Star Citizen News | Alpha 3.0 Production Schedule Changes

Hello everybody welcome back, with less than 20 days remaining for this year’s Gamescom we have officially entered the final phase of the production process for the Alpha update, according to the developers and Chris Roberts himself. In the latest Around the Verse I was very happy to hear Chris Roberts addressing the recent delays but also announcing changes, changes coming not only to the Around the Verse, our favorite Star Citizen show but also changes on the production schedule report that are already live. Our main topics for today are going to be exactly these changes on the Around the Verse show but also the production schedule report and in general the status of the production of the Alpha update which seems to be everyday more like a race against time but we will also take a look at the secondary viewports that utilize the Render to Texture system.

Like i have said already in the latest Around the Verse Chris Roberts addressed the recent delays but also announced changes and explained that the features, the main features are almost complete something that have helped the developers to shift their focus into the final phase of the production process that focuses on feature and content integration, optimization and bug fixing, something that we can see in the latest message of CIG as well in the production schedule report. He also explained that the Alpha will have to offer a great experience to new but also returning players and for this to happen the developers will have to take more time polishing and optimizing than with previous releases. Quality will always be a first priority for CIG but unfortunately the estimates can be unpredictable and it is quite difficult to estimate bug fixing and polish times which is one of the reasons for the delays lately.

Another reason for the delays is the delta patcher, the implementation of the delta patcher that requires some fine tuning and a lot of testing to make sure it works properly. In order to help us understand better the whole process and of course understand what kind of problems the developers are dealing with they are going to introduce a new Around the Verse segment next week, a different format for our favorite show and more specifically a burn down segment where we will be able to participate, spectate if you like, production meetings and hear directly from the developers and QA testers about the week’s biggest bugs, blockers and challenges.

Unfortunately this new segment, the burn down segment, is going to replace our favorite studio updates segment, which in my opinion has been the best part of Around the Verse for a quite long time and we will definitely miss it but the studio updates will return once goes live. The other half part of Around the Verse will remain the same with a very good look at a certain feature and the work of the developers behind that feature and how they are working in order to implement it correctly and of course offer us the best experience. Personally i feel very sad for losing the studio updates and it will be a hard time watching an Around the Verse without this segment but the burn down segment is going to be quite interesting, it will be very interesting to hear the developers and the QA testers dealing with the problems and the bugs and hopefully it will make us understand a little more of the progress of the developers and the major blockers they are facing.

This is one of the two changes that Chris Roberts announced and will go live next week, in the next Around the Verse but the other second and equally important change is already live on the production schedule report. Before we talk about the changes on the production schedule report let’s take a look at the dates, a quick look at the dates, since there aren’t any real differences only one date has changed and this has to do with the starting of the Evocati PTU, the Evocati PTU is scheduled to begin from August 10th to August 17th, which right now to be totally honest seems highly unlikely to happen. The wide PTU that is scheduled from August 18th to August 31st, nothing has changed here and nothing has changed on the official release date for the Alpha 3.0, it is still scheduled, expected from September 4th to September 8th. Like with the burn down segment that we will be getting in Around the Verse, we are also getting a bug process, we have already got a bug process on the production schedule report, a segment showing at what the developers are focusing right now and how many bugs, the bugs that they have fixed in the previous week.

So from this new segment that went live last Friday with the update of the production schedule report we can see that the developers are now focusing on the improvement of the overall frame-rate but also performance of the game and stability, we can see that they are working on basic ship security, which i have to say has been confirmed for the Alpha update and we will finally have a way to lock our vessels and leave them somewhere without any fear of someone stealing them from us but they are also working on rotating and orbiting planets, something that will introduce a proper day-night cycle when we are on a planet’s surface which in return will open up further gameplay possibilities and this is important because it has not been confirmed until now that the day-night cycle and rotating planets would be in the Alpha update. What is really scary, what terrifies me in this bug segment, this new bug segment in the production schedule report is the screen that is showing the bugs, the issues that the developers will have to deal with before they consider releasing Alpha to the Evocati and right now we have 90 issues, which i have no idea how fast the developers can deal with.

These issues can take 5 minutes or can take 5 weeks each, it is a really scary screen and i really don’t know what that means for the release date of the Alpha update. I mean it is really good to see at what the developers are working and at what they are focusing and what they have to deal with, what kind of bugs they are facing and have to fix but knowing that 90 issues, 90 bugs are keeping us from the evocati PTU is kind of discouraging right now to be honest. Both of these changes are going to shed a little more light on the production of the Alpha update and will help us understand better the problems that the developers are dealing with but also have a better understanding of how close or how far away from the Alpha update we are. To judge them correctly, to judge them properly we will have to wait for next week not only to see the new segment of Around the Verse, the burn down segment but also to see what kind of progress the developers are doing regarding these 90 issues on the next production report.

Let’s go ahead now and talk about the secondary viewports, an amazing tech that is making use of the Render to Texture system and will allow to the developers, it allows to the developers to create some awesome things for in universe narratives in both the persistent universe and Squadron 42. So far the developers have been using it for communication calls and holographic volume rendering and in general secondary viewport allows to get a second view or many different views onto the world. Prior to the Render to Texture system if the developers wanted to render something they had to render that specific thing directly into the game world, which had as a result the AI to never fit in, would always look on top of the game and would never look properly in the scene like the rest of the world. With this new system the devs can render all the content into textures first and then use these textures in the actual main rendering pass of the scene, composite them with whatever effect needed depending on how they want them to look, to have a holographic look or on glass or whatever else and like this they can achieve much better lighting and sorting with the rest of the scene.

This process also helps to get better anti-aliasing, better sorting and better performance. The same screen can be reused on many different displays in the game world just by rendering it once. This tech is used in many systems like UI screens and visors, all of holograms and video comms calls and in the future will be used in more like mirrors because the Render to Texture system is now a texture it means that the developers can render any curved screen with the only downside to that the need to implement a new system to manage the mouse point interactivity. Camera calling and facial animation system communicate with the Render Texture manager and determine the size and level of details for the facial and character animations. With this real time rendering we can acknowledge changes to the characters, ships and locations and in general communication calls will reflect what is happening to the universe but also allow customized player avatars calling each other. Thanks to this technology there will be big holographic volumes in capital ships and players will be able to work around them freely but also view them from all angles, this tech can render any object into the holographic projection without the need to duplicate the material setup and like this the developers can create an immersive telepresense that can be used for comms calls and mission briefings.

Right now they are working on further optimization to make sure that it does not affect the performance of the game and in the future we will probably see some amazing stuff from the developers by using this tech, the secondary viewports, something that will create a lot more opportunities for the players and make the universe of Star Citizen, whether that is in the persistent universe or squadron 42 a little more spectacular if you ask me. This is everything i wanted to share with you today, the big news are of course the changes coming to Around the Verse next week and the changes that are already live on the production schedule report, changes that we will have to wait a week before we can judge them properly, before we can see what is going on and how the developers are progressing, with how they are dealing with all the reported 90 bugs that they have to fix before releasing Alpha to the evocati.

I would really like to hear your opinion, i would really love to hear what you have to say about these changes and how close or far you think we are from an Alpha release, whether that is an evocati release, wide PTU or the official release. Like i said i think we have to wait at least a week and see the progress of the developers before we can judge the whole system and i am really curious to see the burn down segment of Around the Verse, although i will certainly miss the studio updates.

Thank you very much for joining me, if you enjoyed the video please don’t forget to leave a like and subscribe for more, I am SquidofLove and i will see you around the verse, bye bye..

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