Hello there fellow Citizens! Check here for our coverage of episode 47 of Around the ‘Verse!
– Sandi’s Back!
– Sandis’ back for two weeks, then she’s going back to London for more SQ42 work.
– She’s having lots of fun. The headset hurts a bit after a while, but the other actors are great, and Chris has been really happy.
– Lots of good improvisation going on.
– All the props so far have been made out of cardboard (plywood?), including Sandis’ locker and spaceship.
– MISC Reliant concept was a huge success. More ships sold than any concept sale yet. Probably be in engine flyable later this year.
– inXile have kicked off another Kickstarter to bring back The Bards Tale. Brian Fargo and his team are bringing it back. Kickstarter is already over 400,000$ (I’ve backed. Have you?)
3:15 – Santa Monica – Travis Day and Eric Kieron Davis
– Characters update. Big push on FPS characters, trying to wrap them up this week.
– Also trying to unify the characters globally. Lots of characters, interacting in different ways. The A few weeks ago they were in the UK creating a character pipeline that makes sense and works, to help them get quality assets.
– Similar to ships. When the ships got a proper pipeline, ships started coming out faster, that’ll happen with characters as well.
– Also working on getting prepared for Multicrew. Very big part of space combat, and they’re doing some work with the UK right now for what each station will look like, what the interactions and gameplay will look like.
– Things like what a turret gunner needs to know, how much information he’ll be able to pass to members on the team, etc…
– Also transiting of ships – getting into and out of the ships, using the work that’s gone on in Germany setting up the local physics grids, getting that working and tested, and ‘getting the ah, oops almost said something I wasn’t supposed to’, but getting everything ready for the future.
– Lots of focus on that right now.
5:55 – Illfonic – David Langeliers
– Mostly focused this week on dealing with ground based combat in normal gravity on gold horizon. Animators have been working through the juke start / stop system, so lots of playtesting in gravity systems. Lots of new data, lots of different situations, based on where you’re going, how fast you’re going, etc…
– Still waiting on a couple animations that should be coming in this week.
– Lots of other work focused around network profiling. Looking at all the packets and bandwidth being used, finding things that can be compressed or thrown out or done more efficiently. Two engineers focused entirely on optimizing the network data, which should lead to a better experience and less lag in general.
7:30 – Austin – Jake Ross
– Behaviour is working on the Nyx Delemar Levsky landing zone. Moved from Greybox phase this week, it’s done, so they’re doing shading and textures. Making it look nice and gritty.
– Andrew Wynn wrapped up the mining gameplay prototype, it’s been passed to the Designers so they can provide feedback.
– While they’re doing that, Andrew will be tackling the pioneer / exploration gameplay mechanic.
– Universe Simulator, base functionality is nearly there. It’s functional, allows for a visualization of the solar systems, you can zoom in and see ships flying from point of interest to another. Solar system service is able to read the data and get info from the Universe simulator now as well. First steps towards getting a full blown universe simulator ready.
9:30 – UK – Michael Dalston and Mike Snowdon
– Mike Foundry42’s lead VFX artist. He makes things go boom.
– lately been working on lots of FX, ship stuff, damage effects, some new tech from the Gladius being rolled out to other ships.
– Working on lightning clouds in space, nebulas, big scale environmental stuff in space.
– Also doing smaller interior effects like sparks and steam, getting them polished.
– Most exciting thing for him is the damage stuff on the ships.
– Praise the sun.
Fan Gameplay – I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty…
– Really pretty video of a ship exploding.
12:00 – Meridian Transit (New Segment?)
– Goss System
– Very very quick postcard of the Goss system is shown. Very little detail.
JP – Thanks guys, I’m here with Matt Sherman, how you doing Matt?
MS – I’m doing good James.
JP – Good. So, you’re a technical designer on the project. You just did some work on a ship that we just recently sold, called the Reliant. Do you want to go through that?
MS – Yeah, so, really happy with that. I did the spec setup for the Reliant, so planning out what it’s loadout is, also starting to plan out the variants, what this ship is going to be capable of, and then I was able to hand that over to Dave Hobbins, who did an incredible job designing the outside of the ship and what it’s going to look like.
JP – How much did you work with Hobbins? Was it a back and forth? Or is it like, here you go, go.
MS – We had a couple group meetings, but mostly it was just let Dave work, cause he can come up with just some really incredible stuff. Anytime that we had to give feedback it was really easy, he’d come in, we’d meet up, and get the ship planned out. A lot of it fell into place a lot easier than…we were like okay we’re going to need this this and this, and he’s like, I’ve got those. And it’s like great.
JP – I remember that meeting. We were like, we need all these images to put it out, and he was like, here you go, and we were like Dang, that’s more than we needed.
MS – Yeah, it’s like, oh, we’ll save those two for later even I mean, but yeah, he’s an absolute professional, so it was a really good experience.
JP – Yeah, Hobbins, he might have a future in this industry.
MS – He may! He might be going places.
JP – So, besides the Reliant, can you go into a little bit of what else you’re working on?
MS – The biggest thing recently has been the physically based damage system, and everything that encompases. When we get this set up, it’s going to be a big sweeping balance pass across the games. If we’re changing weapons, we have to change ship health. If we’re doing that we have to change shields, power, coolers, we have to update everything to bring in line, but it’s also such a huge sweeping change that we really start to get time to kill numbers, which are a bit low right now, we can start getting those up to a better place in this one big pass, so it’s really just exciting for how it’s going to help shape the game in the coming months.
JP – So, you change one variable, it creates this cascading effect, does that mean you have to involve other people in the process?
MS – Not, well, for what we’re doing at this point, it’s definitely a big cascade thing, but the other big goal is to build it up so in the future, once this is out, it won’t be that much of a ripple, we’ll be able to change things a bit more compartmentalized than having to do this big broad sweep.
JP – trying to do some of the heavy lifting up front so you can do the lighter load later.
MS – Exactly.
JP – You’re also one of the people we go to when we have a balance update, or a balance question. Do you want to go into where you see the game at now and where you’re trying to get it to?
MS – Absolutely. Right now we’re a little too fast. Two seconds on a target, and you can just bring them down just tons of missiles, you can bring someone down a bit fast, so we definitely need to grow that time. Ideally somewhere in a 15-20 second range, maybe a little more. It shouldn’t be a minutes long fight on a 1v1, but it shouldn’t be a blink and you’re dead moment either. It should be something where, you need some time on the target, and you really get to feel like you’re maneuvering well, you’re targetting well, to keep your weapons on that target, as opposed to the just killed them instantly. So, that’s going to be one of the biggest things the new damage update’s going to bring, is going to stretch that time out a bit more and make it feel weighty.
JP – When you think about balance, is it this long process you have in your head of incremental changes that are happening almost constantly, or is it big chunks of changes? Like, we’ll do a lot of things on this day, then this day, or is it kinda…
MS – So, the goal is to be incremental. Right now, especially the system we have to do a big chunk where, the best way to describe balance is a pendulum. You pull it back, so right now we’re pulling the ball back and getting ready to let it go. Even once we release it, it’s going to be swinging back and forth until it settles down into that nice middle ground. It’ll never settle down, it’ll never come to a stop, but the range, and how far off that balance is is going to get dialed in more and more as the project goes on.
JP – Thank you so much for coming on man, thank you for taking the time to come down here and talk to the backers, and, well, back to you guys!
– In honour of Sandi’s return, no pun this week.
– Now to Ship Shape.
– New Ship Shape Intro!
– Made by Michah Westfahl, a backer.
– Talking about the StarFarer this week. Misc ship with unique fueling functionality.
– Able to collect fuel from space, haul fuel around, and refuel ships in space.
– Tends to be overwhelmingly used for fuel purposes.
– It’s being worked on by Foundry 42.
– Way bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside. Very like the Tardis.
– WIP images of the airlock chamber. Very early images. Design hasn’t looked at it yet. Lots of yellow.
– Once this room is done, they’ve only got the power plant and the gravity generator room left.
– Then they’ll match the exterior to the interior. They’ve had passes on this before, but this is when they really make sure it works.
– Also some images of the exterior of the ship. Older concept art. The first one is some of the very earliest images. None of them were used, they were too bulky.
– Second image has early shape inspiration sketches. Reference materials from the real world on the left.
– That’s it for today.
Meridian Transit – Where will you Go?
– Stanton System postcard.
Hey everybody, Travis here, I”m going to give you guys a little update on Star Marine and where we’re at. We’ve been talking a fair amount with the large community update, the post if you haven’t seen it go check it out, covering all the different features and details we’re going to be doing.
As we progress through the development process we’ve been, as you know, we’ve been working to try to get this out to you guys for quite a while now, so I want to give you a little update on the things that still are remaining polish items and things we need to clean up before it’s ready to go into a testing phase with you guys.
So, one of the big things, we’re still working on finalizing the locomotion of the character. There’s things we’ve done called starts, stops, and jukes, and this is basically like if you’ve played assassin’s creed. The character has real weight when he moves. Something that’s really important to Chris is he wants it to feel like a simulation, including how the character moves. So the character movement, we want to get a system whereby when you start running, you don’t immediately start moving at 10 m/s like crazy, you have a ramp-up time to speed up, a ramp-down time to slow down, change directions, and there’s balancing that with the gameplay and how you need to be able to react to the situation around you very quickly but you also want to have that feeling of real weight and encumberment from your armour.
So, this is something we’re working on perfecting right now and it’s one of those things, without the base locomotion system finalized, a lot of the feedback and testing would be, of mixed usage because it would be giving us feedback on things we’re still actively working on finalizing the way we want it to be in our vision for the project.
There’s another one that we’ve talked a little bit about it, and I think it’s worth revisiting, which is the new instance manager. So, the generic instance manager being worked on by the Austin network engineer team, it’s a very big core feature to this update because as you know we’ve had issues in the past with the matchmaking system. Along with the issues of scalability. Scalability has always been a big issue for Arena Commander, and we’d like to fix that with the FPS release, so one of the things we’re trying to take our time and get right is an entirely new back-end matchmaking system, which would make it possible for everybody who joins the FPS to actually experience the FPS. And if you want to play, be able to play, and be able to play with people who are properly matchmade to your level.
So that’s something we feel is very important to have a good player experience, and to make it… testing is testing, but it should also be fun, it shouldn’t be a frustrating experience, so it’s one of the other important things we want to get done before we get it out to you guys.
Lastly, I’d like to talk a little bit about, even though these features that we’re trying to finish and finalize and really narrow down before we get it out there would leave other departments idly waiting and twiddling their thumbs as we try to get these things online, we’ve taken that extra time to basically just go and do additional polish. So basically the guys that aren’t involved in the base locomotion set and the zero-G locomotion set which is another big thing, adding of the AEGIS system, kind of like Euphoria, we have the art team, the lighters, they’re going back and refining and polishing, so hopefully when they get it out to you guys we’ll have a really good solid base experience that’s valuable to get feedback on, and hopefully we should have it pretty stable, by the time it gets out to you guys, cause there’s nothing worse than you’re trying to test something, you’re trying to repro something, and the game crashes, or you can’t get into a match, or you get into a match and it crashes, or the server crashes and kicks everyone out, so getting all of those things ironed out that are known issues are really important to us before we turn it over to a large group of people, cause all you’re going to see is that thing over and over and over, and you’ll miss all the real fundamental things which we want you guys to test and experience, that’s the value of having so many people be able to play it early on.
So as we go ahead and roll forward, the plan, which I wanted to share with you guys, is for those of you who were around during the Arena Commander launch, around this time last year, we’re going to do it very similarly. We’re going to set it up on the PTU, with a build, and we’re going to do a phased rollout based on your citizen number. We’re going to invite a fixed number of citizen numbers, have those people have access to this new PTU, they’ll be able to go in there, try out FPS, give us feedback, and we’re going to attempt to patch biweekly, so twice a week we’re going to patch this PTU, so if you have data capped internet, maybe it’s not for you, just a warning cause we’re going to be patching very frequently. And as we get stability up and get good feedback up then we’re going to iterate on that, and we’re going to open it up to more and more people and then as we get more and more feedback we’ll open it up to more and more people, and as we do this phased rollout eventually we’ll culminate with going live to everybody. That way, by the time the whole community gets it in their hands, it’ll have been progressively, based on your seniority here, basically, and by the time it comes out live we should have a nice, stable product for everybody to enjoy together.
Lastly I think it’s important to revisit why FPS is a big deal, and I see a lot of people on forums who are like, oh, we just want to play FPS module, we just want to have TDM or arena deathmatch fights, or oh we just want to run around, and I think the important thing to realize about FPS is it’s not just about the FPS module, the game mode. Star Marine as a module is going to be great, it’s going to be a lot of fun, but the idea too is we’re developing the underlying FPS mechanics for the entirety of the game. What we’re developing for Star Marine is actually the underlying, when we get to multicrew how you’re going to be able to EVA, the whole 0g setup is EVA in the persistant Universe. It’s how do you enter, and how do you navigate, what is your player locomotion like in a persistant universe setting in 0g? It’s what are the weapon balances for you vs another player if you board their ship?
It’s all these things that play into the larger universe that need to be accounted for and, if we’ve coined the term that Star Citizen as a whole is a First Person Universe, that’s two out of three of the letters of FPS right there, so Star Marine is very important because it allows us, and once it’s done it’ll allow us to make all these things possible, at least for me as somebody who’s looking forward to this game as well as working on this game, is that idea that you can get up out of your chair in the ship, you can run around in your ship, you can jump out of your ship and get in another ship, and this is kind of that lynchpin of technology that makes that all possible, so it’s important to realize that Star marine’s going to be cool, and it’s going to be a lot of fun, but also the amount of doors that it opens, the amount of new play experiences that it presents for other modules is really not something to be discounted. It’s going to be awesome.
So anyways, cool, thank you for your time, and I hope you enjoy this mini ATV FPS update, and we look forward to having Star Marine out to you guys as soon as we can.
– That wraps up AtV, but check in tomorrow from the May Monthly Report.
– This weekend the military ships that were free-fly last week are on sale.
– Super Hornet, Mustang Delta, and Gladiator are available again for a limited time.
– Character getting scanned.