This post is a transcript of Around the ‘Verse: Episode 3.4, 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. Enjoy!
Around the ‘Verse: Episode 3.4 Transcript
Brian Chambers (BC): Welcome to Around the ‘Verse season three, episode four. I am Brian Chambers, Development Director of Foundry 42 Frankfurt.
Dan Trufin (DT): And I’m Dan Trufin. I’m the Lead System Designer of the Frankfurt office.
BC: As many of you know last week was Gamescom. It was a very, very, very busy week. It’s always one of our biggest events of the year.
DT: Outside of Citizen con of course.
BC: Yes that is also very busy. Members of the dev team from all around the world worked tirelessly to pull together to give you the sneak peek of what we showed on the show floor and also at the event.
DT: We got to meet a lot of the old guys, the old backers and also a lot of new guys that we’ve never seen before, it’s always nice to meet these guys.
BC: There was a lot of new people on the show floor.
DT: Yeah and a lot of them were like full cosplay with all the gear, all the weapons, and not the actual weapons because the security would take them away, but all the protection, all the helmets, all the gear, amazing, amazing stuff.
BC: Yeah I agree. I met a lot of new people for the first time, ran into some old fans, old backers, it was really, really cool.
Highlight of the week had to be the live event at the Gloria Theatre. That’s where Chris Roberts was able to show off SC Alpha 2.5 and 2.6. It’s going to include the release of Star Marine which I know is anticipated. Biggest of all was the gameplay we showed for 3.0. If you didn’t get a chance to see it, we’ve cut together bits so take a look.
Awesome, as you can see one of the newest elements that was introduced in the demo was seeing a quest giver for the very first time.
DT: Yeah definitely. While we’ve been working on integrating NPCs in the baby PU, a mission giver is a completely different level of complexity in this game. Let’s have a look at how that came along.
Behind the Scenes: Quest Giver
Hannes Appell (HA): So with Star Citizen we wanted to create a living and breathing universe. And a big part, maybe even the biggest part, is to populate our universe with compelling characters who feel real. And you saw your first glimpse of that with Miles Eckhart, the shady, ambiguous, backroom dealer guy that we showed in the Levski demo for GameCom. And we want to show you a little bit of how he came to be: from casting, and then actually shooting on the Imaginarium stage. And then going into the technical side with Mike Nagasaka and Jason Cole showing you how he actually came to be as an AI in the demo. Have fun!
Miles Eckhart (ME): Hey how are ya? Miles Eckhart. Friend over Crusader said you been building quite a rep.
Jason Cole (JC): Chris runs through everything and edits all the scenes how he wants them to look or how the acting to work. Once that’s done that could come from three or four different takes, but with an editor he’ll use the editor’s time code basically to make … create that scene what he wants. Then from there that data, that quadcam data, and that timecode gets sent out and then gets solved.
ME: I’m always on the lookout for capable people who don’t rattle. If you’re interested in picking up some extra work, we should talk. I’ll send my details …
JC: And then once that data’s solved it comes back to us but it comes back in pieces, per take. So what we do is we take that data and merge it together to make that once scene work together.
Michael Nagasaka (MN): While that’s getting processed I pre-visualise the sequence by using preexisting animation editor to get the overall feel. And once I get the motion capture data back, the facial and body, I put everything together and see how everything looks.
ME: Hey how are ya? Miles Eckhart. Friend, over Crusader said you been building quite a rep. I run a modest security outfit, and I’m always on the lookout for capable people who don’t rattle.
MN: So the first initial implementation is probably the most important part because this is the first time everything becomes together, and we can assess any kind of issues that happens, and resolve any kind of motion capture or facial data, environmental or basically anything that needs to be adjusted. So after everything’s then polished, I do a lighting pass. Fortunately, we have a good lighter … environment lighter so I didn’t have to do too much lighting. But I still added some few lights from the mobiGlas as well as a little bit of shadow fill light on the side to give more of a moody feeling to Eckhart.
So after that’s been rendered and edited, export the animation into the editor which I handed over to the level designer or the UI artist to get it triggered at the right place at the right time.
ME: Hey how are ya? Miles Eckhart. Friend, over Crusader said you been building quite a rep. I run a modest security outfit, and I’m always on the lookout for capable people who don’t rattle. If you’re interested in picking up some extra work, we should talk. I’ll send my details …
HA: So in the GamesCom demo both Miles Eckhart and they guy that gives you landing permission on Levski, they were both pre-rendered as Flash videos and then those were triggered inside the engine. That’s a process that “works” but it’s kind of old school and we want to actually change that in the future to a process where we actually render picture-in-picture live in the engine. That’s scaling way better with an online universe that has hundreds of these characters.
Behind the Scenes: Navigation Mesh
Alexander Marschal (AM): During the Gamescom live demo, Chris Roberts mentioned the engineering difficulties like bringing a ship from space to hangar, transitioning from zone to zone or having NPCs navigating environments that can move relative to each other.
Regarding the last point – we want to show you how we improve the existing multi-layer navigation mesh system to match our requirements for bringing the Star Citizen universe alive.
Francesco Roccucci (FR): In Gamescom we can see several examples of the navigation mesh – so this is an example of an actual set-up where we can see there are two main areas – like a landing pad with some navigation area and a Constellation.
So what we actually created was just a set-up in which this character is just moving across three spots on the area and there is another character inside here that will do something very similar – he will move inside three different block points or locations in this area. One here, one this room at the computer, one here and we will play some animations.
So now we will jump in-game – so this simple set-up I created before with the help of some of the designers and we which a spaceship, in our case the Constellation, was set-up before is spinning on top of a landing pad. Now we are inside we can see a NPC moving across the two different locations – so this is the first one, he plays just an animation as he arrives at the spot, he plays an animation and he goes to the computer board and start to just interact with it.
We can look around and what we can see is the landing pad just in front of us and we can see another character that actually move across three different locations and is trying to look at us later on and we will wave – what you can see is that I can enable the navigation mesh in the backdrop and there is two different local grids and two different zone – one is our spaceship in which doing the loading time the object container will inform the AI to which local navigation mesh we are in, which local grid we need to connect to and which zone we need to connect so.
So we can basically allow – here you can see the navigation system is idle – that means nothing is actually moving for the AI so this is very optimized because we can know in advance based on the physics environment in which we are in that nothing is actually moving because the zone system takes care of that and the AI can just perform their own action that is butt-funny and move the characters.
As you can see, I can exit the game and I can show you a bit of the set-up is. So if I go around now the navigation mesh will try to re-check the consistency of the different environments to verify that nothing has happened – nothing has changed and here is our Constellation and on the bottom we have the landing pad with it’s own navigation mesh. And if we just look at the backdrop we can see here volume – this is the volume set up in this specific map but we cannot see any volume on the Constellation because this belongs to it’s own object container and cannot be edited by any level designer than just used the spaceship but to add that on you’d need to modify the template of the spaceship.
So each navigation mesh, more or less, highlights a specific environment in which the characters can move.
Back to the Studio
BC: Thanks guys. Thanks to Intel we also had a booth in Hall 9 on the show floor where people had the opportunity to come up and play the game for the first, second, third, fourth time.
DT: Yeah, we’re also joined by the Star Citizen twitch community who were live streamed a sneak peek of the upcoming 2.5 release. Let’s have a quick look of how that went on the show floor.
Behind the Scenes: Gamescom
BC: So the experience hanging out on the show floor was awesome. The amount of backers that I met for the first time and that I’ve talked to socially, the amount of new people that came into play – people were excited, at one point I think a queue was up to a three hour wait.
Cameron Wilkie (CW): Our queue was going outside our booth around the corner and starting to block access to our neighbors so a wonderful challenge to have because it just shows the interest in the game.
BC: The energy was there, people were digging it, we were having fun.
DT: I was part of the floor crew – we manned the booth and made sure everyone has everything they need to enjoy the game. They wanted to have the developers, so yeah, me and Todd Papy were all there on site to answer any questions that we- that the backers had for us.
Todd Papy (TP): This was my first time at Gamescom and just the sheer amount of people that are there compared to E3 is astounding and-
CW: We were handing out merchandise left, right and center – explaining our game to every passer-by and backers and the community that would come by – not even wanting to play the game, just wanting to see our presence and feel part of what was going on.
BC: Good to show people the work we’ve been pulling off.
CW: All throughout this we’ve got Disco Lando with Captain Richard, DeeJay Knight, Twerk17, Bad News Baron all streaming live and having fun on the set – it meant that the whole atmosphere was live and festive and a lot of people having fun and enjoying themselves.
Captain Richard (CpnR): A lot of people haven’t seen Star Citizen yet here at Gamescom or even live so yeah, we’ve been trying to showcase what Star Citizen has to offer.
Deejay Knight (DK): Amazing to see the amount of backers, the amount of new people seeing Star Citizen as there have been – just to see the amount of supporters that are already here. That are anxious to see us, just feels awesome. It’s a fantastic community and I’m glad to be a part of it.
Twerk17 (T17): I’ve been a backer since April 2013 and I’ve been streaming for a little over two years. So I’ve met so many people that I’ve been talking with for years now so it’s been really cool.
CpnR: A lot of people come out and say “Hey, I wanted to stop by the Star Citizen booth and say hello, I’m a big fan of your stream”.
Bad News Baron (BNB): The people that work at CIG have been the most passionate people I’ve ever come across – they really believe in what they are doing and that is the most inspiring thing for me as a backer.
TP: All of the volunteers that worked at the booth – all of those guys were backers. To work those long hours and how much time and effort they spent actually supporting the team as well as the game as fantastic.
CW: Great guys, always fully ready to talk about the game – great team and we couldn’t have done it without them.
BC: They are the ones that are truly allowing us to create this game, this world, this universe. During the floor I was more watching their reactions – if something was shown that was kind of blowing them away I’d look over and they were looking at me and kind of nodding their head and giving me a thumbs up, y’know – it was kind of giving a direct recognition, of one-on-one of “what we saw was pretty cool”.
Back to the Studio
BC: Fans weren’t the only ones that got in the action in the show. We also had a press booth where we invited the press to get a sneak peek at some of the stuff we’ve been working on – here’s an inside look at behind the scenes of our behind the scenes press booth.
Behind the Scenes: Press
David Swofford (DS): We come to Gamescom because it’s the largest game conference in the whole world so that’s probably number one. And number two, we have a lot of fans here who can attend the conference, and number three – we get to talk directly to the press.
Chris Roberts (CR): Hi! Good to see you.
DS: This is Mike Stubbsy from Red Bull.
Miscellaneous Press Guy #1 (MPG1): Hey!
DS: We spent a lot of time with them – usually whenever we are going to show to our backers we also show to the press behind closed doors. The way that works and what that is for is to give the press that up-close personal one-on-one attention with Chris Roberts and so Chris sits down and we set up appointments and we go through the demo – the press gets a chance to ask some questions, whatever they want.
Miscellaneous Press Guy #2 (MPG2): Can you how your procedural planet tech works and what it is?
DS: They like it when they can get that face-to-face contact, especially with someone like Chris.
CR: We’re going to show a preview of what we’re going to show at our event – which is the first integration of the big procedural planets that we’re putting in Star Citizen.
DS: That procedural planet technology is one of the main things – one of the main messages that we’re trying to get out. But also trying to show them “the slice” – being able to do all the different things – getting out of your ship, running around a planet, space station, getting back in, flying off to another planet nearby.
CR: Quantum drive, so we can get to our location.
Now you’ve got the EVA stuff – you can go around. And you’ve also got stuff you can do down on the ground – the FPS stuff. You can go between all of them seamlessly – it’s like a first-person universe you can go and do what you want versus being stuck to one thing.
DS: Just being able to do all that in real time is going to be a real special moment for everyone to see.
CR: So Levski is this, I guess, free township on this moon that was a deserted mining area and so a whole bunch of people from the UEE- wanted to get away from the boot of the UEE set up there so it’s ”free from the UEE impression” so there’s outlaws, scum, villainy and other people that want to be around there and we’re going to go see it.
So this is Port Olisar which is the place where you start on in the current live Star Citizen – which is one of the space stations. But in 3.0 you’ll be able to spawn at the multiple starting locations in the star system.
DS: What we’re showing in the P2P room – in the press room is what will be shown to the backers tonight and so they are seeing the same thing. We have good relationships with the press – we trust them, they trust us and we all try to hold hands and all go in it together. So it usually works out just fine.
Back to the Studio
DT: There’s been a number of articles being published in the last few days about the event and reaction of the press has been really great.
BC: It really honestly has. We’ve put together some links in the description below so go check them out for yourself.
DT: And the AtV would not be complete without hearing from the Community Manager, Tyler Witkin, with this week’s Community Update and MVP.
Community Update w/Tyler Witkin
Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey everyone. Tyler Witkin, Community Manager in the Austin, Texas studio here to bring you this week’s community update.
The Anvil Terrapin sale continues which includes another ship brochure that is definitely worth checking out. Alongside the sale is the usual Q&A sessions. You saw part one on our website released yesterday and part two will be posted tomorrow. There’s a lot of good information in these about the Terrapin.
This month’s Jump Point is now available to our subscribers. This time we take a look at the making of Grim Hex station and the ongoing head character development. Subscribers also received two vault updates this week that showcased a selection of procedurally generated planet shots and an early look at the Anvil Terrapin.
Gamescom is now behind us. We had an absolute blast. We encourage you to share the Gamescom demo with your friends and family and let them see just how cool Star Citizen really is. Remember, word of mouth from you, our amazing backers is what makes this project possible.
We want to thank Twerk 17, Deejay Knight, BadNewsBaron and Captain_Richard for entertaining us all live from the show floor booth at Gamescom. In addition, thank you to all of the volunteers who helped us run this event and make sure that things went as smooth as possible, we could not have done it without you.
Lastly, it’s time for our MVP award. A huge congratulations to Algared, BrettW, and GentleJes for holding this year’s CruxCup. For those of you who are not familiar, this is an annual ingame racing tournament organized and hosted by the community. Loaded with epic prizes. So congratulations again, you all are this week’s MVPs. Back to you guys.
DT: Thanks, Tyler. Maybe next time you and I can join the race, what do you think?
BC: You’ll have to step up your game.
DT: I’ll see what I can do.
BC: Anyways that’s it for this week. Now that Gamescom’s ended, the team is back in the trenches to get SC Alpha 2.5 out the door. Also working towards 3.0, also working on Squadron 42. We’d like to thank all of our subscribers that all us to bring this extra content to you on a regular basis.
Please go to robertsspaceindustries.com. You can get info on future news, future events that we have. You can also purchase merchandise there. I’ve heard, I don’t know exactly when yet, but I’ve heard soon we’ll have the Squadron 42 hoodies up there and those are pretty cool.
DT: We’d also like to give a shoutout to our Star Citizen community who will be attending Insomnia at the NEC at Burlington this Saturday. Some of our team from the UK office will be meeting BoredGamer at 4pm in the bar. The first 58 attendees will also get a special surprise.
BC: I wonder what it is.
DT: Well it’s a surprise, that’s what surprises are for.
BC: Yeah, exactly. Please feel free to join us this Friday at 4pm local German time for Reverse the ‘Verse where we will be taking questions live, myself and a few others based off of this week’s episode. As always we will see you next time…
Both: Around the Verse