Jul 27

July 2016 Subscriber Town Hall – Summary

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This post is a transcript of the July 2016 Subscriber Town Hall, 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!


Incomplete Transcript

  • We’re live! Today’s Town Hall features members of the LA Character Art Team.
  • Josh Herman, Corey Johnson, Cheyne Hessler are the members of the panel today with Jared hosting.
  • Cheyne: Associate Character Artist – Building assets and clothing for characters. Shop clothing, SQ 42 clothing or PU, anything a character might wear. Star Citizen tailor in a nutshell.
  • Before Star Citizen Cheyne was in school for a long time before coming to CIG. Went to school for game characters and was a busboy for awhile. CIG is his first game job.
  • Corey Johnson: Third week here at CIG. Lead Character Artist – Making assets, working on the pipeline and making it more efficient. Reviewing everyone elses work. Before CIG he worked for Naughtydog on the Uncharted series.
  • Josh Herman: Character Art Director. Works with character and concept artist on long term goal where Corey is short term and focuses how things will pan out with clothing, aliens etc. Before CIG he worked at Marvel doing MCU, Ironman, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange.
  • It’s question time. Subscribers can go to the RSI chat to have it answered
  • [Will a characters appearance be determined by their AI or vice versa?] Yes. AI are split into archetypes like bad guys, good guys, shop keepers, civilians, etc. What they do will determine what they wear. You wont have a bartender wearing a cult’s outfit, or Marine armour etc.
    • Biggest archetypes they’re working on right now is the shopping stuff and quest givers, civilians walking around. Also Pirates, and Military.
  • [How much customisation of the player character model will be possible in terms of physical alteration apart from height?] They’ve scanned a ton of actors and heads, they have over a hundred and no you wont be able to play Gary Oldman, but at the start you’ll be able to choose from an array of those heads and later down the line they’ll start doing blend shapes where you can alter things slightly within the bounds of the model.
    • In the future they want to have 50 heads hidden in the background and give you one, and you can choose bigger eyes or eyebrows, but in reality it’s just blending between those 50.
  • [How effective is the tech to prevent clipping?] What they do since everything they make is built off the base character that may blend between 50 characters, an example being 50 T-shirts. What you have to do is take the base male that they use and match whatever assets or clothing they have on top of them and try to match it as close as they can. It’s about creating enough polygons or density in your assets to prevent that from happening.
    • Josh: They have a basic way of doing it now, but they are looking into a much larger cloth sim so right now you can take a coat and it’ll dangle, but they want to expand it further so it gets into a much more immersive look. They’re also looking into wrinkle maps so that the wrinkles change completely instead of the old way which keeps the wrinkle, but stretches or condenses and makes it look odd.
  • [How is the wear effect working on thin fabric cloths?] Right now the clothes don’t blow apart like a ship, but the way they do wear and dirt is more of an artistic approach. What that means is they have to paint them on manually and you’ll start with it being clean and overtime they’ll blend in the items that were painted.
    •  Materials like metal and leather will degrade differently than other materials over time as well.
  • [Can you tell us how functional pieces will display like backpacks or mining tools?] It’s more of a design question, but they have spots where most things should go and they’re setting up costumes with that in mind like a mining outfit being able to have that pic axe or tool belt.
  • [How does the layers system work with Item system 2.0] So depending on what it is, if it’s armour they couple different ways of going about it, basically you have skin and then you have clothes that go on top of that. After that you can put on additional layers so lets say you have a T-shirt and you want to put a Flak Jacket and on the Flak Jacket you have lets say four open spots, you can then put four things in those spots. So each thing will have a nesting approach where you put on one thing and that has the potential to put on more. For armours it’s mostly the same. Rather than going from clothing to a Flak jacket, you could put a full under suit or something that will allow you to put on more things on top of that like shoulder pads, etc.
  • [We know characters will have similar sizes of height, but will NPC’s vary in size? Will we see children or teens in the PU?] It’s a good idea, but right now they’re focusing on making sure the Male and Female are working. The limitation right now is they can’t interact with anything if they’re a different size. It’s something they’d like to do but it’s not there yet.
  • [How are you balancing the various generated types against historical figures? IE, Admiral bishop. Is there anything you’re doing to make them distinct in the universe?] The characters are split into tiers, but mostly the same. Gary, Jillian are on a higher tier, but everyone else is mostly the same in terms of quality. an example of quality is heads is 20,000 poly’s for the head. One way to tell would be animations, not so much the visual appearance.
  • [When do we get hair?] Corey has been working on getting hair into engine and making it work. It’s tricky work though, it’s wrong until it’s right.
  • [Will we be able to do Tattoo’s?] The conversation has come up, it hasn’t lead to a point yet, but they’re talking about it, too early to say though.
  • [What sort of unique challenges have occurred in designing and development of characters in Star Citizen] Cheyne: Coming in and learning what quality is being shot for, how to implement your clothing with the tech. The challenges have mainly been learning the tools and getting a consistent production amongst all the artists so everything looks from the same universe.
    • Corey: Mostly the same thing, the tools and how they can be used to make the pipeline work and be efficient for the team.
    • Josh: The heads and how much detail that goes into them and making it up to the same level as the world is in terms of quality.
  • [How long does it take for something like a shirt?] Cheyne, the Bishop’s shirt took around 5 days. You could spend more on polishing, but yeah it’s around 5 days from start to finished. If you didn’t have oversight it would be a lot faster, but you work with a team and have to have things reviewed for quality and etc.
  • [Female Character progress?] Josh: it’s coming along really good. They’re working on making heads to the new body, clothes to the new body. There was a few blockers before that they had to get done before they could move on, but they’re passed those blockers now.
  • [Death of a spaceman, have you begun work on the visual aspect like cyborg stuff, missing limbs, scars.] No.
  • [How badass is Shadow of the Colossus?] Badass obviously.
  • [Beards?] Yes, some characters already have them.
  • [Will there be a layer on characters like grease smeers, blood, etc.] Josh: Depends on what that’s referring to. They have a wear system, but not custom things at this time, more of a VFX question.
  • [Applying patches to clothes like Org patches?] It’s something they want to do, Marines have their own patches and etc so it’s possible, but it goes far beyond that in design, resources, and time to make that possible.
    • Corey: When it comes to resources and working within them you have to set limits on what you can do and using your resources efficiently. There’s stuff you want to do, but you have to say no.
    • Josh: Imagine everyone in a room having their own custom logo in a room, say 50 people. To you it may not seem like much, but the resources become a bigger factor.
  • [What are Cheyne, Corey, Josh’s favourite creations?] Cheyne: Working on something that’s pretty awesome so far which is his favourite, but the first thing he worked on was a jumpsuit that a lot of people are using which was a highlight for him.
  • Corey: Working on his first asset which he also can’t talk about. At Naughtydog his favourite was being able to make whatever he wanted on the multiplayer character side and see it getting used.
  • Josh: Doing concepting for an Alien race which he also can’t talk about. Jared managed to get it out of him that it’s the Tervarin. Outside of Star Citizen it would be a toss up between Groot for Guardians One and Guardians Two, and the first Ironman suit, MK7 he did for the Avengers.
  • [Can you talk about the current state of hair? What challenges have you faced, systems you’ve considered, what are you shooting for the final product?] Corey: It’s getting to a really good place, a lot of styles are being worked on. Right now it’s a process of seeing where it’s at and what tech they need to finish it.
  • Josh: It’s a matter of finding the tech you need when you may not know what you need at that given point in time to make it that much better.
  • [Why can’t you scan their hair when you scan their head?] Because you can’t change anything about it, what if you want it coloured differently or on a different head, also the tech doesn’t like hair to be scanned.
  • [What does the Tervarin race look like?] They look not human.
  • [Can we get Arena Commander shirts and Squadron 42 shirts for our characters?] They’ve talked about it and want to do it.
  • [How many CIG employees will we see in the PU?] There’s quite a few playing already. Most times they hop onto characters that don’t have names which give them away. They want to see people in their natural state without feel observed.
  • [Plans for customisation within clothing such as an RGB slider] Definitely is coming. You can kind of see that with the Odyssey suit with the different options available, but more customisation like RGB is definitely coming.
  • [What don’t we know about?] Corey: Lots of things. Josh: there’s that one thing, it’s awesome
  • [Will different types of clothing allow a player carry more or less items?] Definitely a design question, sorry.
  • [Any work on sportsfan shirts?] Eventually yeah like Sataball.
  • [Pursuing tech to allow it to grow?] Next, Next gen. Definitely not possible right now.
  • [Will helmets restrict the level of hair and beard a character can have?] Probably not, it creates a lot more work for stuff like a hat and long hair and needing to have a version where that works with it too.
  • [How close will the height of the female avatar be to the male] It’ll be a little shorter, it does present the challenge of ergonomics with cockpits and what not, but clothing is actually pretty easy to adjust. 90% of what males can wear will have a variant for female.
  • [Are you still developing clothing styles based off location?] Yes GrimHex will have their own style of clothing. If you want to get a style of clothing unique to a place, you more than likely will need to travel to that place to get it, but there will be a generic line available throughout most likely.
  • And that wraps it up for todays Town Hall. Thanks for watching.

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