Welcome to a Squadron 42 Monthly Report as well as an update to Star Citizen’s more general AI development, what have CI been working on over the last month and what are they currently focused on for their Single Player Star Citizen Campaign now in July.
Early in the month, the AI Content Team was heavily involved in preparing for a four-day motion capture session. Some of the recorded assets have already been delivered and are currently being made functional for game use.
The team also extended the patron activity to handle the new shops they’re working on. The security guard and vendor activities and their related usable setups were also finished.
The security guard became the primary use-case for dynamic conversations, with two conversations that can randomly be selected by a civilian approaching the guard – reporting a crime and asking for directions. They also completed a pass of the security guard’s wildlines and began using the reputation system to influence the behavior logic flow.
The vendor behavior was expanded to support NPCs collecting combinations of food and drink items from different usables and delivering them to the player as a single order.
The AI designers further developed Aciedo station, supporting the creation of several usables required for the mission’s story. For example, attack spot, search spot, rail lean, door opening iterations, console hacking, stare spot, and more. The next step is to implement them into the level, finish the cryopod interactions, and make use of the First Reactions system to allow transitions from systemic behaviors to the combat activity.
The AI Feature Team worked on the technology to allow AI to identify and target sub-components of other ships. The AI will retrieve the same type of information from the sub-components as it does from the whole spaceship, including the amount of damage dealt. This new ability means some existing combat behaviors need to be modified to consider the side of the spaceship that the targeted sub-component is on.
The team also implemented the ‘chatty’ and ‘quiet’ traits used in the spaceship dogfight behaviors that control how often AI communicate in combat. This involved identifying non-critical combat wildlines and undertaking a ‘trait check’ to see if they should be triggered.
They worked on the technology and animations to control how an NPC reacts to stimuli when interacting with a usable. This technology is needed to bridge the gap between the AI’s usable and reaction behaviors while exiting the usable and getting the AI back to the nav-mesh.
They also produced a prototype for the utility behavior that will allow AI agents to transfer cargo crates between areas. NPCs will identify loose crates, pick them up, then take them to an area and stack them. The next AI can take the stacked crates and transfer them to another area as desired. They also have an eye on how this will integrate with vehicular cargo storage.
The first version of the unmanned missile turret behavior was implemented. This has proven that all the work done for spaceships is easily portable to multiple entities and will correctly handle any vehicle that wants to shoot missiles to target.
The AI Tech Team started the month working on planetary navigation. They also added functionality to allow NPCs to correctly move along paths defined by the designers.
Work on 3D NPC navigation in EVA continued, with the team improving the collision avoidance system to support agents of different sizes. The rules were amended to allow smaller ships to try to avoid larger ones and to allow large ships to not care as much about avoiding smaller ones.
They also finished the first pass on the code to allow NPCs to control and move trolleys in a similar way to the player.
The Animation Team progressed with player idle animation to ensure that they don’t look like an inanimate mannequin when standing still. Development of zero-g movement continued along with the medical pen, wake up, medical beds, player jumping, and the drunk locomotion set.
The team began closing out character wildlines and improved seating poses in the mess hall for NPCs to make it look like a real cafeteria. The male ‘hurt’ locomotion set was completed, with the team moving onto the female set. Juking assets for combat, assets for perception reactions from useables, and Vanduul combat locomotion are all being worked on.
Trejo’s outfit and helmet are in the final stages of modeling and will be ready for the tech artists to skin soon. Once complete, they will focus on chapter 1, which includes major characters like Bishop, Wade, MacLaren, and Mason.
Environment Art made significant strides towards planetary work, with the team preparing to focus on secondary points-of-interest.
The interior of the Bengal is approaching completion. The team made the main Hangar feel more alive, lived in, and like there’s a process to launching ships.
Archon received further interior and exterior work, while chapters 15 and 19 made great progress.
A major focus was on a cutaway that introduces players to a remote mining outpost. As art is still in progress, the team built a pre-vis blockout to inform how the scene will play out and how it should look and feel.
A lot of animation polish was also completed. One key scene received an arms, hands, and fingers contact pass to add significant impact to the characters’ interaction.
Gameplay Features added additional UI functionality to the firing range to give more detailed feedback to the player. A new task mode was added to allow the designers to script target selection for the player, meaning NPCs can share their targets with the player.
The team tested and documented new tech that should get trams and elevators working correctly in-game.
They also updated various scenes in the mess hall and supported Design with their work on chapters 12, 13, and 14.
The Space/Dogfight Team continued with the ‘AI buddy’ space flight behaviors that mostly relate to Oldman. They also updated existing chapters with the additional functionality for radar, ping, and scanning that came in last quarter. Space-based stealth gameplay was built out too, meaning the player needs to be aware of their own emissions and cross-section to avoid being spotted.
As always, the Social Design Team implemented scenes for the various chapters for review and signoff, which now encompasses all FPS crossover scenes that could switch into combat at any time.
Work also continued on improving the underlying tech of the Starmap, and they began investigating how the final version of the mobiGlas UI will look and move.
The VFX artists continued updating SQ42’s location effects to make use of the new lighting model, this month focusing on a flagship location being worked on by Art and Design for an internal milestone. Work also continued on the internal space of a key location that makes great use of gas cloud tech.