Aug 5

Reverse the ‘Verse: Episode 2.02 Summary

After an interesting first episode of the new season, it’s time to go around the world to the U.K. 

Full Summary

  • Welcome to Reverse the ‘Verse. We have Jared in the bottom of the screen, and we have Foundry 42’s Vehicle Art Director, Nathan Diersley, in the big screen.
  • Yesterday on AtV, one of the segments was catastrophic damage on capital ships (they showed a clip of it before RtV started). They’ll take questions about that segment on the RSI chat.
    • Plan has always been to have derelict ships in-game, whether they’re floating in space or crashed on land or underwater, interesting areas you can put ships that already exist into the world of SC.
    • What triggered the Idris was that from design. It’s something they plan on doing for every ship, not just the Idris. Right now it’s an R&D phase, it’s not final, but they want to know how much they can get away with, how much mood can they put in before it stops feeling like SC.
  • [Pre-rendered or live?] That was live in-engine. Made possible by the new lighting system. It’s not really affected the lighting, they’ve got new tools where they can drive glow of assets via light. If you’ve got a light that’s 60w in power, and attach it to a large light fitting, the glow will be dim. If you attach the same bulb to a little LED on the front of the PC, it’ll glow brightly. That’s the kind of thing that made lots of that possible.
    • They also noticed lots of problems with the volumetric lighting, so that’s something that they pushed a lot. They ran around the studio making sure they could get the volumetric particle lighting right. All the particles light correctly so you can create a very ‘cold’ lighting scenario.
    • The team wanted to achieve, especially with the Idris, is you’re always looking through layers. Pools of darkness against pools of light. It’s what you’re looking for in photographic composition, and it allows layers of depth around corners.
  • [Capital ship damage was awesome; were the damages meant to be part of a dynamically damaged ship or was it static?] The stuff from yesterday is focused towards a more static approach. They won’t say never, but the plan for the procedural damage is the same as they’re already investigating with the Tali. They’ve got ~5 states; on, off, auxiliary, emergency, something else. Spawning of debris and meshes are possible, but they’d have to be clever. Wouldn’t want to walk down a corridor and stuff spawns in front of you.
    • Lots of games use ragdolls, they can use tracing to spawn things in and out depending on where the player is, but the focus of the Idris segment was taking it 60% towards its complete death. Yesterday was focused on ‘it’s just happened, just gone down’, there were two different styles. One was on the dead side of the ship, the other was on the still ‘alive’ side of the ship. Two archetypes.
    • There’s also a high-level pass, what they’re calling Husks, things like the opening of the SW7 movie, exploring ships that have been dead for years. They want to do this mostly with shaders.
  • [Was the Idris R&D only, or will we see it in-game at that fidelity?] That’s the accumulation of 7 weeks work, so you’ll see it in-game at better fidelity. It was really just trying to be efficient and clever with the assets they’ve got. They’ve got about 80% of what they wanted to achieve, and they’ll probably do it on every ship. It wasn’t R&D for R&D’s sake, there’s a bigger picture.
  • [Procedural damage or handmade?] Handmade. A lot of the mesh work is hand-done. He’s worked on the Crysis games, and he wants to use the engine to its full extent; cloth, light, volumetrics, broken glass, etc… The engine does that really well and this is the first time they’re having a chance to use it. To get that there’s a lot of hand-placed geometry, and to get the moist air and the organic shapes, the corners all have debris up against them, lots of vines hanging from the ceiling, etc… trying to mimic a jungle.
  • [Video showed an Idris that appeared devastated but still had atmosphere, this was planetside? What kind of variables should we expect? (underwater, etc…?] It was on the ground. As mentioned, in-space will happen, any terrain surface you might see them. The way everything behaves in the ship is how you expect it. With space wreckage you can do interesting things with particles and sound. When you open a door in 0g and there’s decompression, all that stuff in the air they were trying to achieve would get sucked out. And that’s all doable. In the particle system they can tell particles to get sucked towards a ‘target’ like a vent. Little things like that, little cracks in windows that stuff can get sucked through, etc…
  • [What’s your favourite damage effect?] Intrigued by how light reacts to the surfaces and how it reacts to the atmosphere in the air. There’s not one thing specific that I like, but I like to study light; scattering, etc… and how you can use that to your advantage. When developing 3D art or an environment, if you understand how light works you can use it to your advantage, and nothing in the engine is faked, what you see is what you get.
  • Lots of people are starting to see why they chose CryEngine recently, a very nimble starting point for them. The rendering side of things is probably the best. It’s only going to get better too. The new flare stuff is apparently great to use; lots of manual effort went into setting up lens flares, not to use in the JJ Abrams style, but to use them to show off atmosphere. When you look at the Idris or Starfarer or Tali, now they’re starting to get under the skin of the rendering, and the project’s starting to gel a lot more visually.
  • [How was the reflection of the hologlobe done? SSR or cubemap?] It’s a combo of two things. They have SSR, which is okay, but it has a tendency that the falloff is not a linear gradient. There they have the ability to put a light in the center of the globe, they can tell it to have a ‘bulb radius’;l radius is 1.5 meters, put in a diameter of 3 meters, and you get a perfect reflection. The key with that is they want to get that dynamically changing to the hologram tech when it comes in.
  • That’s all for Nathan, gonna come back with Gordon McLean, who worked on the cover system from AtV.
  • And now Gordon is here with Disco. Yesterday on AtV was the first time the community got to meet Gordon. Gordon’s a gameplay programmer, on the FPS team in Wilmslow. Lots of traversal stuff, ladders, cover, jumping, etc… Yesterday we saw the cover system for the first time. Gordon’s been working on that since November, this is the first time it’s shown off. The cover system itself is new, and the FPS stuff has been updated as well; player movement and weapon feel. All the core features of the FPS. Also Dataforge; doesn’t get shown off as much, but it’s the first time that’s been given a shoutout as well. They’ve shown Dataforge twice before, one with Mark Abent before. It’s not one of the ‘sexier’ features, but they’ve been working on it for a long time.
    • As far as game development goes, games are a big database with numbers you need for things. Dataforge as a centralised repository is great. Lots of features for live edits and sound checks and etc… fixes XML’s all over the place.
  • [A cover system in 0g? design and work on that?] Yes, in the video the cover system’s based on the weapon raising stuff. That’s already in, and it already works in 0g. If you float to something the weapon’ll get out of the way. The cover system doesn’t work right now, it’s turned off in 0g. If you’re floating around you can be in any orientation so it doesn’t make sense to lean, but they could have some kind of peek round cover in 0g. They’ll investigate that. First iteration it’s gravity only though.
  • [Lots of your work these days is FPS based. Can’t talk about FPS in SC without thinking of Star Marine. As revealed in a magazine interview a week ago, it’s on track for 2.6. What can you tell us about that?] It’s not really been talked about in a year. We were close to releasing it then, but it got pushed back. Lots of new movement and weapon feel stuff in it now, and animation refinements. Lots to make it feel and play better. They had a team playtest recently, it’s come so far and feels like a proper game now. Feels cohesive, like something you’d want to play. It needed work originally. lots being done on it.
  • Can expect to see more about 2.6 after 2.5 has gone live.
  • [Shooting from ladders?] Not yet, no. It’s been mentioned along with, at the moment you can’t get multiple people on a ladder. Talk of climbing over or killing people on ladders right now. But it’s on their radar. They’d like to investigate it. Also at the moment ladders don’t work in 0g, but that’ll get resolved as well.
  • [Prone and use cover?] Not at the moment, simply because of the pose in prone. You can do rolls in prone, so they might be able to do something. It’s not something they’re working on right now. Prone still needs work right now anyway. It’s on the schedule to get looked at again.
  • [Is there a non-combat version of the cover system?] Hadn’t thought of that. There was non-cover leans at one point, and they looked a little weird, but it’d be cool. There are plans for sliding, in narrow corridors, go up against a wall and look around it, etc…
  • [If you come up to a player in a thin corridor, would players slide against each other?] Not sure, have to go to design, have to see if they’d slide by or crawl over.
  • [More animations along with the cover system?] Star Marine is adding quite a lot of animations. Star marine, the two biggest teams are the code team and animation team. There’s a lot of animation that’s being done. Lots of movement animations are being updated; reloads, selecting and deselecting. lots of the stuff will make its way into Crusader as well. Lots of that might go live with 2.5. Star Marine is a game within a game, it’s a testbed so players can get in and practice FPS. Everything for Star Marine is going into Star Citizen proper.
  • [Word on hitbox registration out of cover? BF4 was bad for this for a while.] SC as a whole is different; they don’t have the same kind of colliders. If you’re getting shot in the arm, you get hit in the arm. As you see the player, that’s what the hitbox looks like. You could just clip the side of the head. And that’s one of the big things about the cover system. When you move out you know exactly where you are, and it feels natural. You know exactly where you are and how much of you is exposed.
  • [Biggest challenge when programming cover-states?] Lots. The core thing is it’s all about gameplay, feeling and playing good. Constant refinement to make it feel right. Cover’s been a little buggy at times, there’ve been occasions, it used to be easy to get stuck in the cover pose. From a technical standpoint as well, there’re a lot of animations. There’s 3 leans. Peek, blind-fire, and step-out. For each of those you have 4 distances. If you’re half-meter away, it’ll play a half-meter step out, etc… dozens and dozens of animations. 60 or 70 transitions just for the cover system. There’s been a lot of refinement and iteration in the system.
    • They do the rifle raises in cover procedurally now through Dataforge; makes it easier to just adjust values per weapon, and makes it easier to iterate on. Helps balance between looking and playing good.
  • [Bone damage, will player damage states impact ability to use cover?] There’s a new player health system, just about to go live in 2.5 maybe? it builds on the health system they have. It adds the ‘buffs or de-buffs’, vision blur, arm damage, etc… In the future, you might not be able to get into cover and use it if your limbs are damage. Not in initial release, but they’re looking at. They have to get the core FPS gameplay working first.
  • Kinda the way game development works.
  • And that’s all for Gordon. Disco will be right back with some community updates, and then they’ll wrap up.
  • Disco is back with no audio.
    • He’s talking and gesticulating, but we cannot hear him.
  • There we go. We have audio now.
  • Tune in next week, AtV is from Austin, then the week after is Gamescom, there won’t be an AtV that week. Broadcasting from the 17 to 24th on Twitch, also there’s the Gamescom party on the 19th, that’ll also be on Twitch.
  • Hope you enjoyed it, and they’ll be back next week.
  • As for Gamescom, INN are working on coverage, and we’ll get these exact same types of transcripts for everything we can, including the live party.
    • Cheers, and we’ll see you in the ‘Verse

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4 comments

  1. M. James

    Lovely write up! Always appreciated by those of us stuck in conference calls ‘dreaming of the verse!’

    -mjames

  2. Noeve

    Ack, there’s no actual RTV video attached to this.

  3. Count Sidhe Drac Mac Gillean

    It’s up on YouTube now :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQFDccjJrww

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