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  1. Around the Verse

    Surface outposts are the focus of this week’s episode, as we explore all the details that go into crafting a memorable destination. Plus, hosts Sandi Gardiner and Forrest Stephan bring you another installment of “Burndown.” And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions View the full article
  2. Around the Verse

    Surface outposts are the focus of this week’s episode, as we explore all the details that go into crafting a memorable destination. Plus, hosts Sandi Gardiner and Forrest Stephan bring you another installment of “Burndown.” And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions View the full article
  3. Bugsmashers!

    Watch Mark Abent deal with a bug that broke most ships. See how adding a few lines of code to the flight controller can make all the difference. View the full article
  4. Collision Course - Part II

    Radu Ghazi settled into the bunk, letting the mattress conform underneath him. He was impressed by the support. Most ship designers couldn’t care less about mattress strength. They seemed to spend all their time pouring credits and attention into the sexier aspects of the ships; the hull, the guns, the engines. The marketing points, he’d once heard them called. That was back on Prime, in some high class bar that he had no business being in. The thing these companies didn’t seem to grasp was that when you spend months on the drift, a comfortable mattress could save your life just as well as an armored hull. The airlock lift hissed and opened. A short man in an expensive but ill-fitted flightsuit rose into view on the lift near the bunks. The man turned towards Radu. Radu snapped off a shot with his pistol. The energy round punched through the small man’s faceplate and popped into his head. He dropped in a heap and was still. A thin strand of smoke rose from the wound. Radu climbed out of the bunk, dragged the body off the lift and took an appraising look around the interior of the Constellation. He might have to buy one of these when he gets the credits. He hit the descend button on the lift. The platform shook gently and began to descend. Outside, the sun was just beginning to rise on Daymar. Swirls of dust danced in the predawn light. Radu crossed the landing platform, keeping an eye on the dark buildings dotted around the edge of the outpost complex. Based on his recon, the target (learning their names just muddled his thinking) was always the first one up, so he wasn’t expecting any witnesses, but you had to be ready for anything. That type of flexibility had seen him through some pretty dicey situations. Radu trudged towards the jagged peak behind which he’d parked his ship. Gravel crunched underneath his boots as he glanced back at the closest building. A faded logo for Rayari Inc. was barely visible under the weathered dirt. He’d heard the company mentioned on the spectrum from time to time, but had no idea what it really did, even less of what it would be doing all the way out here. What do you gotta do to get sent out here? Radu wondered as he climbed the hill. Trying to figure out the stories that led people to where they were was one of his favorite hobbies. Six years in the Bremen militia watching people come and go provided a lot of opportunities for people watching. That was a long time ago, however. He reached the top and did a thorough scan around the outpost to make sure no one had stirred. The light from Stanton’s star had now crept across the horizon. The moon was peaceful and quiet. Radu glanced back at the Constellation waiting on the pad, wondered briefly about how long it would be before anyone discovered the body he left inside, then turned and walked down to his own ship. The old Gladius had been his father’s, the same model as the one his old man had flown back in the service. Radu and his dad had picked it up at a reclamation sale and spent two years fixing it up. When Radu joined the militia, his dad passed the ship onto him. Moments later, after the flare of his thrusters had merged with the canopy of stars, the outpost was still again. The credits hit his account by the time Radu entered the main sprawl of Grim HEX. The central hub of the dilapidated station was bathed in the flickering light of the massive community screen that loomed above. What had once been used by the station administration to post updates, job opportunities, ads, local events, et cetera, was now a wash of digital noise, fractured imagery and the occasional Nine Tails symbol. He didn’t understand why the outlaw pack felt the need to take over the signs. It’s not like there was any confusion that they were running this place now. Looking around, he counted eight armored thugs bearing Nine Tails tags, fully loaded and looking for trouble. A junkie raced out of a nearby abandoned storefront with that feverish excitement that comes right after scoring a hit. Radu weaved out of his way and watched him disappear down one of the winding back halls. Turns out Radu wasn’t the only one watching. He met the gaze of a pair of squatters dressed in ragged oil-stained clothes. Their hands twitched sporadically. They seemed to be waiting to see if Radu was going to move on the junkie. When Radu turned away, they skulked down the hall after their prey. Ol’ 38 was pretty empty, so Radu could grab a seat by the end of the bar. The bitter old man wasn’t working the bar today, it was that kid, the one who looked like one bad day away from the junkie Radu just saw. “Get you somethin’?” he asked as he polished up a dirty glass. “Gin and Pips,” Radu responded. The kid nodded and slowly started to make the drink. Radu couldn’t help but watch him check each and every bottle in the speed rail until he found whatever cheap gin they had. Then he checked three freezers before he could find a can of Pips. The mixture was even more baffling to him. Finally, the kid put the glass of mostly gin in front of Radu. “Let me know if that’s okay,” he said with a tinge of hope. Radu took a sip and winced. It was a lot of gin. “Yeah, sure. It’ll do.” The kid bartender grinned, gave a thumbs up, then went back to “clean” more glasses. Radu brought up his mobi and skimmed through the headlines on the spectrum, but it was just more of the same: fear and money — the two engines that seemed to drive all of Humanity. “Hey there, chief.” Radu looked up from his mobi. There was no mistaking that voice. Madrigal was a two-bit thug for the NovaRiders. Rumor was that Madrigal used to be CCS, the civilian division of Hurston’s corporate security, but was let go for being too violent. Collections were his specialty, which unfortunately put Radu on his radar. Two of his enforcers were waiting by the door, presumably there to keep Radu from making a break for it. “Hey, Ayrs,” Madrigal said as he settled onto the seat next to Radu. “Lemme get a Rust.” The kid behind the bar smiled and spent another protracted amount of time trying to identify the right bottle. In the meantime, Madrigal let out a theatrical sigh and turned to face Radu, who simply stared ahead this whole time. “I hear you might have something for me.” “Yeah?” Radu replied and took a sip of his drink. The ice had cut down the potency of the gin. Or maybe it was the growing anger … “I heard from a person who heard from a person that you just pulled off a ghost job.” Madrigal stared at Radu, a smug grin on his face. “I mean, you know what a social guy I am. All the friends I got.” Radu didn’t say anything. Madrigal watched him. “I’m waiting,” he finally said. “The credits just transferred. I was gonna send ’em.” Radu brought up his mobi and sent the pay to whatever dummy account the NovaRiders had set up for collections. He watched his own account drop down to double-digits. “Good, real good.” Ayrs delivered a glass of Rust. Madrigal immediately downed it and checked his mobi. He did not look impressed. “Looking a little short.” “That’s what they were paying.” Radu took another sip. “You don’t like the rate, take it up with them.” Madrigal grabbed Radu by the back of the neck and slammed his head to the bar. Everyone in the bar jumped at the sound, but nobody did anything. The kid bartender turned away to look for more glasses to clean. “Let’s pause a sec and recap. You owe us, so we own you. You stop paying? You die. You try to run? You die. Don’t like it? Maybe you shouldn’t have done what you done. So mind the goddamn tone with me. You’re alive because you’re useful and believe me, that can change real quick.” Suddenly, the smug grin was back. “Alright. Good talk. You got two days left to pay us for this month. I’m sure you’ll work it out.” Madrigal grabbed Radu’s glass and downed that too. “Thanks for the drink.” Madrigal left. No one looked at him as he strode out of the bar. The two lunks of muscle by the door followed him out. Radu sat up. After a few moments, the kid bartender wandered over like nothing had happened. “Another?” Radu shook his head and hit the job board on his mobi instead. As he scanned through the random and anonymous jobs that populated the local servers, one headline jumped out at him. “I messed up.” The job seemed simple enough: retrieve a NavDrive from a wreck and drop it off to get wiped. The money was right too, but it was something more. The offer was written with a desperation Radu could relate to. He took the job. Moments later, all the relevant data flooded to his mobi. Radu stopped by his hab to pull his flight suit and guns. Speed grind music hammered through the walls on one side. The heavy distortion and propulsive beat almost covered the screaming argument that was raging on the other. He pulled on the chestpiece of his armor and strapped it into place, when he suddenly stopped. Radu slumped down on the edge of the bed and looked at the tiny room around him that had become ‘home.’ He picked out all the tiny details; the days-old foodstuff bags piling up in the corner, the old blood stains on the walls, all of it, and looked at them like he was seeing them for the first time. The weight of the past six months came pressing down on him. He barely recognized himself anymore. How could he have strayed so far from who he used to be? All the guilt, frustration and anger swirled around his head until finally, a single thought pushed to the surface: it’s time to change. He’d do this job. Whatever it took to get him a little breathing room until his next payment was due, but he’d use that time to escape, to find a way out of the noose that was slowly strangling him. One way or another, Radu decided, he would be free. Radu weaved his way through the halls of Grim HEX, past the squatters and Nine Tails killers, the broken doors with leaking atmo, and headed towards his ship. Outside the airlock to his pad, Madrigal was shaking down some other poor sap for whatever creds she had kicking around. Radu hit the button for the airlock and waited. Madrigal finally noticed him. “Safe flying,” Madrigal yelled with a smirk. The airlock finished cycling and the door hissed open. Radu stepped inside and punched the button. The outer door finally opened, revealing his ship. He stocked the rifles and climbed into the pilot’s seat. The canopy struggled to close while he powered on the various ship systems. The multi-displays flickered to life while the engines started to hum. He struck the thrusters and felt the first lurch of movement as the skids lifted off the deck. He checked for an open flight path. The space around Grim HEX was notorious for lazy outlaws trying to score easy kills from pilots who thought they were ‘safe.’ Lift fast, clear fast was the mantra. Radu spotted an empty route out of the asteroid cluster and flashed the engines. The G’s hit his chest as the ship punched out away from the station. The light fighter effortlessly weaved through the massive asteroids, dancing slowly through the void. The scans were clear, but Radu did visual sweeps to see if any would-be ambushers were pulling low-sigs to get close. Satisfied he was alone, he input the coordinates for the retrieval job. It was still in the asteroids around Yela, but on the far side, so he’d need to quantum around the moon before he could get a straight shot. The first orbital marker selected, the quantum drive spun up and kicked him into a blur. The surrounding Stanton system turned into a smear of light until the drive automatically dropped him out. He repositioned the ship to the next marker and quantumed again. Minutes later, he descended into the asteroid belt towards his coordinates. The scans were clear, but Radu slowed anyway. No sense wandering into a trap in case the job had been shopped to other pilots. Sure enough, he started to see scattered pieces of debris, leading him to the decimated wreck of a Connie. He began to a wide sweep around the wreckage to make sure he was truly alone. That’s when he saw the ragged Buccaneer parked up outside with its power on, lights shining into the wreck, and no pilot to be seen. Damn, he thought. I really didn’t want to have to kill anyone today. TO BE CONTINUED … SURVEY It seems that our two main characters, Radu and Clara, are about to cross paths and we want your help in deciding what happens next. Take the survey below and let us know how you think the action should unfold. (If you need a refresher on what happened in Part One of Collision Course you can read it here.) The poll will close Friday, August 18th at 6:00pm PST. View the full article
  5. This Week in Star Citizen

    Greetings Citizens Gamescom is right around the corner! We have been making a lot of perparations for both the showfloor and the event at the Gloria Theater on Friday night, and we are incredibly excited to meet many of you in Cologne. Don’t worry if you are not attending in person, we have a wide array of events that we will be streaming live on Twitch! Head over to this page to see our full schedule. With that, lets take a look at this week. Earlier today, we published a new episode of Citizens of the Stars! On this episode, Spencer Johnson tries to unseat Mike Jones as the Quantum Questions champ, and Jimi Croker joins the Citizen Spotlight to discuss podcasting and his radio serial “Quantum Drive.” On Tuesday, the Lore Team will have a new weekly Lore Post to read. These weekly updates help give life and depth to the universe of Star Citizen. You can also check out previously published lore posts here. On Wednesday, Bugsmashers! is back! Lead Gameplay Progamer Mark Abent smashes another bug on our Burndown list. Make sure to tune in to get a detailed look at once of the many hurdles involved in game development. On Thursday, we’ll have a new episode of Around the Verse that you won’t want to miss! We also continue our our series “Burndown,” with another episode that gives you a detailed look inside the studio. That’s all for this week, we’ll see you in the ‘Verse! Tyler Nolin Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, AUGUST 14TH, 2017 Citizens of the Stars (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) TUESDAY, AUGUST 15TH, 2017 Weekly Lore Post (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16TH, 2017 Bugsmashers! (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) THURSDAY, AUGUST 17TH, 2017 Around the ‘Verse (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Vault Update FRIDAY, AUGUST 18TH, 2017 RSI Newsletter Community Spotlight: August 14th, 2017 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it’s fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! LEGO Mustang by Scornshell Scornshell made this in Lego Digital Designer, and rendered it in Blender via Mecabricks’ Blender plugin. Great look model to the ever-growing Star Citizen LEGO collection. Community Hub post here Super Hornet Lapel Pin Schwimmy has created a Super Hornet enamel lapel pin and it turned out really well! Community Hub post here Explorer Suit Themed Wristband From the same maker as the Star Citizen belt, the creator has made a leather wristband featuring the RSI logo for Krombopulos_Michael, and we love it! Community Hub post here View the full article
  6. Citizens of the Stars

    Welcome to Citizens of the Stars, our new weekly program exclusively about you, the Star Citizen Community. Whether through bug reports on the issue council, feedback on the forums, or the creation of content inspired by the game, Star Citizen is only possible because of the community. Citizens of the Stars not only highlights these contributions, but also puts a dev in the hotseat for a round of Quantum Questions, which addresses some fun facts about the dev and game. On this episode, Spencer Johnson tries to unseat Mike Jones as the Quantum Questions champ, and Jimi Croker joins the Citizen Spotlight to discuss podcasting and his radio serial “Quantum Drive.” Remember, many of the questions used are taken from our Star Citizen Subscribers in this thread here. Don’t forget to add yours for inclusion in future episodes, vote for the ones you want to see answered, and remember to keep them short and concise if you want your best chance of having them answered in under two minutes. The links for this week’s content are below: CITIZEN SPOTLIGHT Jimi Croker and Quantum Drive TOP 5: 4k Area 18 Screenshots by NarayanN7 Operation Pitchfork Posters by Glacier Ship Surfing by 5chnitz3l Seuss Citizen (One Ship, Two Ship) by Monk MVP: Dicefailure and Bar Citizen DFW – Let’s Play Expo View the full article
  7. Gamescom 2947 Details

    GREETINGS CITIZENS Gamescom 2947 is almost here, and Star Citizen’s presence will be felt throughout. This year, we have another booth on the show floor where anyone interested can see and try the latest Star Citizen Alpha. In addition, some of our favorite community streamers will be on hand to share the game with everyone who can’t make it to Cologne, and conduct their own interviews with CIG developers live from the showfloor. That’s all leading up to the main event on Friday night, where Chris Roberts will share the latest on Star Citizen’s development (and as always a surprise or two) with a backer-only crowd! As usual, Chris’ presentation will be livestreamed, so whether you’re attending the event or following from home, you won't have to miss out on a thing. All the details you need are available in this post. We look forward to showing you what’s next! Gameplay Streaming from the Showfloor Beginning on Wednesday, August 23rd we’ll continue the tradition we started last year by streaming four days of live Star Citizen gameplay and interviews directly from the our booth at A-051 in Hall 9 on the Gamescom showfloor. Hosted by CIG and members of the Star Citizen Twitch Community, tune in to see the latest Star Citizen game play, interviews with developers and fans alike, and a special post-presentation broadcast on Saturday. You can watch the broadcasts live on Twitch on the following days and times: AUGUST 23RD WEDNESDAY Starting at 12pm CEST 3am PDT 10am UTC AUGUST 24TH THURSDAY Starting at 12pm CEST 3am PDT 10am UTC AUGUST 25TH FRIDAY Starting at 10am CEST 1am PDT 8am UTC AUGUST 26TH SATURDAY Starting at 12pm CEST 3am PDT 10am UTC Fifth Annual Gamescom Presentation and Party We’re excited to be back at Gloria Theater on 9pm Friday, August 25th for another great show. Hosted by Chris Roberts, showcasing some of what we’ve been working on this year, and delivering some never-seen-before gameplay! If you’re not there in person you can watch live on Twitch, or join one of the 20+ Bar Citizens around the world and watch with the community. For those who have purchased tickets to the live event, you can Print your ticket For everyone else, we invite you to join the presentation as it’s broadcast LIVE on Twitch and YouTube at 9pm CEST / 12pm PDT / 7pm UTC AUGUST 25TH FRIDAY Starting at 9pm CEST 12pm PDT 7pm UTC Meetups in Cologne during Gamescom Week We look forward to taking every opportunity we can to meet with the community during Gamescom week. We had so much fun last year, we’re planning a similar schedule! Join your fellow Star Citizens and members of the CIG development staff at the following locations: Wednesday, August 23th Join us at the Brauhaus Ohne Namen from 8pm to 10pm for drinks and a chance to chat with CIG staff. Get Details Thursday, August 24th A place so nice we have to visit twice: We’re back at the Brauhaus Ohne Namen from 8pm to 10pm. Get Details Then on Saturday 26th of August we will return to the Hyatt Beer Garden in the afternoon from 2pm onwards. Saturday, August 26th After the Fifth-Annual Gamescom Presentation and Party, we’re going to the Hyatt Beer Garden at 2pm. Get Details Please feel free to join us there, share a drink and a story, and get to know the community. View the full article
  8. Happy Hour Gamedev

    Writers Dave Haddock and Will Weissbaum joined this week’s show to discuss the process of creating memorable stories and characters for the massive Star Citizen universe. Plus, they asked you for advice in crafting some lore that could appear in an upcoming post. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions View the full article
  9. August 2947 Subscriber Flair Greetings Subscribers! This month’s subscriber flair is part of a brand new “Masters of Design” series of ship schematics. Before Esperia produced working recreations of historic and alien ships, its founders Jovi and Theo Ingstrom obsessively collected ship blueprints. Thanks to Esperia’s digital archives the original schematics for the Hurricane and Terrapin are now available for you to examine in detail. If you’re an active subscriber, the flair will be attributed to your account today. If you subscribe over the weekend, the flair will be attributed to your account on Monday August 14th. More information about subscriptions can be found here! View the full article
  10. Around the Verse

    Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner host this episode, which explores the mobiGlas. Plus, we debut “Burndown,” a segment featuring various bugs and blockers affecting 3.0. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions View the full article
  11. Senior Writer Will Weissbaum takes you to a system the UEE advises all to avoid — Tiber. Learn about the system’s astronomical properties and its history as a frontline in the battle against the Vanduul. Remember that you can always explore the Star Citizen Universe yourself in our web-based Ark Star Map. View the full article
  12. Collision Course: Part 1

    The normal weekly News Update will be taking a brief hiatus in order to bring you this special multi-part adventure, Collision Course. We hope you enjoy. The aircycler kicked on overhead and the grate covering the vent began to rattle. Again. How many hours of uninterrupted sleep was that this time? One? Two? With her eyes still closed, Clara debated if she should try to ignore it, or if she should just give in and wake up. Almost in response, a tingling itch began a slow crawl up her arm. That settled it. Better to get up and do something than lie here trying to ignore it. She sat up and checked her mobi. 4:00 am SET. She turned off the alarm she had optimistically set for 7:00 am and switched over to her comms. No responses from any of the jobs she had applied for. Crap. Clara had hoped that Gunther reaching out to his contacts would have given her a boost, but it seemed like both Crusader Security and Blackjack on ArcCorp were pretty firm in not wanting to throw any work her way. She thought that guild standings wouldn’t matter as much in Stanton, but apparently, they did. Or at least they did when it came to contracting with her. She brought up the job board and cruised past all the postings she had looked through yesterday. She hadn’t had any work since escorting an Aciedo repairman to a downed comm array in the sector a few days prior. By now her dry spell had lasted long enough that she was toying with the idea of shutting down a comm array herself just to generate another escort contract, but knew in her heart that if things ever got that desperate she’d try Hurston before going outlaw. Standing up, she waved her hand over the light switch and winced as the harsh overhead kicked on. The EZ-Hab was already looking worse for wear since she had moved in ten nights ago. She quickly rinsed her mouth with a half swallow of stale Smoltz and proceeded to get dressed. Clara was comforted by the weight of her pistol as it locked into place on her hip mount. Even if she couldn’t fire the thing aboard Port Olisar, she still liked knowing it was there. Plus, you never knew when you might run into a potential client. Always pays to look the part, she thought as she slicked her hair back and tucked it under the blue Mercenary Guild cap. Nothing wrong with wearing a hat, right? It’s people’s own fault if they leap to conclusions. Boots laced, she shoved as much of the trash as she could from the table into a grease-stained Whammer’s bag, and turned to head out into the station. Or at least she tried to. With a sigh, Clara waved the bag in front of the door’s motion sensor until it finally decided to pay attention. When EZ-Hab offered an econ-suite, they really meant it. Next job, she promised herself, she’d look into an upgrade, or at least pay the extra creds for the cleaning service. After depositing the trash in a bin, she navigated her way through the light crowd of travelers waiting to catch transfers down to the gas giant below and headed towards Garrity Defense. “I’m telling you, I know my stuff,” said Clara. “Go on, test me.” “Look, I’m sure you do,” replied Diego, the Garrity Defense third-shift manager. “But I’m just not looking to hire.” “Test me,” insisted Clara, “and then decide. That’s all I’m asking.” Between docking fees, insurance and the price of keeping her ship loaded, fueled, and ready for action, her funds were rapidly drying up. Crunching the numbers, she had only about two days of credits left before she was going to have to either start living in her ship, stop eating, or worse. She figured if she could pull a couple shifts selling guns and armor, maybe she could hold on long enough until she could drum up some real work. It’s not like she was sleeping anyway, so why not? Diego, glancing up at her guild hat, finally shrugged and said, “Fine. You want a test? See that guy? He’s a shuttle jockey. Stays aboard Olisar once a week and probably spends half that time staring at the merch, not buying anything. Get him to actually spend some creds and we’ll talk about getting you some shifts here.” Clara appraised the man in question. The undersuit he was wearing was higher quality stuff than any transfer shuttle pilot should need — full armor connects, light EVA thrusters, and most importantly, spotless. Even the man’s boots looked untouched. Probably the most telling thing was the simple fact he was wearing it all inside the station when most people couldn’t wait to change into regular clothes after a flight. She walked up next to him and looked at the display of rifles on the wall. A moment passed before she said, “Thinking about getting the S71?” “I’m fine. Thanks,” the man responded. “That’s good ‘cause I don’t work here.” “Oh, sorry. I just thought —” “No, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it.” Clara took a step away and trained her focus on a lower rack showcasing some scopes. “You were saying something about the S71?” The man asked, gesturing towards the sleek, black rifle. “I was going to tell you not to get it.” “Why’s that?” “Because carrying one makes you a target. Strap that on, and everyone in the room marks you as a serious operator. I mean look at the thing. It screams, I’m a threat.” Clara put on her best thousand-yard stare and softened her voice, “My ex-partner Gunther used to pack one. Sure, he did a lot of good with it and yeah, there’s definitely a few less outlaws out there, but do I think he’d still be alive if he had chosen to carry a lesser weapon? You bet your ass I do.” The man stood slack-jawed as she finished. “I know it’s not my place to tell you what to do. I just promised myself that if I ever saw someone thinking about making the mistake he did, I would warn them if I could.” Suddenly, her mobiGlas chirped to alert her of an incoming comm. “Anyway, I gotta go.” With that, Clara turned and headed towards the door, making sure to give Diego a wink as she passed. She parked herself around the corner and brought up her mobi. She was a little surprised to see that the comm was from Eckhart Security. She had heard of the company back when she was with the guild, but she didn’t know much beyond their reputation of playing fast and loose with the rules. Then again, her rep wasn’t that great at the moment either. She answered, “Hello?” “Yeah, is this Clara Lin?” asked a gruff voice belonging to an equally weathered face. “I’m Miles Eckhart.” A comm from the man himself, thought Clara. That’s something. “A friend of yours contacted me this morning and had some interesting things to say.” She pretty much only had one friend in the ’verse right now. “Gunther?” “That’s the one. Me and him crossed each other’s path a few years back and long story short, I owed him a favor. Guess you’re it.” “You’re giving me a job?” Clara asked, trying not to let too much hope seep into her voice. “Ease up, all I’m doing is giving you an interview.” “What do you need to know?” Clara asked. The customer from Garrity Defense walked past. He tried to avoid eye contact as he quickened his pace and turned the corner. “Not over comms. I’m old fashioned that way,” said Miles. “I’ll send you my location.” A popup showed that she had received the coordinates. “One last thing. Show up ready to work.” The comm line switched off as the manager from Garrity Defense popped his head out of the store and came hurrying over. “There you are,” said Diego. “What did you say to him? He bought an S71 and every single attachment we carry. The job’s yours.” “Thanks. I’ll let you know,” said Clara, leaving behind a slightly confused Diego as she headed off to grab her gear. Clara had never been to Levski before, and stepping into the station, she instantly suspected that this had been a good call. She knew about the People’s Alliance, but was surprised how much being surrounded by their anti-UEE sentiment made her skin crawl. She hadn’t served in the military or ever seriously considered becoming a Citizen, but she had been outside of the UEE before, and if she had to choose between the mess out there and the mess inside the Empire, the one where you can get a hamburger and a medpen whenever you wanted was the clear winner. The giant statue of a dead kid in the lobby didn’t really help with the vibe either. Avoiding the aggressive hawkers in the bazaar, she weaved her way to Cafe Musain, the local watering hole. As she stepped down the stairs, she was surprised by how comfortable the bar looked. The warm lighting, the worn art on the walls, the lingering smell of stale stim in the air, it all reminded her of the places she used to — Clara forcefully stopped that train of thought. She needed to focus right now. There. She spotted Eckhart sitting at a high-top table off to the side of the bar. The drink he was holding sloshed in his glass slightly as he browsed his mobi. Clara approached and was about to introduce herself when — “Grab a seat. I’ll be with you in a second.” Clara pulled out the stool across from him and waited. She noticed his particularly thick jacket and wondered if it was to hide weapons or if it was armored. Probably both, she decided. “You need a drink?” He asked as he closed his mobi. “I’m fine,” she said. “Good,” he said before taking a long sip of his own. “Then let’s get down to business. Which hand do you shoot with?” She hesitated for a moment before answering, “Left.” “Let me see.” Clara raised her hand and held it out. Miles took another swallow as he watched it. Her hand stayed steady. “Now the other.” Taking a deep breath, Clara held out her right hand. The slight tremble was apparent immediately. “Not good, but definitely not the worse I’ve seen. You clean?” “Three months,” said Clara as she lowered her arm. “Good.” Miles brought up his mobi again and sent her a file. “I just sent you the details for a black box retrieval.” “Wait, you had me come all the way out here just to look at my hands?” “You’d be surprised how many people I weed out just by making them fly to meet me,” said Miles. “Plus, I find it’s much harder to screw someone over after you’ve met them in person.” Miles finished off his drink. “Now, a client of mine lost a ship of theirs and wants to keep the whole thing private. I need you to recover the flight data before the insurance company can. Take a look and let me know if you can handle it.” Clara brought up the contract and looked it through. Seemed straightforward enough. The ship had been lost out near the asteroid cluster surrounding Crusader’s moon, Yela. Not particularly dangerous. Well, not any more dangerous than the rest of Crusader. Pay was a bit low. She said so. “Damn right, it’s low,” said Miles. “This is just a tryout. You pull it off and it’ll mean more jobs and more credits. You screw up and at least I’m squared away with Gunther. What do you say?” When she was part of the guild, Clara would have walked away from the table. It wasn’t that anything Miles had done or said was hinky, but one of the first things she learned starting off as a merc was to trust her gut. Right now, it was telling her Miles wasn’t exactly the sort of man she wanted to be in business with. It was telling her that she should just go back to Olisar and sell weapons and armor to people who most likely didn’t need them. She pressed the accept button on the contract anyway. She completed her fourth and last scan. Other than some residual EM signature from the few batteries that still had power scattered throughout the wreckage, all was quiet among the asteroids. It was a bit strange to be doing a mission solo. Caution was the key. In the past, she had flown with Gunther for five years, and with Jenn and Tal for the last two. Moving in a group always meant you had someone watching your back. Solo was a whole different beast. She scanned one more time for luck, then nudged her Buccaneer closer to the mass of debris that used to be a Constellation. Whoever had done this had done a thorough job, that’s for sure. Rotating slightly, she steadied the headlight of her ship onto the twisted and torn bridge. The black box would most likely still be in there. Clara debated if she should power down all the way, or leave her ship running just in case she needed a fast exit. In the end, she decided to just cut the engine, leaving the rest of the systems on, telling herself it was prudence and not the fact it would be really creepy out here with her ship’s lights turned off. She double checked her O2 levels, the seals on her suit, her pistol and her rifle, before finally pulling the cockpit release latch. The glass lifted up and with a small push off her seat, she drifted into space. She mentally rotated her center of gravity so that the bright ball of Yela was below her, instead of above. Following the beam of light from her Buc, she slowly pulsed her thrusters forward, carefully clearing any small bits of debris out of the way as she went. At the Guild, they always taught the new members SSKY: Stupid Stuff Kills You. Even then, about a third of the merc deaths you read about weren’t from outlaws blasting them out of the sky, but from little things like not tracking oxygen closely enough or forgetting to carry an extra medpen. The job was dangerous; no reason to make it more so. Clara cut her EVA thrusters and drifted the last few meters till she hit the cockpit glass with a soft ‘thunk.’ The ship groaned and creaked as metal scraped and settled. She swung her flashlight around the interior and saw that the black box was still safely nestled where it should be. Now to find a way in. She had never served aboard a Connie herself, but she had fought against one once. If she had been the attacker, the first thing she would have targeted was the turrets and from what she remembered, they weren’t exactly known for staying attached once you blew them up. She rotated so she was facing right way up relative to the plane of the ship, and then pulled herself to the top of the bridge. Sure enough, a gaping jagged tear along the hull marked where the dorsal turret had once been. Clara climbed into the empty turret shaft headfirst, to where the emergency hatch had sealed off the bridge once the turret had vented. She was about to manually override the hatch, when she noticed it. The thrusters of an approaching ship. TO BE CONTINUED … View the full article
  13. This Week in Star Citizen

    Greetings Citizens Greetings Citizens, Gamescom is only 16 days away and we are very excited to get to meet many of you in person. For those of you attending, make sure to check out this thread for all the details on where we’ll be after hours. This past Friday, we released July’s Monthly Report! Check out what each our of studios have accomplished this past month here. With that, lets take a look at this week. Today is Monday, and that means a new episode of Citizens of the Stars! In this episode, I talk with Olaf Jaeger about the amazing ship blueprint posters he’s created. Also, Director of Corporate and Publishing Technology Mike Jones challenges Brian Chambers for the crown of Quantum Champion. On Tuesday, the Lore Team publishes a new weekly lore post. These weekly updates help give life and depth to the universe of Star Citizen. You can also check out previously published lore posts here. On Wednesday, Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy is back on rotation this week. This bi-weekly series features a member of the Lore Team that takes us on a trip to one of the many star systems in the ‘Verse to learn about its history, horrors and unique characteristics that makes it like no other. On Thursday, we’ll have a new episode of Around the Verse that you won’t want to miss! As an important reminder, Studio Updates have been temporarily replaced with a new segment that we’re excited to try out titled “Burndown”. This new segment will provide a unique look at the trials and tribulations of development as we lead up to the release of Star Citizen Alpha 3.0. Lastly, Happy Hour returns this Friday! Subject is TBD, but we will make an announcement when we have finalized the details. That’s all for this week, we’ll see you in the ‘Verse! Tyler Nolin Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, AUGUST 7TH, 2017 Citizens of the Stars (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) TUESDAY, AUGUST 8TH, 2017 Weekly Lore Post (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9TH, 2017 Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy! (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) THURSDAY, AUGUST 10TH, 2017 Around the ‘Verse (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Vault Update FRIDAY, AUGUST 11TH, 2017 Happy Hour Interview: TBD (https://www.twitch.tv/starcitizen) RSI Newsletter Community Spotlight: August 7th, 2017 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it’s fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! 890 Jump Poster by Xeno Xeno has made a stunning 1080p wallpaper featuring the Origin 890 Jump! This wallpaper really shows off the class of this luxury touring ship and make any 890J owner proud! Community Hub post here Crucible Engraving by Blackhawk Using a custom built CNC machine, Blackhawk created a wood engraving of the Anvil Crucible – the first dedicated repair ship in Star Citizen. Community Hub post here Seuss Citizen by Monk For Monk’s 300th Star Citizen video, he wanted to do something a little special. Using the style of Dr. Seuss’s iconic story-telling and capturing nearly all of the footage in Star Citizen Alpha, he’s made something truly unique and extraordinary. I urge you to check it out below. Community Hub post here View the full article
  14. Citizens of the Stars

    Welcome to Citizens of the Stars, our new weekly program exclusively about you, the Star Citizen Community. Whether through bug reports on the issue council, feedback on the forums, or the creation of content inspired by the game, Star Citizen is only possible because of the community. Citizens of the Stars not only highlights these contributions, but also puts a dev in the hotseat for a round of Quantum Questions, which addresses some fun facts about the dev and game. Woredz. Remember, many of the questions used are taken from our Star Citizen Subscribers in this thread here. Don’t forget to add yours for inclusion in future episodes, vote for the ones you want to see answered, and remember to keep them short and concise if you want your best chance of having them answered in under two minutes. The links for this week’s content are below: CITIZEN SPOTLIGHT Olaf Jaeger and his Ship Posters TOP 5: Bar Citizen Japan by Zephram-Cochrane Bar Citizen Lyon by Trad Team The 360 Photospheres by Rellim My Ultimate Home Studio by Noobifier MVP: Vanduul Space by Vacation View the full article
  15. Monthly Studio Report: July 2017 Greetings Citizens! Welcome to the Monthly Report for July 2017, our collection of studio updates and reports that showcase the progress we’ve made. This month, the team crunched in preparation for a pair of internal 3.0 milestone reviews to assess the state of the build and player experience. CIG Los Angeles CLOUD IMPERIUM: LOS ANGELES ENGINEERING Our engineering team worked towards completing the core 3.0.0 persistence and entity system features. This included finishing a large refactor of the persistent data manager which changes the way data is stored, modified, and accessed while playing the game. The game can now distinguish between physical and legal ownership, a distinction that is an important requirement for systems such as Criminality, Missions, and Persistent Spawning. This new physical ownership feature is also being used to develop persistence tracking and management which will allow for parking vehicles within other ships. For example, with this system if you park a Dragonfly inside a Cutlass then land at a station, it will remain in the Cutlass’ hold when you recall your ship. Our engineers have also been working on cargo debris generation upon a ship exploding, migrating lifetime policy into gamerules the information stays attached to the player, and the placement of cargo crates onto your ship’s cargo grids. Once you’ve purchased cargo, your ship will generate a certain percentage of cargo onto the cargo grid. When it comes time to sell the cargo, the team have integrated the newly complete shop code with the Solar System Shopping Service, allowing shop inventories to populate dynamically. This system also allows items and commodities’ stock to be influenced by the purchases and sales of other players. The new insurance system is almost complete and will allow players to make insurance claims on their ship, pay deductibles, and select expedited processing time to get their ships back quicker. There is also now a deductible decay, which allows you to wait for a bit of time and pay less if you happen to be short of the credits. The system has been designed so deductible prices are calculated based on the number of other insurance claims stored in your persistence for the last 24 hours. Over on planets, we’ve put the finishing touches on our gravity level which was needed for some ground vehicles. Specifically, as changes to planets, physics zones, IFCS (or intelligent flight system) and some other necessary improvements, left the hover vehicles dragging more than hovering. This new GravLev system is an improvement over the original system in many important ways. For example, the last time we showed GravLev, it only supported hover heights from 1 to 5 meters based on velocity. In tests, we’ve now managed to get the Nox hovering at a half a meter at speeds up to 223 miles per hour on moderately rough terrain. This was quite challenging, considering that the simulation uses a realistic spring-based model for hover lift, as opposed to hidden collision or other common tricks. We’ve also provided a set of 10 tuning parameters for designers to customize the GravLev control system, including minimum and maximum hover height (min at stop, max at full velocity), banking angle in turns, and maximum lift acceleration. Also, our designers can set a minimum gravity level which the system uses to generate downward thrust to augment gravity on low-gravity planets so the vehicle isn’t too floaty. This can be set to 1 G to guarantee that hover vehicles always feel about as heavy as they would on Earth, or even higher to really force the vehicle to hug the terrain. Next up, we’ll add tuning parameters for designers to control how steep a surface a hover vehicle can climb, and how high an obstacle it can elevate over so your future hovering adventures are only going to get better and better. TECH CONTENT The Tech Content team spent some time working on our mission giver, Miles Eckhart, specifically with his drink. They set up up run-time simulations so the liquid in his glass not only follows his animated movements, but also respects planetary gravity. This will ultimately apply to all sorts of liquids across the universe. The team also introduced the springy landing gear technology for ships. This new mechanic incorporates landing springs and compression technology to allow for a cushioned landing experience especially on uneven terrain, allowing it to react naturally to the weight of the ship relative to the planet’s gravity as you touch down. On the tools front, the team improved several tools to expedite various processes including usable requests, maya loadouts, vertex reordering, character requests, playblasts and so on. They also made huge updates on our Exporter tool, taking the latest LumberYard updates and bug fixes, and incorporated them along with some of our own improvements to the new exporter UI. Now everyone working within our Maya pipeline can benefit from these fixes to their overall workflow. The last phase of prepping for a release is performance profiling and optimization. As Star Citizen is an art-heavy game, there can be a lot of waste when it comes to textures, so the Graphics and Tech Art teams devise clever solutions to save on texture memory without sacrificing the visual quality. This month, the Tech Art team’s main focus was to bring our texture memory back under the allocated budget, so we’ve made measurable savings to help everyone experience better frame rates. SHIP TEAM Another ship has entered production since our last update. The Anvil Hurricane is now in the whitebox phase of the pipeline and we’ve already completed temp exterior and interior lighting, proxy animations, temp interactive cockpit control layout, setting up the almost final hierarchy of the ship, temp proxies and initial break damage points. The enter, exit and seated templates for the turret and the pilot seat are also set up, and the ship item breakouts have also been completed. CHARACTER TEAM The character team spent the month knocking out high quality work for both Squadron 42 and Star Citizen. They moved more bridge officer uniforms from concept into the high-poly phase. Our newest combat pilot flightsuit for Shubin security is also going through the high-poly phase and will be moving into in-game modeling and texturing in the near future. Another combat flightsuit is in the high-poly phase and will soon move into in-game modeling and texturing as well. Our medical corpsman has gone through high-poly and into in-game modeling and will soon be ready to start working at our various medstations. With the introduction of the Levski landing zone, the team created a few civilian costumes to help populate the People’s Alliance of Levski. The team also made a lot of progress on several concepts like the shipjacker gang members and our battle-damaged costumes to provide visual feedback of how you are doing. With regards to customization, the team has also started to explore a new potential opportunity in character tattoos. Finally, the team worked on redesigning the new mobiGlas. While many games get away with obvious HUD projection or holographic displays, our mobiGlas has to come from a piece that’s physically placed on the character, which means it needs to be present on a naked wrist, a wrist with long sleeves, a wrist with a jacket, and also fit on undersuits and armor. They have taken a few passes on the new mobiGlas with these requirements in mind and are really excited by the prospects of this new piece. NARRATIVE This past month, the Narrative team jumped headfirst into working directly with the engine. After some intensive training from the Tech Content team, they’ve taken over the integration of text for many of the game items in the engine. The first task was to go through all the clothes, armor pieces and even hairstyles to make sure that they had accurate names and descriptions written and hooked up in Dataforge. Meanwhile, the time had come to tackle procedural mission text for the various contracts that the players can pick up in 3.0. To assist in the writing, Will created a spreadsheet that would draw the lists variables needed for a mission (item being transported, Client Name, Destination, etc.) to automatically generate samples of the text that would appear in game. This allowed us to quickly randomize all of the variables to make sure that the sentences read organically, regardless of their configuration. As the new player experience has been a focal point of our 3.0 reviews, the team has been working with the Art and UI teams to looking at various signage and environmental storytelling opportunities for the locations. QA Our QA team was focused upon the now completed conversion of all ships to Item 2.0, and testing other new features for 3.0 such as the updated Quantum Travel system, new planetary missions, and the new mobiGlas functionality. They also supported the global team with various test requests as new features continue to come online. CIG Austin CLOUD IMPERIUM: AUSTIN DESIGN The ATX Design Team was able to start plugging the items back into the shops thanks to fixes to the shopping code. In addition, this allowed the Kiosks to get up and running for commodity trading. The goal has been to get all of the shops related to the PU stations/landing zones functional first, and then go back to make a pass through the Area18 shops if time permits. The armor sets were separated into individual pieces, so that will be added to the feature list. We’ve also added the remaining ships into the PriceFixer spreadsheet which outlines each ship’s physical loadout to determine the overall cost of each ship and allows us to assign them respawn values (which covers the cost and respawn timers) This tool is also used to gauge whether the ships we’re building are over/under powered for their intended purpose. Once complete, the team will move onto balancing the shop inventories and item prices for 3.0. Lead Designer Rob Reininger flew to the Frankfurt Office to work with the AI and Subsumption team, and get Miles Eckhart set up as a mission giver. They made huge strides with the feather blending system and got him working with a small subset of his animations. Since then, additional code support has allowed Rob to incorporate the player’s reputation into the conversation to dictate Eckhart’s conversation paths. The team also received the ability to assign specific missions with mission brief tags, so Eckhart can play different lines depending on what missions are available. Beyond this, the team has focused on trying to make the mission giver experience as good as possible for the 3.0 release. SHIP TEAM Josh Coons finished images and videos for the Cutlass Black and moved onto the base material/ white box meshes for the Cutlass Red and Blue. Design is still iterating on the key gameplay systems for the Cutlass variants, so although he will continue to work on the first pass of the exterior looks, he will also begin work on the Constellation Phoenix. Chris Smith worked on bugs for the Hornet and Constellation Andromeda, and started creating on a promo video for the Constellation Aquila. ANIMATION This month the Animation team did research and development on how to implement our Wildline system. A wildline, broadly speaking, is a dialogue fragment spoken by an NPC that could include greetings, cheers, shouts, barks and other verbal expressions that are not associated with a specific scene, but rather specific scenarios. The team also worked on a new technology called feather blending which allows the blending of our wildline performance capture with a large number of usable animations. This will allow us to stay as close to our actor’s performance as possible while still keeping the functionality of what the NPC is doing. They also went through all our existing animations to look for gaps in the original performance with the intent to capture new transition animations to fill those gaps. The Ship Animation Team continued their efforts to refine the cockpit and turret experiences. They are in the midst of an R&D phase of implementing button presses, utilizing the Item 2.0 features which has helped finalize dashboard and cockpit metrics for any ship that uses the same cockpit type. Aside from ongoing bug fixing, the team was able to fully implement base g-force pose blendspaces, allow additive animations for button presses, and play different hit reactions based off of hit direction, damage amount, and overall health of the ship. IT/DEV OPS The Backend Services team spent the month supporting 3.0 features and preparing for the deployment of Diffusion. The game servers now have full access to the Diffusion API and will start using it with the shopping service in 3.0. In addition, they started converting our two monolithic services (Persistence Cache and General Instance Manager) into smaller, stateless, fully Diffusionized services. These two services will create nearly a dozen smaller services, each with very specific roles that can be scaled independently to provide more reliability and performance. The team also plotted the path beyond 3.0 and started to build many small services to provide functionality and support for a large number gameplay features and help unload work from all the dedicated game servers into our distributed infrastructure. The DevOps team continued to increase capacity within our build and deployment pipelines in preparation for 3.0. They also made additional changes and bug fixes to support the new Delta patcher and the internal tests have been really promising. Our Corporate Technology Team (IT Department) also completed another major upgrade to the Austin network and added more hardware to the build system, so we can deliver more builds in parallel. AUDIO Our resident Audio team member, Jason Cobb, has had his hands full this month as well. He has continued work on derelict crash site sound design for the different moon environments, performed a variety of particle audio implementation experiments for revamped ship debris noises, playtested and mixed refinements for ship emergency state audio, and captured sound effects source for various props and materials as opportunities arose. QA ATX QA had a very busy month. A few things they’ve been testing include the new Cutlass Black, new missions in the Stanton system, as well as an ongoing focus on wrecks and NPCs. Ship testing continued as more ship families were converted to Item 2.0. The team conducted weekly cross-studio playtests with QA departments in LA and the UK for weekly large scale playtests of Arena Commander, Star Marine and Crusader. The team also tested more mobiGlas applications like the Star Map, the Personal Manager, the Contract Manager and the Job Board as they’ve become available. The team also had fun testing character gravity and free fall, while also testing cargo mechanics. The team continued to provide support to the animation team by cleaning up mocap files. Our engine and editor testers tried out new tech for the developers such as the capsule-based actor entity, the entity component update scheduler and the director actor animation control. Some features, like the new stamina and oxygen-breathing systems, went through some balance changes after QA talked with designers. PLAYER RELATIONS The Player Relations team expanded this month, adding four new team members to the Austin office in anticipation for 3.0. The team also started to expand the ranks of our Evocati testing group. Foundry 42 UK FOUNDRY 42: UK SHIP TEAM Work is progressing smoothly on the Eclipse with current focus on the moving areas of the ship, specifically the torpedo bay, entry ladder, cockpit canopy and flight mode variations. The cockpit was finished and the surrounding area is in the process of being resolved. Attention has been given to the torpedo bay due to the size and space it occupies within the ship. On the concept side this month, we finished the first buggy, the Tumbril Cyclone, and the Origin 600i. For the 600i, the exterior has been fleshed out with the correct proportions. The interior was designed in conjunction with the exterior work. In building these areas, they looked at the best way to model and light the interior to establish aesthetics and methods that will be used throughout the Origin fleet. This month, the team also made significant progress on some Vanduul ships. The Void bomber greybox has been finalized and is now onto material work, where most of the surface details of the ship will be defined. There are still a few smaller areas to resolve, but the ship can be now seen in its full glory. A big part of the task was to resolve how the smaller boarding ships are stored within it and keeping the main forms from the old concept recognizable while adopting the new Vanduul style. The Blade is also coming along well. Most of the basic shapes on the exterior have been blocked in and are currently being refined. In Reclaimer news, work was wrapped up on the salvage room, bridge area and lifts. The team did a polish pass throughout the ship, concentrating on lighting and consistency, so the ship is now art complete and the team have moved into an optimization and LOD pass. While this is happening, tech design will start working on their setup pass for the ship. The Hull C exterior nearly completed its detail pass, and will soon move on to the final stages of having its proxies, LODs and damage setup. The interior is also well on its way to completion; all that’s left is the final room in the back of the ship, which is nearly complete, while the collapsible tunnel section is up next. We also started two new ships and a personal transport vehicle. We also worked on Squadron 42 mission areas, Hurston shop interiors and landscape development. For Orison, we did initial development on landing zone gameplay areas. Plus, we spent time on all visual targets for surface outpost wear and tear, moons and Shubin’s exterior. GRAPHICS This month the graphics team worked on four different features. The first is the continuing work on the secondary viewport and render-to-texture technology that was recently featured on Around the Verse, with the primary focus of improving the performance of video comms for things like air-traffic-control. The sun shadow system is being improved to better cope with the extreme shadow ranges on our planets and moons to ensure that we get the best possible lighting results, especially at sunset when shadows can stretch 10km or more. Our work on volumetric rendering continued as well, with a move towards creating a fully hierarchical system. This will open the door to model gas clouds of any scale, but also allow the team to stream and LOD the gas clouds so that this great tech can be incorporated into the PU. It also allows artists to import volumetric data from external art packages, which should help achieve some really impressive results. Finally, our GPU particle system has been making quick progress with several new features added every week, with the latest addition being a looping ‘dust’ effect for both space and interiors that can achieve 50x the density of our older CPU effect. AUDIO The Audio team was focused on Gamescom and 3.0 related feature work and bugfixing. The ship computers needed to be converted to the new Item 2.0 system, so the team took the chance to refactor and improve the ship computers in general. New assets were created for foley and footsteps using a better system to give our players a much more realistic experience. All of the locations for the upcoming release are now in a polished audio state, giving the players a great visual and audible experience when they are exploring. As usual, all audio team members are involved in a lot of different sprints. In cooperation with other departments, they worked to improve the cockpit experience and quantum travel, brought 3.0 mission givers to life by delivering dialogue assets and attaching sound effects to them, and polished derelict ships and outposts for the release as well. FACIAL ANIMATION The Derby Studio has been busy as ever. The Facial Team finished off all the animations needed for the 3.0 Mission Givers while continuing SQ42 work. Eckhart alone has over 47,000 frames (26 minutes) of bespoke facial animation and is one of over 13+ mission givers currently in production for the PU. After the recent 3-day Audio/Headcam shoot in London, all data has been tracked in Faceware and retargeted onto our face rigs in Maya. This is a great achievement for the team as there were over 125,000 frames or almost 70 minutes of footage shot. The team recently welcomed 3 Teesside University Interns to the studio. They’re currently on their Summer break after their second year studying on the Computer Games Animation BaHons Degree and have been helping with Facial Tracking and Retargeting, and also attended a 3.0 mission giver mocap shoot Construction work started on the new Derby Studio and is expected to take 6 weeks. This will be a great relief to the team as they are currently spread over two sites, and are eager to be back together under one roof. The new office will also have space for the motion capture system to be erected, enabling easy pick up shoots and any other new capture sessions needed. The face scanner is also going to be rebuilt with the plan of extending our library of head scans by capturing a greater age range and ethnic groups. We also hired another Facial Animator, bringing the headcount to nineteen, and we’re looking forward to welcoming her to the team ENVIRONMENT ART This month, the final polish on the huge range of locations featured in the imminent 3.0 release has been underway. This includes final passes on branding and corporate colour theming across the outposts on the moons of Yela, Daymar and Cellin. Particular focus has been paid to making sure they integrate to the planetary surface with all the wear and accumulated dust expected of something that’s spent a lot of time on a moon’s surface. We have also improved how our large scale ‘spacescaping’ dust clouds look and feel, particularly around Delamar which now features its own compliment of asteroid clusters and a discreet atmospheric flavor. Bug fixing and optimization has been another major part of getting things ready for 3.0. Things such as reducing texture memory usage by optimizing materials, decreasing unnecessary entity counts, optimizing LODs and physics proxies, and consolidating asset usage across various locations all help boost performance and are an essential part of the process before a release. In Squadron 42, the Shubin layout is being wrapped up. Both design and art are happy with the space and can start final implementations. There’s been specific scrutiny on making the whole facility a believable and functional location, with its own transit systems, worker routes, refineries, security and medical facilities, and hangars connected in a logical way. This helps convince the player they are in a working, active environment with its own set of logic and rules. We also worked to get a section of the exterior to a final visual target. This will help solve questions of scale read and material definition. Besides Shubin, a lot of work has gone into the Gainey map. Recent tweaks to the layout and focus on final visual targets have considerably improved the flow and art direction of the space. WEAPON TEAM The Weapon Art team were hard at work building the Apocalypse Arms Scattergun, Klaus & Werner Laser Repeaters and MaxOx Neutron Repeaters. They also worked on the Gemini Pistol, Gemini H29, NVTAC and Gemini optics, and some additional work to the Kastak SMG. In an effort to constantly push the boundaries on new ideas for ship weapons, the team continued to work out VFX styles for each energy type and make improvements to Gallenson Tactical Systems S1-S3. ANIMATION The animation team completed the implementation pass for Miles Eckhart and has moved on to refining the hand gestures. We started a pass on the AI combat cover assets to improve the mocap implementation, and did further refinements to the knife takedown animation set. The team also worked on weapon bug fixes for the 3.0 release, alongside very early previs animation for the Custodian SMG and R97 shotgun. Work continues on both the code and animation for the jump system. Plus, new mocap assets are being readied to replace the player placeholder locomotion animation stop assets. TECH ANIMATION The Tech Animation team worked on a new source control application for Maya. This tool intelligently grabs assets that animators are missing in the currently open scene, so they’ll never be without their textures, audio, rigs and pipeline. The nicest part of this feature is that the silent syncing will not interrupt the user’s workflow. The team worked with the Props team to deliver a great looking glass tumbler asset with a cheap and robust physics solution. There was no way to drive or afford a true liquid simulation in engine, so this turned out to be a good, cost efficient solution. There are many, many assets that require the correct setup (the initial batch of wildline anims for Old Man alone came to over 200 assets), so the team developed batchable code solutions for the setup. With this new tool, one person can finish this off in less than a day. There has been a consistent issue from the tech department where object animations were created in the objects folder, rather the animations folder. This means that the build needed to pull these assets from the objects folder into the animations pak at build time, which conflicted with the pipelines in place for all other animations. To rectify this, the team moved all the animations, as well as make chrparams for all affected assets and dba entries, while re-factoring the current build code to not pool anims from the objects folder. The team began an R&D exploration of why the animation rig in Maya has had a negative effect on the playback framerate. This system drives many additional joints that we use for deformation in engine, so the team is looking for ways to negate this slowdown and bring us back up to 30fps. The old cryTools installer is very out-of-date (there have been many other pipelines built since its last iteration and each of them has its own installation procedure) and the team is hoping to create a new installer that will do all the heavy lifting for the user, one which will install every relevant pipeline and be updated in every build. The R&D is promising, watch this space! The Mocap team updated the Motion Builder reviewer tool to have better functionality and a generic script runner which allows you to run selected Python scripts on a batch of requested files. Along with all of this, the team continued to track and solve 1500+ motion capture files, which included: gameplay, Old Man, Eckhart, and some others. This month, they also welcomed Oli Cooke, a new Motion Editor, which brings the Motion Capture team up to four. PROGRAMMING This month, the team worked on the jumping mechanic in cooperation with the animation department. This covered the look and feel of jumping when idle, walking, running, and included jumping and landing from different heights. The landing presented an interesting challenge as it can change depending on what state the player wants to go into next. Does the player want to land and stop? Land and continue running? Then we have to consider what foot you’ve landed on, and so forth. More work went into the usables tech for the AI to determine all the different scenarios where an AI might use something and in what way. One situation that was solved this month has been making the operator seats, which have very specific functionality, but also work as a usable. That gives operator seats a much wider range of things the AI can do with them, such as turning around to the player and having a conversation. Speaking of usables, there was locomotion sprint to make AI entering a usable as seamless as possible. Since most usables will have one or more entry animations, in order for an NPC to look right when either walking or running up to use it, we need to ensure it hits not only the right point for the start of the animation, but also the right speed, direction, with the correct foot placement. Getting all those factors to line up on approach, without making the walk/run animation look odd, has been a challenge. The team also started a wildlines sprint. As mentioned earlier, these could be simple greetings as the player walks down a corridor or taunts when in a FPS battle. While this may sound simple, they are more complicated than just playing a line with some facial animation. If a NPC greets the player, you’d expect them to briefly glance at them whilst saying the line, so the NPC needs to utilize the head look tech. Also, most of the lines are captured with full body animation, but we don’t always want to play back all of it. For example, if the NPC is standing idle, then you would want to play the animation back on the full body. However, if the NPC is seated, then the rig should only play back the upper body. If they’re running, just the neck upwards. This is where our feather blending tech comes into play, but it still requires each situation to know which type of blending it needs to use. Other than that, the team proceeded on a number of ongoing sprints supporting both Squadron 42 and 3.0 which include player persistence, cockpit experience, missions support, ATC and communications, and personal inner thought refinements. PU LIVE DESIGN The Live team entered its final mission sprint and hopes to receive the final pieces of code to finish the remaining missions. Code recently delivered a much needed boon to mission entity placement. An example of how we would use this would be to easily place corpses in hundreds of possible locations and poses throughout a derelict ship; perfect for creating the gruesome aftermath of a crash landing. Finally, the player vs player version of Bounty Hunter missions was completed with a proper code system that expands the previously Flowgraphed version found in 2.6. Foundry 42 DE FOUNDRY 42: DE VFX The Frankfurt VFX team dedicated time improving existing systems for the 3.0 release. This review checked all the existing vehicles and systems to make sure everything is still working as initially intended, and doing a polish pass on any effects if needed. With new systems coming online, such as the oxygen system for rooms, they remade some of the old effects for both the high-tech and low-tech airlocks. This month they also started shifting more focus towards the Squadron 42 cinematic scenes. WEAPON TEAM The FPS Weapons team completed passes on the last two legacy weapons that were using our old system, which included a first art pass on the Gemini L86 Ballistic Pistol and a final pass on the Behring P4AR Ballistic Rifle. On Ship Weapons, the team finished all the work for sizes 1-3 Klaus & Werner Laser Repeaters and started work on sizes 4-6. They also finished the Apocalypse Arms Ballistic Scatterguns sizes 1-3. Finally, they worked on some general tasks focused towards 3.0, including polishing, optimizing, and bug fixing. TECH ART The Tech Art team finished multiple animation implementation tasks for both the recent usable sprint as well as cinematics. They continued to debug weapon animation issues and did some adjustments to a few of the weapons rigs to make them even more realistic and believable. They also did some work on a VFX Exporter which was made to export simulated objects from within Maya, as having an active simulation on objects was causing problems. The best way to work around this was to bake the simulation and export the animation, but that’s time consuming and leaves the scene in a state where the VFX artist can’t do any changes to the simulation. The new Exporter takes care of the whole process. It bakes the simulation, exports all the necessary stuff for the engine and restores the scene, so the artist can continue iterating. The tool also creates all the necessary in-engine files, so the artists can hit the export button and see the result immediately in the engine. Tech Art also continued to support the animation code with Ground Alignment R&D. The progress is going well and we’ll be able to show it off in the very near future. PROGRAMMING Game Programming spent time fixing outstanding issues and polishing up existing code. The new airlocks and elevators had a few issues where game and engine code conflicted with one another. Those items were identified and work has begun to sort them out. They also added a small feature to weapons to hide the weapon from the 1st person view during Aim-Down-Sight. This falls in line with the design and will make things easier while in the heat of combat. In addition, the team used work previously done for character customization to complete the technology to apply weapon skins. There’s still some UI work to be done, but it now allows for simple and fast setups of Weapon Skins in DataForge. Finally, work continues on the Weapon System 2.0 and additional feature polish geared for 3.0. AI That AI team worked on more mission broker and mission system features, mostly for PU 3.0 but also supporting S42. The mission broker has been adapted to support multiple players accepting the same mission. The team also added the ability for mission instances to share information (which means players accepting the same collection mission will be sent after the same item, rather than having their own distinct item to collect). They’re building on that work by adding support for abandoning missions, as well as unlawful/lawful asymmetric missions for multiple players. The team added support for the take-off and landing of AI ships on surfaces. This includes landing pads, ship hangars, other ships, and celestial surfaces. They also added Quantum Travel functionality for the new non-Kythera AI as part of an ongoing effort to create all functionalities needed for Subsumption-based ship AI. Also, they focused on adding more Subsumption AI support, like using NavSplines and correct AI behavior when entering / exiting all vehicles and seats. Finally, they finished the second sprint for buddy AI. Designers can now specify if they want to keep the AI in front or on the side of the leader or player. This sprint also brings the ability for an AI buddy to take cover in front of the player and move from cover to cover point while following the player. This is the first step in having a companion AI that will intelligently follow and help you out in combat. ENGINE TEAM The Frankfurt Engine team, in cooperation with UK, refined the handling of GPU crashes and proper reporting via the public crash handler. As the engine render frames, it now includes tokens into the command stream to more easily pinpoint what the GPU was last doing if it starts hanging. This info is sent along with other crash information for post mortem analysis via our public crash handler service. These steps should make it easier for us to more quickly react on GPU issues that are otherwise hard to reproduce because of specific machine setup, OS and driver versions, etc. They also did a large amount of performance analysis and engine optimizations geared towards the 3.0 release. Another item they focused on was a new road system to work in conjunction with the planetary terrain. The legacy roads were not suitable for our large-scale terrain, as there was a large performance hit along with z-fighting and flickering issues from long distances. The new system is extremely fast and efficient, cache friendly, and fully multithreaded to send draw commands to the GPU in the most efficient way. The new system uses a screen space approach. Instead of drawing the geometry conventionally, it’s powered by a projective technique, like what we use on deferred decals, and has two distinct rendering passes. First, we draw the road geometry as a 3D volume that intersects the terrain. In this pass, a stencil mask is generated to outline borders of the road. The same mask is then used in the next render pass to clip all pixels of the volumes that are not affecting the terrain. Finally, to generate UVs and fetch material textures, each pixel’s position is reconstructed in camera space, and then in local space, by sampling the depth. All material attributes are then finally written in the GBuffer to compute lighting. Thanks to the nature of projection, this technique doesn’t suffer any z-fight or flickering related issues. They also created a new toolset to give designers the ability and flexibility to quickly lay down the new roads and modify them as needed. It’s still a work in progress, but the progress is going well. It will be a nice addition to our growing toolset for planets. LEVEL DESIGN The Level Design team took a pass on the room system for Levski, ensuring that the player won’t unnecessarily suffocate in random places. They also did a general polish and some bug fixing for 3.0. Finally, they worked on Lorville, which is the next flagship Landing Zone on our list to tackle. QA Testing continued with new features and bug fixes going into the Subsumption tool on a weekly basis. The team worked closely with design and Tony Zurovec to ensure that the tool is tested to their satisfaction. Performance testing is also underway for the Persistent Universe. They used the Performance Profiler tool from Visual Studio to gather very specific data in areas of low performance, and did weekly cross-studio playtests to increase the stress on the servers and simulate an actual live environment as much as possible. Melissa Estrada, our QA technical Lead, also had fun testing various gravity conditions on the new moons. The Frankfurt QA team also wrapped up multiple test requests from the Engine team. They included a change to the Entity Component Update Scheduler, which affects how parts of entities are updated, as well as the particle code which was changed to run on threads. All code changes have the potential to introduce new issues to an already functional build, so thorough comparison testing was performed to ensure that nothing new would be introduced into the Game-Dev stream. They also had test requests for Area Optimizations. Recent code changes to things such as doors and elevators gave us roughly 1.5 ms frametime back and are a definite improvement. SYSTEM DESIGN System Design worked on items for 3.0 with a lot of focus on the Levski landing zone, particularly experimenting with it having a full AI population. The AI behaviours needed some work to ensure they didn’t overcrowd any given area. System Design also spent time stress testing our servers to determine what AI populations we can currently support to make sure Levski is full of life. During the process they worked closely with the Tech team to optimize what we could to keep performance as solid as possible. CINEMATICS & LIGHTING The Cinematics team continued work on scenes across all chapters of Squadron 42. They also spent time working with the Graphics engineers on the two-dimensional Render-To-Texture display screens and Holographic Volume Rendering. This month our Lead Lighting Artist was solely focused on applying the final touches on our 3.0 content. This included color grading for each moon, integrating lighting between the outposts and the moons, bug fixing, and polishing on the Levski landing zone. ENVIRONMENT ART The Environment team worked on polishing and bug-fixing existing content in the PU. With all the various components coming together we wanted to make sure the visual experience for the players is as good as possible. On Levski, new areas and locations were added that will increase the number of things the players can do and explore, including a new store and an administration office. The newly added garages received a final polish and dressing pass making them ready to be used. They also put a lot of effort into research and development by looking at new features going into the game after 3.0. This included work on ArcCorp, procedural cities, and the planet Hurston. An important element of the research phase is that we find smart and scalable solutions that will allow us to create more content as efficiently as possible moving forward. Turbulent TURBULENT SHIP MATRIX This month, Turbulent restructured the Ship Matrix so that it reflects the design intentions for all the ships with the release of Item 2.0. It is now able to display details about ship loadouts that previously weren’t available on the site. In the propulsion category, they added details about fuel tanks, fuel intake, quantum drives and jump modules. The ship team also added some categories in Avionics and Weaponry, including countermeasures. It had been years since the ship matrix had been revisited, and they needed to adjust the stats to allow for additional details. With the Ursa becoming drivable in 3.0, you will also find ground vehicles listed in the ship matrix. The team also standardized the sizing on all components to five size variables. Weapons will keep a size range from 1-12. On the ship detail page, they redesigned the ship loadout icons to give you a better indication of available slots on a ship, while the item details will outline how to upgrade your ship. They also improved the backend to ensure that ship statistics from the design team can be easily updated. This means they will be able to get ship balance changes on the site much sooner than in previous iterations. SPECTRUM Spectrum 0.3.6 is coming soon and is currently being tested on the PTU. One big feature in 0.3.6 is the text editor update that makes forums post much easier and more malleable. Soon, it will have draft mode, so if you stop writing midway through a post and navigate away from the page, you can come back later to finish it. This is great for those times you forgot to hit enter or were distracted by something else. The updated and redesigned mini-profile brings many new features. It even tracks your post count, including those from the old forums. When viewing an account mini-profile, the karma feature allows you to see how many up votes a user has. With the mini-profile, the team is trying to squeeze in an additional block feature. This is a mod tool that the community has asked for and they really hope to include it in the next iteration. Lastly, they are introducing a track feature that allows you to jump between staff posts. Previously, you had to scroll to find all the staff posts. The track post feature is a faster way to find information from Star Citizen developers or community team. Orgs can also use it by enabling a role to be tracked in the settings. Custom roles are still being worked on. The biggest design challenge has been with very large orgs and finding the appropriate filter/search function to allow members to find each other. LAUNCHER The team worked very hard with CIG engineering on the new Delta launcher which comes with the Delta patcher. They also worked on refreshing some of the UI elements with new 3.0 imagery. They are essentially changing the entire core of the application, so they have to test on multiple platforms and installation paths. At the same time, our engineering team worked on getting the digital distribution channels ready, so they can disburse those objects as fast as possible when the game version is requested. This also required additional security reviews and deployment scripts. Community Community This month, they introduced a new ship that’s … a little buggy! The Cyclone buggy is our first ground vehicle built with our procedural planets expressly in mind. It was available in five different options (regular, recon, racing, turret and anti-air) and will come online in a future patch. A new kind of vehicle also called for a new kind of manufacturer, so Tumbril was created. No, it’s not a social network media sharing service. It’s Star Citizen’s first dedicated ground vehicle manufacturer. The team had a great time putting together the ‘launch’ brochure, complete with a stock certificate, and they’re already looking forward to the NEXT Tumbril vehicle which will come online later this year. To help promote the Cyclone sale, they worked with Narrative and the team at Turbulent to create an interactive 2947 drivers license test. You can take the multiple choice test to earn a license to be shared on social media. They love doing promotions like this because it lets everybody have fun, though perhaps only in the Star Citizen ’verse can taking a drivers test be considered fun! This month’s videos covered many aspects of Star Citizen’s development, with sights and sounds aplenty on AtV. Bugsmashers showed you some of the incredible work going into Star Citizen Alpha 3.0, Loremakers took us around the galaxy to some of the systems we will be building, and Happy Hour even created a star system live using SolEd! July’s Jump Point covered the development of the game’s second space bike, the Aopoa Nox, which will be in Alpha 3.0. The team even got to sit down and share a little bit about how they plan our ship promotions. Speaking of subscribers, July’s ship of the month was the RSI Constellation, which saw plenty of backers put it to good use. Next month, it will be the Xi’an Scout (or Khartu-al) and they’re eager to see you put it through its paces. The team also rounded out the Subscriber flare space station series with the station that’s closest to all our hearts: Port Olisar. Thanks to Subscribers, they held a live town hall Q&A with the VFX team at Foundry 42. The VFX team is doing spectacular work on the effects and it was a true pleasure to be able to share it with you. Plus, when you have effects guys on, they bring their own clips to show off! There were Bar Citizens aplenty this month, including one attended by over 100 people in Lyon France. And on the subject of fan-organized events, be sure to check out ‘Verse Con, which, while not a CIG event, is going to be a great way for backers in the US to get together during CitizenCon. You can find out more details at versecon.com. Far and away the biggest job this month has been getting ready for Gamescom. Putting together an event is no small feat, and the team is lucky to have a very dedicated events manager coordinating the show floor booth, developing marketing material to give out, and planning how to spend as much time as possible with the community. Conclusion WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH… View the full article
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