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Star Citizen Alpha 3.17.3 In Testing – What Does It Mean For 3.18?

Welcome to some more Star Citizen, today with a stack of news… There is a Star Citizen Alpha 3.17.3 Patch out for testing, Monthly Reports and Day Of Vara Incoming, New Sub Promotions and some dev responses… Is there any point in reporting Bugs? And a load of answers to River Based Questions. 

There is a Star Citizen Patch 3.17.3b patch that’s currently available to test in the PTU.

It’s primary focus is to check on a couple major server crash fixes and gather data on some balance changes done to the contents of lootable containers in the PU. CI will be looking through analytics data for all items found or looted from containers to see if the changes are working as intended.

This appears to be a blocker for releasing the 3.18 PES build to Evocati.

There are some other updates and fixes in the patch too:

Made many adjustments to ground vehicles reducing most speeds across the board and increasing the PTVs.

  • Players landing at Docking Port 04 in the Orison Spaceport should no longer receive a trespassing warning and can receive a crimestat
  • Fixed an issue causing NPC Wallace Klim to have skin artefacts and low res textures
  • Fixed 2 Server Crashes
  • Fixed a Backend service crash causing 16008 errors

There are a load of known issues in the patch with some of the most egregious bugs being targeting / pips breaking, shield holes, Missing NPC Spawns for missions, items disappearing between sessions, stations offset from their lagrange points and ships can sometimes end up in an “unknown” state. I don’t know if these will be addressed before 3.18 or not… But it’s likely that this patch is just a prelude to 3.18 tests starting.

Coming Up!

We have the PU & SQ42 Monthly Reports coming out later today, so we will be covering them over the next couple of days.

The Day of Vara Halloween Celebrations Start on Thursday October 6th as well, that will last the month. Previously they’ve had unlockable masks obtainable in game for PVP and Exploration, and we should see spooky skins on sale for ships.

Buy back tokens had some form of issue with their distribution, but they will be going out shortly if not already. (these allow you to repurchase a previously melted ship with stored credit once a quarter). The next token is expected around Jan 10th 2023.

I am seeing no benefit in reporting bugs

The OP says he truly want to participate and report issues. However, gets the feeling that its not even worth their time with how things are setup.

They feel the system relies too heavily on players upvoting issues and that when a report you’ve made that is valid doesn’t get upvoted it can discourage you from participating in the future.

Silvan CIG Responded:

I’m sorry if you feel that way and i can totally understand you.

As upsetting it may be it ensures that we – the devs who actually fix these issues – will not get swamped with bugs which just happened once or twice for a handful of people.

I’m just speaking for myself here, but usually i ignore extremely rare issues when they land on my table, because sometimes they tend to fix themselves, so looking at them is simply not worthwhile.

Unfortunately our time is finite and we have to be deliberate where we put our time into.

Yes bugs are annoying and they need to be fixed but at the same time we also have to make progress on our actual tasks.

And i can tell you that all of us spend a significant amount of time bugfixing. But that’s just the nature of development i’ve accepted a loong time ago 

We do also have an automatic system in place which uploads every crash dump to a public database and classifies them.

So even if you don’t use the Issue council this issue gets tracked and you’re helping us by just playing the game.

The issue council is really meant to find the most annoying bugs for the Community — by upvoting.

It appears this crash you’re having is unique to you. It’s hard to say what it is without a crashdump for me to look at but it may be a unique combination of hard and software you’re using (Win11?).

Also deleting the USER folder in AppData\Local\Star Citizen may be worth a try.

Thanks for your time and concerns making Star Citizen better o7

October 2022 Subscriber Promotions

The Subscriber Ship of the month is the MISC Hull A and is available to all RSI subscribers to use. There is a promo for the HoverQuad.

And this month’s flair item are Cutlass Plushies.

The Black for Centurion Subs, Imperators also get the Red and the Blue & Steel are available to purchase in the Sub Store.

There were some River Tech Questions that CIGs Figwig answered:

1) Will river width be variable in future (or current) revisions to make them look even more organic?
We already do this! I just didn’t show it in the most recent ISC. You can see in the current river live in the PU that we change width along the course of the river. The new rivers have even more variation.

2) Have you guys talked to geophysicists or geologists to try to identify how rivers are made in nature and then use those principles to inform design or even procedurally generate them?
I’ve done a good amount of research over the development of rivers, into river formations, erosion, sediment types etc. I’ve not actually spoken to any geologists formally, but a relative works in flood simulation and I’ve had a few conversations with him. Our rivers are already procedurally generated, but we have a slightly different problem to solve than most erosion algorithms. Our planets already have lovely heightmaps which are then distributed across the planet, and the terrain is already fixed. So the river erosion simulation is less “How would the water shape this landscape” and more “Where would a river be, given this existing landscape”. Of course we do change the landscape, often quite significantly, but the algorithm aims to leave most of the terrain alone. This is also for performance reasons – terrain modification is essentially a post-process added after our terrain generation.

3) Are there any plans or thoughts about how features like rocky rapids and slow wide sections could be implemented?
We already do this! However, the flow speed of the river isn’t visibly different due to shading limitations. I’m taking a look at our water shaders this quarter, which will unblock many features that are waiting to be added to rivers (tributaries, in-situ lakes, multiple lake entrances/exits, estuaries, and more).

4) How feasible is procedural generation given the current version of planet tech?
Our rivers, like our planets, are procedurally generated already! But there are many different ways of procedurally generating a planet. As mentioned in 2, our erosion algorithm achieves something slightly different to most, which is to use an existing terrain and aim for minimal modification. This won’t change in Star Citizen, as the focus of our planet tech is getting an entire planet’s worth of terrain in as few mbs as possible and rendering it as fast possible, while delivering high fidelity results. There are good explanations of our planet tech out there already, and but essentially it limits us to keeping our planetary data non location-specific. We currently store about 32sqkm of heightmaps per planet, and extrapolate that data to create the whole planet the same way every time. Storing location-specific data for the entire planet would increase our budget from a few MB to multiple TB, so it’s not really viable.

5) Is the water actually there? as a 3D substance.
Nothing in graphics is truly 3D, apart from volumetric sims ( clouds + fog). That said, the water is currently missing physics. This will come, probably when actor team implement swimming. You’re right in saying that water in games is usually a 2D surface and then underwater fog + physics + audio to make it feel 3D. Our fog underwater is a volumetric fog sim, so that is truly 3D

6) Once water becomes an obstacle will we see land bridges and man made bridges dotted around?
I can’t commit the locations team to any work, but I’d be surprised if we never saw any bridges etc.

7) Will we see sheer cliffs and more types of hill, mountain ect… in game…
Yes but no timeline

Boom, that’s it for todays news and dev responses.