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Around the Verse: Los Angeles Studio Update Written Thursday 1st of March 2018 at 06:50pm by Nehkara

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

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

- Teams have re-aligned to have groups specifically focused on features.

- Tumbril Cyclone base model is in flight prep stage (yes, even though it can’t fly… unless you hit a serious jump on a low-gravity moon… anyway…).

- Anvil Hurricane is in its final art stage and aimed for SC Alpha 3.2.

- Consolidated Outland Mustang re-work is going well and planned for release with SC Alpha 3.2.

- Anvil Terrapin is undergoing animation work.

- Unified tool installer will keep all dev tools up to date.

- Support for loadouts has been added to Maya so animators can see their animations with various armours and clothing on without having to wait until they’re rendered in-game.

- Port Olisar collection of uniforms, clothing, and armours is coming along.

- Lots of progress on legacy armour sets. Legacy Light Outlaw is in in-game mesh stage while legacy Medium Outlaw and legacy Heavy Outlaw are in high poly phase. Legacy Light Marine is in high poly phase as well. These armours are set for release in SC Alpha 3.2.

- Ship Jacker armour is in production - currently working on the undersuit.

- Additional PU characters are in various states of production, including some high quality mission givers similar to Miles and Ruto.

- One of the new feature teams is working on the character customizer and focusing on base implementation in the game.

- A facial rig for alien characters has been implemented to bring actor’s performances as alien characters into the game.

- Director Camera mode is seeing a revamp with on-screen controls to make it more intuitive.  This work is not on the roadmap and will be released when they’re happy with it.

- Another of the newly formed teams is working on vehicle optimizations including stamping out the final Item 1.0 items and converting them to Item 2.0.

Full Transcript

Intro With Sandi Gardiner (VP of Marketing), Dave Haddock (Lead Writer). Timestamped Link.

Sandi Gardiner [SG]: Hello and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse. I'm Sandi Gardiner.

Dave Haddock [DH]: And I'm Dave Haddock.

SG: It's good to have you back Dave.

DH: Thank you, thank you. Good to be here.

SG: This week we have a studio update from right here in Los Angeles.

DH: Yep! Studio director Eric Kieron Davis will take us through the various teams and departments and see what they've been up to since the last time we checked in with them.

SG: With so many disciplines under one roof, there's always a lot going on in LA so let's go to Eric Kieron Davis now for the update.

Studio Update With Eric Kieron Davis (Senior Producer). Timestamped Link.

Eric Kieron Davis[EKD]: Hey everyone! I'm Eric Kieron Davis, Studio Director here in Los Angeles, and we're glad to have you back. The LA studio employs all kinds of different disciplines including marketing, community, video, human resources, legal, finance, IT, facility operations, and of course development.

We have ship artists, character artists, tech artists, designers, engineers, animators, writers and producers all working passionately on projects that we all believe in.

Now, since you last stopped by we've made some slight adjustments to our development production practices, aligning feature and pipeline teams to allow for faster iteration, even better quality, clarity, and focus. This was mentioned in our January monthly report, so let's dig in to some of the things the teams here in Los Angeles have completed.

Over on the ship team, we've been focused on getting as many ships and vehicles through the pipeline as quickly as possible.

So to start, we have the Tumbril Cyclone base model entering its flight prep stage. If you know anything about our internal pipeline steps, which are detailed in our monthly Ship Shape segments on Around the Verse, the flight prep phase is one of the best steps in getting any ship ready for flight. Now, I know what you're saying - “But Eric the cyclone isn't a ship!” - and that's correct, it's a ground vehicle, but since the pipeline was initially established to build flying contraptions, we're sticking to that nomenclature whatever the vehicle may be. In this phase we are setting up damage states and generating all LOD versions to allow for the best possible performance. The cyclone is getting ready to join the other 57 flyable ships and vehicles in the Verse.

Another ship we're making progress on is the Anvil Hurricane. This fighter packs a wallop and is currently entering the final art stage, which means we're breaking out UVs, applying custom normals, as well as final materials and decals, finalizing animations, and making sure we achieve the quality of what you've come to expect in the Verse. While art is into its final phases, the other disciplines are working on wrapping up their work before the Hurricane enters flight prep and we're looking good to hit our SC alpha 3.2 goal as seen on the public roadmap.

Bringing the classic Consolidated Outland Mustang into the New World Order is going swimmingly and this reworking is also entering the final art stages like the Hurricane before continuing through the pipeline. The updated Mustang is also planned for delivery in the SC Alpha 3.2 patch in Q2.

The last ship currently being worked on in Los Angeles is one that we featured two weeks ago on Ship Shape - the Anvil Terrapin. Our art team has been pencils down as other disciplines push forward to wrap up their work such as implementing the final player animations like getting in and out of the pilot seat, the door opening and closing, landing gear folding in and out, as well as the armoured shell.

We've made steady progress on lots of different tools to help speed up and simplify things allowing the team to get more done quicker. One tool that we knocked out together was this unified tool installer, a definite quality of life improvement for our teams. This allows for automatic updates to each of the tools our artists and designers use. A ‘one installer to rule them all’ kind of thing.

Another tool we implemented alongside our global compadres was support for loadouts in one of our commonly used programs - Maya. This allows for animators across the globe to polish and preview their animations given a particular loadout. A loadout can be anything the character is wearing that obviously will affect the animation. For example, a character might be sitting at a table but their arm isn't touching the table surface, it's just floating there. Without their armour on, you wouldn't actually know why that elbow is just floating awkwardly. These poses change dramatically when polishing animations and now our team can see them in Maya ahead of time instead of guessing until they see it rendered in-game and since our last update, our character team knocked out a tremendous amount of work on both the Star Citizen persistent universe and Squadron 42, some of which you saw in the vertical slice at the end of the year.

**Interlude to show actors, facial scans, and the artist’s work to improve those facial scans for several characters in Squadron 42**

EKD: They've been pressing forward on all kinds of uniforms, armours, and clothes such as the upcoming Port Olisar collection. We have several pieces of this product collection in production from high poly to in-game mesh which will soon be headed to texturing, rigging, and implementation for in-game stores around Port Olisar.

We've also made lots of progress on several legacy armour sets as well. The legacy Light Outlaw just moved into its in-game mesh stage where we'll make a low poly version that helps with performance but also allows for maximum quality. Once that's done it'll move into final texturing, rigging, and final implementation. Like a young Edna Mode once believed,  capes are always in fashion, so we're understandably excited about this one. The other two legacy Outlaw sets - both the heavy and the medium - just started their high poly phase which lets us flesh out the nooks and crannies of the armour before getting it ready for final texturing.

The legacy Light Marine armour has also entered high poly phase and will soon go into the in-game low poly modeling, texturing, and rigging. All of these armour sets help to keep fleshing out the look and feel of our universe and all of them are on track for their respective releases found on the public road map for SC Alpha 3.2.

Our sets of armour have lots of layers and customization options as evidenced by the upcoming Ship Jacker set, designed for Squadron 42, that's making its way into the Star Citizen persistent universe. We're starting on the undersuit before working through all of the other Ship Jacker pieces and getting the full set ready to go.

On top of that, the team has other PU characters in various states of production such as high quality mission givers, not unlike Miles and Ruto, as well as concepts for upcoming characters planned for future releases.

We also have one of our newly refined feature teams focusing on the character customizer. The internal excitement is palpable for this feature as our first baseline of character customization. The feature team is working on the base implementation, building on the great work that was done last year and putting the final touches on this first implementation. It will include the ability to choose a head, skin tone, eye colour, hair style, and hair colour for your character. All of these new settings, as you'd imagine, need to persist so the team is putting the final touches on the backend functionality so it works as expected.

**Interlude to show more character customization options**

EKD: To allow for strong performances, not just on our human characters but also on our aliens, we've implemented a facial rig that elegantly translates human performances into ones that are well, alien. You've got a glimpse of the performance from Andy Serkis’ Behind-the-Scenes featurette and this will allow the character’s animation to connect to his and other strong performances we're getting in Squadron 42.

In all phases of development, we're always R&Ding our prototyping work prior to committing final resources to completing it and one feature that we're very passionate about is our director camera mode. We've listened to your feedback and we are striving to make this much more robust and user-friendly. We plan on developing much more intuitive and obvious controls to make it so you don't have to do wacky button combinations to get great shots or videos in our game. Like it says in the caveats, you won't find certain features like this on the public roadmap because we want to make sure we've got something we're happy with before allocating the resources that are needed as it aligns with their backlog and then pushing to get an in-game and your hands as quickly as possible.

Last but certainly not least we've had our newly focused vehicle feature team spearheading tons of ship optimizations. The intention with optimizations is not just finding that big-ticket item that will fix everything, although that's great, but focusing our efforts on breaking down tasks that our code base is running from milliseconds down to microseconds. The team has been pushing hard converting remaining items from Item 1.0 to Item 2.0 such as missiles, missile racks, object databank, EMP, and various bugs and crashes to get that FPS counter as high as possible.

And that about does it for us here in Los Angeles, we hope you enjoyed our update because we always enjoy having you along for the adventure of making Squadron 42 and Star Citizen and sharing every possible detail that we can.

Thanks from all of us here for watching and a big thank you to our subscribers for enabling us to give you the in-depth look at that nitty gritty particulars as well as our backers for letting us pour our passion into something as great as these two projects. Take care and we'll see you in the Verse.

Outro With Sandi Gardiner (VP of Marketing), Dave Haddock (Lead Writer). Timestamped Link.

DH: Thanks for that Eric. Lots to look forward to coming out of the teams in LA and I personally cannot wait to get my hands on the character customizer.

SG: It's going to be fun to see some more diversity out there in the Verse.

DH: Indeed, indeed, and you can also get a recap of what we've been up to in LA as well as a comprehensive rundown of what the other studios have been up to in our monthly report which is going to be going live on the RSI website today.

SG: And if you've been following along with our public roadmap also on the RSI website, you've probably seen a lot of features for Alpha 3.1 have moved from an in-development state into polishing.

DH: That's right and we've also pushed some items into the 3.2 release but our teams continue to fine-tune features and content while also working on optimization as we head towards that Evocati release.

SG: The Aegis Vulcan remains available as a concept pledge. Add one of these versatile support ships to your fleet and kickstart a career in assisting ships in distress. With a Vulcan and it's four remote-controlled drones, you can repair, refuel, and rearm ships on the fly

DH: And if you missed it, actually last week's episode of Reverse the Verse answered a lot of the questions about the ships’ planned in-game mechanics, so if you're curious about the Vulcan make sure to check that out.

And also, take a look at the Aegis Wrecking Crew ship pack which features the Vulcan along with the Eclipse, Avenger Warlock, Titan, and the Reclaimer which is a crazy amount of ships. That pack is available now.

SG: Very cool and you can tune into a new Reverse the Verse tomorrow at 12:00 PST. This week's episode will be our monthly subscribers’ edition dedicated to answering questions from our subscriber community, so head to spectrum and get those questions in while you still can.

DH: This week also saw the release of new episodes of Calling All Devs and Bugsmashers so head to the website or our YouTube channel and tune in for some quality QA and some harrowing bug decimation.

SG: Thanks to our subscribers for sponsoring those and all of our shows. We're looking forward to seeing some of you next week here in LA.

DH: That's right, next week we are actually going to be shooting and airing a very special episode of ATV featuring a live studio audience made up of some of our subscribers. It should be a lot of fun and it will also feature our latest Star Citizen project update so you definitely won't want to miss it.

DH: And of course, thank you to all of our backers for continuing to support the development of both Star Citizen and Squadron 42.

SG: Yes, thank you very much and that's all for us from today. Until next week, we will see you...

Both: Around the Verse!



Writer and inhabitant of the Star Citizen subreddit.