The latest Around The Verse episode for RSI and CIG’s Star Citizen covers a large swathe of development progress across various aspects of the game’s design. The video covers everything from the new Nox grav bike, to the AI companions, to the lighting system, to the solar system editor where they reveal that the in-game moon is so large that it takes 15 real life hours to travel around it once.
The ATV was posted up recently on the Star Citizen YouTube channel. The 40 minute episode covers a lot of content and progress, which you can check out below.
One of the things that they’re working on is the new Staton system landing locations, which are being implemented at the moment, so players will be able to find and land on a planet. It works in conjunction with the new solar system editor tool called SolEd that CIG is using in conjunction with Amazon’s Lumberyard, which is based on Crytek’s CryEngine tool suite.
CIG worked with real astrophysicists to be able to map out and plot the scale and orbital physics for the solar system and planets. Using the astrophysicists calculations, this helped with the day and night system, the atmosphere with the planets, asteroid belts, and everything else in between.
Most importantly they’ve been using this data to help with the global atmosphere lighting and local cube-map based lighting, so that when you’re flying around in space the planets look great from a distance, and when you land on the ground everything looks extremely high quality, such as the CG-quality Levski outpost station.
They’ve also detailed how they’re further streamlining development by using unified code to identify and designate areas for procedural generation of certain outposts, bases and other surface structures on the planets. This will allow the team to quickly generate locations along with explorable and interesting areas on a variety of different planets with ease.
Much like the upcoming Beyond Good and Evil 2, this means that giant planets will have plenty to uncover and offer players across various biomes, as opposed to being just some giant empty globe.
Outposts will also be procedurally generated with a library of prefabricated items and lighting modules that can be used across all the outposts in the game. This would theoretically mean that no two outposts would be alike.
FPS companion AI is being implemented and tested, so players will be able to give AI companions commands during the FPS sequences.
Real-time holographic tech is also still coming along. They haven’t actually showcased this tech in-game yet, but say it will be ready for use with the first episode of Squadron 42. It seems like it might be a bit more trouble than what it’s worth, and they haven’t talked about what sort of resource budget overhead it brings to the overall performance of the game, but hopefully it’s not something that will kill your CPU.
Additionally, the new modular weapon attachment system has also seen some updates with new models and testing taking place in preparation for 3.0.
They spent a good portion of the video talking about the SolEd and the Nox speeder bike, which looks sexy as all get out.
It’s designed as a magnetic speeder, so the parts and damage are based around the concept of magnetism, which is pretty cool.
They compared it to the Dragonfly mentioning that it’s more of a luxury, high-end planetary personnel vehicle as opposed to the more utilitarian design of the Dragonfly.
The idea was that at a distance it was supposed to represent a singular looking monolith type entity. The concept and inspiration, however, was bore from the open designs of motorcycles fused with the design philosophy of the in-game corporation, Aopoa.
Even though the Nox is supposed to be a super fast vehicle, according to developers it would still take about 15 hours to travel around the in-game moon once. So there’s some massive scale to the planets in the game, assuming things work out the way they’re intended when 3.0 drops.