As per usual, anything said during the show is subject to change by CIG and may not always be accurate at the time of posting. Also any mistakes you see that I may have missed, please let me know so I can correct them. Enjoy the show!
The show is live! Today we have Matt Sherman, Technical Designer. Matt Intrieri, Priniciple Technical Artist. Patrick Salerno, Technical Artist.
[What do you do?] Patrick: Mainly focused on Spaceships. After the model is complete he sets up the technical aspects, makes sure players can get in and out, setting up destruction/damage, essentially supporting all the teams that make the ship.
[How much preproduction planning goes into making a ship, do all the various disciplines working on a ship have to have countless meetings?] There's not a ton, but you need to have enough to determine that all the disciplines need to be in sync.
[What is your favourite type of ship to work on and why?] Matt Sherman: The smaller to midsize craft because it's enough to where they can have a bunch of gameplay potential with it, but without being such a massive ship that you can't see for a long time.
[How well the damage model scale with significantly larger ships like capital ships?] It scales very well, but the pixel density won't be as detailed because of the size, but they'll work to make it as detailed as possible during destruction.
[Well we have the option to switch between radars on ships? For example the Merchantman has a sphere radar, can I have the 2D radar like the Buccaneer?] That's something they're not really looking at right now as they want to keep the flavour of ships unique and not cross things between them. That doesn't mean it can't happen, but rather there's still stuff being built that has to come first before they can do something where you can take any hud and swap them between any ship.
[What new technologies and parts will make up the new Aurora model?] Elwin is still working on it, but he'll be ready soon to hand it off to Patrick for damage modelling to bring it up to the current damage models you see on the newest ships. It's also getting something called "Lightgroups" added which gives better lighting animation by controlling it from a single entity. With 3.0 they'll do a basic pass to reduce the entities, but later they'll do a thorough pass to create some neat effects.
[Any news on the screen concept from the Caterpillar that showed where crewman are in the ship?] Calix does a lot of concepts, but doesn't mean they actually get made. Right now there's no word on that.
[Will damage states be different for when you're flying in Atmosphere compared to space] No. The physics changes because of atmosphere, but the way ships blow up doesn't change. They are working on a debris 2.0 which will take the torque into effect from percussion hit which will create a more accurate damage effect like a wing being ripped off.
[How do you plan to let ramps and loading bays, especially the likes of the Aquila and similar systems when they land on rough terrain] The landing gear is built to adjust to uneven terrain, but there's limits to how much the suspension will adjust. You'll still have to consider when picking your landing zone.
[What's being done to the Greycat in terms of damage states] They're working on making it a bit cooler when it explodes, but still figuring stuff out with that.
[Can you walk us through the chain reaction of a ship getting damaged and then exploding?] Matt Intrieri: So when you're dogfighting and you're taking damage you may have to get out and repair, but just taking damage doesn't mean you'll explode. The ships are designed to have physical components and if enough of them get damaged, then the ship will go through a destruction sequence. However you'll be able to destroy a ship without it blowing up so you could blow a ship in half without "Blowing it up" So to speak.
[Matt Sherman, what is your favourite source of inspiration for creating ships] Aliens franchise is a big inspiration for him as he loves the series.
[A lot of people are complimenting the hell out of your beard] Disco Lando: This is my 3.0 beard, I won't shave it until 3.0 is released.
[In fiction, Matt Sherman if you worked for Drake interplanetary, describe it in one word] Unrestricted.
[What new tech coming online for ships excites you the most] Matt Sherman: The umbrella of Item 2.0 because it allows you to do so many things you couldn't before and helps flesh out gameplay significantly.
[Can you tell us more about how things are developing, changing, improving, impacting ships] Matt Sherman: He's watched people stream Star Citizen and seen certain things like a ship spinning on it's own because the ship powers off when you leave the seat. With Item 2.0 they can change the ship fundamentals to where you won't have to have that ship spin unless you specifically want it to.
[Do you know if damage states will allow visual holes?] If you mean in terms of breaches of the hull, they're only allowing certain areas to be breached because it's very difficult to have the exterior and interior meshes sync. It's something they'd love to do, but it's a pretty complex thing to make happen.
They've talked a bit about questions asking about ship balance and wanted to iterate that ship balance is always ongoing. The game is still in an early state that things may change drastically from one patch to another or something introduced will change something that was previously weaker to much stronger.
[How will ship armour work, will it be able to deflect a projectile depending on the impact angle] Some of that is still being worked out in terms of piercability, but with deflection and ricochets that's something where it may deflect, but the projectile won't continue and potentially hit another ship or object because that's a lot more calculations the game has to make.
[We have heard a lot talks about the optimization of lighting on ships, does this optimization allow for more effects] It really boils down to how pretty can you make something while not making it melt a PC. It's a balance always between visuals and performance.
That wraps up this edition of Happy Hour, the developers would like to thank everyone for their support and they enjoy talking with backers through social media, forums, etc.