Right before the weekend, we updated the Live servers to Alpha 3.0.1. You can read the full patch notes here. Thank you to everyone who logged in this weekend to help provide feedback on the Issue Council and Spectrum.With that, let’s see what’s going on this week:
Monday: This week on Calling All Devs, we discuss the the golf ball bug, the Redeemer and the future of mission giver Tessa Bannister. You can watch the episode here.
Tuesday: The Lore Team explores the Kellog System in an all new Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. All Lore content is released on Tuesdays with something different every week, so make sure to check out the 2018 Lore Release Schedule here.
Thursday: Around the Verse dives deep into weapon balance this week. Get all the latest info on ship weapons and how the team designs them.
The team made progress on object container streaming, which allows large areas of the game like a planet or space station to load in the background as the player approaches it. This will help performance, decrease load times, and reduce the amount of memory required to run the game. One of the major challenges is making all the existing entity components able to initialize in a background thread safely. The process involves taking a lot of legacy code and converting it over, and there’s a lot of legacy components. It also means finally removing all Lua from the game and converting it into C++.
The Engineering Team has also been doing a pass on the usables, and especially how they get set up by the designers/artists/animators. After implementing a large number of them, they’ve targeted several areas where the implementation can be improved and easier to debug when things go wrong. It will also make them more modular. They can even take some of the functionality outside of the usable tech to use in other areas of the game.GRAPHICS This month, the Graphics Team worked through fixes for issues that came to light during the release of 3.0 and the Squadron 42 Vertical Slice. Many of these fixes related to the render-to-texture system, which is heavily used for the UI. These fixes should improve the resolution and anti-aliasing. The other major push was to improve render profiling and video memory tools to assist the Art and Graphics team to help optimize the game. Their main focus has been ensuring they can report a variety of statistics that are specific to each development team, for example, the number of polygons used for characters or the total texture memory used by the prop team. This helps the large and dispersed Art Teams understand how they’re affecting performance and therefore aid in improving it. They also did some optimization work, and made a big improvement to the ‘depth-pass’ algorithm. Now, each frame applies a heuristic to every mesh to determine which will make the best ‘occluders’ that can be rendered first to obscure any other meshes to reduce ‘overdraw’ (the process of re-rendering the same pixel multiple times).
In parallel to the UI fixes and optimization, the team has been doing R&D work on several new shaders, which they’re about to start full production on in February. These new shaders will help unify and simplify the art-workflow across various teams, allow more dynamic shaders that can correctly react to different environmental conditions (dirt, sand, mud), and apply wear/tear consistently between asset types with convincing visuals. These shaders will also enable several new features for the art team that should result in more interesting visuals on large man-made structures and more physically based blending of many materials on natural/organic assets.UI January allowed the UI Team time to step back and assess what was achieved at the end of last year. MFD/Visor displays are a feature that needs additional work to bring them to the quality level the game strives for. The UI Visual Team has been set up to work closely with the Graphics Team in order to polish this feature for 3.1.
The team is also heavily focused on the PMA/VMA apps. With the release of the two apps in 3.0, they have been able to gather both internal and external feedback in order to ensure they are heading in the correct direction. A sprint team has been set up with the initial focus on bugfxing the VMA to ensure its functionality before additional features are implemented.SHIPS The Ship team pushed forward on a number of ships that are slated to be in the 3.1 patch including the Reclaimer and Razor as well as ones slated for future releases like the Hammerhead, vicious Vanduul Blade fighter and Origin’s luxurious 600i. Artists worked to lock down the interior and exterior layouts and begin to work out the various materials needed to bring the ships to life. It’s not only new ships on the docket, some of the classics are in the process of being updated to the current ship spec, one of which, the Aegis Avenger, was prominently featured in last year’s Vertical Slice preview. VFX The Anvil Terrapin is the first ship of the year to get the VFX treatment, as they prepare it for flight ready status. They’re working on effects for thrusters, damage and a deathmask that’s using some new debris assets.
On the weapons front, the Gemini R97 ballistic shotgun had its VFX first Pass, including muzzle, tracer and impact effects. There’s also been a heavy focus on planning and schedules for the year ahead, and making sure the VFX tasks are aligned with everyone else’s.
There are mysteries in the universe. From the winding backstreets to the halls of power, stories that defy logic are whispered to eager ears and passed from listener to listener. These tales live because they inflame the imagination. They instill that sense of wonder that can only exist when you acknowledge that there’s more to the universe than we could ever know.
These are Untold Tales.
News of Lt. Commander Liam Nealy’s dramatic escape from Vanduul space has taken over the spectrum for the past few weeks. While we celebrate Lt. Commander Nealy’s safe return, it’s important to remember that rarely do these stories have a happy ending. In nearly three centuries of conflict with the Vanduul, history is filled with tragedy and loss. There is one tale though that continues to defy explanation over thirty years later: the mystifying story of Lieutenant Junior Grade Laurence Kiefly.
Throughout Laurence Kiefly’s life, flying wasn’t something he ever dreamed of, it was simply something he did. Growing up in the woodlands of Tiesl on Saisei, Laurence’s ultimate dream was to be an actor. Friends and family recounted that during the summer months when he wasn’t in school, the young boy would stage increasingly complicated performances outside the family’s farm. In the warm evenings, he often enlisted other kids from the nearby farms as actors. But although he was an enthusiastic performer, his family saw his potential in the cockpit.
“It was effortless,” Jordan Kiefly, Laurence’s older brother, recounted. “Mom had him flying shipments to the market when he was twelve. It didn’t matter if it was one of our small haulers or a Hull, the kid was surgical.”
Last week, we launched our newly redesigned website which is now organized into three sections providing easier navigation for veterans and rookies alike. With the new website, we also released our new Roadmap with insight into Star Citizen’s development process. The Roadmap feeds directly from our internal task managing tool Jira and displays tasks, features and optimizations we plan to rollout during the year. With this new level of transparency, we want to give everyone an idea of where we want to go with our next development milestones.
We’ve been busy rounding up all of the feedback and look forward to hearing more. Make sure to swing by our feedback thread on Spectrum to share your thoughts.With that, let’s see what’s going on this week:
Monday: We’re kicking off the week with another episode of one our newest shows, Calling All Devs. This week, we discuss the future of player groups, medical gameplay, the Voyager Direct store and more. You can watch the episode here.
Tuesday: the Lore Team is back to publish their regularly scheduled weekly lore post. Curious what they have up their sleeve? Make sure to check out the 2018 Lore Release Schedule here.
Attention development subscribers: the January 2018 issue of Jump Point is now available in your subscription area. This month’s Jump Point features an all-new look with all-new content! You’ll learn about the development of the Nova tank, meet some of the team behind the Squadron 42 presentation, learn about the Xiphopod in the first-ever Galactapedia article and more!
Interested in becoming a development subscriber? You can learn more here.
People complicate things. That’s what they’ve always been good at. Take a look at any functioning civilization and you will see chaos, confusion, and frustration. It could be human, Xi’an, Banu, Vanduul, whoever. We may look different, be built different, but boil us down and you’ll find the same insecurities, fears, and anxieties gnawing.
Tonya Oriel watched the yawning abyss outside the window. Kaceli’s Adagio in 4 gently wafted through the otherwise empty ship. Scanners cycled through their spectrums on the hunt for any flagged anomalies.
The void. It was pure. It was simple. It was permanent.
A calm serenity huddled around Tonya’s shoulders like a blanket, the kind that can only exist when you are the only person for thousands of kilometers. Everyone else can have Terra, Earth, or Titus, with their megacities teeming with people. Never a moment where there wasn’t a person above, beside or below you. Everything was noise. Tonya needed the silence.
Her ship, the Beacon, drifted through that silence. Tonya customized almost every hardpoint and pod with some form of scanner, deep-range comm system, or surveying tech to get her further and further from the noise.
Welcome to the week where we’ll update our current website to a fresh look fit for the year 2948! We can’t wait to share with you the updated design that the brilliant folks from Turbulent came up with. Not only stellar but truly interstellar work!
We still have a couple of Mousepads from the Verse’s prime authority on gear, Whitley’s Guide, available for pickup. Boasting a slick design and extra wide measurements for the comfiest gaming experience in the ‘verse, those beauties are only a mouse click away.
I also want to thank everyone for heading to Spectrum last week and sharing their feedback on the new shows from Reverse the Verse, to Calling all Devs, and the latest installment of Ship Shape! Much appreciated and always helpful to come up with future content that is interesting to you!With that, let’s see what’s going on this week:
Monday: If there’s something strange in your neighborhood – Who you gonna call? ALL DEVS! No, seriously, if a big marshmallow guy is walking around your block, you better call someone else, but if you want your weekly Star Citizen questions answered: our new Q&A show is the one to watch!
Tomorrow, the Lore Team will publish their weekly lore post, with exciting new content shaping the background and history of the Star Citizen universe.
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