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!
Animations team is working on mission givers, e.g. Battaglia
Prospector's boom arm animations are being tested and its textures have been completed; minging UI has been tweaked and improved
Devs have been working on resource dispersion for each planet and each ecosystem therein
VFX team is trying different approaches for scanning effects, ping wave can be focused/widened as required
Combat AI has made major strides and Mission team continues to try new scenarios to draw out remaining bugs
Scramble races are in balancing phase
Ship teams are completing Vanduul Blade landing gear animations, wrapping final art on the Anvil Hurricane, and working on Mustang revamp and RSI Constellation Phoenix
Props team are producing signage for rest stops and other PU locations
The buoy for the scramble races is in whitebox
Work continues on the rest stops and hangars are entering final art phase.
Work continues on nailing down how savannah biome reacts to lighting, developing early visuals for the tundra biome, and producing early renders for the mining pits
Progress has been made on the planet tech’s procedural shading of scattered assets
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hello and welcome to another episode of Around the Verse. I’m Sandi Gardiner.
Sean Tracy (ST): And I’m Sean Tracy.
SG: This week Mark Abent smashes yet another bug, we get to know the new weapons of Alpha 3.2, and Ricky Jutley brings us his weekly project update.
ST: Let’s go to Ricky to see what’s been going on in Star Citizen’s development.
Ricky Jutley (RJ): Hello again. Welcome back to another Star Citizen project update.
As usual we start with Characters and the Animation team’s been working on one of your mission givers: Battaglia. Here we see a few mission based lines and their corresponding animations being tested.
Moving on to gameplay, progress continues on mining as developers test animations for the Prospector’s boom arm. Textures have also been completed for the rig and will soon be combined with animations to create the finished asset. Here we see mining in action. The rig still has some bugs at the moment and the laser is still using old visuals but this process is coming along nicely from a gameplay perspective. The UI visuals are also being tweaked and improved. As you can see here it’s a noted improvement over earlier versions.
The devs have also been working on coding the resource dispersion for each planet and the ecosystem within it. You can see in these debug renderings that each ecosystem is divided into separate cells with specific perimeters on what resources can spawn there and in what quantity.
The VFX team continues to take design notes into account while trying different approaches to scanning. The version that we see here was deemed “too busy” so was updated. The constant test and feedback process means that the scanning effects are changing nearly every day and will do so until the team all agree something that really suits the gameplay. Here is the latest version that uses a ping wave to highlight important things in front of the player. The ship’s particle emitter can widen or focus the wave depending on the player’s needs.
Work continues on AI improvements and mission design for the PU. There are still some tweaks to be made regarding how enemies engage the player but we’ve made major strides with combat AI and getting these types of missions working working well in the PU. The Mission team continues to place enemy AI into new scenarios to help draw out remaining bugs. Here you can see this AI in a derelict Starfarer which made for a very exciting combat arena.
The new scramble races are in their balancing phase. In this video the designers are testing potentially unbalanced scenarios as they race the fastest ships in the game against the most heavily armed. This mission type is shaping up to be an intense and exciting combination of dogfighting and racing.
The Ship teams have just completed landing gear animations for the Vanduul Blade. They’re also wrapping final art on the Anvil Hurricane as well as re-adjusting the landing gear to accommodate compression and enter/exit animations. And they’re looking ahead to future releases with work continuing on the Mustang revamp as well as RSI Constellation Phoenix. Here we get a tour of this huge, part-centric touring ship’s in-progress interior.
The Props team are currently turning out signage for use at rest stops and other locations throughout the PU. Here we see a whitebox rendering of the racing buoy that will be used in those scramble races we saw earlier.
Work on the rest stops continues and even though the signage - and some of the other graphics - are still work in progress, you can see they’re really coming together with different procedurally generated layouts each having distinct personality and obvious diversity.
Hangars are entering the final art phase and we can see all the elements coming together to create the feel we’re aiming for with these spaces.
Over on Hurston work continues on nailing down the look of the savannah biome. We’re looking at how different assets appear in different lighting conditions to make sure they look natural and in keeping with the wild and prehistoric feel of the planet. The tundra biome is the next to be tackled witch concepts and early visuals being developed at the moment. And finally we see very early renders of Hurston’s mining pits: the entire planet has been strip-mined to hell but there’s still plenty of areas that players can scour for remaining resources.
Improvements to planet tech are always being worked on and here we see progress made procedural shading that will achieve more colour variety in scattered assets like rocks and planets.
That’s all for us this week. See you next time for more updates on PU progress. Now back to you in the studio.
SG: Thanks Ricky, you can always check out the public roadmap on the RSI website to follow along with development yourself.
ST: That’s right, it’s updated weekly and gives you an inside look into what we’re working on and planning for upcoming releases.
SG: Among the new content hitting the PU with our next release Alpha 3.2 are new weapons.
ST: That means all new ways to unleash mayhem upon your enemies, let’s get more intel on these new instruments of destruction from the artists and designers responsible in this week’s feature.
Jonathan Jacevicius (JJ): The Gemini F55 was one of two LMGs we’ve got coming for 3.2. Gemini is a company that seems to focused on kind of flashy weaponry that’s being sold to like to be used by wealthy mercenaries, privateers and people like that. So we really wanted to incorporate that into how the weapon behaves so we took at a look at how high we could push the rate of fire and that kind of pushes into gatling territory. We’ve got the big beefy multibarrel spinning gatling kind of functionality there on the front. It’s a very scary weapon for short ranges, this thing will be sending people looking for cover as soon as possible or they get turned to paste.
Tobias Wanke (TW): The F55 being a light machine gun also has a very big drum magazine, which is something unique we haven’t done before. Another thing that makes the F55 unique within the manufacturer...due to it being pretty much a mini gun we decided not to add optic rails on top of the weapon and you’re pretty much stuck with iron sights. It also has a pretty elaborate piston recoil compensation system integrated into the stock of the gun to help with extended and long recoil.
Paul Jones (PJ): This is basically the sort of flashy over the top and kind of like… it’s not style over substance because you’ve still got both. The gun’s no joke but it’s made of premium materials, premium manufacturing. It’s a little bit flashy, it’s the kind of gun you can kind of imagine a private security force...people who’ve fired guns will know, every gun has its own personality. With all these things we try and keep a sense of identity and personality with these weapons.
Jordan Davies (JD): So the F55 is quite an interesting weapon from animation, it’s got the side loading, ammo clip for the weapon. When it opens, it opens into camera. So with all weapon animations in first person we try to keep the center of the screen clear. That's called our shooter box. Essentially so that wherever you point it you can see what's in front of you; reload. We try to keep it clear so there's no hand obstructing if enemies coming towards you. The F55 has that drum which rotates outwards. That comes directly into that shooter box, so we had to really work out the best way to keep the weapon facing forwards, but not to block that with a hand coming up to grab the drum, pull it out and then again put it back in without blocking too much of the screen.
PJ: The F55 is bigger than the Demeco. It's also more complicated in terms of its visuals … just its overall construction. I can imagine this would have to be 3D printed for all the parts. It's quite complex in how it's all pieced together. There's one of the core things that the Gemini is the liquid cooling basically that's implemented on the side of it, and it's that sort of lends itself the over-the-topness basically of this weapon. It doesn't need it, but it's kind of … it was a nice little feature to add. This has basically a mini-gun on the front. It's a series of six barrels. So for higher fire rate, and but you know when you look at it side to side with all … the assault rifle and the pistol, you can say, “Okay, yeah. That's … Let's see what's going on there.”
: So the recoil on the F55 that we're doing currently is not quite finished, but we're getting there. We want to get a good feeling of weight, power, but not look too ridiculous in first person with a gun shaking too much. So in Data-Forge we've got a lot of control on different parameters of the weapon of the gun. We can move the gun back. We can control how slow it returns to its default position. We can control how far it rotates up. We can control the rotation. We can control the camera of the head. So we got awful lot of control for recoil. It's basically a matter of tweaking to get the right proportion of backwards, rotation, head cam all together.
JJ: Klaus and Werner Demeco is the second of the two LMGs we want to bring you for 3.2. Klaus and Werner is a company, they’re kind of the straight edged military money factory kind of got in game at the moment. That kind of gets brought across through the laser pistol we’ve got and the Gallant energy rifle we currently have too. So we kind of wanted to mirror that in the LMG as well, we wanted this very stable straight edged weapon that’s reliable, you know what to expect. You know for a big weapon it’s easier to handle than the others but we also wanted to get across, if it’s kind of this slower firing bit of a juggernaut of a weapon. It also needs to be very powerful.
PJ: This one’s been through the mill, we’ve done a lot of revisions on this one. I think it’s been 3-4 concept artists, it’s built out of polymer, it has minimal moving parts basically. That was always the initial brief, this the opposite end of the spectrum. This shouldn’t be flamboyant.
JD: So in the previous stage I’d take the model and I’d do lots of variation. We’re given some idea of what parts should move when but I just kind of like to play around with all the different parts maybe give some different opinions, different variations on what could happen. So, there’s a lot of pre-vis that goes on early in the process to figure out which parts look best when they’re moving.
PJ: We’ve really just sort of beefed up the assault rifle essentially. Everything is slightly oversized and just has that beefier, more powerful feel to it. That’s kind of Klaus and Werner.
JD: It’s very similar to Gallant but what we’ve done with the reloads on the Demeco is really try to sell it’s a military grade laser weapon. There’s a part of the reload where we actually pull the left hand away completely, we let the weapon do the talking. We put the magazine in and then everything on the weapon just works by itself. The spinner starts up, we’ve got the sideflaps that slowly go in and you smack closed. It’s there, it’s ready.
TW: The make up being a light machine gun has two main features that set it apart from other weapons. One being the carrying handle due to its huge size as well as weight and the other one being a larger than usual battery in order to maintain the high rate of fire for a long period of time. After we completed the first pass and looked at the gun in the game for the first time, we’ve felt that the actual carrying handle being centred right on top of the weapon obscured the player’s vision a little bit too much during ADS view, therefore we’ve offset it to the side and introduced a little angle to it to just get it out of the way. The magazine itself, the animators gave us feedback saying that they had a difficult time getting a good grip on it due to it being very smooth on the exterior surface. So what we ended up doing is adding recesses in a little grid pattern to reach into and get a better grip.
JJ: The Gallant is a very kind of...almost like the opposite weapon to the F55. It’s interesting playing with both and everyone always finds a favourite, obviously the F55 is kind of a beast to handle like it’ll take a bit of practice to use that thing and use it well. Whereas the Demeco is a lot more reliable because obviously the F55 on paper is always going to look a lot like it was way more than the Demeco ever would. In reality because of the range advantage you get from the Demeco how much more stable it is to fire and the spread of the bullets coming out of the weapon and everything. Like the F55 is way more powerful at short range and corridors and everything but the Demeco is going be useful in those situations as well but it will be much more useful planetside...kind of like in these long more stretched and bigger environments where even through the nature of it’s being slower firing, you’re going to have a lot more ammunition to use. You’ll be able to fire for longer and you’re not going to find yourself in these situations where you all of the sudden burn out of all your ammo.
PJ: See this is an energy gun so basically it’s a larger battery pack. A larger firing mechanism to cope with the increased firing rate and power. Has a very similar cooling mechanism so you still have the little door that pops open and reveals the tech - the cylinder tech - that’s in there just spinning down and cooling down, get nice effects and smoke coming out of it and stuff or steam. Whatever the effects teams want to do. In the animation, you’ll have to see most of the weapon when you get into the reload, that’s kind of your weapon inspect almost really. That’s the time you really get to see a lot of the weapon, a lot of the internals and really sort of get to appreciate it. It’s great opportunity for the animators to do the reload and that’s where a lot of the personality comes into the weapon as well. Depending on what the latch mechanism is, each manufacturer has a different mechanism... some fiddly, some are heavy duty and easy, some are quite mechanical, some are a flick of a button. So that’s also another good way of getting personality in there as well. Can see sort of a tight knit group of operatives coming in with this weapon and it’s the full support, you’ll have your LMG guy for support and you’ll have a bunch of guys with assault rifles so it’ll be a fully rounded out team.
SG: Thanks guys. Those new weapons look like they’re going to add some fun combat options when 3.2 goes live, with FPS and dogfighting experiences in Star Citizen getting deeper and more compelling.
ST: They certainly are. And with development successfully branched to 3.2 the Evocati should get a crack at testing all those guns out soon in the PTU.
SG: Yes, all of our testing groups are about to have their hands full. With new features and content inevitably come new bugs and our community plays a major role in trouble shooting every new Star Citizen release.
ST: And of course, smashing bugs starts right here on the front lines of development. Countless devs are constantly making the Star Citizen experience smoother for everyone with every bug they obliterate.
SG: Let’s check in with Mark Abent to see what he’s contending with currently in a new installment of Bugsmashers.
ST: Good stuff Mark.
SG: We’ve announced the winner of our Crusader Hercules short story contest. Nearly 500 shared your Starlift adventures with Howlix ultimately taking the prize. Congratulations.
ST: You can still head to Spectrum and peruse all the entries. The varied tales prove there’s no shortage of interesting uses for the Hercules and if you haven’t secured one for your own fleet there’s still time to do so as the concept promotion lasts through next week.
SG: If you missed it, tune into this week’s new Calling All Devs for info on life support and updates to the Constellation Phoenix and Freelancer.
ST: And for in-depth discussions on all things spaceship with Vehicle Pipeline Director John Crewe, don’t miss Reverse the Verse Live at a special time of 10:30 AM PDT tomorrow on Twitch.
SG: And thank you to our subscribers for sponsoring our shows. We hope you are enjoying taking the Reclaimer for a spin this month and we know you are looking forward to the new ICC for the Arrowhead sniper rifle.
ST: Mmm, those do look really good actually. Thank you as well to all backers for supporting the development of our game.s
SG: And that’s all for us this week. Until next time, we will see you …
Both: Around the ‘verse.