Mar 30

Reverse the ‘Verse: March 2016 Subscriber Edition

This post is a transcript of Reverse the ‘Verse: March 2016 Subscriber Edition, material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is a Star Citizen fansite and is not officially affiliated with CIG, but we reprint their materials with permission as a service to the community. INN edits our transcripts for the purpose of making the various show participants easier to understand in writing. Enjoy!


Reverse the ‘Verse: March 2016 Subscriber Edition – Full Transcript

  • And they’re off! Welcome to Reverse the ‘Verse, Wednesday March 30th. Ben and Disco sitting around the table.
  • Joining them momentarily will be Chris Roberts. He’s wrapping up some important business at the moment.
  • This is a once monthly special subscriber edition, taking questions only from subscribers. Questions can be submitted through a forum thread in the subscriber den, and through the subscriber chat on the RSI website.
  • If you want to become a subscriber, there’s all kinds of neat bonuses. Can subscribe in the pledge store.Mousepads will be available tomorrow for subscribers, the new Anvil mousepads. Features the Carrack, Crucible, Hornet, and Gladiator.
  • Chris’ favourite football team is Man. U (Ben guessed). He’s not sure about Chris’ favourite tea.
  • [HOTAS updates?] Not yet, still waiting for the production prototype. No pre-orders till they’ve had a chance to play with it.
  • [Orion?] In a holding pattern. Concept work is done, waiting for technical assets to free up. They’re thinking about it a lot cause they’re working on a smaller mining ship. The Orion’s the pinnacle, they’re working on the first ship in the mining process.
  • [What’s the next concept sale?] It is the small mining ship.
  • The Mining ship is another MISC
  • Ben is good today. Jared is alright.
  • [Are the old BMM concepts trashed, is there a new design?] No. That’s not a thing. When they talk about more concepts, they’re talking more ‘we have the exterior, how does the interior look? How do the little things in the BMM work?’
  • [Name for the small mining ship?] There is a name, but it won’t be shared yet.
  • [Flyable Starfarer loaner for larger ships like BMM?] If you want to check your hangars today (and you don’t have one), there’s one in every hangar for the next few days so everyone can check them out.
  • Once it’s flight ready, it would probably be a loaner for the big ships as well.
  • Chris Roberts has arrived!
  • Chris worked out this morning, then had coordination meetings with the UK and Germany.
  • [News about the new holotable?] Working on a whole bunch of new UI stuff. Lots of things held up because of persistence that’s gonna roll out in 2.4 (with more in 2.5). Lots of UI and management are changing.
  • More will be moved to mobiGlas. On the holotable, decided not to spend time on it till persistence is in. Have to handle the end goal of not having to go to the Hangar to change loadouts. Might want to do it on landing pads, etc…
  • That’s in progress. Beginnings of that will happen in 2.4. They are aware that the holotable sucks though. They’re dedicated to making it easier to use.
  • Lots of usability issues right now, but those will get addressed, and you’ll be able to manage things from mobiGlas and from dedicated stations.
  • End goal is to have players never need to leave the game (Crusader), don’t have to go to a hangar, change things, then go into game. That’s the goal, and will be done before the end of the year.
  • Chris just got back from the UK. Was working on everything. Spending lots of time, week in Germany, then two weeks in Manchester, next week he’s in Austin, then back in LA, then back in Europe. About spending time face to face with everyone. Focus is trying to pull all the elements and the engineering stuff, servers, game-server scaling, etc…
  • There’s engineering that hasn’t made it into the Live branch yet, which is still lots of the ‘old way’. Held together with gum and tape. There’s a completely new system that’s very next gen that’ll be used, pushing that a lot. Pushing AI as well for SQ42 and the PU. Chris’ just trying to get facetime with everyone, cause being there one on one is better than Skype.
  • [Most of the questions are about Persistence – Where is it?] Persistence is the ability for the game-state, items, inventory, ship, person, etc… to persist beyond the game session. Right now what you have is what you’ve pledged for, and every time you load into Crusader or AC, it’s an instance. Ship gets damaged, leave the game, come back, and your ship’s fine.
  • Reputation and money don’t really persist. REC exists in AC, but it’s hacky – earn in game, transfer to web platform, etc…
  • In the next full patch release, all the temporary stuff goes away. Communicating with a persistent cloud-based database. States will be serialized, so what item port stuff is equipped on will persist. Right now, if you change things in your hangar, it’s written to a local file, so it doesn’t carry over if you change machines. All those things will persist now, loadouts and such. A few things are planned for persistence.
  • Money – Alpha UEC for the initial period. Money you can earn doing missions and such, buy in-game items. Eventually Voyager Direct will go away, buy them in-game. That won’t happen right away, cause they need shops first, but yeah. They’ll have some shops to start, more and more will come in.
  • Ship states / Item states will persist as well. You’ll need to repair things. Right now, you get rearmed and refuelled for free. Ballistics and Missiles need to be hard-hitting and powerful cause they’re supposed to be finite.
  • Ballistics hit harder, they go through shields, but they’re finite, whereas energy is infinite ammo essentially.
  • Have to be able to replenish the ammo commodity, cause right now you can just refill for free. The idea is to manage your belongings in a way you would in the real world – make sure ship’s repaired etc… Ultimately ships will have wear and tear, that’ll start getting affected by persistence eventually. Can’t do it all at once, but it’s going to start coming in over the next few major patches.
  • It’ll be big, cause you have things to work towards. Can start to use Alpha UEC to buy ship components, buy new ships, upgrade ships, etc…
  • They can wipe it at certain periods, because it’s alpha. What you’ve worked to wards will disappear at times. You could spend normal UEC as well, and that wouldn’t get wiped. But Alpha implementation is more generous.
  • That’ll start getting rolled out, and should start changing the feel of the world and the Universe. Persistence is very important. That, in hand with the back-end server tech to enable it and allow it, and also to have seamless handoffs between servers (means more people in an instance), are very important.
  • All of that will start opening the Universe up, helping the Universe start feeling more like a living Universe.
  • Seeing the beginnings of that with 2.4. not all that will be in the next patch, but the base systems are in there in 2.4, big changes in the code-base that won’t get noticed too much, but things like hangars will behave differently (they’re persistent now). There’ll be some ‘turbulence’ in 2.4 / 2.5 in hangars, but they’ll get it fixed.
  • You’ll be able to place items around your hangar, and place ships and such. Longer term goal would be to let players customize the hangar. But we’ll lose some functionality of the hangars until new things come in.
  • Every player can set up their hangar the way you want it, and it’ll persist. Should be good.
  • Big changes in 2.4. There will be issues and bugs, but it’s the foundation of the universe.
  • [Now that EVA is physicalized, what’s the plan for push / pull?] It’s an extension of the physicalized EVA. Idea is you’ll be able to grab things, push things, etc… If you grab something you’ll swing, it’ll be very physical. It’s going to require lots of configuration to make it usable and fun. They’ll probably ‘fudge’ it a bit, cause being exact on everything is difficult, but it’s on the plate of the FPS internal team (internal team just working on running around on foot, the FPS team, handling all player motions and actions.)
  • In 2.4 they’ll have Vaulting (probably), but things like vaulting, sliding, mantling etc… the FPS side will all be equivalent to other FPS games.
  • Goal is to have all FPS elements be at least as good as any other game, and then to have EVA and 0g that are even more awesome. But there’s a lot to implement to get it right. Lots of very specific stuff that CryEngine does in very specific ways, but CIG are trying to build a much more generic system.
  • Lots of work is going into making sure the system they’re building can be expanded really easily. Item system 2.0 encompasses personal items, armour, guns, grenades, etc… as well as items on ships like guns, power plants, doors, etc… Everything runs off the same code-base.
  • Doors need to be connected to power, on a space station a power plant will give power to doors and lights and if you blow the power plant, doors and lights won’t function. They’re replacing everything in the engine with that system. Right now with ships, the vehicle is a hull, and it can’t really do anything without the items being attached. Going to take that one step further, so you have a ‘hull’ item, and you can plug in four wheels, an engine, etc… and it’s a car. Means they unify vehicles and items, so everything is handled with one system.
  • means they can optimize things more efficiently. Everything’s on one system so they can bug fix better. item system 2.0 is ultimately going to be the core ‘entity class’. It’s the core concept, and you take the entity, add components, and it gets its functionality from the components you add.
  • CryEngine was built a long time ago so it doesn’t have that implementation, so they’ve been re-writing it so that it will have that capability.
  • They want to have a space station where everything works, but the same on an Idris, etc… Armour suits are powered, have life support, etc… everything needs to be systemic, and that comes with item system 2.0. Probably won’t be done that for a couple of months, been working on it for close to a year, but when it’s in there’ sa lot of systemic behaviour (boarding, defending boarding, etc…) that will come from it.
  • It’ll pay off in SQ42, and definitely in the PU.
  • One of the things they want to do on the bigger ships is give lots of roles for people to do, besides just being a weapon officer etc… When a big ship takes damage, parts of the outside will damage, so will parts of the interior, so there’ll be a fair amount of gameplay where players can run around and seal off leaks and such. Power node’s gone down on the right side of the ship, so you go see how it’s blown, take the fuse out, put a new one in, etc… or as an engineer look at the node layout and re-direct the power to another node.
  • Nodes are like power junctions or fuse boxes, so you can shunt power between them, but they can get blown and damaged. As your ship’s getting damaged you have to fix fuses or engines or such. It’s about the items inside and outside. The Avionics module is a computer and a motherboard, you plug them in to a ship, extends the functionality and behaviour.
  • [What are short-term plans for dealing with server desync in PU and AC?] Short term, trying to address it. Part of the issue, one reason there is desync is cause server and clients don’t run at the same framerate. Server can come under load, drop down to 5 fps. Big thing they’re trying to do is fix some server behaviour. Added more functionality in the last few patches. AI you fight is all simulated on the server.
  • Server is simulating AI. Clients does IFCS simulation for one ship, but the server does it for all the AI ships. So if you have 60 or 70 AI, all those IFCS simulations / flight model etc… are pretty heavily mathematically. Working on finding ways to optimize that.
  • There’s also some thread contention issues between network and servers etc… Should all help with the desync. But the real answer is the new method of server serialization. They’ll be switching out to that, should mean less bandwidth going over the network.
  • Game sends more detail than it needs to lots of the time. Right now, for movement, there’s aspects. includes direction, velocity, orientation,e tc… which could be a 60 bite chunk, but if you change position, it sends all of it. The new system only sends the bits that change, not limited on 32 aspects, it’s much more flexible.
  • Right now, if you spawn a Hornet, it’s got about 60 items attached. Server spawns the hornet hull, says spawn it to all the clients, then it starts adding all the items, sending that to all the clients as well. Lots of traffic going back and forth. Simpler would be to say “I’m a hornet, spawn me with this’.” They call it a spawn bundle. Should greatly reduce data.
  • Tali can end up being about 5mb of network data to spawn it, whereas in the new system would be closer to 150×64 bits. A lot less.
  • Those things will fix some desync problems. Trying to fix what they can on the old system, but the new system isn’t that far off from being deployed. New system comes in with items 2.0
  • [Procedural tech used for things other than planets?] It’ll be used for planetoids. Consider a planetoid as anything that has enough mass it’ll be spherical. Won’t use this specific tech to use small asteroids. Would have a moon or a very large (spherical) asteroid with it. First things that’re procedural are the landing area and mineral mining. There’ll be gameplay scanning for mineral seams, finding them, going down, harvesting them, taking them back and selling them.
  • When they get procedural planet stuff in there’ll be landing and mining. And it’s not too far away. Probably landing first, then mining after. Looking to get gameplay that’ll allow more than just combat.
  • cargo, mining, basic economy, etc…
  • [Character customization?] Going well. Should see the first part of it in 2.4.
  • Goal is shifting characters to the new item system. Everything you wear, sweater, t-shirt, trousers, etc… as a character you’re a naked male / female, and you dress with pants, shirt, armour, etc…
  • In the beginning, there’ll be a certain number of shirts and jackets and stuff. Face customzation is further off. First version is 16 archetypes (8 male 8 female). Might be in 2.4, might be after. End goal is take an archetype and mess with it.
  • Changing hair eyes and such is easy on base archetypes though.
  • Final stage is being able to move the geometry of the face around, as you do in MMO’s. in-fiction idea is going to the future version of plastic surgery – pay money and get your face redone. Part of the SQ42 story. You get horribly burnt and hurt in the opening, and you get the opportunity to reconstruct your face however you want to be.
  • They’re gonna push more on clothes too. Plan is to debut a new space suit for 2.4, and more, space suits, environment suits, armour, etc… so not everyone’s running around in the old suit. What we’re running around in right now is the old costume. New tech is a level beyond what’s in the game, and we haven’t seen any of it yet.
  • On par with anyone like Uncharted 4 or The Order 1886 etc… really good stuff coming.
  • [Do you play drums like Travis Barker?] Chris bangs the table.
  • [Next profession design doc?] One of the things they’ll be putting a system in place for is the recovery system. Building it so it’s not just recovery, also broadcasting your position to friends and such.
  • Going to work on building recovery into the game itself, so you can get paid to go rescue people. When the Starfarer’s flyable, refuelling will come with it. Starting to add in functionality, and they’re going to start expanding the system too, giving reasons to fly to further places.
  • Chris thinks building something of this fidelity and level will be pretty hard to do. Rockstar might be able to manage it, but it’s huge, and difficult.
  • [Launcher revamp?] No real update as to when it’s coming, but it is being worked on. There’s a complete revamp of content delivery, so you don’t have to download nearly as much per patch. Right now it’s all inefficient, cause data’s broken up into 2gb pack files. If any bit in there changes, have to download the 2gb.
  • Going to change to packs are built on the player side. When a dev checks in code or an asset, it’ll get added to the object store. They can just create a build from each changelist. Every asset as it’s getting put in, means when they deliver builds to people it’s faster cause they’re being given only the bits that have changed. Should greatly change the amount of data.
  • Old patches could be 30gb, should be around 7mb with the new patch. Lots of work on it. Turnaround times will be faster when it’s done too.
  • Right now if they kick off a full build, it takes 12 hours. Reduced builds take around 3 hours. A code only build is an hour. but there’s also staging, QA checking, etc… When they’re trying to get a patch out, some fixes won’t make it because if they rebuild it now, it’ll take 4 hours, assuming nothing goes wrong. With the new method, the turnaround should be faster. So patch quality, turnaround, and data use will all be better.
  • CIG spend a lot of money every month on data delivery and running servers. They behave like a live game in terms of operational costs. Which is good, cause both the community and CIG see so much more. There are things you just don’t see until you have people playing the game. When lots of big launches go for the first time and blow up, it’s cause you never see things at the scale of when it’d go live.
  • Normally in development, you’d never be worrying about desync issues this early. Same with patchers and data.
  • [Arrange things in hangars? Updates on visiting other people’s hangars?] No updates. It’s part of the road map, but Tony knows more. Goal is to have the hangar in Stanton or wherever; not going to a load screen, just walking out of the hangar door, flying out into space. In terms of visiting though, Tony knows, not Chris.
  • Right now if they implemented it, it’d be like implementing Arena Commander where it’d be a separate thing. But they want the hangars to just be part of the Universe.
  • Jared said something nice and got embarrassed.
  • That’s stuff they’re doing in the background and working on fixing. Redoing stuff on the physics side; optimizing it and building a new, more scalable one (won’t be in SQ42), but it’s being built for the Universe.
  • The server mainly does physics stuff, and CryEngine right now tops out at 3-4 threads. If they can get all that into one physical instance, it’d be much better.
  • I apologize, Chris is talking about stuff I really don’t understand so it’s hard to piece it together to be coherent.
  • Working on Vulcan and DX12, re factoring the engine for them, and also trying to clean up DX 11. CryEngine right now was built on DX9, doesn’t utilize all of DX11. So they’re not doing DX9, getting rid of old stuff, re factoring stuff at engine-level, lots of that’s being done in Frankfurt (guys who essentially wrote the engine years ago). It’s a slow, ongoing process.
  • Should have a much faster game down the road. But look at it now, then look at what it looked like three years ago. Those differences will continue.
  • Building a Universe, and they’ll keep it running as long as people want to play in it. It’s an ongoing, virtual world that you can escape to and live an alternate life in.
  • [More than flying, fighting, FPS, etc… when do lockable doors happen?] Not too far away. Won’t be 2.4 or 2.5, maybe 2.6. With things like Starfarer flying around, flying large ships, there’ll be the aspect of boarding and with persistence, taking a ship from someone. That’s all important, so they want to add gameplay to lock doors, then hack the doors or blow them open etc…
  • That all comes with the new item system, so doors talk to each other, and you can implement security states etc… That’s all waiting on the remaining aspects of item system 2.0. It’s in the near future.
  • [Updates on ship paint system? Decorating ships?] No updates on paint; lower priority. They want item system and other functionality first. But the way you could customize your hangar’s the same as you could eventually customize your ship. Plans are to allow you to place decals on ships etc…, change primary and secondary colours, but becomes difficult on bigger, modular ships.
  • At a certain level, will probably restrict it to primary and secondary colours and decals, rather than custom paint jobs.
  • The system is in there, pirate ships have different livery than other ships, and that’s done with the paint system, but it’s not available to players yet. But that will be implemented, the electro skins and such that were backed, that’s the first stage.
  • So many tasks though, and paint is less important. Cargo working is probably better than ship painting, same with mining. The choice is, do you want VR? Oculus sent Chris his VR set, and they’d like to get that working, but the graphics engineers that would work on getting that done (which they already have some code working) are also working on procedural planets, which everyone can use, vs. a subset that have an oculus. Get the base tech that everyone can use before something that maybe 5-10% of the community can use.
  • So, that’s an hour of RtV, started late, ended late. Go subscribe on the RSi site.
  • Turbulent has said the Starfarer should now be in everyone’s hangars.
  • Tune into INN over the course of Friday, as we wil have a ton of ‘content’.
  • Chris just suggested Starfarer flyable in 2.4. Suggested. We’ll see.
  • And that’s the stream! Thanks for tuning in!



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  1. Sawchuck

    INN=best damn coverage of star citizen news. you guys deserve the fan MVP. gj and thanx

  2. Gerald Evans

    Great stuff guys!! The best bit: waking up in your hangar and walking (driving?) into Stanton or flying out of it.

  3. Melyandre

    Well, I’m hyped, Again. Damn !
    Thanks INN !

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