Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hello and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse. I’m Sandi Gardiner.
Chris Roberts (CR): And I’m Chris Roberts.
SG: In today’s update we’ll see what the Character team’s been up to and take a whirlwind tour of the Stanton system with Environmental Art. But first we wanted to give a shout out to all the pilots who have been in the action at Jumptown.
CR: Yes it’s been very cool. We’ve all be watching this in CIG around the world having a lot of fun seeing this emergent gameplay pop out.
So those of you that don’t know, Jumptown is a drug lab that’s hidden somewhere on Yela - you have to … it’s not marked you have to find it - but if you go there that’s where you can buy Widow which is ... if you are trading in the ‘verse at the moment - that’s the the most profitable thing to trade.
So with 3.3.5/6/7 now you can buy ships with money that you’re earning or you can buy ship weapons or items or … that kind of stuff; and so there’s a much bigger reason to make some money and people are getting into making money. And so one of the ways, obviously, is mining which everyone knows about - but you need a Prospector for that - the other way would be buying goods and selling them elsewhere and Widow is the best way to make money.
So people figured out that Jumptown’s the place to go to make money. So a lot of traders have been heading to Jumptown and buying Widow. But then a whole bunch of people that like to play the other side of the law - or the pirates - figured out that that’s where everyone was going …
SG: And they jump you.
CR: … and spending money on the Widow right? So they were spending UEC on the Widow so they could buy it and then sell it for more. And then the pirates were jumping them to rob the Widow from them or just cause grief or whatever.
And then on top of that other players were coming out to cover the backs or protect the honest traders. And so we had this whole emergent game cycle of warfare between these various groups that are either protecting or attacking players around Jumptown on Yela. And it’s really cool.
A lot of people have been streaming the action. They’ve been playing together in groups - which is one of the core things about Star Citizen - using the … FOIP and … the Comms, and having a great time together. People manning the turrets on the Hammerheads …
SG: I’ve seen the cutlasses...
CR: … yeah … having, yeah … various groups … people on the ground, people flying spaceships, doing combined arms, on foot combat, dog-fighting. So it’s … it’s really a little microcosm some of the real … potential of what you can see in Star Citizen. And I think it’s cool because people are going to see it and go “Oh. Yeah. Okay, I can see where … what can happen in this game.”
And for us it’s been a lot of fun watching this happen. It’s been going on now for a few weeks and it’s really, really cool.
SG: Yes definitely. So whether you are a pirate, mercenary, or an org trying to defend the location for safe trade or otherwise, we’re actually really enjoying all of the videos and streams …
CR: Yes, it’s cool.
SG: … and images as Chris suggested. So keep sharing your Jumptown exploits on the Community Hub. Yes.
CR: Yes, definitely please do that ...
SG: Yes …
CR: … it’s a lot of fun.
SG: … now strap in because we’re going to take a trip all around the burgeoning Stanton system to look at recent progress on various locations and features.
CR: Last week we got a look at the Central Business District in Lorville and so this week we’re going to go back to the Central Business District so why don’t you check out some of that right now.
The Environment team’s really been adding the finishing touches. Previously when we showed it there was some “work in progress” stuff - the statue for instance - that’ve been looking a lot better, and they’ve been doing the final materials.
As well as that they’ve been working on the sound. So they’ve been working on the ambient sounds and also Pedro’s been composing specific music for the Central Business District to give it a very distinct flavour compared to, say, the common worker area of the city which is what - L19 - that you’ve seen before, or Teasa Spaceport.
So it’s really cool. It’s a completely different flavour. As you arrive at the big building there’s this … you get this huge grandeur and it’s four kilometers high - it’s bigger than any building in our Earth right now - and, yeah, it’s just all built to impress and be opulent and it’s very different than the rest of Lorville which is really cool.
SG: Yes, it’s very cool. And the Props team has been fine tuning their contributions to the CBD as well. Like these huge statues - that Chris just mentioned - that immortalise Hurston’s founding fathers.
CR: Yes … much higher …
SG: They look better now.
CR: … much higher resolution than the work in progress stuff that was shown previously.
Now looking ahead to early next year we’re going to continue our tour of the Stanton system and go to ArcCrop.
So here we can see some whitebox R&D that’s been done Ian Leyland - who’s the Art Director of Star Citizen - on the City Block biomes for the planet itself; because the ArcCrop is almost entirely covered by manmade structures. So we’ve been looking at how we can use our newer Planet Tech - which is improved from last year - and have … more … manmade and manufactured biomes as opposed to organic ones that you’ve seen around Hurston.
We’re really looking at trying to get a much better sense of scale and also variety and detail in the buildings. And you can just really look out and just a whole skyline. And we also have a variety of heights, so as you see in this video you can see from far distance coming down; you can see for a huge distance. The small outer areas; the suburbs around Area 18. These huge buildings that you can fly in like ArcCorp tower. And there just a really great sense of scale.
And it’s significantly more impressive than what we showing when we showed the ArcCrop prototype last year. So I think by the time we release it for you guys to fly around with it’s going to be a really cool experience. So we’re pretty excited by how it just gets better.
SG: Yes. Very cool. And here we see further visual work on the icy moon of Lyria.
CR: Yes that’s very, very cool.
Alright so carrying on our tour, we’re leaving ArcCorp now; we’re going a little … further in the timeline of our development of next year in Star Citizen, but here is MicroTech.
We’re looking at a biome that the Art team’s working on. So we’re doing exploration on MicroTech. So it’s the coldest of the planets in the stanton system. So we have MicroTech, ArcCorp, Crusader, and Hurston. But MicroTech had a terraforming accident so it’s a little colder than the other ones but it’s not completely covered in snow and ice so we’re also looking at other areas that would be like Nordic forest land or that kind of stuff. So this is some exploration that the Art team’s been doing.
And you can see here a very different feel to, say, the savannah of Hurston. And so it’s cool and as we start to flesh out these biomes on planets like MicroTech or future ones that we do you can see the potential of the variety and beauty that will be in the ‘verse. So ...
SG: Yes, going back to 3.4 over on Levski finishing touches are being put on our new mission giver, Wallace Klim, who is definitely not the most reputable character in the ‘verse.
CR: Yes, looks like he’s been dealing in - and may be using - some Widow himself. But speaking of characters we’ve been working on adapting existing armour that’s been designed for male characters to their female counterparts.
SG: Yes, here’s Josh Herman, Gaige Hallman, and Jeremiah Lee with more details on the process.
Josh Herman (JH): With the female player character deep in development we’re working really hard here on the Character Art side to make sure that all the female assets are one-to-one and have parity with the male assets. This is a little bit of process but it’s definitely a lot of content to create.
It’s really important for us to make sure that the female has all of the same assets that the male does because we want the players to have choice to make sure that whatever gender they choose that it’s equivalent.
Gaige Hallman (GH): Starting the process for conversion the Character Artist would blendshape the male armour to the female body. We did this by essentially making a similar topology version of the male and female that can then blendshape between them. And a blendshape is essentially just morphing one object into another shape without changing topology at all. And we had this unified body that could morph between the male and and female and then we would apply essentially a wrap deformer in Maya that would then morph the male’s armour in its entirety down into the female shape.
So you want to make sure it still fits the modular volumes after they’ve acquired the proper shape and size. And the modular volume will allow us to apply all the armours on top of every single undersuit. Which sounds simple at first, but is very tedious to keep an eye over. So we need to make sure that they all fit on top of the exact same shape, and all the undersuits that were changed to the female body fit within that volume. So that then, as soon as you start turning these on they will all fit together. Just right off the get go.
Tech Art will then take it from there, and they will skin it up, set up the runtime rigs, make sure it’s working properly within the game, and then hand it off too Design - our local Design guy Bret - and he will then handle the unification which is probably one of the bigger steps because it has very wide implications. So he’ll make sure you’ll get the unified item that will then switch between male and female according to what you play as.
Luckily we’ve been preparing for this for a long time so there’ll be minimal impact on our pipeline. What I’m excited to see is the new concepts that will come out that accomodate male and female: armour, clothing, or any wearables.
JH: In addition to armour we’re also doing clothing. We’re trying to make all of our assets - or as many as possible - one-to-one with our male and female. We are still exploring other options that would be specific to each gender and realistically it will probably be 99% one-to-one but we want to have the option to explore that as well.
Jeremiah Lee (JL): There will be plenty of bespoke clothing for male and female in the future. And we actually have some backed up, ready to be made, but because we have the tech and also the assets ready we can plan to see a lot in the future.
Armour is a different beast. In the concept phase we try to keep our armours gender neutral so we won’t have, like, a breast cut for females that you see in most games. And also for males you might see, like, the abs and the male chest. So we try to refrain from those type of design language because we have to have the armours fit and look aesthetically pleasing - and functional - for both sexes.
So the concept you see right now is Hurston Management and it’ll be vastly different than what you’ve seen in the game. And the reason why is because this … these guys are on a completely different scale than just regular Hurston workers or Hurston security. And these guys have a lot of money.
And so what we wanted to do was … the key word - the key terminology - that was used when concepting these guys was “old money”. I was thinking of Rockefeller. That was actually the main key figure that I was looking at when I was in my research. When I was talking with Josh Herman, our Art Director, about which direction we should go he … he was just like, “Dude, just got to go with old money.” And then I thought what would be, in our past, the most interesting era to get into? And the Twenties screamed straight at me.
And the most difficult part for me was actually how do I make the Twenties look sci-fi? Because this game is 900 years in the future and if I just do Twenties stuff it will look like we went back 80 to 90 years - close to a hundred years - in the past. And so finding the charm of the Twenties but using the cuts and interesting shapes of the sci-fi world we have now, I fused those together and came up with these shapes and these clothes that you can see right now.
JH: When it’s all said and done what we’re looking for in the female assets is something that looks just as good on the female as it did on the male. We’re not looking to spend a tonne of time redesigning or recreating all these assets because they already look pretty great. We’re not looking to femalise or hyper-sexualise this: we want it to be one-to-one and make sure that it just as good as it was on the male and that it’s overall pretty gender neutral.
CR: Thanks guys.
SG: Yes thank you. And that just about does it for us this week. Thank you as always to the Subscribers who make it possible for us to bring you these shows.
CR: Yes and as always thanks to the Backers - all you guys - because none of this would be possible without you.
SG: Yes that is very true. Make sure to tune in next week as we have some fun stuff to share. And until then …
CR: Hopefully … hopefully 3.4. We’ll see ...
SG: … yes 3.4 and other stuff … we will see you …
CR: … you … ready?
Both: … around the ‘verse.