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Around the Verse: The Road to CitizenCon 2016 Written Friday 14th of October 2016 at 01:00pm by CanadianSyrup, StormyWinters and Desmarius

As is with any information on our transcripts and summaries, everything posted is subject to change by CIG and in some cases may not always be 100% accurate at the time. While we strive for accuracy, mistakes do happen so please let us know if you find something amiss that we didn’t catch. Enjoy the show!

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

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Full Transcript

Studio Update With Chris Roberts (CEO, Director of Star Citizen and Squadron 42), Jared Huckaby (Community Manager), Phil Meller (Lead Designer), Nick Elms (Creative Director), Paul Jones (Art Director), Tyler Witkin (Community Manager), Brian Chambers (Development Director, Foundry 42 Frankfurt), Eric Kieron Davis (Senior Producer), Steve Bender (Animation Director), Todd Papy (Design Director), Mark Abent (Gameplay Programmer), Ben Lesnick (Director of Community Engagement and Content Strategy), Randy Vazquez (Associate Producer), Josh Herman (Character Art Director), Jeremiah Lee (Freelance Concept Artist), Forrest Stephan (CG Supervisor), Sean Tracy (Tech Content Director), Vincent Sinatra (QA Lead), Erin Roberts (Studio Director), Chad McKinney (Gameplay Engineer), Ricky Jutley (Producer), Vanessa Landeros (Animator), Ashram Kain (Producer), Matthew Lightfoot (Associate Producer), Dennis Daniel (IT Manager), Zoe Collier (Project Coordinator), Paul Reindell (Lead Engineer). Timestamped Link.

Sean Tracey (ST): We’re two weeks away from Citizencon.

Chad McKinney (CM): It’s a little bit down to the wire now.

Josh Herman (JH): Chris has very high expectations and I think a lot of us do and we all want to match them.

Ricky Jutley (RJ): But I think together with the Directors and Chris and there are late night syncs we have that we’re able actually to deliver.

Jeremiah Lee (JL): We are two weeks away from Citizencon.

Forrest Stephan (FS): So for Citizencon, we’re actually working on two demos – Proc Planet v2, also known as Homestead; and a full chapter of Squadron 42.

JH: We’ve planned for this for several months in advance.

Vanessa Landeros (VL): It’s a matter of getting things polished now and getting things in looking good.

Nick Elms (NE): And in usual Star Citizen style, everything is coming in hot, but I think we are looking good.

Erin Roberts (ER): We are all based in different continents so you basically have a 24hr cycle with hands off which basically means we have development going all the time between the studios.

Chris Roberts (CR): The Squadron 42 Chapter is a lot, I mean, to do a full playthrough of all the action is over an hour.

NE: We’re trying to give people a snippet of what Squadron 42 is going to be about.

Omar Aweidah (OA): We have some new costumes, we have some new characters, now we are going in there, so it’s probably going to be the biggest implementation of character tech that we’ve seen so far.

JH: So each deck crew, there is eight different colours of deck crew – we know what the person’s name is, we know what their job title is – we’re really fleshing out every part of the ship.

So you can walk around and follow a character around. If you want to follow around the Sanitation Guy, you can follow around the Sanitation Guy.

Squadron for us, for the character team specifically is really important – we didn’t put in ten characters, we put in, as far as I can remember it, up to 70 characters in this demo.

Eric Kieron Davis (EKD): And it’s challenging, you have a lot of challenges.

Paul Jones (PJ): We might not get it all right, but we’re all going to die trying basically – it’s one of those things where you just keep going and going and going until Chris says stop. Fingers crossed.

RJ: A lot of my role has been producing the Homestead demo.

CR: We said, let’s up it and put a whole Javelin there and let’s bring in a Sandstorm and lets get some Sand Nomads and then I was like “let’s have a big worm too” and everyone was like “haha, very funny Chris” and I was like “Oh, no, I’m not joking.”

JL: The giant sand worm, yeah, that is scary. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

JH: In the PU you don’t have to play as a pilot, you can play as any kind of character you want, so I really wanted to make sure we brought a character that looked very different than what we had before.

JL: I’ve been working on the desert nomad character – we’re trying to push our tech for our game – it has a lot of cloth, a lot of frayed cloth edges.

JH: I’m very proud of that character, I think he is probably one of our best looking characters that we have to date.

Ashram Kain (AK): We’re trying to build these really complicated foundation systems that are going to support massive structures to come when we expand the Persistent Universe into this huge entity, it’s not a tech demo, we’re actually showing off what this system that we’ve built and that foundation is going to support.

Vincent Sinatra (VS): We got a lot of new features that are going to be- new assets that are going to be appearing.

Steve Bender (SB): We’re putting in new functionality, like the stealth kill.

NE: I’m most excited about seeing it all come together on the day and seeing the excitement and hope from the fans.

Matthew Lightfoot (ML): We’re really trying to get as many features in there and get them as polished as possible to show you that we’re making this game a reality.

Dennis Daniel (DD): We’re prepping for a really big show – it’s going to  make sure this is one of the best Citizencons ever.

CR: Challenge accepted.

[October 3, 2016 – 6 Days Until Citizencon]

Zoe Collier (ZC): It’s been quite a big challenge because we’ve really pushed the boat out with the scope for this one. We’re trying to show all the features we can possibly cram into the experience that will be Squadron 42.

CR: We think these people sitting incorrectly are physics issues, so what is the issue on that? Other than the fact she hasn’t got a body, face looks as good as it’s looked.

OA: You open up folders and there is just much stuff that needs to be completed that it becomes a pretty daunting task.

Brian Chambers (BC): Squadron 42, there are so many new things we are putting in there – you can feel the tension on the floor. We’re still not 100% confident that we’re going to be able to pull of everything we need in the time we have.

[October 4, 2016 – 5 Days Until Citizencon]

CR: That’s incredibly important thing for me, it’s something I’ve been asking for since last Morrow Tour so I’m pretty frustrated on that side because I- it’s the thing that makes them feel more natural and real otherwise it looks like your typical bad game AI.

Steve Bender (SB): I can’t guarantee that we can get to all fixing- fixing all the retargeting problems with everything else we are trying to do at the same time.

CR: I mean, I understand that you guys are working on it. I’m not saying you guys are sitting there having a party and then showing up for a playthrough. But, it’s just helpful to see little bits in progress earlier on to call out animation changes or whatever we would want.

[October 5, 2016 – 4 Days Until Citizencon]

BC: Progress on Homestead, it’s incredibly ambitious, so many new parts, so many new pieces.

CR: I’m hoping the animation that I see at the end of your video isn’t what we are calling the final one because we basically- it just comes out of the ground and goes ‘woo-ahh’ and we pull out. It feels- it doesn’t feel dramatic very much to me.

RJ: As always, global communication is one of the big things. A lot of the tech is being done in Frankfurt while we are still providing the assets over in the UK, while the demo is being driven and done out of LA.

EKD: These moments are crucial communication – you miss an email, you miss a conversation and in thirty minutes you might already be behind.

JH: You spend hours upon hours upon hours making something look perfect and then you put it in the game and you see it move – it doesn’t look as perfect as you thought it did, and that’s not anybody’s fault it’s just the process of working in a collaborative space.

CR: I’m not against the scanning thing you talked about Hannes if that can work. I just wanna sell the narrative and you’re like- you’ve got a general distress, you’ve got a beacon, you’ve been looking for something and you basically have to get closer and closer and get more fidelity to find and recover the stuff.

JH: If something is in the game and it’s working, does it work all the time? Is it only if you do it in certain ways? Is it only being triggered in certain ways? That’s very different from being in an isolated controlled test level where you know it’s going to work every single time. Because then when you put it into the game, you are expecting it to work and you know that it can work but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work.

[October 6, 2016 – 3 Days Until Citizencon]

Developer: For some reason, this guy ‘Console’ doesn’t care but the powerplant does.

Mark Abent (MA): Is the powerplant CGF or CGA?

Developer: They are both CGFs.

Vincent Sinatra (VS): We got some bugs currently around the Connie and the Rover. Also the AI seems to like to shoot rocks instead of shooting the player.

SB: We have been doing a lot of rewriting of a lot of the AI code and the AI systems in that process things, especially within the animation, start to look a bit broken. These are in some cases, really enormous systems and trying to get them all done at the same time is overwhelming.

Paul Reindell (PR): It’s crazy, databank entry and it has scanner data for the entry and the scanner data has a list of subcomponents and each subcomponent can have another subcomponent and then for each subcomponent you have “Item Data” and the Item- it’s crazy.

EKD: Our job for the most part is the city is on fire, constantly. And the fire only gets bigger before you release it and you release it.

SB: And I haven’t been sleeping.

Todd Papy (TP): And it sucks.

Paul Jones (PJ)I really have not been sleeping. [laughs]

EKD: I’ve been having sleepless nights about Citizencon for over eight weeks.

NE: I’ve lost my train of thought.

SB: Oh, hello, chirpy, how are you?

Not now!

I’ve told you before.

CR: It’s kinda a pull on me to see what it is like to be a Kim Kardashian.

Paul Reindell(PR): [laughs]

[With time running out before Citizencon…]

CR: How are we going to fix this? Because it’s consistently shows up all the time, it’s borked. I thought we fixed this.

Sean Tracey(ST): All the indirect shading on the particles is corrupt.

[…a decision about SQ42 had to be made.]

Erin Roberts(ER): We need to make a call on this. We know we’re not going to have the section on the Idris ready with the thing done, well polished through and looking awesome.

CR: Right.

ER: If we just show it, it’s like… without stuff working properly. I just don’t see what we’re getting out of it. We should get that mail out tonight to the guys in the UK and say focus on that. I just think if we do that then we’re going to get complete focus but we have all the focus making sure that Homestead is the best.

CR: Well, that’s a call we’re going to make tomorrow.

ER: Yes, it was but I think if we do it now, then we get two full days on it rather than one which is Saturday.

CR: Hey Carl, Erin, should we just have a quick pow-wow about this?

ER: The call is we’re not going to share this on Sunday.

CR: It was, it was hard. It was kind of depressing actually. So the decision not to show Squadron 42 after everyone working so hard and actually of the company I would say a lot more of the company were working on Squadron 42 which was by far the most ambitious of the ones that we’ve gone for so it was tough to work… and people were working quite a long… because we’d been working towards this for a long time. It was not something we started a few weeks ago, working towards it for a long time so it’s tough to get there and not quite cross the finish line.

Jared Huckaby(JH): I saw everyone here working hours and hours late into every day, you know, putting their time and effort into making that everything they could. It’s a shame.

BC: The decision was absolutely right, I absolutely agree with it.

CR: It was right up until the very end, it was starting to make some decisions that were more about fixing it for the demo versus fixing it for the game.     

BC: That’s slide just gives somebody a taste of something and show a little bit of progress. Let’s show a snippet that shows it really dialed in, and we also have a level of quality that we’re not going to set down.

Phil Meller(PM): It’ll pay dividends when people see it.

ER: The good thing about it is actually a huge amount of of work went into Squadron 42. We really moved it forward, we actually answered a lot of issues and solved a lot of technological issues which means that actually it really pushed us very close to getting something that we can show the community and that’s basically where we are now. We’re basically working on getting Squadron 42 to a level where we can give it to the community as soon as possible.

Randy Vazquez(RV): We were splitting resources between the two and it was really tough for some of the engineers because those engineers are being pegged for both demos. It was actually a relief for a lot of people because they were able to focus and jump onto the project and help out. We can now give more resources over to just this one demo and make it really good.

Paul Reindell(PR): We basically pulled over the entire team to Homestead.

[October 7, 2016. 2 Days Until Citizencon]

Developer 1: The passenger lift’s not working on the Connie right now.

CR: So we need to get the passenger lift working…

Developer 1: That’s one way to get him in there.

CR: So, we don’t want to start on the slaver outfit? Why do we have the gigantic radar thing?

RV: It flickers in and out sometimes, it was working fine last build but this build it seems it’s back again.

Developer 2: The use prompt, it’s always lagging behind.

CR: Yeah, we need to fix that.

Developer 3: Say that again.

CR: The, all this Investigate goes away, it should be Distress Signal cluster, Distress Beacon cause you don’t have HUDs tell you Investigate, because that’s the gameplay concept.

ST: That was cool.

ER: The thing is it’s going to be the level detail on our procedural worlds, people have done procedural worlds before but the level of detail we’re bringing to it is something no one has seen before.

NE: Most worried about the usual thing, will it go all right on the night. We think we’ve done everything possible, I think it’ll be great but you never know.

CR: Cause we always do live demos, we don’t like to pre-canned or pre-recorded stuff. There’s always this sense of is it going to crash.

EKD: In production these are some of the more fun times but also some of the more stressful times, our job becomes more people focused and calm and looking towards the correct goal at the end.

ER: You just have to just stay on it and just keep on, you know, one by one knock over each of the milestones and keep on delivering that stuff.

[October 9,2016]Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey guys. We are on the floor at Citizen Con 2946. As you can tell it is absolutely wild here. The show’s about the start. Thank you guys so much for tuning in. What does Star Citizen mean to you?

Grakees: They mean everything. They’re family.

Clifford aka Miku: It means finally being able to be what I’ve always wanted to be.

Grakees: They are the best community I have ever come across.

Chris Roberts (CR): We are going to go to the demo. This is all 100 percent live, in the engine, in real time. Let’s, let’s go.

Eric Kieron Davies (EKD): My biggest worries, like they always are right before release, are the unknown and wondering if it’s going to work and the anxiety.

CR: Just do it!

GiogetMoney: This is like the Star Wars game we never got, and it was just amazing.

Ben Lesnik: Nobody else could do a show like that.

Dave Haddock: The planetside stuff, that demo really, just … I mean it was stunning.

Vinnie Sinatra: I’m glad I hit the sniper shot. That was a nice one.

Knight Wolf: Blew my mind.

Steve Bender: I thought it was awesome. Are you kidding me?

Backer: The Dune reference, it just does not get enough love in Sci-Fi.

Randy Vasquez (RV): I’m speechless of how good it came out.

Years1hundred: It’s kind of like… space worms!

CR: Well, what we showed was really just sort of us using those tools to put something together fairly quickly with all of the work that we’ve done to illustrate how we can build like compelling worlds at scale in you know an efficient time line that allows us to build the whole universe, which is what we are trying to do with Star Citizen.

Jimi: The game will come out when the game comes out and in the meantime we’re seeing the development, we’re seeing behind the curtain and we’re playing aspects of the game that are just stunning.

Backer 2: I definitely backed the right game.

[Audience cheers]

Steve Bender (SB): I’ve doing this stuff for 20 years, and the fan involvement and the fact the fans care so much is just mind boggling.

Jimi: You look at the team and you look what they’re developing and you see that they’re doing something nobody has ever done before and then from a fan perspective it’s like, “Alright cool, I’m on board”. We get passionate about the project, the development staff’s passionate about the project and it’s this cyclical thing where everyone’s supporting everybody else.

SG: I think this before it is the first gaming community that i’ve ever been apart of and I’m biased to say that it’s the best gaming community ever. I would personally like to thank all the community because if it weren’t for you all, I don’t know how I could do my job.

JH: One of the reasons I backed the game and many people backed the game is to provide Chris Roberts and by extension Cloud Imperium Games the freedom from publishers, the freedom from compromise to do these things the way they’re supposed to do and to push these things as far as not only technology, but the people making the game can push them.

Ben Lesnick (BL): I sat down with Jared and Tyler after the event and we were just, I don’t want to look at reddit. This makes us so sad, we don’t want to disappoint people, but it’s for the best and I’m so proud to work for someone who’s willing to make that call. Who’s willing to take the short term hit on reputation and that sort of thing so that we have a better game, so that we deliver what we promised.

So there’s an old saying that a delayed game is good eventually, whereas a bad game is bad forever, and crowdfunding lets us put that to the test.

This has been the sentiment throughout. Take your time, make it perfect, we want the best damn space sim ever.

BC: I think Citizencon went extremely well. It’s always a strong show for us, it’s always kind of the more emotional as well. We came to show off our progress and I think that’s what we did.

RV: Whenever we do demos, Chris is usually talking through the demos and he’s not really looking at the demo itself. If you see him, he was like looking at the screen and he had this grin on his face you know, you could tell he was proud.

The responses I got afterwards going around, walking around, talking to people, I mean, just can’t thank our community enough.

SG: Everyone who’s been here right through the beginning, who may have just joined yesterday or who’s thinking about joining now, thank you very much.

ER: I just want to say thanks to everybody, to the community for all your support. We get to make this dream come true because of you guys and that means alot to everyone here in Cloud Imperium around the world, and so I really look forward and I know we all really look forward to showing you all the great stuff that’s coming up over the next few years.

CR: Thank you for watching. So If you want to keep up with the latest and greatest in Star Citizen and Squadron 42’s development, please follow us on our social media channels. See you soon.

CanadianSyrup

Director of Transcripts

A polite Canadian who takes pride in making other peoples day brighter. He enjoys waffles with Maplesyrup, making delicious puns and striving for perfection in screaming at the T.V. during hockey games.

StormyWinters

Director of Fiction

Moonlighting as a writer in her spare time StormyWinters combines her passion for the written word and love of science fiction resulting in innumerable works of fiction. As the Director of Fiction, she works with a fantastic team of writers to bring you amazing stories that transport you to new places week after week.

Desmarius

Transcriber

When he's not pun-ishing his patients or moderating Twitch streams, he's at Relay pun-ishing their patience as a member of the transcription staff. Otherwise, he can be found under a rock somewhere in deep East Texas listening to the dulcet tones of a banjo and pondering the meaning of life.

"If you can't do something smart, do something right." - Sheperd Book