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Star Citizen – Vulture, Merchantman & Corsair Ship Updates

We have only just had the last Star Citizen Monthly Report and now we have another, it’s February 2022 and CI have given detailed some of the work they have been progressing with over the last few weeks AND what they are working on now and this quarter.

This is a summary of the Monthly Report focusing on a lot of ship updates and Feature plans.

Art (Ships)

They progressed with the MISC Hull A, finalising the cockpit and dashboard layout, exterior lighting, and all component bays. A vis-area pass was completed too.

The RSI Scorpius progressed throughout January, with most of the exterior now final-art complete. Significant effort went into the component bays and other hatches needed across the hull. The interior and wings are progressing well and are approaching final art.

The Banu Merchantman is approaching whitebox complete, with the team doing more in the whitebox phase due to the ship’s sheer size and complexity. I am looking forward to more updates on the ship thru the year.

Great progress was made on the unannounced vehicle, while another began its whitebox phase.

The US-based team moved the Drake Vulture through final art, lighting both the interior and exterior and finishing the wear and damage passes. They’re currently closing out LODs and cleaning up loose items in preparation for release.

The Consolidated Outland HoverQuad received final polish and received a few minor additions to the dashboard and thrusters as well as a full VFX Pass. They also took the opportunity to work on improvements to the wake effects for all hover vehicles. As this requires code changes from both the VFX and Vehicle Programming teams, it will be rolled out in a future release. They also continued to work on effects for the salvage tool, moving into the production phase.

Final art for the Drake Corsair’s cockpit and mess hall progressed. They’re currently working through solutions for adding chowline features and other ship items to the limited space of the mess hall. They also polished the walls, framework, and canopy frame for the cockpit.

Vehicle Tech

Tasks were completed for the upcoming radar and scanning improvements, which will make it easier and more fun to locate and find various entities across space, including receiving better feedback results for the scanner operator.

Finally for Vehicle Tech, major work on future doors and connected components progressed, which will create a unified system of items that are more easily implemented by designers and artists.

“This is particularly important as some of our vehicles were created using some legacy systems that don’t always work well with the concept of the room system or portals. As our ships are essentially flying superstructures of connected rooms and spaces, the need to optimize this system has become quite evident – no one wants a door control panel to become inoperable or to get stuck in an entrance elevator!” Vehicle Tech Team

Features (Vehicles)

In January, Vehicle Features finalized the grav-lev update.

“The release of the grav-lev rework last year was very successful but there were still some issues we wanted to work on. The most significant being the issue of bikes jumping around and moving wildly when players got off. This was due to a sampling rate issue with harmonic motion only occurring on the server due to its framerate. Fixing it proved quite challenging and required us to refactor some parts of the new grav-lev code. This was completed in early January and the fix, among others, will come in the Alpha 3.16.1 patch.” Vehicle Features Team

Alongside grav-lev, the team worked on additional goals including jump points, restricted areas, and the transit-system refactor. They also supported the EUPU team with their work on resource networks, exploring how to integrate the system into vehicles to improve how power, heat, fuel, and other resources work.

For refueling gameplay, polishing was done on the MISC Starfarer’s screens and support was given to the EUPU team to address any outstanding issues. Work on the new Starmap continued, with progress made on concepts, prototypes, and core technology.

The UI team continued building the core systems for the new AR markers while working on icons for the various marker types and states. Like many other teams, they continued to update features to support Persistent Streaming and worked closely with the Persistent Tech team to ensure they were on schedule.

Additional concepts for the new mobiGlas and Origin UI styles were created and iterated on.

Features (Gameplay) 

The EU team continued to work on ship-to-ship refueling for release. The remaining bugs for the laser trip mine were fixed in support of derelicts, while the last issues with mining gadgets were attended to.

Additional work for loot generation began that will allow NPCs to carry procedurally generated items in their pockets. This also included adding the ability for the Mission Feature team to control the items in NPC inventories. Development of the engineering gameplay loop and life support kicked off too.

The US team worked on item selling and reputation gameplay improvements along with background tasks for the Q2 cargo refactor.

Systemic Services & Tools (SST) started the year working on various internal tools, including a visualizer for certain parts of the simulation.

UI Tech continued developing additional Building Blocks features, some of which will be used in the hacking feature. Additional planning went into the pre-production process of the new Building Blocks editor too, which involved creating wireframes.

Features (Characters & Weapons) 

The start of the year saw the Features team wrapping up code-driven inverse kinematics (IK). This feature offers an alternative to the existing animation-driven IK by using asset-specific mark-up instead of skeleton joints to drive the IK targets and blends at run-time. This will allow for reduced joints in skeletons, which is good for performance but also greatly improves iteration time when trying different IK solutions. The name comes from code assigning meaning to the asset mark-up, so the animated feature and its gameplay logic are working hand in hand.

Another significant undertaking nearing completion is a full fidelity pass on the player animations used when grabbing something from the suit or putting it back. For example, a grenade from a chest slot or MedPen from a side pocket. There are a large number of poses to consider for the various stances the player may assume and the conditions they may be in, such as running while drunk or crouching while injured. Currently, the team are reviewing the timings to hit the sweet spot of responsive and fast interaction without losing animation quality and readability.

The VFX team focused on damage map work, code interface support for the Weapons team, and made a start on the CPU damage map. They also continued with the fire-hazard feature, investigating issues with the fire igniter not working and fixing issues with resetting fire.


The Montreal-based Locations team started 2022 polishing and debugging the derelict crash sites. 

“We want to thank the community for the comments and feedback given through Issue Council, Spectrum, Reddit, Twitch, etc. during the PTU. This allowed us to tweak the crash sites in various ways: Making the lootboxes more visible, doing a lighting pass so navigation is easier at night, revisiting the lootbox content (ammo should now be the same as the gun offered in the lootbox and there should be more scopes and muzzles spawning), fixing some layout issues where some of you would get stuck, and generally adding more laser mines to the various sites.” Locations Team

They also wrapped up their work on the upcoming hospital locations. This involved putting the finishing touches to the Maria Pure of Heart Hospital in Lorville, adding variations to the space clinics, and finishing the Levski clinic so it’s ready to ship once the location is available. Part of the team has since moved on to preproduction and proof-of-concept for Derelicts v2.

Procedural Creation tools progressed.

The Lighting team began the year making headway into the performance optimizations planned for all landing zones. This time, they focused on the main domes of New Babbage, simplifying lighting setups where possible.


They have made various tweaks and improvements to physics and implemented some anti-flip measures to help prevent turtling.

Further progress was made on the transition to Gen12 & Vulkan.

Atmospheric and Space based Gas Clouds are seeing improvements.

They work on shaders, with various improvements to screen space reflections resulting in much sharper and stable reflections with softer falloff where they can’t be calculated. They also cleaned up the volumetric lighting shader for water and continued to iterate on new wear shaders with the various art teams.

Boom, that’s it for your Monthly Report this February