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!
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hello and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse. I’m Sandi Gardiner.
Chris Roberts (CR): And I’m Chris Roberts.
SG: In this week’s update we’ll see and hear more about the state of FOIP and VOIP; check back in on the exciting world of mining improvements; …
SG: … take a look at contact missions with the Narative team; and tickle the ivories in the Constellation Phoenix. But first let’s see what new from our community.
CR: So last weekend an organisation called Vashtar Industrial organised an event called The Shubin Shuffle.
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SG: We’ve seen all sorts of DIY races throughout the PU but I believe this is the first foot race. Players ran a whopping 37.8km across Daymar; racing from Shubin Mining to Eager Flats.
CR: Yeah our community has been getting really creative with this type of emergent gameplay and it’s always fun with the add a bit of humour as Vashtar has here.
SG: Now let’s march on to development updates and check in with the Gameplay Feature team. They’ve been working on some core tech that represents the first steps towards enabling a much more streamline workflow for designing and implementing user interfaces into the game.
CR: This preliminary node graph tool shows how a designer can iterate on UI display logic quickly in real-time without needing to wait on engineers to make simple changes.
SG: This tech will be useful for things like weapons and ammo displays, comm array screens, MFDs in ships, the new storage lockers, and more.
CR: Here we see on the roadmap that several new NPC mission givers are being worked on for up and coming releases. And while they stand to bring more personality to the PU, a big part of the Star Citizen mission system continues to be built around mobiGlas contracts. Let’s got to Will Weissbaum for some insight on how these missions are conceived and designed.
Will Weissbaum (WW): When working on contract this last week a lot of it’s been going through the high-level with Luke and the Live Design team about what mechanics we’re going to have available in 3.3 and how that’s going to be affecting current missions and what new missions can we create to tie into that.
Previously a lot of the contracts were - even though they were randomised and procedurally generated - they were still, the logic of them, was very much hard coded by the designers. So they said this mission can use location X, Y, and Z.
So now for the future what we want to do - as we’re adding more and more locations and Stanton’s getting bigger and bigger - to have to go back and update every single mission every time you add a new location is very time clostly. So we’ve been going back and working together to retrofit stuff so it works off a system that can be automatically updated through tagging.
For players what they’ll be seeing is that the same missions will be able to start utilising the new locations as soon as we add them which will hopefully give a broader experience and send them travelling throughout Stanton system.
SG: Here we see early modular work on a Lorville transit station. We’ve seen concept and reference art for these train platforms in past episodes and I think we can expect to see much more of the city at CitizenCon.
We’ve been optimising VOIP and FOIP transmission over the network to get it working correctly in the live game. Here’s Graham Phillipson back again with a progress report.
Graham Phillipson (GP): In recent weeks I’ve been working on data compression for the FOIP system. Although the FOIP data won’t be transmitted by our normal game servers we still need to be aware of the amount of data that we’re transmitting. As a result of this we need to compress the data as much as possible.
In the case of the facial data we have a few options available. For example we can scale the bit depth of the animation values and we can also apply level of detail culling ot those animations values that express more subtle movements in the face when the player is at a distance from the camera. This culling needs to be applied both at the client’s side and on the server so that each client receives a level of detail that’s appropriate to their experience.
We also need to compress the audio data. In this instance we have control over the audio bitrate at the server side. This allows us to provide an audio experience appropriate to what the player is doing in game. For example if somebody’s talking using the Communication system in the game we can afford to provide a lower bitrate audio experience since the Communication system itself can be expected to degrade the audio.
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Whereas if somebody’s in the same room as you in game you would expect their game to be as clear possible. And in this case we will provide the best possible audio experience.
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We use both listening tests and spectral analysis tools to ensure the audio is of the quality that we require.
CR: That was pretty cool. Thanks … thanks Graham. So now here we see a test case for the new Elevator Management tech, which will help us integrate more dynamic elevators into the game. The tech still needs a lot of finesse and development before you’ll see it in the PU but eventually it will also be applied to trams, trains, and other public transportation.
SG: Just when you thought it was safe to watch ATV it’s the return of mining improvements.
CR: Just like The Walking Dead; they’re coming back.
SG: Yes, the devs continued to make subtle but noticeable improvements to the mechanic. Here’s Dan Trufin with more.
Dan Trufin (DT): Some of these things are improvements on instability and resistances are calculated. Basically we had to cap some of those numbers to not jump over the value of 100% for resistances and also instability was capped at 100%. So now we can take the instability and take it past the value of 100% so you will find rocks that are very, very unstable. Depending on how we play with the values we can reach very unstable rocks that are really hard to mine.
To counter that we bring in a new mechanic that makes it easier to mine a rock once you keep your mining laser stable on that rock. So if you keep it steady in one point then instability of the rock decreases over time. Your laser manages to be less erratic.
SG: Work continues on Rest Stops with asymmetrical exteriors being the current focus. The Procedural Tech team is adding more false shop fronts and advertisements to bring these locations to life.
Patrick Agostaro (PA): We’ve been exploring Rest Stops in our Procedural Layout tool and we want to achieve more variation and have asymmetry in the scene. To achieve asymmetry we’re moving from strings to tags. And doing that we have a lot less errors, a lot less typos, and a lot of problems connected with strings are gone.
Tags are a lot useful because they give us a lot more better filtering, bether theming, and they are a common interface between all the departments so we know exactly what we’re getting. And thanks to tags we also have theming of, for example, and engineering room tagged “engineering”. Then we’ll have connections, props and all the stuff related to a room, for example, adverts would be themed “engineering” too. So this gives us consistency even in a asymmetric Rest Stop between all the parts of the Rest Stop.
CR: So moving on to ships we would usually throw to Jared for a pipeline update but not today. Today we take the pipeline back.
SG: Oh boy. That’s right with Jared out in Germany for GamesCom it’s all up to us this week.
Updates to the Constellation Phoenix continue including improved landing gear compression animation and interior refinement.
Here we get a first look at the Sentinel Piano. And it’s pretty slick.
CR: Cool to see that in the game while you’re sightseeing over Yela. So there you go.
If you missed Jared drop in and find him at GamesCom or you can tune into Reverse the Verse exclusively airing on our YouTube channel this week.
SG: And if that still doesn’t scratch your ship itch check out our Alpha 3.2 Free Fly event - starting tomorrow - where you can try out Star Citizen for free in one of several ships.
And that’s all for us this week. Thanks to the subscribers for sponsoring our shows.
CR: Yes and to all the backers, thank you very much as well. Until next time we will see you …
Both: Around the ‘verse.