Star Citizen have put out some meaty development information in the form of some Monthly reports looking at what CI have been working on over the last 10 weeks and what they are working on now with Salvage, Hacking, Various Ships, the Economy, Pyro, Jump Points & much More. It gives us a good insight of some of their focuses for 2022.
We will be looking at Star Citizen’s PU Features, Ships and Environments in this video and we will have another 2 videos one for Squadron 42 updates and another for AI/NPC and Engine Work.
Work on the MISC Hull A has progressed well, most of the interior is now the final art stage. The landing gear and extending cargo mechanism (along with LODs) are complete and are now ready to hand over to Tech Art.
The Hull C is currently approaching its greybox review. They have converted its materials to hard-surface shaders, adding control panels throughout the ship, and refining the pilot seat for optimal visibility.
The RSI Scorpius moved through the whitebox phase before greybox work commenced in December. Most of the exterior was completed by the end of the year, including the wings, thrusters, landing gear, and canopy.
An all-new vehicle progressed through whitebox, while the Banu Merchantman progressed towards greybox.
The Drake Vulture’s interior reached final art, with just a lighting pass remaining. The exterior colors and wear were worked on, as were LODs for the landing gear, while the internal damage pass began.
The Drake Corsair moved into greybox, and art was finalised for the cockpit and mess hall.
Towards the end of 2022, Vehicle Features focused on the grav-lev rework. They wrapped up the base implementation and tuned the available bikes for improved stability and handling.
Vehicle Features Said “We’re incredibly pleased with how the community helped us hone in the feature for release. There are still some issues we need to fix up in 2022, but we’re generally quite happy with how the rework turned out.”
Technical reworks are being planned and started for the transit networks and restricted areas. While these won’t result in significant changes to the player experience (particularly in the case of transit), they will result in far fewer bugs and much better general stability. These sorts of reworks are necessary because, longer-term, they free the team up to focus on either new features or improve other aspects of the game.
There was a major focus was on jump points, which are progressing well. They are currently working on ‘abnormal exits,’ which are situations where the player might exit a jump point prematurely or not in a usual, safe way. For example, a player falling out the back of their ship, the powering down of the jump point, or a jump drive failing. This sounds amazing and terrifying.
CIG said “Dealing with all the possible cases in a sensible and consistent way is a tricky problem, but the result is a feature that has a genuine sense of risk and danger to its use, so it’s important we get it right.”
Gameplay Features focused heavily on tasks for releases in 2022.
They are wrapping up implementation of the new selling gameplay system. This required an under-the-hood rework of the existing shop system, which will act as the foundation for the initial implementation that’s planned for release shortly. The Updated kiosk UI for this is approaching completion and backend code trending towards completion in Q1.
The cargo rework is ongoing but intermittent as supporting work from other teams comes online. They are using the time between these jumps to work on small quality-of-life fixes where possible. The team there also worked on (and released) Jumptown 2.0.
Systemic Services & Tools wrapped up work on the Economy, Tools, and AI Simulation optimizations and tools polish. New functionality will be added to these tools in Q1.
The whole team helped stabilize services and ensure one of the most stable patch releases yet, which was achieved by addressing various edge cases found with the new Super pCache and other backend services and systems.
After some successful work with the inventory system some they have began work on salvaging. The initial focus was on the technical aspect of visually removing material from an object and ensuring its state can be reliably stored and recreated, both across the network and when the object streams back in again. This is currently being prototyped.
Work on the hacking minigame continued. It has gone through multiple iterations, with each prototype being playtested internally using a simplified 2D in-game representation. It has since evolved to be more competitive, tying into some of the in-world gameplay mechanics like scanning. As the core layout of the minigame has remained fairly stable throughout the multiple prototypes, work began on bringing the visuals online. The concepts for this saw multiple iterations, with it currently looking like the player is executing scripts to programmatically attack the target system. The interface, as it currently stands, will offer the user different options to input the various commands.
Narrative met with Mission Features to start work on additional mission content, determining what kind of lines would be needed, and discussed content for future Dynamic Events.
November and December saw the Lighting team wrap up support for IAE, which involved a fresh and interesting new lighting style for the existing convention halls.
“At this stage, it’s all about ensuring each ship has a light rig on it that shows it off as best as possible while maintaining render budgets to keep the experience smooth.” Lighting Team
With that done, the team moved on to providing support to the Ship team, which involved looking at various older ships and optimizing their lighting setups alongside another layer of polish. This task was mostly successful, though existing tech issues and bugs with some ships need to be ironed out before further progress can be made.
To wrap up the year, the team moved back to working on Pyro’s space stations, this time exploring more look-development and visual benchmarks, and supported the Jumptown 2.0 locations with updated visuals.
The Props team continued to work on Pyro station. This included refining the new trash assets, creating a modular set for the improvised marketplace counters, heating and lighting props, and other dressing/flavor elements such as generators and fuseboxes.
They also closed out support on additional underground facility mission props for the Mission Feature team and polished several hospital props alongside the team in Montreal.
Finally, initial whitebox work was done for the upcoming lockable/lootable crates and cargo for the ongoing cargo refactor.
Elsewhere, further tweaks were made to the planetary storm effects to help them pick up the lighting more naturally. Finally, R&D for salvage commenced.
UI – continued to update features for persistent streaming and supported the visual implementation of the refueling HUD.
Progress was made on the core tech and feature set of the new Starmap. For example, they added display controls to modify relative distance, orientation and scale, and the ability to frame selected objects appropriately.
UI Tech continued work on the core technology for hacking, adding the ability to select and edit text in the UI.
The new Building Blocks editor entered pre-production towards the end of the year, which will make working on UIs more efficient and developer-friendly. Additionally, more Building Blocks features were added.
On the art side, the team created a variety of new concepts for the mobiGlas, AR markers, Starmap, Aegis HUD modes, and Origin HUD. Updated icons for the law system were concepted too.
The Character Art team wrapped up a visual update to the DNA head archetypes, which should see improvements to heads and eyes in Alpha 3.17.
Some of the team focused on the frontier-style outfits for Pyro, while others worked on a series of generic Stanton outfits from the backlog that will begin to appear in-game shortly.
To close the year out, the Tech Animation team set a mandate to finish upgrading all head assets to the new pipeline in preparation for the full DNA system refactor. This is a long-standing initiative that will hopefully conclude in early 2022.
“To get us there, we need to recreate every single head asset in the game and check it’s still working as we intend. All hands are on deck for this one, with the whole team pushing to reach the finish line.” Tech Animation
QA’s primary publishing focus was getting Alpha 3.15.1 and 3.16 to the PTU and LIVE servers. However, Alpha 3.16 wasn’t stable enough, so it was decided to use Alpha 3.15.x and piecemeal specific features in. This worked well, so the internal branch ID of 3.15.2 (externally called 3.16.0) was pushed to the PTU and LIVE with several 3.16 features in a much more stable build. Time was also spent hiring additional team members as the department expands.