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PU Townhall Panel 3: Getting Social – Transcript Written Wednesday 4th of February 2015 at 11:42am by NYXT

Hello, Citizens! I’ve gone ahead and transcribed Panel 3: Getting Social, from the PU Townhall Presentation. Please not that unlike the previous Panel that I transcribed, a lot of this Panel was much more theoretical in...

Hello, Citizens! I’ve gone ahead and transcribed Panel 3: Getting Social, from the PU Townhall Presentation.

Please not that unlike the previous Panel that I transcribed, a lot of this Panel was much more theoretical in nature – it seems a fair amount of what they displayed here is still in the works or even conceptualized, so do not take 100% of things in this Panel at 100% value – as with everything in a pre-alpha game, things are subject to change. That being said, I hope you enjoy the transcript!

  • Social Module Release:
    • Multiplayer Hangars
    • Contact List in mobiGlas
    • In-game Chat
    • ArcCorp: a planetside environment for exploration
    • Shopping: browse different shops on ArcCorp with mobiGlas AR
    • SimPod in your Hangar: integrated Arena Commander and FPS lobby
    • This will be released in a March/April timeframe
    • Hangar will soon have a bit more persistence
    • Elevator will take you from your Hangar to an actual city
    • All shops will be available to window browse, except the clothing store
    • You’ll be able to inspect the item inventory and navigate through the mobiGlas interface
    • Will be able to witness early NPC activity (though only 40-50% of the underlying NPC activity technology has been developed so far – there’s still a lot of significant work to do)
    • Lots of motion capture work still needs to be done
    • You’ll see NPCs wandering around and doing test animations – this is a very, very, very early version of what you’ll see in the actual game
    • You’ll be able to invite your friends to your Hangar
      • So up till now, when you loaded your Hangar, you were entirely on a client-side deal, and when you played Arena Commander, then the game transitioned you over to an official server
      • So after the Social Module launches, when you load your Hangar, you’ll still be client-side, however, when you invite a friend and they accept, you and your friend will both be shunted over to a version of your Hangar that is substantiated on one of CIG’s official servers
        • You may also be able to then transition up to ArcCorp with your friend, but while multiplayer Hangars are definitely promised for the Social Module, it’s not promised for exploring ArcCorp. CIG is gonna do its best to allow you to explore ArcCorp with friends, but that might end up being delayed until a little bit down the road
          • Chris Roberts: “Well, wait, if you can share the Hangar, why can’t you share ArcCorp?”
        • While the Server technology is making great leaps and bounds at the moment, there is a lot of optimization that needs to be done
          • As such, getting multiple players into cities isn’t the concern, but rather, the concern is that several solid months of optimization work needs to be done to really allow for the scaling of up to 30, 40, 60 players instead of a mere 8
          • Also, NPC generation needs optimization as well, as hundreds and hundreds of NPCs will need to be generated per planet instance for planets to look truly lifelike
  • Question: What are the plans to make the Contact List a more robust system?
    • For now, the Friends List borrows your contact list from the RSI website – down the road (approximately mid-2015), it’s gonna change to where Player A invites Player B to be a friend, Player B accepts, and then both are now friends
    • What’s also in the works is a Twitter-esk system where you can follow somebody, and that makes them a contact for you
      • This might end up developing a mailbox on the website as well as in the game
    • Persistent Universe Database Explanation
      • In the future, CIG is gonna make it so that you can pull everything you officially own as seen through the RSI website and store it in the Persistent Universe database
      • However, CIG doesn’t want you to pull your ship into the game only to get it blown up and then lose it forever
        • So what they’re gonna do is allow you to pull your stuff into the game, make changes as necessary, and have it persist until you manually go onto the RSI website and tell it to reset your stuff
          • This will allow you to have all your equipment, go out, play with it, get it broken, and then reset your stuff so you can get it all back
        • These are all the initial building blocks of the future Persistent Universe – once these systems are all firmly in place, the Persistent Universe will be good to go
  • Question: What kind of information will be displayed concerning contacts?
      • When contacts go online, you will be given a notification
      • Furthermore, you will be notified of their location (such as what system they’re in)
  • Question: If a friend pops online and he’s on Terra, will the player see that their friend is on Terra? Or will they have to use an out-of-game system to determine that?
    • The player would indeed be notified of their friends’ locations
    • This is because while it’s not fictionally correct, it’s an instance of where gameplay and fun is given precedence over lore – otherwise, people would just use third party clients all the time instead of in-game systems
    • As such, Organizational Chat will be FTL
    • Everything else will be bound by the universe’s laws, and thus, news will not travel instantaneously across the universe
    • So say you hear of tonnes of missions in Stanton, by the time you finally get to flying there, those missions might not be available anymore
    • When you buy a ship from a person and/or place, you have to physically go to that location where the ship is being held in order to pick it up – it won’t just magically pop into your inventory, so to speak
  • Question: When the Social Module first launches, player inventory will not be instanced, correct?
    • Yes – players will be able to browse and window shop at ArcCorp (using mobiGlas to boot), but they will not actually be able to buy anything or store things in your inventory
    • However, player purchases and persistent inventories are the next milestone for the Social aspect of Star Citizen
    • Also down the line, you’ll be able to leave planets and, ideally, use quantum travel in a limited fashion (wormholes and jump points and such will not be fully fleshed out when quantum travel is first available, but those too will come with time)
    • Timeline is Social Module coming very soon, middle of the year will feature buying/selling and interplanetary flight, and by the end of the year, a mini version of the Persistent Universe featuring five systems (possibly even more depending on how the technology is working at the time of unveiling the initial version of the Persistent Universe)
    • One of the reasons that systems aren’t being pumped out is that Terra Prime is currently being constructed, and while it’s mind-blowingly gorgeous, it’s also very, very, very detailed, complex, and gigantic – and a tremendous amount of work to build (apparently, Chris took a look at it recently… and it got bigger)
      • Terra Prime utilizes a “super-modern” style of architecture
      • Originally, Terra Prime was intended to require the same amount of work to build as other planets, but Chris pointed out that Terra Prime is one of the largest (if not the largest) trading centers in the galaxy, meaning that it should be much grander than what was originally intended for it
      • The city size was always massive, but it was planetside player content that was lacking – it was originally gonna be limited to Terra Tower, but Chris wanted to go far beyond that
      • So you’ll be able to land, and then you can go sightsee at Terra Tower with its beautiful high-end shops, and then go take care of things at the huge and bustling spaceport, and maybe even visit the Blocks (which is like the poor district of Terra Prime)
      • So Terra Prime has gone from being a large concept crammed into a small and practical package, to an epic and large-scale place well-deserving of its high status in the galaxy
  • Question: How many people are working on Star Citizen world-wide?
    • 300-320 people world-wide, 180 in-house, 60 in Austin
  • Question: How much has changed about Chris’ plans since game development began?
    • Chris: “I’ve scoped it down.” (24:50)
    • Chris: “Obviously, the scope’s gone bigger since the funding’s gone bigger.”
      • Originally, there was gonna be high fidelity in space, and while planet instances would have high fidelity models, players weren’t gonna be able to walk around on planetsides
        • Originally, planetsides were gonna be like Privateer/Freelancer, and then as funding increased, they were gonna consist of limited corridors that players could walk around, and then as funding increased even more, what with the addition of the FPS element, it turned into the planetside system that we see today
      • Chris: “[We] can really make this game step up to the next level.”
    • One example of a SQ42 mission (SPOILERS): “You’ll be in your ship, flying a mission, when you get a distress call, to which you’ll land on a space station and get out of your ship, get involved in combat, run through the space station as it’s blowing up around you, make a mad dash for another ship, and escape the space station with it.
    • They have the systems and the resources with this level of crowdfunding – they really wanna bring the game to life
      • You could get jumped while walking down a dark alleyway in a planet
      • On a lawless planet, someone could try to rip you off as you’re unloading your cargo
    • We have all these stretch goals that have added content to the game
      • But to counter claims of feature creep, CIG has a very fluid development methodology
        • CIG rolls out pieces of the game (as they make sense) as they build them
        • No other game before has had this kind of development, where pieces of the game are released instead of a holistic alpha
        • So stretch goals are content features that WILL be added to the game, although maybe not immediately
          • For example, with pets, they WILL be in the game, although not now and maybe not next year, but it still is on the list for development
        • Chris: We like to polish things under skirts
        • So while things might need polish even though they’re being released, this allows the game to be crafted with a previously-unheard of level of iteration
        • This allows development to continue while releasing segments while still doing R&D on new portions of the game
    • Community interaction also invigorates the development teams, as it can get rough when it’s just a team working on a game by themselves
  • Question: What are the roles of the Live Operations Group and the Development and QA Groups?
    • There are about nine development channels going at once
      • Art, Code, QA, Live, Main, etc.
      • The Dev Ops team is continually managing this, so QA can test these
    • The Public Test Universe is a recent addition that helps out a tonne with development, and it’s a stepping stone technology-wise toward what will make the Persistent Universe possible
    • Behind the scenes, there are tonnes of servers that handle all Star Citizen multiplayer matches
    • The Live Ops team is also working on the technology that will allow for a world-wide game instead of one broken down into 30+ different servers
  • Audience Question: If a player is shot, will another player be able to come and take the first player’s actual inventory items? Or will loot be generated randomly for the victor?
    • A player’s body can indeed be looted for the inventory items he/she has on him/her at time of death
    • However, if there’s a fight going on in space and cargo is dumped out, you couldn’t return for them a week later
      • Items only persist as long as that instance is up
      • So you couldn’t hide cargo in an asteroid field and then come back for it a week later, as there isn’t that level of persistence
        • However, if there’s an asteroid base, that will be persistent
  • Audience Question: Will a player be able to manually change instances? And concerning servers, will there be one global server? Or something else?
    • A player will not be able to manually switch instances – that will be handled for them by the server
    • A player will not know what instance they’re in
    • The game servers will be able to span up or down around the world based on player activity, and they all communicate and coordinate with the main server
    • However, the server technology will be logically placing players in instances – concepts like friend status, party status, skill level, player geographical location, mission selection, and such
      • If a player wants to play with a friend, this selection and preference will override the importance of, say, ping performance in the server’s mind
    • If friends go to land on a planet together, they’ll be matched so that they can do so
  • Audience Question: Can you sabotage jump point data so that it can deliberately mislead other players?
    • No.
    • When you chart a jump point, you have this data that you can then share with friends and/or sell it for money – especially if you’re the only one with knowledge about this jump point
  • Audience Question: Will general character metrics, kill data, organizational statistics, short and long term economic statistical trends, etc. be readily available to players? And if so, how?
    • API data has already been pulled by fans from the RSI website
      • CIG will continue to expose more and more of this API
      • More data will be put onto your Citizen Dossier (like kill data) as time goes on
    • Elements of the economy will be reported (like forecasts of economic growth, or newspaper articles displaying how the economy is doing)
    • There will be tablet apps that allow for you to check out your character, manage some stuff for your character, and the like
    • However, full systems will not be exposed via API, because that would make it easy for exploiters to take advantage of
    • Historically, CIG has been open with their data, but they don’t wanna be TOO open
    • Inventory and mission management will be available through the tablet app
    • Census data will be fed to the Starmap on the RSI webpage, so information like that will be readily available
  • Audience Question: If a ship is left in space, what will happen to it? And will a player be able to come back with a salvager and strip it for resources?
    • There’s been talk about what should happen if a player logs off in the middle of space – would the ship warp back to the player’s Hangar? And if so, is that an exploit, as a player could just log out in order for a fast travel back to the Hangar?
    • There will be the ability for you to save in space (for example, sleeping in beds, etc)
    • As long as you do a proper log-off in your ship, you’ll be able to come back to the spot you were at when you log back in
    • However, if you log out without saving while in combat, someone could steal your ship
      • This is to prevent people from cheating in battle by just logging out
  • Audience Question: Can you track your enemies as you would your friends through an in-game list?
    • You can have a list of antagonists, and then the game will match-make you so you can fight them
    • You can track enemies through the contact list to a limited extent, but you can’t track enemies in out of fiction methods
    • But, like, as a Bounty Hunter, you’ll be able to pay for information on players (such as their location) – though such information is not omniscient
    • Furthermore, space is huge, which means that tracking and finding one particular player in a star system will be a challenge
    • This whole system will be tweaked to perfection so that griefing will be difficult to accomplish

NYXT

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NYXT is known for typing a lot and being far too proud of owning an 890 Jump – a Relay founder, he's responsible for managing and building the website that powers Relay.