Greetings fellow Citizens! Check here for The Relay’s coverage of Around the ‘Verse Episode 46!
Check back later, Nehkara is away currently, but when he gets back, check this page for images, and gifs!
– Sandi’s still in London working on the SQ42 shoot. Things are going great.
– The Reliant went on concept sale. It’s a flying wing, it can fly vertically and horizontally. Designed by Dave Hobbins, the first variant is called a ‘mini hauler’, but it’ll be able to do a lot more in the ‘Verse.
– The first of two Q&A sessions about the Reliant went up yesterday, the second will go up tomorrow.
– Reliant. It’s what’s for dinner.
– the Reliant – 11,000 sold so far.
– They’ll get it to us as soon as possible.
– Matt worked with Dave Hobbins. Matt worked on the technical specs for the ship, he’s excited that the News Van pitch went through. It should be very fun gameplay once they get it working.
– Also on the design side, they got into physically based damage a lot more, using mass or kinetic energy to actually attribute the damage to the ships, rather than arbitrary values.
– Hoping that’ll do a lot of good things for the game. It’ll also be a really big balance pass. Affects ships, shields, components, components taking damage (which isn’t in yet), guns damaging themselves on overheating etc… All damage will be derived off of force. Bullets and energy weapons will have a force value. This mass plus this speed makes this force, means this damage.
– Right now, it’s a rigid single number, they’re working to make sure there’s a more dynamic scale to the number. When you flip around in your ship, and you’re flying in reverse at 300m/s and start firing on someone, it actually makes a difference. Chasing with ballistics is going to feel different than head on with ballistics.
– Worked on hit reaction animations this week.
– System that, depending on where you get shot, your body will have a reaction from that. Some difficulties are, making sure that while the visual effect happens, it’s not too frustrating. In the past, the first person to get shot in the arm will get the animation playing, cause them to drop their weapon, and that resulted in the first shot being the deciding factor. They’ve been finding balance between the visuals and the gameplay.
– Also working on grenade priming.
– Before, it would just throw, now you can hold the grenade back in a position, so you can aim better, decide when to let go of the grenade, etc…
– Switched that over to the item port system, and it’s working great in playtesting.
– Focusing this week on locking down and polishing first person movement. Still a lot of little quirks to work out, trying to get all that locked down this week.
– ‘Hopefully by the end of next week it’ll be feeling better and, ah, anyhow!’ *smiles*
– Past weekend Tony Zurovec finished a first draft of the ‘Universe Simulator’, formerly known as the economics simulator. It will be the backbone structure of how the Universe and the economic factors and buying and selling and marketplace, how all that will interact to create a living breathing universe.
– That work is going off to Wormbyte, who will be starting on that soon.
– Concept complete of a Security turret that will go into landing zones to help deter ‘bad people’ from doing bad things. Eventually there’ll be a system in place where the turrets will stun people, and they’ll go to jail for a period of time.
– David has been working on standardizing cockpit templates.
– Trying to remove as much of the rework as possible. Trying to plan on the front end as much as possible how to get the ships so they will work when they rig them, when they shoot the mocap, no 4 foot wide toilets etc…
– As soon as they get something, they’ll get the concept flushed out, get that to whitebox, and once something’s built in whitebox, they can take the character, put it in the whitebox, and modelers can build around it, making sure things are to scale.
– Right now, each one of for the Hornet, it’s Hotas central left control system. That’s roughly 50 animations. 52 types of ships, huge amount of animations. If they standardize the animations down to 7 or so different cockpit ‘types’, that allows modelers to build them out, and they can make them as unique as they want, as long as they stay within an established template.
– At the same time, it reduces animation footprint. There’s also a 10 button power system setup. Taking the 10 control types (button pushes, toggles, etc…), arranging those around in each unique ship, so there’ll still be a lot of variety, but it saves them a lot of work behind the scenes.
– Bob was a dialogue designer for Playstation for a number of years (did a casting session for the Last of Us). Worked on Uncharted 2. Came from the land of consoles, but he’s always been a PC gamer and is excited for them.
– Dialogue is a crucial aspect to the game. Music and sound effects, and visual effects, but dialogue plays a crucial part in getting people tied to the story. It’s relatable, helps you get to know characters, become part of the world. To have a good, well written story, and have that interact with the users is critical.
– There are really good writers on board who are doing amazing content, but to get their content heard in game, and played so it makes sense and is interactible and intelligent, there’s a lot that goes on.
– They work hard on making it realistic, making it fun, etc…
– Production is going really well, they’re working with some great actors, the story’s great, fans will love it.
James – Hey guys, I’m here with John Pritchett. John, how you doing?
JP – Good
James – Pleasure to have you on. So, you’re a physics programmer
JP – That’s right
James – WHat does a physics programmer actually do?
JP – Well, the job of a physics programmer is to basically work out the simulations for systems in the game. Try to remain as true to realism as we can, within the constraints of gameplay.
es – So, how many physics programmers do we have at CIG?
JP – Well, when I started, I was the only physics programmer. I came out here to LA, but since then we’ve hired the one in Austin, and another one here, and I think in the new Frankfurt office, I think we have at least two.
James – Interesting thing i find, is how do you personally strike that balance between realism and fun? It’s a constant struggle, it’s something we talk about all the time. How does that play out for you?
JP – Well, I try to keep that in mind, but in a team situation, I feel like it’s my goal to bring as much realism as possible, then I rely on others to then feedback to me and say, we need this to change a little bit in order to balance gameplay or whatever. So, the G-force system is an example. I created as realistic a g-force system as I could, but I created it with enough properties to scale it, so we could then tune it to gameplay conditions.
James – So, it’s your job to figure out how it would actually be, and its designers job to figure out what makes it actually work.
JP – And I try not to be bothered when they, you know, completely change everything.
James – You don’t see your calculations and go ‘Whaaa’?
JP – Where’d it go? *laughter*
James – Other than the g-force simulator, what are some aspects of the game that people will notice has your touches on it?
JP – The main thing that I’ve worked on actually has been the flight mechanics and control, so that’s both the way the ship moves under thrusters, and also the control systems for interpreting player inputs and turning that into ship control.
James – So when you first started you were the only physics programmer. now we’ve added some more, has that kind of lightened the load? Let you focus on one specific part of the game?
JP – My focus has been pretty limited from the beginning. I’m a gameplay physics programmer, as opposed to a low level engine physics programmer, and we’ve been really lucky to bring in some of the core physics engine programmers from CryEngine, and that’s a totally different realm of physics programming from what I do.
James – So is there something now you’re working on you’re really excited for the fans to see?
JP – Yes. So, lately I’ve been working on dealing with very massive ships. Going from small single-seaters that are seat of your pants control, now we’re easing up into mid-size ships and then massive cargo ships, and capital ships, and the control systems are going to be a lot different for those ships. It’s going to be a lot more waypoint driven. I wanted to, in terms of keeping things as realistic as possible, I wanted to use third-order motion for our motion calculations, so there’s a lot of complexity in that. Not only is it dealing with a cubic calculation, which is difficult, but we also want to have asymmetric acceleration, cause it can accelerate more in one direction than it can decelerate in another direction, and then adding the jerk value, we want to be able to set one jerk value for positive direction, and another for negative direction. So when you factor in all those complexities, it creates a very very complex calculation to be able to say I want to go from point A to point B, and when do you start decelerating to arrive on that location on a dime, so I’ve just finished all those calculations, and I’m getting ready to start implementing them and putting them into the game.
James – That brings up something interesting. Because we’re trying to be as realistic as possible, certain things that you might take for granted, for example, if you have a thruster here on a larger ship, do you think about it differently as opposed to a smaller ship, because there’s different rooms inside of the larger ship. Does that impact how the ship even has to be outlayed? So if you have a calculation at this point, can that possibly change the entire form of the ship?
JP – Well, for us it all starts with the design process for the ships. These ships are designed out completely. When we put them into the game, we’re able to calculate realistic mass distributions and so it’s all about mass distribution, if you have a room here that’s a hollow section or. if you have a place here for heavy equipment, and there’s more weight there. So when that all gets plugged into the engine, we basically get the center of mass and the moment of inertia, and based on those things, we can boil it down to just those two things, and based on the position of the thrusters it determines how much torque you get, and how much linear push you get. So those things are all factored in, but, if you have cargo and it moves, it’ll change the center of mass, or if you get a wing blown off on a smaller ship, that can change the center of mass, so the whole field the way the ship flies will change dynamically, based on conditions.
James – Yeah, how do you take that into account? If a piece of cargo shifts, how do you take that redistribution?
JP – Well, assuming that we’re going to actually real-time model out the mass and location of cargo, that’s all happening at a lower level, so by the time it gets fed into my system, it’s just the center of mass and moment of inertia. And I work entirely based on those values.
James – Alright! Well, thank you so much for joining us, hope you’ve enjoyed being out here in Santa Monica, and back to you guys!
– Thanks James, I guess you can say that segment had some gravity to it.
– NAILED IT.
– Gallenson Tactical Systems – A ship weapons manufacturing company.
– Gallenson started as a shop in Salt Lake city. Eventually, they bought a foundry, started making high-grade weapons. Gallenson weapons tend to have high rate of fire, and high velocity, but they also have high mass, and a high heat generation.
– Words to describe the brand – Solid, reliable, functional.
– Pirates tend to like gallenson, even they’re more designed for civilian use. Gallenson tries to not be associated with them. Pirates ignore that.
– Style guide for Gallenson – ‘The Last Word in Ballistic Defence’
– Style guide aims to give a ‘feeling’ for the company, so that any designer across the company can make a weapon that feels like a Gallenson gun. On the first page, there are marketing type info. Logo, tagline, flavour text, what they are, what they aspire to be. Also, keywords on aesthetic and function, and systems the weapons use.
– They’ve got charts that say who the company tends to produce equipment for, colour palettes the company tends to use, etc…
– Second is more inspirational images. Things that have a similar aesthetic to the company the style guide is for. Real world vehicles and weapons, etc…
– That’s it for this week’s Ship Shape.
– Like they say, you should never apologize for sporting a little style…guide.
– If you have a logo / intro for ship shape, post it to the forums, they’ll pick through the entries on Friday.
– And now a new segment with the Austin QA team.
– New segment to prove that QA has fun. 5 bugs this week they’ve run into this week.
– number 5 – Wonka-vator. Pants were ripped, but that’s not the bug. The elevator in a hangar is supposed to go up and down, it’s going diagonally in the video.
– number 4 – loaded into hangar with a 300i, popping a wheelie.
– number 3 – It’s aliiiive – mustang that the cockpit is…flipping out. FIrst time they got to see the mustangs, and the cockpit flipped around.
– Number 2 – Mr McTwisty – Character twisting its chest around like…4 times.
– Number 1 – monty python skit gone wrong – bit of FPS. Character broke, stuck looking at the ceiling. Interesting stuff from FPS here. Even though it’s a glitch. Floating ammo, characters breaking, etc…
– That’s about it for this week’s AtV
– New dev details next week!
– Happy birthday to Chris Roberts, whose birthday was Wednesday.
– Fly Free! This week, military focus ships, gladius, gladiator, and entire AHornet lineup are fly free this week.
– Some cool concept art of an interior. And another door. Nyx possibly? And now more. Lots of cool looking concept art.
That’s it for AtV this week!