This post is a transcript of 10 for the Developers: Episode 10, material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is a Star Citizen fansite and is not officially affiliated with CIG, but we reprint their materials with permission as a service to the community. INN edits our transcripts for the purpose of making the various show participants easier to understand in writing. Enjoy!
10 for the Developers: Episode 10 – Full Transcript
Eric Kieron Davis (EKD): Hey everybody and welcome back to a 10 for the Developers. I am Eric Kieron Davis, Senior Producer and I’m with…
Gaige Hallman (GH): Gaige Hallman, Associate Rigger and Character Artist
EKD: Wow, you do it all
GH: Associate Character Artist.
EKD: There you go. Before we get started we always want to thank the subscribers. Without you all, we couldn’t do any of this really excellent content. We’re really happy to be here and we really appreciate everything you give us to allow us to share the whole process of Star Citizen and Squadron 42 and everything we’re doing. So, with that being said should we get started?
GH: Let’s do it.
EKD: Okay, Question number one comes from…
[1:00] BaconofWar asks: Will CIG release the style guides?
EKD: I like this question and I really think it is an interesting one because here at CIG we like to share everything all the time. Which is, like, why we’re doing here: answering questions. Style guides, I can’t speak specifically to, “Yes we will definitely release those”. I couldn’t see why we wouldn’t in the future.
I think it’s pretty evident what we’re making and what’s inspiring us and what’s inspiring Chris and what’s inspiring our Art team to make, so you can probably figure out what our style guides are, if you kind of dug in. But I can’t see why we wouldn’t in the future. I mean we’ve got a tonne at this point, with all of our manufacturers, and our clothing manufacturers, and things coming online. We need style guides more and more.
So … that’s a great question and I think it is something we should definitely look into if we aren’t going to do it already.
GH: Yeah. Of course.
EKD: Cool. Alright question two.
[1:57] Oberscht asks: Ages ago there was talk about a cooperation with Warhorse Studios, where they’d let Star Citizen use their clothes layering system. How did that develop?
GH: So that’s a pretty complex question but it’s very related all the things we are implementing in 2.4 right now. I made a little handy list for myself. So it’s starts with removing CDFs from the way we do our character loadouts and moving to a persistent system We’re going to do that by basically converting everything we have in CDFs to a loadout item. Which has been developed by teams all over the U.S that we have, with code here in Austin, Texas and I believe some people in the U.K. too have all put into the system together.
Transitioning into persistence which has been a big feature for 2.4 we are moving away from CDFs and into an item based loadout system, that has involved our code teams throughout all of our studios. People like Rob Ranniger, Sean Tracey of course, Paul Reindell. They’ve all put this together and it’s been working really well lately and for the past I think month or two we’ve been working around the clock to get this thing working smoothly. To get this working and back onto the subject of Warhorse that was before I was here but I took a look at after reading this question and we are doing something very similar.
Over the past two months I’ve been working on a system to have all the clothes functionally layer over each without any clipping, or any problems. And that’s been quite a task because you always have issues when, a shirt as it is normally if you keep that static it can not have a jacket over it in 3D space because things will naturally clip like folds and you need to have the compression so we’ve been working to get different types of clothing like skin tight, loose all working together, with a series of defined volumes and that has been the main I think problem to overcome, but it’s being going pretty smoothly so far and we’re working out the rest of the kinks right now.
EKD: It’s interesting the challenges that, that raises. You don’t think about it if you’re not a Rigger, but you also don’t think about it until you get see it in game, when you get to play with it in the engine
GH: When it’s in practice is when it really shows how it breaks down
EKD: Yeah, exactly and you’re like “Oh wow”. It’s almost like you have to experience that to then fix it. So you can assume that this is perfect!
GH: You can plan as much as you want
EKD: That’s right, yeah. The thing that’s really interesting, it’s really about game development in general. That you have that “You don’t know until you know and then when you know you can “fix it”
GH: It’s all a back and forth
EKD: Yeah, totally! Ok cool.
[4:35] Daz asks: The CIG careers page has positions for approximately 60 people, can you explain what are the most important characteristics you are looking for in a future CIG/Foundry 42 applicants. How do you go about attracting the type of people that would work on this project and retain them?
EKD: I was really excited about this question because hiring and recruiting, it’s crucial to a creative project, I mean it’s crucial in any company where you need to work with other people.
GH: Oh yeah
EKD: But within a creative project, working under the tutelage of Chris Roberts were really looking for what strengths we need at that time as well as the future. So a lot of this comes down to where do we currently sit with talent, what do we have across the entire studio, not just here in LA, but what do we have across the entire globe and we evaluate the staff, we evaluate our talents and we see, “Okay this is what we need to do to accomplish these goals” and this is what we think we need for the next six months, year, two years, infinity as we’re working and playing this game and having fun as it comes out.
So it’s a really great question because we’re looking for all kinds of things, one of them is a culture fit. You want somebody that kind of fits into the environment that we’re trying to create. You don’t always just need to find somebody with the skills, skills you can teach, but personalities you can’t, culture you can’t teach. So a lot of time it’s about finding the someone that fits into what we’re trying to make.
GH: And we do have a great team here.
EKD: We do, LA has a great team, all the teams are starting to come together really, really well as we start solidifying the future plans and I like this one a lot because I spend a lot of time with the leads and with the director’s looking at how can we make the experience not just great for our current staff, but for future staff and for future employees and family members. I mean these people are going to spend a lot of our waking hours with.
GH: Yeah we’ve developed a lot of close bonds here.
EKD: Totally. So there’s a lot of things that go into it. I mean if we’re looking for a specific thing, so if we talk for instance about the Associate Tech Animator role we just opened up. That role which we just closed we just found a candidate, we’re excited about that. We were looking for somebody that could implement manikin, right? That specifically work in manikin work, work with the animation team for our Persistence Universe. So it was a very specific thing we needed, but there were obviously a ton of other things we were looking for.
So applicants who are looking for if they had that experience, that would be great. If they could work within this environment, the Tech Content Team that Sean leads that, Gaige is apart of, it’s kind of anamorphosis type of team. So it’s you know, can you roll with the punches, can you flow with things as they come in, it’s a unique kind of team. So we’re looking for culture, we’re looking for experience, we’re looking for talent and then we want to get you in here and so we can meet you to see and talk to you and see if you’re the right fit. So there’s a lot of things that go into it.
And then “how do we attract it?” We keep making cool stuff, we keep making this cool stuff as we possibly can and try to make an impact like we’re trying to do and try to get out there and go to hiring events as needed whenever we need candidates.
And retaining them? I don’t know I mean.
GH: We’ve done a pretty good job so far I think.
EKD: Yeah I think we try to house an environment that’s fun to work in, that somebody wants to stay and invest their life in, invest their time in. You know we may spend a lot of hours here working on this game and these games and all the things we want to come out with.
GH: Especially with this studio it’s been a lot better.
GH: To work in
EKD: Totally and it’s weird how those little environment tweaks can make all the difference, it makes them want to stay forever for for awhile at least. It’s a tough question and it’s an ever going question for every studio and every company out there, but for us we want you to be passionate about what we’re doing, about the scale and the scope of what we’re trying to create, working alongside chris and the fantastic team that we’ve all built here and then ultimately make an impact with us.
We want somebody that’s going to bring in their talents and their unique strengths. It’s not beneficial to have the same type of person across the entire studio or globe. We want diversity, we want different types of personalities, we want a quiet shy person with a loud gregarious person, like you want those types of personalities because they will create a better environment, a more dynamic environment where we can challenge each other to be better. If we’re all the same, we don’t necessarily do that per say.
GH: Right, yeah.
EKD: We’ll just stick with what we’re good at and that’s it.
And it’s games so we’ll attract gamers and people that like making games and so we kind of get things naturally by being a game company.
GH: Alright so question number four from..
[8:52] Leonhard_Seppala asks: Regarding male and female clothing and body shapes, how would you describe CIG’s stance on realism: anatomically correct, or more of a classic ‘video game’ look? Have you been given any specific guidance on how to strike that balance, and if so, what was it?
GH: So I can’t speak directly on how the characters are made and what the influence will be, because that’s not what I do, but I can tell you they are basically 3D scans of real people. That’s about as real, I think, as we can get in current day and age.
GH: And then our great artists like Omar and then our tech artists Mark McCall, Sean Tracy and Forest all go over constantly to try and improve those 3D scans and make them match the real people as much as we can. And they spend an insane amount of time perfecting that look.
EKD: Yeah. And I think the universe is going to be not just this high fantastical universe. It’s going to be somewhat of a realistic … if I was in space and flying a spaceship you’re probably going to look like us. Maybe not aliens but 900 years from now …
GH: Little Vanduul?
EKD: Yeah, little Vanduul. Or little Vanduul-Human babies. That’s going to be there for one. But yeah, I think the scanning dictated it, right?
EKD: Once we decided we want to use real humans that pushes down that path. I think we’ve taken creative liberties where it makes sense, right?
GH: Oh completely.
EKD: Where it’s necessary. But I think the base is definitely the … there.
GH: Yeah. And then with the outfits, and the environments we put them in, that will add the extra character and the “sci-fi” look. So …
EKD: For sure. Awesome.
[10:15] DeltaOhio asks: As a developer making a ‘high stakes’ game how is your work/life balance when you know there is so much riding on everything you do?
EKD: That is a, that is a very intense question. And I may be the wrong person to answer this question. Striking a work life balance when you’re working on something you’re passionate about, is incredibly difficult. Prioritising life is very difficult to do. We are all very passionate about what we’re working on here.
We’re working for someone who is also very passionate about what he is creating, and I think it rubs off on all of us. We all want to be here until we know and this thing needs to be done. There is so much to do, and so much we want to do, I rarely go home and feel like I accomplished everything I planned for, for that day. But I do feel like I made a chunk, I’ve gotten a chunk done
GH: That’s the best feeling. You feel like you made a difference that day and you’re ready for the next one.
EKD: That’s right, that’s right. So sometimes you just got to put your pencil down and go home because you’ve been here so long. Sometimes you have to plan life. Make sure you take a vacation, make sure you use some of that PTO time that we’ve got, those wonderful benefits. Sometimes hey you got to put in all the hours and do what you got to do what you got to do. It’s really tough, I don’t know, It’s hard to explain when you’re working on something you love. When do you want to stop?
I think the goal is, you want to do something you love so much, that you never want to stop doing it! So we have to force ourselves even more to take a break, step away from it, go have fun, go do a team event, have a little holiday party. Whatever the case might be, go out see a movie have a break when you can.
GH: I think you’ve been a big part of that too. Like since you came on board the environment has definitely improved
EKD: Cool, thank you. And then on another note, I think to speak to this question. The Management team, the Executive team, they’re incredibly supportive on just life happening. If something occurs, or something goes on, you know they’ve got your back and you can take the time you need to make sure life’s sorted out, and it just seems like, and I know this from the leadership side of me.
We are always proactively trying to look at: are people burning out?, Are they working too hard?, Is it what they’re working on what they should be working on?, and how can we simplify that to make their lives better?, when do we tell them to just go home, be away, take time off. Because those are all the things we’re trying to look out for
GH: That just happened, I remember earlier this week when trying to work on 2.4 Forest and Sean kept telling me ”Go home, you’ve got to go home”
EKD: That’s right. So we try to do it for ourselves but then for those that we are also responsible for we also try to take care of them. The ultimate goal is to not crunch and if we’re doing our job and we have a good understanding of the schedule, which I say it but it it’s very hard to do! It is trying to get reduced any kind of crazy over time needed. Be able to do your job within the hours allotted to you that’s fair and equal to your, whereever you live but also for our mental state. The reason those exist, it gets to the point of diminishing returns.
You’ve got to be healthy and if something happens CIG totally supports it and i’ve seen that happen time and time again even since i’ve been here. When I hurt myself I had the support of Chris and those to just heal and get back to where you need to be and then come back to work and go from there.
[13:32] Tranton asks: Since working on the Star Citizen project, what would you say has been your or the most innovative contribution that has impacted the game so far.
GH: Good question.
EKD: Very polite. Tranton’s very polite.
GH: Yeah. I like Tranton a lot.
GH: I’ve worked on quite a few things since I’ve been here and jumped around a lot, but I think since becoming an Associate Rigger and working with John Riggs and the Tech Content team that is when I’ve really made the biggest contribution I feel. Because I’ve been given a lot more responsibility to start taking my own direction I think, and trying to improve things that don’t actually exist yet.
So within the past month I’ve been working on clothing system on 2.4. While all the code guys handle the implementation of it I’ve been working on the 3D aspect and making sure the art fits together and works well within the game. And I’ve been working really hard on that and taking it over from the outsourcers and I feel like that has been probably the most rewarding and beneficial experience so far.
EKD: Totally. And I think people are going … are enjoying it because it’s got a really cool … that specific impact is going to … is such a cool feature for the Persistent Universe.
GH: Yeah. Yeah.
EKD: Like one of the large pillars of the Persistent Universe is, not all of them, but shopping and the clothing aspect of the Persistent Universe is such a big deal. So that’s kind of cool to be the ground floor, the first person in …
GH: Hitting the milestones. It’s good.
EKD: Yeah. Yeah. So anything that happens from here out it’ll be like, “That’s what Gaige worked on”.
GH: I set those bricks.
EKD: There you go. You built the foundation. Awesome. Cool.
[14:55] Vacation asks: I was wondering about the character from the Pupil to planet video. I thought he looked fantastic. I was wondering if that is a character from S42, or an example of what we could expect to be able to make from the character creator?
EKD: This is a good question, we’re starting to get a lot of questions about character creator, can’t imagine why? People want customization for their characters… it’s a big one, I know people are actively working on the design doc and just the overall implementation but that character was one of our head scans as Gaige mentioned earlier on one of the questions on what our characters look like, that was one of the actors that we scanned and it’s one of the first implementations of that character in the game-
GH: Yeah, yeah..
EKD: And we’re excited cause at some point all of these characters we’d like them to be – in some form or fashion, right? – depending on if they fit or not into the lore or to the Universe, we can use them for both Squadron 42 and the Persistent Universe. So yeah, that was one of the ones that we wanted to use for that video and it was one of those starting to come online and we’re all pretty excited about it.
GH: We’re basically have a whole line-up ready, we’re perfecting one and then we’re going to apply down the pipeline to the rest.
EKD: That’s going to be- it should hopefully simplify- it’s like, if you work on any kind of creative content, the beginning baby percent, the beginning is just like the most intense that you’re trying to figure out the most and after that it should just-
GH: Yeah, yeah…
EKD: …fly, right? After that it’s just small tweaks along the way as you learn new tech and new tools come online but you should be able to template mass apply and got ‘em all going and you can start simplifying and then you can start seeing things quicker- come on quicker, play with ‘em quicker and have fun with them quicker, in any game you make, you make a bunch of tools and those tools help you make everything else faster.
GH: The pipeline..
EKD: There you go, so that pipeline you get right the first time, or the second or third time and then you- it should sing, right?
EKD: So thank you, we- I agree- I think that character looked great.
GH: Hell yeah.
[16:46] TheDeadlyKenny asks: Does Star Citizen plan to have loose clothing physics? As in, if you had a trench coat or cape and you moved, would the clothing ‘flutter’ or ‘flap’ in both atmospheric environments and in space?
EKD: I like that it was trenchcoat and cape, or cape. I want a character with a cape on it
GH: We don’t have capes yet, but we could get there
EKD: Need to work on capes!
GH: Ok so for this question it’s not set in stone yet. We will definitely be getting simulated clothing eventually but it’s very experimental right now. As people know we finally got physics grid in, and all the physics are sort of falling into place. And simulations within those will fall into place afterwards. So we’ve been doing experiments with the characters, so far but nothing solidified yet
EKD: And nothing in the pipeline, like the actual, actual pipeline but yeah i’ve seen a lot of the RnD Mark McCall, it looks really really cool. It’s obviously a nice feature right, the immersion is in the details sometimes.
GH: Especially in space I want to see that happen. I know everyone does
EKD: Oh yes! Floating
GH: And I know everyone does. We’ll get there. Also on the topic of that, I mentioned earlier the CDFs. So the CDFs were basically the way we implemented all the simulations, they were all input as data in the CDF, but that’s not persistence. So we first got the clothing into the persistent item loadouts that we’re going to be giving players in 2.4 and then we had Ariel Xu start implementing the simulation data from the CDFs into the item loadouts as well. So coming later we can simulate within the persistent clothes. But it’ll come
EKD: It’ll come, it’ll come and it’s looking really cool too.
[18:20] KiwiPete asks: How has the development of Star Citizen (and Squadron 42 of course) evolved in terms of art, style and gameplay as CIG have developed or deployed leading edge technologies? Can you give some examples of before and after examples?
EKD: Yes, how has it- so, I guess the answer to the question is: Yes, it has- well, I guess that’s not the answer to the question, but, a part of the question is: it has evolved, it will continue to evolve and any kind of living project or organism especially the PU type of thing – it will, it will continue to try and push the boundaries until we’re breaking all boundaries and make those boundaries better and keep making it better.
So how has it? I think even since I’ve been here – I just had my anniversary a couple weeks ago, very happy I’ve been here for a year already – one of the iterations I’ve been here that I was really excited and worked alongside those guys on – even yourself partially as well – was the Constellation, so we’re on the next mark of the Constellation.
GH: Oh yeah, that’s true.
EKD: Chris Smith and Josh Coones and Daniel and everybody really took that thing by the horns to get that ready for multi-crew and the new version of that ship looks amazing-
GH: It looks phenomenal.
EKD: And what they did was they got all the things that had led up to that pipeline when they started that ship and even during when they tweaked it and that was a new iteration of the pipeline, it was a new iteration of art style, it was a new iteration of how can we make this look even better – within this polycount, within this new engine – as the engine gets optimized you can do more with art, so it’s kind of- it’s this back and forth and that’s something we’ll always do and that’s always something I think of the most, I don’t know if you have another example?
GH: And it’s appropriate and I think that was something, for the LA studio, that was our first, well LA and all the US teams – our first major pipeline movement for the ships – and on top of that – Elwin’s team they’ve been able to just fly forward based on all those optimizations we have now.
EKD: Yeah, it’s great to to watch too and speaking to Elwin – even the ships we’re working on now, it’s cool that he’s able to put a lot up front but the plan is to help move through the pipeline quicker-
GH: Yeah, it’s like so hard-
EKD: It does pay off, sometimes it’s a lot of hard- again, up-front work, but it should pay off, if you’re doing it right, it should pay off.
GH: Gotta-go-fast to coast..
EKD: So yeah, it’ll continue to evolve and y’know, the more and more we do this, the more we come out with, I think the goal is to keep it looking as cool as we can with-
EKD: …with the tech, right?
[20:36] Perry Hope asks: What is your favourite cloth you have made? Can you show it to us?
GH: So my favourite so far has been the “Big Bennys” outfit. And that actually has an interesting story behind it because it was originally unintended. It was … as it came out as an April Fools joke. All the April Fools content was originally things that the teams did on their own, as their own little goofy side projects, and then were brought together thanks to Jared. And the way the outfit came together was, it was a personal test for myself to learn the pipeline so that I could start integrating what I do with the character team. So, yeah, it was just …
EKD: It was a really fun one, that came online, and I think you’ll see … because there’s a lot of things we need to test internally that aren’t necessarily meant for public consumption.
GH: Oh yeah.
EKD: The perk here is that we get to share that stuff, right, when we make it. But I’ve been part of things like that in the past where it’s just fun you … you get a chuckle internally but it’s always fun when you can be like “Look at this! How funny is this?” Then it, of course, inspires …
EKD: … “Oh, can’t I get that outfit? What do I need to do for that outfit?” Right? So that’s always a question that we get. And you never know … you never know what sneaks in there, right?
GH: You never know. And we’re glad the fans love it so who knows what we might do with it. We’ll see.
EKD: You never know. You never know what will sneak in.
GH: That’s right.
EKD: Alright I think that’s all of our questions. Do you have any secret questions anywhere you wanted to answer?
GH: Um, do I have a question number 11? No.
EKD: No question 11? Ok I think that’s it, awesome. There’s our ten questions for Ten for the Developers. Thank you guys so much for taking the time to chat with us and, again thank you subscribers for making this possible, we couldn’t talk to you about these ten great questions without you helping us out and paying for all this content and being a part of this journey. And then also, of course thanks to all the backers for making all this possible. We couldn’t be living the dream and working our tails off to try to make something cool.
GH: And they make it worth it too. I love talking to backers all the subscribers, great feedback.
EKD: It adds to the creation that much more. We love it. Alright we’re signing off, thank you so much again, that’s Ten for the Developers talk to you soon.