What have Cloud Imperium been working on over the last couple of months, what features and gameplay are they working towards and what are their priorities moving into 2021… we have had a meaty Persistent Universe Monthly Report AND we will be Summarizing that now!
There has been a lot of work on Space Stations, the new decks, externals and the addition of gas clouds all to add variety to rest stops.
They worked on various event related mission content, I assume beyond the XenoThreat Missions we are currently waiting on.
They’ve improved several of stantons planets and moons visually with more improvements coming in 3.13.
Work has gone into atmosphere rendering and volumetric clouds at a planetary scale.
This sounds like work for weather as well as gas giants to me.
They’re currently converting older locations to the new runtime cubemap system to free up disk space and improve the accuracy of reflections and ambient light.
The Vehicle Tech Art Team worked on a handful of ships, including the Aegis Javelin, which received VFX, side turret, and LOD tweaks.
The finishing touches were added to the recent SDF shield impact effects, which can be seen on the Idris and will be rolled out to other vehicles soon.
An as-yet-unannounced vehicle also reached the final stages of the greybox phase, with the bridge and bathroom moving into final-art. The expectation is that this is SPOILERs …the Origin 400i…
The Aegis Gladius received exterior component bays and the Redeemer entered the whitebox phase.
For ship weapons, a sabot projectile for the Idris railgun was created, which VFX are currently experimenting with. Work began on a MOAB-style bomb and some existing missile assets were polished too.
Missiles have been converted to use a more refined IFCS system now, which should see big improvements to them.
Backend & Engine
The Vulkan initiative continued, with high-level render code refactor and optimizations. For example, the way material constants are uploaded to the GPU was simplified and optimized. A larger refactor of the shader cache backend system began too.
They’ve greatly improved various backend services allow for better reliability and performance.
Low-level networking code was updated to improve both performance, scalability, and robustness. Several fixes and optimizations to the transaction service, rentals, and the entitlement processor were complete too. I hope that means that 3.12.1 AND OR 3.13 are in a very good state!
They began internal testing on the ‘Super pCache/iCache’ services that will be deployed this year.
They’ve been optimizing and improving physics for both planets and ships.
They are working on more optimization and fixes for memory / object container issues too.
They are continuing to work on the Reputation System following it’s 3.12 roll out with more missions and features being converted over to support it.
A new mobiGlas app for the reputation system was kicked off too. Known internally as the ‘Rep-Dex,’ it will allow players to check their affinities and reputation with organizations and contacts along with their notoriety. Players will be able to track their career and progression within orgs and view descriptions, lore, key members, and important information. The notoriety section will allow players to monitor their reputation and view all their currently active perks.
Addison won the Imperator Elections with the Narrative Team saying:
“Thanks to everyone who voted. It will certainly be interesting to see where Addison takes the Empire from here.”
They’ve worked on plans for 2021 missions. They are fleshing out other star systems with the creation of a significant number of location documents, which include the details of Pyro’s inhabitants, flora, and fauna. The team even started brainstorming points of interest in Nyx to get ahead of schedule.
They further expanded out plans for death of a spaceman, clones, dna and respawning.
They worked on components and sub components and animations to access them.
Tolleys and push / pull mechanics saw more work as did new cargo and items for missions.
The UI Team’s has been working on a major initiative… creating a system to allow game animation systems to trigger changes in the UI, which paves the way for NPCs and animated events to interact with UI. We know they have been working on Hacking and a mini-game on the HuD as well.
NPC & AI
For AI they have been working on NPC traits and skills to give them more depth and a scale of difficulty. They have the ability for AI to switch sub activity while maintaining the context of what they are doing. Work has gone into AI detection and vision. Updates were made to physics grids to support & fix object inconsistencies. Subsumption and large parts of AI code were overhauled and made more robust.
They worked on FPS AI Dodging and how they react to incoming fire/enemies as well as their audio perception. They updated various behaviors and tactics too.
Ship AI Teams have been working on Ship to Station Docking for aI ships and auto-docking which will be used I believe by all ships to actually finalize their dock connection and line it up perfectly. Requesting to “land” will cause the docking collar to extend.
They also now have AI aware of gas clouds and dangerous areas.
Defend behaviors were improved, Quantum Enforcement Devices should now work with aI properly and AI should also have enough fuel to successfully QT… or to despawn.
Behaviors and values for gunnerary were added so you can have AI acting from a rage of aggressively to cowardly to resentful.
Work on Ship Movement, formation flying and associated behaviors saw big improvements.
Social AI worked on NPCs moving through doors, opening them, closing them, waiting for an automatic door to open.
They also began implementing job-specific assignments. For example, the request to perform maintenance on a specific wall panel. This can be used by designers to craft a specific experience but also, in the future, by players to request a hired NPC operate in a specific way.
Character & Animation
They have developed several PU Character Animation Sets including yoga and weightlifting as well as using arcade machines.
There are 3 sets of armor they have been working on for release in 2021.
They have been exploring armors that are influenced by the Pyro system too with them saying:
“We’ve been turning out great ideas and are excited to get Pyro assets into the pipeline.”
They are planning on Orison (The Crusader Landing Zone) civilian clothing sets to be completed for Q2. And are also working on refinery deck clothing too.
Preproduction started on the Volt Parallax electron rifle, while the initial art pass for the crossbow was completed. An art pass on new weapon attachments was undertaken too, including holographic sights and compensators.
The hair & skin shades saw several improvements.
They’ve also been working on fixed weapon platforms that characters can use for S1 Weapons on a mount.
And that’s it for the Monthly Report Summary…