Star Citizen – Procedural Tech and Upcoming Features

Star studded Star Citizen is continuing to amaze and intrigue as time rolls by. With A-List actors Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, Mark Hamill and Gillian Anderson starring to name a few, the game is definitely shaping up to be a blockbuster of a game – and that’s just with the power of the stars of Hollywood, let alone the stars of the wider universe.

There is an imgur album that was only uploaded a few hours ago (on Saturday July 21st), by a German user, but thanks to the power of Reddit, in particular Reddit user blablablablabla78, there is a translation and summary of what was found. Firstly, what was demonstrated:

  • They were able to play the latest build that feat. procedural generated planets, they claim to have flown to the moon-sized planet Delamar part of the Nyx-system. The landing zone that they aimed for on the surface, was the abandoned mining station Levski. They approached from space, went into orbit than entered the athmosphere before landing on the surface. They got out of the cockpit and moved around freely on the planet surface.
  • They were shown a gameplay stage of the latest Star Marine module.

An update of what is included in the 2.7 build of the game is as follows:

  • They say the new lighting system as part of the procedural planets build looks much more natural.
  • They say that approaching the planet looks and technically feels better than with Elite Dangerous.
  • You can land anywhere manually, automatic landing gets you to fixed positions i.e. landing zones.
  • Microtech and Hurston come in follow-up patches after 2.7
  • They aim to have Stanton fully playable i.e. with all stations and landing zones (according to CR about 40 locations) by end of 2016
  • There will be more jobs and missions as well.
  • Trading will be in by then, specifically purchase and sale of goods should play a more important role
  • Chris describing that missions accepted up in space stations could lead you eventually down to planet surfaces, not clear if this is going to be in with 2.7 but seemingly something SQ42 will benefit from.
  • Planets and moons are revolving around suns, with naturally simulated day and night cycles.
  • When flying over the ocean they were noticing that the horizon had a correctly simulated curve.
  • Trees and Animals seemingly are planned (edit: doesn’t seem to be in with 2.7, sorry) – they have them seemingly setup in pre-made templates they call eco-systems – these can be brushed over the planet surface, some magic blends the transitions to make it look naturally and consistent.
  • Planetary surface and topograhy details are controlled by a dynamic LOD system.
  • Some pop-up was visible during the planetary approach but they described it as impressive regardless.
  • They were also impressed with the cloud system, which wasn’t just a simple texture layer but seemingly is described what I assume would be volumetric, i.e. they have deepth and height and impact visibility, leading to mountain crests piercing through clouds and valleys being covered.
  • They are writing that there isn’t any artificially restricted view range, visibility is rather a result from the volumetric calculation of the athmosphere.
  • Parallax-Occlusion maps with dynamic tessellation is used for the surface details.
  • GTX 980 was used with 100 fps on the planetary surface, so performance seems to be pretty good already, sorry, that was just editor performance – in-game performance was 45fps 🙂
  • They mention that subsumption AI is going to allow NPC to form independent decisions based on environment and situational context. They then write that subsumption AI is also being used in real life for programming robots with human like behaviour. (they don’t really clarify what exactly they mean)
  • Some stuff about the subsumption-AI saying NPCs might have hobbies and possess their own virtual mind, allowing them to remember and be influenced in their opinions by the player. To avoid performance issues, they seemingly control the update cycles for NPC AI based on player proximitiy i.e. update cycles go to 1hz instead of 60hz if no one is around.
  • There was also a part about server architecture, how they intend to improve upon it in order to sustain more concurrent players in the same server zone. target is to reduce the numbers of instances.
  • They intend to mesh servers together in order to form a huge cluster, the necessary optimisations are already being coded into star citizen, accordingly they also should yield some marginal performance improvements on the client side.

And for your viewing pleasure, have a look at some of these German annotated screens:

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What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments below or in the RGM Forums.