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Star Citizen August 2023 Monthly Report

What have the Star Citizen Devs been working on over the last few weeks and what is their focus now in August with Star Citizen’s PU? There is a huge amount of juicy information this month Let’s delve into the latest monthly report.

Ships & Vehicle Updates – The RSI Polaris began its whitebox pass. A rough interior whitebox has been completed, and several issues with the concept were resolved.

A yet to be announced ship continued its LOD0 pass, with the majority of tasks completed and a review scheduled. 

What is LOD0?

It’s the highest detailed model for a ship, vehicle, prop etc… seen at the closest distance.

The Crusader A1 Spirit progressed through final art (we know this is planned for Alpha 3.20.x), there are a handful of LODs remaining for its interior and exterior damage. Work also continued on the C1 Spirit cargo variant, with the main differences being minor exterior changes and the cargo room (which is in greybox).

Work on a new ship variant continued (assumedly the Fury LX), with the dashboard and cockpit receiving attention.

Another unannounced variant continued through its greybox phase too. 

The Tumbril Storm is approaching the end of production. Looks like we will have it by the end of the year.

Tasks were started for another all-new vehicle. The team began by breaking apart the concept and putting together an in-game preview while planning out the work required for the base and its variants. The current plan is to whitebox all the variants at the same time and then select which versions will move into greybox first.

For another ship / vehicle Two new variants went through the LOD0 phase and are approaching content-complete. 

The Aopoa San’tok.yāi (Xi’An Medium Fighter) progressed through LOD0, filling out item housings and doing heavy paneling work on the exterior. They also came to a solution for the dashboard, which still requires polish, but delivers a unique aesthetic for interaction. 

The Origin X1 (Luxury Hover Bikes) entered the greybox stage. While waiting on the whitebox review, the team are working to solve various aesthetic issues while ensuring the overall ship makes mechanical sense. They’re also exploring new tools to help generate extremely clean automotive-style geometry to maintain the required Origin feel.

The VFX Team completed their VFX pass on a Size 5 bomb and three upcoming vehicles.

Gameplay Features – continued their work on the new vehicle tractor beam, which will also bring improvements to the existing tractor beams. 

Work progressed with the Resource Network, which includes features like engineering gameplay and life support.

They also worked on several prototypes for Salvage’s ‘munching’ gameplay and are currently discussing the best-fitting technical solution with all dependent teams. 

They made improvements to mining for Alpha 3.20 based on community feedback, including updates to stability and predictability when mining. 

Mission Features – continued work on Ship Trespass by giving the feature rigorous destructive testing.

The Retrieve Consignment missions passed final review and are currently being polished and balanced. Alongside this, the current underground facilities were replaced with RaStar – It looks like we are getting new updated UGF / Bunkers potentially in Alpha 3.20.

Progress was also made on the new Global Event, Blockade Runner (this will be replacing the NineTails Lockdown I believe). There’s now an approved working prototype.

The initial planning for new cargo missions were completed. They are now looking deeper into the reputation system to improve the wider delivery and hauling mission gameplay loop.

Steal and recover cargo missions were also prototyped. These will see players either recover cargo from disabled ships or disable and board ships before securing their cargo.

Code work began for reputation. Progression within reputation “scopes” will give players discounts on various purchases, including items, refuelling, and repair. Mission Features also picked up the reputation-based hostility system, which will see NPC orgs more willing to attack those who have a negative reputation with them while providing benefits to those with a positive standing.

Narrative continued syncing with the various Design teams to push development on Pyro, specifically focusing on mission content, local mission providers (establishing the tone and voice of how missions will be presented), and examining how the overall mission system will change when the new system is added and how missions will crossover between systems.

They also supported the MISC Hull C by implementing the latest version of the air-traffic-control (ATC) behavior, which will allow players to request a landing spot to load and offload their cargo. This also led to resurrecting work on the overarching ATC behavior, with some potentially exciting updates that will be discussed in the near future.

The Character & Weapons Feature team experimented with skill progression, which involves players performing specific in-game actions to make them better at similar activities. For example, building up strength will allow players to carry heavier objects with fewer penalties, while performing takedowns will open access to quicker and quieter action sets. We knew that faster animations and more refined things for takedowns would be a thing after you do them a lot but it appears that various factors are at play for your players “stats”. That begs the question: since we can be cloned can I just buy a healthier body?

They’ve begun implementing a sliding mechanic. If a player tries to crouch while sprinting, they will perform a short slide before entering the crouched stance. The speed of the slide is determined by the starting speed of the player and the distance may depend on factors such as the roughness or angle of the terrain. The player will automatically stop when reaching an obstacle, as the prime use case for this feature is to allow players to slide into cover.

Animation focused on improving visual results for reloads and takedowns. They also worked on basic idles for weapons and knives, which are planned for release in Alpha 3.20.

They’re currently making improvements to player-prone animations and adding an increasing number of player interactions to improve immersion in specific environments.

The Locations team continued working on Pyro’s rundown stations, with a focus on completing polish tasks. They also improved signage around New Babbage, improved and bug-fixed the new Crusader platforms, and worked with Mission Features on new content.

They progressed with outposts for Pyro and continued their extensive work on the updated underground facilities.

Improvements were also made to Pyro’s planets, and new technology for clouds was looked into.

Montreal’s Locations team progressed with additional derelict settlements, which passed greybox before moving into the final phase. Progress was made on underground facilities too.

Once those are done, they will return to working on building interiors.

UI & Graphics developed a new internal map system to help players navigate the game’s complex cities, planets, and capital ships. This will be a real game changer for players and the devs are really excited by its progress. Also they are improving visibility of the UI and pings on the new mini-map. 

Lighting polished and cleaned-up various locations around Pyro and worked on the system’s gas clouds. Back in Stanton, they progressed with tasks for Crusader’s new platforms.

In-Game Branding continued building various assets for an upcoming event and worked alongside Locations on navigational signage for New Babbage.

They also began work on the underground facilities, working closely with the Concept and Sandbox teams on different mockups for the commercial lobbies.

The VFX team continued working on the interiors and exteriors of several Pyro locations.

AI Tech finalized work to allow NPCs to transition between EVA and environments with gravity.  NPCs can enter and exit ships through airlocks or hatches by vaulting over ledges and have associated behaviors. 

They are also now working on boids (which are swarms of bugs, birds, fish, rats). They’re currently working on 2D boids agents, such as rodents, that will move across terrain within the confines of the navigation mesh. They’re also adding constraints to avoid navigation-mesh edges to ensure the boids stay inside navigable areas. Next, they’ll look into boids agents playing animations while moving or idling.

Engine & Graphics Updates – Various updates and improvements to Vulkan (the graphics API update that we are all looking forward to), which we are expecting in game shortly.

Several updates to the Global Illumination System.

They’ve started to implement TSR (Temporal Super Resolution)

They are pushing towards new Water Shaders & water simulation.

Planet rendering and building updates.

They also updated the new cloth system and Maelstrom, and began improving active and animated ragdolls.

Updates were made to atmosphere and volumetric cloud rendering