This post is a transcript of 10 for the Developers: Episode 02, 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 Developers: Episode 02 – Transcript
Will Weissbaum: Hi and welcome back for another edition of 10 for the Developers. We’ve got two such devs here, but before we get into it I would like to start by thanking all of the subscribers out there who make this content possible. All the extra shows and written material that we can release every month thanks to their generous donations, we couldn’t do it without them so thank you. We’re here inside the brand new CIG Los Angeles studio which is coming together really nicely. It’s still under construction, but everyday it gets a little bit better and it’s incredible the space we have now, it’s very exciting. And…
Jeremiah Lee: We’re in the fan cave!
WW: Yeah, look at all this neat stuff. How much do you want one of those? I really want one of those. We’re gonna find out. Maybe we can put a link down here, this isn’t going to happen, but right here this is where you can get your own, just right… *Laughs*.
JL: Put it in there, do it!
WW: So to introduce ourselves, we’re the ones who are going to be talking. I’m Will Weissbaum, I’m the Senior Writer for Star Citizen and with me is…
JL: I am Jeremiah Lee the Concept Artist for cloud imperium games in Los Angeles.
WW: So shall we get into it?
JL: Yeah that’s great, let’s do it!
(1:24) Perry_Hope asks: How are you writers approach a new detail for yourself. Is it more like BAM something comes into your mind and the creativity starts or do you guys have epic discussions with good ol scotch and a massive Churchill cigar involved? Also I would like to see more stories about relations between the races. When will be your next stories? Or do you guys getting other authors to write about in game stories?
WW: So to start off, I think the inspiration comes from a lot of places. A lot of times you’ll just be driving home and an idea will pop in your head and you’ll come in really jazzed and it will really flow from you. But a lot of times having a creative job, it’s the job portion of it where you have to have the discipline to come in and write and generate ideas on demand, and that’s the difficult part.
WW: We all have an office together and it’s really helpful to be able to turn around and toss out ideas. So sometimes we’ll sit around and do brain storm sessions where we use shared documents to share ideas with each other and that’s a life saver! I don’t know how it is as an artist having that forced creativity come about.
JL: Yeah, it’s pretty similar but the difference would be the writers would come up with a backbone for the visuals, for the concepts. But we have to flesh those concepts out and sometimes the definitions of a character or an idea are very broad so we’d have to fill those in and that’s where the creativity comes in. Which is very close too, since we work with other artists, we bounce back ideas. Sometimes, like for the John Rhys-Davies character, you and I, we chatted quite a lot actually just regarding the outfit.
WW: Yeah, it was pretty fun coming at it from his background and how that translated into the materials or the designs.
JL: Right, right. So art is pretty much similar. I mean sometimes we do have “artist’s block” and we’re like “oh no what do we do, it’s due in two hours but we don’t know … !”
WW: So how do you get past your “artist’s block”?
JL: For me it’s research.
JL: There’s a plethora of information out there and so, if I’m designing a leather jacket, I don’t just type in “leather jacket” on Google. I might …
WW: You should! That would probably be a good place to start! [laughs]
JL: Yeah that would be. But if I want something original I’d search for things that might be related, so I might do like “motorcycle outfit” or like, I don’t know, “World War II” and maybe if I see some cool shapes I might implement it into a leather jacket or something. So that’s my way of getting round the “artist’s block”.
WW: Yeah, research can be very helpful to take a break and do it online. I find myself getting caught in “research loops” though because I love learning.
WW: So I’ll start looking up stuff and ten minutes later you are somewhere completely different on Wikipedia and you’re like “okay, I got to actually go back”. And then, probably the biggest thing I would say, that took me a while to learn, is even when you don’t feel inspired or you feel like you don’t have a good idea is just to put out whatever you do have in your head and oftentimes just dumping out that first pass will let you be like “well that’s stupid but this would be cool” and then you can revise from that. But staring at blank sheet, or blank canvas, is the really daunting part.
JL: Oh, gosh yeah!
WW: So if you can just start filling that in with whatever then that a huge grab.
WW: [referring back to the question] And so stories about the relationship between the races? Yeah, hopefully. We have a lot of discussions going on behind the scenes about the races and how the different alien species are going to interact with each other. And so we’re planning on how we are going to roll out that content. And we are still working with various different authors to generate material for the Jump Points mainly right now. So that’s been a lot of fun working with those outside authors and getting their takes on things.
(5:30) Johnny_71 asks: I’m hoping to be a battlefield Medic in game…as I understand it, the differing armours types each have their own loadout maximums(similar to ship hardpoints). Will a medic have any type of visual identification that designates them as a medic? A Medic variant if you will….
JL: So we do have currently a concept and it’s still in production for a, a navy corpsman. So we do have a medic but I think, Johnny is more talking about like, in the field type of medic.
WW: Yeah, when they’re flying around in a Cutlass Red or…
JL: Right, right that’s what I’m thinking. So far we do not but we do have the, we did the design the insignias for the medics and so we might, it could be a possibility of just slapping that texture on.
WW: I mean I think there’s been discussions about having some customisability, and the textures being able to decorate your armour in certain ways. Definitely a good option would be to have that Red Cross insignia or whatever the version is in the universe is, so you can roleplay as a medic and hopefully people won’t shoot you or i’m sure a lot of people would try to wear that armour and pretend they’re a medic so they won’t get shot but then go around shooting other people anyway.
WW: Which is really bad don’t do that!
JL: I don’t think we’ll have like Starcraft their medics are like white, but that’s just for visual cue, but in real life a lot of the medics in the field they wear the regular BDU’s and they wear the regular gear that a regular soldier would wear, right? Just because we don’t want the medics to stand out. So they might have a patch on their left arm I think? But they don’t look necessarily any different.
So well i’ll address a kind of, i’ll segue ways into another question so i’ll save that for later. We’re planning on having our marines very modular like our ships so we could easily just swap like a shoulder piece out but like a medical insignia on it. So it could be in the works, not currently cause we have a lot more important stuff, but it is a cool idea.
WW: Yeah, yeah. Taking a look at what would make an armour set better for a medic. Like maybe they have more smaller compartments on the suit, it would just be a general armour that could hold smaller things like medi-pens at the sake of carrying around more weapons. So you’re giving up the weapons slots to carry more medi-pens maybe that would be…But it wouldn’t have to be medi-pens because of how flexible the systems supposed to be, it would just be that size storage.
So it will be interesting to see how it develops and giving people the flexibility to kind of design the armour they want to wear.
(8:25) Perry_Hope asks: We got TNGS and we will get TNG Star Marine. I would like to see The Next Great Star Citizen Writer. I think we have some real talented writers upon us. What do you guys think? Cheers from Germany.
WW: I think that’s definitely true. I’ve been really enjoying the fan fiction that we get on our site and on sister sites like INN and we have a lot of fun reading through those. I don’t know if they’ll be something like the Next Great Star Citizen Writer, but we already have in a place a system in which people can submit work to us for consideration, inclusion, and various things like Jump Point and the site. We’re in the middle on our end talking about how we can clean that up and make it a little more friendly for people visiting the site.
So stay tuned hopefully for some word on that as we work through it on our end, but we definitely enjoy that engagement with the community and drawing upon the awesome talent that’s out there. Yeah, just really getting the sense of what you really want to roleplay and what you want to see in the universe we take that into account.
You can touch on the Next Great Star Marine, I mean we’re going to have all these backers submitted artwork
JL: I know which I’m super excited about. I.. like I see a lot of… I can remember.. I don’t wanna.. I’m not going to say it. Okay I’ll say it! Okay when we had that massive leak of all.. somebody got ahold of our link. There was a fan and he literally just textured the bengal carrier and after I saw that I was like “Oh that sucks, but it’s so cool!” Everytime I see the fan base come up with some sort of art it’s just really, it really put a smile on our faces especially the Artists because it motivates us to also make it better, because we can. We have to live up to the hype and everything and we want to step up the quality bar. Everytime we see the fans do really great artwork it’s just really, yeah.
WW: I mean with the amount of talent we ended up being able to hire from the Next Great Starship that’ll be kind of cool to see what kind of influx of characters we get from the Next Great Star Marine. Alright, all you.
(10:57) Kieren_Akari asks: @jlee_CIG in the early descriptions of potential armour classes, it was noted that pilots do not wear the heavier classes of armour. Are there any plans to make heavy armour prohibitive for flying or staffing other stations?
JL: Yes. Currently for our game, I think it’s the light marine is stationing a lot of the stuff. A lot of our ships. And the reason why is just the size. The pilots, not the pilots, the light marine is pretty much almost our base male, and so when we design our seats and everything, there’s a specific size right, and so a heavy marine will have a lot of gear and he won’t fit in those specific, those chairs. And also I was talking with Randy I think a couple of days ago and he was saying that light marine is a certain height, and the heavy marine is literally almost touching the ceiling of the Cutlass I think, or some ship, so there will be limited access to pretty much the size of your armour, so you won’t necessarily see a heavy marine driving a Merlin.
WW: We have like flight suits distinctly designed for pilots that don’t have as much protection and are more flexible, so might be the kind of thing that you have to literally suit up before you plan on heading into battle.
JL: Yeah, right…
WW: Or carry people who aren’t pilots on your ship who are suited up to protect you.
JL: They’re just cargo.
WW: And I think we’ve talked about like, potentially maybe limiting what you can physically sit down while you’re wearing like, if you have a giant gun strapped to your back you might not be able to get into certain seats anyway without taking it off and putting it into storage before you go in, so that kind of role playing elements is pretty neat.
JL: So, to answer that question, it’s really depends on the size of the character, and depends on the, pretty much if you have giant stuff on, you can’t sit on a chair. It’s like, yeah.
WW: Once we start allowing the mixing and matching of different pieces, it’ll see where that kind of breaking point is
JL: Right, that’s the scary part is the… *laughter
WW: We’ll have to figure that out
JL: Yeah, we’ll have to figure that out later.
WW: Really beefy legs and like, no shirt, that’s how I’m gonna fly.
JL: How come I can’t sit? We’ll have to see… we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
(13:22) Perry_Hope asks: We heard about Citizenship after finishing SQ42. Will the Citizens have other clothes than Civilians? Cheers
WW: So the really short answer is no. Citizenship doesn’t really denote that you’re in a separate economic class or you’re separate apart from the rest of the civilians they’re very much a part of the same. It’s a registered voter doesn’t wear different clothes than non-registered voters. Except for on voting day where they get the little sticker but other than that it’s pretty much straight clothes. You probably expect…
Did we mention that we’re still under construction here? So you would expect them to be shopping at the same kind of stores and buying the same clothes. Probably the biggest influence on what you’re going to wear is you know, or at least as far as NPC’s are seeing where they live.
That’s kind of where we’re going in different styles coming from the cities where they’re hanging out the weather there and the economics. Like you would expect people who live in New York City to dress differently to people who live here in Los Angeles.
JL: Yeah. I was talking to Will outside it’s like. Even the off duty soldiers, they don’t wear their BDU’s when they’re off duty. They have to wear civilian clothing. That’s why you see all those videos about Stolen Valour. There is a purpose for that especially when we’re tackling military type of worlds. We’re going to try to stick to real life references and so no. To give you a short answer no.
(15:28) Dazc asks: Hi Jeremiah, can you tell us a bit about the power armour in terms of visuals and function. Also how do you design it so it doesn’t become the go to end game armour?
JL: Ok so the first thing I would like to clear up is Star Citizen not like World of Warcraft. It’s not like you’re going to do this raid and they you get this raid armour. It’s a completely different type of game. We kind of, the way we’re going to build armour sets and our items and our clothing. which kind of ties up to another question isl there’s going to be different item slots, for specific armour and so for instance like the heavy armour will have a lot more slots, item slots compared to the medium or the light.
So it all depends on kind of what you decide to wear, but the thing is, the heavier armour you wear, the slower you might be, the less visibility you’ll have. So there’s always a pro and con. So there isn’t necessarily the best armour suit but there is the best armour suit for certain situations that would be I think, a better term, explanation of what the armour, power armour type of things.
Also in terms of visuals and functions. So we currently as Chris mentioned I think two Ten For The Chairman’s ago, or three, I don’t know when this airs! He was talking about just the marines and having an undersuit and having items attached, I just finished, i’ve been working on the maries for a month or two and so without spoilering anything, we have a suit like an under suit and we have items attached to it. So pieces will literally be attached to the undersuit. So in terms of visuals I concepted it so it looks like things can come off and on quite quickly, it’s almost like you’re literally just attaching things. It’s not like Lego
WW: No it’s like The Centurions!
JL: Right! Cause we were talking earlier…pretty much
WW: Bonus points if you got that reference
JL: So that’s how I designed it, I also had to take into consideration of what type of item attachments they’ll have, cause that determines the forms of the shapes and also the rigging. How the character will more I can’t just put two hundred pound like shoulder pads like World of Warcraft or like the Space Marines or like. I can’t do that because it restricts our movement, so I had to take those into con… So a lot of those basic anatomy things like movement can determine how I shape these things so.
WW: So do you get like a breakdown from design on what a piece of armour needs to be in order to hook into item wise or carry or?
JL: Well for this character what they kind of did was they gave me the basic requirements of “This is what this suit is supposed to do” or “This is what the light or the medium or the heavy will have to have” And I had to fill in a lot of those.
Design they give us as much information as they possibly can but sometimes they can’t give you the right answers because they don’t build it and I build it myself, I look under and over and around and be like “Oh we’re missing this”.
Also in terms of visuals a lot of reference. There’s a lot of current day military and also a lot of cool shapes like movies like Blade Runner, Aliens some of that stuff. A long winded answer but yeah
WW: Yeah definitely that balancing thing so that everything has positives and negatives to it. You’re really strong and really protected but at what cost?
(19:27) Eschatos asks: I have similar questions about the item ports system for clothing/gear. Do all clothing pieces have item ports? Can you give us a general overview of how that system works and the types of things we can/can’t do with it? Ex: Are there weight limits, does it apply to NPC loadouts, etc.
WW: It’s almost the same question as Farseeker, so I’ll just read Farseeker’s question. ‘I know it has been mentioned that clothing / character equipment will have an item port system, somewhat similar to ships. Can you give us any examples using specific clothing and other equipment? For example, will pockets serve as item ports, and not just be cosmetic? Will wearing a pocketed vest over coverall spacesuit increase the number of items, small enough to fit the pocket of course one can carry? Also, can one have a holster for a pistol sized weapon, not just on a belt, but between a shirt or a trenchcoat, or strapped to a space suit?
JL: So the way, I hope I’m right but, I know I’m right… I think I’m right…
WW: Well, this is your current thinking on the subject, subject to change…
JL: Yes, but, from what we have currently is that each suit or each clothing have a specific item slot. Now, we can’t say that oh, if my heavy marine chestpiece, chest plate, has eight slots, then I can stuff eight pistols, like that’s not how it’s going to work right? So, each item slot will be specific for a specific size or a specific type of item. So, for instance, instead of having six magazines, maybe you want six medpens for instance. Like, the question that Johnny_71 asked, for in the case of a medic, right, so that’s how we’re going to do our item slots, and so when it comes to layer clothing though, it’s still in the works. So that’s not… we’re not quite sure how we’re going to tackle that necessarily, like dusters and stuff. we don’t have space cowboys…
WW: Yeah, trying to figure out how pockets are going to work. I mean, it would be nice if there was a reason why you change out of your t-shirt and jeans into work clothes, because they provide you with extra storage for, you know to put on that tool belt before you went out to go do your repair job, so I mean I think that’s kind of an interesting layer and you know, hopefully factoring in possibly how NPCs react to based on what you’re wearing is something we’ve started to look at potentially, so walking around town in your full armour might get you slightly different reactions than walking around in your sweet sweet leather coat.
JL: And I don’t think we’re going to necessarily approach it like kinda how MMORPG’s kind of treat it, like you have 36 item slots and so you can carry six bazookas, and you’re wearing them like a jacket, like, I mean, it doesn’t really make sense so, we’re still fleshing that part out but I think the vision that we have is those item slots are kind of locked for specific item types and sizes.
WW: Cause the way you’re designing it is like, is everything visible right now?
WW: So like if you have three grenades, you can actually see those three grenades on yourself, so I think that’s going to carry over to a lot of things, like maybe you’ll have a backpack if you want to carry around a lot of stuff, but umm… that’s really, I’m really excited about that, that you’ll be able to see it being depleted on a guy, or being able to eye check an enemy and know if they have grenades.
JL: Right. ‘Do you have any weapons on you?’ and have like six grenades. ‘Noooooo’[both laugh]
Like, the way we have the marine set up right now is we have the magnetic attachment points, and you can actually see those magnetic attachment points, it was so hard to place them in the right areas, and to look cool at the same time, but literally we have specific magnets to match specific items, so… like for instance we might have grenades on the right side, and the magazines on your waist, and the holster for your gun on your right thigh I think, so we have specific magnetic points, especially for the military. Yeah.
WW: It’s interesting. Something that looks kind of neat and futuristic in real life, like you know, a gun being stuck onto a chest or stuck onto a leg, looks really kind of fake in videogames because it’s so easy just to stick junk onto a character, so like when you see… so it’s definitely a careful balance to make it look and feel good.
(23:44) Farewell-Red asks: Did you correct Mark Hamill’s nose? As a character artist you could also feel like a plastic surgeon :)
JL: No we did not. That is an actual, legitimate Mark Hamill scan. The texture to the geo that is straight up Mark Hamill. We wanted to really capture the soul of Mark Hamill. And I tend to see a lot of games where they fix scans and make it symmetrical and everything, they don’t look as real.
WW: Yeah. A little weirdness.
JL: You need that off, that asymmetry and sometimes those weird things like Owen Wilson’s nose: he won’t look like Owen Wilson without that nose! So there are specific things but, yeah, we kept it the same.
JL: [refers back to question] As a character artist you could also feel like a plastic surgeon. I’m a character concept artist and I do that all the time. And actually that might not be a good habit. Like for instance the John Rhys-Davies character I made him a lot slimmer initially I think. Right?
JL: I mean he’s a very husky guy but I made him look like an Abercrombie model. And they’re like “no, no he’s bigger than that” and I was like “alright”. So I do do that because I’ve been trained to draw visually pleasing …
WW: More idealised …
JL: Yeah, I mean … it’s society … anyways that’s a whole different topic! But, yeah, as a concept artist we want to make images look very sexy, very visually pleasing so sometimes I do fix a lot of the imperfections but specifically for the scans and all that it’s going to be …
WW: Are we going to be doing stuff like adding scars onto people? And messing them up a little more?
JL: Don’t quote me on this but that is the plan I think.
JL: And so what we’re doing is, which kind of ties into the next question …
(25:42) Amontillado asks: Will you be able to leverage the assets you’ve captured/created for your hero characters, into the player character customization? We know we’ll be able to blend between various predefined faces in order to create our own for instance. Will these predefined ones include the hero faces that you’ve made for SQ42?
WW: Like could you have Mark Hamill’s nose?
JL: *Laughs* No. So the players will not have access to the celebrity character list from what I’ve been told, so no. But we have scanned hundreds
WW: Including me!
JL: Yes, hundreds of individuals so you can blend between those. Potentially you could frankenstein a Mark Hamill’s nose if you wanted I guess, but you would have to, you can’t just be like “Oh mark hamill’s nose”, you would have to construct it together with your creativity.
WW: I have to say it was really awesome to be able to be head scanned, it was one of my favourite experiences so far when I was out in England. I got a chance to sit in a chair and have all those cameras go off and it was really cool and really creepy to see a 3D version of my head rotating around so hopefully all of you will be able to play using my enchanting eyes.
JL: A bunch of mini wills running around the universe *Laughs*. I think Metal Gear Phantom Pain they had a similar customization type of thing. Can I do spoilers?
Tom Hennessy: Depends on what they are
JL: For the game, not our game.
TH: If it’s not for Star Citizen ****ing feel free!
JL: Oh sweet! Alright
TH: Maybe I would say, “Hey I’m about to spoil Metal Gear Phantom.”
WW: We’ll put a spoiler tag, there will probably be nothing here again.
JL: Yeah, spoiler tag, alright spoiler figure, spoiler. For Metal Gear Phantom Pain there’s a scene where snake has to have plastic surgery so the enemies won’t recognize him. I literally flipped the table, how dare you do this to my snake. So what I did was I customized the character for him to look exactly like the original snake *Laughs*. So I literally spent like 3 hours, I printed a picture of snake, slapped it on my TV and almost make it exact. So kind of how this leads into your question is you could probably stitch something together with our big database of scans to make the face that you want. So you might look like Mark Hamill, but we won’t be giving you that specific asset.
WW: We want to keep those reserved for the special characters.
JL: It would be weird wouldn’t it if in Squadron 42 Mark Hamill is mentoring you and you look like Mark Hamill.
WW: Then you would just assume he went to the same plastic surgeon as you did *Laughs*. Especially picked out nose number 4.
JL: Mark Hamill is a robot everybody, he is a clone
JL: Great, now for the last question.
(28:44) Bucurel asks: When did the UEC move away from paper money; or do they still use some paper money? Is the Star Citizen economy tied to a gold standard? Thank you
WW: So UEC stands for United Earth Credits and that came along in the Messer era and we haven’t quite known how, but I believe it was always a digital currency first and foremost not attached to a gold standard. Gold standard has been abandoned for a long time there’s not that much gold around to support an economy.
WW: A little bit! Most people are, need a. We’ve done stories about this about how the difficulties tracking digital currency across the systems when we have that lag in communications. When you have to send a comm-array. So if you buy something at this convenience store in this system to notify your bank that you spent that money the trip that information takes and how they handle with local relay stations.
So we’ve been talking about what did those currency chips may look like what are you collecting when you find currency. So there might actually be physical currency that you come around which are basically not transferrable data things that get stocked around versus kind of wiring and those would be potentially more reliable in systems without comm-arrays versus the more central areas where you can hook into the Spectrum and transfer it that way.
JL: That is interesting. What if I bought something but it’s literally maybe thirty solar systems away so by the time the information had reached another solar system there might be inflation
WW: Well we did a fun story about this bank robber who was basically going to all her banks and withdrawing money at each one and racing faster than the comm relays could go and so they didn’t know she had already withdrawn her money in the previous banks which was really fun. So we have built in safeties so that you can’t do that now.
But we’re going to have to explore that hopefully in 2.0 the Social Module and the alpha getting some form of expenditure once the stores are online we can start seeing how currency works more from the design aspect and we’ll update the lore to address the needs and concerns about how people are interacting with the credits in game. So something you’ll have to think about from a character design standpoint, is all those pockets to keep your spare change. Are we getting a fanny pack is that in the pipeline?
JL: That’s what it is
WW: The official marine CDS fanny pack, hold your extra clips of ammo
(31: 19) Outro
WW: Well that wraps up this episode of “10 for the Developers”. We answered ten questions with ten answers. I think that worked out pretty well. Sometimes more, I’d say we we’re about like fifteen answers to be honest.
WW: And we have to thank, once again, all the Subscribers for not only submitting these awesome questions but for donating to make this show and others like it possible. As well as to thank all the Backers really, for letting us work on this amazing project. Thank you so, so much it’s been a dream come true so far and I’m really excited about this game. Yeah.
WW: Thanks, see you around the ‘verse!