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!
Previous week there were 23 must-fix issues.
Many strange bugs this week including airlocks not opening, items disappearing from shops, and afterburners crashing the game.
Second stage afterburners added to the game to allow for faster traversal of space when not at Quantum Travel velocity. You must travel in a straight line at full throttle and not maneuver or adjust throttle for the second stage afterburner to kick in.
Gameplay reviews were done of the shopping, commodity, and cargo game loop. There were largely successful but significant UI bugs remain.
As of filming this episode of ATV, there were 25 must-fix issues remaining after discovering some during the week.
Legacy Armour - Part 1
Developing the character customisation system they realised the legacy armours were an issue and decided to rebuild them
Legacy armours were one solid mes rather than individual (helmet, chest, arms, leg, undersuit) pieces
Considered saving the helmets but they don't use the right materials or shaders and they'd still have to rebuild the rest
Hardest thing to concept when mixing manufacturers is ensuring any mix will make sense and be aesthetically pleasing
Started with the legacy outlaw (light, medium, heavy) which are all in some stage of production
Recently posted the concept art in Sneak Peeks and currently in High Poly phase
Most iconic element is the helmet: the understructure with clear dome and two red circles
Designing a separate legacy outlaw undersuit (which will work with all armours)
New outlaw light helmet and armour are among the lightest in game and are mixed media (possibly with cloth simulations)
Undersuit is basically a jumpsuit with boots, gloves and a neck seal (for a helmet)
Legacy outlaw undersuit is compatible with all armours (and legacy armour is compatible with all undersuits)
Iconic elements are the helmet and the stronger general shapes
Also currently in High Poly phase, eventually moving to game asset, texturing, etc.
One of the more iconic armours in game: a little bigger, a little heavier with a really iconic helmet
The made the "football padding" shapes more spontaneous by referencing Samurai influences
They added some new tech to make it more sympathetic to the lore of the game
They added a lot of layering, including a frame on which the armour is built, to the concept
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.
Forrest Stephan (FS): And I’m Forrest Stephan.
SG: On this episode we exam how the team is updating the game’s legacy armour. These suits might look familiar but upcoming changes not only bring them up to the current standards of our items but also mean you’ll be able to customize them in the future.
FS: But before that the development team has been issuing new builds to our group of Evocati testers to battle the critical bugs that are keeping it from the PTU, let’s check out what issues we tackled this week in Burndown.
Eric Kieron Davis (EKD): 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 were at 23 remaining must-fix issues to complete the polish and bugs for our next game loop of shopping, cargo and commodity trading. This week we solved several problems and encountered some new challenges with interactions and severe crashes in multiplayer, so let’s see how this week went.
UK Leads Meeting
Paul Reindell (PR): So what would be nice I think we got a list of like how it works or how broken it is. QA can makes videos and then do a filter review this week and at least review the videos so we have a review like do a review.
Erin Roberts (ER): I mean, to be honest I would just get in with Evocati Todd and play with them, that’s the latest build and pretty much going to be up to date today and that will be a lot easier…
Todd Papy(TP): The issue is that I need some of the stuff fixed so I can… I was able to play it on like the internal shipping build on Friday and there was still issues so like I mean I’ve JIRA’ed up most of - I’ve had those JIRA’ed up so…
PR: The point is we want to definitely have a review this week regardless, just to see where we are just so people can see it.
George Stabler (GS): I guess the most infuriating issue we’ve had this week was we had one build where we couldn’t use the afterburner, if we used the afterburner the game crashed to desktop. It’s amazing how you don’t even think about it, you get into a ship and take off and you press shift to take off and you crashed. Then you get back in game and you go and you take off and press shift without thinking about it and you crash. Next time you remove the keybinding but because of the way our builds work, you don’t always keep the keybindings from load to load. So sometimes you get in again, you’ve forgotten to take off the keybinding and you start flying and you just press it. You literally just do it without thinking completely on autopilot, which was quite an infuriating build to be using because it involved lots of crashes to desktop.
Matthew Webster (MW): The second stage afterburners. What that’s doing is allowing us to cut down on the travel times we’re having at the moment. So, at the moment people are quantum travelling to a planet and the flight time down to the planet’s surface or just a little bit further around to the next quantum travel marker could be 15 or 20 minutes or something like that. This also carries through to the rest of the game as well where you’re in open space and there isn’t necessarily a quantum travel point in order for you to just jump to. You’re going to need to traverse a long distance in a shorter amount of time. So, what the second stage afterburners are doing is beyond your current top speed, the design of this is that when you are travelling in a straight line your ship continues to ramp up its speed to a predetermined velocity and you then continue on that straight line at a higher speed and a shorter travel time. When you come to maneuver or you adjust your throttle settings then things slow back down to your regular travel speed. So, this is something that only kicks in when you’re already at your top throttle setting and the ship just kicks back in and takes you up to that faster speed.
UK Leads Meeting
ER: Let’s pick out those one or two or three bugs and say ‘Get those fixed first’.
MW: We should be able to do that right now. I know there are still some issues with cargo as a whole, like I’ve seen a couple of them when you buy a certain type of commodity - if you buy a metal type of commodity, those cargo items then don’t appear in your ship. So, there’s odd one but from what I’m seeing from the various JIRAs that we already have pulled out I think there’s only 3 or 4 left. ‘Kiosks must be closed and re-opened to see any changes taking effect’ - that’s still open.
PR: Coul we have maybe Todd, me, you, and a QA guy after this go over this and just found out what are the biggest, whatever, four issues and we’ll see.
ER: Well the whole deal is let’s get it functional and once it’s all functional let’s go back over it and do all of the polish in terms of making - lots of UI work to do but we just go over that sort of stuff and then we just polish all of that kind of stuff as we go behind but right now we can’t just do something, that’s the first thing to fix and then we should go behind it and then just basically get the UI for that stuff working well.
Shopping/Commodities/Kiosky Gameloop Review
MW: Todd, where do you want George to go?
TP: So, well, George and I spoke about this earlier. What we’re going to be doing is basically going from Olisar to Grim Hex. We’re going to buy commodities and then take them over there and sell them and if we make good time and get through all of the things that we need to review, then we will go from Grim Hex to Levski but we should get all of it worked out right here.
TP: Okay so, real quick, to get back on track, obviously there’s the icon, there is the scrolling of the big bar, and once you go into a filter…
CR: What just happened there? Oh is this you filtering? This is filtering right?
TP: So basically you actually have to have it scrolled all of the way up to the top and then once you actually go through and use the filter then it works properly so the other thing is, with the filter bar, you don't know that there is anything actually below vice right now but if George goes back into the filter bar. Scroll down.
CR: Well, how do I even know that's the filter bar?
TP: It says Filter.
PR: It says Filter.
CR: Where? Where does it say Filter?
GS: If I have it set to None it says Filter.
PR: It did originally.
CR: It says None.
PR: It said originally Filters.
TP: The other major major issue right now is this bar and being able to actually use that bar and if George actually clicks, so it's a bug but basically if you wanted to go through and sell something, he'll actually click on min and then all of a sudden it will come in and it will come in and then it will actually start being used but it's super super finicky if he actually clicks on the number, say 156, like if you wanted to go through and sell a very specific amount it's a bug that basically locks you into place.
MW: I think that bug just got resolved Todd, earlier.
TP: Fantastic. Okay, that’s good.
PR: So I mean that sounds like if it would work as it’s supposed to work we would be happy with this thing kind of, right?
TP: Yes, yeah we are getting to the point where we are trying to finish this stuff out so in my mind it's going to be these little things that actually finish it out and make it more polished and actually work the way that it was designed to work.
Ricky Jutley (RJ): We've seen buying and selling in one location, we've actually transported the cargo to another location, buying and selling, what else do you want to show?
TP: Those are the main things. In particular it goes back to the refresh icons, the bar down on the right hand side, the scroll filter bar, the scroll main area, and then using the filter - that bug - and then as soon as use the filter it not saying it filters anymore. Minor issues with the blur in the upper right image area which is basically the big blank one, the overall prices, the quantity pass, and the actual look of the different boxes. So those are the things that I feel need to be done - sorry, we’ve got 6 that I feel need to be done and then the other ones are minor issues.
MW: Yesterday we had a review of the commodity shopping section which went really well. That's come on quite a long way. We’ve still got some bugs that were highlighted during the playthrough yesterday, so we've had those all bugged up by QA. Some were pre-existing, other ones have been highlighted during the review and so now we're in the process of prioritizing those with the teams and they can start working through that.
Hugo Silva(HS): So, during the playthrough test of the commodities kiosk we actually found an issue with the drop-down and the grid underneath. It was not actually losing focus when we would select the drop-down so it would actually scroll both of them. What we are doing right now it's fixing the issue where when you select the drop-down it actually gains focus and it removes the focus away from the grid, so this situation doesn't happen again.
GS: Commodity system - obviously it's buying cargo, taking it from A to B, and then selling it. So there are obviously various different stages to this. First thing you do is, you know we have these little commodity kiosks in game, so you go and buy your cargo through that and then it appears in your ship - hopefully. Most of the time it does. Then you take your ship elsewhere and sell that cargo. Now, we’ve still got a few issues with it. It is mostly working to a state where you can actually do everything and by everything, there's nothing really that blocks testing of it or the gameplay to do with it, and there’s a whole range of different things which we’ve been testing on that as well. There's various different ships with different cargo holds and they’ve all have got to be able to have cargo in it, they’ve got to be able to put the different types of cargo in it which all have different boxes. There are also different size boxes depending on how much cargo you’re buying so there’s smaller boxes and bigger boxes for each of them. Did that the wrong way around [referring to hand movements]. So, we’ve been going through testing all of the ships with all of the different bits and pieces of cargo to try and pull out any issues there as well as general issues with the UI when you’re buying and selling cargo. So, you’ve got the UI elements which you're buying all that through and there's still various little issues with that - some of graphical issues - just some quality-of-life issues as well with that but, however, it is all working to the point where you can buy cargo, you can get it into any of the cargo ships actually, then take it to somewhere else and sell that cargo for hopefully a profit.
Live Release Sync
TP: There’s a detrimental issue with this build running like interactions are not working. Are we going to deploy the build that we’re … that we planned up on now or we keeping another build?
ER: What I’d like to do is to get a coder to just like do it and say quickly check it now quickly, and if there is a problem there then we would want it fixed, and then we’ll kick off a new build/new fix, but I … we wouldn’t wait … but then we’d have to wait two hours to get a new build.
RJ: Yeah. If the coder says that we have to get a QA TR, because he’s really unsure then they can communicate that with you, so I think that’s what Chad needs to do if Chad is the person investigating, cause it’s with him now.
PR: So you want him to get the latest from Perforce?
PR: Start the build. See if interactions work. If they work we just kick off another build.
ER: Well, no we just keep this build going.
PR: If it’s really broke then obviously you fix it and then once it’s fixed …
ER: … then we kill this build and kick another one, yeah.
ER: Otherwise we’re going to wait two and a half hours otherwise...
Unknown: If it’s something that is genuinely broke and it is something that obviously has been submitted today ...
ER: Yeah, between builds.
Unknown: … in the EU so it’s just if Chad can sort of look at … I don’t know who’s store could have been stuck in meetings if they messaged it.
PR: Okay, can someone paste the JIRA in that link please?
CR: I don’t know. Chad … Chad said in the engineer update he’d finished up the work on the interactions on multi … on skins and stuff, and maybe it has something to do with that.
Chad McKinney (CM): So I just got done finishing getting skins - working with interactions, and this was necessary that we could get shopping working with armor and clothing. The interaction system wasn’t able to work previously with skinned assets, because skins which are assets that we attach onto the players don’t have any physics associated with them, so the interaction system uses raycast to find physical entities, and then uses that to figure out what the player is looking at or what’s nearby. However, for these particular assets the raycasts would always fail, and there would be no result, so you were never able to using the new interaction system interact with skinned entities. However, I’ve added a way that the skinned items that have interaction points can actually register foreign data onto the host entity which will allow them to be found by the interaction raycasts so that now you can interact with the interaction points that are the skinned entities. This is going to be useful for shopping, but it allows us to do more things moving forward. So now we’ll be able to have other characters interact with those skinned entities for other reasons maybe like stealing or you could comment on what something someone else was wearing, but also it’s also another step towards getting these skinned entities working as standalone entities so that maybe you could drop say some armor on the ground and pick it up or drop your boots and pick them up.
Live Release Sync - Wilmslow Studio
MW: So we’ll need to figure out this ASOP terminal issue …
MW: ... and where that’s coming from. That’s the … I think that’s the
Unknown2 (U2): That’s the only thing I’ve got written down.
MW: … yeah that’s the absolute biggest one.
ER: What fixes do we have from the issues that came in last night in terms of the fact that we have all these crashes we’ve not been getting the proper call stacks from?
MW: So …
ER: Did we manage to find any? Did our internal QA guys here find some stuff ...
ER: Did they … did we get some of the recreations to devs here so we can fix some of these stuff up? I’m saying that if we do another build … if we sent them another build tonight what would be better about it than the one we had yesterday?
MW: If we send in a build from like a new one that we kick off after this ASOP terminal sprint, we should see more … all being well and more stability in there.
Vince Sinatra (VS): The Star Map fixed.
MW: Yeah, the Star Map missing its assets is a fix as well.
VS: Also the PMA is missing assets as well.
MW: I know, that’s just gone over to the guys now.
MW: That one’s less of an issue right now.
PR: What do you mean it’s missing assets? It’s like ... what exactly is missing?
MW: The Personal Manager App.
PR: Yeah, but what’s missing?
Unknown3 (U3): The character model doesn’t appear.
Steven Brennon (SB): What if it’s stuck in the bed which was happening quite frequently from what I heard?
MW: That … that was …
SB: That was fixed.
MW: ... Yeah, that was fixed today, so we need to do a new build for that.
ER: Okay, so very soon it sounds like we need to fix this issue, rebuild and then get another one to Evocati with …
ER: … with this issue fixed.
Kieran Burke (KB): So this bug I was given … when the character died in Levski they respawned in the beds, but actually respawned beneath the bed and kind of clipped through the wall causing the player to get stuck. What I did was I opened up the Cry file and looked at what assets were involved so it would be this kind of pod. Our legs have a positioning of like nodes, and I found that. This node here which would start the animation was actually placed off to the side - like so. All I basically did, it was a simple fix, just moved it back in the middle of this pod, reset the X so it’s local to the world, made sure the hierarchy here was all perfectly fine, tested it in engine and ... yep, just start the animation. It’s in the right position. Guy gets out of bed fine and no clipping through the walls or underneath the bed. Yep, so that’s basically it. It was a simple fix.
LA Engineering Stand-Up
Spencer Johnson (SJ): After much strife, the list of ship item ports in the ship item kiosk is now being populated properly including all of the holes, finally. There was a little bit of miscommunication or misunderstanding between some stuff Chad and I were talking about. So, the hard part easier than I thought so pending whatever we talked about with Simon in the UI sync, hopefully right after this, about how we’re going to get this data to the UI might be able to be in review today or potentially even submitted but it depends on what comes out of that conversation. So, closing in, it’s working, just gotta clean it up and do a couple of other things.
Julia Wilson (JW): The build that dropped today - well, the biggest thing that affects us is ASOP terminals are unable to spawn ships and assets are missing from starmap and PMA.
Kirk Tomei (KT): The ASOP terminal issue may be build-related because I saw it this morning when I got the build but I synced to ??? change list ???.
SJ: I also saw that this morning but only in singleplayer. In multiplayer it spawned ships.
Live Release Sync
MW: The other issue that has literally just got opened again, this airlocks bug. This one is weird. So, it was broken on the build that QA had yesterday, it was working on the build that QA had this morning, now it isn't again on the build that was kicked off at lunch.
CM: So, we just found out that airlocks aren’t opening in release builds right now. This is a blocking bug because this means that the natural flow of gameplay can't traverse beyond just your spawning point. The original kind of indication is possibly that it's a problem with the interaction system, that the interaction prompts aren't being given to you to actually open the airlock, however, other doors and interactions are working so this indicates that it's probably more of a problem specifically with airlocks or doors not working. Unfortunately, this being a release build bug makes it much more difficult to solve and these are the ones that can take a long time because all of the tools that we have available to us are kind of taken away whenever we are trying to look into them. So, I have a few guesses about what could have gone wrong. There have been some changes to both doors and interactions relatively recently so there are some opportunities to look at this code and see if it's potentially contributing to the issue, but again it being a shipping bug makes it difficult and confusing as to why it only happens in this case and not during development.
MW: Like I said, the 3 bugs that we need to get fixed are the two ones about the shops and the air locks. After those are fixed, assuming we get fixes in for those, we go for a release build and we aim to push that one up to Evocati. Jake, I'll leave it in your hands, and aids obviously, to make a call on whether you try to get ahold of Chris, Erin, whoever to try and make a call for Evocati later tonight if we don’t get fixes in time to kick a build for this airlocks one. Because, if that’s the case we’ll have to use the build that QA here had this morning but that means that we don’t get the shops. Like I said, I spoke to Chris…
JR: Can you get a call from them right now before they leave? Like, I mean I feel like we can make that call now. Are they comfortable with going to Evocati without shopping?
Unknown Speaker (US): ??? PU gameplay review ???
MW: I can ask Chris in a little bit. Chris is going at 7, he’s on a train so he’ll probably be leaving at 2 minutes to 7 from this office and then miss his train.
CR: Well, probably because they’ll have items won’t they? We want to test our optimizations to see if the game’s performing better.
MW: Yeah, I mean, that’s the other thing - that we do still have the ability to get out and explore. We’ve got all of the various bits and pieces and optimizations, we’re just missing those items.
CR: Yeah, yeah. So, it’s not going to be long term. We’re allowed to fall back. It would be nice to fix it.
EKD: Now we did make lots of progress on several blocking issues as well as tackled new issues that cropped up. Like Chad mentioned, we fixed the broken interactions across the entire game, doors not opening up, and that multiplayer crash. We also had an in-depth review of the shopping, commodity, and cargo game Loop where we got to see a lot of great progress but it did uncover several new unplanned issues that we've added to the list, so at the time of filming this we are at 25 issues which breaks down into 4 blockers, 14 criticals, 5 highs, and 2 moderates. Now we've also made over 551 updates across all kinds of aspects of the 3.0 build such as stage second stage afterburner improving traversal and continued optimizations and improved stability in a large multiplayer environment, moving us ever closer to a live release. Now, we're completing work as quickly as possible so come back next week to see how much we've done here on burndown.
FS: As always you’ll be able to dig into the details of this week’s work by checking our production schedule report which you can find on our website.
SG: Those that have played around with Star Marine will be familiar with the marine and outlaw armour that players wear, currently there are two options light and medium armour that players have used and loved.
FS: Yeah but these legacy armours were essentially one solid mesh with new customization system, players will be able to mix and match different pieces to personalize your look and performance of their armour.
SG: To learn more about what’s being done, let’s check out part I of this feature on legacy armour.
Josh Herman (JH): So as we’ve been focusing more on character tech and character customisation and character modularity we’ve been focusing on all the different armour sets we’ve been working on. One of the things we ran in to as we were doing this was all of our legacy armour sets. Legacy basically means something that’s been around for a really long time. So we’re looking at the light, medium, and heavy of the marines and light, medium, and heavy of the outlaws - or pirates - as something that was eventually going to have to be addressed. As we were making headway on the character customisation front - with doing arms and helmets and cores and legs and undersuits and really building this whole customisation system so that the players can customise their character - we realised that the older legacy sets were not really built with that in mind. So we knew that eventually we were going to have to address that issue and the way we are going to address that is by rebuilding them.
So what it was that wasn’t working for the legacy armours was that they weren’t built into all those pieces. They were essentially one solid mesh and even when you were able to select the character - or buy the armour - you could only buy the whole set at one time. You were not able to buy a helmet. You were not able to buy any of the individual pieces. It was just a whole thing. But as we’ve been saying we want the players to be able to really customise their armor. Be able to customise their spacesuits. Be able to customise their as much as they can about their character. We really wanted to focus on that and the legacy armours really just didn’t fit that at all.
So … we played around with a couple of options. We played around with maybe just being able to save the helmets ‘cause the helmets were actually a separate mesh, separate material. So we would be able to save them and use that as an existing item. But then we would still have to figure out - or possibly rework - the whole rest of the body. That wasn’t really something we wanted to do because even though the mesh was working for the helmet it wasn’t even using the correct shaders. So they weren’t optimised.
So one of the things when we get really heavy into talking to customisation and characters and stuff like that - really any game assets - is draw calls. A draw call is essentially how much something costs to render. And the older style uses a different type of maps - which me and Forrest have talked about before - for materials and different shaders. But the new ones use something called the “layer blend”. And layer blend is now working on all of our materials except for the legacy ones. So if we kept the helmets they would still be using old materials and old technology which is still a problem: they wouldn’t be optimised, they wouldn’t be working.
So rather than fight against trying to keep something that realistically doesn’t work as well as it could we decided to start from scratch on them.
We want to be clear to keep the original designs and intent and even the names as close as possible. But we’re starting from scratch so that each one of them will have their own chest piece, arm piece, leg piece and head pieces. So you’ll eventually be able to - as where you weren’t able to before - customise. Let’s say you like all the marine, the legacy marines. Let’s say you liked the heavy chest piece and the light helmet and the medium arms and so forth. Now you’ll be able to combine those and create your own legacy marine set which is completely unique to you.
Jeremiah Lee (JL): I think the … I think the hardest thing to do in concept when designing something that requires … that requires different manufacturers put together and not making it look ragtag and messy, the biggest problem that I’ve encountered doing that was … the lines on the costume have to make sense but it can’t be so chaotic where it’s so messy to look at. So I had to find a line of … find a fine line between “Okay I have to make things look like this person or this outlaw picked a shoulder pad from here and maybe a chest piece from here and a helmet from here” but then still make sure the lines of character and the costume still made sense and was aesthetically pleasing. And so that’s the hardest part, I think, for mish-mashing different types of manufacturers.
So we played … I guess we get around that hurdle by lines on the costume. I think that’s the biggest key. We can still make it look like a bunch of things were put together randomly but we can strategically place lines on the character and also the breakups and where the materials fall on the character so it looks aesthetically pleasing and yet still look like it was kind of like scavenged together, put together.
JH: So let’s talk about the legacy outlaws first. The legacy outlaws are super fun. I think there’s a lot of really cool design elements to them but we definitely want to spice them all up. Right now we’re working on the legacy light, medium, and heavy and all three of them are in different phases of production.
So our legacy light we recently posted - in our Sneak Peeks - the concept art for that. And some of the stuff we’re trying to keep in mind with the legacy light armour is … the most iconic thing to me is his helmet. So he has this … there’s like an understructure to his helmet and then on top of that is this whole glass dome, and then in the glass dome there’s a red ... two red circles that are like HUDs that you kind of see. So that’s the main iconic piece that we want to keep for each of … for that armour. And we’re trying to do that with all of our armours really. We’re looking at each one of them and saying “What’s the most iconic element to this amour? What’s the thing that we really like that they really get attached to? If I step back 200 feet and look at this armour, what’s the the thing that I see that I can really pick out?” And that for me is the most iconic piece of the light.
So right now we’re in high poly with that. And it’s moving along really well. We’re also designing a separate undersuit for this armour and this is actually going to work as our general legacy outlaw undersuit. So we’ll be able to use this with any of our undersuits … with any of our amours, not just the legacy ones, not just the marine ones, but any of our upcoming armours as well.
Tyler Young (TY): I’ve been working with Jeremiah. He did a gorgeous concept and I’ve gone back and forth with him - and Josh too - on changes, alterations to the model so that they … all the pieces become modular with our new systems so that players can swap items out in the future and … Making it a functional thing but the real idea of it is that we that we pay homage to the outlaw light. It’s been in the game for a long time but really needs an update so that it’s consistent with the current characters that we’re producing. Right? Because we don’t want there to be a quality drop off but we also realise we can’t give these guys the hook because people like them. They’re cool characters and they’ve been in the game forever and they are a shout out to people who have been with Star Citizen since … since its formative days. We’re trying to design something new that also recalls the design of the past: which is kind of challenging.
And Jeremiah … he’s Jeremiah, he’s awesome on that stuff. He … he’s easy to work with on that stuff. And in the process of fleshing out the high poly sculpt I’m trying to keep it real detailed. And this should be one of the lightest, lightest light armours that we’ve got in the game I think.
The helmet is probably one of the tightest full helmets that actually covers part of the face which is hard to do in conjunction with animation and mocap. ‘Cause … since we’re using actual head scans of actual actors … everyone's’ face is different so that can … you have to account for that. But that being said it’s a really … it’s a really tight fitting helmet. It’s kind of menacing looking and it has this skull-like feel to it, which is something we’ve tried to retain from the original designs. Like a cobbled together machine’s skull underneath like a … a visor.
And then the same thing with the armour. It’s also probably one of the lighter light armours we have in the game. I think we’re really trying to introduce the idea of a … “mixed media” look in some of the armours. Not just metals and carbon fibres but also fabrics, possibly leathers, knits and weaves and stuff like that. There’s possibly going to be some cloth sim on this character.
So should be pretty cool when it’s all said and done. Those are all things that I like about it and I like about the original concepts.
JH: So the undersuit is basically something that you have to equip to go into EVA. EVA means you are able to go into space - that you are vacuum sealed - and basically all it is is a jumpsuit that has boots and gloves and then it goes up to your neck. And the theory is all you would have to do is just pop on a helmet and then you’d be able to go take a space walk. And all of our undersuits are compatible with any armour, so whenever we’re adding a new undersuit you are actually able to put any of the armors - the explorer armour on it, the marine armour - anything like that. The slaver armour. You can put all that on the new stuff as well. Which is part of the really fun about a customisation system is that time we add one element to it it’s actually adding a multitude of combinations. Because you can create all old ones and put that on top of the new ones and vice versa. So we’re super excited about any time we can do a new undersuit and any time we can do a new armour as it creates a lot of new options for the players.
JL: The previous armours we had for the pirates at the time - or outlaws - didn’t have an undersuit underneath and so this was … those assets were created pre-, I guess, character pipeline - current pipeline we had. So right now if you want to wear armour you have … you are required to wear an undersuit to go with the … this is the current pipeline that we have for our characters. Unless you’re wearing just regular clothing but that’s a whole different topic.
But the outlaws had to go through that same process. And the concept that I did for the light outlaw had a really - in my opinion - really sweet looking undersuit underneath with didn’t exist. And so - I remember - the character artists was looking at me and was like “What is this?” and I was like “Oh, that’s the new undersuit!” And so I was tasked immediately to design an undersuit that would go on … that would go underneath all these armours. Obviously you the player can swap the undersuit and just wear whatever you want but we wanted this undersuit would look best with this look.
So I had to go in and I was looking at a lot of undersuits that we had, like the explorer suit and the UEE navy undersuit, and I was starting to notice that things start to look the same. Like literally the lines would be different. And so I thought “You know these are outlaws we should make them different.” And so I took a different approach to the outlaw undersuit and made it more “bad ass.”
TY: The biggest challenge on this guy is trying to keep in mind that aesthetically I think that this armour looks cool with smaller proportions, like a little tighter. We’ve got a lot of characters that have bulky to really bulky armour suits for a heavy combat look and I thought the idea of having light armour that would make a character look athletic and agile would be really cool. But trying to keep that light aesthetic while still functionally adhering to the volumes and animation guidelines and all these other things - where the joints and the skeletons get put into the character when it’s rigged, etc.
Trying to make sure that art meets function in an appealing way is probably the biggest challenge, especially in the face because this mask is very skull like - it has recessed sections in and around the cheeks - so trying to keep things looking recessed and skeletal or scary is tough when you’re also trying to make it a certain size. So that’s probably the biggest challenge on this piece.
JH: After the light outlaw we’re moving to the medium outlaw. The medium outlaw also had some really iconic elements to it, specifically I think … generally the shapes were much stronger than the light. The helmet is super interesting as well, so that’s something that we’re trying to keep. I think all of the helmet designs that we’ve had are pretty solid - in the past - so that’s something we really wanted to keep in mind with the legacy medium. The legacy medium is also in high poly phase right now. So eventually when we’re done with that we’ll be moving into game asset and texturing and so forth.
JL: ‘Cause this legacy armour is an older armour set it would have to take cues from the new one and also take it back a couple of years in tech. So going through those shapes we added more of like a “bulkier” look. As you’ve noticed in technology today if there’s a new innovation they tend to be big, right? And as time passes they optimise and things get smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. And so it was really a team effort - it was the team as a whole were jumping in, jumping out, doing feedback with each other - to find the shape that we thought … we thought were … was pretty successful in my opinion.
JH: The one I’m most excited to show you guys today is actually our heavy outlaw. I think the heavy outlaw is probably one of our more iconic armours just in general that we’ve had in the game for a long time. He’s always a little bigger, a little heavier, has a really iconic helmet and I think players have grown really attached to him. So this design is actually more of a redesign, kind of from top to bottom. We have a lot of elements that we really want to keep in mind with this guy, ‘cause he’s so iconic, but those icons are so strong that it’s not hard to redesign around them. His helmet and just overall bulk and size are really simple, easy silhouettes to follow - simple shape languages to follow.
JL: So one of our character concept artists here in Los Angeles designed the heavy outlaw. So Josh and I said “You know what, go nuts with it. But also tell us what your process, what your idea was.” And so the thing that Michael told me was - before jumping in on it - that he noticed a lot of football padding type of shapes on the Slugger armour, and he wanted to maintain those shapes but not make it just football padding. And so he looked into, actually, some Samurai references to make things a little bit more spontaneous - little bit more interesting. So there is a little bit of that.
And also the Slugger armour they didn’t look “techie”. It didn’t look current in the Star Citizen lore. The Slugger armour looked like … looked like an armour you might see in post-apocalypse … post-apocalypse times of today, right? Maybe something ten years from now or five years from now. It didn’t look like something that would be current in the lore of our game. And so … so Michael ran with it, added some new tech onto it but still maintained that “chunky” look. That football padding type of look.
So Michael also added a lot of layering onto the concept as well so you could - as I mentioned earlier on the tech - you could see where parts intertwined with each other and interact with each other. And so that was something interesting that Michael brought to the table and I thought was something that the old concept - or the old assets - didn’t have but was a welcoming detail that Michael put in there. So you’ll see a lot of moving parts. There’s a frame that … the armour sits on top of a certain frame and you can see that in the concept and also soon in the game.
JH: One of my favourite artists that I really look up to, he said, when he was redesigning characters that you either have to look at it one of two ways. You can either completely throw the thing aside and say “This is going to be something completely new and we’ll just start over and say this is the new thing.” Or you can look at the old one and use it as a reference point and tangent off that and redesign it from there. And that’s the way we’re going to go. We want to keep those in mind and we’re going to redesign from there.
FS: The ability for players to create unique armour sets will not only let them define their personal character and gameplay style, it’ll also go a long way for making the universe look interesting and much more diverse.
SG: And that’s all for today’s show, a big thanks to our subscribers, don’t forget that October’s issue of Jump Point will be released on Friday so be sure to check it out.
FS: And of course, thanks to all of our backers for your support but be sure to tune in tomorrow at 9 am PST to catch Happy Hour. The community team will answer your questions, discuss CitizenCon and much, much more. Then on Sunday at 2 pm the community team and devs will be at TwitchCon hosting a panel called ‘How Great Communities Make Great Games’.
SG: Finally, if you won’t be in Frankfurt for CitizenCon you can still enjoy the show with fellow Star Citizen fans, thanks to two large backer run events going on that weekend. VerseCon in Austin, Texas and Pari’Verse in Paris, France.
FS: There are also a number of Bar Citizens planned in the days around CitizenCon, stick around after the show for the list of these events or visit the Bar Citizen website to find the event closest to you. You can also find further information on any these events by clicking the link below in this video description.
SG: And until next week we will see you…
SG/FS: Around the Verse.