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!
- Constellation Phoenix is in gray box modelling stage.
- Hammerhead is in gray box final approved interior stage.
- The Hurricane and the Avenger rework have made it to the final modelling and surface tweak stage.
- Reclaimer is in the flight prep stage.
- Banu Merchantman has completed design review and is in the second round of interior concept designs.
- F8 Lightning is in gray box surfacing stage and is undergoing some tweaks to the cockpit and front wings after some feedback from Chris Roberts.
- Vanduul Blade is undergoing review of its cockpit layout and interior - work is beginning to push an aggressive look and feel. Watch for an in-depth feature on the Blade in a Ship Shape in the coming months.
- The Cyclone is in flight prep phase.
- The Aegis Reclaimer is themed around the Nostromo from the movie Alien with a grimy industrial feel
- The Reclaimer is a long distance ship hosting crew quarters, a full bathroom, a captain's quarters, an engineering deck, a salvage room, a tech deck, not to mention a galley and mess hall
- The Reclaimer opens up avenues of gameplay that have to exist in the game expanding beyond combat roles
- Its role is the beginning for finding materials, trading and transportation for a lucrative income
- Though clearly not a combat ship the aesthetic of the Reclaimer is entirely aggressive and imposing with its size, giant articulating arm and blinding floodlights
- The Reclaimer's landing gear is like none other to date in the game and uniquely compresses and springs upon landing
- Another challenge surpassed with the Reclaimer was how VTOL was implemented so that there wasn't interference with the damage states
- Working with the UK office becomes a 24/7 affair not unlike handing off a baton
- Matthew Intrieri is not great at landing a Reclaimer, but was apparently able to walk away
- The end result of multiple teams and offices working together is truly beautiful and amazing to behold as the Reclaimer lands upon uneven surfaces on planets with the envisioned presence designed
- A short term problem that needs solving is an elevator that drops physics once outside of the ship allowing one to simply walk right through the geometry
- The Reclaimer also has a drone room for two pilots to operate as well as two slots for tractor beam operators
- Everyone has a job to do aboard the Reclaimer: pilot, two tractor beam operators, two drone operators, a few standing consoles for remote turret operators and scanning operators, not to mention engineering console positions
- The processing room is the area where raw pieces are churned up to salvaged material in a very gritty and dangerous environment
- No Reclaimer has that fresh new spaceship smell, but has literally tons of character instead
- With so many new features there's been a lot of collaborating between design, QA and coding with in mind of onward expansion to creating a full universe
- The Reclaimer is gargantuan at 150 meters in length, a similar width and by 50-60 meters in height and the largest ship going into 3.1 causing even landing pads to be redesigned
- The Cyclone was created to provide the sensation of hugging the terrain, bouncing around valleys and skipping over boulders
- It was the first time CIG create a ground-only vehicle that wasn’t attached to something else
- The concept was a dune buggy for Star Citizen: to go fast, go over jumps and be fun to drive
- Started with 5 to 10 variants before focusing on the final five: cargo, turret, recon, support and racing
- It is multi-crew: pilot, co-pilot and (for one variant) gunner
- First thing they looked at was making it faster - much faster- than the rover
- The tires are composed of plates folded on top of each other that unfold to provide more traction
- After concept the Cyclone went immediately into its whitebox and greybox phases and now heading to flight prep
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: This week Jared’s back with another installment of Ship Shape.
CR: Yes and he’ll be taking a look at the Aegis Reclaimer and the Tumbril Cyclone. Both of which are scheduled to be flyable or in the case of the Cyclone, drivable, in Alpha 3.1
SG: And a lot of you have been anticipating these vehicles for sometime now, so let’s go to Jared for all the details.
Jared Huckaby (JH): Greetings citizens and welcome to another episode of Ship Shape where we take a quick look at what’s on the Ship Pipeline, who’s working on what, provide interviews with the developers, and special for this month only there’s a studio audience here watching me shoot this. Yeah, you know the same group of subscribers that were here for last week’s hosting with Sandi and Sean Tracy? They’re here again. I mean seriously. Who thought this was a good idea?
Subscriber 1: I thought this was a great idea.
Subscriber 2: Me too.
Subscriber 3: Tell us about the Carrack.
Subscriber Gallery: Yeah, tell us about the Carrack!
JH: You can go now. Thank you. I’m your host, Content Manager Jared Huckaby. Now behind me you see the Ship Pipeline, an ever evolving continuously refined process that assures we bring you the best quality spaceships for your Star Citizen experience. Now, looking at it now we can already see that there have already been quite a few changes from the last month like the Constellation Phoenix which is now in the Gray Box Modelling Stage. That’s exciting. There’s also the Hammerhead which is now in the Gray Box Final Approved Interior Stage, which is pretty cool. We’ve also got what … the Hurricane and the Avenger rework that have made it to the Final Modelling and Surface Tweak Stage, and ... that’s a subscriber visitor who somehow made it onto the Ship Pipeline.
Subscriber 4: Carrack forever!
JH: Carrack forever, indeed. To get things started this week we’ve got the first of two updates on ships making their way to Star Citizen in the upcoming Alpha 3.1 It’s the big industrial salvage ship that could with a reinforced cargo bay, long range jump drive, tractor beams, unmanned drones, flood lights and more. Let’s check in now with the team currently working to bring the behemoth Aegis Reclaimer to life.
Calvin Williams (CW): The Reclaimer is the first salvage ship in the Aegis brand, and its purpose is to travel to find distant wrecks of ships and reclaim those salvaged parts to be used for trading. The original inspirations were themed around the Nostromo from Alien, just that thick industrial feeling. We wanted to get across the griminess and the sweatiness of the spaces and just make it feel like somewhere that wouldn’t be comfortable to live in even though you’re on there for long stretches of time. This is a long distance ship, so it comes with it’s own kitchen and its own mess hall that you can get all your food from and there’s a crew quarters, because their ship is a five man ship.
So we’ve got a crew quarters, which has four beds in it and a bathroom and toilet. We also have a captain’s quarters where he gets his own office and his own bedroom and toilet. There’s the engineering deck which has the engine room on it and a whole host of components in there and that’s where the actual power of the ship is all generated. There’s a salvage room where the salvage gets stored after it’s been processed. On the tech deck there’s a drone bay which houses four drones and has two seats for pilots to control the drones from. Also on the tech deck there’s a gravity generator which is this big ball that has a load of energy around it, and it’s just swirling. It’s quite crazy and hectic.
Steven Turberfield (ST): Generally speaking with a ship like the Reclaimer, because it has got new features that the other ships haven’t had.
CW: I think this will bring a new type of gameplay to players who don’t want to just fly around and shoot things. It’s for the type of player who wants to be a trader and travel to different destinations and just make that money instead of just being a marine or a gun for hire. It actually brings a chance to transport materials and find materials and create your own sort of income.
ST: The ship itself kind of brings a new career into the Verse. It is the first proper like large salvage ship that we have. With that we have to kind of bear in mind what features we’re going to have later on. So, how will the claw work on the front of it? How will we get the crushed up salvage from the front to the back of the ship where it’s then processed?
CW: The process for the actual salvaging itself starts at the very front of the ship with the claw. So once you actually find your wreckage, the claw is used to go out with lasers and break up the ship into pieces. The pieces are then attracted into the Reclaimer by the tractor beams either side. This then gets passed through into the processing room where the grinders grind it up into smaller manageable pieces and then this gets fed all the way through back into the salvage container units at the back of the ship. You’ve got two huge sets of floodlights that are used to actually see your salvage in front of you, and it’s really imposing, and it can almost be used as a deterrent to other players, like blinding them. The whole aesthetic of the ship is designed to feel imposing and big and just chunky and quite aggressive even though it’s not a ship designed for combat. It still has a turret and some firepower, but it’s just designed to look and feel quite menacing and just strong.
ST: The salvage career route that we’re looking into is probably going to be one of the most interesting ones by far, because it’s really about how can I make the most money out of this universe. It’s really like how can I play the economy the best that I can. So as a salvager essentially you’re going to be going out there looking for things to salvage and then processing all that and then selling what you’ve processed. So whether you’ve salvaged it for parts or salvaged it for materials you’ll then be able to sell that on, and it’s basically you going out to work every day, putting in your work, and then reaping the benefits at the end of it. So it’s one of those ones where by the end of it you’re kind of working to build yourself a career and lifestyle in the universe. So you’ve done your day’s work, you get back and then you’ve got your money to do whatever you want with basically.
Obviously from day one we’ve always kind of envisaged it’s going to have the arms on the side which basically are the landing gear which is spring driven, and we then have to essentially make that work in a way that our players expect it to work, because it visually looks like that those will bend and we then have to go, “Right, well it’s obviously got to bend.”, because that’s the expectation we’ve put out there. So that has kind of provided a unique challenge, because typically as a rule the landing gear is its own separate thing and then the thrusters are their own separate ways. The way that this is structured is like a hierarchy in place where you’ve got the VTOLs on the end of the flexing arm landing gears.
Matthew Intrieri (MI): When I first looked at the landing system I realized that it was going to be a lot different than we had done before. We always drive our landing systems through a spring, and the spring compresses, and then that drives an animation of the art compressing. What we found early on during prototyping of the compressing landing gear was that we had to remove the collision from the landing gear, because that would interfere with the spring. You can imagine the spring compressing, and then the ship hits the landing gear, and then the spring jolts. So that is one limitation of our landing system as it is right now. We expect to get collision back on so you can lock against it in the future though.
Another limitation is that we can’t add a thruster onto a landing gear. It’s like attaching an item to an item which is attached to the ship. That’s also going to be solved in the future through the item 2.0 process, but today landing system is still in its original form. The other issues that we are unable to detach segments of the landing gear. Once the object has been skinned and it’s one welded mesh for optimization reasons you’re unable to detach little bits.
So, looking at the landing system on the reclaimer I knew we wanted to blow off these big housings on the sides, but if it was all the landing gear from the arm all the way to the toes then we wouldn’t be able to detach its certain elements. So after talking to Mark Abent we formed a plan where we would start to drive pieces of the hull ... we’d leave the arms in the hull of the ship and then just make these feet the landing gear actually. So those wouldn’t have any collision, it wouldn’t take damage, but then you’d get the UV2 damage and detach events on top.
So, proceeded to start working on the model and we had to separate a lot of meshes. Everytime you separated a mesh to make a piston work you also have to worry about the LODs and it became hundreds of meshes to deal with to get all the pistons separated out. Then I called on Daniel Grebe [uncertain of spelling] who is the ship artist who helped on the exterior of the ship. So he worked with me and was really great.
We have a great relationship with the UK. I love working with the UK, because I can go to sleep, send them notes, go to sleep, wake up the next morning and have changes made, and then I’ll do the same. I’ll make changes, and then I’ll pass that off. It’s like a baton, and so we’re working on the ship 24/7. And that worked out really well. We got all the pistons rigged, I animated, the compression, and at that point we started to try and hook it up to our mannequin system and found that we had … we needed just a little bit of code to drive four independent hull arms onto these feet at the same time, and they had to both be synced per spring.
So we got the springs working, and then I worked on the mannequin. The mannequin needed a little upgrade. We got program support from Max Hung and Mark Abent and where we were able to drive the arms of the hull with the feet in unison and with each spring, and then I took it for a test flight on the planets and failed horribly, and I’m not a very good pilot, but we got it landing and we can drop it on the planet now, and all the springs compress, and it looks really cool and massive.
The benefit of compressed landing gear to the player is that well for one it looks amazing, right. You want to see the gears working. You want to see the pistons compress. You see the weight of the ship, and it gives it a really good feel, but also we found that with stiff landing gear it created issues landing on planets where you might put a foot in a groove or you land tilted, and what we want to do in the future is really just stabilize that. So, now we just have these springs that drive the landing gear, and the springs themselves will find grooves in the planet and settle, and it should be pretty solid and stick. So, that’s mainly the benefit.
ST: So the landing itself, the way that the process works is it ... it uses a VTOL system, so the main thrusters pivot 90 degrees, and they then provide upward thrust to guide you in for your landing. So, because of that we had to factor in what thrusters would then cover going forward when they’ve tilted so there’s been a lot of back and forth about that, but essentially when the player comes in to land much like most of the landing gears we have in our game there is a bit of spring to them whereas the Reclaimer you generally see a bit more spring to it, and it will rest the body much lower to the ground, and it kind of raises the arms up. So it’s really unique looking. It’s essentially ... it’s going to look completely different on the ground than in the air, and it’s a really kind of a nice thing to see.
Right now we’ve got to a point now where the landing gear works. It looks amazing, and it’s something that I think is going to be really unique to the ship as well. We also have a lot of short term things which you probably need to count for it at the start such as having an elevator inside it which goes to multiple floors, but also goes outside. So because of that, it starts bringing up issues that we didn’t even know about at the times, because we’re finding an issue where when the elevator travels outside of the physics grid in the ship it loses its physics, so once you get outside and you step off the platform you can then just walk through the geometry, and we obviously need to solve that problem. So that’s currently one that we’re working on at the moment.
You’ve got a drone room which has got two operators where you can basically send drones out the top of the ship. They will then go searching on a essentially to save you from having to get into the nooks and crannies of an area in your enormous ship, and then you can then bring them back with the data that you need and whether or not it’s worth going in there. You’ve also got a tractor beam on there which is operated by two of your crewmates. They can essentially tractor beam an object in such as a derelict ship or something like that, pull it closer, and then the claw will then do its job, and you as you have a claw operator at the front of the cockpit as well next to the pilot. So it’s really a hands-on ship. There’s pretty much a role for every single person on board. It’s going to be one of those ships where once it’s up and running you’ve got a real kind of hub of activity going on in there.
CW: Yes, so this ship has a five man crew. So you need to have your pilot, but you also need to have two guys controlling the tractor beam turrets. The tractor beams are what attract the scrap into the ship itself where it gets processed, and then you need someone to actually run the machine that churns up the metal. So that it’s not really something you can do on your own. So it’ll definitely help to have people around to help you do it.
ST: So with the Reclaimer there’s obviously a lot of crew stations that we’ve got in there for a lot of different purposes. So to talk you through the ones we have of course at the front we’ve got the pilot. He’s just a sole pilot in there, and you know you’ll have all the standard kind of things you’d expect as a pilot, all your MFDs and radar and all that kind of stuff. Next to him is the claw operator. So, once we have salvage fully online that guy there will be able to operate the claw itself, so once it’s got the salvageable wreck or whatever you’re salvaging in position you’ll be able to be the guy who operates the claw which then sends … breaks it all up and sends it up into the ship. Behind those guys you’ve got tractor beam operators. So they will be the ones who send you targeting, what it is you’re wanting to salvage and pulling it into position from the claw operator in the front. We’ve also got a couple of drone operators which are more to the middle of the ship, they’re on the top deck and they kind of work independently in their own little space, and then we’ve also got a number of standing consoles. So, there’s going to be a couple of remote turret operators. So, they’re really your guys who are taking care of your defenses, and we’ve got a couple of scanning stations in there as well. We’ve kind of MFD functions so general engineers, and of course we’ve got an engineering section on the ship, so there is a couple of the engineering consoles as well. So there’s really like a mass array of work to be done on the ship to be most effective and it’s one of those things where people can really earn their role as a crew member on a ship.
CW: One of the areas of the ship that I worked on personally that I’m really proud of is the actual processing room itself where all the blades are. Because this is such an important part of the ship, we needed to make sure that it felt alive and actually really dangerous, because this is where all the metal gets churned up and turned into the scrap that you sell later on, and I think we managed to achieve a really gritty, dangerous area that is just full of smoke, and it doesn’t really look like somewhere that you want to get caught.
The thing that makes this ship unique is that we’re not trying to take it from an out of factory fresh look. It already has a character to it. It feels like a place that is lived in and has its own personality. I wanted to make sure that, that came across to the player when they’re in there. It’s not just this piece of metal. It’s actually its own character.
ST: It’s very much down and dirty. It’s got an industrial look to it, because it is essentially a tool for getting salvage and making a profit off it.
CW: To achieve the look and feel of this ship, that the griminess and the overall dirty industrial aesthetic that we wanted to go for we had to come up with some new materials whereas in the past using other Aegis ships we’d reuse materials for it.
ST: The QA are going to come back to us with a lot of usability bugs that we haven’t noticed just from generally setting up as a first pass, and also in the meantime we start to discover if there’s any problems anywhere where we’ve not accounted for something where a new feature’s been implemented. So, because the Reclaimer’s got so many new features and new ways that we have to look and setting it up, we then start to find, “Oh maybe our system doesn’t currently support it< and how can we go about doing that?”. So there’s been a lot of back and forth between myself, art and also the code guys as well.
It’s just really broadening the careers. It’s something that I’m kind of most excited, and because I’m not really much of a combat guy and being able to kind of sell the idea of a universe means that we can then look into the different aspects of that, so if ever on down the line we’re going to have different roles and careers and it’s really just about making it so that you are part of that career you have a defined role and you feel you’re most invested in that. Like I kind of mentioned before we’ve been so combat focused leading up to this and rightfully so for what the players can do in game. Whereas I think the Reclaimer coming in at this stage really opens up a lot of doors for 3.0 and onward, because for me when I first joined the team the thing that sold me on the game most was building a universe and not just a game, and being able to expand on that for our players so that they can start doing entirely new things in a game that they’ve been playing in the Alpha for months. It’s really exciting to see.
CW: I love this ship, because it’s something that is completely different from what we’ve been doing before. It doesn’t have that brand new or that clean aesthetic. It’s actually … it has a lot of character and personality to it that we could tell with some environmental storytelling already.
ST: So the Reclaimer is going to actually be the largest ship going into the game for 3.1 It’s absolutely gargantuan. It’s huge in comparison to everything else. You’re looking at around about 150 meters in length. It’s fairly similar width wise, and then you’re looking at about 50, 60 meters in height, so it kind of dwarfs a lot of the other ships that we’ve got in the game. We’ve had to increase one of the landing pad sizes in order to fit it in which is again has been another fun thing we’ve had to overcome, and yeah, it’s … the actual scale of it is enormous, and when you kind of walk up to your landing pad where you’ve spawned it in and you’re looking up at it; it’s amazing. It’s really been challenging and also like one of those really rewarding things we’ve just started seeing it working in game now and like it is by far the coolest ship you’ll ever see land. It just looks amazing.
JH: Like all ships currently working their way to the game in Alpha 3.1 the Aegis Reclaimer is in the Flight Prep Phase occupying all stages of the aptly named Complete and Hookup Everything Sub-Phase. That’s where members of the animation, UI, tech, FX and audio teams put on the finishing touches before a ship bursts forth into the Persistent Universe. Now, while salvage gameplay and the systems to utilize the giant mechanical arm in front won’t be live in Alpha 3.1 I have little doubt that the more enterprising Star Citizens of you out there will find a variety of emergent uses for the Reclaimer in the meantime. I expect to see many, many videos on the Community Hub in the coming months.
Rewinding back from the Flight Prep Phase we have three additional updates to bring you for the month of March. The last time we spoke about the Banu Merchantman on this show it was occupying two distinct positions on the pipeline, The Design Review Stage and the Identify and Create Additional Concept Stage. Well, I’m pleased to report that we have now completed the design review process and are currently progressing on our second round of interior concept designs for the Banu Merchantman. Now this is an important early step that we hope will allow us to really drill down into what will make this ship so special. And the team working on this concept currently have a couple weeks left in the recent round of sprints and will then follow that up with some clean up and areas that still remain a little bit undefined.
Moving farther along to the Gray Box Phase we’ve got two updates on ships that are making their Ship Shape Pipeline debut. First up we’ve got the F8 Lightning, proud pinnacle of any Anvil fleet. Now Chris Smith in our Austin studio has been hard at work in the Gray Box Surfacing Stage and when talking to Chris Smith he mentioned that in a recent ship review Chris Roberts said he wasn’t entirely sold on the design of the cockpit and front wings, so he’s been working to update the cockpit and frontend in line with CR’s request. When he’s done with that he’ll continue to finish up the UVs and the Smart-Normal pass before updating the ingame model with the latest geometry and making a first pass on the cockpit Lightning. You know, Chris Smith makes good ships y’all. I went Texas ... y’all … no? Alright, nevermind.
Joining the F8 Lightning on the Ship Shape Pipeline is the Vanduul Blade currently being worked on in our Manchester studio. Now the cockpit on this Vanduul ship has proven a bit tricky to get right. Mostly because the controls and seating position have to work for both Human and Vanduul pilots alike, and Vanduul are just a little bit bigger. The interior has recently been reviewed and some work has already begun to really push an aggressive look and feel appropriate for any Vanduul ship. Look for an in depth feature on the Vanduul Blade on Ship Shape in the coming months.
Finally this month, back in the Flight Prep Phase we have the Tumbril Cyclone, Star Citizen’s first exclusively terrestrial vehicle introduced as a standalone craft. Let’s go ahead and check in now with some of those team members and find out a little of what you can expect when the Tumbril Cyclone roars into the scene in Star Citizen Alpha 3.1
Elwin Bachiller (EB): The reason why we wanted the Cyclone was because we had these amazing, beautiful, procedurally-generated environments and all of the vehicles that we had previously had all hovered or flew around, so we didn’t get an opportunity to give you that sensation of hugging the terrain and bouncing around valleys and skipping over boulders and things like that. And, yeah, the Cyclone is the perfect vehicle for that. It’s got these wheels that are sticking off of the body of it. It’s got these super thick threads so you’ve really got a sensation of hugging the terrain as you are going over the mountain valleys and things like that.
Paul Jones (PJ): These are like rapid response vehicles aren’t they? So people will be able to drive up super fast. Have some sort of combat scenario - ideally win. Take the loot. Get back in the vehicle. Get back to their ship or base. And off you go. So, yeah, it play it your own way. It’s what do you want to do? Where do you want to go today? It’s one of those classic lines.
Stephen Hosmer (SH): When this was first brought to me, I was given the task of designing a dune buggy for Star Citizen. We’re at the time just creating the planets - the procedural planets - and we wanted a way to traverse them. And we only had the Rover at the time and we were coming out with the Nox and the Dragonfly. And this was the first time we were ever going to create a ground only vehicle that wasn’t attached to anything else.
And so they came to me and they’re like “We want a dune buggy. Something that’s going to go fast. Go over the jumps. And just …” We wanted something that was just going to traverse the planets as fast as possible while just being something fun to drive.
After that we went into the design brief phase and concepting. And we were trying to figure out what other utility this could actually encompass. So we wanted just to have a barebones version that was just the flatbed with the cargo. And then we’re like “Okay what other things can we put into this that will give it utility across multiple versions?”
And so we came up - in the beginning - with five to ten different versions and then we pared it down to “What are the essential things? What are the things we actually want this thing to do?” And we came up with five version that we have now which is the base which is nothing, just the cargo. We have the turret because we knew we wanted a turret - we wanted a guy up there shooting a gun and we wanted to have some sort of offensive capability.
Then we’re like “We need something …” because we didn’t have anything at the time which was on the ground that can actually deal with a threat in the air. So we had come up with a version that supported ground troops using anti-air capabilities like the flare and chaff and we gave it an EMP and we of course gave it some missiles to shoot down things from the sky. And then we also wanted just a recon version. Something that had a scanner. Something that could basically chart the surface of the moon that you were exploring. And so that’s the recon version.
And then we just wanted a fun one; just a race one. Originally with the racer version we pitched the concept of just putting a … a ship engine on the back of it and then they came back and they’re like “No, that’s a little too extreme for what we’re going for.” But we still wanted the racing version so just going to cover it up, make it more … a little more aerodynamic, put the spoiler on it. We’re going to put nitrous-oxide boosters or something in there just to to give you that speed boost.
EB: There’s a couple of really cool things about being in the Cyclone. For a vehicle this small it’s very cool that it’s a multi-crew ship essentially. You’ve got a pilot, co-pilot, and then one ... in one of the variants you’ll actually have a gunner sitting up above you so you’ll be able to get into gun fights and have the guy behind you try and cover you and stuff like that. And that’s really cool.
SH: I just knew that the very first thing I wanted was speed. I looked at what we had with the Ursa Rover and I looked … I took basically that as a template and then I brought it into the Cyclone and I’m like “Okay, where’s the number that controls speed?” Because I hadn’t actually made one before. And I went in and I just immediately just doubled it. I’m just like “Whatever this is …” It was 35 or something and I’m like “Make it 70. How fast is this going?” And when I did that I could tell that now with that at a really … much faster speed and the same turning rate you would start turning and then the Cyclone would just shift immediately. And I’m like “Oh that’s … that’s really cool but it feels a little … a little too fast.” So I had to tune it back and forth. Has a better turning radius than the Ursa Rover because it has the double … the back wheels and the front wheels turn. But the turning radius of the wheels themselves are actually smaller. So it’s like I have to … had to tune it so it didn’t feel like a soon as you turn the wheel you would shoot off in another direction.
EB: So I think that the coolest part of this ship is probably the tires. Right? So they’re set up in such as a way that it’s not one big piece of rubber. It’s composed of plates that are folded on top of each other. And the idea is that they would unfold as they start reaching the floor in order to give you a little bit more grip - you get a little bit more traction. So we’re trying to figure out how to mechanically actually get that to work but on the art side it’s already built to support that kind of a thing.
SH: The Cyclone was something that they really wanted to get into the game as fast as possible. So we … after concept we immediately went into whitebox and greybox phase. And it was actually really, really fast because it something that doesn’t really have too much technical stuff - especially with just the base version that we’re releasing. So we were able to get it into game really quickly and just drive it around. So I was able to tune a lot of the parameters for how it felt and how it drove. It was done within a few weeks: just getting it in the game. And that was pretty exciting to see.
So right now we’re heading into flight prep which is the final stage of production. Basically we’re handing it off to all the other department, say “Hey Sound what do you think the Cyclone should sound like?” Put those sounds in. VFX like “How is it different than the Rover? What other things can you give us? Like is there going to be fire shooting out of the hood when it explodes? Like give me something like that!” And then there’s UI and all these other little things that need to get added and everyone to take a look at before we say “Hey this is done.”
PJ: It’ll be interesting to see how people use the vehicle. And will it just be used as a single scout vehicle trying to not attract much attention. Or will will people have twenty or thirty of these things all just going along in a formation. I mean that’s the beauty of Star Citizen isn’t it? You never know what people are going to do. And what tactics you’re going to employ. What’s going to appear on YouTube - people doing crazy, crazy stunts or trying to fit in 50 of them into … one of the cargo ships. You just … you never know what’s going to happen.
EB: The kind of player that will be interested in driving the Cyclone is probably one that’s interested in exploration but one that’s … that wants to explore by experiencing the environment a little bit more closely than you would on a Dragonfly for example.
SG: I guess the difference between a Cyclone and a piloting a Nox or a Dragonfly would be that you’re actually connected to the road. If you hit a bump in the road you’re going to feel it when you’re in the Cyclone. When you’re piloting a Dragonfly or a Nox it has the those GravLevs which are tuned to predict what’s going to be in front of you and try to give you a little bit of air to get over them and give you these soft landings. Whereas if you hit something in the Cyclone you just start flying and you go spinning. Like I’ve hit a little bump or … someone gave a plant on the surface some collision and that collisions is just a little bit … a little too pointy and it doesn’t actually … you run over a plant in the real world it just … you’d be fine but this thing - it had a little bit of collision - you hit and you just like “Oh wow!” and you just start spinning. And it’s just … it’s actually really fun.
PJ: I’d probably go for this just because of its flexibility in what it can do. It is versatile. It’s not slow. I prefer things to go fast. And you have got that flexibility that we spoke about - that modularity. I can have my hangar or garage or whatever and I can have my multiple pods and I can swap them out depending on what mood am I in today. What do I want to do today? Put that pod on. Go out and cause some havoc.
SG: Thanks Jared. And thanks also to last week’s studio audience for sticking around for another episode.
CR: Yeah that was pretty cool to have a live audience in here.
SG: It was a lot of fun.
CR: Yeah definitely. Right? It looked like everyone had good fun.
SG: They did.
CR: So these new ships are going to open up some gameplay in some exciting ways. With the Cyclone players will have the opportunity to travel the surfaces of planets and moons in new ways with a rugged, off-road ground vehicle. And the Reclaimer will allow for a new career and mission options with salvage mechanics planned to come online later this year.
SG: Check out those features and others planned for Star Citizen on our live Roadmap which you can access on the RSI website. As we get closer to the end on the quarter you’ll notice many features for Alpha 3.1 have been completed and are now being polished, while others are nearing the end of their development stages - like the vehicles covered in Ship Shape.
CR: Yes and one of the other ships you saw making its way through the pipeline is the Constellation Phoenix which is the luxury model of the Connie with a deluxe interior primarily designed for entertainment. And that was looking quite good in the preview that Jared showed.
SG: That’s right and with St Patrick’s Day around the corner we thought it would be the perfect time to bring back this flying party palace and give one away.
CR: Yep. Definitely. So the Community team will be holding a screenshot contest over the weekend. We want to see how you and your friends are ringing in St Patrick’s Day in Star Citizen. So starting tomorrow get in the game and celebrate however you see fit. Then share you party images and we’ll chose our three favourites. Just remember to wear some green clothes.
SG: There you go. And the three winner will receive game packages with the grand prize including the Constellation Phoenix.
CR: Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. In addition to the contest we’ll be offering the Phoenix and a selection of green ships - like the Mustang Delta, Gladius, Valiant and the Starfarer Gemini - as part of the special St Patrick’s Day promotion. Our official Squadron 42 t-shirts will also be discounted as they are of course …
CR: … green!
SG: The promotion starts tomorrow and only lasts through the weekend. You can get more information about this and the contest on Spectrum as well as the website.
CR: Yeah. This weekend also sees the end of South-by-SouthWest and with it a Bar Citizen meetup in Austin, Texas. If you’re in the area make sure to stop by Iron Works Barbecue in downtown Austin - very tasty barbeque by the way, I know, I’ve been there quite a few times - on Friday the 16th to get the jump on St Patrick’s Day with like minded Citizens. The meetup starts around 6pm Central time and you never know when the local devs may drop in.
SG: Concept Artist Jim Martin will be dropping in on Reverse the Verse tomorrow, live at noon PST. Jim has done the concept art for nine different Star Citizen ships including the Freelancer and the Cutlass.
CR: Yeah, there’s definitely quite a few of our iconic ships there. He also did the first version of the Scythe …
SG: Oh yeah.
CR: … which was very cool. So just be nice on him because I think he’s still a little reeling over the furore over the Freelancer window. But he’s an incredibly talented guy and pretty brilliant and contributed a lot to the game. So anyway should be a fun one and remember to tune in to this week’s episodes of Calling All Devs and Bugsmashers if you haven’t already.
SG: And thanks to our subscribers for sponsoring our shows. New subscriber flair was delivered this week so make sure you check it out.
CR: Yeah. I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a little marine figurine. And thank you as always to all our backers for continuing to make the development of our games possible. From all of us at Cloud Imperium Games have a fun and safe St Patrick’s Day weekend and until next week we’ll see you …
Both: Around the ‘verse!