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Happy Hour: April 7th, 2017 Summary Written Friday 14th of April 2017 at 11:55am by CanadianSyrup

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!

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

  • Today's Happy Hour featured Animation Director, Steve Bender, QA Lead, Vincent Sinatra, and Community Streamer, Deejay Knight.
  • The question everyone always asks: "Female character"
    • Currently they're polishing the male character animations to have a proper baseline to re target some of the animations needed to complete her. Instead of working on two skeletal animations, they're making sure the male is solid. While we've heard the above for some time, Steve said he isn't comfortable with releasing the female character yet and wants to release something he's proud of.
  • The question of carrying weapons in different positions came up and the answer was in short, if you want to hip fire a machine gun like Rambo then Star Citizen isn't for you. However he mentioned something interesting which was that one of the ways a player will determine the difficulty of an AI will be how they animate themselves. An untrained AI soldier may lean far out from cover to shoot, but a trained AI soldier will keep their profile minimal.
  • Injured movement animations are on the development schedule for later this year.
    • Dragging an ally is also still a thing.
  • Relaxed weapon state will be in the game at some point.
  • Combat entering/exit animations are currently being worked on, but the cockpit experience revamp is priority and when that's finished they'll proceed with them.
  • Stamina affecting the reload speed is unknown at this time.

Summary

  • The show is now live! Today on the show we have your Host, Jared Huckaby. Animation Director, Steve Bender. QA Lead, Vincent Sinatra and Community streamer, DeejayKnight!

  • ATV was released yesterday at 11:59pm. So technically they released it Thursday!

  • Right now they're playing Star Citizen in 4k and starting things off is a TrackIR demonstration. TrackIR support was re-enabled with 2.6.2.

  • They'll play some Arena Commander in the background while asking Steve Bender some questions. [What do you do?] He's responsible for overseeing the development of animation in Star Citizen as well creating new processes to make the creation of animations for the game more efficient.

  • They're talking about animations in how they're some of the most difficult things to make for a video game because it's one of the easiest things we can compare them to real life. Mimicking the smooth movement of people in a video game is extremely difficult when you scale up the fidelity to the extent that Star Citizen has because there's a lot more you can see than you wouldn't in other games, plus the fact that first person and third person animations are synced together.

    • The responsiveness is also important is to have realistic animations, you can't cheat like you can in other games like with stopping. A real person has momentum, but makes a decision when to stop and how much they want to stop. In a video game there's a delicate balance to find that sweet spot that doesn't make it feel sluggish, but also doesn't look jagged.
  • [What is your favourite animation that you've worked on?] Steve: "One that you've seen or one that I'm working on now?" He smiled big on that one. Some of his favourites are the animations on the Behring, also the P8A4.

  • The difference between Vinnie's monitor and DeejayKnight's is quite big, but they are flying two different ships, Hornet compared to Buccaneer. 21:9 will give players a nice field of view in the cockpit.

  • [What's your favourite ship to fly DeejayKnight?] Toss up between the Sabre and the Super Hornet, but the Aegis Stalker will always be his personal favourite.

  • [How are female character animations coming along and can we expect them ingame anytime soon?] In anything with animation development you need to start somewhere and iterate on a particular functionality. Say sliding for example, you have to iterate it to get it to feel right. It's not efficient to do it on two different skeletons at the same time. They've done retargeting of male animations to female so they can play around with that character, but because of the difference in the skeletal structures, it has issues with for instance position with hands that affects reloads etc that need to be adjusted, similar issues with cockpits.

    • One issue today was when a female tried to climb a ladder, her arms were hyperextended so it takes time to transition. So their goal is making sure the male has a solid baseline that's complete to where they can properly adjust animations as needed instead of wasting resources on something that is known to change.
    • Certain motions are easier to retarget than others. Running animations may be pretty similar, but walking is different as females don't have a girly walk, but do have a way of walking that's different to that of a male.
    • Steve says right now he's not comfortable releasing the female character just yet as it's not up to the standard he wants it to be. He wants it to be where when it's released, the quality is close, if not the same as the male.
  • [Will we be able to switch between various styles of weapon carry] It depends, the first thing to understand that the typical ways you can cheat in other games, doesn't apply here because of the unified system. If you want something like hip firing an AK it would be A: Ineffective, B: You wouldn't actually see the weapon as it would be at your hip. If you want something like left handed versus right handed, that's a design question.

    • For AI: They intend to have their difficulty displayed through animations. An untrained soldier may lean way out from a corner, presenting a larger target where an trained soldier will try to keep their profile as minimal as possible.
    • If players want to be "Gangster" and hold their weapons in a certain way that makes them look cool, probably won't happen. So in summary different ways to carry weapons isn't a thing right now.
  • [Who is DeejayKnight's barber that gives him that balling cut] Himself actually.

  • [Are there plans for animation customisation during character creation?] They have talked about implementing styled poses like being able to choose how your character idles, but Steve goes into detail about how they talked about wanting to have certain combat variations be learned through different ways ingame. So you'd have to complete a quest or visit a certain person to acquire a melee technique.

  • [Right now items seem to teleport into peoples hands when they inspect something, is this how it will be?] No, they're working on pickup and looting animations. Their goal is to take away the "Gamey" aspect of a game where there's one animation for all. So they're developing a system to adapt to a variety of objects.

  • There's also a balance act involved where you don't want to make it tedious to loot or pickup objects.

  • [How does QA help with the animation process?] Their work is helping the animation pipeline and trying out the animations and recording it for Steve and others to look through and find the faults. They use an FPS test level that allows them to test all the animations ingame.

  • [What is the FPS test level?] If you load your average level in the editor it can take awhile to start and it's not really optimized for everything you may want to test. The FPS test level is a very basic, but planned layout that allows developers to test anything from looting, to shooting the various weapons at the range, interaction with AI through either killing them or whatever. There's no art or anything so it's not an Echo 11 where it's pretty, it's very basic.

  • [Do you have an update on injured movement animations] They are on the development schedule for later this year.

  • [Plans for dragging an Ally?] Yes, it's still at thing.

  • [Can you act out an animation?] Proceeds to do the Truffle shuffle.

  • [Your 3.0 beard is getting pretty epic] Yes, yes it is.

  • [When carrying a weapon, will we be able to carry them in a stand down position, as in a relaxed or non threatening state?] Yes you'll be able to carry it in a relaxed state that's not pointing at people.

  • [How are the three animation speeds for entering, exiting cockpits going?] They're focused on the combat speed animation right now. They're also working on the overall cockpit experience or as Steve calls it, the Jimmy Hendricks experience. Once the latter is nailed down they can proceed to finalize them.

  • [Will there be animations for EVA in small spaces such as interacting with the walls, floors, ceiling] There was at one point a design for that to where if you have no weapon out that you'll do just that.

  • [Will stamina potentially affect reload animations?] They can't talk about that right now as they're still fleshing out the stamina system and how it effects reloads hasn't been talked to great effect. You could slow the animation down a bit, but then it could look awkward.

  • That's the end of the show. The Newsletter comes out later today which will feature the 3.0 schedule. Also today is the March Monthly Report. Additionally there's a Freefly starting today with a variety of ships for flight and some going on sale as well.

CanadianSyrup

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.