Closed Captioning provided by the Imperial
News Network. Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hey everybody, welcome
to season three, episode three of Around the ‘Verse. I’m Sandi Gardiner, VP of Marketing. Chris Roberts (CR): And I’m Chris Roberts,
CEO and Project Director of Star Citizen and Squadron 42. So on this week’s news on the Star Citizen
Alpha 2.5 front, we just opened up the early PTU to wider groups so we can get a little
more data on the bugs that require a larger group of players to show up regularly. It’s one the big advantages of having you
guys out there helping us test this thing. Be on the watch for another wider PTU push
later today or tomorrow with the hope of going live next week. So this week’s Around the ‘Verse, it’s
Austin’s to show us what they’ve been working on. Headed by John Erskine who’s our Austin
Studio Manager and VP of Online Operations. Austin’s the centre of our online publishing
operations, IT, community support and it’s the headquarters of our global test crew. As you probably know, Austin’s dev side
is headed by Tony Zurovec who’s been spending a lot of his time in all four of our studios
this year working closely with the teams around the world to bring the PU to life which we’re
working very hard on. So let’s kick it over to Jake Ross over in
Austin for the Austin Studio Report Studio Update Jake Ross (JR): Hey guys Jake Ross here, Producer
of the Austin studio and here with you this week to talk a little bit about what’s going
on here in Austin. We’ve got a few updates for you this week
that hopefully you guys haven’t really seen before, something new. So I want to first hand it off to David Swofford,
our Director of Public Relations to talk a little bit about what’s going on in his
world as we approach Gamescom. David Swofford (DS): I thought I’d tell
everybody a little bit what I do in world of PR for CIG. I do manage the public relations, the media
relations for the company all over the globe from all of North America, Asia, also a lot
of Europe and Germany and the U.K., very important markets including several others there in
Europe, but if you see things like for instance this Edge magazine cover. You may have remembered that one, the Edge
from the U.K. and also a more recent cover, this one with Mark Hamill on the cover of
GameStar magazine in Germany. These are the sorts of things I’m responsible
for. I deal a lot with the media, they want pictures,
they want interviews, I facilitate that. Sometimes it involves a trip to one of our
studios. We set things up with all of our executives
with Chris and Erin and so forth and others, and it all comes together and ends up in something
like this. More recently, I mean very recently we have
a cover on PCGames magazine in Germany and infact that particular magazine is sort of
a preview of what we’ll be showing at Gamescom to the press and also to our backers. So if you’re in Germany and you see that
on a newsstand, pick it up and read it, I think you’ll enjoy it. In terms of Gamescom and what we do, there
are meetings that we set up with the press and Chris and Chris details some of the cool
technology that we’re showing and so they enjoy that and write about it and get their
pictures and their interviews and then you’ll see that come out about I don’t know anywhere
from that weekend of Gamescom to the following week, maybe two weeks out. So we’ll get a lot of coverage as result
of that and that’s all my responsibility. So we’re really looking for to it, it’s
going to be an exciting Gamescom. I hope you watch our livestreams and our other
events that we on our website. It should be a real exciting time. JR: Alright good stuff, thanks David. So now I want to pass it off to Bryan Brewer,
Lead Animator here in Austin. He wants to give an update on the female character
animations. Bryan Brewer (BB): Hey guys, we’re going
to be taking a look at the female animation in our game. Where we’re at right now, where we came
from and where we’re going. We have rebuilt the skeleton to now fit the
new female mesh which you guys have seen in previous versions of Around the ‘Verse and
kind of here she is in all her glory. So what’s happened is the technical animators
have come in and they’ve given her a skeleton which you can see by this little pink structure. They’ve skinned her, they’ve given her
to us and we have come in and started testing animations out on her. Here she is playing something called a ROM
which stands for Range of Motion, this is something that we capture at the beginning
of pretty much every motion capture shoot that we do. It’s kind of just a little calibration thing
that we need our actors to go through before getting data back and solving, but to kind
of tell you about where she came from. We’ve had two previous versions of the female
which we’ve already done a lot of work on and already done a ton of animations on. This is what she looks like right here so
you kind of get an idea of kind of what she looked like before and what she looks like
now. We’ve gone in and made her a little more
heroic, she fits seats a little bit better, she’s a little bit more in line with the
male and she’ll be fitting all the metrics in the game and if you remember from that
last episode with all the other animators talking, there’s a lot to do with metrics
in this game, a lot, which is basically trying to get everybody to fit in the same universe
without having to adjust things for every animation for every character. If I come in here and turn a couple things
on you can see these red markers. These red markers are actually the motion
capture markers used on our actor when we’re on stage and we’re basically do a test making
sure that she’s following the data, that there’s not going to be any issues that nothing unforeseen
or unexpected is going to happen. JR: Alright thanks Brian. Lastly I wanted to hand it off to Justin Binford,
Director of QA to mention a little bit what QA here in Austin have been focusing on recently. Justin Binford (JB): Hey guys, we’ve been
very busy in QA. We’ve been splitting up our time and resources
to make sure we cover everything coming online in the near future. We have processes in place to handle multiple
test beds at the same time. We start each day with a team huddle where
we gather around QA Managers Andrews Hessey’s desk to discuss our daily plan as well as
any challenges we may face. While we continue testing Squadron 42 and
preparing for Gamescom, we’re also heavily focused on patch 2.5. 2.5 introduces a lot of new features, some
of which include the flight ready Argo and Reliant as well as the pirate base, Grim Hex. We’re really excited to get this out to
you guys. We’ve also been focusing heavily on testing
the FPS game mode Star Marine which involves cross studio playtests between our four studios
in preparation for patch 2.6. JR: Hope you guys enjoyed that update. There’s lots of stuff going on here in Austin
especially as we approach Gamescom, keeping everyone busy. Until next time, thanks guys, see you around. Back to Studio SG: And in other news, the new weekly newsletter
was released this weekend packed with info as well as a sneak peak. So if you haven’t already read it, be sure
to check your inbox. The monthly report also went out over the
weekend which is a good read. CR: And a long read. SG: Yup. CR: But a good read. SG: Good read. CR: There you go. SG: Track jackets and polo shirts are still
available. Your last chance to get a track jacket as
they are making way for Squadron 42 hoodies by popular request and the Gladius is the
August free fly ship for subscribers and the subscriber flair is the Reliant model which
will be attributed at the end of this week and it will go live in the game with the release
of 2.5 Now let’s go over to Tyler Witkin for this
week’s MVP. MVP w/Tyler Witkin Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey everyone, Tyler Witkin,
Community Manager in the Austin, Texas studio here to bring to this week’s MVP. A huge congratulations to DJ Brazzy for creating
some incredible stylized vector artwork. We have a shared folder that CIG staff uses
to share awesome screenshots and art created by the community for us to use for our desktop
wallpaper. Needless to say these all made the cut. So great work, congratulations again, you’re
this week’s MVP. Back to you guys. Back to Studio CR: Well that was cool. I’m always blown away by the communities
talent and enthusiasm for the universe of Star Citizen so it’s awesome. Speaking of universe, lets hand you over to
Tony Zurovec for a little far side game design chat. Behind the Scenes: NPC [When will we start to see NPCs within the
game, and what can we expect?] Tony Zurovec (TZ): We’re aiming to release
the first NPCs in what’s currently called 2.7 in late 2016 with limited numbers at first
and gradually increasing in quantity. The initial set of characters will consist
of things like shop keepers, store patrons, maintenance workers, entertainers, tourists
and vagrants and they’ll be found predominantly in the larger landing zones – Area 18, Port
Olisar, Levski and GrimHex. We’ll be looking to fine-tune performance,
animation quality and usable functionality in particular with a focus on really amping
up the diversity of their actions a little further down the road. That first wave of NPCs won’t have a lot
to say but you can expect them to get progressively more talkative in subsequent releases. At the design level, most of the gameplay
systems are unified under the auspices of Subsumption which means that conversational
logic will be able to easily interpret and branch based upon your reputation in a given
area – your personal history with that character, whether they have given you any tasks to accomplish
and how you fared and other things of that sort. The longer term objective is to inject as
much as dynamism as possible into areas that will be populated with NPCs – one of the ways
by which we mean to do this is via the addition of dynamically constructed daily schedules
to the NPC population. This is going to allow them to vary what they
are doing and where they are doing it based on the time of day – if you arrive at a landing
site during the day then you might find shoppers hunting for a good deal and workers just going
about their normal business. If you touch down late at night though you
might see fewer characters on the streets and a greater percentage of party-goers, entertainers,
drunks and criminals. Another way by which we intend to add some
ebb and flow to the environments is by taking into account what’s happening at a macro
level within the system and factoring the results into the algorithms that determine
the composition of NPCs that you’d see at any given time. If business, for example, is booming you’ll
see more well-to-do characters and less crime whereas if a location has fallen on economic
hard-times then you’ll see vandalism and begging. If a war is raging near a planet then you’ll
expect it’s medical facilities will be getting a lot of traffic, lots of limping and bloody
pilots and marines should be going in and lots of patched together characters would
be coming out. Ultimately what we want is for the various
landing zones to feel like living, breathing environments and not static portraits. [Will I be able to hire an NPC crew for my
ship?] The ability to hire an NPC crew to help with
the many tasks that operating multi-crew ships presents is actually seen as a fairly important
aspect of the game as it’s going to allow solo players or just a group of friends that
are missing a critical position or two to supplement their ranks as necessary. This feature isn’t going to arrive in 2016
but I can talk a bit about where we’re heading – larger landing zones are going to have a
personnel shop where you can peruse a library of available characters- each of whom is going
to require a daily salary based upon their skillset and current demand. NPCs then can be rented but never actually
purchased – retaining them is just going to be an ongoing expense. NPCs that may serve in a crew will have attributes
associated with them that denote their proficiency in a variety of disciplines – this is going
to include things like, for example, how well they can pilot, operate a gun turret, control
a tractor beam or repair damage to your ship. We’re probably going to wind up tracking
a few psychological components like aggression and intelligence as well and using those to
influence how that NPC behaves in various situations. Most NPCs are effectively going to be specialists
with a notable capability in only really a single area though there will be some exceptions. If their rating in one of these fields is
beyond a certain threshold then they may be assigned by the player, their employer, a
compatible responsibility on a ship – a combat marine then could be assigned to patrol an
area and engage any foreigners that are detected but since they wouldn’t likely have any
engineering knowledge they wouldn’t be able to be told to repair any damage that occurred
to the ship. Every NPC attribute is going to be attributed-
associated with another value that determines the character’s maximum potential in that
area – this determines, in essence, how good that character can ever become at that particular
discipline. As a character does more of something, they
will naturally improve their abilities up to that potential. It’s up to the employer, the player, then
to decide when it’s time to give an NPC that looks to have prematurely peaked the
boot so they can try their luck with another. A gunner with poor accuracy then might well
be worth keeping if they’re fairly cheap and look to be steadily improving.The basic
idea here is that you’re going to need to invest your time and attention – not just
your money – if you want to gradually build a exemplary crew – the real NPC superstars
– the guys that can repair damage in a fraction of the time or they can hit targets with stellar
precision – they won’t be found looking for work in a local personnel office – they’ll
be discovered by players that are willing to take a chance on them before anyone else
realises their true potential. Some of the NPCs that you encounter during
your travels may, depending on how the conversation goes, offer their services to you – this method
of recruitment will be considerably more time consuming that flipping pages at the local
personnel office but oftentimes it’s also going to be way more likely to find a bargain
or a multi-discipline NPC or someone with a higher than average potential to excel. Keeping track of and controlling your crew
is going to be fairly straight forward – your mobiGlas will have an employment application
that allows you to see how many characters you have working for you at that moment – what
their costing you, what jobs they are capable of doing, what you’ve currently got them
assigned to do and overall how they are performing. [What are the first capabilities that crew
members will be able to execute?] Some of the first duties than NPC crew members
would be able to perform will be things like operating the scanners and weaponry on a ship,
serving as onboard security of a designated area or acting as a general purpose engineer
capable of effecting repairs. Farther down the road would be more exotic
functions like acting as pilot for which we’ve already done a lot of the groundwork – AI
ships are already quite capable of engaging in combat and laning but they don’t yet
know how to position a ship when the objective is to retrieve ejected cargo or how to hover
over the surface of an asteroid body, taking input from the scanners – which would be identifying
valuable pockets of ore – such that the beam and cargo operators would be in a position
so that they could do their jobs. The intent ultimately is to give the player
the ability to direct their crew as necessary in very, very broad strokes but to avoid defocusing
the game and injecting too much micromanagement – we don’t want to become Sim Citizen. Much of the time you won’t need to do anything
other than hire an NPC and assign them to a ship – a doctor for example would spend
most of their time in the ship’s medical facilities – if such exist – and automatically
heal any injured crew members to the best of their ability. There are some positions though that will,
on occasion, require more frequent communication – a ship’s pilot, for example, needs to
know where you want to go, whether you’ve decided that you want to break off from a
particular encounter. Engineering efforts on the other hand, they
could be prioritized so that you’re able to dictate what you want back online first
– propulsion, shield or weapons. [Some ships will support very large crews. Will I have to hire each character individually?] We’re predominantly focused on ships with
smaller crews at the moment – in order to make some of the larger ships really feel
occupied though, you might need many dozens or even hundreds of NPCs – to that end we’re
probably going to allow you to hire a base crew from the personnel office while specifying
only a few key things like whether you want a skeleton or a full crew and the average
level of competence. Cooks and janitors and security guards then
could be hired en masse allowing you to focus on hiring just the individual specialists
as you’d typically do on the smaller ships to really customize and enhance the control
and the efficiency of your ship. Senior crew members, you might even call them
your Officers are really an enhancement of your character and your ship – they are an
extension of your overall capabilities. Once you’ve sifted through the rubble and
found an NPC with a lot of potential and also invested the time and money to allow them
to really bloom – we want them to really matter to you – as such, and given the difficulty
and expense in replacing them, then we might allow the concept of ship insurance to be
extended to cover senior officers of your NPC crew for an additional charge commensurate
with their demonstrated capabilities. CR: There you go, I can’t wait to get more
NPC life into Star Citizen Live – it’s going to be pretty damn cool. And just so you know, Tony and Francesco Roccucci
who is our lead AI engineer have been making great progress internally on Subsumption and
our new mission system so watch for further updates in the coming months on that. So in this last segment, we’re going to
have a look at a ship I think you’ll all really like – bare in mind it won’t replace
your current one if you have it – if you do well enough in Squadron 42 you may very well
get the opportunity to fly it. So here’s Chris Smith, our Austin Lead Vehicle
Artist to tell you a little bit more about it. Ship Shape: Hornet F7A Chris Smith (CS): Hey guys. Not too long ago I received the awesome task
of creating the new Hornet F7A ship which will be featured in Squadron 42. I recently got done with the modelling and
texturing portion of the ship build, and I would like to show you guys the process of
how we created the all new Hornet F7A. The original Hornet F7A MK1 was created by
CGBot and it was used in the first pitch video by Chris Roberts. The F7A is going to be featured in Squadron
42 so naturally we were looking to do a complete update for the Hornet, since the mesh being
used in the game as of now is still essentially the old CGBot model from four years ago. The idea here was to keep the original Hornet
F7 MK1 series in the game and then add the F7A MK2 model, modelled completely new from
the ground up with our latest techniques and pipeline procedures. Chris thought it would be cool to have the
classic Hornet and the new version run side by side, and players would have the opportunity
to keep the old MK1 as a classic collectors item. We were also going to revisit the MK1 one
last time with an update on the materials and damage systems to have it mesh better
with our current assets. While we wanted an updated and new Hornet
we still wanted to keep the essence of the Hornet line of spaceships: rugged and relatively
simply, yet very effective. Also I had the thought that from a distance
one should be able to tell that the ship is Hornet F7. Essentially I wanted to update the lines of
the MK1 Hornet and also bring the mesh up to a higher fidelity and functionality level. We also had a list that we gathered from fans,
with issues and complaints about the current Hornet ships. From that list I gathered the most important
problems and most of them were already on my list as well. I tried to remedy as many issues as I could. The initial block out went well and quick. I took some inspiration from a few of the
original concepts from Rob McKinnon and also jet fighters like the F14, F19, F22, and so
on. I started with the front nose section: I made
it slimmer with more aggressive and aerodynamic lines. Also I took great care to enhance the visibility
of the canopy as this was a main concern for the fans of the original Hornet. I did so by eliminating the side mullians
altogether to create a great panoramic view with only the two main bars obstructing the
view now. I also lowered the sides for improved visibility
out of the cockpit. I then moved onto the air ducts which I slimmed
down and tucked in considerably to improve the overall lines of the ship. The landing gear in the wings were moved to
the body of the ship underneath the wings (much like the F14 Tomcat setup) for a cleaner
overall solution for the wings set up, which rotates backwards at high speed. The bottom of the ship received a big overhaul:
I decided to close it up as opposed to the open design of the original where you can
see the bottom of the ball turret. This way the Hornet feels more put together
and less disjointed. Chris wanted to have the missiles hidden and
then deploy as opposed to a wing mounted setup. Since I had closed up the bottom I was able
to move the missiles from the air intakes and have them deploy from the bottom center
of the ship. Which is a much cleaner setup and makes more
sense. The maneuvering thrusters were also moved
for optimal thrust location, and they were designed to be equal distance, from top and
the side, from the center of the ship. The main body of the ship has been made slimmer
overall and it’s much lower as well in order to accommodate the rear top maneuvering thrusters. From there I made it a smooth transition to
the rear wings, which are slimmer in profile and more aerodynamic. For the cockpit I worked closely with Zane
to ensure correct implementation and design. We liked the original cockpit’s unconventional
non-square screen designs and tried to incorporate this design spirit into the new cockpit. I also took many cues from modern fighters
such as the F22 and other fighters. From here I started with the first run of
details to the ship working my way from part to part and also started to incorporate the
big hit decals that define the ship from a small distance. I reused the existing Gladiator textures to
create unique materials for the F7A and it worked out great as I saved a great deal of
production time while staying within the manufacturer’s style for consistency. On smaller ships we break the ship colours
up into three main colours that can be changed in the ship’s materials to create different
variations and paint jobs in a quick manner. Since the F7A is the military variant it was
decided to go with the green version based on the original colour scheme of the pitch
video. That’s where we are with the Hornet F7A
Mark 2. We hope you enjoy flying it in Squadron 42. Outro SG: I think a lot of people will be excited
to fly the Mk2 in Squadron 42 – I certainly will. CR: Me too. SG: And as a reminder there’s no show next
week – we will be streaming live from our show floor booth, sponsored by Intel, with
Bad News Baron, twerk17, Captain Richard and DeejayKnight. And there’s also the Gamescom party livestream. Pop-up events will be on Wednesday and Thursday
night and the beer garden on Saturday. CR: It’s a perennial. SG: Yep! There will also be a free-fly over Gamescom
and goodies to pick up at the booth, so come visit us. CR: Yeah, we’ll see you there. SG: Yeah, and be sure to tune into Reverse
the ‘Verse tomorrow morning at 11am pacific – it’ll feature one or two of the devs from
today’s show for a Q&A. So jump in there and ask all of your questions. CR: There you go, with that, thank you to
our subscribers for making this show possible and thank you to all the backers out there
for making Star Citizen and Squadron 42 possible. And we will see Around the ‘Verse. Bye.