It’s time for Around the ‘Verse! Check out the transcript of the show!
Transcript by CanadianSyrup, Sunjammer, Psylence, Stormy Winters, Nehkara
Jared Huckaby (JH): This week, Tech Designer Calix Reneau takes on a tour on the updated Caterpillar whitebox in Ship Shape
Archivist Cherie Heiberg explores the Tams & Mins systems in a two for one Loremakers Guide to the Galaxy.
And we continue our look at the continuing development of the pipe system in part two of the ATV Fast Forward
All this and more on this week’s Around the ‘Verse
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Who knew that intergalactic food delivery could be so dangerous.
Hey everybody, welcome to this week’s episode of Around the ‘Verse, a weekly look into Star Citizen’s development. I’m Sandi Gardiner, VP of Marketing.
Ben Lesnick (BL): I’m Ben Lesnick, Director of Community Engagement.
SG: And he’s back.
BL: I am back, hi everybody.
SG: Yay and is that a new shirt?
BL: Yes that maybe is a new shirt.
SG: Who knew, Who knew what you could find on the east coast.
BL: But most importantly, I’d like to thank the Star Citizen community for all the support they gave me the last two weeks. As some of you know Allie’s father passed away, my father in law, we had to head back east. It was very sad, but we just got love from everywhere in the Star Citizen community. Folks sent flowers and best wishes and it really meant alot to me, genuinely thank you all. Of course I Want to thank the folks here who kept everything going without me. See I’m not necessary to the equation because Jared and Henessy and everybody just did a fantastic job of keeping things going.
SG: I’m not sure that’s entaluature. We are happy to have you back, I think Jared was about to fall apart, but he’s still just hanging on, so it is very nice to have you back.
BL: I’m very happy to see you again. Of course I want to thank my folks who stepped in for me as Co-host, Forrest and Jeremiah you did a fantastic job, so much so that I couldn’t tell you apart because I can’t see the Forrest from the Lees.
SG: Oh no…
BL: I’m back baby!
[Tom Henesssey claps in the background]
SG: I was thinking I need to make a pun, but I don’t know if I can make one that bad.
While you were away, Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 went out to the PTU and our first wave of testers, the Evocati are doing a terrific job providing bug reports.
BL: I’ve heard great things, it sounds like that program is working really, really well.
SG: I think it is. I think the reports are looking quite exciting.
BL: There’s been a lot of bug polish and bug fixing this week. The hope is that it will be available very, very soon.
SG: In other news, those of you who participated in the Prospector sale create a miner event, received a five dollar coupon last Friday. So if you haven’t received that already or maybe didn’t check your account, go check it out.
BL: And that five dollar coupon is our way of apologize for taking so long to award the winners of the contest. Some of you may have heard there were 35,000 entries and we don’t want to leave anybody out so Jared, myself, Tyler, Sandi, everybody has been looking through your Pirate stories, Or your Starfarer stories. There’s some great ones in there and we will be announcing the winner on Friday on RTV.
SG: And we’ve got something new coming to the playstore that you could also use the five dollar coupon on which is the Drake Buccaneer concept sale for $110 on may 27th.
BL: You’ve got all the details so there’s nothing much else for me to say. The Drake Buccaneer is our kind of second take on the Cutlass Idea. It’s the more maneuverable, less cargo oriented pirate ship. Plan to be around the same size and scale. So we’re really looking forward to adding that to the lineup. Everybody loves Drake ships and I think Jim Martin who did the concept for this really knocked it out of the park, we cannot wait to show it to you.
SG: And let’s not forget our subscribers. What is months subscriber flair Ben?
BL: This is spaceplant month and specifically this is a space cactus month so check out the space catucus, that will be available in your hangars as soon as 2.4 goes live.
SG: Cool, do I have to water it?
BL: No because it’s a cactus
SG: That’s true, you don’t really, well… still, once a month maybe.
SG: And I saw you were recently featured in GameStar Magazine, very exciting!
BL: Yes! This month GameStar Magazine has the first part of a retrospective of Wing Commander. That’s the largest gaming magazine in Europe. You can pick it up in Germany or other german speaking countries and then this next month it will go on the stands at the end of may there will be a second part to that as well as an interview with me! So, yeah!
SG: Very cool. From time to time we like to highlight one of our fan created events and recently members of the M.E.R.C Organization had their first big gathering about 70 people.
BL: Looks like a fun group, here’s some of their photos.
SG: With that, now let’s check in out studios from around the world and see what’s happening in News From Around the Verse.
Randy Vasquez (RV): Hey everyone my name is Randy Vasquez. We’re coming from Los Angeles. And this is …
Eric Link (EL): Eric Link.
RV: Nice. Erik is new here actually. This is your what? Your second, third day maybe?
EL: Second day.
RV: Nice. Second day. So we always have the new people. So what are you doing for us?
EL: I’ll be … I’m a Technical Animator … or Associate Technical Animator and I’ll basically be implementing animations in the CryEngine and assist on motion capture shoots.
RV: That’s nice. So who are you working with?
EL: I’ll be working with Sean Tracy and Mark.
RV: Nice. Mark McCall. Nice. Good peoples. So in the news real quick, to recap, we have 2.4 working really hard for … on the Engineering team. I know Gaige has been working on a lot of bugs also, for like clothing and stuff, working with them because all the rigging and everything like that is going into them; animations and everything. Some of the artist are working on the Caterpillar … still! They’re doing a lot of work on that. It looks amazing. Can’t wait for you guys to see it. And then on clothing, which I just mentioned, with Gaige working on and a few other people working on. Gurmukh is actually going to be helping out with some of the environment concepts. And Item 2.0, which is a big thing that we can’t wait to show you guys, even though it’s really backend. But hopeful we’re going to talk about Item 2.0 and everything that entails soon. Well have something on that.
And, of course, here with Eric and we’ll see you guys in the Verse. Take it easy guys.
Jake Ross (JR): Hey guys Jake Ross here, Producer of the Austin Studio, and I’m here with you this week to talk a little bit about what’s going on here in Austin.
I wanted to first talk about a little bit of 2.4 stuff. We’re updating the “inspect weapon” animations. We have these … a shop in 2.40 called Cubby Blast on ArcCorp and Live Wire Weapons on Port Olisar. And these shops are where you go and buy your weapons, your personal weapons. So when you go into the shops you’re able to actually play an “inspect” animation so you can see what you are buying before you purchase it. But the weapons that we had in there they weren’t really doing it for us, they were a little strange and the camera was moving around: a lot like we had with the original emotes. So we went ahead and went in there and update those animations. And they’re a lot better and they fit more with what we were going for. So we’ve updated those animations. Those’ll be in the game soon. We wanted to get the shopping experience as polished as it can be before we put it out to you guys. So there’s that.
On the persistent side, we’re now able to support rentals and promotions. So before we had … persistent items that persisted. Go figure! And we didn’t really have an elegant way to handle things like rental items or our promotions, like a “free fly weekend” or things like that. So we revamped the way we were doing that and handling that so now we’re better able to handle more temporary things that aren’t supposed to be persistent over long periods of time. So that work was done on the back end by Jason Ely … and it’s in the game now. So handling rentals and promotions a little bit better. Which is good.
Lastly, and looking ahead to future releases, we’re looking at some more shops. Not for ArcCorp and not for Port Olisar but for a new space station that will be sort of a pirate based space station. So this space station will be more for the outlaws and things like that. And … but even outlaws like to buy things so we have shops there in … in the works for this new station. And it will have … it will have different shops that’ll be able to sell different things. You’ll probably see some more outlaw armour types, and some pirate clothing, and more weapons, and things like that. So we’re trying to get you guys to travel to different areas and give you incentives to go hang out at different places and we’ll have a wide variety of things in the PU so this is … the first steps is getting shoping out to you guys, first release, and then after that we’ll look to put even more content out there to get you guys flying around the ‘verse.
So, yeah, that’s all I got for you this week guys. Thanks, I’ll see you around.
Mici Oliver (MO): Hi everyone this is Mici over in the UK. Today I have Staffan Ahlstrom with me, who is a Senior VFX Artist here at Foundry 42. And he’s going to be showing us what he’s being working on.
Staffan Ahlstrom (SA): Yeah, I’ve been working on weapon VFXs, mainly for the S5 Behring cannon, it’s a laser thingy and then Amon & Reese’s company has a really cool plasma shotgun thing …
MO: So we’re going to have a look.
SA: Yeah. So this is the Behring laser cannon. One of the … yeah, a really big gun. It’s a Starfarer Gemini thing that it’s shooting from. The top turret.
MO: Can you tell me by the recoil …
SA: Yes. So …
MO: … it’s very powerful.
SA: … yeah. Those are huge! And this is the Amon & Reese company scattergun. So it shoots like eight projectiles. Sort of a shotgun style thing. They’re going to be more visible in the future. After we’ve solved a certain part.
MO: But very magical.
SA: Yes, almost like a unicorn fart … I put them on the Sabre ship just to see what they would look like on a ship but disclaimer here because I don’t know if they would actually go on a Sabre. We can hope …
MO: But if they did then this is what they would look like.
MO: It looks pretty cool.
SA: Yeah. So, yeah, that’s the lasers …
MO: That’s cool. So what is the future plan for these things.
SA: Yeah … projectile impacts. So when a weapon hits different surfaces say, we want to have different effects for water, snow, glass, dirt, everything like that. And even different metal types. Because the more detailed you can be the more immersive it is. You don’t want to see the same effect every time you shoot something. So I have a lot of work to do there. But we have a great system in the works for that. Yeah, it’s going to be great.
MO: Yeah. I think that’s all we’ve got time for so we’ll see you in the verse.
Brian Chambers (BC): Everyone, Brian Chambers from the Frankfurt office. This week I’ve a little bit of a cold so bear with me if I sound funny. Digging in straight to the team …
On the Engine side, good progress on Procedural Planets. We say that all the time but we’ll continue to keep working on it. But honestly we’ve made some really good progress. On there looking a render node for the planet plus perspective render elements, shader separation for planet terrain to simplify it so we only use what we need when we need it, helps keep things optimised. Also just general bug fixes and optimisation: that’ll be going on on a regular basis. We started on areas, tags and zone systems work: to help quantify that and compartmentalise that a bit more. Shader compilation fixes. Continued with some TrackView editor stuff for the Cinematics guys: that’s starting to wind down because we’re getting it pretty much where we need. Local physics grid work, specifically some stuff on the Starfarers: there’s some issues there that the physics guys are looking into. Continuing, on also physics, with EVA: found some issues there that we are sorting out … think we’ve sorted those out. And we’re also making progress on water and different water direction for planets: which is cool. I don’t think you guys have seen much of that yet on water but it’s … what we’re showing internally right now is pretty cool.
Weapons. We’ve finished off a new one that we’re currently calling the scatter gun. We addressed feedback on existing rail gun. And we had a new member join the team: so that took some of the guys down to help get him onboard. Weapons team now is up to four guys which is great.
AI continued working on Subsumption. They had a lot of discussions on the Subsumption editor. Really what do you need there to be able to give the designers and so on all the detail that’s needed to create the proper behaviours, considering all the careers and everything that we want. Enter zone, exit zone signals for that, implemented those. Removed … went up and did some general clean up: we had some unused Lua and AI data and stuff that was in there so took another day or so, a couple guys, to dig through and just make sure we pulled out everything that’s not needed anymore. In that process also defining some of the scripting standards that we are using that way just everybody’s on the same page and everything’s unified. I’m sure there’s a few other things but those were the high level.
And on the Cinematics side. Cinematics team all last week and this week is at a mocap shoot up in Ealing Studios. All the reports we’ve gotten back so far that the shoot’s been going really good: good data, it’s been fun working with the talent, and so on. So they are getting everything they need for Squadron, so we look forward to those guys coming back and seeing what they pulled off.
So thanks again. And … appreciate all the support. And talk to you next week. Ciao!
SG: So I hear we’re building out the Drake Caterpillar.
BL: Where did you hear that?
SG: I’m an important person I hear things.
BL: Well you’re right. The team here is currently working on the Drake Caterpillar.
SG: Yay! And in fact Tech Designer Calix Reneau sat down with our Community Manager, Jared Huckaby to explore the new whiteboxing in the Caterpillar in a new episode of Ship Shape. Let’s check it out.
BL: It just says “do something to indicate” …
[Arm waggling ensues]
Yours is better than mine!
JH: Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of ship shape. I’m your host, Community Manager Jared Huckaby and with me on this episode is Designer… extraordinaire?
JH: Is that what it officially is now?
CR: I’m a technical designer here.
JH:TECHNICAL Designer extraordinaire Calix Reneau. How are you doing man?
CR: Doing pretty good.
JH: Good. Now we are doing our first Ship Shape revisiting. We’re going back and taking another look at the Caterpillar white box phase. Now, we did a Ship Shape with designer Randy Vasquez quite a while back when the Caterpillar had its first set of whiteboxing. As is often the case in game development, things change, requirements… alter and stuff like that so Calix has been tasked with re-whiteboxing the Caterpillar. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?
CR: Yeah, so the work that Randy did really laid out the groundwork for deciding a lot of the broad strokes design decisions about where the Caterpillar is going to fit in the broader universe and where it’s going to be… how we’re going to build our art for it. This white box is more about nailing down the specifics of both the space that you’re moving through, the functionality of that, how we feel about just how it feels to walk through this ship. That’s the thing that I think was the most exciting about it was walking through the ship and feeling it out.
JH: Yeah, because I mean no amount of effort and time spent can get you ready for that time when you actually have to get inside and you actually have to walk through and go from station to station and stuff and you start realizing,
‘Oh okay, our scale was a little off here.’
‘We didn’t quite… we needed a bit more in this area.’
That kind of stuff like that.
CR: Yeah, so we’ve had the opportunity to go through and try some things. We’ve… changed some of the things because you run into these realities that… you know, it’s not nice to move through this space or this thing is going to collide with that thing. So, when you actually try it out it helps sort of eliminate these issues. So, we’ve had the opportunity to go back and revisit it and I’ve also had the opportunity to try out some new things and sort of see where it’s going to fit into our future developments.
JH: Alright, so we’re in CryEngine now and the Caterpillar is looking great here… I mean, the fidelity is just… [kissing noise]
CR: This is what PC gaming allows, really, is the opportunity to… there’s engines back here. That’s what those are supposed to be. And the Freelancer is for scale.
JH: Yes… and I see a bit of a Hornet down at the bottom.
CR: The Hornet is here to explode.
CR: It will do that shortly.
JH: Alright, let’s take a look through the internal whiteboxing of the Caterpillar.
CR: Shall we go into game now?
CR: We’ll start off here in the habitation area – switching to game. Feeling like a person. Walking around. You can come into – so far we’re only dealing with the cargo module. So, all of these bits are in various stages of whitebox mockup and so we’ve built it out. There’s what it looks like when you’ve got a pretty good haul and this is what it looks like when you’re empty. And this is how it is when you’re completely full. You’ll be walking through and…
JH: What size cargo units are these? Are these 1 SCU?
CR: Yeah, each one of these is 1 SCU. I do not offhand remember the final number that the Caterpillar gets. It’s… I think with all the elements that are carved out for this catwalk over here, for each space individually, I think it comes out to something like… is it 90 or is it 120? Something… it’s
JH: Not a final number.
CR: We’re gonna…
JH: Not a final number.
CR: We’re gonna deal with that, but if you load it up completely you have a fair amount of cargo at your disposal.
JH: So this is an empty cargo module here, and notice there’s a catwalk on one side.
CR: And you have the ability to come over here and open it up.
JH: Oh, nice.
CR: Yeah, it’s kinda cool.
JH: Now the original whiteboxing that Randy did had the catwalk through the centre.
CR: Yeah. One of the reasons that we wanted to switch it up – we felt that in the context of eventually having firefights in this thing, it was nicer having split level here rather than having a thing over you. You do lose a small amount of cargo to get this space but it feels a lot better having the bulkhead here. It’s… it just feels better really.
JH: I think it also plays into the asymmetry of the ship though. Just about everything I’ve seen of this ship screams that asymmetry so having the raised catwalk on one side goes along with that.
CR: Having some movement issues. Every once in awhile I get stuck. That’s fun. We have… did we put it here? Yeah. So both sides do open and a little rail… but I fell off anyway.
JH: Alright, so for these cargo modules – and the standard Caterpillar has 4 modules that can be swapped out.
JH: Right. So, you unload and load from each individual module off to the side.
CR: Yeah, and you’ll probably be doing it from that side, your tractor beam is over there, but you have the capacity to go through this way. Here’s one short mockup of the – we’re starting to implement or think about terminals and some of the more ambient interactions with your ship of… you know, I walk through here and I want to know what’s in this space and this thing should tell me and I should be able to interact with this and find out what those things are. This would be repeated throughout each of them but I only put it into this one.
And we have double doors opening up between everything.
JH: And that’s because the modules can be separated.
There’s no guarantee there’s another thing on this side, and I’m getting stuck again. So, we’ve put components in every single of these. In this case we’ve placed them above where you’re going to be able to deploy them out to bring them down for physical repair. You’ll be able to reach into this and swap out… like do whatever welding or what have you. If there’s something to swap out you’ll be doing it there.
JH: I’m such a homer… you see me tilt my head, trying to look under it. I have no 3D goggles on.
CR: I come up to the front and that leads up to a turret which is only mocked up here. Then we have door controls but let’s go down-
JH: Now what’s on the other side of the clear… is that a window?
CR: That was a window.
Sort of leading you to the front of the Caterpillar and the nose here. This space has various uses, not all of which I think are cleared for discussion but generally we want another terminal here to tell you the state of this room. There will be some cargo plates so you could potentially use this for doing deals. You could potentially use this for egress. All manner of things, But if… we have the cargo in there-
JH: That was the front-most space with the door that opened.
CR: In front here is where that Freelancer was.
So, we can open up the doors… that is not how these doors open. We’ve had… well I mean, this whitebox is an exploration right? So, I put things in there to be like: ‘How does this work? How does this look?’ This is not…we have taken this further now. This is actually – has already received review. We’ve already had notes on this. This isn’t its final form.
CR: So that’s among the things will be changing is the way that this open. We have the atmosphere shield which is another thing that we’re playing around with. You’ll have… turned that off but nothing happened because – let the atmosphere rebuild. If I turn off the cargo locks first, then… ah, it still doesn’t happen because it’s broken because I’m faking it. but, I had it – it was really cool you guys – I had it sucking the cargo out into space. And now it’s someone else’s problem.
JH: It’s alright, we’ll see if we can’t get some video of that and put it here as if it were happening live.
CR: Then I won’t admit that it failed.
So, we have. These sections will be sort of explored individually as we build out each of the interactions that we want for the various modules that can go here. The cargo one was chosen because it’s relatively simple so we’ve basically seen all it has to offer.
JH: If you take a look in our April;Monthly Report you’ll see some concept work for one of the habitat modules, if I’m not mistaken.
CR: Also, the habitation… this room. So, exploring things like having life support here. Opens up so you can access this for repair. Having armoury with… this is where you’re going to store your ‘replace-me’ balls.
JH: Most dangerous weapon in all of Star Citizen.
CR: That’s right. I got to have a lot of fun with the elevator here. Drake only uses the most sensible of deployment methods.
JH: Yeah, they’re a very pragmatic organization.
CR: Why wouldn’t you have a weird robot arm? AHH, clipping!
JH: Alright, cut this! Fast forward through this! Never show this part again.
CR: And we head back to the engine room where we have engines. You can see them here. [laughing]
JH: Clearly labelled as heavy engines.
CR: Well, you want to know where they are really.
JH: Whiteboxing ain’t sexy guys.
CR: You have, you know, your shield generators, ammo, fuel. Here’s your engineering terminal. You get to be surrounded by all of the muck. I’ve always been a fan of this haunted turret here. No floor. Yeah.
So, I also – this is where I started mocking up the actual interaction for the terminals. So, one of the features… there’s a better example of this. Let’s go to the better example.
Run right past that…
JH: Oh! Ahhh!
CR: You’ll see it, you’ll see it.
JH: That was cool looking.
CR: So, I took the one that was down there and brought it up here and fleshed it out a bit. So, one of the things that you’ll notice is that we have this neat parallax effect where the cursor does not stay in the centre of the screen. Part of the reason for that is because if it did, if you just look at the centre of the screen and I moved that over there now I can’t see half the terminal which makes it really sort of awkward, but when I don’t have to do that, when I access the entire screen this way. And we have, we’ve figured out some pretty cool stuff.
It’s really an ambient interaction. You walk up to it and play around, you walk away and it’s done but one of the things that’s kinda cool is that the system works in such a way that it always endeavours to keep the cursor on the screen and I’ve gone ahead and found one of the weak points because – again – this isn’t actually coded up this is us doing a mockup but you’ll be able to view a terminal from any angle and sort of naturally draws, even if you start off over here, just through interaction it will end up looking at the majority of the terminal – having it on screen if you’re interacting with it, but there’s nothing stopping you from looking away. You can always – you can have as much or as little interaction with these as you want.
You’ll be able to interact with it and bring up a model of the ship, having the map, getting information there. Playing around with setting messages.
But, being able to set things to leave ambiently in your ship really make it yours.
JH: What is this area we’re in right now?
CR: We’re currently in the command module which is the detaching escape pod type thing. It’s also the bridge of the ship. You can kind of see it. I don’t have you in it right now but standing next to it… given the layout of the ship, it’s actually not that bad of a view. We were able to raise it up to prevent it from occluding the majority of your view so it’s not actually that bad. You do have to be careful because you’re not at the centre of mass, so when you rotate it will be a different experience but the view should be just fine. It comes with a turret and you’ll be able to have co-pilot and tactics officer, sensors. All that stuff.
JH: I can’t help but notice there’s a ladder down in the command module here.
JH: Is the command module two floors now?
CR: The command module is two floors. Yeah. With its little habitat area, another life support, the showers, you’ll have footlockers, you’ll have storage space, the command module’s own engineering room with its own engineering station. Because this thing can just leave so you’re going to have to repair it some day. Come over and repair the engines. Yeah.
JH: I’m going to start the Drake Caterpillar command module racing league.
CR: I’m not here to stop you.
You know, I’m trying various things. It’s a little hard to see… let’s see if I. Nope…
There we go. That’s me. I’m the gold ball.
Let’s see if I can… that’s one of the cool things is that you’ll be able to register people and have them… actually see people moving around your ship and-
JH: And this looks like we have control of bulkheads too.
CR: So… yeah. You can go over and manipulate it from the terminal. You’ll be able to open and close the doors… which is all the way over there but is definitely happening!
CR: We’re too slow for it though.
JH: You have to explain to us what the squiggly ball thing was that was in here.
CR: This deal?
JH: Because that’s all people will be wondering about.
CR: Okay. So, this is your tractor beam and this is a mockup of…
JH: [Laughing] Just lost some cargo.
CR: Oh! Hey, it did work! I told you it would.
JH: I never doubted you.
CR: That’s the cargo I threw out earlier, it’s stuck in a little gravity well.
A gravity well like that might be how you manipulate the tractor beam. It might not. We’re still – you might… pushing and pulling and doing things like that. But this is the control reticle that I will be pushing around and… I forget what keys I used to move that around. But basically set up a little thing to tell you exactly where it is in space and see it relative to your ship. I did not, however, make it so you can turn that off so when you leave it’s still there.
JH: This is a good chance to remind folks that this was for an internal proof of concept and what not. It is not designed to be shown externally. This is one of those things that we do that most other companies wouldn’t. We know you guys like to see things in the earliest state, in the roughest state, so we take the opportunities when we can – warts and all.
CR: Yeah. We have the avionics room, the server room, powerplant room, we have the jump drive and coolers. Some more of the engines here. You know, so double decker engineering bay. Pretty nice stuff.
Is there anything else that was rad?
JH: [laughing] Probably.
JH: I love Drake though. I’m a pragmatic guy, so I like the pragmatic – I’m also a big fan of the used future, you know. I’m much more a ‘Blade Runner’ guy than a ‘Minority Report’ guy.
So Drake… the Drake aesthetic in general really speaks to me.
CR: Yeah, and I like… having made this space walkable and interactive I like the degree to which I feel like I can just reach out and touch the ship and how it feels. Even with nothing in it this feels lived in. This feels like a real meaningful space. So I like…
And the ladder here just leads back down to engineering.
JH: Cool. Well…
CR: And the haunted turret.
JH: Alright, well I think that’s pretty much it for this. Calix, thank you for taking the time to show us some work.
CR: My pleasure.
JH: Of course, the Caterpillar is already iterated past this. Like we said, the front doors have changed and whatnot. We’ve begun not only concepting the different modules inner workings, we’ve even begun building some of the modules. I’ve seen Elwin has already built out most of one of the habitat modules.
JH: So, Drake Caterpillar is in progress. It’s on its way. We hope you enjoy these early looks like this and yeah – it’s been Ship Shape… Ship Shape: Drake Caterpillar 2.
CR: Thank you.
JH: I’m Jared, that’s Calix.
CR: Calix. Bye.
JH: Finger guns.
Cherie Heiberg (CH): Hi everyone, welcome to another segment of Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you are unfamiliar with this, this is a look at the Star Citizen universe. A member of the lore team goes to a system, we discuss science and story ideas. We talk about the direction we want the systems to go, so that they will one day be available for you, the player, in exquisite space detail. Today we have Earth right here. There it is. Very shiny. We’re going to do Tamsa. Let’s go.
Tamsa is the only known system that has a black hole at the center. Now a black hole is a region of space-time that exhibits strong gravitational effects and nothing can escape from inside it. Which includes light, electromagnetic radiation, particles, Big Benny’s machines, potatoes, photons, that kind of thing. We got a little corona of captured light here that Turbulent created which I think looks pretty cool honestly.
Tamsa was discovered in 2943 by Banu explorer Cothi Bat-Thel-Ma, and they named the system after a math artist called Tamsa Wheel. Like that’s her art name that she picked for herself. Her art has been described as Mathematical poetry, it has also been described as a beautiful precision of… a beautiful nexus of precision and chaos, that’s what the critic said. Yeah. I think that’s pretty appropriate for a system with a black hole in the center.
Now back to black holes. I used to think that black holes were kinda of scary. I thought they were cosmic vacuums that would one day suck up the entire universe and it would all die crushed in really strong gravity and we would… That’s just not what. That’s not what black holes are and that’s not how they work.
You can sort of think of them as super dense zombie stars. They are no longer stars. They are remnants of a dead star, at least the stellar black holes are. They have very, very, very strong gravity but they are not going to suck up the whole universe. They have stable points at which celestial bodies can exist and can orbit in a, you know, regular manner just like planets orbit our sun. Unless you go passed the event horizon here, which is basically the point beyond which you can’t escape the black hole and you are doomed to get sucked in and just stay there and possibly view the birth and death of the universe through time dilatation. That’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t do it though.
Oh back… So black holes that are formed, in case you don’t know, they’re formed through the gravitational collapse of massive stars. This one was once a type-O star, which is a blue giant star. Once the mass of the star collapses, after it burns through its fuel and the star’s temperature isn’t high enough to prevent it from imploding under its own weight. The mass basically condenses into this tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, thing that we’ve never seen really, but we know exists, and creates these gravitational time-space anomalies which are super cool. Black holes are way more complex than I can describe at this time. There’s a book that I’ve been thinking about reading called “Black Holes and Time Warps” by Kip Thorne that looks cool. I think that would satisfy my black hole knowledge seeking desires.
As I said, this is a planetary system. Tamsa I is way out here. It is a chthonian planet. I don’t think we’ve discussed chthonian yet. They are essentially the remains of the cores of gas giants. The atmosphere of the gas giant was stripped away through hydrodynamic escape and it left just this super dense core that was probably rich in metals and minerals and would be, you know, oh man so cool I wonder what we could mine there. However Tamsa is still off limits because it’s being assessed by the Fair Chance Act. It was discovered pretty recently, you know, 2943. So, you know, once the Fair Chance Act concludes that maybe life isn’t developing in a black hole system, maybe mining rights can be explored which I think would be pretty cool.
Alright. Now that’s not the only planet in the system. There is one more if we zoom way out, Tamsa II. Over here. It’s a gas giant. It’s about the size of Jupiter, as you… well, you can’t see because it’s not to scale. What I mean is it’s about the mass of Jupiter. Its got a thick atmosphere and a dense core. Like its planetary sibling over here, Tamsa I, it was a rogue planet. These are both rogue planet that were captured by the gravity of the black hole.
Now Tamsa I was probably ejected from its system in a nova-like event, which probably contributed to losing all its atmosphere. Tamsa II, however, was ejected from its system through means unknown because it still retains its atmosphere. We don’t know yet. Scientists in the Verse are still trying to figure out exactly why it still has its atmosphere, where it came from, and only time will tell. Figuring out what became of this planet’s system.
Now since Tamsa is so small, even though it’s super-super interesting, I think that we do have time today to do one more system, which is another really interesting system. It’s called Min. This one is a rogue planet, much like the rogue planets that were captured by Tamsa. It was ejected from its system through means unknown, and it’s just kind of tearing its way through space with four moons that it’s picked up in its journey.
It was discovered at 2473 in an unlikely nexus of jump points, which is… let’s see, how many jump points are in this system. We have one, two, we have two jump points, which is just wild because it’s a planet. Most jump points that we know of converge around stars. No one knows why this planet has picked up jump points. It’s a cool science mystery of the Star Citizen universe. Its Jupiter mass, same as Tamsa II. It generates its own heat, much like our planet, our gas giant Jupiter does through the Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism; which means as the surface of the planet cools, the pressure on the planet drops and surface shrinks, which in turn heats the core of the planet. It’s like somewhere in the 600 K range. Science. Science.
Its first moon right here, Min 1A, is an uninhabited rocky moon that has been stripmined a long time ago. There aren’t any resources available. No one is sure whether it formed with the accretion disk that created Min I, or whether it was just picked up in Min’s journey through space. Could be an interesting question to answer.
Min 1B is one of the most interesting moons in space, in my opinion. It, against all odds, is somewhat inhabitable because it has an incredible amount of geothermal energy that makes liquid water available on its surface. Now it is still really cold, and it’s not ideal for Human habitation, but a couple of settlements have in fact been built up here. What’s putting those settlements into jeopardy is the recent discovery of bioluminescent bacteria on the bottom of the ocean that clusters around the hydrothermal vents that help heat the planet.
So there’s currently a debate going on about whether or not to apply the Fair Chance Act to this system. Cynics say that the reason that it hasn’t been done yet is that there really aren’t any valuable resources here, since the whole system was stripmined ages and ages ago. People like, “Ah, well, the Government’s not gonna wanna invest money in assessing this system, because why would they? What money do they stand to make?” Might be bad for the bacteria on Min B. However there are still some scientists there researching it, so they’ll find out more about it in time – one hopes.
Min 1C is very much like Min 1A. It is the smallest of Min’s moons. Uninhabited. Rocky. Totally stripmined. Very small. Where are you Min 1D? I know I saw you somewhere. There you are! This guy, is another tiny, baby, moon. It’s not as small as a lot of the others, it’s smaller than 1B, but it’s bigger than 1C. It’s pretty, it’s an alright place, it’s covered with impact craters. If anybody wanted to know much about the history of the system, they could probably do some digging into the impact craters and figure some stuff out geologically. Which I think would be awesome.
There we go! That’s Min. Unlikely nexus of two jump points. Rogue planet with moons tearing throughout the system. Just being interesting. In space. With its cool inhabitable, barely inhabitable, moon. That is it, for this week’s Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Thanks for watching, and I hope you enjoyed this incredibly science-y tour of two of the most interesting small systems in the Verse! Goodbye.
Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey there, Tyler Witkin, Community Manager in the Austin Texas studio here to bring you this week’s MVP, but before we do that you guys keep making it harder and harder to choose one MVP a week and I wanted to take this time to clear something up. MVP is not an award just for content submitted in the last week, there’s no timeframe for it. So if you submitted content this week and you didn’t get MVP, you’re not out of the running just quite yet.
But for this week, a big congratulations to Acknoh Rayborn for his video teaser titled “Ghost Strike”. The combination of voice acting, editing, and music is enough to give you chills and leave you craving for more so big congratulations to you Acknoh, keep them coming, you’re this week’s MVP.
Back to you guys.
SG: Cool, I look forward to seeing the full production when it’s ready.
BL: It’s amazing people can get together and make this professional quality movies just because they love something so much. It’s always inspirational.
SG: And finally each week we take a look at something still in development for Star Citizen’s future. It’s time for ATV’s Fast Forward.
BL: Be sure to tune into Reverse the ‘Verse tomorrow at 11am specific on twitch. We’ll be answering your questions about that Fast Forward and all other aspects of Star Citizen development and I’ll be there! So it’ll be better!
SG: Mhm and yet ask if they like us you can hit subscribe below to all of our social channels.
SG: Yay! And with that, thank you to all of our subscribers as always to making this show possible. We will see you next week on Around the ‘Verse.
BL: You know what, we should mention that you’re taking a little trip.
SG: I am taking a little trip. I am going to the UK to do some exciting secret squirrel things.
BL: So Sandi won’t be here to host next week and we’ll miss her a great deal. In fact I think we’re going to miss your Birthday.
SG: I know, I’m actually going to take my first holiday, yet. I’m going to take a couple days where you guys are going to run the show.
BL: We will, it’s not going to go well.
SG: They’re gonna go, yeah..
BL: But Happy Birthday.
SG: Early Happy Birthday.
BL: Early Happy Birthday.
SG: We’ll see you next week on Around the ‘Verse.