3.0 Production Schedule Report

Last update : Nov 17th, 2017

This week in closing out Alpha 3.0.0, we released three more builds to the Evocati as well as fifteen internal builds. The team also reviewed last week’s tests where we increased the number of players on a server. These tests were incredibly helpful to the team and even resulted in revisiting the priorities of bugs that became much more prevalent when the number of players were increased.

In larger news, we’re approaching a PTU candidate build. All of the directors are in daily reviews to assess the current state of any remaining tasks and the latest bug fixes. As you’ll see from the graphic, we’ve reduced our overall count to 179 Must-Fix issues.

As always, please feel free to visit our Spectrum thread to leave your feedback.


Click the video below to watch this week’s “Burndown,” which digs into detail on the bugs we battled and fixes we implemented.



Must Fix Issues

Shopping

This category includes physical shop transactions, commodity trading and the ability to add commodities and cargo boxes to your ship and transport them for sale.

This Week’s Update:

  • Had a feature review with Chris R and Directors to show that we’ve resolved almost all our major issues and we’re now onto bug fixing/polish mode.
  • Lighting passes have been done on the shops to ensure the displays and shopkeepers are properly lit.
  • First pass of pricing for items and commodities was implemented. We’ll continue to balance them after we release to a wider PTU audience and get crucial player feedback.
  • Implemented some additional UI fixes. We are now waiting on the remaining fixes for the commodity kiosks, then we can setup a final review to sign off as feature complete.

Missions

This category includes the individual missions that the players will be able to undertake from both job boards and the specialized NPCs that will provide them for the players. These mission givers will also introduce the first iteration of the reputation system.

This Week’s Update:

  • The team continues to work on the remaining missions to get them to Evocati as soon as possible. Parts of the team are also focusing on any feedback and bug reports that come in on already playable missions to get them into shape.
  • Completed a revision pass on the logic and flow of Miles Eckhart to get it as efficient as possible, and we’re aiming to have QA do some major testing on it by the end of this week. Ruto’s revision pass will take place after that.

Ships/Vehicles

This category includes the design setup for the ships and vehicles, the integration of our Item 2.0 system into ships and screens, UI setup, and balance for all the above.

This Week’s Update:

  • Wrapped up all the remaining setup tasks, so that the only remaining setup are ones blocked by other departments. We’re currently waiting on crucial fixes from Engineering, Animation, and UI for issues like the IK being out of alignment for controls, t-posing characters in turret seats, and ship passageways causing problems with Zero G enter/exit interaction.
  • Tasks for the Visor support screens and the “target-owned ships” are still in progress and scheduled to be completed next week. We’re getting some focus on other UI issues like targeting pips behaving erratically as well.
  • Balancing won’t begin until the UI Integration and Ship Setup features are complete.
  • The StarMap is now rendering into the ship radar and we have worked out the method of transitioning between the StarMap to the ship radar and vise versa. We have also implemented the framework for displaying the same UI in the mobiGlas onto the ship holographic StarMap. This will start implementation over the next few days.
  • Engineering have now made it possible for players to log off from specific usables, such as beds.

Traversal

This category covers all the ways your character can move through the universe, whether in a ship or on foot. It includes mechanics like Quantum Travel, afterburner, IFCS and atmospheric flight, and AI interdiction.

This Week’s Update:

  • Finishing up the afterburner balance, which should be submitted by the end of day today. The last remaining UI task should be addressed within the next week, then we review this feature with the directors to determine whether it is feature complete for 3.0.
  • Started looking into issues with the GravLev. We have already fixed a couple of issues, but will continue on improvements for the next two weeks to ensure we can get the GravLev to a solid state.
  • We are midway through a balance pass for atmospheric flight mode. However, we are still waiting on the code team to finish off a priority task for the cinematics team regarding Trackview. Once completed, they will tackle the final code task for this flight mode.

MobiGlas

This category covers everything associated with your handy personal assistant device, including the base implementation of new apps, the UI interface, and Starmap.

This Week’s Update:

  • Modified the port menu into an accordion-style categorised list; allowing the user to drop-down elements to view available ports within those categories.
  • Polishing the character model in the PMA to be bound and scaled properly in relation to the surrounding UI elements.
  • The team also made a handful of fixes and improvements to the Contract Manager app.
  • New hint events have been added to the game code that will now display hints in more places.
  • More UI hookup code has been written by the gameplay engineers, and is now awaiting more UI Flash code to be written to tie into.

Performance & Stability

This category covers overall system performance, optimization and player experience to make the game run smoother and more efficiently.

This Week’s Update:

  • Most of the optimization team spent the week looking into critical bugs for Evocati release.
  • Followed up on performance data gathered during last week’s large-scale network tests. As a result, changes were made to the job system allowing the utilization of even more cores on the servers without introducing extra overhead in job distribution which will be needed to allow very high player counts. This change will also translate to the client, so players with a high-end CPU will see extra benefits in performance. Another result of these network tests was that we re-prioritized some of the performance tasks that previously had lower priority because their associated cost showed up more dominantly on the server with an increased player count.
  • Continued to change to the zone system to allow for concurrent position updates. The team will also try to get some time for the game programmers to optimize various entity and item components. This was one of those re-prioritized tasks mentioned above.

Issues Fixed Over the Last Week:

Please note that this list represents an overview of fixes made this week and not a complete list.

Crashes

  • Fixed a crash in CPhysicalWorld::TracePendingRays.
  • Fixed a crash in RangeContainer::GetTargetDistancesRangeContainer::GetTargetDistances.
  • Fixed a crash in SRepairServiceDef::SortItemStatus.
  • Fixed a crash in Subsumption::CompareFirstObject::Update.
  • Fixed a crash in IEntity::QueryComponent.
  • Fixed a crash in StackTraceSignalHandler.
  • Fixed a crash in CSystem::InitFileSystem.
  • Fixed a crash in ShadowMapFrustum::ApplyJitteringToViewProjMatrix.
  • Fixed a crash in CSCActorResultStateUsable::Update.
  • Fixed a crash in CPhysicalPlaceholder::SetStateFromSnapshot.
  • Fixed a crash in CEntityComponentSystem::UnregisterComponent.
  • Fixed a crash in CPhysicalWorld::GetPhysicalEntityId.
  • Fixed a crash in CPersistentDataManager::SyncGetEntities.
  • Fixed a crash in CBaseUIOwner::HandleExternalInterfaceCall.
  • Fixed a crash in CPersistentDataManager::GetSpawnState.
  • Fixed a crash in CTravelEnvelope::TakeSnapshot.
  • Fixed a deadlock in CJobManager::ExecuteBatchJob.
  • Fixed a deadlock in CPhysicalWorld::RayWorldIntersection.
  • Fixed a game hang during the getting out of bed animation.

Game Code

  • Fixed an issue where Quantum Travel would not activate after making two jumps.
  • Fixed an issue where Quantum Tavel jumps had a 30 second delay before the spool process would begin.
  • Fixed an issue where player ships could be removed from the persistence cache after being retrieved from an ASOP terminal.
  • Fixed an issue where ships could bounce off the landing pad when spawned at Port Olisar.
  • Fixed an issue where ships would spawn at Port Olisar at an angle and be potentially inaccessable.
  • Fixed an issue where active, piloted ships were being cleaned up when the vehicle limit was reached.
  • Fixed an issue where the character would not be able to interact with the ASOP terminals after having exited a ragdoll state.
  • Fixed an issue where interaction points would flicker and be unresponsive after ejecting from a ship.
  • Fixed an issue where shielf VFX would be invisible when near a moon.
  • Fixed an issue where maneuvering thrusters could be sluggish.
  • Fixed an issue where CryAstro stations would not restck missiles.
  • Fixed an issue where the character could become stuck in falling and getting up animations.

UI

  • Fixed an issue in ships with a 3D radar that caused the MFD’s to not be functional.
  • Fixed an issue where changing tabs in the Mission Manager app would remove all missions from the mission list.
  • Fixed an issue where hit indicators were not being displayed on the HUD.
  • Fixed an issue where the StarMap would be unresponsive to input after accessing it from inside a ship.

Stanton

  • Fixed an issue where enemy AI did not spawn in the patrol missions.
  • Fixed an issue where derelicts were missing from the surface of the moons.
  • Fixed an issue where the player was not presented with the option to refuel at CryAstro stations.
  • Fixed an issue where the hangar doors at Levski could close and trap the player inside.
  • Fixed an issue where mounted turrets on Comm Arrays were not working.
  • Fixed an issue where corpses could disappear from a ship when Quantum Travelling.
  • Fixed an issue where the character would be damaged by a ship canopy when exiting the ship to ZeroG.

Network

  • Fixed an issue where the servers could become unresponsive when travelling towards Levski.
  • Fixed an issue where the Dedicated Game Server kernel could run out of memory.
  • Fixed an issue where server and client performance would degrade as more players connected.

Vehicles

  • Fixed an issue where the cockpit of the Vanguard Warden was missing geometry.
  • Fixed issues with ships not having functioning headlights.
  • Fixed an issue where the character could not enter the pilot seat of the Gladius due to an inactive prompt.
  • Fixed an issue where it Mustang ships would not toggle.
  • Fixed issues with the brightness of headlights of ships.
  • Fixed an issue where the Vanguard Warden was missing the rear ramp.
  • Fixed an issue where the Starfarer would spawn floating above the pad.
  • Fixed an issue where the Freelancer would immediately launch off the pad when powered up.
  • Fixed an issue where the Galdiator would spawn inside the landing pad.
  • Fixed an issue where the character could not exit the lower turret of the Caterpillar.

Misc

  • Fixed an issue where the Omnisky weapons were missing their models in the game.

THE PROCESS

We have been listening to your feedback as a community and over the coming weeks we’ll be working towards improving the way we communicate our development updates to you. We will make clearer the changes and improvements and blockers that we have experienced throughout the week in a high-level foreword, while still maintaining the thorough tracking for the more detail-oriented members of our community. That way, those who are looking for a simple update can easily find it. This will be a work in progress for the next few weeks, so please continue the feedback as we hone in a format that is easily workable between our developers and yourselves.

CAVEATS

But also, we would like to establish some ground rules before proceeding:

I.Quality will always be our number one goal. We set out on this journey by looking at the gaming landscape and asking: can we do better? We continue to ask that question about everything we do. As a result, we will ALWAYS extend timelines or re-do features and content if we do not feel they are up to our standards. The freedom to fight for a new level of quality in game development is what crowd funding has allowed us, and we will continue to fight to make sure Star Citizen is the best possible game it can be.

II.The estimates we provide are just that: estimates. They are based on our knowledge and experience, but there are many aspects of game development that are impossible to predict because they literally cover uncharted territory. You will see the same estimates we use in our internal planning, but it is important to understand that in many cases (especially with groundbreaking engineering tasks) these estimates are often subject to change due to unforeseen complexity in implementing features.

III.The time expected for bug fixing and polishing is also very hard to estimate, increasingly so in online and multiplayer situations. The complexity and the difficulty in testing at a large scale make it harder to reproduce and isolate bugs in order to fix them. We base our estimates, again, on our experience, but we also know that it’s possible for a single bug to cause a delay of days or weeks when a hundred others might be fixed instantly.

IV.Internal schedules, the ones you will now be privy to, tend to have aggressive dates to help the team focus and scope their tasks, especially in the case of tech development. Every team, even a team blessed with the kind of support and freedom you have allowed us, needs target dates in order to focus and deliver their work.

V.This schedule doesn’t cover everything being worked on across Cloud Imperium Games, but is meant to highlight our aims for the remainder of the year on the Persistent Universe.

VI.This schedule doesn’t include every audio, vfx, tech art, etc. task. Those are detailed in our departmental sub-schedules.

VII.Although technology is shared between the two games, this does not reflect the Squadron 42 schedule. That will be released at a future date.

VIII.These aim dates are determined based on our current staff. Additional hiring will potentially allow us to bring in some dates below.

Beyond 3.0.0 - Overview

Once Alpha 3.0.0 goes live, future PU patches are going to switch over to a quarterly cycle, so content will be released on a more consistent basis. The web team is currently developing an updated presentation format to better reflect the roadmap moving forward, so you can see how the various features and additions will fall into this revised quarterly schedule. This will go live with the release of the new website.