The subscribers edition this month features several network engineers, check out the transcript of the show.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Matt Sherman, Calix Reneau and Matt Intrieri we’re today’s guests on the show.
Matt Sherman has been busy with getting the Reliant flight ready and the Buccaneer sale for Friday. He’s also working on the Dragonfly and other yet to be announced ships.
Calix Reneau has been hard at work on the Caterpillar and progressing it through the stages to getting it into the hangar.
Matt Intrieri has been doing his magic on making tools for the team and finding ways make them more efficient.
The component systems first release will more than likely feature the Powerplant, Coolers, and shields along with the multisource shield rework at the same time. This will allow those parts to be physically accessed and modified in space(If applicable), Station, or hangar. The base code is near completion and should see it in the next couple patches.
Shields will also change from the bubble state they are, to a more skin type that coats the ship along its shape.
The current component damage system which involves a components health being drained then destroyed and further damage flairs out to other components will change to something that allows for precise shots to matter on hulls and introduce gameplay that’s more dynamic and less damaging a health bar to the point where things explode. If you shoot a powerplant and destroy it, chances are it will explode and cause a ripple effect, but if you disable the piping or other components, it will create a different effect and depending on what you hit, may disable, but not destroy the ship.
The Mako’s initial mechanic implementation will be basic, but layered on top as the game goes on. It will start out with having a camera and being able to record events live from a safe distance, but in the future they’d like to have it when if for example a reporter witnessed a crime, the criminal may need to destroy the evidence if he doesn’t want to get caught.
The cargo in the Caterpillar can fit in the middle as that’s what the catwalk is for. The tractor beam used in the Ship shape was merely a prototype and there’s nothing set in stone yet as that was just used for the viewing angle where the tractor beam would be on the Caterpillar.
Caterpillar is predicted to be around 110m, but subject to change and not final until the ship is built in engine and can be traversed through.
The lovely elevator music has begun. I hear voices in the background
They’re live! I see Matt Sherman, Calix Reneau and Matt Intrieri.
This edition of Reverse the ‘Verse is for subscribers that happens once a month where subscribers get to ask todays guests questions from the RSI subscriber chat.
Matt Sherman is a Technical Designer, He works on ships for the most part. He’s currently designing the Reliant to become flyable and working on the Buccaneer which is going live on Friday.
Matt Interieri works on tools, optimisations and various behind the scenes for Star Citizen.
Calix Reneau works a lot on mechanics and design for ships. He’s currently been working a lot on the Caterpillar and helping it along towards the hangar stage eventually.
Now it’s question time from the subscriber chat on the RSI website.
[Hello Matt and Calix, after watching Ship Shape Caterpillar two, Ship Shape is looking great, I’m looking forward to non combat ships. My question is what kind of gameplay will there be for multicrew ships like Caterpillar or Carrack?] Well there will be the basics of being able to control various aspects of the ship through terminals like shields, guns, engines. Also defending your ship from boarders and opening airlocks to suck them out into space.
[How is the multisource shield rework coming along?] Matt S: Really well so far. We’ve had someone working on the backend stuff to get it to where it needs to be, but it’s looking really good to be able to have more flexibility when it comes to managing shield and understanding how much damage they can actually take and where to focus the power.
The shields are also changing from a bubble to more of a skin tight shield that coats the ship.
*[Will fire and other effects be added to damage states?] We’re currently designing out ways to add it in, but making it more than just an effect and how the fire would affect a module over a longer period of time for example.
[Are you guys involved in the localized physics grids?] Yup! we work to make sure that the grid is properly setup to be optimal
[How hard has it been with explosions and conveying their momentum in space?] We’ve had some problems with explosions and how they interact with space, but we’ve overcome some problems and had some temp code in, but we’re working on something that’ll make it viable in the long term.
Matt Sherman talks about how the PTU has been very useful for testing the physics grid on the larger ships like the Starfarer and how landing a ship like a Merlin inside and having it stay properly.
[More info on the Mako and how you plan to implement it’s broadcasting] They’re still figuring stuff out, when it was originally pitched, it was a bit lofty, but because of the community they’ve wanted to make sure they have that kind of gameplay. It will be a layered system and may not be what they expect right away, but in the very beginning if you’re a co-pilot on a Reliant you’ll be able to capture whatever you’re looking at and be able to do it from a safe place. Long term is laying on more things like info running and who was in what system and when, what things are happening to make that role more exciting. So, someone commits a crime and a reporter saw it, do you kill the evidence? Stuff like that is what they want to work towards in the future.
[Question regarding explosions: Ship explosions don’t inherit momentum, will chasing ships become less dangerous in the future after you kill your target and avoid the wreckage?] Yeah right now the debris doesn’t have active physics right now and we will be looking into turning it back on for that. We will have to attach the effects that come from the debris, but that’s something we can do without too much issue.
Components: They will have their own individual explosive effects. We want the modules to have their own effects and that the death of a ship isn’t just when the ship reaches zero health and explodes, but a combination of components going critical and setting off a chain reaction.
[Why can big ships be pushed around so easily by small ships?] The physics do need a little work. When things blow up it’s like paper mache. It will be something we’ll address, but we’re just in a transition period with tech and the physics is taking a bit of a backseat until we’ve gone through this stage. The process of refining that involves multiple layers of code geometry which Itemport 2.0 will allow us to give better performance and more control over physics.
[Million Mile High Club Port modification system?] Jared will find out Friday.
[What is going on with the Star G?] The Starfarer Gemini is still a Starfarer that was simply bought by Aegis and refitted with their components, not a redesign. It’s not going to be a big visual difference because there’s no point as it does what they need and refitting it for the military is all that’s needed.
[Plans for Optimisation?] They just finished a full pass on all shields with LOD meshes. Right now you may see them switch them a little too slow, but they’re hoping to have that in soon. They’re also working on combining meshes so that it transitions better and uses less resources.
One thing to keep in mind with optimisation is while they’re making improvements, it’s not a one shot solution to fix everything because the game is still being built and other things can affect performance that were unforseen in current optimisation. It’s something patch to patch, but it’s a little more than one and done.
[Org 2.0?] Ask about that on Friday.
[Is the plan for most or all large ships be made with flying FPS level in mind? Most of us want FPS, but with ship layout in mind] Where there can be FPS, they have to make sure that gameplay is viable. Some things in the real world don’t translate into fun gameplay for ingame. The “flying FPS level” is more of a tech statement rather than a literal statement. They want to make sure the ship layouts flow properly and give chances for attackers to properly take over the ship, but vice versa for defenders.
[Caterpillar cargo, can you stack cargo along the center?] Yes you can block off the doors as you can still use the catwalk to move around. It’ll make it difficult, but if you can do it, go for it.
[Saw some early tractor beam work in the Caterpillar Ship shape, has it gone further?] It’s still in prototype stage, different design choices are being considered, so there’s still some decisions to be made. The tractor beam on the Caterpillar was to see if the view was good enough, not necessarily a representation of how the beam will behave or what it will look like.
[Will there be times when a ship will be destroyed when it’s not the result of an explosion] Yes, this goes back to the components and how if you target specific components which cause certain reactions. If someone had a hot powerplant and want them to explode, then target that, otherwise avoid it. Where you shoot will have consequences if you shoot the wrong place and just because you disable the powerplant, doesn’t mean you win because other components could be working still and you don’t know what to expect if you try to board.
If you do disable the powerplant, you may have a short window before they repair it too so don’t expect an easy win if you disable the powerplant at that moment.
[Will the port modification system be easier to use in terms of labling and more generic if it fits, it sits?] There will be a menu system that refines it to be easier, but this is a very early edition of it and it will be constantly iterated on as time progresses.
[Is there any word on other ships for sale when the Buccaneer goes on sale?] It’s just for the Buccaneer.
[How big is the Caterpillar now that it has advanced?] Don’t remember off hand, pretty sure they’ve passed 100m, could be 130m, but can’t remember.
Matt Sherman says it’s likely to be around 110 meters.
They’ll know for sure when it’s built in CryEngine and walking around in it.
[Can you talk about Drake ease and repairability? Will there be an advantage with being able to repair with common materials out in the PU?] The Drake approach has everything out there and exposed, so while you may be able to have ease of access to 90% of the components from a location, you still have to be careful when selecting your components and taking care of your ship. You still have to care about making sure the ship gets proper thrust or power and can’t expect something that’s slapped together to hold up against something more durable.
Sub components will play a big part in making ships different from one another even if they’re the same ship and manufacture. Some may go for better energy efficiency or higher output from the powerplant, or more or less durablility.
[How does the TTK play into sub components?] With the current system each component has health and when that’s breached it’s disabled and anything further means it’s transferred to others around it, but the new component system will have pipes and other mechanics. Right now there’s no way to balance the future TTK until the component system comes into play as you can’t balance what doesn’t exist in game yet. In the PU it will have more of an impact because you factor in repairs and being able to physically change out stuff on the fly.
[Can you talk about the roll out for the component system?] The real big one first is going to be the shield generators, to pair along with that they’ve been doing work on the powerplant and coolers. Those three should come online around the same time because they change the aspects of the ship the most.
[Since you’ve created tools to make Star Citizen, is CryEngine complete?] You always want to look ahead and see what you could do and you also refine what you currently have, that never really stops. The toolbox Matt Intrieri built to take something from 3Dmax and be able to put hardpoints and get an idea of how it will perform has saved countless hours of time.
Another example is the optimisation John Prichett’s flight tuning toolbox has, before it was long and tedius and you may not have been able to reach what you desired after a week of tweaking. Now it’s been optimized to something a designer can do in a day compared to multiple people over a week of tweaking.
This wraps up the end of the Subscriber Edition of Reverse the ‘Verse. Tune in Friday for the regular edition of Reverse the ‘Verse.
Thanks for watching folks, Standard transcript will be up shortly.
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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.