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Squadron 42 Episode 1 Update – November 2019

Welcome to a Star Citizen Squadron 42 Episode 1 Update.

Squadron 42 Episode 1 is currently listed on it’s roadmap for having a feature complete BETA Q3 2020 and we are expecting a good amount of news from the Upcoming CitizenCon on the 23rd of November about the Single Player Campaign of SC we do have a lot of updates from the latest SQ newsletter

As mentioned in the PU Monthly Report and my other Updates, AI has seen a lot of work towards getting them functional and navigate the Verse, on the ground, flying in a ship or walking around a location or ship interior for both combat and social reasons.

The Social AI have been working with the interrupt, break-out, and re-join tech, applying it to each narrative scene on a case-by-case basis this will have conversations and scenes have a level of interactivity and variants & gives a higher level of fidelity and immersion for the cinematic delivery of the story elements. 

They’re also working to further develop various crew behaviors.

FPS intensive chapters saw a lot of work with a focus on defining the systemic behaviors needed for the AI to realistically traverse environments depending on their loadouts as well as some prototype level mechanics being added to several FPS-heavy levels.

The space and dogfight teams also focused on systemic AI behaviors, with the take-off and landing systems receiving polish to get them closer to their final state. 

Improvements to “usables” went into game-dev, which will be tested to ensure the correct animations are being used and that the AI is using them appropriately. These new usables will eventually be added to the PU, where they will become part of the team’s regular social AI testing.

They continued to work on melee and stealth takedown animations, effort-movement sets, and reaction animations for NPCs that aren’t holding stocked weapons. Some improvements to the close-combat system include, triggering reactions on both local and remote clients, adding camera shake on successful hits, blocking with knives, damage and stamina impact, and updated animations. 

They also made progress on animations for scripted events and cinematics.

There is some hair updates including finishing two new styles and finalizing styles for some of the main characters. They also began updating character costumes, accessories, and faces too.

They also finished testing the female player pipeline and prepped for an upcoming female-focused mo-cap shoot.

This session’s focus will be on gathering additional Female Player recordings to bring her further into parity with the Male Player now that other departments like cinematics have completed successful tests with the earlier data that was captured.

RTT Tech and Comms calls have received some optimizations.

They have improved helmet interactions, including putting them on, taking them off, placing them somewhere, and inspecting them. 

They have now laid the foundation for converting all T0 hero character heads to the DNA system. While the DNA system was primarily designed to allow the blending of individual face parts for facial customization, other advantages are reduced memory footprint and the ability to share unified attachments between heads regardless of their shape and gender. The efficiency gains will be significant too – the lower-tier DNA heads combined consume only a fraction more memory than Admiral Bishop’s non-DNA head alone which is one of the most complex rigs in game. While this new functionality is being implemented primarily for its efficiency gains, it can be used internally for facial blending too. During testing, the team found that combining portions of Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill, and John Rhys-Davies into one head produced “interesting” results.

UI focused on finalizing the visual style for two important elements of the player’s kit – a new-look visor (what the player sees from inside their helmet) and a new style for the mobiGlas (particularly the local area map). When the concepts are complete, they’ll make functional versions in-game.

Let’s move onto to more Environments & Scenes in game.

Several Scenes were made ready with EVA gameplay also prototyping new ideas to make traversing open space in EVA more fun.

Archon Station progressed throughout the month, with attention going to the engineering sections and ‘arms’ of the station. Players will travel through several different archetypes, with each one needing its own distinct feel. The comms arrays made progress too – the ‘hero’ station is in the final development stages, with smaller variants coming soon.

The new asteroid set mentioned in previous reports reached phase two. To complement the asteroid set, a kit of infrastructure parts left behind by previous operations/settlements is in development. Alongside being visually interesting, the kit gives the Flight Design Team interesting shapes and spaces to work with. Several new developments to lighting tech meant certain areas received improvements too.

Gas clouds are progressing well, with new tech and lighting tools being made specifically for them there are several improvements to gas clouds, including softer, blocky shadows to make them appear more natural.

They have continued to work on a range of scenes recently, including building several for chapter five that were captured earlier this year. They also continued to work with Design to prototype how players interrupt scenes from different angles.

Several prop setups were finalized, including cups, utensils, datapads, mops, and buckets. Existing scenes were checked to make sure the new props worked as intended. They’re currently making sure they work seamlessly with the new console usable behavior.

They evolved the temperature status system that allows clothing to have insulating properties, adding hypothermia and concussion statuses.

Also adding environment-based procedural character overlays. For example, a character in a windy environment will lean depending on the direction and strength of the wind and cover their face.

QA are testing subsumption, cinematic cutscenes & player-NPC interactions. This also included Testing many wild lines in game.

They are working on theming for several groups and organizations featured in the story so that they can receive a proper branding pass.