StarWatch: Hidden Gems

Send Your Tips to StarWatch!

Time to set your sights on the stars and let me, Callie C, shine a light on everything you need to know about today’s hottest socialites and celebrities. Turns out they’re just like the rest of us, only attired in more fetching threads. Welcome to StarWatch!

Let’s begin with the hot topic currently setting spectrum aflame. Boyce Baudin is back! But don’t you dare call him “Babyface” anymore. The beloved comedic actor with the cherubic visage disappeared from the public eye for months, canceling several spectrum appearances without warning. Rumors swirled that the notoriously hard partying prankster might’ve finally allowed his cravings to control him. Now we know, thankfully, that wasn’t the case. But many of Boyce’s longtime fans are less than pleased with the real reason for his self-imposed sabbatical…

Turns out that Baudin couldn’t deny the call of the Calliope. The actor felt his signature look was keeping him from landing the leading roles he truly desired, so he became the latest celeb to get the BiotiCorp reboot. Bye bye rosy red cheeks and round chin; hello chiseled cheekbones and devastating jawline. I believe the desired outcome was “ruggedly handsome,” but to my eyes it’s more “rough around the edges.”

Initial reactions to Baudin’s new appearance on spectrum were savage. Some of Baudin’s most dedicated devotees spun wild theories to explain the change, including one group convinced he’s going to yell “Triggerfish!” at any moment. From what I’m hearing, the star may be wishing that the new look had been a prank. Sources close to the bygone babyface claim he’s despondent about the public’s reaction and has been debating restoring his classic countenance. Let this be a lesson to all those stars considering similar procedures; sometimes perfection has a price.

Now, let’s go to a “say it ain’t so” scenario. There’s a new headline crashing its way out of Oso that kid-vid heartthrob Sindre Alby has been arrested for an unprovoked attack on a civilian ship. Representatives for the former star insist that Alby’s intentions were honorable and that the incident is nothing more than an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Alby rose to fame for his role as the mysterious yet sensitive stock clerk in Open for Business, one of my fav vids growing up and still my go-to drunk rewatch. Of course, we all remember when, at the height of the show’s popularity, Alby quit the show and acting entirely to go fight for animal rights across the Empire. Be still my beating teen heart!

He’s been at it for a while now, making vids and leading protests to raise awareness, but I guess this time he might have taken the fight too far.

Sources say the handsome heartbreaker had taken up with a watchdog group dedicated to staking out the Oso system and scanning ships to ensure Osoians aren’t being smuggled out. When Alby became convinced a vessel travelling well off the system’s normal shipping lanes was smuggling the protected creatures, he reported it to the local authorities. Though he was explicitly told not to engage, Alby got nervous when the ship’s quantum drive began to spool and decided to blow their main thrusters to bits. When the authorities finally arrived at the scene and boarded, guess what they found? Nothing illegal! Not a single cute Osoian! Nothing! They arrested Alby and the rest of the activists on the spot for attacking a civilian vessel.

Sure, Alby didn’t follow proper procedures, and the family aboard the ship suffered some injuries, but no one died. The former actor has promised to replace the damaged ship and pay all medical costs, but he’s still facing serious charges. Are you kidding? If you ask me, the ‘verse needs more valiant individuals like Alby who are dedicated to the greater good.

Fans of the former star have already started a “Free Alby” campaign to advocate for his release. I’ve pledged my support and so should you, so Alby can go free… and maybe star in the Open for Business reboot.

Enough with all this serious stuff. It’s time to have some fun!

It takes only one look at me to see that fashion is a passion. I’m not afraid to admit that the longest and most important relationship in my life is with a pair of Venti Penrose suede pumps. For me, it’s an expression of individuality and a way to stand out from the crowd.

That’s why, when I’m not scooping scandals, I’m scouring spectrum for all the hottest trends. To help me assess the latest looks, I’m joined again by my fab friend and fashionista, Nisco Hobbins.

Nisco Hobbins: Thank you, Calcee. I love being here almost, almost as much as I love OpalSky’s new line.

Stop it. Didn’t you call last year’s fall look, “chintzy casual clothes for those too rich to shop at Casaba?”

Nisco Hobbins: In my defense, I’m not paid to pull punches. My job is to form fashion opinions based on my gut reaction and years of experience. Expressing honest, cutting comments is what got my butt a spot on this show, you know.

And won your way into my heart… which I’m now reconsidering.

Nisco Hobbins: How dare you?

I just don’t understand how adding stuff like a subtle paw print pattern to the same boring and basic clothes suddenly converted you?

Nisco Hobbins: What? I can’t change my mind?

Only if you back it up by wearing OpalSky’s new line the next time you’re on the show.

Nisco Hobbins: Done and done.

Before I reconsider ever asking Nisco back on the show, let’s talk about what I think is the hottest new trend… gems, gems, and more gems.

Nisco Hobbins: Are you talking about those new Laren’zo designed dresses?

So amazing, aren’t they?

Nisco Hobbins: I almost don’t even know what to think.

This boldly beautiful new look from Republic of One features gems sewn into the seams around the peekaboo panels. It provides this mesmerizing sparkle and an eye-catching pop of color that is incredible.

Nisco Hobbins: It’s ostentatious. It’s shocking. And I love every damn thing about it.

The fashion house is even pitching these dresses as a potential heirloom quality asset. So, if you like keeping a little physical wealth around, a dress encrusted with gems isn’t a bad option.

Nisco Hobbins: So true, ‘cause from what I heard, these handcrafted pieces are mondo expensivo. I’m already debating which organ to sell so I can afford one.

You heard about what they had to do to make their first run, right?

Nisco Hobbins: No, what?

Republic hired a bunch of independent miners to hunt down exactly the stones they needed.

Nisco Hobbins: Big thanks to all those out there making this ‘verse a more beautiful place! You did your part for the greater good.

Now, all I need is someone to send me one to wear on the show. Wink, wink.

Nisco Hobbins: Winking doesn’t work that way.

Guess we’ll see.

Nisco Hobbins: Honey, trust me, Laren’zo is not watching this show.

Stop crushing my spirit, or I’ll have Ravi mute your mic.

Nisco Hobbins: Love you, Laren’zo! Your new line embraces the entire Republic aesthetic while also giving it an intriguing new spin. Just like what OpalSky did.

What’s going on here? Are you getting paid by the plug?

Nisco Hobbins: Can I be honest?

That’s a loaded question.

Nisco Hobbins: I hate OpalSky’s new line. I just wanted to have a little fun. Please don’t make me wear their clothes on your show.

Oh! You are so bad! We might have some Opal lying around here that I should make you wear for the second half of this segment.

Nisco Hobbins: You wouldn’t.

Better keep your eyes here, watchers. There’s more StarWatch coming up after this quick break.

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/17044-StarWatch-Hidden-Gems

Star Citizen Monthly Report: March 2019

It’s all go across our studios at the moment, as devs from the UK, US, and Germany put the hours into getting Alpha 3.5 into the Persistent Universe. Naturally, the latest patch features heavily this month, but look a little closer and there are plenty of tasks for Alpha 3.6 and beyond being worked on to wet your whistles.

Star Citizen Monthly Report: March 2019

Last week, we updated the public roadmap with content all the way up to Alpha 3.9, where we’ll be flying Vultures to Crusader and beyond. If you missed the latest update, take a look, as progress for these new features will start appearing in your monthly reports soon enough.

AI – Character


We start with Character AI, who spent the month making general improvements, firstly to combat behaviors to make it easier for the team to assign different tactics to different characters. This work happily fixed a few bugs with vision perception and cover selection too. Secondly, NPC locomotion saw the integration of the collision avoidance system into smooth locomotion, which now takes into consideration the edge of walkable navigation areas.

Naturally, bug fixing, stability fixes, and optimizations were also done for Alpha 3.5.

AI – Ships


Ship AI implemented new pilot skill levels to vary the agility of enemy ships and determine how they balance self-preservation and aggression. Improvements were also made to how non-player traffic behaves around landing zones.

AI – Social


The Social AI Team finished the first pass of ‘scooching’, which made its monthly report debut last month. If you missed it, scooching enables a character to fluidly move from one action to another within a group of useables.

Design supported the set up of the bartender/vendor character by providing necessary tech pieces where needed. Optimization started on usables, including the caching of usable entries and TPS query time-slicing.

Animation


March saw Animation readying mission-giver Tecia Pacheco for her Alpha 3.5 debut and finishing the animation sets for Recco Battaglia and the ship dealers. They also implemented new female emotes and brought the male versions up to the current quality standard, which included stopping a plague of different technical issues.

Focus was also on two big-ticket items: developing the final jump system and the female playable character. Finally, the team worked on the combat AI system, adding new weapon options for enemies to use against the player.

Art – Characters


Character Art were one of the many teams collaborating on Alpha 3.5’s facial customizer. This coincided with the adding of the female playable character into the game and creating new armors wearable by both sexes (which will continue into the foreseeable future). Tecia Pacheco’s hair was tidied up before launch and the few non-Alpha-3.5-related hours were spent refining the hair creation pipeline.

Art – Environment


Many Environment Art devs devoted the month to Alpha 3.5, making quality-of-life improvements, bug fixing, and polishing assets. Several locations, including Hurston and Lorville, were refined and tweaked to give an overall improved visual experience. The ongoing planet tech development rolls on too, with current efforts becoming the foundation of wider improvements coming later in the year. The team are also looking into ways to better scale natural features like canyons, with first tests looking promising.

The final touches were added to ArcCorp ahead of its big release, with huge strides made early in the month when Area18, Riker Spaceport, and the surrounding city received finalized textures, materials, and finishes. While the planet was ‘content complete’ a while ago, the last stages of development saw countless optimization tasks completed to make it good enough for players to explore. The final level of detail (LOD) tweaks were completed to enable the assets to perform well in-engine, along with other technical aspects like tweaking view distance ratios, altering vis-areas, and merging meshes. Art of distant buildings and advertising added the final touch to the city’s vistas.


Art – Tech


Tech Art worked on the user interface for Character Customizer v2, which will see the light of day in Alpha 3.6. While the current version gives users all the required functionality, the process can be thoroughly streamlined through a number of layout and functionality amends. These changes have been prototyped and are awaiting implementation by the Gameplay Team.

Tasks towards extending the character creation ‘DNA gene pool’ were also completed, which will eventually increase the number of heads the user can choose from and blend together. While still being significantly fewer than the planned final amount, the enhanced pool will give players much greater variety compared to the nine heads per male and female available in Alpha 3.5.

Alongside customization, they fixed a few weapon-related bugs for both dev builds and Alpha 3.5, such as wrongly-oriented attachments, broken or missing animations, and a tagging issue causing the player character to be assigned the wrong animations. They supported Weapon Art with rigging and engine setup for several upcoming releases and worked with Animation and AI Programming on the first implementation of the new usable system.

Audio


Alpha 3.5 features the new flight model, the development of which presented an unmissable opportunity to expand on the ship audio experience. Improvements include new sound effects for strain and vibration, afterburners, maneuvering thrusters, and atmospheric flight. They also include accurate point source sound emitters and general improvements to the overall design, implementation, and mix.

Naturally, attention was given to ArcCorp and Area18, with new environmental dialogue, music, and sound effects implemented to contribute to the overall sense of a thriving metropolis. These include PA announcements, diegetic music, spot ambiance effects, dynamic advert audio, and systemic planetary ambiances. The team’s work is again complemented by the brilliant ArcCorp music cue from composer Pedro Camacho.

Audio was also produced for the Kastak Arms Coda pistol, Gemini S71 assault rifle, Xi’an Kahix rocket launcher, and Banu Tachyon ship cannon.

Finally for Audio, notable developments were made to the Foley system, including better footstep material recognition, redesigned depressurized footsteps, and varying footstep effects dependant on character heaviness and footwear. The Foley sound effect sync was improved when running too, as were collision sounds when rag-dolling.

Backend Services


Throughout the past month, Backend Services supported Alpha 3.5, fixed various bugs, and adjusted backend-supported features. On the main development front, great progress was made on the GIM rewrite, with the new matchmaker successfully tested internally. The GIM’s internal match/group management system also came to life. These changes are significant because, rather than being code existing inside the legacy GIM application, they are now individual and highly fault-tolerant services that can be scaled as the project develops.

Another major change was the introduction of the variable service, which came with a surprisingly high volume and rate of data.

One of the team’s goals this month was to provide much needed insight and analytics on various types of data coming from the DGS. So, a new system was created to track the rate of individual DGSs along with information about specific variables, enabling the team to fine-tune how data is serialized and how often it’s pushed to the backend.

The first major part of the iCache has been completed and tested internally, too. The iCache is a highly distributed and fault-tolerant storage/query engine that greatly out-performs the current pCache. It provides an indexing and query system that can be utilized by other services for specific and complex item queries. This system is important going forward, particularly as the Persistent Universe sees greater volumes of players and server meshing comes online.

Community


The community celebrated St. Patrick’s Day (or Stella Fortuna!) with a screenshot contest calling for in-game party pics. Plenty of outstanding images of memorable moments were received, but there were only three pots of gold to hand out – the lucky winners taking home a Constellation Phoenix Emerald, Mustang Delta, and Ursa Rover Fortuna.

March saw the unveiling of the multi-crew explorer, the Corsair. Should any prospective pathfinders be unsure whether they want to sail the stars in Drake’s latest, the recently released Q&A should help. Jump Point, the monthly subscriber-only magazine, took an even deeper dive into the Corsair’s design process along with a behind-the-scenes look at the new character customizer, a Whitley’s Guide on MISC’s Reliant series, and more.

Shouts of ‘Triggerfish!’ could be heard across the ‘verse when we announced our first new merchandise offerings of 2019 on April 1st: The Scents of Star Citizen collection. Classic fragrances of the past meet the mysterious essence of the future in Quantum, an innovative cultivation that transcends space and time.

Content – Vehicles


While the Vehicle Content Team predominantly focused on the three MISC Reliant variants and continuing work on the 300 series, they found time to work with Animation on a better system for setting up character ship entry and exit animations. The also tackled a variety of vehicle bugs leading up to the release of Alpha 3.5.

Design


Design’s focus throughout March was on Area18, which included adjusting the AI, usables, stores, and more. Tecia Pacheco was given a design pass, while a new team member was inaugurated with tasks to improve both the Emergency Communication Network (ECN) and NPC spoofing missions (where NPCs send out service beacons asking for help).

Regarding the in-game economy, a system built to create a robust and modular representation of item variance was polished and is now ready when needed. Inventories were also added to all new locations, including the new Alpha 3.5 weapons and items created by the Weapons Team.

DevOps


The culmination of this year’s first publishing cycle was especially busy for DevOps. The team publish internal builds every day of every month for internal testing, but demand increases drastically when additional publishes are needed for the Evocati and PTU. As the game grows, so does the complexity of deployments and the reporting requirements, with this month seeing a 69% increase in build activity. Most of this is due to the ‘feature streams’ that the team have worked on for the past few months, which isolate features from each other during development to avoid collision.

Engineering


The Engine Team supported Alpha 3.5 with extensive profiling, optimization, bug fixes, and improvements to help Sentry, the PU crash database, better analyze and catalog existing issues.

Rendering wise, they continued work on Temporal Sample Antialiasing (TSAA) with general quality improvements that translate to less flickering and a sharper picture. They also adjusted the TSAA bicubic filter based on frame time to prevent the accumulation of ringing artifacts at high framerates. For hair, they added an experimental option for custom tangents, removed the temporary scatter model, moved the hair mask to variation map alpha, improved edge masking, and added card support for the hair physically-based rendering (PBR) shader. For planetary ground fog (currently scheduled for Alpha 3.6), they refined the proxy mesh tessellation and moved pre-tessellation to jobs, did the first ray marching test and implementation, refined modeling of the fog gradient over terrain, and spent time rectifying floating point precision issues.

They also completed rendering support for CPU-accessible textures for RTT video comms calls and optimized shaders to avoided unnecessary resource creation (e.g in GPU skinning). The Initial ImGUI integration was completed and will be used to unify and improve the in-game profiling tools. System and module integration were added to avoid an unorganized collection of tools and a text/tag searchable configuration system for registered tools (similar to visual code) was implemented. To better improve load times, the team created a new load time profiler to track file access (times accessed, data transfer, etc.), amended the IO scheduler for SSDs and HDDs to give faster load times and response, and vastly improved file access in the shader system to speed up initialization at start-up.

In addition to the compile-time analysis tool developed last month, they finalized an add-in tool to generate optimal uber file sets and, as a result, reshuffled game uber files for even better compile times.

Work also began on a physics debugger that will allow the team to record issues, play them back, freeze time, etc. to help understand and speed up fixing complex physics issues.

Features – Gameplay


Throughout March, most of the team dedicated their time to working with the Character Team on the customizer, including the design flow, user interface, and the implementation of the female playable character. The rest focused on implementing comms video streaming improvements. All of the team’s work this month made it into the Alpha 3.5 build, so can be seen by anyone in the Persistent Universe.

Features – Vehicles


Improvements to gimbaled weapons were finished for Alpha 3.5 and the radar and scanning systems received a polish, including the implementation of focus angle and ping fire. Under-the-hood progress was also made with vehicle item port tech, specifically with the vehicle .xml migration to Data-Forge. March’s final stretch was spent fixing game crashes and bugs for the upcoming release.

Graphics


Alongside visual tweaks and fixing stability issues for Alpha 3.5, the team better aligned the sun and shadows with fog in large spaces (such as hangars) and fixed a persistent glitch with indoor lights. For vid-comms and general render-to-texture, the teams fixed a few issues that were interfering with brightness along with intermittent cases where lights on holograms were disappearing. They also switched most holographic scenes over to a forward-shaded render pipeline to improve efficiency.

Graphics also got in on the gas cloud feature by supporting Design, adding the ability to rotate tunnel pieces, and creating a more intelligent streaming system to enable them to lay out large sections of the game without running over the memory budget.

Level Design


The Level Design Team barreled on with Area18, fixing bugs and generally preparing it for its unveiling. This included a lot of playtesting and tweaking of the room-system, landing areas, transit system, and more.

Planning began for the upcoming procedural tool and next set of procedural space stations. Prototyping was done on cave layouts and potential gameplay was ideated in close cooperation with the Environment Art Team. There were also updates to Lorville, with the addition of small and medium hangars and a new transit line between Teasa Spaceport and the Central Business District (CBD).

Lighting


Like many others, Lighting almost entirely dedicated their month to finalizing Area18, which required collaboration with a lot of other teams. Particularly, they worked with Props and Environment Art in the final push to raise the visual standard and unify the look across the wider landing zone. Performance is always a concern, so special attention was paid to ensuring the maximum lighting quality was achieved within the defined frame budgets. After lessons were learned during the development of Lorville, the team were able to optimize the new location’s lighting far more efficiently.

Aside from Alpha 3.5, Lighting had a hand in the development of the character customizer by providing a clean, high-quality lighting rig for the UI. They also supported the reworking of the Echo 11 Star Marine map, providing additional polish, optimization, and clean-up.

Narrative


In March, Narrative worked with Design to identify the production nodes and manufacturing locations of all of Star Citizen’s corporations for the expanding economy system. This led to a review of the item inventories of Stanton’s shops to make sure stores were carrying items appropriate for their location. The team also worked on generating names for various vehicles, including the Ursa Rover Fortuna.

Narrative filled Area18 with a variety of posters, ads, and props to flesh out the lore of Stanton’s newest landing zone. They also worked with the Live Design Team to support mission content for Tecia Pacheco. Finally, Alpha 3.5 will also provide a first look at the new Banu language that is being developed, so keep an eye out for more info on that.

Player Relations


Player Relations were busy throughout March supporting the Evocati and players smash bugs in the PTU. Initially, they worked alongside the Evocati for several builds to test out the new flight model.  Once it was stable, they added Concierge and Subscribers to test out the other key features. Eventually, all backers were welcomed into the PTU before Alpha 3.5’s wider release.

“We say it every month, but we can’t thank our volunteers enough for the wonderful efforts they put into helping us build this game (especially you Avocados!).”

Props


At the start of March, the Props Team took Area18’s assets from the ‘modeling complete’ phase through to ‘final art’, which included the technical set up, LODs, prefab setup, and bug fixing. They reached ‘content complete’ status half-way through the month before heading into the final polish pass. The area’s food carts were pushed a little further with branding and dressing prop variation, while the lighting was separated out to give the Lighting Team more control. Updates were also made to older street furniture to bring it up to standard and the team helped with the branding and signage assets used throughout the level.

With persistent habs included in Alpha 3.5, a pass was completed to convert a whole host of props from static objects to interactive entities, while hand grip was set up to work with the player animations and additional physics set up.

The team also took a pass at the Spectrum Unlimited kiosk, creating additional dressing, props, and magazines. The month was rounded off with a final bug-fixing pass and, of course, turtles.

QA


QA’s testing focus was on feature integration for the Alpha 3.5 branch. They tested all the new content such as ArcCorp and its moons, Area18, the character customizer, female playable character, Origin 300i rework, and Reliant Variants. In addition, stability and performance testing ramped up in anticipation of the release and included daily performance captures to help narrow down and fix performance-related issues.

The AI feature testers in Frankfurt worked hard to stay on top of the various issues that cropped up with the addition of new mission givers and changes to collision avoidance. The embedded tester for the Transit Team was kept busy debugging various low repro issues that seemed to be tied to server performance and caused issues such as players falling through floors and Lorville’s trains not turning up. Memory corruption testing is currently ongoing to help track down crashes that occur randomly during normal gameplay. This testing is being done in the PTU using custom binaries provided by the Engine Team.

Ship Art


Lead Vehicle Artist Chris Smith completed the refactor of the Origin 300i and spent quite a bit of time getting the components modeled. He has now officially moved onto a new ship, which is currently in the whitebox phase.

3D Modeler Josh Coons continues his work on the Banu Defender and is working diligently to complete the greybox stage. Since everything on this ship is brand new and almost nothing is re-used from other ships, he is being assisted by Associate Vehicle Art Director Elwin Bachiller to ensure it’s completed in time.

System Design


The System Design Team finalized the current iteration of the no-fly zones around Area18 and ArcCorp, which required new features to be added to allow it to work at the scale required. Walla and Lyria both received their share of mining resources, with Walla getting unique Atacamite geode deposits. They also finalized their work on the unification of the vendor/bartender AI, which will allow the same behavior to serve drinks at a bar and give players items from a shelf and weapons from a rack.

Turbulent


Turbulent supported the Alpha 3.5 features promotion, which highlighted character customization, ArcCorp, and the new flight model. They also supported St. Patrick’s Day, which featured the new Ursa Rover Fortuna and a screenshot contest.

The CMS backend migration continued and was deployed to the PTU (the changes will appear in the live environment within the next few weeks).

Voice servers received an upgrade which will benefit from RTCP (data channel) improvements and enable active speaker detection in comms channels. The security of voice channels has also been improved. The Services Team continued working on video streams in comms channels in order to improve long-distance calls, too.

Turbulent’s upcoming Game Admin tool will support game designers as well as the Player Relations Team by providing key statistics as well as granular technical information on groups, lobbies, and voice channels. The design is now done and development has started on its first functionality, the general information display.

Finally from Montreal, the Game Services Team continued working on the new framework that will impact all upcoming development of Star Citizen services. Thanks to this core modification, services including group, lobby, and voice channel will be more standardized and upcoming development milestones will be reached quicker.

UI


Last month, UI finalized the in-fiction advertisements and branding for ArcCorp and Area18. They progressed with the area map, including the ability to visually distinguish between different floors of an interior. As release day drew closer, they worked on various optimizations and bug-fixing.

Vehicles


This month, the Global Vehicle Team put the finishing touches to the Alpha 3.5 ships and steadily progressed with those beyond the latest release:

The largest sub-team is focused on the Origin 890 Jump, which has just completed the greybox stage and is now heading into the final art phase. Work is progressing on the Carrack, which now has the whole of the engineering section in the rear done to greybox and the habitation deck is only missing the captain’s quarters to be greybox complete. The Vanguard series is heading to the final art stage, with the rear section and cockpit both receiving a pass. The exterior is up next. Greybox of the Banu Defender rolls on, while the Character Concept Team was called on to build a foundation for the Tevarin species that will be used to help design the Esperia Prowler.

Finally, pre-production began on the P52 Merlin update, P72 Archimedes, and the Esperia Prowler.

VFX


The VFX Team rolled out their recent GPU particle lighting changes, which includes a new optional specular shading model for particles. This multiplies the level of lighting the particle receives from the cube maps, causing it to sit within the environment more realistically. In the photo below, the left smoke effect uses the old lighting (without specular shading), while the right uses the new system.

The team is currently looking at some of the older effects in the game and are reworking them to take advantage of the updated systems, such as the EMP, which was added some time ago and has since degraded due to issues with the old particle system.

Regarding weapons, the team polished and optimized the new ballistic pistol and assault rifles and took the first pass at the Tachyon cannon; a brand-new weapon type that was in its R&D phase last month.

On the ship side, the reworked 300i had a full VFX pass. Finally, as is usual in the run-up to a release, the team began their twice-weekly playtests, from which a fairly large ‘snag list’ was created and fixed.

Weapons


The Weapon Art Team started work on the Apocalypse Arms Animus missile launcher, the Klaus & Werner Lumin SMG, and new upgrade levels for various ship weapons.

Conclusion

WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

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   Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/17036-Star-Citizen-Monthly-Report-March-2019

Gamescom 2949 Details

Gamescom 2949 is right around the corner, and we’re looking forward to meeting all the Star Citizen fans making the trip to Cologne. Members of the community team will be on hand at Bar Citizen events in the evenings, with Friday’s meetup including special guests Erin Roberts and Brian Chambers.

Plus, members of the community team will have loads of exclusive goodies to give away, so if you see them, don’t hesitate to say hello!

Meetups in Cologne during Gamescom Week


We’re taking every opportunity we can to meet with the community throughout the whole Gamescom week.

Join your fellow Star Citizens and members of the CIG development staff at the following locations:

Wednesday, August 21st
Join us at the Deutzer Brauhaus at 7:30pm CEST for drinks and a chance to chat with the team.

Get Details

Thursday, August 22nd
Meet us and fellow Citizens from around the world at the Brauhaus Ohne Namen at 7:00pm CEST.

Get Details

Friday, August 23rd
We’re back at the Brauhaus Ohne Namen at 7:00pm CEST for our final night of Gamescom revelry.

Get Details

Please join us at any or all of the events above and get to know the Star Citizen developers & community.

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/17039-Gamescom-2949-Details

April 2949 Subscriber Flair

April 2949 Subscriber Flair

Subscribers

Centurions will receive the RSI Venture Rust Society Leg Armor. RSI’s Venture is a lightweight armor set built for the unknown. This EVA-rated protection system features an undersuit built from a durable polymer weave that’s designed to withstand extreme environmental conditions and features component armor pieces to protect you against impacts and particulates. 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 MacFlex Rust Society Leg Armor. Whether you’re planetside or in vacuum, RSI’s MacFlex industrial armor set has your back. Reinforced plating keeps you safe from environmental hazards while the array of pouches keep your tools accessible. 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 April 21st.

If you aren’t a subscriber but want to sport these fancy pants, make sure you subscribe no later than April 20th.

More information about subscriptions can be found here

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/17040-April-2949-Subscriber-Flair

Portfolio: Casse Aerospace

This portfolio originally appeared in Jump Point 5.3.

While Casse Aerospace bears the name of an engineering legend, the company itself has faded from memory for all but the most dedicated ship enthusiasts. Or at least that was the case for over a century until Anvil Aerospace resurrected one of Casse’s designs and alongside it, interest in the man himself and the ships he built.

An Edleson Design Institute Hall of Fame inductee in 2902, Leonard Casse has earned a place in the annals of history as one of the top spacecraft visionaries of the Messer Era. While the general populace may wind up considering his creation of the Hurricane fighter the most enduring part of his legacy, his effect on the industry overall is not limited to that one design. Cited by ship design luminaries such as J. Harris Arnold, Silas Koerner, and Jules Parliegh as a prime source of inspiration, Casse’s influence can be seen in many spacecraft being flown today. From the humble RSI Aurora to the mighty Anvil Hornet, several of the Empire’s most popular vehicles can trace their lineage to Casse’s unique vision.

Taking Off

Hired fresh out of university, Casse began his career as a junior aerospace engineer for RSI in 2587, securing himself a position on the Starbright transport team. This simple and functional ship, often referred to as the Aurora’s spiritual predecessor, had been redesigned for the 2590 model year release and was about to go into full production. Assigned to review the machining specs for the ventral hull piece before the manufacturing run began, Casse noticed that the updated nozzle placement, while adding fuel efficiency, was going to cause potentially dangerous additional stresses to the ship’s frame. He promptly reported his findings to the Starbright’s lead designer, only to be told that the effect was negligible and that he should trust the more experienced members of the team.

Unsatisfied with that result, Casse took his report directly to the head of the company, CEO Thessaly Vanowen. Impressed with the young engineer, Vanowen ordered a separate independent team to audit the Starbright’s testing results. Two weeks later, the project was completely halted for a total rework of the internal struts. The 2590 Starbright would now be released as the 2591, with Casse promoted to a full engineer on the team.

His rise after that was rapid. In 2595 Casse was named lead designer for the 2600 Starbright. RSI saw the new century as the perfect time to relaunch the Starbright and was hoping that Casse would be the ideal candidate to revitalize the aging ship line. He did not disappoint. Rebuilt from the ground up, the 2600 Starbright was praised for its innovative entry system and all-new custom IFCS that integrated flawlessly with the ship’s thrusters for unmatched responsiveness. What was previously thought of as “just another transport” became elevated to “a flying experience that everyone should have the pleasure of enjoying.” Even today, centuries later, collectors still covet the 2600 Starbright for their personal fleets. Perhaps what makes it so valued though, even beyond its quality, is that it would be the only ship Casse designed for RSI.

A New Way to Fly

As soon as the assembly line began rolling out the ship he had labored on for close to four years, Casse announced at the beginning of 2599 that he would be leaving to start his own company. According to later biographers, Casse described his time at RSI as a constant struggle. From that first instance when his suggestions were passed over due to his junior status, he felt that good design was too often sacrificed in order to placate a hierarchical organization trying to justify its own worth. “As soon as you have a ship manufacturing company where almost half the people who work there have nothing to do with manufacturing ships, you’re going to have problems,” he would state in a later interview. He swore that the company he was building, Casse Aerospace, would be different. He would only hire a small team of people whom he could trust to do quality work at the standards he demanded, and then he would leave them to do it. Everyone’s opinion would have equal weight, with all final decisions left to himself. It was unorthodox for ship manufacturing, but under the strong vision and guidance of Casse, the flat organization style worked.

It was 2604 when Casse Aerospace released its first ship, the limited-run Cosmo Sloop. A leisure craft with a focus on ease of use, the hull premiered the open circle signet and curved wings that Casse would use on all his future designs. The reviews of this cutting-edge craft were universally positive, but unfortunately the timing of the ship’s release would prove to be its undoing.

The Second Tevarin War had begun the year prior and with enemy forces pushing their way through Humanity’s defenses, the personal leisure craft market bottomed out. With all their fortunes riding on sales of the Cosmo, Casse Aerospace found themselves struggling to keep their fledgling company afloat and decided that the best course of action was to join the war effort.

Calm Before the Storm

The Tevarin fleet had undergone significant tech upgrades during their exodus, and the UEE Naval forces were having a difficult time overcoming the new phalanx shields. In 2605, Navy officials called upon the Empire’s ship manufacturers for a solution. Though he had never worked on a combat ship before, Casse knew that the credits such a lucrative contract would bring could save his company, and so he set about designing the solution to Humanity’s current problems.

Analyzing battle footage of Naval forces engaging the Tevarin led Casse to the conclusion that trying to overwhelm the Phalanx shields was a losing proposition. The bulk of damage that the Navy was able to inflict occurred when a Tevarin was caught off guard. The goal of his design would be to increase the frequency with which those opportunities would occur and maximize the damage inflicted during them. To help his ship achieve this goal, he borrowed a page from the enemy’s playbook. If the Tevarin were operating in teams of two, one pilot and one shield operator, his ship could also be manned by a team, a pilot and a turret gunner. The design he submitted to the Navy stood in sharp contrast to those submitted by industry leaders like Aegis, and it surprised many when the Navy granted a contract to the unusual contender. Casse Aerospace immediately began work on what would become the Hurricane.

Launched late in 2607, the Casse Hurricane suffered some setbacks during the testing phase. Though pilots liked the power-to-weight ratio and the extra punch its quad-turret offered, the high degree of coordination needed between the pilot and gunner had a very steep learning curve. Because of this, the Hurricane didn’t enter active combat until 2609. While they were used to devastating effect in a few instrumental actions, the war ended shortly after their deployment in 2610.

Trying to capitalize on the success of the Hurricane, Casse Aerospace used the goodwill they had garnered to win a contract designing a long-range patrol ship suited to guard the growing Xi’an front. However, before that ship could be finished, Leonard Casse tragically passed away in 2615 after being involved in a deadly in-atmosphere collision. Reeling from the loss of their founder and leader, Casse Aerospace attempted to finish the project, but without Casse’s personal involvement, military officials lost confidence and pulled the plug.

Surviving off continuing Hurricane sales, Casse Aerospace attempted to return to their roots and release an updated Cosmo but again, without Casse behind the project, it was not a commercial success. Things were looking dire for the company, and when the Navy announced the Hurricane would be retired from active duty, it signaled the end. The market was soon flush with surplus Hurricanes and any remaining new sales dried up. With little options remaining, the board sold the company to an investment firm. From there it passed hands several times before falling into receivership and becoming nothing more than a footnote of history for the next century.

The Next Generation

When J. Harris Arnold was in school, he was obsessed with the works of Leonard Casse. To him, the mostly forgotten engineer represented everything he loved about ship design. When he eventually started his own ship manufacturing company, Arnold drew heavy inspiration from Casse’s business model and ships for his own designs, utilizing such signature elements as the curved wings and open circle signet. The similarities were such that Arnold and his fledgling company, Anvil Aerospace, was sued by the holding firm who had bought the rights to Casse’s designs. Arnold decided to settle the case by purchasing all of Casse Aerospace’s portfolio himself. Now the owner of Casse’s legacy, Arnold sought an opportunity to put the company’s original designs to use, but one didn’t present itself for close to seventy years.

The UEE was suffering as Vanduul attacks in Caliban grew in frequency in a manner similar to the ones that led to the fall of Virgil and Tiber. Eager to turn their efforts around, the Navy brass were looking for a new ship that would enable their pilots to cut engagement times down. Their theory was that the faster a Vanduul fighter could be taken out, the less opportunity it would have to cause Human casualties. Anvil provided the solution in the form of a resurrected Hurricane. The updated design still bore all the hallmarks of Casse’s original, but with the addition of Anvil’s proven conflict expertise. The result was a game changer for the war effort, and in 2878 a new generation of Navy pilots began to use the Hurricane to devastating effect.

Today, Casse and the company he built have finally taken their proper place in history books, thanks to the efforts of Arnold and others who sought to keep their memory alive. While he may have only designed three ships in his lifetime, Leonard Casse’s contributions extend well beyond what he left behind in the shipyard, as he has inspired countless numbers to see the universe a little bit differently. The plaque honoring him in the Edleson Design Institute Hall of Fame cites a fitting Casse quotation, “Good design solves a problem, bad design creates new ones.”

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/17037-Portfolio-Casse-Aerospace

Squadron 42 Monthly Report: February 2019

Squadron 42 Monthly Report: February 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.

UEE Naval High Command

AI (Ships)


February’s roundup starts with the AI Team, whom improved various aspects of dogfighting, which included the addition of evasive maneuvers to enemy ships. Now, when an AI pilot has an enemy on its tail, it will try to utilize ‘break-aways’ with increasingly-varied directions and angles, try to keep momentum, and chain attacks together. The team achieved this by adding new ‘SmoothTurning’ subsumption tasks to the behavior logic.

AI pilots will also attempt to create diversions using evasive maneuvers.

Automatic incoming/outgoing ship traffic over planetary landing areas was implemented this month, too. The team are currently generalizing ship behaviors to enable the designers to easily set up traffic on cities, capital ships, and other required areas.

AI (Character)


The AI Team also made improvements to the existing character collision avoidance system. The changes began with adjustments to the smooth locomotion path, with data coming from the collision avoidance calculation to make sure the character has enough free space to move.

Time was spent combining the different features required for dynamic cinematic scenes and dynamic patrolling, with focus on the transitions into and from trackview scenes and generalizing guard behaviors to correctly use ‘walk & talk’ functionality.

For social behaviors, the team refactored vendor behavior to be generic and reusable in multiple contexts, first implementing a way for supporting motion-capture animations to be used as transitions between usables (which they’re temporarily referring to as ‘schooching’). This allows the designers to set up additional animations for specific usables/characters so that an actor’s performance can be maintained alongside the regular systemic behavior. For example, several levels have vendors with animations driven by specific actor performances. These need to be played without creating unique behaviors, so the special transition positions are highlighted within the level to allow the designers to verify the setup of the environment matches the existing animations.

The options that vendors can use were also generalized so that the designers no longer have to write them into their behaviors. Instead, the correct options are automatically selected based on the environment and (eventually) from the shop services.

Art (Characters)


This month, Character Art revisited the hair development pipeline. With the help of the Graphics Team, they developed new tools and shader tech to improve realism while maintaining quality and performance. They’re currently modeling characters and new hairstyles to test their new pipeline with.

Progress also continues on the Vanduul character model. The head and body mesh are complete, with texturing currently underway.

Art (Environment)


The internal lighting for scripted events on the Javelin is now completed. Art are currently focusing their efforts on the ship’s exterior, as the player will see certain events play out from both inside and outside of the ship.

Two key campaign areas are now grey-box complete, soft gate reviews have been carried out, and the go-ahead has been given to start planning out the shaders and textures.

As mentioned last month, Archon Station’s exterior is ‘watertight’. And now, all surfaces are complete, with collision meshes added for good measure. The layout does a fantastic job of selling the station’s scale when both far away and up close. The main transit system is also integrated, with all stops and secondary systems being finished throughout March.

A focus-team has moved back onto the Krugeri to help refine several areas with key cinematics. Alongside this, new areas are being added throughout the ship, including medical bays and an armory.

Art (Ships)


The Retaliator is one of several ships currently receiving tweaks to suit SQ42’s needs. The ship plays an important role in certain missions, so requires some subtle amends to suit. The updated ship will eventually make its way to the Persistent Universe, too.

Audio


The Audio Code Team and sound designers finished their collaborative work on the new camera-shake and ship-vibration systems. Now, when an engine kicks in, the ship shakes and hums. This also extends to the player, with events like a ship powering up causing minor camera shake.

The sound designers added new sound samples to a range of ships as part of the rollout of the New Flight Model. By adding ‘one-shot’ samples to each of the various thrusters, they’ve brought out more complexity to the sounds heard during flight. Additionally, they created the sound profiles and samples for the Gemini S71 assault rifle and Kastak Arms CODA pistol, which will both appear in SQ42 and the Persistent Universe (PU).

Currently, everyone from Audio is working towards an updated tool that better allows the sound designers to implement new assets in-engine whilst simultaneously testing how they sound.

Cinematics


The Cinematics Team made substantial progress on major scenes encountered late-on in the campaign and prototyped an important [REDACTED] that will take place at [REDECATED]. This included recording a total of 56 motion capture (mocap) lines and a handful of new wildlines.

Another significant sequence that garnered attention involves the Bengal carrier. A scene in the pilot ready-room required the mocap cast to use a circular table of 1.5m diameter and four chairs that could swivel, had no wheels, but could be pushed around. Although seemingly trivial, specific information like this is carefully shared between all teams involved to ensure the prop dimensions fit into the intended location, animations have enough space to run unimpeded, and the distance between conversing characters is maintained. Compared to the size of SQ42’s ships and planets, relatively small things like table and chairs can be very important for cinematics!

Engineering


February saw the Engine Team optimize the instance system used in compute skinning. This was achieved through a refactor of it on the CPU and shader for better maintainability, created a budget-based output-buffer system for skinning results (so they only have to skin once per frame), made more tangent reconstruction optimizations, and worked on wrap-deformation using the color stream.

Basic HDR display support was also added to the editor, as was a new hue-preserving display mapping curve suitable for HDR display output. The team provided material layer support for planet tech v4 and continued to improve character hair, which included initial support for edge masking and pixel depth offset. Game physics is progressing with Projectile Manager improvements, as are optimizations to wrapped grids and state updates. Support was added for ocean Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) wave generation to physics buoyancy calculations, as well as exposed optimized terrain meshes. A major system initialization clean-up was completed as part of an initiative to share core engine functionality with PU services, the lockless job manager was worked on (a complete overhaul for faster response in high-load scenarios), and a new load time profiler was created.

The team are currently wrapping up the ‘ImGUI’ integration and are introducing a temporary allocator for more efficiency when containers are used on stack. They made the switch to the Clang 6 compiler to build Linux targets (including compilation cleanup of the entire code base) and plan to switch to the latest stable release (Clang 8.x) in the near future.

Finally, a ‘create compile time’ analysis tool (utilizing new Visual C++ front and backend profiler flags) was completed to gather, condense, and visualize reasons for slow compile and link times. As a result, various improvements have already been submitted and further action items defined.

Features (Vehicles)


Most of the vehicle work completing in February will eventually appear in both SQ42 and PU:
Gimbal Assist and its related HUD improvements were finalized and polished to allow for better balancing of this new weapon control scheme. Turrets were also improved, with the team adding a HUD and keybinds for input sensitivity, implementing adjustable speeds for gimbal target-movement based on proximity to center aim, and fixing bugs the caused snapping and erratic movement.

A lot of time went towards scanning improvements, which included adjusting the area for navpoint scanning, adding the ability to utilize the navpoint hierarchy, and adding a Boolean to opt into the scanning data. This endeavor also covered adjustments to make scanning more involving by setting up AI turrets to generate signatures and be scannable and adding specific icons for scanned/unscanned targets. Ping and blob were implemented to display on the radar too, including focus angle and ping fire. They also continued to make item port tech optimizations, developed tech for utilizing geometry component tags in the paint system, and fixed a handful of crash bugs.

Exclusively for SQ42, the team continued to work with the designers to implement various Subsumption callbacks for mission-specific requirements.

Graphics


A large part of the Graphics Team’s time throughout February was spent closing down the final features for the volumetric rendering of gas clouds. This included unifying the lighting between volumetric effects and opaque objects, which required adding support for deep Fourier shade maps into the general lighting pipeline. Several other changes were made to allow gas clouds to be built from smaller modular pieces, which helps overcome the large storage requirements of volumetric data.

Another focus was adding multi-threaded rendering support to the editor, which will improve the performance for artists and designers working in complex scenes. In some cases, this can almost double the framerate and get much closer to the performance of the optimized ‘shipping’ build of the game. The editor code was written before the engine was multi-threaded and, as a result, there are many bugs that have to be painstakingly found and fixed. However, it is now nearing completion.

Level Design


Each of the four design teams progressed towards the goal of completing a handover flow for the first third of the game. This involved an in-depth dive into the details of planetary bodies in the Odin system, with the aim to get accurate Quantum Travel distances and create glorious backdrops for the various space battles.

Great progress was made on the social AI and usables technology that allows NPCs to systematically demonstrate different behaviors within the Idris corvette.

The Design Team integrated the Air Traffic Controller feature (which coordinates all take-offs and landings) into the game-flow to help promote the ‘busy’ feel you’d expect when visiting a huge military capital ship. Refinements of both FPS and ground combat in-line with the current roadmap continued, too.

Narrative


Both Dave and Will spent most of the month visiting the UK office. That time was spent not only reviewing the latest progress on several chapters, but on capturing a few additional pickup performances needed for the completion of the game. This included recording tests for the female player character to ensure the pipeline is working correctly before the team proceeds with recording all of her performances.

The wider Narrative Team made progress on generating the specific text needed for on-screen mission objectives. Previously, this had been placeholder text as designers worked on levels, but moving forward, the hope is to begin using the proper in-lore objectives.

Programming


Alongside making more improvements to Vault & Mantle’, work began on Player Jump v2. They’re currently re-evaluating how the animations are set up in the code to help simplify and reduce the number of assets.

The team revisited stealth takedown mechanics and re-evaluated the previous work done on knife takedowns. They continued work on the free-look view limits (where the player’s range of view is restricted depending on their helmet/armor) and separated out the range when weapon aiming from free-look.

SQ42 Features began improving the in-game workflow for iterating on cinematic scenes and evaluated potentially suitable existing tech for suitability. For example, being able to jump to a specific conversation, skip to the end of a scene, replay scenes, etc. They also added additional ways of triggering conversations based on the distance or the direction the player is approaching an NPC from.

QA


While most AI testing took place in the Persistent Universe and Arena Commander (AC), the same systems will also appear in various aspects within SQ42. In most cases, testing in the PU and Arena Commander is sufficient, but QA now regularly undertakes flow testing for those features most relevant to the SQ42 campaign. Any issues encountered are cross-checked with the findings of other testers and JIRA tasks are created accordingly. Usually, the issues tend to be related to setup rather than code, as most code problems are discovered during preliminary testing in the PU/AC.

The testing of various cutscenes from the SQ42 campaign is on-going by a dedicated tester and will support the Cinematics Team with any issues that prevent them from creating Track View sequences.

System Design


The System Design Team predominantly focused on AI throughout February:
For Ship AI, they made general improvements throughout, including the way AI ships attempt to avoid the player’s fire. For social AI, they’re working on Duncan Chakma, the Idris’ master at arms. This character has some of the more complex behaviors and solving him should speed up the development of all other characters that encompass complex player choices (such as movement from station to station, interacting with items, and giving/taking back weapons). On the FPS AI side, they focused on restructuring behaviors so that they become more modular, with the goal to make it easier to implement specific chunks of logic and influence the AI’s skillset.

The team also spent time on set filming new animation sets for NPCs that should create a lot more depth and bring them to life.

User Interface (UI)


During February, UI began working on the branding and theming for the Aciedo, Shubin, and OMC environmental UI displays, as well as the GRIN manufacturer.

VFX


The VFX Team updated the existing particle lighting system to a more modern iteration. The previous version was based on tessellation, which increased the rendering cost and had limitations on shadow resolution. The new system is a global change that will remove the need for tessellation and improve shadow receiving for a crisper, smoother appearance.

They’re also continuing work on the cinematics for SQ42. This includes a lot of soft/rigid body destruction simulations that will be required for scenes where objects are destroyed (peeling back metal panels, fracturing and breaking of glass, concrete, etc.).

The UK-based team put most of their focus on vehicle damage and destruction, which is always an enjoyable task for the artists. Specifically, they blocked out several destruction sequences after an extended R&D period with Art and Design to help determine exactly where and when certain story-driven destruction sequences should occur.

They also continued to iterate on the lightning effects after receiving several new features from the graphics and game code engineers. For example, a new seed option allows the artist to remove all behavioral randomization from the effect, which makes it much easier to fine tune. This is also beneficial for cinematic sequences to ensure lightning looks the same each time it strikes.

Weapons


The Weapon Art Team completed the Gemini S71, Kastak Arms Coda, Banu Singe tachyon cannons, Gallenson Tactical ballistic cannon reworks, and five variants of the Aegis Vanguard nose guns.

Covert Intel


Ride ‘em in, cut ‘em out

Conclusion

WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

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   Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/17031-Squadron-42-Monthly-Report-February-2019

Q&A: Drake Corsair

Q&A: Drake Corsair

Following the launch of the Corsair from Drake Interplanetary, we took your community-voted questions to our designers to give you more information on the recently unveiled exploration vessel.

Special thanks to John Crewe for answering these questions.

Can you please clarify your stance on Drake ship durability? We want tough and versatile no-frills ships, not paper ships that will fall apart when you look at them as some devs have stated. Which is it?

When we say “paper ships”, we say it with regards to our entire line-up, where Aegis and Anvil typically have more armor and can be regarded as very tough. In comparison, Drake ships are relatively under-armored, which we exaggerate as “paper thin”. While they may be less durable, their defense is more than enough for the intended role they’re pitched at and they’re often up-gunned to offset any deficit.

With Drake’s stance on barebones necessities, how will the living quarters actually be in comparison with other ships?

While not as luxurious as other companies’ living quarters, Drake still provides all the necessities such as a bed, kitchen, washroom, and storage for every crewperson’s weapons and clothing. Other ships may give each crewmember their own facilities, but Drake feels this is a waste of space and resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Can the pilot get out of their seat while the co-pilot is in the downward position (this was a problem in the original cutlass that was resolved by the rework)?

Yes. Unlike the original Cutlass, there’s plenty of room for the pilot to exit their seat and walk around where the co-pilot’s seat was. When the co-pilot seat is deployed to the lower level, a hatch covers the hole to provide a flat traversal surface.

Does the pilot control the 4 x S5 (S4 gimballed) front AND 2 x S4 (S3 gimballed) right wing guns?

The pilot controls these weapons by default, although in the future (like other ships), their control will be able to be delegated to another station.

With this special pilot/co-pilot seating arrangement, will both seats provide the option to fly the ship?

Both seats have full control inputs available, so this will be possible.

From what we saw in the whitebox-clip, there’s plenty of open hangar space left after the Rover is parked within the Corsair. Can’t there be a few SCUs left over although the rover is on board?

We want this ship to have similar trade-offs as the Constellation in terms of ‘cargo space versus vehicle storage’, so currently there are no plans to allow this. However, there will always be space to put cargo items outside of the grids on all ships providing you can get them in, though they won’t be securely locked down.

I own several other exploration ships, what makes the Corsair stand out? In other words, is its only trick the big guns?

The Corsair offers the same functionality as a variety of other exploration ships but is catered towards a more offensive style of gameplay. It also has a different set of roles for a crew of four compared to, say, the Constellation.

Due to the fact that it’s an exploration ship, the Corsair has a fuel intake system. Does it also have a refinery?

The Corsair does not come with a refinery, nor is it capable of equipping one.

What are the component classes available to this ship? Civilian and Industrial?

Correct and these two categories suit the role of the ship perfectly.

With the wings folded upwards in landing mode, will the Corsair fit in front-entry hangar doors, like those at the Rest Stops?

Yes. When designing a ship, these metrics are considered and the Corsair will fit in medium/size four hangars (the same as the Retaliator and Constellation).

What types of weapon and armor storage are on the ship? How many weapons per player and what level of armor (light, medium or heavy)?

Each crew member can store one set of armor (excluding what they’re wearing), two primary weapons, and one sidearm.

Are there any crew stations beyond the turrets and co-pilot, for example, an engineering computer or scanning station?

There is an engineering station towards the rear of the ship.

How many people can use the forward lift at a time?

The front lift can take the entire crew, so four at a time.

Does this ship have landing lights so you can see what’s underneath you when you land on the dark side of a moon? It’s an exploration ship, so there’s not always a landing pad available.

The ship will have a variety of lighting when it’s released. This is a popular request players have asked for on existing ships and something we plan to roll out over time.

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Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/engineering/17030-Q-A-Drake-Corsair

Galactic Guide: Kallis System

This Galactic Guide originally appeared in Jump Point 5.2.

A Star Is Born


A whirling mass of potential, the recently discovered Kallis system has excited scientists and researchers the Empire over by offering them a rare opportunity: to witness the formation of a stellar system first hand.

Kallis was first visited in 2921 through its jump point connection with Oso, and initial ICC scans of the system revealed a G-class main sequence star anchoring nine protoplanets in various stages of development. Officially, the system’s discovery is credited to OB Station Chimera, the main research facility in Oso, but many still persist that it should be rightly attributed to former PFC Gabby Rifon.

Part of the Army security force detailed under the Fair Chance Act to protect Oso II from poachers, smugglers, and other trespassers, Rifon served as a long-range scan technician tasked with sweeping the system for errant ships. According to later interviews, Gabby was often “bored as hell” looking for ships hours at a time. Instead she would shrug off her duties and adjust the scan station to search for spatial anomalies. It was during one such unauthorized session that Gabby excitedly noted faint indications of a jump point. Informing her commanding officer of the discovery brought to light the fact that Gabby had been “wasting” hours during her shift. A week before the first ship would traverse the Oso-Kallis jump point, Gabby was dishonorably discharged for improper use of Army resources.

A Second Chance


Almost immediately, it was clear that Kallis (meaning “beloved” in a Martian dialect) was a system to be cherished. Once again, Humanity was getting a chance to witness the birth of a solar system firsthand, and scientists around the Empire pledged to not let the opportunity be squandered as it had been in Gurzil.

When Gurzil, a system still in its accretion phase, was discovered in 2539, scientific access was cut short due to security concerns. Upon the arrival of Xi’an ships in 2542, Gurzil was drafted into the UPE’s recently created Perry Line and set aside to protect Humanity’s borders. For the next several centuries, the system was off-limits to everyone but military forces.

Upon the dissolution of the Perry Line, the scientific community hoped that Gurzil would fall under the protection of the Fair Chance Act. However, various industries lobbied that centuries of military intervention had already damaged the system past its original scientific value and that it would better serve the credit-strapped Empire harvested of its valuable resources. In the end, the Senate voted against applying the Fair Chance Act to Gurzil and decided to allow both research and restricted mining in the system.

The scientific community was strongly motivated to make Kallis a different story.

A Front Row Seat


Within a month of the first scan report from Kallis being released, a bill was introduced on the Senate floor to place the system under the protection of the Fair Chance Act and, this time around, thanks to the pristine status of the system as well as a much more favorable Transitionalist-controlled chamber, the vote passed. The system at once became off-limits to commercial development and general traffic. From that point on, Kallis would be a sanctuary for research and discovery.

Under the guidance of a joint Army and Imperial Science and Technology Foundation governing body, the past two decades have already greatly expanded our knowledge and understanding of the universe around us. Undoubtedly, this is just the start of a trend that will continue for decades to come as research continues in Kallis around the clock and new generations of scientists eagerly await their turn to study nature’s mysteries first hand.

Kallis I


A loose fusion of recently merged planetary embryos, this small developing protoplanet has an aggressively eccentric orbit that has many researchers speculating whether it will break apart before it can establish itself.

Kallis Belt Alpha


As the gravity wakes from the nearby forming worlds tug at this dense orbiting collection of planetesimal, frequent collisions can cause chaotic motion and hazardous travel conditions anywhere nearby.

Kallis II & III


These two rocky terrestrial worlds are currently sharing an orbit, but it is estimated that one of the worlds will eventually pull in enough mass from the surrounding asteroid belts to “win the race” and subsume its sibling.

Kallis Belt Beta


A swirling mass of asteroids and dust grains, this belt is composed of materials with high melting points. Although there is enough mass here to compose three to five planets, orbital resonance with the surrounding worlds has prevented this from happening yet.

Kallis IV, V, VI


These three terrestrial worlds hold special interest for researchers as they have the greatest chance for the potential to one day support life. Kallis IV in particular has a striking resemblance to what many believe Earth must have looked like in its infancy. With active volcanoes possibly forming an atmosphere, researchers are looking into creating monitoring methods capable of lasting the lifetimes it will take to see it form. While Kallis V may not currently have any potential for developing an atmosphere, the swirl of debris orbiting its rocky surface indicates that it may soon have a series of moons to call its own. The least developed of the three, Kallis VI has a surface entirely composed of molten rock, giving it a planetary glow.

OB Station Gryphon


Located near the Kallis-Oso jump point, OB Station Gryphon was sealed late in 2922 and has served as the main operational hub for the entire system ever since. In order to preserve the living experiment that is Kallis and its protoplanets, construction throughout the rest of the system has been extremely limited. While there are small observation posts and scan satellites positioned throughout the system, if you are looking to refuel or restock, Gryphon is your only choice. All deliveries to the system are also routed through the station to ensure that the strict Fair Chance Act protocols are followed.

Despites the system’s focus on serious scholastic pursuits, it has begun to gain notoriety for the unique community that has developed over the years. Between the Army personnel stationed here to guard the system and the young grad students conducting research, the median age of the system’s small population is well under thirty. It is no wonder that the habitation decks can get a bit raucous as researchers (looking to blow off steam after days spent alone in remote obervational outposts) and soldiers (with extra energy after long shifts spent patrolling for trespassers) meet for drinks and heated debates. Toss into the mix a growing number of philosophers and spiritualists who have come seeking deeper truths about the universe’s origins, and you can see why OB Station Gryphon is a destination that’s not quite like anywhere else in the Empire.

Kallis VII & VIII


Located out beyond Kallis’ frost line, the system’s two giants formed from volatile icy compounds and captured hydrogen and helium. Kallis VII has drawn its fair share of exoclimatologists interested in studying its burgeoning storm systems, while Kallis VIII has proven exciting for those seeking to construct a more complete model regarding dynamics and chemistry in ice giant atmospheres.

Kallis IX


A small planetesimal in distant orbit around the sun, Kallis IX has the distinction of being the only celestial body in the system whose surface has been marred by orbital mining lasers, thanks to a joint UEE project with mining conglomerate Shubin Interstellar’s research department seeking to better understand this dwarf planet’s role in the system’s formation.

TRAVEL WARNING

All ships arriving in-system are expected to first stop at OB Station Gryphon to officially register. Traveling anywhere without having acquired the proper clearance is a sure way to draw the ire of the Army pilots on patrol here.

HEARD IN THE WIND


“I learned a ton during my two years in Kallis. Unfortunately, I forgot most of it thanks to my two years visiting Gryphon.”

– Dr. Wahid Allimon, Professor of Geology, University of Rhetor, 2945

“Even though my mom didn’t get the credit she deserved for discovering the system, there is some small consolation in that they named that station after her. Sure, if you ask they’ll say it’s named for one of those lion-bird things, but come on, it’s pretty clear that the scientists in charge were sticking it to those Army guys when they chose the name.”

– Alice Thomas, daughter of Gabby Rifon, 2943

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/17029-Galactic-Guide-Kallis-System

New Merchandise!

New Merchandise!

We Asked, You Answered…

In an effort to revamp our selection of physical merchandise, we recently put a call out on Spectrum to see what kind of items you wanted to see in the store. After tirelessly collating your responses, it has become very clear what you’ve been clamoring for, and we are super excited to announce our first new merchandise offerings of 2019.

The Scent of Star Citizen

We asked what you wanted, and the resounding answer returned: themed unisex fragrances. Thus, we present to you the inaugural offering in the Scents of Star Citizen collection.

Quantum by Christiano Roberto

The classic fragrances of the past meet the mysterious essences of the future. An innovative cultivation of scents that transcend space and time. Always relevant.

And look for these other intoxicating aromas from all around the ‘verse, coming soon to the pledge store!

Bishop No. 42
Rich rose and hints of tobacco interface with peated scotch and herbal highlights to create a fragrance reminiscent of victory. For if there is one thing the Vanduul have taught us, it’s that without the smell of victory there can be no survival.

Oppression by Hurston

You work hard every day for the betterment of your community. Shouldn’t you smell like it? With top notes of smog and spice, complemented by the compelling bouquet of a job well done, Oppression epitomizes the hard-worn smell of success.

Kayfa Kiss by Inmersión

Capture the “exotic essence” of the Xi’an with the heady aroma of centennial bloom mingling with sharp counter-notes of rotting meat and intrigue.

Scents of the Stars Collection

Pre-order the entire collection now in an ultra-deluxe limited-edition collector’s gift set and be the first one in your org to smell like the stars.

This purchase includes attendance to the launch of the new fragrance line on Christiano Roberto’s super-luxe, limited-edition, gold-trimmed 890 Jump, where he’ll personally hand you a signed bottle.

(Warbond only)

A Perfumed Partnership

Inspired by the odorous innovations dreamed up for these fragrances, our devs have initiated an exciting collaboration with FACEWARE, working on revolutionary “Smell Over IP” or SOIP. Imagine the total immersion as you introduce your olfactory system to the curiously sterile, vaguely chemical scent of Port Olisar, the sweaty smoggy bouquet of Lorville, or that disconcerting mystery smell emanating from GrimHEX. Keep an eye on our public roadmap for this aromatic new feature, coming soon!


Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/17015-New-Merchandise