This week’s episode of Around the ‘Verse is here! Check out The Relay’s transcript of the show.
As is with any information on our transcripts and summaries, everything posted is subject to change by CIG and in some cases may not always be 100% accurate at the time. While we strive for accuracy, mistakes do happen so please let us know if you find something amiss that we didn’t catch. Enjoy the summary!
Transcript by CanadianSyrup, Sunjammer, NYXT, Desmarius, Psylence.
Sandi Gardiner (SG): That is some pretty impressive flying.
Ben Lesnick (BL): Pretty slick flying.
SG: It is, congratulations Darxtarr, not darkstar, Darxtarr.
BL: Because I was thinking darkstar.
SG: But he is a very good flier, way better than me. I need to take some lessons, are you that good?
BL: No I don’t think I would, I think I would get motion sick flying like that.
SG: That’s true. Welcome to Around the ‘Verse, your weekly look at Star Citizen’s development. I’m Sandi Gardiner, VP of Marketing.
BL: I’m Ben Lesnick, Director of Community Engagement
SG: Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 is now live and on the live servers. We patch to 2.4 over the weekend.
BL: Yes. We know this has been long awaited. Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 is our largest update since the move to 2.0 earlier in the year. It adds persistence, flyable capital sized ships, shopping, ingame economy, all sorts of cool stuff and we absolutely would not be here without the tireless devotion of our volunteer bug testers. The Evocati, all the subscribers who helped out, everybody who else who tested on the PTU, thank you, thank you, thank you for your tireless devotion.
SG: And do we have a little footage on the very cool flyable Starfarer?
BL: Here it is.
SG: The Reliant is also in the hangar.
BL: Yes the base Reliant Kore is now in the hangar. So if you’re a Reliant owner you can go and explore your ship.
SG: And just to add to what ben said about 2.4. We found issues that we wouldn’t have found just on PTU. So basically we had to go live, so thank you everybody for jumping on because that really helps us out.
BL: Yes one thing I guess we should stress is, it’s still Alpha. The PTU is early, early Alpha. It lets us control the testing parameters, know how many people are impacting the server at one time, lets us focus test particular things we’re worried about, but it’s all part of the testing process so when a Star Citizen Module or update is live that just means more testing. So you’re going to run into plenty of bugs out there, we know about it, we want to hear your experiences and it’s all just going to help make this a better game.
SG: I know I had some ship spawning, item duplication. I got all excited, I’ve got ten ships!
BL: I remember Thursday we were almost ready to launch and we’re like “Okay we fixed the ship spawning bug for every ship except the Aurora.”
BL: That’s the one that everybody owns!
SG: Yay I had 20 of them.
BL: And I have seen some Auroras that are still dancing on the pad, but they’re very close to..
SG: Stopping that.
BL: Stop the ship dance
SG: 2.4 isn’t our only big launch this week. Tomorrow we will be offering Star Citizen’s first dedicated space motorcycle, the Drake Dragonfly
BL: Yes the Drake Dragonfly is what you might call and ultra light snub. Perhaps our lightest ship yet, but it has just such a cool experience where it’s only your helmet separating you from the vacuum. We’re really excited about some of the gameplay this one’s going to add.
SG: And what can we do with the Dragonfly? I know probably obvious, but.
BL: Well not so much because there’s more that meets the eye to this one. It is usable not just in space as this sort of disposable pirate fighter, of course it’s a Drake design so we imagine all sorts of pirate battles, Caterpillars carrying them and so on, but it’s also going to be used on planets so you’ll be able to travel around planets the same way you would in Greycat and travel around space itself.
SG: If you’re a development subscriber, your monthly hangar flair has been delivered. All subscribers should have a model Sabre fighter in their hangars now.
BL: So take a moment to Sabre the moment. No our development subscribers are the folks that make shows like this, 10 for the Chairman, all of our other community outreach pieces possible and we can’t thank you enough, but here’s a Sabre.
SG: Now let’s go to our studios from around the world to see what happening in News From Around The Verse
Randy Vasquez (RV): Hey guys, welcome to Los Angeles, my name is Randy Vasquez and I’m here with Vincent Sinatra. We’ll go ahead and talk about what’s going on, so in LA, we just helped wrap up 2.4 so you guys should be seeing it out there and we still have a couple things here or there we got going on but on the most part LA has been working on item 2.0, we’ve had our heads down on that for a while and we’re going to continue to have our heads down on that.
We’ve been actually working on the controllers so that way- some of the flight controllers, some of the weapon controllers so that way people can actually have specific items on their ship actually do the job it’s supposed to be doing.
So we’re working on parameters and adding all those things – the engineers are really excited, we’re getting pretty far along – I can’t wait to actually show you guys more stuff but til then, what have you guys got going on?
Vincent Sinatra (VS): QA have been looking at 2.5 and all the new features that are going to be rolling out – some good stuff there – not for 2.5 but still very exciting is the procedural planets we’ve been taking a very early look at that-
RV: It’s friggin’ cool.
VS: It’s very cool – we love flying around there – and also we’ve also been gathering some great feedback on the Vanguard from the forums.
RV: When does the Vanguard feedback close out? Have you guys closed it out already?
VS: I’m collating the feedback now-
VS: -so it’s getting pretty close to closed down.
RV: Cool, well, see you guys, thanks again, this is LA, signing off.
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 about what’s going on here in Austin. So 2.4 went live on Friday – yay! – so we’re really excited to finally get that out in your guy’s hands.
We’ve run into some issues, some critical crashes and blockers that we’re experiencing with the persistence cache so we’ve got our server team here in Austin updating that and fixing those problems and hopefully when we bring out a patch here pretty soon that will fix up those issues so that we’re not experiencing some of those issues you guys are running into with servers crashing and not being able to log in and that kind of thing.
So yeah, that’s great there- yeah, animation implementations is the next thing I wanted to talk about – I mentioned previously that we’re working on animations and that we’ve finally got the support from technical animator Eric Link out in LA to help us hook up the animation assets that we’ve been working on here in Austin, in the game.
So we’re finally getting those in and more importantly we’re actually going to get some focus on getting those animations hooked up into Subsumption – which is our AI system – so pretty soon you guys will be able to see the animations we’ve been working on hooked up in game and working within our AI system so that we have NPCs running around Port Olisar or Arc Corp to give that place- those places a little more life. So we’re excited to see that come online here as well.
That’s all I got for you this week guys, thanks! See you around.
Mici Oliver (MO): Hi everyone, this is Mici over in the UK and I’ve got Mark Webster here with me today-
Matthew Webster (MW): Hey.
MO: -who’s one of the producers in the studio and so 2.4 went live this week.
MW: It did.
MO: And a lot of people have noticed as well, in the PTU as well, that there’s been a lot of server issues – it’s been one of the major problems.
MW: Yeah, we are aware of this.
MW: It’s part of the reason why 2.4 took a little while to come out-
MW: -we’re right on the very edge of what we could probably do now with the network code as it stands, with the way that we have persistence and the way that items get bound and unbound from the network when they are created or destroyed – it doesn’t do them the way we would like them to do them in order for us to then proceed forward in how we have our plans laid out.
MW: So we’ve now got the network guys doing a really good overhaul of the network code to make sure it really does do what we need it to. Not 100% sure just how long that’s going to take yet, hopefully it’ll be out in the next couple of patches so it couldn’t- we want to make sure that it is stable and we don’t have the issues that we have now plaguing us in the new system – so we’re going to make sure we really stress that properly.
MO: Yeah, cool. And as well as this we’re hoping to see, eventually, a new AI system…?
MW: Yeah, it’s going to start making itself into the PTU towards the end of the year – it’ll be well, it’ll feed into SQ42 as well – it’ll be, for example, a Bartender won’t just stand there as a rigid NPC, won’t just dispense missions, it’ll go around and talk to various other patrons of the bar – it’ll pull the drinks, it’ll have a conversation with you if you’re not getting directly getting a mission from him – just to try and flesh these characters out and make them really rounded and feel like they’re really there and they are a proper person.
MW: Yeah, it’ll be good.
MO: That does sound good. Alright, that’s all we’ve got time for, so we’ll see you in the ‘Verse.
MW: See you later.
Brian Chambers (BC): Hey everyone, Brian Chambers from Frankfurt office, this week I’ll run through a lot of what tech is done – maybe not all the bits, but hit on some of the top stuff – first of all, we did a lot of performance and optimization work for 2.4 – good to finally get it out there in everyone’s hands – lots of work went on across all the teams, all the offices, all the studios, and Frankfurt definitely had a hand in that – so glad that you guys actually have your hands on it.
Procedural planets – continuing to push stuff, playing with new terrain – areas where there are multiple planets and so on and we’re getting some really awesome results. Areas that we’re also working on:
Tags and Zone System, we’re pushing on some tech there and found some issues so we’re always fixing stuff before we actually put it into our main branch, so we created some stuff, broke some stuff and fixed it – got it working.
On the animation tech side – head stabilization – it’s an ongoing thing to make sure that it’s as stable and as nice looking as possible so it’s not disruptive to the player and feels good. Always pushing on facial tech as well – the different tiers of the head, heads you see from afar, heads you see up close – how those LODs are blending together so we get the best results. Physics – using local physics grid, taking Starfarer as an example, and refactoring what we need to get it solid and to get it where it should be.
AI – there is a lot of work on AI as well, a lot of discussion as we talked about there are a lot of people out here last week going through, looking at what the next steps are to get an idea of where we’re at – making sure that we’re building the foundation – with that, the guys have touched a little bit of everything over the last week and the local nav mesh, zone system, subsumption, different spawning functionality and so on.
So, short and sweet this week, thanks again for all the support and see you next week.
Jared Huckaby (JH): Tell us about how you hooked up with Chris: how did you get involved with Star Citizen?
Jim Martin (JM): You know, I get an email from Chris while I was working on the RoboCop reboot. I was working in Hollywood and I get an email: he was looking for a concept artist to do some ship design for him. And he was putting together an animation pitch to go for a crowdfunded idea for … called Star Citizen. And I met with him and he talked to me about his idea. Sounded awesome. And would I want to do some designs for the bad guy’s ship? So of course, you know I would love too. And I did the Scythe, is that … ?
JM: Pronounced correctly?
JH: Yes. Scythe.
JM: And I did concept stuff for it. We worked out the design. And Chris oversaw the growth and the journey of that design. And then … and then eventually I saw it actually put into the animation and I’m like “Wow there … look what a great … what a great pitch.”
JH: That very first pitch at Game … GDC12 in Texas. Yeah.
JH: So you started with the Scythe …
JH: … and now Star Citizen’s been announced and we have to start working on our five “starters.” The five ships that are going to …
JH: The five starters are going to begin Star Citizen and you get … you get tapped for the Freelancer.
JH: So tell us about working on the Freelancer.
JM: So they, Chris and the team, contacted me again and “would you like to do another ship?” and of course I’d love to do another ship. And they me the brief for the Freelancer. It’s kind of a unibody ship design. As opposed to the Drake stuff which is very utility … it’s very like …
JM: … putting pieces together for the design.
JH: We’ve got the Freelancer now, …
JH: … crowdfunding is going great, we’re expanding beyond the five original ships and we create an entirely new company outside those five: Drake Interplanetary …
JM: [under his breath] Drake!
JH: … and the first ship for Drake is the Cutlass.
JH: So tell me about working on the Cutlass.
JM: So …
JH: My father’s favourite ship by the way.
JM: Again Chris and the team asked me to get going on a pirate ship called the Cutlass. I remember the timeframe was short. I immediately sketched out some stuff and sent it back in. The whole idea of it was tough little ship. You know what I mean, like a cargo capacity but not pretty more … more like a bulldog.
JM: The germ of the idea landed pretty quick, of the … of those outboard engines on the back. You know the two front, two back layout with the front canopy.
JH: From there, I think next was the Caterpillar?
JM: Caterpillar. It’s still kind of a pirate ship.
JH: Yeah. They tell you we’re doing another pirate ship, kind of a bigger, more cargo-y ship, it’s called the Caterpillar. How does that influence your design right there?
JH: Because it does look very different than many of our other ships.
JM: In the brief it was definitely “The Caterpillar is called the Caterpillar because it looks somewhat like a caterpillar.” And then you go “Okay … let me see …”
JH: “You want me to make a spaceship that looks like a caterpillar!”
JM: But I mean what does that really imply? You know, long sectional ship. And so I think all the … that first pass was like was doing versions of that.
JH: Did the first pass have a hundred landing gear? Along the bottom?
JM: No landed in the first pass. Just … I usually do a drawing and it’s like three quarter shots. You know?
JH: Caterpillars have a hundred legs right? Did I …
JM: How many landing gear did it end up with?
JH: Actually we’re still working that out because they’re …they’re in the other room right now still tweaking the exterior design based on actual gameplay needs and stuff like that. So from the Caterpillar to the Herald also … The Herald started as an asymmetrical ship …
JH: It has since been un-asymmet … or symmetricalised?
JH: Symmetricalised. I’m really not good with English apparently which I did … I would … [gives up]
JM: It’s okay.
JH: I’m not good with English.
JM: We’re good.
JH: So the Herald, our information runner … any stories about the Herald?
JM: The Herald. That had a very big sketch phase to it. Like I know the initial brief was “This thing it’s really fast, it flies somewhere, it opens up to send and receive information, store it and then fly out of there as fast as you can.” So then the … it ended up being big engines, some kind of transmitting and receiving rig or receiving devices. And a kind of cramped cockpit because it shouldn’t be … it isn’t roomy, it’s all about get there and get out.
JH: Like most Drake ships, utilitarian.
JH: Drake ships have an abundance of purpose. One of the things I like most about them.
JM: Yeah. They’re utility first.
JH: Yeah. Alright, so next we move back into MISC …
JH: … and you work on the Hull series.
JH: Now when we started it was just going to be the Hull C.
JH: And then they tell you …
JM: Holy mackerel!
JH: … that we’ve imploded into five.
JM: Yeah, yeah.
JH: So tell me about working on the Hull series and how you differentiated A from E.
JM: You know it actually started off seeming like pretty straight forward, simple design. The company had already worked out kind of a framework of how they wanted everything laid out. And it looked like the assignment was to go in and put some kind of flesh on the bones. And just make that into a … into the Hull. And that’s how we started and it … then the conditions for the Hull started to change from there. Like “We’ll now there needed … there should be three.” And then it went to five. And then it … the final thing was “There should be an open condition and then a closed condition for when it doesn’t have any cargo.”
JH: So I think I just remembered what that eighth ship was: the Endeavour.
JM: The Endeavour.
JH: Did you work on the Endeavour?
JM: I did. The Endeavour!
JH: Yeah, the Endeavour with the pods.
JM: The science exploring ship.
JH: Yes! Before this we were trying to remember …
JM: The Endeavour!
JH: … we knew we had to talk about eight ships and we had seven in our heads and we couldn’t remember … the Endeavour was the next ship …
JH: … again with MISC. So it’s …
JM: And a unibody.
JM: You know, with a lot of flow.
JH: So the Endeavour is our science, our research ship.
JH: Looks like … did you watch Silent … how many times did you watch Silent Running?
JM: A lot! Like at least 30 times.
JH: So tell me about working on the Endeavour besides watching Silent Running 30 times.
JM: The Endeavour. That had a … that started off with a core design which had already been worked out here. And you needed me to kind of style it up and make it fit into the MISC family. And then it ballooned into needing many particular, specific modules to fit on that ship. And then needing to have a landing bay.
JM: And so it got tricky. But that’s what we do right?
JH: Yes. Yes. Ben … Chris let Ben off the leash with the Endeavour. Ben plays a big part in the design of many of our ships. At least the top level, meta design whatnot. So he started … I remember Ben and I had this meeting where we were sat there, just he and I with a whiteboard, and started coming up with science modules and whatnot. So … he didn’t use any of mine … no he used one … one or two of mine.
JM: What did you have?
JH: I’m trying to remember what they were. I think the landing module may have been mine. But honestly I can’t remember at this point. Every day just blurs here. I don’t know what your day is like but my day … there’s so much Star Citizen just [space crabs attacking his head] … it compacts. So that was … that’s seven …
JH: I haven’t been counting as we go along. And that brings you to the Buccaneer.
JM: The Buccaneer.
JH: Now … before this airs actually there will be a part … we’re recording it after we’re recording this but you’ll see it first … you’ll sit down with Ben Lesnick and you’re going to talk all about the Buccaneer so I won’t take up too much of your time on the Buccaneer. So we’ll let Ben talk about the Buccaneer.
JM: You bet.
JH: And these people will already have seen it before this airs. So that’s basically a top level view of your stuff for Star Citizen.
JH: Do you know what you’re working on next? Have they said “Hey Jim after the Buccaneer we want you for the … “
JM: I never know until I get that email that says “Hey we’ve got another ship. Would you like to take a pass?” And I always say yes.
JM: Because you just can’t beat this job.
JM: You know what I mean. It is a dream job.
JH: I do know what you mean.
JM: Yeah. And do eight ships for one project is pretty great. But let’s not talk about me, let’s talk about you.
[Off camera Tom Hennessy laughs uncontrollably]
JM: Enough about me Jared.
JH: Alright. So Jim before we let you go any final message you want to give to Star Citizen community?
JM: Star Citizen community. Thanks for looking in on our discussion. And it really is great being able to do all these ships and it’s a dream job. And I hope you like ‘em. And thanks for having me come in Jared. Appreciate it.
JH: Thank you for coming in man. So Jim Martin, concept artist extraordinaire, maker of Drake ships and MISC ships and one Vanduul ship. Jared Huckaby, Community Manager for Star Citizen, Squadron 42. Back to you guys.
JH: Welcome everybody to another edition of Ship Shape. I’m your host Community Manager Jared Huckaby and with me today is special guest, Technical Designer Mr. Matt Sherman. Matt, how are you doing man?
MS: Doing good.
JH: Good. Now tomorrow we are putting the Drake Dragonfly on sale, and so we thought we’d take a few minutes to talk about the Drake Dragonfly …
JH: It’s origins and what our initial plans for it are.
JH: Now the Drake Dragonfly was originally a voting option for our wave three or four ships. It would have helped to look that up ahead of time.
JH: It was the wave three ships.
MS: It was the three starters, so it was in the same vote. So in the end that’s the vote where the Reliant won out and became the new starter ship, but then also I want to say that the Terrapin, the Hurricane, the Dragonfly were all some of the other options and so, there was just enough drive between both internally where it’s like, “Oh yeah, space motorcycle. This would be pretty damn badass,” and then just from you guys in the community saying, “Hey, we want, we want a badass space motorcycle.” So we decided to try our hand at making a badass space motorcycle.
JH: Got you. Now in that original vote the Dragonfly was to be considered as a starter vehicle, …
JH: … but it’s no longer what we consider a starter vehicle.
JH: It’s more along the lines of a snub craft like a Merlin or an Archimedes.
JH: Why don’t you tell us what we can expect from the Dragonfly tomorrow.
MS: Yeah, so one of the biggest things that we wanted to have with the Dragonfly is a rapid entry/exit onto the ship, so one of the first things you guys will see with that is there is no canopy around this ship at all. The riders are fully exposed to the elements.
JH: So bring your helmet.
MS: Yeah. Bring your helmet. You need to make sure your suit has life support built into it. You’re not going to have a lot of the accommodations that a life support system or a gravity generator to help you out, but the nice thing is that’s only going to be while you’re riding the Dragonfly in space. And one of the big things that we want to make sure the Dragonfly has is also a full ground vehicle operation.
JH: So this is a multi-mode vehicle here.
JH: So we have the diagram on your screen right now. You are looking at three modes. We have compact mode, …
JH: space mode …
JH: and ground modes.
JH: Why don’t you take us through the three modes.
MS: Yeah, so compact mode. That’s where the ship is going to be starting out. So it’s really small. A lot smaller actually than we initially envisioned, so your Freelancer, Constellation, a lot of the ships that people like, “Will it fit?” Odds are there’s a chance it’s going to fit, and it’s going to start off rolling out of that ship in the compact mode. So that’s really going to be just until you’ve cleared the line of the ship and then Dragonfly can start picking out it’s like , “Okay am I in space or am I on the ground?” And then it’s going to convert to the appropriate mode for that.
JH: Gotcha. So because we may have buried the lead here a little bit, this is a ship that can actually function in space and on the ground of a planet.
JH: So in its ground mode, I take it, it flies a bit above the ground?
MS: Yeah, it’s going to hover a little bit off the ground. When we’re even sorting out the tech and what’s going to drive this, we actually wanted to make sure that we’re justifying it with the same conventions that we’re already planning into the other systems for our game. It’s going to be using these gravity levitate… err grav-lev plates, very similar to what we’re planning for how you’ll move cargo around because. You know, there’s some mechanical apparatus helping you move cargo, when we get all that in, so we want it to have that same rationale for, “And this is why 2 tonnes of metal is hovering over the ground.”
JH: Gotcha. Another feature folks may not have been expecting, there’s a second rider on here.
JH: So tell us about the second rider on the back.
MS: Yeah. Because we want this to help with boarding, raiding, with just fast actions from point-to-point. We didn’t want you to have to just completely leave this ship alone because, as you can see from the size, it’s not the most durable beast out there. We wanted to, from the ground up, to have a second rider on it, that they’re going to have a full rear firing arc, because they’re going to be sitting back-to-back with the pilot of the dragonfly.
They’ll be able to pull out any of their FPS weapons that they have got available to them, and just be firing off behind them. That’s going to really play out a bit more once we’ve got the procedural planets and surfaces in place, because now… Before we were just going to have a grey cat role, now we’ve got something with a little bit of teeth that can dart around, that can just fly about the surface, and hopefully not have as much trouble with handrails as the grey cat.
JH: And in space it has all the same components and stuff like you would expect on a Merlin, in an Archimedes, it’s got a shield generator, radar, stuff like that.
JH: That shield generator extends to the pilot?
MS: It will encapsulate the whole ship, so the pilot and the rider would technically be guarded by it. It is not the most potent shield out there. This is a very small, we actually made a new scale of components that we’re considering vehicle-class components. These are separate from normal ship components, but it would be the things you would find in the grey cat, in the dragonfly, in our rovers. That’s what’s giving that much more compact space, but still delivering the power and the functionality that each component demands.
JH: Gotcha. Since this has a space and a ground mode, can it transition from space to ground and vice versa?
MS: Not of its own power. It cannot do safe, for pilot or passenger, atmospheric takeoff or reentry. You will burn to a crisp.
JH: Alright, well I think that about covers it. The Drake Dragonfly goes on sale tomorrow for 35 USD. There may be a bonus pack or something to look forward to, so keep an eye out for that. Matt, thanks for taking the time to talk to us about the Drake Dragonfly.
MS: Yep. It was a pleasure.
JH: And of course, we’ll be doing the standard Q&A posts. We’ll do two next week. Look for that thread that opens tomorrow and put your questions for Mr. Matt Sherman. Thanks! Back to you guys.
Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey there, Tyler Witkin, Community Manager in the Austin, Texas studio here to bring you this week’s’ MVP
A huge congratulations to Aeon Moon for creating the stunning image, “Sunset Buccaneers”. As I was browsing through the community hub on the RSI website it immediately caught my eye. I’m confident that it has inspired many of our artists and we’re all really excited to see what you created next.
So congratulations to you, you’re this week’s MVP, back to you guys.
BL: Thank you to Jim Martin and Matt Sherman for coming on the show to talk, Drake for life!
SG: Yay! Drake for life! Thank to all of our subscribers for making this show possible.
BL: Be sure to tune into Reverse the ‘Verse, tomorrow at 11am Pacific on Twitch. We’ll be talking about the Drake Dragonfly of course and 2.4 and all sorts of other Star Citizen news, so check it out.
SG: And check out the Comm-Link tomorrow for the new Jump Point. Thank you to all of our subscribers for making this show possible. As always we will see you next week on Around the ‘Verse