3.0 Production Schedule Report

Last update : Dec 22nd, 2017

Star Citizen Alpha 3.0.0 will be released to the Live servers tomorrow December 23rd, meaning that anyone with a SC game package can access the expanded Persistent Universe, including the three moons of Crusader, our new mission system, and the brand new cargo and commodity system.

Just a reminder that this is still an Alpha build, so keep sending any bugs you find to the Issue Council. Apart from the improvements already made, there’s still a lot of work that has to be done to get the performance up to where we want it to be, but this will take a bit more time. Now that the team completed the heavy lifting to get the tech, content and systems for 3.0.0, they can focus on optimizations, feature consolidations, and polish for our first quarterly release.

You will be able to see our updated Production Roadmap when the new RSI website goes live in January. Here are some shots on how this new format will look:

In the meantime, feel free to visit our Spectrum thread to leave your feedback and enjoy the new 3.0.0 patch.

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:

  • All of the feature work is complete, so the team has just spent the week addressing any bugs that arise and continuing on polishing the overall user experience.

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:

  • All of the feature work is complete, so the team has just spent the week addressing any bugs that arise and continuing on polishing the overall user experience.

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:

  • Testing and bugfixing is ongoing for the StarMap to ShipRadar conversion. Feedback has been gathered from the various teams and backers and will be actioned on in the new year.
  • Ongoing testing for Persistence is taking place with the current implementation and bugs are being fixed as they are found.

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:

  • The team implemented some improvements to the IFCS instability, which should have some decent improvements, however, this issue is unlikely to be completely fixed before the end of the year.
  • The extended drag compensation feature of atmospheric flight isn’t going to make the release now as the team has spent additional time on bugfixing and continued improvements to the spline work.
  • Interdiction is now enabled by default in the Persistent Universe, we’ve got some critical bug fixes that are still being worked on but these should be completed in the next day or two. There is a dedicated team continuing to work on improvements up until the release.

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:

  • The team have been hard at work focusing on the final tweaks and bugfixes for the Personal Manager App in the last week. There is still one outstanding issue with weapon attachments that we are focusing on and are hoping to resolve in the next few days
  • A secondary art pass was done on the Vehicle Manager App this week to address the few remaining issues from the first implementation, namely the overlapping buttons when selecting an item to switch. Tech design also completed a pass to ensure item port names are displaying a correct string.

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:

  • The devs capped the number of worker threads for the background jobs and now also defer the allocation of decompressions contexts to implicitly limit the number of fiber counts. This change resulted in 1 GB saved in committed memory on the client.
  • The following code optimizations were submitted:
    • Updates of the holo display items.
    • General hint system optimizations and fixed spamming of hint events.
    • Changed the door switch/panel physics types from rigid to static.
    • Added adaptive substep functionality to physics processing.
    • Removed / deferred player interaction raycasts which frequently caused large delays on mainthread due to previous synchronous nature.
    • Staggered updates of ship UI elements to reduce per-frame overhead.
    • Removed unnecessary bounding box recalculations when setting physic parameters
    • Reworked vehicle part updates to avoid unnecessary iteration which removed multiple update types. Removed unused code from updates.
    • Optimization to greenzone component lookup. This one contributes towards actor updates (specifically the player pre-physics update).
    • Optimized UpdatePhysicsCGA to use a batch update model (saves a lot of cost in animation sync).
    • Landing gear optimization.
    • Removed unused weapon / item code.
    • EntityComponentUIOwner optimization.
    • VehicleItemLandingGearSystem UI optimization.
    • Optimized turret updates.
  • These are a lot of changes, but it still doesn’t change the fact that there are some fundamental challenges in game code that the team needs to overcome in the coming months (legacy item and component updates, culling of updates of on client) because they are the main reason of poor performance on the client as currently seen in PTU.
  • For 3.0, the team will continue to look into the major performance offenders on the client with a lot of people on the server. One issue is with animation updates of attachments, specifically doors. Moreover, we have a big issue with badly spawned ships for interdiction that causes significant but unnecessary physics that delays the execution of the next frame on the main threads (and thus severely impacts frame rate). Moreover, the team’s going to build a thread local queue to push physics commands in order to avoid synchronization cost caused by the large amount of physics parameter update calls (in order to ultimately get down to reasonable numbers again). In addition to that, the engineers are trying to reduce the amount of items / entities / components and their updates that contribute to the high baseline cost on the client.

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 when spawning the 85X or the Glaive
  • Fixed a crash that would trigger when getting out and in of your ship after Quantum Travelling
  • Fixed a server crash related to the Air Traffic Controller.
  • Fixed a server crash related to AI ship shields.
  • Fixed a crash when the player would exit to the main menu.
  • Fixed a crash where some logic caused entities to end up in the wrong state.

Game Code

  • Fixed an issue where performance would drop when a player powers up a ship.

Arena Commander / Star Marine

  • Fixed an issue where ships where missing all targeting functionality.
  • Fixed an issue where Use becomes stuck on a black screen when accessing the loadout menu.

UI

  • Fixed an issue where numerous UI elements were being displayed in the incorrect resolution.
  • Fixed an issue where Own/Target displays did not work.
  • Fixed an issue where the combat visor was missing.
  • Fixed an issue where ballistic weapons had no ammo boxes present in the Vehicle Manager App.
  • Fixed an issue where Screens would flash black when they displayed notifications.
  • Fixed an issue where Tracking Pips would not reset when the target is out of range or off-screen.
  • Fixed an issue where quantum drives where missing from the ships in Vehicle Manager App.

Stanton

  • Fixed an issue where all players would lose interaction mode when any other player was aiming down sights.
  • Fixed an issue where you could not sell or buy cargo at Levski.
  • Fixed an issue where ships were being cleaned up extremely fast on high population servers.
  • Fixed an issue where delivery missions could not be completed under certain circumstances.
  • Fixed an issue where Interdiction was not working.
  • Fixed an issue where ‘Mission Giver’ missions would never be granted to the player.
  • Fixed an exploit where you could immediately resell items you purchased for a profit.
  • Fixed an issue where outpost kiosks would not recognize cargo ships landed near them.
  • Fixed an issue where mission NPC’s would not spawn on high population servers.

Vehicles

  • Fixed an issue where the player would be left in a broken state after exiting the Scythe or Glaive.
  • Fixed an issue where ship attachments were floating in place after a ship is destroyed.
  • Fixed an issue where a player would be left in a T-Pose position after logging back in after a bed log out.
  • Fixed an issue where killing an outlaw Cutlass would give the player a criminal rating.
  • Fixed an issue where automated turrets would not fire.
  • Fixed an issue where automated turrets lacked audio and VFX.

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.