Hello citizens of the ‘verse! Welcome to The Relay’s coverage of season 2, episode 4 of Around The ‘verse!
– Anti-Xi’An Angst
– Bananas. Have we eaten our last one?
– Original Systems kicks off A-com, an Arena Commander competition.
SG: hey everybody welcome back to Around the Verse I’m Sandi Gardiner.
BL: I’m Ben Lesnick
SG: This week on the ATV Interview Tom sits down with vehicle artist Paul Dalessi to talk about working at Foundry 42.
BL: And we take a Behind the Scenes look at the process behind Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 demo you all saw at CitizenCon. But first Sandi’s home!
SG: Sandi is home and I had a great time in the UK; CitizenCon was awesome; first time I’ve ever received a standing ovation for anything.
BL: I’ll [something something] one right now [something something]
SG: It was kind of overwhelming. I got lots of flowers and compliments and …
BL: You’re not resigning right?
SG: No, there’s no resigning. Can you imagine you start an event and say “Hey everybody, welcome to the event, let’s have a good time. I’m resigning.”
BL: The important question we have here is “What was the food like?”
SG: What was the food? I’ didn’t actually get to eat any food, I was so busy that I didn’t even see what the food was. I think I maybe had one shrimp, crumb shrimp but I didn’t really get a chance.
SG: Big developments on the road to Star Citizen Alpha 2.0, patch 1.3 is currently available on the PTU.
BL: 1.3: it’s their steam merge version so it’s a big deal under the hood. We’ve also added a couple of new weapons and so on to the release that you can play around with. Starting this last weekend on the PTU we are making specific ships, weapons and so on available for free so people can test them and give their feedback without having to spend REC or UEC to unlock them. So this last week we unlocked the Cutlass and the Hornet, as well as the new weapons, so if you are on the PTU go out and test those!
SG: Also our concept sale for the Aegis Sabre is now over and everybody seems to have really liked it. It sold like hot potatoes!
BL: Yes! Yes it did. The Sabre is our new medium fighter. It’s midway between the Gladius and the Hornet, not quite as heavily armoured as the horned but it has more maneuverability and better speed. And we’re excited to put it into the game. Fast track for that so you’ll be seeing more of the Sabre in the not too distant future.
SG: And now let’s check in with News from Around the Verse.
– sent out 1.3.0 PTU on their end. Give them feedback on how balance is.
– Gurmukh is working on the P-72 Archimedes concept, the ‘racer’ variant of the Merlin.
– It’s a luxury, racer version of the Merlin. More speed, less attack options.
– Mark Abent is working on optimizing the Radar system, make it more accurately give feedback.
– They found a bug where the pilots head would block the rest of the ship from being detected by the radar, so they’re optimizing things like that. Make it more streamlined and tactile.
– Jake Ross is on a short vacation, so we get Jason Hutchins.
– No more Denver updates because Illfonic has finished their part of the work. They’ve got some new projects though. Check out their link for Friday the 13th the game.
– in Austin, teams are working on SC 1.3, which went to PTU and is updating more constantly.
– Concept artists are working more on clothing lines and props. Some of those’ll be visible in jump point.
– Also working on hairstyles, Million Mile High club, animations for SC 2.0, the female locomotion set (which should wrap up and start testing in a few weeks)
– Jason’s now going to go playtest FPS more.
– Mike has been working on ship damage effects, specifically iterating on the effects, trying to theme explosions and damage based on ship manufacturers.
– Tali and Connie have different styles of explosions. Getting that working nicely.
– Adam’s been tasked with doing environmental and ambient interior effects for interiors we’ll explore on the AC 2.0 release. Anything that would make the environments look different; thematic to the state of the environment.
– Can give mood – dust, clean environments, stuff like that.
– Lots of the team is working on optimizations, working on keeping code clean and responsive.
– More work on procedural planet tech. Not sure when we’ll see it first, but they’re making good progress on atmospherics as far as when you’re coming into the planet.
– AI’s done some stuff, supporting AI code in zone systems, working on extending AI ship nav so they can dynamically navigate around asteroids and such.
– Jason will talk about the Bishop speech from Cit Con
– Cinematic team did a great job on that. The level still isn’t final, it was a testing ground for the AI systems and animations, so it’ll keep growing.
– Lots of the work they did created the foundation that allowed characters simultaneously with body, face, audio, etc…
– Now it’s going and growing. Lots of stuff they couldn’t even show at Cit Con, but there are layering animations on top of AI and such. Lots of extra stuff.
MH: Thanks guys! I’m here today with Paul Dalessi from foundry 42 UK. Paul is a vehicle artist here, how are you going man?
PD: I’m doing good, it’s good to be here
MH: Yeah It’s good to see you again actually, we have a bit of a similar tie to CIG is that we both got started on the next great starship, I worked as a camera operator on that show. You
PD:I was a contestant
MH: A contestant, more than a contests, you were on the 4 horsemen, the winning team!
PH: Yes I was!
MH: What was like that?
PD: A lot of fun, very intense, a lot of hard work, quite a rewarding experience
MH: Thirty thousand dollars rewarding huh? Did you buy anything cool with prize money?
PD: Actually I bought an Oculus Rift dev kit.
MH: Very nice, cool! and so now here you are, basically you started out doing it for that thing which was a contest doing it for fun so to speak, here you are making a living, working, helping us make spaceships, what’s that transition been like
PD: For me specifically it wasn’t that much of a transition because I’ve been working in this industry for almost a decade at this point. Previous to doing the next great starship I wrapped up working on Ryse. After that what happened what me and a friend wanted to do a bit of a collaborating personal project, we decided we wanted to make a spaceship sort of thing. At the same time the next great starship popped up so we figured we might as well do that and that’s it, the rest is history.
MH: Wow, that’s super cool man! So now you’ve been here how long?
PD: At this point I’ve been here about 6 months
MH Okay, and what are you working on now?
PD: Right now I’m working on taking the Vanguard to hangar ready,
MH: Oh cool! So you know we just had seen some concept work for the Vanguard, Gurmukh was seeing in Santa Monica get done and it’s just amazing looking artwork, so can you tell me what’s it like taking a ship from a concept phase, getting it to you and starting to make it flyable/hangar ready.
PD: In the case of the Vanguard specifically, i was given the 3D concept mesh that Gurmukh made. But usually the concept mesh is really built for the sake of making the pretty picture and it’s not built to be able to work in a game environment. so what I’m doing is I’m rebuilding the ship from the ground up for the game specifically so it can run efficiently in the game
MH: Do you work closely then with the design team at this point as well in making sure that how we’re building it for the engine how we’re building it for the game, fits with kind of the design of the gameplay elements?
PD: Exactly, there’s also of course game gameplay considerations that may or may not have been taken into account in the concept mesh. Some elements might be swapped around to make more sense in the game, simple placement like the engineering console, where the chair into the turret is going to be, how it’s all going to function you know the concept is great it really is but somethings just need to undergo redesigning to be functional in the game environment.
MH: Right so even the concept is what it is, it’s the starting point, it’s not finished until it’s in the game and everything kind of has different, right.
PD: Yes, exactly
MH: Alright so before I let you go, one last question I want to ask you. What’s going on with the Redeemer?
PD: The Redeemer is actually in the pipeline to be upgraded properly because the original Redeemer was made to look good in a video. It’s not the greatest ingame mesh in that sense so it will get you know a makeover at some point and I’m probably going to be the person that’ll have to do it.
MH: Well you know it best right?
MH: Right on, well thanks for sitting down and talking a little bit with me today it was really nice to see you again after all this time, this once again Paul Dalessi, vehicle artist at Foundry 42 UK.
PD: Glad to be here
MH: Back to you guys.
The Relay has interviewed Sandi Gardiner and Paul Dalessi and will be available as soon as possible.
RJ: Hi, my name’s Ricky Jutley and I work as a project manager here at Foundry 42. My role on Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 was Lead Producer and I’m here to talk to you about how we delivered Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 at CitizenCon.
RJ: When we started thinking about all the things we wanted to do for CitizenCon, one of the things we’re thinking is “we’re building up all these features, why don’t we actually get something together for CitizenCon that’s going to be a demo that’s going to showcase all the cool stuff that we eventually want to deliver to the backers in their hands in game. Part of that was just getting together a lot of Chris’ vision and having that interpret all the way down to the designers; the artists, global lead artists that is; coders and necessary leaders of the disciplines that will actually put that stuff together. Marrying with our content complete dates that we are trying to aim for as well we were tying in the necessary high level beats that reach into the demo and my main role is to get those beats together and make sure all the disciplines on a global basis were working towards their unified breakdown goals so that we could deliver that demo to the backers on the event.
LP: Straight away we were running into the limitations of the editor. The editor is not built to do the huge coordinates we are working with now. And those were just arbitrarily capped values that Crytek had put in because they only expected developers to be making small, well relatively small, maps. So we had to knock all those caps off straight away in order to reach the billion metre play-space we have at the moment.
DS: Because we always try and push as much in as we can, there’s always a risk that you end up breaking things.
JG: And we were pushing, pushing, pushing so much that what’s going on in your mind is “what if I’ve missed something out, what if one little element in there I forgot to check in or I forgot to double check?” What if one of the guys runs through and there’s a bit of collision missing on the floor and suddenly he’s falling through into space. That sort of thing can really affect the demo, a live demo like that. Going through my mind is “hoping, hoping, hoping everything’s tight and everything works well”.
IL: Now, there’s a fair amount of content in there. The playable area is big. Now one of the main challenges from that is just how do you create that much artwork in a short space of time?
LB: I guess one of our biggest challenges from doing a demo like this, is the fact that we deal with an awful lot of change happening right up until the demo comes out. When it gets up against it, our deliverable, I find myself wearing lots of different hats so I’m not just being and audio director, I’m also helping out everyone with technical issues with whatever they are doing .
SR: With all this large world technology that we’ve been developing, the way we develop levels is interesting because we have to create a level and then we export that level to a prefabricated part of the level which is something like a space station or even just the module of a space station.
GC: As a deadline like that looms you have some many big requests coming where people want staff for Task A, Task B, Demo Run 1, 2, 3, 4; show the designers this part of the game. It’s just being able to sit there with the guys and say “right this is really important, we need to manage our time efficiently; we need to do this, we need to do that, we need to talk to production and just essentially trim out of doing”. In a way just really efficient time and staff management.
ZC: You would see me running round the studio, following up issues, trying to make sure people are working on the highest priority issues so we could fix the big bugs, unblock dev so they can carry on working; communicating with the studios to make sure we get the hand offs because we’ve really had contributions from all studios to get that to the place we wanted it to be.
IL: It was a fairly big technical challenge and that was pretty much our highest goal to achieve.
LP:: So art would do their bit and then I’d have to go in and make sure you could actually EVA through it without getting stuck in pipes or everything they did looked to the player interactable if it needed to be.
NE: We’ve got dozens and dozens of features that were all in different states, some in a very early state, but so important to get them into the hands of the community to start getting feedback at an early stage. It was concentrating on making sure that the resources were aiming in this direction and we were getting the maximum focus we could in order to get the systems as far along as we could.
IL: Everything you see in the large world map is everything from asteroids, to space stations, to moons : there’s a whole load of content in there. And my guys were responsible for creating all of that.
SR: Everyone wanted to make feel like a cool place to visit. They’ve just come from this brightly lit, welcoming environment of the station where you start in, where you spawn. And I wanted them to go to this other station and feel a little bit threatened and it’s a really cool place that you’d want to get in and explore as a player.
IL: Probably the biggest space station we’ve ever done so far so this is going to be Port Olisar that you see on the map, and it has many different landing pads and many different interiors. The real key is getting that so you can fly on your ship, land on the pad, walk in the airlock and you’ve got all the interior right there.
SR: It was .. to get those elements into it for Saturday for that release. We had a lot of things cooking in the oven.
GC: Honestly just before it started I was so nervous. I’ve never done anything like this before, I’ve never been on stage before, especially in front of so many people.
CG: As it was running I was quite terrified that the ship was never going to come out of quantum travel or travel through a planet.
NE: While it was happening, it was panic because I was editing slides with Chris, probably about 5 minutes before we were going on in typical chris style. But you know once we got going it was absolutely elation and pride, everything seemed to go really well, everyone’s reaction was positive
DS: It turned out in the end that the game was remarkably stable considering it was a demo for an event, it was very very solid.
LB: I come from mostly triple-A development where you’re locked away for years on end and the nall of a sudden the game comes out and it gets nice feedback and stuff, but to be able to actually show what we’re doing in kind of an incremental way like that and get that feedback, it’s a huge boost to what we do, it just gives you a certain amount of crazy energy to do what we’re doing
JG: When I sat there and watched it with everyone else live, it was almost like you get to a appreciate the whole thing and the all the work everyone puts into it as well.
LP: To see the fans reaction was amazing, I was like, pride was what I felt.
CG: I stood beside one of the backers and he seemed really pleased with the presentation.
SR:It’s exciting to know we did a better job than before.
DS: We all just wanted it to go smoothly, which thankfully yeah, in the end it did.
ZC: You feel like that everybody’s hard work has really been recognized and it just makes you really really motivated now get it out there, you know, you want to get it into these backers hands, you want to get people playing it and get everyone as excited as we’ve been just going through it and playing it in the first place.
GC: The cheers that went up for half the stuff we did, when adam got out of the ship into EVA and started flying towards the relay. That was unreal, absolutely unreal, just the roar that went up from the crowd, I absolutely loved it.
IL: Tears were coming down their eyes because they’re having so much fun, so many interesting things happened
NE: When talking to people later on it was such a positive reaction, it was such a buzz for everyone that had been killing themselves practically for a couple weeks running up to it, to get that out there and actually see the results.
RJ: It was a very uplifting feeling, been to a lot of events in general so you know not just game events and stuff but that event was very special and I’ll always remember that.
SG: Thanks to everyone at Foundry 42 for making that demo possible
BL: Yeah and it’s important to point out, you guys see a lot of the Santa monica team here because that’s where our community and marketing happens to be. We have 200+ Folks around the world working on Star Citizen at any time
SG: So encourage our other staff to get on camera! Because they are a little camera shy, the UK folks and the german folks, so if any of our staff are watching, please become camera friendly,
SG: And now it’s time for this week’s MVP!
– KingNerd – realistic SC appear maps for captains and pilots.
– BAM WOW BAZOOM Ben’s acting. It’s neat.
– There’s… something on screen. NO idea what it is.
– Also there’s some stuff on Xi’An tech it looks like. Nice image of the Xi’An Scout.
– Lots of cool, nifty images. Looks like the whole Xi’An Scout Style Board.