This post is a transcript of 10 For the Chairman: Episode 74, material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is a Star Citizen fansite and is not officially affiliated with CIG, but we reprint their materials with permission as a service to the community. INN edits our transcripts for the purpose of making the various show participants easier to understand in writing. Enjoy!
10 For the Chairman: Episode 74 – Full Transcript
Hello everyone! Happy new year, I hope you had a great holiday break. This is the first 10 for the Chairman of 2016 and I’m actually recording this in 2015 because right now I’m in the UK with the team for about two weeks, but I wanted to get an extra 10 for the chairman under the belt before I left so I’m recording this just before Christmas and you get this January 4th and then I’ll be back in the US sort of mid January and then I’m going back and forth between the UK and the US because we got a lot of work to be done and so I’m trying my best to be hands on spending as much time with all of our teams as possible.
So this I guess the past me in the future, so I don’t know whether you can call me a time traveller or not. Anyway, happy new year and I hope everyone had a great holiday and this is 10 for the Chairman where I answer 10 questions that have been asked by our subscribers. Subscribers are the subset of our community that have been paid money every month to help support our ongoing community content. So it’s this show and shows like Around the ‘Verse, Bug Smashers, Ship Shape, sort of behind the scenes pieces we do Jump Point which is a 40 to 70 page magazine with great behind the scenes detail showing how ships are built or how characters are made, lore about the world, fiction about the world. It’s a great read.
There’s quite a few other benefits for subscribers which we do because we want to say thank you for allowing us to do a whole level of community content that most games don’t get to do and it’s really partly because of you guys support that we can afford to buy the cameras and have folks that are dedicated to filming this and editing this and all the rest of the stuff. Thank you very much and for that I try to answer 10 questions to the best of my ability every week that are posed by the subscribers so let’s get into it.
(02:10) Belinir asks: On ship-persistence: Will capital ships, like the Javelin, remain in space after all crew members logged off? Will it need protection or a NPC-Crew to prevent the ship from damage or theft?
So that’s a pretty good question cause normally obviously you would land on a planet and then your ship just gets put in a hangar and everyone else can’t really access that hangar. So in terms of ship position, persistence on the really big ones like the Javelin, we determined that there’s going to be safe areas you can put it in orbit or dock, when it’s in that safe area and you’ve logged off nothing can happen to it. It’s not going to get blown up, or raided, or boarded while everybody’s off and sleeping if you left your Javelin in an unsafe area then maybe potentially it’s not, it depends how we’re going to do it. At some levels we’re going to take a little bit of liberty, like for instance we’ve said that ships that have beds; if you sleep in your bed, then that allows you to save the game.
One of the things we’re going to do so you could maybe sleep in your bed in an asteroid field and since there are no other players around, what we’ll do is once you log off we’ll take your ship, your ship will not be existing in an instance. So all the people flying around there, your ship wouldn’t be there so they couldn’t do anything to it and we’ll also probably do something similar to that on the bigger ships as well. We don’t really want you to come back to the game and go “Oh where did my ship go?” cause in real life you would still be sleeping on your ship.
So I hope that answers it. We’re going to basically protect it from people when they finished, logged off and it’s not in use, as long as it’s in certain areas that it’s safe.
(3:56) Blix asks: Will we be able to buy REC/UEC items and configure our ships to us in the 2.0 mini PU sometime in the future?
Absolutely, that’s very high priority for us. It’s one of the things that’s going to be up early next year. So we really want to have the ability to go to shops and buy things: you can buy weapons for your ship; components; personal items like clothes and stuff like that.
That comes with persistence, full proper persistence is going to debut early next year. Along with that the ability to buy stuff for you ship and personal self and really it’s going to be really focused, ultimately the 2.0 “mini PU” as it grows, that’s where it’s going to go.
We want to move away from you being on Voyager Direct on the website and only buying in our universe. So as soon as we have it robust in universe, Voyager Direct on the website will probably go away and you’ll just have to go to the various stores, the shops, to buy stuff in the game.
(5:00) SneezyDinosaur asks: In the universe, will there be a way for us to buy and sell used ships? Whether that be through used ship dealerships or via trading with other players.
I would say that long term that probably will be a way to buy and sell used ships. Shorter term what’s going to happen is you’re definitely going to be able to sell your used ship which you will sell at a discount, but probably will only be new ships available to buy at the dealership. So you would go to a dealership and go “Oh I’ll trade in your used Aurora for this and get this new ship so you need to pay me the difference”.
That will be happening pretty early, but having dedicated used ship sales places probably won’t be for a little bit. That’s sort of a lower priority. We’ve had the same discussions on clothes like could you go and sell your used clothes and then you have the equivalent of a thift store. While that’s kind of a cool idea, it’s simpler on the game mechanics side to sell the item at a discount since it’s now been used and then you just buy new items.
That’s kind of where we’re at, longer term we will probably allow sort of buying and having maybe used car dealerships, but you know you gain the ship and it’s got has some wear and tear on it and rundown so it’s probably needs somebody to fix or it may not operate as optimally until you can fix it up. That’s kind of it, trading with other players we’re definitely going to allow you to sell and trade with other players. There’s going to be some rules and limits to it to avoid the abuse of it and they’ll probably have to be things like title transfer tax and stuff like that when you sell a ship to another player, you have to pay the UEC or money to transfer the title just like you do on say a car here in the US.
(6:47) Trickery asks: Will there be the option of stealth gameplay for the FPS part of the game and the tools/mechanics to support it?
Absolutely. That is part of the core design. We are trying to make the FPS gameplay itself be more tactical, less just “run and gun”. Especially since it is more lethal than you would normally expect with a Call of Duty or something.
We actually have some gadgets which are good for stealth and distractions they’re just not in 2.0 yet: we’re going through and reactivating and polishing them from Star Marine and they will also debut with Star Marine. But we have the hologram gadget where you can put up a hologram version of yourself and you can be off sneaking somewhere else. We are going to have definite things that will help you with hiding your radar and noise signature, or heat signature, and stuff like that. So we definitely want that.
We have vents, that aren’t in 2.0 but will be in in the future, where you can sneak around or crawl around in and outflank people and do stuff like that.
Yes, I definitely see the combat in FPS being much more tactical and part of that would be allowing you to do stealthy stuff.
(8:05) Priam asks: Will players be able to play as privateers/corsairs/buccaneers, on the grey-but-still-legal side of the law and carrying letters of marque like Sirs Francis Drake and Henry Morgan? I don’t like being tied down to one org, but I sure do like a nice slice of pie!
That’s a good question in the particular case of Sir Francis Drake and Henry Morgan that was a, you had these various colonial powers all vying with each other. So the British would be like “Oh ok Sir Francis Drake, it’s ok if you sink Spanish ships you can’t sink English ships you can only sink Spanish ships”. So i’m not sure we have exactly the same situation here cause the UEC is, I don’t think the UEC is going to be “Well it’s ok to sink ships from Terra but don’t sink ships from Earth.” So i’m not so sure about The Letters of Marque but there will definitely be cases where, as a freelancer you will be hired by various orgs, NPC orgs or UEE or whatever and you’ll do sort of missions for these greater powers or organisations.
It’s a little bit like The Letters of Marque and I definitely think there’s going to be gameplay that will allow you to be a privateer or a corsair buccaneer so maybe there’s a grey area between Earth and I don’t know the Xi’an Empire or something like that. Stuff could go on and the UEE turns a blind eye and maybe the Xi’an Empire turns a blind eye to it, but there’s definitely going to be cool gameplay for all the play styles.
(9:44) The Tick asks: How will be able to land on an unexplored or uninhabited planet when populated planets bring you in on autopilot?
All right so we obviously showed the procedural tech at the end of last year. The plan isn’t really to have you go in on autopilot anymore, so the plan is whether it’s a populated or unpopulated planet, if you’re landing in a landing zone those ones would tend to be controlled. Just in real life you can’t just fly into New York’s airspace, they just don’t let you do that right now. What we would do is we would have landing tunnels basically, so you would fly down from space to the surface of it and there would be a tunnel entrance, a virtual tunnel basically. So this is the designated lane you could approach in and then we need you to land on pad 18.
You would communicate with the control centre for that landing area and they say, ‘yeah, go ahead and land’ and you would fly down there. So, as long as you fly inside the bounds of the tunnel and bring it down on the pad, great. The moment you would deviate outside it then the security flight control system takes over you ship and autolands it for you to basically prevent players from doing 9/11 stuff which is flying into buildings or trying to grief other players.
That will tend to be on the populated environments and in general on the other areas, just like if you’re landing down on a planet like a forest planet or something. If it’s all our procedurally generated stuff, small areas of interest then it’s kinda open to land where you want to land. That’s actually one of the things we are most excited about, we’re going to not necessarily have this huge four hundred billion star systems, that’s why we’re purposely keeping ourselves into a reasonable amount of star systems although hundreds is pry a lot but we’re going to have more going on on the planets.
So, one of the cool things with the procedural stuff which we’re already working on which is far more than what we showed is having a planet that has Crysis level fidelity of vegetation and details, we’ll have some wildlife and stuff. There will be places to go down and there will be an opportunity to do things like…collecting, mining minerals or hunting alien animals for their skins you can sell somewhere else or taking supplies to a small expedition outpost. I think there’s going to be a lot of immersion gameplay that we’re going to have and we’re going to put up points of interest or areas that will which will mostly be procedurally created so the designer will basically work with the world with the procedural tech and create something he likes and then sort of set some rules for it and that will determine a lot of things you can do. I think there’s going to be a lot of opportunity, it’s pretty exciting and we’ll be updating you as the year goes on that. Yeah, cool.
(12:56) legonick2000 asks: I was wondering if in the future you have plans to reward subscribers in more ways?
Yes. We’re actively trying to figure out how we can reward subscribers more because obviously we really appreciate the fact you guys have supported us doing all the community content that we do. I think we’re going to play around with things like REC, maybe different loaner ships and we’re also thinking as a subscriber is going to have some way that you pass into the actual game itself so I think it was the ICC Stellar Surveyor Organisation and we’re still working on that stay tuned I’m sure Ben will have updates on what we’re going to do with the subscribers. I think we have a patch that we’re working on for the Surveyor Organisation and don’t worry we’ve got your backs we much appreciate what you’re doing.
(13:57) Shrike asks: As additional features, functionality and game mechanics come on line, the need for an updated game manual becomes more important especially as we bring new backers on board. Will we be seeing more updates to the downloadable PDF game manual?
Yes, absolutely! We are actually working on the manual right now for the ‘mini PU’ 2.0 experience.
In addition to that the current experience is not great for a new player at all. We are partly dealing with the downside of having such a big team: you’ve got a team in this location [gestures left] working on this feature; team in this location [gestures right] working on this feature; a team in this location [gestures far right] working on this other feature. And a lot of times it’s like “Oh, what am I going to do for activating autopilot?”, “Oh, what am I going to do for going to cruise?” So at the time the developer is like “Oh, this key’s not used: let’s use this key”.
But there hasn’t been an overall ‘ten thousand foot’ view of that and that’s something we’ve been wanting, planning, meaning to do. Everyone’s just been so busy with stuff. But with the release of 2.0 I feel it is very important to increase, to improve, the UX experience greatly. As you get into the game it should be, if you don’t know much about it, it should help you learn how to fly your ship. Also as you upgrade your ships they could get more and more complicated, so the basic Aurora should not have all the features in terms of tweaking your IFCS, or doing as much targeting, or fidelity stuff, that a dedicated combat fighter ship, like a Hornet or a Sabre or a Gladius, would necessarily do.
I think one of the big keys is to have that gradation of complexity in avionics, complexity in weapon systems, that come with the components and the whole system we’ve got. So you start out, first get into the game, and it’s fun: you can fly around pretty easy, it’s easy to pick up. You know now to play an FPS game so you know how to move around. And then you go “oh, you know what, I really want to know more about this” and you can turn on the ‘advanced mode’ just like anything you do on your dialog box on most software you use there’s the ‘basic/simple use’ or and the ‘advanced mode’. We’ll have versions of that and you’ll also want to be upgrading, so the base starter Aurora will have a simple avionics package but maybe the Legionnaire has a more complicated one with the ‘advanced mode’ that allows you to do more tweaking than you can do right now.
So we want to make that experience better. We want to unify the controls: you don’t want to go from FPS to EVA to flying a ship and strafing left and right on the keyboard are all different keys. It should be consistent. So we’re making a big push to improve the UX and the whole so it should just feel like “okay, I go left and right: same keys no matter which mode I’m in”.
So we are trying to do that as an overall pass; make the experience better; have your ‘Bitching Betty’ “hey do you want me to walk you through the flight controls sir?” when you first get into the ship as a new player. So all those things I think will help out a lot in addition to the manual we are doing. It’s pretty important for us. I think we’ve got to the point now where all these systems together and we need to unify the user experience. We’ve got to make it less complicated for the people first beginning to play. And we still have to keep all the detail and complexity for the experts. And that’s a great game learning curve.
People say it all the time but “simple to learn, difficult to master”. So it’s get in, have fun and then you want to push it, you want to be a better combat pilot, you want to be a better racer, well pull of the the ‘training wheels’ and start turning the knobs. So we’re going to be focusing on that as a priority for me in the early part of this year.
(17:52) Banjo asks: Will the procedurally-generated environments be the same for everyone, or will the system generate entirely new terrain each time we visit a world?
Uh no, they will be the same for everyone. The key about procedural generation is deterministic. You start with a seed or a number of seeds which are generally numbers and those numbers drive all the formulas that would create the terrain, the oceans, the forests, all the rest of the stuff.
The beauty of that system means as long as all the players share the same same seed which they will, they can dynamically generate that world that will be identical on their machine to someone else’s machine on the server and that’s the ruleset of how procedural generation works. If you think about it it’s almost an incredibly efficient compression algorithm. Say maybe 5 numbers can generate this huge world with all this detail on it. That’s definitely how No Man’s Sky works, that’s definitely how Eve works, that’s definitely how infinity battlescape works and it is the way ours does.
The world, one you visit it will always look the same so procedural generation is just how the world was created from this small subset of variables, but it will always after those variables have been established look the same other changes that are enacted on it by a player. So if someone is mining somewhere and were taking away part of the rocks then that would be a delter on the actual base procedural planet which the delta would have to be shared to the other player. We’re longer term planning to do that, but shorter term we wouldn’t have players be able to do much modification to the planets just because you don’t want to be carrying too much data around.
(19:53) Lock Ostrie asks: Will the Starfarer’s refuelling mechanic come online when the ship is flyable or is this a feature that is planned for further down the line?
So no we’re actually that is one of the key things we would like to get working when the Starfarer becomes flyable is to allow you to refuel we really want to push, again we talked about these different game mechanics we’ve got parts of it in but not all of it in, so we do consume when we fly around, we consume fuel when we Quantum Drive and we have these Cry Astro Stations which just give you free stuff and obviously once you can work, earn UEC or Alpha UEC in our SC Alpha, we’re not going to have thing be free, we’re going to have shops where you can buy weapons. You got to go restock your ammunition or your missiles or you want to pay for the repair, and then we’re going to have missions that you can earn some stuff, so you can do that, you can upgrade your ships, you can fix it and all these sorts of things.
Refueling is another one of these things, we don’t really want to have a million Cry Astro Stations around it’s kind of a bit silly. There’s going to be a few but we want players to fly around in their Starfarers and they can refuel other people we also want them to be able to collect the fuel they’re going to use. Those mechanics we are actively working on those to have them be part of, just like when we had EMP debut with the Warlock we want to be debuting refuelling with the Starfarer. This month we’re going to put the Starfarer in the hangar it’s still a little bit aways off from flying it cause it’s such a big ship, other things that come in with that, but we are working on having all that stuff running.
Alright, so there you go! That is this 10 for the Chairman and thank you all, welcome to 2016. I think this is going to be a great year. Loads of cool stuff in process and happening and I sort of feel like we’re… I can see a very distant light at the end of the tunnel and anyway I’m looking forward to it and let’s get the show on the road and I will speak to you in a couple weeks time because I’m as I said in the UK right now. This is just past me talking to future you and I will talk to you in a few weeks and have a great time! Bye.