Greetings fellow Citizens! Check here for our coverage of the 53rd episode of Around the ‘Verse!
Around the ‘Verse
– Terra Gazette’s Riley Rudin refuses to give up sources – Did she really visit Spider before filing her report on its biological goods market?
– Citizen vs Civilian – The economic gap between the two has increased yet again.
– Are you a mobiGlas addict? Dr. Shirlee Woods new book claims that using it too much could be ruining your life.
Around the ‘Verse
– Chris Roberts is back! The squadron 42 shoot is over and after a brief visit to Foundry 42 Germany he is back in Santa Monica.
– Chris Roberts’ plane landed at LAX at 4:30 PM and he was in the office by 6 PM working on the powerpoint for Comic Con (SDCC).
– 300 Series free fly week wraps up tomorrow and they are looking for feedback!
– Some great comprehensive threads, people are really putting the 300 series through their paces.
– Star Citizen Alpha 1.1.5 is coming. Shooting for a PTU launch tomorrow.
– There will be two new flyable ships in 1.1.5. The Merlin will be available for everybody and Scythe will be unlocked for those who have purchased it or unlocked it through Subscription perks.
– Development of Star Marine continues! Check out Friday’s comm-link for the latest update from Jason Hutchins. There’s a poll in last week’s update to choose gun sights for one of the guns.
– Finally, CIG closed out Comic Con on Sunday. Chris and Dave Haddock walked us through the background and lore of the universe.
News from Around the ‘Verse
3:47 – Santa Monica – Darian Vorlick
– Flying solo as everyone else is meeting getting ready for the next patch.
– Working on getting the finishing touches nailed down on the Scythe and the Merlin so they can be flyable in 1.1.5.
– In the process of getting the balance changes, done by Matt Sherman, approved by Chris Roberts – might tweak a few more things before they go live.
– Game balance is an iterative process, they will be continuing to tweak things after feedback from the community.
5:20 – Illfonic – David Langeliers
– Changes to the decoy hologram – will retain the stance the player was in when they placed it.
– If the hologram gets hit, it will phase in and out so there is a small visual read that it’s not a player.
– Changes to grenades and gadgets, before you would have to select them in your hand before you could use them. Now it’s a quick throw action.
– Cooking is in for grenades – you can trigger it and then throw it right as it’s about to explode… but hold on to it too long you will blow up along with the grenade or if you get shot the grenade will fall to the ground and blow up after you die.
– Changes to electric shotgun – it was overpowered so they have slowed down how fast it can shoot, added some animations between shots to support this (cocking animation and vents opening on the side to dispel energy) and communicate to the player that the gun isn’t ready for the next shot yet.
7:35 – Austin – Jason Hutchins and Justin Binford
– Jason Hutchins is back from Denver
– Austin working on GamesCom demo, FPS, and their normal PU work.
– QA is spending lots of time testing 1.1.5.
– Scythe and Merlin coming with 1.1.5.
– Whenever there is a new ship added there is a lot of back and forth and work to get it right.
– Also testing balance changes.
– QA testing GamesCom demo – large world, local physics grid, multicrew, quantum drive.
– Company-wide FPS playtest this week.
– FPS playtest is largely to ensure the net code and networking backbone is working.
– FPS playtests are a lot of gathering metrics and such… not a lot of just having fun. Sometimes get to shoot each other in the face but it is also a lot of just sitting around in the game.
– A lot of focus testing to ensure blockers are fixed.
– Seeing a huge improvement as days go by.
10:15 – UK – John Crewe and Johnny Jacevicius
– Shooting from one of the new audio booths. It’s very quiet and colourful!
– John Crewe working on FPS – balancing all of the weapons, gadgets, armour, grendades, etc.
– Pushing the difference between energy and ballistic weapons in terms of recoil – how much they deviate when firing. Also, the damage type they’re doing. Laser impacts don’t have mass behind them so they’re doing some little things to make it feel different both shooting and getting hit.
– Tweaking new grenades coming in from Illfonic. Tweaking gadgets so they’re quick and fun to use.
– Nailing down breathing differences between light/medium/heavy armour so each has a good use and role.
– Johnny Jacevicius working on Vanduul ships – mostly capital ships.
– Working with art to determine weapon loadouts and placements for the Vanduul ships.
– Want a good balance between the Vanduul and UEE fleets.
– Working on the Stinger and Void Bomber which are the Vanduul equivalent of the F8 and the Retaliator.
– Doing basic flight setup on Stinger and Void Bomber – thrusters, etc.
– Working on the Argo – SQ42’s industrial workhorse.
12:40 – Arena Commander fan video (running along the terraformer in Broken Moon and then getting launched off into space)
Sandi and Ben
– Thanks to our studios around the world.
– Had a chance to sit down with Zane Bien and discuss the Merlin UI:
– Because of the sleek look of the new Merlin, Zane wanted to make the UI feel like a high-end sports car.
– Wanted the Merlin HUD to feel unique.
– All of the functionality of the HUDs from other flyable ships has been remapped to the Merlin HUD.
– Lines in the HUD reflect the geometry of the ship.
– First did a standalone version mockup, then a photoshop version, and then finally brought it into the game.
– Merlin HUD is the next step in getting each ship their own unique UI, working off of the initial case which was the Aurora.
– Manufacturers will share a design language for the HUDs.
Sandi and Ben
– Everything Zane does is quite slick.
– Ben: He’s the real wizard behind the Merlin.
James Pugh and Chris Smith, Principal Ship Artist
JP: It’s good to have you back on! I think you’re the first person we’ve ever had two interviews with.
JP: Since we saw you last, what have you been working on?
CS: I’ve been working on the Constellation this whole time (6 months), believe it or not. Started on the Constellation earlier this year, Josh Coons and I we’ve been pluggin’ away at it. Trying to get it in with our new ship pipeline. Using that to our advantage to try and get it out pretty quickly. The goal was to rework it and make it look better than it has, bring it up to the visual standards of the other ships. Integrate it into the pipeline and take it from the start to the end properly with the ship.
JP: I imagine it’s kind of a test case for how we’re going to revamp or remodel future ships. Looking at how we can take this iconic ship like the Constellation and try to bring it up to speed. Have any of those processes you are seeing permeated throughout the rest of the ships?
CS: Yeah, most of the new ships so far have gone through that treatment. The Constellation is one of the only ones so far that we’ve reworked because it is going to be one of our main multicrew ships besides the Retaliator. It’s supposed to be like a proof of concept thing in terms of multicrew ships. That’s why we had to redo this one. I think in the future with older ships, we may be leaning towards instead of a redo more like an evolution. Basically keep an old ship and then make a new ship that is better or more efficient and it’ll be like the “2016  Hornet”.
JP: Yeah, I’ve heard that. That’s pretty smart. So, the way I look at the Connie, it’s sort of what is going to lead us towards AC 2.0 and multicrew right? We have to make sure that one is good to go first and then we can expand from there?
CS: Yeah, definitely. Like I said, the Retaliator is a little bit further ahead as far as getting it flight ready and everything for multicrew. We’re basically getting the Constellation up to that standard in a quicker time. That’s the goal. We hope to be done very soon.
JP: Are there any AC 2.0 features that you’re having to design or redesign around?
CS: So far… no. I mean, a couple of design features… the big thing will be integrating all of the modular pieces – shield generators and all that stuff and making sure there is a place for that. There are just a couple of things that are outstanding design-wise that won’t be in 2.0 I think, but everything else should be there. We’re building the Connie out to where it’s just going to be ready for all the next versions and everything.
JP: So, you went from doing TNGS straight into the Connie?
CS: No, not really. There was some Mustang variation time I think. There was quite a bit of reworking ship pipelines and working together with UK and stepping back and re-evaluating what we need to do to make sure these ships come out better and faster. I spent some time with that working with the guys in the UK. Then I started the Connie… then it was a discussion around: “We need to rework this.” I got thrown to that earlier this year. When was the end of TNGS? I don’t even know when that ended…
JP: Over a year ago at this point…
CS: It was over a year ago. Wow.
JP: Yeah, I remember that was one of the first things I had done here.
CS: God that is so long… seems like two months ago. So… most of the things I was doing was the Mustang variants and getting that on the road and all the racing versions and all that stuff.
JP: So, what’s next? What’s the next ship you’ll be working on after you get the Connie out the door?
CS: That is a good question. I don’t know myself actually… I guess I sort of have a pick if I wanted to. But once we get this out I really have no idea. I’ll make sure to pick out something cool for myself.
JP: Thanks so much for coming on!
JP: Back to you guys.
Sandi and Ben
– Ben: Thanks James! I guess you could say it’s beginning to look a lot like Chrissmith.
– Sandi: Groan.
Ship Shape with Lisa Ohanian, Production Coordinator
– This week we’ll discuss our damage tech.
– Shown it previously but haven’t gone in depth.
– Most ship reworks are for modularity or damage tech.
– Eventually all ships upgraded to new damage system.
– UV layers are the first step to understanding the new damage tech: UV layers are essentially the mapping of 2D textures on to 3D model.
– First UV layer is the colours, text, labels, and decals, etc.
– Second UV layer shows damage. When second UV layer is showing all the way through, this makes a ship look battle-worn.
– Also make use of vertex colours in the new damage system. This is a mapping onto our model of which areas can show certain types of damage.
– Certain areas on a are stronger and more resistant to damage, usually the core of the ship. In that area a shot might make a bullet hole mark while that same hit on one of the weaker areas might make a hole right through the ship.
– One of the most exciting things with the new damage system is the degree of detail. Previously if you shot the wing of a ship you might see some damage on the wing and some particle effects shoot off. With the new system, you will see scorch marks or punctured hull in exactly the location of the hit and in exactly the shape of the shot you used to inflict it.
– Shows a comparison of the M50 damage (old system) versus the Merlin (new system).
– M50 doesn’t show damage in a detailed way.
– Merlin shows extreme detail in damage including holes through the ship in exactly the location the weapon hit.
– New system is much more realistic and can aid in strategy as players decide what they want to target.
Ben and Sandi
– Ben: Star Citizen may be the only game where you actually want to see your ship horribly destroyed.
– Merlin is coming! It will be available for $20.
– The Merlin will be in patch 1.1.5. It will be available for sale and for rental with REC once 1.1.5 goes to the Live server, not the PTU.
– Merlin is a cool, fast little ship. Looking forward to seeing what people do with racing and general dogfighting.
– If you have a Constellation Andromeda, Aquila, Phoenix or a Carrack or an 890 JUMP you will get a Merlin attributed to your account. For the Andromeda and Aquila it will be to keep. For the rest it will be a placeholder as you wait for the Archimedes/Carrack Scout Ship/85X to be done.
– They need your AC footage for Around the ‘Verse – submit cool video on the forums!
– New Jump Point magazine this week!
– Thanks to Erris for sending in Star Citizen coasters for the Santa Monica office!
– MVP is coming back! Sandi and Ben will be announcing MVP each week from the forums.
– Appears to be a concept of a hospital room on an unknown world.
Sandi and Ben
– [Sandi is balancing coasters on her head. Ben is covered in coasters and has one on his head.]
– Tune in to Reverse the ‘Verse tomorrow at 11 AM Pacific time on Twitch – Will answer questions about the sneak peek and Star Citizen in general!
– Thank you to subscribers for making AtV possible!
– [Sandi continues adding more coasters on top of her head and gets to 12 before they collapse.]
– “Hello. I am Ben Lesnick and I’m here to deliver an important message to our worlds leaders. Deliver us… uh… I don’t know… Cheeze-Its or something and… *laughing* and we won’t destroy the Santa Monica Pier!”