Welcome to some more Star Citizen we have had some more information & Footage on an 890 Jump FPS Mission that actually have FPS AI Combat elements in Alpha 3.8, I wanted to talk about that and other missions that may come in 3.8 and beyond as well as the improvements and updates that have been made with AI and how they are getting added to new POI and for new missions.
IThe Mission Feature Team have been working on a Hijacked 890 Jump Mission for the PU in Alpha 3.8. The Mission is intended to be shareable and in fact is scaled for a team of 4-5 though it’s possible to be completed solo.
The Mission is a work in Progress but it’s to rescue an 890 jump, prevent a hack that is happening there with a reward of 10k aUEC + Bonuses.
After taking the mission, the player had to fly to the distress signal, take out some pirate ships before approaching the 890 and EVAing into it’s landing bay, where there were pirates to meet him.
The example player here clearly had god mode on.
The mission had a timer and the player had to both clear out the pirates BUT more primarily stop a hack (within the time limit) by interacting with a terminal that appears to be in the rear cargo bay of the ship in the example BUT can be in different areas. You have to clear out all the pirates to complete the mission, in the example there were 17 pirates on board.
There are potentially NPCs that you can save as well, that appear to give you bonus rewards.
This is the first mission that will have FPS AI fighting inside ships.
The size of the 890 allows for fully fleshed out mission.
There are more Missions in 3.8 and that are being worked on currently for beyond that. Some CitizenCon Focused ones too.
We have seen some info on missions to attack counterfitting stations & clearing out the guards to retreive some aUEC.
There is a mission and counter mission on the Covalex Hub to plant and the counter mission being to defuse explosives.
There are missions to repair panels on a station as well as refill vending machines.
I am very much looking forward to that, beyond that there are prisons and associated gameplay coming with 3.9 as well.
BUT having AI that can move around physics grids on ships and actually be part of missions is an incredibly important step towards a lot more gameplay in Star Citizen’s PU.
And there are lots of AI bits and pieces that they are working on for 3.8 and beyond.
They have spent some time iterating on NPC aiming
simplifying control of the lower body turning while aiming at a target and improving the way aim-tracking works. This makes it easier to determine when the movement should blend slowly or snap quickly. They also fixed some synchronization issues.
They improved FPS AI cover selection during combat by introducing new ways to weight cover locations based on target direction. NPCs can now choose between using a weapon’s predefined fire mode or actively selecting auto, burst, or single shot. They added more wild lines and flavor to the behaviors too, such as NPCs taunting a target before they start investigating.
They have been further defining the systemic behaviors needed for the AI to realistically traverse environments depending on their loadouts.
More importantly for the future, they have navmesh support on planetary locations and are moving towards a more dynamic creation of navigation data on planet surfaces. This will allow for FPS Combat NPCs at outposts, in caves and various other POI. In fact caves in 3.7 are considered a great proof of concept for the Procedural tool that is used to create them and they are tying more and more content to that, some of which we may see in 3.8 as well.
We will see more and more missions tied to this gameplay and expanding gameplay area. I suspect they may map each of the ships for the AI, as well, so expect to see more ship missions and boarding ships in the future too all with FPS Combat AI.
I think what also excites me about this, is the friendly NPCs that are planned to be part of missions or Missions givers and non-hostile NPCs outside of LZs.
There is also Close Combat, stealth Take Downs and Melee in 3.8 as well that will potentially influence some of the other missions OR at least give you some additional ways of completing them. They have been working on animations and gameplay for that over the last few weeks.
Adding camera shake on successful hits, blocking with knives, damage and stamina impact, and updated animations.
Ship AI moved the first pass of their new 3D pathfinding functionality into the main game-development branch, this uses signed distance fields (SDF) to incrementally compute a path in a 3D environment.
A new way for the designers to request that a ship follow a ‘spline’ (a tunnel that guides a ship’s movement rather than a prescriptive track) was exposed. At runtime, the calculation automatically adjusts the tunnel size & path based on the environment and the information reported by the SDF. They also added new nodes to monitor target distance and the vehicle’s relative state and make decisions according to the reported values.
More Generally they have been working on AI Ship Systemic behaviors, with the take-off and landing systems receiving polish to get them closer to their final state. This will see ships around planets and landing zones with more of a purpose and actually interacting with the LZs.
Social AI optimized the ‘usable search’ function and are now able to cache the location of usables on the navmesh. This means they don’t have to constantly recalculate the time an object is static in one location.
Implementation of generic vendors continued, which employs usables that can ‘provide’ or ‘accept’ specific object types. This allows designers to create many different object types. For example, drinks bartenders can offer to patrons. They’re currently progressing on the patrol functionality that defines paths for AI to follow. This path will carry information on which types of logic to activate while hitting the different path nodes.
I hope that was informative and interesting to discuss, the info was from various sources, most recently from Inside Star Citizen and the Star Citizen Monthly Reports.