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When are we getting Capital Ships?

Welcome to some more Star Citizen today talking about Capital Ships beyond the Corvettes we have in the PU currently, what’s coming next, what are the blockers for these ships coming into the game and what other reasons might there be to delay them and just generally talking about them.

Capital Ships are starting to turn up in game now with Corvette’s but there are many more beyond the horizon beyond the Hammerhead. I am kind of using the term Capital Ships to describe ships over 115+ M and corvettes for around the 115 – 200m mark. So the Hammerhead, Polaris, 890J, Carrack all Corvette Sized in my book.

We know the 890 Jump is planned for 3.6 now that’s a corvette sized luxury ship.

The Carrack is currently in production too and I am expecting it to be flyable by the end of the year.

There is a the plan that the Banu Merchantman and I personally expect the Polaris to both go into full production this year too, I am expecting them to be flyable 2020… going by current progress.

Ships like the Kraken, Pioneer, Endeavor, Orion, Hull D & E, we don’t really have any info though I actually expect from that list the Kraken to actually be complete first there as it doesn’t require much in the way of additional mechanics, it’s a Carrier and the Drake Pipeline is pretty locked down.

But obviously the first real blocker to a ship being released to the PU is the asset, the ship, it’s animations, damage states and loadouts all being finished & ready.

 

Some of the most anticipated Capital Ships are listed on the Squadron 42 Roadmap

The Idris M & Javelin Q3 2019

The Hull C & RSI Bengal Q4 2019

Features / Items that are ready for SQ42 especially ships will require more work to bring them into the PU, basically making them ready for multiplayer.

The Idris M is an extremely rare ship only being available once to purchase I believe, it’s the Idris P that will be more common in the Verse. It’s the stripped down Civilian/Army Surplus Version and will take at least a bit of work to get the variant ready for the PU after the M is done.

The Javelin we know less about, the Version that was sold to backers is supposed to be stripped of military hardware but whether its there is a Javelin M and Javelin P remains to be seen, it looks like it’s just going to be a loadout difference

 

There are a lot of Vanduul Capital Ships listed, though I don’t expect them to be flyable in the PU, mainly because they aren’t suitable for human use. The Esperia Versions of the Vanduul Ships, the Scythe, Blade and Glaive are all converted for human use… I doubt the interiors of those Vanduul ships unless they are supposed to be boarded for a mission will even be complete for SQ42, just what’s needed.

We could potentially see these ships in the PU as enemies and for missions or in Arena Commander.

 

Beyond that CIG have said for these larger ships they need Tech/Server Support for multiple capital ships fighting with fighters escorts. We saw this in GamesCom 2017 with 2 Idris having a battle BUT the frame rate was incredibly low and it was on a Localized Network.

OCS – Object Container Streaming is essential for these massive ships. 3.5 should see the finishing off of the Client Side of this performance optimization tech.

The Server Side of this tech requires completion really too.

The Client Side of OCS has areas divided into nested boxes, each box and it’s associated assets can intelligently and seamlessly be streamed in and out based on what is proximate to you. Something as small as a single room can be a container and as large as a planet.

The Server Side of this has the Server Saving, Pausing, Culling and loading in and out areas so items and entities can persist and areas be loaded in when needed BUT loadout out when not as server efficiency is very important.

 

Now with the Addition of the Client Side we have seen large scale 25v25 battles on servers with at least half a dozen Hammerheads being able to fight with fighters at solid frame rates.

These larger ships really require large crews and the 50 player limit in the 3.4 branch is not ideal for this as 2 Idris could fill up a server, 3.5 has some features like Parallel Network Jobs:

Moving packet receive processing into the job system so that the server can handle a greater number of connections. This system should allow the game to increase player count per server beyond the limitations of the current tech.

There is going to be general improvements to every PU patch, OCS and Networking tech should see iterative improvements too.

There is some other tech like Lobby Refactor and preparing for Server Meshing which will come later down the line too.

 

A bit of useful tech is On Demand Physicalizing v2 – listed for SQ42 Q2 2019
An enhanced piece of core technology tied to Object Container Streaming that will only physicalize objects around the player that are needed. This feature is needed due to the sheer size of the universe and the number of objects in it. Aside from other uses, this will help cut down on the performance requirements and allow for smoother play.

Another important thing for the PU is a Way to Spawn Capital Ships as there are not landing pads large enough for the,.

This is most likely going to happen via Ship to Station Docking which is currently being worked on. Your ship would spawn literally docked to the side of a station and you’d access it through a corridor and airlock.

There are a few major gameplay systems that are likely going to be put straight into these ships including fully Physicalized Components, there is no point them having placeholders if they will take a long time to replace… The Physicalized component system literally has all of the components of a ship, powerplanet, shield generators ect… all separate physical entities in the ship that drive their appropriate functions or feed other systems. They can be destroyed, disconnected & repaired

Along with this deeper Multi-Crew Features are needed. The ability to repair components with subcomponents, there will be power connectors throughout larger ships which can break and require repair to get the power flowing to that section again, times to kill for larger ships will be high BUT components, engines and thrusters will all be targetable so you’ll be disabling them, taking out the power plants or all the engines

Some of these capital ships have complex Animations & Multi-Grid Physics Tech bits so for example the Idris has the front and rear of it opening up so ships can land and take off.

This isn’t going to be as complex as the Hull-Cs needs which has it’s spindles and the entire ship expanding and contracting AND admittedly the Hull C is pegged to be ready a quarter after the Idris-M and Javelin (Q4 2019)

The actual Capital ship weapons and systems need to completed too no use having capital ships without any guns, with the capital size power generators and other components they can only be changed out at specialist facilities is the plan as they are sooo large.

There is an argument for they don’t want any Squadron 42 “Spoilers” as a reason that these larger capital ships won’t be in our hands until Squadron 42 Episode 1 is released. Currently this is roughly pegged for 2020 which to be honest seems like the rest of the getting the ships ready for the PU might coincide with anyway.

However as I said earlier the more common ones in the game aren’t going to be the military versions from SQ42 and I suspect there are some more unique props and bits on the SQ42 ships that the others won’t have.

 

Note on NPC Crew – Some of these capital ships require or a best with huge crews.

It is my expectation that a lot of players will have at least some NPC crew on their larger capital ships at some point.

NPC Crew can be culled and simulated so they don’t have to physically exist unless a player is near them.

I don’t expect they will even start to work on NPC crews for the PU side of things until after SQ42 Episode 1 is released, I suppose you could argue all the AI and tech they are working on now is the foundation for that anyway.

We might see maybe the AI Turrets or the PDS before NPC crewmen, as they are a lot simpler though.