In this episode Disco Lando sits down with members of the Environment Art team to discuss their work on ArcCorp and the environments that are in Alpha 3.5. Here is a breakdown of what was discussed.
Question: Will there be oceans on ArcCorp?
Answer: The main focus on ArcCorp was to get the planet tech to do something totally different and that was to have a hard surface all around. There was an incredible amount of research to get this tech working and was one of the harder feats this team has done. Unfortunately, there was no answer.
Question: What kind of things can we expect to find exploring ArcCorp?
Answer: Possible underground facilities, wrecks, abandoned buildings for possible missions. Further ahead there seems to be reason these things could happen but for now the team wants to get the Stanton System up and running first.
Question: Will ArcCorp incorporate a broader color scheme?
Answer: Yes. The team is actively working on variations of colors, buildings, mega structures, tiles, and more points of interest around the planet that are unique. The team is hopeful after 3.5 that this patch will be introduced.
Question: Where does ArcCorp’s atmosphere come from and will there be parks/green areas?
Answer: The current buildings ArcCorp all have landing pads on them which are modular. CIG could modify these to have rooftop gardens or other such ideas. As for bigger areas, there is only so much detail they can manage and they have been working on ideas but it is difficult to create a green area that molds well with environment and doesn’t automatically draw the eye.
The atmosphere could possibly have multiple processors that create the environment required to sustain life.
Question: Why has ArcCorp changed its look from its previous demo?
Answer: There were performance reasons and artistic ones. Less noisy buildings and simpler detail. More dedication to detail in specific areas.
Question: What are tricks and optimizations to improve framerates on ArcCorp?
Answer: Trying to create larger pieces that use less polygons and drawcalls. Lots more aggressive LODs.
Question: Will CIG go back and update old moons with the new tech?
Answer: Yes, in time.
Question: Were there lessons learned created ArcCorp that can help create future organic planets?
Answer: Absolutely. They used the tech for rock scattering to apply to buildings on ArcCorp. There is no reason now why they can go back to an organic planet and use the ArcCorp building tech to create enormous cliffs or rocks. There are lots of techniques that can cross over between projects.
Question: How many LODs (Level of Detail – Up close model high detail and progressively gets lower detail as you travel further away. Each detail change is a model or LOD.
Answer: Generally there are about five LODs per asset. If you calculate all the LODs it gets big. (LOL!) CIG is always looking to find ways to increase performance. When they introduced ArcCorp, they put over 100,000 entities into the PU.
Question: Will there be changes to the distribution of rocks on moons?
Answer: As tech evolves and new procedural methods emerge, CIG will go back and update required areas.
Question: Will there be biome diversity on ArcCorp?
Answer: The current area is mainly industrial. Around Area18 are some smaller suburbs. The main focus for ArcCorp to create different biomes would be variation of building sizes and design. Possible unique super structures and buildings.
Question: What lessons did you learn from Lorville that you incorporated into ArcCorp?
Answer: Draw distance was a big factor. Learning how to use LODs and drawcalls effectively.
Question: Will there be large scale buildings like a SUPERCLUB?
Answer: They have a building with a landing pad on the side. Also have some other prototype buildings. One such is a giant “donut” shaped building.
Question: Could owners of buildings change the exteriors?
Answer: Seems similar to habs. CIG is in early days of persistent habs. No reason why they couldn’t do this. They want everything to be customizable to have your own look and feel to assets you own.
Question: Will we see space stations floating around ArcCorp?
Answer: They are currently working on it. They are tossing around the idea of dry docks in orbit for larger ships to land and then smaller ships will shuttle people down to the surface.
Question: Any chance of panoramic elevators on buildings?
Answer: They want to look into it. No reason why not. Another thing looking into is having windows in habs. Certain locations could have external elevators.
Question: Will there be seasons on planets?
Answer: They are looking into weather systems.
Question: How fun is it creating environments for Star Citizen.
Answer: It is really fun but very challenging. The challenge makes it fun. There are always some new problems to tackle. The scale of this creation can be daunting but seeing players run around in the world and have fun is a great reward, never a dull moment.