Production Schedule Report
Our schedule for the next Star Citizen Alpha releases, up to date.

Welcome,

Below you will find the Current Milestone Schedule. These are the very same schedules we update daily and are circulated internally on our intra-studio hand-offs with a few exceptions: the individual developer names assigned to the tasks will be omitted (for obvious reasons), we’ll remove the JIRA details and we’ll modify the technical wording to make it readable for a wider audience, but otherwise, when something changes, slips or is completed, you will know.

What you are seeing here is the result of our scheduling and planning process. We have a high level feature and content set that we want to achieve for Star Citizen and Squadron 42. The first step is to break these features into higher level tasks with which we populate Microsoft Project, JIRA and Shotgun (the three tools we use for project scheduling and tasking). Then, as we approach a task, Production works with the relevant developer(s) to make sure the task is broken up with enough detail to allow completion. Sometimes this means adjusting the initial task estimate, as things tend to come into a clearer focus when coming up on a task, but it almost always means breaking down the big task into a bunch of smaller tasks that have their own individual sub tasks that possibly are distributed to multiple developers.

Both tasks and sub-tasks get created in JIRA, linked under an Epic (which is a high level task or feature) and are then pulled into Microsoft Project to manage with granular detail providing us global visibility through Gantt charts and visual timelines. No developer works on a task unless it has been created in JIRA, prioritized and assigned by a lead or a member of the Production Team.

Then as the developers work on the tasks, Production will adjust the schedule and JIRA tickets to reflect the work being done.

In the schedule below, you will first find a master schedule that covers the broad departments/disciplines that are being developed. Each department will then have its own dedicated sub-schedule, briefly explaining the various features that are being developed and their current status.

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.

WELCOME TO THE PROCESS

The community has always been integral to Star Citizen, so we will be updating this page weekly to keep you informed about our development. We hope that this page will not only help explain our latest status, but also provide some explanations in the event that updates are delayed.

Last update : Dec 23rd, 2016

2.6.0 Overview

We have pushed 2.6.0 Live to everyone in time for the Christmas period and are very excited for you to enjoy it over the holidays. As we’ve now hit Live, we thought we’d do a bit of a retrospective of where we originally estimated our features being complete, and where they actually ended up being completed along with a brief review of what may have caused the delay. Each of the features had their own fair share of issues that clogged up our Inclusions process around the week of 21st November which, combined with the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, meant limited support to help resolve those issues.

Here you can see in comparison the original milestone projection of the 2.6 schedule.

If you would like further explanation and insight, we’ve broken down all of the various mechanics and bugs into their respective sections below, so you can see exactly where the development ran into obstacles. As mentioned during the Live Stream, we are working on applying the same schedule process for 3.0 in the New Year, but in the meantime, we hope that this explanation will shed some light on the delicate balancing act that is the development process.

The following lists and charts show the work that went in to releasing 2.6.0, comparing our original estimates to the actual time spent.

Some tasks too longer than expected, while others were finished ahead of schedule.

It also shows how while a fix may be straightforward, the iterative process of testing and bug regression can reveal unexpected complications. Many tasks required further QA, bug-fixing and iteration.

Some tasks were excluded from 2.6.0 if appropriate to maintain the release date target and are being scheduled for future patches.

2.6.0 work is separated into Subsections: Star Marine, Arena Commander, Technology & Systems, Content, Front End and Mega Map.

Bug Progress

This past week as we geared up for the Live release, our team worked around the clock to find, fix, and test the last handful of critical bugs while pushing numerous builds to the PTU. Thankfully, we were able to sort through some tricky networking issues to achieve a build we felt was stable enough for the general community. The below image shows a Created versus Resolved chart for our “2.6.0 Must Fix Issues” over the last 5 days. The cumulative total is showed at the bottom of the graph, while the data points in the graph shows progress each day.

At the beginning of the week, these were the high priority bugs that we needed to be resolved:

  • Crashes
    • Crashes loading into Echo 11 and Demien SpawnAllocater
    • Crash: Crash when selecting Electronic Access from the pause menu while in the Hangar – CFrontendController::RequestOpen
    • Hub Server – Memory Corruption.
    • Crash – dedicated game server instance – CSkeletonPhysics::Synchronize_GetPhysicsJointsParamsAE()
*New Main Menu
  • Main Menu – UI – Arena Commander – Being invited to a Multiplayer Match, then exiting and joining a Multiplayer game will always put you in a Battle Royale on Broken Moon.
  • Main Menu – UI – Party/Group system missing for PU locations.
  • Star Marine
    • Star Marine Loadout – Player will always load into their first match with a shotgun.
    • Star Marine – Last Stand – Hacking a terminal mid-emote will cause terminal to become non-interactable.
  • Misc
    • Public Crash Handler cannot submit crash reports.
    • Arena Commander – Combat Visor/MFD appear blank.
    • New Horizon Speedway – Some gates do not show with three or more players.
    • Drake Caterpillar – Ship is missing crosshairs and total velocity indicator when piloting.

Overall, by the end of the week, we closed out a total of 210 issues, 22 of which were Blockers that would have stopped us from going Live.

Breakdown by Subsection

Star Marine

Code (Original estimate 18th November; Completion date 9th December)

  • In general, the code work for the main features of Star Marine came in roughly as estimated. However, bug fixing, iterating upon the base implementation, and responding to feedback caused the original date to slip.

Animation (Original estimate 30th November; Completion date 21st November)

  • Animation was completed slightly ahead of schedule.
  • We were very careful to focus in on the specific animations that would be needed and polish those up as much as possible.

Combat Signals

  • These were an off-shoot of Animations and were completed by the same team, with the same focus.

Destructible Props (Original estimate 16th December; Completion date 20th December)

  • CryEngine does not properly deal with having destructible props serials properly between clients, so we have had to come up with some creative ways of getting these to work
  • Destructible props still have a little way to go and will continue to be worked on as part of a future patch, but we have our base implementation working for 2.6.0.

Facial Idles (Original estimate 30th November; Completion date 14th December)

  • Delayed slightly due to the Animation team spending extra time polishing up the main gameplay animations (vaulting, mantling, walking, etc).

Character Art (Completed on time)

  • So far we have implemented the Light and Medium version of the Marines and Outlaws which came in on time do to being a little further along in development.
  • The Heavy Marine and Outlaw is in progress, but would not have been done in time for the 2.6.0 and would have also conflicted with other priorities within the studio.

Level Design (Original estimate 18th November; Completion date 9th December)

  • Design changes to the level were the main cause for slipping beyond the original estimate.
  • Early reviews of the level maps showed the layouts to not be too friendly to be used for both game modes, so they needed to be revised.

Arena Commander Balance / Improvements

Pirate Swarm (Original estimate 30th November; Completion date 5th December)

  • This mode took a little longer to set up and balance properly than was anticipated.
  • During the setup of this mode we also suffered a bug with the AI that caused the enemies to be unresponsive and sometimes not spawn at all.

Pickups (Original estimate 18th November; Completion date 14th December)

  • The initial code implementation for the pickups was completed as estimated, but there was a delay with the Audio and VFX hookup due to work taking place to complete the new ships.
  • After feedback, we needed to change the pickups from a generic sphere to icons that were more indicative of what the pickup will actually award the player.
  • We also decided to add two further pickups into the game to assist players and make gameplay more interesting.
  • Once these were implemented, we needed a thorough balancing pass to look at the drop chance and pickup values.

New Missions (Completed on time)

  • While creating new missions does take time, the design team behind the new missions already had a workflow based on the previous missions and were able to hit the ground running and get these created very efficiently.

Scoring Rebalance (Completed on time)

  • This was a relatively easy change which involved reviewing gameplay and QA feedback to make the score limits more achievable within the time given.

IFCS Missile Guidance

  • Feature complete
  • Addressing final feedback for missile relock times

Ship Balance (Original estimate 18th November; Completion date 12th December) & Ship Balance (Original estimate 23rd November; Completion date 12th December)

  • These are being combined as the team working on the IFCS missiles are also the same team responsible for the overall ship balance
  • Due to the feedback received, the improvements made for one had a knock on effect on the other.
  • With balance being very iterative and heavily based on feedback from testing, this ended up taking longer than expected.

GForces (Not part of original scope)

  • This was a task to polish / fix the parts of the feature that had rotted over time and was deemed important to improve the player experience when piloting a ship, which was one of the focuses of 2.6.

Tech / Systems

Network – Bind Culling (Original Estimate 23rd November, Pushed to 2.6.1)

  • Due to other network stability bugfixing and support, we were not able to make enough satisfactory progress to include this with 2.6.0.

Network – Message Ordering

  • Delayed due to other Network bugfixing.
  • The work was originally checked in to 2.6.0 and was part of the builds on the early Evocati pushes. However we quickly discovered that it was causing some nasty client crashes, so it was deemed better to remove this code for now and continue developing it for a future patch.

Network – Serialized variable (Original Estimate 8th December, Pushed to 2.6.1)

  • Serialized Variables was reliant in part on the Message Ordering work that ended up being removed, so was too risky to try and include without it

Camera Improvements (Original Estimate 18th December, Completion date 22nd December)

  • Delayed slightly due to various bug fixes and polish tasks based upon feedback

Music logic system (Original Estimate 23rd November, Completion date 30th November)

  • Delayed slightly due to various bug fixes and polish tasks based upon feedback.
  • Also slightly delayed to to illness.

Ship Computer 1.x (Original Estimate 25th November, Completion date 6th December)

  • Delayed slightly due to the Audio Code team supporting Star Marine

Content

Vanguard Hoplite (Completed on time)

  • This ship was already in development, so it was near the end of its development cycle by the time it was ready for use.

Drake Herald (Completed on time)

  • This ship was already in development, so it was near the end of its development cycle by the time it was ready for use.

Grim Hex Bar (Completed ahead of time)

  • Completed ahead of time as the space was mostly complete and required little set dressing

Special Edition Ships (Sabre, Vanguard, Hornet, Avenger)

  • Completed ahead of time for the reveal as part of the November Livestream

Drake Caterpillar (Original Estimate 2nd December, Completion date 12th December)

  • Due to the overall size of the Caterpillar and its complexity, this ship required more technical work to implement.
  • We also had issues with animations not working correctly and needing code support, which then had an impact on Audio not being able to begin their work until later than planned

Origin 85x (Original Estimate 2nd December, Completed on time)

  • This ship had already been in development for a little while. Although it wasn’t as far along as the Hoplite or Herald, the 85X was relatively straightforward to finish off.

UI and Front End Refactor

UI

  • Star Marine Environment Screens (Original Estimate 30th November, Completion date 6th December)
  • Two new Arena Commander Pickup Icons are complete (Original Estimate 28th November, Completion date 14th December)
  • Electronic Access Widgets are now complete (Original Estimate 18th November, Completion date 9th December)
    • As a whole, the UI team has a huge amount of work to do with limited resources. This, coupled with general bug fixing caused these estimates to slip.

Lobbies and Main Menu

  • Star Marine Loadout Customisation is now in game (Original Estimate 25th November, Completion date 12th December)
  • Arena Commander Ship Customisation. (Original Estimate 5th December, Completion date 19th December)
  • Front End Flow is now in game (Original Estimate 28th November, Completion date 12th December)
    • As above, these features were worked on by the UI and so was subject to the same delays
    • The code work involved with rewriting the loadout selections and front end was very complex, so it raised numerous bugs raised from internal testing as well as Evocati testing.

Leaderboard Service

  • Updating the leaderboards was relatively straightforward with a little bit of support from Gamecode and the Platform Engineers.

Mega Map (Stretch Goal)

  • This was a very ambitious feature and involved writing a whole new section of Network code, converting over 50 sets of gamerules to work with the new system, and altering thousands of lines of gamecode.
  • With support needed at various points from the Engineers who were already involved with supporting other features, bug fixing, and the November Live Stream, this was just too much of a risk and unknown to implement for 2.6.0.

3.x and Beyond - Milestones Overview

3.0 – The Stanton System

Basic Profession functions

  • Trading – Be able to buy/sell commodities via kiosks and NPCs among the various landing zones.
  • Cargo Transport – Pick up hauling jobs between landing zones. Automatic cargo load/unload, manual cargo transport.
  • Piracy and Smuggling – Establish secure/non-secure areas. AI Security response to attacks. Add the ability to retrieve floating cargo from destroyed ships. Create buy/sell system for illicit cargo.
  • Mercenary – Create Service Beacon System (for Combat Assist Contracts). Create AI distress scenarios.
  • Bounty Hunter – Accept missions to terminate wanted players and NPCs.

New Ships

  • RSI Ursa Rover – This rugged all-terrain vehicle is perfect for exploring vast planets.
  • Drake Dragonfly – This fast open-cockpit ship has been seen flying both in atmosphere and in space.
  • Drake Caterpillar – This large, modular cargo ship has a mixed reputation, to some it’s a spacious affordable hauler, to others, it’s up to no good.
  • RSI Constellation Aquila – The exploration variant of the classic RSI Constellation.

Stanton System Roll-Out

Travel around the various planets and stations within the Stanton System. Although technically a UEE system, all of these planets were sold to MegaCorps to help fund the government.

  • Debut of Planetary Tech
  • Expanding the Stanton System
    • ArcCorp
    • Hurston
    • Microtech
    • Crusader
    • Delamar
    • New Space Stations, moons and Asteroid belts

3.1 – Mining & Refining

Basic Profession functions

  • Mining – Retrieve solid and gaseous commodities from planet surfaces, manual cargo transport, refining materials.
  • Refining and Processing – Process raw ore into purified commodities. Most shops will only deal in one or the other form. Initial implementation might be to have dedicated shops handle the refining.
  • Quantum Interdiction – Be able to interdict Player ships from Quantum travel.
  • Refueling – Add Refuel Contracts to Service Beacon. AI tankers and fuel requests (as well as player fuel requests)
  • Escort – Protect one or more ships from harm. Add Escort contracts to Service Beacon. Implement Quantum Linking (multiple ships jumping together)

Additional Solar System Locations

New Ships

  • Drake Cutlass Red & Blue – Variants of the popular Drake fighter.
  • MISC Hull C – This medium sized cargo ship is one of the most common hauling ships in the Empire.
  • MISC Prospector – A small mining vessel for solo operators.
  • Origin 85x – The luxury away-vessel first seen in the 890 Jump brochure.

3.2 – Repair & Salvage

Basic Profession functions

  • Salvage – Strip commodities from ship hulls via handheld tools, retrieve crates and other valuables from derelicts and debris.
  • Repair – Repair damaged ship via tools (later implementation will incorporate the Crucible), repair damaged satellites or stations.
  • Mercenary – Covert Operations – Patrol areas of space, protect stationary entities, advanced mission scenarios: infiltration/covert (retrieve data/object from enemy, sabotage, etc.), hostage rescue missions)

Additional Solar System Locations

New Ships

  • RSI Constellation Taurus – The entry-model of RSI’s iconic Constellation line.
  • RSI Constellation Phoenix – The luxury model of RSI’s iconic Constellation line.
  • Anvil Terrapin – The tough and rugged Scanning and Exploration ship.
  • AEGIS Vanguard Harbinger – The variant of the Vanguard has been converted into a bomber.
  • AEGIS Vanguard Sentinel – An E-War variant of the Vanguard line.
  • AEGIS Reclaimer – Aegis’ industrial salvage ship.

3.3 – Farming & Rescue

Basic Profession functions

  • Farming – Plant and grow crops, harvest when appropriate, and sell the final product.
  • Rescue – Rescue NPCs from a variety of dangers (powerless stations, damaged ships in decaying orbits, evacuate personnel, etc.)

Additional Solar System Locations

New Ships

  • Anvil Carrack – Anvil’s long-range exploration ship.
  • 890 Jump – Luxury cruise liner from Origin.
  • Banu Merchantman – The first Banu spaceship to be introduced in game, the Merchantman is a massive cargo ship.
  • MISC Reliant Variants – All variants of MISC’s rotating vertical ship.

4.0 Jump Points

Basic Profession functions

  • Travel to multiple Star Systems – The universe expands beyond the Stanton System.
  • Exploration and Discovery – Find unknown asteroids, derelicts, fuel sources, bases, commodity locations, scanning of space and surfaces in order to utilize, share or sell the information.
  • Science and Research – Retrieve samples from space and planetside locations for analysis, atmospheric manipulation, scan/analyze various phenomena.

Additional Solar System Locations

New Ships

  • RSI Orion
  • Anvil Crucible