February 2949 Subscriber Flair

February 2949 Subscriber Flair

Subscribers

Centurions will receive the Rust Society Venture Helmet. The RSI’s Venture helmet is built from impact-resistant composites and designed to weather the harshest of environments. It also features an anti-scuff laminate face-plate that offers an unparalleled upward field of view, providing unobstructed sight lines to whatever wonders you discover. The Rust Society edition adds a red and tan color scheme so you look good while working hard.

Imperator Subscribers

Imperator-level subscribers get the RSI Beacon Helmet in addition to the Venture edition. RSI’s Horizon helmet is a durable and robust environmental enclosed work helmet. The single sheet laminate dome gives you an extremely wide field of view. A pair of side-mounted LED light modules provide additional illumination to make sure you can see what you’re doing. The Rust Society edition celebrates blue-collar workers with an exclusive red and tan coloration that hides dirt and wear and tear well.

If you’re an active subscriber, these items will be added to your account on February 18th.

If you aren’t a subscriber yet but want to don these helmets, make sure you subscribe no later than February 17th.

More information about subscriptions can be found here

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16970-February-2949-Subscriber-Flair

Star Citizen Monthly Report: January 2019

The first Persistent Universe monthly report of the year details all the work done by the Star Citizen team throughout December and January. While the devs and studio teams took a break for the holidays, the early winter months saw a ton of tasks completed, progress made, and new ideas seeded.

Star Citizen Monthly Report: December 2018 – January 2019

AI


The AI Team put effort into stability and optimization for the recent alpha releases and patches.

AI gunships gained new tactical options, including the introduction of a new behavior that allows them to circle enemies and use their turrets to attack from a constant distance. Designers can easily modify this behavior to change things like the optimal attack range and when to disengage the target. The ‘fly-by’ and ‘breakaway’ tactics were also amended to make better use of the predicted hit position and allow ships to better evaluate the environment to determine the optimal direction for evasion.

An ongoing focus for the team is converting all new movement logics to utilize the new Intelligent Flight Control System in preparation for its upcoming release.

For human combat, the team worked to improve the behaviors released in Alpha 3.4, making sure basic structures were in place to enable AI to decide which cover location to use, when to shoot, and when to relocate. The cover selection has been expanded to order the query based on the amount of protection it gives when multiple targets are taken into account. They also implemented an improved way to debug behaviors and can now visualize the debug tree on multiple characters at the same time as well as use the Subsumption debug draw in a server/client environment.

Time was spent on the perception system, which was expanded to handle damage stimuli; AI characters now have proper awareness of damage, so they know the exact location of the source and will behave accordingly, tracking if a specific enemy they lost sight of is the source of damage and updating the knowledge they have about them.

Progress was made on the Usable Builder, which allows the team to easily visualize usables, edit their properties, and test the different use channels. For the mission system, they exposed several new functionalities to the designers, such as a variety of task nodes, new variable types, and new core functionalities. A ‘group’ variable was introduced that can automatically be filled up when spawning AI characters to let designers track the dynamic elements they’re interested in.

Currently, the AI Team is implementing global callbacks to help the designers track environmental events specific to the data they’re interested in without the need to explicitly create variables for each entity.

Animation


The PU Animation Team spent the pre-holiday period finalizing mission givers, including Constantine Hurston and Tecia Pacheco, and are currently working on ship dealers to give players a salesman-like experience when buying vehicles in-game. They’re also continuing to actualize the emotes shot at CitizenCon.

Audio


The team worked hard to improve the ship audio experience in-line with the new flight model, which included implementing improvements to thrusters, powerplants, and the overall sound mix. They’re also integrating greater levels of complexity via new components, including ship vibration and environmental feedback variants, that deliver greater feedback from turbulence, impact, and atmospheric flight.

Physicalized props and physical objects received audio support recently to ensure they have appropriate impact, role, slide, and topple sound effects. A recent addition to this is the team’s work on implied contents for carriable items, such as crates.

The Foley system is continually being iterated on, with the team improving the footstep and cloth systems in relation to various contexts, e.g. material/surface types and pressurized/unpressurized environments. The sounds will all vary for the upcoming female player character, too.

Working closely with the PU music composer, Pedro Camacho, the team has been laying the groundwork for various upcoming locations, including ArcCorp and Area 18. This includes creative conversations with the Narrative, Art, and the wider Audio Team to establish appropriate sound pallets, instrumentation, styles, and motifs.

The Audio Code Team drove significant progress on the new CIG Audio System, which will hugely improve the audio implementation pipelines and consolidate functionality into a single tool with much wider scope and flexibility.

In other news, the Audio Department is hiring! They are looking to fill two sound design and one dialog specialist positions. This is in line with the team’s planned expansion and all talented audio professionals are encouraged to apply.

Backend Services


Backend Services completed a large portion of the foundation work for the new diffusion backend architecture. This includes the continued break-up of the general instance manager into smaller scalable services. The dedicated game server needs to communicate properly with the new services, so hooks and proper calls have been set up between them.

Support was also given to the Alpha 3.4 release and subsequent smaller releases to ensure communication on the backend was as efficient as possible.

Plans were laid out in January for the new diffusion network and work was done to ensure the services scripting language continues to function efficiently. Finally for Backend Services, a handful of alterations were made to the various new services and existing databases for increased efficiency.

Character Art


Character Art brought the Shipjacker Armor to players along with the holiday-themed Shipjacker skull helmet. They also set out to unify all armors and undersuits for female playable characters and finalized the concept for mission-giver Tecia ‘Twitch’ Pacheco.

After a nice holiday break, the team started on tasks for the upcoming DNA feature. For this, the team needed to convert, mark-up, and unify all head assets to work with the male and female protos, including the unification of all Data Forge assets.

DNA is a major feature that affects the entire facial setup and pipeline for characters in Star Citizen. This significant feature touches a lot of teams, and through a lot of dedicated collaborative work, is progressing very well. The teams are currently updating mesh formats to support the data sets required, wrapping up and fixing any bugs relating to GPU skinning, and updating all the attachments in the game with the mark-up required for DNA compatibility. The system has begun to roll out in the PU on NPC characters and is already yielding performance wins. Lots of cooperation and iteration between all DNA teams has resulted in a fun and intuitive interface that allows the player to easily create their own face for their player character. The DNA feature is on track to meet its scheduled release.

Finally, The team is also concepting new mission givers and outfits to bring more life to the Persistent Universe.

Community


The Community Team held two holiday-themed competitions: One invited Citizens to create greetings cards to express their love and gratitude and wish each other happy holidays. The other put the festive helmet and cargo to good use by asking everyone to show how they celebrate the holidays in the ‘verse.

The new Star Citizen Fankit was released that offers a wealth of free assets along with a style guide to help content creators use them at their best. Looking for wallpapers, manufacturer logos, music, and more? Download the kit and check out the FAQ answering all the questions about what a content creator can and can’t do with official Star Citizen assets.

In January, the team celebrated Australia Day with a screenshot contest that had everyone showing off their best flight formations in the Gladius Valiant (which was made available to all backers for the occasion). They also kicked off another contest highlighting Tumbril’s rough and rugged Cyclone series that challenged content creators to take their filmmaking skills off-road.

A few of the Community Team members spent a weekend exploring PAX South and attended the annual Bar Citizen event on the River Walk. Selfies were taken, stories shared, and friendships made.

Have you checked out your hangar lately? The ‘One Empire Anniversary Coin’ was distributed to all backers who pledged before to the $200 million milestone.

Lastly, the Daymar Rally took place on January 27th, with three different divisions (Rover, Buggy, and Bike) battling it out for glory and rewards. Everyone involved should feel very proud of themselves, as seeing the filthiest race in the ‘verse come together was an incredible experience for everyone. Well done!

Design


The Economy Features Team focused on adding new weapons to the various shops around the ‘verse. Once complete, shop inventories were set up for all the new locations and various bugs were squashed. Tweaks to missions and the overall economy were also made to move the game closer to the end economic goals of the team.

In January, testing began on a new formula that dynamically alters certain commodity parameters within the wider economy. A new approach is also being taken towards vehicle components to help create interesting choices for players when in shops – even if they have enough money to buy anything they want.

Polish was added to various NPCs throughout the ‘verse, with the aim to make them as realistic and believable as possible.

The design was complete for a new nav marker ruleset that makes how and when players see destination markers more intuitive. Rulesets were also created to add functionality to the Quantum Travel and Service Beacon systems to give players more options when traveling in a party and choosing a location for service beacon transport respectively.

DevOps


DevOps broke their previous record of the number of internal builds published to the PTU and live service.

“One of the most satisfying things for the team is seeing the results of our work. The Alpha 3.4 publish was one of those times we really felt proud.”

2018 was the first year that scaling automation was used on the live service, which allows the servers to keep up with demand when needed but cut back as necessary. The new system exceeded all expectations and led to one of the smoothest holiday seasons ever.

Build Operations was hard at work developing new systems to support a major pipeline upgrade to the overall game development process and continues to build new systems and improve on old ones.

Engineering


The Engine Team supported the Alpha 3.4 release and subsequent patches with general assistance, profiling, optimization, and bug fixes. For compute skinning, they made tangent reconstruction optimizations for character faces, data optimizations and compression to lower bandwidth requirements, separated static and dynamic GPU data, and moved bone-remapping to the GPU (to save CPU memory and provide more flexibility).

Work began on HDR color grading and output on supported displays, while splat map support for planet terrain was added, as was an improved film grain with unified dithering. The development of planetary ground fog began along with significant improvements to temporal sample anti-aliasing (TSAA).

The physics engineers enabled joint limits on driven ragdolls and fixed instability caused by a threshold in the solver. They also made the first steps in exposing the spatial grid structure for walking and exploring and added physics support for planetary oceans.

Improvements were made to crash handling, including various thread-safety improvements to enable more robust handling of obscure crashes, and the addition of extra information into minidumps to allow for better debugging of fibres.

Environment Art


Winter saw work begin on the Environment Art Team’s next big target: microTech and its landing zone, New Babbage. In preparation, designs were trialled for the ‘Hi-Tech’ common elements, which include habs, garages, and hangars in an all-new architectural style. These new sets will help the team build New Babbage and ensure the visual style feels fresh and different.

Recent improvements to the organics shaders and pipeline will improve the look of geology and planets. This update has been a long time in the making and the team is looking forward to giving all planet assets a visual upgrade.

The team is currently moving from whitebox towards release for both the planet ArcCorp and its main landing zone, Area 18. Some necessary changes have been made to Area 18’s original layout, mainly for performance reasons but also to improve the general layout and city ‘feel’.

“The task of creating a planet-wide city that players can circumnavigate which also blends well into the major landing zone remains a constant challenge, but one that’s bearing impressive fruit. Progress has been good on improvements to the believability and read of ArcCorp as a city, with the space taking a huge visual step forward from when it was last seen.”

Gameplay Feature


Like many others, the Gameplay Feature Team put in a concentrated effort to fix as many bugs as possible for the Alpha 3.4 release. Specifically, they overcame issues with FoIP & VoIP, Comms, and the Group System. They also supported the US Vehicle Feature Team with their UI-needs for item sub-targeting and the ongoing turret improvements.

The team kicked off 2019 supporting patches for Alpha 3.4.0 before moving straight into feature work for 3.5, including the UI for DNA face customization, continued improvements to Comms video streaming, and a refactor of shop population.

Graphics


The Graphics Team’s focus has been on performance and memory saving:

The performance gains mainly came from improvements to shadow culling and optimization to video comms, especially on lower-spec machines (though there are some quality issues still to address).

The largest memory saving came from fixing a particularly nasty bug in the mesh streaming code which could result in all levels-of-detail loading for a mesh rather than just the ones needed. Other savings came from increasing the sharing textures used by various effects and improvements to the logic in which textures should be streamed in (interestingly, the game can now run with as little as 400mb of textures!).

On top of this, the team resurrected the water volume tech and made it compatible with the zone system so it can be used on planets, space stations, and ships.

Level Design


Level Design finished the current iteration of Lorville’s Central Business District (CBD) and added it to the city. They are now looking into the trainlines that connect it to Teasa spaceport.

However, the majority of the team is currently focussing on ArcCorp and Area18, with the hangar, shop, vendor, spaceport, and overall layout now finalized. They also gave the planet and its moons a necessary design setup, began an investigation into quantum traveling AI, and introduced a variety of new narcotics during the prototyping of a new mission from ‘Twitch’ Pacheco.

Lighting


The Lighting Team focused on finishing the CBD and supported the addition of mission-giver Klim to Levski for the Alpha 3.4.0 release. They also looked at the small and medium-sized common elements for the player hangars and created different lighting variations for the Rest Stop, Lorville, and upcoming Area 18 styles.

They’re currently fleshing out the development tools by creating an asset zoo for all current ‘utilitarian-style’ lighting fixtures in use throughout the PU to help them quickly and efficiently add lighting to new locations.

Narrative


The Narrative Team returned from the holidays to tackle the Alpha 3.5 update, including developing ideas for the branding of street and food stalls in Area 18 and outlining the NPC archetypes needed to populate the city and mission content.

The team is also excited to welcome a new producer to the group; not only will he help keep the team organized, he’ll act as the point of contact for the other teams to make requests through.

Player Relations


Player Relations busily wrapped up the Alpha 3.4 publishes along with all of the work created over the holiday period. They teamed up with the Evocati for several builds to make sure everything was properly tested and completed several rounds of PTU publishing and testing. Progress was also made on an internal quality-of-life feedback report that comes straight from backers’ experiences.

“As always, we can’t thank our volunteers enough for the effort they put into helping us build this game (especially our wonderful Avocados!).”

Planning has already begun for the upcoming Alpha 3.5 release – particularly the testing of the new flight model.

Props


From the small dressing items on Constantine’s desk to the giant Hurston statue, Props mainly spent December finishing up Lorville’s CBD. New mission props were created that focused on the illegal drug trade and surface relay kit. Finally, for December, ideas were floated for cockpit flair and work began on ship sub-items.

In January, some of the team moved onto looking at the ship items themselves, initially taking stock of where they’re up to and looking at how they can integrate sub-items into interiors. The majority of the team have now shifted onto the new Area 18 landing zone and are looking into white-boxing props and supplying basic block outs so other teams can start to build and dress the level.

QA


QA tackled some of the more difficult-to-reproduce issues in the run-up to the Alpha 3.4 release. Dedicated feature testers for both AI and the Gameplay Feature Teams continued to test their respective areas (combat AI, ship AI, non-combat AI, and transit system) via sanity and smoke tests along with standard testing and regression.

QA now provide dedicated support to the Locations Team to ensure that current and new locations are set up and working as expected by Art and Design. A few notable requests involved testing fixes for server deadlock and various changes to the physics of jumping and going down stairs. Changes to the Entity IDs in Track View were tested in the editor to make sure they were seamless and bug-free. A new restricted area for ground vehicles was also added to Lorville, which was thoroughly tested by both the German and UK teams.

Further investigation was made into the issue of Ship AI idling during mercenary and Emergency Communication Network (ECN) missions to ascertain whether it was AI or network related. The team could only reproduce it during ship AI missions in the live environment and encountered something close to it during a 20-player playtest. The one consistent factor was that it only seemed to occur when performance took a dip. So, it was deemed not an AI issue and will be further investigated by the Network Team.

On the publishing side, QA tested the Alpha 3.4 builds before they reached the Evocati and Live service. In January, they worked through the 3.4.# fixes. Recently, attention turned to preparing for Alpha 3.5.

The holiday period saw four new testers join the extended QA family, too.

Ships


The UK Ship Team continued developments of the Origin 890 Jump, with further greybox work done on the atrium, master suite, guest suites, and engineering deck. They also refined the exterior hull styling to try and move a few areas closer to the original concept and make the overall ship less ‘cartoon-looking’.

Everyone’s favorite pathfinder, the Anvil Carrack, has progressed since it was last seen. It’s currently in greybox, with the team tackling the feedback generated from the discussions on RTV, particularly the controversial landing gear changes and bridge layout.

Finally, the team made steady progress with the updates to the Aegis Vanguard in preparation for the Harbinger and Sentinel, with focus primarily on interior adjustments along with some quality-of-life fixes for those aboard. Greybox is progressing nicely, so the team will be moving onto the exterior and tackling feedback points to ensure the base Warden model is properly prepared to accommodate the variants.

Ship Art


Ship Art is currently hard at work to bring the new 300i series to life. They’re in the process of getting the damage and customization pass complete, finishing up detail work on various parts, and finalizing the materials.

Alongside the 300i, they’re chugging away on the Defender; the first in-game asset from the mysterious Banu alien race. Extra care was taken to ensure the Defender represents the overall Banu design aesthetic and can be built on in the future. The exterior is currently going through the greybox modeling process and is nearly complete. Afterwards, it moves to interior greybox modeling.

System Design


The System Design Team investigated how to improve the FPS AI experience and social AI was introduced to the Lorville CBD. Gunships piloted by AI now circle their targets and orient themselves to maximize their firepower, while fighter AI was updated to take full advantage of the new flight model.

Tech Art


Tech Art made steps to finalize the implementation and pipeline of the new facial customization tech, which was previewed at CitizenCon 2018. They switched the system’s source data format from the CDF-based system (which was used during R&D) to the newer component-based loadout currently used throughout the game. This system allows players’ customized faces to be stored persistently in the database and the corresponding data packets to transfer efficiently over the network and be applied to the correct avatar at runtime. Likewise, it allows all key NPCs (every shopkeeper, security guard, civilian, and eventually mission giver) to have a unique face built internally by the designers. While R&D on the DNA system was done using male faces, the face pool for female characters is being populated and is planned to come online at the same time.

Tech Art also supported the Weapons Team with animation debugging, weapon rigging, in-engine setup, and debugging multiple render and resource compiler issues. They added a new system for weapons in Maya to allow animators to quickly attach different attachments, making it easier for them to author specific animations. They also updated the underlying metasystem in the weapon rigs to enable animators to export weapons without double transforms on the root or magazine controls.

Turbulent


Turbulent supported the release of the 2018 holiday promotion, featuring a new giftable pledge called ‘For Your Friends’. This new pledge allows a customizable message to be sent along with the gift, making it ideal for friends and family. The holiday promotion also featured screenshot and greeting card contests.

The team supported the availability of the Alpha 3.4 flyable ships on the website, including the Anvil Hawk, Origin 600i Touring, MISC Freelancer series, and the MISC Reliant Kore.

The Cloud Imperium Games corporate website was released in December. Its slick new look is a much better representation of the company’s values and mission and properly communicates the vision behind Star Citizen. The ‘Join Us’ section has details of each location and over 100 job postings across 9 different categories, so see if there’s something to suit you at your nearest studio! Updates are continually being made to the latest news and job postings sections.

Long overdue, the website navigation was improved with a new and improved platform bar and footer. Additional efforts went into creating the bar as a component to make future updates to the site easier. The Starmap is now accessible via the Apps menu to make it easier to find too!

There were major updates to the Squadron 42 Roadmap, which is now tied into the internal project management tool, Jira. A new chapter design was introduced, showing the development progress as phases and chapters, while descriptions for each expose the details of what it actually takes to build the game.

Turbulent supported the release of the Gladius Valiant Free-Fly promotion in celebration of Australia Day. A screenshot contest was available with prizes to be won.

A customizable preference feature was added to the Group, Lobby, and Voice services to allow custom properties to be set for each user with each respective entity. The Voice service can start a call within a channel, inviting all those allowed to join. The new mobiGlas service will allow single endpoints that will appropriately gather the information from the Group, Lobby, and Voice service with a single call. Options can be passed that will select the type of information returned.

The error catching software, Sentry, has also been added to each service to allow previously-uncaught errors to be tracked and reported to the appropriate Sentry project.

UI


During December and January, UI supported the Environment Team with in-fiction advertisements and branding for ArcCorp. They implemented new features on the tech-side to enable the designers to create ‘user variables’, which are used internally but can still persist on the entity the UI is bound to. For example, a designer may want to capture game-data values and store them internally within the UI to gain reference to previous values when the data changes. This functionality fulfills certain presentational needs that contribute to improving the user-experience. Another interesting implication is that, because they are sent across the network, they open up the potential for players to see each other’s UI state (what app they’re currently on, which particular item in a list they’ve highlighted, etc.).

The team also implemented a new node allowing the ability to set up switch logic on a variable (as well as a widget) to dynamically load images on the fly. Together, these features enable the designers to build out a fully-functioning in-world weapon UI screen with an ammo counter, charge levels, and fire mode states.

Vehicle Features


To help ensure that Alpha 3.4 was released in December, the team spent a lot of time supporting the release (and subsequent patches) by fixing bugs, including turret, vehicle, and crash problems. The team also completed modifications to the vehicle targeting system so that external items, such as ship engines, can be specifically targeted.

Improvements to ship combat systems continued via automated gimbals, HUD changes to support Ping & Scanning, and the vehicle ‘XML to DataForge’ migration began. Wrapping up January, a vehicle gimbal aim-assist feature is on its way to completion.

Vehicle Content


The Vehicle Content Team’s 2018 wrapped up with the launch of the Anvil Hawk and improvements to the Reliant Kore, which entailed a rework of the cargo section, ramp, and landing gear. A number of vehicle bugs were also fixed for the 3.4 release. Additionally, the team worked on the three Reliant variants for Alpha 3.5, while the designers have been working with the ship artists in Austin on the Origin 300 series rework.

VFX


For much of December, the VFX Team focused heavily on polish and optimization for the Alpha 3.4 release. In particular, significant effort was put into making sure Hurston and Lorville’s environmental effects were optimized while remaining as high-quality as possible.

In early January, they re-evaluated their sprint planning practices and implemented some simple production-led changes to improve overall workflow. Following on from that, they began R&D work on the Tachyon cannon; a weapon type with faster-than-light projectiles.

They began implementing thruster damage effects in keeping with the new flight model planned for Alpha 3.5 and began R&D on how to use particle effects to help make Area 18’s volumetrics more visually interesting. They also worked on effects for the new Kahix rocket launcher – a handheld anti-vehicle rocket launcher with a unique tech style.

New tools were created within Houdini to help design various assets. This includes a new, more accurate way to generate signed distance fields (SDF) on the surface of the gas cloud. These SDFs are used as an arbitrary surface that enable the ability to spawn and manipulate effects with, such as lightning crawling along the surface.

Weapons


The Weapon Art Team worked on the Multi-Tool rework, Kastak Arms Ravager-212, and the level two and three upgrades for the Hurston Dynamics Laser Repeaters. They also made minor adjustments to the iron sights on a handful of weapons to improve the sight picture and to make them more user-friendly when no optics are attached.

Conclusion

WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

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   Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16963-Star-Citizen-Monthly-Report-January-2019

Australia Day Gladius Free-Fly

Australia Day Gladius Free-Fly

Celebrate the founding of Australia (and domination of the Vanduul)

The Gladius Valiant was created by Aegis in conjunction with Electronic Access’ flight sim Arena Commander. As the premier example of the ‘Masters of Flight’ series, the Valiant’s custom green and gold livery stands as a fitting homage to the legacy of defense pilot Condi Hillard.

Everyone knows that Hillard was the first human pilot on record to defeat a Vanduul ship in combat. But did you know that her ship’s now-iconic paint job also shares colors with Earth island-nation Australia? It’s true!

So, let’s go way back and honor the landing of the First Fleet at Port Jackson while simultaneously celebrating Hillard’s inaugural Vanduul beat-down with the Aegis Gladius Valiant – available for all current backers to fly for free, all weekend long. Just log into your account and retrieve it from any ASOP terminal in the game.

Featured Ship

The Gladius Valiant

Created as part of the ‘Masters of Flight’ series in conjunction with the flight sim Arena Commander, the Valiant pays tribute to famed defense pilot Condi Hillard for being the first Human on record to defeat a Vanduul ship in combat. This Gladius comes equipped with a specialized dogfighting-focused loadout and special-edition livery honoring her iconic ship.

Now let’s get in Formation

Show us your most Valiant screenshots

Enter to win a Gladius Valiant for your fleet by submitting screenshots that show off your best flight formations using the ship.

Full contest rules and details can be found here.

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16946-Australia-Day-Gladius-Free-Fly

January 2949 Subscriber Flair

January 2949 Subscriber Flair

Subscribers

Everyone knows that RSI’s Venture Explorer Suit is top-notch light armor, perfectly suited for plunging headlong into the unknown. This exclusive undersuit has been specially designed for the Rust Society, sporting a red and tan color scheme that naturally hides dirt, wear, and tear. Look good while working hard.

Imperator Subscribers

Imperator-level subscribers get this RSI Beacon flight suit in addition to the Venture edition. Celebrate the blue-collar legacy of the Rust Society with two stylish, functional options.

If you’re an active subscriber, these items will be added to your account on January 14th.

If you aren’t a subscriber yet but want to sport this Flight Suit, make sure you subscribe no later than January 13th.

More information about subscriptions can be found here

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16932-January-2949-Subscriber-Flair

Squadron 42 Monthly Report: December 2018

Squadron 42 Monthly Report: December 2018

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.

Read on for pertinent details from our planet-wide operations on Squadron 42-related work over the last month, as well as intel on an exciting new dispatch. The information contained in this communication is extremely sensitive and it is of paramount importance that it does not fall into the wrong hands. Purge all records after reading.

Over and out,

UEE Naval High Command

The Road to Glory


Today sees the unveiling of our Squadron 42 roadmap, a useful piece of intel that tracks the progress of development in detail. Much like the Persistent Universe roadmap, this is linked to our JIRA tracking system, and thus lets you see at a glance the work remaining on the game as we thunder on toward the finish line. Of course, also like its Star Citizen counterpart, the Squadron 42 roadmap is not necessarily exhaustive and may be changed or updated as development continues. Make sure you read the caveats, and enjoy this insight into the process.

This monthly project update will work as something of a companion piece, shedding more light on specific work done by each development team, while the roadmap will provide dynamic real-time tracking of progress weekly.

Without further adiue, let’s see what the devs fighting the good fight on the frontlines have been up to…

AI


This month, Ship AI’s focus was on optimizing the Tactical Point System. They now have multiple queries bundled together in a batch from different threads, which allows more control over the cost of the overall system. They submitted several optimizations for the character movement system, which can now update all the components in a multithreaded batch approach and will utilize the maximum the CPU resources during the game update. A pass for thread safety of several subsystems was performed, including the attention target component and communication system. This is required to eventually move the Subsumption component update to the multithreaded batch update step.

In FPS Combat, the ‘Defend Area’ assignment was introduced; correctly achieving this behavior requires monitoring the mastergraph transitions to evaluate if the recipients of the Subsumption event can actually process it. In the Defend Area example, they might be executing any regular behavior when receiving the assignment. If the behavior can handle the request in a specific way, great. If not, then the mastergraph takes care of selecting one that can. Alongside this, they’re adding new behaviors to improve combat and patrol to respect this assignment.

New behaviors and functionality to support stealth gameplay were implemented, with new audio and visual stimuli being added to allow players to draw the attention of guards, prepare traps, and open up otherwise blocked paths.

Work also continued on the bartender for Lorville. To achieve several functionalities of his behavior, they implemented the first pass of UseChannel routing and are continuing to expand the usable functionalities.

The Usable Builder Tool received a new feature too: it’s now able to correctly preview different characters using different usables so that designers, animators, and programmers can easily test and verify the content as it’s delivered.

Animation


On the Story front, the Animation kicked-off production passes on a handful of Squadron 42 scenes. They’re also working to finalize the Armorer character for SQ42 – itself a large and intricate task.

Audio


Audio worked closely with the SQ42 composer Geoff Zanelli to establish themes for the game’s different races and important characters. This, combined with the second round of music implementation, allowed the team to better support pacing and overall development.

The Dialogue Team worked to ensure animation and design had all the assets required to successfully implement their conversations, comms, and cinematics.

Character Art


The Character Art Team polished the Vanduul armor and concepted the Navy Gunner’s outfit.

Cinematics


After completing the CitizenCon SQ42 teaser trailer, Cinematics took time to verify that each scene was functioning correctly from start to finish. This mainly involved the Shubin Station art pocket, but also other things like the battleground around Vega II. Once complete, they worked on a pivotal scene for the game featuring a key character not revealed yet. This involved using a new method of character hair and skin creation (tweaked for more realism), and small modification to costumes.

The Cinematic Animation Team carried on with regular scene work. Having completed first passes for much of the game’s narrative, they transitioned to scenes where a full implementation pass with a state machine is required. They also supported the engineers working on key workflow tools.

Along with navspline improvements, new functionality was added to allow the team to edit multiple cinematic sequences at once. Previously, TrackView only supported a master and child sequence and didn’t allow editing of the master if the child was edited, or vice versa. Some SQ42 scenes feature characters on capital ship bridges reacting to things they see through windows, which requires the team to split sequences between interior and exterior. The new multi-sequence workflow allows multiple sequences to be open and active at once and syncs the timelines for both the master and child.

Engine Tools


The Engine Team resumed work on GPU skinning. They added vertex velocity support (motion blur), completed several optimizations to skip zero weights (improved throughput), prepared background data, and made the first pass on memory layout and LOD support.

They also made the execution of ray collision checks and the defragmentation of grids run concurrently. This achieved a 30-50% speedup for physics planet terrain computation, reduced the number of cell queries on planets, and improved proxy mesh generation of terrain ground volumes.

Terrain rendering improvements were added (glow forward pass) as well as fixes for water volume and ocean rendering. The existing hair shader was improved, and a new depth of field algorithm was created to improve quality, performance, and fix halos around silhouettes.

Part of the team worked on additional culling refinements in the zone system to submit fewer objects to the renderer, as well as various low-level optimizations to reduce load on the render thread.

Engineering


Engineering actualized a system to allow variable limits on how far players can move their heads when looking around. The default amount is overridden by the outfit and helmet, so wearing heavy armor will restrict how far they can look.

Pickup and Carry was finished off, including the solving of an issue when interacting with items in EVA.

Developments on the female character continues. Because of her different sized skeleton, the team implemented animation-driven inverse kinematics to allow her to reach a ship’s controls without the need for new animation sets.

Progress has been made on the usables builder tool, which allows the content creators to drop in a character and play all the related usable animations, move locators around, and generally test a setup without having to go into the game.

As part of comms, a ‘Tannoy’ system can now pump audio to multiple parts of an environment. For example, an announcement to a single ship’s hangar or a more global ship-wide announcement.

The ship AI Team helped out with the new Intelligent Flight Control System (IFCS), tweaking ship behavior to better utilize these new flight controls for a better dogfighting experience.

Environment Art


Art began using their new hard surface shader and new blending features for wear and tear. This enables a more realistic appearance of localized damage without a jarring transition between worn and pristine areas. They’re paying particular attention to make sure wear looks natural and unforced. One of the high-level goals for SQ42 is for every asset and its features to sit in a scene naturally, feel unforced, and for the lighting to have a slightly softer, more realistic feel (except for some areas where the intensity is cranked up to 11).

Lighting focused on the Javelin found in an early campaign level, taking into account the emphasis on making one key light do more of the work. This new approach looks great and is less demanding on the engine too. Tweaks to a control room seen close to the end of the campaign progressed, with the aim being to set the correct tone for the narrative and gameplay moments that spread from it.

Props seen throughout the campaign (including monitors, screens, wiring looms, hatch covers, ropes, destructible lights, and pressurized items) all received attention, this time to determine how they break or deform when damaged. Several key events take place where these assets need to react correctly to gravity, decompression, damage, pulse, etc.

The vast Shubin mining station gained more detail to the supporting structures around it. Development of the facility’s Bridge (as first seen in the CitizenCon 2948 trailer) continued, which comes in at around three times the size of a Bengal’s.

Gameplay Story


The Gameplay Story Team made swift progress throughout November and continuously added more scenes to their Q4 list. They are currently working on 38 scenes for the quarter and are expecting to add several more by the end of the year.

Graphics


The Graphics Team worked on several shader effects, including the resurrection of the caustics water effect, which is needed in several locations throughout SQ42. The new hard surface shader was rolled out to the entire team and should improve performance, allow new surface shading features, and enable more dynamic wear & dirt effects.

Performance was also a focus, with most attention on the low-level texture and mesh streaming systems to help squeeze as much content in with as little performance impact as possible.

Level Design


The Level Design Team converted the older sables inside the Idris to a more efficient and flexible system, which also incorporates crew behaviors for things like ‘off-duty’ and ‘mess hall’. Level work is an ongoing collaboration with the Art Team and is constantly reviewed at senior level.

“It’s all going well and now that we have almost all the scenes in the levels you really get a great feel for the story flow and pacing.”

Cockpit scenes are coming to life thanks to ‘Render to Texture’ technology, while the new IFCS system is fully implemented into SQ42 and making a huge difference to dogfighting. Regular feedback and suggested improvements mean spline technology and flight controls are constantly refined.

Narrative


The Narrative Team continued plugging away at [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] as well as [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] and that was a lot of fun.

Props


The Props Team continued work on the assets required for NPS interactions and activities by creating additional sub items used by the engineering crew and the storage cases to house them. The larger maintenance machinery assets are now ready for the animation and cinematic departments to use in their work, too.

System Design


The System Design Team integrated the New Flight Model into enemy ship AI, ensuring that they are still engaging to fight against and don’t become unbalanced. They noticed that the new IFCS currently causes too much unwanted ‘jousting’ behavior, so are currently looking into ways to modify it.

Dialogue wildlines for the ship/FPS/social AI were reworked to unify them within the same overall structure. Collaboration with the audio & writing teams ensured the system works properly for all systemic dialogue in the game. The team is also working to develop tools to automate the setup of dialogue lines.

Stealth gameplay elements continue to be developed, which require the AI perception to be upgraded to cater for peripheral vision, as well as various audio events and stimuli from environmental sources, such as throwing a pebble to distract enemies.

Tech Animation


The Technical Animation department progressed with the initial batch transfer of male animations to the female skeleton. This included updating low-level assets for animation database referencing to ensure she can run around and fire weapons. It has been successful and handed off to animation for further review and polish.

Some much-needed toolsets for authoring skinning data on the many different costumes were finished. Used in conjunction with the existing toolsets, these will make skin authoring a more efficient process.

An interesting dilemma was presented recently, whereby the team needed to show some sort of fluid dynamics, which usually require intensive calculations The Technical Animation department came into its own and used the existing physics solution to create a dynamic yet economic fake for the various glasses & cups in the bar scenes.

Multiple animations for cinematics and gameplay were added, as were several new tools to the animation pipeline along with bug fixes and additions to existing tools. Time was also spent fixing several smaller bugs like animation compilation errors, missing integrations, weapon entities, and DBA setups.

Tech Art


The Tech Art Team analyzed the full requirements of the character ‘DNA gene pool’. In order for the next-gen facial customizer to work most effectively, a limited pool of heads with specific and unique shapes is required. Relevant factors are gender, ethnic origin, age, physical constitution, and distinct facial features such as hooked vs. pointy nose, thin vs. full lips, and so forth. Several scenarios with varying pool sizes were created to determine the mid-to-long-term plans for populating the pool. The planned release of the new customizer will initially use as many heads as possible from the selection scanned, providing they fulfill requirements.

The team also worked on the asset authoring tools and pipeline for the new cloth/softbody solver, which was first showcased at CitizenCon. Optimal simulation mesh topology and vertex density are key to making it work efficiently and fast enough while yielding high-fidelity visual results. Another important factor is creating the best possible binding between the high and low res simulation mesh – this can only be fully automated for simpler cloth asset types and requires artistic ‘guidance’ and fine-grained control in more complex cases. The team went to great lengths to ensure the authoring tools provide this capability in a convenient, easy-to-use way.

UI


Last month, the SQ42 team specced-out improvements to how AR mission objectives are displayed to the player. For both the PU and SQ42, they’re aiming to create a common unified methodology for how important information is imparted regarding type, position, whether it’s obstructed, etc. They’re also looking at the long-term requirements of missions and building a system to help to surface important information when it’s contextually needed.

Another major feature worked on is the area map. Pre-visualizations of how the map could be were built procedurally using existing underlying systems, such as the room system. This informs not only the overall layout but also how it becomes more defined as the player traverses the environment for the first time.

Vehicle Features


The team spent the month on Vehicle Scanning improvements. The groundwork necessary to allow ships to aim at the engines on target ships has been completed, and the feature itself is nearly ready to be rolled out. Scanning nav points for destination info have been completed and are also ready for implementation.

VFX


VFX continued to iterate on lightning effects by putting the new texture noise functionality through its paces, which will allow them to create much finer detail up close at a fraction of the previous cost. They also developed a tool to allow artists to create VDBs (including gas clouds) more quickly and with more control over the finer details.

Thruster improvements were made to more closely match the VFX. They gained new effects and functionality including damage, overheat, and misfire options.

R&D for a Xi’an missile launcher kicked off too.

Weapons


The Weapon Art Team carried on with the Multi-Tool rework and made progress with the Kastak Arms Ravager-212 and the level two and three upgrades for the Hurston Dynamics Laser Repeaters. They also made minor adjustments to the iron sights on a handful of weapons to improve the sight picture and to make them more user-friendly when no optics are attached.

Covert Intel


Conclusion

WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH

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   Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16919-Squadron-42-Monthly-Report-December-2018

Star Citizen Alpha 3.4 Available!

Star Citizen Alpha 3.4 Available!

Alpha 3.4

Today, we open Alpha 3.4 to all backer!

Alpha 3.4 launches several massive technical upgrades to the game including:

  • The Lorville Central Business District, including the Hurston Dynamics Showroom and Transfers Commodity Exchange
  • Six new ships including the Freelancer variants and the Anvil Hawk
  • New armor, helmets, and a new personal weapon
  • Two ship weapons have been reworked and their offerings expanded
  • New visual updates to quantum markers and turrets
  • Expanded the mission system into Hurston and surrounding moons
  • And more!

And of course, you can read the comprehensive Alpha 3.4 Patch Notes here.

3.4 Flyable Ships

With this major milestone of Alpha 3.4, we’re introducing newly flyable ships, as well as updating some older favorites.

The list of new & updated ships includes:

  • Anvil Hawk
  • RSI Constellation Phoenix Emerald
  • MISC Freelancer Variants
  • Origin 600i Touring Module
  • MISC Reliant Kore Improvements

Please enjoy the trailers below and find even more information on our 3.4 Flyable Ships page here.

Bug Reporting

Remember, while there’s a lot to explore in Alpha 3.4, the game is still just a portion of the Star Citizen experience! You can help the team improve future releases by reporting bugs and other issues using the Star Citizen Issue Council. The amazing feedback from Star Citizen backers is what has allowed us to iterate on the PTU so quickly, and we’re eager for feedback about the Live release as well. You can access the Issue Council here.

Finally, we would be remiss if we did not thank our incredible community of PTU testers for helping make this patch the best it can be! Your dedication is exemplary of the UEE’s finest defenders!

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16915-Star-Citizen-Alpha-34-Available

Holiday Promotion 2018

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you the best!

Give the gift that keeps on giving – a Star Citizen starter package!
Plus, enter our two holiday contests for the opportunity to win festive prizes.

Check out all the details below.

HOLIDAY SCREENSHOT CONTEST

How are you celebrating the holidays in the ‘verse?

We want to see how you’re ringing in the holidays in Star Citizen, and what better way to show us than with a new screenshot contest?

To make things even merrier, a special holiday helmet and an extra-festive delivery mission are making their way to the ‘verse for a limited time.
Check your inventory and contract manager for access to these jolly treats and show us how you holiday.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place: MISC Freelancer MAX standalone ship – LTI
  • 2nd Place: Drake Cutlass Black standalone ship – LTI
  • 3rd Place: Aegis Avenger Titan standalone ship – LTI

Ready to get started? Find all the details about the rules and where to submit your entries on our announcement post on Spectrum here.

HOLIDAY GREETINGS CARD CONTEST

Hit us with your best shot

Keeping the festivities going, we want to see who can design the best Star Citizen-themed holiday greeting card. Fire up an image editing program or grab some paper and show us your old-timey art skills. Get creative! The important thing is that the card contains an element of the Star Citizen universe.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place: MISC Freelancer DUR game package – LTI
  • 2nd Place: Origin 315P game package – LTI
  • 3rd Place: Consolidated Outlands Mustang Beta game package – LTI

Ready to get started? Find all the details about the rules and where to submit your entries on our announcement post on Spectrum here.

TREAT YOURSELF

It’s that time of Year

Some say it’s better to give than to receive, but why not have it both ways?

We’re offering these game packages at a special seasonal rate. Grab one and blast into 2949 in style.

The Season for Giving

Gifts for your friends and family, all around the ‘verse.

Give your loved ones the gift of spaceflight with these ships, available to purchase and send as gifts to those special galactic explorers in your life.

You can even write a special message to accompany the gift.

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16904-Holiday-Promotion-2018

December 2948 Subscriber Flair

December 2948 Subscriber Flair

Subscribers

The final piece of your exclusive Venture Explorer Suit from RSI falls into place with this stylish and functional torso section. Now you can stay safely insulated from the ravages of space and complete this soon-to-be-legendary look.

Imperator Subscribers

Imperator-level subscribers can complete their limited purple suit with the matching torso piece as well, and finally gain access to establishments that deny service to the shirtless.

If you’re an active subscriber, these items will be added to your account on December 17th.

If you aren’t a subscriber yet but want to sport this Chest Plate, make sure you subscribe no later than December 16th.

More information about subscriptions can be found here

Source: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16903-December-2948-Subscriber-Flair