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  1. Squadron 42 Monthly Report: January 2019 This is a cross-post of the report that was recently sent out via the monthly Squadron 42 newsletter. We’re publishing this a second time as a Comm-Link to make it easier for the community to reference back to, and plan on following this process for future Squadron 42 Monthly Reports. Attention Recruits, What you are about to read is the latest information on the continuing development of Squadron 42 (SCI des: SQ42). Read on for classified details from every corner of the planet, collected over the course of the last month, concerning Squadron 42-related work. The information contained in this communication is extremely sensitive and it is of paramount importance that it does not fall into the wrong hands. Purge all records after reading. Over and out, UEE Naval High Command AI The AI Team worked on the perception system, which was expanded to handle damage stimuli. AI characters now have proper perception of damage, so they can figure out the location of the source and will behave accordingly by tracking enemies and updating the knowledge they have about them. Progress was made on the Usable Builder, a tool that’s used to create and debug all usables. It allows the team to easily visualize usables, edit their properties, and test the different use channels. For the mission system, they exposed several new functionalities to the designers, such as a variety of task nodes, new variable types, and new core functionalities. A ‘group’ variable was introduced that can automatically be filled, for example, when spawning AI characters so that designers can easily track the dynamic elements they’re interested in. They’re currently implementing global callbacks to help designers track environmental events specific to the data they’re interested in without the need to explicitly create variables for each entity. Characters The new year began with Character Art supporting the SQ42 iteration of the DNA feature, which allows players to create their own unique avatar to play through the game as. They also began modeling various other characters and clothing, including the Basilisk Advocacy Agent armor. The character artists continue to create new outfits and update old ones to tie into specific in-game events. Cinematics The Cinematics Team completed a master and subsequence workflow for Track View sequences, which had become a necessity due to how the game is structured around object containers. They can now work on both master and multiple subsequence scenes at the same time. The groundwork was laid for the most crucial step in the cross-object-container cinematic pipeline: accessibility of interior sequences and their entity nodes from an exterior master level. This means the team is still able to work on interior scenes (e.g. a Bengal carrier’s bridge) while the ship is flying around in battle and banking on a navigation spline. This is crucial for camera movement as lighting and exterior vistas play a huge role in how bridge scenes appear. It also makes it easier to adjust the timing on a master sequence that brings together interior and exterior subsequences. A key sequence was brought into the current Shubin Coil pocket, as the placement of asteroids and clouds had changed due to the evolution of gas cloud tech, so there was a need to adjust framing and lighting. Time was spent working on fire track improvements with the engineers, as weapons were overheating during heavy scene work and back and forth timeline scrubbing. This was addressed, and the team can now endlessly fire the Idris’ turrets at targets without any issues. Another change allows them to adjust the weapon fire-rate, so cinematics can be independent of whatever design changes may come in the future. Some scenes were adjusted in the Shubin Foundry, Gainey base, and other places across the game. Camera passes for other key scenes were completed, including one involving the Vanduul. Priority planning was also finished for scenes scheduled to finish in the first quarter of 2019. Engineering The US Engine Team made improvements to crash handling, including various thread safety improvements to enable more robust handling of obscure crashes, and the addition of extra information into minidumps to allow the better debugging of fibers. In the UK, the Actor Feature Team started work on a new visual tool for setting up carriable items. Similar to the usables editor tool, it’s designed to lessen the time it takes to add new items to the game and make it easier to debug when testing picking, carrying, and inspecting. They also improved the vault and mantling mechanic by making it work better with different height obstacles and angles, automatically detecting whether to vault or mantle, and enabling mantle when crouched. Video comm calls can now be triggered by the track view editor, which allows video comms with NPC characters to be easily implemented within larger cinematic sequences. Because track view gives control over things like the camera, lighting, and particle effects, it offers much more control over how comms are presented. Another feature implemented for the track-view-triggered video comms was to allow pre-rendered video to be played in place of any animation. Primarily, this is used for development, so the team can see placeholder video while waiting for final character animations to be supplied, but it can also be used as part of the game if a complicated video would be prohibitive to render dynamically. On the AI side, the team adapted the ship’s AI to work with the New Flight Model and in the process took advantage of the changed handling to allow closer and more rewarding dogfighting. Environment Art Lighting work continued on the Javelin, with the first takes done for several of the states the ship cycles through as the story progresses. The blend shader is now fully up and running and rolled out to the team, giving them far more opportunity to texture large assets while maintaining pixel density. Two key areas seen within the campaign are now approaching greybox completion and are in the final weeks of ‘soft-gate’ review (playable and traversable spaces with close-to-final geometry). They’ll then roll into ‘hard-gate’ review once all feedback is accounted for. As mentioned before the holidays, significant effort has been put into destructible and deformable objects that will be placed around every area of the campaign. This work is currently being rolled out into a single ‘hero’ area to give the team a better idea of the overall costs involved and to help them establish a visual language understood by the player (e.g. allowing the player to easily recognize which items can be destroyed, deformed, or moved). Work continues on Archon Station. With its exterior ‘watertight’, the team is now tying up loose ends where sections of the exterior may intersect with the interior. While easy to hide things like this, the entire station is being constructed with correct interior and exterior dimensions as the ships are. Transport systems are being placed into Archon Station, with final art for each section currently being worked on. Graphics The Graphics Team’s SQ42 focus has been predominately on performance: This included fixing various multi-CPU issues which were limiting the performance by sometimes forcing a CPU to wait for the other due to the way they accessed specific areas of memory. The CPU-intensive technique used to clip volumetric fog to interior rooms has been completely replaced with a GPU compute shader which frees up further CPU time. The final improvement was to re-write how they merge drawcalls, with the aim to increase efficiency and support multi-threading. This will take load from the CPU used for the submission of GPU work and move it to the graphics driver. On top of the performance work, the team made various improvements to the gas cloud tech, such as unifying the gas cloud and standard lighting systems. They also finalized the signed-distance-field tech to allow the game code to efficiently query the shape of the gas cloud to simulate pressure, turbulence, and procedurally spawn natural-looking lightning. Level Design To streamline communication between the numerous feature teams, the Design Team has been split into four: One is responsible for the FPS-heavy chapters and will work closely with the actor and AI feature teams. A spaceflight team will work with the Ship AI and New Flight Model/QT team, and a dedicated social team will focus on all social AI, usables, and NPC activity. Lastly, the tech team will work alongside the gameplay story and cinematic teams to prepare motion-capture and conversations. This change has not altered the chapter responsibilities as each still has a design owner but has improved communication and allows for more-focused meetings and less wasted time. This new format is the best way to facilitate the new feature work coming in from sprint work that now has direct SQ42 use cases. Narrative The Narrative Team returned from the holidays and jumped straight into planning for the first quarter of the year. They also started work on a handful of additional lines and story points. The team is also excited to welcome a new producer to the group; not only will he help keep the team organized, he’ll also act as the point of contact for other teams to partner with. Props The SQ42 Props Team has been working towards finalizing item sub-sets while continuing to assist the Gameplay Story Team by creating props used in motion capture shoots and generally making assets animation-friendly. QA QA testers built tools to help test multiple aspects of expansive levels more effectively. The AI feature tester performed regular checks on the various AI in the SQ42 chapters, focused on Cinematic scenes and delivered additional debug info for any reported issues. System Design System Design worked with the SQ42 Mission Team to explore the specific needs of FPS AI for the campaign, and research was done on how to improve the overall accuracy of FPS AI. Gunship behavior was modified to enable ships to circle targets and bring the maximum number of turrets to bear. Fighter behaviors were also modified to get the most out of the New Flight Model. Tech Animation Tech Animation supported the various teams working on female animations with tool development, asset conversion, and batch processes. The team also created new head assets for mission givers while refining current ones. The team’s currently refining head assets at the foundation of player face customization. Additionally, they created a raft of new tools to help skinning assets. This is a ground-up rework of the rudimentary tools already available in the authoring packages and will provide greater speed and flexibility to the Technical Art Team in their daily workload. New weapon attachments are starting to make an appearance internally and have required the authoring of a new set of weapon systems and a tools base that can support attachments in the animation packages. Tech Art Tech Art made steps to finalize the implementation and pipeline of the new facial customization tech, which was previewed at CitizenCon 2018. They switched the system’s source data format from the CDF-based system (which was used during R&D) to the newer component-based loadout currently used throughout the game. This system allows players’ customized faces to be stored persistently in the database and the corresponding data packets to transfer efficiently over the network and be applied to the correct avatar at runtime. Likewise, it allows all NPCs (every shopkeeper, security guard, civilian and eventually mission givers) to have a unique face built internally by our designers. While R&D on the new ‘DNA’ system was done using male faces, the ‘face pool’ for female characters is being populated and is planned to come online at the same time. Tech Art also supported the Weapons Team with animation debugging, weapon rigging, in-engine setup, and debugging multiple render and resource compiler issues. They added a new system for weapons in Maya to allow animators to quickly attach different attachments, making it easier for them to author specific animations. They also updated the underlying metasystem in the weapon rigs to help the animators export weapons without double transforms on the root or magazine controls. Tech Art also supported the Cinematic Animation Team with various new tools and helped them debug several issues with animations in Maya and the engine. They continued to implement animations into Mannequin to make them available for the designers. They also updated the way cinematic animations are listed for different skeletons to support female players. Vehicle Features The Vehicle Team spent time with SQ42 Design to implement various Subsumption callbacks for mission-specific requirements. They also completed modifications to the vehicle targeting system so that external items, such as ship engines, can be specifically targeted. Improvements to ship combat systems continued via automated gimbals, HUD improvements to support Ping & Scanning, and the vehicle ‘XML to DataForge’ migration began. Also, a vehicle gimbal aim assist feature is nearing completion. VFX VFX starting to focus on quality-of-life enhancements to their toolset. For example, a simple interface change with the option to reset an emitter strength curve with the click of a button, instead of having to manually delete each key. Although seemingly a minor thing, it makes a huge difference to productivity in the long run. They continued to work on gas cloud tech, working even more closely with the art and design teams to make sure it provides them with everything they need to build something as incredible (and huge) as The Coil! This also included continued iteration on lightning effects, making use of the new lightning editor which speeds up the workflow compared to the previous XML set up. They also began their first pass on the Xi’an ballistic rocket launcher because the trickiest part of this weapon is getting the balance right between traditional ballistic effects and the overtly-sci-fi Xi’an effects. Weapons The Weapon Art Team worked on the Multi-Tool rework, Kastak Arms Ravager-212, and the level 2 and 3 upgrades for the Hurston Dynamics Laser Repeaters. They also made minor adjustments to iron sights on a handful of weapons to improve the sight picture and make them more user-friendly. They completed work on the Behring Sawbuck repeaters and kicked off work on Gemini S71 assault rifle and Kastak Arms Coda pistol. Covert Intel Conclusion WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH… View the full article
  2. Jump Point Now Available! Attention development subscribers: the February 2019 issue of Jump Point is now available in your subscription area. You’ll take a visit to Hurston, learn about the making of the Argo SRV and celebrate Stella Fortuna in an all-new Galactapedia. Plus an all-new lore feature covering the history of the Rust Society! Interested in becoming a development subscriber? You can learn more here. View the full article
  3. We sit down with Vehicle Pipeline Director John Crewe to answer your questions about the newly revealed Argo SRV. To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into http://twitch.tv/starcitizen. View the full article
  4. RSI

    Around the Verse

    In this week’s update, NPCs learn how not to run into things, 3.5 Network upgrades are discussed, and VFX shows us the latest in ice geysers and busted thrusters. View the full article
  5. //##trace.blocked##// 2949.02.14_04:46SET To: scire_facias From: Guvnoir Subject: Sec Sweep Scire, I’m in desperate need of your expertise. Since we last crossed paths, I’ve been laying low. Was even earning an honest day’s wage until an old connect tracked me down in Stanton. They offered me a security gig at a secluded “trading” outpost on Yela and the pay was too sweet to pass up. Since the outpost was remotely operated, they wanted me on site to make sure everyone behaved themselves. I knew from rep that they’d become serious players from the days when we’d been running together, but the straight life wasn’t exactly the most comfortable, so against my better judgement I took the gig. Everything went smoothly until an uptick in activity brought extra scrutiny to the place. Soon bounty hunters and other damn do-gooders started sitting on the place, looking to earn a few creds or make a name for themselves. All the action made it clear that the spot wasn’t much of a secret anymore. Of course, right around this time, I noticed the trading console they used for all their transactions was acting a bit strange. Sometimes it didn’t display the correct available inventory and other times it didn’t work at all. I tried a deep dive into the code to see what was wrong and discovered a backdoor. A skillfully placed one too. Even I missed it on my first sweep. I haven’t slept since I discovered it. My employer is demanding a full report soon, but considering their reputation for very imaginative punishments, I’m not telling them a damn thing except that their system is locked up tight. I’ve closed the breach but am still frantically pouring over the code convinced I’ve missed more. No hacker this knowledgeable leaves themselves only one way in. I need fresh eyes on this. Strange as this may sound, you’re the only one with the right skillset that I trust. If you can’t sniff out any further issues with the system, then I’ll finally feel confident that it’s secure. I can pay. Can’t offer you much but it’s enough to make it worth your while. Plus, while you’re poking around, I’m sure you can gather some info on the facility that an enlightened individual like yourself can put to good use. What do you say to helping an old acquaintance? -GN ________________________________ 2949.02.14_21:03SET To: Guvnoir From: scire_facias Re: Sec Sweep u shoulda stayed retired. whatever few piddling creds u can ofr and details on 1 damn facility arent worth my effort. plenty of other work on the table. happy to dish out some advice though – get the hell out of there while u can -scire_facias ________________________________ 2949.02.15_01:39SET To: scire_facias From: Guvnoir Re: Sec Sweep Oh, I already considered disappearing, but I can’t spend the rest of my life on the run. I’ve worked for some brutes before, but this group has reach. I can’t live like that. I already have trouble sleeping. My only option is to secure this system, play it cool for a bit, and then find a way to leave on good terms. The straight and narrow may pay piss poor but the chances of slowly being tortured to death are relatively slim in comparison. I get your point about info on one facility not being enough for you. Would details on my employer’s larger network of WiDoW facilities do the trick? Jumptown is only one of many such spots they’ve got spread across numerous systems. Before accepting the job, I snooped around to gauge the size of their operation. It was bigger than even I expected. Anyways, I’ve been compiling a dossier on their network as a bargaining chip in case something went wrong. Never expected to have to use it so soon. It’s a lot of leg work, and nothing you couldn’t do yourself, but there’s enough here to make it a valuable get for their rivals. That sweet enough for you? -GN ________________________________ 2949.02.15_18:47SET To: Guvnoir From: scire_facias Re: Sec Sweep send the file and access details and ill clean up the mess u made. -scire_facias ________________________________ 2949.02.16_18:39SET To: scire_facias From: Guvnoir Re: Sec Sweep I knew we were friends for a reason! Let me know when your clean up work is done so I can claim everything’s locked up tight. Once I’ve got some cover, I can begin to plan my exit strategy. -GN < attachment: LifeInsurancePolicy.ssp > ________________________________ 2949.02.18_05:10SET To: Guvnoir From: scire_facias Re: Sec Sweep done u were right u missed a few. tht was 1 crafty bastard accessing the system. ur employer has some powerful well funded enemies. good luck with phz 2. ull need it. -scire_facias ________________________________ 2949.02.19_03:59SET To: 671OitnO554401 From: scire_facias Subject: audit told u ur security was shit. ive hacked vending machines that put up more resistance. to make matters worse, only 1 administrator realized they’d been hacked. he removed 1 of the backdoors and ws smart enough to know there were more. id give him a gold star except he was so scared to report the problem that he went behind ur back looking for help. u r so lucky he came to me. as ull see in my report, his opening ofr was complete access to his system. minor prodding got him to turn over info on ur wider network of facilities. the cost of buying back his dossier from me is included in my report. if this isnt proof that u need me keeping ur systems secure then i dont know what is. -scire_facias < attachment: ubscrewdwoutme.ssp > View the full article
  6. Hello everyone, Valentine’s Day is but a sweet memory, yet after celebrating all weekend long with community-made Valentines and limited-time ship offers, you still have until 11:59pm PST today to pick up Anvil’s limited-edition Hornet F7C-M Heartseeker. The ‘Be my Valentines’ greeting card contest is over and we’d like to thank everyone who shared their love (and cards) across the ‘verse. It was tough as always to select the winning entries and we can only recommend checking out all the fantastic cards the community created over the past few days. Last week we sent out the latest information on the continuing development of Squadron 42, collected from each of our studios around the globe. Check your inbox if you haven’t read the report yet and make sure you’re subscribed to the SQ42 newsletter to ensure you don’t miss any future news. Also last week, a new ship from Argo Astronautics was unveiled. From tugging massive cargo containers to team-towing titans through the stars, the tenacity and rugged reliability of ARGO engineering are on full display in the SRV. If you’re looking for more information about the latest addition to the Argo Astronautics portfolio, head to the Spectrum Q&A thread and post your questions or vote for the ones you want to see answered. We’ll then send them over to the developers and publish the answers in a Comm-Link early next week. Now, let’s see what’s going on this week: Tuesday is lore day and features a post mysteriously named ‘DataCache’. You’ll have to wait until then for the cache to unlock. Pass the time by catching up with previously published lore posts. On Thursday, another episode of Around the Verse takes a look at the latest Star Citizen news. Friday sees a Roadmap update and the RSI Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. We also welcome a new episode of Reverse the Verse, which broadcasts LIVE on our Star Citizen Channel. We’ll update this post with more info about guests, talking points, and a link to the Spectrum question-gathering thread later this week. Furthermore, the latest issue of Jump Point, our monthly digital magazine, will be available to subscribers. See you in the ‘verse! Ulf Kuerschner Senior Community Manager *Image credit to HowSnow The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH, 2019 Valentine’s Day promotion ends TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19TH, 2019 Lore Post – DataCache (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20TH, 2019 - THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21ST, 2019 Around the Verse (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Vault Update FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22ND, 2019 Reverse the Verse LIVE (https://www.twitch.tv/StarCitizen) Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter Squadron 42 Monthly Report Comm-link(Repost) Jump Point – February Issue Community MVP: February 18th, 2019 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it's fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it here. The highlighted content creator will be awarded an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our "MVP section of the Hub":https://robertsspaceindustries.com/community/mvp-posts. Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! Stanton System Facility Directory by Delta_Lima This directory of facilities in the Stanton System, including information on obstructions, hazards, and services available is brought to you by Delta_Lima! Check it out on the Community Hub. View the full article
  7. We sit down with guests from the audio team working on Star Citizen and Squadron 42, discussing various aspects from music to SFX to mixing and more. To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into http://twitch.tv/starcitizen. View the full article
  8. RSI

    Around the Verse

    Delve into the exciting world of Asset Optimization, get stuck in ArcCorp traffic, and meet the latest Star Citizen ship in this week’s update. View the full article
  9. RSI

    The ARGO SRV

    View the full article
  10. Happy Valentine's Day Blazing Hearts and Burning Passion From Aberdeen to Port Olisar, love is in the air (and the vacuum of space) and we want you to share it however you see fit. Whether you create an original Valentine and send it to your loved ones or blast them out of the sky, if it comes from the heart (or Heartseeker), it’s a beautiful thing. Love Letters from the Void Share the Love Last week, we invited the community to design their own Star Citizen Valentine. Check out the charming results and share your love with that special someone, no matter how many star systems separate you. View the Spectrum post here. From Anvil With Love Hearts Afire Rekindle your love affair with space combat in Anvil’s limited-edition Hornet F7C-M Heartseeker. Blast your enemies halfway across the universe with its quartet of imposing Behring laser cannons. Isn’t it romantic? For more details visit the complete Hornet F7C-M Heartseeker Ship Page If dogfights don’t get you in the mood for love, grab your significant other and tour the galaxy in comfort and style in Origin’s starship built for two, the 85X. Or maybe you’re looking for a more down-to-earth relationship. In that case, race at the speed of love in a cherry red Cyclone RC. Disclaimer We offer pledge ships to help fund Star Citizen’s development. The funding received from events such as this allows us to include deeper features in the Star Citizen world. These ships will be obtainable through play in the final universe and are not required to start the game. View the full article
  11. This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 5.1. Exhausted yet intensely focused pilots speed their ships towards a checkpoint. Once there, their flight logs receive the coordinates for the next destination. The pilots check their scans and pick a route before blasting off into the blackness of space. For the Xi’an pilots who step up to the challenge of the Koa e Ko’ia, this is their life for the next 200-250 hours. The Koa e Ko’ia is an epic endurance race that’s wildly popular among the Xi’an. Although the race has been contested in various systems across the Xi’an Empire for centuries, it only recently came to Human attention when competitors appeared in the former Perry Line system of Hadur. One day, in 2881, previously open sectors of the system were suddenly off limits, and remained that way for the next week and a half (Standard Time). Famed Terra Gazette travel journalist Jan Sharrock happened to be in-system at that time. After being diverted off her intended course, she landed at a nearby space station to find groups of Xi’an gathered around wallscreens in rapt attention. She had to find out why. Sharrock wrote, “I’d gone up to a shop owner to buy a Surluk, but he was more interested in the serene images of Xi’an pilots and their ships than serving me a drink. When I asked what he was watching, he mumbled a Xi’an word I was unfamiliar with, but which roughly translates to ‘holy, distance race’.” Sharrock spent the following days on the space station. She learned everything she could about the Koa e Ko’ia, interviewed observers, and witnessed an incredible finish that had three racers speeding toward one last checkpoint as time expired. The subsequent articles produced from Sharrock’s writings generated great interest from xenophiles and ship enthusiasts who were intrigued by the extreme length of the race. Her travelogues lead to a sharp spike in Human visitors to the Hadur system, fueled by their interest in learning more about the Koa e Ko’ia. Despite not hosting the sporting endurance event since 2881, Hadur is still seen by Humanity as the home of the race. Canny Xi’an vendors play into this perception by keeping their store shelves stocked with Koa e Ko’ia trinkets. MISC, who has a special lend-lease agreement with the Xi’an, has persistently advocated bringing the race back to Hadur to capitalize on Human interest. Following years of debate, the Xi’an government decided to return the race to Hadur in 2947 and even established a special division specifically for Humans to compete in. The Spiritual Sport The basics of the Koa e Ko’ia are easy to understand. Though lengthy, the race is contained to one system. A number of Xi’an-controlled systems are certified to host the race, but the only one Humanity has access to is Hadur. Before each race, various checkpoints and destinations are chosen by a governing body within the Xi’an government. Participants do not know the specifics of the course until the race begins. Once under way, racers receive the coordinates of the first checkpoint. Only when that checkpoint is reached do they receive the coordinates for the next one, and so on. The racer who reaches the most checkpoints at the end of the set period, which can vary anywhere between 200-250 standard Earth hours, is named the winner. If two or more ships pass the same number of checkpoints, it triggers tie-breaker conditions too lengthy and detailed to succinctly describe here. When racers receive the coordinates for the next checkpoint they are also provided with the location of waystations located between the two. Pilots must coordinate with their crews about when and where to meet to rest, repair, and refuel. This communication is key and more complicated than most expect, since teams must plan with enough flexibility to allow the crew time to reach the proper waystation and prepare for the racer’s landing. Unprepared pit crews have been the downfall of more than one racer over the race’s history. At its heart, the Koa e Ko’ia is an endurance test for both a ship and its pilot. The race’s extraordinary length tests the concentration and fortitude of the pilots. As ectotherms, the Xi’an can lower their metabolism while inactive to reduce their need for sustenance. Yet, doing so while achieving rapid focus in high-stress situations requires intense training and carries a toll both mentally and physically. Xi’an racers train to overcome these roadblocks, and if done successfully, the lowered metabolism, combined with intense concentration, leads to a euphoric state that has been described as deeply spiritual. Winners of the Koa e Ko’ia are believed to have transcended into an advanced spiritual state to achieve their victory and are treated as cultural celebrities thereafter. The race also tests the speed, agility, and reliability of the participating ships by incorporating unique features of each system in which it takes place. For Hadur, this included a number of checkpoints hidden within the system’s asteroid belt that require careful and precise navigation to reach, and one located on the sunward side of the tidally-locked Hadur I, testing the ship’s ability to handle extreme temperatures. The race must also include both space and atmospheric flight. According to race experts, this is where Hadur’s 2947 Koa e Ko’ia course is unique. Its atmospheric flight occurs somewhere over Hadur II and Hadur III, which are both being terraformed. The uncertain atmospheric conditions make picking an entry point extremely important, as flying into a high-density pocket not only increases drag on the ship but could even damage it. The Human Factor Following decades of increased Human interest, the Xi’an decided to allow other species to participate in Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia. The process to implement this change took even longer, as the race’s extensive rule book had to be modified to accommodate the many differences between species. According to Daniel Gordon, who hopes to qualify with his Mustang Beta, “the race’s real endurance test is getting through the rule book.” Until race officials understand how the Human body reacts to the stresses of the race, independent medical examiners will be assigned to each Human team to track the pilot’s vital signs. If the medical examiners determine the pilot’s health or safety is in danger, they will have the authority to force them to stop at the nearest waystation for further evaluation and could even remove them from the race. After years of advocating for the race’s return to Hadur, MISC will be one of the major sponsors of the system’s 2947 Koa e Ko’ia. MISC spokesperson Federica Zabel believes the race will be another step towards improved Human and Xi’an relations. “The Koa e Ko’ia represents the perfect opportunity to bring the Xi’an and UEE Empires closer together,” Zabel said at the press conference announcing the race. “We believe our shared love of pushing finely-crafted and tuned spaceships to the extreme can be a gateway for both species to better understand each other.” It’s also bound to bring MISC a surge of publicity. According to reports, MISC has spent years training and funding teams exclusively for this race. One of those pilots, Brian Blitz, claims that certain aspects of the MISC Razor were even designed with the Koa e Ko’ia in mind. “The more I’ve trained for the race, the more a lot of these design choices just make sense. From the layout of the cockpit to the ease of being able to swap out components, I fully believe the design of this ship already gives me a leg up.” MISC appears determined to ensure that a Razor places first in the Human division of Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia. Whether or not MISC gets the outcome it wants, of course, is yet to be determined. Regardless of the winner, if the race proves to be a success, there are rumors the Xi’an would consider making Hadur’s Koa e Ko’ia a regular event. That outcome would be a victory for race fans across the galaxy. View the full article
  12. Hello everyone, Last week we fired off the first commercial contest of 2019, highlighting the rough and rugged Tumbril Cyclone series. We’re currently in the process of selecting the winners and will post an announcement very soon. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter. The Roadmap was updated last Friday, now showing a look at what’s coming to the Persistent Universe throughout 2019. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can do so here. Along with the updated Roadmap we also released our Star Citizen Monthly Report, covering progress the teams made in December and January. As we’re approaching Valentine’s Day (only 3 more days, everyone!), we’ll celebrate with a “Be My Valentine” Card Contest. Share the love and design your own Star Citizen Valentine for a chance to win a ship that shoots straight for your heart. All the juicy details can be found on Spectrum here. Now, let’s see what’s going on this week: Monday: Share your love with that special someone, no matter how many star systems may separate you. Take part in our “Be My Valentine” Card Contest. Also on Monday, we want your feedback and suggestions for the merchandise you’d like to see hit our store later this year. Head over to Spectrum and join the discussion here. Tuesday is lore day and features a Portfolio post focused on Koa e Ko’ia, a Xi’An Endurance Race that can take anywhere between 200-250 standard Earth hours. On Wednesday we’ll announce the winners of the Tumbril Cyclone Commercial Contest. On Thursday another episode of Around the Verse will take a look at the latest Star Citizen news. Friday will see a Roadmap update and the RSI Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. We’ll also welcome a new episode of Reverse the Verse, which will broadcast LIVE on our Star Citizen Channel. Keep an eye on Spectrum for the question gathering thread, we’ll post later this week. Finally, if you enjoyed the Star Citizen Monthly Report last week, buckle in for the Squadron 42 Monthly Report, coming to you this Friday. See you in the ‘verse! Ulf Kuerschner Senior Community Manager *Image credit to Stwiky The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH, 2019 “Be My Valentine” Card Contest Merchandise Spectrum Feedback Thread TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 12TH, 2019 Lore Post – Portfolio: Koa e Ko’ia (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13TH, 2019 Tumbril Cyclone Commercial Contest – Winners Announcement Subscriber Newsletter THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14TH, 2019 Around the Verse (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15TH, 2019 Squadron 42 Monthly Report Reverse the Verse LIVE (https://www.twitch.tv/StarCitizen) Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter Vault Update Community MVP: February 11th, 2019 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it's fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it here. The highlighted content creator will be awarded an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our "MVP section of the Hub":https://robertsspaceindustries.com/community/mvp-posts. Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! 277 Shades of Star Citizen by Jaddow Jaddow showcases several locations, ships, and suits in this video consisting of more than 300 single clips. Enjoy this 4:06 minute trip across the ‘verse! Watch the full video on the Community Hub. View the full article
  13. February 2949 Subscriber Flair Subscribers Centurions will receive the Rust Society Venture Helmet. The RSI’s Venture helmet is built from impact-resistant composites and designed to weather the harshest of environments. It also features an anti-scuff laminate face-plate that offers an unparalleled upward field of view, providing unobstructed sight lines to whatever wonders you discover. The Rust Society edition adds a red and tan color scheme so you look good while working hard. Imperator Subscribers Imperator-level subscribers get the RSI Beacon Helmet in addition to the Venture edition. RSI’s Horizon helmet is a durable and robust environmental enclosed work helmet. The single sheet laminate dome gives you an extremely wide field of view. A pair of side-mounted LED light modules provide additional illumination to make sure you can see what you’re doing. The Rust Society edition celebrates blue-collar workers with an exclusive red and tan coloration that hides dirt and wear and tear well. If you’re an active subscriber, these items will be added to your account on February 18th. If you aren’t a subscriber yet but want to don these helmets, make sure you subscribe no later than February 17th. More information about subscriptions can be found here View the full article
  14. The first Persistent Universe monthly report of the year details all the work done by the Star Citizen team throughout December and January. While the devs and studio teams took a break for the holidays, the early winter months saw a ton of tasks completed, progress made, and new ideas seeded. Star Citizen Monthly Report: December 2018 - January 2019 AI The AI Team put effort into stability and optimization for the recent alpha releases and patches. AI gunships gained new tactical options, including the introduction of a new behavior that allows them to circle enemies and use their turrets to attack from a constant distance. Designers can easily modify this behavior to change things like the optimal attack range and when to disengage the target. The ‘fly-by’ and ‘breakaway’ tactics were also amended to make better use of the predicted hit position and allow ships to better evaluate the environment to determine the optimal direction for evasion. An ongoing focus for the team is converting all new movement logics to utilize the new Intelligent Flight Control System in preparation for its upcoming release. For human combat, the team worked to improve the behaviors released in Alpha 3.4, making sure basic structures were in place to enable AI to decide which cover location to use, when to shoot, and when to relocate. The cover selection has been expanded to order the query based on the amount of protection it gives when multiple targets are taken into account. They also implemented an improved way to debug behaviors and can now visualize the debug tree on multiple characters at the same time as well as use the Subsumption debug draw in a server/client environment. Time was spent on the perception system, which was expanded to handle damage stimuli; AI characters now have proper awareness of damage, so they know the exact location of the source and will behave accordingly, tracking if a specific enemy they lost sight of is the source of damage and updating the knowledge they have about them. Progress was made on the Usable Builder, which allows the team to easily visualize usables, edit their properties, and test the different use channels. For the mission system, they exposed several new functionalities to the designers, such as a variety of task nodes, new variable types, and new core functionalities. A ‘group’ variable was introduced that can automatically be filled up when spawning AI characters to let designers track the dynamic elements they’re interested in. Currently, the AI Team is implementing global callbacks to help the designers track environmental events specific to the data they’re interested in without the need to explicitly create variables for each entity. Animation The PU Animation Team spent the pre-holiday period finalizing mission givers, including Constantine Hurston and Tecia Pacheco, and are currently working on ship dealers to give players a salesman-like experience when buying vehicles in-game. They’re also continuing to actualize the emotes shot at CitizenCon. Audio The team worked hard to improve the ship audio experience in-line with the new flight model, which included implementing improvements to thrusters, powerplants, and the overall sound mix. They’re also integrating greater levels of complexity via new components, including ship vibration and environmental feedback variants, that deliver greater feedback from turbulence, impact, and atmospheric flight. Physicalized props and physical objects received audio support recently to ensure they have appropriate impact, role, slide, and topple sound effects. A recent addition to this is the team’s work on implied contents for carriable items, such as crates. The Foley system is continually being iterated on, with the team improving the footstep and cloth systems in relation to various contexts, e.g. material/surface types and pressurized/unpressurized environments. The sounds will all vary for the upcoming female player character, too. Working closely with the PU music composer, Pedro Camacho, the team has been laying the groundwork for various upcoming locations, including ArcCorp and Area 18. This includes creative conversations with the Narrative, Art, and the wider Audio Team to establish appropriate sound pallets, instrumentation, styles, and motifs. The Audio Code Team drove significant progress on the new CIG Audio System, which will hugely improve the audio implementation pipelines and consolidate functionality into a single tool with much wider scope and flexibility. In other news, the Audio Department is hiring! They are looking to fill two sound design and one dialog specialist positions. This is in line with the team’s planned expansion and all talented audio professionals are encouraged to apply. Backend Services Backend Services completed a large portion of the foundation work for the new diffusion backend architecture. This includes the continued break-up of the general instance manager into smaller scalable services. The dedicated game server needs to communicate properly with the new services, so hooks and proper calls have been set up between them. Support was also given to the Alpha 3.4 release and subsequent smaller releases to ensure communication on the backend was as efficient as possible. Plans were laid out in January for the new diffusion network and work was done to ensure the services scripting language continues to function efficiently. Finally for Backend Services, a handful of alterations were made to the various new services and existing databases for increased efficiency. Character Art Character Art brought the Shipjacker Armor to players along with the holiday-themed Shipjacker skull helmet. They also set out to unify all armors and undersuits for female playable characters and finalized the concept for mission-giver Tecia ‘Twitch’ Pacheco. After a nice holiday break, the team started on tasks for the upcoming DNA feature. For this, the team needed to convert, mark-up, and unify all head assets to work with the male and female protos, including the unification of all Data Forge assets. DNA is a major feature that affects the entire facial setup and pipeline for characters in Star Citizen. This significant feature touches a lot of teams, and through a lot of dedicated collaborative work, is progressing very well. The teams are currently updating mesh formats to support the data sets required, wrapping up and fixing any bugs relating to GPU skinning, and updating all the attachments in the game with the mark-up required for DNA compatibility. The system has begun to roll out in the PU on NPC characters and is already yielding performance wins. Lots of cooperation and iteration between all DNA teams has resulted in a fun and intuitive interface that allows the player to easily create their own face for their player character. The DNA feature is on track to meet its scheduled release. Finally, The team is also concepting new mission givers and outfits to bring more life to the Persistent Universe. Community The Community Team held two holiday-themed competitions: One invited Citizens to create greetings cards to express their love and gratitude and wish each other happy holidays. The other put the festive helmet and cargo to good use by asking everyone to show how they celebrate the holidays in the ‘verse. The new Star Citizen Fankit was released that offers a wealth of free assets along with a style guide to help content creators use them at their best. Looking for wallpapers, manufacturer logos, music, and more? Download the kit and check out the FAQ answering all the questions about what a content creator can and can’t do with official Star Citizen assets. In January, the team celebrated Australia Day with a screenshot contest that had everyone showing off their best flight formations in the Gladius Valiant (which was made available to all backers for the occasion). They also kicked off another contest highlighting Tumbril’s rough and rugged Cyclone series that challenged content creators to take their filmmaking skills off-road. A few of the Community Team members spent a weekend exploring PAX South and attended the annual Bar Citizen event on the River Walk. Selfies were taken, stories shared, and friendships made. Have you checked out your hangar lately? The ‘One Empire Anniversary Coin’ was distributed to all backers who pledged before to the $200 million milestone. Lastly, the Daymar Rally took place on January 27th, with three different divisions (Rover, Buggy, and Bike) battling it out for glory and rewards. Everyone involved should feel very proud of themselves, as seeing the filthiest race in the ‘verse come together was an incredible experience for everyone. Well done! Design The Economy Features Team focused on adding new weapons to the various shops around the ‘verse. Once complete, shop inventories were set up for all the new locations and various bugs were squashed. Tweaks to missions and the overall economy were also made to move the game closer to the end economic goals of the team. In January, testing began on a new formula that dynamically alters certain commodity parameters within the wider economy. A new approach is also being taken towards vehicle components to help create interesting choices for players when in shops – even if they have enough money to buy anything they want. Polish was added to various NPCs throughout the ‘verse, with the aim to make them as realistic and believable as possible. The design was complete for a new nav marker ruleset that makes how and when players see destination markers more intuitive. Rulesets were also created to add functionality to the Quantum Travel and Service Beacon systems to give players more options when traveling in a party and choosing a location for service beacon transport respectively. DevOps DevOps broke their previous record of the number of internal builds published to the PTU and live service. “One of the most satisfying things for the team is seeing the results of our work. The Alpha 3.4 publish was one of those times we really felt proud.” 2018 was the first year that scaling automation was used on the live service, which allows the servers to keep up with demand when needed but cut back as necessary. The new system exceeded all expectations and led to one of the smoothest holiday seasons ever. Build Operations was hard at work developing new systems to support a major pipeline upgrade to the overall game development process and continues to build new systems and improve on old ones. Engineering The Engine Team supported the Alpha 3.4 release and subsequent patches with general assistance, profiling, optimization, and bug fixes. For compute skinning, they made tangent reconstruction optimizations for character faces, data optimizations and compression to lower bandwidth requirements, separated static and dynamic GPU data, and moved bone-remapping to the GPU (to save CPU memory and provide more flexibility). Work began on HDR color grading and output on supported displays, while splat map support for planet terrain was added, as was an improved film grain with unified dithering. The development of planetary ground fog began along with significant improvements to temporal sample anti-aliasing (TSAA). The physics engineers enabled joint limits on driven ragdolls and fixed instability caused by a threshold in the solver. They also made the first steps in exposing the spatial grid structure for walking and exploring and added physics support for planetary oceans. Improvements were made to crash handling, including various thread-safety improvements to enable more robust handling of obscure crashes, and the addition of extra information into minidumps to allow for better debugging of fibres. Environment Art Winter saw work begin on the Environment Art Team’s next big target: microTech and its landing zone, New Babbage. In preparation, designs were trialled for the ‘Hi-Tech’ common elements, which include habs, garages, and hangars in an all-new architectural style. These new sets will help the team build New Babbage and ensure the visual style feels fresh and different. Recent improvements to the organics shaders and pipeline will improve the look of geology and planets. This update has been a long time in the making and the team is looking forward to giving all planet assets a visual upgrade. The team is currently moving from whitebox towards release for both the planet ArcCorp and its main landing zone, Area 18. Some necessary changes have been made to Area 18’s original layout, mainly for performance reasons but also to improve the general layout and city ‘feel’. “The task of creating a planet-wide city that players can circumnavigate which also blends well into the major landing zone remains a constant challenge, but one that’s bearing impressive fruit. Progress has been good on improvements to the believability and read of ArcCorp as a city, with the space taking a huge visual step forward from when it was last seen.” Gameplay Feature Like many others, the Gameplay Feature Team put in a concentrated effort to fix as many bugs as possible for the Alpha 3.4 release. Specifically, they overcame issues with FoIP & VoIP, Comms, and the Group System. They also supported the US Vehicle Feature Team with their UI-needs for item sub-targeting and the ongoing turret improvements. The team kicked off 2019 supporting patches for Alpha 3.4.0 before moving straight into feature work for 3.5, including the UI for DNA face customization, continued improvements to Comms video streaming, and a refactor of shop population. Graphics The Graphics Team’s focus has been on performance and memory saving: The performance gains mainly came from improvements to shadow culling and optimization to video comms, especially on lower-spec machines (though there are some quality issues still to address). The largest memory saving came from fixing a particularly nasty bug in the mesh streaming code which could result in all levels-of-detail loading for a mesh rather than just the ones needed. Other savings came from increasing the sharing textures used by various effects and improvements to the logic in which textures should be streamed in (interestingly, the game can now run with as little as 400mb of textures!). On top of this, the team resurrected the water volume tech and made it compatible with the zone system so it can be used on planets, space stations, and ships. Level Design Level Design finished the current iteration of Lorville’s Central Business District (CBD) and added it to the city. They are now looking into the trainlines that connect it to Teasa spaceport. However, the majority of the team is currently focussing on ArcCorp and Area18, with the hangar, shop, vendor, spaceport, and overall layout now finalized. They also gave the planet and its moons a necessary design setup, began an investigation into quantum traveling AI, and introduced a variety of new narcotics during the prototyping of a new mission from ‘Twitch’ Pacheco. Lighting The Lighting Team focused on finishing the CBD and supported the addition of mission-giver Klim to Levski for the Alpha 3.4.0 release. They also looked at the small and medium-sized common elements for the player hangars and created different lighting variations for the Rest Stop, Lorville, and upcoming Area 18 styles. They’re currently fleshing out the development tools by creating an asset zoo for all current ‘utilitarian-style’ lighting fixtures in use throughout the PU to help them quickly and efficiently add lighting to new locations. Narrative The Narrative Team returned from the holidays to tackle the Alpha 3.5 update, including developing ideas for the branding of street and food stalls in Area 18 and outlining the NPC archetypes needed to populate the city and mission content. The team is also excited to welcome a new producer to the group; not only will he help keep the team organized, he’ll act as the point of contact for the other teams to make requests through. Player Relations Player Relations busily wrapped up the Alpha 3.4 publishes along with all of the work created over the holiday period. They teamed up with the Evocati for several builds to make sure everything was properly tested and completed several rounds of PTU publishing and testing. Progress was also made on an internal quality-of-life feedback report that comes straight from backers’ experiences. “As always, we can’t thank our volunteers enough for the effort they put into helping us build this game (especially our wonderful Avocados!).” Planning has already begun for the upcoming Alpha 3.5 release – particularly the testing of the new flight model. Props From the small dressing items on Constantine’s desk to the giant Hurston statue, Props mainly spent December finishing up Lorville’s CBD. New mission props were created that focused on the illegal drug trade and surface relay kit. Finally, for December, ideas were floated for cockpit flair and work began on ship sub-items. In January, some of the team moved onto looking at the ship items themselves, initially taking stock of where they’re up to and looking at how they can integrate sub-items into interiors. The majority of the team have now shifted onto the new Area 18 landing zone and are looking into white-boxing props and supplying basic block outs so other teams can start to build and dress the level. QA QA tackled some of the more difficult-to-reproduce issues in the run-up to the Alpha 3.4 release. Dedicated feature testers for both AI and the Gameplay Feature Teams continued to test their respective areas (combat AI, ship AI, non-combat AI, and transit system) via sanity and smoke tests along with standard testing and regression. QA now provide dedicated support to the Locations Team to ensure that current and new locations are set up and working as expected by Art and Design. A few notable requests involved testing fixes for server deadlock and various changes to the physics of jumping and going down stairs. Changes to the Entity IDs in Track View were tested in the editor to make sure they were seamless and bug-free. A new restricted area for ground vehicles was also added to Lorville, which was thoroughly tested by both the German and UK teams. Further investigation was made into the issue of Ship AI idling during mercenary and Emergency Communication Network (ECN) missions to ascertain whether it was AI or network related. The team could only reproduce it during ship AI missions in the live environment and encountered something close to it during a 20-player playtest. The one consistent factor was that it only seemed to occur when performance took a dip. So, it was deemed not an AI issue and will be further investigated by the Network Team. On the publishing side, QA tested the Alpha 3.4 builds before they reached the Evocati and Live service. In January, they worked through the 3.4.# fixes. Recently, attention turned to preparing for Alpha 3.5. The holiday period saw four new testers join the extended QA family, too. Ships The UK Ship Team continued developments of the Origin 890 Jump, with further greybox work done on the atrium, master suite, guest suites, and engineering deck. They also refined the exterior hull styling to try and move a few areas closer to the original concept and make the overall ship less ‘cartoon-looking’. Everyone’s favorite pathfinder, the Anvil Carrack, has progressed since it was last seen. It’s currently in greybox, with the team tackling the feedback generated from the discussions on RTV, particularly the controversial landing gear changes and bridge layout. Finally, the team made steady progress with the updates to the Aegis Vanguard in preparation for the Harbinger and Sentinel, with focus primarily on interior adjustments along with some quality-of-life fixes for those aboard. Greybox is progressing nicely, so the team will be moving onto the exterior and tackling feedback points to ensure the base Warden model is properly prepared to accommodate the variants. Ship Art Ship Art is currently hard at work to bring the new 300i series to life. They’re in the process of getting the damage and customization pass complete, finishing up detail work on various parts, and finalizing the materials. Alongside the 300i, they’re chugging away on the Defender; the first in-game asset from the mysterious Banu alien race. Extra care was taken to ensure the Defender represents the overall Banu design aesthetic and can be built on in the future. The exterior is currently going through the greybox modeling process and is nearly complete. Afterwards, it moves to interior greybox modeling. System Design The System Design Team investigated how to improve the FPS AI experience and social AI was introduced to the Lorville CBD. Gunships piloted by AI now circle their targets and orient themselves to maximize their firepower, while fighter AI was updated to take full advantage of the new flight model. Tech Art Tech Art made steps to finalize the implementation and pipeline of the new facial customization tech, which was previewed at CitizenCon 2018. They switched the system’s source data format from the CDF-based system (which was used during R&D) to the newer component-based loadout currently used throughout the game. This system allows players’ customized faces to be stored persistently in the database and the corresponding data packets to transfer efficiently over the network and be applied to the correct avatar at runtime. Likewise, it allows all key NPCs (every shopkeeper, security guard, civilian, and eventually mission giver) to have a unique face built internally by the designers. While R&D on the DNA system was done using male faces, the face pool for female characters is being populated and is planned to come online at the same time. Tech Art also supported the Weapons Team with animation debugging, weapon rigging, in-engine setup, and debugging multiple render and resource compiler issues. They added a new system for weapons in Maya to allow animators to quickly attach different attachments, making it easier for them to author specific animations. They also updated the underlying metasystem in the weapon rigs to enable animators to export weapons without double transforms on the root or magazine controls. Turbulent Turbulent supported the release of the 2018 holiday promotion, featuring a new giftable pledge called ‘For Your Friends’. This new pledge allows a customizable message to be sent along with the gift, making it ideal for friends and family. The holiday promotion also featured screenshot and greeting card contests. The team supported the availability of the Alpha 3.4 flyable ships on the website, including the Anvil Hawk, Origin 600i Touring, MISC Freelancer series, and the MISC Reliant Kore. The Cloud Imperium Games corporate website was released in December. Its slick new look is a much better representation of the company’s values and mission and properly communicates the vision behind Star Citizen. The ‘Join Us’ section has details of each location and over 100 job postings across 9 different categories, so see if there’s something to suit you at your nearest studio! Updates are continually being made to the latest news and job postings sections. Long overdue, the website navigation was improved with a new and improved platform bar and footer. Additional efforts went into creating the bar as a component to make future updates to the site easier. The Starmap is now accessible via the Apps menu to make it easier to find too! There were major updates to the Squadron 42 Roadmap, which is now tied into the internal project management tool, Jira. A new chapter design was introduced, showing the development progress as phases and chapters, while descriptions for each expose the details of what it actually takes to build the game. Turbulent supported the release of the Gladius Valiant Free-Fly promotion in celebration of Australia Day. A screenshot contest was available with prizes to be won. A customizable preference feature was added to the Group, Lobby, and Voice services to allow custom properties to be set for each user with each respective entity. The Voice service can start a call within a channel, inviting all those allowed to join. The new mobiGlas service will allow single endpoints that will appropriately gather the information from the Group, Lobby, and Voice service with a single call. Options can be passed that will select the type of information returned. The error catching software, Sentry, has also been added to each service to allow previously-uncaught errors to be tracked and reported to the appropriate Sentry project. UI During December and January, UI supported the Environment Team with in-fiction advertisements and branding for ArcCorp. They implemented new features on the tech-side to enable the designers to create ‘user variables’, which are used internally but can still persist on the entity the UI is bound to. For example, a designer may want to capture game-data values and store them internally within the UI to gain reference to previous values when the data changes. This functionality fulfills certain presentational needs that contribute to improving the user-experience. Another interesting implication is that, because they are sent across the network, they open up the potential for players to see each other’s UI state (what app they’re currently on, which particular item in a list they’ve highlighted, etc.). The team also implemented a new node allowing the ability to set up switch logic on a variable (as well as a widget) to dynamically load images on the fly. Together, these features enable the designers to build out a fully-functioning in-world weapon UI screen with an ammo counter, charge levels, and fire mode states. Vehicle Features To help ensure that Alpha 3.4 was released in December, the team spent a lot of time supporting the release (and subsequent patches) by fixing bugs, including turret, vehicle, and crash problems. The team also completed modifications to the vehicle targeting system so that external items, such as ship engines, can be specifically targeted. Improvements to ship combat systems continued via automated gimbals, HUD changes to support Ping & Scanning, and the vehicle ‘XML to DataForge’ migration began. Wrapping up January, a vehicle gimbal aim-assist feature is on its way to completion. Vehicle Content The Vehicle Content Team’s 2018 wrapped up with the launch of the Anvil Hawk and improvements to the Reliant Kore, which entailed a rework of the cargo section, ramp, and landing gear. A number of vehicle bugs were also fixed for the 3.4 release. Additionally, the team worked on the three Reliant variants for Alpha 3.5, while the designers have been working with the ship artists in Austin on the Origin 300 series rework. VFX For much of December, the VFX Team focused heavily on polish and optimization for the Alpha 3.4 release. In particular, significant effort was put into making sure Hurston and Lorville’s environmental effects were optimized while remaining as high-quality as possible. In early January, they re-evaluated their sprint planning practices and implemented some simple production-led changes to improve overall workflow. Following on from that, they began R&D work on the Tachyon cannon; a weapon type with faster-than-light projectiles. They began implementing thruster damage effects in keeping with the new flight model planned for Alpha 3.5 and began R&D on how to use particle effects to help make Area 18’s volumetrics more visually interesting. They also worked on effects for the new Kahix rocket launcher – a handheld anti-vehicle rocket launcher with a unique tech style. New tools were created within Houdini to help design various assets. This includes a new, more accurate way to generate signed distance fields (SDF) on the surface of the gas cloud. These SDFs are used as an arbitrary surface that enable the ability to spawn and manipulate effects with, such as lightning crawling along the surface. Weapons The Weapon Art Team worked on the Multi-Tool rework, Kastak Arms Ravager-212, and the level two and three upgrades for the Hurston Dynamics Laser Repeaters. They also made minor adjustments to the iron sights on a handful of weapons to improve the sight picture and to make them more user-friendly when no optics are attached. Conclusion WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH… View the full article
  15. We sit down with Chief Development Officer Erin Roberts, followed by story time with the Star Citizen Lore team. To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into http://twitch.tv/starcitizen. View the full article

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