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Star Citizen Alpha 3.18 – Gen12 Renderer Is Awesome News For Some Players

Welcome to some more Star Citizen with updates on the Gen12 Renderer and Underground facilities… both of which are pretty awesome.

Star Citizen’s Gen12 Renderer heralds a better looking and performing game. The Game’s performance has suffered hugely through out it’s Playable Alpha due to poor optimization… this however is now changing.

Alpha 3.18 is planned to have the first true implementation of the Gen 12 Renderer.

Silvan Hau – Engine Programmer

The Gen12 Renderer is a big step beyond what the DX11 API they were previously using for the game. It makes much better use of the GPU and Processor of your PC. It is a complete redesign of the old rendering architecture and decreases CPU submission time massively.

However one of the goals of this new system is to make use of the Vulkan API as well, further boosting performance and adding a load of very cool features like AI scaling, Ray Tracing, potentially VR & linux support.

It was a huge undertaking. Alpha 3.14 (when?) had a few post processing effects that used gen12 and was basically proof that it would work, they then started on scene object rendering.

In 3.17 they were able to turn on Gen12 for static geometry and scattered terrain objects.

However most of the engine runs legacy code with the addition of some Gen12 stuff that actually causes a bit of extra overhead…

They are now nearly done with porting everything over to Gen12 and it SHOULD hopefully be ready for 3.18. This should see some great improvements to the game and performance, but it will require some optimization to really get the most out of it also Vulkan integration will come a little bit later… I am thinking personally that 4.0 will have see this all working together and refined.

Gen12 hugely reduces API calls

The Main Thread works out what needs to be rendered and then queues it for the render thread. The render thread is incredibly intensive and now with Gen12 it’s much more efficient.

Players with very powerful CPUs are not going to notice much improvement in 3.18 as they were probably GPU bound (bottlenecked) but for previously CPU bound players it should be much much better.

In the future with more optimization and Vulkan integration this will be much better for everyone.

Beyond all this they want to move to a true multi-thread rendering approach.

You can expect at least some improvements in 3.18… a lot of some users and then pretty soon after Vulkan Integration and a lot of the features that modern completed games have for graphics options!

Inside Star Citizen: Further Underground

Lead Environment Artist John Grithiths – Heading the EU Sandbox 2 Team

Something else CIG showed us that they have been Working on is revamped Underground Facilities (from CitizenCon 2022).

Following on from the Concepts of what they showed they are now looking at the gameplay, function and use of player time in these areas.

 How many facilities will we see, where will we see them, what different types are there… these are what they are working on now with a load of different teams.

It’s still early in dev but they are trying a lot of different things and seeing what works. They now have some idea of what they want to do, it went into planning and is now in production for the Tier 0 implementation of these locations.

They showed hangars, ground structures, big industrial elevators, long stair cases, hub areas. 

There are 93 different rooms & 196 overlay variations that will be used for the Stanton and Pyro Systemswhen these are placed in them.

They are scheduling time for the white box phase.

They showed off some rough planning figures… They had a total estimated time of 1255 for WB Tier 0 which I think is work days… tho that would be divided between multiple people, so 5 people working on it would have it done in 251 work days. From what I could decipher is that the white box phase for T0 would take them around a year.