It’s part two of the 100th episode of Around the ‘Verse. 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 show!
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hey everyone, welcome to Around the ‘Verse, your weekly look at Star Citizen. I’m Sandi Gardiner, VP of Marketing.
Erin Roberts (ER): And I’m Erin Roberts, the Executive Producer on Star Citizen.
SG: So this is part two of our 100th episode special and we’re here in Foundry 42 as you can tell. So we’re going to do some special stuff at the UK studio. We have an office tour by Erin himself and also a studio update by a very special guest, not Erin and a couple of other very cool videos to show.
ER: Yup and also before we get onto that, obviously 2.4.1. Just came out, so if you guys haven’t checked it out yet please do. Thanks a lot for all the time the community put into to actually A: helping us with 2.4 and really working out the bugs, but then also with 2.4 one: we spent a lot of time looking at 2.4 and making sure that some of the issues we had in terms of some of the infinite loading screens and some of the other network issues that have been ironed out, so it should be a much better experience now in 2.4.1.
SG: It’s a mouthful.
ER: It is.
SG: So 2.4.1 and moving on from there into 2.5, can you tell us a little bit about what’s in 2.5?
ER: Yeah, so on the general basis we probably will get a little more detail with some of the segments you’ll see, but we’re adding some more content into the Persistence Universe, Crusader. So you’re going to have a new location to visit which is a pretty big deal. It’s going to allow maybe some of the more criminal elements, the community to be able to have some place to hang out.
We’re going to have some new stuff you can buy as well with the alpha UEC so we can keep refining the whole shopping experience and actually to be able to build up stuff you’ll see in persistence. Of course there will be the Reliant which is the new ship which you’ll get and there may be a couple of other things that will include as well, but we’ll maybe keep as a surprise.
SG: [laughs] Tease. The Reliant flyable that is.
SG: Very exciting, I have one of those and so do thousands of other people. Now let’s check out UK studio report.
ER: Hi and welcome to Foundry 42. The offices in Wilmslow, United Kingdom. So what I want to do here is show you basically the tour of the building. We’re on three floors and at the moment there’s, well, 170 at this moment and there’ll be about 184 in the next few months. So as you can see it‘s a large operation.
So what I want to do is take you round different departments and introduce you to one or two people. I won’t introduce you to everybody like Chris did because there’s too many to do that and we’ll be here forever. But I will introduce you to to one or two people and we’ll see what they are up to.
So if you come this way.
Basically I’ll let us in the door here.
We’re on the ground floor.
Here we go.
As you can see, we are … Drinks have arrived to keep everyone hydrated here. So there’s going on and stuff like that. But here we have a view … a bit of a pan around the office. You can see down this way we have the Audio team, through here on these doors, we’ll go here a bit later and stuff. We have the Animation team, Programming, and then also down through here we have Tech Design, UI and also some of our Production staff here.
Perhaps we’ll just wander round.
So basically if we start down here, wander down the the Audio team and stuff like that. Down through here. And here we have Lee Banyard our Audio Director.
Lee Banyard (LB): Hi.
ER: Basically pretty much all the Audio guys at CIG are actually in this office apart from one of our guys who works out of the Austin office.
We have the Animation team and we have Uisdean who’s our Animation Lead. Animation we have split between a bunch of the offices. So we have animators in Austin and we also have animators in Frankfurt and animators in here. Those are the three places we have animation team and so forth.
And then over here we have programmers. I’ll introduce you to Jens who loves being on camera. And so Jens is basically the Lead FPS Programmer. We have, over here, we have some more of the programming guys here. And we’ve got Rob who’s … what you working on Rob? He’s our Lead Gameplay Programmer.
Rob Johnson (RJ): More 2.5 bugs …
ER: Rob does a lot of bug fixing.
RJ: … more ships … more spawning … more issues we trying to …
ER: We have our small, but awesome, Network team. Here. And we have Tech Design. So these are the guys that put together all the work on the ships. So when the artists make the ships these are the guys that then actually make them fly, work on all the stats for them, work on all that kind of stuff and things as well as a lot of different areas and stuff for creating all that kind of stuff.
And here we have our Lead Tech Designer, John.
John Crewe (JC): Hi.
ER: How you doing?
JC: Not too bad.
ER: If we go round here quickly we have the UI guys. And you guys know Zane. Zane’s now …
Zane Bien (ZB): Hey!
ER: … was in LA but is in the UK with us. And basically they are working on a bunch of the UI stuff. Doing some reworking on a bunch of … on the cockpit stuff and there’ll be some other stuff Zane’s going to show later as well …
ER: … so you can see that kind of stuff as well. It should be good. Or he may have already shown already depending where it hits in the segment. Kind of things. And in the corner there’s Bone, he’s our Lead UI Programmer as well. Kind of stuff. Working away and that kind of stuff. So the UI … we’ve focused the UI department in the UK to get everybody together. Before it was split a bit but now it’s actually great having everyone together because it really helps move things along.
And then our Production guys. Here these three Producers lead by Ricky on the PU side. And we have basically … we’re all working on the PU stuff. So when you see 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7. These are all the guys. And Ali who is sneaking off is basically our Technical … our Graphics … Director of Graphics Programming, who should be upstairs but he’s down here talking to people. But we may see him later if he pops up in a sec. Kind of things.
So that’s basically the ground floor.
[FOUNDRY FORTY-TWO FIRST FLOOR]
ER: Okay so we’re on the first floor.
And here I’ll just quickly show, we’ve got like our QA team here. Which is the first line of defense when coming to fix all the bugs and things like that. That’s Phil there and stuff. And basically we go here and then of course we’re very lucky to have the Community, you guys, help support us so once we go through here and we feel we’ve got enough of the … when we feel like we’ve got enough of the bugs and stuff fixed then we go out and then the Community gets involved and really refine it for us and so forth. But these guys are … when new builds come out whether it’s on a stream like 2.4 or it’s the GameDev stream or it’s just basically testing different little levels then these guys all get involved and that kind of stuff and things.
So this is this area here. We’re sort of building out this area here. This is just an area we’ve just taken over so basically going to be remodelling this probably in a few months time and so forth.
So the next section here we have our dedicated Customer Support and Customer Service teams here. So when you guys are filling out tickets and so forth, these are the guys that are doing all the work for you and you’re talking to. So give them a wave guys.
ER: Cool. And through here we have our Character and Animation Tech and Art Tech teams here. And also Production who are round the corner but they don’t seem to be here at the moment and so forth. But you can see the guys are modelling. You can have a look at some of the stuff they are working on here. Different screens and stuff they can … character stuff … and … and then on the putting together faces so they technically move and all that kind of stuff and so forth.
So this floor’s going to be filled up over the next few months as we get more people in and we build up different teams we’re going to have to move around. Because like I said we’re about 170 but going up to 184 to 200 people in the next few months.
[FOUNDRY FORTY-TWO SECOND FLOOR]
So this floor has the majority of the Art department plus Design and some supporting Production are here. So if we start down this way, we’ll go down and see if I can find some of the Design guys to talk to. And obviously … and actually the Graphics Programmers are here as well.
So here we have Phil Meller, I know you’ve seen before.
Phil Meller (PM): Hey mate.
ER: He’s our Lead Designer on Squadron 42. So what’s … what are you playing at the moment?
PM: Nothing … well there’s the … p-cap stuff. Sort that out. It’s being going well. Or was it today? It was Krugeri bridge issues today. Sorting that out.
PM: Should be good.
ER: And over there we have Mike, who’s our Lead Level Designer on Squadron 42. Getting on and stuff like that. And then the rest of the Design team here we have Luke in the corner who is basically the Lead Live Designer, so when you are looking at all the stuff we’re doing on the Persistent Universe he’s the guy, and his team here, who are basically putting together a bunch of the map, Crusader map, and all the Arena Commander and stuff like that as well.
Rest of the Design team here working on … basically we work on both Squadron 42 and also some of the Persistent Universe elements here.
Through here and then we go … we’ve got the Graphics team here. These are the Graphics Programmers and Ali you sort of saw downstairs, he’s still downstairs by the looks of it. These are graphics guys doing stuff.
And then we have the Ship team. And I’ll wander over quickly to Nate, he’s our … the Ship Art Director. Just to say hello quickly. Hey Nate. So just putting you on camera quickly just to say hello.
Nathan Dearsley (ND): Hello.
ER: So basically this is Nate. This is the big Ship team. So in the UK it’s the largest team of creating ships here. How many artists, ship artists, we have now?
ND: 21 now.
ER: 21. So basically working on these huge ships. It just takes a lot of people to work on the big capital ships and so forth. But they have plans for all the Squadron 42 ships as well as some of the Persistent Universe stuff and things. And I think Nate is also … will be showing you some cool stuff as well. You know, coming up as well. So that’ll be cool.
And I’ll move on quickly just to give stuff … so that’s Nate and then we can see there’s people working on things here.
We have over here Mike Snowden.
Mike Snowden (MS): Hi.
ER: Who is our Lead VFX Artist. So he’s basically the guy that’s creating all the explosions with his team. With … there’s also some of the other team are in Frankfurt, right?
MS: That’s right, yeah. Here and Frankfurt.
ER: It’s just here and Frankfurt that do effects and stuff.
MS: That’s right, yeah.
ER: Working on different things. So when you see the latest explosions and stuff these are the guys that put together everything we’re doing and things like that. Coming up with new and fancy stuff. Don’t know if there’s any … anything cool to show?
MS: Explosions and thrusters. Just working on a couple of thruster effects for Paul at the moment. And this is the new Death Mask explosion effect that we’re working on. As you can see it’s using all the new optical flares and blooms that we’ve added recently from the graphics guys. So just kind of refactoring a lot of prior existing effects.
MS: To make use of the cool new tech.
ER: So hopefully you’ll start seeing that stuff going into the build soon.
And then through, if we go through here again, we have guys and then we move into Environment. We have Production staff here. So we have Tom there, who’s basically our Senior Producer here, who kind of runs Production in the office. Zoe there is basically Squadron 42, she’s basically at the moment running Squadron 42. Luke is basically doing … he’s the guy who runs ships and environments in the Production side with some help from Ben who’s not here at the moment, by the looks of things he’s out and about and stuff.
And then as we go through here it’s the Environment team … and Props team. And then come over here Ian.
Ian Leyland (IL): Hi.
ER: Say hello to Ian. He’s our Environment Art Director.
ER: So he’s running the Environment pipeline. Stuff like that. So basically point to where the concepts for the different … for the different stuff and also … and he’s also basically once again going to do the environments for Squadron and the Persistent Universe and running … working with … obviously there’s other team mates … how many Environment Artists in the UK now?
IL: About 16 now in the UK.
ER: 16 in the UK and then we’re working with another how many in Behaviour?
IL: There’s 12 with our outsource partners.
ER: And then Frankfurt? There some out … two or three now, is that right?
IL: There’s one.
ER: Is it just one?
IL: Yeah. one.
ER: Okay. We’ll probably have some more soon in Frankfurt.
ER: And stuff like that and things. So Ian has to coordinate with a bunch of offices round the world just as Nathan does. So we run sort of “pipeline teams” and then they basically … they basically coordinate all the ships, they coordinate all the environments. Just like all the audio runs the same way and so forth. And then we have “production teams” who work on each pipeline but also “production teams” that work on each project as well.
And then through here there just the Environment guys. And then we have Concept. So these guys are basically the guys who come up with the concepts and stuff. We have an internal team of, I think it’s, five or six internal concept guys now? Or there will be six moving forwards. Starting in the next few days and stuff. So working on a lot of different things there. So as you can see there … everyone’s looking forward to … the Dragonfly.
Gary Sanchez (GS): Yeah, it’s in progress with the 3D concepting
ER: That’s right it’s going into different things. You’re basically concepting out, you know, a lot of different stuff here.
And then it’s more Environment and Props stuff.
So that is the top floor. And that’s really the tour of our office. So thanks a lot and I hope you enjoyed the tour. And this is basically where we’ll be providing, going forward, a bunch of material and stuff and also hopefully going forward on the video side we plan to just keep on showing a bunch of stuff we’re doing here so you get to see a bunch of stuff coming out of this office.
Thank you very much.
Nick Elms(NE): Hi everyone, my name’s Nick Elms. I’m the Creative Director here at Foundry 42, here in Wilmslow in the UK. I’m here to give you a studio update report, there’s a lot of things happening over here at the moment, both on Squadron 42 and Star Citizen. I know you guys are eagerly awaiting the 2.5 update so I’m going to first of all hand you over to Ian to talk about what he’s been doing with his team on the GrimHex artwork.
Ian Leyland: So, this environment been quite new and unique and successful because it was designed over in our Frankfurt studio. It was art directed and had tech art and VFX and UI support in the UK studio and then the environment team in Behaviour has been doing most of the artwork there. So, it’s been a very collaborative approach and it’s been very successful so it’s going to be located somewhere in the Crusader map, you’ll be able to find and it’s got this really new visual style that we’re going for so Port Olisar is nice and clean and safe.
This is going to be a little bit more gritty, little bit more cool, with some nice visual cues that we have not really seen before and that’s going to be kind of like a secondary location so you’ve all seen Port Olisar right now. That’s a nice safe, green zone for you guys to spawn, this one’s going to be for you guys who tend to play a little bit less fair. Looking forward to seeing you guys on Twitch, seeing all the little easter eggs we put in there and I think you’ll enjoy it.
NE: Staying with the GrimHex theme, Senior Audio Designer Stefan Rutherford will be giving you an update on what his team’s been up to on that side.
Stefan Rutherford: Ok, we’re going to start outside GrimHex here. So, the audio currently at this stage is somewhere between first and second pass standard which means all of the sort of very background ambience have been tackled but some of the second pass stuff such as moving parts like door openings and stuff like that haven’t been done.
I’m mainly going to show the background ambient stuff, so first things first, we got this airlock. The airlocks similar to the one in Olisar however it is a little different, there’s some different sounds, the door sounds are obviously different, there’s a different animation there so I’ve had to match new sounds to that. I’ve made them sound a little bit clunkier because GrimHex I suppose is a little less well looked after than Olisar then also every sort of one in three or four times that you go through the airlock, you get this kind of rumbling and shaking and some alarms go off and it kind of gives you a full sense of insecurity that it’s all going to go wrong and then just as everything builds up, all the juttering comes to a sort of peak and the alarms are going off. That all resolves then the airlock finish sound comes on. There is no particular gameplay ramifications to that, it’s just a fun thing that I’ve put in to make feel that little bit more rickety every now and again.
As we go through into here, one thing to note is that the ambience is done a little differently than we’ve tended towards in the past. They’re all placed in 3D space around the environment so I’ve got the audio debug on so these little text things you can see where sounds are. What you’ll find as you go around the environment, the kind of tonal character of the space changes every step you take. So, the idea I had in my head was that I didn’t want to ever have any static 2D ambiences just on boxes and areas.
The idea was more that you should be rewarded for taking each step in some kind of tonal change in your environment so you know the first example of this is we’ve got more basic ambience which is placed up in the middle there, if I go into the corner, it gets rumblier so you get sort of a darker sound in the corners as you move through. Again sounds change, sounds a little different up here and this is all with 3D audio trigger spots they’re called based in the environment with the volume falling off over distance so that it sounds very natural. You can come through here, so one of the exits, you’ll find if you come over here you can hear some wind coming gently from this grating and some sort of subtle metal contracting. The environment is full of details like that, kind of rumbly corners.
Then we follow it through, I’ve got a lift here, won’t actually bother using the lift cause I haven’t made the sounds for it yet. Now we come out into somewhere, here we go, we’re in the main area now. I took a lot of inspiration from things like Blade Runner. I really like the kind of busy sound of the cities in that film and I kind of tried to make it sound a little bit like a sci-fi pirate bazaar, I guess in this main area at least anyway.
Again, all different sounds as you go through and we’ve got ourselves little corridor down here with tonal character changes again. Hopefully like I was saying just keep things interesting, some of the hab over there which we can go have a look at, show those today. Some more emitters…then you can some through into this what I call a chasm and you getting some nice sort of rock scrapes. If I go over to this thing here, you should start hearing some, yeah there we go, you can hear that creaking there coming from this here which happens randomly. We also got randomly triggering in this sort of chasm all these rock scrapes and rumbles and stuff, very reverberant throughout the space. I created some custom reverbs for this space using impulse responses that we recorded. This is another airlock going out towards the EVA area.
Again I recorded all these sounds myself apart from there’s some stuff on the left that isn’t my recording but most of the sort of general metallic rumbles recorded a little while back when we were at one of the Foley studios actually. Then you can kind of come through and you get a sense of how that changes as you move out through the environment. So yeah, that’s pretty much the sum of what I’ve been working on in GrimHex at the moment. There’s obviously a lot more areas in GrimHex I’m not showing but hopefully that gives an idea of where we’re going with it for now. So yeah, hope you enjoyed that insight into what I’ve been doing with the sound in GrimHex. Thanks for listening.
NE: Now we’re going to hear from Clive, he’s going to give you guys some insight into the programming work that’s going into the networking refactor.
Clive Johnson: We’re hoping the network code will run quite a bit faster which should mean that the server has a higher frame rate and you can get more players on a server increasing the interaction with all the players. Ultimately we’re trying to get to is get the game servers talking to each other which will take Star Citizen from being an online game to a massively multiplayer online.
NE: Ok so now, we’re going to have a look at what Carl and Zane have been working on and the UI team with MobiGlas and take a look at some of the apps there.
Zane Bien: So, what we’ve been working on recently over the course of the past couple weeks is basically LookDev and concept for what would be the ingame Starmap. Basically seeing how it looks in different scenarios such as on a Capital ship station, on your 3D radar in a smaller ship or on your MobiGlas and basically concepting functionality that we can tie into the Starmap such as routing, route planning, different views. Basically taking what we have on the website now and kind of translating that into an ingame look and a diegetic look. So, part of this also includes doing LookDev for an overhaul MobiGlas, we feel that the MobiGlas UI feels very flat and you’re not very connected to the game world when you’re using it.
So, we redesigned it to basically it feel more diegetic and we’ve done this with the homepage and the Starmap. Basically I collaborate with Carl Jones who’s our Lead Systems Designer here at Foundry, what he does is he comes up with a core functionality and sort of the navigation hierarchy of each of our UIs and puts them into a wireframe. We iterate on this wireframe, we look at the user experience, once we’ve signed off on that, that wireframe then goes onto me or one of our other UI artists to kind of stylize and make it more representative of what it would look like in the game.
NE: Lastly I know you guys all want to know what’s going on with Squadron 42, it’s a difficult thing for us cause we want to tell everyone but we’re sworn to secrecy. What we can do though is show you what Nate’s been working on or he’ll show you what’s he’s been working on on Ship Shape and I’m sure it’s going to blow your sock off. The Bengal carrier is looking just absolutely fantastic and people here are so excited about the way it’s coming along.
Nathan Dearsley: Just as a little highlight for you guys we’re going to take a brief look at the Bengal. It’s the first ship that Chris revealed for Squadron 42. It’s a big beast. We’ve, done extensive work on the hangar and the exterior. To give you an idea of the scale of the Bengal you can fit an Idris inside of the Bengal’s hangar pretty much. You can’t quite fly it in, but it’s, pretty close. So it’s a huge undertaking, and it requires a lot of investigation into different lighting techniques, different construction techniques, different meshing techniques. Essentially it’s just one big bowl of soup and we need to work out how we’re going to first of all fit it in memory, make it render and make it fly. So, it’s never been done before in any game and that’s the challenge that, we’re approaching here.
So in total in the Bengal, this isn’t just the hangar, we’ve got a total of seven artists working on the Bengal at the moment. They, kicked off about the beginning of the year. Before that we were, kind of R&D-ing how we were going to approach it efficiently. We’ve got Jay, who’s been heading up the hangar process for us. We’ve got Ian who’s been working with Jay, and then we’ve got Robin as well who’s looking at the bridge. And then we go to exterior work which is another challenge in itself. So we’ve got Phil our senior artist working up. He’s just come off the Starfarer, so you’ve got an idea of the quality that we’re going to be pushing there. And when you approach making kind of ships over Prompter in scale, the construction technique in 3D completely changes. It’s… we can model everything up to a certain extent, but then you have to start relying on kind of clever shader techniques to get that sense of scale on, massive volumes and make the overall aesthetic of the ship work with those construction techniques. And as you can see from, this brief preview of the exterior it’s coming along really well.
All the guys are up for a challenge. Yes. Where we started on it, it’s just a lot of scratching heads, a lot of, “Oh my God. What are we going to do?” I mean the exterior alone has like 90 turrets and missile launchers. Something along that off the top of my head. There’s huge turrets. The one, one of the turrets on the exterior is the size, it’s slightly smaller than an Idris basically. You put a Gladius next to it and it just dwarfs it with its cannons. It’s brilliant. But then we got … yeah we got all the other kind of components on the exterior and which, which add up to a significant amount of data to push around at one time. So you have to be very kind of careful how you construct that.
When you start to see other ships within the environment and characters walking around in that environment you get a full sense of scale. As I mentioned it’s massive. This comes with it’s own set of challenges for kind of how much kind of juncture we can render. In this case the scale of probably three or four Battlefield maps and floating around and everything is functional. You can walk around in space. That’s never been done before. We’re up for the challenge. We’re doing it. It is a challenge. Nothing in life is easy in this industry, but I’m fairly confident that we’re sort of about 70% of the way there now. Once, once all that kind of underlying tech comes on board it will… as you can see it’s looking beautiful. So, yeah. That’s the challenge that we’ve got for the next shall we say three months all this may be done. Yep.
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 Marceline Abadeer for their graphite Vanduul Blade drawing. The attention to detail and accuracy is truly incredible and we’re all really excited to see which ship you draw next.
So congratulations again, you’re this week’s MVP. Back to you guys.
SG: And just incase you were wondering where Loremakers went, that actually aired yesterday, aired in full yesterday and you can check out the link here. Thank you to all the subscribers for continuing subscription and we are able to now improve our video content as we’re doing. So we hope you really enjoy the new format we have.
So we’ve got, I’ve just bought a couple cameras up to our UK studio which I’m going to leave here because we’ve got some new cameras in LA and also Austin and Frankfurt, we are starting to get more video content there. So we’re going to get the UK guys on camera a little bit more, are you excited about that Erin?
ER: Yes, yes we are. The UK people enjoy being on camera [Stares], but no it’s absolutely fantastic. So we’re basically going to be able to bring a lot of new content from the UK office and there’s a 100 and… coming on 170, there will be 184 in about a month’s time here and there’s a lot of pipelines that are from the UK office so it’ll mean that actually, we should be able to provide a lot of huge insight into a lot of the work going on in Star Citizen and Squadron 42.
SG: Yeah I’m actually very excited to see this episode myself because Erin told me some cool stuff that’s going to be in this show. So of course it would not be an ATV without checking out ATV’s Fast Forward, check it out.
[Caterpillar Cargo Module]
ER: For our subscribers, the free monthly ship to fly is the Sabre so please check it out and give it a test drive and tell us what you think. Also, please tune into Reverse the ‘Verse which will be 11am Pacific on twitch where the LA community team will take you through and talk about some of the stuff that you saw in the show today.
SG: And as a little side, I hear on the grape vine that Dan Gheesling, one of our avid Star Citizen supporters has had a baby, not him personally, but his wife Chelsey so congratulations.
SG: Yeah I hear his name is Desmond, he’s had a little boy so that is very, very cool, shout out to you.
And finally thank you to all of our subscribers for making this show possible. We will see you next week on Around the ‘Verse for part 3.