Good one, we haven't had a discussion about that, but what the plan for is a planet render element. In cryengine rendering is handled by render-elements, so most of the rendering is handled by a geometry rendering element which gets fed vertexes and texture data etc and renders those with lighting and materials. There are other elements, so things like water, ship shields etc are other ones. We're looking at building a high level render element for planets, so we are looking at generating planet surface procedurally for planets that aren't "designed", I mean it'd be impractical to have 8k textures for each of the thousands of planets and moons we'll have in game. So there are those with cloud layers, atmospheric haze etc within our graphics pipeline. SO having said that, because we're doing this dynamically the possibility of having weather being dynamic is definitely possible, but it would be something that's pretty interesting. We're already planning to have proper day/night cycles based on where landing sites are at any time, and we'll definitely have some weather effects, so there might be a rainy blade-runner style planet, or a snowy ice planet like Hoth etc. So I guess whether or not those weather effects are actually happening at the time could extend into the view from space in future. Good question!
In the PU demo, I saw a cracked window of "Dumper's Depot". You mentioned that poorer planets might have graffiti and such, but will the planetside environment actively change when the overall prosperity of a planet fluctuates?
Simple answer is yes! All buildings, vehicles, items and even characters are being built and structured so that they age. We have what we call secondary UV sets in the geometry that allow you to have another "blend" layer that comes in as ageing progresses. The ships we have now are set up with this already, so if you load the Hornet into an editor you can slide a bar (0-1) how much the blend layer comes in, either looking like a brand new ship or a beaten up, old weathered ship. So yes, we're building the assets with that, so it's already in the tech. The idea is we track the item as it goes through the universe with wear and tear, and while you might not be able to get your ship back to TOTALLY new, you'll be able to restore it to close with various treatments, and the same concept applies to the environment. The idea with those is the economy drives the looks of fixed buildings, so yes the more prosperous a place is the better upkept the buildings etc are. The states of these cities will be dependant on inputs from the persistent universe like economy, population etc, including the size of these cities. The whole idea is as time goes on, things grow or die, people change, and it's all based on real statistics from the PU. Should be pretty cool.
Question 4 - Orbiting ships while visiting planetsideEdit
Is there a compelling reason to land planetside in the 85x instead of the 890, particularly since the 85x can't carry cargo and the 890 can land in atmosphere? What's more, while the 890 is left in orbit, what happens to it? Is it still in an instance? Can it be spacejacked, pirated, destroyed or otherwise bothered?
Ok, so that's a fairly interesting question, I think, In general, this hasn't been thought out that much... I'd think there shouldn't be a reason why the 890 couldn't be left in orbit while you were landing the 85x... I'd say that the 890 would remain in and orbit instance if you had friends or NPCs on it, if it gets attacked they would defend it or whatever. If you've left the ship and come back to it anything that has happened or hasn't you'll be able to see on your return. That's a complete "off the gut" answer from me, because the mechanics of that haven't been worked out. There are a lot of these edge cases that we need to work out, as we're giving you so many choices and options like this. My gut instinct says that you could leave it in orbit, most would be safe, but if it wasn't I guess it could be jacked, especially if left undefended.
Yes, the idea with the mobiGlas is to think of it like android or iOS, you'll have different apps to load onto it, and even the device itself will be made by different manufacturers. So in SQ42 you'll have a stripped down military one, but in the PU you can get a more full-featured one with higher specs and ability to load apps, and there'll be different skins etc, just like you can do with current android/ios/windows phones.
Well I'd say if you're out in the verse and die while EVA-ing, your ship would stay in that instance and for anyone in that instance they could take it/salvage it/do something to it. Then, when you "respawn" on a planet (having been rescued) your ship would be an insurance claim to get one back. The ship WOULD persist though, so if a friend was nearby and could salvage the ship or fly it back for you there would be a benefit to that, say maybe not losing a life, or not affecting your future premiums or something insurance related. There will be a game mechanic to encourage your friends or people that are doing rescue or salvage role to get involved and help out. The exact implementation hasn't been fully worked out, don't take my insurance premiums comment seriously, that's just an example of a benefit/consequence. But if there was no salvage or friends out there you'd have to file an insurance claim, which will replace the base ship, not your extra gear or cargo.
No, repair bots will not take care of all damage, there will definitely be times where components will have to be replaced. Most repair bots or jobs done in space will be more like patch jobs, in order to properly repair items or ships back to nearly-new I'd say you'll have to venture planetside and have a workshop/shipyard work on your gear/ship. One of the ships we're looking at making is a repair ship, however, and THAT would probably be able to repair your ship properly in space, but outside of that would be a patch-job until you could land and fix it properly.
Yes it's going to be quite long. I think Erin and the SQ42 team are estimating that the playtime for SQ42 with 50 missions will be around 50 hours, and that's because the missions themselves will probably take at least 30 minutes, and also between missions you move around the various ships and places you'll be, talking to people, having a sit down, engaging with characters etc, that'll add time to it. The missions are quite involved by the way, they're not just like "follow a patrol route", that might be a part of it, but in many cases there's stuff on the ground etc too. The first 10 missions could arguably be equivalent to 20 plus missions in an old school wing commander game. The team at foundry 42 are keen to knock it out of the park, and what they're working on and what they've planned definitely would go head to head with any AAA game on it's own. Period. And that's just one aspect of what we're doing. We've got a full vertical slice of one of the first missions, there's flying around, combat, puzzle solving etc. I think you'll have a lot of fun towards the end of next year, which is when we're giving you that first episode.
Question 9 - Dissuading disruptive player behaviorEdit
Other large MMO games - especially "single server" sorts of universes - have historically seen large groups of players banding together in the name of "disruptive" behaviour. This can take the form of denying an area of the game to other players, controlling the economy, or just generally causing havoc. What are your plans for the Star Citizen universe to accommodate the lone freelance miner caught up in the madness?
There are a couple of things that make us a little different than the games I think you're referring to perhaps like Eve online. First of all the player base is only ever going to make up at most 10% of the population of any given place, and what's happening in the economy etc, so in terms of being able to dramatically affect an area or economy, it's going to be pretty hard. You may be able to have an impact, but even the largest player group in a given area will make up less than 10%. The other issue is, because we have such high fidelity, we can't have too many people in one particular instance, like in AC the limit at the moment it's only 8 people, with 1.0 we'll have some new tech that we've made that allows much greater player numbers in one instance, but even with a best case scenario at the moment of 50-100 players, there are only so many people that can be crammed into one instance. Matchmaking will help limit these things, like say an organisation might only be able to occupy a certain portion of an instance, there will be slots reserved for friends of other players in that instance as well. It won't be a case where a thousand people can get together and control an area anyway, even if they fill that instance, there could be another instance of the same space that matchmaking might put you into because you're unrelated to whatever activity is going on there. If you want to be more PvE than PvP, the contextual matchmaking will put you together with other NPCs that might attack you rather than players filling the pirate role. There are places where you'll be beyond the PvE/PvP selections, where there's "no law", but if you're after quiet trading without players hassling you you'll have the choice to steer clear of those areas. We still want organisations to have AN effect on the economy though, there will definitely be things they can take over and control, but not allow them to spoil other's fun. I'm a bit of a dreamer here, but I have a good feeling about the balance that we've worked out, and we can and will continue to work on that as time goes on. I could be crazy, but I'm sure I'll hear about it from you guys on the forums
Great question, I had this very specific discussion with Tony a couple weeks ago about the PU. Things we want to do with the PU to make the universe seem more alive and real I mean. Typically, like in freelancer/privateer, all the action happens in space and then you go down onto the planet, which is a glorified shopping and mission interface, you can't get mugged or anything game-like there. The beauty of our engine is that it is a first person engine, so we can do everything on that level and for flying/vehicles we just have a higher level of simulation. This means that down on the planets we can do things like combat, adventure and intrigue etc. We don't want to make down on the planets a full PvP experience because that may not necessarily be fun for people, but I think it would be fun that there might be an NPC on a pirate-sort-of-world where you've got a tip-off to get a special mission down an ally way, and as you go down there two guys try to mug you, but you take out your blaster and deal with them han-solo style, I think that's going to be really cool. We're talking about building in those kind of encounters, so basically PvE scenarios that add life to places. So maybe you investigate a derelict wreck, maybe there are NPC pirates already there salvaging it or using it as bait to attack you, or there could be a crazy looking alien creature or whatever. We're creating a living and breathing universe, and one of the things we're talking about is the idea of bounty-hunting and capturing, so one of the things wouldn't be too cool is if you capture someone and basically troll someone by keeping them captured. We thought maybe there'd be a monetary penalty for having "bribed your way out of prison" to spawn on your pirate planet again. But one thing we could definitely do is if you're a wanted pirate and you're captured, you get put into the hold, it cuts to you arriving at a prison planet or space station, a very simple style FPS level, where you might have to break out. It might not be very difficult, or involved, but something that you have to do so it pulls you into an escape, maybe with a generic NPC getaway vehicle or a friend or something could be really really cool. That's one of the things we've been talking about. So what'll happen is when you're captured maybe you'll be in the hold for about a minute before you start your prison stuff, while the capturer has "you" to complete their mission (if it's a player). Then you escape, or pay, or whatever and then get back to your pirate ways. SO there definitely will be prison stations, perhaps some prison planets, but those are the kinds of things we want to do to make the universe liveable and breathable.