This post is a transcript of 10 for the Developers: Episode 04, material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is a Star Citizen fan site 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 04 – Key Takeaways
[1:17] Q: Can alien armor be directly used by humans?
A: No as alien armor is made with only those species in mind. I.e. Vanduul armor would be physically too large for any human. It may be possible to have armor constructed from the same materials and take a design cue from the alien races however.
[3:40] Q: Dear sirs, I would rather like to be able to change my character’s height and weight somehow, even though I doth understand that it shall verily be limited.
A: We’re working on it. We know people want to change height and weight, but it’s difficult within the CryEngine… engine. But we’re working on it, more for weight than height.
[7:43] Q: At what point does an animation added for an NPC become an emote?
A: Turning animations into emotes isn’t too difficult. The challenging part is the interaction: getting this to play well together and having a connection between the animations. Even though you can do something another player has to accept it.
[11:47] Q: Will we gain manual control of ladder climbing/exiting like other games or is the current system final?
A: Yes, it’s being worked on: there will be several different speeds (ex: relaxed walk speed, normal, emergency.) and the ability to exit ladders midway up (jump off).
[16:18] Q: What balance do you intend to strike between 3rd person and 1st person animations?
A: When it comes to FPS combat, first person is important and you can’t let 3rd person dictate things or else it feels off. In casual gameplay such as walking around there’s a little more leniency there because it’s not as vital to your character’s life as it is in combat.
[20:13] Q: When limbs are injured, will animations change?
[25:22] Q: What are the future plans to make collisions in space more reliable?
A: Fix bugs as they appear. As the system is so complex it’s expected to find bugs and tackle them as they appear.
[28:31] Q: How FPS will feel when it’s done and what is the closest game Star Citizen’s movement is closest to?
A: Star Citizen promotes aiming down your sight, tactical movement such as cover, flanking, and leaning. The pace is not as slow as ARMA, but not as fast as battlefield. There are many animations for various positions in combat so that your character reacts in a realistic way instead of battlefield where your character can turn 180 degrees without moving his legs. We have different animations from where your character looks from 0-45-90 degrees and 90+ as an example.
[41:22] Q: Will we have highly scripted melee combat motions, or less detailed ones that allow for more player movement?
A: Overall the goal is to give you freedom. We’ve been talking about jabs and swipes and parries and all sorts of things like that but we do want it to be fluid. For reference we’ve been looking at Eskrima and Kali and various different military trainings.
[43:46] Q: What will you be doing when the game releases?
A: They will both be members of The Simian Order, specializing in personnel and information extraction. Please see the official forums for more information.
10 for the Developers: Episode 04 – Complete Transcript
Steve Bender (SB): Hi, I’m Steve Bender, Animation Director at Cloud Imperium
Sean Tracy (ST): **** [laughs]
SB: And this is my partner, the everlasting midget.
ST: Okay, alright … Sean Tracy, I’m the Technical Director, not of chairs of content for Star Citizen, that was ridiculous.
SB: We would like to say thank you to the subscribers for giving us the opportunity to hang out with you guys and hopefully not screw up too much.
ST: No I don’t think we’ll screw up too much. Yeah it’s really nice that the subscribers let us make these videos, really can support us and these are pretty fun to do actually. Yeah we interact on the live streams and things like this, this is kind of direct interaction which is pretty fun, just question and answer type stuff. Thanks a lot to the backers as well as the subscribers for feeding our families while we work.
SB: Fair enough, first question was for you.
[1:17] Timothy Muster asks: Could alien armor be refitted for human use, like Vanduul chest piece retro fitted to pilot gear?
ST: Right. So I mean that’s one of those things that sounds really cool. Like I’m going to take some alien armor and i’m going to retrofit that to me, but imagine going up to Shaquille o’Neal and saying “Can I put your shoe on?”. It would be ridiculously oversized it wouldn’t work, so really we don’t expect for this to happen. You’re not going to be killing a Vanduul and ripping off pieces of armor and just taping it on me a la Transformers “Take my parts”. Type thing. It’s not going to happen like that.
Now will there be armor pieces that are inspired by alien materials and things like that for the humans? Absolutely, I don’t know exactly which ones those are going to be or what they’ll be made of.The Vanduul as they are, are at least eight feet tall. So again imagine putting on Shaq’s shoes or shirt or something like that, it would be like a dress on you.
So no you will definitely have to have some level of human armor that’s created by these alien materials but you won’t be actually taking a piece of Vanduul armor and wearing it yourself. I don’t think that makes a lot of sense.
SB: That’s a shame. I really wanted to get that feeling of Shaquille o’Neal sitting in that thing you know, walking around
ST: Yeah right you just walk around with this large torso piece.
SB: Yeah it’s got to be like a dress.
ST: Putting on his, putting on his jersey is got to be like a dress or something
Thomas Hennessy: Good job! I’m like seven feet tall
ST: But you’re not because we actually are very specifically one hundred and eighty three centimeters tall.
ST: I think that’s right. Is that how tall I am or is that how tall the character is?
SB: You are definitely not a hundred and eighty three centimeters
ST: What are you talking about?! I’m at least a hundred and eighty from the ground
SB: I’m surprised you can see over your desk half the time!
ST: So what you guys don’t know is that Steve and I share an office. Sort of. We have a little glass door between us because we both get a little bit excitable on Skype. So Steve might be talking. Actually the other day you were [Bleep] about something you were whining a little bit
SB: I never [Bleep]!
ST: About previewing animations and “Oh Tracy why can’t I preview this animation”. And he hadn’t turned around so it was actually pretty cool. It worked out pretty nice.
[3:40] GODWIN asks: We’ve been told that having variable character heights won’t be a feature of Star Citizen. :( What about character width? Are there other ways that CIG plans on allowing us to enhance/diminish the sense of physical presence for our characters?
ST: Yeah, this is a really good question, and on the character height we’re looking at different things, whether you’re wearing high-heels or boots or something like this, of course we want the height to change a little bit, but again it’s, it’s a bit of a tricky thing without changing the skeleton itself. Now, on character width, and having some targets for you know a fatter guy or a thin guy, the CryEngine used to have, and blame Crytek for this one, used to have the ability to have thin / fat variations, this was something way back in Crysis 1.
SB: vert colors
ST: Exactly. So, there used to be a, I think it was eight different channels of Vert colors, and in our character editor we could actually select each one of those channels, and for example, the upper arm would be the blue channel, the lower arm would be the green channel, the midriff would be the red channel, so you would just select that particular channel, and you had two variants, so you had a really fat mesh, a normal guy, and then a really thin mesh, and you could just have a slider that actually deformed between them, that would adjust, but, again, and blame character artists at Crytek, more specifically
SB: Definitely blame those character artists, those [BEEP] [BEEP]
ST: Basically [BEEP] [BEEP] what happened was that the way we controlled that was through vertex colors, the problem for the character artists was they want to use the vertex colors for vertex colors. They want to actually be able to do the art with the vertex colors rather than using them just as a mask, so that sort of functionality was removed from the engine a little while ago. Now. What’re we working on to actually do that? With our character customizer that we’re working on right now, what I want is the ability to have little control points basically that you will control whether it’s symmetrical or not, different areas of the mesh, so the midriff, the chest, the shoulders, the arms, the triceps, all these sorts of areas and we’re trying a whole bunch of different control points around the character to see how much we want to expose, and how much we don’t want to. So we could go to town on this, we could have 100’s of different control points, but I mean at what point is it too much right? So you will have the ability to adjust your character, adjust your characters body, to what degree, I can’t really say yet, because well, we’re trying a whole bunch of it, and sooner rather than later you guys will see it.
SB: Yeah, we’re also working on animations for these sorts of things, so the animations that you see right now for your characters in say the persistent universe are the base locomotion set, and what we’re planning on doing, and we’re actively working on this right now, is creating variants based off of that, so we’ll have, depending upon what your character is like, maybe he’s a little bit more macho, or something like that, you’ll be able to customize that portion of your character too, as certain variations in animation sort of give you that, what, that kind of personalized feeling for who your guy is.
ST: Right, right, cause you might want to have a different attitude, you might stand different….
SB: Yeah, exactly. I always stand like this.
ST: I just stand like this but I’m not flexing, I’m not flexing…
SB: Oh, damn. You’ve been working out.
ST: Mmm. Little bit.
SB: Alright. So.
ST: Not really, actually, I haven’t been working out at all. I don’t think I’ve worked out in *BEEP* three years. Oh, whoa, PG. beep beep.
SB: Beep beep, beep beep. I walk 3.2 miles every day to work. And then 3.2 miles back.
ST: Are you serious?
SB: Yeah. And then 3.2 miles back.
ST: I must walk at least 500 yards. 200 to my car, then 200 from the parking lot into the office.
[7:43] JAXX FORD asks: At what point does an animation added for immersion (deck crew assisting a ship landing, crewman eating noodles or cleaning their weapon) become an emote? Is it simply a matter of adding a slash keyword or is it more involved than that? Will we be able to use hand signals to guide ships to the nozzle on the StarFarer? Tactical hand signal? (stop, take cover, etc)
SB: This is a good question it’s also related to … there was another question by … somebody else is on there is it … Amontillado “Hi guys we’re aware that the characters will be able to pull others out of the line of fire during combat but will our characters be able to interact with each other in other circumstances such as pushing, pulling, restraining and hugging?” So these two things are basically … the answer to these is kind of similar.
So in Star Citizen and in the Persistent Universe you’re going to start seeing detailed animations for aircraft carrier launches and things like that. And in theory making those animations emotes isn’t really too difficult of a thing. We have a lot of eating, we have a lot of drinking. You’re going to be able to go a lot of places like nightclubs, and there’ll be waitresses there and bartenders and bouncers. We shot motion capture for people selling spaceships and stuff like that, like at a car dealership or things like that.
The challenging thing is the design side of this: getting this to play well together and having a connection between the animation. So for the AI we can control the things that we want them to do, when we want them to do it, and how we want them to do it. But for Players it’s really kind of restricting. So anything that we create as emotes however you could essentially use as jobs so we have an aircraft marshal … guy that sort of goes like this [hand gestures] … kind of like, almost like a work out right?
ST: Yeah it’s almost like a work out!
SB: But if we create them as emotes you could actually turn yourself into an aircraft marshal without it being an official job. You can just go out on the tarmac and start start directing traffic. And stuff like that.
ST: I think guys do that already. Totally!
SB: The other problem though with some of these actions, like the bartending and things like that are things … it’s about interacting with other players. The tricky thing here is even though you can do something it’s about the acceptance of the other player. So if I want to make out with Sean Tracy [Sean is shaking his head] he has to accept that offer otherwise I’m going to end up back in the HR office again. So the same thing is true …
ST: It’s only because you’re using tongue. It’s okay if it’s not with tongue.
SB: [laughs] Well you heard it hear folks!
ST: No, it’s not okay even without tongue.
SB: So … yeah … I think that’s …
ST: It’s awful.
TH: [off camera] It’s not making out if there’s no tongue.
ST: Okay, fair enough!
[11:47] Socrates asks: Will ladder climbing ever be given manual control as in most games? Currently we have to wait for a climbing animation to play out regardless of whether we want to change directions, stop, slow down, speed up or jump off. Is this being thought about, or is the current system more or less final?
SB: What’s he talking about? The ladders? In the FPS, you’re able to get on the ladder, you’re able to climb, you’re able to go down.
ST: So I think the problem is that they haven’t seen a lot of the FPS yet and a lot of the FPS levels have a lot more ladders within them. So I think he’s actually talking mostly about the ship ladders and different implementation of course than the environment ladders are. There’s a whole reason for this, mostly because they have to be items within the ship, there’s interactive animation components to it, but essentially those ones have an exit/enter animation whereas the environment ladders actually have the exact functionality he’s talking about which is climbing up, climbing down, jumping down.
SB: It’s really irritating, since you’re getting into the ship because it’s like (does an example of climbing really slowly).
ST: Because you’re kind of stuck in this whole thing.
SB: (Still acting in slow motion) Maybe I’ll go out and get a doughnut, somebody bring the coffee.
ST: And you might be under fire.
SB: Exactly, so I think that the short answer is because it’s an enter animation and it functions as an enter animation that likely you won’t be able to go up/down, up/down, up/down, off of it. However the lethargy within a lot of those enter animations drives me crazy.
ST: That is a really good word.
SB: Thank you, I had that in my back pocket the whole day.
ST: Really? You were just waiting to use it, you saw it online one night.
SB: We actually are working on creating three different speeds, so we have the relaxed walk speed which is currently what you see in the game for most of the characters. If you want to hit the Caps-Lock button, and he saunters off to grab himself a cappuccino or something, but the default one will be much faster so we’re starting to put those in. Then we also have emergency ones, so we had one where the guy runs, and jumps, and clears like three-quarters of the ladder, grabs onto it, jumps in. When we captured this the actor coming out he actually, because we built the Avenger on set like full sized height sort of thing on set obviously we don’t need the armor or anything like that, but he was jumping out of it from that height and landing and rolling and everything was cool, and then he missed the landing and he jacked up his ankle and was out for a couple weeks and I felt absolutely terrible.
ST: Do you think motion capture actors get, like, workers comp? “I was jumping out of a pretend spaceship and then…”
SB: Uh, yes through the union I think they might get something but…
ST: I just wonder what those reports would look like. “I was jumping out a spaceship, and I twisted my ankle…”
SB: But I felt like absolute [BLEEP] because he had a great gig coming up, like a couple days later, and he ended up having to call the director and tell him that he couldn’t make it because he couldn’t, you know, walk. But it was two weeks later he was up on his feet and stuff like that, awesome guy, but yeah they really put their heart and soul into some of these things and their ankles. So we’re going to speed those things up.
ST: And that’s the ship enter stuff and the ladders, again, in the environment act exactly like you’ve suggested which is pretty standard to most games, you always want that kind of control because you can’t be halfway up the ladder and decided to jump off and you have to climb all the way back down.
SB: Yeah that would really suck.
ST: Yes, that would be super annoying.
[16:18] Socrates asks: On a scale of: Crash Bandicoot 2 to Uncharted 3, how smooth and realistic should the finalized 3rd person animations look when juking and turning your character? It seems that with more smoothness and realistic 3rd person animations comes a more uncomfortable 1st person view. What balance do you intend to strike?
SB: I liked Crash Bandicoot 2.
ST: I kind of did too.
SB: Didn’t you like Crash Bandicoot 2.
ST: But when you’re talking about.
SB: That was fun!
ST: Yeah, but when you’re talking about the animations and animation director, I mean you would probably have a much better eye on that than I would, but a bit chunky animations, lots of lethargy.
SB: You know those guys down the street and they’re going to come over here and start beating you up.
ST: No I actually know those guys.
SB: So the answer is that yes, you’re correct. It’s certainly is a problem when you’re trying to get what is really realistic 3rd person animations. When you’re talking about something like Uncharted 3 where they’re able to spend time really getting those transitions and making them feel good from how your character looks and then you put that in first person and what ends up happening is because you can’t see your body, you’re getting these weird sort of pauses in how your character is moving and it feels wrong, especially with a weapon in your hand it feels lethargic.
SB: And it just feels uncontrollable. There is a balance that we have to get there so that we start with capture in third person and look to see what that looks like and then we start to break down what are the important parts of this animation so as the guys coming in, his squash that comes down like this, the overlap of this part of his body and we have to basically start dialing the time it takes those animations down. It’s really just the balancing act. Ultimately when we’re talking about the FPS combat, it’s the combat that’s going to win.
SB: Right. In the Persistent Universe when you’re walking around, we have a little bit more freedom in being able to sort of marry those two, the first person and the 3rd person concepts together a little bit more and we’re able to get away with a little bit more lag if you will when in first person and stuff like that, but in combat it really is … We’ve been working on it for a couple months now so we’ve been going back and forth, lets pull it out, okay well that has to get faster, but it can’t get faster the way it looks, so we’ll cut the time down here, but we’ll squash the character bit more so that as we do that blending in and out of that we’re still getting the squash in the character.
ST: I can tell it’s taking every ounce of effort not to stand up and start doing your examples, this is a very classic Steve Bender thing and I’m not sure you should be bound to the chair. I think you should unbind yourself and be free.
ST: Be free! No not that kind of free!
[20:13] From… [ACES] Sao Saoldian Asks: Will our character’s animation change when injuries are incurred? For example, if our right arm is shot, will it go limp and therefore cause us to switch the weapon to the left handed, or will he/she limp or move slower, if there’s a leg injury?
ST: Sao… Saol… Mr… Saouldian. Yeah, I think that’s good. Sao. Saoldian. Sao Saoldian. Saoldian. Sao Saoldian. Yeah I know, it’s just the question starts with his name. Saoldian. Sao Saoldian. Sao Saoldian, no idea how to say this. Sao Saoldian asks: Will our character’s animation change when injuries are incurred? Occurred? I don’t know if it’s my grammar or their grammar, but something’s wrong there.
SB: No, it’s definitely your grammar
ST: When injuries are incurred…
Hennessey: You incur the injury. Their grammar is correct in this instance.
SB: For example, if our right arm is shot, will it go limp and therefore cause us to switch the weapon to the left hand…ed… see? no, that’s his bad.
ST: Left hand, comma, or will he/she limp or
SB: No, see, it says will it go limp and therefore cause us to switch the weapon to the left handed.
ST: Oh. Nope.
SB: Nope. Or will he or she limp or move slower if there’s a leg injury?
ST: Question mark. I don’t know why I put the question mark there…
SB: That’s a good question.
ST: It is a good question.
SB: So, ahh, yes. You’ll be having characters, will begin to change the way that they move and interact with injuries. So if i get shot in the leg, I’m going to start to limp. If i get shot in the arm, that arm will no longer be useable. Now, there’s a certain amount of shot in the arm, like the likely one shot will not put your arm completely out of commission, but, there’s a couple challenges that we have in this though. In that, it’s about balancing this. So, when I get shot in the leg, and I’m moving, how fast am I moving? Because you know, we shot this stuff on set, we actually shot actors in the leg. not with real bullets but you know, we threw things at them. You know. Just sort of …
ST: Yeah, just give them a beating.
SB: And stuff like that right? Give them a good charlie horse. And then they tried to move, and it actually, whereas it looks good on camera, it’s one of those things in first person / third person where it just felt really slow. So, within the design we have injuries. So when you get shot in the leg, you’re going to be limping forward, when you get shot in the arm, likely we won’t be holding our arm down, if I get shot in the left arm I’m going to want to keep it up here because I want to make sure that, you know, I keep my arm above my heart level so I don’t bleed out, and you know, that gives us opportunities to do things with the weapon. So, for instance, if I get shot in the arm, perhaps I have to go to pistol, so I drop my rifle, I’m going to draw out my pistol, but I can’t go to two hand, so I have to go one hand right? And how does that change your accuracy with the weapon when you move with the weapon and things like this. Yeah. If you get shot in the right hand, you’re holding the weapon in the right hand what the hell happens?
ST:L What about things like reload and things like that too? So I guess you’d have to have some level of one-hand reloads, you’d have to have all these kinds of things right?
SB: Yeah, we had one of our mocap actors is a special operator, a British special operator, and he did this really badass one-handed reload.
ST: Is Chris a special operator?
SB: I don’t know… is he?
ST: I think so. I think all the British..
SB: Really? You think it’s like that secret… like the Kingsmen right?
ST: Oh it’s totally like that where the all go in and they have
SB: Right? Exactly
ST: Chris has a Cappucino.
SB: *fist explodes desk* That’s got to be it! Watch out with that. So, so what were we talking about?
ST: Special operators.
SB: Right. So, we had a Glock, and he was doing this thing with this Glock where he just… he had ammo kind of like this, and he would eject and this would go in and then he would like grab it in this funky grip and go
ST: Holy shit
SB: And go scrunch it together like this, the slide would go back, and then it would pop up, the whole gun would pop up, and he’d catch it in his hand and he’d be able to fire. It’s *BEEP* *BEEP* I was sitting there and he was just sort of waiting for the next take and I saw him doing this I was like.. what the f… is that? Do it again!
ST: Do it again! Turn on the cameras!
SB: Get the cameras on this. So, yeah. Absolutely we’re going to have a lot of that stuff in the game.
ST: So yeah, I think the summary is yes. You will have animations change when injuries are incurred. Awesome. Cool.
SB: And, good grammar. Don’t let him tell you otherwise. So… next one is for you mister Tracy!
ST: I’m excited!
SB: It’s not for me and you, it’s just for you.
ST: It’s just me.
SB: And it’s you CIG, and this is from Alien Eagle.
ST: Good one, Alien Eagle.
[25:22] ALIEN EAGLE asks: In regards to collisions: I really love how every object has collisions right now. However, it seems there are a lot of times we fall through hard objects, including our own ships (my 325a after every EVA). What are future plans to create more reliable collisions?
ST: Yeah so this is actually a really good point and to talk a little bit about this and why it happens. So you guys are aware most of the ships now have the local physics grid within them which is a sparse grid that has just local physics world informations so it’s a little island, sitting inside a bigger island, sitting inside a bigger island of physics.
SB: islands in the stream that is what we are.
ST: Well said! So basically what’s happening when this happens. So it’s only going to happen when you do a pass between the local physics grid and the world grid and going back and forth between them is basically a really tricky for us to deal with. Because it’s not only dealing with the play that’s going back and forth in-between sending forces in-between. Even trickier is that the bounds for that local physics grid actually exists on the asset.
So on the ship itself we built it into the weapon – actually ship script so what’s usually happening here and is usually one of two things. It’s either the code has been a little bit messed up in terms of when you are passing between these things, dealing with transferring all the character attachments and everything and if all of that isn’t transferred over you’re going to fall through. The other times this happens is when the asset itself has gotten broken in some sort of way or even worse that one piece of that asset hasn’t streamed in yet. So that’s a big, big problem.
Sometimes we will get the mesh in and the local physics grid information does come in. Usually that’s what you’re seeing in a lot of the PU releases, a lot of the PTU releases we ended up in this situation with a couple of ships. So the way you can kind of tell what’s going on is, if happens with every single ships that’s probably the code. But if it happens with just one ship well it’s probably just the asset itself.
These are just normal teething pains when you are trying to work on a physics system like this. Just because there’s so many interdependencies and complexity to passing all that data in and out, in and out, in and out. It gets really crazy when there’s three levels of nesting of something like that. You’ve got an Idris, which has a Connie, which has a Merlin. It can get pretty crazy! So just dealing with every single situation with that, it’s pretty normal teething pains. So I would say the future plans to make it a little more reliable is just to fix the bugs with it really. As we run into them absolutely we fix them
SB: Fixing bugs is what we like to do!
ST: Fixing bugs!
SB: Squish them!
ST: Squish them!
SB: Going on a bug hunt!
[28:31] Daz asks: I would like to know how FPS combat will feel when done. Can you explain how the character is going to move around, take cover and which FPS’s do you think are the closest analogue to what you are creating?
SB: So, how the character is going to move around and take cover. So, in Star Citizen our character does take cover, he does have actually cover animations set. So we have him come up to the cover object and when he gets there, he’s using his idle animations, the weapon ends up raising, now it’s not technically correct.
ST: Why is it not technically correct?
SB: Because you raise your weapon up towards your head, so you can blow your brains out or something like this. For us to be able to allow the players to read what is happening it’s important for design to be able to see that weapon, so we’re bringing it up here and we’re trying to be nice and safe. Then you can move back and forth across that cover object and around it and everything like this as well. Now when you hit an edge what happens is your character is going to then go from whatever that position is, to another, the weapon is going to move to another location. So say I’m going to my left hand side, to let me know that I’m at the corner of that cover object, and then I can peek out or if I go to aim I will then step out and come around the next corner and try to fire. What is the closest analog to what we’re creating..?
ST: That’s tough huh?
SB: Yeah it is.
ST: None of the shooters, really that are out anyway, are third and first.
ST: With the expectation that you can really play in both. There’s some that you can bounce out of, third, and see yourself.
SB: There’s a distinct connection within Star Citizen that doesn’t exist in majority of first person shooters, where the third person and the first person assets are the same assets. That took a lot of, sort of, engineering figuring this out.
ST: I like how you called engineering art ‘chasing the tail’.
SB: It actually came down to just a day in the Frankfurt.
ST: I explained it on my sort of intro to you but I actually had a little explanation to the subscribers about Evo’s one line change and then the little meme I did right after the fact, “1000 man hours? I do in one line.” But it was pretty cool, like it is interesting to talk about the first person/third person thing, and it does go totally in line with this only because we had tried for years back at CryTek to kind and get this right. This kind of started in Crysis 2, and like you know him far better than I do because you worked with Evo and other people at CryTek. It started in Crysis 2, you gave it a try.
SB: Yeah we tried.
ST: “No this is not going to work.”
SB: Because the problem really was an engineering issue and a time issue, during Crysis 2 were making a lot of major changes to a lot of different systems. It just, there were certain promising things about it, but there were going to be issues with it, we could see those issues and we certainly found that we couldn’t solve those issues within the time we had to ship the particular product. But changes that happened between Crysis 2 and Crysis 3, in the way that the third person character and the AI aimed, actually sort of set the ground-work for what we’re doing here, because, you know, later last year we were looking at some of these issues, and connection issues, and we were trying to figure out why this wasn’t working; why this other thing wasn’t working.
We saw the, we were like, the custom aim joint isn’t being used properly. So once we got that working, and we were able to get the aim system working properly, it was a simple matter of tying back to the camera setup, now we had control of being able to make adjustments within first person, that made the same actual adjustments in third-person. So where you are pointing the gun in first person is exactly where he’s pointing it in third person. Zero difference.
ST: And there’s just a huge disconnect with that right?
SB: It was such a simple, it was one of those sort of answers where you just look at it and you’re like, I remember standing there in the room and going, well can’t just bla bla bla? And tie this to this? And it was like…
ST: But you’ve been in game development enough years to know that, as soon as someone says “Can’t we just” usually.. not, can’t we just. So. In this case,
SB: In this case, it was! In this case it was just like, huh. And Evo went back, he made the test, and totally fucking worked.
ST: Yeah, which is super awesome, and I remember that we’re the initial naive sort of implementation, literally take a camera, strap it onto a joint, and see what it looks like, and like it looked cool but you realised, I’m kinda getting sick, this doesn’t really make sense, and then yeah.
SB: So, what is the FPS combat going to feel like? So… Start Citizen, from a feeling standpoint, is going to be a little bit different than a lot of the games that you’ve typically played. It’s not really a Call of Duty, but then again it’s not a Battlefield 4, but then it’s not an ARMA 3, but then it’s not a Crysis 3
ST: Yeah, right.
SB: We’re taking sort of pieces of each of those, building something something new, and utilize what I like to call competitive analysis. So what I’ll do is, we’re playing something so, for instance we’re working on the cover, and something is not feeling right, or it’s not playing right, and I’m trying to explain what it is that I’m looking for, or what is wrong here. So what I’ll do is I’ll go get video from competing products out there, and I’ll take those videos and I’ll also take examples of videos of myself doing something, or animations that we’ve done, and really break ‘em down and go, you see what they do here? You see what we’re doing here? This thing isn’t working here, right? And this is how we can fix that. I like what they’re doing over here. So, it’s kind of hard to sort of…
ST: It’s a nebulous question. How does it feel, how do you explain that. Now…
SB: And that’s going to change over time.
ST: And maybe I’ll give it a stab, because it’s… it’s somewhere, it’s not a twitch shooter, it’s not a Quake, it’s not a Doom, it’s not a fast shooter by any stretch of the imagination. Can you look around fast? Yeah, definitely you can look around fast. But it, things are not moving at that rate. It’s just not that quick.
SB: No, we want to promote ADS
ST: Exactly, Aiming down the sights. We want to promote some tactical movement, you want to promote teamplay, so, it’s, it’s definitely definitely somewhere between the Battlefields and ARMA. Where it’s not full simulation but it’s also not so simulation heavy that it becomes tiresome or frustrating.
SB: There’s some things you’ll see you may go “Oh hey I know that from say Crysis 3”. And things that we do with the character in the game because it is an engine game. It’s a similar engine so even though we have heavily modified it
ST: Even this bit of it, which is the most fundamental sort of part of the CryEngine is the first person aspect of it or the first person character aspect of it. We’ve kind of re-did that, which probably doesn’t make sense to a lot of people. The easiest thing to do would have been to say “Alright just copy paste Crysis 3 and go to town”. Again with this game we wanted to be something new something unique and we’re not afraid to give that a try right? I think that’s an important point anyway.
Maybe and to extend the question a tiny bit. I did one like, one of the examples, just to bring up one of the examples we were looking at. Between Battlefield and our turning in place. So and still we’re actually in a very real, realy shape that we have to fix our turn in place which is not as good as it could be in both our opinions I think. Or just our general turning. Battlefield has a really interesting system of you’ll be standing there and your character is allowed to rotate almost 180 degrees before his feet do anything right? You recall this we were taking a look over a multiplayer server?
SB: I remember you shooting me constantly as we were testing
ST: Yeah and then I was prone and you shot me in the face and you tea-bagged me sometimes it was… I remember this too! So we were taking a look at it what happens is with our game right now in Star Citizen in what like 30 degrees or something like this? I can’t remember what the foot turn start is. We’ve got different animations for 0-45, 45-90 and then 90 plus I think or I might have gotten that wrong, 30, 45 whatever.
Basically as soon as you’re outside of that rotation we start adjusting your feet so that you can align to that new position now. I kind of like the way that Battlefield does it because you don’t get a lot of this foot shuffling which a lot of people are not liking with our game right now cause one there’s a bug where you can get stuck shuffling. But mostly because and again this came from other bugs with the camera, you could see yourself shuffling and you don’t really see that anymore with the fixes that have gone in.
It does almost make a lot more sense when you’re holding a weapon you wouldn’t just rotate 30 degrees and then start doing that you would probably go just about as far as you can go and then you would make that rotation so it’s things like that just to wrap an example into that.
SB: Yeah we’re taking to that exact like originally it was 30 degrees off center. Now we’re going okay well … For instance when we’re in relaxed and we’re looking, I can go like this, I can go like this, I can go like this and now this is … I can go all the way over here, but naturally if I’m you’re here from me, I’m just going to, at this point I’m going to start to rotate. So it’s a balancing act between the no weapon. So when you’re relaxed, that behavior is a little bit different and the having the weapon so we want to remove a lot of that ticky ticky ticky ticky ticky coming across, but we also want to make sure that when I am aiming and I’m gonna go aim this way that I as I come this direction, right about here … So it’s maybe 60 degrees or so, I’m going to attempt to re-orientate.
SB: That way we’re still keeping the feeling of realism in the characters poses when he’s firing and stuff like that, but we’re not getting that ticky ticky ticky.
ST: Right, right right, perfect. So hopefully, daz that was enough info there to give an idea of what we think it’s gonna feel like. Of course we have the way that Chris wants it to feel, the way that we want it to feel which are all pretty much in line so I think we’ll get there soon.
SB: So let’s go to BigDave.
ST: I like that BigDave question.
[41:22] BigDave asks: In regards to melee combat: If there is a blocking/parrying system in place for melee combat, what games/movies/etc will you guys be looking at in order to get a basis of how those animations look? For instance, Chivalry has a somewhat rigid but free feel to the parrying animations, while other games such as Total War have very detailed combat maneuvers, but they are fully scripted (when zoomed in on soldiers). TL:DR – Will we have highly scripted melee combat motions, or less detailed ones that allow for more player movement?
SB: I think overall the concept behind Star Citizen as a first person combat game is to give you freedom. So we don’t want to go for with these …
ST: Quick time events?
SB: Yeah, quick time events.
ST: I hate to say that because of all the tomfoolery with Ryse.
SB: And things like that. But we are looking at … we’re talking about the design for these sorts of things. So in regards to what we are looking for reference we’re looking at things like Eskrima and Kali and various different military trainings and things like that. We’ve been talking about jabs and swipes and parries and all of these things like that. But we do want it to be a much more fluid sort of thing. The same sort of thing would end up happening if say you got into a fight at a bar in the Persistent Universe, right, you know, you don’t want to pull out and a knife and be stabbing somebody but you certainly can take a …
ST: It just depends who you are …
SB: I’m guessing …
ST: Well, no, I’d just curl up in a bawl and cry a little bit in each one of my bar fights.
SB: Perfect we’ll … let me write that down [writes it down] …
ST: Curl into ball …
SB: Curl up in ball …
ST: And cry.
SB: In ball behaviour. Curl up in ball behaviour.
ST: And cry.
SB: And cry.
SB: And cry. And we will that ‘The Sean’.
ST: ‘The Sean’? [laughs] Okay.
SB: So yeah.
ST: That’s a good answer.
[43:46] Ethnine asks: When all of this is over and ‘done’, and we’re all in Star Citizen playing together, what do you see yourself doing in the completed game? Will you be a pirate? Will you run security for some major organization? Or will you be a lone bounty hunter looking for his next big score? What roles do you see yourself fulfilling once you’re let loose in this amazing title that you helped create?
SB: Well for me my handle in Star Citizen is Ghost Monkey Five and I will be running a militant group called the Ghost Monkey Extraction Unit. We specialise in the extraction of personnel and information from highly sensitive locations. If you have found us and have need of our services leave us a message at Bones’ Bar on Terra.
SB: Grando Omnum Spiritum Simea. Long live the Simian Order!
ST: Wow! I can’t top that answer!
SB: I’m going totally role player on you. Totally role player
ST: No! That was amazing. I want to be part of the Simian Order! How does one become part of the Simian order? I had an answer to this question and it’s completely changed now. I’d like to be part of the Simian Order, could I be Ghost Monkey Eins?
SB: No, Ghost Monkey Eins is actually the entity which brought life to the void. You can actually learn more about this by searching for the Simian Order on the forums. Actually for the organisations.
ST: Awesome! So when all of this is over and done I will be searching out the Simian, The Great Simian, The Grand Simian and becoming part of the Order of… What was it again?
SB: The Simian Order
ST: The Simian Order, that’s correct! Yeah that’s what I will be. That’s what I will be.
SB: I hear The Grand Simian has an Aurora
ST: He does?
SB: And that he travels the galaxy spreading the word of the light.
ST: Is there a… Never mind I guess we’ll go too deep into that. Let’s just leave that one alone!
ST: This is the first we’ve given that a go. I think it was mildly successful we didn’t get too hijacked, too out of control so that’s really good!
SB: We’ve only been here for four hours Sean
ST: Yeah, really they haven’t seen that we’ve been here for four hours. Maybe they can read my watch so that might be a problem.
SB: They might be like “Hey what are they talking about? They’ve only been talking ten minutes”.
ST: See this is what’s happening.. So guys thank you so much for subscribing to this, thank you so much for allowing us to do this. If you guys liked Steve and I answering your questions trying to get through the questions without …
SB: Send a cheque to Steve Bender at Cloud Imperium Games dot com. Write it on the side of a Porsche 911.
ST: That’s kind of it. Really guys thanks a lot for doing the subscriptions for this stuff it’s really to be able to do these things. We had a lot of fun with it today and keep throwing in the questions and thanks a lot for helping us develop Star Citizen. I think that’s pretty much it I think we can send them off and we can get back to work
SB: Sounds good to me
SB: I need a beer
ST: I need a beer!