Hello & Welcome to a Squadron 42 Update looking at what Cloud Imperium have been working on for the Star Citizen Single Player Campaign over the last few weeks and what they are working on now moving into March 2021.
There is a load of shared updates here with Star Citizen and the PU Monthly report which I will mostly omit BUT I will link my video on that down below.
There were updates to AI Behavior, skill, patrolling and sub component Targeting, vulkan and the Gen12 renderer, various graphical improvements and physics updates too all mentioned which you can see more details in that vid.
Right onto more Squadron 42 Specific Updates:
The Animation Team progressed with several cinematic and gameplay story scenes. This involved work on the mess hall life, Vanduul combat, zero-g movement, railings for officers, surrender and maintenance animations, hurt and stumble blockouts and mocap, and staggers. They also began blocking out the MedPen and medical beds, NPCs accessing emergency exits from useables, and ‘stare spots’ used by AI when idle.
The Character Agent Trejo has made much progress, their head was improved and passed to Tech Animation. Concepting for her Basilisk Advocacy outfit approached completion, while a revision pass began on the main pilot flight suit used by the navy, and some characters were updated that couldn’t be dealt with last year.
They set up two assets to test the new vertex cloth simulation. Vcloth, as it’s known, was a major dependency for a long time and will significantly improve clothing and hair simulation. The team will soon move onto a full concept pass of the Screaming Galsons faction and the characters required for chapter four.
The SQ42 Feature Team continued submitting mission fail conditions. Now, the designers can set up default triggers, such as constantly shooting a friendly within a given time limit. These send an event to say the player has failed the mission and for what reason, with the ability for the designers to script bespoke failures. They can now also script what happens to the player if they fail via other means and display the given reason.
The designers also received the ability to detect what the player is controlling in a ship, which will be used for the in-game tutorial. The distress beacon mechanic was further developed based on feedback during play reviews, so players can now use their scanners to detect weak distress signals.
The Gameplay Story Team working through 18 ‘random to NPC’ scenes and adding text-to-speech placeholder audio. The audio will soon be replaced with the team’s scratch recordings before planning for final recordings can begin. They also supported Design on chapters 4a and 14, making incremental improvements and delivering new abandon animations, and some important polish work was completed for the Morrow Tour.
A key focus throughout the month was the development of ‘play anywhere’ scenes, which involve AI characters approaching the player to initiate a conversation. These moments involve integrating scenes with AI locomotion to achieve a natural result. The first of these requires further polish but is currently looking very promising.
Gameplay Story were also heavily involved in animation tech, providing investigation and support into removable helmets, seat standardization, and character walk speeds.
Level Design worked closely with Art on several FPS spaces. These locations received a lot of polish from the FPS Design Team to ensure they’re fully realized and believable places.
The push for ‘gold-standard’ pirate AI behavior was continued by the Space/Dogfight Team, while the ‘buddy’ AI support was scoped out to determine its requirements.
AI testing focused on FPS combat, particularly Vanduul behaviors and animations, while ship combat testing looked at the recent pilot behavior updates. A checklist for each was created to help the team keep on top of changes coming through the pipeline along with any bugs that may arise through development.
Narrative continued to participate in playthrough reviews. These reviews are extremely useful for ensuring narrative content has the desired impact and that the dialogue options cope with the range of player choices and actions.
They also provided feedback to the team’s Xenolinguist as progress continued with the Vanduul language.
The Narrative Team Said – “Developing the alien languages has been a very fruitful endeavor for the team because, beyond the language itself, the process has been great for creating cultural details and species behavior as languages often require an additional layer of specifics to be functional.”
They also wrote the text for interactive props that will be used to dress some of the game environments.
And time was spent on the ongoing creation of the Xi’an body and face rigs… I am looking forward to seeing these in game… it might just be comms calls that we see the Xi’An in Squadron Episode 1 but maybe it’s more.
And that’s it for this SQ update. But what do you think? Are you looking forward to one day being able to play this single player mammoth of a game OR is it a White Elephant that we are going to be chasing for many years? Do you not really care about this single player game and are all about the PU or vice-versa! Whatever your thoughts I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.