It’s time for Around the ‘Verse! Check out The Relay’s transcript of the show.
Transcript by CanadianSyrup, Shiver Bathory, Sunjammer, NYXT.
Ben Lesnick (BL): I guess you could say Star Citizen gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Thank you to RSI forum user Monk for the extremely cool explosion montage. 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, I work with the community to make sure you guys know what’s going on.
SG: And if you can’t believe it, which I find it hard to believe, but this is our 99th episode of Around the ‘Verse coming up on 100.
BL: It seems just like yesterday we were crammed in the corner of reception in the old office
SG: It does and we kept moving into tighter and tighter spaces there until I think we were in half of somebody else’s office, maybe yours, it was a very, very small space.
So for episode 100 we actually have a special edition. We’re going to split it up into three parts. We are also upping our game on the video content so we would like the feedback from our subscribers and we should probably get something in there.
BL: We will have a forum poll up for subscribers. We’d like to know a little bit more what you love about ATV and you know we have some pretty exciting changes coming.
SG: Yeah and for all of our other video content.
SG: We wanna up the game, so let us know.
What’s the Star Citizen development team working on now Ben?
BL: Well a lot of work is going into Star Citizen 2.5. That’s going to be our next big content patch. We haven’t hit the cut off where we know what’s going in and what’s going into six yet so we can’t give too many details, but it’s coming along very well. There’s going to be some pretty cool additional stuff to exploring Crusader. We’re also working on a Star Citizen 2.4.1 patch which is intended to address some of the issue with 2.4’s networking and some of the slowdowns and so on you’ve seen and we will have that out as soon as we have something to show you.
SG: Yes and before I go into my next line. I would like to thank Noobifier very much for his very kind message to me about engaging with the community and replying to the hundreds of emails that come into my inbox and thank you very much for my t-shirt: Danger, Space suit required”, so thank you very much for that. I don’t know if you can see, can you see?
BL: Here’s the… There’s one.
BL: The guys in Austin actually have a board, the QA team has a board where they mark off whenever one of them forgets to put their space suit on and dies during testing.
SG: There you go. So thank you very much for that Noobifier. Noobifier 1337 should I say.
And the big news on the ship side is that the Drake Dragonfly concept sale has kicked off. The Drake Dragonfly, our space motorcyle is now available in two colours and I have got a yellow one.
BL: Well the yellow is outselling the black about two to one, so it looks like people like a little splash of colour.
SG: There you go. Yellow is the new black. For this sale we put together a brochure, patterned off real motorcycle brochures. We are pretty proud of the end result, check it out.
BL: It’s really, really exciting to me for two reasons: One because it’s such a long time coming. We’ve been trying to get this on the schedule forever and ever because it was like a spark of inspiration a year and a half ago, it’s a really cool ship and it’s like, “Yeah it would, it would, but we don’t have time”. It’s in now and it’s looking great, so we’re really excited about that. It’s a totally different way to play Star Citizen. Once we have it zooming around Port Olisar and on planets and so on, you’re really gonna have a different experience and that’s the best thing we can do when building a new ship is add to the game.
SG: What excites me the most is it replaces my real world Kawasaki Ninja. Seeing as I dropped it once in real life, I can crash this as many times in the game as I want.
BL: Because you have LTI.
SG: Yup, exactly.
BL: Next week we’ve got a special subscriber livestream. You’re going to get a chance to ask your questions to the DevOps team in Austin. They will be talking about how they keep Star Citizen patched and updated and do all the behind the scenes things you don’t normally think about in a game. That will be Wednesday the 29th at 11am pacific. Join us. It’s available for everyone to view and subscribers can ask questions in the live chat during the event.
SG: So now let’s go to our studios from News From Around The Verse.
Eric Kieron Davies (EKD): Hey everybody, I’m Eric Kieron Davis from the Los Angeles studio and I’m joined by..
Omar Aweidah (OA): Omar Aweidah.
EKD: ..and we’ve got updates for the LA office for you. Omar, I asked you to come on because I wanted you to talk a little bit about characters – what are the updates this week, what are we working on?
OA: Sure – we’ve been working on a lot of stuff actually. We’ve done some new updates on the marines, we’ve done some updates on the VDUs – Shane has been working on some new PU clothes – we’ve also done a lot of advancements to save memory and performance so that the game is going to run a lot smoother and we’re trying some new swappable item port systems and stuff like that which is going to be really cool.
EKD: Awesome. A lot going on in the character team right now.
OA: Yeah, tons.
EKD: That’s great, and then another update for you is the Caterpillar. Elwin and the team – Jamie and Daniel – have been working hard on the engineering interior as well as the turrets-
OA: Those look awesome.
EKD: -they are under scrutiny right now and then Justin is making some small updates on the concept side to the command module in the interior as well as some colour updates. So, there you, that’s the LA office in a nutshell. Again, I’m Eric-
OA: Omar Aweidah.
EKD: See you guys next time.
OA: See ya.
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 with you about what’s going on here in Austin.
So I wanna talk about GrimHex – the space station that we’re looking to release here in the next few months – we are working hard to get the shops set up in that station so – I mentioned this a little bit previously – but we finally got the inventories set up in those shops – we won’t have a whole lot of new stuff but we will be switching things around a little bit so it provides an incentive to travel a little bit more.
So in the weapons shop that we will have on GrimHex will be having all the energy weapons situated there and all the ballistic weapons situated on Port Olisar so that you have incentive to travel back and forth and see the new content we’ve got to sell in the ‘Verse.
We’ll also have some new “pirate-y” clothing – part of the Frontier manufacturer and clothing styles. So we’ll have this new bandana, new boots, some jackets, shirts – some new clothing content to spice things up a bit and make things a little bit grittier and grimier so that’ll be pretty cool to see – some more variety.
And then lastly we’re finally getting Emre Switzer here in Austin on the lighting pass to make those shops as beautiful as they can possibly be – once that’s in we’ll actually be able to do some proper profiling to make sure that runs OK in the game and then it’ll be ready for release. So the next station is coming along nicely – we’re seeing progress on it week-by-week and everyone’s really, really excited to see it come online here pretty soon.
Thanks guys, that’s all I’ve got for you this week.
Mici Oliver (MO): Hi everyone, this is Mici over in the UK and I’m here with Matt Webster today-
Matthew Webster (MW): Hey.
MO: And we’re going to talk a little bit about the production of the Idris. So if you are familiar with the Morrow Tour that was demoed at CitizenCon last year then you may have seen it – they’ve been working from that and polishing it – making a few changes to stuff like the shape of the corridors and that type of thing and looking at putting in the damage system-
MO: -which is pretty cool.
MW: -we’re trying to figure out how we can get the ship to be blown apart so it looks really cool with decent sized chunks so you can blow up the ship and how that looks to the player and how it looks to the people in the inside as well. So you could blow out bits of your power system-
MW: -how we make that look to people on the inside. So we try to go for the- I guess you can equate it to General Sci-Fi so everything goes dark, red lights come on, console around you start to blow up – so you get sparks, smoke and all that kind of stuff.
MW: It’ll be really, really cool.
MO: It’s also going to affect the gravity as well so you can get rid of the gravity generator in parts of the ship-
MO: -so that’s pretty cool.
MW: -it’s all part of the power system where you can target specific points in the ship to affect certain systems – like you just said – gravity, the life support – you could even blow a hole in the side of the ship and then the compartments that are exposed into space so everyone inside them will get sucked out into space – if the compartments aren’t closed quick enough they’ll start to decompress from beyond where it’s been affected, so you have to-
MO: This is like a work in progress thing for all ships really.
MW: Yeah, this is what we’re all working on but- yeah-
MO: -but yeah, it’s pretty cool. We got to take a look at the hangar-
MO: -so you can currently land three small ships inside the Idris so we’ve seen the Gladius land in there and we’ve got a sort of automatic landing system to make it look easier – especially if the Idris is mid-flight – and they’re working on getting the medium ships to fit in there as well but at the moment they have to be-
MW: One medium ship.
MO: Well, yeah, just one – not three. But at the moment you have to be pretty skilled to be able to land.
MW: Yeah – all work in progress though.
MO: Yeah, yeah. I think that’s everything for this week – so we’ll see you in the ‘Verse.
MW: Cya later.
Brian Chambers (BC): Hey everyone, Brian Chambers from Frankfurt office. On the updates – looking forward we’re going to try to grab one topic and beat it up a little bit and dig into that so we can make it a little more direct for you guys and talk about progress.
On this week, just recently Chris for 10 for the Chairmen had talked about part of Nyx going into Stanton for a future release – specifically for that what he meant was Levski – so I thought I’d bring in our lead level designer Andreas Johansson – he can talk about what’s there, what they are doing and what the future plans are. So you were- this is basically, just handed over to you and your team a few weeks ago, yeah?
Andreas Johansson (AJ): Yeah, that’s right. So we’re making the final updates to it – adding in the hangars, so you can land your ships – adding in bedrooms so you can sleep or spawn there and call your ship. Touching it up to make it-
BC: And you guys are working in conjunction with- the art team is basically UK so you are working closely with them, right?
AJ: So the design side is driven from here, Frankfurt, and UK is handling the art side of it. Plus we have the team in Austin who’s doing the shops for us.
BC: Cool. Can you tell us a high level of Levski – what it is and what we’ll experience?
AJ: So, Levski is – I would call it- it’s a bit more of a seedier aspect? It’s the outskirt world where the people who don’t really agree with the current government politics and stuff – that’s where they hang out and have their life. It’s gone through many iterations of different people controlling it and different factions controlling it so-
AJ: -it’s kind of a dynamic place where maybe the UEE doesn’t have perfect control.
BC: Yeah, exactly and it may go through some other iterations I guess slightly because I guess if we’re going to put it in Stanton right now versus it going in Nyx ultimately in it’s own system-
BC: -it’ll have a slightly different feel.
AJ: It will – I mean, we are putting it into Stanton to grill it but once we put it into Nyx – it will go in it’s original location which is a big asteroid but right now we’re adding it as a landing zone on planet so- it’s a smaller planet but still a planet.
BC: And then I think in the process to I think you guys learn a lot with the planets being procedural – coming with these landing zones – figuring out how to work with those in the best tech and approach. Hopefully it’s a learning process then for the other ones we’re going to populate, yeah?
AJ: Yeah, I mean with procedural planets we have a lot of space to fill-
BC: Yeah, absolutely – they’re huge!
AJ: So we have to think through the things we’re going to have- like hotspots on the planet and then think what we do with the rest of the space but yeah, it’s an interesting- it’s an interesting way of working.
BC: That’s cool – so what I’m hoping then in the next weeks to come – don’t know the exact time – once we have more progress than that we can actually get a video of some early progress – I can bring Andreas back in and we can talk over it and show what’s been done. Thanks for your time, appreciate it-
AJ: Thank you.
BC: -and thank you guys.
Forrest Stephan (FS): Hey Citizens, welcome to another segment of ATV Behind the Scenes. My name is Forrest Stephen, CG Supervisor and with me is …
Cheyne Hessler (CH): Cheyne Hessler, Associate Character Artist.
FS: And we’ve talked a lot about taking a character concept and getting it into the game, but for this segment we’re going to actually show you. And so Cheyne has actually taken a shirt for the PU and gone through the whole process. So we’re going to walk you through it.
CH: For clothing in my process something that I like to start out my base with is a program called Marvellous Designer. So what we can get from this is a kind of a start to the high poly asset for the game where we can then project all the detail onto the low poly. So in this way you can see me pulling down on certain areas to get different variations of folds and volumes in the material. And something that we have to consider with shirts and clothing itself is how it looks in a neutral pose for the character. So something that looks very natural and almost a neutral state that will work with animation and clothing that may be worn on top of it.
FS: So once you are done in Marvellous you export it out, you open it up in ZBrush: what’s the next step? Do you check the scale? Do you have to decimate the mesh then retopo it? Do you get to just start scanning on the mesh that gets exported? What exactly happens in between?
CH: So what ZBrush allows us to do is to basically “digital clay” and sculpt it on the computer and get results instantly. As far as sculpting folds, details, wrinkles, adding more geometry. When we import it to ZBrush it should be the exact same scale as the male base model which we are referencing the entire time.
FS: So we always make sure no matter what program it’s in, it’s in scale?
CH: Yeah. If you’re going down the pipeline and you lose scale …
CH: … it’s a very big hassle to scale it back down and make sure it fits your low poly geometry which is in game. So the focus is always keeping the scale as it’s going to be in game from start to finish.
FS: Okay so now you’ve taken it out of ZBrush. You’ve exported it out as like an OBJ.
FS: Is it?
FS: Once it’s in Maya that’s … you probably have a decimated mesh because I imagine nine million polys is going to make Maya explode.
FS: And so the decimation process is cutting the poly count 50%? Like …
CH: So I think we start at nine million at the end of the high poly process. And then once it was reduced using a tool in ZBrush called Decimation we got it down to, I think, around two hundred thousand polygons?
CH: So my process is bringing the high poly that I reduced down to, like I said, around two hundred thousand polygons. And with that mesh I can reference the high poly inside of Maya to then trace on top of using a tool in Maya called Quad Draw, which allows us to plot points in space on the high poly from ZBrush and minimise the poly count which is represented in kind of a grid format, using edges, faces and vertexes.
FS: So we’ve created the high poly. We’ve created the game topology. We’ve done our UV’s. And now you’ve gone though, you’ve baked all your maps in xNormal?
FS: Then once you are done with baking your maps in xNormal, you’ve created a photoshop file that has our texture set.
FS: And so the first one is the normal map?
FS: And tell us a little bit about what a normal map does.
CH: So a normal map is … takes a lot of the detail from our high poly and projects it onto your low poly by controlling the way light hits your low poly geometry and how the light reflects and shades your object.
FS: So basically it kind of allows you to have shading on your topology without creating actual topology.
CH: Right. It gives you the illusion of details …
FS: Shadows and stuff.
CH: … and shadows.
FS: Awesome. And then, so you can see actually the fold in there and all that. And then the next one is the gloss. And then the gloss is your roughness …
CH: Right …
FS: … roughness map.
CH: … how kind of reflective light is going off your material and how shiny or rough it is.
FS: So we have a material in the engine and the material has a set specular then this map will actually will create a roughness for that specular value. So if you have a surface that super white because it has a very hot highlight you can increase the darkness of your gloss map and it will absorb … basically do … simulate heat and it will distribute across the surface and kind of blend. So instead of having that nice specular highlight, it will actually crawl across the surface a little more …
FS: … the darker you get your gloss.
Okay so now the final process. You bring into the engine and after you exported it out of Maya, you saved out your texture set from photoshop?
FS: And then you created a material out of Maya. And then you have plugged in all your textures. And like magic, voila: you have a beautiful shirt. And it looks great!
CH: Thank you.
FS: So do you want to take us through anything particular?
CH: So we can apply materials on our low polys by selecting the faces of the low poly. So that’s why you see the lines we’re getting. In order to blend in the lines of the material we use our blend map which can kind of balance out where materials are applied.
FS: Cool and I think that pretty much wraps up the process of starting with a concept, starting with a visions, starting with and idea; taking all the way through the pipeline into a final product.
FS: And I’m sure everyone is going to be excited to get that shirt now. So thank you Cheyne so much. Thank you for making the shirt …
FS: … it looks fantastic. And thanks everybody for tuning in to segment of ATV.
Will Weissbaum (WW): Hi and welcome to another edition of Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy, i’m your host for today, Senior Writer Will Weissbaum and if this is your first time tuning into Loremakes Guide, welcome and what we do here is various members of the narrative team gather together and we take you through the ins and outs of some of our many solar systems spread throughout the Star CItizen ‘verse. So today we’re going to be taking a look at the Rhetor System , which is one of my personal favourites, probably ranked 30, 32 on my list. It is focused on education which is just awesome! So let’s take a look over the right now. So we’re going to hgop into our handy search bar. Oh there it is! Star system, let’s click on: Go! Very pretty.
So this actually might look familiar to the last system we were in, because Rhetor has a similar class G-Main Sequence star just like we have here in Sol. It’s yellowish-white, it’s got a solar mass of 1.05 so very close, a solar radius of 1.01 very close to our sun. It is about 6000 Kelvins which is hot, just in general , I don’t know how that ranks against other suns, but in terms of things you don’t want to touch, it’s pretty high up there! So let’s get into a little bit of the backstory of this system. It is both one of the oldest and youngest systems in the UEE, and the reason we like saying that is because its population is one of the youngest in the entire empire, because of how many universities are located within it, it has a very young demographic, which leads to all sorts of fun outcomes that we’ll talk about a little bit later.
The reason why it’s one of the oldest is because it was discovered way back in 2287 so for those of you who may not know, our current year in the universe is 2946. So 2287 was quite a whiles ago. Rhetor was discovered by two ambitious PhD students who were attending the Martian Institute of Space and Technology and they were out there, doing some trial runs when they noticed some weird information coming in from one of their scan drones and they decided to take a look and lo’ and behold they discovered a brand new system. So they rushed back to school to let one of their professors and the head of the school know what they found.
The person he told was Adrian Zemlock and now Adrian had very strong political views. She was a former politician herself and she was really kind of dismayed by the way that Croshaw had turned out recently. It had just been developed, and terraforming was just completed, and she saw this brand new space being divvied up by all the various corporations and global entities and she felt the people were getting lost in the equation. So she had the idea that this newfound system, they could do some good with it. So they sort of pretty much held the information, the coordinates of this jump point ransom until the powers that be agreed to set aside a large portion of this system for the public use namely: educational resources. And that’s what ended up happening and really one of the bastions of the empire in terms of knowledge and learning and higher understanding.
The name of this system Rhetor comes from the word for master and teacher and it was Zemlock’s own nickname. You might be familiar with the same base word being used in the word rhetoric, so there you go! It’s always useful to remember that words have the power to shape worlds. It’s beautiful . So we talked about the star and the system overall how about we take a zoom in here to take a look at Rhetor 1?
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 Raumarik for creating a sharing a video that showcases all 26 of our subscriber hangar flair. This informative video is a go to for anyone curious to see the hangar flair in action and learn more details about the different items you can obtain.
So Congrats again to you, you’re this week’s MVP. Back to you guys
BL: Thank you to Forrest, Shane, and William for those segment and letting us know what you are doing.
SG: And we’ve got a special surprise in store for you. Check out ATV’s Fast Forward.
BL: We told you it was real!
Be sure to tune into Reverse the ‘Verse tomorrow at 11am Pacific on Twitch. We’ll be answering your questions about Drake Dragonfly and everything else going on with Star Citizen.
SG: And if you do like us, hit like or subscribe below
BL: Like and subscribe right down there.
SG: And check out the Comm-Link tomorrow for the second Drake Dragonfly Q&A post which should answer some of your questions. If they aren’t already answered on RTV.
With that, thank you to all of our subscribers as always for making this show possible. We will see you, Around the ‘Verse.
BL: Around the ‘Verse.