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Around the Verse: Gamescom 2017 Behind the Scenes Written Thursday 31st of August 2017 at 12:00pm by Desmarius, Sunjammer and StormyWinters

As per usual, anything said during the show is subject to change by CIG and may not always be accurate at the time of posting. Also any mistakes you see that I may have missed, please let me know so I can correct them. Enjoy the show!

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Burndown

  • Last week there were 67 total must fix issues comprised of seven blockers, 36 criticals, 20 highs, four moderates and zero trivials

  • Los Angeles performs the triage needed to assess these numbers and their priorities

  • Quantum travel and turrets experience is the current sprint to see if interacting with Item 2.0 along with the cockpit experience is to expected quality

  • There is a back and forth feedback with mission system status to see where things are and how soon it will take to finish

  • Sometimes you have to break the rules for things to work properly

  • Sometimes mystery bugs that are tough to crack are resolved by an unintended submission

  • Functional compromise seems to be the rule of thumb in solving bug issues

  • Miles Eckhart went on a bender due to being overworked, but multiple offices are working on the matter and hope to rehab him soon

  • The bugs you solve, the more new issues tend to be uncovered, but it allows for more polishing to be done while solving the issues at hand

  • Though the route to the sprint is circuitous, they can now see the release in sight

  • Finally, there are 94 must fix issues total from the addition of 27 new issues via 768 updates to the 3.0 branch this week   

Full Transcript

Intro With Sandi Gardiner (VP of Marketing), Steve Bender (Animation Director). Timestamped Link.

Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hello, and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse, our weekly look at Star Citizen's ongoing development. I'm Sandi Gardiner ...

Steve Bender (SB): … and I'm Steve Bender. Welcome back Sandi. How was Gamescom last week?

SG: Gamescom was pretty cool. I had a lot of fun. It was a great way to spend time with the backers, and it's always cool to see how enthusiastic they are, and plus the booth looked amazing, and it was busy … very, very busy with like line-ups.

SB: Well we've got a great show lined up for today including a feature that goes behind the scenes at Gamescom.

SG: But first it's time to check in with the dev team on our 3.0 progress. Let's see what bugs have been smashed and which new ones flared up in this week's Burndown.

SB: Burndown!

Burndown With Jake Ross (Producer), Eric Kieron Davis (Senior Producer). Timestamped Link.

Eric Kieron Davis (ED): Welcome back to Burndown, our weekly show dedicated to reviewing progress on issues blocking the release of Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 Last week we ended at 67 total must fix issues that were prioritized as seven blockers, 36 criticals, 20 highs, four moderates and zero trivials. So let's see how this week went.

Ashram Kain (AK): So one of the things that most studios do, and we do here in Los Angeles is we have triage weekly where we go through the bugs we've got in, and we assess what their impact is, what their value for the fix is, but more importantly what we can do and in what order we can accomplish things to support the long term goals of 3.0

Matthew Webster (MW): We currently … we have the … a sprint going for quantum travel experience and the turrets experience as well, which I believe I've mentioned before. We want to make sure that quantum travel and turrets are both to a level where with the Item 2.0 implementation of these … of these things we want to make sure that they're properly reflecting how it is we want to have them in the game and where we envisage them going further in the future, so we have current sprints active for those at the moment to make sure that, that is all working and tied together nicely. Similarly for the cockpit experience as well that ranges from everything from g-force reactions, hit reactions when you've been shot at to the general interaction around in the cockpit itself.

Unknown 1 (U1): A lot of things are almost completed in terms of the missions, but I've … I'm getting to a stage where I'm blocked by a lot of issues. You know if the missions are like 85 percent completed or ready for a review, but these extra couple of blockers would just push us over the line, and we've got … I've got prioritized JIRA's out for that with Gene already.

MW: The mission system is going to be under review with the directors in the coming days to see what the progress has been on the missions we currently have and getting feedback of how on the mission flow, various steps, how they play out, and any feedback that is then received from them we'll have to evaluate that and come to an agreement with them on how much we're able to get done and how long that will take, and then from that we see how much … how much work is remaining based on their feedback.

Jussi Brox (JB): Then I thought I'd show a bug I've been working on for 3.0 It's about a week old, and bug is the airlocks need moving down slightly, because since you're standing here as a player you wouldn't be pressing … like the animations for pressing this panel wouldn't actually hit the panel itself. It would hit somewhere below here, because you'd be standing on a much lower elevation. So, the bug request for is for the elevator to be moved down or everything else to be moved up. So it's a pretty clear cut case of one way or the other. Yeah, solve this problem of the elevation being different. So this is a classic case of where you could do I ... it the right way which then would be to move everything up as you see here or everything down, but where if you would do that there would be so many implications of you accidentally causing other problems for other people because you see in here there's a vaulting mark up there are loads of volumes and vis areas, there are loads of things going on, and if we see on the outside there's the same where there's lots of assets, there's AI going around here, there are navmeshes, all kinds of things that you don't want to accidentally break for someone else you know cause even more work. So that's a good case where you have to sort of break the rules of what's conventionally good in games in game development and cannot go for the simpler option which is you build a little stupid ramp, so that players don't stand down on the floor, they stand on the ramp, and the animations play correctly.

And finally as that was I mean I solved that bug and then it turns out that there was another existing bug not to do with content or art in any way exactly in this area where you sort of see … here's a video of this bug where when the player goes here you see they start … they start freaking out. There's clearly something happening here like there's bouncing … something physical just in this area sort of happening and affecting the player, and this bug was then passed around to programming - talk of network issues maybe being the cause. It was very localized like no one could figure out exactly why is it happening here, and then this submit goes in and well resolves both bugs somehow. So it's a good case of a happy accident in game development.

David Peng (DP): So what I'm working on is we had a metrics update for the shopkeep counter, and the shopkeep counter is going to be used everywhere. That could be used for selling clothes. It could be used for selling plants or weapons. Things like that. So there's going to be a lot of common use, so we want to make sure that, that the performances and the metrics are matching. What we're going to do is we've decided that we're going to take the standing touch screen for the counter, and we're going to scoot that forward a little bit, so that there's room for the performances where they can lean on the counters, and they can … but they can also type, so there's a nice compromise between the two. It'll be a new metric, and it'll be different than the standalone standing console which we already have established. So this will be another version that just works better with the shopkeep.

Jake Ross (JR): We're burning down bugs left and right. Just recently we ran into an issue with Miles Eckhart, one of the mission givers that we're going to have in 3.0 Miles Eckhart was … [Chuckles] was instead of sitting at the bar, the table like he was supposed to, we found him crawled up in the fetal position in the corner. So, for some reason he had too much to drink I guess that day or something, cause he was not where he was supposed to be. So that was a fun one to kind of debug and figure out. Required a lot of back and forth between Rob Reininger, lead designer here, Francesco, our lead AI programmer in Frankfurt, some of the networking guys. It's a lot of the issues that we're running into we're having to coordinate a lot with people from all over the company in order to solve, cause it's not just a simple design issue or simple art issue. It's kind of a combination thereof. There's rarely a feature that is developed solely in one place or on one team, so it requires a lot of coordination between teams for sure.

Rickey Jutley (RJ): The burndown rate is not always high, but that's just indicative of game development. The more we tend to resolve, the more we tend to uncover new issues, so the bugs created always rises, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, because at the same time when we're fixing up issues we're able to get the polish done, fix the bugs and then watch the burn rate increase.

Matthew Lightfoot (ML): Where are we at now? We're getting closer. Obviously with software and with games development it's really hard to tell where you're exactly at, because things that can really get you in the hamstrings are the unknown bugs and the crashes with low reproducibility. All of the bugs that we fix with the mission giving and being able to go down to a procedural planet and pick up the boxes and be able to complete those missions is directly going to impact 3.0 and reduces the workload that we now have to do to be able to release 3.0 to you guys, our backers. It's not a direct sprint. It's you know we've got to go around the circuit to get there, but we can see it now and it's being able to realize it. There will be bugs before we get there. How big they are [Shrugs] are yet to be determined, but we are there. We can see it, and it's now just being able to focus in and hone in to that release, so that you guys can play 3.0

ED: So at the time of filming this we've added 27 to our must fix list and checked in 768 updates to our 3.0 branch this week. That means we are at 94 issues stopping the release to our first round of non-CIG testers. As Gamescom occurred this week, we have the unique opportunity for what ended up being over 2,000 attendees playing our planetary experience, which as you know houses a lot of the new changes coming with SC Alpha 3.0 Now, this did end up increasing the influx of must fix issues for the better as it helped us find some issues that may not have occurred until after our first release. So, as the goal every week is to burn down, we're going to keep working to push that number downward as fast as possible, so come back next week to keep up to date on Burndown.

Back to Studio With Sandi Gardiner (VP of Marketing), Steve Bender (Animation Director). Timestamped Link.

SB: Remember, Burndown isn't the only way for you to follow our work on 3.0 You can also check out the production schedule on our website. We update it every week with further details on various bugs and blockers affecting 3.0

SG: As we mentioned earlier the Star Citizen team spent last week at Gamescom. We streamed live from the show floor, let people play a part of our 3.0 build and revealed an exciting new partnership with Faceware Technologies at our annual Gamescom presentation.

SB: But that's just the stuff you saw. A ton of work went on behind the scenes to get everything ready for the show floor as well as Friday's event. Let's take a look.

Gamescom Presentation With Chris Roberts (CEO, Director of Star Citizen and Squadron 42). Timestamped Link.

Tyler Witkin (TW): I'm here at the show floor booth at Gamescom 2017.

Chris Roberts (CR): We were doing press demos on Wednesday and Thursday, which we had about six people on instead of the twelve we had for the big one, and so that's a little bit of times we're always working through some of the kinks although you know some of the crashes… sometimes we had, sometimes we didn’t.

Paul Riendell (PR):Every new build comes with like new little bugs here and there so we get the latest build and usually QA did a good job and liked prescreened the build but sometimes run into an issue and then we try to like fix it on site as soon as we can.

Wednesday

Jared Huckaby (JH): We have an important announcement to make… DJ Knight is falling perilously to his death. We don’t know how long it’s going to take him to land on the ground but his options don’t look good.  

TW: We’re here at the Star Citizen booth at Gamescom show floor and it is packed.

Ulf Kürschner: There’s so many people around here, people viewing and down there and they can play 3.0.

Brian Chambers (BC): Everyday on the floor, you know, we found issues. What people were playing was live, it was raw, right? First day, Tuesday, we found bugs those went back, we calculated them. Wednesday morning, new build so I’m there helping with IT and everything else… coordinate, let’s push the builds. Let’s keep going.

Thursday

Unknown speaker 1: Then I would try atmospheric reentry because that’s the stuff we’re all waiting for.  

Unknown speaker 2: The graphic details are just awesome.

Unknown speaker 3: I think my experience was very great, I can fly around the planet, I experienced toured the ships that I didn’t experience before.

Friday

Unknown speaker 4: So once we knew what we wanted to do being a designer I was first working on setting up a lot of the AI in Levski and then after that basically got pulled into practicing the flow with the six people that were actually available in Frankfurt.           

Unknown speaker 5: We need to send an audio feed via headphones so the game is… players of the demo can hear their own sounds but also send it via HDMI to the AV guys which then pass it to the PA system which is for the live mix of when people are watching it in the Gloria theater but then also isolating each element of that so I can send a different mix to the stream.

CR: I hope things don’t crash, sometimes they do and then you got to try decide what best way to recover from that but no I’m not generally nervous at all. It’s more just you got all this adrenaline, getting it all together and then bam you go through the presentation. It’s done.

600i commercial: What does it take to build a symphony? It takes a blueprint for movements that will dictate key, tempo, and the arrangement of musical notes that will create harmonies. A feeling so powerful that it transcends words and must be conveyed in another form. Introducing the new 600i from Origin, a symphony in motion.

SG: And without further ado I am going to introduce the man who you’ve all been waiting for, Chris Roberts.

CR: Good to see you guys today, we having fun? Yeah?

We thought that perhaps we should just get straight into a demo.

Melissa Estrada (ME): It just gave us a mission.

Glen Kneale (GK): Wait, you’re a guy?

ME: Yeah, why not? I wanted to try something different. What do you think of my look?

CR: Ok, so hold on guys. So one thing we’re going to show here and this is a feature we’ve put into the game, it’s not going to be in 3.0 but it will be soon afterwards. Two things… one, which is VOIP and the other is what we call FaceOverIP.

Going to get far enough away and as you can see the space landscape is much better than it was in 2.6. We look down and we see the big crater, so you can…

So now we’re heading to Daymar and you can see Crusader actually off to the right as we head up on Daymar. That’s a bug… oh John’s machine crashed. All right, sorry guys the pilot’s machine crashed and that’s why it disappeared in the middle of the jump. I did warn you that it potentially had some crashes in there, that was not one crash we had in our… we had a few other crashes in our various playthroughs but not that particular one unfortunately. Alright. Back in business.

GK: Woah. Steady on.

ME: That is a huge ship!

Idris Captain: Adjusting landing position.

GK: Hey Melissa.

ME: What?

GK: Let me out. Before we get up to that thing!

ME: Go on then. Just close the door on your way out.

BC: Was I nervous? Yeah. Absolutely. But at the same time what I enjoy most about these shows when people come together and we can do these events I take the time and I watch the audience’s reaction when the show’s playing, because that’s what I vibe off of. Right? And to see people get excited, to see people … to see their facial reaction and to hear the noise when something happens - that I know is going to be there right before - it’s awesome. I did have the time to relax a little bit with everyone. It was a good time.

ME: It was scary honestly. But I had fun. FaceWear guys are really awesome and they some tips and tricks to make it look really good. And, yeah, I just sat there in the mirror practicing all the time trying to get it to look right.

CR: So we wanted to show where 3.0 is up to. But we ... and we knew we wanted to show FaceWear and the face tracking because we’ve gotten it to the point where we felt like we wanted to show it publicly, so we thought it would be really great to play in 3.0 but add on the element of FaceWear and face tracking. And then … so that was kind … and then we’re thinking “Well, what else … how can we end the demo on something big?” And we’d been working on the Idris for Squadron 42 and there was making some great progress and actually Nathan Dearsley, who’s our Ship Art Director, has long been pitching says “Why don’t you just have an Idris land on a planet and then we drive a rover into it for the end of the demo?”. And I’m like “Okay. Well okay.” So then we thought “Well that could be cool, but why don’t we have two Idrises fight each other?”

JH: … in the rear.

Myre_TEST (MT): Slowly, slowly slowly …

TW: Slow down.

MT: Slow. Slow. Slow. Slow. Slow.

All: [triumphant cheers and laughter]

JH: Gawd. Oh. Gawd.

Outro With Sandi Gardiner (VP of Marketing), Steve Bender (Animation Director). Timestamped Link.

SG: As you can see events like Gamescom are a tremendous amount of effort and coordination. We’d like to thank all the Star Citizen devs, streamers and volunteers that helped make it happen because we couldn’t have done it without you.

SB: Well that’s all for today’s show but before we go we just wanted to remind everyone there will be no monthly report for August. Now that Gamescom is over things will go back to normal and you can expect September’s monthly report in a few weeks.

SG: Thanks to our subscribers, as always, who pitch in a little extra each month to help make these shows. September’s Ship of the Month will be the Drake Herald so starting Friday all you need to do is log into the game to try it out.

SB: And thanks to all our backers for your support. Events like Gamescom really highlight the importance of our community and we can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done to make this game a reality.

SG: And until next week, we will see you …

Both: Around the ‘verse!

Desmarius

Transcriber

When he's not pun-ishing his patients or moderating Twitch streams, he's at Relay pun-ishing their patience as a member of the transcription staff. Otherwise, he can be found under a rock somewhere in deep East Texas listening to the dulcet tones of a banjo and pondering the meaning of life.

"If you can't do something smart, do something right." - Sheperd Book

Sunjammer

Contributor

For whatever reason, this author doesn't have a bio yet. Maybe they're a mystery. Maybe they're an ALIEN. Maybe they're about to get a paddlin' for not filling one out. Who knows, it's a myyyyyyystery!

StormyWinters

Director of Fiction

Moonlighting as a writer in her spare time StormyWinters combines her passion for the written word and love of science fiction resulting in innumerable works of fiction. As the Director of Fiction, she works with a fantastic team of writers to bring you amazing stories that transport you to new places week after week.