Citizens! It’s time for a new episode of 10 for the Producers! Thank you once again to /u/Nocturnal_Nick for the transcript!
10 for the Producers – Episode 4
Transcript by /u/Nocturnal_Nick
Usual intro and Thanks – Travis Day and Darian Vorlik are the Producers!
Chris Roberts just left for SXSW
– On to the Questions! –
Beer4theBeerGod Asks: In a recent episode, Calix and Dan said that “scheduling is your domain.” How do you prioritize one bug or feature over another, and does the inclusive nature of Star Citizen’s development, change what gets tackled first?
DV: That’s interesting, because what production does IS prioritising what does come first. For example, we’re on the cusp of 1.1, so when we have several critical bugs come through, we have to look at, “is this something we can bump?” “Do we need to fix this right away?” or even ask whether an implemented fix for this will break things further in other areas, or down the line.
TD: It’s contextual really, 1.1 for example has a few new features, one of which is the Retaliator in the hangar. If there is any issue with the Retaliator, it kinda bumps it up to a higher level, because this is a new feature, a new ship, people have spent money on it, they want to see it, they want it to be awesome. So automatically any retaliator related issue, in my mind at least, raises up a little bit. If there are balance issues, or something really out of whack, or user experience issues, we’d tend to prioritise those pretty highly, because the whole point of AC is to get things balanced and fun. That’s the idea behind the modular system as well, we want to have space combat down, and fun, long before the release of say SQ42 or the PU.
DV: It’s also iterative, we might not address a certain bug, even if it’s high priority, in this patch, because there might be higher priority issues that relate more closely to user experience, or we might just not have the time before this particular patch release. We may knowingly let a bug go into a game, see if it’s something that someone else is working on a fix for as well. Sometimes it’s “whack a mole” and sometimes it’s just strategic… letting damage come through, knowing it’ll be addressed later on.
TD: I mean, the fix may be worse than the actual issue! As an example, the landing mechanic is a little broken right now, some ships when they come in to land will tip up on the landing pad. Which is not exactly what you want to do, there are a bunch of issues that are causing that, and if we try to address all of that before a patch release in a couple of days, we risk shifting the centre of mass, which affects flight balance etc as well. You’ve got to weigh it up, do we really want to risk breaking the flight of every single ship, just because it’s landing on its tail end? Or do we try to fix it in the next patch?
SP3CTREnyc Asks: The Mustang recently saw performance changes in Arena Commander 1.0.2. How are these changes achieved in an engine that physically models ship movement? Do these changes affect manoeuvrability across other ships?
DV: This kinda ties in with what TD just mention where centre of mass is concerned, and how there are other factors involved with how ships manoeuvre.
TD: Yeah, so there are different ways that a ship’s manoeuvrability can be changed, so there’s power available, power draw of various thrusters, the power plant itself, the thrusters themselves are unique, so changing them on one ship won’t change another. So there’s the Power Plant, the cooling, the thrusters, their power output, how quickly they can articulate (if they can at all). These will all affect the final “feel” of the ship, so those are kinda the primary things that we mess around with. Sometimes, like the mustang, it’s multiple things, here its the power output, the range of articulation, the speed of articulation etc. So the Mustang was a pretty extensive modification.
DV: These are all things that the tuning kit can also change or affect, we haven’t really established exactly what extent the tuning kit will do things to, or even exactly what it does, but as a stretch goal we want to make it as useful as possible.
TD: Some of the things you’d adjust will be derivative of the items themselves, like there might be 4 different types of thrusters you can equip, each have their advantages, one might be super quick, one might have a really wide articulation range, another might be really powerful but fixed, or more fuel efficient one. Within that will establish the basic nature of an item, then you can modify within a range each has.
DV: A good example would be to take your favourite compact car and put a ford mustang or a corvette engine in it. That’ll change the performance characteristics of that car, because 1) It wasn’t designed for that engine in the first place, so you’d need to upgrade the suspension, the transmission etc. So if you’re the kinda person that spends a weekend under your car, the same sort of things apply here.
TD: And you might want to take some things BACK, for example, if you upgrade your manoeuvring thrusters and your engine, but not your cooling system or powerplant, your might want to tune your new equipment BACK to 60%, or you might be constantly overheating, or not be able to fire any time you thrust up wards.
Murray PhD Asks: As producers you are the keepers of the schedule, but you also have “pet projects” of your own. (A reasoned guess on my behalf.) Will you tell us a little about these projects you’re most excited about?
TD: Yeah, we do have our own pet projects…
DV: They’re not really exciting :-P
TD: We’re not like hollywood producers that might just want to cast their daughters or something in the movie! Darian what are yours?
DV: Mine’s REALLY exciting :-P. I’m coming up with a way of how to automate our invoicing for external artists! If you are a producer type this might sound a little more exciting, we do a lot of outsourcing or contract work, and I’m coming up with a job numbering system where every time we get an invoice or send one out, we have a data record of who the job went to, what cost centre it comes out of, what day it was etc. I’ve got a numbering system I’ve used before, which I think is applicable here, and I’m actually pretty excited about it. Huh.
TD: I don’t really have any pet projects here, my biggest/most exciting projects would be adding modules to Jira or modifying things in Jira.
Hatefury Asks: It’s been discussed in the PU that if convoys keep getting attacked then a mission would be potentially generated for a player to provide an escort. Is it possible for the pirates to decide getting the extra manpower in is worth the cost, at the same time generating a mission for a player to assist in an attack, and at the same time, could two missions interact causing a PvP engagement to happen?
TD: Yes, the idea behind the economic system is that this will be the driver behind what you see when you fly around. CR gave a talk about it a little at PAX East, but basically that system is what is driving what’s happening in the space between planets. It determines where trade routes are running, and what they’re carrying. So you may see an increase in pirate activity if all of a sudden ships are carrying a more valuable commodity, like unobtanium ore, say, which is currently experiencing a price spike. So this will attract more pirates that are trying to… obtain unobtanium. This all flows back and forth driven by the economy. So if this unobtanium example was the case, if you were flying along those trade routes near a source of the stuff, you’d see a lot more traders as demand is high, and the supply is unique to this planet, say. You will probably also over time see more pirates coming in. That pirate activity will mean more job boards coming up to protect those traders. There’ll be player pirates and NPC pirates all there for the exact same reasons. You may then end up in a situation where somebody has a job to protect a convoy and you want to attack it, presto, PvP conflict.
DV: Or there might be a job coming up to protect a convoy, and so on a pirate board there might be one saying, hey this convoy is coming through this system soon, and we as a crime syndicate will pay for the cargo they’re carrying. Think of the gold rush in the 1800s in California, someone found gold, so many people flocked there, which meant an increased amount of gold out, but it also meant an increased amount of banditry in the area with so much of the stuff being carried.
TD: I also like the idea that a pirate syndicate or anybody could post a job listing, and you might not be the only person to take that job, so you might get there and have to fight for the opportunity, or just miss out and be penniless. I think it’ll be a fun, dynamic system that’ll provide all sorts of scenarios for players to experience.
Zaciroll Asks: Wouldn’t it be amazing to have Space Waves Radio player/career driven with factual live updates on what’s happening with conflicts or commodities, or even specials? This could be system wide with many operators across the Persistent Universe, or just one group with time slots handling the lot. End product will be when you tune in, you have live broadcast with ads, announcements, sourced either from players or system generated, music and just rambling on for conversation to keep you entertained for those long trips or jobs. Wouldn’t be complete without ratings also, who has the best show.
TD: That’s kind of a fun idea. I’d like to be the Michael Savage, fear-mongering about alien races or the imperator or something.
DV: The reason why I liked this question is it’s kind of an ongoing thing, almost a pet project of mine in a way. My personal goal, if the game will allow me, is to take an 890 jump and gut in the inside, turning it into a traveling nightclub, with my DJ character floating around in a DJ booth and if we have the tech to stream though it or whatever. Perhaps every year, or every week it goes from on system to another, a large circuit. Every time it comes back around, it’s a big media deal, and everybody buys tickets and parties while its there.
TD: I always wanted to be like Lord British, cruising around as an advocacy agent, answering peoples questions and solving problems. Basically just answering CS tickets in game. I guess I could just get a job in CS, for some reason that’s really appealing to me.
DV: I could sell ad space, to fund the trip through the stars…
TD: So the radio show, probably not on initial launch, but I have heard CR talk about player driven live radio stuff. It does come back to the whole content management thing though, we’ll have to have some sort of system in place, but I’m totally on board with the idea.
RadiantFix Asks: How is your take and view on decoupled flight? How far back is it in the pipeline, and how important do you see it as a flight method? Equal to coupled flight? Are adjustments of, for example, the HUD planned specifically for it?
TD: We have decoupled flight now, I guess he’s asking for deeper dive features. We do have this goal of a proper decoupled 6DOF Strafe Mode HUD to better help you fly, if you ARE fully decoupled, so more prominent total movement indicators, your axial thrust etc. It’s not super high on the list, though we have talked about it, we want to manage coupled flight, and have strafe mode work well within the flight model, build new ships, then after that start offering a deeper dive set of features for one flight mode.
DV: We are in this for the long haul, we’d rather get something in the system so we can get your guys feedback to assist us on going down the right path with it before going into more complex versions.
Amontillado Asks: Will there be Co-Op vs AI mode for the FPS Module when it releases?
TD: No. We’re going to add that at some point, definitely high on the priority list, we see how many people in AC are focussed on SP, I think about 80% are engaged in SP right now, or Vanduul Co-Op. We’re working with Moon Collider and Foundry 42 in conjunction with Ilfonic to get a wave based game implemented, either endless waves of marines or outlaws depending on who you play, as well as more scripted scenarios, like CS:Siege, and more things that will be tests for SQ42. But there are a lot of things to consider, like any zero-g stuff directly affects how you experience zero G anywhere in the universe when you get out of your ship, not just in these FPS scenarios.
K_Cravener Asks: With all of the detail, back stories and economy models, you are putting in the game, for the various corporations, will there be some type of stock market where players can invest in these corporations and earn dividends, or just buy and sell stocks for profit?
DV: I actually had a conversation about this with Dan Tracy and the other guys, saying it’d be really cool to be able to invest in these corporations, like if they were publicly traded on the UEE stock market or something. You could buy shares, and whether the stocks might crash, say going back to the unobtanium example, if you owned shares in a company that made mining or ore-freighter ships your shares might increase in value as they sold a lot of those ships.
TD: We could engage in some SICK insider trading stuff ’cause we’d know where the economy was going…
DV: That would be a good reason for us NOT to do it!
TD: Ah yeah, you’re right :-D
DV: Obviously there are a lot of risk having employees playing the game, we’ll have to work out a few tricks and security issues before getting it in there.
TD: But its a good idea and we’d really like to do it anyway.
MuddyGrimes Asks: With the FPS combat having weapons like assault rifles, pistols, laser weapons etc…, can we also expect to be able to “improvise” with salvage/mining tools, say, a hand-held plasma-cutter, and and other types of “power-tools” for the occasional “pirates boarding your Orion/Reclaimer” situation?
TD: I can’t tell you the depth to which this will happen, like I don’t know if you can even get a power drill, say, in the game, but if you could get one and use it to drill things then yes, you could use it to drill an enemy. Same thing with the PAW (personal arc welder) which could be used for repairing things or opening locked doors etc, it could also be used because it heats up, if you take that and apply that to a person, that’d probably hurt them!
DV: I’m imagining the scene from Chronicles of Riddick where he says I’ll kill you with this cup, twists it and stabs it into a guy’s heart.
TD: The Equilizer did something similar. I like that movie. So yes.
Crimson Hawk Moth Asks: I know that there have been multiple questions regarding sticking on your Org logo/decals on the hull of ships, however, will there be an option to put up logos/signs etc… inside your ship? Ex. On the entrance door to the cargo hold I would like to put a personalised sign that reads “NO ENTRY” or anything for that matter, or even you Org logo on the bridge of your ship, like the way some Navy ships have their namesake on the ceiling, or somewhere inside of the bridge?
DV: One of the stretch goals that we have, that we’re evaluating is cockpit decorations. There might be fuzzy dice, leather covered steering wheel, CR bobblehead etc. As far as customised decorations…
TD: Well we’re thinking along the lines of like, when you see a navy bunk in a movie you see a picture of a pinup girl up on the wall or something. When we’re talking about cockpit decorations stretch goals, we’re talking about set items, but we’re thinking about a much more holistic design specification where we have a SHIP decoration system, where you might have 4 slots to put things on this particular table, or some art slots on the wall. That’d all use the same system on the back end anyway, so we’d just have to work out where spaces can be filled on the ships and with what I guess.
DV: I kinda want to have a little sticker reminder saying “No Fear” as I go into combat in the cockpit somewhere
TD: Or something saying “Oh shit” somewhere too :-D
Usual Extro and Thanks