Welcome to a Star Citizen Monthly Report… it’s August and the run up to CitizenCon 2021 has began… kind of… I mean it’s on the 9th October BUT work that CI are doing is partly geared towards that event… that said CI have recently said that somethings aren’t going to be talked about as to be saved as surprises. We are however going to look at and summarize what CI have been working on over the last few weeks and what they are focused on now… at least according to this Report.
The US-based Ships team prepared the Constellation Taurus for release AND resolved bugs affecting various ships across the fleet.
They also pushed other vehicles through the pipeline, including both Crusader Ares variants, which entered the final art stages. The Drake Vulture continued to progress through the whitebox phase, an all-new vehicle entered the pipeline, and the upcoming variant moved into greybox.
In the UK, last month’s yet-to-be-announced ship had its damage, LODs, and final art completed, with the team currently wrapping up the finishing touches before handing it over to Tech Art and downstream teams.
The Redeemer received its exterior damage meshes and a final polish pass. The team are currently working on the exterior LODs, while the interior is going through its final art pass with the cockpit, turrets, and lower level nearing completion. And we had a fantastic shot of the ship in this month’s report.
Another new yet-to-be-announced vehicle (that the team is excited to share) moved from whitebox to greybox, while the Sabre’s cockpit and lighting were wrapped up.
The Retaliator is getting updates & the first round of interior gold-standard work is coming to a close, with the interior spaces corrected for metrics and AI navigation. New ship item compartments were added and the cockpit received a pass too.
Another unannounced ship is deep into the greybox phase with The Ship Team Saying:
“With some issues with its exterior mechanisms now resolved, it’s moving through the pipeline well. There are a number of artists working together on this one and each area of the ship’s interior is coming along nicely.”
Finally, work began on a new fuel arm for the MISC Starfarer to support the refueling feature work coming soon.
The Weapon Content Team completed the two Size 7 Behring weapons for the Crusader Ares.
Work also kicked off for a new Size 3 bomb for the A2 Starlifter and a variant of the mounted weapon turret for an upcoming ship.
The Environment Art team continues to polish Pyro’s planets and moons.
In Montreal, the team progressed with the greybox phase for the rest stop and Grim HEX medical clinics.
Area18 and Lorville’s hospitals are approaching whitebox-complete. These locations are much larger in scope and require adaptation and revisiting to ensure they live up to their potential.
The Locations Team said:
“As the scope of these is closer to those of New Babbage and Orison, we want to make sure that the volumes and general feeling of the areas are spot-on before moving onto the detail pass.” –
They further supported hospitals by populating the locations with AI. In parallel, they iterated on the creation and placement of the derelict spaceship puzzles. These puzzles will ultimately be scattered across planets and space and will represent minor points of interest. They’re currently in the proof-of-concept phase, with the team investigating various future opportunities.
Work also continued on the colonial outposts and hospital lighting for Lorville and Grim HEX.
They started atmosphere and color grading for Pyro’s planets and moons and progressed with the lighting for Pyro’s jump point gas cloud.
Additional work was done to flesh out some of the gangs of Pyro, delving into their hierarchies, leaders, and wealth levels.
The Props Team spent the month working up the utilitarian variants of the medical gameplay props. These match the metrics and functionality of the high-tech props seen in Alpha 3.14 but have the appropriate art style to match more lawless or low-tech hospital locations, such as Grim HEX.
Time was also spent creating new assets for Orison’s Crusader Showroom, including furniture, signage, and installations. Work continued on props for the colonial outposts too.
Character Art progress with new armors and helmets. The team began designing cybernetics and wrapped up new outfits for shopkeepers and the inhabitants of Pyro.
They helped deliver a medical gown and medical skeleton. They also supported UI with shader R&D and provided exports of all character assets in support of the physical inventory UI. Backpacks were completed too.
Tech Animation work is well underway including assisting in the creation and implementation of upcoming key deliverables. For example, AI combat iteration, usables, and art refinement to head assets.
Features (Characters & Weapons)
The Features team continued working on the new player inventory.
The Features Team Said:
“There are a lot of hard choices being made on what has to make it into the first release and what can be postponed. Even with some aspects of the inventory coming online later, the new player inventory is shaping up to be a significant improvement to the existing PMA (Personal Manager App).”
The new player inventory differs significantly compared to the current PMA is the limit to physical space and location. While the various landing zones will have a generous amount of storage available to the player, anything left in one location cannot be accessed from another. Players will need to make sure they transfer any items they need when exploring into their backpack or vehicle. Items purchased from shops will also be delivered to local storage.
There was a push to solve NPCs standing on chairs and benches (again). Simply put, if an AI is in the process of exiting their usable as they stream out, they will now teleport to the position where they would have exited to when they stream back in.
US Gameplay Features spent part of July polishing Alpha 3.14 and planning for future initiatives. Including work on NikNax, the player asset management mobiGlas app. They’ll wrap up development at the end of the quarter and are aiming to launch NikNax in Alpha 3.15.
Gameplay features also continued to focus on the latest Dynamic Event, Ninetails Lockdown, working alongside QA and Player Experience to gather feedback and refine it before release.
For future initiatives, the designers and Environment team began setting up the new shops on Orison and planned the expo hall setup for IAE 2951. Meanwhile, the engineers worked on TDDs for the cargo refactor and character archetype editor, both of which will reach the review stage soon.
The European Gameplay Feature team began finalizing the first iteration of the loot generation system.
The UI continued work on the new map system.
Systemic Services & Tools (SST) continued the development of Quantum (the economy and AI simulation). This involved improving fidelity and interaction with the game itself to provide further intelligent reasoning as to why certain service beacons spawn and why shop and fuel prices shift.
The Vehicle Experience team focused on the combat balance in Alpha 3.14.
Alongside supporting the other vehicle teams in fixing bugs and improving upcoming features, they also continued to develop the new ship HUDs alongside the UI team.
Vehicle Features also continued to develop jump points, which recently went through design adjustments to improve functionality. They also made jump points easier to work with and test, making sure they can rapidly iterate and improve the look and feel of the whole experience.
Vehicle Tech & VFX – worked on improving radar, ping and scanning features. They also began preparing to expand these features to first-person gameplay, where players will be able to ping for hidden lifeforms on foot and then scan them for vital mission-related information.
With the Vehicle Tech Team Saying:
“It will be nice to condense the macro-level vehicle scanning features into a more granular, on-foot experience, where players will be able to perform actions on entities that are only a few meters in front of them as opposed to dozens of kilometers away.”
Support for showing emitted signatures and ambient levels started as well. This will give players an idea of how detectable they are and how well they can detect others.
Narrative with other teams worked towards updated vendors mo-cap and voice lines including bartenders and food vendors. There were some additional voice lines for upcoming missions too.
There have been various physics improvements with render mesh compression and optimizations. Various code have been updated for faster CPU processing.
The Gen 12 Render continues to be implemented and lots of supporting features are getting added and legacy code removed.
Volumetric Clouds and atmospheric rendering saw improvements and they continue to research and iterate on it and runtime lighting and cubemaps saw performance updates.
The reworked render-to-texture post-effect pipeline was completed, this introduces custom bloom, drop shadow, color correction, and brightness adaptation that will apply to all visor and lens UIs, improving the visuals and legibility.
They are alsoy dealing with the final edge cases for the Super pCache for Alpha 3.14 and optimizing other dependencies on the services.
Boom, that’s it for the Monthly Report this time.