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Happy Hour: May 5th, 2017 Summary - Brian Chambers Interview Written Friday 5th of May 2017 at 04:00pm by StormyWinters

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)

  • [What does the Frankfurt studio cover in terms of the Star Citizen and Squadron 42 development?] Easiest to list off what they don’t do which is ships, characters or audio.

  • [Why does Star Citizen go to such a level of granularity with their animations?] If you think about the level of detail and vision that Chris has set forth, directors/leads are taking it to where they think it should be.

  • [What happened that caused Frankfurt to crack procedural planets so quickly?] It comes to the background and technical abilities of the guys in Frankfurt.When they first joined they knew that was something that was on the ultimate list of what we wanted to do. The tech that you’re going to build for that is going to inform potentially how assets are created that need to live on it, how textures are created, etc.  

  • [Will we have solar eclipses in the game?] No idea.

  • [How will snow work? Will it have depth and flavour?] Can’t give the full details but he’s seen the work on ice ecosystems and snow. There will be a mix between geometry and particles, etc. The depth of how you interact with it, really don’t know right now.

  • [In designing planets and moons, is there is active effort to include small secrets or easter eggs on these massive bodies for people to stumble onto? Much like the asteroid belt around Yela] If I say yes, then it’s no longer a secret or easter egg. So, it’s hard to answer.

  • [Which of the three moons coming online is your favourite?] I can’t decide and it always seems that I give the soft answer but they’re all incredibly unique.

  • [Will each moon have differing gravities?] That would be for design, that’s more of a design question.   

  • [Will surfaces have different levels of friction? Such as ice being slippery, mud being sticky, and how will that effect your character movement?] Don’t know if there will be a direct effect as far as character movement, again referencing the level of details they put into it, it’s a good assumption that there will be some knock on effect.   

  • [Caves?] Asked about caves so many times... I have seen giant holes in our planets, I could go out there right now and see them working on a planet that has giant, giant man made hole in it and if that hole was turned to the side, I guess it could technically be a cave.  

  • [Extreme weather?] Absolutely, it’ll be extreme. You’ll definitely have extreme weather, it’ll look cool and it’ll have it’s plus and minuses when you get in the midst of it.

  • [What game career are you two interested in playing] Jared: I want to start a Reclaimer racing league.
    Brian: Wants to be able to try out all kinds of different careers, keep things fresh and unique

  • [Are there any plans to make moons and planets and asteroids voxel based so the terrain can be edited by mining and blowing stuff up?] I know there will be mining, you will be interacting with these within certain capacity but I don’t think we’ve elaborated on all that yet and to what extent.

  • [Are there any updates on procedural cities?] Their design was made as modular as possible and having module pieces. So the ultimate goal or portion of the goal is in a sense to be able to combine those two with the toolset we have, to where we can lay out a city fairly quick. We need the ability to quickly generate these cities on the terrain and also to quickly give them their unique flavour.

  • [How is working at CIG different than at previous studios you have worked for?] There’s a portion of it’s that obviously the same. For us we’re so public and so open with what we do, it’s amazing and the feedback you get from the work you do on a daily basis honestly helps feed the team and keep the team pumped and alive. The interaction with the backers and fans, I see the backers as our publishers that’s how I personally myself view it so when I’m sharing material it is me updating what we’ve done so far.    

  • [Do we have mountains on these moons? Is there an Everest?] I guess the question would be, what is the max elevation… as far as procedurally in what we can pull off. So could there be an Everest? Absolutely, we’re not confined to the planet surface for this game in the universe. You can hop in your ship and go up there.

  • [You mentioned having an animation background, what about animation at CIG excites you?] I think it’s that we have a vision and that we’re putting the energy and attention level to detail into it in order to get it 100% where it needs to be. To really get the most fluid motion we possible can, to have a company to be able to support those disciplines to work together, towards that common goal, is incredibly cool.

  • [Brian Chamber beard/hair ingame? I know we’ll have hair but you know… Brian Chambers hair? Maybe I’ll pay off Josh or somebody.

  • [So many of the times that we see animation work displayed in Around the Verse, the animations are taking place in a kitchen or mess hall. What is so important about that mess hall? Is it the centre of the Star Citizen universe?] No, usually with a lot of things you have within games you’ll focus on an area to use as a test bed to prove out things.I think the cafeteria or mess hall had progressed a certain amount and somebody just started using it.  

  • [How was BritizenCon?] It was cool, good turnout of people.     

  • [Will we be able to decorate our ships like our hangar?] Jared: We’re actually specing that out in LA here right now. It’s not been finalized so no details to share.

  • [Have there been any discussions about underwater physics?] I know we’ll have water, I know that you’ll be able to go into the water but the extent that it goes beyond there… I honestly don’t know how much it’s been designed yet or if it has been designed it is just that, it’s just on paper.

  • [Volcanoes?] If the planet needs a volcano and if it should have a volcano then it will have a volcano.

  • [How long does Brian think he’ll maintain the top spot on Quantum Questions?] I don’t know, how close has anyone else gotten?

  • [How fast/slow can time pass on a planet in Star Citizen?] Jared: I don’t think we’re anywhere near ready to know that yet.

  • [Will there be 24 hour or will it be shortened down because it’s a game?] I know we have what you consider a 24 hour life cycle that we’re thinking through. Could that be condensed for gameplay? Most likely will but it’s too early to really decide exactly.  

Summary

  • His job includes a myriad of responsibilities and some include keeping the office going in the way it needs to across all departments, hiring in the way they need, communicating with the rest of the teams in the other offices regularly, meeting with the rest of the execs

  • [What does the Frankfurt studio cover in terms of the Star Citizen and Squadron 42 development?] They’re running/owning AI(when they own something or run it that there’s other developers within those departments typically throughout any of the other three offices besides Frankfurt). Big hand in AI, both NPC and ship. Large environment art team. Primarily working with the engine team sorting out procedural planets and tech. Small game team of game programmers. Large design team focused on a mix of working on systems that’ll both be within SQ42 and the PU. Own all core engine, all engine tech. Own cinematics for SQ42. A few QA. Lead lighting artist is based in Frankfurt. A couple VFX artists. Weapon work, both FPS and ship. They don’t do ships, characters or audio.

  • [Why does Star Citizen go to such a level of granularity with their animations?] If you think about the level of detail and vision that Chris has set forth, directors/leads are taking it to where they think it should be. When it comes to animation and AI, you don’t want them to look like AI, they want the nuances to feel realistic so characters have to have realistic weight.      

  • [What happened that caused Frankfurt to crack procedural planets so quickly?] It comes to the background and technical abilities of the guys in Frankfurt. Marco is the one who is owning, driving and building up that technology with the help from others. When they first joined they knew that was something that was on the ultimate list of what we wanted to do. The tech that you’re going to build for that is going to inform potentially how assets are created that need to live on it, how textures are created, etc.  

  • [Will we have solar eclipses in the game?] No idea. Logically if you think of all the things in play then don’t see why not. Is it set up? No, but it would in a sense naturally happen.

  • [How will snow work? Will it have depth and flavour?] Can’t give the full details but he’s seen the work on ice ecosystems and snow. There will be a mix between geometry and particles, etc. The depth of how you interact with it, really don’t know right now.

  • [In designing planets and moons, is there is active effort to include small secrets or easter eggs on these massive bodies for people to stumble onto? Much like the asteroid belt around Yela] If I say yes, then it’s no longer a secret or easter egg. So, it’s hard to answer. At this point, you’re definitely going to find things within these planets as they mature that are going to be awesome and somewhat random as you explore.  

  • [Which of the three moons coming online is your favourite?] I can’t decide and it always seems that I give the soft answer but they’re all incredibly unique. He sees the guys working on stuff and iterating but you look at each one and each one has it’s own mood, feel and character.

  • [Will each moon have differing gravities?] That would be for design, that’s more of a design question. There was talk of that but not sure where it settled.

  • [Will surfaces have different levels of friction? Such as ice being slippery, mud being sticky, and how will that effect your character movement?] Don’t know if there will be a direct effect as far as character movement, again referencing the level of details they put into it, it’s a good assumption that there will be some knock on effect. How minimal or how drastic is it… honestly not sure yet.

  • [Caves?] Asked about caves so many times... I have seen giant holes in our planets, I could go out there right now and see them working on a planet that has giant, giant man made hole in it and if that hole was turned to the side, I guess it could technically be a cave.  

  • [Extreme weather?] Absolutely, it’ll be extreme. Even what you saw at CitizenCon last year when you had the sand storm that came in as well, so weather has a whole mix and whole plan on the design side as well. You’ll definitely have extreme weather, it’ll look cool and it’ll have it’s plus and minuses when you get in the midst of it.

  • [What game career are you two interested in playing] Jared: Person who hunts for time to play the game, I plan to be a time hunter constantly looking for 5-10 mins here to actually play the game. No, I adore the Reclaimer so much, I prefer to do things that are not what you’re supposed to do. I want to start a Reclaimer racing league.
    Brian: Because there is so much to do I’m not necessarily the type that wants to invest in although some people are and that’s awesome but I want to be able to come in for an hour play this thing and realize this is awesome. Next thing you know I jump to another career and I play that for 20 minutes and then I have 20 minutes free before dinner and try something else out. It keeps it fresh and keeps it unique.

  • [Are there any plans to make moons and planets and asteroids voxel based so the terrain can be edited by mining and blowing stuff up?] I know there will be mining, you will be interacting with these within certain capacity but I don’t think we’ve elaborated on all that yet and to what extent.

  • [Are there any updates on procedural cities?] I mean it’s not really any secret when you look at what we’re doing on procedural planets and the toolsets we have and you think about what we’ve talked about on design and how we’re making our design as modular as we can and having these modular pieces. So the ultimate goal or portion of the goal is in a sense to be able to combine those two with the toolset we have, to where we can lay out a city fairly quick. That’s ultimately where we’re going with it and it’s not even because we think it would be cool in a sense, we have to do it that way. If we’re going to have 300+ planets and these things are going to be populated in a way that’s going to promote people to go and explore and play and shoot out, mine, craft, etc. We need the ability to quickly generate these cities on the terrain and also to quickly give them their unique flavour.

  • [How is working at CIG different than at previous studios you have worked for?] There’s a portion of it’s that obviously the same. We’re making a game, we have disciplines, we’re organized, we have schedules. There’s also a tremendous amount that’s incredibly unique, I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I’m continuously amazed and surprised at the support from backers and fans and viewers. I do stuff like this on a much more regular basis then you would with any other type of game. Sometimes I feel silly repeating myself however I’ve said in the past, typically we’re locked in a room for 6 months or a year or 18 months, sometimes 3 years and the only visibility we have out to the public of what we’re working on… we put out a trailer show or you do a demo once it’s come to a Gamescom or E3 or something. For us we’re so public and so open with what we do, it’s amazing and the feedback you get from the work you do on a daily basis honestly helps feed the team and keep the team pumped and alive. The interaction with the backers and fans, I see the backers as our publishers that’s how I personally myself view it so when I’m sharing material it is me updating what we’ve done so far.

  • [Do we have mountains on these moons? Is there an Everest?] The answer is 4.3. I guess the question would be, what is the max elevation… as far as procedurally in what we can pull off. There isn’t necessarily so I think we would probably base it off somewhat realistic values. So could there be an Everest? Absolutely, we’re not confined to the planet surface for this game in the universe. You can hop in your ship and go up there.

  • [You mentioned having an animation background, what about animation at CIG excites you?] Jared: It was the NPC that flips in the bed, right? Brian: Yeah, that was one of them, thanks for reminding me about that one. I think it’s that we have a vision and that we’re putting the energy and attention level to detail into it in order to get it 100% where it needs to be. That usually takes more time and we put the pressure on ourselves in order to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible but in that process we also are not cutting corners because as we talked earlier, when you talk about getting all this detail on both the code side and the tech art side and how things are rigged, how assets are generated on the animation. To really get the most fluid motion we possible can, to have a company to be able to support those disciplines to work together, towards that common goal, is incredibly cool.

  • [Brian Chamber beard/hair ingame? If you don’t know, please make it happen] Let me write that down, hair ingame got it. I know we’ll have hair but you know… Brian Chambers hair? Maybe I’ll pay off Josh or somebody.

  • [So many of the times that we see animation work displayed in Around the Verse, the animations are taking place in a kitchen or mess hall. What is so important about that mess hall? Is it the centre of the Star Citizen universe?] No, usually with a lot of things you have within games you’ll focus on an area to use as a test bed to prove out things. So if you think about a mess hall and you think of: I want guys to just be able to navigate the room and not bump into a table, in and out the door. Now I want somebody to sit, now they sit properly. Now once they’re in the sit position and I want them to eat and want it to look good. I want them to talk to the guy across the table and now put their tray away. There is so many things within the useable system in design within AI and how characters are moving, on the AI brain and how they’re interacting and showing their behaviours. That for us that was just a test bed and I don’t even know if anybody consciously said, ‘Ok the mess hall will be the test bed’. I think the cafeteria or mess hall had progressed a certain amount and somebody just started using it. I’m laughing because I totally agree, so many times I walk by the system designers and I’m like, ‘he’s drinking out of different cup now’.  

  • [How was BritizenCon?] It was cool, good turnout of people. Met a lot of new people for the first time, they had a whole dogfighting competition and a trophy somebody had made that was way cool, made out of wood, it was awesome. We did a panel on design. It was primarily all of the Foundry 42 UK guys and then me. I was kinda the odd man out but it was awesome.

  • [Will we be able to decorate our ships like our hangar?] Actually don’t know the level of customization as far as the interior goes. I really don’t know. Jared: We’re actually specing that out in LA here right now. It’s not been finalized so no details to share.

  • [Have there been any discussions about underwater physics?] No, but the level of detail that would put it into physics, we know they would be tunable to be able to handle that and then that would also though mean other properties. Do you have sun? Buoyancy properties and so on. I know we’ll have water, I know that you’ll be able to go into the water but the extent that it goes beyond there… I honestly don’t know how much it’s been designed yet or if it has been designed it is just that, it’s just on paper.

  • [Volcanoes?] If the planet needs a volcano and if it should have a volcano then it will have a volcano.

  • [How long does Brian think he’ll maintain the top spot on Quantum Questions?] I’m counting, four. Four is definitely the answer. I don’t know, how close has anyone else gotten?

  • [How fast/slow can time pass on a planet in Star Citizen?] Jared: I don’t think we’re anywhere near ready to know that yet.

  • [Will there be 24 hour or will it be shortened down because it’s a game?] I know we have what you consider a 24 hour life cycle that we’re thinking through. Could that be condensed for gameplay? Most likely will but it’s too early to really decide exactly.

  • Brian was joking on 4, it means nothing.

  • Happy Hour is going to a bi-weekly schedule, not sure how long for.     

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.