I wanted to take a look at what’s happening this week in Star Citizen but also there have been a lot of questions answered by Devs on Spectrum over the last few days, I wanted to do a summary of them, covering a wide range of Topics, Tech Debt, Squadron 42 Tech & a load more!
The most asked and as yet unanswered question at the moment tho is where is Alpha 3.10?
We are still waiting on Alpha 3.10 to go to 1st wave PTU but that could literally be at anytime… with CI confirming sometime this week assuming there are no major issues, there has been some delays with release candidates not fixing some of blockers needed to go out. I have heard rumors of aims to get 3.10 out to LIVE for the end of Next week so that would be around the 17th but we will have to wait and see.
On Wednesday we have the Foundation Festival – celebrating humanity’s coming together by honoring the wonderful Star Citizen community and all the incredible things we’ve built both in the ‘verse and here on Earth. That sounds like looking at cool physical things that the community has built for Star Citizen IMO.
Thursday there is going to be some infographics looking at character creation choices.
On Friday with SCLive on twitch at 5pm they have concept artist Gavin Rothery. They will be diving into his body of work, taking a chronological exploration of his concepts for Star Citizen, running through his designs, and chatting about the work done along the way.
He has worked on the Kraken, Ares, Mole,
There was a Question on Server Meshing, OCS and Squadron 42 by MORDOVEC
Asking if the technologies are needed for the Game or Just the PU.
CIG Chad McKinney Replied:
“No server meshing, but SOCS is actually very important to S42 as in single player the client is effectively a server. The previous client only OCS implementation didn’t help single player game modes as that relied on having a server around that maintained state and would replicate net binding changes to clients but in the single player case we need the full SOCS implementation to get the streaming benefits.”
He went onto say:
“Something I’m not sure has been explicitly stated elsewhere, but I’ll highlight here, is that the global persistence benefits from the socs/icache work is how savegame will indeed work for S42.”
There was a question on Tech Debt by Noodles asking how the team is handling catching up with it or is it overwhelming currently?
Ali Brown – CIGs Director of Graphics Engineering replied:
“I can’t speak for other teams, but the graphics team spend anywhere from 20-40% of most sprints fixing bugs or improving systems to avoid future issues. But every so often you do find major changes are required to resolve sources of continued problems or systems that are somehow holding back development, and every few months we’ll find ourselves upgrading such systems. However with such a huge and complex engine there’s always a list of systems that are (patiently) waiting for their next upgrade.
I can offer two such examples… our shader parsing and compilation system is pretty much untouched since the company started, and while it does its job fine there are a number of issues we need to work around and any problems always take way longer to diagnose than we’d like, so this is high on the list of systems we want to upgrade/replace.
The other example I have is our state-driven renderer which is a complex beast to maintain and optimise, and this will be fully replaced by our new Gen12 renderer in the coming (unspecified number of) months.”
There was a Question from Fykshun asking about if moons will be reflecting light in game. Ali Brown Replied:
“This is something I’ve certainly considered before and would love to add, but the reality is we’ve just had higher priority work. We do already simulate some ambient moon light in the atmosphere shading, but for the direct lighting we’d need to include shadowing, and we can’t afford two sets of shadows so we could only use such an approach once you’re further into the night side of the planet and the sun has set. But before we can do this we’d need to generalise the sun shadow code, as currently the shadows are locked to the sun but we’d still need the sun to render as usual (as it will still be casting on the moon and other planets).
So it’s a no for now, but hopefully a yes in the not too distant future as it’s certainly help with the flat lighting you get at night.”
There was a question asking about draw distances in Squadron 42 and would they only be very short range in the full release, Ali Brown Clarified a Few Things:
“I can’t answer your question as it’s not my team responsible for this specific area of code, but I wanted to clarify a few things.
It’s not really a problem with the GPU rendering, but the spawning and render submission. Beyond the “draw distance” these objects literally don’t exist. Each object has its own spawn distance set up by the artists, but there’s an upper limit of a few kilometres.
The CPU cost of the current setup is partly in the spawning, and partly in the submission to the renderer. Both of these have been optimised, and Gen12 will likely further improve matters, though at some point you‘re better off changing the algorithm if you need major performance savings.
But I can also say I have a LOT of confidence in the very talented artists behind S42, and they’ll certainly squeeze the very best out of the system (or force it to be bent to their will!).
By the way on a related note, vehicle draw distances were recently massively increased to help gameplay and should now be visible till they’re just a few pixels wide, and we’ll review space stations very soon to ensure they’re drawing far enough.”
There was a Request to add Resolution Rescaling with Ali Brown replying:
Generally a resolution scale reduces the game resolution while keeping the UI at native res, however many of our UI screens are “in the world” so in our case it’d actually need to render certain parts of the scene at native res too, which throws up some ‘interesting‘ problems where they meet. But my current intention (note: intention does not mean promise or soon) is to add resolution scaling, dynamic resolution scaling (to attempt to maintain a desired FPS), and temporal upsampling (reconstruct the native resolution scene over time if the camera isn’t moving too fast).
But before all that we need the Gen12 renderer and the Vulkan backend working as this will give the greatest performance improvement for most backers (at least in terms of what my specific team can deliver).”
There was a question about the potential of addition of remote turrets on the Caterpillar and other ships for better defense and could tech updates change this? MGibson-cig replied:
“It’s not a case of needing to change code to make the pilot use the remote turret it’s a design choose, in the future ai blades and crew will be able to be used but at this time we have no plans to slave the remote turret to the pilot”
Ben Parry Replied in regard to someone asking if the Coil’s Gas Clouds / Tech will be used for Weather and Storms:
“Unfortunately the coil/gascloud tech gets a lot of its performance from precalculating its lighting (especially the sun), meaning that it’s not a drop-in match for something like a sandstorm since that needs to churn and crawl across the landscape.”