This post is a transcription of Around the Verse: Episode 3.10, 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. Enjoy!
As is with any information on our transcripts and summaries, everything posted is subject to change by CIG and in some cases may not always be 100% accurate at the time. While we strive for accuracy, mistakes do happen so please let us know if you find something amiss that we didn’t catch. Enjoy the show!
Around the Verse: Episode 3.10 Transcript
Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hello and thanks for joining us on another episode of Around the Verse, your weekly look at behind the scenes of Star Citizen’s development. I’m Sandi Gardiner.
Forrest Stephan (FS): And I’m Forrest Stephan, CG Supervisor.
SG: With CitizenCon behind us, everybody has now turned their focus onto the next releases.
FS: That’s right. We’ve got 2.6 shaping up, 3.0 is gearing up fast and of course Squadron 42 is moving full steam ahead.
SG: So nothing’s happening then. I just wanted to say that how touched the team was for the reception that we got for the road to CitizenCon
FS: Yeah, it’s so amazing. It’s really cool to be able show off what we’ve been working on as it’s being developed.
SG: It is very cool, and a special thanks to all the subscribers who make that extra depth possible.
FS: That’s right. So now let’s check in with Phil Meller with a Foundry 42 update.
Phil Meller (PM): Hey everyone, I’m Phil Meller – a.k.a Miles Ekhart’s chubby older brother. I’m here to bring you the UK studio update even though I’m currently here in Los Angeles. Could be worse.
A number of us came over from the UK office to help with CitizenCon and it was good to have the extra boots on the ground on the days leading up to the presentation and it also gave the chance to celebrate and have a few beers with our awesome community.
CitizenCon was the ideal place to reveal the RSI Polaris – such a nice ship, really nice. The small corvette-class capital ship is perfect for both the UEE Navy and local militias and here to talk us through the thought process when it comes to designing the ship is Paul Jones and Dan Joustra.
Paul Jones (PJ): So, today we are talking about a hotly anticipated, highly waited-for new corvette from Star Citizen. I think fans have had a lot of chat about this, they’ve been really hungry to see this ship. Originally we had the Idris which was a corvette and then we super-sized it and then we lost our corvette classification for that we had a hole in our ship loadout and this basically the RSI Polaris and this is the new introduction to that classification of ship.
So this ship is- it’s turned out super cool. It’s an RSI ship so we’ve already got a couple of ships – we’ve got the Bengal, we’ve got the Constellation, and so taking those styling cues – aggressive angles, a gundam feel – previously it’s been working on by Ryan Church out of house. But this time we’ve brought it in-house so this has been worked on by Dan on the concept team.
Dan Joustra (DJ): I love working with the concept department and today I’m hopefully bringing you something you really, really like – of course the Polaris, the hotly anticipated submarine, missile-launcher. I was given an entire level blockout made by my buddy Steve and we just sat in a meeting and we looked at what was possible – how am I going to dress this up? How am I going to give the aesthetics that match with A) the design brief and B) the RSI style, right?
So this is a newer RSI ship, so we’re going to break away a little bit but all of the essential RSI style cues are still in there. The ship is basically designed to A) carry a small fighter and B) most importantly, be quick and deliver a torpedo salvo and this ship was specifically made and designed to be as focused as possible – you can see it in the exterior. It is basically a giant triangle – a super aggressive shape. So everything about this ship is just like “I’ll get in, I’ll destroy, then I’m getting out.” – the front of this ship has the typical RSI-style cockpit with the faceted glass held together by a robust metal framework as you can see right here. So inside, it looks like this, which is cool because the faceted glass is going to allow for some really nice shading and really nice reflections and it allows, of course, for optimal visibility.
So the crew is positioned in these recessed bunker-style stations, so that the captain can always view and look over them – and between this is a gangway that extends into the cockpit so you can get a really, really nice view all around you of whatever planet you are visiting.
The hangar, which you can see here, with two doors – so when the doors open up, the floor rises to accommodate a smaller fighter and then the floor just drops down again.
PJ: And then you’ll have your usual complement of break room, mess room, engineering, habitation, bridge – all that good stuff. So I think- I think players are going to be really excited by it.
DJ: You’ve got living quarters, where the crew can hang out, shoot some pool – through this little window you see the other end of the ship. That contains the bunking area where personnel sleeps. You’ve got corridors of course, also taking into account the new slanted angular RSI style.
Of course the torpedo launchers on the bottom are super cool. You’ll be able to fire four missiles at the same time, the biggest size missiles in the game, at least. You’ll be able to fire four of them at the same time – which is, of course, amazing. These big gaping holes fire 2x two torpedo salvos – or separately if you want, but I’d go for the firepower of course.
The missile room, so those 2x two torpedo salvos that you just saw being fired in this shot, come out of these beauties You got the loading mechanism right here, these guys inspecting – just doing regular maintenance and then the torpedoes get loaded into these slots and fire out.
PJ: When this thing turns up, you’ll see it on the horizon and you’ll see it silhouetting against the nebula – you’re like “I know what that is”, if you’re on the sharp end of the stick, you are really gonna wanna start worrying about what is going to happen.
DJ: Imagine rocking up in this ship from behind, just hitting them with the torpedo – your enemy doesn’t even know what’s coming for them, nobody has seen you – that’s super cool.
PJ: This is one you want on your- in your fleet that is going to be your mid-to-large sized cap ship killer. If you have a few of these in your fleet, you’ll be in good stead. As you can see, a lot of hard work has went into this ship, both from Dan and the designer team, the Directors – across the whole company – we think it is a great addition to the fleet, it is the new corvette. We really love it and we hope that fans do too.
DJ: See you around the verse.
PM: And next we have Carlos and Steve here to hallow the work being done to make sure the camera is more dynamic in game.
Steve Turberfield (ST): So one of the things that we are looking to improve on is our global camera system that we use at the moment, essentially all of our camera systems are broken down depending on what type of camera we use – so we’ve got cameras for whether you are on foot, whether you are in a ship, or spectator cameras or death cameras. We’re looking to basically unify all of that.
Carlos Pia Pueyo (CPP): We have been receiving feedback from the community and we had noticed that players are interested in having more control over the camera and having better cameras overall. So I have been assigned with the task of improving the whole camera system – trying to get better controls, better quality in the movements in the how the camera feels, how the camera looks, so what we are trying to achieve is pretty much that.
ST: Every single day we see streams, YouTube videos, screenshots that all of our community members have made – some of the most impressive looking stuff is basically from people who are using an exploit with one of our weapons and that was allowing them to manipulate the camera in a number of different ways – from that we basically realised there was a demand to provide people with tools and control. So just allowing them to make the content look that they want to make.
CPP: In 2.6, the advantages of having more control to the camera, they should be able to change the lens size, they should be able to load and save different camera angles.
ST: So they’ll have their regular first person, third person flight, but if a player, say, wants to move the camera into a certain position on a Gladius for example, they can save that view so if they’ll be able to angle it, change the lens size and get a “I like the way that shot looks” and they can basically save it and call that view anytime they like.
CPP: One of the things we have to try and implement is adding the control of the lens size – so you can change the camera lens size and that will change the field of view so that way you can get very close up views of the character, of the ship, of whatever. Or the opposite, you can go back.
ST: Chris himself has a quite a big love of cinematography so one of the things that he wanted to get away from was the existing system that we’ve always had for the orbit views and third person is that comes across very much as a camera on a stick, because there is no actual inertia or real movement to it – so what we’ve also added is what we call operator shake, so our camera is going forward will basically a gentle movement to them which is what you would expect if someone was actually holding the camera filming your ship. For all these ships that players purchase, it’ll basically just give them a way to show them off in a better light and generally make them much realistic viewpoint but while they are playing the game.
CPP: One of the things we want to try is giving the camera a shake depending on the environment, for example, if you have explosions, the camera should shake because you are close to explosion. If you have a- something that affects- a terraform- which affects the turbulence in the area, the camera should reflect that. So the plan, which is still something we want to do, is having the camera shows that shake depending on where you are in the world.
ST: If you’re focusing on your ship and your ship pulls away fast then maybe a little bit of a lip for the camera to catch up and also when you decelerate, it may well catch up and then a bit of smooth movement as it rolls off – making it much more of a natural cinematic experience just during the regular gameplay – you are actually feeling more of a sensation of speed purely through the camera.
CPP: In theory, it will be much easier to fix bugs with this system because we don’t have to look for the bug in different places in the code, everything will be unified, everything will be easier to find and fix. All of this is continuing into 3.0 and we are also planning to have a spectator mode and- where all this camera control will also be involved.
Actually I am looking forward to looking at what people can do with the new features we are implementing.
ST: So I’m really looking forward to seeing what our players do with these new tools, essentially I believe we are going to see some pretty incredible stuff straight off the bat, because we see amazing things every single day that they are doing so giving them this extra toolset, I’m loving the idea of seeing what comes back from that and what we can do to improve on that further.
PM: So during Citizencon, we premiered the homestead demo which heavily featured the Ursa Rover, Corentin sat down to discuss what design did to get this versatile vehicle ready for the spotlight.
Behind the Scenes: Ursa Rover
Corentin Billemont (CB): At GamesCom we made Rover work for the first time. We showed it properly to the public. So, as people have seen in the previous ATV, the design radically changed from previous one but that’s because we changed metrics of a lot of stuff over the years. It was very interesting because we … we had to look at all … all stuff make it work in a new way like we did for the ships years ago.
So the thing is that the Dragonfly is something that is pretty cool because you’re like you’re on a bike but the Rover is another kind of cool because, well, this is the first real ground vehicle. It is an all in one which means obviously you can put two people in it at the front, but you can also put four people at the back on top of that. Or you can replace those four people at the back with four cargo unit. You can use a turret at the top on … you can basically go in some places the Dragonfly wouldn’t be really interesting to use because the Dragonfly is floating but, well, you are using a vehicle, you are on the ground. You will do some nice jumps or you will do some … going into some places like the canyon in Homestead which was really interesting however.
We had some challenges for animations because obviously you are using a wheel and not just a joystick or something like that. We had some issues as well with VFX because obviously when you are going on a planet you will have to see some dust coming from tyres, this kind of stuff. So yeah we can see the lights as well, obviously reacting to the dirt VFX. So for example if we go – yeah – into shadows we can see the lights there.
On the sand it will behave differently than if it is on metal for example. It will behave differently if it’s going up and down hills or if it’s on a flat surface. In third person basically we can see that it’s a bit difficult to turn there which is due to the material of the landing pad, but if go onto dirt here this is way different to turn. There’s a bit of drift for example but it’s a bit easier to turn. So it will be … we will have to constantly try to find the friction – the good friction – for every kind of surface.
In CryEngine we have to balance vehicles a different way. Like the center of gravity, how it will drift, the speed, the weight of the rover: these kind of stuff. Should it be bouncing around? Should it be going forward when it does a jump? This kind of stuff. It is sitting close to the ground but we can tweak … we can tweak the mass and everything like this. So we can see that it’s still physicalized right now.
I know that Chris really liked the Rover, like he liked the Dragonfly, so this won’t be the last ground vehicles that we’ll make in the game. And hopefully this will be something really interesting to look forward, like whether it’s ride vehicles or utilitarian vehicles – like trucks or whatever – or even open seat vehicles like, obviously, military stuff. We don’t know what we will make right now but this is already interesting process.
So you see it’s not completely finished yet because you will get the final product in 3.0 but it’s really interesting. Obviously feedback is important whether it’s from other designers, from QA, from Chris, from other … from players when it will be available. So I’m already looking forward to what the players will do with the Rover because this obviously will lead to some interesting stuff. Whether it’s some really cool views or some really cool videos or, obviously, some new bugs that we have to look at and fix that because, yeah, this is really the first true ground vehicle in Star Citizen.
Back in the Studio (UK)
PM: So the Rover was also the star of last week’s Bugsmashers so make sure you check out the episode to see how we resolve an issue which had the Rover’s wheel floating away after being blown off the vehicle.
Back in the Studio (LA)
SG: After watching Homestead how much do you just want to jump in one of those vehicles and go around on the massive planet?
FS: So much! I want to do some stunts like line up a bunch of Argos, grab a Dragonfly and just [whoosh] see how many I could clear.
SG: Of course he does. Sounds like a great way to ruin a bunch of Argos and wreck your Dragonfly.
FS: Well speaking of crashes, Ship Shape this week looks at what it took to make that destroyed Javelin look so amazingly awesome.
Ship Shape: Javelin
Nathan Dearsley (ND): The Homestead initially was a demonstration to show the planetary tech V2 with all the different biomes: the snow, the desert, the forests. We kind of wanted to finish it on a high note.
Phil Howlett (PH): Basically the challenge was to take a huge capital ship and crash it into the desert and make it look like it’d been there for years and it was kind of rotting and decaying. So initially I was given a move board by Nathan Dearsley, the Art Director, and this contained lots of images of decaying ships and boneyards of old crust military ships that were kind of being salvaged, and that was kind of the starting point.
ND: There’s these kind of places where cargo liners are parked on the beach and the locals turn up and tear these cargo liners apart to recycle them. If you look online you’ll find very fascinating references where there’s these huge boats just kind of split into and you can see into all the sub decks and decks. So that was the first protocol. Obviously there is a strong link to Jaku in episode 7, but we didn’t want to religiously follow that so we have the move boards in place, but it’s also kind of like Mad Max, the most recent one obviously set in the desert and thunderdome, episode three from the originals was looked at a lot simply because the whole kind of subject matter of those films is very close to what we were trying to create so there’s this kind of rich heritage of history with the ship being there, and we say okay, well what would happen if these Nomads take it over, how would they make it secure, how would they live there.
There’s a lot of things you didn’t see in the demo which people ran past, but there are actually little beds in there with a little radio, these stories and personal touches which make a lot of difference to me and you’ll see more of that in the future as well
PH: We had to think how the sand would build up on the surfaces and how you get it to look as though the ship is no longer pristine and clean and it’s been out in the sun for years, kind of rusting away. So we made use the blend shaders in CryEngine to kind of blend from the originally paneling that was already there on the Javelin and blended that into either rust or into sand, and the way we approached it was the exterior hull of the ship, that was kind of sandy and as though the exterior of the ship would be treated so it would withstand the elements as it were, but then everything that was exposed from the interior, that was just rusting away and decaying and that was the way we approached it. So that as you revealed the innards of the ship you could see it kind of dying over time.
ND: When news got around the studio that we were going to kind of do this with the Javelin, a lot of the team were biting at the cookie to try and get on the team that we’re making that because it’s a break for us. We’re making these pristine ships all the time. When you get the opportunity to do something that’s not you know this pristine looking ship in space, that you want to kind of bury it in a desert or another kind of biome, you can get very creative with that stuff and tell these stories, and the guys fundamentally we were all environmental artists, that’s how we started and it’s always nice to go back there and keep touch with that stuff
PH: So you’re trying to tell that story, a crash basically. So you wouldn’t expect the girders and the beams and the framework to just be sliced. We spent a lot of time cutting into these meshes.
ND: So the day-night cycle, in the previous version of the engine it was quite easy to do. You could link glows to a certain time of day, so the previous system had a 24 hour day-night cycle, and you could tell the glow in a shader to go, “Oh you know what, at six o’clock at night switch on, and at six o’clock in the morning switch off”. We don’t know how far we are from the closest star right now which would be the sun, so we actually don’t know how long a day will last a certain point on a planet so there’s a lot of kind of things that we need to work out with that, so we have those challenges to think about as well.
PH: Me and all the guys we do read the forums, we look at the feedback and it seems to have gone down really well. Everyone here is really proud of their work and I think everyone did a great job on the crashed Javelin, and I think we now know how to manage a mid sized ship and a smaller ship and now we’ve learned a lot about how to damage these capital ships and it’s only going to help push things forward in the future.
Behind the Scenes: Homestead Sound
Matteo Cerquone (MC): I’ve mainly been working on the ambiences for Homestead. I’m spending quite some time with the sandstorm itself. We would have different wind density, changing according to how close or far you are from the sandstorm and sound design is a lot like designing things. It’s not like, “Oh I need the sound of a real sandstorm to actually have the sound of a sandstorm”, no it doesn’t really work that way. It’s more like breaking down the elements a sandstorm can bring so you go from wind and then you can record just sand debris so you can record, just like debris of metallic debris and things of that. When you combined all those layers together, that’s when you get the overall really sandstorm you know metal shaking, all those kinds of stuff, but I would not recommend anyone to just go into a sandstorm and record it really.
So this one is the sound of the debris, like metal debris, it’s quite loud but we’re not gonna hear it now because the wind.
[Wind in the background]
Because the window is not strong enough really. We can bring the level of the wind higher so that these sounds in particular will start resonating as well.
And just gonna go with three..
[Wind increases and metallic sounds can be heard]
And again if I bring the volume down for the wind, things will get more subtle. This is the way we want to work basically so we want to populate the entire area with as many, let’s call silence sounds as we can and we would let the wind just basically just automate all of that. So we would let the wind talk, and other yeah natural elements we need to have it to drive the audio itself.
The most difficult part would be to actually procedurally generate sound in a way that if it’s with a level, we can’t not just manually put things on the level otherwise we’ll have to manually cover each planet and that won’t be possible really because the scale is so huge, we need to address things in a way that is more dynamic as possible, that’s where the real challenge is.
If we jump back here in the Javelin, you can see that there are tons and tons of just like all your trigger spots which most of them will not make any sound until they have been some wind elements. Those are your trigger spots and are not making any sounds at the moment, but as I bring the sandstorm closer, we start to get some more wind
[Wind picks up]
There you go. So the sandstorm is a bit far away, it’s not that close so the wind is not that strong really, but we are starting to get some of the elements already here, some of the debris. We can use some rustling here as well which is not too crazy. I mean the sandstorm is still far away, but as the sandstorm gets closer, that’s where we get more of those elements really coming up to life and be really loud in this place.
So you can hear like the whole ship itself is rattling and you get all this sand debris and I bring the sandstorm far away from it, basically we get more of just the debris sounds and less of the rattling really, and that’s really what we aim for with this is so that we can just populate the entire area with all those silent trigger spots and just make them really resonate and bring them to life with the wind elements and this system can pretty much work with many other solutions. It can be not just for wind, not just for the sandstorm, but we can just like have entire buildings rattling or resonate as for example a thruster, as a spaceship would fly by it really, so we can meter the thrusters on the spaceships and make that drive the sounds of specific objects in the game.
There’s so much sound design to do for this game. It’s like from the most Sci-Fi weird sounding spaceship to the most common I don’t know, wind sounds, just like recording general ambiences. So it’s a project so big that basically allows us to just play with all types of sounds really, it never gets boring.
Back to Studio
SG: Always great to hear from the audio team.
FS: Oh I knew you were going to do that [laughs]. Is that an old school ATV pun?
SG: I’m not saying anything, Ben’s not here so you know.
FS: Alright on that note, let’s go over to Jared for this week’s Community Update.
Community Update w/ Jared Huckaby
Jared Huckaby (JH): Hello everybody, Community Manager Jared Huckaby here, filling in for Tyler Witkin who is on a well deserved vacation, with this week’s Community Update.
Let’s talk about awards.
Star Citizen and our partners at Turbulent recently won the Adobe and FWA “Cutting Edge Award of the Year” for their work on the ARK Starmap. The Starmap is one of many innovations Turbulent has brought to Star Citizen and you can see it in action every other Wednesday in our Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy series of videos here on YouTube.
In addition to that the Golden Joystick Awards are one of the longest running game awards in the business. And Star Citizen is currently nominated for “Most Wanted Game of the Year”. So as Chris Roberts once said, “Tell your family. Tell your friends. Tell your pets if that’s what it takes. And let’s get the word out!” We’re up against some tough competition this year so you can vote at the link below and voting ends October 31st.
In this week’s news another issue of Jump Point magazine, our monthly behind-the-scenes look at the development of Star Citizen for subscribers, goes out tomorrow. It’s just one of many perks those who subscribe receive. So if you’d like to know more you can do so by going to robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions.
Now who doesn’t like to fly spaceships for free? We just completed our annual “all ships” free fly for existing backers in celebration of CitizenCon. And now we’re doing another free fly for those of you who are brand new to Star Citizen. So starting tomorrow and going through October 31st, anyone who signs up for a Star Citizen account, with or without a purchase, will be able to fly one of our premier dogfighters in the Star Citizen universe: the F7CM Super Hornet. I expect all those pirates around Yela to be cleared out in no time. So get to it!
And this weekend also marks the fan CitizenCon Germany. Now this is a new, completely fan organised Star Citizen event, not unlike the BritizenCon event that happened in the UK earlier this year. Several members from Foundry 42 Frankfurt are expected to be in attendance. So you can learn more about that event if you are interested in attending at citizencon.de.
Of course what would a Community Update be without this week’s MVP? I’ll tell you the candidates for MVP every week have been racking up and we have an abundance of deserving winners. But this week it was RiceMaiden and their work on a 1/64th scale Misc Reliant Kore made from laser-cut birch plywood that caught my eye. As you can see in the photos RiceMaiden put a lot of time and care into their work and even linked the design files to the forums so others can benefit from their effort. So congratulations RiceMaiden you are this week’s MVP!
Finally looking ahead to next week, is our October Monthly Subscriber Town Hall on Wednesday, October 26th. It’ll be hosted live here in our LA studio with special guests Eric Kieron Davis, Forrest Stephan, and the always enlightening Sean Tracy. Look for that live, on Twitch, at 12 noon.
With that, that’s our Community Update for this week. So back to you Sandi and Forrest.
FS: So I might be totally biased but I think that Star Citizen has one of the most interesting communities out though.
SG: I think it is the best community out there. You had a great time at Citizencon which is why it is incredible we get to meet our backers in person, like at Citizencon, and all the Bar Citizens that we have.
FS: That’s right. Because without them we just wouldn’t be here.
SG: That is true and all of your support, subscribers and backers, make it so we get the chance to create the game that we’ve always wanted to.
FS: Yeah. So tune in tomorrow at 8am Pacific, 4pm GMT to join us for Reverse the ‘Verse.
SG: And until next week, we will see you…
Both: Around the ‘Verse.