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!
This week starts with 20 remaining fixes dealing with shopping, cargo and commodity trading
Build stability is a priority along with optimization and performance while adding more features
Many fixes are trial and error and are problems with earlier code and newer changes
Many bugs are difficult to fix simply due to their being hard to replicate in the debugging processes
Evocati testing and feedback crucially contributes to the debugging processes concerning performance and server crashes
Besides trial and error, dividing and conquering and the revisiting of resistant bugs beyond office hours are often how fixes are discovered
A lot of times completely unrelated changes can cause similar symptoms within a build
Some fixes are simple and are current, others stem from older approaches and take a little research, and then there are the complex hard to replicate ones
Besides focusing on the current bugs the developers also try and get as much gameplay in as possible to get a holistic feel for the build
At the time of filming there remains 16 issues comprised of three blockers, seven criticals, three highs and three moderates left to conquer, and next week will include a revised production report detailing what's needed for a wider build push
Legacy Armour - Part 2
New marine armour is designed to be more modular
Legacy medium marine can now wear it among other armour sets such as chest piece will fit with other leg pieces, etc
Legacy marines are older models of the current marine armour so adds a lot of fun elements for gameplay
New marines are super slick with lots of metal, lots of coverage and high tech
Older marines have lots of different fabrics in them
The challenge being that with something that already existed they couldn’t just reuse it, it had to be changed
Older medium marine had a lot of horizontal/vertical lines going through
New asset has the design going through the whole body so more of a one look through rather than looking in different areas
Have to think about zones(where armour starts and begins),keep armour sets into different zones so you can mix/match different sets without worrying about spacing/clipping or other armour sets being non-modular
Something they started doing on some of their recent armours like heavy slaver armour or heavy marine is actually separate out individual panels on the armour itself
Instead of one solid mesh, they break those pieces apart for movement and those pieces can move independently
Layer blend allows them to combine all of their draw calls on a single material to one draw call
By layering several different layers of a single submaterial in one area, they’re able to get variation
Medium marine in rigging
Currently working on cutting up some of the plates to get more motion in the character
Light marine in high poly phase
Heavy marine is in high poly phase and is the only one they did a concept painting for due to the amount of stuff on it
Heavy armour maintained original silhouette and shape with more layers and integration of said layers to make it more streamlined
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: Tomorrow is CitizenCon 2947, our annual celebration of all things Star Citizen where we shine the spotlight on a lot of interesting content, but we've also got plenty of eye-candy to show you today. This episode features part two of our look at the changes and improvements coming to the game's legacy armor...
FS: … but before that let's take a look at what bugs and blockers the development team conquered this week in …
SG & FS: … Burndown.
Eric Kieron Davis (ED): Welcome back to Burndown, our weekly show dedicated to reviewing progress on the release of Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 Last week we were at 20 remaining must fix issues to close down our next game loop of shopping, cargo and commodity trading. Let's jump right in and see how the team's progressing.
Paul Reindell (PD): Well the absolute priority for this week as usually is keep the build stable; be able to add more feature work to it. We still have a bunch of features we want to closing out, but the priority is obviously get the shopping loop nice and still keep the things which are running well at the moment like keep the optimization, keep the performance good, keep the stability and have the things we already have in like mainly the quantum travel and the traversal between the planets and everything still working in a functional state.
Ricky Jutley (RJ): Bad news for this morning was that QA have flagged 100% server crash, which George is actually looking into. So, he's doing that for the next hour and a bit, but hopefully looks to get a fix within the next hour or so anyway.
Luke Hale (LH): George is currently working on an optimization and a network code. A lot of this has already gone in, but had to be split up, because it's just a big change into a lot of different change lists. Many of these have gone in and have settled and been fine, but now that we're getting into the later ones some of them are causing some issues. So if one goes in and causes some issues in a build, it just means we yank it back out, fix it, chuck it back in; see if that works. This is something that we've got to do with network changes, because they're quite big changes to happen, and it's all happening in the background as well, so it's not something that's easily visual to testers, but what we'll do is keep doing that until stuff settles and fits properly, and then we can get the rest of it in, and then once all of those parts are in then we'll start seeing the difference from an optimization point of view.
RJ: There's also the other disconnect which is the one that I believe you were talking about, 30007...
RJ: …and I believe that one is being looked at still by Chad McKinney.
PR: Well, what I was…
Erin Roberts (ER): Well can we get an update on why it's taking so long to get these things fixed, cause we've been seeing this problem now for a little while, and if they're spread properly it's like one person looking at that means that like that one person been looking at that bug for two weeks.
PR: That bug is like very hard to reproduce. It's like random and people … basically you know people work on it right now they look at the logic of the code and they try to guess what's happening and they do a fix for that and obviously it doesn't work and it's just super hard to reproduce so we might need QA to help them somehow like connect to the local server, so whatever. It's just a hard issue to fix.
Steven Brennon (SB): That was the error disconnect 3007, so that’s the one of the more common ones. It was Chad that put the final fix in, but it was due to the information that Clive’s team was able to get for him.
Chad McKinney (CM): So right now I’m working at a disconnect that happens for clients when joining a server, and it’s a disconnect that happens, because the zone host for a spotting entity cannot be found on the client. The root of the issue is because of something called the ownership hierarchy for this entity. Ownership is a way that we can establish a parent and child relationship that requires both the entities in question to be present. So, the change that I put in was to enforce on item port attaching and detaching that the zone host was always correctly established for the entities in question. Unfortunately it didn’t quite fix the problem, and so right now I’m trying to figure out what the situation is where this is still not enough; however, I think we’re close to solving this for Evocati, and I look forward to killing this bug off, because it’s been lying around on several engineers for like three weeks now.
SB: Along with the fixes network has been doing we’ve had the code team over in Germany have been debugging a lot of the code that has been coming back from the Evocati, and Christopher Bolte has actually got a list of all the worst offenders put together now, and they have put them all into our bugging system and they’re working through getting those sorted as well. So, the coming build should have improved performance, because the feed … that the information they got back was really good for them, and they were able to get a lot of … lot of useful information there.
Christopher Bolte (CB): Then one major focus was network … networking suite which we were bound that was of course part multithreaded/part optimized. Really soon other large optimization gone on to parallelize even more of the network suite to a high output performance that we should be no longer network bound with 24 player plus situation, which leave us to two other things where we … which basically bound our performance as most of the Evocati have seen we have already many characters on the space stations. They have request dropped it, and so basically one of the focuses is to optimize the update for characters. One thing that I already did was for one of the components which is related to three optimized as one. The other one was parallelized. Besides this we did some low level optimizations to the area systems, because the areas are used by the AI code, but areas are a more general system and before we kept an octree to do culling against the areas for each of these areas, which wasn’t really necessary, because we don’t use many of these areas for actually spreadsheet searches. This is not fixed. We only keep this octree updated for areas we’re actually going to search against. On a really full server I think the values… four weeks ago the worst server captures I could see were 200 millisecond frames or more, which roughly is 5 fps. Now we are around 80 to 90 millisecond frames which is 12 to 15. It’s a lot to improve from the one side and on the other side it’s not sorted, so we’re going to continue to look into this.
Live Release Sync via Skype
Justin Binford (JB): I would say like for the Evocati we need to define which kind of fixes we would need to only test in Evocati. So, off the top of my head we have performance improvements, and then we have server crash fixes.
Jake Ross (JR): I mean I agree with Justin’s point that the whole purpose of the Evocati is to test performance and server crash. There are performance issues and stability right, so do we feel like these two server crashes are worth a build?
RJ: Well it’s also to test feedback as well. I do want to just verify that point, but primarily I’d say that the server crash is a … network and stability is the key focus, but it is to also get that kind of feedback on the features involved.
Unknown1 (U1): Well yeah, but obviously if you don’t have new features …
RJ: Yes, no … totally …
U1: … but I think at the moment you also kind of push for the rafters, right? So, that needs to be tested as well; I guess.
RJ: When we looked at it with Paul and Todd, the guys today, what we feel like we need to do is actually just have these major three categories, and that is the cargo system as a whole, commodity … commodities and the shopping actual of those commodities and purchasing of those, and then the shopping of concentrating on physical items in the actual shop polish. If you split them into those categories then at least we’ve got the teams focussed on those specific sprints. The idea though is with the gameplay review that we have and this little standards that we’re going to do 10 to 15 minutes per day they talk about all three of those sprints, the ones I’ve just pasted in chat, and then on top of it what we have is those sprints still being active by the relevant members and owners of that. So what it will be is we’ll have those three sprints in this schedule and it means that we have to very quickly today retrofit the existing ones that may not be appropriate to what we’ve got currently and then get the dates adjusted. We’re going to stick around tonight, Todd … Paul, to be able to have that conversation with Jake straight away, and then with Mark White, and then we get that adjusted then I think that that’s the way that you know exactly what you want for that cargo, commodity, shopping for physical shops loop all the way around.
Live Release Sync
SB: The next worst issue is a return of no shops or commodities in the kiosks in Stanton. They don’t have any items, so this is an issue Evocati had last week, then it was fixed, and now it’s back.
ER: Well, I’m suggesting that if it happened a few days ago, and it’s happened again it’s probably going to be the same issues, so whoever fixed it last time can’t they just look at it and say, “Oh yeah. It’s this.” and fix it again?
SB: Yeah, it’s currently … it’s currently with Spencer. It was him that fixed it last time, so it’ll be … it went straight to him, I believe … it’s been moved to Pete.
JR: Now it’s with Pete Mackay, so Pete Mackay has it now. It may be a dead issue. Spencer has already looked into it. The issue he thought it was last time seems to not be the case this time, so there’s something else going on.
Spencer Johnson (SJ): So today we saw once again that there were no items in the shops or in the kiosks in our shipping build, but this is not … it is a new bug, but it’s same symptoms. You see this popping up a lot, and it’s a different reason every time where it’s just, “Oh, no. Today in our shipping build there’s no items in the shops”, and it’s a good example of how a change that’s totally unrelated to shops could cause this issue. So, what happened was there was an edit to our JSON parser in diffusion which would change the serialization from regular floating point numbers to doubles increasing the precision of our fractional numbers, and what this did was the message that we got from the shopping service for all the inventory for all the shops … instead of sending us integers that was expected, it started sending us doubles or floating point numbers, and so those numbers were not integers, so the shop didn’t know what to do with them, so it said, “Oh every item has a stock and a price and a buying price of zero”, and if there’s zero stock the shop doesn’t spawn anything of these items on the racks. So even though every shop knew about the correct inventory, none of them got spawned. So, totally unrelated change in the JSON parser just broke all the shops.
Zane Bien (ZB): One of the bugs I worked on today had to do with the image being oversized in the list. So as you can see, as you scroll down the list the image will become oversized as new items come into view, and the issue was … is because our list is pooled, meaning that as you scroll down the same number of items on screen remains the same. It doesn’t overflow. So what it basically reuses the display object from the top it shifts that down to the bottom as you scroll. So what we needed to do was to just basically reset the dimensions of the image each time new data has been injected into that display object, and so … Yeah, and we fixed that. Was pretty easy; pretty straight forward.
L.A. Engineering Stand-Up
SJ: Yesterday I submitted the first part of the commodity kiosk ship status bit field so that they could in the UI track the destroyed or at the same location or if it’s compat… if it doesn’t hold cargo at all, and there was one other that I don’t remember. Oh, if the insurance is currently being claimed on it such that it couldn’t be used. So, Simon will take these and use them so they can grey out things and let the monitored kiosk like ships that you cancel after that time.
Benjamin Anders (BA): In the back we’re talking about is that airlocks suddenly didn’t work anymore. Reason for that was … so you could still approach the airlock, go to the panel and see an interaction. The thing was the localization string for that airlock was missing, because in the initial setup we used an interaction string from Squadron 42, but that gets not put into shipping builds. Which means it works fine in editor, it works fine in our internal testing, but once it gets to shipping builds or 3.0 or to Evocati it doesn’t work anymore. Took us a moment to track that down, but it was basically an easy fix just adding a new localization string, but yeah, in the first moment everyone panicked and basically, “Why is this not working? It should.”, but yeah then I thought essentially ignores interactions which have no localization string attached to them.
Todd Papy (TP): So we’ve been focusing on closing out cargo, commodities and physical shopping. Last night we did a review of physical shopping and called out some issues that need to get fixed. Then from there we had done previous reviews of cargo as well as the commodities. The guys have been working through that, and it’s almost ready for director review, so I will be reviewing that ideally either tomorrow or on Monday, and then those things should be good to go. Obviously I try to play the game every single day. We’re constantly looking at the game loops. So for us it’s flying, doing missions, going … spending that money that you’ve just hardly … you’ve just earned, and then upgrading your ship, upgrading your own personal armor, weapons and so forth. So that’s really what we’ve been focusing on. The missions I think are in a very good spot, and then now it’s getting shopping and getting that to feel right and with the missions we’ll go through and do some final tweaks, but the UI’s there, and then it’s making sure that Item 2.0 and the ships and the way that those things feel is right. So everything is starting to close down, and we’re getting to a point where we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
ED: We’ve made solid forward momentum on many areas this week including improved load times and performance. We fixed numerous disconnect issues, and completed several items for purchasing and utilizing inventory. At the time of filming this we’re at 16 issues, which has been identified as three blockers, seven criticals, three highs and three moderates. Now next week we’ll have a revised production report that highlights the remaining features that need completing before we push to a wider PTU and then full live release, so come back and check that out here on Burndown.
FS: Our production schedule report is updated every single week, so head to our website for a more detailed look at all of our ongoing work.
SG: And last week in part 1 of our feature, we showed off some of the changes coming to the legacy Outlaw armour. In part 2 we explore the improvements to the Marine armour set.
FS: This redesign was essential to make the Marine armour more modular and work with the updated male base body. These changes also allowed the character team to bring the Marine armour in line with our current standards.
SG: Let’s take a look at the second part of our feature on legacy armour.
Jeremiah Lee (JL): Hi my name is Jeremiah Lee, Senior Concept Artist here at Cloud Imperium Games of the Los Angeles studio. Last week we briefly talked about the light, medium and heavy outlaw legacy armour. We also talked about designing around the different zones of the character, the character pipeline and also the different usage of materials. This week we put the spotlight on the light, medium and the heavy marine legacy armours and much, much more. So let’s take a look.
Josh Herman (JH): So the marines are a different challenge for us, the outlaws are easy to redesign because we’re basically replacing them with something new whereas the marines are a different challenge because we already have marines now. Currently you can play with light, medium, heavy CDS marines and that they look great and they’re super fun but now we have these old marines that we need to put into the game and that’s just kind of awkward. So why would we even do them at that point if we’ve already redone them would be a question that you might ask.
Cheyne Hessler (CH): With the old armour, a lot of the legacy assets are not made to be modular to be able to fit to our new updated male base body. So with the new legacy medium marine you can now wear it among other armour sets so the chest piece will be able to fit other leg armour pieces, the gauntlets and the greaves will be able to fit onto the new male body and be able to also be modular with other pieces from different armour sets.
JH: The reason is we want to redesign for the fans, that’s the number one reason we want to do it but also we found some fun lore reasons to redesign so what I think one of my favourite things about redoing them is essentially we’re using the term legacy or history as being historical. So the light, medium and heavy legacy marines are actually older models of the current marine armour that you’re playing with now. So I think that’s a fun way to build this into lore for the players as well, it adds a lot of fun elements for gameplay as well. Maybe they can be cheaper, maybe they can have different types of stats and also let’s us play with different shape languages.
The new marines are super slick and the old ones are a bit more chunky, a bit more different and they start playing with different types of materials. So the new marines are a lot about lots of metal, lots of coverage and that kind of stuff, really high tech. The older marines have lots of different types of fabrics in them so maybe there’s more leathers or things that look like padded leathers, more synthetics then fabrics and as they advance their technology they’ve also enhanced their look.
One of the biggest difference of working on the outlaws versus the marine stuff is that the marine stuff is really all from one group, right… they’re the marines. One of the things that we’ve done differently with the marines as well is we haven’t necessarily started from a concept painting. A lot of the time concept art starts from a 2D painting or even a 3D sculpt, a concept sculpt you might call it, and you kind of go from there. With the legacy marines, we already have a look for the future and we already had a look for what they looked like.
CH: The only guideline I had was something that already existed that we couldn’t just reuse because it had to be changed. Though the challenge with that was kind of becoming a concept artist on the fly as I was creating the assets, so working with Jeremiah a lot back and forth we kind of slowly built up the style of what the new legacy medium marine armour would be from what we had to look at which was ingame model of the medium marine asset. We had to just concept it in 3D as we’re building the asset, so that could take a lot more time cause when you’re going off a concept you have a one to one reference of what you need to build but with having an old piece of art, you have to kind of reimagine what that piece is going to look like.
So the process was for me is to first pull in what assets we have for the old medium legacy armour, kind of referencing where they were trying to go with it, what I can kind of retain in the new design and then from taking that design I just kind of throw in the new male base and start kind of shifting things around. Making sure the shape language kind of reads from head to toe with the new armour, the new legacy medium marine armour we kind of designed it so that the piece reads with your eye looking at the top of the character and reading all the way down. A lot of the designs with the older medium marine had a lot of horizontal and vertical lines going through which kind of dictates your eye if it’s going down vertically but once you hit a horizontal design that kind of stops the flow of the design of the armour. So with the new asset it kind of reads better with the whole flow of the armour and with the design going through the whole body so the designs more of a one look through rather than looking in different areas.
So with modularity you have to think about the zones and where armour starts and where it begins, there are certain regions of the shoulder that come up that we can’t have the armour come up too much because we get penetration between assets like armour plates around the bicep, the gauntlets are on the arms coming up and especially with modularity you have to keep your armour sets into different zones to kind of be able to mix and match different sets without having to worry too much about spacing. So as long as you stick with these zones of the armour you don’t really have to worry about too much about clipping and other armour sets being non modular with other pieces. You can’t get too carried away with your designs when modularity comes into play, it definitely restricts you to certain design choices especially when all of our armour sets fit a suit of armour, we have to be able mix and match any piece of armour onto one male body so our undersuit is relatively tight because it has to fit the form of the male body. Then all the armour on top of that has to also feel flush and sequenced with what you’re wearing underneath which is the bodysuit so a lot of our armour is fairly form fitting. So our jumpsuits fit tightly so that armour can go on top of it but with our culling system any major pieces of armour for the chest will pull out objects underneath it. So if it may penetrate our system will cull out that piece of geometry underneath so that you won’t see it if it is clipping. It takes away a lot of the work that has to go into maybe adjusting volumes or positions of gear so that they don’t put through and penetrate so you see that in game.
JH: Again we didn’t do any concept paintings for this so I don’t have anything of that to show you but we’re fortunate enough now that this is already in game, we’ve shown you this in some sneak peeks and I think some studio updates. This is actually currently being rigged so super excited to show you basically in game and almost ready to get to you guys as soon as possible version of this.
One of the things that we really liked about doing these just in 3D and kind of experimenting with those shapes as they’re in production is that we’re able to pull up the old models and really reference them a lot to say we want to focus on some of the same design lines or elements or shapes. While also being able to say what were the weaker points, what were the not as strong points in this design and kind of try to up those as much as possible. It does extend the production for high poly because you are exploring shapes, you’re not necessarily shooting for a specific target. In the end you can also find some stuff that’s more fun because you’re able to see what works and what doesn’t work and kind of edit on the fly that way.
Once we finished high poly we moved into the game asset phase, as we’ve doing more armours and we’re really understanding really being able to refine our rigging phases. We’ve learned that some of the armour needs additional cuts to make it look good when it animates. Something that we’ve started to do on some of our recent armours like some of the heavy slaver armours or heavy marine armours were we actually separate out individual panels on the armour itself. Typically what you would say in a game mesh is something that would be like one solid mesh and issue with when that starts moving around and is animated it looks like it rubbery or it looks like it’s stretching and that’s like a real quick call out to say this is a game asset, it doesn’t look super highly refined, it’s not very filmic. So something that the rigging was able to help us out with is saying if you guys cut… if you have a design and it’s got a chest piece and maybe shoulder pieces but the chest piece looks like it could break apart for movement, break those pieces apart. Then when they’re rigging they’re actually able to move those pieces independently then it is the central piece, that makes it look like a knight’s armour or other high tech armour that those pieces are actually moving and skinned and weighted independently and that makes it look more high quality then it would if it was a single contiguous mesh.
We’ve seen a lot of improvements in our technique using the layer blend, the layer blend is a shader that allows us to combine all of our draw calls on a single material down to one draw call. There are times that it does go higher if you’re adding glows or different special effects to that but the impressive part about using the layer blend is you can try to get as much variation you want into the asset itself and really the savings are always going to be the same, for a very simple asset to a very, very complicated asset. As long as it has one layer blend material applied to it, it’s very, very cost effective. Because the shader is so cost effective we found that we can create a lot of different submaterials and put a lot of different submaterials on a single material and what we’re doing now… we’ve shown this in previous shader discussions, the one me and Forrest had, but you were able to zoom in almost to a microlevel and see the fabric or see the different… you can really zoom in and get a full read on the material at any distance.
One of the things we’re able to do now with that is by layering up submaterials and actually putting on several different layers of a single submaterial in one area, we’re able to get variation. Sounds a little complicated but basically what it means is if you look at a picture, google any picture or any jpeg picture and zoom into it, it gets really pixelated. That’s a traditional diffused map, if you zoom into a diffused map it just gets pixelated, right? With ours we’re using small diffused maps that tile across a whole mesh and what that does it makes it really easy so when you zoom in there’s no breakup in the material and it holds up at a microlevel. The problem with that is that you’re only using a single material with no colour variation. Now something if you look at anything.. if you look at your jeans right now, a lot of people are probably wearing blue jeans. I’m wearing jeans, there’s a lot of different colours in your jeans, a lot of different colours in your shirts, there’s a lot of different colours in everything and people don’t really notice that.
So when you’re… if I’m looking at my jeans right now I have a dark blue, there’s little elements of yellows, greens and whites in that. The way we found for the layer blend material, to get that variation is actually by layering the same material on it with a slight break up in the blend map which separates the type of materials that we’re using with a slightly different colour. So we’re able to essentially generate a new diffuse map, it’s not really a diffuse map but we’re getting the variation that a diffuse map would have, just by layering lots of different materials in the same colour on it.
So right now the medium marine is in rigging. Typically a mesh will go to rigging then they’ll spend some time skinning it it then we’ll get feedback. So one of the things we’re working on now is cutting up some of the plates I talked about to figure where we really want to get more of that motion in the character. Typical problem areas for us is in the shoulders, a lot of movement in the shoulders especially for our game. Any time the shoulders go all the way down to all the way up, you have a lot of movement there, going forward and back. Definitely shoulders is one area, the other area is always going to be the hips, the hips and waist. So there’s a lot of torsion and rotation in the waist and that’s one area where you typically see a lot of stretching in a character. Which is something we try to avoid so we’re going to try to do some changes to what you’re going to see now to make sure some of these plates here feel a little bit more layered on top of each other, a little more stacked and a little more mobile.
The light marine is also in high poly phase right now. We’re focusing on updating the shapes as we go through production, just while working on high poly. We’re not doing a concept painting for this either. The fun thing about it is we get to explore what kind of works and just kind of play around with it and just kind of really get to experiment with it but I think it’s starting to come along pretty well. It has some pretty iconic elements, one of my favourite things about the light marine is how asymmetrical it is. A lot of our standard suits are kind of split down the middle, right side looks like the left side, whereas the light has a lot of kind of tubes and things coming cross body which is a fun element to be able to play with. Super excited to see how this one goes for the rest of production.
JL: In concepting costumes we would add cloth and different kinds of materials together to make things look more real. In real life you don’t see… if you look at current armour today, you don’t see someone wearing just metal plates all over their body. There’s kevlar, there’s also some sorts of metal, plastics, sometimes leather, cloth… a bunch of materials are put together. So having multiple material in a balanced way and also placed strategically will make the asset or make the… costume look more realistic. That’s kind of become the trend of concept and also design and in fashion and also just armour in general. So a lot of our previous assets didn’t have a lot of those material variants, a lot of them were just colour variants. So we might have a stripe instead of an actual material variant so what we’ve been doing recently is introduce lots of different kinds of materials, lots of different shapes and fabric happened to be one of them. A great example is the sand nomad when we introduced the waving cloth. It really gave a different type of look and feel and more realistic compared to older characters we had. So we wanted to give the legacy armours that treatment as well and not stick out like a sore thumb compared to our newer character assets.
JH: The heavy marine is also in high poly but we actually did do a concept painting for this one. The heavy marine is I think probably one of my favourite armours of the old one because it has some really distinct shapes. Part of the reason we wanted to do a painting on this one is because the heavy armour is just by being what they, heavy, meaning they have more stuff on them. So to kind of wing those on the fly is not as easy as it is to do a light or medium where there is less actual elements on the character so when you get to something really complicated and has a lot of pieces on it, having a painting to kind of at least sort out some of those simple lines for you is really easy to follow.
JL: I took a look at the previous asset that we've had and also the current marine that we have and there was a drastic difference in shapes, also the size and also our old legacy armour looked really low tech compared to our current one. So we wanted to show there is growth in time but it almost felt too far away in time, it almost looked like something that would have been created in the Star Citizen lore maybe 600 years ago possibly. So we wanted to kind of cut that down also introduce the multiple materials that I spoke about earlier on the heavy marine. So I maintained the original silhouette actually and the shape of the original heavy marine, so I would keep the big shoulder pads and also the big chest plate that the heavy marine had. I just added a lot more layering on top of the armour to make it look more integrated with each other rather than just blocks. The overall shapes of the heavy marine, the previous heavy marine are actually very similar to the new one we’re making. Also the helmet as well I didn’t change the helmet as much, I tried to keep a lot of the shapes then some of the shapes on the helmet were a little too simple. It was literally just I think just the plane here and a plane in the back and I wanted to make it a little bit more interesting, a little more integrated with each other. I think that was a key word actually when I was designing the heavy marine, integration.
So a lot of the shapes go into each other and come out and layer on top so there is this flow to this design where the eye can go down and you see things kind of interlocking with each other rather than just box, box and bigger box and a box. So I actually introduce a lot more fabrics, a lot more rubber along with the hard pieces as well but I did take into consideration of the original aesthetic of the heavy marine. I added more lines that would make it more streamline rather than those big squares you have on the shoulders and I think they have belts all around so I took a lot of the shapes from the heavy marine because I didn’t want to completely change the design. I wanted to update it, bring it up to the same standard and also the biggest thing of today, zones, it didn’t respect any of the zones. So we had to tweak it anyways so we were like why don’t we just upgrade the asset. When approaching the different sizes for our characters especially from a light to a heavy, the silhouette is a big thing and I have to be in a certain mindset to design a certain size.
Something that’s more on the light size, we’ll try to keep his skin tight and so I would have to play along… I would have to play inside pretty much the base male to a certain extent and maybe some slight… like a vest or maybe a torso and some light pieces. When it comes to the heavy, I’ll admit it compared to a lot of games our heavy are heavy, they’re huge! So I remember originally back in the day when we did the heavy marine, we couldn’t find the right size for the heavy marine and then it went through multiple iterations and we found the size that we all liked. It happened to be this gargantuan thing and so we can’t just put random stuff on the heavy and just call it a day. We have to make sure that it makes sense or aesthetically look like it’ll make sense so there’s a different mindset I have to go through. The light honestly is easier for me because it’s just literally paint on top of the base male or an undersuit and add some small bits here and there, make sure the lines on the characters follow and flow. The heavy marine or the heavy assets take a little bit of time because also we don’t want the heavy armours to look exactly the same to each other. So a good example would be the slaver armour, the slaver heavy armour very similar to the CDS armour yet they’re different so trying to find a aesthetic that differentiates different manufacturers but maintains the same size is a little rough. So it takes some time and thought to get to actually execute.
Because of modularity I know there will be a player that’ll put on a heavy marine chest, a light outlaw arms and maybe some Shubin boots and an RSI helmet and it’ll look absolutely ridiculous, right? So if I stick to… if I try to cater towards that direction I feel like all our designs will look stale because I would have to use the same lines for every single asset and so there is a certain limitation on the creativity side if I were to just stick with the in mind. So there are times when I’m like, you know what we really want to get this asset in and that’ll asset will always look best with a certain group and class of that specific model and the other parts that go with it. So I would prioritize towards that set first and if it looks good on that asset I might rethink it a little bit for the other assets but I don’t let modularity stop me actually.
JH: So as you can see we’re making really good progress on the legacy armours. They aren’t planned for 3.0 but we are shooting for a release soon after that. We’re hoping to get them to you as soon as possible.
FS: All of these upgrades to the Outlaw and Marine armour mean that you’ll soon be able to mix and match modular pieces to create a suit of armour that not only looks good but matches your play style.
SG: Very cool. And that’s all from today’s show. Thanks to our subscribers for helping us produce all of the video content that keeps the community up to date on Star Citizen.
FS: And of course, thanks to all of our backers for your incredible support over the years. This game is only possible because of you.
SG: That is true. Finally, remember to tune in to the Star Citizen Twitch channel tomorrow starting at 12:30 UTC to catch everything happening at CitizenCon.
FS: And be sure to check out the Event Schedule on the website so whether you’ll be joining us in Frankfurt or streaming it online, you can plan your day accordingly.
SG: Lots to do and until next week we will see you…
Both: Around the ‘Verse!