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Subscriber Town Hall: November 2016 Written Tuesday 29th of November 2016 at 10:00am 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)

  • Non mission NPCs interaction will be brief as they have their own lives to attend to, but they will have some dialogue. They will however interact with each other quite a bit and have varied conversations that won't always end up being the same, there's only so much you can do of course, but you shouldn't hear the same conversation between two NPCs every time. They'll also react to how you're behaving. If you're rowdy or causing trouble in a bar for example, they may distance themselves from you or talk about you under their breath.

    • Quest givers and important people will remember you based on you or your organisations interaction with them. If you decide you want to be that guy who tries to take up all the NPCs time, they may get annoyed, cut you off and stop talking to you entirely for a period of time.
    • NPC crew for hire won't be in 3.0, they're still working on how you interact with the crew as well certain core AI elements.
  • Interdiction devices will be capable of producing an area of affect that knocks ships out of quantum travel based off a curve that is dictated by how much power the device is given. The more power injected, the more likely you are to knock them out where you want them, but you're more likely to be detected by others in the area such as police, but less power means a smaller area where you can entrap people and a smaller signature. There are more factors to it, but this is general idea.

    • Quantum linking is used for escorts or friends along with you to also keep you relatively together if you get knocked out of quantum travel, but not all in the same place exactly.
    • Also quantum travel will be longer as the systems expand, and it depends on your ship, quantum drive, and distance.
  • The Medical System we know has been touted as "rescue" by Tony in the roadmap, this encompasses a variety of rescue scenarios from simple treatment to gameplay involving rescuing derelict pilots or people off a space station, or treating an infection that could kill someone if not done correctly.

  • Large sprawling cities won't be fully explorable apart from some exceptions due to Tony's quality over quantity philosophy. He wants the landing zones to be unique and filled with lots of things, instead of a vast city that repeats itself after a few blocks, not to mention the time that goes into those large cities.

  • Long Range Scanning will involve passive scanning that takes in radiation to give you an idea of what's out there and then using that data to plan where you want to focus in the sky and through three spectrums, Visible, Infrared, and X-ray to locate what you're after. It'll be skill based in fine tuning your systems to figure out what you're after and what you're looking at.

    • Those that want to remain hidden on planets or in space, will be able to do so through certain means as well.

Full Transcript

  • Hello folks! The show is about to begin! Your transcribers today are myself CanadianSyrup, and Stormy Winters. Grab your snacks and enjoy the show!

  • We're live! Hosting today's Subscriber Town Hall is Community Manager, Tyler Witkin, with special guest Tony Zurovec.

  • Questions can be asked from Robertsspaceindustries.com and in the Subscriber chat.

[Tony, who are you and what do you do?]

He's the Director of the Persistent Universe with his focus currently on the AI and the mission system along with the ingame economy.

[What do you envision interactions with non mission NPCs will be like? Varied conversations or repeating messages?]

There will be NPCs all around, like landing zones for example, NPCs you'd encounter walking around will be brief and varied because they have their own lives on a 24 hour clock that they're living. They will acknowledge your presence if you walk by or if you go into a bar and make a ruckus, they will react accordingly and try to move away from you or mutter under their breath about you. NPCs will interact with each other quite a bit and have conversations that vary based off what happened in that conversation. Eventually as anything you will see some repeats, but it won't happen often.

[Can you describe the preliminary on how the interdiction mechanic will work and how you can escape them?]

Tony can't talk much about the escape because it's still being sorted, but can talk about how you take them out. So an interdiction device will be used to pull someone out of quantum travel which will be popular with pirates of course. One of the problems when creating the device was where does it eject the person in quantum? At first they had it do it right where they were, but then it made distress beacons useless because the pirates would have already killed the person. Then they thought they would increase the distance by 5-10 miles and so it takes time and allows them to get reinforcements, but then the person would just spool up their quantum drive after 30 seconds to a minute to get away. So what they decided on an area of effect mechanic where the person who initiates the interdiction field will determine how much power to use and then that determines the range of the interdiction device is and also the shape of the curve, the shape of the curve will dictate the probability of where you'll end up. You won't always fall in the centre, you'll always want to fall in the fringe, but it depends on the shape of the curve. As you push that curve farther in, you're more likely to have people fall in that area, but that means they can re-engage their quantum engines at a much less significant distance so the person who initiates the drive will want to find the sweet spot. The downside to cranking up the power is it draws more attention to yourself such as security forces, so making the field smaller and more precise means less people get caught, but you're less likely to get detected.

[In Alpha 2.5, the quantum travel distance is quite short, will that be longer in 3.0?]

It's compact right now, once 3.0 rolls out and they add more content, you'll see that distance increase. Also some ships will be faster in quantum than others, so the small ones may get away, but the big ones will get caught, they can tweak the values as well if needed.

[Will NPCs remember you? Say a Bartender serving you between one visit and the next]

Yes, it's a fundamental plan to have that be a part of the Universe, Tony doesn't want to expand too much as to give it away, but some NPCs will know what org you're a part of and how to deal with you accordingly or NPCs you've helped or scammed. This also dictates the conversations you have available with them as well.

[Has CIG made incentives to keep people playing Star Citizen?]

The obvious answer is you're always going to try and get the better ship and play against or cooperate with players, but to Tony the thing that is really going to differentiate is the ability to experience new things. This will involve reaching cities you've never seen to new AI behaviors and new challenges and overcoming them. The approach with modular technology as a tool rather than being the only entity will allow them to generate a lot of content, but putting their personal touches and creating a unique experience for players. It's the little things that keep players coming back, it's what makes you want to keep playing. The way things are built, they've created a system that allows them to make the majority of everything, but then you can add extra touches to those creations in whatever way you would want to without the effort of creating brand new assets. They planned long term, not short term when making the tools and making the game and this allows them a lot of flexibility down the road. It can be frustrating because some things can take a little longer, but it pays off in dividends down the line.

[You previously mentioned a puzzle style mission system where each puzzle is hand crafted such as pirates needing to be killed, cargo transported, leading to the entire economy being affected. Will it be cut and dry, kill pirates, find the wine, loot it? If so how is it going? If not, what's planned?]

There's your generic mission lines that while they're awesome, once you've done it, you've seen it all. Tony's logic is everything around you can be a mission in a way. If you're on a planet with a refinery and there's an asteroid belt nearby, you'll see freighters going to and from that belt, and you can help or you could destroy or board some of those freighters, loot them. For some, that's amazing. Now imagine you're responding to a distress beacon and you disable the pirate ship. You then board the ship and look through the computer and find some small information about the pirate organisations base and now you go and find some more pirates to gather more information and then eventually it leads to the base where someone may need to be rescued there and you can trade a pirate hostage for them or etc. There is a point where some things will become similar, but the "virtual thread" you can pull from scenarios like this can take you in an array of directions so you may think a mission will go one way, ends up going in a completely different direction or takes you down a path that's quite intense.

[I was wondering if you've been able to solve the problems with quests and quest givers where a large amount of players want to get a quest from an NPC or go to an area for the quest, how do you stop griefers from causing issues?]

There's no one single solution, and when you have an MMO, there are some things you have to sacrifice. They have mission boards instead of NPCs in larger places to filter all the individual players, but in remote areas there may be a single person you have to talk to and if someone wants to talk to them as well, they have to wait their turn. To prevent griefing, it may be a godfather scenario where if you annoy an NPC, they won't talk to you anymore or have their men "Take" you away. NPC's can pickup on situations such as someone talking to them too much or etc. There will be other ways of course, such as if someone is important, you have to book an appointment, but in the end with having the world setup the way it is, there will be a lot of places to go to that disperses the players. In the end, they still have to put it out there and see what needs to be tweaked.

[Will cities mostly be fillers with views to fly past? Will players be able to freely explore or be restricted to certain areas? If they are restricted, will those restrictions be lifted in the future.]

The original idea for Arc Corp, was having three areas and slowly expand over time, but to a limit. Having entire cities be accessible comes with a problem that things become repetitive. Once you've seen a gunstore and a clothing shop, you'll see another one down the road with a slight variation or name. So rather than having a huge repetitive city, you'll have a condensed, but very unique area for each system. Levski is wildly different than Arc Corp so that creates a unique experience from visual alone, then there's how NPCs interact, the clothing, missions, prices. Instead of dedicating bandwidth to something that becomes simliar after walking a couple blocks, they want to make an area unique. There will be some planets with multiple landing zones of course and each of those will share some similiarities in architecture, but the shops may be different and what they offer, missions etc. They want cities to have their own flavour and feel just like you would in real life. When you're in Levski, you know you're in Levski, or Area 18, etc. There will be some exceptions of having sprawling cities, but not something that's common, they'd rather have more effort in quality of what you see and do at a landing zone, than quantity and having a size that makes it dull and boring after a short while.

[When will we be able to hire NPC as crew, will it be at first when they appear?]

For 3.0 no, they're still working on some of the NPC elements of having them interact with you and have them be more than just a person filling the seat. They want them to have emotions, how do they cope with a crew member dying, are they getting paid enough. They also are working on the mechanics of them and having them do the jobs you want them to do. Their goal for V1.0 of that is to have a mostly complete experience where right now for that there's still some pieces missing.

[Will there be a hangar maximum a player can own or rent?]

No. Right now hangars are given when you buy a ship, but in the universe you could buy some storage with X amount of space for this price. Right now they're getting deeper into that storage component where when you buy an item from Casaba Outlet, for example, and having the inventory, transaction, delivery take place on the backend and have it affect the virtual server. Post 3.0 you'll see variable prices, supply and demand and etc.

[I really like the whole theme from the anniversary stream with the Galactic Tour, will we see something like that in the 'Verse, possibly have it used to reveal new ships?]

They want to have something like that in the 'Verse for filler value, something you hear on the TV in a bar, but also become a medium to disperse relevant and important information. Imagine a battle is on the news and you check your logs and you see they need mercenaries.

[When is the indepth medical system planned to come into fruition?]

Tony classified the system as "rescue" in the roadmap. With rescue it can entail anywhere from rescuing a pod from space, or dispersing medicine to an infected crew or you have a space station that's falling out of orbit and it's on fire and you need to get incapacitated scientists out safely. You could do a transport mission involving a heart that's needed urgently in another location, or getting a drug that's not legal in order to treat someone and do it stealthily. Tony wants more than just healing people in a medbay, you can do that, but there's a lot of people who want to do more than that. Later on they'll release a document about how the system breaks down and what they mean when they talk about certain aspects.

[What is quantum linking in the roadmap?]

It's a term Tony coined when dealing with the backend and quantum jumping and what you do with the space in between. So assuming you're going from point A to B and you've been intercepted. What happens to your escort that was with you? What the system will do is roll to dice to where to spit you out, but all the guys with you still need to come with you in some way, but not all at once where everyone suddenly drops out in the exact same place.

[System and planet sizes distances seem enormous, how likely would be able for a player to stay hidden on a planet or in space if they don't want to be found]

It's likely, they don't want a button where you press it and boom you found them. Long range scanning will be more analog in nature. You'll have passive scanning where you're collecting radiation over time, then long range scanning you'll be able to view three different spectrums such as Infrared, where it can see through gas and clouds. There will be the visible spectrum of course, but that has its drawbacks. Then there's the X-ray spectrum that can pickup EM signatures which would be great for figuring out where a ship is, but unable to determine what it is. So there will be a challenge in fine tuning your computer to your needs to search for what you're looking for or be able to determine what you're looking at. Long range scanning will be a very skill based system, but fulfilling when you get it.

That's all the time they have for now, just some housekeeping to close. Tonight will feature a new lore post, tomorrow will be Loremakers, Thursday ATV in the UK and Friday, RTV in the UK as well.


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.


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.