Welcome to some more Star Citizen looking to New Planetary Tools, Rivers, Deforming Terrain as well as the combat summit plans that CI have in the coming year.
This is a Inside Star Citizen River’s Edge Summary
Planetary Tools are getting even more major updates and that means better looking planets that can potentially be built out quicker.
They build chunks of a planet with heightmap and geometry data however this didn’t allow them to easier edit vertices but now can go either further with the terrain modification system allowing for more detailed modifiers to planets.
They can now set areas of whatever type of terrain feature they like that affects a vertex be it a crater, plateau, mound… and this can be used at any scale for valleys of mountains.
The tools then allow for easy terrain blending, you could set an area up for a outpost, landing zone, mission, cave or any other POI you could think of OR to just add more flavor to the environment.
Interestingly they also showed that they could modify the game in engine in real time as well so you could have Deformable Terrain… grenades and explosions could affect and damage the environment… this could allow for some amazing things like crashed ships or evolving battle fields as they get more war torn. It’s not a feature or anything yet… but it’s possible and it’s something they said wasn’t going to be a thing… so a mixture of cool and feature creep… but I hope they pursue it!
This system also supports Rivers, tho at the moment it is very much a work in progress. The tools for this works out where the likely path for a river would be to flow as well and it can also erode any terrain that’s in the way or too high for the river to naturally have formed their. They can add additional springs and contributing rivers and then work out how much water moves between each node and a more detailed path.
This forms trenches and banks and the adds water. They then plan to have the area around the rivers be more lush as is the norm around rivers. At this stage it hasn’t really been looked at by artists, it’s a protoype… but this should look great when it has been.
What I want to know is when will we also see roads? I suspect they will use a similar system to rivers.
There was also a Reddit Post and Dev Response with a Poster saying:
Not sure how this is a big deal. Hasn’t Unity and Unreal Engine had full scope Terrain tools since early 2012?
Why does CIG keep trying to sell old technology as something cool? Do they think we are that stupid?
CIGs FigWig Responded:
Hey :)This is my work. I think I explain this quite well in the video that you’ll see later, but essentially, terrain editing tools work very well on terrain that is saved as mesh, as each vertex’s position is saved to disk. But we don’t do that on our planets, as it’d take up petabytes per planet to do so. Instead we generate the mesh on the fly based on various data that we do save about the planet. This is great for getting entire planets out of a few MB, but means we can’t save specific vertex positions, as those vertices don’t exist until you’re near enough.
The Terrain Modification system essentially works by intercepting the mesh building process, and applying an offset to vertices that are inside a modifier as they are created, according to a function. It’s got a few complexities that I won’t go into, but that’s a quick explanation. It’s new to us, and I don’t know of anyone else doing anything quite like it. It allows us to build regular terrain editing tools (like you’ll see in Unity etc) on top of our bespoke planet system – so the interface itself isn’t new, just the implementation.
And the OP of the former comment Edited their post: Dev response proved me wrong. Apologize for my ignorance guys.
That said I don’t actually think it was a dumb or ignorant question… I think asking stuff like that is a good idea… I mean I am not a dev… how does it differ from X engine or other tools.
January has CI planning a lot of content for the year and the direction of features.
They recently had a “Space Combat Summit” to discuss the direction of that for the coming quarters.
They want to start giving players more choice in to how to approach missions, combat and what to use… allowing the same scenario to be completed in many different ways.
They are going to be working on capacitors, this will give you visual feedback on what another ship is doing but also restricts and predicts some of what you can do.
They looked at shields they are implementing SDF shields and working towards the physical damage system. Each weapon should have a different role to play and potentially be useful to a player in some situations as well as looking and feeling different.
They want ship classes and role to mean a lot more. All of this now has them prototyping various solutions. We will see more of this over the coming year…
And that’s it for Inside Star Citizen this week.