Star Citizen: Around the Verse – Hurricane & Character Customization

Star Citizen: Around the Verse – Hurricane & Character Customization

Closed Captioning provided by Chris Roberts (CR): Hello and welcome to Around
the Verse, our weekly in depth look at the development of Star Citizen. I’m Chris Roberts and joining me from our
Austin studio is a very special guest. Our Persistent Universe Game Director, Tony
Zurovec. Tony Zurovec (TZ): It’s great to be in the
Los Angeles studio Chris CR: Yup, it’s great to have you actually. So and you’re out here to help us to work
on some gameplay mechanics within the Star Citizen universe. Could you talk a little bit about what you’re
working on? TZ: Sure. I’m still doing quite a bit of work on the
subsumption editor and we’ve also been converting a representative set of the initial mission
scenarios to this new format and that’;s been going quite well. We’re finally starting to see some real
validation of what we’ve been saying all along which is that this going to allow designers
to craft this type of logic much more quickly and that’s going to lead to a lot more mission
diversity and ultimately fun. I’m also pretty focused on the solar system
services at the moment. CR: So my solar system services you mean missions,
shopping and procedural planet commodities. TZ: Exactly. The first one of these out the door will be
the shopping service and it’s going to control inventory, prices, and demand levels for all
the shops within a system. It’s also going to hook up to the mission
service so that low inventory levels will automatically result in the creation of mission
to reverse the trend. The mission service is also really interesting
because along with a lot of work that’s occurred, it’s also going to allow us to
start instantiating a lot of dynamic content for the game. This is all dramatically different than what
we’ve had in the game today which has always been much more static in nature. I should also mention that the guys in Frankfurt
recently created a really useful real time visualiser for the subsumption logic and that’s
allowing designers to iterate much more quickly than they otherwise would be able to do and
that’s going to pay some huge dividends in the future. CR: That’s cool. That’s right and we’ll actually hear more
about the subsumption visualiser in our Frankfurt Studio Update. So you may have noticed last week’s Studio
Update had more detailed and was longer than previous ones. This was the debut of the revamped studio
update segment. The idea is to give you guys a video version
of that studio’s monthly report and calls out the work accomplished by all disciplines
and not just the few we decided to focus on in our previous Studio Update. This hopefully allows us to give you all a
better weekly snapshot of the continual progress we make towards building the BDSSE. So with that, let’s go to Frankfurt for
our weekly Studio Update. [2:34] Studio Update Brian Chambers (BC): Hi everyone I’m Brian
Chambers, Development Director here at Foundry 42 Frankfurt. A little info from the team here, we’re
currently 67 people strong. Made up of people across 14 different nationalities. Main language in the office is English so
we can easily communicate with the other studios, but at any point in the office you can hear
discussion in German, Italian, etc. Let’s jump into the teams and see what the
team’s been working on in the past few weeks. Tech Art team here is made up of two people. This month they worked on the tool both for
cinematic and gameplay animators to quickly render out previews of their work within Maya. The tool allows the animators to quickly offload
the rendering to a different pc so they can continue work on their own pc. The renders are an essential part of our review
process here so that the global teams can have an eye on everyone’s progress across
all the studios. They worked on numerous small tasks as well
such as skinning of cloth, automated file testing within Maya and supporting the weapons
team to name a few. Cinematics team has been focusing on telling
the rich story of Squadron 42 as we all know. The teams making great progress, putting scenes
of various sizes together. They continuously work across multiple disciplines
to get the final look and feel that they’re after such as the character team for our A-list
cast of characters, UI and art teams on specific visuals and the VFX team for unique atmosphere
and effects. We’re holding back on showing scenes for
now so we don’t give any of the story away, but we honestly look forward to the time that
we can show them all off to you. The weapons art team in Frankfurt who you’ve
heard from before is broken up into two areas of focus. One on FPS weapons and the other one working
solely on ship weapons. The FPS team has been focusing on giving the
final polish pass for the Behring, and Klaus & Werner weapons. As well as a new double barrelled ballistic
shotgun from Kastak Arms. The ship weapon guys have been focusing their
time on finalizing the pipeline for the new modular and upgradeable system which when
completed will allow us more flexibility and efficiency when we’re moving forward in
creating the variety we’re after. The past month on the DE VFX team has continued
work on the procedural systems, replacing particles on the surface of planets as we
showed in our last update I believe. The systems in place now and it will make
the setup of particles much easier for the future planets. They’ve also been working with the system
designers on a brand new oxygen breathing system and the visuals attached to it. The visuals are tied to the player losing
a portion of their oxygen over time for various reasons. The system is still incredibly early and its
development may change but so far is showing good progress. System designers here have been working with
programming to get the player and the AI both interacting with the same useable and do intelligently
be able to use other objects inside that useable. For example sitting down at a table, picking
up a cup, drinking from it, using a knife and fork, picking a grenade or gun from a
locker etc. They also worked on getting all the Squadron
42 characters subsumption behavior standardized across the board. They started with the main cast character
to get him working in perfect order for a full 24/7 life cycle. All the conversations you can form with NPCs
etc, and once that’s finished the same standard will get applied to all characters to ensure
everything is consistently made and everyone has a fixed template to follow when creating
NPC behaviors. The level design team is continuing its push
on the modular locations. For the surface outposts we’re working into
the first three variants. Hydroponics, Mining, and Storage, and just
as with our other locations, both the exterior and interior props are modular and can be
combined in many different variants. This is the only image they gave me to use
for now, we’ll have a more indepth look into the recent work in the near future and
they didn’t want me to spoil it. All the modular systems we’re developing
enable us to quickly build a large number of locations while still maintaining our high
visual target we’re after. For the engine team it’s been a busy few
weeks for them as they continue on a daily basis the push on planetary tech. Some of the recent work on planetary tech
was planetary clouds. For one: the texture LOD computations for
cloud details were revised in order to reduce aliasing and shimmering artifacts in the distance. We also included support for simple cloud
animation which we’ll see further improvements on in the future. For alien planets there’s now also an option
to tint clouds. Work also started on our solar system editor
which is the version first that’s almost complete. It allows us to setup solar system in their
initial state. Drag in planets as object containers, configure
their objects around the sun, setup moons orbiting around planets etc. It’s an essential tool that we found out
due to the size that we’re working with and the amount of objects that we have. The tech team also did numerous other improvements
such as replacing the video player back end which now allows for much higher quality video
at a much reduced file size. They worked on mesh compression and enabled
client side feature testing to allow continuous testing against a large variety of game and
engine features, systems, and mechanics and automatically track if and when which systems
cause anything to fail. This month the environment art team grew by
another two artists. Collectively they’ve made a lot of progress
on the procedural moons around Crusader. Each moon has its own distinct look and feel,
a lot of effort has gone into making each one unique, at the same time keeping them
visually tied to the same family per say. The work on the different ecosystems is now
complete and the team is now currently working on refining the geological elements that will
be found on each separate moon. We’re excited for players to eventually
visit the three moons: Yella, Daymar, and Cellin, by flying seamlessly through space
to the planet’s surface. The development of our procedural tech is
ongoing and with the growing team of artists using it on a daily basis and working directly
with the programmers to improve the tools, we’re creating a strong, an extremely strong
foundation for our future content. The AI team this month successfully completed
two separate sprints related to implementing the subsumption mission systems functionalities
to enable us to implement the search and rescue mission in Crusader. One of the low level features has been the
implementation of the super GUID. the super GUID is a way to connect a variable in subsumption
to an object in the world that has a specific structure to it. For example in Crusader, we have one main
container that defines the Stanton system. This container has a clear structure and contains
several asteroid fields, Port Olisar, etc. In the Mission Logic we can have multiple
super GUID variables that allow us to access different specific elements within any given
structure. This month the AI guys also introduced a new
tool: The subsumption visualiser. This tool allows us to debug live mission
and behavioral logic, allowing us to modifying in real time the variable of the brain of
the NPCs or the mission flow. This tool is fully integrated into the engine
and it will be the central place for the debug functionalities of subsumption as a whole. Thanks for taking the time, thanks for listening. This wraps up the update from Frankfurt. Appreciate all the support and we’ll see
you again soon. [10:47] Back to Studio CR: Thanks for the update Brian. It’s great to finally preview the environments
lot for the Yella, Daymar, and Cellin moons as the unique ecosystems are being populated
objects and geological features. With the advancements in planetary tech they’re
finally in orbit around their home planet Crusader which is pretty cool, I’ve wanted
to do that for awhile. I’m also impressed with the progress they’ve
made on the mission system from completing not just one, but two sprints of core functionalities
on the subsumption mission system. TZ: Yeah completing two sprints in one month
is really quite an impressive feat and with the introduction of the new visualiser that
we mentioned earlier, it’s goign to be much easier to debug subsumption logic within the
engine and that’s going to be a huge boost to productivity for both Squadron 42 and the
PU. CR: Which we need because we’ve got a lot
of stuff to be done. Last week we unveiled the new concepts of
the Anvil Hurricane ship. We were looking for a new combat ship that
incorporates into the already impressive array of dogfighting ships, but it needed to be
something with a unique approach so it wasn’t like everything else. The Hurricane was originally pitched as a
flying weapons platform, hit hard and get out quick. The catch is, while it’s designed to dish
out a lot of damage, it can’t much take in return which instantly felt like it would
attract a specific type of fighting style which is very cool. Up next in the latest edition of our ongoing
series: Ship Shape, we’ll take a deeper look into our new fighter ship the Anvil Hurricane. [12:05] Ship Shape: Anvil Hurricane Dave Haddock (DH): Originally designed by
Casse Aerospace as a weapon against the impenetrable Tevarin Phalanx Shield, the Hurricane provided
a unique solution. If you can’t go through the shields, go around
them. By the time the ship had been produced in
significant numbers Corath’Thal and the rest of his fleet had burned in the atmosphere
of Elysium IV, so these warships found themselves without a war. Although it continued to serve in rotation,
the Hurricane fell out of common usage; was eventually eliminated from the fleet. When Anvil Aerospace began looking into new
ships in 2867 the Vanduul were slowly pressing into the Caliban system in a manner reminiscent
of the pushes that precipitated the attacks on Tiber and Virgil a hundred years earlier. To send these raids they revisited the original
Casse Aerospace hull designs and began looking into updating the Hurricane for the modern
age. Designer Calix Reneau (DCR): The Hurricane
was originally on a list of starter ships, of what our next starter ship would be rather,
and when it came time to revisit that concept and get the design really started we keyed
in on the turret as being this really important aspect of this ship. Justin Wentz (JW): In this case with the ship
I’m, I’m givin … I’m given a lot of preliminary information like the rough dimensions of the
ship. I knew that the Hurricane needed to be about
22 meters long. I know that it’s a fighter. It’s going to have a pilot and one gunner. I know it’s going to have to accommodate six
guns. You know a couple of guns on the front. It’s going to have a manned turret with, with
four guns on it. You know there are various things and I also
know that it’s going need to incorporate a particular pilot entry animation, in this
case the … the Gladiator animation. Take all that information; try to fit a visual
design around it. DCR: In building out our ships we’ve been
moving towards embracing our manufacturers, embracing the assets that we’ve already created
and how that builds into our style and builds into our workflow. So, the Gladiator and the Hurricane were kin,
and we took advantage of that to accelerate the process of building out this ship, because
we can take a lot of the similar design cues for that entrance for the pilot and the turret,
although they are much further apart than they are in the Gladiator where they’re bunk
buddies, but with the Hurricane we wanted to differentiate it a step further. JW: When I take a first pass at the design
sometimes I’m taking pieces from the Hornet and pieces from the Gladiator, shoving them
together, seeing if I can make a new ship out of those pieces and try to inspire myself
to think of … think of some new shapes, new looks. So I will put together a batch of really rough
either sketches or mockups or I’ll call like a 3D kit Bash if it’s using existing pieces. I’ll send that off to Paul, the Art Director
on this particular project, and we’ll take a look at it, and we’ll see what we like,
and what we don’t, and we’ll move forward from there. DCR: This came together around the same time
as the concept for the Prowler which had just begun to have it’s concepts of the directional
shield and it’s lore in the Tevarin War and all those things coming together. It seemed like it would be kind of cool to
pair those things up, so that the Hurricane was kind of the answer to the issues that
the UEE were having with the Prowler where the Prowler was, would present this impenetrable
defense and just sort of stroll up and wreck your day. And then someone had the brilliant idea of,
“What if we shot them from behind?” So, so the … the Hurricane was about getting
the strafing runs, getting to it quickly, but sacrificing a lot for that. So the Hurricane needed to get in fast, and
it needed to unload a ton of bullets, a ton of damage onto the Prowler all at once in
order to counteract its impressive shield technology, and as sort of, a benefit, you
know finding, bringing the Hurricane back in modern times is that it’s pretty effective
at strafing runs and assaults on, on stationary targets. The focus is so much on that turret and being
able to bring pain to people you’re running away from. The notion that we had for this, this glass
hammer, as Will calls it, that you run face first into danger and them make them regret
following you. Yeah, the Hurricane is actually pretty underpowered
with the exception of those guns. It, it sacrifices everything to have reasonable
engines and insane weaponry, and everything else had to go, so it’s not going to … it’s
not going to be able to really power a full laser suite with your shields all together. Your shields aren’t really anything to write
home about, and the nicest thing that can be said about the Hurricane armor is that
it has some. It’s all dedicated to that, that aggressive
notion. You just have to make sure that you win fast,
which seemed to go along with the original design idea of, of this ship. JW: So with, with the Hurricane I think it
takes the preexisting recognizable attributes of Anvil ships and it, it simplifies them,
and it streamlines them. When, when you look at the Hurricane hopefully
you’ll recognize a few things. You can … see the bent wings of the Hornet. You can of course see the iconic, the iconic
Anvil circle there right in the center. Everything revolves around that. Has the snub nose that is reminiscent of the
Gladiator. It takes all these ideas and it, it gives
them a pretty simple silhouette, and it reads really well from a distance. So, I’m thinking that mostly if you’re, seeing
a Hurricane from the, from a distance you’ll recognize the wings. Depending on the color scheme maybe you’ll
recognize the, the shape that is designed on the top which is actually reminiscent of
the Anvil logo itself, the circle and some of the angles coming off of it. So, that’s what I hope you notice when you’re
actually looking at the ship. DCR: It definitely requires a particular kind
of gunner to want to fly these things, because you are putting your life in their hands and
to an extent the pilot as well. Anyone who seeks out the Hurricane to fly
is someone who is probably going to cause a ruckus. [19:07] Back to Studio TZ: It’s always very cool when a ship can
add to the game’s history while also distinguishing itself with the exclusive game-play features
like the quad-gun turret. CR: Yep. Quad-gun turret, that’s so cool. One time Paul built this, [wildly gesticulates]
… well cause he’s the guy writing the items system he had a ball turret on the Hornet
and had a Gatling gun attached to Gatling gun attached to Gatling gun. I think he had about 50 guns on his. We won’t sell that one, but it was very cool. [TZ chuckles and CR laughs] CR: But anyway the focus on firepower will
really appeal to experienced fliers. With the Hurricane’s small build, its sensitive
movement, it really isn’t for rookies unless you’re really looking for a challenge. So, we’ll see if you want a challenge. Up next we’ve got a really interesting piece
from Behind the Scenes. Ever since the project was first announced,
backers have been asking about the characters in Star Citizen. TZ: Absolutely. Your character is your connection, the endgame
representation of your shi … of yourself, and developing a character that says individual
as you are is totally essential to creating a unique player experience. CR: Yeah, especially in our world. So our current customization system is sure
to provide a multitude of personalized player experience, and along the way we’ve learned
that creating a system that allows you to mix and match pieces of clothes, armor and
weapons and create distinct looks requires extensive technical and game-play considerations. So, we sat down with Paul Reindell, Sean Tracy
and Josh Herman to talk about the challenges to bringing the system online in Star Citizen. Have a look. [20:34] Behind the Scenes: Character Customisation Sean Tracey (ST): Hi there everyone. I’m Sean Tracey the Technical Director of
Content here at CIG and today we wanted to talk a little bit about character customisation. So to make that happen I have with me Paul
Reindell if you want to introduce yourself. Paul Reindell (PR): I’m Paul Reindell and
I’m the Director of Engineering for the Persistent Universe and with me also. Josh Herman (JH): Yup, I’m Josh Herman,
Character Art Director. ST: Awesome. So to bring online character customisation
you need a lot of different departments working together and that’s going to come from design,
that’s going to come from art, and that’s going to come absolutely from the engineering
side. So the first thing we did want to talk about
was exactly what we’re going to do for the next big release that we’ll be giving out
to you and then what we’re going to do moving forward and today what we’re going to discuss
is what we’ll term customisation. So basically selecting items on your character
and being able to customise what you’re wearing, things like armour, things like clothing,
things like weapons and basically how we brought that system online. So maybe to give them a bit of a background
over how this system came to light was, at the very base of it, the CryEngine or Lumberyard
Engine uses something called character definition files so basically it’s really just static
geometry. So you’ve got a skeleton of the character
and then you’ve got a bunch of geometry attached right? The problem with that is that none of that
can change at one time, you can’t switch out those attachments. Changing things like the colour of it or even
embedding things like gameplay logic within those pieces of geometry was not possible. JH: So it sounds like no customisation at
all was available. ST: No customisation was available, it was
all very static and it was very pre authored. So it works very good for a game that has
maybe upwards of 20 character or so, but a game like Star Citizen which is an MMO, players
gonna make their own characters, we’re going to have hundreds and hundreds of different
types of NPCs, it’s not going to work very well. So as the ships we’re being developed and
maybe Paul can talk a little bit about this, they had to come up with a system for ship
customisation. PR: Yes we basically had the same issue with
ships. The vehicle system in CryEngine comes as predefined
ships, predefined weapons. Obviously we want to have like, customisable
ships so we built a system called Itemport system which allowed us to build vehicles
in a completely modular system where you have your base ship and you can attach turrets
or weapons to it and you can basically build your own customized ship out of it and we
thought with that system already in place, why don’t we take that and move it over
use it for character customisation to actually use the same system and be able to apply like
a base character which is basically a naked person and put on different armour pieces,
different clothing and even different clothing. ST: Yeah and one of the tricky parts about
that is… With a ship things are very rigid in terms
of, you attach this one gun here, there’s no real deformation going on, it doesn’t
have to attach in any super special way, it’s like just align it to that helper and you’re
pretty much happy, but on the character side it can become a little more difficult because
we’re talking about zones within the character and everything on a character deforms, everythings
skinned to a scan. JH: Costumes are going to be all unique. You’re going to have jackets that are going
to have to fit over different types of things, armours that are going to have to fit over
different types of things, Helmets that don’t necessarily fit, shoes that don’t meet the
pants. You have all these kinds of problems where
when it is a deformable and very unique asset, whereas you’re saying it’s basically a
port and an item going into that port for the ship system, it needs to be a little more
flexible for the character. ST: So then what we had to do obviously was
change out that default CryEngine or Lumberyard implementation and over the course of many
months we’ve been working on this and things have been progressing very well. We basically load a skeleton, that particular
skeleton is sitting right there. It can animate and do everything it needs
and technically that character is loaded, there’s just no actual geometry that’s
showing it. So in the loadout editor here you can see
that I have an item port and it’s called the body item port and this is what supports
a bunch of different items. So within the items you can see we’ve got
female bodies, we’ve got male bodies. So right now just I’m going to load up one
of the male bodies and we’ve got two very different, different ones in terms of their
skin tone and before I get too much further, I want to attach a head just to show you how
we do do skeleton extensions and that the base skeleton actually gets built up upon. So what I do is the body actually carried
a whole bunch of item ports with it by itself, maybe I’ll move these little figures so
you can see it. The one I’m really interested in is this
head item port. So as soon as I select that head item port
it actually tells me what items are valid for that particular port and we set this all
up through types and types of rules. So you can see we have a lot of different
character heads and in this case I’m going to select the male tier one, male 09 tier
one, which is the one everyone is kind of used to within the PU. We’ll have Lee change that around a little
bit. So I’m just going to add some eyes onto
him, so he gets a little set of eyes and now let’s go ahead and turn off the skeleton debug
here. So here’s our guy. So he’s loaded up and one of the things
that we’re working on right before we give you a character creation is this scene between
the neck and the body because we have our heads all scanned from actual people and our
body itself wasn’t a body scan, this was just modelled by one of our very talented
character artists, what we have to do is align those two so that there’s no seeming in
there and what can be confusing, but also very powerful within this situation is the
dynamic hierarchy that it kind of creates. So we have the skeleton, then we add that
naked body on top and then on that naked body there’s a certain number of ports. It’s got clothing ports for t-shirts and
whatever else, but it’s also got another port called the armour port. PR: The way our games designed is we have
the undersuit and then on top you can layer different armour plates and so on. That’s also just another item port on top
of the undersuit item port, so the undersuit itemport and I can go give him different leg
plates, I can really customise my character. Since the art is all set to work with each
other, I can now actually even go further and put stuff attachments on my armour so
there’s like different item ports for grenades for example. So put a little grenade in here. So here as you can see, this completely allows
me to completely customise and randomise my whole player. ST: Now initially doing this of course, some
of the assets weren’t really set up as modular as they could be. So what were some of the challenges that you
ran into when we were trying to put all this stuff together all of a sudden. JH: Sure. Some of the easy ones are, when we start putting
it together all types of art, shirts or pants and shoes i the easiest example. So if I have high tops and I have shorts,
that’s going to be a very distinct difference between the two, but then if I have pants
that are going to go longer, things start colliding and if those things aren’t set
up early, basically what we’ve started to create are zones or regions or boundaries
depending on what you want to call them to help us make sure that everything is going
to line up. The other thing is maybe say somebody’s got
a weapon on and then when I take that off, this armour piece off, does the weapon go
away or now does it go down a level and does it get to stay there and that’s also a gameplay
implementation as well. Should you be able to put armour on or weapon
on whatevers underneath that. So all these kind of things where it’s like,
we can add it on there, but also does it look go visually, does it work for the gameplay
and then does it also make sense for the tech team to have to do that. ST: Sure and there’s always a point of contention
in there. Who really says where that gun is meant to
go because design will say all the time, “Yeah, yeah we want to move it around wherever”,
but sometimes they’ll put it up on the shoulder, it just looks ridiculous there or on the back
or that doesn’t work with that armour so there’s always an interesting I think, interplay
between the art as well as the design needs so there’s constant iteration on this. PR: It’s also the technical aspect of design
and artist they come and it’s like, “Oh we want to have all those different layers”,
but then again like now your multiplayer draw calls because you put layer on top of layer
and that’s where also this zone system Josh just mentioned like really helped is having
defined zones and then layers on top of layers on different zones allowed us to basically
take one layer which is underneath and just cut it out on a mesh level so we save all
those draw calls which you don’t see anyways and having a defined zone system really helped
getting this stuff going. JH: Yeah exactly. Like the balance between the tech and the
art, the art is always going to want to push it and make it this much as possible and design
wants to do the same, typically as much as possible as cool as possible and then you
run into the performance problem where you’re saying, “Now you’ve added so much stuff
that the game can’t run, or this character is 20x more expensive than the basic character”
which turns into a problem. ST: True and it’s happened. JH: It has happened. ST: Right, right. JH: With some cool systems like the zone system
is that it does actually give us quite a bit of leeway and I’m going to break that down
with you guys in a concept, we can break them down pretty easily. So both of these have a jacket which is this
piece right here. Both of these have shirts would be this piece
right here and then we have pants, looks like this guy is wearing probably some kind of
a glove and both have boots. Now this is all exactly what we talked about
right? So this t-shirt, we’ll actually be making
t-shirt, if it’s a t-shirt or tank top all the way into this area. Same with this if it’s a long sleeve or
whatever it is, we’re building it all the way out. When we put this cardigan on, it’ll actually
be culled out all the way over here. So all this will go away which is pretty cool
because then we don’t have to worry about it like we said we get performance savings
which is really a lot of freedom for the artists which is really cool. One thing that we were talking about before
which is a challenge is pants. The challenge is actually where any two zones
are going to meet because that’s where you’re going to have two things colliding right? Now let’s say I have a pair of boots like
this and I have a pair of short boots or pant shoes like this, and I drag these over and
you’ll see that maybe I didn’t change these pants out, what’s actually going to
happen is this would all be skin right? The challenge that we have here is that first
off, that looks a little weird, and then second, the model that made for these pants is built
to look like it’s tucked into boots. So if we have that problem, now this creates
a problem where we have a piece of clothing that we’ve created that doesn’t necessarily
fit in all of our scenarios and we want to make sure that all of characters are built
to be able fit within a system where it’s easily swappable and easily modular and the
biggest thing I’m that I’m most excited for this is NPCs So right now if you look at any of the NPCs
you see, they’re all pretty much the same guy unfortunately, but when we get into randomly
spawning them we’ll be able to select from certain types of clothes in certain groups
and because of all of our assets will be able to blend seamlessly together, we’ll be able
to spawn them really quick and really, really easily because they’ll be able to select
from anything and all the shoes will work with the pants, all the pants will work with
the shoes, all the shirts, all the jackets, etc. ST: It does sound like a very simple thing
that, “Oh okay when I put a t-shirt on we’ll just get rid of that torso”, but we ran
into some great edge cases between there and again I think it comes from having assets
that were built beforehand that we’re now supporting within a modular system. So I mean there was clever things, sort of
like when you’ve got a t-shirt, how much of that body do you want to call and we actually
had to separate those zones down and I can’t remember the exact number, but there’s around
20, just over 20 even zones that split up say the upper arm for example because sometimes
we have t-shirts like the one I’m wearing here, but sometimes we have ones that go down
past the elbow and sometimes we have a full arm shirt so you don’t want to keep drawing
all this stuff underneath and the other tricky part about that is you would think that you
would just be able to layer the clothing like you would in real life so i put a shirt on
and put a jacket over that and everything is going to look right. Well, not really because when the topology
doesn’t match, so let’s say I put a jacket on top of this shirt and the literally the
edges of the topology don’t line up, when it deforms, they’re not going to deform
in the same way and so what ends up happening you may not get clipping when you’re standing,
but as soon as the guy animates, boom it’s all popping out everywhere. JH: It looks terrible. ST: And there’s never really anything you
can do about that if you do not keep your topology consistent which we don’t necessarily
have on the shirts because it’s a bit restrictive if you have to do that. So with the zone culling coming online, not
only did it fix the clipping problem, it also fixed our performance problem which was a
super duper powerful thing to have. JH: Yes, super. PR: It also put constraints onto your work
right because artists they usually just work and make it everything look cool, but then
with this system like that, they start to get okay you have to build this, but this
section won’t always have to be exactly at that line and so it puts some restrictions
on your work. JH: It’s restrictions, but I think that’s
part of why we had 20 zones on the body is like, it’s not just you can only have shirt
or shirt sleeves or no shirt, like we have way more than that. So we can play with within the zones a little
bit so we don’t want to get too close where it clips or you see holes in the mesh, but
you also have enough to where you can get something that looks pretty cool looking. Pretty much we can come up with anything at
this point and we still get super good savings and looks good. ST: One last really good example because a
lot of people are maybe are thinking of the layering structure so that you would always
have pretty consistent assets so a jacket that was always closed, okay great that’s
always going to cull out the stuff, but guess what we actually have jackets that go up on
the third layer that are wide open so that means what if I don’t have that t-shirt
on underneath that jacket, I got to show the chest then, but the t-shirt was culling the
chest so then how do I make sure the chest is there with that jacket on. So there’s a lot of little logic within
there has to get all worked out and we’ve worked most of it out anyways. JH: What’s really cool about that is that
we do that… I don’t know if seen other people do is
like, maybe they have, but if I buy a jacket in some other games, it is an open jacket,
they just replace the shirt underneath and you get just a generic shirt, whereas with
ours you can wear that jacket with t-shirt underneath or shirtless. ST: Or shirtless, look at like Fabio we call
it the Fabio look. JH: Fabio, Yeah you can do that too. ST: Yeah it’s pretty fun JH: So it adds a lot of customisation within
that to where we can start layering much more than we were with just like, okay you’re
making an open jacket and a closed jacket and t-shirt. ST: Yeah so a lot of questions that present
themselves and sometimes I go down this road with the designers, but we have to explain
the hierarchy of how this works a little bit. We have just as Paul explained this naked
body and then on the naked body we have clothing that can get attached to it. So then we have this layering, so that clothing
can start hiding that naked body, but then on top of it we have another layer of the
hierarchy which is the armour. So the armour hides all the clothing, which
hides all the body so now we keep building up on it. It might be worth explaining how we’ve split
up the armour into less granular zones than the 20 or thirty, we still have that technique,
but we have whole items anyways. If you want to… JH: Sure. So, when we’re going to put on armour, and
one of the things we’re defining right now as armour is an undersuit. So, an undersuit basically means that you’re
going to be able to go into space with it. So, you can put on a helmet and you can go
into space, EVA, jet around, and you should be fine. ST: So an undersuit is kind of your chassis. PR: It’s like a full-body onesie. ST: Yeah, it’s like a frame. JH: So, what that does is it puts on – and
you can still see the player’s head, hair, face, all that kind of stuff – then on top
of that now you put your helmets and you put your chest pieces, your arm pieces, and your
leg pieces. So, right now we’ve split it up into four
because it’s just easy to assemble, it’s easy to – with less zones, like we were kinda
talking about before, you have way more free play for the art because I don’t have to
say, like if this line on my arm is where I’m going to have a zone, all the gloves
– everything is always going to have to end at this line and will look a little weird
and you’ll see it in some other games. It doesn’t call itself out until you see
it but you’ll see all the gloves go to here. All the boots and the pants mesh at one line. So, if we remove those lines we can have a
lot more free play in that art so we have a little bit less there. But, also it allows for gameplay for design
so we can put – how many weapons go on a chest piece, on a core piece, and does that get
bigger and better as you go up light, mediums, and heavies. And then tech within the helmets and all the
kind of stuff within the legs and arms as well. ST: So, within this we’ve talked a little
bit about how the art is developed, so let’s talk a little bit about how the tech actually
works in terms of – okay, so we’ve got this hierarchy and then we have these character
items, so this is all part of the item 2.0 entries that we’ve talked about with the
community quite a bit. So, we have all of these items that are all
pre-defined. Within those items there can be gameplay components
on them. There are a couple of components that are
being developed for the character side. Did you want to talk at all about any one
of those? PR: Well I mean for the first thing we did,
taking what originally CryEngine counts as – what you said – like the static character
definition file and split each piece out and we just made them items so they are interchangeable
and then we already had the itemport system for ships so we just took the same thing and
basically made – okay those pieces which you usually define in one static file are now
just items which you put together and that allows us to give each item different game
values. For example, for our chest pieces we give
them different mass values and then the game code just takes the overall mass of your attached
items and calculates how fast you run. So now we have the ability – design has the
ability to give each individual item different mass values and that gives them the ability
to make a fast player or a slow player and then it also allows us to build rules. So, the itemport system comes with a rule
set which says, ‘Okay, on this port you can only wield a heavy weapon or a light weapon
or a small weapon or this type of ammo class and whatever. With this system now we can basically build,
‘Okay, if you have heavy armour obviously you’re slow but you can carry the bigger
and heavier weapons,’ and that all works because we have componentized all of those
into items. ST: And on the performance from that’s a
better thing because again we could do scheduler updates type thing, we can make it so that
they’re not all updating all the time, it’s all very controllable. PR: And then still for characters still, even
if they are now split into different items, under the hood we’re using the skin mechanics
which basically still on the rendering side we merge everything into one skin and since
they all use the same material, even if it’s split in logical items, on the rendering side
it’s still one thing which we can draw in one go so it’s still very optimal and good
– ST: Right, this unified see render proxy piece
of the character. Another benefit of that, by the way, is something
that we have to deal with on the tech art side quite often is the LODs and the culling
of that. So, one thing that can be tricky with the
character – if he’s made up of a whole bunch of different attachments, they’re all various
sizes and usually our level of detail culling is based on either a bounding box size or
distance or an average poly size and if they’re all sort of popping and doing things at different
rates, what happens is that on those edges that you talked about, all of a sudden there
is breakage in those seams. So, it’s important to keep that as one unified
piece and actually up until now – just a good example that came off the top of my head – the
helmets were separate, these were a bone attachment, so – and I’m sure that people have seen
this within Star Marine is that – they’re shooting at somebody, he’s running away,
and all of a sudden the helmet disappears and he’s just running around in space with
no helmet on and his face out doing Star Lord or whatever. So, you know, we’re changing those over
to the skin files and then that will combine with the render proxy and then all of a sudden
we’re LODing and culling out all at the same time. Which is the best way to do it of course,
I think, in my opinion. So, a little bit deeper into the tech, some
people might wonder how exactly we manage a skeleton like this. So, in most games – and it’s a dramatic
difference to how somebody would develop a movie, every single character in a movie tends
to get their own rig so it’s a very bespoke rig, they’ve got whole departments of riggers
that are just building up these skeletons for every single character. However, in a game it’s the polar opposite
– you want one skeleton for everything as much as possible. Problem with that is that you’ve got to
carry all of those joints around. So, we’ve had a system within CryEngine/Lumberyard,
now it wasn’t used on any shipped game yet – PR: You’re talking about Skel-Extension
– ST: Yeah, Skel-Extension. So, what this system does is that we can have
a base skeleton but we can add additional joints to the skeleton at runtime and when
there is duplication of those joints, they’ll shear off basically those duplication of joints
and just extend it to the new one so what this gives us the ability to do is modify
the skeleton hierarchy itself at runtime meaning I can create – I put that chest piece on and
all of a sudden I’ve got a new joint with that new helper just on that chest piece and
that’s where the weapon will go. So, rather than saying, ‘I’m going to
carry around a skeleton that has a helper here, here, here, here, here, here, here,
here, here, here, here, and I’m using helper 22’, you know, for that armour piece, it’s
actually coming in automatically with that so, was there anything more that I’ve missed,
maybe, on Skel-Extensions or some challenges within that? PR: You kind of touched on the key points. I think the key points is really to keep the
joint count in the base as low as possible and then every piece which comes on top which
comes with additional joints can come with its own joint and then there are very smart
people in Frankfurt, our animation engineer who built the system which allows us to combine
those bone with skeletons into one single skeleton and still all of the animations will
work. That allows us exactly what you just mentioned,
we can have one armour piece which has two bones here for attachments for grenades and
then another armour piece which has them here and it still works and we don’t have to
carry four bones for that, it’s still two bones but they are in different locations
in each piece. ST: Exactly, and the nice part is that it
all becomes data driven, really, and that’s the key to this entire system is that it was
meant and it needs to be scalable as much as possible. PR: Well, it’s data driven but it also gives
the designer more freedom to instead of having, ‘oh, I always have to put the gun on this
position’ because that’s how the system works. He can place the thing wherever he wants and
then obviously you use the same item port but then on one armour piece the weapon is
maybe here and on another it’s a little bit more here and still aligns. Gives the artist a lot of freedom… JH: Which I love cause now we can do any shape
and size and put stuff wherever we want and you guys can just scale extend to that location
which is awesome. ST: Exactly. Yeah, it’s definitely very powerful. JH: Do scale extensions affect like non-armoured
clothing like just casual clothings, social clothing, or anything like that? ST: Absolutely, so though the design is still
up in the air, not up in the air necessarily, we know people are going to have weapons on
their civilian clothes at some point but there is no combat right now when you’re outside
armour but it would absolutely apply to those civilian clothes. Where it applies even more and this was the
next topic I wanted to talk a little bit about, was simulation and secondary motion on a character. JH: Secondary animation in relation. ST: Yeah, so that’s where this gets really
powerful because if I was to say attach a cape to a character that cape is going to
need bones chains and it’s going to need a good whatever, five bone chains across,
probably ten long. That’s a lot of joints all of the sudden
to be carrying around on your base skeleton but if you can attach with the asset that’s
coming in, you’ve saved that much off your base skeleton so that’s where we really
use it is when that simulation comes into play. PR: And the modularity even helps more because
of like what you just said, like this cape needs to collide some with your body and then
usually traditionally in most games how they do it is they have pretty defined area and
that makes always look the same shape. For us, because we put everything into these
different modules each piece can come with it’s own collider zone. So you can make a very fat chest piece which
just comes with a collider zone and then the cape will still work and collide with that
and collide different than big, heavy chest versus a very thin, light chest piece. ST: Yeah, we have used this on not just things
like capes, things like hair, jackets, the sand nomad that was within the Homestead demo
was one of the best uses I think that we’ve had so far. So definitely an interesting thing. JH: Really excited about the degree of variety
this tech is going to bring our players, we wanted to leave you guys with a little bit
of a video showing off some of the features. So, thanks again and thanks for watching. ST: I hope you guys enjoyed this very work
in progress and behind the scenes look at the character system and how you as players
are going to be outfitting and customizing your character. Now no character customization is complete
without something to make unique faces and in a future AtV we’re going to discuss this
a lot more. Before then however, I wanted to leave you
with a technical demonstration done by our partners 3Lateral of the potential of runtime
facial technology to create millions of unique faces. This is the last piece of what we need for
character customization and we’re super excited it’s finally getting to a stage
where we can start integrating it into Star Citizen. We hope you enjoy and if you want to see more
of the DNA system and 3Lateral’s technical presentation, go to the link below. Thanks alot guys and see you in the Verse. [49:32] Outro CR: After seeing the challenge of leveraging
the modular system we used for vehicles, environments and items into a modular system for characters,
I couldn’t be happier about the team’s accomplishments, very cool. TZ: Yeah, one of the things that excites me
the most about the core tech that we’re building is that it encompasses everything
from clothes to armour to weapons, power plants, ships, space stations and beyond. The level of detail that Paul, Sean and Josh
have been able to create even with small things like hair and cloth movements, it’s truly
phenomenal. CR: Yeah, it’s awesome so the possibility
for players to dress or equip themselves just like you could in real life is one of the
cornerstones for making a first person universe possible and that’s why we’ve been working
really hard on it. So, that’s it for this episode of Around
the Verse, I would also like to invite all of you to join us tomorrow at 12 Pacific for
the latest Star Citizen Happy Hour stream with host Ben Lesnick. This week we will feature the return of RSI
museum, one last reminder that tomorrow is the last day to catch GDC interviews live
on Amazon’s Twitch page and again a huge thanks to our subscribers and backers who
make this show and us making the game possible. Thank you very much. TZ: Yeah, none of this would be possible without
your support, thanks for watching and we’ll see you… TZ/CR: Around the Verse.


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    Johnny Sahn

    You can tell that Chris Roberts favorite part of ATV is when he says "around the verse" at the end with the waving of the hand lol
    I'd bet money that Sandi wanted that implemented.

  4. Post
    Michael Tyers

    I'm really glad I didn't spend much money on Star Citizen. Sounded like such a good game but it's turned out to be another stale theme-park MMO.

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    I'm confused. Why was 3Lateral's face editor shown on the Unreal Engine twitch stream? Is it UE4-based or CryEngine/Lumberyard-based? It's it based on UE4, how will it be integrated in SC?

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    I need some help removing all this drooling, i'm even more eager than I ever was to 3.0 and the end content :O

  19. Post
    Jeremiah Mullane

    I am increasingly concerned that the Star Citizen team is unwilling to sacrifice pet projects in the interest of making the game fun to play. No matter how realistic or detailed a game you make, people won't play it unless it's fun to play.

  20. Post
    Jason McAllister

    I'd like to see some sort of exoskeletons, one reason being moving heavy cargo for trade reasons, another for combat reasons adding an exoskeleton while running heavy armor the exoskeleton might be able to counteract some of the effects of the armor while still keeping slower speed of course adding different variants for different buffs, tier 1 adding little increases to strength and speed tier 3 being the best increasing speed and strength the most.

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    My only concern about the player influenced economy (as badass as it is) is pirate crew creating a massive choke hold to withhold supplies form the rest of the verse.

  22. Post

    ok guys. we have nice quality in terms of video and audio. Why not add a proper EQ for voice ? It would be much appreciated, and i's not a huge job to do it , thank you

  23. Post
    TheSwordOfTheGuard nop

    And I could design a much better game with a lot less programmer's time but they just haven't hear me because I learned like a hacker not like a school boy. They don't know that to us they should give an interview not trying to read in a paper what we know and can do or have experience in, because we are clever enough not to write it in a paper…

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    sparkle sparkles

    Shouldn't you be working on game mechanics before creating all these assets to see if the game even makes sense?

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    Soooooooo much still to be developed. How long will they be able to milk the hype train before they start to hemorrhage backers?

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    Karn Bishop

    It is nice to see stuff like this coming together at last, i have a feeling the next few updates will be large ones.

  33. Post

    Too bad it's not more like Star Wars, very few dudes had to wear space suits in that one. Just a black vest, white shirt, and a blaster please. Oh, and a Millennium Falcon.

  34. Post
    Wim Coene

    To the tech art guys, lower the difference between far and near clipping planes to get rid of the Z-fighting.

  35. Post

    I've watched these for a long long time now, and all I see is them working and making ships, not talking about the terrible net code which ruins the game, and not much else, I swear it seems like they are just stringing this along and spending all there time making ships to make more money

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    This game just keeps getting better and better every time I look at the updates. And glad we're not being held back by the consoles this time.

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    Lazy Bunny

    Heavier armor lets you carry heavier weapons? Is this a powered exoskeleton? If so, why would you be slower?
    I'd figure the lighter the armor, the heavier the overall weapons. Maybe not as many, but heavier. If you're carrying 50kg of armor, another 15kg of weapons isn't going to be better, it'll be worse.
    If your armor weighs 10kg, that 15kg cannon won't be so tiring.
    I'm not seeing a lot of argument for going light armor for anything besides a sniper.

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    Fawk Yu

    Can anyone confirm if there is 3rd person view in this game? I saw it in this video but when i looked online it says 1st person only 🙁

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    Gibber Gaming

    This is what I've been waiting for. Core systems that have been developed that will not only allow them to manage & design content faster. But also that will eventually be the same tools that players can use for customisation and that the engine can use to naturally manage players. Kudos

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    The clothing-system looks astonishing. Great work!
    But I do have a question, can I wear some (light) armor on my casual clothes? So a small chestplate on my jacket and maybe some tactical glasses with built-in flashlight?
    Maybe at least on habitable planets?

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    none private

    This GAME Looks Amazing A great idea would be to have lip sync with your mic so when you talk to a friend your character mouth moves as you speak into your gaming microphone That Would Be Hot..

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    War Viper 1337

    Well it looks like I can make a soldier in heavy armor that looks almost just like Master Chief from Halo lol.

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    As far as customization goes, I hope it gets crazy… a crazy between buck rogers with crazy outfits, to militaristic like Star Wars and everything in between.  Anyone ever played the pen and paper game Traveler? LOL Old school.  How many characters can you create in this game anyways.

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    Ryan Moore

    I love this. Without a publisher breathing down their necks. They get time to really contemplate every little aspect so it all runs visually and internally smoothly.

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    Nicolas Toro

    I feel like the item port "squares" on the player and ships need to stay hidden unless you are actually looking at it. Seeing every single one, even through the model, can make clicking on them difficult and confusing. Well, at least to me…

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    Arda Aksoy

    Other than wildlife – i dont know if its announced as a feature already – will there be cities on the planets like in star wars?

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    Stuart Gardner

    At least the characters in Star Citizen at present are designed better than the junk in Andromeda! Just gotta stop them from assuming the T position.

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    Melodic Meerkat

    Do you think when he says they're all the same guy he's lowkey telling us the Empire's cloning is way out of control yo!

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    Alejandro PH

    Hello guys, if we are not already registered in the game, register with this code to get 5,000 UDC, coins of the game.
    I pass the Code:

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    BigBoy Finesse

    my only problem with this game is to imagine how it should be possible to create whole planets of living and everywhere different looking space to play while other AAA titles are having a hard time to create even a big enough open world CITY !? how can i believe this ? i mean how many employees do they have ? 20.000 ?

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    I hope the add an undersuit that lets me dress like Ripley in alien. Or like the crew of the Red Dwarf, I want my org to have a used future uniform.

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    Holy customization I would love to help fund this, but I'm a console player…. Xbox Scorpio please bless us with this miracle and I would gladly join in to helping!

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    S Quu

    @ 36 min
    A game that does that is Fallen Earth, and in it you are also able to open and
    close all jackets (and turn baseball caps backwards) rather than having to buy
    an open version and a closed version.

  87. Post
    Sami Suhonen

    I'd love to see some melee weapons in the game. They could be mostly utility tools, be used as a backup weapon. Like you could cut ropes, straps and wires with knives. Or just go shank some people if you really want to go full outlaw. A quiet way to surprise kill someone.

    And you could make some energy based blades, which would be able to cut thin metal if you have the patience.
    An example use for that could be to cut a small hole in some ship wreck on a planet for sharpshooting purposes.
    Also they would be easy to conceal and carry.

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    jesse fisch-r

    You should add the option for a Camera ship that can follow you. Then add the option to watch what it recorded, with the option of saving it. A third option would be a live-feed of your camera ship into a small window on your display, or onto an external display. This can be extremely useful for your following presentations, for streamers, and for gamers.

  94. Post
    Riku Forsman

    As a huge Star Wars nerd and a total TIE fanboy. Hurricane seems to have similar attitude as TIE fighters has. No shields, all guts!

  95. Post
    Liam West

    Rebuilding my pc for this game but I'm waiting till after Christmas to jump in to the game. Let's see how many bugs they can sort out before then

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    Mike Philbin

    Two years since this, "Whatever happened to Tony-Z's subsumption i.e. NPC-economy and mission generation and this vaguely-named MODULARITY of ships?" and I so like that 'click on the face' for changes to eyes nose mouth… we're now in 2019. Come on guys!

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