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Monthly Report | Ready for Alpha 3.3 & CitizenCon

Welcome to some more Star Citizen with a Summary of the September/October Monthly Report that goes over what CIG & F42 have been working on over the last month and some of what they are working on now.

Now there have been changes in the way they do their monthly reports, they have now structured them like I had. Which is awesome, they have merged all the studios data together and are actually focusing on specific tasks, projects and departments making it much easier to follow.

Also they’ve said “a dedicated Squadron 42 Monthly Report will be released separately in the very near future.” That is great news!

AI, They’ve have worked on multithreading making various systems thread-safe giving a big boost towards full multithreading of the Subsumption.
For the mission system, they introduced new functionalities, the ability to provide restrictions on the availability of a mission based on location & they’ve improved the UIs.
They’re currently working on a first pass to simulate incoming and outgoing city traffic so that large cities feel more alive, getting NPC ships to properly take-off, land, and quantum travel so that the universe can be populated with traveling NPCs.

They made progress on FPS combat AI, with improvements to perception and reaction to stimuli. Cover selection was modified to enable enemies and allies to more intelligently choose when and where to seek cover. They now also give increased vocal feedback, so players understand more clearly what they are thinking and what is happening during encounters. The next step will be to get the same functionality working in multiplayer.

Animation have been refining the first-person experience, tweaking weapon movement & recoil values.
They’ve added more Animations for the Bartender and Patrons that they got from a recent mocap shoot. They are trying to set their “gold” standard for NPCs and facial performance of them. The idea is to have bartenders and patrons in the PU “believable” with schedules and work they will be doing, getting on with their daily lives. They’re currently polishing their everyday behaviors, including cleaning glasses, carrying drinks to tables, and telling the player they’re busy when in the middle of an action. Player actions were added to the bar stool to enable drinking from both standing and seating positions.

They’ve cleaned up the locomotion sets for players and will be showing off motion capture at CitizenCon, so have been running tests to ensure everything runs smoothly,

Design added new behaviors to give NPCs and Mission Givers an extra layer of ability and are currently retroactively applying them to Miles Eckhart and Ruto. They are now working towards getting Recco Battaglia & Clovus Darneely (the 2 new major mission givers) fleshed out, we saw Battaglia with a Prosthetic leg in a recent AtV.

Tuning for the Economy continues, with new mineable resources and updated inventories at the new outpost and truck stop locations.

The Gameplay Team has been working on Asteroid Mining along with implementing Render-to-Texture (RTT) support for in-game shop item previews. They’ve also worked on the new Transit System, which provides easier setup for elevators and supports trains that travel to schedule around larger planetary locations.
There is ongoing work to dynamic elements, such as ropes and soft-body simulation.
They also improved the Group System to support multiple chat groups, a feature that paves the way for Spectrum integration along with VoIP and FoIP. They also continued their efforts on scanning/ping gameplay and added support for scan/ping detection of mineable rocks inside asteroid fields and other detectable entities, such as derelict ships.
Quantum Travel was improved to include routing in the Star Map. This will allow players to simply select their final destination and have the QT route plotted for them.

They’ve improved the Comms Chat App while in mobiGlas, and in the Visor when mobiGlas has been put away. This includes the ability to create multiple groups and invite players to join them.
“You will be able to chat with fellow players no matter how far away everyone is from each other.”
Voice Over IP is actively being developed to allow you to communicate with any group members using your own voice. Face Over IP is also in the works, allowing you to see the real-time expressions of those around you, adding nuance and emotion to your conversations.

Environment – While expanding the Stanton system from one to two planets, the question of where to place rest stops to best support refueling came up. It was decided they would be placed at Lagrange points – naturally occurring pockets of space where two gravitational fields overlap and balance each other out. They’re the ideal place for rest stops, as they allow spacecraft to remain static without the need for additional force.

A couple of new missions have been created that take place in Security Post Kareah: Crusader Security wants the abandoned station cleared of outlaws, and occasionally criminals will want the leaders of competing factions assassinated. Kareah itself has had some big improvements to its layout, with the opening up of new routes and more cover to make firefights in the station more enjoyable.

As well as creating the Scramble Race logic, the team spent time improving the foundations of driving on planets, including headlight brightness, vehicle durability, handling, and obstacle collision. Several new asteroid clusters were added around Grim HEX in which the races and other missions can occur.

They are currently adding trains and trams, setting up schedules, configuring hangars and garages, and adjusting level markups. They’re also working on the signage and general player-guiding throughout the playable areas of the city to make sure the various Points of Interest are easy to find and that visitors don’t get too lost. Progress on the Transit System is substantial and they have the first version of the system in place, allowing the team to efficiently set up elevators as well as adding in trains and trams that run to schedule.
“All of this will help bring the cities to life, even though you might have to run a bit to catch the train or accept waiting for the next one!”
They’ve started looking ahead to the upcoming areas of Stanton – ArcCorp, microTech, and Crusader. However, there’s a large amount of planning and pre-work that needs to be done before the teams can move onto them full time

Work continued on the utilitarian props for the Lorville landing zone, including infrastructure, furniture used to dress the main routes through the city, and smaller-scale dressing items for shops and bars. A polish pass on some older dressing assets was completed, with visual modelling improvements made to the meshes.

The team delivered a set of animated signage, cameras, and interactive dressing props to add life and movement to the city.

The Organics Team made the final polish on the surface of Hurston and its biomes, which will be the first-time players are able to explore lush vegetation covered biomes. They’re now supporting Lorville and its surrounding areas, including placement and creation of it’s Outer Gates & Transit Systems.

Engine – Several improvements and bug fixes were made to water volumes so they can be used in ships and on planets as designed. They continued progress on improving planetary terrain soft shadows – a lot of optimizations and tweaks went in to get a natural look at a minimal runtime cost, though additional work is still needed on blending shadow cascades. They continued progress on the physics queue (to move physics from dedicated threads to a job model) and made progress on new soft-body simulation and cloth rendering, adding support for explosions and bullet impacts.

The Graphics Team has been working to make light and particles support multi-threading to enable them to load in the background for Object Container Streaming. When it’s live, players will enjoy seamlessly transition around the whole PU with less stalling.

The glass shader has also been updated so that interior ship canopies no longer show distracting reflections from the exterior, this has been updated for other assets too.

Ships & Vehicles – They completed their release prep passes on all of the vehicles going out in the 3.3 update: the Aegis Hammerhead, RSI Constellation Phoenix, Tumbril Cyclone variants, and the rework of the Consolidated Outland Mustang.
Now they are moving forward on the Anvil Hawk, which is whitebox complete on the design-side and into the final art stage.
They paused for a couple weeks on the 300 series updates to take care of some pilot-fitting issues on the F8 Lightning for Squadron 42, they’re now back in full swing on the 300’s grey-box.

The Vehicle Features Team improved the manned turret experience by:

  • Adding an interface to turn gyro-stabilization on/off.
  • Finalizing the 1:1 input-to-rotation techniques for mouse and joystick, including properly adjusted input options for both.
  • Adding head look smoothing for a less jarring view from within turrets.
  • Programming automated turrets to now use the criminality system to determine whether or not to fire upon you.

Scanning vehicles was also extended to include stats such as vehicle status, owner, pilot, and onboard cargo.

Discovering entities on planets, asteroids, and deep space has been improved by allowing for much greater ping results, more informative blob aesthetics, and separate blob generation based on whether entities are on a planet’s surface or in deep space. Finally, the technique in which mineable rocks are spawned on asteroids and planetary bodies has been made more efficient.

Audio have been prototyping new systems to allow the audio experience to scale as the project expands, with the intention to maintain the established quality bar and ensure a constantly immersive experience.

Backend Services has been looking into adding the S3 service, which is used to store and retrieve larger static datasets for various parts of the game.
They also finished up the NoSQL database API (which gives more fluid datasets) and finished the new Entitlement Processor to greatly optimise the processing of platform-purchased items.

The ‘Issue Council v1.1.0’ was deployed to PTU at the start of the month before reaching Live a few weeks later. This version features a new profile section where users can see their own reports, contributions, specs, and bookmarks.