Star Citizen: Around the Verse – Engineering Intelligence

Star Citizen: Around the Verse – Engineering Intelligence

Closed Captioning provided by Sandi Gardiner (SG): Hey everyone and welcome
to Around the Verse. I’m Sandi Gardiner and with me is Star Citizens’
Game Director, Chris Roberts. Chris Roberts (CR): Hey Sandi. So thrilled to be here of course. I’m actually going to be heading off to
Europe this Sunday, so I’ll be there for a few weeks so you’ll have other hosts here
with Sandi going forward for a few weeks until I come back. SG: Speaking of Europe. CR: Speaking of Europe look what we got from
a fan in Switzerland. He’s sent us lots of sugar obviously. Swiss Toblerones, Swiss Caramels, Swiss knife. SG: From Zurich, Switzerland, Martin Whip. CR: Yeah and sent us a t-shirt from his organisation,
thank you very much. SG: Check this out, bold. CR: Pretty, I’m not that brave to actually
get a real Star Citizen tatoo on my arm. SG: I’m not either, well done. CR: Well done, very impressive and thank you
very much Martin. Anyway back to the show. Today’s show is going to be about something
very dear and near to my heart, the game’s AI. SG: That’s right we’ve got Tony Zurovec
and Francesco to sit down and answer a few questions about how players will be interacting
with NPCs in the game, but that will be coming up later in the show. CR: Yeah, first up we have our weekly studio
update from Nick Elms and our U.K. team. Studio Update Nick Elms (NE): Hi everyone, welcome to another
Studio Update from here in the U.K. My name’s Nick Elms, I’m the Creative
Director here at Foundry 42. As you might have imagined since the 2.6 release
we’ve been very busy trying to get 2.6.1 out for you. There’s been a lot of bug fixing, a lot
of feedback that we’ve taken on board from you guys and John Crewe and Andy Nicholson
have been looking at incorporating a balance pass now with all the feedback we’ve been
gathering from you guys in the community from you playing 2.6. They’re making a comprehensive review that
hopefully we’re going to be getting into 2.6.1. We’re going to look at the Misc Razor next
which I think you saw in November for the concept sale. It’s now with the ship team and in particular
Joe Navel who’s working on it through its white box stage. As part of the ongoing VFX polish and optimization,
we’re going to take a look at the Drake Caterpillar. We’ve been working on the throttle up and
down engine effects and with the Herald we’ve been working on the explosion effects. This is the kind of stuff that we send around
the office on a daily basis and we thought we would share it would you guys so you can
get an idea of what we see. As you’ll see the VFX guys have shared there’s
a Vroll of all the ship weapons firing simultaneously. Surface outposts is what we’re going to
take a look at next which I think we’ve released a couple of snapshots of, but it’s
starting to come online a lot further now for us in the form of the building sets that
were starting to get through from the artists. The designers are particularly excited about
all the gameplay opportunities that these will afford as they can actually lay them
out on the planet surfaces now for you guys to investigate. That wraps up for another U.K. update. As I mentioned earlier there’s a lot of
work still going on behind the scenes with bug fixing and optimisations and feedback,
etc. All that remains for me to say is back to
L.A. and see you in the verse. Back to Studio CR: Appreciate the update Nick. Excited to see where the building sets are
headed, I mean that’s fantastic, a lot of great stuff in there. SG: Definitely, no kidding, and the work the
effects team have been doing is really impressive. Especially the Herald explosion, that was
very cool for me, and as we’re seeing all the ship weapons lined up like that. CR: Yup definitely seeing things shoot and
blow up is always very cool. Nick also mentioned all the work going into
2.6.1. If you want to learn more about the up and
coming patch make sure to head to the website and look at our full production schedule to
get a full sense of what you can expect. We’ll be updating the schedule every Friday
until the release so you can track our progress via our website. SG: And of course a lot of the changes and
rebalancing that we’re doing right now are thanks to the fantastic testing that our backers
have been doing since 2.6 went live so thank you to all the backers out there. SG: Absolutely. Your feedback is invaluable to the project
so I want to encourage all backers to keep playing Star Marine, and Arena Commander,
and Crusader, and to keep letting us know on the forums, Issue Council, as well as on
the Spectrum. Please if you haven’t tried out Spectrum,
try Spectrum, It’s beta because we’ll be going live with that soon. It’ll help 2.6.1. and 2.6.2. and after that
all the subsequent patches to be as good as they can be. SG: And as many of you know from our newsletter
we recently had many of the directors and leads over at the L.A. office for several
weeks of discussions. While that was going on we took advantage
of everyone being here to record some deeper conversations about what we’re actively
working on. CR: Yup absolutely, and as the game’s AI system
is one of the most complicated and ground breaking features that were currently in development
on Star Citizen, we figured it would be a great opportunity to have lead AI programmer,
Francesco Roccucci and Persistent Universe Director, Tony Zurovec gave an extended discussion
about the systems they’re building. [5:50] AI Tony Zurovec (TZ): I’m Tony Zurovec, I’m
the Director of the Persistent Universe for Star Citizen. Francesco Roccucci (FR): So I am Francesco
Roccucci and I am the Lead AI Programmer for Star Citizen, so yeah, we work a lot together. TZ: Yeah. [What do you oversee at CIG?] TZ: I’m predominantly focused on the architectural
side of the stuff – what the basic capabilities are, how we expose that functionality to the
designers so that we can get as much leverage from the development process as possible – this
includes working on the actual- developing the editor itself which was the designer’s
interface. FR: Well I think about all the architecture
from Tony and I make it real in the code, basically. We develop- I put the code- I architect the
code and we implement it and then I manage other three people so far on the AI team – so
we have Andrega Boni, Mario Sarini, Rich Walsh in the UK studio – so we are a bit in Germany
and a bit in UK. AI in Star Citizen: An Update TZ: The current state of AI in Star Citizen
is that we’re basically – I would say we’re cresting the hill with regard to the initial
tier of architectural functionality. Francesco has now got a lot of work to do
to basically take all of that, distribute it to his guys, get it working within the
game and what we’re aiming to do within the fairly near term is to be able to- for
the first, in significant fashion to be able to start exposing this functionality to the
designers and they should have enough of the base capability to start crafting actual missions
within the game. It’s going to look, to some degree, like
the missions you’ve seen before except that they should be able to create them much more
quickly which means we won’t be talking about 17 missions – they’ll be able to create-
you’ll be talking about much larger potential number of missions – you’ll be talking about
a lot larger of number of different things you’ll be trying- problems that you’ll
be able to present to the player – you’ll be talking about a lot more content that’s
going to have an algorithmic component to it. For example, right now, locations tend to
be fixed – and we’re going to be introducing in the not-too-distant future the ability
to go down to planets and stuff and we don’t want you to always encounter a derelict space
ship with a stranded pilot that needs to be transported to here always in the exact same
location. When you go to pick up that stranded pilot
– we don’t want him to always necessarily be friendly; when you go to pick him up, we
don’t always want him to be alone – sometimes it’s going to be an ambush, sometimes he’s
going to need medical attention. These are things, all just in the course of
that one basic scenario – which is “distress signal, crashed pilot, etcetera” – there
is a world of opportunity for us to create a range of potential experiences for the player
and this is what- as soon as basically- Francesco’s basically integrated the rest of this and
I’m sure there is- FR: No pressure on me. TZ: Little bits and pieces as we start to
mock-up the first tier of the subsumption missions, but as soon as we’ve got that
then we’ll finally start to get a sense as to what the designers can create with this. FR: I think it’s always like this first
step, right? Of getting the core- TZ: Yep. FR: -there in a state in which you’re not
only happy with the architect of the code as well – because for me it’s a lot, I know
I can rely on the vision of Tony for that for the architecture of the design and all
the other designers that we have – all very talented people and the code as well has to
be architected in a way you can scale as much as possible. So like, you know the big work we’ve done
so far is to make sure that subsumption runs and everything with acceptable amount of memory
usage and CPU usage. We have all these concepts of activities that
are actually templates that can be re-used between a lot of characters without creating
like instance everywhere or having the mission system as well, reuse as much as possible
from the subsumption architecture and so even after we create the same logic all over and
over again in different systems because it uses different systems and it’s also accessing
content from one actor to the mission and passing formation. It just becomes very much quicker, you don’t
have to go through different DLLs – each DLL can expose different functionality without
you- don’t have to add code to be doing different- complete different structure and
then how do I expose this part to this other system – it just becomes everything much more
fluid and much quicker to add stuff. So yeah, that sometimes it takes a bit of
time but then I think we are starting to arrive to the point where we are very happy of that. We’re discussing the last bits that you
added – for example, this concept of adding some reusable piece of logic that you can
recall and for us it’s very easy now to implement that and every new functionality
seems it’s always quicker to add and you can start of feel to say “We’re doing
a good job here” and I don’t like to say it, myself, but I think it’s good when you
are happy of the work you are doing. TZ: That’s something I referred to before,
which is- we’re very much focused and always have been with regards to the direction we’re
going with the concept of this “object-oriented content creation” which is to basically
distill all of the different pieces of functionality that we’re going to use to build up these
larger missions to break them down into all these component parts and then just like you
do in an object-oriented language like C++ to basically allow us to pass inputs in, to
extract outputs out so that we can customize them dynamically in the scope of a much larger
problem. And so what this is going to wind up allowing
us to do is after we’ve got that initial library of functionality – designers are going
to be able to craft this stuff much, much more quickly than they’ve been able to do
in the past and what this effectively means to the player is a much larger amount of interesting
things to see and experience and challenges to face and solve within the game world. Subsumption TZ: The first part of subsumption – the easiest
part of subsumption to basically expose is actually going to be the mission side of it
– the mission side is basically built on top of the, what you want to call the lower level
AI layer, there’s a lot of commonality in terms of how we do message passing, the data
structures, the concept of functions, reasonable parameters and all this kind of stuff, task
archetypes with which we build up the solutions to these problems – the mission stuff in general
is a bit more straightforward to expose because it doesn’t directly control any of the animation
stuff. And the animation when you’re talking about
a modern 3D game – animation, even though it’s not technically part of what most people
would call the AI, it’s plays a massive role with regards to how people perceive it
– if you have a bartender and he’s going about doing his business but the path find
is- FR: It’s not smooth or- TZ: -the path finding doesn’t often very
well, he goes right up to other characters and then goes 90 degree angles around them
as opposed to doing nice splines – if he basically doesn’t align himself precisely, if things
don’t snap right to his hand – if he can’t actually operate things in believable fashion
then he doesn’t actually look intelligent, even though under the scenes he’s still
able to search for this – he can still basically go over to it, he can still utilize, he can
still create items, he can still send messages, received messages, query the environment – all
that type of stuff and so one of the big issues that we face before we really expose the AI
side of it is we want to make sure that a lot of these – you could call them cosmetic
issues because they really predominantly isolated from the AI itself although the solution to
them is occasionally quite complex because they are still so tightly integrated. By way of example, one we’ve talked about
before is you’ve got a path find and in combat you’ve got a character and he’s
running towards cover and he actually needs to know in the path find that he’s running
towards cover in a combat situation and then he’s basically going to modify the end part
of that path find he’s running to that destination by sliding into cover and if you’re talking
about a character that’s actually going to manipulate something or sit in a chair,
they need to know how they are going to need to be aligned so that while the path find
– the predecessor step an action, it can be taking that into account so that because-
what you don’t want is for them to get to the endpoint and then spin 80 degrees and
then basically to play the appropriate animation and so the mission stuff is the first and
easiest but given the release schedule and we can’t talk too much about that – we’ve
had some conversations about whether or not we might have a small iterative release that
might expose some of this for testing purposes but we’ll just have to talk about that as
we announce that later. FR: Subsumption is really global, general
name so I think we’re probably- when the mission system is out, well it’s part of
subsumption so there will be a part to experience what subsumption is in general, right? But, yes, as Tony says, most of the animation
issues are the one that. we are basically working on to … before
we can show something. Or not too much before we “can” show but
before we want to show … TZ: That’s exactly it. FR: … because I think that’s the critical
part. It’s like for me – I think we are both very
critical to the work we do – so it’s like always say “ah, this doesn’t look very
good: I don’t want to show it”. TZ: And this was one of the big things with
the Squadron 42 Vertical Slice to where one of the largest issues was the animation integration
… FR: Yeah. TZ: … into the system. As opposed to whether or not you were, under
the hood, actually doing all of the appropriate AI logic. The AI logic, a lot of it was … FR: It’s … yeah, really a good point … TZ: … actually operational. FR: … because the Subsumption logic … it’s
already … we have … in our game, our builds, we already use the activities. We already use sub-activities. We already have secondary sub-activities surrounding
people say “Hi” to you or greet you, seeing from far, having different activities … TZ: Right but we were having problems with
the heads weren’t orientating correctly and … FR: But … exactly … if you showed something
like that … TZ: … to any user you show that … FR: … yeah. TZ: … it looks much more primitive than
that it really is. And so that was one of the reasons why, up
until the very end, we were like “Well how … how quickly can we tie up some of the
most egregious animations issues?” FR: Because you gonna make sure … you want
to make sure something that can be very impressive, it actually is. Because otherwise if you ruin the look of
something that is actually quite complex, quite advanced, with a bad look then it’s
hard to remove that type of first impression. And it’s not smart and it’s like … I
don’t think it gives the right credit to the system TZ: We … we … we FR: … and the developers that worked on
it. TZ: … we want the quality of the animation
to match the ambition … FR: The system. Yeah. TZ: … of the actual logic … FR: The game. TZ: … and that’s still going to require
… that’s still going to require some effort. [17:42] 3.0 NPC AI TZ: 3.0 I think we’re actually going to
aim for a pretty diverse set of things. Most obviously would just be starting to make
the landing zones actually start to feel alive, so that you encounter a variety of different
characters all pursuing their own particular set of interests. This will include everything from the prototypical
bartender and bar patrons, tourists, vandals, businessmen… FR: Shop. TZ … yeah, various shop … shop keepers
… muggers, criminal elements: things of that sort. And then some of the … some of the more
interesting stuff in terms of the gameplay potential, I would say, would be the combat
aspects. FR: Because the combat is, of course, is what
I really worked on and it’s something I’m really, really happy to work on and I want
to push it even further. That is going to be interesting because we
try to make this first iteration on it where there is already coordination between the
guys that fight. People that can advance while somebody else
covers the advancement from a cover spot or if no cover spot are allowed they will just
… I think the main thing with the combat that
I’m really trying to push is the fact that they understand the environment. And you are sure. And you understand that what they are doing
makes sense for the type of environment which they are in. And that is going to be what I think is cool
in this scenario because maybe you’ll find some pirates on the side you want to get a
good deal but then they turn on you. And then the fight makes interesting … the
situations … TZ: And this will play into a number of things
so that when you encounter … like right now the only ships, as you’re just generally
wandering around stuff, you tend to encounter is really other players. TFR: Yeah. TZ: And that should be dramatically different
in 3.0. Not only different in terms of you encountering
them but in terms of what you can do with them. If you disable … if you’re transporting
cargo and you basically get attacked by a pirate and he disables your engines then it’s
entirely possible that he’s actually going to try to board your ship. Or vice versa if you’re a mercenary … if
you’re a pirate and you’re trying to take out a freighter then part of what you’re
going to have to do is – after you disable the ship – is board it and those characters
will actually be able to fight … FR: Fight back. TZ: … fight back within the confines of
their ship. And this is, again, just going to open up
a world of possibilities in terms of making the world, space, etc. feel much more alive. FR: Kind of unique as well. Because I think it creates these kinds of
scenarios that are not very easy to find somewhere else. It’s going to be a very interesting to see
how the players will play. [20:36] Back In The Studio CR: Thanks guys. Hopefully that gives you a better sense of
the progress we’re making and gives you an idea of how awesome the final version can
be. As more and more of the features like the
AI and the mission system, locomotion for player and AI come online and are implemented
into the game we’re able to unlock even more opportunities to push the game even further
and create that first person universe that Star Citizen is going to be. SG: And we know that AI has been one of our
most asked about topics from the community so we decided to open up the conversation
to the community and let Tony and Francesco field some of your questions about how it
works. [21:14] AI – Fan Q&A with Tony Zurovec & Francesco
Roccucci Q: For NPC ships, are those under the control
of a single AI or will it be multiple AI working together? What are the challenges of this? TZ: Multi-crew ships will operate fairly similarly
to the hierarchy … the chain of command that you’d see in a typical civilian or
military vessel in that you’ll have a captain and the captain will tell the navigator where
he wants to go. And the captain will basically tell the engineer
what to prioritise: whether he wants … needs the weapon systems back online first or the
shield generators or the engines. And he’ll dispatch the chief medical officer
to deal with medical problems in this area or that area. So it’s at a very high level. I’ve said before we don’t want to be “Sim
Citizen”. We don’t want to have too much micromanagement
in terms of control. That’s not the type of game we are. But the concept of being able to just generally
prioritise things and then to have your lieutenant characters address those. And this actually segues nicely into how players
are going to be integrated into the equation. If you’ve got a captain and you’ve got
a navigator and you’ve got a chief medical officer and you’ve got a chief engineer
and you’ve got a chief weapons officer, and all this other stuff and then all of a
sudden the player wants to … one of your player friends wants to deal with weapons
or deal with engineering then you’ll have a very easy means of factoring in how the
other characters are going to interface with them. And what you’re going to wind up getting
out of this is a nice concise system to where you can customise as much or as little as
you want. You can have … you can recruit NPC characters
to do as much of the work, that you and your friends don’t want to do, as is necessary
to accomplish the job. FR: Yeah, gets you really moving away from
one behaviour for one ship. So it’s really like each seat will be controlled
by the people – just one – to work on that seat. So I think there would be a really the crew
feeling working on the spaceship as Tony already said. I think that is the only way to give a bit
more realism in the sense like even if you board a ship and the pilot is tries to still
bring the ship somewhere and you kill him then you don’t want the spaceship has this
external behaviour still like drives automatically, controls the turrets anyway. You just want to really see that something
is there. Another thing we also try is to make these
type of AI modules that you can buy and assign to specific seats. So you don’t have an actual crew member
sometime but you want to have a small computer at that controls, turret for example. So some stuff, maybe the medical officer,
cannot be substituted by computer but the turret can have a controller … automatic
controller. And if you just sit down then you can immediately
take control over things turn on and off. And I think you as a player you are also able
to customise a bit how the ships automatically responds to things. Can be really cool because you can have just
like a combination of … that you can have that already makes a huge difference between
one ship and another. Q: What advantages/disadvantages would there
be in running an AI-crew versus an all-human crew? TZ: The advantages of AI crew versus human
crew? I wouldn’t really say that there’s definative
advantages. I would say the devil’s always in the details. What you will have as a player is the ability
to recruit NPC characters to fulfil specific jobs on your ship. But when you basically go to recruit them,
that’s where the details start to matter. How much are you willing to pay? And that’s going to determine the level
of quality, the level of professionalism, that you’re going to get from that particular
member. If you want, a turret gunner that’s really
effective then you’re going to have to pay a higher monthly salary. You’re going to have a higher running cost,
and so what you’ll see a lot of players… and the exact same scenario exists within
players: there’s some will be more adept at a given occupation – a given skill – others
will be less capable, and so what I think you’re going to wind up seeing in a lot
of cases is players – you may have a ship that’s ideally crewed by 6 or 8 or 10 people
– and the player’s party will take on those roles that they’re best at and then they’ll
recruit NPCs to whatever skill level they can actually afford to fill in the remainder. FR: Also about the interest right? Because maybe some players have interest on
piloting, some others have really good interest in shooting. And then you can just use the AI to fit the
roles you don’t like too much. But on the other hand the AI won’t rage
quit on you, right? You won’t have like a player disconnecting,
so. TZ: Yeah, but they FR: You have an an advantage with AI? … TZ: Well and that’s true. All of the whereas most of the things that
players will actually do will depend upon their actual capabilities, or their ship capabilities,
or their equipment’s capabilities to expose things. But how, how well you basically can fire,
for example on another player, your accuracy, that’s determined by your physical dexterity,
and it’s influenced by the weapon which may have more or less kickback or a wider area
of effect in terms of it’s damage, etc. And NPCs will have a variety of characteristics
that will model how well they deal with all of these different . . with all of these different
things that the player has to . . has to handle themselves. FR: Yeah the skills will be like definitely
be a huge part you know on deciding like this NPC is good at doing every job or jobs. But maybe you have two that are kind of good
at the same job, and you still need to fill another role and you put the one. They say, “Well, I still need the shield
management.”, and even if none of them is pretty good but maybe after a certain amount
of missions. Well he starts to get used to that, and he
starts to improve his skills as well. You know you can decide, “Will pay a bit
less, but I risk a bit more in the beginning at trying to make simple missions so they
get used to these things. I think that is also like interesting to see
how the player will use their strategy to put balance their hiring and the other NPC
they have with how they can improve and learn. TZ: Yeah, it becomes another resource to manage. Another way by which players can differentiate
their style of gameplay FR: Yeah. TZ: versus another. Well it’s like do you go with three engineers
of lower quality or one really stellar performer. FR: Yeah. TZ: So there’s going to be a multitude of
ways for you to customize the game-play experience via the choices you make in all of these different
areas. Q: What do you anticipate to be the largest
ship capable of operating effectively with an AI crew? TZ: There’s no real limitation just given
the distribution of responsibilities. It would really just be more along the lines
of the larger ships will require larger crews to operate effectively and therefore their
running costs on average will tend to be higher than crew . . than ships that can be operated
with, with a much smaller crew. Obviously you can modulate that to some degree
with the quality of the crew you’re hiring . . FR: Yeah. TZ: . . and things of that sort, but there’s
no hard coded limit and there’s surely no reason why there would be given how all of
these tasks and responsibilities that they’re going to be executing are going to be ready. FR: I think that is really like coming from
you know to the, to the fact that basically within the individual behavior you know are
controlled by a captain or something like that, but then each of these NPCs which is
do it’s job. So you know there is no real limit on the
amount of people that execute their job if you know you have like five, six to control
five different turrets. Well, you know, that would be just like five
different people. Their coordination of course depends on the
amount of targets they have. Who they can target, but then it doesn’t matter
like if there are three or five or fifteen, because you know the code would just give
for that would try and distribute the targets, but so exact you know . . TZ: But it would like as you go, as you go
to upper echelon of ships you are going to probably need more experience . . FR: Yeah. TZ: . . better commanders, because they are
effectively going to be . . in control of more . . of a larger number of crew members
and we would probably . . FR: Yeah. TZ: . . just model it such that if you basically
get a lower end . . a lower . . a lower quality of chief engineer starts to basically buckle
under the pressure and he starts to make bad decisions, etc. . FR: Yeah . . assigns wrong people . . TZ: . . once he starts getting beyond three
or four or five guys that he is controlling. The exact same thing you’d see in the real
world. Q: What kind of relationships do you expect
us to develop with AI NPCs? Will an NPC react differently to me based
on prior actions? If I ruin a relationship with an NPC, will
there be ways to repair it afterward? TZ: It’s always been our intention to allow
the player to form long lasting relationships with all of the characters in the game. What this means specifically is that you will
develop what we call reputation in a number of different fields. Are you known for your acts of piracy? Are you known for your humanitarian missions? You’re basically very medically oriented and
you are rescuing people, healing people, solving medical crisis, you know etc. Do you . . are you really well known for how
effective a transporter you are in terms of commodity goods and things of that sort? You have a high very . . a very high success
rate in terms of getting it done. So there will be those reputational aspects
that characters will be able to . . you know of yourself . . that characters will be able
to query to determine how much they like you, dislike you, whether they want to offer you
the more advanced missions or just the starter missions, what they are willing to pay you
in order to do that, etc. There will also be these what I call these
many to one relationships to where it’s not based upon your, you know, piracy rating
or your transportation rating… it’s based on your specifically one to one relationship. How do they feel about you? Did you take a specific mission from them? That’s probably going to be weighted much
more significantly than stuff that they heard that you did for other characters in the universe. They will also be able to take into account
your… the organizations to which you’re a part. Do they like that organization? Do they hate that organization? Are they neutral to that organization? So all of these things together are basically
variables that the characters within their conversation logic can factor into how they
respond to you. So… and then we’ll wind up having these
things gradually, you know, return to a baseline if you don’t keep doing it. Other words if you were an exceptional…
exceptionally good at transporting merchandise, very high success rate. If you haven’t done that in a day, in a
week, in a month… then people will no longer be talking about that behind the scenes, therefore
you expect that reputational aspect to gradually deteriorate over time and you’re going to
have to just… you’re going to have to… basically going to have to keep doing that
type of thing and keep doing it well if you want to maintain your standing with the community
in that regard. FR: Yeah, so like for us for me especially
now on the AI team what we try to do is I test all of these functionalities to make
sure that the AI can create as much content as they can. So like, you know, once we have these things,
the relationship variables or attributes it is really like better to give these to the
designers and then the designers can use any of these. Can be the reputation, can be this… you
know, what they feel about you and they can just create all the logic that they want. Plus we have… we’re kinda in a unique
position because like the game can constantly be updated so these characters can also get
new responses. You know, based on the state and, you know,
and all the result is new content that we can create with time that just makes, you
know, the relation always more smooth and you know, we can go deeper into details and
mentioned other stuff that you’ve done, mentioned events that have happened. If I have a good relation with you maybe I
gossip about something with you and you know, we can create this and always have more and
more and more. TZ: There’s the stuff that really matters
in terms of the missions they give you whether they’ll talk to you at all and that stuff. Then there’s also just the more cosmetic
stuff where they tell you jokes or they’re light hearted or they’re basically bantering
on about their history because they feel comfortable with you because you’ve done three missions
with them within the last week. Were they frowning at you as you go, were
they repulsed by you, were they disgusted by you, you know. All that type of stuff, so I would you say
you’ve got different elements coming together which is, you know, not just how they explicitly
react to you but more just, you know, they’re just… they’re more subtle behavioural
characteristics when, you know, when you’re in proximity. In conclusion, what are you most looking forward
to? TZ: For the future AI I think that clearly
going to head more towards the algorithmic, you know, generation of content that does
not mean by any stretch of the imagination… we’ve said from the very beginning, it’s
like we don’t want to be pure algorithmic. We have no interest in being purely algorithmic,
we don’t think that makes for a good gameplay experience. It just makes for good taglines in terms of,
‘ hey look, we’re giving you an arbitrarily large of this’ but it’s all, you know,
it’s all bland and uninteresting. There’s nothing really, you know, handcrafted
to draw you into it and so what we’ve been pursuing for years now is basically the ability
to create all these handcrafted pieces and then to allow the designers to build on top
of those to link those pieces together to create very quickly what, you know, what seems
like incredibly customized missions but they’re able to do it in much more rapid fashion than
what otherwise would be the case. So, I think what we’re going to wind up
having is, you know, as you go forward is just the ability to algorithmically create
more, you know, variations on those things. You’re not really going to notice it in
terms of quality of the content, it’s just going to look like… it’s going to look
like you went from 12 designers dedicated to this to 24-36 as you basically refine all
those algorithms and you start to get your base library functions and stuff all entirely
operational. FR: Yeah, the thing I think we can talk about
as well is like the way… the thing I would always like to push forward is the kind of
realism is if you want to start to follow one guy, for example, and we start with something
like the guy will leave the planet but maybe, you know, eventually you have this guy like
change planets, you know and he’ll be able to understand that there are connections between…you
know, jumping into space ship, then take the spaceship to fly, quantum jump and then go
to this other planet and then go down and search for another part. You can just follow it and then you can be
always be more realistic like, you know, I think that is from a tech perspective, you
know we’ll have of course some optimisation, what you’re trading, stuff like this that
we want to have as quick as possible. So I think there are like these two parallel
you know, work that we are doing both on the content production tools to create always
more and give more feeling and all the technical problems that we are trying to solve like
using objects while you use another object, you know sitting on a spaceship and while
you are sitting you actually interact with all the objects and each these interactions
triggers something else. I think these of things that we are going
to eventually have… it’s the details, it’s an amount of details that you will
eventually have based off all the iteration. So first iteration will have, even on the
combat side, first iteration will have a sort of coordination, but then these other iteration
will always have more and more coordination using more type of weapons, being smart on
which type of weapon is best in this specific environment or in a specific scenario. I think this is just going to give always
more realistic feeling. TZ: Yeah because another long term objective
and this is not within the next 12 months it’s more of a 12-24 month window type of
thing is basically support for what we refer to as the Persistent Dynamic NPCs and what
we mean by that is, of course there will be specific characters at specific areas within
even the Persistent Universe, certainly within Squadron 42, but we’ll have those characters
even within the Persistent Universe, and then there will be another class of characters
that are just created as you want around the world. You encounter, you’re basically transporting
a load of commodities from one planet to a refinery and you encounter a pirate and that
pirate winds up inflicting significant damage and you wind up having to call for help and
once your help arrives you basically high tail it and get out of there. This is the kind of thing to where what we
want to eventually to be able to do is to keep the essence of what that character was,
that pirate, what was his name, what does he look like? Was he talking to you on the radio, what voice
were we using for him, what was his rank? What was the source of the interaction that
you had with him. What’s your history? He basically got the better of you in a battle
and then we want to be able to use that as an input into this library of mission content
such that next time we’re looking for a pirate to basically be utilized on one of
these mission archetypes, we have the possibility to insert him as the specific character and
he then has the ability to refer back to that prior history and so what you wind up having
is your own little custom version of the world to where these are characters we didn’t
specifically go out and hand create and give a history to, but you’re encountering them,
your interacting with them made them real, made them persistent for you. They’re also persistent for any party members
that you’ve got, it’s like everybody can see them, but those particular characters
that you’ve interacted with in a certain way become available for us to utilize when
we need an equivalent character as you encounter lots of different scenarios within the game
world. Final Thoughts FR: Well I think that other things I also
look forward is when the wildlife on the planets, that’s going to be really interesting because
it’s something I worked on a little bit before. In Crysis we had some little wildlife and
there’s always this big difference between the smart wildlife and the more simplistic
wildlife. If you have a frog, well you don’t expect
the frog to be super smart. You can create this kind of, you know the
CryEngine word: Boids, animals that can move around and they react to your presence or
your proximity much more. Then you have other things like pets or even
just bigger animals like a deer or something you know that they’re smarter and they need
to do something with you, they’re not as complex as a human, but they’re pretty complex
and to give the actual feeling of planet, we’ll have to tackle all of these things
and it’s going to be very interesting. TZ: Well, but it’s just like with the cities
to where you want to make this world that you’re travelling through look as alive
and as interesting as possible because if… like right now, i’m sure bothers us all
is the just the fact that we’ve got a great big world, but we’re not yet able to effectively
populate it with a lot of interesting material for the player to see, and we’ve talked
in the past about how we’ve got 17 missions in the Persistent Universe that you can go
and accomplish, but those were implemented in a completely different fashion than what
we’ve been aiming to eventually be able to do, but these systems are such that you
need to have maybe not the entirely, but a significant majority of the base functionality
operational before you have anything and so what makes me most excited about 2017 is just
the fact that we should start get this stuff that we’ve been talking about on the content
generation side finally into the game and this is where all of a sudden the ability
for players to start do a variety of different occupations and for them to just fly around,
orbit around a moon, content we didn’t explicitly put there will be able to fill in, and then
there will be interesting stories and things to do all littered throughout the entire system. So I think that once we get 3.0, it’s supposed
to be the initial iteration of pushing this stuff out there and then all the successive
releases are just going to be refining, refining, basically taking advantage of this system
we’ve put in place. I think that Star Citizen in 3.0x iterations
is going to finally start to look like a real finished game to where you can just go in
and lose yourself for hours and hours at a time and that’s not because you’re marveling
at just the technological ambition of the project, it’s because there’s actually
enough gameplay content in there to keep you interested. FR: And for me it’s like, because after
where we have that, we can actually see how the player plays with the game. The most interesting thing for me working
on games is the fact that you produce something that people actually play with and they interact
with, it’s not that you know you just give it and it’s not that only, it’s really
how you use it, it’s how you play that, and the game plays with you so I think at
that point you can also start to tweak things say, “Ah this is how people like to do,
and the way they like to play”, and then you can adjust things and give more content
here and I think that is going to be very interesting. TZ: I can foresee us using spectator mode
quite a bit to actually see how players are interacting with all of this initial set of
mission concept. FR: “Stalking Mode”. Outro SG: Always great to hear more about how NPC
crews are going to work. It sounds like it’s been a huge undertaking
to develop a system this complex. CR: Yeah, no it’s definitely a huge undertaking
and we’re still hard at work at it, especially Francesco and Tony. We really want our NPCs to have complex behaviors
you would expect. So the work Tony, Francesco, and the rest
of the AI team have been doing is vital to our plan moving forward in creating this immersive
Star Citizen, and Squadron 42 first person universe. So once we have the foundation in place we’ll
be able to tie it into the mission manager and the mission system itself and create some
really emergent and immersive scenarios either by scripted design on the designer’s side
or through sort of, systemic or procedural generation that’s in response to player or
AI behavior. So I think it’s going to provide some really
cool and unique gameplay. SG: Cool, with that brings us to this episode
of ATV, and as always we’d like to thank our subscribers for contributing to the creation
of all our in depth behind the scenes concept. CR: Yup, thank you guys very much. I thank you for having patience for us being
here and doing all of this and a huge thanks to all of our backers who are supporting Star
Citizen’s development. You guys are a big part of what makes the
project unique and special and we definitely could not do it without you guys so thank
you very, very much. SG: We could not, and if you would like to
hang out with more of the team make sure to tune in tomorrow at 10am Pacific for the latest
Star Citizen Happy Hour stream to watch some live gameplay and discussion. CR: Yes. I’m not quite sure which one of our devs
will be there, but they’ll be there and it’s kind of a cool opportunity to have
an informal Q&A and discussion, but until then. SG: We will see you. Both: Around the Verse.


  1. Post
  2. Post
  3. Post
  4. Post
  5. Post
  6. Post
    Dangerous Dan

    35:20 I love the idea that NPC mission giver would physically move from one place to another – perhaps even a phonecall you could overhear them requesting a pickup from another NPC

    It would be even cooler if say an NPC wanted a rare commodity and you could call another NPC you have a good relationship with and check if they have that commodity.

  7. Post
  8. Post
  9. Post

    Since you (Sandi and Chris) are said to be husband and wife, could you make an effort to be less "cold" to one another? I felt so cringe-y watching you both saying hello to one another at the beginning of the video. It's like you don't even like each other.

  10. Post

    As far as reputation goes, i understand it falling after not doing things in a long time but if you were always good at your job and you start picking back up what ever it was you were doing, you should get a higher initial jump. For example, you talk to some contacts after a long time, they might remember hearing your name and how good you were from a long time ago so they will initially think highly of you or vise versa and you will either get a higher initial jump then someone just starting to build their reputation.

  11. Post
  12. Post
  13. Post
  14. Post
  15. Post
  16. Post
  17. Post
  18. Post
  19. Post
    Rob Vandal

    Question: Do you know if there will be a Group Finder system? Like you can pick a particular role, say pilot,  engineer, turret gunner, etc. and find a player that has a ship needing a crew.

  20. Post
    Danyel J. Roberts

    Tony Zurovec needs to stop saying "You know" after every other word. It's so frustrating to listen to, I can't focus on what he's saying, I'm just waiting for the next "You know".

  21. Post
  22. Post
  23. Post
  24. Post

    Hi CIG, It's a really nice video, I love it. Hi pledged at the beginning of the developpement. Because I hoped Star Citizen will be the game I want to be and I want to be sure you guys can continue to build the game. And when I watch video like this…. I mean…. This is my game! The developpers think and see the things like me. This game is like my vision, with the talent of real developpers 😛

    And when we watch video like this one, we know Star Citizen it's not just a project or a job… It's a PASSION! They smile and seems to love what they are doing. For backers, that means a lot, it's gold!

    Sorry for my english, and thank you for your great work. I'm proud to be a Citizen!

  25. Post
  26. Post
  27. Post
  28. Post
  29. Post

    Francesco from the AI team sounds almost exactly like Rico Rodriguez from Just Cause 3 😀 I bet he'd make a good voice actor 😉

  30. Post
    Gonçalo Tibério

    This episode was excellent, awesome info delivered, and production was a huge improvement!
    Question: what are the tracks are 2:46 and 8:25?? If anyone knows…

  31. Post
  32. Post
  33. Post
  34. Post
    Kareem LeBaker

    Watching the development of SC opened my eyes for how games trick us into believing we have a choice and that we are just a part of a bigger "world" (this ranges from sky boxes to having different mission outcomes, NPC relations e.t.c). The funny thing is: We dont even understand the real world (e.g. economics) but can try to replicate it virtually and then see what happens. I wonder how far SC will take it, will people professionally exploit the games economics? And I wonder how far the whole industry will develop in the coming decade….

  35. Post
  36. Post

    I have to say that these interviews with the dev-crew are more rewarding than any computer graphics course I have ever taken. All the stuff in the lectures I can easily read in books or watch some specific topic on YouTube. But the way these guys talk about obstacles and how they deal with them is NOT found accessible in a lecture/book. And that is just the technical side of things, it's also fun to hear the progress of the game.

  37. Post
  38. Post

    Can we attach shocking electrodes to Tony that fire for every y'know he comes out with? I honestly believe we can cure him!

  39. Post
  40. Post
    Aqib Poseidon

    The way the guy on the right with long hair spoke about the 17 missions that have been made clearly makes u realise when he said now we can really start and go from the ground up with the systems and base they wanted to start with which makes me think he's clearly saying Chris Roberts is not managing this project very effectively if the base model was not implemented from the get go even if not actual code but the different systems and how they would affect one another. So Chris must have pushed these missions out any way possible to give the backers something atleast and guys don't get me wrong this is ground breaking stuff Chris and the companies from Frankfurt to America and England are doing but I'm entitled to my opinion and that is that Chris jumped head first in and then later had to make huge overhauls to foundation systems like ship flight and game mechanics and huge time on the A.I system.okay things like tweaking certain things like graphics and bugs but core systems just hints at slight mismanagement but I totally agree that a game on this scale and with this vision hasn't been done before so to live up to the vision Chris has there are bound to be revisions but I'm just saying sometimes a little extra time at the start and weekly and monthly meeting take a little more time to flush out everything that will be implemented and mainly at the start of production these things should definitely have been flushed out at the start

  41. Post
  42. Post
  43. Post
    Bob Smith

    Is "Universe" really too long a word to say? Does it really need to be truncated? I know they used  'verse  in FIrefly but it sounded unatural and odd there too.

  44. Post
  45. Post
  46. Post
    Robert w

    Explosion: BS, there is no air in "space"(space in most space games is not vacuum but some kind of fishy fluid for fishes we call "spaceships"[translate as flishy fluid diver pseudo vehicles]). An explosion into vacuum is bboring, it will loo like an rocket exhaust flame, just blowing streifght into the vacuum.

    There are no gates, there are no points, there are no shields, there are no warpbubbles, there is no drag in space, there is no air in space, there is no dust in space…

    There are no space games.

  47. Post

    Use this code to get 5,000 UEC credits(United Earth Credits) in the game. If you are interested try it out this is game is still in development you wont regret it.STAR-T7CP-5TXV

  48. Post
    Hex Awareness Team

    realizing whats being accomplished here, I imagine in the future, we are going to have Super Genre games. Right now, I see Star Citizen being the Alpha Space MMO. And there will be an alpha Medieval MMO, and probably an MMO for each genre of game. Universes within our universe. Its going to be amazing.

  49. Post
  50. Post
    Hex Awareness Team

    Imagine in a few years, there will be a ship so large, it will have a crew of thousands. Imagine what it would take to own a ship like that.

  51. Post
    Sergeant Shultz Bear

    So, when are you folks gonna get a deal with maruchan or nissin and start selling Big Benny's to us? This needs to happen.

  52. Post
  53. Post
  54. Post
  55. Post
  56. Post

    This Around the Verse shows an other time a lot of talking and no really Progress. Seems CIG is stucking massiv. I was expecting seeing a bit more about SQ42 after they skiped it all last year. But now CIG gets more and more not reliable for me.

  57. Post
  58. Post
    Tom N.

    To CIG,
    Would it help AI development for NPC crew maturation to offer classes, earn certifications and such that players can pay for their NPCs to help develop their abilities? An example might be gunnery or mining schools. It would seem to me a less complicated growth path for NPCs, more control and immersion for players as well as a way to spend UEC. It seems to me that the path to future business success for CIG, will be through generating and spending as much UEC as possible.

    Your thoughts?

  59. Post
  60. Post
  61. Post
  62. Post
  63. Post
  64. Post
  65. Post
  66. Post
  67. Post

    soo, let me translate what he said about the state of ai right now: they are starting to climb their way up to a AI that works at all. hmm, wonder how long before we have a decent ai, so they can start the 99% of the game is not started on yet..

  68. Post
  69. Post
  70. Post
  71. Post
  72. Post
    Smol Angelo

    oh. didn't knew there was an italian working on SC.
    seeing an italian programmer working for your fav videogame fill you with determination

  73. Post

    So, on the topic of persistent characters… if I purposely lose to a pirate over and over again whilst hauling expensive cargo, would he become stronger as I continue to do this, essentially creating a super-pirate? Could a group of players continuously sacrifice their cargo to this super-swashbuckler until he becomes an unstoppable force?

  74. Post
    Taz G

    Also, the two at about 4 mins in, say "You know" roughly 106 times. I know this because i sat through it with a counter. Francesco Roccuci & Tony Zurovec, averaged one "You know" every 8.5 seconds or so.

  75. Post
  76. Post
  77. Post
  78. Post
  79. Post

    So the reason why we do not have subsumption is because of the quality of the integrated animation is not yet working as you would like to be presented in conjuration with the AI subsumption system (which is now operational)?

  80. Post
  81. Post
  82. Post
    The 4th Horseman

    I only have a Xbox one so I have to play elite dangerous 😑 I'm so jealous of PC players.Star citizen just looks like the perfect game I never dreamed of. Just looking at this video makes me want to throw my console out the window.

  83. Post
    Pyro Chimp

    Seeing these little planet side habitats is an awesome nugget of gold! I don't care how long it takes to make this game, just as long as it looks that good on release!

  84. Post
  85. Post

    There is no proof of any sort of inteligence in this video. There are pretty explosions on the begining to capture the short attention span idiots and a shitload of simply talk and words without any backing or proof in the rest.

  86. Post
    Lee Jones

    This game is going to be unplayable…what rig would you need, A mainframe ? All this stuff they talk about, no load times, 60+ players and npc, lighting effects is it at all possible with the average joe's PC.

  87. Post
  88. Post
  89. Post
    E Loong

    I would love to see a very dynamic and interactive AI within the game, I want to have a situation where we find a derelict ship in an unexplored area of space and extract a lone survivor from that wreck. Then there is a situation where pirates come along demanding that survivor, then you are left with your crew to argue what to do with the survivor and during that argument, the AI picks up the mood, the wording, and the situation to understand and express emotions whether it be fear or glee or begging for life to the overall turnout of the argument between you and the crew. Also, it would be nice to have AI react to what you are wearing, it would be a nice touch to the immersion, to have AI snickering at your ridiculous clothes or shivering in fear of your combat armor.

    I know that concept might be far off but it would be a revolutionary touch to such a promising game.

  90. Post

    So are they adding the FPS combat gameplay from S42 into PU in 3.0? Will there be a way to flag yourself as more passive vs. aggressive to avoid combat, unless you're in the mood?

  91. Post
  92. Post
    Jeremiah Hill

    If your a star Citizen Ai programmer and want to make the game even more awesome READ this!

    Star citizen should copy some of the aspects of EAs Sims series for their Ai. After all…this is a space "sim" game. EA Ai are never standing still, their always interacting with their environment…when their personality variables drop. If hungry they go to a fridge, if tired they automatically find the bed and sleep, if smelly they take a shower. There's nothing more boring than a Ai that just stands there with nothing to do. Also we want more than just Ai that kill, kill, kill period. Using personality variables is a awesome approach, it allows the Ai to be constantly on the move with relevant tasks, and gives value to in game objects!

    Personality variables would also lead to managing the Ai and their relations! If particular variable values are not satisfied, or if certain ones are satisfied like a injustice variable, then the crew will rebel against their own captain! (Not keeping the ship stock with food or water, rejecting request to get it, ext, increments the injustice variable. When a certain value is reached, boom!!! They rebel!) Thus giving the players a constant task to maintain relationships with their Ai crew. This game has so much potential, I could create task all day for Ai.

  93. Post
    Lone Wolf

    and yet, there are still some people saying this game is some sort of failure that will never come out or blah blah blah… This game sounds AMAZING! take your time, get it right. That is the way!

  94. Post
    Robin K

    pls Add somthing like Deadspace Virus/Mutation Monsters. Pls… i wont go against singleplayer but in co-op i will. make it as scary as you can. you remember that first Kontakt in Dead space 1 Demo? that was terrefiyng. pls top that. Maybe some Isac Mechanic Siute and Plasma Cutter.
    Thank you 🙂

  95. Post
  96. Post
  97. Post
  98. Post
  99. Post
    Scott Mana

    a year later with none of this in the game. I saw a prototype in the vertical slice, poor AI is better then none.

  100. Post
    Janos Aldroun

    I’d love to hear Tony’s thoughts on where they are with the AI in the current PU compared to where he thought they’d be at this time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *