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10 for the Chairman Episode 2

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Transcript generously provided by forum user Liudeius  in their transcript thread.

A link to the episode can be found here: Youtube Link


Hey everyone, welcome to the second episode of Ten for the Chairman. So just to recap we take ten questions every week from subscribers who are the incredibly generous part of the community that put up money every month that we use for Jump Point, for doing our community content, increased video stuff which you're going to see more and more. This is part of what we're starting to do in LA now. So thank you all out there, the subscribers that are helping us do this. As such, we're going to answer ten questions from subscribers every week.

Question 1 - Do you need to own a ship to fly it in ACEdit

When Dogfighting Module is released, do you need to own the ship if you want to fly it or are you able to test all the ships which has already made in the game?


Answer 1Edit

So the concept with the Dogfighting Module is you should be able to fly the ships that you have in your hangar out there in the Dogfighting Module.

Generally the answer would be "No, you need to own them," although I will have the caveat: In the very early stage of the Dogfighting Module, we are not going to have every one of the ships to the stage that they can actually dogfight. Yes you can climb in them, you can see them in the hangar, but there's a lot of extra detail that goes into the ships. All the different items, the thrusters, the damage states, the damage models, have to be done for the ship. And that just takes a lot of work and effort.

So it will probably be the case where we may only have one ship or two ships at the beginning, and then it will increase. So the Hornet is the one we're focusing on right now, and obviously things like HUD change for different ships and all of that stuff, so it may be the case at the very beginning we just give everyone, everyone can basically fly the same ship. We just put a temporary "test Hornet" in the hangar and they get into that and they do the Dogfighting Module. But longer term, the ships you can take to play in arena mode against other people will be the ones you own in the hangar.

–Chris Roberts

Question 2 - Multi-screen/platform UIEdit

Will we be able to transfer sub-screens from out cockpit (say, Radar) to a second/third monitors in our computer?

–Premium Kabanu

Answer 2Edit

So we're definitely really interested in second screen support. So we're looking at being able to do that on a tablet where you could put one of the VDU's from your cockpit to that. We're also, I think it would be interesting to explore it on a multiple monitor situation. Although when I've talked about this, to be sure, this won't be functional in the dogfighting, and it's a longer term goal for the game.

The idea would be we'd have some of that when the game is fully done. So maybe it would roll out as part of the dogfighting as it improves over time, but not at the beginning. But yeah, we would like to do that support, we think it would be great.

–Chris Roberts

Question 3 - Can NPCs fly on their ownEdit

Can NPCs fly on their own while you are still online?


Answer 3Edit

So I'm not 100% sure what specifically the question is.

NPCs definitely can fly on their own. I think the question probably relates to if you have some NPCs flying, working for you, what they do.

If you're online, they're flying on your wing or manning your ship, then yes, they're definitely doing your stuff and doing their functionality. If you have logged-off, no the NPCs that are working for you aren't off there running a business for you. I think you need to be online to have the NPCs you've hired to be actually doing their stuff.

–Chris Roberts

Question 4 - Release AC with or without multiplayerEdit

There were a couple of threads with overwhelming support to go with the MMO-ready backend (and singleplayer vs AI) and I’d like to know if Chris has made a final decision yet as to which way he’s going to go for the DFM?


Answer 4Edit

Yeah, I mean this is a good illustration of some of the things that are going to crop up in the development stage. When we get to a certain point, we can make a choice, of

"Do we do it right, the way it's going to be in the final game?" or "Do we hack something in right now just so we can give it to people?" My preference generally in that case is "Don't hack it, do it right." 'Cause if you hack it, you put it in, you do work that you're gonna have to throw away. We're really part of--the whole idea of the Dogfighting Module is to get it out there so we can test the back-end and see how many people we can have in one area, see how fun it is flying the ships around, see whether the weapons are balanced correctly. It's not really that useful if you're throwing it out there with the back-end which won't be your final back-end.

So I think I'm leaning towards doing it the proper way, although that potentially has impact on when everyone gets their hands on it. Which, I know there will be a fair number of people upset because they just want to play it early, which is cool, but I think, let's do it right because the goal is to build a great game. I'm more focused on the final goal than the details leading up to that. Things change as you go, so hopefully that answers your question there.

–Chris Roberts

Question 5 - Thruster RatingsEdit

What is the different between TR1, TR2, TR3, etc. and is there much different between their levels?

–Princjeps Trajan

Answer 5Edit

TR1, TR2, TR3, and so on is what we're calling the "Thruster Rating."

The thruster rating is really a power-band. Not all TR1's are the same. Ones by a better manufacturer, ones that are overclocked, ones that are slightly higher grade could probably put out more thrust than say a cheap, low-end TR1. But you are pretty much guaranteed that a TR2 will be at a higher "band" than the TR1. So if you step up to a TR2, even the low end of that will put out more than the highest end TR1.

Also when you go from TR1 to TR2 to TR3, don't assume that it's a linear progression. Especially on some of the later thruster ratings, those can be geometric. So when you're moving up to the capital ship sizes, a TR6 could be double what a TR5 is for instance.

So you should think of TR1, TR2, TR3 more like a car engine where you have a V8, a V6, a V4, or a V12. Obviously the ones with more cylinders probably put out more power. They can easily put out more power than a 4-cylinder, but a 4-cylinder can still be fairly powerful and obviously there is a lot of variety in the power 4-cylinder engines can put out. That's kind of the idea with thruster ratings. A TR1 represents a band of thrusters or a certain level, TR2 is a step up, and TR3 is beyond that.

–Chris Roberts

Question 6 - Flight model in AC intial release vs PUEdit

How close will the flight and combat model that we get in December be to the intended finished product? Will the envelope of what we can do be basically set in stone or more of a rough first version that will be getting tons of refinement and tweaks to the flight model as we go?

–Dread Pilot Pete

Answer 6Edit

Ok, so this kind of goes back to the question I answered from Obsydian, but the whole point of the Dogfighting Module is to get it out there, to test a whole bunch of things.

Our back-end system, whether the flight control model is fun, whether the weapons are balanced correctly, whether it's too overwhelming for our system design and we need it smaller. So as part of that, yes, nothing is going to be fully set in stone. It's going to be our best first guess at what we think is fun and we want to refine it from there. If something is really broken we are obviously going to fix it, hopefully stuff won't be too broken.

But I would like everyone out there to realize that the first Dogfighting Module that they get is not it. It's not going to have all the features, it's not going to have all the functionality. It's going to have a limited amount of features and functionality, then it's going to grow over the next year while we're working on the game. So by the time the game's finished, the dogfighting will have been finished and honed. We're just sharing the process really early with all you out there in the community to make a better game.

So in that case, as I was answering to Obsydian, that also means the schedule for it may not be an exact science because there's not much point in testing something if we feel like "Ok, we're not ready to test the multiplayer now," because we want to put it on the proper system instead of a hacked-in system. So we'll give it to you all later to test that bit.

–Chris Roberts

Question 7 - Constellation vs others being "best" shipEdit

What would you say to backers who are concerned that there’s no point in getting ships like the Caterpillar to Retaliator because the Constellation looks like it will be the “best” ship to have?


Answer 7Edit

I would say that that's silly because I don't think there is a best ship in the game. They're all going to have different pros and cons. We're deliberately designing things so there is no "best" ship.

So something like the Caterpillar for instance, if you're more into trying to board a bigger ship to take them over, a Caterpillar is definitely better for that than a Constellation. But also, all the different ships are going to have different pros and cons. So for instance, bigger ships are cool because you can have multiple people on them, you can have turrets, walk around, but bigger ships, just like in real life, won't be able to turn as fast or be as maneuverable as a smaller ships will be. There isn't really a best for anything.

There may be a best for this particular role, but I think that's the beauty of Star Citizen. There are lots of different roles, lots of different things you can do. We're very focused on having different roles and functions for the ships, so there will be different kinds of play styles all based on what you want to do. So that's what I'm most looking forward to in the game: To have this whole variety of ships and somebody may just want to be flying single seater ships and focusing on dogfighting, people may want to be multiplayer, co-op, bigger ships doing exploration, or trading runs, or whatever. I think there is going to be a vast amount of play and it will be a lot of fun for everyone.

–Chris Roberts

Question 8 - Entering dogfights in PUEdit

How entering dogfight will be handled?

Will you start your ship in your hangar in an arena or spawn magically in space?


Answer 8Edit

Ok, so I kind of answered this on a previous subscriber question in last week's show.

Essentially you start in your hangar, the entrance point to the game is your hangar at the moment, and you'll be able to adjust your load-out on the holotable. Then you climb into the cockpit of your ship and then you fire it up. As you fire it up you basically are entering the dogfight mode so the hangar, holodeck style, disappears, and then you're in space, but it's really sort of a holodeck version of space. That's how you fly there, when you finish it, you come back into your hangar. So hopefully that answered that question well.

–Chris Roberts

Question 9 - Damage model detailEdit

How detailed will damage modelling be? Will the angle of impact be taken into account when calculating armor penetration, with sloped armor having a chance to deflect shots?


Answer 9Edit

So damage modeling will be very detailed.

That's actually one of the issues with getting everything ready for the dogfight. There's a huge amount of assets that have to be built, like the ships you'e seen, all the different pieces have to have multiple damaged parts, various levels of damage, a whole bunch of really cool graphical stuff that we're going to do for that, and we're modeling it pretty detailed too.

So there will definitely be the angle of incidence of a projectile hitting armor and ship will count in terms of the damage, the penetration ability, all that. My goal is to have the actual base level of the game actually physically detailed to a level I haven't done in one ofmy past games and then just have the high-end ship control stuff make it easier to fly around in and use, but underneath it all, it's all physically correctly modeled. So we're actually modeling internal system damage. So if you have a targeting computer, avionics, system, life support, inside your ship, we actually have a place physically for it and it has its own geometry and render geometry. If a projectile goes through the shield then penetrates through the armor, we actually trace that projectile and if it hits that system in the physical space, then the system takes damage and potentially gets damaged. So we're actually modeling all of this in an extremely detailed way. If you know where the weak parts, the critical parts of another ship are, you should have a bit of an advantage.

–Chris Roberts

Question 10 - Netcode optimization in 6DoFEdit

What sorts of challenges has optimizing netcode for combat in true 3D space with 6DoF presented? Are the issues presented by packed loss and high latency roughly comparable to a first-person shoorter, or are you expecting this game to be more latency dependent?


Answer 10Edit

Packet loss, high latency.

I mean high latency obviously effects any stuff, and packet loss, we definitely will be going back and forth with a lot of data because the ships are pretty heavy data-wise, they have lots of moving parts. So that potentially could be an issue, but that's sort of the stuff we want to be working on and testing out.

That's the whole part of the Dogfighting Module and also why we want to have the final MMO back-end, at least a rudimentary version of it, working for the dogfighting. There are advantages to the space sim part of Star Citizen or Squadron 42 in terms of multiplayer net-code compared to an on-foot first person shooter. Now of course we do have an on-foot first person section, so that will have the same problems that you have in Call of Duty or something. But basically when you fly a ship, you can't--the problem with a first person shooter is I can be here and then I can step here then step here. So basically the movements of your avatar can be fairly random and not very easy to predict. Whereas in a ship you can't do that, you've got to turn. So essentially in the spaceship scenario you can actually do a much better job of predicting where the player's ship is going to be. Ok, hopefully that answers that question.

–Chris Roberts

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