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Squadron 42 Monthly Report

MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275
edited December 2018 in Star Citizen
Aside of yesterday's roadmap on the SP campaign of SC:



The monthly report of its development has been posted, by area. The newsletter was way too big posting in multiple posts below:

AI

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

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

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

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

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


Animation

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

Audio

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

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




BabuinixErillion
«1

Comments

  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275

    Character Art

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

    Cinematics

    Chemline

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

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

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

    Engine Tools

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

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

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

    Part of the team worked on additional culling refinements in the zone system to submit fewer objects to the renderer, as well as various low-level optimizations to reduce load on the render thread. 
  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275

    Engineering

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Environment Art

    Chemline

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

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

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

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

    Gameplay Story

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

    Graphics

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

    Performance was also a focus, with most attention on the low-level texture and mesh streaming systems to help squeeze as much content in with as little performance impact as possible.
  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275

    Level Design

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

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

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

    Narrative

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

    Props

    Chemline

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

    System Design

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

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

    Stealth gameplay elements continue to be developed, which require the AI perception to be upgraded to cater for peripheral vision, as well as various audio events and stimuli from environmental sources, such as throwing a pebble to distract enemies.
     
  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275

    Tech Animation

    Chemline

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

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

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

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

    Tech Art

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

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



    UI

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

    Another major feature worked on is the area map. Pre-visualizations of how the map could be were built procedurally using existing underlying systems, such as the room system. This informs not only the overall layout but also how it becomes more defined as the player traverses the environment for the first time.
     
  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275

    Vehicle Features

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

    VFX

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

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

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

    Chemline

    Weapons

    Chemline

    The Weapon Art Team carried on with the Multi-Tool rework and made progress with the Kastak Arms Ravager-212 and the level two and three upgrades for the Hurston Dynamics Laser Repeaters. They also made minor adjustments to the iron sights on a handful of weapons to improve the sight picture and to make them more user-friendly when no optics are attached.
  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275
    And the peak from the report that shows the mech suit concept, I have no idea tho if SC would ever see mechs happen 


  • MaxBaconMaxBacon Member EpicPosts: 7,275
  • goboygogoboygo Member RarePosts: 2,140
    Waiting for people to comment on how none of this really happened, its all just an elaborate fabrication.  There are no employees its as fake as the moon landing.  And I'm so sure of this because from my living room I know all.
    Babuinix
  • TamanousTamanous Member RarePosts: 2,997
    Sooo ... almost done then?
    Phry

    You stay sassy!

  • KefoKefo Member EpicPosts: 4,229
    Tamanous said:
    Sooo ... almost done then?
    Shhh! you’ll trigger the white knights
    KyleranNorseGodPhry
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,198
    What is the current date that I can expect to be playing the game that I purchased 6.5 years ago?

    I don't care if there is a new in game towel or if my character can now have thin or thick lips.  I just want to play the thing before Luke Skywalker dies... well.. at least before Mark Hamill does.
    Gdemami

    "I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

    Starvault's reponse to criticism related to having a handful of players as the official "test" team for a supposed MMO: "We've just have another 10ish folk kind enough to voulenteer added tot the test team" (SIC) This explains much about the state of the game :-)

    Proudly wearing the Harbinger badge since Dec 23, 2017. 

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    My ignore list finally has one occupant after 12 years. I am the strongest supporter of free speech on here, but free speech does not mean forced listening. Have fun my friend. Hope you find a new stalking target.

  • VrikaVrika Member EpicPosts: 6,435
    edited February 2019
    What is the current date that I can expect to be playing the game that I purchased 6.5 years ago?

    Based on their latest schedule, Alpha should launch early 2020. But as of February 15th update, most of the Squadron 42 stuff they scheduled for Q4 2018 is still unfinished, so we know RSI is late from that schedule.

    Maybe you'll get to play in 2021 if everything goes well, maybe not.
    Octagon7711KyleranPhry
     
  • BalmongBalmong Member UncommonPosts: 170
    Vrika said:
    What is the current date that I can expect to be playing the game that I purchased 6.5 years ago?

    Based on their latest schedule, Alpha should launch early 2020. But as of February 15th update, most of the Squadron 42 stuff they scheduled for Q4 2018 is still unfinished, so we know RSI is late from that schedule.

    Maybe you'll get to play in 2021 if everything goes well, maybe not.
    Honestly, I expect we'll see it the same time we see Cyberpunk 2077, both those games are on a slow burn atm.
    kikoodutroa8
  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 10,232
    edited April 2019
    February Star Citizen Report is out:

    https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16999-Star-Citizen-Monthly-Report-February-2019

    Lots on AI, Server Backend, Grafics etc.

    Reports from all studios.


    Have fun



    Post edited by Erillion on
  • Slapshot1188Slapshot1188 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,198
    18 months to launch?
    newbismx

    "I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

    Starvault's reponse to criticism related to having a handful of players as the official "test" team for a supposed MMO: "We've just have another 10ish folk kind enough to voulenteer added tot the test team" (SIC) This explains much about the state of the game :-)

    Proudly wearing the Harbinger badge since Dec 23, 2017. 

    Coined the phrase "Role-Playing a Development Team" January 2018

    "Oddly Slap is the main reason I stay in these forums." - Mystichaze April 9th 2018

    My ignore list finally has one occupant after 12 years. I am the strongest supporter of free speech on here, but free speech does not mean forced listening. Have fun my friend. Hope you find a new stalking target.

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 36,365
    edited June 2019
    I read this to mean they are working hard on the "boob" physics for female character animation, very important you know.

    ;)

    "More female animation sets are currently in development and will now always be worked on alongside the male version. Currently, they’re starting with base re-targets from the male source and then replacing them with female-specific assets."

    "Heh....they said 'ass-'ets...heh...(in my best Beevis voice)"
    ConstantineMerus

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  • KefoKefo Member EpicPosts: 4,229
    18 months to launch?
    Except this is CI you’re talking about. Expect delays, excuses, maybe a few revisions of history, and a speech about how they are delivering the best game ever so they need more time to work on it followed by the rabid horde chanting the take as much time excuse 
    NorseGodSlyLoK
  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 10,232

    @Kyleran ; Sorry, no updates on boob physics and ass-et management ;-)


    Have fun 

  • BeansnBreadBeansnBread Member EpicPosts: 7,148
    Erillion said:

    @Kyleran ; Sorry, no updates on boob physics and ass-et management ;-)


    Have fun 

    Are females in the game yet?
  • ErillionErillion Member EpicPosts: 10,232
    edited September 2019
    Are females in the game yet?

    Since 3.5


    Have fun






  • BeansnBreadBeansnBread Member EpicPosts: 7,148
    Erillion said:
    Are females in the game yet?

    Since 3.5


    Have fun

    https://youtu.be/hE1gnug3w3w
    Sadly, I noticed 0% boob physics.
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