Nov 4

October CIG Monthly Report

The October CIG Monthly Report is a summary of material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries.

October CIG Monthly Report

LOS ANGELES

Engineering

  • Progressed on vehicles within Item System 2.0 and all it contains
  • Delved deeper into Object Containers and Object Container streaming
  • Accompanying bugs found and corrected

Tech Design

  • Aided local engineers to implement Item System 2.0
  • Constellation Aquila and Drake Herald brought closer to flight readiness
  • Assisted global team with the bug queue

Art

  • The Character team grew while increasing character quality and deliveries
  • Clothing and general pipeline improvements and progress were included

Narrative

  • Provided lore posts, Jump Point and captured content for 3.0 mocap shoot in London this past month
  • Progress also made on 2.6 content, new component descriptions, the Galactapedia, and other unmentionables

Quality Assurance

  • Vincent Sinatra played the Homestead demo at CitizenCon
  • Tested Item 2.0 daily and supported LA Engineering

CIG AUSTIN

DESIGN

  • Focus on upcoming landing zones
  • Rob Reininger and Robert Gaither created blueprint level design docs for various shops and services in Crusader, microTech and Hurston
    • These provide the basis to generate requests to other teams like clothing from Character artists so they can begin to populate these locations
  • Peter Mackay working on ‘Trade Slayer’ which is and end-to-end economic model of how an item gets created from mining commodities, refined, manufactured and placed on store shelf
    • He also aided UK design in balancing FPS weapons and items for Star Marine
    • Finalizing first iteration of ‘Price Fixer’ which will generate in-game values based on characteristics and component costs for all ships and inform their pricing in PU
  • Rob Reininger working with UI team on ‘Shopping Kiosk’ GDD to create mockups and how that system would interact, this will be passed to Engineering for implementation

ART

  • Josh Coons finished the Herald which is in QA testing and he’s moved to Cutlass variants refactor, already progressed the ship into Greybox phase
  • Chris Smith completed final pass on Constellation Aquila
  • Emre Switzer worked on lighting for Star Marine maps

ANIMATION

  • PU Animation Team tackled implementing a new set of background animations such as characters interacting with datapads, using PAW tool, getting in/out of bunks and eating at mess hall table
    • These will be used in both SQ42 and PU and must work within parameters of Subsumption Usables(nodes that AI navigate to and interact with)
  • Ship Animation Team supported animations tasks for Ursa Rover, Drake Caterpillar and Drake Herald while providing insight for ships like MISC Prospector and Drake Buccaneer
  • Added ‘combat speed’ animations to Retaliator, Merling, M50, Scythe and Freelancer, these save time when entering/exiting a ship

BACKEND SERVICES

  • Jason Ely spent most of the month rewriting their Hub Server, this provides more scalability as the community and player base grows
    • Jason will be working on grander changes within the backend infrastructure to better optimize services
  • Tom Sawyer worked on optimizing the Lobby System, also as a part of their Frontend Refactor he wrote a new Leaderboard that allows it to display in-game instead of just the website
  • Ian Guthrie at Wyrmbyte was busy creating admin tools for their servers
    • These tools will give their Game Support Team more capabilities, such as reserving a game master slot on a server, providing slash commands to better identify specific player info and presence and allow for better instance controlled testing    

QA

  • Don Allen and Todd Raffray spent September and October testing the Homestead Demo
  • Andrew Rexroth and Tory Turner with support from Tyler T tested the Vertical Slice and provided SQ42 support
  • Scott McCrea, Brandon Crocker and Matt Gant focused on Star Marine
  • The team also tested and deployed multiple 2.5.0 builds for Evocati to test and provide initial feedback on ship-balance changes considered for 2.6.0
  • Bryce Benton started rebuilding the QA documentation on server stability diagnostics and bugging
    • With Katarzyna Mierostawska he also work with UK team to test and verify several new automation tests
  • Jesse Mark assisted in building a new set of web dashboards for LiveOps and NOC teams
  • Michael Blackard and Elijah Montenegro assisted Austin Animation Team with new ship enter/exit animations  

Game Support

  • Provided onsite and home office support
  • Spent a lot of time on Evocati Test Flight and doubled their size to over 800 people from 40 countries speaking 18 different languages.
  • Evocati played a full game balance pass in 2.6.0
  • Hired more folks and are working closely with Customer Service
  • Plan to unify our teams for better and quicker service
  • Cross-trained a ‘base’ team for the foundation that will be needed closer to launch

IT/Operations

  • All studios supported the CitizenCon show with prep work weeks prior and a week afterwards
  • Thanks so much to the volunteers who provided tremendous support with its setup and teardown
  • Supported Dennis Daniels, Mike Jones and staff in the building of matching computers for final development polish, testing and presentation
  • Computers Used:
    • ASUS X99-A Motherboard
    • ASUS STRIX 1080 GPU
    • Intel i7-5820 CPU
    • 64 Gig Corsair Vengeance RAM
    • Corsair H55 Cooler
    • Intel 750 Series 1.2 TB PCI-Express SSD provided by Intel.

LiveOps/DevOps

  • Provided around the clock build and deployment support for CitizenCon
  • Governed each branches build timings to prevent replication conflicts for the global dev teams
  • Focused on live server infrastructure optimization and reducing patch sizes after CitizenCon

FOUNDRY 42 UK

Art

  • CitizenCon happened.
  • Lots of artwork and designs produced for Polaris.
  • Started work on new MISC ship.
  • Started work on Banu archetypes.
  • Wrapped up first round of Esperia Prowler.
  • Finished Kastak Arms sniper rifle and pistol.
  • Usual work on ship items and props.
  • Environment Team worked on both Star Marine maps.
  • Worked with Frankfurt to ensure art and engineering can make planets better and allow easier integration of assets.
  • Planets must work well with continued work on landing zones – microTech, Crusader and Hurston.
  • Frankfurt studio designers supported artists on surface outposts, modular space stations and satellites.
  • These are main thing players will visit.
  • All SQ42 levels are in final art and are gearing up to reveal the vertical slice.
  • First true look at SQ42.
  • Ship team working on Drake Herald and Vanguard Hoplite for 2.6.
  • Both of these ships are flight ready.
  • Also working on capital ships. Final phase of closing out Idris, Javelin and Bengal.
  • Started development on Vanduul Hunter.
  • Driller is wrapping up.
  • Applying lessons from Driller to rest of Vanduul ships.

Graphics

  • Focused on several new features.
  • Rotating asteroids; physically accurate spot light falloff; complex shader glow for alien ships.
  • Started rework and unification of shadow systems.
  • Will vastly increase number of simultaneous shadow casting lights.
  • Also brings higher res shadows and improved performance.

Props

  • Last month was hectic and rewarding.
  • CitizenCon highlighted areas where pipelines could be improved.
  • Lots of work in SQ42.
  • “Low tech” props set continues to grow.
  • Converted older assets to new material system.
  • Looks better and more efficient.
  • Dressing asset library continues to grow.
  • Destructible props being worked on.
  • Exploding barrels, lights and windows.

Audio

  • Setting up music log system.
  • Cinematic cues for Homestead demo.
  • Worked on ambience, scavenger voices, epic sandstorm and more.
  • Star Marine music logic, ambience and SFX support.
  • Grenade bounce work and bug fixes for SM.
  • Refined various ships like Dragonfly and Caterpillar.
  • Refactored Xi’An Scout engines.
  • Improvements to quantum drive, ship weapons and player death.
  • Music system reworked to support multiple concurrent music suites for seamless music.
  • Cinematic flow node made more robust.
  • Audio dynamic range changed to dropdown with three choices.
  • Improved workflow and collision interpretation – different clothing, armour, weapon sounds when bumping/scraping.

QA

  • Focus on Star Marine.
  • Control game mode put through paces.
  • Tested music logic system – adds drama to experience.
  • New ships tested – Hoplite and Herald.
  • Sweeping balance changes for flight model, shields and ship weapons kept team busy.

VFX

  • Cleanup and optimization of Arena Commander.
  • Worked on Herald and Hoplite.
  • Improvements on both ships and FPS weapons (including shader fixes).
  • Worked on general ambient Star Marine VFX.
  • Bug fixes and particle library/texture cleanup.
  • For Homestead, supplied ship controls (driven by code/data), general ambient effects (sand, debris, weather), weapon improvements (incl. blood impacts), upgrades to Dragonfly explosions and Ursa Rover effects.
  • Atmospheric VFX entry fully driven by code/data now.
  • Continued R&D for automated VFX placement on planets.

Programming

  • Large overhaul of camera system completed.
  • Unified code between different modes – chase, orbit, passenger and spectator.
  • More dramatic and cinematic cameras.
  • Provides more control over DoF, FoV, operator shake, point of interest and zoom.
  • Big changes to lobby UI.
  • Can now change loadout without ever going to hangar.
  • Investigating new “mega map” that allows switching between Arena Commander game modes and maps without having to load in and out.

Animation

  • Lots of Star Marine work.
  • Implementing loot animations for weapon pick-ups.
  • Working on grenade functionality and visuals.
  • Bringing legacy weapon reloads to current standards.
  • General bug fixes.
  • Captured assets for stealth kills from various angles.
  • Combat ready AI responding to noises.
  • Work done on general AI combat animation sets – focused on enter/exit cover, blind fire and under fire.

Design

  • Split between 2.6 and SQ42.
  • Live Team added mission content for Crusader (incl. many secrets).
  • New asteroid tech that improves ring around Yela.
  • Tweaked station security.
  • Improved wreck sites.
  • Arena Commander upgrades – incl. persistent missile inventory between deaths, pickups and pirate swarm rebalance and improvements.
  • SQ42 designers worked on vertical slice.
  • Slice is selected as it contains almost all aspects of gameplay and avoids spoilers.
  • Focus on this section is paying dividends in terms of issues being fixed.
  • Some issues would usually persist late into development cycle.

UI

  • Team focused on HUD/UI needs for planetary demo showcased at CitizenCon.
  • Since focused on UI for 2.6.
  • Significant overhaul to front-end menu system.
  • Affects game lobbies for Arena Commander, Star Marine and in-game leaderboards.
  • Provides much needed visual update to main menu and pause screens.
  • Should provide improved user experience (esp. for new players)
  • Worked with Character Team on creating new first person helmets and HUDs that have unique look/feel.
  • Game-mode specific UI should function properly and be consistent with rest of game.
  • Finally supported environment team with ambient screen assets/animations – gives live/movement to environments.

FOUNDRY 42 FRANKFURT

Programming

  • Focused on coding for CitizenCon and the global road map
  • Work done on ecosystems, vegetation, object spawning and terrain blending
  • Vegetation rendering CPU performance was improved
  • Cloud models and shading received some attention as well as ocean rendering
  • Physics and occlusion optimisation work with local grids
  • Internal Planet tools were worked on in conjunction with the Environment Art Team
  • Facial rigs and wrinkle map triggering/blending accuracy improved

AI

  • Focus on Squadron 42 AI
  • Primary and secondary sub-activities for Subsumption were implemented
  • NPC personal logger used to help debug their state and behaviour decision process
  • Subsumption combat behaviour given first pass
  • Cover system work
  • Navmesh for characters was refactored to allow the AI to identify possible shortcuts
  • Improvements were also made to the collision avoidance code and also allows AI to identify a player as an entity
  • The pseudospeed calculation was reintroduced to NPC characters to Animators and Designers can select the right animation
  • for the right speed
  • An emotion component was added that will affect NPC character’s behaviour
  • AI pilots can now directly use quantum travel and afterburners as well as be triggered by Designers

Design

  • The entire team travelled to the U.K. last month to help out with CitizenCon
  • The Landing System was refined for docking, landing and how it looks in game
  • Work was done on a space station locations for 3.0 release
  • Much progress has been made designing the modular building system for space stations
  • Continued work on planet outposts and modular satellites

Build

  • The resource compiler process, which takes the most time when in the build process was optimised.
  • This system will be hooked up with the new patching system/launcher when that is complete

Environmental Art

  • Most of the team spent their time generation the ecosystems shown at CitizenCon
  • Five systems were created in total over a short space of time
  • Working with Engineers in the U.K. to create additional assets and terrain

Cinematics

  • Work was finished for the camera path in the CitizenCon demo
  • In-cockpit and in-helmet comms were readied for Squadron
  • Ongoing research with the goal of making Look IK and AI locomotion blend fluidly out of captured story scenes
  • A small side project for the Star Marine release was also completed

Weapon Art

  • The focus was mostly on missiles this past month
  • Existing missile assets were optimised and polished with a small amount of variants added
  • The FPS team were busy with grenades and grenade variants
  • The Behring P8 weapon family iron sights were worked on

Quality Assurance

  • After testing Squadron and Homestead demo for CitizenCon regular test activity resumed
  • Testing Star Marine and engine features
  • Gravity boxes and areas ragdolls as well as checking zone transition changes to the interior physics grids
  • An internal playtest of Star Marine’s current state was completed and feedback gathered

VFX

  • Focus on effects for the CitizenCon demo and Squadron 42
  • Environmental effects like clouds, heat refraction and sand blowing in the wind were completed for the demo
  • Many of the effects achieved in the demo were done while working closely with the Cinematics and Animation departments

BHVR

Art

  • Focusing on upcoming milestones.
  • Lot of effort showing diversity of the universe.
  • Variety of different climates, architecture and story of different locales.
  • Going to show progress of Stanton landing locations.

Hurston

  • Desert mining world controlled by powerful corporation.
  • Life is harsh.
  • People are like indentured servants.
  • Architecture exhibits wear and tear.
  • Daily life constantly monitored.

MicroTech

  • Arctic environment.
  • Inhospitable.
  • Domed cities constructed to avoid natural hazards.
  • Inside it is very clean, lots of technology and simple elegance.
  • Transparent glass is prevalent building material.
  • Reinforces architectural themes with interactive tech and view matching environment colour scheme.

Crusader

  • Gas giant with city in clouds.
  • Multiple floating platforms, long and slender.
  • Ships traverse between buildings.
  • Structures have varying elevations.
  • Breathtaking vistas surprise players between silhouettes.

TURBULENT

Communication Platform

  • Revealed Spectrum at CitizenCon.
  • Designed to integrate forums, chat and other features into streamlined platform.
  • Initial launch will be a web application.
  • Future releases have more functionality, including game integrated overlay and voice chat.

Ship Happens

  • Polaris went on sale at CitizenCon.
  • Many ship packages made available.
  • Backer-only free-fly for all ships happened.
  • Followed by free-fly to everyone.

RSI Newsletter

  • Newsletter saw an overhaul.
  • More curated content and community information.
  • Recaps subscriber updates, current promotions, top pilots, fan creations and sometimes new content.

COMMUNITY

  • Had an unforgettable time meeting people at TwitchCon Bar Citizen.
  • Support from CitizenCon was great.
  • Meeting everyone gives the team a big boost.
  • Community in Germany hosted their own CitCon event.
  • Staff from Germany showed up and had a blast at the event.
  • Becoming difficult to keep up with streamers and podcasts.
  • Good to see veterans helping people out.
  • MVP is difficult to pick with the great content.

LOOKING AHEAD

  • Continuing to work hard on Squadron 42, SC Alpha 2.6, Alpha 3.0 and beyond
  • Star Citizen Anniversary Livestream in two weeks to focus on our ship pipeline

This is a transcription of material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is not affiliated with CIG in any way.

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