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Chris Roberts – Alpha 3.5 & Beyond

welcome to some more Star Citizen, there was an interview / sit down with Chris Roberts on RtV where they discussed features in Alpha 3.5, their evolution and plans for future features too that are coming in 2019.

This a summary of Reverse the Verse LIVE – All About Alpha 3.5

The Flight Flight Model is a step in the right direction but requires more work and aspects to come together with Balanced items, Physical Components, Heat, Power, Missiles & More, over the coming patches.

VTOL is getting a lot of work for 3.6 and will be much more useful for atmospheric flight as well as for landings.

Maneuvering Thrusters are less powerful BUT in atmosphere you can make use of lift.

The New Model is a lot more efficient CPU/Memory wise, it should allow for more ships in combat at once. It’s a whole new way of flying.

This systemic model adds to other mechanics that they are adding to the game and is more suitable for their needs.

 

Smaller single seater ships typically with Size 1 Quantum Drives shouldn’t be able to jump massive distances in a single jump as these drives require a lot of fuel and generate a lot of heat. Lager ships with larger Drives will be able to jump across whole star systems without as many stops.

Smaller ships typically have a shorter range, capital ships and carriers can carry these smaller ranged ships to give them that useful operational range.

Larger Ships might not be as fast BUT they are better at extended travel.

Not only do larger ships have larger QDs but also larger coolers and powerplants.

They are still dialing the balance for quantum, Chris thinks that having a Constellation be able to jump between planets in a single jump might be suitable.

 

The DNA / Character Customizer is going to continually get more added to it patch to patch. This will include new heads, facial features, hairstyles, UI updates, male and they talked about  female unified features (so you can blend the different genders) though this is more challenging.

3.6 is planned to have have a new hair shader and new hair styles, later we will be able to have facial hair too.

They have talked about exposing the HexCode / DNA code that you character is based on to the player. This is the info used to build your character and is sent to remote clients to build characters faces.

We could see DNA shared between characters too, when one dies your next of kin might have some aspects of your previous character by default.

They are also looking at asymmetric faces for the future too potentially.

 

There are landing pads on the tops of buildings on ArcCorp for missions in 3.5 but also for future missions too (these buildings will be opening up in the future with interiors, for some of them at least). They also want to use some of these for player habs. Habs will be physicalized and always persist.

They are working out basic persist habs at the moment, where you moving items around will have saved (which will be the first iteration & should work for 3.5) BUT eventually this will have them with a fully physicalized address.

They are looking at public transport to hab areas, mentioned sky taxis, having players fly to their hab and land on it like in 3.5 currently at ArcCorp.

There will be different types of habs that you can rent/buy in game.

They do want windows and amazing views from some of these habs.

There will eventually be more Landing Zones / Areas at ArcCorp but they are currently focused on getting the rest of the Stanton System complete with it’s planets, moons and major landing zones as well as improvements and supporting tech. But we will eventually see more areas open up on Lorville, ArcCorp and more. 3.5 has seen an addition train line from the Spaceport directly to the CBD for example.

 

No Fly Zones & Restrictions are not where they want them yet. They want appropriate proportional management and prevention so that players don’t ram groups of civilians on ArcCorp but gives the freedom to explore and move around.

They don’t want you landing in the central plaza at ArcCorp either, so there needs to be ways to stop players doing that.

This could see flight lanes you have to stay in, no fly zone, criminal ratings, automatic impounding or taking over a players flight control and flying them away. They don’t really want to kill a player though.

 

The Player & Vehicle UIs in game need a huge amount of work and are currently been entirely reworked. They are building their own tools for creating better, more contextual UIs too. The New UIs should have better readability too even in bright lights.

 

Framerates on ArcCorp & Area 18 are low because they really need SSOCS (Server Side Object Container Streaming) to be completed currently there is a bottleneck with the Server having to deal with a much larger area than it should and with 1000s of entities/props.

There have been a lot of improvements to servers and optimizations to 3.5 now though. SSOCS (which they are working on currently) should fix the FPS problem & is a requirement of The Stanton System being complete, Full Persistence and Server Meshing. We will see servers sharing the load and handing off to each other with the first iteration of Server Meshing seeing static servers handling individual planets & areas potentially that are always on, eventually this would be more dynamic with servers spinning up and down as populations in areas or even rooms change.

Vulkan integration is also being worked on currently in conjunction with a Phase Batch Model which updates more efficiently in steps on the Server.

 

Their Database & Item Cache are being refactored for Full Persistence. They want items to persist where players or NPCs leave them BUT they may have items degrade or removed after time to clear up clutter. Leaving items in your ship or hab in 3.5 should persist between sessions. At somepoint after Full Persistence is complete they will move to no more resets OR at least less resets between patches. They will tell us when there are going to be 100% no more resets in the future, but less is always good!

Full Persistence and SSOCS is being worked on this now with plans to have these at least partly completed in 2019 with a large quantity of working going into them in Q2 & Q3. This may also see more players in servers this year too based on if the backend.

VR support requires them to have Vulkan there first. Vulkan is much better with GPU usage and optimization for their needs. They currently aim for 5k or less draw calls at a time but with Vulkan this could increase to 50k and allow for some amazing improvements BUT also the performance level needed for VR and to not be renderbound.

 

There will be more lawful and legitimate mission givers in the future, they have some of them already recorded/mocapped.

Eventually we will have Security missions, Advocacy and more.

They are improving mission logic and scalability of mission givers and their missions.

 

There is more Multi-Crew Gameplay potentially coming this year that isn’t shown on the Roadmap yet. Permissions systems for different access to consoles, control and doors for individual crew was talked about. They might have codes to access ships systems. There is a big Roadmap update next week which may show some new Multi-Crew Features, this Roadmap Update will take us to Q1 2020 (3.9).

 

ArcCorp in 2017 looked different than the current one as it was using a texture at range rather than accurate LOD rendering which they use now, none of it is faked.

 

Organization Features are a high priority. They want to get VOIP & FOIP working so that players can hear you in your vicinity and on comms calls / multiple channels.

They want to get permissions so Org members can access org hangars, habs type areas, other areas that the org owns as a group. They also want to get spectrum integration fully in too. Additional Org Features are on there backlog currently.

 

Other – They are not doing a Battle Royale Mode!

Arena Commander & Star Marine will be kept up to date though so players can safely test FPS & Ship Combat, even potentially have other interesting game modes or ways for players to set up their own.

They are going to have roads & rivers in the future. Roads maybe next year.

The Issue Council has been incredibly useful to them giving them bug reports, player feedback and triage.