May 1

Monthly Report Recap: April

Hello Citizens! The April Monthly Report is up!

April Monthly Report

If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, we’ve picked out the best bits for you!

April Monthly Report Summary

  • Last weekend to pledge for the Hull series.
  • Comprehensive Star Marine update early next week.

CIG Santa Monica

Design

  • Pirate swarm mode in Broken Moon being worked on. Computer-controlled UEE ships will attack the player.
  • Want to move away from “Pirate Swarm” or “Vanduul Swarm” to just “Swarm” so that it’s less predictable.
  • Customize your swarm gameplay!
  • Select number of waves, how many ships in the waves, etc.
  • “GOST” modular system being worked on. Allows us “to more directly control the varied methods of interacting with our ships.” Implications for improved multi-crew ship interaction.
  • Ongoing work on full overhaul of ship components.
  • Exploring power plants, shield generators, cooling systems with more interchangeable placement.
  • Rethinking sizes of ammo boxes, battery packs, fuel tanks, etc. so that they’re modular.
  • Grabby Hands system seeing some love.
  • Will allow you to push individual buttons, turn individual knobs in your cockpit.

Engineering

  • New 3D-to-2D “point of view” radar.
  • Less effective for showing range, more effective for showing where things are around you.
  • Working on spaceship pilot AI (Vanduul).
  • Prototyping wingmen commands (attack that, defend me, etc.)
  • Will allow creation of more complex combat scenarios involving AI ships.
  • Prepping radar 2.0, signature system 2.0, physical based damage.
  • Threaded performance improvements.
  • Signatures will be able to mask other signatures (stars blocking out IR signatures).
  • Reducing load times via vehicle params. (This is why loading times are down!)

Art

  • Freelancer update is well underway.
  • Starfarer design helped solidify MISC design aesthetic.
  • Modular components, cargo zones, and character interactions are focuses in the redesign.
  • Freelancer has increased in size.
  • Listening to community feedback about the Freelancer.
  • Addressing issue of entering cargo bay while full, accessibility to rear turret, and other issues.
  • Omar was in Austin working on improving characters, and will be in the UK soon for the same purpose.

Surface Art

  • Materials are getting a lot of focus.
  • Showcasing worn paint over metal.

CIG Austin

  • Record numbers of people concurrently playing. Led to connectivity issues.

Persistent Universe Team

Art

  • Environment mini summit with Foundry 42, BHVR, and Illfonic to discuss long term planning for environments.
  • Focusing on “First 5” planetary landing zones.
  • R&D on modular space stations that will serve many functions.
  • FPS is focus for character team.
  • Armor plating added to Medium Marine.
  • Tweaked colors and materials to make it easier to identify teammates/opponents.
  • Outlaw helmet improved.
  • Concept work for hangar weapon racks and holo-kiosks for Astro Armada.
  • Concept work on shielding and radiators for space stations.
  • Exploring “blue collar” clothing sets.
  • Job board VFX for TDD shop.
  • Texture work on mobiGlas.
  • Animations for prone weapons and grabby hands.
  • New skeleton being tested and debugged.
  • Should improve range of motion and proportions.
  • Over 2,000 animations being retargeted for the new skeleton.

Design

  • Where does a player start when logging into social module?
  • What activities are there around the landing zone?
  • Extensive developments in “Ship Cruncher” tool (formerly the Thruster Calculator).
  • Allows devs to balance discrete item parameters, create baseline ship items, properly size ship gear, collect data, etc.
  • Determines how quickly ship can change directions, top speed, etc.
  • Will help ship balancing in the future.
  • Star Map being worked on.
  • Occupations in the PU are being fleshed out.
  • Occupations like Pioneer, Mercenary/Escort, Bounty Hunter.
  • More details on these occupations forthcoming.

Engineering

  • Lots of time spent on live patch support.
  • Server Team paused work on multiplayer hangars to improve strength of Instance Manager, Matchmaking Service, etc.
  • Dramatic decrease in reports of connectivity/matchmaking issues.
  • Unique Global Entity ID system, Generic Instance Manager, Player Info Server, Presence Server, Universe Simulator, HUB Server, and Player Persistence being worked on.
  • First iterations of many of these systems coming in May.
  • RAD Telemetry for profiling server metrics for server performance optimization.
  • Sandbox Editor, Trackview, and Asset Validation tool systems progressing.
  • AI editors like Useable Editor and Character Archetype Editor being worked on.
  • Finalizing 64-bit networking support for Large World system.
  • Finalizing iPredictor (movement prediction) system.
  • Creating prototypes for Mining.
  • Optimizing development workflow to increase efficiency and stability.

Live Operations
QA

  • High player count exposed back-end infrastructure problems.
  • After multiple hot fixes, dramatic improvements.
  • Call for help with stress test was very successful! Thanks for everyone’s help!
  • Automated capture of performance data for various builds.
  • QA team visited Capstone GAMMA program for aspiring game developers at the University of Texas.
  • Social Module will be in regular testing in May.

Game Support

  • Refining process of communicating with players, specifically Live Service Notification forums and on reddit.[Woo!!]
  • Players very happy about increased communication.
  • More stress tests will be requested in the future.
  • Stress tests are not only helpful, but fun!
  • Plans for supporting future modules rolling out in the coming weeks.

IT/Operations

  • Storage requirements continue to grow.
  • Other improvements for storage access.

Dev Ops

  • April focused on stability improvements.
  • Don’t expect any more Friday patch releases.
  • Aiming for a more tempered roll out of patches.
  • PTU will still be used for testing unstable/early builds.
  • Continuing to work on new launcher and patcher.
  • Working on automated dynamic infrastructure.
  • 40% done, the rest should be operating this month.
  • Working on large roadmap to reduce time it takes for a game build to be generated and tested internally.

Foundry 42

Animation

  • UK animation team has grown for Imaginarium shoot.

Engineering

  • Tutorial mode has hit the PTU.
  • Entity IDs being converted to 64-bit.
  • More straightforward way of transferring data about load outs, cargo, etc.
  • Much of the Squadron 42 vertical slice is in polish stage.

Audio

  • Continuing migration to Wwise.
  • Automated Foley will save time.
  • Obtained tools for consistent loudness normalization, particularly for dialogue.
  • New dialogue specialist, Bob Rissolo.
  • Tutorial audio got some work.
  • Foley session at Pinewood was fruitful for armor sounds.

Art

  • Progress being made on Vanduul fleet, patina paintovers, turret design.
  • FPS weapons for campaign worked on.
  • Includes attachments, grenades, etc.

Environments

  • Vertical slice for Sq42 being worked on.
  • Modular levels can no be built more easily.
  • Props getting some love.

Ship Team

  • Prepping assets for cinematic shoot in London.
  • Working on multiple capital ships.
  • Working on making capital ships a living, breathing world to be explored.
  • Idris, Javelin, and Bengal going into final production.
  • Starfarer making headway. [AWWW YISSS!!! /starfarer fanboy]
  • Working on Xi’an cargo ship, which is needed for Sq42.

BHVR

  • Working on social module’s first release.
  • Polishing shopping experience.
  • Shops will include:
  • Astro-Armada – High class ship dealer.
  • Casaba-Outlet – Clothing and apparel.
  • Cubby-Blast – Weapons.
  • Dumper’s Depot – Ship parts (initially in perfect condition, but this will change).
  • Medical Unit – Medical care for when you get shotgunned in the face.
  • Working on racks, shelves, items, etc.
  • Lots of logos for in-fiction companies.
  • mobiGlas notifications for lobby, shops and hangars.
  • First release will be far from final shopping experience, but it’s coming together.
  • Mariana, Odyssa, Crusader, and Hurston Designs planetside locations are in whitebox stage.
  • Planetside development speed will be accelerating thanks to modularity and other systems.
  • Holotable work continues.
  • Multi-crew lobby work continues, including private conversations.
  • Next month’s flair will be the first of a new series.
  • “Puglisi collection” have strong visuals and lots of cool fiction around them.

Illfonic

Engineering

  • Working on breathing duration, how it affects weapon aim.
  • Stock CryEngine hint system rewritten.
  • Gives tons of control over which direction gun will recoil, limits of up and down movement, etc.
  • Reduced traffic that needed to be passed from client to server and back for improved efficiency and less lag.

Art

  • Polishing all of the current in-game weapons.
  • Full lighting pass completed on Gold Horizon space station level.
  • Astro Arena level underwent complete rework.
  • Ongoing polish for weapon VFX.
  • Continuing to standardize weapon effects across ship weapons and FPS weapons.
  • Standardizing set pieces to be used in other PU locations.

Design

  • Tweaking feel of movement and gunplay.
  • Dialing in breathing, aiming down sights, and recoil.
  • New map and game mode work continues.
  • New game mode focuses on asymmetrical gameplay.
  • FPS scenarios designed to simulate actual situations that could happen in PU.

Continued in comment:

I personally am extremely excited by a lot of what I read in the monthly report.  Getting an early iteration of the Universe Simulator up and running seems like such a quietly amazing milestone.  Once again I am astonished at the tremendous amount of work and progress we see each month on Star Citizen.

Another heartfelt thanks to the amazing folks at Behaviour and the Community team for recognizing us this month.  We are very humbled and will work that much harder to be worthy of the recognition.

About the Author:

AnalogDan is a musician, producer, and TCU student from Fort Worth, Texas.

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