Greetings once again, boys and girls. It's time for another story from good old Uncle Jasticus, and this time I come bearing gifts!
Well, at this point I think good news can be considered a gift, right?
PTU 1.1.5 went live as of Saturday afternoon (in the US). I had considered doing my SUNSPOT update yesterday when it arrived, but waited a bit to see if I could gather some impressions, based not only on the patch notes, but also on other people's experiences so far.
If you're not interested in the PTU and are going to wait until live, but still are curious about what the notes entail, here you go:
(I have highlighted items in red throughout todays post that I think are quite important/have a bigger impact that more people are interested in.)
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(Formatting within spoiler tags is a pain in the ass, sorry about that. I gave up after the 4th attempt or so.)
- Battle Royale and Squadron Battle have had their maximum player count increased to 16
- Respawn penalty has been applied for situations where a pilot would intentionally destroy the ship to either reload missiles or prevent another player from getting a kill
- Reworked the server, instance, and matchmaking service from the ground up
- Lobby system and game servers now talk to each other about the teams that a client is on in the lobby and in game
- Lobby system will now remove players from a lobby if the instance system crashes rather than letting a group remain in a broken lobby
- Game Instances are able to transition from completed matches to hosting a new match more quickly
- Vanduul Scythe is hangar and combat ready (shows as captured vanduul fighter in lobby)
- P52-Merlin is hangar and combat ready
- Due to being a snub fighter, the Merlin does not have intakes. As such, it does not replenish fuel while flying. In the PU, it would do this by docking with a Constellation
- Accounts that have constellation variants that come with a snub fighter will be given a Merlin loaner ship to use in Arena Commander
- Like other loaner ships, loaner Merlin’s cannot be placed in the hangar
- Placing a Constellation Andromeda in the hangar will also spawn a Merlin
- Added support for spray patterns to weapons based on weapon mount type
- Added new attenuation for missiles explosions
- Added weapon names to Vanduul armaments
- Added blade extension for captured Vanduul Scythe. It is activated by turning the item on in the weapon UI
- Human engineers have increased the weapon lethality for the ship for the captured version of the scythe
User Interface Additions
- Added a HUD effect to the Vanduul Scythe where the alien ship HUD will appear in some situations
- Electronic Access button has replaced the Arena Commander button in the main menu to help with indicating that Arena Commander and Star Marine and simulations within the game fiction
- Arena Commander and Star Marine icons have been added for each game module
- Game module icons will be grayed out for accounts that do not have access to them (Star Marine is grayed out for all accounts)
- Game modes and maps will have a red overlay for accounts that are invited to lobbies which contain game modes they can’t play
- Lobby host will receive an error if a player in a lobby doesn’t have access to the selected game mode
- Match ID’s have been put back into the game to make it easier for players to report issues with specific instances
- Match ID length and complexity has been increased to ensure that they’re always unique
- Transitioned the audio system for all game content over to new cross-platform sound engine
- Added additional ambiance to the VFG Industrial hangar
- Added new splash screens when initially logging into the game
- Updated how ships calculate their mass when in the hangar
- Points that are earned for doing damage to ship hulls has been adjusted due to the changes in ship health
- Rebalanced Vanduul Swarm to be in line with desired difficulty due to the balance changes made to ships
- Boost consumption has been rebalanced so that it involves more decision making for when to use it and involves less attrition
- 300-series hull health increased x2
- Aurora hull health increased x3
- Aurora top speed increased to 175
- Avenger hull health increased x2
- Avenger wings upsized from size 1 to size 2
- Gladiator hull health increased x2
- Gladiator adjusted to drift more when turning so that it handles appropriately for its size and role.
- Gladius hull health increased x2
- Hornet family hull health increased x2
- Hornet rotational velocity increased *(thrusters currently semi-broken)*
- Hornet rotational acceleration decreased *(thrusters currently semi-broken)*
- M50 hull health increased x3
- Restricted missile hardpoint sizes from size 1-3 to size 3 only to restrict possible missile racks on the Hornet Series
- Cutlass hull health increased x3
- Decreased Cutlass boost angular velocity from 3x normal to 2x normal
- Weapon damage increased by about 25%
- The weapon damage disparity between sizes increased to 75%. Helps to make fixed weapons vs gimbaled weapons a more valuable decision.
- Weapon accuracy for gatling weapons decreases/spread increases over longer sustained rate of fire
- Weapon mount and gimbal slew rates are now set based by size
- Adjusted weapon mounts so that their IM and EM signature generation scales with mount size
- Increasing cooling flow for weapons due to higher health and shield values
- Chaff counter measures will now fire in bursts of 4 across a 120 degree horizontal arc, chaff counter measure ammo box sizes have been quadrupled to match the burst
- Size and potency of chaff reduced
- Missile damage raised x1.5 for all missiles to help compensate the increased ship/shield health and the raised Shield absorb for splash damage
- Tempest II reduced explosion radius and overall damage
- Stalker V reduced explosion radius and overall damage
- Shield values have been doubled
- Shield splash damage absorb factor increased from 1 to 1.25 as a baseline. SECO-Splash shields raised to 1.5 and SECO-Drop shields raised from 0.8 to 1
- Shield recharge rates have been reduced
- Shield regen delay increased across the board for all sizes. Shortest delay is 9.5s for Size 1 and 19.5s at Size 4
- Rotated the holotables and moved most of them next to a wall
- Client and server performance for when ships are destroyed and respawn has been greatly improved
- Clients that enter a team game mode from the same ranked lobby will now be on the same team
- Characters rolling while prone is now seen by other clients
- Characters no longer spawn in as a pair of eyes
- Fixed a few issues that were causing characters to spawn in a pilot seat standing up (some still exist)
- Fixed an issue causing ships to sometimes sink into landing platforms in Multiplayer Free Flight when using automatic landing
- Fixed a crash that would occasionally occur when landing in Multiplayer Free Flight
- Fixed an issue where the ship name would appear as debug text for the tutorial Gladius’ ship AI
- Front panels on the Mustang now animate when used
- Mustangs no longer float in the air after landing with damaged or destroyed wings
- Fixed the mustang turret showing debug text in the holotable
- Fixed an issue where swapping turrets in a constellation would cause character animations to malfunction
- Killing a Cutlass now gives proper credit
User Interface Fixes
- Delta Rocket pods no longer display their name as debug text
- Fixed an issue that caused cross-hairs and reticule to sometimes go missing upon respawn
- Thrusters can now be deactivated in power management
- Holding tab will no longer cause the score board to default to on
Gameplay Known Issues
- Murray Cup poster now appears in the Asteroid Hangar
- Cloud in race maps are no longer popping in and out
- Spawning will sometime cause blood splatter to appear on the helmet
- Pressing tab five times will open chat in Arena Commander
- There are a number of issues that prevent progression through the Arena Commander tutorial
- Connection error 8 will occasionally occur when connecting to a multiplayer match
- Spectator cameras cannot be controlled and will shake too much when observing another ship
- Comstab can no longer be disabled/enabled
- Matchmaking will load clients queued up for different race modes into the same server instance
- Client can get stuck on an infinite load screen if they are matched into a server instance that no longer exists due to the game ending
- Client will black screen when entering a lobby if it is unable to communicate with the Generic Instance Manager
- The ability to send invites does not recover if the Generic Instance Manager crashes (workaround, enter your own lobby as a host to update your clients online status and invites should work again)
- Leaderboard statistics are not being communicated to the website
Ship Known Issues
- Ships will sometimes spawn without IR and EM signature
- Ships will sometimes not be able to respawn in Arena Commander
- Merlin jerks when boosting after lateral turn
- Merlin HUD cannot be interacted with
- Constellation Andromeda ship surfaces are missing textures and lighting, causing them to be black in some areas
- Freelancer variants are missing textures and lighting, causing them to be black in most areas
- Retaliator is missing collision in several locations
Component Known Issues
- Motion blur settings for some ship components is set higher than it should be
User Interface Known Issues
- There is no message or timer indicating the penalty for early ejection
- Error codes are not being displayed in hangar and are not visible until a client loads into another match, making it seem like they appear at the start of a match
- Game Mode selection resets when returning to the lobby (this in turn can cause the lobby host to see duplicates of other players in the lobby)
Environment Known Issues
- Large blocks of invisible collision are present on the left and right sides of the Aeroview hangar
- The Hornet series is 'broken' at the moment, thrusters either aren't firing when they are supposed to, or they get 'stuck' on,
- The Scythe is currently not appearing in hangar for people who legitimately own it. If you only get to play with it as a subscriber, it will not appear in your hangar because it is not 'real'. You can land it on a platform in Free Flight and look at it that way.
- The Merlin will only appear in hangar if you own an Andromeda. It should be the same for the Aquila, but not yet. If you own a Phoenix you will get a substitute for the Archimedes, but it will not appear in hangar like it will for the others.
- The flight mode and inertia has been adjusted again to make the game more sim-like, instead of arcade.
- Boost will last for 10-15 seconds, and take 60 to 90 seconds to recharge to full if emptied.
- The Merlin radar is bugged in Vanduul Swarm. Destroyed Vanduul will not disappear from the radar, so it will be extremely cluttered after a few rounds.
- The 2.0 launcher has no built in download throttle, so you will have to do it yourself. It will soak up all the bandwidth you have available. The good news portion of that is that people are recording download speeds in excess of 60 Mb/sec. That's about 6-7 minutes to download the whole thing.
- The Merlin will be $20 USD when it goes on sale. It will NOT have LTI, as it has already been included as part of the Constellation package. If you bought a Constellation with LTI, that Merlin WILL have LTI, but it cannot be separated as a standalone ship until the PU is live (so far). Keep in mind that the Merlin is classified as a snubfighter, and therefore does not have quantum or jump drives. It also does not get boost fuel back, and needs to dock with a mothership to get refueled. It still looks f*ckin' cool, those details nonwithstanding.
- The only other bit of news is that we've got the latest edition of Jump Point that arrived on Friday. It's a focus on the Merlin and Kruger Intergalaktische.
10 For the Producers, July 13thFor the full transcript in all its glory without the summaries, visit INN here.
Having heard more about the role you play in previous 10FT Producers videos, I wondered if you could explain any differences between being a producer and being a traditional project manager. Is this more down to industry terminology or does a producer entail more staff management than would be expected in typical project management roles? Could I become a project manager in my current company and one day take the jump to becoming a videogame producer?
There are a lot of yes and no's to this question, suffice it to say that with every company, the position they have may do the same or similar things elsewhere, but also be called something completely differfent. Each company sets up what they classify the roles to be, so it all depends on where you are looking and what your qualifications/certifications are.
With the apparent style of WW2 dogfighting in Star Citizen, will CIG add various tobacco products to the game, such as: cigars, cigarettes, and pipes that players can smoke and do you envision them being illicit?
They don't know yet, Chris hasn't really focused on things like that, nor have they focused on what the game will potentially be rated. For all they know, smoking tobacco may no longer be a thing anymore 900 years in the future.
Hey there, I am planning to enter the industry after university, I am planning on being a 3D environment artist. From your experience working with them, specifically the fresh meat. Would you suggest spending time going and working on a specific theme or style, an aesthetic preference or tailor to more realism regardless.
Simply focus on what you like doing and what you're best at, because if you apply somewhere, they are going to need to see what you are 'actually' capable of, and then can branch out from there.
I was wondering why was the call made to merge Star Marine and Arena Commander so early in the build? Could we have kept them separate and thus allowed updates to Arena Commander to continue while Star Marine was polished?
It was better to merge it earlier, because the more complex they were later, the harder it would be to merge them down the road, and would likely introduce many many more bugs.
I’ve actually been a little curious about that myself. Is there any kind of default experience that’s looked for as far as Producers position? I’ve debated trying to get into the industry (possibly even with a Star Citizen studio) but don’t exactly have any direct experience. However I am a veteran of the military going on almost 15 years, and have organized a variety of projects with in it and in my civilian life as well. Would that exclude me still for lacking a generic college degree or would I be able to find an open minded company on that aspect?
If you want to be a producer, anywhere, you have to like organization. Looking at spreadsheets, being a coordinator. It's a pretty even bar for entry, so long as you can prove you like things being in some sort of order, and are able to manage other people and their projects.
Given that Star Citizen requires near constant iterations and updates to a playable build namely Arena commander and soon Star marine, does this help or hinder the progress of the overall project? If you didn’t have to plan for these playable branches, would production of the game be further along, or is it just another layer in the game development process that only requires minimum attention and resources.
It's another yes and no answer. Certainly having teams all do their own thing may have produced their actual modules faster, but then implementation and getting them all to fit together bug free may take longer. Having playable branches now also helps identify issues now that could have been a problem later. So it's a toss-up.
What do you think about presenting the project status page in a better way and show some love so that every backer also some that were away for 6 months or longer can see what is the current game status and what stuff is currently worked on for the next patch in 2 minutes?
Almost impossible to do, because developers have to constantly shift focus to help out or because of an impending deadline. So they could put something up and then have development 'stop' on it - it looks like it's going nowhere or stopped but has essentially just been pushed back in the queue. Someone who only visits once in a while will not understand that.
Any tips for setting realistic time frames, especially when dealing with something the team hasn’t done before? Would you consider it better to work in a certain amount of flexible time to the initial schedule for when things run over, or is it more like a plan runs off track and you start fresh from where you are now?
Yet another yes and no. There is no clear-cut answer. It mainly depends on what can suddenly pop up as a blocker, and how many people need to stop what they are doing to fix it. They are constantly having to re-write schedules and adjust content delivery dates.
What signs do you look for indicating feature creep has begun to infiltrate into the production of a game? What specifically have you done to ensure that doesn’t happen in Star Citizen? Finally, have you developed a place for interesting concepts/ideas that would be considered feature creep now, but could be exciting additions after SC is officially released? Have any of these ideas already been given a green light for post release creation?
They have a huge book already of 'sky's the limit' ideas to put into the game post-launch, if they have the money, manpower, and research ability. It is literally huge. Ideas from everyone on the project, and backers too. There is currently nothing being added to the game that hasn't already been planned and budgeted for, but of course they're still taking ideas for later.
Dear producers, We have seen the process of fixing bugs on bug smahers. “Awesome programer sits down, thinks, and magic code fixes fly out of his fingers.” Is the process of implementing a new feature similar? A lot of people seem to think so. Could you walk us through beginning to end, the process of taking a feature, from an idea out of Chris Roberts’ head (or someone elses) all the way to being played on our computers, including some obstacles you run into and how you overcome them?
Quite a few departments have a say in how something comes together. Calix pitched an idea for one of the Vanguard variants, but it was shot down and edited when the other devs from art, production, and designers got involved because it wouldn't fit. Still took some ideas from it, though, and worked it into something that fit better. Whatever the case is, Chris still has final say.
ATV, July 16thSanta Monica
- All about prepping to release 1.1.5 (which is now on PTU)
- Changes to the decoy hologram: It will retain the stance the player was in when they placed it. If the hologram gets hit, it will phase in and out so there is a small visual read that it’s not a player.
- Changes to grenades and gadgets, before you would have to select them in your hand before you could use them. Now it’s a quick throw action. Cooking is in for grenades, you can trigger it and then throw it right as it’s about to explode… but hold on to it too long you will blow up along with the grenade or if you get shot the grenade will fall to the ground and blow up after you die.
- Changes to electric shotgun, it was overpowered so they have slowed down how fast it can shoot, added some animations between shots to support this (cocking animation and vents opening on the side to dispel energy) and communicate to the player that the gun isn’t ready for the next shot yet.
- Austin working on GamesCom demo, FPS, and their normal PU work.
- QA is spending lots of time testing 1.1.5. Whenever there is a new ship added there is a lot of back and forth and work to get it right. Also testing balance changes.
- QA testing GamesCom demo – large world, local physics grid, multicrew, quantum drive.
- FPS playtests are a lot of gathering metrics and such… not a lot of just having fun. Sometimes get to shoot each other in the face but it is also a lot of just sitting around in the game. A lot of focus testing to ensure blockers are fixed. Seeing a huge improvement as days go by.
- Shooting from one of the new audio booths.
- Working on FPS – balancing all of the weapons, gadgets, armour, grendades, and more. Pushing the difference between energy and ballistic weapons in terms of recoil; how much they deviate when firing. Also, the damage type they’re doing. Laser impacts don’t have mass behind them so they’re doing some little things to make it feel different both shooting and getting hit.
- Tweaking new grenades coming in from Illfonic. Tweaking gadgets so they’re quick and fun to use.
- Nailing down breathing differences between light/medium/heavy armour so each has a good use and role.
- Working on Vanduul ships – mostly capital ships. Working with art to determine weapon loadouts and placements for the Vanduul ships. Want a good balance between the Vanduul and UEE fleets.
- Working on the Stinger and Void Bomber which are the Vanduul equivalent of the F8 and the Retaliator. Doing basic flight setup on Stinger and Void Bomber – thrusters, etc.
- Working on the Argo – SQ42’s industrial workhorse
Reverse the Verse
(In case anyone is curious, yes, CM Jenny has moved on.)
- Next concept will be the Endeavor, has modular pods for different purposes, deciding which pods will come with it
- Interviews with Josh Coons and Mark Skelton upcoming.
- Alyssa is working on GamesCom planning. Big meeting with AV company this morning.
- Did a 8 page script figuring out hour by hour what’s happening at all 3 locations they will be in @ GamesCom.
- Whole team is “absolutely killing it” getting the GamesCom demo together.
- Sneak peek was SQ42 stuff, a hospital room from the MacArthur Naval Hospital in the Kilian system. Hospital systems used here will also be used on the Hope-class hospital class ship, which Ben was working on design for this week. Talked about triaging, recovery rooms and operating rooms, ambulance bay.
- Physical based damage is very close, definitely coming this year
- The Merlin has the new damage tech, new ships like Connie and Freelancer are being built with the new damage tech in mind.
- Frankfurt will begin contributing to AtV as soon as they can.
- Archimedes will have stronger guns than Merlin.
- Vanguard variants are being concepted by Gurmukh Bhasin. You will see more about this with Lisa and Gurmukh on an upcoming Ship Shape.
- Pirate Swarm is still in the works, saw the backer-created one, will use feedback from that one to make the official one better.
- 64 bit conversion is in and done, you will see the large world maps at GamesCom.
- 2.5 hours in 350R to fly across current large world map. Just going to get bigger. Thousands of km now, will be millions of km in future.
- Reclaimer will not be in SQ42.
- No SQ42 trailer at GamesCom. There will be in the future but not at GamesCom.
- No FPS in GamesCom presentation.
- Endeavor is about 200 meters.
- Once the new damage system is out… it is a complete revamp of every weapon and component. At that point it will be much easier to lock down balance.
- Before Erin left last week, they gathered the entire team in front of a 4K screen by Chris’ office and showed all the stuff that the other teams have been working on. There was constant applause. 4 videos, showing lots of stuff including the work in progress from Squadron 42.
- Unsure if racing will work with 16 players, they’ll try to figure that out. If not in 1.1.5, then soon.
- Q: Will the Merlin borrow the Connie’s radar? A: That was the plan but through some component resizing they got to the point where the Merlin fits a light size radar in itself. Won’t be tethered to Connie’s radar system now. Light radar will not be as effective as a full radar.
- Anything sold recently in the store will be shipping soon.
- If you have an Idris you will get a loaner Merlin.
- Ships that come with a permanent Merlin: Constellation Aquila, Constellation Andromeda
- Ships that come with a loaner Merlin: Constellation Phoenix (Archimedes), 890 JUMP (85X), Carrack (untitled Scout), Idris (Argo)
- Everyone else can pick up a Merlin for $20 when 1.1.5 goes live, (non PTU). No game package.
- Constellation Taurus does not come with a Merlin.
- Snub fighters/scout craft will not get quantum drive or jump drive.
- Merlin doesn’t use the cradle anymore.
- It’s the parent ship that installs the docking hardware. That sort of stuff will be available in the finished game to install on your ships.
- Merlin has a little bit more fuel than an M50, but it doesn’t recharge. Once you are out of boost, it’s gone. You will still have the normal propulsion, though.
- A long ways away from finding out ground speed for rovers, focusing on space stuff right now. Currently it’s only half a rover, half of it isn’t textured but you don’t see that half.
- You will see an update on GOST in a future Ship Shape
- Archimedes is based on Merlin but will look different, more luxurious, and cooler.
- Co-op for SQ42 will be historical missions you co-cop together but won’t drop in and out of the narrative. This was mentioned previously by Erin Roberts on RtV.
- GOST – Game Object State, allows them to use portions of animations and blend them together so they need to create much fewer animations (for example they don’t have to create a new animation for every seat in every ship)
- Biggest bottleneck in the ship pipeline is artists! They have around 35 open positions for artists.
- Hope-class is going to be the same ship chassis as the Endeavor. They have built the base already, very MISC-styled, has an attachment grid for different pods.
- Hope-class has recovery rooms, operating theatre, and ambulance bay
- Endeavor Science setups: Observatory, Zoology/Biology Lab, Plant Labs. Lots more cool ideas. Can mix and match depending on what your science dream is.
- The Retaliator will use the same tech – 16 different chunks you can use to create your Dream Retaliator.
- Endeavor will be last MISC ship for awhile.
- Herald is next up after the Merlin and Scythe.
- AtV next week will have Constellation revamp which has been worked on for the past 6 months or so on and off.
- Modularity system goes for all ships going forward.
- Orgs 2.0 still in the pipeline, they have other things with greater priority
- 2 delayers: Other webwork like REC, AC tie-ins.
- EU tax mess at the start of the year really put them back because it took a lot of work.
- Now looking at a situation where the org stuff actually ties into the game, the Social Module needs to work with Org 2.0
- Org-specific blogs and forums will be sooner than the rest of the stuff because it doesn’t directly tie into the game.
Because they are too big to put the gif's here and will take forever to load on moblile:
Merlin HUD startup
Merlin damage zoom with updated impact effects
Hospital in the Kilian system from SQ42
An interview from yesterday about the status of the game, plus other little things:
An incinerator on ArcCorp:
Constellation interior update:
This Week in SUN...There was no real time between the announcement on Tuesday and my compiling information for my post today to remind everyone about Commissarial elections. So the nomination period is currently closed and now the campaigning starts. That thread is located here, and will go for five days, then the voting starts.
Other than that, there is once again no news other than folks being moved over to IHG until they likely come back once we have more game to play.
Also, it goes without saying really (as I've also stopped getting reports) but training is pretty much on hold until SC 1.2 at this point, not to mention that there were a ton of ship inertia changes, ships in general were buffed, and physically-based damage will be arriving shortly as well. On top of that, yaw-based maneuvers have been stifled in favor of pitch (similar to Elite). So a lot of us are going to have to eventually get reacclimated to the game, not to mention many (like yours truly) have not played it in months, since Missile Commander.
Soooooon, though. Sooooooon. Just keep repeating it like a mantra.
Keep cool and game on,
- Uncle Jasticus