BUGSMASHERS: Caterpillar Doors

BUGSMASHERS: Caterpillar Doors

In this episode of Bugsmashers, host Mark Abent shares a problem with the cargo bay doors on the Caterpillar and how it he fixed it.

This post is a transcript of Around the Verse Special Edition: Alien Languages, material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is a Star Citizen fansite and is not officially affiliated with CIG but we reprint their materials with permission as a service to the community. Enjoy!


Hey, everyone. We’re here inside the Caterpillar and we have a bug where these fun cargo doors sometimes don’t open or they open incorrectly. These doors are special because there’s an interior part and exterior part. So you can think of the interior here and the exterior here, and when you open it, they’re supposed to coincide. When you close it, they’re supposed to go together, however when you look away from the door the exterior opens, but the interior remains where it was until you look at it and then it may start animating or just get stuck.

So, if we open it up, we can see everything looks fine. If I close it and look away, it’ll take a bit. Bam! We can see the exterior door close, but the interior which it should show this metal stuff with Drake on it and all that panels is not closed.

So, the interior, we can actually fly out. The exterior closed, the interior has not. So if I run over here and hit close, you can see it snapped to the close position and now it works correctly.

So, what’s going on? Well, there’s a bit of code that says, “Hey if this thing is visible, we can fire off the animations”.

The idea is it’s some kind of optimization so if there’s a ship way out there, I don’t have to animate it because why take up all those CPU cycles, but unfortunately when we’re inside the ship, the exterior knows that we’re potentially visible so it animates, but the interior when we switch this way, that CGA in the back is not owned by any entity it’s just there, and because of that it doesn’t animate correctly.

Even though it’s attached to the animation of the ship, it’s just called out because it’s like, “well it’s not visible so I shouldn’t have to worry about it”.

So, I have this bit of code in Mannequin, if I enable it, what this will do is it checks to see if this entity has a parent which is going to be the ship and if this door, the interior is enslaved to the exterior and the exterior is visible, then we allow it to animate even though you can’t see it. The idea is if you can see the exterior, then you should potentially see the interior when the door opens and closes.

So what we do is if the owner entity which is going to be the vehicle which is going to be the exterior door is active, but the interior door is not, we’re going to force it to be active. Same thing down here, so we’re forcing the entity to be active and we’re forcing the skeleton to be active. What that will do is, this will allow the entity to do an update call to tell the animation system, “Hey I’m active, so go process my animations,” and this will allow the skeleton to actually function.

So, two updates we have to do. Entity system wanted to say, “Hey, animation, I’m ready”, and the animation system will go, “Yep, I’m ready too”. So, in theory, this should allow if the outer door is ready, the inner door will be forced to be ready so they can open and close together.

So, let’s hit the re-code button and take a look at what happens. OK, re-code is done, let’s start back up the game, alright!

So, we’re back in the level and let’s close the door. Magic door close. We won’t look at it. Wham! It’s closed, as you would expect. Alright, let’s open it again. Let’s not look at it, not look at it, and it’s open!

So, now we’re getting the interior update when the exterior is updating. So if I close this, going into another room, open that door, go to the other room it’s closed correctly and this room should be open correctly.

So, if the interior is not updating, but the exterior is, we say, “Hey! You should be, because we’re updating both” and then they both play the animation, everything works well and you could open and close your doors just by not looking at it. Well, hope you guys enjoyed, till next time! Wew!

So, as you guys saw we had the Caterpillar and it’s just a gigantic long ship and it has all these bay doors in it and you’re supposed to be able to hit one or open one up and brings down the bay door and it’s a little bit of complicated geometry in this setup because we have an exterior mesh for the door and an interior mesh. So there are two doors at the same time that open and close and what was happening is when you’re looking at one of the doors it opened correctly, however, if you looked that way when the doors open, one of the doors would open, but the other would stay intact. It would usually be the exterior door that opened and the interior door when you’re inside, wouldn’t open until you looked at it and then it would start animating, but by then it would be too late, it would be stuck open or stuck closed. You could go around and hitting all the buttons and it wouldn’t move until you looked at it.

It was a simple fix, we just made sure that if the exterior animates, then we force the interior to animate at the same time. So the doors would open close even if you looked the opposite way. Hope you guys enjoyed, until next time.

‘Star Citizen’ Director Teases More Planet Variety Than ‘Star Wars’ While Dissing ‘No Man’s Sky’

‘Star Citizen’ Director Teases More Planet Variety Than ‘Star Wars’ While Dissing ‘No Man’s Sky’

Star Citizen is a controversial and ambitious space exploration epic, and more details about the project’s persistent universe were shared in a Subscriber’s Town Hall clip on Tuesday. In the 30-minute chat, director Chris Roberts made comparisons to Star Wars while implicitly downplaying the locales of No Man’s Sky.

Speaking to variety, Roberts said Star Citizen will make differentiation “one of [its] big focuses.” “You watch Star Wars and you go ‘Okay, yeah, it’s Hoth. It’s the ice-snow planet. And Endor’s the forest moon or whatever.’ And we’re definitely going to have different planets, moons even, that would have those sort of different feels. And in some ways maybe have more of a variety of ecosystems,” he mused.

But these varying environments aren’t just meant to give players something fresh to look at. As stated by persistent universe director Tony Zurovec, new surroundings “directly benefit the types of gameplay that we’ll be able to have the players engage in. Everything from reduced visibility from snowstorms, sleet, fog [and] impaired navigational capability from sources of radiation.” “All of these different types of mechanics come together and allow us to present new and different challenges,” he said.

What this essentially means is that, on particularly hostile planets, the inhabitants of Star Citizen may have to spend some time surviving before they can be rescued by a distress beacon. While unfinished, the loop might involve hunting and gathering until safety arrives. Each circumstance therein is dictated by the variety in planets. Roberts also feels that multi-crew ship concepts will take those experiences even further.

That being said, the director also tried to distance himself from games like No Man’s Sky, which hinged heavily on its universe of 18 quintillion planet-sized planets. “Even though we may not have a billion procedurally generated moons or planets, we’ll have a huge… we’ll have a very large amount of actual planets and moons that have a really well-constructed set of environments and ecosystems that should be challenging and interesting to explore,” he said.

In other words, the goal of Star Citizen isn’t just to offer players lots of places to explore but to also make sure those places are detailed and carefully designed. The apparent lack in environmental beauty remains one of No Man’s Sky’s most critical issues, despite its massive scope. There was no specific name drop in the chat, but it’s clear Roberts wants to let fans know similar mistakes won’t be made.

Ironically, however, it should be noted that some of No Man’s Sky’s staff is currently working on Star Citizen.

The full discussion goes into much greater detail on subjects like server disconnects, quest generation and more. It can be watched at the embedded YouTube link above. Star Citizen remains one of the most funded game projects ever made and has been in development for several years. Its most anticipated module, Squadron 42, is planned for initial release later this year.

Star Citizen cheaters face permaban with no refund (but CIG needs video evidence)

Star Citizen cheaters face permaban with no refund (but CIG needs video evidence)

The rollout of the Star Marine FPS module has opened the door to a new wave of unscrupulous behavior.

Star Citizen cheaters face permaban with no refund (but CIG needs video evidence)

I have no doubt that you will be shocked—shocked—to learn that the rollout of the Star Citizen 2.6 alpha, which includes the Star Marine FPS module, has led to reports of cheating. Some people just can’t help themselves, I guess. Fortunately, developer Cloud Imperium Games has a “zero tolerance policy” for such shenanigans, as it said in response to one player complaint, and that people caught cheating will be given the perma-boot, with no refund. But complicating the situation somewhat is that for now, the studio requires that reports of cheating be accompanied by video evidence.

As PCGamesN points out, the problem is that not everyone has access to video capture setups, and those who do won’t necessarily have them running when they fall victim to cheaters. It’s not like you can ask them to smile and hold a pose while you capture your evidence, right? But CIG developer TylerN posted a follow-up message explaining that it’s still early days for the anti-cheating effort, and the request for video evidence was made not only to back up claims, but also to help it come up with better anti-cheating tools.

“Cheat prevention in Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is a priority for us, and we have gathered lots of feedback from internal and external sources since the initial release of Star Marine. Rest assured, we have already begun banning violators as well as working on short-term, and long-term solutions for preventing the use of 3rd party programs,” he wrote. “Requesting video evidence helps us achieve a few things—It substantiates claims made by players, which we compare with our internal data, and it helps us improve the functionality of our tools to better combat cheaters proactively.”

It’s a high burden of proof, then, but also a severe punishment for those caught behaving badly. I think that’s a reasonable approach: As an alpha, Star Citizen is surely still too rough around the edges to rely too heavily on automated system, but alpha “testers” who are more interested in dicking around with the system to score a win aren’t doing anyone any good.

TylerN added that feedback from the thread will be forwarded “to the appropriate party so that our messaging is more clear going forward.”

‘Star Citizen’ Squadron 42 Release Date Will (Probably) Be 2017, Says Co-Founder Chris Roberts

‘Star Citizen’ Squadron 42 Release Date Will (Probably) Be 2017, Says Co-Founder Chris Roberts

Star Citizen single-player campaign, titled Squadron 42, has never had a firm release date since it was announced several years ago and it was absent from streams this past December. While speaking with Germany’s Spiegel Magazine (as translated on reddit ), Cloud Imperium Games co-founder Chris Roberts apparently expressed some apprehension about even hitting the target this year.

While most of the interview is just a rehash of old details about Squadron 42 alongside an interview with a wealthy Kickstarter backer, there’s one last quote that’s generating strong reactions amongst the Star Citizen community.

“This year we will finish,” says a quote from Roberts cited by the publication. However, the project head paused and added “probably” to his statement.

What we can gather from this statement is that, while nearing a public state, the fate of Squadron 42 and Star Citizen still remains very uncertain. To faithful backers, this makes sense, of course. This undertaking and its many offshoots are still in the thick of development. Even its playable components are cautiously described as alphas. That being said, it can be difficult for developers to manage timelines and fulfill obligations. While Cloud Imperium Games has recently stepped up its transparency through more frequent updates, this waiting game has characterized all of Star Citizen from the start.

What we do know is that the 28-episode experience intends to offer a robust narrative with some top-tier talent including Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill and Liam Cunningham. When everything is set to go live, the current plan is to only have episode 1 ready to play.

Star Citizen fans are getting anxious as CIG plans to reveal some of its 3.0 alpha internal timelines next week, but there’s still reason to be dubious. After all, those same development notes also promised Squadron 42 would be out by 2015 too. Amongst some backers, there’s a sense that this developer has intentionally withheld information to keep hype and sales going.

Star Citizen is partially available in alpha for its backers on PC. For now, Squadron 42 is slated to release in 2017.

What do you think of this latest Star Citizen development? Will 2017 be the initial release year for Squadron 42? Tell us in the comments section!

Star Citizen Talks About The Process Of Creating Lore

Star Citizen Talks About The Process Of Creating Lore

“We wanted to take some time to day and talk about the process, how lore is actually made for a video game, since that’s not a part of a video game’s story that’s often told.”

And thus begins a remarkable, nay, monumental episode of Star Citizen’s Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. OK, maybe it’s not going to rock your world, but it is kind of interesting to hear about the years — dating back to 2012 — of lore creation for this upcoming space sim.

If you can’t wait to sink your teeth into the backstory and world setting of Star Citizen and Squadron 42, you’ll want to check out this week’s episode!

Star Citizen’s Latest Update Finally Adds FPS Module

Star Citizen’s Latest Update Finally Adds FPS Module

Backers of Star Citizen, the extremely ambitious crowdfunded project headed by Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame, have been waiting for this day for over a year. Star Marine, the game’s FPS module, has finally been released alongside a major update to all of the game’s features with the Alpha 2.6 patch, adding new flight-ready ships, locations, numerous bug fixes and tweaks.

The biggest feature of the update is the addition of Star Marine, as mentioned above. To those unfamiliar with Star Citizen’s model, the final release of the game, called the “Persistent Universe,” will integrate all features and systems into a single seamless MMO experience. Leading up to release, however, the developers have cut up the game into modules, each focusing on a main aspect of the game, and are releasing these modules one at a time, allowing backers to test out the features.

Star Marine is the FPS module of the game. It was first announced back in mid 2015, however after being hit with an indefinite delay, no-one knew when it would actually arrive. That said, it’s not like this is the first time players can try out the shooting mechanics of the game, as personal weapons were already implemented in the game’s current Alpha open-world section, which is limited to a single star system.

The FPS module launched with two modes and two maps. The game modes are pretty run of the mill, one being FFA while the other is team deathmatch, and the maps themselves are set either inside a space station, or in a zero-G environment.

Star Citizen’s dogfighting module, Arena Commander, has also been updated with three new multicrew ships and a swarm game-mode. A whole lot of balance changes have also been implemented, likely changing the metagame once again. The current mini-Persistent Universe has also seen a number of additions, including 8 ships which are now flight ready, including the Drake Caterpillar, now the largest flyable ship in the game. The cargo-hauler is among the game’s oldest ships in terms of availability, and now backers who bought it, possibly even years ago, are given their first chance to take the hulking beast for a spin around the system.

New locations, weapons, missile variants, salvage locations and UI improvements were also added to the game with the 2.6 update alongside the main features and several bugfixes. Most noticeable of the latter is the significant increase in optimization and stability. Since Star Citizen is running on a highly modified version of the CryEngine, it’s been notoriously tough on hardware, with even the strongest gaming PCs breaking a sweat. Achieving 60 FPS at 4K on max settings was nigh impossible for the average player. While the last statement is still true, the game will make your PC feel less inadequate than it did before. Framerate drops and crashes are less frequent, and stronger PCs will finally be able to run the game on the higher settings without serious issues. The netcode also got some upgrades, so random disconnects won’t be as frequent either.

The other major bit of news regarding Star Citizen is the integration of Amazon’s Lumberyard engine into the game. To clear things up a bit, Star Citizen didn’t undergo a complete engine change – that would be absurd. Star Citizen has used a highly modified version of Crytek’s CryEngine from day one, and Lumberyard is also a highly modified version of CryEngine. Amazon has been using the latter for some time now, improving certain underlying systems which incidentally play a critical role in Star Citizen. Cloud Imperium Games’ cooperation with Amazon has allowed them to integrate various features of Lumberyard into Star Citizen, leading to a smorgasbord of under-the-hood improvements – an example of which are the netcode updates mentioned above.

With the long-overdue release of Star Marine, the addition of all these new ships and the multitude of stability improvements across the board, Star Citizen is definitely closing 2016 on a high-note, in spite of the roller coaster-like nature of the past year.

Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 Released With New Weapons, Ships; Switches to Lumberyard Engine

Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 Released With New Weapons, Ships; Switches to Lumberyard Engine

Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries announced that the alpha 2.6 update for Star Citizen has been released, featuring new ships to fly such as the the Origin 85X, Drake Caterpillar, Drake Herald and Aegis Vanguard Hoplite. They have a selection of new ship weapons available for pilots to use as well, including more than 25 new missile and laser weapons.

Over on the official Roberts Space Industries site they showcased all of the new content in alpha 2.6, including posting up a half-minute video featuring the weapons that you can check out below.

They’ve made many modifications to the vehicle and on-foot third-person camera, fixing many of the ‘under the hood” mechanics to make it more cinematic and user friendly, this includes three new camera modes for third-person view: chase camera, vehicle orbit and passenger orbit.

With the inclusion of the Star Marine module they’ve also introduced the new health system that sees players bleeding out. Bleeding is a stackable state, so the more you bleed out from different body parts, the more likely you are ot bite the dust. Each body part can also enter a damaged or bleeding state, so it’s possible to leg-shoot someone until you do the equivalent of severing an artery and have them bleed out to death.

You can stop bleeding by using the Medipen to fix the injured limb.

The new scoring and leaderboard system was also implement with Star Marine, along with two different game modes and two maps.

Arena Commander was also updated with the new Pirate Swarm game mode, along with new promotions done through a UEE Navy Arena Commander leaderboard.

Blues also pointed out that CIG has switched over to Amazon’s Lumberyard game engine, which is based on the CryEngine technology.

However, the switch came in favor of Amazon’s AWS cloud services for multiplayer networking. The Lumberyard is designed for large scale shards supporting massive multiplayer environments with better optimization and streamlined seeding over the CryEngine.

The CryEngine, Unreal Engine and Unity aren’t very convenient for massive, open-world, procedurally designed MMOs. They’re better suited for high-end, small, instanced area environments. However, RSI and CIG wanted to go for super high-fidelity rendering and the CryEngine was perfect for that sort of stuff early on in development, so that’s why they went with the CryEngine. However, the engine scales horribly for MMOs, which is why they’ve eventually switched to the Amazon’s AWS and Lumberyard.

In their production schedule they note that gamers can expect new mercenary missions and quests, repair functions for the ships and new salvage features in version 3.2, due next year. They also have plans on adding six new ships. 3.3 will go even further by adding farming, rescue missions, professions and new solar system locations.