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  1. Game Armada On The Run

    Duane stepped out from the washroom wiping his hands on his trousers. The sanitizer was supposed to dry them completely, but either he was doing something wrong or maybe the stupid thing just — his musing was abruptly halted when he spotted the Banu standing in the middle of the hallway. What the hell is a Banu doing here? He reached a hand slowly to the stun baton on his belt and firmly asked, “Can I help you?” A wide smile broke across the Banu’s elongated face, deepening the network of crags there. “Hello!” Duane quickly checked to see if the Banu’s chest had a ‘visitor’ tag. Sometimes one of the techs would bring in a guest if they had to work on the weekend, and it wouldn’t be too surprising if Eiko had forgotten to comm him from the security desk. No. No tag. And the Banu was carrying a datapod. Duane felt his pulse quicken. After working as a security guard for eight years at the Behring Applied Technology labs he might actually be in the middle of his first real break-in. Don’t screw this up, Duane. Calmly, Duane informed the Banu, “If you don’t have security tag, I have to ask you to accompany me to the lobby.” “Your tag,” said the Banu nodding to the small purple badge on Duane’s chest. “Does it open the doors for all the laboratories?” Duane slipped the baton from its loop and pressed the primer. “Last warning. This area is for authorized personnel only and I will remove you by force if necessary.” The Banu simply tilted his head to the side and smiled wider. “Please look at me for the next five seconds. Thank you.” Duane realized too late that he had forgotten to see if the Banu was alone. “Damn it, Mas. I told you to wait,” Alex said as she peeled the still smoldering stun-glove off her hand and tucked it into her belt. She had to admit, Klanger had done a hell of a job designing the thing. Too bad the glove was destroyed after one use. Worth the money though, to be able drop someone near instantly. Next time she was on Spider she’d definitely need to see if there were any more for sale. “You said wait till you found the key. We found the key,” Mas replied, setting the datapod gently on the ground. “What if this idiot had comm’d for backup or triggered an alarm?” The Banu shrugged. Alex knew it was useless arguing with Mas about things like this. He was one of the best hackers she had ever known, but trying to get him to stick to a plan was about as useless as trying to get a Vanduul to talk out an issue. Anyway, improvisation was the key to being a good data runner. Knowing that Mas was going to do whatever the hell he wanted had just become a standard part of all her plans. “I believe he has done both,” Mas said as he rolled the guard onto his back. It was then that Alex noticed the faint light blinking under the skin of the guard’s neck. Crap, she thought. A deadswitch. Behring must have wired up their security personnel with them. Something happens to one, the rest would soon be on their way. Time for more improvising. “Can you hack it?” “I can try,” replied Mas. Reaching down, he turned the guard’s head to better expose the neck. Drawing a curved spoon-like blade from the small sheath hidden under his arm, Mas carved the deadswitch out. Alex barely avoided being sprayed by a pulse of blood. As Mas connected a small silver connector cable from his pad to the flashing deadswitch beacon that now lay in a puddle on the floor, Alex used her Pyro to cauterize the wound closed. She had never been one to leave a body count behind. Not only was it sloppy and unnecessary, it tended to make the Advos try that much harder to track you down. “Mas, instead of deactivating it, can you make it broadcast like the guard is still okay?” The Banu nodded and continued to manipulate his pad with his long dexterous fingers. Leaving him to work, Alex yanked the tag off the guard’s uniform and used it to access a janitor’s closet she had passed a few paces back. Sure enough, inside was a scrubber. She carried it back just as Mas was finishing. “There,” said Mas, retracting the connector. “Healthier than ever.” “Then let’s put him back on patrol.” She opened up the scrubber’s rear hatch and Mas dropped the bloodied beacon inside the refuse storage bin. A few presses later and the scrubber was happily cleaning its way down the hall. There was still a good chance that the few seconds the deadswitch had been active would be enough to send a security squad to investigate, but if they were lucky, the scrubber’s movements would be enough to convince anyone monitoring that it had been some kind of glitch. Either way, they needed to hurry. The research lab gleamed with an immaculate shine that screamed money and danger. In Alex’s experience, the only reason that anyone ever kept a room this spotless was when a little bit of dirt would be enough to lose a fortune in research or get someone killed by accident. Of course, with the amount she had been promised for pulling this job, she expected nothing less. Mas set the datapod down next to a bank of sleek white processors on the far end of the room. If their imposing size wasn’t enough to tell that they were important, the thick coil of cables running into the data hub would have been a dead giveaway. Just about every piece of tech in the place was wired to the computers. He lifted up an access junction and plugged in his silver cable. “Any issues?” Alex asked. The Banu swiped at his pad. “Only minimal protection. I believe they are counting on the building’s security to prevent access.” Never underestimate the overconfidence that comes with owning a big fortress-like building. After bypassing the preliminary security, Mas opened up a port and hooked the datapod into place. He settled in to extract the data and began humming Could Have Been You, a sure sign that he was lost in the code. Alex strolled around the room rummaging through the work tables that were home to what she guessed were next generation Behring weapons. For the millionth time, she wished she knew exactly what was in the data they were accessing. The name alone wasn’t much to go by — ‘Project Stargazer’ — but the guy who hired them refused to tell them anything more. Alex still had doubts about whether it had been smart to accept his offer. Though, her suspicion was that the job had been less of an offer and more of an order. The man, ‘Mr. Grouse,’ contacted them through the usual channels on the amateur ornithologist boards. After all his bonafides checked out, they met at a small cafe on the outskirts of Prime. He’d been easy to pick out thanks to the yellow hat he had promised to wear. Alex had done her normal procedure of arriving early and placing a small pinhole camera on the wall. It was a great way to scout a potential client before meeting and make sure they weren’t sweating too much or hiding an abnormal amount of guns. Neither applied to Grouse, though. He had been as calm as could be. Even more so, his skin had that artificially smooth look, a common side effect from some of the new facial reconfiguration surgical units. Which was surprising because who would choose to make their face that uninteresting? He was like the Human equivalent of elevator music. Even standing across the table from him, Alex had felt her eyes wander away from lack of interest. On second thought, she could see why being aggressively boring might be a good choice considering the work she assumed he did. After a few minutes of observing him to make sure everything seemed on the up on up, she noticed him reach into his briefcase and pull out a small hand scanner. With a quick sweep of the cafe, he smiled when he spotted the mounted camera. “Alexandria Dougan,” he had said in a calm, even voice. “I am ready to meet whenever you are.” Well, that’s a first. “And if I am not mistaken, that Banu over there wearing the sunhat is your partner Mas Houlan. Why don’t you have him join us so we can discuss our business together?” A few moments later, her and Mas were listening patiently to Grouse explain that he wanted all the records of a research project completely deleted from the Behring Applied Technologies lab. Before she could even begin to protest, he had told them the payment. It was significantly higher than she would have even dared asked for, even on her most brazen of days. It was enough to put her and Mas on easy street and settle a lot of old debts. It had made her really nervous. That’s why she had decided that they would make copies of the project files before they erased all trace of them from the lab’s record. As the old saying goes, never trust a criminal. About halfway through Mas humming The Day Ahead, the alarm went off. That was disconcerting, but not nearly half as much as the giant turrets that lowered from the ceiling. Alex held her breath, but rather than turn and fire on them, the two turrets took aim at the lab’s door. It quickly dawned on her why they were still breathing. It wasn’t worth it to risk shooting up all the valuable equipment. The turrets were designed to stop anyone entering or exiting the lab. And stop with extreme prejudice if the large Behring logos on the ballistic guns were anything to go by. “How much longer, Mas?” she shouted over the blaring alarm. “The files have copied, but I will need some time to finish expunging the records.” Okay, thought Alex, let’s see how much ammo these things have. Reaching into her satchel, Alex brought out her Insta-Friends decoy. She primed it and slid the puck out into the killbox and covered her ears expectantly. A moment later, the decoy went off and the turrets sprang to life, raining bullets at the artificial targets. Got to love Joker Engineering. Half the time the stupid things didn’t work, but when they did, boy, did they work. Eventually, the decoy died and the turrets spun down. The floor was completely chewed through. It looked like they had been designed to allow the rounds to penetrate rather than ricochet into the expensive tech. Right… ricochets. I probably should have thought of that first… Alex would have to remind Mas to make an extra offering to the God of Luck for her. She had only brought one additional decoy and she had a feeling that the turrets had more than enough ammo to outlast it. What she needed was a way to force the Insta-Friends to last longer. Scanning the lab, she quickly found what she was looking for: a large half-built laser sat on one of the workbenches connected to an array of batteries. She momentarily considered using one of the lab’s experimental weapons to destroy the turrets but decided that she liked having all her limbs attached too much to mess with an unfinished laser. Instead, she used her Pyro to solder one of the batteries to the decoy and slid the heavy makeshift device into range of the turrets. Once again, the guns sprang to life. It wasn’t until the decoys had begun flickering away, the larger battery finally drained, that she heard the happy clicking whir of empty chambers attempting to fire. “I am ready to go,” said Mas, strolling confidently through the still smoldering killbox with the datapod. Alex hurried to catch up. They left the lab not a moment too soon. Drawn by the gunfire, a full squad of guards descended upon it just as Mas and Alex managed to round the corner out of view. One of the benefits of robbing a campus as big as Behring’s is that it took a while to move security into position. If she ever went straight, maybe she would get a job as a consultant and earn big credits pointing out all the dumb things companies did with their security systems. Leaving the main research wing, the pair weaved their way back through the labyrinthine building to the executive’s office that they had entered through. Alex stopped them at every intersection to ping the path ahead. It would make them stand out on scanners, but it was safer than blindly stumbling into the roaming groups of armed guards. Thankfully, when they arrived at the executive’s private hangar, it was unguarded and the Belligerent Duck remained just as they had left it. It was one of those interesting facts of life that powerful peoples’ private hangars are considered so off-limits, security guards assume criminals know not to land there too. That was why private hangars were usually one of the first things Alex looked for when she was casing a building. Plus, they usually had little free water bottles you could stock up with in case you got thirsty during a heist. Alex brought up her mobi and unlocked the Mercury. Mas headed up the ramp straight for datastorage to make sure the pod was safely secured, while she made her way to the star runner’s cockpit. The hangar doors opened above them and the Duck lifted into the air. The name still made her smile. She had chosen it to infuriate the cocky infoagent she had won the ship from. The pompous prick had the gall to name the ship Razor’s Edge. Now whenever he wanted to buy data off her, he had to comm the Belligerent Duck as a reminder that it didn’t pay to bet against Alex Dougan. She eased the throttle forward and the ship’s wide swept-back wings cut easily through Terra’s calm atmosphere. A moment after leaving the hangar, the pleasant Crusader computer voice alerted her that they were being targeted. Sure enough, a Sabre with Behring livery was closing in on her tail. It must have launched when the alarm went off. The comms chirped to life as they were hailed. “This is Behring Security. Land immediately or you will be shot down.” Great. And it wouldn’t be long before the Terra police joined in. They needed a fast getaway. “Mas, weapons, now.” When they had first met, Mas had refused to do anything on the ship that didn’t involve hacking and computers claiming that it “was not his purpose.” It had been close to six months before Alex had stumbled upon a solution that had worked — she had hooked up a terminal from a busted simpod into the manned turret’s seat so that Mas could stare at a screen instead of out the window. That was all it took. Now he was a crack shot. Mas slid into the weapons terminal, his long legs at the awkward angle all Banu were forced to adopt using Human seats. “How much should I explode them?” “None! Knock out their radars and I’ll take care of the rest.” Alex pulled hard and swung the Mercury wide giving Mas time to line up the distortion cannons. The Sabre reacted quickly enough to avoid the first and second salvos. Alex rolled at the last second to avoid their return fire. They were running out of time. “Get missile lock,” said Mas. “Mas, we’re not killing them!” “No killing,” the Banu agreed. “Just a distraction.” Decelerating till she saw red, Alex brought the ship to bear. After a heartbeat or two had thudded in her chest, she achieved lock and fired two missiles. The Sabre pilot, acting as expected, lit the sky with flares, pulling the missiles off course. Anticipating the brief distraction, Mas fired the turret again. The distortion cannons bit into the Sabre, disrupting its power. There was no way for it to maintain radar and stay flying after a hit like that. Maxing out the thrusters for all they were worth, Alex sped the Duck away from Behring’s headquarters. However, rather than angling up to leave the planet, she angled the ship towards the nearby mountainous island range. There, she lowered the ship down into a small alcove cut into the beach beneath a rocky outcropping. Diverting power from the Mercury’s shields and thrusters, Mas booted up their reg-spoof. Now, they would be able to fly around incognito for a little while. Should be fine as long as no one looked too hard or took a shot at them. She hoped they weren’t the only ones in the area flying a Mercury today. It was definitely not their cleanest escape. No way they were going to make the rendezvous now, but Grouse was just going to have to deal with the change in plans. Bringing up her mobi, Alex began a message to their network of contacts. Behring had a lot of credits to toss around. You rob someone like that and they usually made it worthwhile to hunt you down. Leaving the system wasn’t going to be enough. It wouldn’t be long before the Advocacy and a whole fleet of bounty hunters were breathing down their neck. If they wanted to get out of this in one piece they were going to need some extra help keeping an eye out. Hopefully a few of the friends her and Mas made over the years would be willing to lend a hand and alert them if they caught wind of the authorities closing in on the Duck. Message sent. Now all they needed was somewhere they could hide out till things cooled off. “Hey Mas, how would you feel about visiting your old Souli?” TO BE CONTINUED Przeczytaj całość
  2. Every week, designers, engineers and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on SPECTRUM and voted on by YOU. You can submit your questions for consideration in future episodes of Calling All Devs here. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: Przeczytaj całość
  3. Every week, designers, engineers and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on SPECTRUM and voted on by YOU. You can submit your questions for consideration in future episodes of Calling All Devs here. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: Przeczytaj całość
  4. Screenshot by MrKoddy Hello everyone, Recently, we introduced our latest concept ship, the RSI Apollo, the Guardian Angel for rapid response and medivac operations. Since then, we’ve been gathering questions about the Apollo on Spectrum and are excited to bring you the answers you’ve been looking for. Make sure to keep an eye out on August 8th! Also, if you were mining under a rock last Friday, make sure to catch up on the Letter From The Chairman and Reverse the Verse with Chris Roberts for the latest on Alpha 3.3, our video content, and UEC. Lastly, read up on what our global studios accomplished over the last few weeks in our Monthly Studio Report. With that, let’s see what’s going on this week: Every week on Calling All Devs, designers, engineers and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on Spectrum and voted for by YOU. This week we talk about cruise speed decouple bugs, atmospheric flight on Hurston, and pursuing ships through Quantum Travel. Tuesday will be bringing you an all-new episode of Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this time exploring the Banu System. Fast forward to Wednesday for a landslide of information in our RSI Apollo Q&A, fresh and hot off the press. Thursday will welcome another episode of Around the Verse where we’ll look at the latest Star Citizen news with a project update. Lastly, make sure to tune in on Friday for another episode of Reverse the Verse, broadcast live on our Star Citizen Twitch channel. Stay tuned for further information about who our special guests will be and keep an eye on Spectrum for the Questions Thread! Stay shiny! We’ll see you in the ‘Verse. Ulf Kuerschner Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, AUGUST 6TH, 2018 Calling All Devs ( TUESDAY, AUGUST 7TH, 2018 Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy ( WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8TH, 2018 RSI Apollo Q&A ( Subscriber Newsletter h3. THURSDAY, AUGUST 9TH, 2018 Around the Verse ( Vault Update FRIDAY, AUGUST 10TH, 2018 Reverse the Verse Live ( Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter Community MVP: August 6th, 2018 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it’s fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it in this section. The highlighted content creator will be awarded with an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our MVP section of the Hub. Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! Daymar Rally – Rover Run by Captain_Corsaire Last weekend, the Daymar Rally had a practice run and combined it with a security trial. The result is a video with impressive camera work and all teams safely reaching their destination. We can’t wait for the actual race! Check out the video on the Community Hub. Przeczytaj całość
  5. Galactic Guide: Gurzil System How did our solar system form? How is a planet born? Questions like this used to plague thinkers and scientists. Even when Humanity took its first fledgling steps out to the stars in the late twenty-first century, the study of our system’s early days was mostly theoretical or separated by thousands of light years. We had to wait until the 26th century and dozens of explored systems before we were able to find one in the earliest stages of development, a system where we could study the phenomenon up close and better understand the answers to those questions asked since antiquity. Sadly, the fear and paranoia of the era restricted scientific access to the system and kept it shrouded in a fog of war for almost three hundred years. THE DARK SEAThe mid-26th century was a complicated period in Humanity’s evolution into the stars. Technological advances made jump point scanners considerably more affordable to the public, allowing more and more civilians to compete with ‘professional’ pathfinders. That period of rapid expansion came to a screeching halt when Gaia Planet Services began terraforming a planet in what would be known as the Pallas system without realizing that the planet was already inhabited by another species. The following fifty-seven days gave Humanity a sobering introduction to the Xi’an Empire as they negotiated the release of the terraformers. For the first few years after the Pallas incident, there were only two known systems connected to Xi’an space. In 2531, Teesa Morrison discovered the Baker-Hadur jump point. While denied the lasting legacy inherent in discovering a new system, she enjoyed a brief period of celebrity after her flight footage found its way to the NewsOrgs. In it, her very vocal bouts of exultation upon successfully completing the jump turned to shrieks of fear when she found herself face to face with a fleet of Xi’an military ships on the other side. The prospect of hunting for jump points had become considerably more complicated. In response, the UPE created the Government Cartography Agency (GCA) to consolidate their efforts to scan for jump points and chart new systems. They also instituted a series of intensive policies to make sure that every military NavJumper was trained in diplomatic protocols and procedures in an effort to avoid any potential conflicts. Dahunsil Kosoko was undeterred by the danger. After spending eight months recovering from a ship crash that took one of his legs, Kosoko stepped out of the medstation in Prime, picked up some Toreador’s for lunch, and got himself a new ship. After picking up supplies, he made his way to the Hadrian System (then called Nivelin) with the goal of “scanning his way across the ’verse”. He wouldn’t make it that far. After only three weeks of intensive scans in 2539, he discovered a jump point into the Gurzil system. Arriving on the other side of the jump, Kosoko half expected to find a Xi’an fleet waiting, but found something much more impressive: a protoplanetary disc of gas and minerals swirling around a K-Type Main Sequence star. The system was arguably the scientific discovery of the century, offering the research community unprecedented access to the foundation of a system. Kosoko filed his discovery paperwork to name the system Odara, after his aunt, but unfortunately, the UPE had to intercede. In 2542, while GCA surveyors were still assessing the system, a Xi’an scout ship appeared in the system via another (previously unknown) jump point. The Xi’an turned out to be another explorer, perhaps their version of Teesa Morrison, so while Odara system wasn’t already part of the Xi’an Empire, it was connected to it. Specifically, it was connected to the system Rihlah, home to the military world Shorvu. The UPE quickly withdrew its surveyors and declared the system off limits to civilians. The system was promptly renamed from Odara to the standard military convention adopted by all systems that comprised the Perry Line: gods of war. Named after the ancient Berber deity, Gurzil, the sprawling disc of coalescing planetary matter made the system impossible to effectively monitor, giving birth to its secondary and even more ominous name: the Dark Sea. Over the next two centuries, Gurzil would be the location of numerous military operations and dozens of casualties. Although the official cause of death was always attributed to collisions resulting from the poor visibility, rumors swirled that Xi’an military assassin teams and pockets of Tevarin refugees hiding in the clusters were actually responsible. AFTER THE FALLIn the aftermath of the Messer regime, the Perry Line underwent a fundamental change. Imperator Toi attempted to honor the promises outlined in the Akari/Kray treaty and dismantle the Perry Line, dividing the systems between the Human and Xi’an. Despite having no planets, Gurzil was heavily pursued by members of the UEE for both its scientific relevance as well as its vast resources. Once the system had been acquired by the UEE, a fascinating debate erupted in the Senate. With the adoption of the Fair Chance Act in 2795, guaranteeing the protection of developing species, advocates for the scientific community and lobbyists for the mining consortiums found themselves at odds over what exactly to do with Gurzil. While the mining companies supported scientific study in the system, scientists claimed that Gurzil should fall under the protection of the Fair Chance Act, claiming that its composition and star had all the elements to ultimately develop into a system with habitable planets and thusly, life. They believed that attempting to harvest the minerals in the system would irrevocably interfere with the system’s development and therefore jeopardize the possibility of life developing naturally. Their counterparts, however, argued that they were talking about a timeline of millions and possibly hundreds of millions of years. THE MODERN STATEThe debate over Gurzil has continued in some form or another ever since. Although the UEE has severely restricted mining within the green band of the system, they have not officially placed it under the protection of the Fair Chance Act. Regardless of its use, Gurzil system offers travellers a unique insight into the birth of a solar system. Travelling through the system, you will find no shortage of scientific and research stations, trying to unlock the secrets of the universe, as well as mining operations beyond the frost line. Visitors are advised to try one of the many scientific tours that run in the system. TRAVEL WARNING Due to the protoplanetary disc, visibility in Gurzil is still a constant danger. Exercise caution when traveling through the system and be mindful of all hazards (both natural and sentient). HEARD IN THE WIND“That’s when I knew I was destined to fly. To have survived such a horrible thing and have ‘when can I get back out there’ be the one thought that pushed me through the really hard times… I don’t know. It’s weird, right?” - Dahunsil Kosoko, 2590 “You go in, I say there’s a fifty-fifty shot of coming out again. That’s the gamble with the Dark Sea. Might’ve even gotten a lot of people killed, going in with that fear. Not me. I’ll take an even split.” - Lt. Demian Ward, UEEN (Ret), Hunter Killer: My Life on the Xi’an Front Przeczytaj całość
  6. Screenshot by Fenrilh Hello everyone, Recently, we introduced our latest concept ship, the RSI Apollo, the Guardian Angel for rapid response and medivac operations. To celebrate the reveal, we’d like to give another Apollo away before the promotion ends! Find all the details on how you can win here, and as a reminder, the Apollo is still available here. With that, let’s see what’s going on this week: Every week on Calling All Devs, designers, engineers and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on Spectrum and voted for by YOU. This week we talk about crime stats, physics grids, and more! Watch the full episode here. Tuesday, or now better known as “Lore Day”, will bring us a Galactic Guide on the Gurzil system, as seen previously in Jump Point Magazine. Thursday will welcome another episode of Around the Verse where we’ll look at the latest Star Citizen news with a project update. Lastly, make sure to tune in on Friday for Reverse the Verse: Gamedev, broadcast live on our Star Citizen Twitch channel. This week, we’ll sit down with Lead Vehicle Artist Elwin Bachiller Jr. as we jump into the game engine LIVE to explore the Mustang variants rework, currently in progress and scheduled to be released in the upcoming Alpha 3.3 patch We’ll see you in the ‘Verse. Tyler Witkin Lead Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, AUGUST 13TH, 2018 Calling All Devs ( RSI Apollo Quote Contest Begins TUESDAY, AUGUST 14TH, 2018 Galactic Guide – Gurzil system ( WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15TH, 2018 – h3. THURSDAY, AUGUST 16TH, 2018 Around the Verse ( Vault Update FRIDAY, AUGUST 17TH, 2018 Reverse the Verse Live ( Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter Community MVP: August 13th, 2018 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it’s fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it in this section. The highlighted content creator will be awarded with an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our MVP section of the Hub. Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! Aegis Hammerhead 3D Print and Custom Paint by Ungineer Ungineer has done it again, this time recreating the Aegis Hammerhead. In total, it took Ungineer a little over 3 months in his spare time. Congratulations on the finished piece, and for being this week’s MVP! See more images on the Community Hub. Przeczytaj całość
  7. Party down with the Spanish and French Star Citizen communities, Squadron 42 tech, and fun with Foley in this week’s update. Przeczytaj całość
  8. Senior Character Concept Artist Jeremiah Lee has been trolling Jared for weeks with amusing concepts and shark costumes, but today will be a reckoning… To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into Przeczytaj całość
  9. Filthy Rovers on Daymar, improving Group system UI, and turret fever drives us crazy in this week’s update. Przeczytaj całość
  10. Q&A: RSI Apollo Following the launch of the Apollo from Roberts Space Industries, we took your community-voted questions to our designers to give you more information on the recently unveiled medical ship. If you haven’t watched our recent Ship Shape on the Apollo, you can do so here. Then, on Reverse the Verse, Corentin Billemont, John Crewe, and Paul Jones answered questions about the Apollo live on Twitch. Special thanks to John Crewe for providing the latest interior plan as linked below. Will there be any interactive ‘doctor’ gameplay to healing in med bays and first aid, or will it be automatic based on the tier of healing? The design for doctor/medical gameplay is not fully signed off, but it currently has interactive elements to it. One of the things that we always want to do with Star Citizen is to make player interactions physical rather than just pressing a button and walking away, an example being the current mining loop that requires a level of constant control instead of automatic extraction. What happens to the player while they’re waiting to be picked up, transported, and healed – are they just sitting there doing nothing the whole time? Currently, the plan is for the player to be physically immobilized during pickup, transportation, and healing. However, during the implementation process, we will review whether this is too much and if we need to provide some level of interaction. During these ‘down’ times, we’ll make sure the player has access to feedback notifying them of their current state and an indicator showing the rough time until the next state. Will NPCs requiring treatment spawn in your ship? We don’t plan on this being a natural occurrence, as having six random NPCs suddenly turn up on your ship requiring treatment without warning would be a pretty unnerving experience. However, NPCs can be collected via drone and treated on your ship as a result of interactions you make, be it specific medical mission participation or as you respond to other relevant beacons. Can the Apollo expel players who refuse to leave after being healed? The Apollo itself provides no specific method for doing this, but we expect owners will find their own unique ways to remove uncooperative patients! ‘Search and rescue’ gameplay involves a lot of looking and finding. How do the scanners on the Apollo compare to scanners on other ships, specifically the Terrapin and Cutlass Red, whose brochures and ship pages advertise that they can also be used as search and rescue craft? The Terrapin and Cutlass Red both have medium scanners, whereas the Apollo has a large one, like the Carrack and some of the other bigger ships. While they both do the same things and can be used for the same purposes, large scanners have a higher range/spread and give more accurate details. What happens to injured players who refuse to pay after being healed? In order to prevent abuse, we expect to require players to pre-pay in aUEC/UEC for treatment. It could be a voluntarily choice for conscious players, and be tied into the pre-accident request to respawn at an Apollo for those more gravely injured. What tier of beds will capital ship med bays have? Will they still rely on medical ship support? It depends on the ship in question, but a ship with a dedicated medical bay will generally have a high tier bed to provide full medical support. Bear in mind that this will be of limited use if the ship itself is critically damaged and the crew is injured. It is unlikely that capital ships will have enough high tier beds to support serious recovery for the entire crew simultaneously (with the exception of those dedicated to the role, like the Endeavor Hope). Are there injuries that the Apollo cannot fix but the Endeavor can? Assuming the Apollo is equipped with the best tier of beds available, then it can fix the same injuries as the Endeavor as the functionality per bed is the same. However, the Endeavor won’t have a loadout as limited as the Apollo, so can heal more people simultaneously. Will there be more variants of the Apollo, for example police/military/fighter/transporter? There are no plans for further RSI Apollo variants outside of the Medivac and Triage. We want this ship to stay focused on its current role. Can we sleep in a hospital bed to log off? This is not something we currently plan on allowing, but we’ll review it as the gameplay comes online. Since the ship only supports two crew members, does it mean we are limited to a pilot and a doctor as crew (it would be helpful if the crew positions/roles could be fleshed out more for us)? We don’t see the roles being as strict as just ‘pilot and doctor’ and envisage both players taking part in recovery and treatment. While landed or docked in space, both crew can safely help. However, there is nothing to stop the pilot leaving their seat to help while the ship is flying (ideally in safe space!). If the Apollo has tier 1 beds to allow respawning, will it also get a beacon for that like the Endeavor? Yes, the beacon described in the Endeavor Q&A is very similar to our current Service Beacons and requests for medical assistance will be done through those. Will there be a cooldown on respawns for an individual player, or will it be limited by the resources carried on the Apollo? There will likely be a cooldown period to promote the concept of death having serious consequences, but it will also be limited by the medical resources carried on the Apollo. While you could respawn multiple times on the same Apollo in the same game session, the overall respawn amount will be limited by the resources that the ship has available. Each spawn or recovery will use an amount of the equipment/consumables required for medical gameplay. How do you envision the balance between medical gameplay and time to kill (TTK)? Turning players into the kind of bullet sponges that facilitate the different stages of injuries and healing doesn’t make for a fun FPS experience, while having a shorter TTK results in players dying too quickly to use anything other than tier 1 recovery. TTK will be increased as we bring more features online. However, we’ll be constantly reviewing and amending the features that contribute to it to ensure all related gameplay feels as fun and immersive as possible. In previous releases, our TTK was quite high, but the UI gave very little feedback to the players about what was going on. This gave a poor feeling to both parties, but there are lots of systems due to be implemented that will prevent this from happening again. What’s the advantage of the Apollo in comparison to a medical bay you can find on ships like the Carrack? The Apollo’s medical bay can hold more people than a non-medical focused ship (outside some of the capital ships mentioned above) and its modularity allows it to heal in ways the vast majority of ships can’t. Will tier 1 medical bays support everything the lower tiers do? Superior tiers will include all the functionality of lesser tiers. An interesting decision for the player will come in how they configure their bays – having higher tier beds limits the number of people you can heal and using them to provide lower tier healing could be a waste of time, space, and resources. Does removing the medical modules increase the amount of SCU that can be used for cargo? The medical bays can’t be removed, so the maximum cargo capacity will still be 28 SCU. Can bounty hunters and slavers use the drones to retrieve unconscious hostile players? The drones simply require the patient to be immobilized/unconscious, what you do with them after that is up to you! The Apollo does not lock people into the medical beds, so unless you constantly monitor them they will either die from their injuries or wake up and become mobile again and require further restraining. Will the Apollo have outlaw applications, such as harvesting organs and limbs of PCs and NPCs captured, to further add depth/profit to bounty hunting/assassination missions? Organ harvesting is not something we currently plan to support in medical gameplay! Will pulling high g-forces affect patients on board? If so, how are they affected? We want the patients to stay in a state as stable as possible and the medical beds are designed to avoid this kind of thing (outside of catastrophic events, obviously). Long-term plans are for all players onboard all ships to be subject to g-force relevant to how the ship is being flown. Being restrained in either a seat or bed will mitigate this somewhat. Can Apollo owners set their ship to not be an active spawn point when they don’t want people arriving on their ship? For patients who are not in your friend list/party, retrieving them is an active process using the drone. You will have to actively accept missions or go to beacons to recover non-party members, so there’s no need to switch your ship off as a spawn point. However, when playing in a party (and the requirements to respawn are met, such as distance and capacity), players will automatically be given the option to respawn aboard your ship. Are medical consumables (hoses, sterilized needles, drugs, tools, blood/plasma, etc.) stored in the med bay, or do they take up space in the cargo hold? Medical consumables must be stored in the cargo hold, but the plan is to balance it so that even on an intensive medical mission, you’ll still have room for regular cargo if you wish. On the flipside, you may want to run with minimal medical supplies to just offer a couple of healing sessions and instead attempt cargo missions to generate additional income that way. Przeczytaj całość
  11. August 2948 Subscriber Flair Subscribers Comfort, mobility, and protection are the tenets embodied by RSI’s classic Venture Explorer Suit. This exclusive Centurion edition provides the perfect foundation for fashion and function, making a statement underneath it all. Comfort, style, and confidence start with your undersuit. RSI has you covered. Imperator Subscribers Imperator-level subscribers will receive this limited edition purple Venture variant, along with the red Centurion design. If you’re an active subscriber, these items will be added to your account on August 13th. If you aren’t a subscriber yet but want to cop these jackets, make sure you subscribe no later than August 12th. More information about subscriptions can be found here Przeczytaj całość
  12. In-game screenshot by Corsair62 Hello everyone, First off, congratulations to our winners of the RSI Apollo Astromedics Contest. The RSI Apollo is still available in the pledge store through August 22nd, so check out the Ship Shape and RTV to learn more about this Guardian Angel. We’ve also collected the top-voted questions from our Q&A gathering thread, presented them to our designers and will be posting the answers in a Comm-link soon. From footraces, to massive FPS battles, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching the variety of events taking place in-game, organized by communities around the globe. We’ve been highlighting a few of the best in Around the Verse lately, so make sure to share your next event on social media using #StarCitizen so we catch it. We can’t wait to see what you all come up with next. With that, let’s see what’s going on this week: Every week on Calling All Devs, designers, engineers and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on Spectrum and voted for by YOU. This week we cover the Origin 600i, missiles, quantum filtering, and more. Watch the full episode here. On Tuesday, the Lore Team will publish another detailed piece of fiction, breathing life into the Star Citizen universe. Check out previously published lore posts here. Thursday will welcome another episode of Around the Verse where we’ll take a look at the latest Star Citizen news with a project update. If you watch Around the Verse and are still looking for more Star Citizen news, buckle in: we’ll also be releasing the Monthly Studio Report for July this Thursday. Lastly, make sure to tune in on Friday for another episode of Reverse the Verse, broadcast live at 12PM Pacific on our Star Citizen Twitch channel. Stay tuned for further information about who our special guests will be and keep an eye on Spectrum for the Questions Thread! We’ll see you in the ‘Verse. Tyler Witkin Lead Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, JULY 30TH, 2018 Calling All Devs ( RSI Apollo Astromedics Winners Announcement TUESDAY, JULY 31ST, 2018 Weekly Lore Post ( WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1ST, 2018 - THURSDAY, AUGUST 2ND, 2018 Around the Verse ( Monthly Squadron 42 Newsletter July Monthly Report Vault Update FRIDAY, AUGUST 3RD, 2018 Reverse the Verse Live – 12 PM Pacific / 7 PM UTC ( Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter Community MVP: July 30th, 2018 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it’s fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it in this section. The highlighted content creator will be awarded with an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our MVP section of the Hub. Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! Bar Citizen Fan Art by MrKoddy MrKoddy has created an epic Bar Citizen logo. Not sure what a Bar Citizen is? Bar Citizens are events created around the globe BY the community. Check out this fan-created site to see if one is coming to your area: Check out this post on the Community Hub. Przeczytaj całość
  13. It’s the end of the week, so we’re going to kick back, hang out and play Star Citizen Alpha 3.2 with the Lore Team. Okay, it’s the highest voted thread in Spectrum history, Jeremiah. To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into Przeczytaj całość
  14. Join Lead Vehicle Artist Elwin Bachiller Jr as we explore the current progress of all five variants LIVE in engine and have your questions answered LIVE. To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into Przeczytaj całość
  15. Scramble Races, Marauding miners, and a Ship Shape pipeline report in this week’s update. Przeczytaj całość
  16. Game Director for Star Citizen and Squadron 42 Chris Roberts stops by to hang out and answer questions LIVE from backers. I’ll get you next time, Jeremiah. To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into Przeczytaj całość
  17. Monthly Studio Report: July 2018 Welcome to the Cloud Imperium Games Monthly Studio Report for July. This month, the team patched Star Citizen Alpha 3.2, pushed forward on Squadron 42, and continued developing systems, ships, and features for future releases. Let’s explore the details… Los Angeles LOS ANGELES VEHICLE FEATURES This month, the U.S. Vehicle Feature Team focused their efforts on fixing turret bugs and making improvements to the Alpha 3.2.1 patch. After it went live, they reviewed turret feedback and began working on additional improvements for the upcoming 3.3 release. They also continued their work on Ping & Scanning, including moving the scanning infrastructure over to the servers, generating signals via blackbox entities, and implementing the various information that will be provided by transponders. VEHICLE PIPELINE The Art, Design, and Tech Art Teams worked together to push the Consolidated Outland Mustang and Tumbril Cyclone variants through the greybox stages. Design and Tech Art worked on the final stage of the RSI Constellation Phoenix, and the Mustang’s landing gear compression was also completed. Tech Art also completed their greybox pass of the Anvil F8 Lightning and supported the mining animations used on the MISC Prospector. The teams collaborated with Animation on R&D and test cases for sequenced animations in vehicles, which will allow greater flexibility for future enter, exit, and cockpit animations. In early August, the Art Team will move onto the first stages of the Anvil Hawk. GAMEPLAY FEATURES To support the 3.2.1 patch, the Gameplay Feature Team spent the first week of the month fixing Group System bugs on both the code and UI fronts. After the patch, the team continued to work on the next iteration of the Group System for Alpha 3.3. Finally, they focused on removing some of the legacy systems, updating the three-pane mobiGlas chat widget, and setting up the chat to come from a new backend service. NARRATIVE The Narrative Team began July with an episode of Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy about the Cano system. They wrote a Discovered piece about an archaeologist using a Vulture to salvage and explore a debris field, and delivered the July 2948 Shubin employee newsletter filled with tidbits about the company’s past and hope for the future. A history of the Imperial Cartography Center and the third episode of The Knowledge of Good and Evil also became available for all to read. Subscribers received an exclusive Galactic Guide on the long-lost Oretain system, while July’s Jump Point covered the Drake Vulture, improved combat AI, and the mysterious Vasli fragment. And to top it all off, Jared honored the team by inviting them to appear on a very special RTV to play a spot of Alpha 3.2.1 and answer narrative questions. The team tackled details about the moons of Hurston and ArcCorp, worked on mission giver design briefs, and fleshed out the Bartender and Patron line sets. They worked with the Character Team on Hurston Security loadouts and the System Design Team on Security behaviours and NPC placement. There were several syncs with the Live Design team focusing on expanded mission content for Alpha 3.3. Team leads participated in multiple reviews for Squadron 42 (S42) and the Persistent Universe (PU). They wrote some fun new marketing material, including the lore behind the successful Astromedics vid series that was tied to the RSI Apollo. Finally, work continued behind the scenes on the Galactapedia that will be shared further down the road. CHARACTERS The Character Art Team diligently worked on new Hair and Head tech, which will improve the appearance of current characters and revise some core tools used in the character wearables tech setup process. The team worked on the Hurston clothing collection, Virgil TrueDef Pro Armor, and reworked the Odyssey Flightsuit. Alongside the new content, material variants will be made to help fill out the NPCs found on Hurston. Plus, progress was made on a variety of Squadron 42 costumes. Austin AUSTIN DESIGN Throughout July, the Design Team further experimented with how to make a bar feel like a living breathing environment, instead of static NPCs serving and consuming drinks. The intent was to give the bartender and others enough character, life, and flexibility so that they can deal with multiple patrons at once, including the player, while looking as lively and realistic as possible. They also began building out the AI logic in Subsumption, started rounds of feedback with Tony Zurovec, and worked with the Narrative Team to get lines written for the Bartender and Bar Patron characters. The aim is to get these lines, along with the placeholder animations provided by the ATX Animation Team, added into the game for internal review soon. In an effort to allow the economic status of resources effect pricing, the team is constructing recipes for items so that, as the price of resources fluctuates, the players will be able to see a noticeable difference in the pricing of items. The change won’t be instant but will develop over time and can be influenced by the player base. Work is also happening on getting the ship rental shop working in the PU to coincide with the ability to rent ships. Work on additional layouts for Truck Stops will lend a bit more variety to the shops that players will encounter when traveling to far-away locations. On top of all this, the team took a moment to review how their data is structured and are finding ways to make things more efficient and organized for ease of use in the future. ANIMATION The Animation Team continues to research and develop animations for the PU’s female character. Very different animations are needed when the character sits in a ship versus moving around in the ‘verse, but progress is being made and the fidelity of female animations are getting closer to those of the male characters. Placeholder block-out animations were sent to the ATX Design Team for the Bartender character to help them see the results of some of the AI R&D they were working on. Alongside this, they continued to move several characters through the various stages of the pipeline, such as mission givers like Constantine Hurston, Clovus Darneely, and a new character of interest, Tecia Pacheco. On the Ship side, animations were completed for the new Tumbril Cyclone variants. Specifically, the turret operator animations were reworked and polished. SHIP ART The Ship Team is deep in the concept phase of the 300i re-work and are currently fleshing out the new shape along with integrating many of the ‘wish list’ features that have been accumulating over the last few years, including new cargo options. They recently showed off the first round of concepts on ATV, with the community generally feeding back positively. However, a few concerns were voiced about the new design, which the team will be taking into consideration for the next and final round of concept presentation. The final pass of the Constellation Phoenix’s modeling and lighting is currently underway. When finished, the team will move onto the final flight prep setup and polishing tasks. Then, they’ll create the LODs to complete the art pass for the Phoenix. BACKEND SERVICES This month, the Backend Services team finished up support for 3.2.1 by fixing some critical bugs that were discovered after 3.2.0 went live. Specifically, they rectified issues with currency and fixed a bug that prevented the player from purchasing items from shops and inventories. They also continued efforts to create Services using the new Ooz/Diffusion framework. This is part of the refactoring of the Persistence Cache to make it more scalable. Another accomplishment this month was finishing up the new Entitlement Processor service, which is far more robust and efficient than the legacy solution. The legacy Friends Service was also written into this new framework. The other Services created so far are: Character service: provides an API for character specific runtime and persistent data. Wallet service: responsible for managing player currencies. Item Loadout Service: manages player or ship default and custom loadouts. Insurance service: manages all insurance claims. DEVOPS Dev Ops have been supporting the additional publishes related to 3.2 this month while also making great progress on the various feature stream enhancements to the build system. “One of the most satisfying aspects of our publishing effort is to see the new gameplay features showing up on the various live streams and we’ve been enjoying many of those.” – Dev Ops They’ve also worked very closely with the feature teams to add more gameplay analytics to help track game performance and resource consumption on a regional level, as well as on the individual game servers themselves. This additional data will help them tune server density to deliver the best possible compute and memory performance. Feature stream work progressed this month as well. This project breaks source control branches down to the individual feature level to help the developers work more independently without potential conflict. This effort was well received by the devs and will be expanded. However, it was not without challenges, as these streams create an additional load on the build system and storage subsystems. The team worked through most of these issues and are now closing in on the final details that will allow them to scale the build system much wider than its current capability. PLAYER RELATIONS The Player Relations team helped wrap up 3.2.1 this month. This is the second such quarterly release, and the team is really hitting their stride with the new publishing cycle. They also wrapped up the Live Release Production Summit in Austin, Texas which dealt with subjects such as improving the publishing process and how the team can grow the Evocati volunteer group for future releases. “We’d like to point all players to our growing Knowledge Base, which has over 100 articles and has seen almost 100,000 visitors since its inception. We will continue to grow this by adding new ‘How To’ articles, patch notes, and live service notifications here as well as on Spectrum. As always, we’d like to remind and encourage everyone to continue to use the Issue Council to help us triage and rate bugs and functionality. We’ll use that data to prioritize for future updates, plus your IC participation will make you eligible to get into earlier PTU waves.” – Player Relations Team QA Last month 3.2 and 3.2.1 went live. For the QA team, this included publishing checklists for build testing and testing patches in the PTU, along with testing all the fixes as they were implemented. On the Game side, they moved back to their internal dev stream and started testing the initial implementation of Object Container Streaming. They also shifted focus slightly to make sure all test plans and QA processes are updated and ready as more Object Container Streaming testing comes online. On the Leadership side, it’s been business as usual with focus on coordinating testing priorities with their QA counterparts in LA, UK, and DE. Wilmslow & Derby WILMSLOW & DERBY GRAPHICS The Graphics Team completed the work required to make the renderer ready for Object Container Streaming. In addition, the team made the new surface shaders more efficient and easier to use, maintain, and improve. You’ll see the benefits from these updated shaders as the artists transition to them in Alpha 3.3 and 3.4. They also improved the room culling system to allow for more complex level setups of rooms within rooms, which had previously resulted in rendering the entirety of the smaller room. This new feature allows the Art Team to build more elaborate interiors in both Squadron 42 and the PU with improved performance. The next focus will be on features to enhance the quality of lighting in and around gas clouds and large interior spaces where large lights would normally result in very low shadow resolution. UI The UI Team further developed the RTT item preview system that allows for a generalized method of displaying one or more 3D items anywhere in the UI as part of a scrolling list component. This works on things like kiosks, mobiGlas, MFDs, etc. The team implemented the necessary changes to support renting ships and items through the Electronic Access customization menus and worked on the UI design for the Spectrum app in the mobiGlas. They also collaborated with the Design Team to pre-visualize what approaching a no-fly zone might look like to the player. Work continued with the Environment and Narrative Team on crafting propaganda posters and signage for Lorville. Additional headway was made on core tech & tools, with a successful prototype completed of the bindings system for the mining HUD display. This enables a more streamlined interface for exposing game data to the UI front-end. ANIMATION The team created animations for the reload and firing states of the upcoming Karna plasma assault rifle. To finalize assets for the SpecOps combat AI, they held a motion capture shoot to update the placeholder assets for hit reactions and the various threat level reactions to sights and sounds. They also improved enemy SpecOps AI combat poses with better blending between motion states. Other tasks included supporting the ‘carryable system’ with a wide range of assets and a general clean-up of the animation database. They revamped the player’s ‘no weapon’ and ‘stocked’ locomotion forward assets. Finally, a high-level review assessed the implementation of animations for Squadron 42 scenes featuring Master-at-Arms Duncan Chakma in the armory. GAMEPLAY STORY The Story Team began the month with pre-viz for all remaining scenes, which went well and took two weeks instead of the scheduled three. They then began to fully implement 16 scenes that the Design Team prioritized for Q3. The implementation pass is a slower process than pre-viz, but the team is delighted to work closely with Design and see the scenes come to life in-game. ENGINEERING/PROGRAMMING The Actor Feature Team has been developing an animation motion warping system, which gives each animation a variable distance it can travel without the need for a unique asset for each situation. The vaulting and mantling mechanic is being developed alongside this and comes into play when the prop being vaulted over has a variable depth and height. The new technology takes these dimensions and modifies the vault animation so that it seamlessly adjusts for the additional movement. This creates a better result than having multiple animations to cover all eventualities. It also frees up the artists from adhering to strict sizes and metrics when creating environments. The way Subsumption sets up missions for Squadron 42 means the team often has to play through part of it just to get to a certain point in the level. There is functionality inside the editor to manually run parts of the Subsumption setup, which fast-forwards the flow, but it was fiddly and not exposed when running the standalone game. So, the team created a system to record a sequence of Subsumption steps into a single macro that can be played back in either the editor or game client. This allows the team to skip through a mission to an intended place, which will speed up development and testing. The Tools Team has been creating a way to link Shotgun (assets for artists and animators) with Jira (production and scheduling). This new tool monitors Shotgun for changes and then reflects them in Jira. This allows content creators to continue using Shotgun while producers and supporting teams can see all the information they require from Shotgun within Jira. The Network Team finished the entity bind culling functionality to allow more optimal networking based on how far away entities are from the player. They also did prep work for Object Container Streaming alongside other teams working on that technology. SHIPS The Ship Art Team worked on the MISC Freelancer base model by adding a few extra comforts to the interior, such as a toilet, shower, and food dispenser. The variants (MIS, MAX, and DUR) went into the updated art pipeline to get them looking as good as the base version. The Origin 890 Jump also went into production this month. It already cleared the whitebox review and advanced to the greybox production phase. Some areas even went beyond to establish the look and style of the ship’s interior. Finally, the Banu Defender finished its initial R&D phase and is partially through the white box phase. AUDIO The Audio Team supported Object Container Streaming and progressed with FOIP and VOIP features. They made great strides with the IFCS 2.0 system and physicalized object audio. Alpha 3.3 is the next major goal, so they generated audio mockups and prototypes to ensure they’re on track with the look and feel of the new features. Ship audio also kept the team very busy, as they supported a wave of new ships in the pipeline. ENVIRONMENT ART The team completed their work on the PU hangars, with only final lighting tweaks left to complete the two archetypes needed for the first release. They focused on developing new habitation modules and security/customs common elements. The habitation modules are coming out of the white box phase with their footprints, layout, modularity, and basic art determined. Now begins the process of making them pretty! The security archetype involves a lot of systems and designs that must be tested and iterated on before art can finalize it. As with the habs, these issues have been largely solved and the team began the next level art pass. The early white box design of a new location type was signed off, the Underground Facility. These will be something the team hasn’t tried before and are very excited to develop! VFX With 3.2 safely in player’s hands, the team jumped into 3.3 content tasks, including a first pass at the Aegis Hammerhead’s effects and a new plasma assault rifle along with the many biomes, landing zones, and modular areas of Hurston. Work continued on Squadron 42 tasks. Without revealing any spoilers, the team tackled included a visual polish of a screen interference and kicked off several experimental R&D sprints. Frankfurt FRANKFURT VFX The VFX Team worked on several moons for the PU, including various new biome types. This required them to expand the planet editor tools to allow for more unique and varied particle systems to be spawned procedurally using the object scattering systems. They also continued their work on the cinematic simulation assets, such as rigid and soft bodies for the Squadron 42 cinematics. AI The AI Team determined the tasks remaining for Object Container Streaming and worked on them accordingly, adjusting AI logic if necessary to handle the current streaming requirements. Work was also completed for flight AI, creating new behaviors and changing existing ones, with a focus on making ship combat engaging and fun. Tasks were completed to improve performance, which is routinely done to ensure things are optimized as much as possible. Work has also been done on the flight pathfinder, taking it a few steps closer to having AI traverse the entire ‘verse on their own. FPS AI work focused on NPC tasks for the 3.3 release, including new behaviors, features, and optimizations. BUILD ENGINEERING/DEVOPS The DE Dev Ops Team continued to work with the Austin teams on both extending and finalizing the toolsets that govern synchronicity between central game-dev and feature streams. The API for controlling the central auto-integration system has been rolled out to accommodate the client-side feature-stream merging tool currently in development. This gives feature-stream owners control over how current their stream should be in relation to main central development in game dev, based on their preference and workflow style. The current feature streams are battle-testing these tools as they prepare to scale up the number of feature streams needed for the project. WEAPONS The Weapon Art Team primarily focused on Vanduul weaponry and finished the first pass of both modeling and texturing on the Plasma Lances, as well as a handful of scavenged knife variants. TOOLS The Engine Tools Team focused on stabilizing the game editor after the Alpha 3.2 release. Usability improvements were added to increase the overall workflow quality for the designers when setting up the game entities. The new layer and universe outliner plugins received improvements based on the designer’s feedback, along with a general stabilization and performance improvement pass. The Look Development Mode, which is meant to improve in-game material setups, received an additional light mode to show assets under split light conditions, called Eclipse Mode. This helps artists improve their material setups for all possible in-game scenarios and makes it easier for them to compare the material under bright and dark conditions, for example, how an asset will look on a bright planet versus in outer space. ENVIRONMENT ART The Environment Art Team made substantial progress on Hurston’s four moons, with each becoming a visually unique location for players to explore. While working on the moons, the team also spent time improving the wind simulation on vegetation objects, which will breathe more life into the locations as wind moves through the grass, bushes, and trees. Hurston will be quite a visual change compared to the other locations currently in the game. The Lorville team moved onto the outer districts, shifting focus on the view of the city while flying above and around it. Lorville has received many improvements since it was first shown at CitizenCon. LIGHTING The Lighting Team worked side-by-side with the Environment Art Team on Lorville. Lots of progress was made on the environment art, which gives the Lighting Team plenty of locations to bring additional life, mood, and atmosphere into. The core landing zone received an initial lighting pass, with work still to come on the shops, spaceport, habitation, and security. With the procedural layout generation tools receiving improvements, the team took the opportunity to further polish the upcoming Rest Stops. They improved the look and positioning of 2D and holographic advertisements, as well as fixed various issues with light leaking and other consistency issues between connected rooms. Finally, crashed and derelict ships found in space and on planet surfaces were fixed due to previous setup issues which resulted in broken or missing lighting in most locations. The improved setups will provide a better foundation for the Lighting Team to create more interesting moods in these locations. SYSTEM DESIGN The System Design Team laid the foundation for combat ship AI improvements, specifically giving AI ships the awareness of an enemy tailing them. They will build on this with further maneuvers, like enabling the AI to abruptly decelerate to cause the tailing ship to overshoot or wildly change its break-away angle to shake pursuers. Progress was also made on advanced civilian/security guard interactions and patrol behaviors, which will be implemented in future landing zones. These behaviors will work in sync with one another and will allow NPCs to react accordingly to different types of stimuli from the world around them. The behaviors are scalable to allow for more stimuli to be added if and when needed. It will also determine how NPCs react to their surroundings, such as Security Guards reacting differently to certain crimes in one location than they would in another. The new transit system received attention as well. The team focused on the debugging capabilities of the system, laying an important piece of groundwork for complex elevator and train networks. On the FPS side, they began populating Security Outpost Kareah with combat NPCs. They also worked with the Mission and Level Design Teams to create additional facilities fit for combat encounters. LEVEL DESIGN This month the Level Design Team focused on the PU. They completed work on Lorville and explored how the Restricted Areas tech will be implemented into the full world. They also looked into the general areas around Lorville to ensure they have the correct content and points of interest. Development advances with the procedural tool allowed them to return to the Rest Stops. They used the tool to generate a series of stations and verify their layouts, as well as to look into transferring old functionality of CryAstro into Tier 0 of the refuel/repair/rearm system. They also investigated early Tier 0 versions of Habitation, Refineries, sub-surface content, and more. CINEMATICS The Cinematic Team updated the animation production pipeline to better communicate with the Design Team and make the overall structure more efficient. They also worked on chapters for Squadron 42, which consisted of numerous tasks depending on the current state of the cinematic, from animation and camera blocking, to animation polish, lighting setups, and TrackView work. The team also completed some technical tasks: They implemented ‘Player Entity’ into Trackview and can now trigger ‘Mannequin Fragments’ which will allow the team to accurately use the Player and the new ‘look control’ while building their scenes. They’re also working on a technical solution for Subsumption to takeover player control in cutscenes when needed. ENGINE The Engine Team generally works across multiple areas and is called in to address potential code issues at any time – this month was no exception. They progressed on moving skinning computations to GPU compute shaders (dual quaternion skinning, blend shape, as well as tangent reconstruction submitted), and continued work on improving hair shading. They made significant progress on new solutions for cloth and volumetrics simulation, which they hope to show off soon. They added support for OC Streaming (entity aggregates) and exposed GPU load and memory stats directly from the Windows Graphics system. They also made advancements in the physics system refactor (queue refactoring, batch jobs, etc.) and revamped the exception handling code to improve the consistency of reported crashes. TECH ART/ANIMATION The Tech Art Team worked on the ‘Maya to Sandbox Editor’ live link for synchronizing animations between the two applications, giving real-time, in-engine rendered graphical feedback to the animators. They consolidated the head to head attachment asset pipeline for the next gen character customizer – a crucial requirement to achieve 100% consistent topology on the head meshes once they are converted from the Maya-internal format to the engine’s format. Once consolidated, they stress tested it to find any bugs in the resource compiler tool (RC) and addressed them accordingly. One large bug remains, but once it’s resolved they can switch to the newly revised system. Tech Animation focused on restructuring the weapons pipeline, modifying elements to make it easier to work on files and find them in the future. They added an additional meta system to the weapon rigs to enable animators to batch export weapon animations and moved nearly all files into a new folder structure to separate multiple weapons of the same type by the same manufacturer. They also addressed a variety of bugs across multiple departments. QA Besides assisting the in-house development team with Editor and client reported issues, the QA Team focused on performance and system refactor testing. Client and server performance took a significant hit with the introduction of Mining, so they worked with the UK QA Team to gather performance RAD captures during a Mining specific playtest. Captures were obtained from a build containing changes that would improve performance centered around Mining. Captures were also done on an existing build that did not have anything extra included. Engineering then compared the captures done on each build, identified where there were improvements between the two, and noted what other areas would benefit from further optimizations. They also worked on a QA test request for the AI Cover System to be refactored to support the incoming Object Container Streaming changes. The main goal was to ensure that not only existing cover systems within an Object Container level still worked, but that the newly set up Cover Systems did as well. They re-exported levels and then tested in-client to ensure that cover was generated and the AI used it the same way they did in previously. There should be no visible difference between the two, and they needed to confirm that no new issues were introduced. The same principle applied to an IKSystem refactor QATR that they did for Animation Engineering. Multiple lines of code were removed to improve overall performance, and testing was done to ensure that this did not break any other new and/or existing systems or features. QA also started regular performance testing on the PU test map, which contains the new Rest Stops, Hurston, and Lorville in order to get a head start on identifying issues that these new locations may introduce. Platform: Turbulent SPECTRUM SPECTRUM On July 4th, the team deployed Spectrum 3.8! This build is now available to everyone and contains the latest features: Friends, Notifications, Quick Access Sidebar, and Message of the Day. You can sort friends by status or alphabetically and see information about their activity. You can also group friends by common orgs. Including pending friend requests, you can now have a maximum of 800 friends. “Your in-game friends will be linked to your Spectrum friends in the future. Currently, your Spectrum friends list and the list of your friends in-game exist independently. When the game integrates the Spectrum friends system, your in-game contacts will not be copied to over. You should use this transition period to add your in-game contacts to your Spectrum friends list.” – Spectrum Team Additionally, they refined the Settings page and slightly altered the display of embedded media in messages. Also, the member profile popup can now be accessed from the blocked users list by clicking on a member’s avatar. After this major release, they deployed 3.8.1-rel.7 with minor bug fixes. You can refer to the Spectrum Knowledge Base for further details on using the new features RSI PLATFORM CitizenCon Microsite: Turbulent launched the CitizenCon microsite this month. The new microsite serves as the information hub for everything CitizenCon. From here you can purchase tickets when available, read more about the wonderful city of Austin, and plan your trip to CitizenCon. Eventually the microsite will contain information about the event, including the presentation schedule and the live stream itself. Stay tuned to keep up on the latest details for CitizenCon. RSI Apollo: Turbulent supported the release of the RSI Apollo, which included a mini-game designed by CIG’s Oliver Hughes and Sam Child. The game was a homage to King Kong, a game Chris Roberts developed as a teenager. Players that achieve a high score of 100,000 points receive a special Guardian Angel Badge and are entered into a contest to win an RSI Apollo package. Free-Fly: The team updated the page design and interaction for upcoming free-fly events. Stay tuned for the next chance to participate in a Star Citizen Free-Fly! SERVICES Group: Turbulent continues to iterate on Group services and are currently working on a feature that generates a claims token. This token can be used by other services to validate group membership, permissions, and the ability of a user to join. They additionally worked on a series of tests to increase stability in the code base as services continue to grow. VOIP/FOIP: The Backend Team collaborated with the UK Audio Team to build voice services in-game. They overcame a huge hurdle by successfully piecing together a prototype with one user in-game having a conversation with another on a web platform interface. Community COMMUNITY Scan, Fracture, Extract. The community was hard on the rocks and dug deep during the past month. While Prospectors were busy mining, the team didn’t stop after introducing this gameplay feature with the 3.2 update. The recently released 3.2.1 patch brought reduced mission spawn timers, ship cannon changes, turret improvements, and more. Have you had a chance to check them out yet? Jump into the game and share your feedback with the developers on Spectrum. The RSI Apollo was revealed as the latest concept ship, filling the gap between the Cutlass Red and the Endeavor for all medics-to-be. Learn more about the space doctor career path by checking out The Shipyard post covering medical gameplay as it works today and how it’s envisioned for the future. The team celebrated the introduction of the Origin Jumpworks 600i with a video contest that asked content creators to devise a commercial for the luxurious ship. As shown countless times, the Star Citizen community has a wealth of talent and passion that delivers amazing videos, and they didn’t disappoint this time either. The quality of the submissions was mind-blowing, and the team wants to thank all the participants for the work and time put into creating the videos. The Community Team has been planning a wide variety of activities for this year and next that are, of course, coupled with sweet prizes. So even if this contest wasn’t for you, there’ll be more exciting opportunities to leave your mark in the Star Citizen universe. Outside of these events, the team is glad to see more players sharing fantastic content and are proud to regularly highlight them. FPS battles, trouble at CryAstro, mining challenges, and races were all featured this month. The team can’t wait to see what August will bring. Cloud Imperium Games will not have a booth or presentation at Gamescom this year, but some team members will be visiting the show in Cologne, Germany, from August 22nd to 25th. There will be a variety of activities and opportunities to meet up during the week, so keep an eye out for future announcements. While they’re excited to meet you in Cologne, don’t forget that CitizenCon 2948 is almost here, too! After launching the all-new CitizenCon website, where you can find all the event info, the team continued to plan for what promises to be an unforgettable event. Conclusion WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH… Przeczytaj całość
  18. Wallpaper by Corsair62 Hello everyone, The Community Team is at Gamescom this week, representing Star Citizen in Cologne, Germany. We don’t have a booth this time around, but if some of you are making the trip to Cologne, you can join us at one of four Bar Citizen events in the evenings or at the meetup on Friday that’ll include a special town hall Q&A for those in attendance. Find all the details about where we’ll be here. But apart from one of the biggest gaming expos, we’ve still got more exciting events this week. Our latest concept ship, the RSI Apollo, is still available until August 22nd, so make sure to check out our guardian angel before it’s gone. Celebrating the reveal of our latest medical ship, we held a contest where we wanted to see quotes that you might hear on board an RSI Apollo. The contest is now over and you can find out who’s the new owner of a shiny RSI Apollo Triage or click here, to see all of the contest entries on Twitter. Didn’t win anything this time around? No worries, the next contest is right around the corner! And with that, let’s see what else is going on this week: Every week on Calling All Devs, designers, engineers, and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on Spectrum and voted for by YOU. This week we talk about atmospheric planes and aquatic vehicles, “weapon rest” character positions, and the Aaron Halo asteroid field. Watch the full episode here. On Tuesday, the Lore Team will publish another detailed piece of fiction, breathing life into the Star Citizen universe. Check out previously published lore posts here. Thursday will welcome another episode of Around the Verse where we’ll take a look at the latest Star Citizen news with a project update. We’ve also seen Jared running around in a suit jacket today… but we aren’t sure if that’s an indicator of anything. This Friday, we’ll be doing things a bit differently, as we’ll be hosting a special Townhall Q&A at the Brauhaus ohne Namen in Cologne for those attending the event. This means questions can be asked by those who attend, we’ll record the whole show, and upload it on our official YouTube channel at a later time for those who couldn’t make it. We’ll see you in the ‘Verse (and Cologne!!!). Ulf Kuerschner Senior Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, AUGUST 20TH, 2018 Calling All Devs ( RSI Apollo Quote Contest Winner Announcement TUESDAY, AUGUST 21ST, 2018 Weekly Lore Post ( WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22ND, 2018 Bar Citizen – Deutzer Brauhaus THURSDAY, AUGUST 23RD, 2018 Around the Verse ( Vault Update Bar Citizen – Brauhaus Ohne Namen FRIDAY, AUGUST 24TH, 2018 Reverse the Verse Town Hall Q&A ( Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter Bar Citizen – Brauhaus Ohne Namen – Special Townhall Q&A SATURDAY, AUGUST 25TH, 2018 Bar Citizen – Hyatt Legends Bar Community MVP: August 20th, 2018 We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it’s fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it in this section. The highlighted content creator will be awarded with an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our MVP section of the Hub. Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here! Overview of the Xi’an language for diplomats by TradTeam The TradTeam, a unified group of translators of the French-speaking community, released the “Overview of the Xi’an language for diplomats”, a 100-page paper, translated into French. Bien joué!! This document will surely be an inspiration for all French speakers to add Xi’an to their skills. Find the document on the Community Hub. Przeczytaj całość
  19. Every week, designers, engineers and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on SPECTRUM and voted on by YOU. You can submit your questions for consideration in future episodes of Calling All Devs here. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: Przeczytaj całość
  20. July 2948 MESSAGE FROM THE CEO Reflecting on the Past, Focused on the Future History ebbs and flows, often washing away what came before only to replace it with something more resilient, refined, or dynamic. To avoid the dustbins of history, one must ‘adapt or die.’ Whether a business, species, or even a star-spanning empire, constant evolution is an essential component to success and survival. This month reminds us that an ambitious long-term vision is not new for Shubin Interstellar. Four hundred years ago, then-CEO Bernard Cousins received an offer from Fulcrum Mining Associates to purchase all of Shubin’s assets in the Centauri system. Back then, Shubin was a relatively small terraforming outfit struggling to survive in a highly competitive market. The company was hemorrhaging money, so Cousins made a bold choice: instead of selling and settling for a short-term gain, he risked everything to purchase Fulcrum and integrate their expertise into the company. The transformation led to Shubin becoming the empire’s pre-eminent mining concern. That’s why as CEO, I have enacted my Evolutionary Management business philosophy to strengthen and streamline Shubin Interstellar. Over the past few months, I’ve removed outdated procedures and challenged entrenched ideologies to make the company more adaptable. Without constant self-reflection, companies can grow complacent and see competitors beat them to the next breakthrough. When I was hired, I promised Shubin’s board of directors, investors and most importantly, the employees, that I would do everything in my power to maintain profitability while focusing on the future. Twenty consecutive quarters of strong earnings prove that I’ve upheld the first part of that promise. Meanwhile, the recent landmark deal to launch our first operations in Xi’an space is a testament to my commitment to the company’s boundless future. By balancing the requirements of the present with the demands of the future, Shubin Interstellar will remain an industry leader for centuries to come. 2948-07-31 marks the 400th anniversary of the monumental merger with Fulcrum Mining. Join me in celebrating our incredible legacy by doing your part to keep Shubin strong today and on the cutting edge of tomorrow. From the desk of, Gavin Arlington, CEO EXTRA CARE A closer look at Shubin and Safety Keep it Cool Good miners work well under pressure. They know the perfect moment to throttle back the fracturing laser beam to keep a rock’s energy level within its optimal window, fully aware that explosions occur when mounting pressure isn’t properly managed. Yet, Shubin Interstellar understands that it’s not just rocks that come under pressure on mining sites. Sometimes factors like cramped workspaces or poor communication negatively affect relationships between co-workers. If not properly managed, this pressure can also accumulate and lead to verbal or even physical altercations that seriously affect a crew’s productivity and morale. That’s why Shubin Interstellar collaborated with award-winning developer SimSational Technologies to design a new mining simulator meant to address this very issue. This revolutionary simulation places workers in situations that require them to manage their mining duties while also de-escalating disputes between contentious co-workers. The virtual crew will only extract the optimal amount of resources if there’s clear and professional communication between all team members. Beginning next month, simpods featuring this new state-of-the-art program will begin rotating through Shubin stations as a part of the new ‘Keep it Cool’ campaign. This education initiative will be accompanied by a training seminar that teaches proven de-escalation techniques. Workers will then use the simpods to test these techniques across a variety of real-world scenarios. All managers and team leads will be required to attend the Keep it Cool seminar to learn these invaluable interpersonal lessons and put them to use in the simpod. Once their training is complete, the simpods will be made available to everyone. All other employees are encouraged, but not required, to take a turn! Please note that some Shubin locations will have limited simpod availability due to the sheer size of the workforce. To ensure yourself a slot, talk to your manager about getting your name added to the waiting list. Keep an eye out for the Keep it Cool campaign coming soon to your station. Together, we can better manage workplace pressure, and make Shubin Interstellar a more inviting and productive place to work. MIND YOUR MINERALS Some interesting facts about the ore around you. This month we look at … Thorium This slightly radioactive metal was discovered in 1829 by Morten Thrane Esmark, a priest and amateur mineralogist. Famed chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius confirmed that Esmark’s sample was a new mineral. He named it after Thor, an ancient Earth god of thunder. Created in the cores of dying stars, thorium is scattered across the universe during a supernova. Like Earth, many terrestrial worlds feature crusts that contain three times more thorium than uranium. Its radioactive decay is considered to be the leading source of several planet’s internal heat. The ‘Second Nuclear Age’ kicked off in 2247 with the opening of an advanced thorium reactor in Port Renatus, Mars. The groundbreaking design, courtesy of the Martian Institute of Space and Technology, made thorium a safe, reliable, and convenient energy source for Humanity’s home world. CONTRACTOR CORNER Shubin Interstellar can’t do it alone! Welcome to The Resupply Guys The latest independent operator to join the Shubin family is The Resupply Guys. They will be responsible for restocking all vending machines at our recently reopened facilities within the Vega system. Founded by three decorated UEE Navy veterans, The Resupply Guys will bring their extensive logistical experience to ensure our Vega employees always have Too Much Soup! and never run low on Torpedo Burritos. In addition to helping our Vega interests get back to full operating capacity, The Resupply Guys’ impressive track record makes them the ideal contractor to handle one of the most critical aspects of our operation – keeping our employees fed. Please welcome The Resupply Guys into the Shubin Interstellar family. If you work in the Vega system, be sure to say “Hi” next time you see one of them restocking a vending machine with delicious food and snacks. Przeczytaj całość
  21. Hostages on Daymar, extra deadly Scramble Races, and more progress on Hurston’s moons and wilderness in this week’s update. Przeczytaj całość
  22. Narrative Director Dave Haddock takes us on a whirlwind tour of the Banu world of Bacchus in an all new Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Remember that you can always explore the Star Citizen Universe yourself in our web-based Ark Star Map. Przeczytaj całość
  23. Star Citizen Live Game Director Todd Papy is in studio for a special ALL PAPY edition of our weekly Q&A series. You can submit your questions for consideration in future episodes of Calling All Devs here. And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: Przeczytaj całość
  24. Writer’s Note: The Knowledge of Good and Evil: Part Three was published originally in Jump Point 2.11. Catch up on the story by reading Part One and Part Two. Then someone walks up to me. “Oh, you ‘lone, Sister? Ain’ i’ late?” the man says. Strangers don’t just walk up to you in Bazaar Street. “Or ‘hapse you ain’ Sister. Null tha’. is i’ rat. Yeah. Gear rat. Street rat eve’.” The man had taken another few steps towards me and stopped again when I backed away. What did he say? All the panic of a few minutes ago shoots back into my mind and stiffens my spine. I don’ eve’ got a slag. I turn to look at the man for the first time. He’s rough and poor looking, but better dressed than I’d expected. He is shaved but unremarkable. I see the shadow of a face I remember well. Boss Dirk. “Ya remember me? Got. I remember you, rat. I remember that you owe me.” Dirk and I face off outside the rail station. It’s dark now and only a few half-working shop signs illuminate the intersection we’re standing in. We’re like night and day. I’ve changed in every way imaginable and he looks just like he did back when I was a gear rat for him. The only difference is his clothes look newer. He’d gotten the jump on me and surprised me, but it seems like he’s wasting that. He’s just staring me dead in the eye with a grin on his face. He knows the score is 1-0 but it’s like he’s waiting for me to say something. “Hello, Dirk.” I strip him of his title and acknowledge him at the same time. He flinches. I put on my best imitation of Mom Super’s passive expression and purposefully study him back. Score: 1-1 “I knew i’, bu’ my boys didn’ believe i’. See . . . ‘m know you are smar’ rat. Got lock on tha’ long time ago. Yeah, a long time ago, green eyes. Never could hide those, could ya?” Damn it. What did he mean about my eyes? Hell. Score: 2 – 1 “You know, debt like yours pile up over time. Interest. You los’ me a cool 20k cred deal long time ago an’ word on Bazaar says tha’ up got deals for mos’ tech’s except mine. Like ‘m got bad reputation on account a you.” This is not good. Lost deals are more than their cred value and if what Dirk’s saying is true, I lost him a big break when that customer saw me beat up and blamed him. Chances are I never would have earned enough to pay him back. If I hadn’t been caught on the rail that day . . . I hear footsteps behind me and feel the presence more than see it. Two others, at least. Unhappily close. I can’t let them get too close to me. Score: 3 – 1 “Three of you? I thought you were more of a man than that, Dirk.” The thugs stop where they are. Dirk’s damn stare hasn’t left me. I can’t break focus or he’ll think I’m weak or can’t hold my nerve. “I don’t have what you think I have, Dirk. No credits to my name. The Sisters don’t use them. Even this coat’s borrowed. I’m not good looking enough to sell for a slave. I’m not a rat anymore. So you have a deal to make or are you just sucking O2?” Straight bluff. Better than nothing. Score: I’m losing bad. He laughs, looking away long enough for me to steal a glance at each of the thugs. Big boys, them. I feel the sting of it before I realize what’s happening. Dirk’s backhand knocks me down. I clutch my face in pain and shock, knowing that if more is coming, I can’t stop it. “Tha’ wha’ you think, rat? Tha’ them Sisters none work with creds? Wha’ you think all tha’ information them got for, looks? Sister’s got high-up clients. Keep ‘em secrets. Sell ‘em info. Manipulate people with damn information. Smug bitches.” He spits and takes his time before he looks at me again. “How ya think ‘em keep lights on an’ meals cooked? Null tha’ free. Rat like you supposed ta know tha’. Got some ta teach you with, rat. An’ them Sister’s got ‘nough ta paid wha’ you owe me.” “You can go to hell.” His eyes are burning with hate. “Won’ hurt for me ta keep eyes ou’ on them rats you school some. Jus ta make sure them null gettin’ hurt none. Wouldn’ wan’ tha’, would ya, green eyes?” Dirk’s thug pulls the child I’d stayed to help out from the shadows. A huge black eye and bruises on his arms. “Le’ me go, ya slag fak.” The kid fights against Dirk’s grip. Dirk slaps him hard. I nearly scream at the sight of it. The kid just wants to learn something and these abusing faks are treating him like a piece of currency. “Wha’ ya got say ‘bout knowin’ if ya don’t do wha’ ‘m tell ya there be more a tha same for tha whole lot a ‘em?” He reaches into a pocket and pulls out a cube bigger than a fist and tosses it at me. I catch it and one of the corners jabs me in the palm. “Take tha’ and pu’ i’ nex’ ta tha Sister’s precious Vault. Press tha’ button an’ wait till i’ blink at ya. Don’ mess with i’. Don’ scan i’. Don’ be rough with i’. I’ come back broke, or messed with or wrong an’ i’ gonna be them rats tha’ get i’. Like this one.” Dirk shakes the child by the arm. I’ve got to distract them so the child can get away. I won’t have more of this on my hands. I don’t know how I’m going to do that flat on my back, but I have to think of something. I see five figures come out from around the corner and suddenly they are running toward the scene Dirk and I are making. If they’re not more of Dirk’s men, then they might be slavers or worse. I brace and get ready to jump up and sprint. I tense my body for the jump to my feet but stop as I recognize the silhouette of Sisters in their habits with hoods up. The five black-clad figures surround me. The commotion is almost enough to distract Dirk and the child pulls hard once, but can’t break free. The Sisters all look the same with their hoods up, but one speaks directly to Dirk. “What are you doing with that child?” Dirk grins and lets go. The kid runs for it. The child’s departure is hardly acknowledged by his thugs as I sigh with relief. I remember the cube I’m holding and stash it in my large coat pocket. “Whatever your business was here, it is done.” Dirk spits on her shoe. “Null, bu’ i’ is now. See ya a’ nex’ school, Sisters.” My attackers leave without another word. A Sister offers me a hand. “Are you all right?” she asks. “Yeah, mostly.” Shock is starting to wear off and I start to tremble a bit. The Sisters move to support me. “Time to get you home.” * * * I stagger into my room and collapse. What the hell am I doing? How could I have gotten cornered out in the open? And Dirk knew who I was and that I live with the Order and . . . I notice the cube thing in my pocket and feel compelled to take it out. 5×5×5 cm, only one button, and gloss black. Like nothing I’ve ever worked on before. No big deal, right? Nothing I shouldn’t handle on my own. Nothing in the Library can hurt anyone. It’s just old stuff. Barely anything worth stealing unless you really like old gear and reading. But that damn Vault. All I’ve got to do is set the thing up in the Library and turn it on. It will do whatever the hell it wants. But the rats will be safe. Dirk said they will be. If I don’t go along . . . The fak threatened my school and my kids. But I’m doing this to keep the school open. Mom Super would understand, if I told her. And I just need to turn the thing on. Put it near the Vault. Easy enough. And if I get caught . . . I’m doing it to keep the school open. Mom Super would understand. Dirk’s threat hounds me. The Sisters talk about information and the sacred freedom, but have got a giant secret vault thing in the middle of it all. What the hell is that all about? And what Dirk said about selling information and high-class clients and the Sisters’ manipulation of people? Somehow, I don’t feel as safe as I used to, even in my own room. Feels like I’m being watched by Dirk or the walls or god, but that doesn’t make sense. The cube is black like a shadow, and I can’t stop looking at it every other second. Snatching it, I put it in my desk drawer and close it. I let out the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding. Amazing how such a small gadget can carry so much trouble. The knock at the door makes me jump, but the pattern is familiar. “Come in.” Mom Super comes in looking concerned. “I’ve heard you had a run in with some rough men. Are you all right?” “It was just an old misunderstanding, that’s all.” “The bruise on your cheek and the situation you were found in speaks otherwise, young one.” “Really, it was nothing. I just need to be more careful not to be in Bazaar after dark. That sort of thing happens all the time if you’re not careful, and I just made a mistake. Nothing to worry about.” “All right. I will leave you to attend to yourself. If you have more you wish to talk about, I am always willing to.” As the door closes behind her I know that Mom Super has more questions for me then she asked. I know I have more questions than I know how to ask. Just sitting here thinking about . . . all the “whys.” I’m sweating. Fear, anger and shame all mixed into a toxic knot in my chest. I get up and open my closet. The floor is mostly clean. I push what’s there aside and crawl in. After what feels like hours I finally nod off in the only place I can think of to run to, and it doesn’t help. Null a secure ‘gainst your own mind. Don’t exist, that. Suddenly I hear my young voice in my head, “Ask the ‘why’s’ an’ you dies.” Like hell am I going to let threats and street rhymes start running my life again. I get up from the floor of my closet and go over and open my desk drawer. I take stock of my options for a moment before I grab the cube and sit down at my work bench. I’ll start with passive scans. * * * Days have never felt as long as these do. I can barely eat. I’ve come up with nothing. Passives show nothing my eyes couldn’t already tell me. The case is sealed tight. Even the button seems to be formed into the glass. No seams or joints to pry open. I haven’t been this frustrated since I had to study Biology. Things start to take a toll on me as I realize how trapped I am. I’m flying blind without more information. Dirk can hold his threat against the street children over me for years and continually get me to cooperate. It’s too late to tell Mom Super. I still need answers though, and what he said about the Sisters has me doubting everything I know about them. I get Mom Super alone in the meal hall after dinner the third night. “Mom Super, can I ask you about some things I’ve been wonder . . . thinking about?” “Of course you may, young one. I will answer as best I can.” If I ask too directly about what Dirk said I’ll give myself away, but I have to look inquisitive like I’ve been holding questions back. “Only a few things I guess. It’s hard not to, ya know? Things just come up. Like, what do you do with all the information you collect besides study it and put it on shelves?” “We sell it, or many times give it away. Sometimes we simply keep it and do nothing at all with it.” That one stuns me a bit as I test Dirk’s words against the ramifications of that claim. It sounds like a canned answer but it rings like the truth. “How do you get all the stuff you collect in the Library? Just Pilgrimages?” “Sometimes information is bequeathed to us. At times it is given freely. Other times it is given into our care at great price by the faithful or others. At times when information is received as confession, it is not to be released until morally necessary or after the confessor’s death, and then always without connection to that person. It is one of our most sacred duties to ensure such things are not lost, but to acquire them often requires that we allow some stipulation and even restriction to certain information. That is what we keep in the Holy Vault.” “What does ‘morally necessary’ mean? I mean, what sort of thing could a person know that would be so important?” “That is the first follow-up question you have asked.” Mom Super caught my genuine curiosity by the tail like a cat nabbing a mouse. I sit frozen, trying not to react. “It’s a very good question,” she continues. I let out the breath I’m holding. “Information of itself does not have moral character. It is the situations and circumstances surrounding information that determine its moral value. If it would be morally wrong for us to withhold or suppress something about a crime or event, then we cannot withhold it. If we have been sworn to the confessional about something that has no influence on the world, then that is reserved for a time. It comes to subjective assessments at times, so we must remain humble and vigilant of our own biases.” That’s close to what Dirk described, but a whole lot different. “But what if information from the Vault or confessional or whatever would hurt people? Even if you released it for the right reasons? To manipulate things?” Shit, did I just say that out loud? “Is that something you’ve heard, young one?” “Just once, Mom Super.” For a split second, I think I see a tiredness on her face like I haven’t seen before. Maybe it’s sadness. After I blink, it’s not there anymore. “Whenever the Order releases information from the confessional vault early, it must always have some sort of effect. If it were to mean nothing, then there would be no reason to release it. Those who entrust their secrets to us have the utmost faith in our stewardship and discretion.” Mom Super sighs and takes a larger breath than normal. “Some may see what we do as manipulation or meddling. Perhaps especially if they are on the wrong side of what is revealed. That too would be subjective, I think.” Dirk had only given me a half truth and twisted it besides. “That has to be really hard. Who decides if that happens?” “I do,” Mom Super says quietly. “I think I will retire, young one. You should rest as well. Street school seems to take much out of each week.” Even without trying to figure out what just happened to Mom Super, I’ve got a lot to parse. The Sisters do sell information, but it’s not back-alley trades like Dirk wanted me to think. Sure the info from the Vault changes things when it gets released, or the Sisters wouldn’t lock it away. They’ve even got a hang-up about the freedom of info, so it’s got to be a big deal that the Vault exists at all. If it’s all true, what she just told me changes everything but doesn’t make anything easier. Cracking tough eggs is what a gear rat does, but it will mean covering all my tracks after I hack into the thing. I don’t call myself a gear rat anymore, but I sure as hell still have skills. More even, than I ever had as a rat, thanks to Mom Super. I head back to my room. I can’t be stupid about this, but if what Mom Super said is true, then I can’t let Dirk have what he wants. A set of antennae and a mobiGlas can do a whole lot if you know how to make them dance right. * * * My active scanning finally shows me the innards of the thing, but what’s there doesn’t make sense. Why would you make a piece of equipment with a decryption suite, a tiny swap drive, a transmitter, and a power supply that will only last a few days? There’s no storage drive that could hold any reasonable amount of information. It doesn’t have the gear to transmit the information out to somewhere else. I decide to turn it on. The cube starts to send signals on the same frequency that I’m used to seeing on my readouts when I’m near the Vault. So that matches up, but too much still doesn’t. I set my scraped-together diagnostic tool to imitate the Vault’s transmissions, my room being far enough away that I’m certain the cube can’t actually reach the real Vault with so little power. The cube’s transmissions start to cycle through known encryption handshakes. It’s trying to connect, all right. I pick a protocol that’s old and obscure for my decoy to use and wait. Almost two hours of nothing, then it happens. A sudden spike in the communication between the cube and my imitation Vault transmitter. Then suddenly nothing. And my gear stops responding. My setup is wiped clean. I panic and turn off my mobiGlas as fast as possible, hoping the wipe routine didn’t jump the link to my more precious hardware. The cube’s indicator light blinks three times and goes off, like an acknowledgement of what just happened. It’s an info-nuke! Dirk doesn’t want to steal anything from the Vault. He’s trying to destroy it! My mind starts racing. Why would he do that? The information in the Vault has to be valuable, but you can’t sell something you’ve destroyed. Dirk’s only good for petty theft. I stop and think about what I know about Dirk and realize it’s all old information. Not as useful or complete as I would want. I’ve been assuming I knew what he wants. Why should I care what he wants; this is an attack on the Sisters and feels all wrong. * * * I don’t sleep. Can’t sleep. I have to figure out why Dirk would want to wipe out the Vault. I have to get this cube back to Dirk and keep everything away from Mom Super. I . . . I can’t do this. I can’t take this into the Library. I can’t betray the Sisters and Mom Super. I won’t. I’ll find some other way to protect the children. They’re street rats, maybe just warning them could be enough. What if it’s not? I have to break into the operating system of the cube and find out more about it. That might show me what’s really going on. The operating system turns out to be a labyrinth. This should be delicate work and I’m doing it with a sledge hammer. There’s no time to be more careful. Every time I make too many mistakes it tries to wipe out whatever device I have connected to it. Whoever made this used some high-caliber tech and didn’t skimp on accessories. Expensive, that. More than Dirk could afford, that’s for damn sure. I know I have to give it back to Dirk and he’s sure to have some way to look at whether it’s done its job. Eventually, I find what I expect. Log files of everything it’s done and every connection attempt and signal received since it was turned on. I even see the entry for the wipe it did of my original decoy. Still no clue as to why it exists or who made it. I edit the logs about my intrusion. Then I find a hidden partition with more logs. Then I discover a second operating system that only runs when the device isn’t connected to anything. I sandbox that and get it to boot and find a whole new set of log files and double checks I bypass or change. I work forty-eight hours straight trying to make sure Dirk can’t detect what I’ve done and leave the record of the falsely completed Vault wipe intact. Then, just before I start my last script to cover my tracks in the software, I decide to run a full power scan of the insides again and take stock of what’s there. And I find something extra. After a while of looking at it I figure the only thing it can be, a write-once memory chip. The kind that only allows you to put information on it once and then it’s stored permanently. If there are logs of what I did that the system put there before I could stop it, then I’m screwed and Dirk will know everything I’ve done and all my work to fake this is worthless. * * * The write-once memory on top of my guilt, the lack of sleep, and a bit of desperation push me to decide I’m going to stand up to him. I have to tell him I won’t do this. To hell with him finding out that I’ve played with his toy. I’m not going to let myself get bullied by some low life and his thugs. I can warn the children and then they can take care of themselves until I come up with something better. I’m sure word’s gotten out around the rat camps by now to stay away from Dirk. Taking the ride to Bazaar Street feels different. Maybe it’s the cube in my pocket. The rail car seems hot, but I’m the only one sweating. I’ve got a plan and an angle. There is even a slim chance of a way out. Walking out of the rail car, the open air is chilled. The Sisters and I head towards Work Row. There are still children there waiting for school to start, even in this cold. I make a mental note to bring jackets and some heat units next week as we set up. The end of the alley darkens as three men stand blocking the way. I recognize them instantly. Dirk and his muscle. The other Sisters look at me. This is still my turf to them, and they must not recognize them as the men who attacked me. I tell them to keep unpacking and go to face the trio alone, but two Sisters follow me. At least this time I have backup nearby and a way out behind me. They form up behind me. A sign of support. A chip in the game of appearances that poor people play. They’ve come to my aid, and I almost betrayed them to Dirk’s five cubic centimeter invasion. Dirk locks on to them right away. “‘m got talk ta green eyes ‘lone. You others can outbound.” “Yours first,” I say. Dirk shifts attention to me then gives a nod. The two thugs turn around and walk back around the corner, with one keeping an eye down the alley. I give the Sisters my best try at a reassuring smile. They bow slightly and return to the work of settling the children for school a little further away. My hand reaches into my pocket for the cube. It’s like holding a loaded gun I don’t have control of. I swallow down my emotions and set my feet as I stop in front of them. I look my old boss dead in the eye, “I won’t do it, Dirk.” Everything is very still and very dangerous for what feels like minutes. “Ya know, ‘m think you smart some, green eyes. Guess not. Them rats gonna pay for this.” I look over my shoulder again at the students. “They aren’t rats. They’re children.” I return my attention to Dirk and barely see the shock pistol before it fires. My body convulses as I black out. * * * I wake up to the sound of crying and someone shaking me. I finally get my eyes open and sit up. Pain racks my body so much I almost puke. My eyes are adjusting to the darkness. Darkness? The shock pistol. Must have been out for hours. I see two sisters huddled together. One is where the crying is coming from. The other is consoling her. I look around the normally orderly alley and see chaos. Clothes and scraps of clothes. Debris scattered. And blood. Too much blood. I look at myself and the Sisters again. None of it seems to be from us. I make it to my feet without falling back down and stumble over the a stack of crates in the middle of the empty area we normally use for our classroom. On it is a note. “I’ve got your rats. Do it or they die.” Oh God. It’s me that cries now. * * * The rail ride back is endured alone in my own head, as my mind fills with panic and rage. Why couldn’t I have just done what Dirk told me to? The rail car races its way along, but I silently will it faster. Half running into the warm halls of the convent should have made me feel relief, but it only heaps on dread as I recognize one of our number heading off in the direction of Mom Super’s rooms. Most likely to tell her what happened. I don’t have time to think about that though, Dirk’s threats are real now. He’s changed more than I realized. The others shepherd me to my room and at least one stays outside the door as I stumble through it. The uncommon sound of rushing feet comes down the hall just before Mom Super bursts in. She has right to do that anywhere in the convent, but she usually knocks on my door. “Young one, are you all right? I’ve been told you and the others were confronted by a group of rough men. What happened? What did they want?” Mom Super, panicked? I have to deflect this now. “The Sisters report children have been injured or taken away by the same men who attacked you. Can you explain this?” “Some thugs jumped us. They want us to shut down the school. We have to pay some sort of protection money and they’ll leave us alone. That’s all.” Mom Super’s not buying it, “I don’t see how you could be this casual, young one. This is not some old secret of circumstance you should be keeping alone. You must tell me what they really wanted. Violence almost befell the Sisters on your behalf as well. That makes this a matter for the whole of this Order. It is a step too far to believe those men want only to extort some . . .” “I’m taking care of it, all right! The kids are gonna be safe. It’s just thugs.” I haven’t flown off the handle like that in years. Mom Super can see the wall I never let her past, and acknowledges it with a stern look. “You want me to take your word without any explanation when I should be calling the authorities. I am charged with the safety of this Order and its members. What of these children? Is it so that you can protect them but you cannot protect yourself?” “I’m taking care of it,” I repeat. “I have a responsibility I cannot ignore. I should have already reported the assault and possible kidnapping. The police will have to know sooner or later.” “The police getting into it will be a death warrant for those kids. You told me you wanted me to help you bridge the gap into Bazaar Street because you can’t understand it and I can. I’m the only one that can get those kids back.” “What choice do I have then?” She pauses. “I expect to be told what has happened after it is settled.” Mom Super looks at me hard for a moment longer than comfortable and then leaves in anger. Damn it all, she had to even bring trust into this? I feel the cube in my pocket nagging at me. I have to do it. Damn you to hell, Dirk. * * * I’ll have to wait a few hours till everyone is asleep. Mom Super’s suspicion means I’ll be watched if I try and go to the library now, and I can’t let anyone stop me. I lie down but can’t rest. Minutes pass as slow as hours, and my skin itches as the waiting ticks on. My alarm goes off and I roll out of bed feverish to be about my task. The halls are empty as I make the trek to the library entrance. I’m half surprised when it opens for me. The lights in the library are dimmed to night settings. Weaving through the stacks to the Vault I see no one and jump at every sound. I pull the cube out from the bag I’m carrying it in and place it on the desk nearest the Vault. Even through the pain and fatigue induced haze I still stop my finger above the button just before I press it. I have to do this. For the children. I can’t wait or they’ll die. I close my eyes. “Forgive me,” I say. Like the prayers the Sisters use, but to myself more than anything. Someone else responds as I feel a hand close around my wrist. “Forgive you for what?” TO BE CONTINUED… Przeczytaj całość
  25. Gamescom 2948 is right around the corner, and we’re looking forward to meeting all the Star Citizen fans making the trip to Cologne. Team members will be on hand at Bar Citizen events in the evenings, with Friday’s meetup including a special town hall Q&A with guests John Crewe, Dan Trufin, Sarah McCulloch, and Brian Chambers. You can get all the Bar Citizen details below. Plus, our community warriors Ulf, Tyler, and Jared have loads of exclusive goodies to give away, so if you see them, don’t hesitate to say hello! Meetups in Cologne during Gamescom WeekWe’re taking every opportunity we can to meet with the community throughout the whole Gamescom week. We had so much fun last year that we’re planning a similar schedule! Join your fellow Star Citizens and members of the CIG development staff at the following locations: Wednesday, August 22nd Join us at the Deutzer Brauhaus from 6pm to 9pm for drinks and a chance to chat with CIG staff. Get Details Thursday, August 23rd Meet us and fellow Citizens from around the world at the Brauhaus Ohne Namen from 7pm to 9pm. Get Details Friday, August 24th We’re back at the Brauhaus Ohne Namen from 6pm to 9pm, including a special Townhall Q&A for all attendees of the event. Get Details Saturday, August 25th We’ll be at the Hyatt Legends Bar from 12pm onwards and looking forward to sharing a drink and a story. Get Details Please join us at any or all of the events above and get to know the Star Citizen developers & community. Przeczytaj całość

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