Greetings once again, oh gentlepeople of the Navy.
Apologies for the late post, was busy this weekend doing 'around the house' kinds of stuff. It involved a lot of caulk, rubber, and a special adhesive that I always call 'model glue', no matter what the technical name for it is. What was all this for? Ah, use your imagination. More fun that way.
There isn't much for me to post up here, because we actually got a patch this week, with some decent stuff in it. Yeah, some things are kinda borked, which I guess is to be expected because it's a pretty big one with some balance changes and we haven't gotten one of those in months.
So yes. 1.1.5 is now on Live, as of Friday. That means the Scythe and Merlin are both flyable to everyone who owns one. The Merlin is also on sale for $20 USD, and if you don'e want to buy it, you can try it for 2000 REC.
There was a big Letter from the Chairman which is a good read, as always. Also, a pretty fun update about the game's audio, now using Wwise. Lastly, the weekly update on Star Marine.
Oh, and then this little 'sometimes series' that recently started...
Since that's all, lets get right into it...
Interestingly, I had a really hard time finding unique pictures (even videos), there wasn't the usual randomness that we sometimes get. So all I have is stuff from Around the Verse, all those nice Constellation images.
Pretty much everything else you can find this week is from the Scythe and Merlin, which isn't really surprising considering the ship drought we've sorta been in, compared to previous releases. All the stuff from Sandi was photos taken of the teams at each studio, unlike the normal sneak peak stuff she offers.
10 FTC, July 20th
This one is a bit difficult to do, because it was an hour and a half long, as compared to the norm, which is about 20 minutes. So just a summary of the most pertinent points is going to have to work. As always, if you want to read the -full- thing (hint: its long), you can find it over on INN.
– They had a 66 day shoot in London, longer than any film Chris has done. 53 days of full performance capture; 3 cameras capturing face, 50 capturing movement.
– Goal with SQ42 is to deliver emotion in a story in a video game that maybe hasn’t really been done in the past. Script was over 600 pages.
– Average Hollywood script is between 100 and 120 pages. General rule of thumb is a page a minute. SQ42 script was 5x longer than a movie script.
– The storyline has a trilogy set up. And they’ll also be telling other stories inside the PU as well.
– At least a 20 hour experience. Just the performance capture stuff that was shot is 5-6 hours of content, then there’s all the action.
– CryEngine’s very powerful, but it’s dense and complicated as well. Having the engineers that built it helps. They have the engineer that created CryAnimation, which is a great resource to have.
- Challenge on the animation is that most FPS games have first person and third person. First person is essentially a floating camera. Not physically realistic, but it’s normally okay because you can’t see your character. It’s also why, when you get into mulitiplayer in something like Call of Duty, the animations aren’t nearly as fluid. Player animation doesn’t translate to what someone does in first person. They have to unify first and third person together. If they can get it to work, it makes life simpler. The camera is where the eyes are.
– Making really good progress, hoping it’ll be able to be played on PTU at or after GamesCom (don’t hold him to that though).
– The delays don’t have as much to do with the FPS portion either. If it was just an FPS, they could get it out. The delays have to do with the feeling of the PU as a whole. Rather do one thing right, rather than do two different ones and then have to waste time refactoring them later.
– Apparently Crytek had talked about doing this sort of first and third person unification on Crysis 2 and 3, but gave up because they had deadlines. CIG has made more progress than when Crytek were trying. Don’t see it a lot in games, because it’s very hard to do.
– Multicrew ships are going to be one of the big things. Flying with NPCs or friends and there’s going to be a whole different variety of different piloting styles. You can’t take a Constellation and dogfight the same way you can in a Hornet but other things in a Constellation you’ll have an advantage with.
– There’s also other things like in AC, there’s that respawn mechanic, people fire a bunch of missiles then they kill themselves so they can fire more missiles. That’s not going to happen in the real game, first you won’t want to kill yourself cause that’s a pain in the ass. Second, missiles are going to cost credits that you’re going to have to earn so you’re not going to spam them like that.
– There’s a lot of different reasons why people leave; they get an offer they couldn’t refuse or they get to do their dream; for most people here, what we’re building is their dream, but in some cases, like Travis Day being a World of Warcraft nut, working at Blizzard has been his dream. You can’t really stand in the way of something like that. Generally on a turnover basis, it’s been no different than when Chris was at Origin, a studio that grew from six at the beginning, to 110 when EA bought it, to 300 or so when Chris left; didn’t even know half the people and people were always coming and going, and that just kind of happens; it’s unfortunate and sometimes it’s for personal reasons.
– 14 people on staff are dedicated vehicle artists. They're looking to hire more hard surface modelers.
– Chris doesn’t think it’s impossible at all to finish the game as he envisions it. Very do-able; people who feel like that don’t have the technical ability or imagination to do it, CIG's already got the fundamental technology pretty much cracked.
– Preview of multicrew to be shown at GamesCom which will demonstrate the large world and some of the zone system and the local grid stuff and transitioning between ships all working correctly. Will show the potential and scale of where Star Citizen is going.
- Hoping to have Multicrew in everyone's hands by October.
ATV, July 23rd
- Drake Herald is being worked on by Paul Forgi. Lots of progress on it.
- Some chatter about changes to the 1.1.5 patch, which is now Live.
- FPS practice mode. New spawn points have been added to the map to test the mode. Only having two spawn points was causing problems, people would spawn and kill each other immediately. Now the spawn logic will pick the furthest point away from any enemies.
- Adjustments to sights on guns, clearing out the center so you can get a better bead on the targets.
- More animation polishing. Features and tweaks and animations are done at this point, for the start-stop-juke system. Steve Bender has been making sure everything looks good and polished.
- A while back death animations stopped working. The system that detects where you’ve been hit and causes you to die with an animation that goes along with that location had broken down. It’s been fixed now, death animations play properly now.
- Animators are working on emotes for the PU.
- Ongoing work on the no-weapon run and walk set is being done.
- Art team at BHVR is finishing polish for the Arc Corp landing zone, team at Austin are moving on to lighting and VFX.
- Meghan (concept artist) has been working on many things. Medals and insignias for military, navy, and marines. Flashlights on helmets so we can see in the dark. Helping clothe NPC’s and players, working on Terran themed clothes, more casual fashion. Clothing coming from concepts will be findable in Kasaba outlets, where you can purchase clothing.
- Working on Wwise conversion. Big job, had to refactor all systems that used audio coding.
- Working out really well, it’s a powerful system. Driven by sound designers who now have more creative control over how the game sounds.
- Also using the interactive music system in Wwise, which is very flexible, lets sound designers have control over the switch from one music state to another.
- Added an extra element to the game called ‘player mood’. If you’re doing well, the music will sound more heroic, if you’re doing badly and taking damage, the music will sound more grim.
- Also working on weapons. Different weapons have different fire modes, can sound different in first and third persons, in order to support sound designers on that, have to provide Wwise with as much information as possible. Helps designers take variables like temperature of the weapon, fire rate of the weapon, velocity of the bullet, etc… use that information to make weapons sound interesting.
- Lots of groundwork is done for FPS audio, just polish now to make sure there’s content and variety.
Reverse the Verse
- There will be a raffle ticket if you’re attending GamesCom, and there will be something very special with those raffle tickets apparently. Something to do with gold stars.
- Ben did a lot of marketing stuff, GamesCom prep, and locked down the modules for the Endeavor. 15-18 different optional modules. Science, medical, engineering , and more.
- Cherie is doing some archiving work collecting pieces of astronomical data that we should see in a few months.
- DragonCon – Ben’s going to DragonCon. Dave Haddock is going. David Ladyman is going. Lots of Daves. Cherie went last year, but can’t go this year.
- News on the new CCU system: Ships will still need to be flyable to CCU, system is coming soon-ish. Ben sent an email yesterday asking where it is. Guys at Turbulent are crazy busy.
- Endeavor – Same chassis for hospital and science. The hospital variant is the Hope class. They’re building modules: hospital room, op room, ambulance bay, medical storage area, etc… be able to pick and choose which you want. Same things for Endeavor. You have the freedom to make a ship that has telescopes and med beds.
- Retaliator: How does it handle? If you played Wing Commander, it’s the Broadsword. If you were in WWII, it’s a B-17. Heavy and pondering.
- GamesCom event will be livestreamed, most particulars have been worked out, livestream on the 7th.
- When the Connie is out there, there’ll be a writeup on the modules.
- Plans for REC items for FPS: It's not locked down yet. System allows them to do REC items for FPS, but none in the system yet. Traditional unlocks at the start at least, probably. Lots of discussions about it. Currently exploring options.
- New launcher is not quite ready for prime-time, probably will show up for 1.1.6. It’s not very good at deleting files for example, currently just adds and adds and adds files.
- mobiGlas will come with with planetside.
- Imperator subscribers should get tokens to fly Scythes later today. (Friday, should have them now)
- REC community chest is an expanded system for REC, you can donate REC to a ‘stretch goal’ thing. ‘When we collect 10 mil REC from the community, everyone gets a gun.' or something. Planning for it at the moment.
- As for the Star Map, they can’t confirm or deny anything about that at this time. It is being worked on though. Not a lot of details, cause there are many ideas still in development, but it looks gorgeous. Cherie wants to talk about it, but she can’t. It's fully interactive, works all in the browser. Currently populating the star map with things and stuff.
- Currently no plans to melt Voyager Direct items, it’s still being discussed. It’s a high-level ongoing discussion. The tech is there (same tech used to melt ships), but there’s more factors in it than just that.
- The ship skin system is being played with 'upstairs'. It’s coming, once everything gets converted over to the new damage system. The new damage system has to come first, the skin system goes on top of that.
- Gamescom event will be the biggest event in some respects. Gamescom is the biggest event they do. Twice the size of CitCon. They’re doing their best to make it excellent.
- Cherie wants narration for the Galactapedia.
- Several people in the office have switched to Windows 10, and they haven’t had issues with SC.
- Physics based damage system is the new damage system. It’s in, it’s on the Merlin, on the Connie remake, the Retaliator, the Freelancer. It’s in the game, just a matter of converting the ships over to the new system.
- Probably no chance of a PTU patch disabling mouse stuff. They don’t want to balance by disabling things. Add balance, not disable balance. Need a designer to talk more about that though.
- Looking at all kinds of Star Marine stuff to add into the VD store as well.
- Vanguard is coming along. Interior for the base model is complete, looking good, Chris OK’d it. We’ll be seeing it soon.
- Vanguard variants are on the near-term schedule.
- Reskinning interiors is something being looked at down the line for sure. TBD around launch time.
- Priority now is getting other modes to going higher than 16 players. Lots of work on that now.
- Ben hopes the Connie refit will be in AC 2.0. First fully functional multicrew ship is the Tali. Connie is second. It’s theoretically possible they’ll get to a point when AC2.0 is ready, and only the Tali is ready, but 2.0 will probably launch with the Connie and the Tali.
- Matt Sherman says players probably can’t launch a Merlin out of the back of a Freelancer Max. Connie is probably the smallest thing that can safely do launch / recover on a snub fighter. Might still be able to bail out the back of your ship, but not everything’s a pocket carrier. They want to see how many Merlins people can cram into things though.
- CIG are actively looking for character artists. If you are one, if you know one… go apply. They want character artists. Lots of art and engineering jobs.
- The Cutlass is meant to be attacking the initial multicrew ships, like the Lancer and the Connie, but those don’t exist yet. You wouldn’t have a pirate going against a battle group, they’d go up against an unsuspecting person. Cutlass won’t go into a hardcore military engagement – they’d be shredded.
- The Merlin is named after the engine from a P51 Mustang.
- Q: What happens when you reach the edge of a star system in the PU? A: Not sure yet. Still being built out. Definitely something they’re trying to get the answer locked down though. No way there will be an invisible barrier though. Chris would not allow that.
- No progress on the Lego Hornet yet. All that depends on Lego now.
- Q: What’s the role of the Merlin if you don’t own a ship to transport it? A: It’s a good racer, decent dogfighter. It’s like the Ferret in Wing Commander 2. It’s a sportsman’s ship. You should be able to get it from system to system in game as well either by NPC shipping or other means.
- Q: What are the ships that the Merlin would be able to effectively dock with? A: All Connies except Taurus, 890 JUMP, Idris, some other large ships (but not all larger ships).
- Q: Will the Redeemer pilot be able to slave the turrets? A: Possibly? It’s not something that flies yet. Those decisions are made when it’s on paper, then it gets forgotten forever cause they have to switch hats to other things. Calix will sink himself into that again when it comes time for the Redeemer. It’s written down somewhere, but yeah.
- Freelancer design review after GamesCom. They want to get all “stuck” ships “unstuck”.
- Snub fighters do not have quantum drives. Will be distinct from other ships.
- Merlin and Archimedes should be interchangeable in the dock on the Constellation.
- Archimedes will be special and distinct.
- Caterpillar will not be in 2.0 at launch, but they will continue adding ships, just like they did with AC 1.0
- Will do the loaner thing where people with multicrew ships will get loaner multicrew ships
- CIG cannot talk about the new HOTAS. Hope is we’ll hear more at Gamescom, but… we’ll see. ‘Things are happening, and there’s a very high chance you’ll see something at Gamescom’
- Connie will fly more like the Millenium Falcon than a B-17. Though the question is akin to ‘does this taste more like apple or freedom?’
- Economics system is being worked on by Austin, Behaviour, and Wyrm Byte.
- The Hornet will not get s4 mounts on wings. Those were reduced a long time ago.
- They’re looking at doing specialized mounts, so you could replace the Ball turret with a fixed s4 weapon. You’d be able to swap that out so that there are more choices to make.
- Options for ball turret on hornet, both the canards on the Mustang, give us more customization things to play with
- Every Retaliator has a front and a rear bay. The idea is the you can take out one or the other, put in cargo quarters, living quarters, drop bays, and more. Planning to show off the first 5 of those modules soon, that make up 3 variants – cargo variant, living variant, drop ship variant.
- Takuetsu models will be sold individually in the PU.
- You can shoot your own ship with the turret. Try not to.
- The Firing Range disappeared, the stunt ramps disappeared, they’re in a plan to come back, but not immediately.
- The nose array for the Vanguard is custom for the ship, and fixed to it, other weapons are swappable.
This Week in SUN...
No moves to report on, again. Guess we're all feeling just a little bit... tired. I have just downloaded the lastest AC patch, and from what I've read I'll probably have to practice my flying a bit.
Only other thing of note is the Commissarial Election, and if you haven't voted then you can until some point on Wednesday, I believe.
Keep cool and game on,