Hello & Welcome to a meaty video…. Yum… on the STAR CITIZEN MONTHLY REPORT looking at what CI have been working on for their massive space game over the last few weeks and what they are working on now in March 2021 with a good amount going into Alpha 3.13 coming at the end of the month.
Planetary Effects for locations in Pyro were worked on as were updates to gas cloud interiors, small debris collisions with ships as well as an on going rollout to SDF Tech shield impacts.
They also setup some Pyro System wide settings for the light levels there from the star, planets and moons will be easier to setup light wise for Pyro now too.
Jump points received renewed focus as the team worked through some of the associated issues with bringing them to the PU alongside server meshing
The first pass for props for Orison has been completed, including furniture and some larger hero assets. Work began on interactable props for homesteads, like solar panels and battery packs, and they progressed with a movable gurney and beds for the hospital locations… they also worked on new outfits and armors for hospitals too.
There was a focus on lighting for the landing zone looking at habitation rooms, spaceport interior, and Voyager Bar. A lighting pass was also done on the new larger cave entrances along with ship-to-station docking arms
The Landing Zone Team split their time between finalizing the halls for an upcoming event and completing tasks for Orison.
They’ve built prototypes of interactive lighting for player habs and are working out what avenue to pursue.
The art team have been doing loads of different things… Progress was made on the ‘colonialism’ outposts, with moving onto the greybox phase. For space-scaping, the team populated the recently added gas clouds with new asteroid archetypes. The skybox and star-field for the Pyro system were further developed.
There are New Harvestable Impact Effects which were worked on maybe leading to throwing space tomatoes?
They continued to work on vegetation and touch blending too, that’s bendable/flatenable plants and the like.
Ship & Vehicle
VFX Work on Radar Ping Effects and Improvements were made to the radar and scanning systems, which will be usable both on-foot and within vehicles.
They are improving the interaction and cockpit experience currently by giving each button and dial a use and linking them with contextual actions.
The Nova is getting work to get it into the game This involved pushing it past it’s greybox review, expanding turreted targeting and weapon usage and implementing realistic tread motion and tread-based vehicle operation.
The release-prep review gate was also completed for an upcoming new vehicle that is yet unannounced.
The Constellation Taurus reached the final-art phase and is currently tracking for a Q2 release.
Work continues on the Hercules and it’s variants with them wrapping-up the final art pass on the jump seats, remote turret seats, armory, and the A2’s MOAB bomb-release mechanism as well as wrapping up work on various parts of the MOAB too.
Ship to station and the Constellation P52 docking is nearly complete.
They’ve sensibly blocked certain ships from certain docking areas so that you don’t get in a position where you can’t fit a ship in to dock with a station for some reason. Players will be “guided” and informed through the docking process…. Like being told when docking clamps disengage.
A ‘match velocity mode’ was also developed for ships to help when docking to a moving vehicle, which is extremely difficult otherwise.
The greybox was completed for the Aegis Redeemer’s cockpit and rear ramp section, while the exterior, landing gear, and turrets are all approaching the same point. The update pass on the Aegis Gladius is nearly finished, with only the LODs remaining before it can be signed off.
A ship naming and hull degradation pass started in February with several ships being ticked off, while the Javelin received a docking collar, entrance area, and general lighting pass.
Thrusters and dust are getting VFX improvements so that dust accurately flows paths and gets blasted around appropriately.
They’re currently implementing mining components that fit into the same slot as mining consumables. However, the components aren’t consumed on activation and act as a sub-component of the mining laser, allowing the player to mix and match components and consumables as they see fit. At the same time, they added a handful of smaller features to the mining UI, including a range indicator and animations on the scanned information.
They also made a start on a size 7 Behring ballistic Gatling gun and began exploring a mag stripping and loading device. Investigation was made into potential improvements to the weapon-skin pipeline too.
They are currently progressing on the sub-component targeting. This system will be shared across spaceships and characters. For example, NPCs on foot could target a ship engine with a rocket launcher the same way a ship could target the engine with missiles.
You’ll also be able to target thrusters and components on ships pew pew… which will really make larger ship fights a magnitude more in depth.
Gameplay & Mission
The Live Content Team completed varying tasks, including polishing new and upcoming missions, prototyping spawn closets, and developing harvestables.
The coders enhanced the bounty system so that bounties outside of monitored zones will inadvertently (or purposefully) give away their location through a variety of actions. The aim is to give bounty hunters the chance to track bounties in unmonitored zones and ensure bounties always feel like they’re on the run.
A new system was worked on to allow the devs to ‘hijack’ advertising screens in locations around the PU to show breaking news or safety alerts. They’re also developing a security system that will allow them to remove the automatic CrimeStats given by trespass zones. Currently in order for the station defenses or security to attack a player they must be given a CrimeStat for trespassing. This is not the intention. The new system will allow players to enter a trespass zone and, as long as they remain, undetected, they will not receive a CrimeStat. In future this will allow us to have security instruct the player to leave and should the player ignore the warning they would be arrested or ultimately killed. Security and automated defenses will engage players without them needing a CrimeStat.
They began to plan for an upcoming cargo refactor, which aims to physicalize items within cargo grids. This requires the team to reevaluate how they deal with volatile cargo, mining, refining, and several other intertwined systems. The refactor will also see the commodity kiosk converted from Flash to Building Blocks and tie into the Asset Manager.
QA have tested content for Alpha 3.13 in preparation for Evocati testing, including ship-to-ship docking, new harvestables, updates to MedPens, and Force Reactions. QA also updated their test plans, processes, and department structure to better align with the releases and events coming this year.
There is now better tracking of Spawned AI in PU. Work was also finished that will allow them to control, see, and modify critical services, which will ultimately allow for direct intervention and prepare for the integration of Quantum. We can expect a Presentation on Updates to the Quantum System and Dynamic Universe from Tony Z in the near future.
The New Gatling Mounted Turrets saw a lot of work and they look pretty cool as an alternative to Infantry Heavy Weapons like the Railgun.
The first pass on the Volt Parallax energy rifle was completed, and the standalone Greycat Industrial cutting tool went through final art.
There was more work towards expanded hacking gameplay.
NPCs & AI had various behavior work for the Social side of things as well as getting the engineers that will be moving around LZs some more complex tasks and actions. We also saw variations on actions to lower repetition. Patrol behaviors were updated and usables were given more tags and functions. Also some skill formulas were implement for AI using different weapons. They now have NPCs able to properly search for and replenish their ammo from crates for their current weapons correctly.
Vulkan and the Gen12 Renderer made good progress especially with shadows, clouds and shader tech and Testing of the Vulkan backend was rolled out further to get wider visibility on the new API.
There was lots of Physics work, they finished T1 of geometry instancing and various rigid body / ragdoll as well as Zero-G improvements.
VOIP & FOIP saw improvements, hopefully they should be pretty stable in 3.13.
Turbulent coordinating with other CI devs have delivered their first milestone in the server-meshing project. A portion of the team shifted to server-meshing project deliveries, with more to be added as the project progresses. Turbulent also delivered updates for the reputation system to give players the ability to set preferences, get notified when their reputation changes, and visualize their reputation history.
Tech Animation had to clean up assets, as a core change to the in-engine animation pipeline invalidated a large number of them.
Narrative looked at the next steps to transition the vast amount of fictional dispatches into the game, enabling players to receive news updates about events in the system or listen to short stories during long flights. It’s great to hear that’s getting thought about now.
BOOM… That’s it for this month’s report… we will be checking out the Squadron 42 report shortly though! Star Citizen Alpha 3.13 should be in our hands later in March and all systems are go in trying to make that happen.