Development Update: Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 & Star Marine
This last week has flown by! We’re pleased to present the second weekly update of what went down with both Star Citizen 2.0 and Star Marine.
The coolest news? SHIPS CAN NOW SPLIT IN TWO (or more!) Yes, the Tech Design and Code team have been working hard and getting this very exciting feature working in the engine and they’ve finally cracked it… so you will now be able to break ships up in to large chunks once you’ve dealt out some catastrophic damage! You can really go to town on your worst enemies and deliver irreparable damage to their ships, for instance, breaking up the Constellation in to four whole chunks. The system still needs more love to get it ready for release but in terms of the technical functionality we’ve definitely broken the back of it (excuse the pun!)
Everyone has been polishing and bug fixing like crazy and we still have some content dropping in from various the departments including more fantastic sounding audio. Our dialogue specialist has been down at Pinewood Studios (of James Bond—and Privateer 2: The Darkening—fame) and SIDE UK to record more of the datalog audio pieces which are turning out to be a very fun piece of exploration gameplay in this release.
We’re still having a good tussle with the EVA system to get that feeling good and ready but at least we are getting more joy from the ship systems in the AI behaviours. These AI will account for those new encounters and scenarios that the player will now be faced with in Crusader. For example, the map construction is balanced so that if player strays too far from the security of the UEE zones they that might find that they run in to trouble, or they might just get lucky – who knows!? The beauty of it is that it’s all systemic-based gameplay where each encounter has its own unique potential.
What about the Star Marine-related portion of the release? With boots on the ground we’re seeing some noticeable improvements in the FPS reload animations, ADS and Stop-Start so we’re very pleased to that is all really taking shape, and not only are the characters feeling better, but the environments are too. The Environment team have been slogging away at various space stations in their final art stages, and the Covalex Shipping Hub has just had a full lighting pass so we’re sure it will really blow people away!
Crusader as whole is feeling much more alive now with further iterations to the repair bots and the implementation of the background traffic simulation systems – this helps give a real buzz to the map with traders and UEE patrols zipping about all over the place! This is another of those first Star Citizen steps with this release, as the Universe starts to come alive piece-by-piece by building the systems that will organically produce the economies and communities for you to play in.
Lastly, there’s some vast improvements coming in with the in-ship UI screen revamp in order to factor in all of the new Multicrew gameplay. The UI the team are really excited with how it’s all coming together, and any of you techie-types will love getting your hands on the first implementation of the new engineering screen that allows greater control over your ships power and shield systems. In addition, the new screen focus functionality will allow you to quickly and easily turn your attention to individual screens situated around your station. These UI screens needed much careful consideration because they will be what underpins this core system feature for years to come, and will allow us to build up more and more functionality as the bigger and BIGGER ships come online!
Here’s a high level breakdown of action from the different departments…
Gameplay and Engineering
- Ships will more accurately arrive to the end of AI splines
- Better handling of dynamic avoidance for ships that are following AI splines
- Improve escape behaviours when a ship’s hull gets heavily damaged
- Improvements for the missile usage of the ships
- Ships will be more accurate on avoiding obstacles
- Changed the relationship between character arms and the camera which improves ADS and shooting from hip
- Fixed up problems with the player jumping
- Cleaning up the pistol motion sets to be brought in line with the rifle
- Improved the handling of rag-dolling
- Quantum fuel now supported over a network game
- Added a collision test before the start of quantum travel – informs you of objects between you and the intended destination
- Support for discoverable quantum travel nav beacons
- Improvements/polish to the repair drone functionality
- Network optimisations
- Tweaks to Quantum Travel HUD
- Circles around points of interest
- Added Quantum Fuel consumption amount
- Added “Out of range” message if you are trying to make a jump that you don’t have enough fuel for
- Added Quantum Travel HUDs to most of the ships now
- First Iteration of the Mission Manager has been submitted
- 5 Screens for the Crusader map
- Basic implementation of the Engineering screens with Power, Shields, Overview, Minimised tabs submitted. (Requires testing)
- Engineering Screen polish
- Ship spawning implementation
- Mission manager improvements
- Listing completed missions
- Further iterations on the Cutlass, Retaliator and Constellation final steps of the pipeline.
- Final improvements to the environment art and FX.
- More iterations on environmental interactions, EVA, FPS movement and gunplay, Death and Hit Reactions, and “Fall and Play”.
- Dialogue recording session for some additional lines and some re-records
- Began work on improvements to the ship audio
- Implementation of more music to improve the feel of the areas and ‘sell the scene’
- Working on duress parameters to be applied to your ship under certain conditions
- Audio design to go alongside this as well
- Tweaking audio on FPS weapons and gadgets
- Expanding the variety of footsteps heard on surfaces
- Ongoing work to improve the atmospheric qualities of space stations
- Characters are missing interior sections of their helmets.
- Ballistic weapons can cause a crash and we have various other stability issues to fix up.
- The “Push and Pull” system seems to be conflicting with another control system because it’s currently catapulting the player in to deep spaaaaaaaaace!
- Particles seem to stop rendering in some gravitational areas, but not all! Needs further investigation!
Whew, what a week! As you can see, we’re making a great deal of progress on what promises to be Star Citizen’s most exciting release to date. With today’s live release of Star Citizen Alpha 1.3, the PTU release of Alpha 2.0 is now our next goal! We can’t wait to let you explore (and if we’re honest, break!) the Mini PTU. The entire team is working as hard as possible to get it ready for backer testing.
Please note that while our major focus this week was 2.0, next week’s update will include more details on Star Marine.