Star Citizen: Around The Verse 3.7 – Austin


Closed Captioning provided by the Imperial
News Network. Chris Roberts (CR): Hello. Welcome to episode seven of Around the ‘Verse,
our weekly update behind the scenes of Star Citizen. I’m Chris Roberts Sandi Gardiner (SG): And I’m Sandi Gardiner. We are another week closer to CitizenCon. CR: Yes, yes we are. Pressures on. SG: Pressures on. CR: So on today’s episode, we’ve got the
Austin office for an update on Star Citizen’s first data runner SG: We’ll also check in with the U.K. Audio
Team to showcase the Music Logic System we’re building. CR: Yup, pretty excited by that one, but first
we’re going to go out to John Erskine to explain what else they’ve been working on in Austin. Studio Report John Erskine (JE): We have our Senior Audio
Designer Jason Cobb – he’s going to show detailed look at some of the sounds that he’s
been crafting that were actually requested by many of our players. Jason Cobb (JC): So I’ve been working on
the sound of debris that you fly through if you are behind a ship that explodes in the
game. During dogfighting we’ve had a lot of really
great explosions – visually and sonically – but we’re lacking any sort of feedback
for flying through the debris cloud that remains and so I’ve been working on sounds for that
aspect and to do that it’s really not feasible to have a physical particle for every bit
of debris that is generated. So what I do is I take all of the output I
generate one-by-one and drop them into a digital audio workstation where I can set up an effects
chain of a reverb for the front and a reverb for the back – I’m using Altiverb in this
case. Model of a Sikorsky. So when we play the output of all these generated
files.. [plays sound] …they are very dry but then when I enable the… [effect plays]
…effects, they start to take on some character of impacting of a hull and if I can adjust
some of the equalities of that, we’ve got the front and the back here. You can sort of start to place these impacts
into more of a space and so I would take all of this output and render it through an effect
and that can be one ship and then maybe we need a slightly larger sounding ship well,
we’ll have to render it through another effect. There’s a chance we might be able to do
the effects part in real time but for right now in the prototyping we’re just hard baking
the assets with reverb in them. And so now, into gameplay – let’s check
this out. I’m going to solo just the explosion and
the debris cloud so that we don’t have to listen against the other- the ship noise mainly. Just to isolate for this test. [runs test] It seems like maybe the debris cloud’s lasting
a little bit longer than it should but it’s hard to tell. You want to hear something as you get around
it but you don’t want it to last too long, although that’s not so a big a deal. So you can see that the random position of
the particles and the random mist of the prebaked sounds kind of works usually – there’s a
few times where you’ll see a large chunk go past your screen and you’ll hear a sound
and you you’re like “oh my god, that was perfect!” But there’s other times when you’ll go by
and not hear a sound and be like “well, OK” – maybe it didn’t hit me. So now I’m basically sitting still, this
really doesn’t happen in gameplay much so it’s not really a valid test – I suppose
it’s possible you could be still next to an explosion just by happenstance so we need
it to work in all cases. Now you can also tell that the debris clouds
are maybe a little bit loud compared to the explosion so the mixing and the fine tuning
is stuff that we’ll definitely do and I can do a demonstration of that right now. [runs demonstration] I think that when you are in the explosion
and then fly away, it lasts a little bit long, but sort of like this. This is a level of decoration, of polish that
it really adds to immersion in that prior we had these great explosions and you see
it happen and if you fly through it, you’re really not hearing much, you’re just sort
of like “there was the explosion but where is the rest of it – I see all of this noise,
this scattered noise, but I’m not really hearing it, I don’t really feel it’s affecting
the ship it all.” So this is just one of those tiny little details
that a surprising amount of work goes into it but it just adds one other little complete
fleshing out of the experience of dogfighting so that you a lot more visceral reaction to
the “yes, there used to be a ship there but now it’s a bunch of tiny bits and I
just ran through them all” – it’s something that we didn’t have before and when we put
it in hopefully it’ll help people have a little more joy out of the kill they just
did. JE: Thanks Jason, that’s really great – it’s
amazing the level of detail that goes into making these sounds – things people might
not normally think about, that’s the things that really make Star Citizen great, is that
level of detail and attention to detail that really sets it apart. Next up, we have a report from the DevOps
team. We’re going to talk about the various things
we’re working on and show a little bit about what happens behind the scenes to make Star
Citizen run. Mike Jones (MJ): Well the DevOps team is made
up of three main functions here as we’re configured in Austin. We have a Build Ops section of our team; LiveOps
and Publishing – and all of this makes what we call DevOps. They are small groups and we bundle it all
into the same overall term of DevOps. So, the Build Ops team is basically managing
and configuring the systems that we use to put all the builds together that are used
in the company and those are the builds that once they’ve passed QA will also make it
out to the PTU and also make it to a live service. So that’s a little bit of an overview of
the Build Ops. The Live Ops team does a lot of tools and
automation systems that we use in our Live Publishing operations. These are things that would automate the build
out of the services that we use on the PTU or the Live. They are also building the tools that we use
for internal development, this could be how we interact with our source code. This could be how we deliver builds internally
throughout the company to the QA testers and the engineers – pretty much everyone, and
then we also have the Publishing Team which does the actual publishing of the game. This is the fun part where we take what’s
been approved by QA and our leads throughout the company and we can- this team will publish
that throughout the process through PTU and eventually to the live service. This includes everything from taking the build
in it’s raw state, bundling it up, sending it out to the servers and then managing the
whole patch production process. Logan Nelson (LN): So I feel like DevOps is
kind of like Scotty, to make a Star Trek reference, you’ve got all these different crew on the
ship that all have their own different jobs and things like that – you obviously need
a medic to make sure that the crew members are healthy; you need the captain to drive
the ship – Chris Roberts is kind of the captain – you’ve got all these different roles but
if the ship doesn’t run, if it doesn’t move and the warp core is broken then it doesn’t
go anywhere and so I view us as the guys that are banging in the engine room hoping to make
sure the ship still runs. It’s a very critical part of the mission. MJ: So what’s happening in the current patching
system is the data that goes in that’s changed is compressed into these large PAK files that
are then bundled up and put into the patch. Well the problem with that is even if there
is only three files that changed in a 2 gig file size once they are recompressed, the
patcher sees this as one giant two gig file and you make these changes across a large
number of files, you wind up with a 20 gig patch. So what we’re doing is we’re breaking
all this apart so that now we can- at the patcher can actually look at only files that
have changed, not the big bundles of change. This way we’re hoping that we can deliver-
we’re really hoping for 10% of overall payload that we’re delivering now, so that would
be a 90% reduction in patch size. I think a lot of people are going to be happy
about this. I think it’s going to get a lot more people
into the PTU because they can get in faster, it’s going to help a lot of people out on
the edges in the extreme areas that have maybe low bandwidth or a data cap. It’s something that’s really difficult
for us because this actually goes down the core of how the game engine actually loads
files off the disk – so we’re making changes to the engine itself with the help of our
team in Germany because who of course, that’s what they do. This will allow us to be able to make use
of this new patching process and I’m expecting this- this is going to be a big deal for the
game, for all the players and it’s really going to help us on delivery times with all
these publishes. Andy Anderson (AA): All the tools we would
use to deploy things, manage configuration for them – they are interesting at the time,
there has been a whole lot of work, a whole lot of development. But the new tools that we’re rolling out
really make it easy for us to change things very quickly – and when I say quickly, I mean,
sometimes it’ll be waiting on these tools for even minutes just to change a line in
some server somewhere – now it really feels like we can just issue commands, the whole
deployment and they all obey – it’s really great. MJ: I think that a lot of what we do, it’s
so behind the scenes, most people never get a chance to see all the little nuts and bolts
of how all this works – what does it take to set up a server, what does it take to run
50, 100, 150 servers and keep them all running and keep them all talking and keep the network
security up – these are the type of things that we do and it’s really fulfilling work
because without this backend infrastructure that we’re building and the automation to
keep it going fast – I don’t think we would be able to move as fast as Chris wants us
to move and as fast as the game development is moving – and that’s a rewarding experience. JE: Thanks guys, that was great. This patch size reduction is really going
to make a big difference for all of our players and especially all of our developers who actually
have to patch the game multiple times a day – it’s going to make a big difference. Now, it’s back to you, Chris and Sandi. Back In The Studio CR: Thanks John. DevOps and LiveOps are definitely some of
the unsung heroes that make Star Citizen go – so thank you guys for your hard work. So when we last saw the Drake Herald on Ship
Shape back in May, it was entering the modelling phase – it’s come a long way since then,
it’s heading into it’s final art pass. We’ve actually been doing a lot of Drake
ships recently for some reason – I’m not sure why. SG: Yeah, and the Herald has been an interesting
one to watch – it has definitely has been one of our more divisive ships. CR: Yeah, maybe. We sat down with Josh and the rest of the
team to see what makes this courier run. Ship Shape: Herald Matthew Sherman (MS): With 2.6 we’re excited
to release the Drake Herald and it’s our first “info runner” ship. What that really is going to mean is you’re
going to have these big data banks on the outside of the ship. They’re going to have a lot of volume to
store intel assets. This’ll be stuff … locations of where
research data might be found, mining sites, salvage locations, a ship black box. Any of the intangible you can think of is
what we’re looking at with intel and what an info runner is going to be carrying around. Josh Coons (JC): So one thing when flying
around in the Herald that players are going to notice is that the ship is really, really
fast. It has, I think, the biggest engines per mass
on a ship so far. So if anybody knows what a “funny car”
is or a dragster, it’s very dragster. I would assume you’re going to see a lot
these in races. Like I said they’re hard to catch. Super fast. We’ve got it loaded as well. The players can expect lots and lots of counter
measures. So with all the ships – pretty much any asset
– this ship – when I read the specs, the design, the intent of the ship I usually break out
a few keywords and those will be my motif for the ship. For this ship I used “speed”, “science”,
“tech”, “evasion”. Also the motif of Drake had to be integrated
in when designing the ship. Which is bare bones, it’s wires exposed,
it’s trellis work, it’s … It’s not as fancy as some of your other branded ships. MS: Some of the redesign was in part to make
sure that we could get everything built to the metric standards that we need for how
big guns are, how big components are, how much space a player actually needs to walk
in and through the ship. One thing that always looks great in a lot
of sci-fi movies are these nice creepy, cramped corridors but unfortunately with a lot of
game logic it’s like “Well now we’ve got to make a little bit more space so your
average standing guy can get through and move around stuff.” So you can definitely see that with the interior
of the Herald where just the comm station in the back: the seat for that is going to
slide you in and out as you’re using the station to optimise the space as much as possible. But then also some of that back wall area
was restructured a bit to open up enough room to make sure that even if that seat’s extended
and someone is getting out of it another player or an NPC can walk behind that seat cleanly
without having to clip into the walls or bounce all over the place. Patrick Salerno (PS): When we start the design
process for the Vehicle Destruction System. We come in and I will talk with Art and Design. And we will work out in 2D and 3D how to tear
apart the ship. So to start that I would say, for example,
I would look under the model. Now damage comes in in layers, right? There’s a bunch of different features that
work together. There is the exterior hull of the ship. Underneath the exterior hull of the ship there
is an underlying damage skin and “gubbins”. Now the reason we have this is because now
we’ve added a damage shader that you’ve probably seen that creates a sort of warping
metal effect and you can punch through and you can see through the ship. That consists of the outer shell, the underlying
gubbins, and the actual geometry. Now all of these have to blend together at
the end of the day so part of my process is to check for all the different parts of geometry. I want to check for what are called “UVs”. UVs are what the texture’s placed on that
creates the actual visual of the asset. And then we also have another layer called
“UV2s” and these are what the damage shader actually works on. We can see that in the Editor here in the
top left corner. These would be the UV2s. This is what the Damage Map shader is actually
applied to. So when I shoot the ship there will be ripples
and distortions and metal bending. In conjunction with that I also have to create
little explosive charges around the ship. Now most of my work is preliminary. Basically I take the model and I set it up
for destruction. I’ll break off the pieces, I’ll make sure
all the checks and balances are there, and I will prep the work for other people. So for example the particle guys: I would
come up with them next and I would set up these things called “helpers”. And helpers are little green cubes. They have a direction – they point x, y and
z – and they are basically an explosive charge. Now what I did here is I set up a little group
of them and this group of them is just a bunch of different effects that generalised and
used on different ships. Explosions, sparks, fire, etc., etc. So when a piece takes 100% damage, it pops
off, the explosion activates and creates more shader damage. So its layers. You’re peppering the ship with your own
guns. You’re coming in. Parts are exploding off. It’s all melting and at the end of the day
you should have a pretty broken looking ship. So we’ll come in, I’ll start hiding pieces. So I’ll come over here … We’ve gone into Max and done initial ship
set up. We’ve checked that the mesh has UV2s. We’ve checked that the mesh has underlying
geometry for the shader to show underneath when bullet holes are taken into effect. The shader’s pretty cool with the damage
system in that the shader actually lets you poke holes in the meshes with what are called
“vertex colours”. So when I go into Max I go onto the mesh and
I start setting areas where there’s translucency, transparency, etc., etc. for damage to shoot
through. Not every area does need to be shot through
though. You need to make sure that you’re not wasting
extra geometry, costing performance, adding internal structure to places that don’t’
need it. But you also want to make sure that every
piece blows off, has a neat effect, looks pretty cool when it’s flying off. So on, so forth. Now as you see some pieces are floating away,
some pieces are just sitting around. Those are called “vectors” and those are
little force pushes that are set in the XML. That tells the piece how hard it should fly
off the ship and in what direction. As I come in, I just keep going around the
ship looking for areas that are not working correctly. So this area, for example, is working correctly. We see we are getting bullet holes. The procedural system is working. UV2s are working. So on and so forth. But an area I know it doesn’t really work
is up here. If we take a look we see we’re kind of getting
a bullet hole but nothing really going on there. Well that means I have to go back into Max
and figure out why. Maybe reproject the UV2s. So on and so forth. Like I was saying testing different weapon
types. Seeing how they affect the damage system. Testing different lighting conditions. Making sure all the pieces blow off. All that fun stuff. But pretty much, in closing that’s how we
put together some of the damage. It’s a mix between 3D Studio Max, XML and
the CryEngine. It’s a very iterative process: going back
and forth until it’s refined and then you hand it over to the professionals at the end
and they tweak the graphic … the VFXs, they tweak the explosions, health, damage and lighting. So that’s it, hope you enjoyed it. Back In The Studio CR: There you go. I’m pretty excited about the potential of
more non-combat focused speciality ships in Star Citizen. Especially as we move towards 3.0 and the
full persistent universe. SG: And it’s faster than an M50 in a straight
line. CR: That’s what I hear … SG: That’s what I’m happy about! CR: … that’s what I heard. In cruise mode! SG: While it’s been another week of development
it’s been another week of amazing fan content. CR: Yep. So let’s go to Tyler Witkin to present this
week’s Community Update. Community Update w/ Tyler Witkin Tyler Witkin (TW): Hey everyone, Tyler Witkin,
Community Manager in the Austin, Texas studio here to bring you this week’s Community
Update. Last week the origin M50 won the title of
Galactic Tourist Fan Favourite Flyer, landing in a spot in our pledge store for one week. Just a reminder that there’s only 24 hours
left on that sale. The battle continues this week this time between
the Super Hornet and the Vanguard Warden, look out for those results on the website
tomorrow. Tomorrow also brings a whole new issue of
Jump Point for subscribers, this time taking a look at the Anvil Terrapin, definitely worth
checking out. Also last Saturday we had a blast at the Austin
Bar Citizen and just as a reminder there’s another Bar Citizen this Saturday, this time
in Orlando, Florida. Find all the details at Tinyurl.com/floridabarcitizen This week’s RSI newsletter coming out tomorrow
features an extra special sneak peek from Evo Hertzig in our Frankfurt studio showcasing
some of the work done behind head stabilisation and FPS which you can watch in 60 frames per
second, so make sure to catch that in the newsletter tomorrow. Lastly it’s time for this week’s MVP award. A huge congratulations goes to J. Coren for
his detailed efforts in creating a travel guide for CitizenCon. This was actually brought to our attention
from our events manager and I can see why. So I highly encourage anybody who’s traveling
to CitizenCon this year, check out the guide. Congratulations again J. Coren, you’re this
week’s MVP. Thanks again everyone for all your support
and we’ll see you in the ‘Verse. Back to Studio SG: A few week’s ago we profiled some of
the dynamic sound effects as we walked through our crashed ship demo. CR: Yup so now we’re going to shift our
focus to music. Ross Treganza, Senior Sound Designer at Wilmslow
is going to give us an inside look at the new Music Logic System which I’m pretty
excited by. Behind the Scenes: Music Logic Ross Treganza(RT): Hey, I’m Ross. Sam Hall(SH): Hello there, I’m Sam. I’m going to describe how the interactive
music system works in Star Citizen. So from a code side, we’ve got a system
that will basically driven off music events. The way it works is, Ross can decide what
happens when the music events occur. So, if he wants the event when your ship gets
hit by a bullet, if he wants that to be really significant then he can decide how that happens
by using the data driven tools we have provided for him. RT: Whatever you’re doing we’re making
sure that the music system knows what you’re doing and is responding in a way that is appropriate
and cool and cinematic. So, I’ll show you some examples. *3 Ambient States* So, a really nice example we’re working
on right now is the ambient music. This is when there is not really any, you
know, combat or anything going on, we’re just exploring spaces and stuff. At the moment, we’re hearing some FPS music
so this is just… the engine knows we’re on foot, it’s playing sort of a slightly
synthy, slightly tense underscore that’s very ambient and as you move into the ship…
it will slowly transition to a more grand kind of exploration kind of feel to the music. And that’s based on the conditions we know,
we know you’re in the ship now and we know the engines are starting. We get out of the ship, if we’re in space
now, we wanted to EVA directly into space, it would work there as well. We’re going to take a cool little jump off
the platform here just cause it’s a great example. As you head towards the edge of the platform
and for a big leap out into space, you’ll hear the music transition. There we go, now we got this really cool ethereal
almost craft workesque ambient music, all of this by Pedro. See all this is based on conditions, Sam Hall
and I have been working on. We know we’re floating, we know we’re
not in any immediate danger so we got this beautiful exploratory quite sort of sense
of wonder music playing. As we come back down, we’ll land back on
the platform, we know again, no danger at the moment, just FPS, no threats we go to
FPS ambient music. *Flight Combat Music* So you can hear this system the most when
you’re dogfighting. Here we have a few pirates coming in, immediately
we’ll be getting some tension music, that’s based on the fact we have some unknown guys
approaching. So the system’s told us two guys have just
arrived, they seem to be a threat so that’s pushed up that tension parameter, now I’m
starting to fire on them and they’re returning fire. We’ll start to really see the system ramp
up now, the intensity number which is the real backbone of this system is going to start
to go crazy as your shield is getting hit, you’re hitting the guys, these numbers are
constantly being fed in. As that number rises, we move through way
out of the ambient area into the lower action, medium action and eventually high action which
is really crazy. You see if you eventually manage to take out
of these guys, you get a boost to the mood parameter which is coming from the Y axis,
here we go. We also get a little sting there that plays
whenever you kill one of the bad guys cause the engine has a chance to play a little victory
sting, ta da. Here we’ve had a boost that’s pushed us
into the hero state now so the music come and gone all heroic, we got big brass sections
and that will swell back down again. All these parameters seem to decay back down
to like a stasis. There we go, another guy taken out. *Flight Combat with our debug system* The code that Sam Hall… what he’s provided
me with which is incredibly valuable is all this debug information. This tells me everything that is going on
from… we have all the stings, that are momentary events that could happen this is things like
ships passing by, as you might have heard you sometimes get a little trumpety sting
that when a ship passes by to successfully hitting bad guys, your ship getting blown
up, all manner of parameters, those are all momentaries. Then we have the long term information, we
have the ship’s intensity that’s the big number that’s our backbone. The mood, all manner of other parameters we
use to feed into the system in any combination of ways. You can see we’re getting information in
about events here so we have… we’ve hit the shields of the ship, so that’s good,
that feeds into it. Yup, the player’s ship’s been hit in turn,
this constant feeding of information that’s what I can rely on to work to tweak the numbers
in the music logic system to make sure, you know, the system doesn’t go too crazy. Go up in high action too fast, things like
that. Never saw that ship destroyed, that gives
a cool momentary sting. All of this although we’re seeing this in
the flight mode at the moment, we’re working on it for 2.6 to make sure that these numbers
translate into the FPS game mode and eventually also just in EVA combat as well. So no matter what you’re doing this stuff
is always appropriate and the music will shift to suit the EVA or the FPS environment. We have a theoretical example just to show
you using some console commands here. We can simulate what it would be like when
we have EVA combat working in conjunction with the music logic. So, I’ll throw in some numbers here and
just like when we saw with the pirates attacking the ship when the music logic was going nuts,
I’ll be simulating the player getting attacked or attacking the enemy and we’ll see that
the EVA music, that gentle kind of craft workesque music, so that’s ramping up in this cool
kind of coral way. All of this again, this is all Pedro’s beautiful
music. Just like with the flight combat music, we
have heroic EVA music, we have grim EVA music, exactly the same set up but just with a whole
different mood of music and a different set of music loops. The same thing here with FPS, this is something
we’ll be seeing very soon, same system again but this time we’re getting hit by… it
could be pirates attacking us and we’re on foot so the music is a bit more kind of
personal, a bit more synthy and dark. You get that kind of grand space music for
the space flight, we wanted to go a little more intense and synthetic feel for the FPS. So again you hear that music swelling and
falling, this will be a constant background between all these systems and as you move
through different parts of the galaxy the whole overall suite of music will move from
one set to another but there will an understandable language across all of it you’ll get used
to. This will be on it’s feet and working forever,
it’s a system that is self managing and autonomous really and will just work which
is awesome. So, that’s music logic. It’s what Sam Hall and I have been building
in DataForge, we’re really, really proud of how far it’s come. It’s going to be available in 2.6 and that’ll
be just the beginning, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger and grander and grander. Hope you enjoyed it. Outro SG: Thanks very much Ross. That is super cool and is going to be an exciting
addition to the game and I’m really looking forward to that. CR: Yup. So that Music Logic System’s actually an
evolution of the dynamic music system that I first created for Wing Commander called
Origin FX. Obviously it’s a lot more powerful and robust,
but very cool. SG: It definitely gives a player a more personalised
experience and everybody’s going to feel like they’re in their own movie or something,
very cool. CR: Which is the point of it. SG: There you go. Well that’s it for todays show, check out
Reverse the ‘Verse tomorrow for your chance to ask the Austin team questions about today’s
features as well as some exclusive videos. ALso Ben Lesnick will be hosting a live playthrough
of Wing Commander 2 to celebrate its 25th anniversary of release. CR: Wow. SG: That’ll be on Saturday the 17th so tune
in if you can. CR: As always, a big thank you to our subscribers
whose monthly contributions help us produce videos like this. SG: And thank you as always to all of our
backers for the opportunity to be here in the first place. CR: Yeah, thank you guys. SG: Next week we’ll head out to our Frankfurt
office and make sure to tune in for that one. CR: Yes so that’s the show for this week. Thank you all for watching and we’ll see
you. Both: Around the ‘Verse.

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