A new Around The Verse episode has popped up for Roberts Space Industries and Cloud Imperium Games’ Star Citizen. The episode covers more of the bug squashing and the procedurally generated cities in the game.
The beginning of the episode starts with Burn Down, which chronicles some of the biggest and most intense bugs that the team are currently wrangling into submission so that they can get all of the basics compartmentalized and polished to brush up the 3.0 build for the public test universe. You can check out the video below.
They had to work a lot of the bugs out of the system, including making the NPC heads to stop jiggling, to get the item 2.0 with the subsumption engine to work properly, and to be able to move around crowded spaces while you have cargo in your ship.
A lot of the ships have been fixed along with the UI, so that ships like the Gladiator no longer crashes while getting in and out. UI also works properly with using every single instrument in the ship.
One of the things they mentioned that they basically killed all of the shopping bugs and tasks that were preventing the game from working as optimal as possible.
In the previous week they logged 197 issues across all categories. As of Friday, they managed to reduce that 18, bringing the total must-fix, major issues down to 179 before Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 will be ready to release in full, feature complete, into the PTU.
The good news is that they’re reducing the issues by almost 20 a week. The bad news is that a lot of the major issues are critical blockers, which can most certainly slow down how quickly the teams are able to reduce the issues and get the game up and out. These are the issues that cause major crashing, performance slowdown, and lock-ups. They usually require a lot of tracking down, opening up, file-filtering, and code-hunting before they can be fully resolved.
Nevertheless, the last half of the video is about the procedural technology that the engineers developed in order to generate cities in real-time within Amazon’s Lumberyard engine.
One of the things they explained is that there’s an algorithm that they use to create separation between certain kinds of structures and buildings. So for instance, you won’t find a hospital next to an oil refinery.
They also explain that they streamlined the assets so that the highest fidelity textures are mapped around the landing pads, since those are the parts where the players would be able to visit. The unreachable areas are the ones that have lower res assets so that it doesn’t completely over-tax the system.
The procedural city tech is some of the best I’ve seen in a game. It’s still far from finished but they’re doing a fine job of really pushing the boundaries on the fidelity of procedurally generated planets and cities.
Alpha 3.0 is still about a couple of months out from full release on the PTU if they continue to reduce the must-fix bugs at the current rate, but you can keep track of the progress by visiting the production report page.