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Subscriber Town Hall: October 2016 Written Wednesday 26th of October 2016 at 12:00pm by CanadianSyrup, Nehkara and StormyWinters

As is with any information on our transcripts and summaries, everything posted is subject to change by CIG and in some cases may not always be 100% accurate at the time. While we strive for accuracy, mistakes do happen so please let us know if you find something amiss that we didn’t catch. Enjoy the show!

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

  • Today's Town Hall featured Sean Tracy, Forrest Stephan, and Eric Kieron Davis.
  • During the CitizenCon demo Sean said they get the colour of the sky for free, he expanded on that by saying that now there's an actual sun that sheds light and then from there to atmosphere conditions determine what you see: Cloudy, clear, etc.
  • The Polaris is confirmed to have size 10 launchers, the PDF hadn't been updated to reflect the change.
  • When asked about procedural generation and more exotic geometry they said it's absolutely possible. Currently they view the procedural tech as building the canvas for them and then allowing artists to go in put in some details and create some unique places on the planets that stand out. 90% procedural, 10% Artists, but the 10% is what makes it special.
  • The state of the female avatar is that they're currently working through the male clothing and fitting it for the female sculpt and the biggest thing is the animations. Sean said there's about 6000 animations for the male, several which we either haven't seen or aren't in the PU yet, so it's a lot of work to make her come to life. Sean also talked about how yeah they could simply make females the same height and boom, female avatars tomorrow, but females have different proportions and they didn't want to take the easy way out.
    • When asked if the size of the female avatar will give an advantage in combat because of her slightly smaller side, they said the gains would be minute and if needed be they have ways to balance it out without affecting the visual state.
  • The amount of cores you have will benefit you in Star Citizen now and into the future. Speed is still king currently, but as their tech comes online and their parallelization becomes more efficient, having more cores will benefit you greatly than simply having the "Fastest" processor.
  • The height of the atmosphere is not static, they can increase or decrease it. It's currently at around 10,000 because of gameplay reasons and how long it would take if it was much higher, but they're talking and figuring out gameplay ideas for thicker atmospheres.

Full Transcript

  • The show will start soon! Your transcribers today are myself CanadianSyrup with StormyWinters and Nehkara assisting in editing and posting. Enjoy the show!

  • The show is live! I see Jared Huckaby and Sean Tracy, Forrest Stephan, and Eric Kieron Davis. (Oh god so much typing incoming)

  • The Subscriber Town Hall is CIG's monthly livestream dedicated to subscribers to allow them to ask their questions live in the RSI subscriber chat on robertsspaceindustries.com

  • Sean Tracy's role is making the ideas that designers and writers make come to life in a nutshell. He's pretty awesome.

  • Forrest Stephan's role is a CG Supervisor and working along with Sean, but working more on the art side and with engineers to get the visual fidelity of the game to where it needs to be. Recently he's been working on characters, specifically the nomads from the Homestead demo along with general character art.

  • Eric Kieron Davis's role is the Senior Producer in the LA office. His job is everything and anything. Overseeing the pipelines for characters, ships. Working with production staff to make sure everything is running smoothly. Keeping in sync with the other studio producers.

  • Sean makes the item work, Forrest makes the art for that object, Eric makes sure it's all organized and resources are properly allocated to where they're needed.

  • Questions are being taken now live from the RSI subscriber chat at Robersspaceindustries.com

Question for Sean - [Lighting was impressive in the CitizenCon Demo. What did you mean by getting sky colour for free?]

Originally the lighting, such as the colour of the sky, was set manually and assigned. Now all of that flows out of the fact that there is an actual sun which actually sheds light and the planets are orbiting. Atmospheric conditions also affect lighting on the planet. Some will have thick atmosphere so you will just see sky, others have a thinner atmosphere and you can see the stars during the day.

[The Polaris is listed as having size 10 launchers, but the manual says size 6]

It's Size 10, the PDF hadn't been updated yet.

[We've seen basic geometry so far, will we see more advanced terrain?]

Forrest: I think so, we don't want to do 100% procedural, the artists will want to put flair in certain places throughout planets. It's a tool to get you 90% there, the 10% to add finishing touches. Sean: A little more about atmosphere. One thing to consider is indirect lighting. One of the thing they used to do was ambient lightning in CryEngine and that cast shadows. What Carson has done has made it cover the entire planet and so that has its own version of lightning, and then direct lighting has its own colours so you have a pretty diverse and more lifelike lighting.

[Where is the female avatar]

Sean: Blame Steve Bender. Forrest: They're currently in the process of taking the clothing from the male clothing and fitting it for the female. The model looks fantastic and the heads are looking good. Biggest thing are animations right now which seems easy, but very important to get right. Eric: How many people will have worked on the female character by the time its released? Animators, Character Artists, Concept Artists, Character Lead, Tech designers, QA, so many people. Eric: People ask why is there only one character? Someone said it's hard, but it's more than just that, it's building the tech behind that character and making sure it works properly. Sean: The female and male skeletons are completely different and as such, it's not as simple as, "Oh she's just a little smaller, just change this". There's 6000 animations that aren't all even in the PU yet. That's 6000 animations you need to have that work with the female as well. The male isn't even locked down yet and so it's crucial to make sure things are done right on the male side while getting the female ready. They gave it a thought to make the male and female avatars the same size and that solves everything, but males and females have different proportions and that's the easy way out.

[Will there be underground caves to explore?]

Can't say for sure. Is it possible? Yes. As soon as you get into the 3D side of things, it gets a lot more complicated. CryEngine has a voxel system which makes caves easy, but these are planets which use height maps and the current system isn't built for it.

[For Eric: What's your philosophy for keeping devs agile? What's CIG's development process?]

There is no set process because of how the project is. Some teams are more hardcore agile, and others like art aren't so much. The discipline of the department matters at the end of the day with which strategy to use. Eric: My Philosophy is somewhat of a triangle: Health, Culture, Support. Working alongside the team to make sure they're happy, healthy and have the support they need at work and outside of it as well.

[If female characters are smaller, wouldn't that mean it gives the females profile an advantage in a firefight?]

It could, but the difference when looking at a combat situation, it isn't something you would consider switching genders for to gain an advantage because of how little benefit you would gain. With the current implementation in Squadron 42, there is no difference in this respect between the genders.

[For most games now, your CPU speed is more important the number of cores you have. Do you think Star Citizen will use all the cores on an i7 that I own?]

Sean: In terms of scaling it will be to have as many cores as you can, but parallelization is the upcoming thing they're working on to improve performance. For now speed is a bigger benefit, but having more cores to boot helps as well.

[Can you tell us about an upcoming feature you're looking forward to?]

Eric: I'm a big FPS fan going back to Goldeneye and Counterstrike. Also a huge MMO fan. Really looking forward to Star Marine and what it has to offer. Forrest: To go with that for something in the future. He wants to be boarded, wants people to get into his ship and be able to kill them. Sean: Object container streaming, it's not sexy, but that's as big as the 2.0 roll out. Once that's online the universe is your oyster. Object container streaming is, in a basic way a container with objects, but more much complex than that.

[What's the size limitation of the object container system?]

That's what they're on right now. They've cracked the nut, but it's a matter of scaling, they've tested a single person to a capital ship, it's about adhering to a budget and making sure everyone is on the same page.

[We enter at 10,000 feet, will you extend that atmosphere to higher altitudes?]

Yes, the reason they're the way they are now is because of how much time it would take to get into atmosphere. They can change it, but it comes down to gameplay and what's fun. There are opportunities to make some gameplay while going into atmosphere or determining whether or not you are in atmosphere, so going forward it'll be interesting what they find. Sean: Gravity will be interesting, if you're in space and going into the planet and you're floating around, what happens when you hit gravity? Suddenly you hit the ground hard and have to watch out for that.

  • They rambled on a bit about some of the bugs that they've encountered from 2.0 such as gravity on a Z axis and so the cloth simulation went bonkers if it thought you were on the bottom of a planet and the cloth went above your head, but that was all resolved.

  • That's it for the show. Tomorrow is Around the Verse with Reverse the Verse on Friday!


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.



Writer and inhabitant of the Star Citizen subreddit.


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.