Welcome to a Squadron 42 Monthly Report looking at what CI have been working on with the STar Citizen Single Player Campaign and what they are working on now during November.
We know that Squadron 42 is not going to be in it’s Beta Phase in 2020 now BUT we will be getting new roadmaps before the end of the year that will go much more in depth about what features are being worked on and the allocation of resources, however we do have a good amount of progress and CI have said they are focusing on closing out the game atm… tho thats not a tangible time frame.
Let’s start with the Environment:
The Squadron 42 Art Team has been focused on two key areas of the game, Chop-Shop and Archon Station. They also put the finishing touches on Aciedo Station, which was shown extensively during the first briefing room update.
The Chop-Shop contains a mix of hard surface and organic elements, so the team experimented with both scanned data and procedural systems to achieve the final result. They also worked alongside the Design teams to construct the location’s playable spaces, with the organic and hard surface kits being used with the completed whitebox layouts.
Archon Station is the largest location that players visit in the game, so the team who worked on Aciedo have now moved over to form a larger Archon strike-team. They began by closing off the hangar and are now starting to break down a kit of shared library assets for use throughout the station. This is driven by a new style guide that provides clear direction for the interior to keep it consistent with the previously completed exterior. Planetside, progress was made on the Chemline facility, which was placed among new ground terrain.
Steady progress was made on the Javelin and Idris interiors too, with lighting, material, and geometry polished. The finishing touches were also added to the Javelin’s engine room.
Elsewhere, excellent progress with made on the space outpost kit. This station asset is unique to the Odin System and will be used to populate space scenes with believable facilities and stations. They also implemented a hugely important story location.
A number of scenes have been brought up to their “gold standard” for Social AI, which include completed behaviors, usables, interrupts, and abandons.
Level Design moved several FPS sections to a near-complete state.
The Space/Dogfight Team supported the various feature teams. For example, AI and Flight Gameplay are working on enhanced path-following and hazard awareness behaviors. They also continued to space-scape the Odin System alongside the Art teams.
Narrative planned out additional dialogue needed across the campaign.
As the various environments continue to develop with additional props & environmental set dressing. These include additional story indicators that reward players who dig a little deeper and explore the game’s locations.
VFX continued to improve the destruction pipeline, focusing on a couple of specific sequences with varying degrees of complexity. They also worked on effects for the Multi-Tool tractor beam attachment.
Much of the UI team’s SQ42-specific work was focused on new tech, including a new system to allow animators to move and position UI within cutscenes. They also further iterated on the 3D lighting system to improve the appearance of ships and items on UI screens and holograms. On the art side, visual target concepts for the Aegis Gladius UI were finalized, including the visuals for the MFD screens.
The team began implementing FPS radar and scanning, accounting for weapon emissions and audio signifiers. Further time was dedicated to cooperative locomotion, with trolly push/pull polished and the smooth locomotion trajectory code refactored to better integrate into AI path-following. This will result in higher-quality visuals, particularly with character strafing. It will also provide better animation alignment when entering usables, which will also help with the in-development motion-matching tech.
The Gameplay Story Team focused on a key introductory chapter, with the scenes themselves now looking impressive and working as desired. Their current goal is to support the Code and Design teams in perfecting the blending of scenes via AI locomotion. Although a difficult process, great progress is being made and the results look promising. They also worked alongside Design to implement scenes for various chapters.
Character & AI
We start with the Character Combat Team, who progressed with Vanduul and Human combat behaviors. Specifically for the Vanduul, the team authored several animations for melee attacks with the direction based on the location of the target. They’re currently adding initial support for ‘animation warp,’ which will enable the Vanduul to procedurally adjust the rotation and translation of the animation. The first pass on combo attacks was added, which gives a more fluid selection of animation when executing a chain of melee attacks.
Work continued with Audio and Combat AI to develop the Vanduul culture and behavior, while the team’s xenolinguist further developed the language.
PCs can iterate on food lines, retrieve anything their sustenance behavior wants, and then take the food to tables and can consume it. This involves both systemic animations and mo-cap created for specific scenarios.
the Animation Team worked on staggering, push/pull, stance transition improvements, a handful of new weapons, and improvements to the ‘crouch’ set.
Tasks progressed for the ‘social and life’ animations, including the chowline, mess hall, bartender drinks, bathrooms, armory character, engineer, and exercises. They also added the AI surrender mechanic and continued with Vanduul melee combat.
Facial animation assets were created for the Feature teams, including effort sets, and female-player performances continued. On the motion-capture side, new shoots for the Actor Feature, Social AI, and Combat AI teams were planned. A few outstanding scenes were also completed and improvements were made to the MotionBuilder skeleton.
Character Art’s October involved work on major campaign characters. After submitting major changes to Morrow’s head, the team updated his jumpsuit, which will serve as the basis for all related navy uniforms. The team also revisited Vallon, this time focusing on her hair. The quality is now extremely high and will form the basis of a ‘generic’ hairstyle too. The team is currently updating major assets for a key ship introduction, including bridge officer and deck crew uniforms, engineer outfits, and several heads and hairstyles.
They continued their work on force reactions. Now, characters will respond to either sudden effects such as an explosion or sustained effects like wind or g-force. This is being expanded to include staggers, where the force is strong enough to move the player but not enough to knock them down.
There were various optimizations to graphics, depth of field, they improved mission startup, revising which elements object-container-streaming loads first. As well as continued to work on improved ship destruction and dynamic lighting.