Episode 6 of the second season of Around the ‘Verse is here! Check it out!
It’s another week which means Around the ‘Verse! like last week we have a full transcript of AtV for you today as well as the option to use Closed Captioning! If you try to use CC and it isn’t working, it may be that the transcript hasn’t uploaded to the video yet so please be patient if that happens. Below is the transcript of the video above, enjoy!
This video made possible by the ICC Stellar Surveyers and Subscribers like you!
SG: Hey everybody, welcome back to Around the ‘Verse, I’m Sandi Gardner
BL: And I’m not!
SG: That is Ben Lesnick. This week on the AtV interview, Jared sits down with Tyler Witkin from QA to discuss why Quality Assurance is more than just playing video games all day.
BL: And we take our first look at StarBase Santa Monica, Cloud Imperium Games’ new Headquarters!
SG: As you know, it’s all hands on deck to push out Star Citizen Alpha 2.0.
BL: We’re very very excited about 2.0. This is the first building block upon which the persistent universe will be created. You all saw a fantastic demo of some of the features at CitizenCon, and there’s more to reveal. We’re getting very close. I know there’s some rumours going around, oh it’s going to come this day, it’s going to come this day, the truth of the matter is right now we do not know the specific day. We kick off builds every day with bug fixes, it’s kind of like baking a cake. You know, once they come out of the oven we take a look at them, see if this cake is edible or not and
SG: And I eat it all.
BL: Yeah, you look like you eat a lot of cake.
SG: I do I do, I like my cake.
BL: Well, once we have a delicious cake, we will put it on the PTU to have you guys…
SG: Try it out! In other news, it’s time for another Monthly Report.
BL: Monthly report is our very very detailed look at what happened on Star Citizen the previous month. Hear from all the studios and outsourcers, and there should be some cool screenshots in this one too.
SG: And don’t forget the Community team is coming to Austin, November 8th at 7pm at Red’s Porch, we’ll be attending a Bar Citizen-hosted party.
BL: Wooo Austin, hookem horns and all that, ummm… Gonna be a heck of a time.
SG: I hear there’s seven zero people going.
BL: Seventy, that’s more people than I know.
SG: So yeah, I guess check the weather.
BL: Yes. Here in Santa Monica, we don’t have weather, but in Austin there’s always rain and even the occasional cold, so bring a jacket.
SG: I’m going to bring my Star Citizen Hoodie. If I make it. I still have to see if I can make it. Sounds fun though. And now, let’s turn it around, no…
DL: I thought that …
BL: And now, news from Around the ‘Verse!
SG: Yes! news from Around the ‘Verse!
DV: Hey everyone, welcome back to Southern California, Santa Monica, and Cloud Imperium Games, it’s actually kind of rainy outside, so we’ve got a good week update for you guys. I’m Darian Vorlick…
ED: Eric Kieron Davis
DV: So what’ve we got today Eric?
ED: We’ve got a lot of stuff this week actually. Our lead vehicle artist, Elwin, he’s working hard on the greybox for the Reliant. We’re all really excited about that ship and getting it to the greybox phase for us is just an exciting milestone. Another one is Randy Vasquez, he’s working really closely with the concept artist who’s putting together the Crucible. And as we talked about before, he’s working hand in hand with the Salvage mechanic, so that’s all coming together. He’s been providing her a lot of really great design feedback, to bring that ship, to really a great pace, alongside of everyone else right, our design director and Chris, and everybody’s kind of got their heads wrapped around, and Ben as well, so it’s coming together really well.
DV: So on the Arena Commander side, we’ve got our two engineers, John Pritchett, who’s in charge of our flight engineering design, and we’ve got Mete Mackay, another one of our engineers from the Austin office out here, doing fine-tuning work on the IFCS flight system. This system not only contributes to the new flight modes, leading up to Quantum travel, but it also affects how players EVA outside of their ship. We’re adding IFCS control to the EVA hud, so we’ve got not only our UI team, but also the engineers is working on fine-tuning how players move outside the ship as well as trying to add much more greater, precise control and throttle feedback, not just within racing but also in Arena Commander dogfighting as well. So I think that’s all we’ve got for this week
DV: Once again, I’m Darian
ED: I’m Eric.
DV: You guys enjoy the rain
ED: See ya
DV: Have a beardy day.
JR: Hey guys, Jake Ross here, associate producer of the Persistent Universe, and I’m here with you this week to go a little bit over environments, the party system, and a little bit of animation as well. So, on the environment front, we’ve finished the top-down kind of whitebox layout of the Nyx bazaar / marketplace, so the little bazaar area we’ve been talking to you guys about the past few weeks. We’ve finished that design, it’s off to art, they’re going to finish that up, and we’ll have that out for you here pretty soon. So we’ll have our shops around the bazaar area, and our little kind of, marketplace area as well. It’s going to be a little different, pretty cool though.
Also we are now in a whitebox phase for Herston, we’re looking at moving from our, our designers from Nyx to Herston, so that’ll be, we’ll leave the Stanton system for a little while, then we’ll come right back to it and start work on the Herston system, Herston planet as well.
On the party systems side, we’re looking to get that in for our next release, and we’re finished with the back-end side of that work, so we’ve finished, Jason Eelie, the server engineer here, finished the back-end side of that, and has passed it on to Behaviour for the front-end work, so that will be in for the next release, so that will be something to look forward to as well.
Last but not least we’ve finished on the animation side some bouncer animations for the night-club scene, we’re calling them nightclub-scene animations, even though we don’t really have a nightclub in place yet, we have a dance floor on the G-loc bar, so that’s where we use them, and we’ll use some of these animations in the million mile high club as well, but the bouncer animations as well as the patrons entering the nightclub animations, we’ve finished those up as well, so we’re going to flesh out the nightclub interior animation vignettes as well as the medical unit animations as well, so look forward to that as well.
I think that’s all I’ve got for you this week, thanks, see you around.
MB: Hey y’all, Mike here from Foundry 42 here in sunny Wilmslow, with me here today is..
SC: Sian Crewe, I’m the office manager.
MB: And we’re here today to talk to you about the shootdown in London, down in Eyeling studios, the Imaginarium place, where we basically scanned in all the guys that you’re going to see in Squadron 42. I went down for a few days to help Sian out because, you were stranded yourself weren’t you?
SC: I was a bit. Everyone decided to go on annual leave, so yes, you were my hero. So I was down there in, purely to sort out the camera rig, which was part of the mo-cap part of the shoot, so we took the actors into a very white kind of area, we had 52 cameras set up around the actor, it’s very very personal, we’re looking at all the wrinkles, so we have to make sure that people are on hand in order to make it enjoyable, hence the reason Mike came down. Because he makes things really enjoyable, which is great.
MB: Of course.
SC: And it’s just so that we can make sure that we get all the reaction and the facial features, cause everyone does things differently, everyone’s muscles work differently in the face, so the 52 cameras were to get almost a 360 view of how the person’s face reacts, the ears, all the way to the back and the muscles here, and this was in relation to the mo-cap, so that when a person moves we can get the reaction of their muscles as well.
MB: We went through an awful lot of facial expressions, didn’t we
SC: Yes, there was, the two-zeroes, that would be Mark Hamill and people like that, they had to do seventy-eight, seventy-nine facial features. So just lifting their eyebrows was one, smiling, grinning with their teeth is another
MB: It’s surprisingly tiring, I mean, we both had a go didn’t we so, we know how gruelling it can be. Well, anyway, I think that’s all we’ve got time for today, hopefully you’ll be hearing a bit more about this on next week’s episode, it’s been great talking to you guys, I’ve been Mike
SC: I’ve been Sian
MB: And we’ll see y’all around the ‘Verse
BC: Hey guys, Brian Chambers again from the Frankfurt office, this week fortunate enough to have one of our senior software engineers, Chris Bolte here with us
BC: Thought I’d bring him in, he can explain what he does here in Frankfurt, and what he’s been working on recently.
CB: Okay, to introduce me I think, how should I, I’m an engineer working with the engine. My main focus is more the low level systems, so I work on multi-threading, on low level streaming systems, how we get the data from this to memory, I work on general game optimizations, I work on CPU-side rendering, it’s more or less what I generally do, my main focus at Cloud Imperium so far was working on developing the Zone system, which has its own spatial structure, which is heavily tied in that we want large groups of moving objects like the ships which we will see in 2.0 hopefully soon, and in the more recent times I was focusing on optimizations. I was rewriting our multithreading back-end to be really PC centric, because on console you always work with fixed hardware where you have a fixed number of hardware threads and you can really design your code for it, PC’s a little different because you have so many configurations
BC: Yeah, it fluctuates
CB: Exactly, it fluctuates and you don’t know what is running on the PC. On the console you know it’s a fixed number of cycles you need. PC you could run five instances of the game at the same time, it still has to work sort-of. It makes it more interesting, but I think we’re going to the same direction. Most of you saw the CPU utilization overall went up, which means we distribute our work better, and it’s still a bit to do because especially some, as an old test about CPU speed tanking 100%, this just implies that we are CPU bound because CPU number 3 is our main thread, we do all the main updates, and we haven’t parallelised enough work yet, do too much work on this thread. Just plopped sort of the critical part, and yeah.
BC: What else have you been covering recently?
CB: That’s, multi threading and then sometimes culling issues which means…
BC: Now I say that like, oh what else have you been doing, I know that’s a large task, and an important one right?
CB: Yeah, it’s large, but it’s like at the back, fixing general optimizations, both running the game, general for people, we could improve all code on the optimization side, there’s always two kinds of optimizations you can ever do. The really high-level optimizations which tend to be longer, because they need an architectural re-write of the engine, but afterwards sometimes they’re the low-hanging fruit, so you think oh, this nah, this takes five minutes to fix.
BC: Exactly, exactly. Cool, well thanks for taking the time to come and chat with us, chat with the community. Hopefully I can get him back here again, and hopefully some of the other engineers as well. But um, besides that, thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time.
Jared Huckaby – JH: Thank guys. Today we’re sitting down with QA tester extraordinaire and host of which glitch Mr Tyler Witkin. Tyler, how are you doing man?
Tyler Witkin – TW: I’m doing well thanks for having me
JH: So you’ve been out here at the Santa Monica studio all week.
JH: What are you doing here?
TW: We came to LA to help transition the new QA lead in LA, Vincent or Vinnie Sinatra.
JH: Vinnie Sinatra…
TW: Vinnie Sinartra…
JH: he tell us that’s his real name, were going to find out in another interview, so you’ve been working QA for Star Citizen for how long?
TW: I’ve been here for a year
JH: So where was the game when you came on? What was the first thing you remember working on?
TW: I came on about a month before the 1.0 push in December. So that point we had that one patch that come on with all the mustangs, a bunch of new ships and yeah.
JH: Funny you’re just drifting off into memory
TW: Yeah…. no I forgot
JH: It’s okay. So what did you do before you came to Star Citizen?
TW: Before I came to STar CItizen I was at blizzard entertainment. I was a game master almost 5 years so yeah! You did that as well too
JH: I was on the GM team when WoW Launched. We weren’t there at the same time.. I left just before burning crusade came out
TW: Okay, I was there till right before Warlords of Draenor
JH: Gotcha. So you worked out the Irvine Campus?
TW: Ah no actually! I was in Austin Texas.
JH: That’s right you were in Austin Texas
TW: They opened up a big center there and move a bunch of people out there and worked there for a long time, good memories and good times
JH: Yeah we have quite a few of our staff members that have done some time in the blizzard trenches
TW: Yeah, actually half of the QA team in austin came from blizzard
JH: Gotcha. So a lot of people think QA is just playing video games.. We hear that a lot, “Oh how awesome would it be to just play video games all day”.
JH: Tell us, obviously playing video games has some aspect of that but
TW: Yeah absolutely
JH: Give us a typical day in the life of QA
TW: So a day in the life, I mean of course you do play the game, just because you want to make sure you understand to its full potential but day in the life it’s a lot more structured than that. We’ll spend the beginning of our days grabbing new builds so they’ll kick off new builds overnight that’ll have all the developer changes from the previous day.
So we’ll grab those builds and sometimes we’ll have special tasks or special projects we have to focus on, the developer quest like “Hey we have the whole new flight change online and so if you guys could really just hit that”. We create checklists and sometimes we just add hawk test it which is just dive in and see what we can find. Generally when we get a new feature, the new functionality.. we call it a target rich environment.
There’s a lot of bugs so we don’t always have to follow a checklist to make sure we cover everything because generally just diving in with plenty of stuff that we can write up and investigate. But yeah on a day to day basis we’ll get our morning build and well hit on that all day and we constantly have developers coming in to “Hey I’m implementing a new feature and I don’t know how it’s going to affect this other feature, can you test?. “ You know I just made a change to collision, can you see what happens if you collide with a ship and a ship, a buggy and a ship and a player and a ship and so we’ll do all kinds of stuff.
JH: Now there are different kinds of builds. There’s release builds there’s profile builds, is there another one I’m forgetting?
TW: There’s profile builds there’s release builds and there’s working in the editor. Those are the three main environments at cig. So the difference is for a profile build that’s the build the developers use to debug their content, what they’re working on so the profile build has a ton of commands, console commands that you can use, debugs texts so for performance testing it has all kinds of statistics and all that jazz.
A release build on the other hand everything is compressed it has pac files, that is the build that is the end user experience. The release build is what we basically, it’s the final package before it goes out to the players so all those debugs and console commands don’t work in a release build and then of course there’s the editor is where they are actually developing the new content.
JH: So there are many times where something well be fixed in the profile build and then when it gets converted to a release build, all hell breaks loose
TW: Yes, Oh yeah that’s actually one of the things that we had the opportunity to do since QA is in LA this week was sit down with all the various departments and basically go over you know “Hey here’s exactly QA’s workflow is for accessing a release build on a profile build because we want development and QA to be in sync that way we can reproduce, replicate issues the exact same way to make sure we’re on the same end because as you said there are issues that will happen on a profile build and not happen on a release build, these spooky issues. Whenever we write up a bug we have to write “This is happening in a release only build or this is happening in a profile or is its happening in the editor.
JH: Gotcha. What build were we in the other day when I walked by and we used the computer terminal in Crusader and the monitor Popped off the stand.
TW: Yeah that was good. Just incase anyone doesn’t know that story. Lando was walking through the studio giving a tour to somebody and he walked by my desk and was like what are you working on and I was like “Oh this is actually AC 2.0, this is Crusader, there’s these computers and you can go up to them and call a ship and it summons it to one of the platforms outside”. And the guy was like “Oh that’s really cool!”. So I go up and press F to use it and the screen on the computer just smacks into me and falls on the ground and I was just like “That wasn’t supposed to happen”…
So we tried for a half and hour to happen again because that’s again one of the first things you do in QA, how many times can you reproduce it and it just never happened again… it’s not happening again and we still to this day we can’t get it to happen again and with those types of bugs it’s always as soon as you release it to live, all the monitors are going to be flying off the computers. Luck of the draw.
JH: And yesterday we were trying to put together a different segment and we were loading into the hanger and when I loaded into my hangar the buggy was up on its side.. from spawn.. it didn’t make any sense and as I approached it, it started moving towards me..
TW: Yeah it’s chancing it
JH: Then I would take a step back and the buggy would start following me and it basically was following me around the hanger.
TW: yeah that’s another one that I went upstairs right after I was down here. I couldn’t get it to happen again. Hopefully it was a one off issue because sometimes there are those really one off issues that could be a corrupt build, corrupt file whatever. Hopefully we’ll never see it again but if you’re in your hangar and your buggy is upside down.
JH: Trying to kill you
TW: And you see in your peripheral that it’s maybe chasing you.. Yeah.. sorry
JH: I wish we had footage of it but we weren’t recording at the time, it was pretty fun. Now differences between profile build and the rebuild is why some things like the new hangar lightning changes might not look as correct in the release build as it does in the profile.
TW: Yeah absolutely. That’s actually a perfect example right now we’re experiencing a bug where on profile builds which the community the backers they’ll never see the profile build because that’s the debug build. Right now there is an issue where the profile build is working perfectly with the time of day settings in the CryEngine.
The release build however keeps defaulting the time of day settings in CryEngine to its defaults and so Emris Switzer one of the most talented lightning artists I’ve ever met, one of the most talented guys i’ve ever met, relit the hangers recently and the community is like “Man the hangers look absolutely amazing” and they do they look cool they look really cool but they’re still not even what they’re supposed to be because of that time of day issue and that’s something that is only a release bug and so that’s something they’re working out so hopefully in the next patch the hangers will look even better.
JH: Well our viewers just got a look at how the hangars are supposed to look while you were talking because we overlayed that footage while we were talking and when we’re done here you have to go upstairs and get that footage so we can overlay it
TW: Deal! laughs*
JH: We’ll wrap it up here Tyler but that’s for stopping by
TW: It’s my pleasure!
JH: We’ll see you in Austin in two weeks?
TW: Yes looking forward to it! Bar Citizen on November 8th
JH: Yes Bar Citizen on November 8th at Red’s Porch. 7pm November 8th, Red’s Porch in Austin we’ll be there hanging out with anybody who wants to join us so we’ll see you then. That’s Tyler Witkin, I’m Jared Huckaby, back to you guys!
JH: Hey everybody. So if you’ve been following the news at Cloud Imperium Games lately you might have heard that the Santa Monica office is getting ready to move into a newer, larger, more robust facility. Today we wanted to take you on a quick tour of that facility. It’s obviously still under construction and there’s a lot of saws and a lot of noise in the background but we’re going to see how this comes out. And give you a sneak peek of how things look before we get all the desks and all the technology, and, most importantly, all the people into the office.
JH: Now this is, we’re coming in from the back door so what you’re looking at right now is what’s actually going to become the new community area. On the left here these are offices for our legal and community teams. Sandi Gardiner will have her office here; Ben Lesnick will have his office here; Toast will have their office. Then folks who are coming over from our West Hollywood office will have their offices here.
JH: To the right here, I guess it’s to your left, there will be desks here and this is where Community will live. I think my desk is about right here if I’m not mistaken and so I can look directly into Ben’s office and yell at him when we need things.
JH: Before we go further let’s take a quick detour into here …
JH: This is what is going to become our new studio area. Now this is where we’ll be filming “Around the Verse”, “Reverse the Verse”, our upcoming “Dev vs Dev” show, and it’s also going to serve as our motion capture studio. It will have a green screen at some point. We’ll do a lot of photography here. Basically this is our all purpose production area of the new office.
JH: And in here, this will be like our green room where guests come when we’re doing motion capture with such dignitaries like Mark Hamill or Gary Oldman or whatnot this is where they’ll rest here.
JH: This area here will be clear for the most part but when we’ve set up set up the motion capture studio this will be the control area for the motion capture stuff.
JH: Over these boards here, in this area, this is where Thomas Hennessy our wonderful camera person at this time: Thomas Hennessy and Justin Chambers will be here, this is where we’ll be putting together all the video content and you can hear it’s very echoey here at the moment.
JH: So we’ll come on back this way here.
JH: One thing contruction crews love is to have people coming through and filming things!
JH: Now as we come back out here down this hallway is more offices for our legal, accounting, HR, stuff like this. This, if I understand it correctly, is to be Ortwin’s office. As you can see, Ortwin lives good!
JH: In the center of our office we have our main foyer. So basically there will be tables and chairs where we eat lunch; this is where we’ll congregate in our off time. We have a kitchen that’s been put in over there. There aren’t a lot of food choices in this neighbourhood where we’re going to so we’ll be able to prepare our own food; eat lunch, dinner, whatever meal comes after dinner. Second dinner I suppose.
JH: Over here, this is our main entrance foyer. This is where the front door will be. You’ll notice at this moment the front door is not in. But the front door will go there and our Facilities Manager will sit here and we’ll have our big conference room here. When we do our Anniversary Livestream I think we’re going to be in this room, when we do that, so we’ll see, so we’ll see if I’m right or wrong about that.
JH: I’m going to get this stuff out of this guys way because I didn’t realise he was working.
Working Guy: That’s okay!
JH: So follow me here. Bathrooms: you got to have bathrooms.
JH: Now the final third of the building, this is where our Design and Art teams are going to be. So this entire corner area here, this is mainly for our Design teams: your Matt Shermans, your Calix Reneaus, they’re all going to be here. Mark Abent, if I remember the latest seating chart I think Mark Abent’s desk is like right here, so this is where we’ll be filming “Bugsmashers” going forward. Room for another conference room. Somebody’s office, I don’t quite remember, might be Paul Randell’s, we’ll find out.
JH: Coming through this way. One of these will be Chris Robert’s office and the other will be a conference room for everyone at this end. So when we get back to “10 for the Chairman” and whatnot we should be filming it in one of these offices because he does like to film in his office and I can’t blame him, he has a very nice office.
JH: Directly across we have offices for the writers. So your Dave Haddock and your Will Wiesbaum. Over here for some of your producers; and Art Director; and Mr Steve Bender. If you watched the Germany tour recently you saw Steve Bender standing in front of his desk and shouting at into a headset: we don’t even give him a chair anymore.
JH: Over here, this is where the Art team goes so your Gurmurkh; your Omar; they’ll all sit here. One of these offices I think is for Forrest. So yeah this is where the Art team … Art team here, Design team over there: all together but still close enough to meet when they need to.
JH: So yeah, let’s check out IT. Dennis is one of our favourite people in the office. And around here, this is probably going to get dark I don’t know if you’ll be able to see me or not, but here’s where Dennis’ office should be and then if you want to peek in here, this is the start of our IT closet here. Obviously nothing’s been moved over yet but they just finished up the cable runs a couple of days ago. And an industrial strength HEPA air conditioner on that up above.
JH: So yeah, then we come back down this hallway and we’re back in the kitchen. I see we’ve got some pretty nice industrial equipment there: I look forward to preparing my lunch every day.
JH: Anyway that’s about it. There’s not much to show at this point but we wanted to get some footage in here before we get tables, and all the equipment and all the people in there. Show the progress. So thanks for watching and we’re moving either this week, next week or the week after. We’re moving real soon and we look forward to showing you the finished product. So back to you guys.
BL: No question this is the “before” look. You’re going to be seeing all the work that has happened after this once we move in.
SG: So it doesn’t really look like this right now is what he’s saying.
BL: Yes. We’ll have walls and everything.
SG: This was before. Yes.
SG: And you haven’t seen anything yet. Sandi talks about what will be great at the new office.
BL: Ben adds colour.
SG: Okay! What … [laughs] … what was that?![cut]
SG: The new offices will be very cool because first of all we’ll have some space. And what we’re doing either this weekend or next weekend, it’s next weekend we’re building some sets. So we’ll have these rolling sets for ATV, RTV, Meet the Devs, Dev vs Dev, all that good stuff. We have a little mocap stage so we can do our mocap there. I actually have my own office, although I actually think I’m sharing with ben
BL: [cheers] Roomies!
SG: [cheers] And one day I’ll have my own office.
BL: Aww, I’d be lost without you.
SG: No, I do like sharing a room with you. And what else, what else?
BL: Well, we have a much bigger stage area so there’s going to be room to do mocap in the future if you need to do it here.
SG: I just said that.
BL: You did say that and I … [laughs]
SG: [laughs] We have …
BL: There will be plenty of room for new folks coming from Austin as we expand out the Persistent development out here in Santa Monica. It’s a big upgrade, we’re all really excited about having our own space.
SG: We are very excited about having our own space so we have to cram into tight spaces. That didn’t work. [laughs] We’re just two weeks away from the Star Citizen Anniversary Livestream on November 19th. Our actual anniversary is November 26th however that is Thanksgiving so we’re doing it on the 19th. 11am to 2pm PST and I just cut Ben off. What were you going to say?
BL: I was just going to say about Thanksgiving and how we’re thankful for all the support we’ve got from our Backers. It was a bad segue but it was “Ben Quality”. But the Livestream’s going to be great, we have all sorts of new content we’ve been putting together for this one. You’ll see the latest on pretty much everything we’re working on. And of course we’re kicking off the Anniversary Sale. You’ll see some new ships, some old ships: plenty of ships!
SG: And now it’s time for this week’s MVP. Ben, the envelope please?
BL: Here’s the Envelope!
SG: Yaay, and the winner is LifeonLars who created the wonderful Retro style Star Citizen Wallpapers, check it out.
BL: These have been absolutely fantastic, if you’re familiar with old 1950’s sci-fi films, stuff like Forbidden Planet, it’s Star Citizen but in that style. They make great wallpapers.
SG: And finally, here’s your Art Sneak Peek!
Video – Retaliator Escape Pod Recovery Previs
BL: Be sure to tune in to Reverse the Verse tomorrow at 11am Pacific on Twitch. We’ll be
answering your questions about that art and everything else.
SG: And of course, thank you to all our subscribers for making this show possible, we will see you next week in Austin, on Around the ‘Verse.
BL: Around the ‘Verse.