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Dutch Bar Citizen: Dan Trufin Interview Written Saturday 14th of January 2017 at 03:43pm by CanadianSyrup, StormyWinters and Sunjammer, Erris

Hello everyone! Today we bring you a special interview provided by the folks at the recent Bar Citizen in Utrecht, Netherlands on December 10th.

The people who made this video possible are Swift Omnium, Obi-Joop Kenobi, Asuna Akira, Case_C,and Facerafter. Transcription was provided by Relay. Enjoy the video! 

Full Transcript

Swift Omnium (SO): Hi there, thank you having us and giving us the time. Can you maybe make a small introduction about yourself?

Dan Trufin (DT): Yeah I’m Dan, I’m the Lead System Designer here in Foundry 42 Frankfurt and I generally deal with everything that’s relating to gameplay mechanics and generally making the game fun.

SO: Okay, great! We have some questions from the community, it’s a lot of them and we will just go through them and if you can answer them and else if you don’t, if you cannot then we just skip one.

DT: Alright

SO: Okay then first question: With the exploration of planetside has become a reality in the not too distant future, what can we expect in the longevity of these unexplored terrains. With thousands of players scanning a planet for its secrets and resources, it won’t take too long for an entire planet to be mapped. With space, for dimensions it’s easier for point of interests to get lost or forgotten. How will this work in a physical place like planets? Will items, place of interests on a planet persist and will the coordinate data get lost over time? Or is there something else planned for planets?

DT: So we’re planning to have various types of persistence when it comes to both space and planets. Everything that’s massive and it’s a recognizable element or it’s big enough that it won’t disappear in a few moments will be persistent, it will always be there. Once you find it, you will have the coordinates for it and you can always get there fast, not fast, but get there easily without having to find it again.

We will also have missions and points of interests that are not so big like a crashed ship in a desert. That is a ship that you find today,tomorrow, the sand might come over it again. So we’re okay with that disappearing and being phased out. So there will always be new things we generate on those planets so the more you find stuff there, we’ll try to spawn more and more and the system will try to balance between… so stuff doesn’t get completely discovered on a planet.

On the other side, planets are still pretty huge. I mean planets if you think in other games, they’re small, our planets are proper planetside. You have to consider how long it would take you to map the earth, you know it would take quite a while. There’s 6 billion of us and we still don’t know a lot about the Earth so hopefully it will be that rich, our planet's will be that rich.

Also you will find three points on this planets, he will find three points, everyone will find other things. How you share that information with each other is all up to you. You might sell that information for money, you might only keep it because it offers you a tactical advantage over your enemies so there won’t be one person that knows everything about the planet so all this will change and it’ll keep moving and whatever information you have will be useful, but it’s not everything, you can’t know everything.

SO: So it’s like an endless game in a certain way/

DT: Hopefully. We’re planning for this game to offer content as long as there are people to play, it should keep refreshing itself. That’s why we’re adding all this procedural generation to be able to generate content as fast as you guys can play it.

SO: Yes.

DT: Otherwise we wouldn’t bother with it.

SO: True. Next question is about sourceable goods. In the Persistent Universe we will see different kind of goods as sellable wears. Since these products are mostly physical albeit in boxes or containers, will players of having the option of hoarding large quantities of a certain good in a location other than in their ship or hangar. Perhaps on remote moons with massive warehouses full of wares for the less legal citizens among us. Or in rented warehouses in UEE controlled space.

DT: So the short answer is yes you’ll be able to hoard goods. You’ll be able to take items, just I want to hold 500 million bars of soap because I want to be the owner of all the soap in the universe. If you can afford them, that to buy it and if you can afford the storage space because renting a storage space will cost money, the bigger the storage space, the more money it will cost; If you can afford to do that, yes you’ll be able to do that. You will not be able to break the company because we are the not the 100% player driven economy where it’s an economy that we control and the NPCs have a very heavy stake in it. You’re just one person in the universe, this gigantic universe with billions and billions of people, they will have  a say in it, so if you start buying all the soap in the universe cause you want to hoard it there’ll be a lot of companies going ‘I’ll start producing soap now’ and they’ll put more soap on the market, so it’ll be very very hard to crash the market.

SO: Next Question is about, let’s see, docking I believe. The localized physics grids on ships were a great step forward for the development of star citizen. Next big step in that respect will be docking. By joining two or multiple different ships together, with the release of the caterpillar and its capability to attach and reattach its cockpit with the hull, we hope to hear more about the development of this technology, and there’s one other question that’s very similar, in what form can we expect docking to first release? Will this be with larger ships to space stations where physics grids can be meshed like the Idris shown docked at Port Olisar, or any ship with a docking port anywhere in space with another ship?

DT: So, I’m not sure if all of it will get released as one chunk, it depends on how our development cycle goes and what we manage to finish in time, but we’re definitely working right now on this docking between, we started with docking between two ships, and then we started to figure out oh yeah, we need to start docking with stations, we need to start docking with big big capital size ships, cause those ships are not going to be able to just dock and land anywhere, so you will be able to have transports coming to a big ship, picking up stuff, taking it to the station and do this taxiing between all the cargo cause they cannot fit in the station. So we’re definitely working on this, it’s been a bit of a problem initially, because we started with a lot of art that was done without this in mind, so all our, not all our docking ports are aligned right now. They kinda, the RSI ones are kinda the same size, but we need to standardize this. It needs to be, you can’t have them all the same size, but there need to be a few classes of docking ports, and you know this ship can dock with this ship at any point, cause their docking rings can meet together and lock and create a seal cause they’re the same size ship.

SO: Same manufacturers maybe?

DT: Yes, we’re kinda thinking of standardizing them beyond manufacturing, because it would be weird if you have an RSI ship, he has a drake ship, you’ll never be able to dock with each other just because it’s a different manufacturer. I mean, we're thinking a few hundred years in the future, even now everything gets standardize. People would standardize a docking ring so they know, oh, we’re a class A docking ring or class B, so we’re definitely going to do this. As to release, if it all gets released as one or not, that will have to see, probably it will be in stages as with everything we do. It’s easier for us cause we release a small part, see how it works, then we adjust, and then adjust also what hasn’t been released, and keep making better and better rather than giving everything at once and then we have to do a big chunk of rework.

SO: So you’re talking about class A and B docking ports, is that something that you’re looking at right now, to name it like that? Class A and class B?

DT: No, it’s just an example, they don’t have definite names right now, but they will be, it might be that the docking port becomes a component of it, but we’re still looking into this, because it would be weird if that docking port is always there on some ships, if people don’t need it, so then it might become a component, it might not, it depends on, we’ll see how this works in gameplay, so lots of experimentation. Because if I can put the docking port there, or I can put something else instead of the docking port that benefits me more cause I never want to dock with people, maybe that’s a better way. We’re always looking towards this modularity.

SO: So if you worked docking ports modularity, there can be something else..

DT: Yes, I mean, don’t take this for gospel, but this is, we’re always experimenting with this. If it works good, if it doesn’t, then we fall back to having it fixed, which is the easiest solution.

SO: Yes, okay, next question. What is the player cap you’re aiming for in 3.0 release, and can you elaborate what fleet combat sizes you’re looking for in 3.0, or 3. Releases?

DT: So right now there’s a lot of refactoring happening in the code, the networking code, for 3.0 we don’t know yet if what measure that refactoring will be effective. WE’re constantly looking on increasing the player count and, especially allowing players to jump from one server to the other based on their location, on who their friends are, stuff like this. But for now I can’t really predict this one. It’s in the works, that’s all I can tell you, but whether it will be ready for 3.0 release or it’s a bit further…

SO: It’s a netcode question

DT: Yes, so, even they would not be able to tell you exactly when. It’s a matter of when it’s working properly. So, it’s, it’s in the works, we’re pushing forward with this and it just takes time.

SO: Yeah.

DT: Yeah.

SO: Eventually.

DT: Regarding fleet engagements, we would like to get it as big as possible. The main problem that comes here for us is that it’s not you’re fighting 10 ships vs. 10 ships or something like this, it’s just a matter of, for us, we have multiple people on those ships. So we have a multicrew ship, we have to sync to a lot more clients now, so we have to see what will limit, what can the guys in the ship received from all the other. Do we sync everything, do we sync less for them because maybe it’s not important that we sync every little thing that’s happening in the ship to ship combat, for them it’s more important that they manage the shields correctly and they see the situation on the ship, or they deal with the boarding party,so that's more important for the guys on the ship, so maybe that will take priority, it’s… again. Network code guys would be able to give you a lot more detail in how this will go eventually, but it, kinda that’s the idea behind it. It will take a while.

SO: Yeah, yeah, in the homestead demo, we were shown a huge sandstorm moving across the planet. Will we also see other natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions?

DT: So, what you saw there was an example of what we planned to do with our weather system, which is have a constantly changing weather on the planet, and the sandstorm actually travelling around and moving like a normal weather front. Whether we go into natural disasters more like on the planetary scale, it’s a bit more complicated. We would like to do earthquakes and all kind of random events, but like meteor showers and stuff like this. There is room for that, we’re looking into it, but when it comes to you mentioned volcanic eruptions or floods, those are a bit harder to do. I mean, we would love to do them, but there’s so much tech involved in having water physics wash everything or lava start flowing through the, in most games where we see lava it’s very, it’s either simplistic like in, I don’t know, minecraft type of game, it’s nice, gameplay wise, but it’s not looking to the standards of where we want Star Citizen to be. Or you have very scripted things, where it always flows exactly where it needs to flow and that’s the script of the movie. So, we, if we cannot reach our standards of quality, we’ll probably not go that way. We’ll have to see how far we can push the tech and if we manage to get the tech then eventually yes.

SO: So, meteorite showers…

DT: That is something that I’m… in my estimations, should be doable. It’s, even with the current tech we just, we don’t need that much to get something like that done. Sandstorm again was an example where, yes, there was a lot of work behind it, but it’s doable with current tech. When we’re talking lava rivers flowing and burning stuff down, that is far outside of what we have right now as tech

SO: Yeah, okay. Right. Will multicrew aspect of the game be touched anytime soon, for example different stations inside the ship's, better turreting, mechanics or working Merlins, etcetera? This hasn’t been touched in a while and only saw very little progression.

DT: Yes, definitely. It’s one of the things we’re looking at heavily right now. We’re looking at having multiple stations including engineering, tactical, we’re looking mainly from the perspective of capital ship, and namely the Idris for us right now, as it’s the main staging platform for SQ42, and we have guys working from the tactical battlesphere to how power gets routed inside the ship and how you can turn certain things on and off. There will be stations with controls where you can see when things overheat, things require more power, things have various problems and they need a maintenance crew being sent there.

So there will be these stations where you can command all these things. So we definitely- I mean, the first proper implementation of multi-crew was just the idea of having multiple people on that ship being able to do various things but it was a very early implementation - we definitely aren’t there yet, we’ve never thought that was the end of it, it was just the first step in a multi-crew direction.

I mean while they are functioning - you can say “yeah, there are turrets on the ship”, we never liked the idea of being completely “when the pilot goes the turret aiming goes completely ‘woah, I lost track of where everything I was doing because the pilot just took a sharp turn’”. That is something we’ll correct and we’ll try to have that turret have a bit of a smart ring where it tries to, when the ship goes left, the turret still still says in the same rather than following with the ship-

SO: Like modern tanks?

DT: Exactly, modern tanks already do this, they have the turrets completely independent from the tracks - so we will have that just as a matter of time with priorities of what to implement first but that is one of the first things that we will change for the multi-crew ships.

Yes, things will evolve from here, this is just the beginning of the multi-crew stuff. Especially- we’re thinking capital ship because once we have that working, we will have a lot of the items we need for the smaller multi-crew ship. Once this is done, all the small ones will benefit from that. It is our moment of glory when we have that Idris - all the stations on that Idris functioning as they should.

SO: Do you have any info on the non-combat game mechanics - it has been a while since we saw a design post about mining, engineering, etc. are those articles still up to date or did they drastically change during the process?

DT: They didn’t drastically change, there are some changes. I can’t really give much detail until everything is again- set in stone because I don’t want to give false expectations - but there were some changes from our perspective - definitely for the better. Again, those were our first step into seeing what you guys like about mining, what you like about science, what you like about all these things.

For example, for mining, we’re still having mining as it is in the documents that are on the website but we’re kinda expanding this idea - we don’t only mining, it needs to be a resource gathering thing where you - from picking plants to gathering data about biological species to harvesting wood because you are freezing on the planet - it’s- the entire idea of gathering resources and the logistics of moving them and how we do that, there’s a lot of smaller little things that come as that - mining is one of them and there are lot of things that fall under the resource gathering.

The other side of things is the science part where it’s a lot less about gathering stuff - it’s more about analyzing and performing certain experiments and seeing how that goes - there is definitely a lot of work getting done on this part because once it is not finished- but in a state where you guys can have some fun with it, that’s where we will start learning more and more and end up in the live game.

As you’ve seen from the 3.0, there is a lot of professions coming in that is more about the cycle of pirate, transporter, mercenary - it’s like this vicious circle - this guy preys on this guy, this guy preys on this one and from here- this circle will keep expanding. This guy is gathering resources, this guy moved it to the refinery, this guy does- we’re trying to kind of create this vicious circle where everyone interacts with everyone rather than having “this is one career and it works on it’s own” - it never works on it’s own.

A pirate without transporters is pointless, a mercenary that doesn’t have transporters to defend or to fight or some reward to fight for - there is no point for him. Everyone has these ...

So, the more combat oriented professions we have, the more non-combat oriented professions we’ll need to add because these guys like to attack these guys and these guys like to develop and go away from these guys. So it’s an interesting gameplay where you’re trying to protect yourself while still doing your experiments or still mining or stuff like that. So, all of these professions have a bit of combat in them because people with combat will not leave you alone.

So yeah, it’s… we’re definitely not ignoring non-combat, this is something we’re keen on, we want those professions to prosper. Those are the money makers, the other guys are just preying on them, they’re stealing from them but these are what keeps the entire economy of the world going, is the mining, refining, producing, the scientists, the...all of this stuff definitely.

SO: Yes, it’s very interesting that you say like more gathering type of stuff, like...so maybe you can say the Reliant Sen is space’s exploration/science vessel so it would be more in the aspect of gathering certain things for science and exploration and like a 315p more of the exploration role.

DT: There’s different types of exploration where you go to a sun and analyze its corona and find if you can find some places where maybe some things can be harvested, sell that information to the harvesting guys who has the tools cause you might not have all the ships to do, you have one and you specialize and are very good in that thing and you do that part. You might have another ship that basically goes in a nebula and starts running experiments there and that’s completely different things or one that gathers bio samples and grows weird life species in space that can only grow in space because you’re in zero-G and you have a special room for them rather than on a planet.

So we want to run all these experiments and the results of these experiments will open up new technologies in the world which were not available before or maybe they were available to certain people but not you and your organization and your guys. So, that’s the beauty of having science in the game because it keeps the universe constantly evolving, it’s not a static thing like, ‘oh, I’ve learned everything there is nothing new for me’. There is constantly new things to discover and evolve the economy and the entire gameplay of the world.

SO: K, great. With improved cameras at our fingertips, what mechanisms will be in place to prevent ingame abuse of these camera views? For example, to get a tactical advantage over a battlefield situation in third person.

DT: So, it’s a bit of problem right now. It’s not a gigantic problem with third person camera because once you’re in third person, your shooting is not that good, you’d be basically a spotter at that point. You can see a bit more than other people can see but you’re not going to be good at shooting. We’re kinda looking into various other types of third person cameras which would restrict freedom or looking around so you can still see your character but it’s not if you have free flowing third person camera that you can angle around a corner and I hide here with my camera this way.

So, we’re also looking at that so if you want to inspect your character, look at your character and see all the gear and all the cool stuff or take a cool picture of your character with some nice background. We give you a camera for that but it might be… that’s not really tactical as you have almost no control over it in combat. That is another thing we’re looking into, detecting combat and when you’re in combat we would limit the third person camera functionality. This would prevent people that are anywhere near a gun being shot from going, ‘oh, third person camera. I’m going to look over this cover and see everything that’s happening here and if it’s ok then I’ll go and start shooting’.

So we’re kinda trying to restrict but I know you guys probably don’t like being… having a restricted third person camera but we’ll have to choose the lesser of two evils here because if people cheat with then we need find a solution around it. The other one would be to a very slow transition between the two cameras, so you come just go quickly from one to the other, if you want to look at third person camera for the beauty of it or because you like running in third person camera then fair enough but you should not be able to quickly transition from spying on your enemies to first person camera and headshotting everyone, cause you know exactly where they are.                                                        

SO: And in that way it will stay cinematic.

DT:  Yeah you still have… Well cinematic is hard because you have your third person camera, third person camera will not give you, it gives you the opportunity to get in some nice shots of your character and nice backgrounds and maybe doing some recording in that mode, but you’ll not get the immersion you get in first person because that’s one of the man reasons we are a first person game because you’re there, you’re limited, you don’t know what’s happening here so you’re kind of [Looks around] “What the...”, You have to look everywhere and you feel like you’re constricted by your helmet and it’s a different feeling. When you go third person you are instantly relax. You go, “I see everything, I know what’s coming, I’m not getting an surprises”. So that’s why we’re making a first person game. Third person is there for some other extra activities and should not be used for cheating.

SO: Exactly. How will the overall PU system be able to deal with ping differences between players. Will some players have an advantage over others or will the system some how compensate for the ping difference.

DT: I don’t think we will compensate because most games don’t generally compensate, then you lose… When you start compensating for ping differences it becomes a slow, it’s not an action game anymore. You get what you get in most MMO’s they’re like running on a slow tick and usually you press a button and it takes awhile for an action to happen. That is not what we want, this needs to be an action instant, I push the button, the trigger goes and boom it flies it hits. It can’t be “Oh I’m estimating that the bullet will kind of hit”, we want that precision of if we have a guy that’s good at shooting, he needs to be good at shooting. If we add a lot of lag to everyone to help the guys with worse internet, then it won’t be fun for the other guys. You can’t make it… Compensating in FPS games or in space shooters same thing, it would not make this guy feel better about his lag, it will make everyone else feel as bad. Yes it will make everyone equal, but equally bad rather than some guy having a good experience and whoever has a bit slower internet will have a bad experience.

I guess server position will be very important here because if we have servers very close to the client then they will have better results, but they’ll probably get grouped more with people from their area because everyone, they’ll be playing with people that have the best ping on that server or cluster of servers rather than again, it’s a problem for the network guys and it’s way bigger than me, This is just what’s in my head of how this would probably work, but yeah I don’t think we’ll give a free advantage to someone who has a bad ping because then we’ll have to give the guys with the good ping.

SO: And especially because it’s a pretty skill based game.

DT: Yes.

SO: You don’t have like World of Warcraft where you have levels or anything.

DT: We’re talking, how Counterstrike or Quake or any, how do they feel with 200 milliseconds.

SO: Yeah.

DT: It would not be fun anyway.

SO: Yeah

DT:  Everyone will have a bad experience and that is not what we want.

SO: Exactly. Can you tell us more about the inevitable survival aspect of Star Citizen planetary gameplay. Chris Roberts hinted about building blocks for small rooms/buildings, that raises questions on surface gameplay will be. Will there be any ingame need for storing stuff physically or on a specific location.

DT: So there’s a lot of stuff being worked on right now about these planetary locations, especially smaller planetary location and modular bases and modular camps. We're looking into first starting them on the NPC side. It’s not a city or a town, we’re talking like the moisture farm in Star Wars or like small clusters of building that someone just dropped from space and they put together to create a small little base of operation where they’re harvesting something or they’re doing some research or have a drug lab.

SO: Like an outpost.

DT: Exactly. So tiny little outposts and then ideally we want to open that at some point to you guys so you can build your own and try the stuff. So we don’t want to build stuff that’s only for one side of the thing. Ideally if it’s good enough it should be open for the player. One of Chris’ philosophies is that if the AI can do something the player needs to be able to do something. This is a 100% living world with all the stuff being interactable by everyone. It’s not … we’re not going do a scripted thing where  “Oh, only these guys have access to the cool stuff! You, ‘cause you’re the player, you only have access to what we give you.” No, it needs to be for everyone.

So there will be storage. You’ll be adding stuff, collecting minerals - or whatever you want to do in that area - and stocking it. And you’ll have to bring supplies. You’ll have to bring … you’ll have to bring food, you’ll have to bring water. You’ll have to bring everything you need for daily life there. It won’t be “Oh, I just here and I’ll survive forever.” No. If your ship … if you crash on the planet somewhere you better have someone come and rescue you because you’ll start to starve; you’ll start to slowly die.

SO: Yeah, so …

DT: It won’t be like “Oh, you crashed. You have no water. You’re dead!” No, it will take a while. We’ll give you ample opportunity of finding something to eat or hunting something. Or stealing some resources from someone else. Or calling for someone to pick you up. But if you’re still there after a few days - and not eating, not drinking - you’re health will start to degrade to the point where …

SO: So it’s a totally different game aspect. Completely.

DT: There’s a lot of … That’s Star Citizen. There’s a lot of gameplay loops into one game.

SO: Yeah.

DT: There’s a lot of … you go from “I’m alone in a desert searching for water” to “I’m flying in a fleet of battleships attacking a space station.” Goes from this … it’s the eye to the to the … to the … what was it, the universe? The planet. From the eye to the planet. And ...

SO: Yeah. “Pupil to planet”.

DT: … it has all that micro to macro gameplay.

SO: So the outposts will be modular I guess?

DT: Sorry?

SO: The outposts?

DT: Yeah.

SO: Will be modular as well I guess?

DT: Yes.

SO: Just like the … we saw recently the satellites system?

DT: Yes. It’s very similar. It consists of various prefabricated building you could call them. They’re like … yeah, they’re modules that come together. And there’s modules of various sizes and how you purpose them or how … what you do with them they’ll be “Oh, this one I’ll … it’s good enough for a laboratory. This one is good enough for my storage of crates. This one is good for beds and showers.” So you’ll be able to take one exterior and modularise it with different interiors for what you need that unit to be. And then you can connect it to another unit which does your, I don’t know, harvesting of … or it’s your power supply unit, and this is where you control the power for the entire settlement. Depends on how big  you want it. It could be one room or you can expand to … you’ll have to bring the fences …

SO: Yeah.

DT: … you’ll have to make sure you can survive the weather on the planet - which will also be an element that’s important. So you might have planets in which survival … just because you are there doesn’t mean you’ll survive. It might be that overnight you get -100 degrees. You’ll freeze to death. Again you have to have enough power to run all the heaters to keep that base warm enough for you to survive the night. And so on.

Might be planets that have acidic atmospheres. So not all of them will be Earth-like.

SO: Yeah. But in theory you can say that organisations can build a small town with different outputs?

DT: This … we’ll have to see how much you can expand this but we’ll definitely first start with smaller and smaller things. It’s the best way to go. If we start with small we can expand. If it’s big it’s hard to manage.

SO: Yeah.

DT: So we’d like to see it working small: one, two guys have an operation on the planet’s surface. They’re doing something there that they need to extract something or do something. They have a drug lab. They’re trying to smuggle somethings. And then we’re going to expand it where you go “Oh, okay this … this pirate organisation is creating their entire drug distribution network - they have silos where they store the chemical compounds they need and they’re building this. And they have landing strips where ships come, load up and go to sell to whatever quadrant. It can go from small to big but we’d rather start with small. It’s the wise thing to do. Otherwise …

SO: Of course.

DT: … we’re going to run into a lot of problems.

SO: Of course.

DT: And again first we’ll start with the NPC side of things.

SO: And look at what works.

DT: Of course. Yes.

SO: Several professions have had their game mechanics explained, primarily combat and trading related, could you elaborate more on the medical profession and its gameplay as it’s considered one of the more important professions according to the Hope class Endeavor variant article on CommLink. How are the Cutlass Red and the Hospital ship, and therefore medical module, positioned to play a significant role in combination with the medical role and the medical game mechanics of the character?

DT: This is a tough one to answer because it’s still very early. It’s … we’ve been looking into science. We’ve been looking into what the Endeavor can do. There is a lot of ideas but still we need a proper gameplay loop. This needs to become fun for the player to do. And it will kind of come together with all of the things that can happen to the character and how you can recover from those things and all the “rescue” part of things where you get called “Oh, this is an emergency. You have to go there.” But there is no unified design right now where we want to take this 100% so calling it would be a bit early.

SO: Okay.

DT: I’m sure it will be … you guys will hear about this as we move through the careers. One of the careers we have on the line is the medical one. But it’s still not … set in stone yet. And as the other careers make it to the live servers, we’ll also learn a lot more about what you guys like to do and this will influence the new careers coming in. It’s there. It’s coming. But I can’t give any details without maybe upsetting certain people if stuff changes in the meantime.

SO: Yeah, yeah.

DT: Yeah. It’s a fragile thing. People love their … they dream in one direction and then if you change that later they’re going to be upset about it.

SO: Yeah.

DT: And we don’t want don’t want to do that. It’s  … yeah, it’s coming. It’s getting there. As soon as there is more details we’ll make it public as per usual. That’s what we do.

SO: And then there’s a question about player AI. When fighting like in Arena Commander against the Vanduul, they don’t eject out of their ship because it’s a warrior race. But now when we are still fighting pirates, they’re just humans, will we see them ever eject?

DT: So there’s a big … there’s a big push that we’re doing right now in AI. AI right now we have our ship AI, we have our FPS AI. It need’s to be our FPS AI is controlling the ship. It’s not the ship that’s flying: it’s the guy thinking about flying the ship. That includes “Oh, I’m in danger my ship’s going to blow up. My behaviour says ‘eject’.”

In the case of the Vanduul they won’t eject. They will be going “I’m going to die. Where’s my nearest target that I can crash into?” So that’s a difference of behaviour. Each person will try to do something different.

And that will be also driven by - again this is another thing that we are working on right now - it’s the set of skills and attributes and traits that each NPC has which means if he’s a coward he might eject sooner. If he’s a brave guy he might try to take you out with him. So based on their characteristics they will react differently when that moment comes of ejection or of “Oh, I’m damaged I’m going to quantum jump out of here just to save my ass!”  

Some will do that. Some will not. Depends … when you build a team of … when you build your wingman you’ll be able to go “Oh, I’ll choose that guy because he’ll never leave me behind. He’ll not try to run away from the battle.” So that will be an interesting part of your crew management for a ship. So you’ll try to get brave pilots.

But again everyone had pluses and minuses. They will be more or less equal when you win … when you get a guy that’s a sharpshooter he might be an alcoholic so he might have blackouts during the fight! So we’ll have to … everything will be kind of balanced and the player will just have to choose what he wants from his AI that he hires in his crew for the ships, or for escorts

SO: Yes.

DT: or stuff like that.

SO: It’ll be funny if you get a coward as crew and you’re flying your Connie and the Vanduul attacks and they suddenly just …

DT: Everyone goes to the escape pods “Whaaaaa!”

SO: … and there you are!

DT: Yeah. It would be pretty tragic for you but …

SO: Yes!

DT: … it would a fun moment.

SO: It will be. It will be. So what is your experience of the offline/online Star Citizen community?

DT: Pretty good. Pretty … I’m still amazed. I have not played a game of this size, with this many people - an online game obviously - with people that are so nice. It’s rare. Generally people either hate each other or everyone’s a noob or everyone’s “Oh, you’re a new guy. You don’t know anything.” So it has been an amazing thing just … people constantly try to help each other. They try to “Oh, you want to do that? Can I join? Can I try to do this with you?” Everyone wants to experience some new things. It’s a very interesting type of people that game attracts. And we’re ever grateful because usually having a bad community for a game spells doom for that game. And we’re just amazed.

And on the side of that is meeting people in person for the Bar Citizen stuff and all the GamesCom, CitizenCon we did. It is … that is just amazing. It’s the … you guys are … I haven’t seen any other game that attracts so much passion from the community. It’s people just go like … it’s not a step further it’s ten steps further!

It’s just like … you guys sometimes are - especially when it comes to the bigger organisations - you’re probably better organised than we are. There’s people who have business cards that look better than any business card I’ve ever seen. They come with suits with like ... stuff with the organisation logos and stuff like this. It’s really funny when we go for GamesCom stuff like this. We’re just the guys usually “Oh, we’re just in a black t-shirt” and stuff like this. All the other guys who come from the organisation come with organisation logos and all of them dress the same. Super organised. And they know everything. It’s really nice to be part of something like this. It’s a really rare thing in the games industry to have this community behind a game. That’s amazing.

SO: Thank you. Okay great. Well thank you again. These were all the questions we had. Maybe you would like to say something to the Bar Citizen community.

DT: Have fun guys. It’s amazing that you guys are doing this Bar Citizen thing. It’s just humbling for us how much you guys come together and how much effort and soul you put in this thing. And just have fun. We’re looking forward to seeing this happen again next year and hopefully we come visiting. And drink a lot of beer. Drink at least one for me! Bye bye.

SO: Thank you.

SO: Brian with explorational planet sites becoming a reality in the not too distant future what can we expect in the long …

SO: Another question. With improved camera soon at our fingertips options what mechanisms with …

SO: Hi there. Welcome for …

SO: Okay first question Brian. With exploration of planet sites …

DT:  Woah, stop there. I’m Dan!

[End of Transcript]

Stay tuned for more interviews coming from the Bar Citizen event in Utrecht, Netherlands.


Director of Transcripts

A polite Canadian who takes pride in making other peoples day brighter. He enjoys waffles with Maplesyrup, making delicious puns and striving for perfection in screaming at the T.V. during hockey games.


Director of Fiction

Moonlighting as a writer in her spare time StormyWinters combines her passion for the written word and love of science fiction resulting in innumerable works of fiction. As the Director of Fiction, she works with a fantastic team of writers to bring you amazing stories that transport you to new places week after week.



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Erris is Canadian. He does some random things for Relay, no-one really knows what, but still they're stuck with him. He’s also written one Young Adult novel that he can’t stand, which can be found here.

You can find him on Twitter too, if you want.