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Happy Hour: March 10th, 2017 - Summary Written Friday 10th of March 2017 at 11:59am by CanadianSyrup, StormyWinters and

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 a round table talk with Steve Bender, Sean Tracy, Jake Ross, and Ben Lesnick
  • They talked a bit about what they do in a day with Sean making sure everyone is in sync on tasks relevant to them and that people aren't working on the exact same thing to prevent duplicates and of course bugfixing. Jake manages the Austin Studio for production and setting tasks for people. Steve does what Steve does, animates.
  • The first iteration of character creation will be simple with different heads and bodies to choose from, later iterations will have the ability to change certain facial features within a given parameter.
  • Helmet ship huds are not being removed but the multi hud display screens will be the primary way of figuring out what's going on with your ship, but there will still be some stuff for your helmet.
  • For the animation team they're working on getting the railgun ready and feeling good. Oxygen and how it affects a player when low, and useables for AI and players and ensuring that they're rigged correctly to allow to properly pick up a variety of objects. This is important to AI as well because they'll be able to loot objects for themselves and from players even.
  • There will be counters for hand to hand combat so that if someone tries to stab you, they'll have a way to counter it. How in depth the system will be is unknown, but it won't be as detailed as For Honor for example.
  • Atmospheric flight will be different depending on the gravity of a planet.
  • No updates on CitizenCon or Gamescom but Ben said they'll have something soon.

Summary

  • The show is live! however there is no sound! At the table it's Sean Tracy, Steve Bender, Ben Lesnick, and Jake Ross (not Eric Davis).

  • Sound is working now, but very loud! Introductions, Sean Tracy is the Tech Content Director for Star Citizen. Jake Ross, Producer at the Austin Studio. Steve Bender, Animation Director.

  • [Sean, can you describe a typical day working on Star Citizen?] So the Technical Content team is made of two separate teams, one is tech art and the other is tech animation. A technical animator that animates, but is technical, capable of animating and going back into the code themselves. Same with tech art, artists who can also dive into code.

    • There's also the job is making sure people are not doing the same thing and that things are done the same way.
  • Above all else of course is bugfixing as you'd expect and figuring out issues relevant to them.

  • [What tools does Sean's team deliver to your team Steve?] When performance cap was shot, they had an editor go in and do edits to make files for the animators so that they use them, it could take half a day that way. Sean's team built an EDL importer that does the job in about 30 seconds

  • [Further development on the PVP slider since it was mentioned earlier on?] No information at the moment, they'll tell us more when they have some.

  • [Difference between character creation and character customization?] Character creation is the literal creation of your character and selecting the head you want, clothing, armour, etc. Customization is after you've made your character and what you can actually customize such as colouring, mixing clothes, etc.

    • The first iteration will be picking from a selection of heads and etc, later it'll be customizing the specifics of a face. It's not blend shapes that enable you to choose between different parts of a face, but having certain shapes that fit within the logic of the rig itself.
    • Sean gave a very indepth answer so I recommend watching this part for a more detailed answer.
  • [Will helmet and ship HUDs return? Or will multi-HUD displays stay?]It's never gone away. As far as ship HUDs and helmet, they're not sure 100% the end result as that's something for design, but it will be ship displays predominantly with some minor FPS HUD elements

  • [What's in store for third person and first person animations] Well the animations for third and person are on a unified system and in the short term they're working on getting the railgun to feel good in the player's hands and feel like you're firing a railgun. Then there's also effects like lack of oxygen or stamina and how it affects for example you running up to a wall to mantle over it and the general gameplay feeling for movement to make sure it's as good as it can be.

    • Useables are also something they're working on such as sitting down and picking up a cup from the table as well as looting objects in the world or picking them up.
    • The tech involved for getting the useables setup is crucial for AI because then they'll be able to pick up weapons or even pick stuff up from a players body.
  • [Ben any updates on CitizenCon and Gamescom?] They're getting close to announcing some information.

  • [Steve can you demonstrate some of the animations you're working on for melee weapons and hand to hand combat?] Sean: Someone from CIG must have submitted that question. Steve: Also i've been trying very hard not to swear. Sean: Yes it's the unhappy hour, no booze, drinks.

    • Steve asked for one one his airsoft guns and out of nowhere Jake Ross pulls out a banana for Steve.
  • Jake Ross beard questions are incoming.

  • Oh hold that thought, Steve has a gun now.

  • Steve: With melee they'll have where you can hit them with the butt end of the stock, or a swiping motion, or if you have a bayonet you'll lunge and kill them. What we're really excited about is stealth kills so if you approach someone you'll wrap your arm around their neck and stab them in the heart. They've divided the body into quadrants so there's multiple takedown zones for your character to do stab animations with.

  • [Jake will you grow your beard till 3.0 releases?] He'll grow it for as long as he can, but his wife will determine how long it gets.

  • [Will Jake Ross' beard be one of the DNA options?] Maybe, but the Sean Tracy haircut will be one of them [He stared into the camera at this moment]. Steve: Did no one tell you that you're balding? Your hair will be the easiest to render, very low draw calls.

  • [Steve: What kind of animation work do animals and plants get?] For animals that are in the game will have a proper animation set for them so typically design drives a lot of what it is that the creature can do. That way you don't have a space deer, doing Jujitsu.

    • Trees you can get away with not animating them because CryEngine has some of the tech built in and they transferred that over in a different way to make it work with their engine and designed tools for designers to make the trees behave how they'd want them to. There's animation in that it moves, but a lot of it is physics
  • [Atmospheric flight: Will different gravity levels have an effect on flight models during flight?] That is the plan to have the ability to make planets have different gravity levels depending on the size of the planet, but there will be cases where balance is needed of course.

  • [With Hand to Hand combat, will there be counters?]The design team is discussing having a full hand to hand combat where counters will be a thing that you can do. How complex is still to be determined, but the tech that you use to make a stealth kill also can make the counters to said takedown attempt.

  • [Jake you did the studio update yesterday on ATV, was there anything else you wished you could have shared?] Yes, a particular ship that has not been talked about yet, but can't share what.

  • [What's a challenge you've faced recently?] Sean: Everyday has it's challenge, there's never really "one" challenge and the challenge is whether or not you'll overcome those challenges. One issue however is the skeleton joints that have similar ID's will swap places so when you place a torso on a body, the head suddenly goes to the knuckles of the right hand for example, but still works and animates.

    • Jake Ross: One thing as production which becomes a daily challenge is how long things actually take and predicting unforeseen circumstances such as how long R&D will take or a sudden bug that pops up.
    • Steve and Sean talked at length about the importance of iteration and change over time. CIG did things early on that some people today would go why did they do that? The company has matured since then and the way the company is structured on tasks is much more insync as everyone is working with each other at a closer level. Hindsight is always 20/20, but they're at a point where things can be developed quickly compared to before because of the refined processes.
  • The show is wrapping up. Sean: Hopefully this was a happy hour. Ben: If you're at PAX East, seek out members of CIG who will be attending and tweet about it.

  • The show ended, but now it looks like they're showing a preview of a tutorial level. Oh they're back and talking and they say it's an FPS feature test level. The point of it is to test how long it takes a player to move through it and how smooth the character navigates through the level. It's also a test bed for animations and ensuring they're correct.

    • There's also a range for all the weapons, grenades, driving around, also melee takedowns.

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.

StormyWinters

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.