was that it was inhabited. It was not an empty system. We quickly learned that there was another space faring race called the Tevarin living on Elysium IV or as they called it Kaleeth [pronounced Kay-lith] or Kaleeth [pronounced Kay-leeth]. Depending on whether you want to use the right or incorrect pronunciation.
So the UPE, the United Planets of Earth, the government at the time were very excited to discover a whole new race. They were spacefaring technology wise but not as quite as advanced as us humans. And we thought it was a great opportunity to expand our reach and incorporate an entirely new alien species into our civilization.
Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way, because the Tevarin attacked us. They wanted what we had and it was a full all out war, our first interspecies war, and it was terrible, but what came out of it was the rise of a young Colonel Ivar Messer who rose through the ranks and became the hero of the war at the famous Battle of Idris IV where he managed to turn the tide of the offensive and really stick it to those Tevarin. Even though the Tevarin weren’t as technologically advanced as we were, they were brilliant strategists and were able to hold out much longer than anyone thought, even taking over human systems and driving our forces back.
So, by the end of these four years we were able to conquer them. We sent them fleeing out into the verse, hiding in various places in Banu and Xi’An space. So after that moment, we started colonizing and terraforming worlds that were formerly part of the Tevarin Empire were now part of the human empire, as Ivar Messer had now become the Imperator and had transformed the United Planets of Earth eventually into the United Empire of Earth.
Now, everything seemed to be going well as humans settled into Elysium until around 2603 when the Tevarin returned with a vengeance and they had a new leader.They had a new leader called Corath’Thal, who was dead set on reclaiming the Tevarin homeworld for his people. He burned a path through the stars fighting his way towards Elysium. There was in Centauri the famous Battle of Centauri where Squadron 42 had their first major victory ever in shutting down the Tevarin offensive after a grueling seven years of fighting. Rather than accept the defeat, the Tevarin pushed through the jump in Centauri and fought their way towards their home planet knowing that it was a doomed effort until they finally turned down their shields.
Oh, oops that was Nul. They did not . . they did not go to Nul. [laughs] However, they did go to Elysium where eventually they turned off their shields and crash landed onto the planet burning up in the skies of Elysium IV which some of you may have seen in the famous painting that commemorated the moment that was called, ‘Tears of Fire’. Some of you may have seen the famous moment of the ships crash into the planet’s atmosphere burning up in the famous painting, ‘Tears of Fire’ that commemorated this historic moment. So after the Second Tevarin War, the Tevarin were pretty much shattered and humanity was kind enough to offer them a place amongst us as a subjugated people which catches up to 2610.
So that’s a little bit of the back story that marks Elysium. Let’s go now and start looking at the system itself. Currently it’s got four known jump points: one between Elysium and Centauri, another between Elysium and Leir, an Elysium – Idris jump point, and an Elysium – Vanguard jump point. It’s a little bit telling about how this system works. The Vanguard one of course is Vanduul space, which is a threatening area.
Centauri itself is a pretty happening system. It’s home to MISC So, there’s a lot of business traffic that flows through there. In Leir, Leir is kind of an outsider system home, in fact, to the Outsiders, so traffic to there is a little bit odd to say the least. And finally, there’s Idris which still is trying to regain its footing after the Battle of Idris IV which left it terribly scared. So, a medium amount of traffic heading in and out of this system, which is, Elysium today is still trying to find it’s footing in the Empire, it’s known mostly for it’s historical significance but it’s trying to forge ahead and define itself in the world of 2946.
So let’s look at the sun now, so the Elysium star is an F-Type main sequence star, it’s 1-to-1.4 times the mass of our sun with a white-to-yellow light. It burns hotter and faster than our sun, so it’s going to give it a little bit of a shorter lifespan than you would expect for a system but of course a shorter lifespan in terms of the galaxy is still billions and billions of years – 2-to-4 billions to be precise, or unprecise as I gave a range of numbers, instead of a exact one.
Now, next up, moving away from the star is, we have, Elysium I, which is kind of a cool planet in itself, in that it is a hot Jupiter, in classification known as a migrating gas giant which was believed to have been formed in the outer reaches of the system and then migrated inwards sweeping up loose planets and stuff in it’s path until it settled in very close to the star itself, only about .1au away. This means that its surface gas is very hot, creating a lot of wind surfing around it and a very even surface temperature. So it’ll be interesting trying to fly there to harvest things because of its proximity to the sun.
From Elysium I, we’re going to head on out to Elysium II, which is a coreless planet – coreless doesn’t mean that it’s hollow on the inside, it means that it just doesn’t have a magnetic core so it’s all throughout without a spinning coil like Earth has, which means it’s kind of like a dead lifeless rock in the system floating around. Some mining to be done there, but it still hasn’t been heavily developed yet.
Its surface is heavily impacted by craters which have led many scientists to speculate that there was some significantly large impact in its past but the Tevarin don’t indicate anything during their time and scientists are still trying to work out exactly what happened through research.
So, heading out from Elysium II, we’re going to head over to Vosca, Elysium III, which is a desert planet, which is really cool, when we took over this system from the Tevarin, this world was pretty much left alone, it was desert, arid, really warm, very little water, and it seems that the Tevarin did not have terraforming technology like we did. So when the UEE took over, one of the things they did was terraform the planet.
Now, a lot its surface is sparsely inhabited. Still, even though it’s terraformed, it’s still very rough place to live, very little when it comes in terms of water, there is some water mining at the polar caps but they are pretty small, a lot of the water has to be either shipped in on haulers or from water harvesting units that are scattered throughout the desert.
One of the major landing zones on the planet is Rez’s Landing which is an arcology built by Rehari Inc. used to mine some of the resources in the planet. It’s been digging itself deeper and deeper, as the years goes it struggles to find more and more resources, more and more resources to harvest. It is represented in the Senate, so… Even though it’s sparsely populated, it does have representation in the Senate.
Moving on from this desert world, we’re going to head probably to the highlight of the system which is Jalan. Now, Jalan is formerly for the Tevarin, Kaleeth, it was their homeworld and to date it probably houses more Tevarin architecture and historical sites than any other planet in the system.
Big part of this is doing to the Tevarin Purge where after the Second Tevarin War, a lot of the remaining Tevarin sought to free themselves from their connection to their past that had failed them so much. And a lot of these important sites were destroyed by the Tevarin themselves. However, because Jalan was in human control at the time, a lot of these sites were preserved for future generations to appreciate.
The main city on Jalan, is the capital, Gemma, which hosts a major temple upon a mount which from searching through the Tevarin records we know they chose the site because of its strategic importance – that it was well fortified and easy to defend rather than any kind of beautiful vista or religious significance.
The temple is a Rijora temple, which was the battle religion of the Tevarin. It’s a major tourist site today, and a lot of preservation efforts are currently going on to save the Tevarin artifacts from being destroyed just from ship traffic and people walking around so there’s a major effort right now to conserve the site.
Even though it goes against kind of one of the major industries on Gemma, which is tourism – so trying to balance those two is an issue that’s going on. Landing in Gemma will appear different than landing in other worlds, because the landing port is designed to blend into the Tevarin architecture – so that’s kinda neat.
One of the major things that you might have been reading about recently is the upcoming election on Jalan IV – a Senate seat – the election is coming up on May 3rd, so debates are starting to heat up across the Spectrum as people decide which candidate to support – of note is the fact that it’s the first Tevarin running to be senator, Suj Kossi and he is an ex-military man, served in the Navy, and he has the criminal background himself before he earned citizenship – so he’s offering a lot of hope out there for the Tevarin for bettering their lives in the UEE. A lot of people are still holding grudges against those two wars, so it’ll be interesting to see whether he’s able to gain a seat or not. He is a Centralist and has a lot core beliefs and believes in the strength of the military and in the Central Government.
He’s going against two other candidates – one Sakae Marigold, who’s more of a Transitionalist and is looking to curtail military spending in light of the new war with the Vanduul and really focus in on rebuilding the social structures that are needed. There’s a lot of unemployment and poverty going on Jalan as the system itself hasn’t really struck it’s economy foothold yet – outside of its Tevarin artifacts and tourism.
The third candidate is Gabrielle Gracián who is a Centralist, she served on the Governor’s Council for a while and has the backing of the current administration. A little people, a lot of people are a little bit wary of electing her because they fear that it’ll be a return to the norm – but she has a lot of experience whereas the other two candidates don’t as much.
So moving on from Jalan, we’re going to head way out 12.6au out to Elysium V, which is a dwarf planet lurking way out in the stretches of the system and it is a small rocky body. So there you are. That is the Elysium system and I hope I was able to enlighten you on some of its finer points today – in that you enjoyed taking this Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy journey with me. Thank you so much.
SG: Thanks William for the detailed look on the Elysium system.
BL: We would like to official welcome Tyler Witkin to the community team. You may be familiar with Tylers efforts as Senior QA member in Austin and now he’s one of us! So you’ll be seeing him on the forums, reddit, all those places where we frequent.
SG: I thought he was always one of us? We just hijacked him.
SG: And by tradition a new community manager means a new host for the MVP, lets go over to Tyler to see who stood out this week.
Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey there, Tyler Witkin, community manager in the Austin Texas studio here to bring you this week’s MVP. Congratulations to PaulC2K for his Starfarer maps. They generated a lot of awesome conversation on the forums and actually QA was using them in order to find their way around the map during testing. So congratulations!
JH: You’re this week’s MVP. Say you’re this week’s MVP
TW: You’re this week’s MVP.
Be sure to tune into Reverse the ‘Verse tomorrow at 11am Pacific on Twitch. We’ll be talking about that Fast Forward and all other aspects of Star Citizen’s development. If you live our Around the ‘Verse like and subscribe to our channel. I know that sounds ridiculous, you hear it on youtube all the time, it actually does help a lot with our metrics, help us out!
SG: We are getting very close to 200,000.
SG: Yay! If you would like to interact and I directly hit us up on the links below. With that, thank you to subscribers for making this show possible. We will see you next week on Around the ‘Verse
SG: Did you know that many of Star Citizen’s developers are on social media? If you would like to follow Star Citizen on facebook, you can find us here.
BL: Or on Twitter here.
SG: And even Instagram here.
BL: And for a full list of personal accounts they’re willing to share with the community, check out this link. You can find out what I bought on Amazon this week.
SG: Starwars stuff.
BL: Yeah it was probably StarWars stuff