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Star Citizen Alpha 3.17.2 Now In Wave 2 & Design Director Talks About Upcoming Features

Star Citizen Alpha 3.17.2 is now in Wave 2 of it’s PTU and we have got Todd Papy Star Citizen’s Design Director talking about the patch, various updates and plans for the near future of the game.

Wave 2 is known as the Active Participation Wave: All members of the previous waves (so evocati, RSI Subs and Concierge) plus any players that have been very active and involved on the Issue Council, plus players with the highest amount of playtime across all game modes now will have access to the 3.17.2 PTU so go check to see if you have access and copy your account across on the RSI Website – Account – Setting – Public Test Universe Section. If it’s greyed out you don’t have access yet.

On the PTU they are running jumptown and siege of orison dynamic events over the weekend too. Jumptown will be on Saturday July 16th & the Siege of Orison Sunday on July 17th both starting 15:00 UTC for 8 hours on their prospective days. There were further AI Performance & Netcode Improvements & fixes made in the latest PTU patches.

Todd Papy (Design Director for Star Citizen) sat down with Creative Lead Jared Huckaby to talk about All Things Alpha 3.17.2 which led to a load of answers on what the evolution of features will be for 3.17.2 and beyond and how a lot of different features are planned to work. Let’s Summarise those Questions and Answers:

2:51 Does the new ai planetary navmesh in 17.2 allow ground AI to fire at player ships?

No, the Nav mesh allows for traversal around planets. They need behavioural updates for AI to use various weapons on various targets like ships and vehicles. They also need different sizes of nav mesh for creatures from small to large. For AI driving ground vehicles & use them for combat requires extra tech to be built out.

4:41 Are there any “undersung” changes you are excited for?

3.17.2 is reasonably gameplay content heavy. There are some bits that players will find while exploring, things like the Snake Pit and other things they want players to discover themselves.

6:26 Will all the known bugs be patched for 3.17.2 before releasing it?

No, they try to fix as many of the known bugs as possible and any major blockers take priority.

There are often too many bugs to fix but they prioritise the worst and then get as many as possible solved.

7:56 Can the planetary navmesh be reused to navigate ship insides and changing cargo areas?

Yes that is the goal and will eventually be dynamic and when it lands an AI will be able to enter exit, boxes and things in the way will cause the AI to take another route or move the box.

9:55 Are you improving the FPS AI for Alpha 3.17.2?

They are decoupling the AI from needing to be so sync’d to server performance.

Via interpolation and extrapolation. 

Smoothing out the data received from the server.

And making up appropriate data and predicting it where it isn’t received in time or as expected.

This leads to less desync, better performance even with lower server framerates better looking movements. It’s a work in progress but will be tweaked for 3.17.2 live and beyond but there are are hodge podge of updates and improvements for the patches AI.

This is all in preparation for PES in 3.18 and generally getting the game more playable.

There are various AI behaviours that have been built for SQ42 that will be moving over the the PU once they are in a good state.

14:06 AI Dropship Reinforcements in 3.17.2 – why use the Cutlass Black and not something like the Cutlass Steel?

The Cutlass Black was just the first ship they added the tech for. They will add it to more ships and it will be used in multiple ways.

14:54 Will the AI Dropships be able to transport players?

Right now no. It’s meant to be used for reinforcements. In the future you should be able to stowaway or get on AI ships and travel with them BUT this isn’t a feature of 3.17.2.

17:43 In this patch, will AI be able to walk off ships after AI ships land?

Yes, they are able to walk off the ship and provide extra bodies in FPS missions. If they don’t it’s a bug!

18:12 Will there be any additional quanta updates for commodities in 3.17.2?

Not for 3.17.2.

Game Horizon (another company) are working with Tony Z (and probably a CIG team) on Quanta and the Dynamic Universe 

18:58 How are missions and jobs going to be balanced risk / reward / time?

For Cargo and Mining there is a lot of time involved and the risk of the system you are in and the distance you travel will heavily affect your bottom line. At some point after the Cargo Refactor you will be able to eject cargo / mining pods and continue to mine. But they will tune missions and roles a lot more in the future once there is more of an economy.

21:26 Will derelict POIs be salvageable?

There different types of derelict.

Inhabited (these won’t be dynamically generated) – You may have some limited salvage opportunities with these and are discussing this now.

Dynamically generated ones – Like fresh wrecks and old ones that you suddenly discover, you’ll be able to hull strip or munch some of these. You’ll be able to remove some of the items. But based on the age or environment you might only get limited salvage opportunities.

In the future beyond 3.18 there will be a lot more you can do with salvage on a range of POI and ships that are disabled / destroyed too.

24:24 Will you make it quicker  to leave Crusader by making QT easier there?

Yes it’s been discussed and is on the backlog, so should be done in the not too distant future.

25:18 Are there any teams besides the Montreal Turbulent Studio working on the PU or is everyone else working on SQ42?

There are some teams that focus solely on SQ42.

Some teams that work on both (tho most of those are on SQ42 currently)

And some that are focused purely on the PU. There are 3 different feature specific teams that are on the PU. US Persistent Universe Team,  Montreal Feature Team and EU Persistent Universe Team. They are working on things like Salvage, Cargo, Missions, Resource Management, Dynamic Events.

There are various content teams too working on things like space stations, under ground facilities, derelicts, gameplay area, environments and POI are their focuses. A lot of EU teams are focused on Pyro with a lot of work on space stations and Colonial Outposts. US teams are working on New Underground facilities. The MT team is working on derelicts and building interiors.

Inventory Updates?

Yes there will be updates in the future, tho that team is currently working on some SQ42 stuff.

Things like easy multiple item dragging and stacking will be there in the future.

28:09 Will crashed Reclaimers contain anything worth gathering?

In the future mission ships will all potentially contain items of worth. There are some issues spawning items and loot on some mission ships currently.

30:22 Is there anything more you can tell us about the artefacts that people have found?

They are interesting items you can find (in the same why you could find a fossil or roman coin) to help sell the lore and age of an area as they also gear up towards Pyro being released. Some of these items will be in pristine condition.

32:27 Are we still going to see elevators assassinating people in 3.17.2?

Maybe… it’s a server frame rate issue. They are going to try and solve it best they can.

35:36 Will we ever be able to filter out notifications and alerts from our HUD?

Yes, there will be ways of doing this in the future allowing you to choose what updates to see.

36:13 Can we expect to see planet NavMesh in areas other than the new settlements/dropships at this stage? 

They are updating all the other locations to make use of planetary nav mesh and dropships. They want to get it working in a few locations first before taking it wider.

37:49 There were a lot of quick releases for 3.17.2 is that the cadence you’re looking for or is that too quick?

They want there to be enough time for players to give feedback and fixes to be implemented before putting the next PTU patch out. So they don’t typically release multiple in a day BUT they often release one every other day for testing and updates. BUT it depends on the testing or bugs involved.

39:30 Will night vision ever be a feature?

Todd Papy wants Night Vision and other types of vision too… from X-ray to EM to IR.

41:20 With the long road to 3.18 how much support is being dedicated to the maintenance of 3.17.2 after its release? 

If they need to hotfix something they will. Most of the teams have already started working on 3.18 / Q3 goals already. If they need to hop back on to some quick 3.17.2 fixes after live they will.

43:26 Are Red Wind Missions supposed to be available if you have a crime stat?

The Illegal Delivery Missions are meant to be available to players with a Clean Record or CS. It’s reputation depends whether or not Red Wind will offer you missions not current Crime Stat Status. 

44:37 There are collision and crime stat problems with players bumping into each other… have you thought about turning collision damage off?

They don’t want to just turn off collision damage as it could have knock on effects… the issue is partly server desync. They want to sort the root problem however they at the very least will try to fix getting crime stats for bumping into each other. 

45:40 Will we see more missions gated by reputation?

That’s the plan for a lot of missions. They have lots of plans for future mechanics and gameplay that will all build on reputation.

49:53 Rumours say that quantanium prices are getting nerfed, if true, does this mean we can expect some other mineables to take their place?

The Rumours are wrong… They haven’t changed these values for a while.

50:54 Knives are cool, but what about swords?

At the moment they are focused on other things like Gadgets or SQ42 stuffs.

51:38 Does the mesh get generated before the player arrives or when the player arrives?

The Mesh is generated when they arrive at an area.

53:24 What if anything can CIG do about combat logging?

There are plans for having a timer that requires you to be out of combat for 5 plus mins before being able to safely log out. So if you logged out during combat you and your ship would still be there BUT now terribly vulnerable and AFK.

Boom, that’s it for your Star Citizen Update and more of what you can look forward to in the upcoming Alpha 3.17.2 patch.