Hello again everyone!
It was another... well, not as glorious week as last week, but it was still nice. There wasn't much in the way of sparkly new information that we got - but that is typical of a week (or three) following a large reveal event.
If trends hold true then things will likely be relatively quiet going forward (not counting new releases, but information-wise) until CitizenCon which is rumored to have more information about Squadron 42. Perhaps an estimated release window, even if we won't believe it... or who some of the actors in it are...
Oh well. If release windows hold true this time, then we will potentially be able to wander around Area 18 by the end of the month, and -finally- have the FPS by the end of next month. Fingers crossed, aye?
As for other happenings... there was a patch that went out on Thursday, bringing the current version to 1.1.6a.
Rapid fire for the other items: The August Subscriber Flair has arrived, there was a Q&A posted regarding the Retaliator Modules, another weekly update on the status of Star Marine which is always interesting, and finally a notice that the Merlin is free for everyone to test fly in ArCom until this upcoming Friday, if you wanted to test it out.
Some of the graphical work from the Crusader Industries station:
Updated work on the Vanduul Void Bomber:
Trending on Reddit, which the creator titled 'Praise the Sun':
Pretty much all the other pictures were live shots from gamescom, and that is -meh- for the purposes of SUNSPOT.
10 For the Artists, August 10th
As always, the full transcript that is much longer, but also filled with a lot of fluff.
Are rejected concept ships or art ever held in a vault for possible future use? If there is no official one, do artists tend to hold onto a few of those on a personal basis?
It really depends on who the concept is for, and what its purpose is. Sometimes it's done for a specific item and sometimes you're just throwing ideas together. Some things are kept, some repurposed for other items later, but a large portion are just trashed because they are experimental.
When making various parts of the game, how do you stay motivated on things that are normally rather dull? Are these items / things viewed as ‘characters’?
Money is a good motivator, since it's a paying job. Otherwise, if you're an artist, make it cool. Artists are brought onboard because their interests mesh up with their employers. That should be all the motivation needed.
Will the OEM paint on a ship when you first buy it look new or battered. For example the Taurus, although a industrial ship, has marks and scratches all over the interior and exterior. We are buying a new ship right?
Some of the more industrial ships default to their 'slightly worn' settings. But if you were to get it new, it would be in pristine condition. It will likely never look 'new' again, but you'll be able to get it relatively shiny if you put the credits into it.
Can we see more concept art of ships that haven’t been seen in a while ie merchantman, caterpillar?
It's really hard to show concept for art that isn't considered 'final', because there will be someone who complains about it and they have to go back and examine it to see how legit the complaints are, on top of the fact that it's likely not complete internally. If they don't release things until they are final concept, the outside 'concerns' will mean more because they consider it something finished, but will go back and adjust if the concern is worthwhile.
Do you visualize the actual spatial interiors and over all size when you do a concept drawing? Or do you do the concept and puff it up or shrink it to make it work?
Yes, there is a lot of shifting and expansion/contraction with concepts when they work on the interiors. Everything has to fit and make sense, which is another reason why they hold off on showing concepts until they are considered 'final', or at least very close.
Could you rank the following possible influential/inspirational materials in order of personal importance when you start a new concept ship: ship role, company style guide, reference pictures, what you think fits the ‘Verse, personal appeal, favourite sci-fi or other fictional sources?
Mostly in order: Style guide, personal appeal, ship role, pertinent reference material combined with other favorite sources.
How exactly would helmets work on a multi-monitor display? Usually the extra monitors gives us more FOV in other games, but if heavier helmets restricts FOC, wouldn’t it just cover up significant screen space w/ helmet interior?
Design is actually working on that right now. Helmets are closed off for a reason, so to have it all open for people with multiple monitors feels like it would be an unfair advantage.
Do you have style guides for non-combat related things in the universe? (for example the look of clothing being different on each planet, or different by each clothing brand)
Will the other helmets be closed at the back?I mean…now you can still see the skin of the neck and I guess that would give some problems in space
They are very well aware, and waiting for final FPS rigging to be done, but have put in a few temp band-aids.
Are we going to come across non-humanoid alien races in the ‘verse?
ATV, August 13th
- This week is cleanup from Gamescom. Rebuilding all the gamescom stuff back into one of the standard streams.
- Working on Vanguard variants and the Herald.
- A few patches in between now and then to release some new technology though. One thing is the GOST system, Game Object STate machine, as well as fleshing out multicrew in anticipation of 2.0.
- Lots of large milestones are out of the way now.
- Animators are retargeting FPS animations to a new rig. Another new rig has gone into the game, which puts back some of the things the stock SDK had, so that some things can be achieved in CryEngine that they haven’t been able to do recently. Austin folks put together a tool to help with this, going much quicker than the last retarget process.
- Engineering team are working through cover, adding some new features to it. Cover system is procedural. If you get behind an object it perceives as cover, it’ll auto put you in cover. When you aim down sites, it’ll pop you out of that cover. Also, if you press fire, you’ll pop out and hip-fire.
- Doing art reworks on all the weapons based on manufacturer style guides. Weapons guy is going back over all the weapons and making small changes to make sure they fit the style guides.
- Polishing up emotes and chat, doing some revisions to the UI, and working out bugs.
- Pete did an original commodities list a long time ago, going back to that now, doing a second pass on that. Working out the "Star Citizen periodic table of elements". Lots taken from the real world, reorganizing and regrouping it to make sense for gameplay.
- 'Tier 1’ commodities – root items like Iron, Copper, etc… stuff you’d mine out of asteroid. Those would be later combined into first stage manufactured goods, 'Tier 2'. Tier 1 is the ‘raw materials’ of the economic simulator.
- Down the road, you’ll be able to mine asteroids and test commodities trade and manufacture.
- Quantum Drive effects are not done. We only saw the travel portion at gamescom, they are still working on spool up and down effects.
- Connie explosion is something they’re very happy with. They’ve been working hard on getting it to the state where big ships feel epic when they explode.
- Demo gives an idea of where they’re going. Not 100% there yet, but they’re on their way.
Reverse the Verse
- Q: Component systems coming online? A: It’s a lot of work. Coming along nicely, making lots of progress, but it’s broad. The very first roll-out will be a full overhaul on powerplants, coolers, and shields, but that’ll set up the groundwork for the next few years. Physically based damage and weapon re-sizing will be good as well. Guns’ll look right for the size of the ship.
- Nice thing with some components is standard sizes for things - "what is a capital ship powerplant, volume wise?" Helps remove guesswork in the whiteboxing phase, letting them build things right the first time.
- Retaliator thought process behind making it modules; Sometimes you have seven different types of F-16’s that you manufacturer in different ways, sometimes you have one base one that you then modify. Variants aren’t going away forever.
Modules might be interchangeable between some ships as well.
- Open development for Saitek HOTAS. We’ll find out what that means. Saitek says they’re interested in sharing the whole process. They will show where they are at each stage, see how it develops.
- They’re aware that the new launcher doesn’t load for some folks.
- Touch-screen on the HOTAS – it would be part of the cockpit interface. Everything they have heard so far indicates it will be touch screen.
- Animation retargeting means having to do the 3000 animations. They’re not redoing animations, just re-targeting them.
- Q: What sort of features will Social have? A: You can share Arc Corp, probably not shared hangars though. They did a demo test in Austin. Every computer they could get it on played together fine, so that’s going well.
- Q: Will the Glaive get an Esperia themed hud? A: Probably some elements, yes.
- Q: Will the Merchantman be nerfed to meet its initial 250$ price point? A: No. If we undercharge, that’s your benefit, not our loss. Ships are built around what they need to do, not the price they’re sold at.
- The Idris at the end of the demo was scripted.
- Q: Timeframe for female characters? A: Will see lots more on customization later this year as we get PU updates rather than AC updates. (So, no real timeframe other than 'end of the year'.)
- Erin Roberts was planning CitizenCon during the presentation at Gamescom.
- They’re still trying to get studio updates from Germany. But it’s not imperative. They’re there to build the game. Some people don’t want to be on camera.
- Q: Will there be other sales before CitizenCon? A: Yes. Some other ships like the Endeavor, the Crucible, the Vanguard variants. As they’re ready, they’ll be made available.
- Q: Will CitizenCon be livestreamed? A: Yes. That’s the intention.
- HOTAS is still very early. Probably won’t be anything until late next year. The one up on the stage was a prototype, probably not even functioning.
- For AC 2.0, not sure what, if any, new weapons will get added into the game. Lots of reworks going on with physically based damage. They want to get more weapons out ASAP, but it’s not the quickest thing.
- Glaive possibly using human parts – don’t expect it in the near future. Vanduul ships and weapons are very distinct. In the long term, don’t rule it out, but for the near term, Vanduul ships use Vanduul weapons.
- When SQ42 is finished, cinematics people at F42 will likely move on to working on SQ42 episode 2, others might move on to finishing up other ships.
- Q: Pre-flight checks someday? A: There’s a certain level of that that might be cool to have. Some interactive cockpit stuff might be nice, but not to the point where that becomes the standard interaction. Have to go back and forth on it and try different implementations. Has to play well and add to the ships, and feel like ‘I’m really doing stuff to get my ship flight ready, to get off the ground and into space flying around’.
- Q: If Glaive is made by humans why does it have glitchy UI? A: Ship was ready before the UI was.
- Q: Are larger hangar bays in the works? A: Yes.
- Q: Integrated voice control in SC? A: Looking at all sorts of voice control stuff. Conversations with Chris – It has to make sense. Ben added Game Commander software, which had a profile for Wing Commander, and you could say ‘autopilot, fire missile’ and it wasn’t fun. If it makes sense, they’ll do it. For things like voice attack, there’s no difference between voice attack and auto hotkey. Do you want the game to be macro’d out? If you can do functions with voice attack, you can do them with macro’s. Question is do we want the game to be macro-able? One of the things that takes you out of Wing Commander (according to Ben) is wingman controls. That’s what Ben would replace with Voice Attack. Not so much ordinary cockpit controls.
- Q: Females – will there be differences in what female characters can do? A: TBD. Minfield, Ben’s not stepping into it.
- Q: Taunting in the PU? A: Yes.
- Q: Will the Glaive get a buff in AC? A: Balance is ongoing. Lifespan on Vanduul weapons is a bit short though, they’ll be fixing that soon.
- Q: Change color of UI for colorblindness? A: Yes. This is in the works. Eventually there’ll be a set of color scales. All of the UI's are built in sections. You’ll be able to color all the portions as you see fit.
- Q: Mechanics applied to prevent characters from stuffing ships full of players? A: Ships will have a life support capacity.
- Q: More in-engine pictures of the Idris or the holoviewer soon? Q: Maybe, which means 'not likely'.
- Prowler has not yet been assigned a concept artist yet. Still establishing things about the Tevarin.
- Next deep-dive is likely with the Endeavor. Will look at the science stuff.
- New office – no timeline, but they’re back on track.
- Looking at some renders. Forrest and Eric are designing artwork to go up in the office, selecting spaceship doors, implementing security, etc…
- Caterpillar – not much detailed information. After Gamescom they’re working on some reliable ship schedules. Lisa has seen the Caterpillar on a draft of one of the next several ships. Probably more info in the next few weeks. Chris has asked for the Caterpillar specifically, so… it’s coming.
- Paul Forgi and Dan Kamentsky are working on the Herald right now.
- They’ll think of doing a controller sub-forum instead of a controller katamari.
- Q: Damage and non-functional components on the ship? A: They’re planning on doing damage for components yes. Probably not the first time components roll out, but it’s going to be done. Saw that during the multicrew demo when the Retaliator’s Quantum drive damaged. Damaged components is real, and it works.
- Q: Voice chat built into Social module soon? A: Not any time soon.
- Q: What do the Xi’an get out of the deal with MISC? Will we see human tech on Xi’An ships? A: 'mmhmm'. Can’t say more than that.
- Q: Planning to remake Aurora? A: No plans on that.
Other Worthwhile Info
There were some tidbits that were left out on the 'net in various locations, because the Devs were all over the place with gamescom. Here is a lot of the points from 'out there', in one quick posting. A lot of this was garnered from INN and reddit, as I'm sure many of you have seen it already.
Most of this is from Calix Reneau and Matt Sherman.
- The stars and background are all code-driven. There is no skybox.
- There will be a design post when Physically Based Damage comes online, which will explain everything from damage variables to component construction, use, and feasability.
- The content in the gamescom demo, while doing a good job at showcasing their technology, is literally a testbed within the ArCom testbed. It's purpose-built, and way too buggy for public release in case anyone tried to go 'off the rails'.
- Ship modularity is not like The Sims with customization. You're just replacing an entire portion of the craft with something else that is pre-fab. Even then, those modules will be limited in either construction or to certain parts of a ship.
- All module spots will need to be filled in order for a ship to fly. You won't be able to launch a 'hollow' ship.
- All of the Retaliator turrets have been upgraded to size 2's as of the latest technical document.
- Constellation turrets have been downsided from size 4 to size 2. The nacelle weapons are still size 4.
- 9163 F7A 'body kits' were sold, total. They will not be sold again (for now), and cannot currently be traded or sold to others as they do not have a SKU listing on the website.
- The Cutlass is currently 'working as intended' in ArCom right now. It just unfortunately does not have any of it's usual target list available to fly against. The cutlass is typically used for quick hit strikes on smaller merchant ships, it is not a dogfighter, so don't expect it to line up against a Hornet or a more nimble ship in a 1-on-1 and expect to come out on top.
- The Cutlass in the gamescom demo was not a current Cutlass. It was more of a Frankenstein model - Blue exterior with a slightly modified Black interior.
- No ETA on when the Freelancer will be ArCom ready. At the moment all focus is on the Retaliator and Constellation, they will be the first AC 2.0 ships.
- Constellation top speed is 150. The Andromeda version will be the only one planned to be flyable in the initial AC 2.0 release.
- Components and modding them will be able to affect ship pitch/yaw/roll/accel/decel - but no confirmation from CR if they will affect top speed at all. They are reviewing the potential impact of allowing it.
- The Cutlass has a monster boost profile when compared to the other currently flyable ships. For its size and speed, it will specialize in 'smash and grab' tactics. The boost is strongest among all other ships of its size/weight class, and recharges the fastest... from empty to full in 40 seconds.
- The Glaive's weight in game is currently wrong. It weighs the same amount as the Scythe, but should weigh more. In the next patch it will prove to be a little more sluggish as a result.
- Quantum Drive will include accel and deccel, as shown at gamescom. The demo barely scratched the surface.
- For ship production in the PU, it will likely be done by branded shipyards. They'll make the ship for you if you bring them the materials, or you can pay for one already made. This includes any custom modules or components you want on it. But they aren't going to hand over their blueprints for players to manufacture.
This Week in SUN...
There are actually some things to announce this week, yay! (Meaning they are 'yay!'-worthy announcements, not just that there are some to be... you know what? Nevermind.)
Where was I? Oh, yes.
- The position of Quartermaster General has now been renamed to Keeper of the Sacred Spreadsheets Logistics Coordinator.
- The College of the Admirals will be hosting Mumble Office Hours from time to time, which will be announced in advance. Many Admirals are still on mumble for decent stretches of time, regardless, at least that I've seen. *points at Nogard and Firefox* I've seen Baelius more than I expected to, considering his deployment, and I would probably see more of Beardo if we didn't live on exact opposite sides of the Earth (almost 12 hour difference)
- Firefox and Beardo have both been promoted to Vice Admirals of the Fleet (OF-6), effective immediately, filling both vacant positions.
- Phoenician has been promoted to be the new General-Provost of SUNTAR (OF-5). Congratulations, Mr. P, and please stay away from anything that looks sharp. One Gaming Hazard 'award' is one too many.
- Since Beardo was promoted, that leaves an open Rear Admiral position for Battlegroup Australis (OF-5). The details for the position and how to apply is posted here.
- There is also a position that has opened for Rear Admiral Liberty, of which candidates are currently undergoing evaluation.
Other than that, there are some rumors about what's going to happen in the future about a few topics, which I'm sure any mumble regulars are aware of. Remember that things are happening much faster than they probably would have in the past - so if there is no information today, check back in a couple more. If it's still not answered: ASK AN ADMIRAL.
Keep cool and game on,