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  1. Senior Writer William Weissbaum heads to the Coral System, which is the main trade lane between the UEE and the Banu. See why the city of New Junction is considered a hot spot for smuggling and crime in this week’s episode. Remember that you can always explore the Star Citizen Universe yourself in our web-based Ark Star Map. View the full article
  2. March 2947 MESSAGE FROM THE CEO Change and Growth We at Shubin Interstellar spend a lot of time talking about mining, and rightly so. As industry leaders, we and our family of contractors should be nothing short of proud when it comes to our outstanding track record of effectively and conscientiously harvesting a wide array of ore and minerals from across the Empire. However, as impressive as our mining operations are, I want to speak to you today about a vital and noteworthy facet of Shubin Interstellar that deserves its own moment to shine — gas refining and collection. For close to two centuries now, Shubin Interstellar has been expanding its gas services at a formidable pace, to become one of the most significant players in the field. From our exemplary refineries high above Davien IV to our collection center orbiting Magnus III, the gas team has become an increasingly important part of the Shubin family. For the past several months, new department head Shane Danari has been working tirelessly with our team of accomplished experts to push us even farther, with a wide range of gas-focused initiatives to expand our existing infrastructure by another fifteen percent. A lofty goal for sure, but one that I know Shubin Interstellar is equipped to handle. To that end, we will be restructuring some of our existing personnel to help bring this new vision for Shubin to fruition. Starting in April, the Mining Technology Center will be transitioning to embrace a broader research mandate as well as receiving a new title to match. I am sure that we will all be hearing about a great many innovative breakthroughs from our new Extraction Research and Technology Center before too long. In addition, there will be some reallocation of resources from our scanning fleet to form a dedicated gas detection unit that will greatly expand our potential for finding new avenues of development. This initiative is just another example of how Shubin Interstellar embraces change and growth while building upon the solid foundation of experience close to five centuries grants us. I for one cannot wait for our corporate identity to become as associated with gas as it is with mining. From the desk of, Gavin Arlington, CEO EXTRA CARE A closer look at Shubin and Safety Stem the Stims: Phase 2 In November of 2945, Shubin Interstellar Health Resources began our hugely successful “Stem the Stims” program to help curtail the overuse of potentially harmful supplements. Since then we have seen an overwhelmingly positive reaction from employees across Shubin as well as a drastic reduction in many of the negative health effects associated with heavy stim use and related workplace accidents. Due to this ongoing success, as of April 1st we will continue to improve the health of all members of the Shubin family with the introduction of phase 2 of this program. Under this new policy endorsed by the Human Health Association, use of all stim products will be banned in all Shubin facilities and work sites. Note that this ban will also apply to other potentially harmful “work aids” such as CureLife’s Revivalive and the increasingly popular Xi’an concentration supplement known commonly as “flow.” Any employees found breaking this ban will be subject to review and possible punitive measures. Please refer to the Employee Portal for the full details of this policy as well as resources for helping to quit for any current stim users. Do not hesitate to contact Health Resources with any further questions. We all want Shubin employees to not only have a safe environment, but a healthy one. MIND YOUR MINERALS Some interesting facts about the ore around you. This month we look at … Krypton *Named after the Ancient Earth Greek word for hidden, kryptos, the colorless and odorless noble gas was a surprise to the scientists who discovered it when they accidentally over-evaporated a sample of air on Earth. *With a half-life of two hundred and thirty thousand standard Earth years, a krypton isotope, krypton-81, is used by scientists to date ancient items. Recently, its use can be seen in the analysis done by the University of Rhetor on the glaciers of Helios IV. *The strong UV beams created by krypton-fluoride excimer lasers, while invisible to the naked Human eye, are frequently used in the manufacturing of computer components and in nuclear energy research. CONTRACTOR CORNER Shubin Interstellar can’t do it alone! Welcome to Proctor Procurements This month’s featured independent operator is Proctor Procurements, which manages a Starfarer fleet in the Davien System. Run as a Banu-Human joint venture, Proctor Procurements will be providing valuable assistance in transporting refined gasses to our main distribution center as well as lending their experience and knowledge to improve our growing transport needs in the system. If you happen to find yourself in system, comm the outstanding members of Proctor Procurements and give them a warm welcome. ANNOUNCEMENTS Talent Showcase Results! As February came to an end, so too did the voting for our company-wide Talent Showcase. Now we are happy to say that results are in! First though, we would like to congratulate all the participants once more and say thank you for providing us with so much entertainment. It is amazing just how talented our coworkers are! And now, the results: Best Performance Overall: Tass Hollingsworth for her “Prospector Holo-Dance.” Most Original Performance: Jon Standish for his “Seven Types of Ore and Their Everyday Uses.” Both of our winners will receive two first-class tickets aboard a Meridian Transit cruise to Goss. Make sure to congratulate both of them, and all the participants, on a job well done! A Special Toast! Cutting Edge Brewery has recently announced that they will be releasing a new beer called Shubin Bock to honor all of the miners who work so hard in Magnus. With a flavor described as strong and dark with a smooth mineral-forward finish, we are sure that this naturally fermented beer will be an enjoyable beverage choice after a hard day of work. View the full article
  3. 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. Mr. Hasgaha is in the Citizen Spotlight sharing how he takes Star Citizen screenshots and videos that appeals to Star Citizen fans both old and new! VP of Publishing and Austin Studio Director John Erskine takes on the Quantum Questions challenge. See if he dethrones the champion and watch for this week’s Top 5 and MVP! 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 Mr. Hasgaha and his Star Citizen screenshots TOP 5: PAX East Bar Citizen Chris Reid had a baby! French Translations by TradTeam Homemade Cockpit by Dr.Oversteer MVP: P-52 Merlin Commercial Teaser by Alex_5189 View the full article
  4. Greetings Citizens The hardest part of this each week is figuring out how to start these. How was your weekend? Mine was good. Thanks for asking. Let’s get to what’s coming this week, shall we? Today’s Citizens of the Stars features Head Honcho of our Austin Studio John Erskine in the Quantum Questions hotseat, and a highlight on Mr. Hasgaha and his continuing work leading the pack in Star Citizen screenshots. Wednesday brings us a Banu-themed Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Is this the time we finally find out where the Banu homeworld is?! The answer is no. Sorry, I don’t know where I was going there. I’m not the hype guy. Thursday of course is Around the Verse day, where you’ll always find the latest in Star Citizen development news. This week’s show cycles back around to another LA Studio Update, and I hear there’s more things in there than you can shake a cutlass at. Did I do that right? I hope I wasn’t too subtle. Then to close out the week, Happy Hour cycles back to our next Gamedev-themed episode. This week, instead of creating a creature live on broadcast, Technical Designer Calix Reneau will try his hand at creating a first-pass game mechanic from scratch for inclusion in the game. What will that mechanic be? There’s a hint in last week’s ATV… Coming up next week, keep an eye out for our next Subscriber’s Town Hall on Tuesday with members of the team at Turbulent where they’ll discuss everything from Spectrum to the launcher and more. With that, we’ll see you in the ‘Verse. Jared Huckaby Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, MARCH 20TH, 2017 Citizens of the Stars (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) TUESDAY, MARCH 21ST, 2017 Weekly Lore Post (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22ND, 2017 Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) THURSDAY, MARCH 23RD, 2017 Around the Verse (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Vault Update FRIDAY, MARCH 24TH, 2017 Happy Hour Gamedev with Calix Reneau (https://twitch.tv/starcitizen) RSI Newsletter Community Spotlight: March 20th, 2017 – Talk Citizen This week’s theme is “Talk Citizen.” Whether viewed on Twitch, hosted on YouTube, streamed via Internet Radio, downloaded on iTunes, etc. there are many, many Star Citizen podcasts out there for you to enjoy. Below are just a few of the ones that permeate the Star Citizen community. Don’t forget to check the Community Hub for more and upvote your favorites. You just might see them here in the near future. Visit the Community Hub Fortnightly Frontier Fortnightly Frontier claims to be, “the best Star Citizen podcast in the verse,” but you’ll have to check them out and decide for yourself. Every two weeks Darjanator and Myre_TEST bring you news and discussions about the development of Star Citizen. You can catch them on http://www.twitch.tv/myre_test for their live recordings every second Sunday at 19:00 GMT or audio only on https://soundcloud.com/fortnightly-frontier and in podcast form on Google Play https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=1#/ps/Ifuekalog7w7stf5anqzxm7rx3a as well as on YouTube. Red Shirt Rabble Made by the OldBloodAndGuts group, the Red Shirt Rabble Podcast has a growing fanbase of viewers that complements a YouTube channel full of other videos like ship reviews, the science of Star Citizen, and more. You can find out more about them here. Knaarks’ Geschwafel I’ll let Knaarks tell you about this one: In Knaarks’ Geschwafel ist der Name Programm, denn ich versuche, so gut es mir eben möglich ist, Star Citizen zu erklären und auch ein paar News auszugraben und als Podcast zu veröffentlichen. Klingt komisch, ist aber so. You can learn more about his podcast here. Tales of Citizens Tales of Citizens is a discussion podcast where they dissect important issues and try their best to shed light on controversial questions, while providing what insight they can through thought provoking discussion. They record Monthly on Sundays @ 7pm EST on www.twitch.tv/bridger15 and www.Youtube.com/SoundStrategyNetwork/. Show notes can be found at www.talesofshow.com View the full article
  5. Jump Point Now Available! Attention development subscribers: the March 2017 issue of Jump Point is now available in your subscription area. This month’s Jump Point features the development of Anvil Hurricane! That, plus a look at Casse Aerospace, a visit to the Charon System, behind the scenes of Artificial Intelligence development and the final chapter of an all-new Star Citizen serial from lead writer Dave Haddock! Grab your copy today. Interested in becoming a development subscriber? You can learn more here. View the full article
  6. Monthly Studio Report: February 2017 Greetings Citizens! Welcome to the monthly report where we collect updates from our studios around the world into a single comprehensive place to summarize the various progresses (and setbacks) they’ve experienced. This past month has been a flurry of activity. Aside from making headway on S42 and the PU 3.0 undertaking, we launched 2.6.1 to the entire community and have been working on 2.6.2. Anyway, enough with the intro, let’s get to some updates. CIG Los Angeles Cloud Imperium Los Angeles Tech Content Led by Sean Tracy, the Tech team worked with engineering to tackle the new damage system, which creates random and organic damage effects via procedurally generated materials and exposes the ship’s internal skeleton when metal melts away. They also worked on adding physics-driven destructible behavior to Item System 2.0 by converting the existing functionality into the new Item 2.0 health and damage system. Networking, Persistence, and VFX functionality are also being improved to extend destructibility to broader classes of entities, including props. The tech content team also worked with animation to implement facial idles for ship pilots. Additionally, they developed a tool that marks up zones used by the renderer to hide and show different areas on a character mesh when layered pieces of clothing and armor are equipped. For example, if your character is wearing a shirt, and then you put a jacket on, the zone culling tells the renderer to ignore any part of the shirt that is out of sight. One of Tech Content’s contributions to this powerful feature was to create a tool that automatically zones and splits any number of assets, regardless of topology. This allows us to quickly implement the zone culling feature onto our massive database of character art. Recently, tech design also worked on two prototypes. The first was based off Chris’ initial vision for the interaction system, the interface by which players will be able to control and manipulate various objects, such as ships, control panels, weapons, and more. Once they roughed out the system, they worked with programming and UI to ensure that the prototype’s functionality was not only clear on what we’re trying to achieve, but actually possible. The second prototype focused on how the player controls the properties of items (like shields, weapons, and thrusters) so they can manage signals generated by entities like space ships. This work allows players to manage their ship emissions and engage in a stealthy gameplay. The prototype also explored how to change the properties of these items, so the team can determine how to make upgrades more desirable. It also fixed our previously limited system, which couldn’t be easily balanced, and provided a much more direct way to implement gameplay with simple numerical values. Tech content is also deep into the setup of the Cutlass Black, Buccaneer, the re-work of the RSI Aurora and another ship we can’t quite discuss yet. Finally, they’re taking a pass at updating our ship stats page on the website, so all the information about our ships will contain the most current specs. As part of this change, they plan on having regular updates about each of our ships moving forward. Engineering The engineering team worked on Instance Properties, which allow designers to modify any part of an entity component in Editor or Game. With this feature, designers do not have to create tons of similar entity templates, simply expose some parameters to modify within the editor itself. This will save asset storage space and reduce the number of entity components, while also allowing for more variations. With the ultimate aim of creating seamless transitions through our entire universe, the engineering team is making progress on Object Container streaming by changing core engine code to radically increase the amount of content we can put in the game without sacrificing performance. They’re currently replacing the old prefab system in both the hangars and shops with an Object Container to prepare for this expected streaming. On the radar front, we’ve added an extra timer value to the object data bank, which will be used to specify how much time an entry can remain as an echo contact. They also implemented the Metadata Component interface, which is a component that can be attached to any entity to make them radar detectable. In addition, a feature that allowed object databank linking and unlinking was added, so that entities will inherit databank entries from their parent which lets a player inherit information from the ship they are currently in. Engineering worked on new scanner gameplay, specifically a mechanic that allows you to reveal hidden information about radar objects. Lastly, the team worked on Lighting States, so various altered states will reflect certain situations, like low power or emergency lockdown. This can currently be done using layer-switching but it requires duplicate lights for each state and has no options for transition animations. They developed a new entity called a Light Group that will take control of all the lights that are assigned to it. With its own internal state machine, the Light Group can modify its lights depending on the current state, for example, switching from a normal light state to an emergency light state and back. Art Over on the character side, the art team moved further down the pipeline on many new outfits. For Squadron 42, they created costumes for the deck crew, which presented an interesting challenge as they work a variety of jobs, some of which are in the vacuum of space. The deck crew outfit is coming along nicely in the high poly modelling phase. They also continued working on the Explorer space suit which was featured in our newsletter. They completed final texturing and sent it to rigging, which allows us to get it tested in-game. Finally, they worked on the heavy armor class for both Marine and Outlaw. The Heavy Outlaw will move into the high poly modelling phase once approved, while the Heavy Marine was handed off to rigging before it’s finally implemented. Narrative This month the Narrative team fleshed out the game’s alien races with Britton, our xenolinguist, to help develop their various languages. Great strides have been made, as members of the Narrative team can now be heard cursing in Xi’an around the office. The team also worked with artists and designers on various needs for 3.0 and Squadron 42. These include the lore behind various weapon and damage types, the look of planet specific NPC characters and the extensive text needs for Squadron 42. Meanwhile, they continued to crank out weekly dispatches, a number of exclusives pieces for Jump Point, a wide-range of marketing materials, and much more. On the subject of marketing materials, the Narrative team also welcomed a new member this month, copywriter Desirée Proctor, who has been a great help in tackling things like ship brochures, manufacturer lore and component descriptions Finally, archivist Cherie Heiberg worked with several departments to find the right database solution to catalogue and sort through the massive amount of animations that will be used in game. CIG Austin Cloud Imperium Austin Player Relations Over at the Austin Studio, Player Relations travelled to the Foundry 42 and Turbulent offices to work on ways to better collect and distribute feedback that can be used during Evocati and PTU Waves during testing. At the same time, Player Relations helped test and launch both 2.6.1 and Spectrum. Live Ops The Server Engineering team has been supporting both live and the upcoming 2.6.2 patch. They also continued to enhance multi-region support for matchmaking. Fixes and tweaks have been made to the Party system and Contacts and Friends, which includes improvements to invitations and online/offline state notifications. The Austin Studio has directed much of their energy towards the new Diffusion architecture for the back end services. Diffusion allows the studio to easily create stateless micro services by combining C++ and Ooz scripting languages, which allows the creation of scalable and high-performing stateless services that will allow a larger number of concurrent players with improved stability and less downtime. All of the current back end services have been updated to run on the Diffusion core, which permits refactor/rewrite services for Diffusion without impacting current service operations. Finally, the new Diffusion API Gateway has been finished, which allows Spectrum and other external services to seamlessly integrate with the Diffusion network. February marked the smooth launch of multi-region support for the LiveOps/DevOps team. The heavy lifting was directed toward the network and server side of our services which resulted in a relatively trouble free rollout for us. A good portion of our early development and testing was on the network to ensure the most reliable connections between the US, Germany, and Australia regions. The entire team was happy to see that the additional work paid off with performance and stability as expected. This allowed the team to move directly into writing enhancements to our monitoring and reporting tools. Lighting The Lighting team is working on initial lighting passes and polish passes for some of the locations in Squadron 42. The team is also doing some general optimizations and polish work on Retaliator and Constellation, among others. These changes will fix the infamous strobe lighting in the Retaliator cockpit, as well as improve performance inside these specific ships. Ship Art This month, the Drake Cutlass Black entered the greybox phase, so the Ship Art team added primary and secondary detail with geometry and material work. The team was able to kit bash pieces from the Caterpillar, add more details and complete a first lighting pass for the interiors. Animation The Austin Ship Animation team wrapped up the greybox phase of the mining ship, the MISC Prospector, with the UK Team. The Drake Buccaneer is getting finalized animations while the team also works on the Cutlass Black. The PU Animation Team continued to create animations for NPCs to interact with the environment. One of these animations includes replacing the rough retargeted animations on the female with properly shot animations of female performance. They made progress debugging issues with animation, skeletons, and the animation pipeline in general, by working with Code and Design to create a better system to implement the hundreds of animations that have been developed. One of Animation’s goals has been to create an entire eating experience for NPC characters at the Idris mess hall tables. The sequence begins with a character grabbing a tray and navigating to a table’s seat. Then, the character will sit, eat, drink, and perform any other actions. Finally, the character will stand with the tray in hand and navigate to the tray disposal. This exercise will actually incorporate almost all the departments and will answer a lot of questions about pushing the boundaries of natural NPC behavior. Design This month, the Design team worked on getting the first pass implementation of trade into the game with the goal of having a functioning, fluctuating economy that mirrors the real world in as many ways as possible. A few things are required to make this happen: the initial list of commodities must be developed, as well as the locations in which to buy and sell them, and a variable economy needs to be implemented. This economy will include goods flowing from their mined or gathered states, then onto the refineries, passing through manufacturers, and ultimately turning into buyable or tradable items. The price of these items will be an important element of gameplay, because player’s actions can impact the flow of resources, which will in turn affect supply and demand. Since this is still in the early stages, Design outlined a basic structure to represent major commodity groups: Ore, Gas, Food, Medical Supplies, and Vice (like drugs or other illegal items). That way, players can get an idea of which resource types will be traded or fought over. Once the system has been tested with the small subset, Design can expand the commodities into more specific things like Gold, Hydrogen, Rations, Bandages, and more. Next, places are needed so players can purchase and offload this cargo- once you buy it, refine it, and manufacture it. Design has also been outlining the types of stores that will start to make their way into the PU. In the discussions about the new Truck Stop, it became apparent that all stations have the need for a certain level of resources to sustain their existence and thought that it was a little weird to sell resources directly to the shops themselves, so a new shop type was created. The Admin Office will focus on buying and selling station imports and exports for the local stores on the stage. This shop would also control Local Storage Rentals and include a job board to complete and plan deliveries. This shop type will be in the majority of the locations that don’t have a full-fleshed out Trade and Development Division (TDD), which is focused more on commodity trading. Ultimately, the prices of commodities will vary based on the supply and demand of the dynamic economy, but, for testing purposes, commodity prices will be set by hand and stay within range of their base prices. QA For the month of February, QA Austin primarily focused on testing and supporting the release 2.6.1, and preparing for 2.6.2. This has included compiling comprehensive patch notes for both 2.6.1 and 2.6.2, daily checklists, and working with our UK QA counterparts to increase familiarity with the release process. Multiplayer Megamap and serialized variables have both been major focuses of attention. At the same time, Austin QA hired four new testers while also wrapping up their annual reviews for the existing team members leading to several corresponding promotions (congrats!). We have also been ramping up our attention on the Game-Dev stream as new tech comes online, to ensure stability for both Squadron 42 and 3.0 development. IT & Operations The IT team has been involved in multiple projects expanding of our internal build system infrastructure. Content continues to flow in through the ‘source – build – replication’ pipeline at an increasing pace so our infrastructure must occasionally grow along with it. The current upgrades are focusing on network and compute resources in the build system itself so we can isolate stability testing environments from production. In addition to reducing build times to some extent by reducing contention, we will also be able to double capacity for internal code testing further ensuring our engineers don’t have to wait in line. Soon after, the IT team will be shifting back to centralized storage growth but this time with a renewed focus on performance. Foundry 42 UK Foundry 42 UK The UK office has expanded somewhat since the last monthly report. There have been 22 new hires this year which brings the number up to 201 employees in the Wilmslow office and 9 developers at the new Derby Studio which mainly focuses on facial animation. To house everybody, we’ve been doing some remodelling in the office and even taken over another floor. Programming We have completed a sprint of the Player Interaction System, which improves how the player interacts with items or picks up objects. This system also incorporates the new highlighting and inner thought systems. This will allow players to have a more intuitive and accessible UI experience and clearly identify what they can interact with. The team have continued work on the new mission system. The old flowgraph missions, which were not scalable to the needs of our dynamic universe, are going away to be replaced with a tool that can create diverse and systemic missions much more rapidly. Our Design team have already started using this tool to set up missions in the PU. The Frankfurt update will delve a little deeper into this, but the design team have started using the new System Editor tool, known as “Sol-Ed,” to put together our system maps which will really increase the productivity of our design teams. The teams also completed two locomotion sprints. The first was to blend the walking-to-run and run-to-walk animation to better capture a more realistic sense of speed and inertia for the player. The second sprint was to vastly improve AI path following, so NPC characters are able to traverse close spaces and blend between animations in a much smoother manner. Our Graphics team has been working to optimizing the lighting in the game. One major part of this work is to upgrade the quality and accuracy of rectangular lights. In most games, rectangular lights are not used very often due to their very high cost, but our artists have been requesting support due to the prevalence of these types of lights in our game, so we’ve spent a lot of time optimizing our shaders to make them viable. In addition, the team has improved the diffuse lighting and reflections to mirror real world behavior, which have had a tremendous effect on our character lighting. On the Networking side, the team is finishing off the serialized variable, which will reduce network bandwidth for the PU. They also finished the new message queue to stabilize sending and receiving of packets and are continuing to hammer out bugs with the new Multiplayer Mega Map, so players can switch between game modes without long load times. Animation The Animation team has been pretty weapon-centric over the past month. They worked on reload, firing, hand poses and select-and-deselect animations for the current line of FPS weaponry in the game. They also worked on updating the no-weapon locomotion, the stocked sprint, prone combat animation and revised the female rig based on feedback. As outlined in earlier discussions, managing your character’s stamina and oxygen has always been a part of SC’s ultimate FPS system, so the team started pre-visualization sprints to start locking down exactly how those animations would look and how that would affect gameplay. The Derby studio continued to focus on S42 characters, but also found time to support the team for 3.0 characters including some of the mission givers as well as bartenders, shopkeepers and general population lines. Art The Concept team has taken a second pass on weapons to improve reload visuals and add detail where needed while working on some new ship weapons. The Ship team has been putting the final touches on the exterior of this Javelin Destroyer, as well finishing work on the interior decks. This ship is an important one on several levels, not only be involved in the first instalment of Squadron 42, it will be available in the PU as our new capital ship mechanics like item port 2.0, come online. Work is ongoing with the MISC’s hopeful entrant to Murray Cup, the Razor, while large strides have been made on the Hull series of cargo ships. They have been specifically tackling some of the major functionality questions about the ship: how the cargo arms will work, how they will load and unload cargo, or land. It’s been quite a challenge given the huge difference in carrying capacity from the smallest class “A” to the massive Class “E.” The Environment team has continued with Squadron 42 work, but has also started early work on several locations that will turn up in the PU, like the Truck Stop. By utilizing the modular building sets, they’ve been able to mock up exteriors and interiors rather quickly to show the variety of locations we will be able to place in the PU. It’s been a great process, allowing the team to keep the art style consistent, while accommodating the functionality required by design. The planetary surface outposts finished their initial art sprint to complete the base building set, so the team can create small outposts in multiple configurations and distributed across different landscapes. Now we have our building blocks, we can start adding flavor and details. Also, with the surface outposts, the team is developing how our shaders are going to react when we place these architectural elements in various biomes which will help give us believable systemic integration into their environments without having to invest lots of art time to create bespoke assets. Lastly, as you know, space is very large, so while a lot of attention has been placed on detail the locations, moons and planets, the question was raised about how to make areas of space feel distinct and interesting. The Environment team has been syncing up with various departments to explore investing time in creating the visual targets for our space look and feel, whether travelling through anything from a nebula or dense asteroid field to a space storm or anomaly. VFX The Visual Effects Team has been focused on a lot of planning to help support our new planetary environments; including atmospheric flight effects and modular/ procedurally generated surface bases. Work has been done on thruster and damage effects for the Constellation Aquila and updates to the high tech damage effects library. The team has also iterated on last month’s explosion template and provided further polish to ballistic SMG weapons. UI This month, the UI team has progressed on our new Kiosk shopping interface, proven out by our prototype which allows us to make sure it works in all our locations and shop types. They’ve also continued to improve all our in-game HUD UI whether walking around, or on a ship. Audio Aside from supporting all the various sprints and requests from the other departments, the Audio team fixed up performance issues and tool improvements, created audio for new ships including the Dragonfly, Connie Aquila, and Prospector, worked on the music for both S42 and the PU, submitted fixes to weapon audio and finally implemented foley work so the right noises can be heard from differing material types. Foundry 42 DE Foundry 42 DE Cinematics Coordinating with multiple disciplines across all our world-wide studios, the Cinematics team has been pushing forward on the rich storytelling of Squadron 42 in order to achieve the final look and feel that they are after. Thanks to the efforts of the Character team our A-List cast of characters is looking better than ever, which not only helps with immersion but also to express a fuller and richer range of emotions. One of the big focuses this month has been working with the UI and Art teams on refining the inner thought system and how Players will interact with it. Weapons The FPS focused part of the team have been working on the final polish passes for newest additions to the Behring and Klaus and Warner lines, as well as a new double-barrel ballistic Ravager shotgun from Kastak Arms. The ship weapon team have been focusing their time on finalizing the pipeline for the new modular and upgradeable system which, when completed, will allow greater flexibility for players, as well as allowing artists to create the weapons themselves more efficiently. An example of this is the work that is being done on updating the Knightsbridge Arms line. Tech Art This month, Tech Art worked on a tool for both cinematic and gameplay animators to quickly render out previews of their work in Maya by offloading the rendering to a different PC. This allows them to continue working during the render process, greatly expediting the workflow. The renders are an essential part of the review process since they assist the global team being able to see everyone’s progress across all the studios. In addition, the Tech Art team also worked on other numerous small tasks such as skinning, cloth, and automate file testing in Maya, and supporting the weapons team to name a few. Engineering The Engineering team focused much of their efforts on pushing the planet tech we have been developing even further. One notable step forward has been with planetary clouds. The team revised LOD computations for cloud textures in order to reduce aliasing and shimmering artifacts in the distance. Cloud animations have progressed as well making them even more realistic, and for creating a wider range of worlds, the artists now have the option to tint the clouds with various colors. They also completed a first iteration of the Solar System Editor. This was an important tool for us to develop since the size of our solar systems and the amount of objects within them made other previous workflow methods exceeding difficult to use. This new editor allows our designers and artists to set up solar systems by dragging in planets as object containers, configuring their orbits around the sun, setting up moons orbiting around planets, and more. The team completed numerous other improvements such as replacing the video player backend to allow for much higher quality videos at a much reduced file size. They also worked on compression and enabled client side feature testing on a large variety of game and engine features to automatically track if and when new submissions cause any unexpected errors. AI The AI team has recently completed two separate sprints related to the implementation of the subsumption mission system’s functionalities. These sprints used research and rescue missions in Crusader to test the expanded functionality and provide the groundwork for additional missions to be added with the subsumption system. One of the low level features added is the super GUID which provides a way to connect a variable in subsumption to an object in the world. For example, in Crusader, we had one main object container that defines the Stanton System. This container has a clear structure and contains asteroid fields, Port Olisar, etc. In the mission logic, we can have multiple super GUID variables that allow us to access specific elements within a given structure which will benefit the implementation of some of the richer mission designs. This month the AI team also introduced a new tool, the subsumption visualizer. This tool allows designers to debug mission and behavior logic in realtime and make adjustments and modifications to the flow and NPCs on the fly which significantly cuts down iteration time. This tool is fully integrated into the engine and will be the central place for the debug functionalities of subsumption as a whole. Usables have also been a large focus, and now system designers can have both the player and the AI interacting with the same usable, and intelligently be able to use objects inside of that usable. For example, sitting down at a table, picking up a cup, drinking from it, using a knife and fork, picking a grenade from a locker, etc. They in addition worked on getting all of the SQ42 character subsumption behaviors standardized across the board and using the same fixed template for conversations and 24 hour life cycle behaviors. VFX Over the past month, the VFX team has continued work on the procedural systems for placing particles on the surface of planets. They’ve also been working with the system designers on a brand new oxygen breathing system and the visuals attached to it. As players perform various actions in game, the oxygen system visuals will help inform the player of their exertion level. The system is still incredibly early in its development and may change, but has been showing good progress. Level Design The Level Design team is continuing its push on modular locations including surface outposts for hydroponics, mining, and storage. Of course, as with the other locations, both the interior and the exteriors of these outposts are modular, allowing designers to quickly create a wide variety of locations for players to explore while still maintaining the high level of visuals Star Citizen strives for. Environmental Art The Environment team has continued the development of the procedural tech and have been working directly with the programmers to improve the tools. The team has made a lot of progress on the procedural moons around Crusader, making sure that Yela, Cellin and Daymar each have their own distinct look and feel. A lot of effort has gone into making each one unique, but at the same time visually tying them to the overall look of Crusader. The work for the different ecosystems on these moons is now complete and the team is currently working on redefining the geological elements that will be found on each separate moons. Turbulent Turbulent The Turbulent team has been working away on Spectrum, checking the Issue Council for reported issues and identifying short term additions to the platform. Two of the releases that have been launched came directly from user feedback with the goal of releasing updates every two weeks. The team has added better readability on a thread list and tweaked sort algorithms based on user requests. They also incorporated timestamps to the threadlist and worked on allowing users to add inline media. They also aim to bring thumbnails to the threadlist and secondary thread types, since only classic threads exist. An upvote system for comments within the forum thread is in development. The Turbulent team also stopped in Los Angeles and the UK to discuss in-game integration between platform and game. This integration will make Spectrum unique to other platforms as it will be the only one entrenched in Star Citizen. Another longer-term goal is different command channels. For example, a Squadron type channel that allows Admirals and Captains to broadcast to sub-channels when needed. A Spectrum mobile app is Turbulent’s major focus. At the moment, Spectrum is mobile-ready via your phone’s web browser. There are still a few bugs, however, so the team is working to bring native support to the mobile platform, beginning with Androids and iOS. The goal is to get the mobile platform to a point where it’s easier for users to get notifications. One of their long term goals is voice support, which is currently in research and development. They’re working through a lot of different technical options to get simple voice chat in. Once it’s implemented, users can take advantage of this feature while playing Star Citizen. As with everything in Spectrum, Turbulent would like to launch features fast and then improve upon them with the help of users. Community Community The Community team added two important new members this month, Graphic Designer Javid Kazmi and Community Manager Tyler Nolin. Tyler will be operating from the Los Angeles office and you can expect to see him everywhere you Star Citizen. Please make him (and all our new employees) feel welcome on Spectrum! On the subject of Spectrum, Turbulent has done some amazing work on getting this new communication hub up and running, and the dev team has been having a great time interacting with the community in the new forums and chat channels. If you see the gold name of a team member, don’t hesitate to reach out as we’re eager to hear your thoughts, discuss the game, and get to know all of you better. As for the legacy systems, by the time you read this, the old live chat will have been retired and preparations will be underway to transition the forums fully to Spectrum. Also this month, CIG’s very own Jared Huckaby and Tyler Witkin travelled to snowy Boston to share Star Citizen with the masses gathering for PAX East, the East Coast’s largest gaming convention… and by all accounts, it sounds like it was a success. Check out these snaps from the massive Bar Citizen event. In addition, the Community team kicked off the Anvil Hurricane promotion, which introduced the UEE’s toughest new fighter to our ranks. The Hurricane is a heavily armed ‘glass hammer’ of a ship which is intended to expand existing gameplay with a unique variation. For the promotion, a ‘warbirds’ style brochure was introduced along with a new kind of Ship Shape. Both were followed by two rounds of community Q&A that you can read here and here. There have also been some exciting changes to the community weekly video lineup. An all-new style of 10 for the Chairman premiered with Chris being joined by Tony Zurovec to talk about cargo and mining professions in 3.0. Here’s a clip! The new community show, Citizen’s of the Stars has been off to a great start, but it needs YOU! The show wouldn’t exist without incredible Citizens doing amazing things, so be sure to share your cool projects on the Community Hub whenever you can. We also need your questions for ‘Quantum Questions,’ which you can provide in the Subscriber’s Den. For more information about becoming a Subscriber click here . Star Citizen’s Friday livestream, Happy Hour has become more diverse than ever, with a new set of ‘theme’ episodes that will make things more unique each week. Different programs will feature interviews, retro gaming and even live art prototyping! There’s something for everyone, so why not stop by and hang out. Getting into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how the Community team operates, representatives from around the company gathered for a week-long Community and Marketing sync up to discuss the exciting events, promotions and releases we have coming this year including some events that are happening this week at SXSW! John Erskine, Tyler Witkin, Eric Green and Merissa Meissner will be appearing on a panel talking about Community interaction, Evocati testing and more. The panel is set for this Saturday, 12:30-1:30 on the Geek Stage at the Austin Convention Center, Room 6AB so swing by if you can. Thank you, everyone, for your support. Star Citizen can only be as good as the community that supports it… which means that we’re in good hands! We’ll see you in the ‘verse. Conclusion See You Next Month… That will do it for February’s Monthly Report. Be sure to tune into Around the Verse next week to get a new update from the LA studio about their work on female characters, light group entities and the Aurora rework, followed by a trip to Frankfurt the week after where we’ll get updates from Animation, Lighting and AI. Thanks again for your support and we’ll see you in the ’verse. View the full article
  7. Lead Technical Designer Kirk Tome joins Sandi Gardiner on this week’s episode to share a detailed look on level design. Studio Director & Global Head of Production Erin Roberts reports on the UK’s progress in this week’s studio update. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions View the full article
  8. Mark Abent finds a bug that prevents the server from telling clients when a player leaves the game mid-flight. See how Mark smashes that bug in this week’s episode. View the full article
  9. Independent News for Independent Mercs < TRANSMISSION BEGINS > OP.NET is back bringing you the unfiltered information mercs needs to know. My name’s Conva Maynard and sitting co-pilot, as always, is my main man Skiv. He’ll be joining us later in the show to discuss the Avenger Renegade variant. Skiv’s been more focused than a laser beam on finding good uses for all that extra space. Think he even spent most of last night here working on a few of the options. Hey Skiv, you get any sleep? He’s nodding his head, but I know that look. Like the lights are on, but nobody’s home. All I know is that he was working when I left last night and was still at it when I returned this morning. Can’t say this guy isn’t dedicated to his job. Ok, before we get to the nuts and bolts of today’s show, I’d like to start on something of a personal note. “Always focused. Always on guard. Always expecting the unexpected.” Those words were drilled into my head by my mentor, Geddy Tremonti, who commed me last week to say he’s finally decided to retire. Didn’t quite hit me until just now what a shame it’s gonna be knowing he ain’t out there, but after sixty years chasing scumbags and running protection missions, I’d have to say he deserves it. I first met Geddy when I was a young buck in the Army, and we kept in touch after his honorable discharge. When I returned to civvy life, I have to admit I was a bit lost about what to do. It was actually Geddy who said I might just make a halfway decent merc. From the beginning, I idolized Geddy for his cool and composed demeanor even when under immense pressure. He was the definition of a stone-cold professional. I can’t begin to tell you how much I learned about the merc trade from this man. All I can say is that I wouldn’t be here, running this show, if Geddy hadn’t been so generous with his time and knowledge when I was coming up. So, congrats on the illustrious career, Geddy! Hopefully, now you can focus on becoming a halfway decent trigger player. Maybe I’ll even give you the chance to win some of those creds back. Now, Geddy and I haven’t spoken too much over the past few years. Hearing from him definitely had me reflecting on everything he taught me and how sometimes I learned just as much about the job by watching him work and learning what not to do. I know that sounds pretty confusing but let me try to explain. See, Geddy loved being a merc, but it was still a job for him. He always used to say that everybody needed an exit strategy, whether it was on a job or life in general. So, he sought out the biggest paydays because the more he made the less he’d have to work and the less often he’d have to put his life on the line. Every time he checked a job board, first thing he’d do is sort it by payout, then work his way down the list until he landed one. Even though Geddy was a great merc, he wasn’t the best at running his business. To him the promise of big credits overshadowed a lot of other factors, including other costs that might come his way. I tried to explain this to him once, but he wasn’t having any of it. I even laid out a whole slew of numbers that showed sometimes after expenses, a gig that pays less can end up being more profitable. Now, this all popped into my head right before the show as I was looking over two similar postings that hit our Job Board. The first job that came through pays pretty well. It’s looking for mercs willing to work the Leir System and help clear out some of them Vanduul raiding parties that’ve started operating out that way to avoid Bishop and his Retribution. Guess even though the Outsiders don’t want anything to do with the rest of the universe, they’re still willing to shell out significant creds to mercs willing to protect them from it. The second gig is protecting a water shipment from Jalan to Vosca for the Yu Shi Corporation. They’re also worried about the increase in Vanduul activity in the Elysium System. If Geddy had seen these two gigs next to each other, I know in a heartbeat he’d be ready and raring to go to the Leir System. My first few times out in the field I went about it the same, but after each job, I’d go home, calculate my expenses and be left scratching my head. It’s then that I realized some of these high paying offers weren’t as lucrative as they first seemed. I quickly became aware of these hidden costs, and started factoring them in. Once I did that, it changed my view on what was really a good paying gig. Unfortunately, there’s no simple formula to guide you to making the right decision. Each job has its perks and drawbacks that need to be worked through. It’ll be easier for me to just show you through example. So let’s look at the two jobs currently on the table. We’ve got the good paying gig protecting the Outsiders in Leir versus the security run for Yu Shi Corp in Elysium. The first thing to consider is distance. Unless you’re one of the very few mercs who actually live in Leir, you’re most likely going to be burning extra fuel to get there. Now factor in refueling costs. You can bet fuel costs a premium in Leir compared to UEE systems. Same goes for resupplying ballistics, rockets, missiles, chaff and just about anything else. Unless you’re bringing your own personal supply ship, which is another expense in and of itself, it might be tough to restock those items without blowing through a good portion of your pay. And that’s only if those resources are available in system. Continuing on that train of thought, what happens if your ship takes some damage or malfunctions? How much help will the Outsiders be if you need your new Behring shield generator fixed? If you’re lucky, you limp back into UEE space and pray you don’t run into any trouble on the way. Most likely, you’ll be blasting out comms to find a repair ship and paying a high price for their services in an unclaimed system. All these things could add up fast if you’re not careful. So, while that water job doesn’t pay as much, what you clear at the end of the contract might just wind up netting significantly more than the higher paying gig. That’s just an example of the other considerations I’ve learned to factor in when picking up jobs. Stuff that Geddy never considered. Taking one of these jobs over the other won’t make you a better merc, but it might let you take fewer jobs, and expose you to less risk, while still clearing the same amount of creds. When you’re in such a dangerous line of work I think that’s something worth considering. Even though he didn’t know it, Geddy taught me that just by showing me what not to do. That make any more sense to you all? Hopefully so. And hopefully, Geddy won’t begrudge me too much for pointing out a few of his flaws. Maybe next time he’ll take me up on my offer to be a guest. Anyways, we need to take a quick break, but once OP.NET is back, we’re going to talk to Reza Warner about the increased number of Vanduul incursions and what mercs should do, and who they should comm, if they find themselves up against a ’duul. All that plus Skiv’s segment on the Avenger Renegade when OP.NET returns. View the full article
  10. Chris Roberts is joined by the Director of the Persistent Universe, Tony Zurovec, to answer subscriber questions about 3.0 professions with an emphasis on cargo and mining. View the full article
  11. Greetings Citizens What a great weekend. Community Manager Tyler Witkin and I went up to PAX East this weekend to meet up with backers, broadcasters (and even geek out over some other cool games) and had a blast. It’s always a highlight of my job to meet you guys in person, discuss the things you’re passionate about, and see you mix with other backers you otherwise might never have met. I think the next big event between now and then is the ever looming Gamescom, but that’s still so far away and maybe I can sneak myself into a few Bar Citizen events between now and then… This week, we have some fun treats in store, including another special edition of 10 for the Chairman with special guest, Tony Zurovec. Chris and Tony address 10 questions submitted from and voted on by our development subscribers. The topic for this special edition is Professions in Alpha 3.0, with an emphasis on Cargo and Mining mechanics. You won’t wanna miss it. Before that happens, Cherie Heiberg takes the hot seat in this week’s Quantum Questions, including dropping a major hint about our next concept ship coming down the pipeline, and Thursday’s ATV brings us the monthly studio update from the UK studio, which is always certain to impress. Finally, on Friday, Tyler and I return for another Happy Hour broadcast. We’ve spent the last month experimenting with a rotating format for the show, most recently this last Friday with a return to the live interview format with Sean Tracy, Steve Bender and Jake Ross. We’ll continue this rotation in the future with additional installments of Gamedev, Museum, Interview, and more. With that, we’ll see you in the ‘verse! Jared Huckaby Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, MARCH 13TH, 2017 Citizens of the Stars (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) TUESDAY, MARCH 14TH, 2017 10 for the Chairman: Special Edition (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Weekly Lore Post (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15TH, 2017 Bugsmashers! (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) THURSDAY, MARCH 16TH, 2017 Around the Verse (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Vault Update FRIDAY, MARCH 17TH, 2017 Happy Hour (https://twitch.tv/starcitizen) RSI Newsletter Community Spotlight: March 13th, 2017 – Storytellers This week’s theme returns to “Storytellers,” those fan-fiction creations that see to further flesh out the potential Star Citizen universe. From prose to webcomics to video-series, storytelling is at the very heart of the Star Citizen experience, and what we have for you this week is just a small sampling from the way-back machine of fan fictions created in Star Citizen’s past. So take a look, and don’t forget to check the Community Hub for all the latest contributions and upvote your favorites. You just might see them here in the near future. Visit the Community Hub Submono Submono starts us off with Here Be Dragons which tells the story of a wayward pilot and his visual anomaly. In-between two jump points a pilot and his Freelancer are suddenly surrounded by glowing beings that appear to be sardine shaped. The pilot then turns off the Freelancer’s systems and seemingly floats with these new creatures. A story created from the desire for Star Citizen to be a wondrous place, Here Be Dragons is a fantastic short story. You can check out the original thread here. The Blackjack Gang Next up we have this entry from Sutuul called The Blackjack Gang. Sutuil tells the story of a brother and sister that have joined a gang with cards of the deck carved on their helmets. While the story is short, it’s a fun adventure set in Star Citizen’s universe. You can find the original story here. Tem Barone Tem Barone created a number of Choose Your Own Adventure stories back when where at the end of each entry, readers were given three different options of how the story will continue. It was a fun chance for the Star Citizen community back then to direct the outcome of his series. You can check one of those stories out here. The Adventures of Rooster and Zan The Adventures of Rooster and Zan told the story of two lifelong friends traveling the ‘verse in a Cutlass. Initially started as a few guys trying to make a profit, the story eventually spanned multiple chapters. You can find the original stories here. View the full article
  12. 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. This week in Citizen Spotlight, Rockseeker shares how he created his composite yellow map. And, with Lore Archivist Cherie Heiberg in the hot seat, will there be another new Quantum Questions champion? 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 Elijah Rockseeker and his Yela Asteroid Belt Composite Map TOP 5: Up In Smoke, The Shipyard Trailer by Zaqq Explore with Anvil poster by Alastrom Anvil F8 Lightning Laser Cut Model by Ricemaiden Star Citizen Movie Poster by Dan Silverstone MVP: Grafton and his body of work in the Star Citizen forums. View the full article
  13. March 2947 Subscriber Flair Greetings Subscribers! This month’s subscriber flair is the Hitbox Star Marine magazine cover. The release of Interdimension Software’s dynamic shooter Star Marine was met with its fair share of controversy. Hitbox was able to sit down with everyone, from developer to critics to fans, to present a comprehensive picture of this next generation shooter and the hype surrounding its release. This commemorative lithograph of Hitbox’s cover features exclusive art from Interdimension’s lead artist Terry Vill and is printed on museum-quality archive paper with a custom frame, perfect for any enthusiast’s home, office or ship. If you’re an active subscriber, the flair will be attributed to your account today. If you subscribe over the weekend, the painting will be attributed to your account on Monday March 13th. More information about subscriptions can be found here! View the full article
  14. Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner learn how art and tech intersect to create the various weapons in Star Marine. The Austin studio details their progress in this week’s Studio Update. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions View the full article
  15. Writer William Weissbaum examines the Kiel System, a major military hub during the Xi’An cold war. Discover how its most notable planet, Severus, tried to revitalize after the UEE military abandoned the system at the end of the Messer reign. Remember that you can always explore the Star Citizen Universe yourself in our web-based Ark Star Map. View the full article
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