This post is a transcript of Around the ‘Verse: Episode 2.28, 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!
Around the ‘Verse: Episode 2.28 – Full Transcript
Jared Huckaby (JH): This week, Jared learns what terrifying secrets lie within the chambers of Brian… Chambers.
Plus Archivist Cherie Heiberg takes us on another tour of Loremakers Guide to the Galaxy.
And what’s this? A small mining ship?
All this and more on this week’s Around the ‘Verse
SGT_Gamble (SG): Merlin. A merlin is there.
Good night Al, good night Dethos good to see you man, thanks for stopping by buddy. Ram does not get me anywhere I need to know… Oh! There we go! There we go! Somebody did it! Oh but that’s epic! That’s epic! Look at that. .
Pilot 1: Alright I guess I’m gonna come in hot from the top.
SG: Alright, somebody ram into the top level ships. OH! Oh my God dude. This is so [Redacted] Cool.
Pilot 1: I just super cruised everyone from the top
Pilot 2: I took it from the bottom so we met in the middle
Pilot 3: Well this is a testament to the warp, I survived.
SG: That is amazing yo!
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Pretty awesome to see the whole server come in together for this creative endeavour
Ben Lesnick (BL): And that’s one expensive game of bowling.
SG: It is one expensive game of bowling. Welcome to this week’s episode of Around the ‘Verse. A look at Star Citizen’s development. I’m Sandi Gardiner.
BL: I’m Ben Lesnick and I make a da spaceships.
SG: He does make a da spaceships and today which won’t be today when it’s today is Ben’s Birthday! So Happy Birthday Ben, yay steamers and popping and we’ll put a hat on you.
BL: Happy Birthday Ben. All your budget for special effect, right here.
SG: Didn’t get a potato, did you get a potato?
BL: I did get a potato. You’re the potatoless one here.
SG: I didn’t get a potato. I’m not sure what these potatoes are about, but I didn’t get one so I feel kinda left out.
BL: Well these potatoes are from the folks on the live chat. It says, “To whom opens this box, my name is Matt. My ingame name is SPCFS, you can call me spec 101” and then there’s a blank explanation of why he sent us potatoes with our names on them. So we’ve got a Amanda in the UK, that’s Jared.
SG: That’s Disco Lando
BL: That’s Toast who has a tie.
SG: Oh that ones you!
BL: Ah! There I am.
SG: Yup there you go
BL: I think I’m the only one with my actual picture on the potato.
SG: Yours is actually quite… Lets see, for sale, ships. Oh that’s Cracklin, that’s Henry. I thought there was one of Chris. Oh is this Chris?
BL: Yes that’s Chris, he’s the king potato.
SG: Oh wow, there we go, Thank you. Ben what is the latest version of Star Citizen.
BL: That’s it for the potato report we’ll see you next time.
SG: Yeah exactly. What is the latest version of Star Citizen.
BL: Well we have Star CItizen 2.3.1 on the live server right now. That gives you access to the Persistent Universe, Crusader environment where you can fly missions, engage in FPS combat, crew multi-crew ships, do kind of all the initial Star Citizen stuff. You’ve also got access to the Hangar Module, Racing, Arena Commander for Dogfighting and offline stuff, just all sorts of stuff you can do with Star Citizen now.
SG: And we’re still holding a freefly if you’re thinking about it, but haven’t pledged just yet. So the free fly runs until, Monday?
BL: Monday yes! It will be free fly through Monday, just register an account and you’re good to go.
SG: And you want to tell them what ships are available?
BL: Yes we’ve got the Aurora MR, the basic starter ship for Star Citizen. That’s what you would get if you bought the standard 45 dollar package. There’s a Mustang Delta and not but not least the Hornet, the civilian Hornet F7C.
SG: And speaking of Hornets the military ship ends today. If you’d like to pick up a Super Hornet, Gladiator or Retaliator, get going.
BL: Yup last chance for the military ships for now as we’re moving on to an even more exciting sale tomorrow.
SG: Ben can you tell us what’s coming up next?
BL: Yes I can! The team is currently testing Alpha 2.4 internally and it’s gonna be one of our biggest iterative releases in awhile it’s looking like and we’re hoping to go to PTU and do public testing soon.
SG: Cool, looking forward to that. The April issue of Jump Point is now available for all of our development subscribers. This month we take a look at the development of the Starfarer plus portfolios of Tarsus Electronics and Ninemo system.
BL: Yes it’s a good issue. Standard all around Jump Point. Some of that content will be shared over the next month with the rest of the community, some of it remains exclusive to Jump Point such as the original Star Citizen fiction and I’m pretty sure that I named the electronics company here. Earlier on we did this grid of all the, I think it was Pete Mackey and me we were coming up with names and names and names of things, that’s where the Greycat came from. Whenever the writers now need something they pull it from the old corporation matrix, but Tarsus is the starter ship in the original Privateer, so I’m betting that was me.
SG: I’m not sure how seriously I can take you with that potato, holding that potato.
BL: I get that all the time.
SG: Yes. The MISC Prospector launch is kicking off tomorrow. This small mining ship is ideal for those who want to strike off on their own in search of minerals and riches
BL: The Prospector is the first of our current wave of ships. They’re smaller individual ships attached to various career. We’re eager to show this one off. Infact lets get a sneak peek, right now.
SG: We’ve also announced price changes for two of our ships, the Reliant and Starfarer Gemini. We’re hoping launch both for Star Citizen Alpha 2.4. And we’ll know once internal testing ramps up.
And now let’s check in with our studios from around the world to find out what they’ve been working on this week.
BL: Have a potato! [Chucks potato]
SG: Or two.
News From Around The Verse
Eric Davis (ED): Hey everybody and welcome back to Los Angeles, California. I’m Eric Kieron Davis I’m running this one solo, no i’m not doing this one solo, I guess I have:
Mark Skelton (MS): What’s up y’all?!
ED: Mister Mark Skelton is visiting from the Austin office.
MS: That’s why I said y’all
ED: That’s why he said y’all
MS: Should have said “Howdy Eric”.
ED: Welcome Mark
ED: Welcome back to L.A.
MS: Thanks buddy, it’s good to be here.
ED: So we got a couple of updates for you. A few things. On the engineering/design side we’re working actively on several ships and a bunch of systems. One of the main systems is the Item System 2.0. We’ve been talking about that a lot and it’s a pretty big one for us, as you can tell a lot from the excitement from Mark here
MS: Very exciting!
ED: Our very own Mark Abent, Paul Reindell, Chad Zamzow. Everybody’s working away on the Item System 2.0. As well as 2.4 and future releases. That’s always a big fix for us. What about on the Art side?
MS: On the art side Eric, we are chugging away on the old Caterpillar. It’s a big ship. There’s a lot of stuff to do on that ship. We’re doing concepting right now pretty heavily and oh we have a new dude. Did I tell you about the new concept guy? Justin.
ED: We’ve introduced Justin
MS: That guy’s a badass!
ED: He’s good.
MS: He’s cruising for forward and let’s help him out, it’s all good. Then we’ve got Josh Coombs on the Herald right now and he’s killing it.
ED: Josh Coombs and Chris Smith.
MS: Yeah so it’s the Austin invasion!
ED: Austin Invasion!
MS: Is what happens
ED: Can never have enough Austinites.
MS: That’s right
ED: But they’re up here and they’ll come up here as often as they can ‘cause we’ve got a small team in the U.S and it’s good to have them all work together.
MS: It’s been going well
ED: And that’s it, that’s our updates from L.A./Austin as well. I’m Eric and this is
ED: This was Mark. See you next week.
Jake Ross (JR): Hey guys Jake Ross here, Producer at the Austin studio and i’m here this week to talk to you a little bit about what’s going here in Austin. So I want to first off give a little update in animation haven’t done that in a little while. Want to give those guys a little shout.
We’re working on a bunch of different ships our ship animation team here in Austin: J Brushwood and Daniel Craig are working on a lot of different ships that are in development right now in various stages of development. They are working on the Argo, they are working on different hangar door animations in the Idris and other animations on the Idris. They’re working on a concept review of a ship that’s in development right now that you guys should hear about pretty soon. It’s pretty cool we’re pretty excited about this one coming up. Won’t say more right now. They have to do a ,little review of the concept as it comes in just to make sure “Ok yeah that’s going to work, the character’s going to be able to get in this way”. So it’s always good to get an Animator’s eyes on it even at that stage. So that’s what they’re up to.
We are also on the PU animation side we’re actually moving some of those guys over to supporting on Squadron 42. So we have a bunch of background animations that we’ve shot as part of our performance capture shoot by Chris Roberts himself. So we have a lot of different background animations, wild lines, locomotion sets that need to get in the game. The good news is a lot of that stuff will also be used in the Persistent Universe. So these guys can knock out two birds with one stone and double duty on Squadron 42 as well. So it’s good that we’re going to get those guys to support the UK Animations Team in their endeavours. So there’s that.
I’m going to give a little updates on shopping. Right now we’re having discussions about analytics for shopping. So we want to be able to capture a lot of different information, such as what you guys are buying, where you’re buying them, what you’re doing after you buy them. For things like clothing and weapons. We want to make sure we are gathering all that information so we can help give you guys better things. New items that you guys will enjoy instead of more of the same that you guys maybe won’t or don’t use ase often. So we’re putting some analytics in place for first release of shopping . I think for first release we’ll probably just have the tracking like what you’re buying and where but we’ll add to that as we go. So that’s the one thing on the shopping schedule right now.
The last thing i’ll mention right now, the Try On camera. When you go to the shop right now and you buy something you can choose to try it on or inspect it and at that point the camera pulls out and it shows your character. You can turn around show the character off, and see what you’re buying before you purchase it. So we’re currently in the last stages of tweaking the camera exactly the way Chris wants it and making sure that experience is exactly how it should be. Finalising those details and at that point the shopping interface for initial release will be done. So that’s pretty exciting. Cool that’s all we got for you guys this week. Thanks and i’ll see you around
Foundry 42 UK
Tom Johnson (TJ): Hi everyone welcome to the UK again and i’ve got Mici here again as you can see. FIrstly I’d like to just clarify, although all the studios do drive certain parts of the project it’s not like the UK is just working on Squadron 42, there’s an awful lot of work that goes into the PU as well.
But to give you guys a heads up on a few things on progress that might interest you. There’s a huge amount of ship art at the moment as well as all the other disciplines down the stream that work on the ships. They’ve been working on the Freelancer fairly recently we’ve also got a lot of capital ships in progress like the Javelin, Bengal and the Idris. I got a character Team here too they’ve been working on the Vanduul as well as the Squadron 42 cast.
M: I’ve heard Gary Oldman’s name being dropped a few times
TJ: There’s an awful lot of stuff that’s probably too much to cram into two minutes but hopefully you can get more of an idea in the coming weeks of the more specific work, that we’re working on here. The Environment Team are working on a lot of gas stations and research stations and what not for the Odin system. But I think regardless of priority is Squadron 42 a lot of the work is tailored towards that but the assets will be shared with the PU. It’s all the same fiction and they’re in the same code base, hopefully that ends things
M: Yes that’s a lot to explain! Yeah I think that’s everything, yes, we’ll see you next week
TJ: See you in the ‘Verse
Foundry 42 Frankfurt
Brian Chambers: Brian Chambers from Frankfurt as I promised i’m jumping in the forums and trying to read more and answer you guys questions. ScruffyCaveTroll asked me to open up with that and a bunch of people responded for some God awful reason and said yes. Sorry I didn’t sing it but there it is!
Straight to the team: AI finished first pass on usables in subsumption, continuing to work on it. They also wrote up some documentation on ship debugging, they’re constantly, consistently looking through bugs making sure things are as tight as they can be, addressing any issues as soon as they come up. Also doing some general subsumption work as far as planning and how subsumption is working with animations and digging in through that with idles, combats, scripted events and so on. Lot of details to sort out on that.
Engine, bug fixing for live, for Sq. 42, some error cleanup and improvements for more kind of precise error messaging for us so it’s cleaner for us to dig through and understand what’s going on. Continued with procedural planet tech. The bas tech that’s in there, the base code and also some really cool progress visually on the atmosphere, the atmosphere’s we’re doing for that, but it’s looking really cool. We continued with rig logic for faces, the team are in working on that, they’re always trying to improve the mixture that we’re getting the best on the facial, it’s going to be in there for our crazy cast that we have for Squadron and openly just for everywhere else in the game PU and so on.
Continued on working on Track View, that’s been on-going for a bit to get Hannis and the Cinematic Team the tools that they need. Implemented some new system CVARs. Continued on the physics grid refactoring to get that to where it needs to be to handle what we want it too. And also working on player and ship planetary alignments for procedural planets as well. Kind of running over each person’s what they’ve done in my head. On the weapons side, don’t want to give away weapon names. So I believe they’re fairly generic which probably mean they sound the same week after week. But finishing up one weapon, addressing some feedback from Art Director on another weapon. Got some final concept for a new one so we’re starting to block out the mesh and working on updating some textures on additional weapons.
Level design: Pirate base polish before they can hand that over going through various other smaller tasks that they have. Review of the recent Hurston and Olisar updates that were made. We’ve also had two Technical/System Designer candidates here this week. So that takes some time for the guys to meet with them and put them through their paces and see if they’re the right fit to join the team. System Design: AI worked with that as far as AI setup. AI high level expansion and working with the new AI tools from the AI Team. Also subsumption interactors. More on power distribution that we call 2.0 Context app, starting on some additional power distribution this week and some FPS suit refactoring that we’re looking into.
We also have, I don’t know if I mentioned, Steve Bender’s here. He’ll be here for a couple of months working out of the German office to be able to go over to London for a mocap shoot, working closely with the Animators here and Todd Papy our Designer, our Design Director and we also have Chris out here later this week to sit and hang out with the team tech side, design side across the board just to see where we’re at. This week we also had Phoenix Interstellar or last week, the end of last week come. Awesome group of guys from Germany 20 of them came and visited the office hung out with us a few hours brought us all kinds of cool stuff which is always fun. Thanks again for all your support. Yeah appreciate it and we’ll see you next week.
Back In The Studio[Ben puts a potato into his shirt pocket]
SG: Last week you caught the first part of our interview with Foundry 42’s Brian Chambers. And now the rest of it. Check it out.
BL: Is he Justin Chamber’s brother this week?
SG: Still no. Are you stealing potatoes?
BL: I need to eat!
ATV Interview: Brian Chambers
Jared Huckaby (JH): You discover Star Citizen..
Brian Chambers (BC): Yes.
JH: So tell me what that was like.
BC: Absolutely, so we had heard about Star Citizen, obviously who hasn’t in the games industry, right?
BC: I would see fans go crazy at videos – I remember being at Gamescom doing some stuff with Ryse and seeing the booth and hearing the cheers – and we were like “what the hell is going on over there? That’s nuts, right?” and people were so into it. When I decided it was time to leave and I started actively looking around there were other coworkers of mine that I really liked working with socially and talking with one another we all realised that we were all individually looking elsewhere. So we said, “huh, what could we actually do to all stay together?” at that point some of the people- one of the guys knew- had a connection with Chris and so on, we had looked online at the options, sorry, the positions that were available and a lot of ‘em at that time, which has since changed, but there’s probably a good percentage, maybe 40%, maybe 30-40% said people could work remotely, right?
BC: So we kind of pieced that together and with the one connection we had with Chris, all of us kind of going “huh? They said you could work remote?”. Next thing you know, we all applied and when it said “Where do you wanna work?”, we then said we wanted to work in Frankfurt. So literally after that things happened pretty quick, I’d say it was a few days later all of us got on a phone call with Chris and with Erin, I think Orwin might have been on that call…
BC: And then we had- just talking it through, we all applied, we were on the call, next thing you know, at various times we all had gotten contracts, right. At that point we really didn’t know what was going to happen, we thought that- y’know it was loosely spoken of that we may be able to have enough people to have a decent sized office and so- right, we signed our contracts, attached as a sister office of Foundry 42 in the UK and they gave us a temp location and I think there were seven of us that started and we rolled in and we had PCs and monitors and everything shipped from the UK. And we had Hassan, the IT guy from the UK come out and bring everything over. So there we are in a Monday morning, setting up our PCs on tables in some temp office in Frankfurt thinking “OK, what’s going on? Where are we?” and we literally, we sit at our desk, “OK cool, let’s start.”, right?
BC: And at that we were also- we were also being very mindful that- of the situation, we didn’t want anyone to think that we were taking anyone from our previous studio because it wasn’t the case. We, on purpose, didn’t do anything on social media, all of that. We just said cool, let’s see what happens, let’s talk with friends and so on. Next thing you know we’re seven people, we’re twelve people, we’re 15 people, we’re 20, right? At that point we had more conversations with Chris and Erin and them and y’know, it came to feel that we think we could grow this office to be a decent sized team, right?
BC: At that point, Chris had mentioned a little bit of stuff out in one of his 10 for the Chairman or something, saying, “oh, we have some guys in Frankfurt working”.
BC: But that was it, right? So, it was this push and pull thing for me because knowing that I trying to actively push to bring in people – kind of- we kind of had enough momentum that we knew we could push it to the next level so I kept bugging Erin and Chris and I was like “can you please say something more?” – “Hey, anybody interested in working in Frankfurt? We have a Foundry office there.” and at that point I’d be able to put the postings online, we’d share it on social media and then we’d go big. I kept pushing and pushing, this is probably for a month and a half, but it was about every week I just kept saying and finally Chris goes, “OK, yeah, you can do it, shoot a video.” and I went, “Oh yeah, finally”.
BC: I just wanted him to get in front and be like “hey- hey, Frankfurt is alive, this is what we’re doing.”, right? So we put together a little silly video that people probably saw, on purpose I wanted it- I didn’t want to come off as incredibly..
BC: Yeah, [laughs]…
BC: In a way- hey, hey, be cool man. But no, I wanted to come on, we are- the air about ourselves now, y’know, we’re relaxed. We’re skilled in what we do, and we’re focused on what we do, but we’re laid back and relaxed. So we wanted the video to come across as a bit of that, so, we put out the video, we get more and more response, we realize that we’re exceeding capacity. We look around at different places, we originally wanted to find an old factory to move into and put a- that had some character, put a nice floor in it and move in. But we couldn’t find factories that fit our requirements for like fibre cable on and so it would just have been a stupid spend of money, places wanted stuff like 200,000 Euros to dig a trench and put a fibre cable in it.
BC: And we said, that didn’t make sense, so we found a new building that we’re in today. Took us about three months to build out, we moved in last July, flash forward to today, I believe we have 39 people working and 4 more contracts signed so we’re now up to 43 people.
BC: With the moment that we have, the things that we’re owning as far as the office goes our headcount puts us mid-60s roughly which is then in a way forcing our hand to even expand the office a little bit bigger. We thought that that could be a possibility and we were able to, when we moved in to this office, put it in the contract for free that we would have first right of adjoining spaces so things are going good, team’s doing good, team’s growing, we’re building momentum so we just exercised that right and they’ll start construction here probably in a few weeks. I think by the time- if you make it out here, hopefully it’s done by then.
JH: [laughs] Alright, so Foundry 42 Frankfurt is growing, what are different departments that exist in Foundry 42, what aspects of the game do you work on?
BC: We are touching a bunch of stuff, now one thing, just to preface, sometimes I’ll say “hey, we own this and we own this” – it doesn’t mean we own it 100%, we have people from all disciplines at all studios around the world here. We are driving and owning all of the cutscenes for Squadron 42, we have Hannes here who is the director – he was on set with Chris directing all of our huge cast, but we’re building that up. We have Senior Environment Artist on Cinematics, Cinematic Designer, three Senior Cinematic Animators and we just recently got a Producer that helping to wrangle all that. You recently, I believe, spoke with Todd Papy…
BC: We have Todd Papy here, he kind-of gave you that whole bit on the design side, we’re owning a large amount of design as well and I think it, I can’t really envision it whole but that it’s Squadron 42, it’s FPS, it’s PU. It kind of touches everything. We’re also owning a lot of AI, we have Franchesco Ricucci here, our lead AI engineer here, we’ve built up the team with two other AI engineers with him and we’re looking for another one or two.
We’ve just started building up the small QA department, we’ve had one senior QA here that was focusing on engine for a couple months, we’ve just had a transfer of Melissa Strada from Austin, she’s started out here recently and we’re looking at transferring somebody from the UK from QA to here as well. We’re also taking the charge on weapons, both ship weapons and FPS, we have Toby or Tobias here – he now has regular weapons artist he’s working with and the Senior Weapons Artist and we’re also owning core engine tech with two Senior Technical Directors here and those guys were around writing the architecture for the first version of CryEngine that’s out there, so we feel fortunate definitely to have them involved as well, so with all those disciplines there’s also a sprinkle- a little bit other.
We have the effects artists here, works really closely with the UK, we’re looking at maybe bringing in another VFX artist so they would split between cinematic work and focus on there, versus what other work- else work is needed – normal FPS weapons or ship weapons.
We also have a couple Environment Artists here and they’re mixed as well, they will help with Squadron 42, they’ll help in Cinematics, and they’ll also help with the engine team when they’re pushing on procedural tech because we’re pushing some stuff in some very unique ways it means we have to pull together assets and generate assets in unique ways, right. So there’s a lot of support there. So with all those make up- with all those different departments we’re owning – that’s what gets us to do a headcount of 60- mid-60s, mid-to-upper-60s.
JH: And still growing.
BC: Yeah, I mean, it’s some chunky stuff, like I said, we’re technically 43 on paper, I think there’s 39, there might be 40 working now this week, but yeah, yeah, we’re getting there. And it’s cool, I mean, we started with just a few guys, and we’ve built this up – by the time the new office was built out and I could move the team in, I felt like a proud pappy, right?
BC: Kind of letting everyone in, and everyone seeing the space and Foundry 42, CIG, Chris, Erin, everybody involved – it’s been incredibly cool to work with, incredibly opening- incredibly open with- incredibly supportive with what we’re doing. We definitely feel like we’re part of a team and that we have an impact and it’s good.
JH: Gotcha, well we definitely feel that way about you guys here at the very least. I can’t speak for those UK guys, y’know, but we love you.
BC: Ah, shucks.
JH: Before I let you go, just a final quick question, when are we getting procedural generated planets, tell me now. Tell me now. Just, just, say the date. Just, do it. [laughs]
BC: [pretends he can’t hear what is being said]
JH: Hello, did we lose connection? Hello, jiggle thingy? Did we lose connection?
BC: So yeah, when I think it’ll be out…
JH: Well, thanks, that’s great.
JH: [laughs] We didn’t rehearse that, that was pretty good.
BC: Yeah, that was pretty good. High five.
JH: Any final words you want to give to the Star Citizen community before we let you go?
BC: I have been doing this for a while, making stuff, I feel fortunate, I feel like- a friend of mine said we’re glorified toy makers – and we are. We’re making cool stuff. I’ve been doing this for a while, I can honestly say without a doubt the community that is behind this game is awesome. I don’t know how else to put it, right? The support we get from people, the encouragement we get from people, the good words, the constructive words, it’s awesome. It’s awesome. Reading through forums, I will routinely – on a weekly basis – dig through areas of the forums just to get cool, encouraging quotes that you guys put out to the forums or wherever, whether it be YouTube, whether it be RSI Forums, whether it be reddit, anything. I’ll grab ‘em and blast ‘em out to the team. Because I mean, it’s support. We’re used to- I am used to, let’s put it to me, and generally a lot of developers are locked in a building for a few years, working on a game, right?
BC: You’ll put it out occasionally for a trade show, “Here’s a trailer. Here’s some screenshots, here’s this and that.” – You usually don’t get this feedback this quick and y’know, I feel fortunate being on this project that we already have that visibility, that we already have the support from the backers and it’s something that definitely pushes us and motivates us. We recently did the Bar Citizen and I pushed the guys, most of the guys here on the team made it out there and for the next few days the guy was like, man, people really dig this game, this feels good, right?
BC: So it’s cool, it’s a unique opportunity for us to grab and we hope we’re here for years and years to come and we’re confident where we’re going and what we’re going to build – it’s a good feeling.
JH: Yes, it is, absolutely. Alright Brian, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down with us, I know you’ve got a meeting to go to, we ran about- almost 48 minutes here. So..
BC: Are you going to cut me into two now?
JH: Probably, we’ll probably cut it into two pieces and whatnot. So, we’ll spread you out over this week and next week – thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. Guys, that was Brian Chambers, Design Director from Foundry 42 UK.
JH: And you’ll see him around the ‘Verse.
BC: Frankfurt – you said..
JH: Foundry 42 Frankfurt. Foundry 42. It’s really early. I had to come in really early for this. Alright, see you later guys.
ATV Rewind: Introducing the 2944 Aurora
Loremakers Guide to the Galaxy: Oberon system
Cherie Heiberg (CH): Hello, I’m Cherie Heiberg and I’m hosting this week’s Loremakers Guide to the Galaxy. A journey with the members of the lore team to explore the stories and science behind each system in the Star Citizen universe.
Today we’re examining the Oberon system. So let me just type it in the search box here. Click! And walla! Kind of a strange system, one of the reasons that I picked it. It was discovered in 2356. It’s unclaimed by any government. Not even the UEE, even though it’s primarily Human inhabitants in the system.
It’s located between four jump points, which would seem pretty strategically valuable for some settlement; however, the neutron star at the center of the system makes any attempt to live there very, very difficult. It makes terraforming next to impossible. It’s just not a good time for anybody. It is a very good barrier between UEE and Vanduul space, this has recently been unfortunate for the inhabitants of Uriel, which I’ll get to in a minute.
So let’s start with the star here. You may notice that’s extremely tiny compared to some of the other stars we have in the other systems. The reason for this is that it’s a neutron star, which is the smallest, densest, star in the known universe. One with a radius of 11 km can have twice the mass of the sun just compared… contained like in there, like a little tiny ball.
To put that into perspective, the sun’s radius is 600,000 km. Just think a little bit about that. It’s pretty amazing. That’s why I like neutron stars. They were formed after the collapse of a supernova. They have very strong gravity. They have next to no luminosity. They’re very hot. Judging from that, they have next to no green zone. You’d think that no one would live here, but of course the first two planets are inhabited. Because we’re humans and that’s what we do.
The first planet in the system is Gonn, Oberon I. The system here used to be a binary star system and this planet is classified as a super-Earth carbon planet. It used to be the core of the star that once orbited in this binary system with the neutron star here. The neutron star eventually ate up the entirety of the outer layers of the star leaving only the core. So we have this really dense ball of carbon, which of course attracted a lot of miners. They believed that there’s a big cache of diamonds in the planet, crystallized carbon.
Unfortunately for the miners that lived there, not much has been found so far. There’s graphite! Graphite’s pretty cool, you know, you can make pencils. There’s lot of carbon, but only a couple of diamond veins have been discovered and they have not been very profitable. Kind of a sad place to live, but people still believe somewhere in the planet that they’re going to hit the proverbial motherlode.
The next planet in the system is Uriel. Now this is kind of a sad story. A terraforming company, back when there were very few regulations on this thing, decided they wanted to do an experiment. The experiment was to raise the core temperature of the planet and make it terraform through geothermal energy rather than the energy of the star at the center of the galaxy, I mean system. Galaxy… whatever!
It failed. It was considered a sure thing because of the propaganda advertisement that the company sent out. When it failed we had these shiploads of colonists who were just left abandoned with no recourse. They moved underground which was the literal only safe thing they could do. There are societies there that aren’t ruled by traditional government bodies, but more families. Very family based society.
If that weren’t tragic enough, they were recently victims of Vanduul attack. After the successful incursion into Vega, the Vanduul launched an attack on Oberon. Thousands died. It was really brutal for them in their already horrific and brutal existence. Luckily for them, when the Vanduul wanted to launch a second attack, Admiral Bishop, thanks to the Intelligence from Operation Mandrake, was able to repel their next incursion with the 65th Battlegroup.
It was one of the first major victories we have seen against the Vanduul, repelling them out of the system. Right now there’s a big military presence, just kind of as a buffer against further Vanduul attacks. It may serve as a way for us to push into Vanduul space proper and actually get them instead of them getting us.
Alright! Let’s move onto Oberon III here. It is a protoplanet. Protoplanets are about the size of moons. I will remind you that the StarMap is not to scale. Just keep that in mind. Oberon IV here is another protoplanet. Now protoplanets are usually misshapen, kind of lumpy, they’re small, they’re left over bits from the protoplanetary disk that formed when the system was… forming. Basically like little left over pieces of planets.
We have a few in our system, our solar system. We have Ceres, Pallas, and Vesta, they hang out in the asteroid belt. Now let’s move on to Oberon V, if I can find it. There it is! Oberon V is what you would call a mesoplanet. This is a term that was developed by Isaac Asimov to describe planets that were small, had cleared their planetary neighborhood, and had achieved the equilibrium necessary to form a planet shape (more or less a sphere). Mercury could be considered a mesoplanet, but we still have it classified as a planet because the definition itself is a little murky.
Here is Oberon VI. This is a gas dwarf! I’m very excited to talk about gas dwarves. They are, as far as we know thanks to the Kepler survey, the most common planets in the known galaxy. It’s really interesting because we don’t have any gas dwarves in our system. They’re sometimes called mini-Neptunes. They’re about, let me check my notes to make sure that I have this correct, they have a radius between 1.7 and 3.9 that of Earth.
They’re not much bigger than a super-Earth, and they’re definitely smaller than a gas giant, and they’re definitely smaller than Neptune. They have rocky cores, gaseous atmosphere, they’re low density, and they’re all over the place. I, when we’re making planetary systems, I always make sure to push really hard to include gas dwarves. Little insider trivia is, whenever you see a gas dwarf in a system, chances are I was the one who said, “We really need another gas dwarf. They’re so common. We need more. More gas dwarves everybody!”
Here we have Oberon VII. It is a classic gas giant. Class IV. Its atmosphere is of carbon monoxide, so it’s not exactly the most ideal place for refueling anything. It’s a great place to go if you like suffocating. Suffocate, get out of your ship… Good times. Good times.
So this is the Oberon system. It’s unclaimed. It’s full of miners, disaffected descendants of people scammed by a terraforming company, recently home to a series of Vanduul attacks, and now home to a strong military presence. Hopefully they’ll stick around for long enough to ensure that the Vanduul don’t come back, but we’ll see what happens as the threat continues to unfold.
Thanks for watching everybody! I hope you enjoyed this installment. Goodbye.
Tyler Witkin (TW): [Humming a tune][Knocks the webcam]
Uh, com’ on.[Adjust webcam]
Am I centered?[MVP background appears]
Hey there, Tyler Witkin here. Community Manager in the Austin, Texas studio here to bring you this week’s MVP. It was a very rich week for Star Citizen community content which made choosing only one MVP pretty difficult. However a big congratulations to Selbie for his Galactic Transit Map. His easy to read map makes navigating the galaxy even easier and I’m confident that it will find it’s home on many pilots’ dashboards. So big congrats to you. Definitely check this out guys. You’re this week’s MVP.
Back to you guys.
Back In The Studio
BL: Well that’s a heck of a map.
SG: Thanks Tyler. Looking ahead it’s time for ATV’s Fast Forward.
ATV Fast Forward: AI Perception
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