Hello fellow Citizens and welcome to The Relay’s coverage of the 54th episode of Around the ‘Verse!
– Why can’t the UEE put a stop to the ‘Verse’s most dangerous underground race?
– Report cards are in. UEE’s annual rankings of schools are in.
– Finally, an exclusive tour behind Day Drifters, meet the heart and soul behind the ‘Verse’s big hit vid.
– Sandi and Ben
– AC 1.1.5 went to PTU on Saturday. Dev ops stayed working on the weekend to get it out, found a last-minute fix that would get it done, and now CIG are receiving good feedback on 1.1.5. No release date yet for the live version, but it’s being worked on.
– Chris Roberts is home – new Letter from the Chairman, and longest 10 for the Chairman as well.
– Latest update on Star Marine was posted on Friday. Short story – it’s coming along well.
– Ghost sight won the ‘which sight should make it in’ poll, expect to be using it soon.
3:35 – Santa Monica – Eric Kieron Davis and Darian Vorlick.
– Drake Herald is being worked on by Paul Forgi. Lots of progress on it.
– 1.1.5a should be out by the time AtV hits. Incorporates feedback on weapon damage, missiles, how much damage ships can take, etc… Calix Renaux and Matt Sherman have been working on that with CR.
5:00 – Illfonic – David Langeliers
– FPS practice mode. New spawn points have been added to the map to test the mode. Only having two spawn points was causing problems, people would spawn and kill each other immediately. Now the spawn logic will pick the furthest point away from any enemies.
– Adjustments to sights on guns, clearing out the center so you can get a better bead on the targets.
– More animation polishing. Features and tweaks and animations are done at this point, for the start-stop-juke system. Steve Bender has been making sure everything looks good and polished.
– A while back death animations stopped working. The system that detects where you’ve been hit and causes you to die with an animation that goes along with that location had broken down. It’s been fixed now, death animations play properly now.
6:50 – Austin – Jake Ross and Meghan Cheever.
– Animators are working on emotes for arc corp.
– Ongoing work on the no-weapon run and walk set is being done.
– Art team at BHVR is finishing polish for the Arc Corp landing zone, team at Austin are moving on to lighting and VFX.
– Meghan has been working on many things. Medals and insignias for military, navy, and marines. Flashlights on helmets so we can see in the dark.
– Helping clothe NPC’s and players, working on Terran themed clothes, more casual fashion.
– Clothing coming from concepts will be findable in Kasaba outlets, where you can purchase clothing.
– ‘We wear clothing in the future’.
9:00 – CIG UK – Simon Hall and Graham Philipson
– Working on Wwise conversion.
– Big job, had to refactor all systems that used audio coding.
– Working out really well, it’s a powerful system. Driven by sound designers who now have more creative control over how the game sounds.
– Also using the interactive music system in Wwise, which is very flexible, lets sound designers have control over the switch from one music state to another.
– Added an extra element to the game ‘player mood’. If you’re doing well, the music will sound more heroic, if you’re doing badly and taking damage, the music will sound more grim.
– Also working on weapons. Different weapons have different fire modes, can sound different in first and third persons, in order to support sound designers on that, have to provide Wwise with as much information as possible. Helps designers take variables like temperature of the weapon, fire rate of the weapon, velocity of the bullet, etc… use that information to make weapons sound interesting.
– Also use that information to drive mechanical elements of the weapons.
– Lots of groundwork is done for FPS audio, just polish now to make sure there’s content and variety.
Star Zombie – fan video.
CS: Hey guys this is Chris Smith and this is Josh Coons and we are here to talk about the Constellation rework. So we are starting the Connie rework and basically we had to start from the ground up and that means we work in how we even assemble it and so it’s easier for us to do variations after. So we started with that and we are logically assembling the connie in a lego like format so it’s easier to tack on different parts and modules, we call them modules, and so I am doing the interior currently and Josh Coons is doing the exterior.
JC: It’s going to speed the process up, the more we do this the faster we will be able to do variants of ships everyone is going to get and uh get the pipeline more optimized the more we do it. More ships equals more stuff equals more fun which is good.
CS: Yeah so we are using this Constellation as an opportunity to use our new ship pipeline that we have come up with that we are beginning this year that we are all streamlined together with the other studios like UK and LA. So yeah it’s going pretty good, the Constellation is coming together pretty quickly.
JC: It looks so good, I can’t wait to finally show the whole thing.
it’s super fun pushing the envelope on something, to take something people are already familiar with and we have gotten good feedback from the feedback we have gotten so far from the public on the connie.
CS: Chris really digs it. A lot of the rework right now, I mean the interior I would probably say has changed the most so far out of everything. I mean the exterior he is doing looks much better and more detailed and a lot of the little clusters you know like the maneuvering clusters and stuff like that didn’t have a whole lot of detail are all nicely modeled out now. Yeah we allowed those stuff, the exterior style is still the same as it was. The interior has had a lot of work by me. I think the interior was the most problematic issue with the Constellation old version. It’s already been reworked, based off fan input that we have had over the years.
JC: Some stuff just didn’t work.
CS: Yeah, or make sense, so I took the time to add a couple of things and subtract a couple of things to make things more efficient for example be the front nose area, we sort of have the Constellation sectioned off by a nose, a neck, a body, and a tail. And he does the same for the exterior so each module can be removed and we could assemble a new ship with it basically. And for the nose section on the interior we added each section has a bulkhead that separates it so there is actually a new bulkhead that separates the cockpit from the living quarters now so it makes more sense that way to have everything so nothing gets exposed to space if something happens.
JC: We had fans coming by the SXSW booth a few months ago and the people who owned the ship I would ask “what don’t you like about the ship” and they would tell me and it was just one after another and all had already been fixed, we had taken care of the issue and I would be like “we are fixing the issue right now” and they would be all like what? We had a couple of people tour the studio and they saw it and they were like “you weren’t kidding, I can not wait to get that”.
CS: A lot of those issues where issues for us to. Like why is it like that. For the turret entrance you don’t have to walk around to the cockpit entrance now it’s just a straight forward walk.
JC: You can get more people down when you go down the drop platform, it’s not just one person deal. The airlock is bigger, you aren’t going to shoot into the side of the Constellation when you jettison. That was my favorite part. You would hit abandon ship and jettison and crash into the side and die. Good job.
CS: We have also extensively reworked the Merlin connection in the back, it has been completely overhauled. We don’t have this big telescoping tube and it’s questionable shape at the bottom.
JC: it’s going to be a lot more aliens drop ship affair and I think everyone is going to dig it.
CS: So basically the Merlin goes right up into it and it looks a lot sleeker, there is no more tube.
JC: You have some control arms like bring him in and lock him into the back end of the ship and then you can just get right out of the cockpit of the Merlin and walk right through the bulkhead.
CS: Alright thanks guys for joining us for the Constellation remodeling sneak peak.
JC: Can’t wait to show you guys more and have a good one (salutes).
– My connie lies over the ocean. Ben won’t try to pull that joke off, unfortunately.
18:15 – James and Mark Skelton
JP: Hey guys I am here with our director Mark Skelton.
MS: Hello! how are we today?
JP: Good how about you? How are you liking Santa Monica?
MS: It is interesting, I worked here before so I knew what to expect. It’s either really hot women or weird bums and then it’s magic
JP: So what are you out here working on?
MS: Currently I am out here looking at our ships, specifically though the eyes of PU. There are a few ships coming out that are persistent universe heavy that I need to get some eyes on and talk about with design and I just have to look around and see what is going on, help out a little bit. Out here helping out a little bit with the ship pipeline as well. Again with the persistent universe and also talking to the UK.
JP: So you are representing the PU team.
MS: REP PU TEAM! But yes I am here to represent them in full and Tony Zurovec. I have learned this, if you are going to go into Tony’s office you gotta make sure of a few things. You gotta make sure you get a snack first. Get something to drink, go potty because you are going to be in there for a few hours. Just to make sure you know what is up. He is definitely has a clear vision of what he want’s for the PU and as an art director that makes my life much easier. It’s great man, any time I sit down with him and go through design or have any questions about PU he has me covered.
JP: How are we with the PU? I heard environments.
MS: Yes we are actually working on a few things. Currently we are working on Nix as you guys know, so that is actually coming along really well. That is one of the first PU planetside environments we have done from scratch with the modular system from beginning to end. No legacy issues in there so that’s cool. Arc corp was kind of our test ground for the past year or so. Trying to get it right, figuring out how the modular system will work like implementation. We have done it a few different ways but now Nix is like the baby that has come from our hard hard work. It’s beautiful and It’s come along great and I can’t wait to show you guys.
JP: What other environments have you guys worked on?
MS: There are a few coming up, I’m working on the Stanton system. What we doing is working inside out so starting with the Stanton system obviously working on Arc Corp and there is a planet called Crusader, that’s an interesting planet. I am sure you guys have seen the art. It’s kind of a cloud city type concept. We are working that out. Hurston dynamics, They are a company that I believe makes weapons and manufactures stuff, that planet they kind of own the whole planet and have raped it for all its minerals and resources. And Microtech we are working on which you guys will be seeing the concept of that. That is where Mobiglas is made, It’s a large frozen apple wasteland of beauty. Like apple computers. Everything is like (computer voice) “Welcome to Microtech” You got little guys walking around.
JP: What was the planet in Mass effect I believe noveria?
MS: I believe so, so yeah. We have a lot of stuff coming out that I can’t wait to show you guys.
JP: What kind of conflict do you guys have with the art side?
MS: It always come down to optimization (lights come on) Let there be light
JP: We look so pretty now.
MS: (angelic noises) It’s always a battle man. A battle between tech and art, bring it on! People are like “I want 100 lights in the scene and they are all casting shadows and I want every character to have subsurface scattering and 1 million polygons for everything and I want it to run at 60 frames a second” and tech is like woah woah woah. You get one light and one texture and 12 polys and that is not going to do and Chris will back me up on that. It’s a back in forth man. It’s always about bang for the buck. It’s working smarter to make things optimal but to keep the fidelity. That’s the trick, it’s a constant battle back and forth but I think I am on the right track but there are a lot of smart people working on these problems and a lot of the tech we have coming out and a lot of the pipelines we are doing have never been done before and I am really excited to see it. Because again the fidelity is super high plus we get it down to a point where it is running really well. But it’s a constant battle because I don’t care man I just want it to look good. 2 frames a second? those are some sweet two frames right? But that is not going to fly and the designers hate that.
JP: I think the players also hate that I mean that won’t be fun for them. It’s been great talking to you man, thanks for coming out here for a few weeks.
MS: It’s been fun man
JP: Back to you guys!
– ‘First a ghost sight, now a Mark Skelton, what is this, halloween? – Ben wouldn’t do a connie lies over the ocean joke, but he still did that one.
– Going to talk about the concept pipeline for ships.
– Ben has been with CIG for over three years.
– When they started, there was no pipeline for concepts. Chris had some gameplay ideas he wanted, and some placeholder ships, there’d be a basic ship, a luxury ship, a multicrew ship, etc…
– Even early on, they knew they wanted to have multicrew.
– When the campaign started, there were three ships – Hornet, Bengal, and Scythe, and Chris had worked for a year on that demo.
– All three ships were references to the original Wing Commander.
– Ben was hired to do community things, and what he said to Chris was the Wing Commander community loves ship specifications, so they shouldn’t just launch saying it’s a multicrew ship, or a luxury ship, but they should spec out what it’s going to do.
– Ben sat down with Chris and Dave Haddock, came up with the original set of ships. Constellation, the companies, the stats, etc…
– Chris thought Ben had a knack for that. As they created the second wave of ships with the Cutlass and the Starfarer, Ben was heavily involved with handling them.
– Back then it was about coming up with a role. Look at Wing Commander, look at WWII, etc…
– As they went on, they started filing out ship pipelines, and figuring out rules for ships. ‘you have to be able to eject’, etc…
– Last year and a half has been getting that down to a science.
– Chris recently ‘officialized’ Ben’s involvement in ships, Ben is now Director of Ships.
– For the Wave 4 ships, Design will be involved earlier in the process.
– For many of the ships, things like the Vanguard, they didn’t need a design pass, as they played to an existing game mechanic.
– With things like the Hull series, the Endeavour, the Herald, they have to have things specced out before they go to art.
– In the past, they’ve said ‘here’s a cool idea for a ship, lets get it to concept art’, and they get back a really cool concept, that doesn’t work, and has to go through multiple iterations.
– Ben’s new goal is involving the big design directors early on, making sure everyone’s on the same page on ships, know everything about them before artists start.
– The Merlin has everything that has to be in the finished game now.
– Creative side of the process:
– Ben started off looking at Wing Commander. Medium fighter, heavy fighter, etc… all those evolved from Wing Commander.
– As the Universe started to expand, it was ‘here are some ships you never might have flown in Wing Commander, but they existed in the back of the Universe’, things like the Tanker, the pirate ship, etc…
– Ben grew up watching movies like 2001 (the Endeavour is directly inspired by the Discovery), grew up watching Star Trek, Star Wars, etc…
– Look at sci-fi ships, but also look at World War II a lot. The Vanguard came from that, from the idea that Sci-Fi games had never really taken a long-range fighter.
– Any ships that were thought of, but couldn’t be done?
– Lots of ships where, early on, they come up with Variants. 3-4 they will use, 10-15 that they want to make someday. One such ship is the Hornet Sniper. Didn’t work with gameplay early on. Long-range Hornet, long-range missiles, long-range lasers, etc…
– Space Whales. Take the ship mechanic, have people hunt and protect the space whales, etc…
– The Merlin is coming. it’ll be available as a 20$ add-on ship, with the launch of 1.1.5 Live.
– Still no date for 1.1.5.
– AC commander footage – please post cool videos on the RSI forums. Put the Scythe and the Merlin through their paces.
– MVP is back!
– This week’s MVP is Fiendish Feather, for his Merlin commercial.
Merlin commercial, by Fiendish Feather:
– Missile trail R&D
– Tune in to RtV tomorrow to see what that sneak peek is!