Around the Verse Episode 43


(Citizen Star News) - by Gerald Evans - 2015-05-07

0:17 - Welcome/News with Sandi Gardiner and Ben Lesnick

1:45 - News from Around The Verse

12:04 - "May the Force be with...what?" by Denodon

13:11 - Subscriber's Corner with Alexis Lesnick

17:35 - Interview with Pete Mackay 

23:09 - Controller balance roundtable with Dan Tracy, Calix Reneau & Matt Sherman

30:55 - Ship Shape with Lisa Ohanian

33:16 - Sneak Peek

Welcome/News with Sandi Gardiner and Ben Lesnick

    Sandi and Ben welcome us!
    The HULL series is over.
    The Monthly report last Friday broke the website (character limits in the CMS)
    81Mil in funding has been surpassed.
    BugSmashers has started a solo tour.

News from Around The Verse

CIG - Santa Monica: Darian Vorlick and Travis Day
    The Repair mechanic is being worked on and covers assessments to repair.
        Some are electronic, some require you to physically access the item and location.
        The Repair bot stretch goal is coming!
    Electronic warfare is coming.
        Hack into an enemy's ship and mess with thrusters, spoof their radar etc.
        EWar is an active process and is skill based. Not a "USE" passive function
    The Reliant is coming! The Reliant is coming!
        MISC has a deal with the Xi'an to have their technology and systems.

Illfonic:  David Langeliers and Chuck Brungardt
    Network optimization: We're working to make things as smooth as possible on the net.
    A lot of destructibles and items in the environment means a high network load,
    We're applying predictions to rigid-body interactions to smooth some of this out.
    The smoother we get it the more players we can get into a match at once.

CIG - Austin: Jake Ross, Billy Lord, David Jennison
    FPS characters! Working on material and texture polish.
    We touched every single one, but focused on the Light/Medium Marine and Light Outlaw.
    Given the expectations we're trying to bring the best quality we can.

Foundry 42: Danny Reynolds
    Tutorial Recap!
    Working on applying changes based on feedback.
        Ship strafing too quickly inside the hangar.
        Too hard to determine which ship to get into: Added markers and player look to direct you.
        Added reminder hints to the hints that people were dismissing until an action has been performed.
        They've changed the Barrel Roll dialogue to an Axial Roll which is more precise.

"May the Force be with...what?" by Denodon

    Pilot's ship is maneuvering without the body inside, but hands and feet and contorting to match cockpit alignment.

Subscriber's Corner with Alexis Lesnick

    Dave and Christine at BHVR discuss Friday's flair, part of a new lineup.
    This is a new explorer's collection where every subscriber will be sent an oddity from space.
    This month's is a piece of Ellis, which is a planet that was destroyed by it's own moon.
    A rogue asteroid crashed into Ellis 10, which caused the collision.
    It's a fancy space rock.

    Hyper Vanguard Force iV: A pixel-art game starring a Vanguard coming to SC.
        Check the Comm-Link tomorrow

James Interviews designer Pete Mackay

What are you in Santa Monica for?

    I'm here to do a lot of work on thruster balance, upgrades, and how they swap between ships.

Are you out here by yourself?

    It's me, John Pritchert and Matt Sherman, and we're working with Dan and Calix to make sure what we're doing matches up with what they need done.

What goes into making the pipeline?

    I build Excel tools that allow us to do a lot of calculations at a really granular level the individual parameters that make up a thruster. And once that's on a ship we can tweak very granularly how a ship will accelerate, slide, etc, with a goal of looking at determining upgrade paths and what should be available to each ship.

When you get a new ship how do you look at it? Do you look at comparing it to other ships or do you approach it as it's own new thing?

    A bit of both. When I set it up in Excel I set up a sheet for each ship and model each of the hardpoints that the ships has.  That gives me a list of data points such as how much power does it need and how much heat might it be generating. From there we generate performance data on other aspects of the ship and export it to another sheet where we can see the aggregate performance and how changing one thing changes the rest of the ship, and we can see all of the ships at one time and how a change affects the ships relative to each other.

I remember waiting for the HULL to go live. You were working on that, right?

    I was out the door when I got a call to work on it, and by the time I left I was the last person in the office.

What kind of ships are you working on right now?

    Today I started on the Starfarer: How many thrusters are going to be and where they are on it. I'm working on how much each one needs to put out to create the right performance.

The Starfarer has been getting some love lately so it's fortuitous that you're working on it right now.

    I just got the notification last night so I started on it this morning. And we have a sale coming I understand? Should I have said that?

Hopefully we can leave that part in. Thanks for coming and for the thruster work you're doing.  While what you do isn't the first thing people see, it's definitely the first thing people feel.

    Yeah, more than anything that goes on a ship the thrusters are immediately apparent because you can feel it.

Pete is not just the thruster designer and weatherman, Pete is also our resident DJ.

When we have an event Pete spins the tracks.

Controller balance roundtable with Ben Lesnick, Dan Tracy, Calix Reneau & Matt Sherman

B: How excited were you to hear that we were going to be talking about controller balance?

C: I still strongly believe that we should have controllers in the game.

D: That's a good notion.

C: Yeah, that's basically where I'm coming from.

B: Games need input. The metrics bear you out.

D: Yeah I also just realized what Matt is wearing. It's perfect.

[Matt shows his shirt featuring all the Nintendos, gameboys, controllers]

M: I thought we were filming this tomorrow, and blanked on wearing it today so it's a good coincidence.

B: Star Citizen: A happy coincidence!

C: We've actually been talking recently and were talking about doing a full controls refactor because we keep putting in these systems and every time we do we have to figure out how you're going to interact with them. We actually have a number of mechanics where you don't have any input at all; the most glaring of which can be seen in the tutorial where you can't throttle your acceleration. So when leaving the hangar unless you're in decoupled mode it's easy to crash. We have the ability to throttle your acceleration, but you don't have a button for it so it's one of the things that controller parity aside we need to completely revisit all of the controls because as these things come online we need to factor it in to how the game is played.

D: I think taking a step back you have to look at from a top level, we have to look at your control of your IFCS, whether you have COMSTAB on, control over your targeting, missiles, all of that. And all of that needs to play into how all our controls are set up on M/K, HOTAS or even on a gamepad, it's difficult to balance all of those all at the same time. Even with what Calix was saying, with adding in new features it's going to keep adding more and more button presses to make all of these things. So what we're looking at with the refactors is streamlining this so you have your most used buttons on demand at the appropriate locations. And something I've been pushing for is moving to more of a unified setup, where you have very similar designs across flight and FPS so that as soon as your transition out of the ship your movement controls feel very fluid and samey. It's weird when you think about it because with a gamepad you're moving with your left stick and looking with your right stick. In flight you're using that for pitch instead of a throttle. In racers you use the triggers for throttle but we're using the triggers for direct firing controls.  A lot of this stuff need community feedback and we appreciate the...verbose input we get. But everyone is going to have ther own setup. We have a guy in analytics who uses the wheel right?

C: Yeah, the wheel with the pedals, and he's one of the better flyers that we have, he's up there ruining our curves, and I like that. I like that guy.

M: Because no one expected that: A 325 and a steering wheel is one of the best combos possible? *shrugs* Sold!

B: So let's talk about those metrics. How do we measure how successful a particular control system is right now?

M: Well right now we're still actually getting a lot of this built up. We've got a lot of great analytic software. We're using something called Tableau that we can just punch in all the raw data  as we build the hooks for it into our server. First we need to know what we want to track: Hit chances; destruction; who's using what weapons, ships. And then building in those hooks so we can watch this, track this, and check against different game modes. So we can see what's the best setup in Vanduul Swarm versus Battle Royale, versus Squadron Battle versus Capture the Core. So the long term is that we're still getting this built out and it's slowly starting to come together and give us a better picture. I think there's a perception that it's a wild swing for top performance for the controllers, but the variance isn't as bad as some people perceive it to be.

B: How bad is it? If we look at the top of the leaderboards what are people using right now?

M: The most successful setup right now is either keyboard and mouse or a combination of joystick and mouse. They make up just over 50% of the top base collectivelly overall but they're not like 70% plus. There's still a good 40% of HOTAS or joystick users still performing well. It's definitely harder, and its one of those issues that we need to look at between either how we handle gimbaled weapons or how we handle fixed weapons. It's in a lot better place than I think some people are worried it's at and I think with time and with more iteration it'll get a lot better.

B: Well thank you guys for joining me. I have a feeling we're going to be doing this many more times.

Ship Shape with Lisa Ohanian

Welcome back to Ship Shape where this week we're talking about the Constellation.

Josh Koons and Chris Smith from Austin are working on this for quite a while with three major things in mind:

Making it overall more detailed and more functional to fit with the immersive world we're going for.

    Added a bulkhead between the cockpit and the living quarters to make it feel like an area people would actually live.
    Added a weapon rack to the living area.
    Added a missile reload system to the cargo area.

Making the ship, especially the exterior more in line with the RSI manufacturer feel

    More functional looking.
    Lots of hard angles, and overall cooler.

Making the ship compatible with the modular system which we were working on before the first Constellation came out.

    Make it easier to create variants or backers to customize their ship..
    Easier to change rooms or features inside.
    Change the nose or the tail.  (Please don't tell me anyone can turn a Taurus into a Phoenix or have the Aquila's nose. - Gerald)

That's it for this week!

Starfarer goes on sale this weekend, and we're making available the Starfarer Gemini militarized variant which has some key differences.

Sneak Peek

MISC Starfarer

Tune in to tomorrow for RtV!

Sandi is going to London until the end of the month to shoot S42.
Thanks to all the subscribers!

Exit featuring - Outlaw Heavy w/ "Alone in da Club" !!!!

See Also


RSI-Forums Feedback Thread

Reddit Discussion

StarCitizenBase Discussion