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#20: 06-30-2015 @ 10:57:14 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10518#10518

MachVergilMachVergil

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So you may read articles like this on the internet today, claiming that Star Citizen's FPS Module, Star Marine is "Delayed Indefinitely."  That has a level of finality to it, often used to describe when something has been just short of canceled.  If you read The actual letter from Chris Roberts, you'll see there's nothing in there about 'delaying indefinitely,' just that they ran into unexpected issues and that they don't want to be over aggressive about when they'll be fixed.  He even talks about how it has a minor impact of the rest of the game's development, and how resolving these issues is something they are doing now and will make the rest of the game run better when they're done.

This is such hogwash.  I think I'm done with Polygon.


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#21: 07-03-2015 @ 07:45:48 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10531#10531

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This week, Star Citizen announced a new ship, The Genesis Starliner.  Now Star Citizen announcing new ships is not that big of a deal, happens all the time, but the Genesis is a dedicated passenger transport, and with its announcement came an article describing a new way to play.  That's right, in Star Citizen you will be able to buy and own a Space-747, and fly passengers to distant start systems.  Read up on what they want to do with this,it looks like another completely unique way to play the game!

 


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#22: 07-08-2015 @ 09:26:59 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10563#10563

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One of the developers Star Citizen made the following posts in response from recent comments and concerns regarding the game's development.  If you're concerned by some of the doom and gloom you can read online these days, give this a read, see if helps or hurts your stance on where the game is.

 


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#23: 07-17-2015 @ 07:49:40 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10618#10618

MachVergilMachVergil

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So one of the things being debated among the Star Citizen Community right now is controller balance.

"Controller Balance?" You might now be saying.  "What?"

Well, at the moment you can play Star Citizen with just about anything - mouse & keyboard, dual analog controller, expensive HOTAS, hell I've seen some people set up touch devices to emulate bonus panels from the game. The community is concerned however that some of these devices are not balanced with others and you won't believe the one causing problems - it's actually mouse that's OP!

Here's the reason: As I'm sure you can imagine, much like in Elite: Dangerous, some weapons are mounted on gimbal mounts.  Unlike E:D however, gimbal weapons in SC currently do not have auto-aim - instead they are just super flexible.  This was not always the case: in a previous version of SC my gimbals worked by auto-targeting so long as I was within a certain closeness to the target.  So not the full forward firing arc Elite gives, but still much much easier to aim than a fixed weapon.

At some point this was changed.  Gimbals now have no auto-aim meaning they kinda do effectively nothing on a HOTAS unless you somehow adjust your controls to manually adjust a gimbal while also flying your ship.  Meanwhile while using mouse, you can with the same motion, precision aim a gimbal and turn your ship at once.  IMO it makes aiming both fixed and gimbal weapons kinda a nightmare, but in a ship with mostly gimbals it makes aiming and hitting targets EASYMODE compared to what I had been doing on my HOTAS.

The mouse is also strong in general.  Here's video of someone using a ship with just fixed weapon in the Origin m50.  He's dominating the round and also speaks to his concerns about this.  I really do hope SC falls back to their previous model on this or at least follows Elite's lead with gimbaled weapons. 

BONUS: Latest episode of Bugsmashers - Fighting CryEngine player physics!

This post was edited by machvergil on July 17, 2015, 11:24 am


We set Wednesdays on Fire!
#24: 07-17-2015 @ 10:21:22 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10621#10621

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That just makes me cackle due to how we've always stated emphatically that the keyboard and mouse were the best input method for shooting games.


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#25: 07-17-2015 @ 11:33:02 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10622#10622

MachVergilMachVergil

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I'm actually a little conflicted on this.  On the one hand I own a nice HOTAS and would love to keep using it for Star Citizen from an immersion stand-point.  On the other hand, Star Citizen will have all the walking around inside spaces outside of your ship, and with my current desk set up, having to transition from WASD+Mouse to HOTAS and then back again is sometimes a pain.  Thankfully it's not a transition I think we'll ever have to do quickly, but if optimum way to play the game becomes mouse, I'll be disappointed but maybe it'll be more convenient in the end.

I've actually see a few people calling for disabling mouse control when flying and I cannot disagree more.  I think this game and its genre is going to have enough problems with getting people interested w/o having to require some kind of controller to play it, especially again because of the FPS parts.  If some people want to play with just keyboard and mouse I think they totally should.  I also think that at the same time I shouldn't be punished for using an expensive joystick for a game about flying in space so I would like to see them do something about it.


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#26: 07-17-2015 @ 09:24:16 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10628#10628

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Came up on conversation tonight.  I apparently never shared the persistent universe demo from October 2014.  Keeping in mind that none of this in Star Citizen ye, but you can tell from this demo that it was running in some version of the game.

This post was edited by machvergil on July 18, 2015, 12:25 am


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#27: 07-21-2015 @ 09:19:32 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10646#10646

MachVergilMachVergil

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Chris Roberts has been out filming for the Single Player part of Star Citizen, Squadron 42, for the last few weeks.  Yesterday, now that he's back at RSI's HQ, he did a extra long (1 hour and 30 minutes!) "10 for the Chairman" Q&A.  I do not recommend giving the full thing a listen if you're not invested or willing to listen to an older game developer and film guy talk about the challenges and solutions of the project. That said there are some things that I think would be worth sharing.

  • A lot of opening talk about Squadron 42.  600 pages of script, tons of performance capture.  Single game will have three 'primary acts' that they momentary refer to as a 'trilogy' but then stress that this is all for one game.  Says each part could be as short as your typical 6-12 hours AAA game, meaning the whole of SQ42 could be a massive game if you try to do everything.
  • Hints at "names you will recognize" among the cast for SQ42.
  • Spends some time stressing that we will be playing our own character in SQ42.  This is unlike Wing Commander where you play as Christopher Blair (acted by Mark Hamil in WC3 and WC4), or even Freelancer where you're playing Trent. 
  • Talks about how the goal of the game is for it be a seamless first-person experience.  Instead of clicking on a 'bar' button and then being in the bar, talking to fellow pilots, they want us to be able to wake up in our barracks, walk our character to the bar, talk to the people we want to, report to briefing, sit through briefing, and climb into our ship, and fly in space, all without hard transitions, never leaving your first person view.
  • Spends some time talking about how that vision is part of what is delaying the FPS module (aka Star Marine).  Even now when we play Arena Commander, we are actually seeing the view of our character sitting in a cockpit, driving a space ship.  It's true, and been true since I started playing - if you hit the camera view settings, you can see a character sitting there.  You can even see how parts of the cockpit UI are on the cockpit while others are on your helmet, and this is clear when you switch views. 

    The reason this creates problems because normally in a FPS engine, there's a hard difference between AI characters and player characters from an animation standpoint.  Your camera view in a lot of FPS games actually move the arms to basically by the head to give you the view of the guns that you get.  Player movement animations often don't need to be as smooth either since the player moves 'like a hovertank' to borrow Chris's terminology.  However, rather than leave that be, the SC team felt that they need to bend CryEngine so that player animations and NPC animations are the same, meaning they have to get player animations looking right from first person, so all units can share a common animation frame work, and players can look just as good to onlookers as NPCs do.  This is part of the holdup since this requires them to bend CryEngine (Chris takes some time to point out that the folks at CryTek have wanted to do this for years but publisher deadlines kept pushing it back).  Apparently they have a studio with several CryEngine veterans working there now to help them with this.
  • The unification of player/NPC animations for character models and FPS is also important to getting multi-seater ships working, which Chris anticipates will end up becoming a big part of persistent universe when it happens, which is why those types of ships still haven't come to Arena Commander.
  • They also list networking issues as a continuing thing they want to iron out.  Chris makes a joke about this, something like 'ask anyone who has worked on a multiplayer game and they'll have horror stories about networking.'
  • Regarding controller balance - Chris says he thinks this is something that they will continue to struggle with until launch, maybe even after, but he reiterates their goal.  He wants the game to be controller agnostic, and he thinks the solution is for each control method to have unique challenges and advantages.  For example, HOTAS may be best for precision flying, but you cannot get the most out of gimbaled weapons.  This makes HOTAS ideal for kitting out fixed weapons.  Meanwhile mouse/keyboard is more awkward to fly, but can get extra accurate with gimbaled weapons, so it makes sense for mouse users to tote gimbals.  Presently, he notes, the damage difference between gimbals and fixed is too close, so there is no advantage for HOTAS at present.  In an upcoming patch they are going to really increase this damage difference so that it really hurts when a fixed weapon hits you, and it requires all the extra shots to hit that mouse allows for a gimbal to be effective.

    I don't know if I think this is the best model (I think Elite's got the better idea here), but I don't think it's a terrible model, and I like that they recognized it's not in a good place now and are looking into it.
  • Regarding balance in general, Chris also tries to remind players that what works great in Arena Commander may not make sense once we get into Persistent Universe (hereafter PU) or even SQ42.  For example, a tactic used right now in some pvp modes is to spawn, use all your missiles and ammo, and then intentionally self-destruct so you can respawn with more ammo, rather than conserving your ammo or holding on until you are destroyed.  This sort of thing won't make sense in SQ42 where death this would trigger mission failure, or PU where where ship and ammo replacements cost in-game money.
  • Near the end of the video Chris answers two questions regarding development concerns raised by another game dev and former backer, Derek Smart.  The first is "has the game increased in scope since the initial kickstarter."  To which Chris agrees it has, and as such, not hitting the initially suggested fall 2014 deadline was only natural.  His argument is basically the community has given them all this money that to not make every strech goal and not make the best damn game they can would be to fail them, regardless of how long it takes. 
  • The second response he has is for the statement "Star Citizen is not possible to be made."  To this Chris seems to speak indirectly to Smart, not calling him by name, but suggesting that perhaps those who think that lack the experience or technical know-how or team to build something like this.  He sees the project before him and none of the milestones before them look like things they cannot do with the people and tech they have.  He ends that question with
    What do I say to people [who say we can't]?  "Bullshit"
  • EDIT: Forgot this - They are also planning to use a 'zone system' for the persistent universe. They want to make it so while flying around in space going from one planet to another won't have hard instance transitions.    It sounds like they also want to make it so if you were to start flying to a place at sub-light, and left your computer on long enough, you would still arrive at your destination unlike in Elite which requires the instance transitions to arrive somewhere.

 

This post was edited by machvergil on July 21, 2015, 12:59 pm


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#28: 08-07-2015 @ 10:44:00 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10763#10763

MachVergilMachVergil

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20 minutes until the Star citizen live stream for Gamescom 2015.  I'll drop the embed here, replace it with the YouTube recording later when it's over.

Things of note:

  • Bunch of Cosplayers won the 890 Jump for coming in Cosplay.
  • 'Social Module v0' which will let you leave your hangar and walk around an environment with up to 20 other players should come out this month.  Chat and emotes included.  Location includes a standard template of a few common landing site locations including "Cubby Blast" weapons shop for the FPS module,  Medical Unit where you'd respawn if you'd been killed or buy healing devices, Jobwell where you pick up missions and mission board, the "G-Loc" bar (yay get a drink with your friends!), Astro Armada where you maybe buy ships, and Dumpers Depot where you can buy ship equipment and get it repaired. basically everything you due with menus in Elite, except walking around in first or third person.  Some back alleys there as well.  The whole place looks and feels huge, definitely bigger than the hub city in Destiny.  Will feel even more so once they add in the NPCs missing right now.
  • Star Marine may be coming end of next month.  Still working on first & third person animations as they've discussed.  We see some play around with it.  Still needs more polish but is definitely far from canceled.
  • Ship development:  Focusing on getting the remaining ships from the initial crowdfunding done.
  • More on Squadron42 soon - will hear more at "Citizencon."  Looking forward to it.
  • Remains the most Crowdfunded game and Crowdfunded project ever.
  • Teased that they are beginning to look into modular customization of ships.  Examples given were modding the Retaliator bomber to carry passengers.  The Realiator for example comes with two "module rooms" which are currently bomb bays, but you could replace them cargo holds, living quarters, drop ship modules, etc.
  • Saitek is going to make a Star Citizen themed HOTAS.  There is a 'base level' one that has a throttle on the stick's base or not. Throttle can be detachable so it could be set up to attach to another option.  They showed a set up with a stick and throttle attached to a Mad Catz keyboard.  Showed HOTAS themed after SC ship manufacturers.  There is a also a super high-end Star Citizen stick based on the X-65.  Both sticks will also feature track balls for those who feel they won't be able to fight fair w/o a mouse to help them aim their gimbals.   Sounds like headsets and Mad Cats mice in the pipe as well.
  • And then, Arena Commander 2.0 - multicrew ships (which motivates the limited time Gamescom sale of ships normally not for sale). AC 1.0 maps were 8km across, but AC 2.0 maps can be 8,769,093,033km across.  Camera-relative rendering appraoch allows to feed GPU with 32-bit of data.  They are building a 'zone system' that allows them deal with the variable data density of space environments.  So a zone is an atrbitrarily sized container of game objects nested in zones, which will allow them to intelligently render, update and stream items depending on position in universe.  To speak more plainly: If you are in space looking at a planet with a space station orbiting it, the game will render the planet and it's station at distance, but not additional objects in the zone until you are also in the zone.  So your game isn't going to worry about rendering all the NPCs inside a ship you are not inside of, or all the ships docking in a space station you aren't nearby, etc.  This allows them to assign a unique physics grid to a zone - so there can be a physics grid for inside a ship that is independent of the physics grid in space around the ship.
  • They are hoping to deliver multi-crew soon (later this year). 
  • Guys they opened the window on their ship which is docked on a space station and the view made me audibly 'wow.' Seeing the space station and the planet in the background.  The space station feels huge.  The views out the window are amazing.  They aren't even in their ship yet.
  • They are on a mission to find a derelict Retaliator.  Two players are getting in single player ships (1 Gladius and 1 Super Hornet). Four players enter the Cutlass as we can see the Super Hornet taking off in the background.  Two players sit down in the back in chairs as one player sits in the front to fly.  As the pilot of the cutlass rolls his craft, his co-pilots feel nothing, able to move around the ship at will.
  • First time we see the Quantum drive used to make an in-system jump.  This is so much better than Frame Shift Drive super cruise.  He set a destination and just basically blasted through space there.  No weird phasing into a super cruse instance and back down.  It was just a jump from one area of interest to another.  Much faster.  Much more straight forward.
  • The cutlass comes to a halt, the 3 other guys then begin EVA out of the back hatch. They EVA to the derelict Retaliator. Open the top hatch and head in. Zero G seems to continue into the Retaliator when they enter (perhaps they have to turn gravity on?).  They are now exploring the ship and turn the gravity back on.  They then restore power as well. Then they turn the engineering station back on.  It allows a player to handle systems management that are normally done by the main pilot in a single seater ship at the expense of being able to fly.   Player gets in the cockpit under turret and another gets into the main pilot seat.  They have turned the derelict back on.
  • Another team in an Constellation, and is quantum jumping in. Co-pilots are managing systems and power, turret gunnser in position.  Blue team blows up the cutlass and both teams engage.  Red team takes out the constellation but the retalator was unable to jump home.   The demo ends with with the Idris frigate flying overhead.
  • They do the demo again so they can bring the Retaliator home.  We also see the torpedo in action.

I have to say what I absolutely love about this demo over what most gaming companies do is all of it was in-engine demo. It was all proof of concept.  No using CGI to hand wave and get us excited over something that isn't ready yet.  It's stuff like that which makes it easy, for me anyway, to believe this game is going to happen, and that real progress is being made.

EDIT UPDATE: Event over.  I don't recommend you watch all of it.  I have time stamped some important points to jump to in the below Twitch recording.  This will get you through all the live fumbles and other glad handing and community acknowledgments if you just wanna see the meaty gameplay.

  • 33:11 - Social Module v0 demo.
  • 48:57 - Star Marine (FPS) demo.
  • 1:33:30 - The first multi-crew demo. 
  • 2:02:44 - Second run through of the multi-crew demo. 

EDIT UPDATE 2: A Press version of the just the multi crew demo has been made available. 

EDIT UPDATE 3: Replacing the Twitch TV Live stream copy with YouTube. Should run better, not have audio issues, I think time stamps still stand.

This post was edited by machvergil on August 10, 2015, 11:12 am


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#29: 08-10-2015 @ 08:10:24 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10784#10784

MachVergilMachVergil

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I can't believe this video.

  1. This guy beat the new Vanduul Swarm in 1.1.6 in time to unlock the new Vanduul Scythe (alien fighter)
  2. He then is PvPing with it in 3rd person and actually getting kills.
  3. Including some kills by using the blade wings for impact kills.
  4. I wish my copy of the game ran this well.

Also, for the sake of completion, press version of the Social module presentation from GamesCom attached as well.

This post was edited by machvergil on August 10, 2015, 11:13 am


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