Monthly Report: February

Dev Ops:

This month the Dev Ops team has been setting up the foundations of our operational infrastructure. We are working with the server engineering team to build a provisioning layer that will supply the servers centralized “brain”, a steady stream of information about the health of the services running, and a place for that “brain” (named Process Manager) to request new processes, services, or vms to be created in case some crash or population load grows. In future phases we will start making more logic based decisions on this data and also spin down services, move them around, and gather more information on them. We are also now building out our configuration management tools after spending January evaluating several options.

Dev Ops is also building out all the logging for internal, PTU and production servers so that we can react quickly to issues, and also supply other engineers with details about problems.

Work on the new launcher is progressing, and evaluation of new SSN code for an improved version of patching is also underway. Some of the team is over in our German office working with engineers there to finish rebuilding the build server. They are making excellent progress on that, and it should be ready for development use in March.

On top of all that, we have deployed 1.0.2 and 1.0.3 to PTU and Live. Finally, we have been working with Google to learn all we can about different technologies we can use to make sure that the Star Citizen architecture is as scalable and dynamic as we possibly can make it. Our goal is to minimize player impact and maximize uptime. The team is looking forward to the extremely busy month of March with PAX and SXSW!

Inside CIG: Imaginarium

Foundry 42


Another very busy month on Star Citizen and Squadron 42. We are starting to see the S42 campaign coming together well, with lots of focus on the motion capture shoot that is about to happen at Imaginarium Studios. A lot of the work has been focused on the correct prop sizes so the actors can interact with our digital assets in a believable way. You would be amazed at the amount of planning that has to go into make sure everything is set up correctly for the shoot. Chris will be over in the UK to direct the performance capture for our cut-scenes, so we are making every effort to give them all the relevant information needed to make the scenes work well.

As you will all probably know, you begin the S42 campaign flying off the Idris Frigate; we got our grey-box version populated with AI this month to see how it was working as an interstitial HUB and once we added a few extra crew we came up with something that felt really satisfying and believable. Once the conversation system can be implemented we feel it will really be something special. Obviously we made good progress on the rest of the chapters and with involvement from the Frankfurt team, who are now coming online, we are starting craft some of the scenarios into immersive and fun gameplay sections. It’s been really helpful to get a fresh perspective from Todd and his design team.

As for Arena Commander, we are making good progress on the tutorial element, which we hope to release very soon. The leaderboards now have the addition of ‘Rating’, and multiplayer ‘Free-Flight’ is working well. We have focused on improving the ‘holo-table’ usability and functionality, with lots of good suggestions from the community being worked on. Lastly, we created a simple spawning map as a ‘stress-test’ for the Devs to work with.

All in all, another good month in design with good progress being made in all areas. Thanks again for making all this possible!


February in the North West of the UK and, not to pander to stereotypes, it’s wet, cold, grey and miserable. So no excuse for not cracking on with Arena Commander and Squadron 42 development then!

With the 1.1.0 release of Arena Commander just around the corner that has been a big focus for us. There are a couple of new modes which we’ve been developing here in the UK. The first is the new tutorial system to help ease the new recruits into playing what can be quite a complicated flight system. This required getting the AI “teacher” pilot to be able to perform the different maneuvers they’re teaching the player very precisely, being able to make sure the player is following correctly, and being able to time events very accurately. It’s can be surprisingly fiddly. The second is the multiplayer free flight, which will allow multiple people to hang out without having to engage in a game. Although in some ways it was quite straightforward to set up – after all we’ve got the other multiplayer modes already – there are some things you can do in freeplay that you can’t in the other modes which gives it some different challenges. It’s also going to be the first time we show off the new take-off and landing system.

Now the levels for Squadron 42 are starting to come together we’re in a position where we’ve started getting the game flow into our single player campaign and make it feel more like a game rather than just a collection of levels. At the basic level you go from one part of the game to the next, like what happens when you select “New Game”, or if you die in a mission, saving your progress, or loading back in again and so forth. The main challenge is the saving and loading systems, especially with a game as complicated as the one we’re creating, and will no doubt create lots and lots of bugs as QA try and break the system! Obviously the CryEngine has a lot of the game saving and loading already implemented on the FPS side, but with all the new functionality (and small things like space combat!) there are a lot of new systems that will need fixing up.

Other than that it’s continued work on all the other mechanics. The conversation system is coming along nicely, along with our StoryForge script writing tool. It’s very much in the iteration stage where we’re coming up with lots of different things to try and make it feel as natural as possible, which is important for the immersion. For example, getting the player to realize somebody wants to talk to you, not with a speech bubble over their head, but by their body language. Getting that right is a challenge. Too subtle and you won’t notice, too much and it’ll just look weird. And starting a conversation maybe by how you then interact with that character, rather than having to press a key, without it feeling clumsy. The hard work is not so much getting the initial system working, but the time and effort it takes to refine it with the combined efforts of the animators, script writers, designers, and engineers to get it to feel just right.



Its been on all fronts again. Characters, ship interiors, ship exteriors, props, you name it – we seem to have touched it all this month! Hiring? Yes – always, we are staffing up our FPS weapons team :D

Environment Team – Ian

This month has seen the Shubin Interstellar interior building set hit Greybox complete, which means all the building components have a good amount of mesh detail and are looking lovely. We’ve also been building the PBR master shader library for this set – plastics, metals, glass etc, and applying them to an established beautification corner. This is where we take a corner of a level up to final art so that the Art Director can see a good representation of how the finished set will look. A modular pass has also been done on the exterior of Shubin to enable the design team to create other space station facilities.

Ship Team – Bjorn

This month, the Foundry 42 ship is hard at work finalizing 3 Ships, making them ready for either Hangar or Arena Commander!!

On top of that, we are very excited to release our first pass of our new damage prototype which will hopefully impress you guys. It’s a completely new approach on how we handle damage for ships, mainly to future proof ourselves, improve memory usage, and give you guys more eye candy to look at when you shoot our ships to smithereens.

This is the first iteration, and is still a work in progress, but the results are already very satisfying!

The Gladius is being prepared for flight ready state. Neil is finalizing the art work, as well as implementing all the needed changes to have it working with the new damage prototype.

Matt has been working hard on the Gladiator, which will also feature the new damage model! Then we also have the long awaited hangar release of the Retaliator!

I know you guys have been waiting for this one for a while, and you won’t be disappointed! Nathan, Jay and Phil have been working hard to get this ship ready for you guys, pulling long nights to make sure everything is top notch!

Once we finalized these ships, there is no rest for the ship team at F42. We are jumping straight into cap ship production and the final production of the Starfarer, Idris, and Javelin. This will be a very complex production , so please bear with us on these massive ships!

After that we are going to focus on a full Vanduul Fleet in addition to a revamp of the Bengal Carrier to give you guys what you want.. the best D*mn space sim ever!


Character pipeline – it’s a long and complicated road! Sculpting, crafting, chiseling, ripping, photographing, scanning, reworking – and that’s just one for one benchmark character.


The VFX team had a great summit. All the team members met here in Manchester to further define the way forward for SC effects, Besides that there have been massive improvements in the damage system, coupled with some tricky techniques developed by the ship guys. The damaged ships are really starting to look cool and be efficient. Arena Commander has also received additional VFX as well as polishing the ones already in place.

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