The ATV starts with a commercial made by one of the community members, but then it gets into the nitty gritty, with explaining that a stable version of 3.3 is now being released into the public universe for alpha backers. Also, they announced that 3.4 will have some of its features moved out of its window and into 3.5.0.
In order to keep 3.3.4 within a 2018 release window, some of the features that were planned to release are being pushed back so that they can maintain their roadmap timeline.
One of the big features that had to be moved into 3.5 was the playable female characters. Why was this pushed back? Well, for the exact same reason that there wasn’t a playable female model crunched into Assassin’s Creed: Unity at the last minute: quality control.
The team has to make sure all of the female animations are properly adjusted; that all of the kinematics are implemented with working fluidity and smoothness in movement; and that all of the female characters can utilize seats, chairs, cockpit features and toilets without clipping, glitching, or blipping through the geometry or looking awful from the player-view or from the world-view.
Chairman Chris Roberts explains all of this in the latest Around The Verse video that you can check out below.
But to further explain why females aren’t going to make the cut, when making proper female models they need all new skeletons and this requires the animation team to completely alter and fix up the movements and IK so that they move and behave like females and not just dudes with boobs.
Also, you have to keep in mind that the default female model is scaled smaller than male models, so while default females are 5’8, males are 6’0. Obviously this has required the team to make some adjustments to how everything from chairs to item 2.0 props are handled when female player-characters interact with objects.
You can see what it looks like when you have a model performing animations and actions where it hasn’t been adjusted for the props correctly, as evident with the model swap modification for Metal Gear Solid V.
That’s exactly what they’re trying to avoid happening with the female character models in Star Citizen.
So how far off are female characters from appearing in Star Citizen? Not that far, actually. While they may not make alpha 3.4.0’s release, they will appear in 3.5.0, which is scheduled to go live during the first quarter of 2019.
According to Roberts, at any given time the team is working with at least two terabytes of active game development files.
However, the team is really working hard to bring a lot of features together in Star Citizen, including finishing up the procedural gas cloud technology, which enables the artists to dynamically implement different types of dynamic gas clouds around certain points of interests, such as space stations, truck stops, and even derelicts. This should add a nice complexion of artistic variance to your journeys in space.
You can view all of the changes and updates coming down the pipeline in Star Citizen’s development by visiting the developmental roadmap page.