Apr 25

10 for the Chairman: Episode 84

This post is a transcript of 10 for the Chairman: Episode 84, 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 84 – Full Transcript


Chris Roberts (CR): Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of 10 for the Chairman. This is where I take 10 questions from our subscribers and answer them to the best of my ability. Our subscribers are the subset of our community that contribute money every month to enable us to do enhanced community content. So This show, Around the ‘Verse, Bug Smashers, Ship shape, a lot of the video content we do as well as things like Jump Point which is a 40-70 page sort of behind the scenes digital magazine we do every month.

It covers how we build ships, the various steps from initial concept all the way to final game model. How we think or design certain aspects of the game systems or game mechanics. Occasionally behind the scenes of certain events we do as well as lore about the universe like systems and companies and finally we have fiction in each one of the magazines. It’s a really great read, I’d recommend checking that out.

Also for subscribers we do kind of fun things like flair for the hangers as a thank you for enabling the community content we do and a lot of the money that subscribers contribute… lets us do it, lets us have these cameras and people like Tom on the other side that’s shooting me and so thank you subscribers for doing that very much and as such I answer 10 questions and these actually will be the last 10 I will answer for a little while because I am.. Well by the time you see this, I’m recording this on Friday, but it will air on Monday. I will be flying through the air towards the UK where I’m gonna spend the next 7-8 weeks between UK and germany.

We’ve got some pickup performance capture and motion capture stuff we’re doing to finish out Squadron 42. Some sort of VO stuff we knew we had to do once we had the levels fleshed in and knew this is what the guards would say or this is would be the radio chatter you would get. So we’re going to be doing that and hunkering down with the teams in the UK and Germany and we’ve got a lot of cool stuff that’s up and coming this year and a lot to be done, anyway I’m looking forward to it. Sadly I won’t be here in LA so shooting 10 for the Chairman will on hold for a little bit and I’m pretty sure we’ll have various folks from the company fill in admirably with other various 10 for the series stuff, but I’ll be back. don’t worry about that.

Alright so the first question of the 10 questions is from…

[2:51] Christopher1006 asks: What can we expect for clothing options in the first implementation and will they have an effect on us (e.g. bullet protection)?

So, at the beginning we’re going to have some social items like clothes – jackets, trousers, t-shirts plus you’ll be able to buy some flight suit or armour sets and these will be our very early stuff – it’s actually our legacy armour that you already know and run around on so a lot of time everyone’s running around in a light marine suit and then occasionally you’re going to get a medium marine suit if you kill a level five outlaw so those armour suits will actually not be in the final- they’re not going to be in Squadron 42 ultimately or the final game because we’ve got a whole new character pipeline and tech pipeline with new shaders and all the rest stuff.

So we’re working on those assets and it’s whole step above where the old stuff is but it’s not all ready for everyone to use just yet so the old stuff is still pretty cool so we’ll be selling some of that for Alpha UEC in shops down on ArcCorp and also actually, we’ll have a couple smaller shops sitting in Port Olisar at the very beginning with the very first implementation of persistence and shopping.

And the armour ones will give you a bit of protection – the new Item System 2.0 which I’ve talked about quite a few times will have a more sophisticated armour- personal armour and helmet implementation with life support and all the rest stuff. And that is actually in progress right now, it won’t be in the very first iteration of persistence and shopping but probably a couple of releases later we’ll switching over all the personal items to the new 2.0 system and that will enable us to have things that potentially keep you warm or help absorb damage which is what armour does so a- long-term expect to see more of that.

In the beginning it’ll be very basic rudimentary stuff but it’s going to be exciting because it’s the first time that you’ll be able to customize your- what flight suit you’re wearing, what social clothes you’re running around in and it’ll persist and- you earn some money killing some AI pirates and you can use that to get whatever in Port Olisar or down on ArcCorp so that’ll be cool.

[5:13] Vapor O’ura asks: It seems to me there have been a lot of lessons learned in online gaming over the last 15 years. My question is, have you been in discussion with former colleagues from your Origin or wider afield and has this influenced your thinking on your development strategy for SC? I ask because one of the truly enjoyable aspects of some of their games have been around player economy and socialization (thinking SWG particularly).

Well yeah, no, absolutely! So when I started this I … obviously Ultima Online’s one of the original grandaddy’s of MMOs. It was … started development when I was at Origin and I know a lot of the people that led it: obviously Richard Garriott, Lord British; Star Long; and quite a few other folk too. Had a fair amount of discussions in the early days. A long time ago subscribed to Star Wars Galaxy, and World of Warcraft, and all the rest of them.

Yeah a lot of that kind of shaped what I want to do with Star … it’s essentially I look at what other things do and I go “Oh, I like that bit” or “I don’t like this bit” or “I really would like this kind of experience”. That’s usually why I make games: I see something that I would like a certain way and there isn’t a game out there that delivers that experience so I go and make it. Which is really how Star Citizen came about because I felt like the technology was ready to build this immersive world that I’ve always wanted to adventure around in.

And I have to say that the social aspects, which I think you are asking about here, is one of the things that’s really compelling. And even in what you can see right now, in the early stages of the SC Alpha, where really you can’t … we don’t actually have that many systems of gameplay to support the social aspects, but people are just doing it anyway.

So someone get’s stranded out at a location and they’ll go into the chat and say “Hey come rescue me”. We haven’t … we don’t have any … we are to have support where you’ll have a rescue beacon, and it show up on a map, and you can pay people to pick you up, and stuff like that. But right now it’s all completely informal, emergent behaviour that everyone that’s playing is doing. So people are rescuing other people. Or people are getting together and crewing up ships and going off and getting involved in encounters and adventures. It’s really cool.

So we actually have a big focus of the world and system we’re building. We’re building play for people that want to play solo, definitely, right which is that old Privateer model. But there’s a huge focus on how we build gameplay that is that “group of friends experience”. Where you and your buddies are flying a Constellation or you’re out there interacting with other players, like someone needs help: they need to be refuelled, or rearmed, or saved out in space.

All these kind of things we are building systems to do that. We have a pretty exciting next stage communications platform that will unify what we are doing on the web and also what will happening in the game. It’s still … it’s in the early stages and we’re working on it so it’s not going to debut right now, but I definitely think that’s going to be pretty cool. Where you’ll be able to organise your groups and chat groups and friends and organisations. And be not in the game or in the game and have full presence in the chat. So not the very rudimentary, basic one we have in the game now. We’re going to basically unify it … well the platform.

So you could arrange on these chat setups for, and your groups arrange groups, and say “Hey let’s get together for a game. Let’s go adventuring together tonight at Xpm or whatever”, and later on you go in the game and it’s already set up. You set it up offline, maybe on your PC or maybe on one of your mobile. But it’s all the same kind of chat so you could even have someone playing a game and could see, say on your whatever, your Android or iPhone, and you could be chatting with some people playing a game in the same chat thing. It’s all … and you’ll see where they are in the star system. So we’re going to have a pretty cool … there’s a lot of focus anyway … the upshot is that we’re focusing a lot on social aspects, getting people together …

I mean I’m definitely always impressed every time we have an event because all these people say “Hi, this is my new best friend and I only met him through Star Citizen!” And it really … yes we’re a computer game that everyone sits in front of a computer and interacts, but you’re meeting real people on the other end. So we’re thinking about how we can get people to work together, coordinate together to achieve things. As well as just have the “lone wolf” gameplay. And then of course we have the bigger organisation “meta” gameplay as well planned in there.

So I’m thinking when all of it’s in, which obviously takes time because it’s wildly ambitious, it will be … I think, socially, probably our goal is to be something that people would look at and say “That is how you implement social engagement in your game” and I think if you look at what we do with the web side of things, and how we do it on the Community side, that you can definitely see that that’s our objective.

And those were some of the big take aways I thought were really cool: the emergent behaviour and the social aspects that came out of Ultima Online. You see some of those in EVE but also World of Warcraft: I mean there’s vast amounts of people that made friends, got together in World of Warcraft that would never have met otherwise. Which is totally cool.

So yes! We’ll look all of those and use it to inform what we’re going forward and doing.

[10:54] Adin Arache asks: How are you or we will be handling this situation: we are exploring or hauling long freight and it is late, we log off. Since we are out in space, our ships will be…? Attacked, safe til log in or SOL.

…I’m guessing that means shit outta luck rather than Sol – our star.

We’ve basically said that if you have beds aboard some of the bigger ships and you’re in a non-combat area where you’re not engaged in combat and so on- there’s nobody threatening you nearby if you go to bed it’s like a savegame otherwise you’ll have to land at a space station or land on another planet and then again it’s like a save checkpoint.

Those are the places you allowed to save- so we don’t let you save in the middle of a combat or pirates attacking you because that defeats the purpose but if you’re out in the void of space and nothing is around- you go to your bunk bed, “go to sleep” and then you’ll be able to log back on and you’ll wake up and you’ll still be out in that void of space because essentially that point will take your ship away so people can’t attack you while you’re asleep so that is allowing you to do a save checkpoint which is the same as if you land at a space station and then go sleep in a sleeping quarters or at a planetary landing location and do the same.

Those are the moments that “OK, you’re at the this point and you’re progress has saved.” but we don’t let you do it while you’re in conflict- we potentially wouldn’t let you do it in certain safe areas but there will be areas where you can do that so you don’t have to finish the trip- you could save, login and log out and still be back.

Of course the prices of the commodities you may be hauling may have changed if you take too long, but that’s kind of up to you, at least your ship won’t get taken or attacked.

[12:55] Smoke Stak asks: It was mentioned on a recent 10 for the Chairman that the new MISC ‘Prospector’ will possibly be able to carry cargo containers full of mined material to a Hull class ship. Could a Hull class ship possibly have the ability to carry a ‘Prospector’ in like a ‘piggy back mode’ so that 1 or 2 people could carry out a mining operation with just a Hull and the ‘Prospector’? Or will the Prospector have the ability to take jump points on its own?

Ok, the Prospector will definitely have the ability to take jump points on it’s own, it’s designed as sort of a more personal mining ship. We have the RSI Orion, which is industrial scale which is kind of like the Reclaimer is industrial scale but the Prospector’s more sort of in the size range of a Freelancer. It’s specifically got mining equipment for essentially laser drilling and tractor beaming up various sort of minerals and materials or ore and stuff you can find on the surface of planetoids or say off asteroids and stuff like that.

You sort of pack up these, whatever you want to call them, ore containers and they all fill up and those containers can be handed off to a bigger ship like… think of it as a container sort of paradigm where you see someone’s mining coal and they load it into basically train trucks and then the train goes off to like the coast and then they load it into a big container ship or a big coal ship and it goes across the ocean.

So, those kind of things will be available, I’m not 100% sure on whether the Prospector could potentially be attached to the Hull, if it was it would only be the very bigger Hulls, we’ve talked about them potentially being able to ship, almost like a car carrier you see, but it’s still early. We’re going to be showing the Prospector, this week actually and so hopefully you guys like it.

It definitely feels very MISC, it’s kind of cool and I think it’s going to be pretty interesting gameplay. So, I’m kind of interested in seeing people use that as going and doing non-combat oriented stuff but of course, then they’ll be taking the material somewhere to sell, then you can either hand it off or take them yourself. Maybe there will be pirates after you trying to jack you for the ore that you’ve got and then maybe you can have someone help and protect you. I think there’s a lot of cool immersion gameplay that’ll come from that. So, that’s the answer on that one.

[15:30] Alex Valentine asks: Now that the Constellation is roughly in line with where it should be, can we expect to see it capable of deploying its Merlin in the PU?

So the Merlin being deployed in the PU is on our schedule. We are working on it, it comes with some of the bigger ship stuff like we’re doing the same stuff for the Idiris where you can fly in Gladiuses and land inside it and we’re working on besides manual landing there’s some auto landing modes because it’s not as easy to land in a ship while it’s moving as you would think and the same will be kind of for the Constellation so being able to have Merlin dock in the back and then you get in and out.

So it’s not going to be in the next release or two, but in the near future yes because it’s on our road map and it’s just a matter of getting to it and having some of the other fundamental stuff.

We’ve been waiting till the full item system stuff is 2.0 because some of the people would be doing that are working on that and the sort of thing which we call Object Containers which is basically a holder of a whole bunch of objects and they can russian doll so you can have another holder of a whole bunch of objects inside it and object containers sit inside zones and essentially it’s not a CryEngine way, it’s our sort of new way of streaming in it like Port Olisar is a good example, that’s a space station.

That will be an object container so a point of interest will be an object container, but inside that you’ve got the space station and maybe room or each spoke or hub on the space station could be a separate object container so it gets russian dolled and then the Artists’ are working on it so it’s in a sort of modular fashion can save individual containers out and load them all in. The container itself holds the information for the objects inside it and has all the streaming information so it knows “Oh well I’ll get within this range, I need to start streaming in” and of course containers inside something, you don’t need to start streaming them in until you’re going to be maybe landing on it, you can be able to walk inside.

It’s the sort of fundamental tech that’s going to be running the Idiris and all the big ships because we’ve got huge floating FPS levels which you don’t want to be rendering certain and you don’t even want to have streamed in until you will be actually seeing them or using them or interacting with them. So that tech has to be in and then the Merlin and some other stuff happens. It’s mostly because the people working on that tech would also be the people that would be doing the Merlin docking and getting in and out of stuff.

[18:07] Steve Hunter asks: I am curious about the Quantum Drive (QD). Is it envisioned to have the QD be ‘steerable’ in the future (to be able to change your heading while traveling in QD), or is the QD meant to always be straight line travel only.

No, the quantum drive is always meant to be straight line travel. You are- you are travelling at such great speed that any course deviation would either have to be done either incredibly slowly or you’d basically be turned to jelly from the g-forces that are being exerted. Because point-two the speed of light – that’s very fast.

And the idea is that it’s just a space line shots- you’ll need to line up where you go and if any large object gets in your way like a ship or gravity well or anything like that- celestial body- you get pulled out of quantum drive because it’s essentially a hand-wavy science fiction phrase- it creates a gravity bubble around you that also helps accelerate you up to a really fast speed and then you do the opposite because- I mean, even just going from two-three-four-five hundred meters per second to point-two the speed of light in whatever it is- a few seconds- is an incredible amount of acceleration so unless you’re in your own gravity bubble you’d still be squashed and it only works basically in a straight line.

Which is cool because it allows emergent gameplay- see if you know which direction someone’s flying you could track their quantum jump and radio ahead, don’t forget that’s at the speed of light instead of 0.2c though depending how far they’re going you’d have to have a distance for someone to have their trajectory and you could deploy say a interdiction device which we think of like a gravity well that will pull you out in the appropriate place and then interdict the person that’s flying it. There’s a lot of cool stuff and we’re playing with all those aspects but it will definitely be straight line.

[20:11] Ch1gz asks: With the large number of controller options available, what is going to be your own personal controller setup when it comes to playing the ‘final’ released versions of Star Citizen?

Well, that Saitek HOTAS with that modular keyboard and the mouse. Absolutely, that’s totally cool, it’s totally themed, we actually spent a fair amount of time looking at prototypes and giving feedback like how it feels, where the button is – thinking about functionality. It’s specifically designed for Star Citizen to have the best of all the worlds possible.

You have your feel of controlling the flight with the HOTAS and you’ve got the keyboard obviously first of all for all the extra stuff and having a mouse for running around doing some FPS – that 100% will be mine. It looks cool and it functions- well, at least the early technical prototypes do, we have to finish the path of testing out the manufacturer prototype and all the rest of that stuff. We’ll put one on everyone’s desk – they’re super cool. So that will be it – my one.

[21:17] Cyres asks: Will there be any other way to stop people from ‘jumping’ away during combat other than using an EMP? Will we just have to hope to shoot their engines off and not destroy their ship or can we look forward to some sort of tractor-beam technology?

As I sort of discussed a little bit of this when we were talking about Quantum Drive and we’re thinking about several things like, the whole ability to interdict is something that we’re working on, all the ins and outs and edge cases of it. We do not want people to be able to jump away during combat.

First of all, they’re going to have to be able to get far enough away from whoever they’re fighting to have enough separation to spin up the Quantum Drive, they can’t have anything that’s blocking them inside. We’ve talked about certain things like the power drain needed to actually do the jump may drop your shields or whatever else it would make you vulnerable, if there’s other people around trying to take you out.

We’re also talking about when you come out of Quantum Drive, let’s say you get interdicted, you can’t just instantly go to cruise. Your engines will have to cool down, there will be a moment of vulnerability where if you’re getting interdicted you’ll have to survive for awhile before you can spin up to cruise to try and get away. Then get far enough then maybe you can Quantum Drive again, that’s kind of the idea.

So, one of the idea of the interdiction is that you deploy a kind of, whatever you want to call it, a gravity well generator which can be something that your ship deploys or you could deploy it…  kind of think of it as putting a mine out there or something or a hook to catch fish going by. Definitely there is going to be plenty of ways to stop people from jumping away, the gameplay you see right now in the mini PU, will not be the actual final gameplay.
We’re working on the systems, like everything we’ve got a massive list of things to do and it’s really just comes down to priorities because we could have double the amount of game programmers and they’d probably still be saying, ‘We don’t have enough people’. Yes, there will be other ways to stop people from jumping.

[23:38] Jack Hollow asks: With the Star Citizen event being held in L.A (as expected) and being announced as the ‘first upcoming SC event’, can I assume that I’ve booked my rooms and tickets for Gamescom in Germany for nothing and that SC/RSI will not be there this year (whereas they were there for 2014 and 2015)?

So Jack, no, you don’t have to assume that. We are absolutely going to be there – I was actually looking at our well, both our press booth and our game show floor booth, so we’re going to have more of a presence on the actual floor – I think there’s going to be a couple of pop-up social events we’re going to do there – so the one thing we’re not just doing this year is we’re not doing the big feature reveal that we did the last couple of Gamescoms in the big venue mostly just because that can be pretty big on logistics and we’ve got a lot of things going on like obviously Squadron 42 that everyone is working hard on and a lot of features are coming up for Star Citizen.

We are going to be showing some pretty cool stuff and it will be various stuff that we haven’t developed but we’re going to focus more on the show floor, doing some press stuff and then some social, some pop-up events so people get together and mingle and talk rather than big full-on presentation like we did the last couple of years and that’s mainly just for- we’ve got a lot of stuff to get done and everyone’s running kinda ragged because we’re getting pulled on a lot of things and the big Gamescom event takes a lot of focus.

But we’re absolutely going to be there, I’ll be there – people like Erin will be there, Brian Chambers will be there, community folks will be there. So I think – we’ll be there. So don’t worry about it, there will be plenty of time to have some beers in the beer garden. Alright, so you didn’t book your tickets in vein.

[25:24] Tramps Nest asks: With the introduction of persistence and economy will you still be able to rent weapons with REC and use them in the PU.

So no, REC is only going to be a device used for essentially Electronic Access – which at the moment is Arena Commander but will also be Star Marine when that comes online and if we have a gamemode for Sataball which also is down the line versus the real Sataball, because you’re also going to be able to really race as well in our PU universe – but anything in the PU universe will be in UEC. So in the beginning it’ll be Alpha UEC which is the “temporary” or the “alpha” version of our proper currency that we can reset now and then.

Because obviously there’s going to be a whole lot of experimentation and balance issues and all of the rest of stuff and so you’ll earn Alpha UEC and you’ll use that to buy things that will persist and the REC will be just the way it is in Arena Commander as it is right now. And you’ll probably be able to use Alpha UEC to buy some REC – that meta, buying in one game, the exception – how many levels down do you go? So there you go.


Alright, that’s the last of the 10 questions I have from subscribers for this week. Like I said at the top of this show it will be a little while before I’m back on this since I’m going over to the UK and Germany for a decent chunk of time to deal with Mocap and PeCap and sitting with the teams. So I’ll miss doing this for a few weeks, but when I come back I’ll be at them again and in the meantime there’ll be a whole bunch of other folks sort of taking up the slack and they always do a great job and sometimes you get bored of me anyways.

Thank you everybody, thank you to the subscribers who contribute money to allow us to do this, really appreciated. Thank you to everyone that has backed us. Allowing us to make the game of this scale. I say it every month, or every week, every time I get on this show and anytime they ask me, but without you guys we couldn’t be doing what we’re doing.

We’re building something widely ambitious that I am 100% confident that no other publisher or company or anyone would be crazy enough to do. The investment really honestly is too big for a “PC game”, and a “Space game”, but we’re doing it and I think we’re gonna make history because we’re going to build something of detail and complexity that you normally don’t have the opportunity to do and it’s because of all you guys. So thank you very much and I’ll talk to you guys in the hopefully not too distant future, bye.

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