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Everything posted by OceanicBot

  1. OceanicBot

    From 890 Jump to Anvil Carrack, from the Vanguard variants to the Hull C and more, John Crewe and Jared Huckaby update on the ships making their way through the ship pipeline in 2019 and beyond. Last show of 2018! To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into http://twitch.tv/starcitizen. View the full article
  2. Welcome to November’s monthly Star Citizen report from Cloud Imperium Games. Last month saw the Intergalactic Aerospace Exposition land on Hurston just in time for our annual Anniversary Special. Devs had fun bringing the expo to life, while continuing to forge ahead, sights set on the upcoming release of Alpha 3.4. Read on for Persistent Universe development updates from all of our global studios. Star Citizen Monthly Report: November 2018 AI Ship AI’s major focus throughout November was optimizing the Tactical Point System. They now have multiple queries bundled together in a batch from different threads, which allow more control over the cost of the overall system. Several optimizations for the character movement system were submitted, which now update all the components in a multithreaded batch approach and utilize the maximum the CPU resources during the game update. A pass for thread safety of several subsystems was performed, including the attention target component and communication system. This is required to eventually move the Subsumption component update to the multithreaded batch update step. In FPS Combat, the ‘Defend Area’ assignment was introduced; correctly achieving this behavior requires monitoring the mastergraph transitions to evaluate if the recipients of the Subsumption event can actually process it. In the Defend Area example, they might be executing any regular behavior when receiving the assignment. If the behavior can handle the request in a specific way, great. If not, then the mastergraph takes care of selecting one that can. Alongside this, they’re adding new behaviors to improve combat and patrol to respect this assignment. Support for stealth gameplay was implemented, with new audio and visual stimuli being added to allow players to draw the attention of guards, prepare traps, and open up otherwise blocked paths. Work also continued on the bartender for Lorville. To achieve several functionalities of his behavior they implemented the first pass of UseChannel routing and are continuing to expand the usable functionalities. The Usable Builder Tool received a new feature too: it’s now able to correctly preview different characters using different usables so that designers, animators, and programmers can easily test and verify the content as it’s delivered. Animation November saw Animation supporting the Feature Team to bring vault, mantle, and jumping functionality in-line with the game’s quality and play expectations. They’re currently testing a process to allow the efficient integration of different weapon classes, such as pistols and shotguns. The team is also implementing carry options for Zero-G EVA and working towards finalizing player interaction (carriables in particular). The US Animation Team cleaned and solved data from the amazing performance captures done at this year’s CitizenCon in Austin, Texas. Editing and final work will be completed soon. They continued work on the Ship Dealers that will populate the ‘verse and made sure the new mission givers are available as soon as their locations are ready, such as Wallace Klim in Levski, Tecia Pacheco in Area18, and Constantine Hurston in Lorville. Exploring the issues that result from re-targeting the male animations to the female skeleton, the team determined that the first step is to achieve 1:1 parity between them. This will allow for the replacement of assets with female-specific versions without hindering female player development. Finishing touches are being added to carriable tech, too. The Combat AI Team is exploring how to use the stocked weapon asset set as a basis to quickly create pistol versions to give the AI Designers more freedom in the type of weapon encounters they create. The Ship Content Team is finishing off sequenced animation work. This will enable quicker and more efficient implementation of the design and animation sides of new ships. Weapons-wise, they’re working on the Ravager rifle and the Kahix. Audio The Audio department focused on the new flight model and the spaceship audio mix. They implemented tech to allow systemic mixing of NLPC ship bases on priority, size, and threat level, which gives a clearer and more focused mix. This, combined with the implementation of the new ship vibration component, has greatly improved the ship audio experience. During implementation, they made an optimization pass to ensure memory and voice limits remain healthy. Improvements to the weapon experience continued with the consolidation of assets and the simplification of element implementation to ensure improved translation of audio assets from the digital audio workstation (DAW) into the game. There have also been changes to the Foley system to improve the audio feedback of the player’s traversal on different terrain and surface types. On the music front, the team worked with the PU composer Pedro Camacho to develop and implement new musical cues to support the planet-side locations on Hurston, such as L19, and upcoming expansions. With Object Container Streaming (OCS) coming online, the Audio Code Team optimized and polished FOIP to ensure reliability. Backend Services Backend Services worked to bring the 2948 Anniversary Event to players. The first order of business was creating the service needed to bring forward the correct overlapped object containers for the different days at the convention center. This ensured a seamless transition between manufacturer days and prevented the need to publish a new build per expo day. Next, they worked to make sure the rental logic behind the expo correctly traded data between the server, client, and database to ensure players could enjoy the ships they rented. Finally, a login queue was created to help organize and throttle the unprecedented number of players attempting to enter the ‘verse and check-out the expo. Away from the Anniversary Event, work continued on the new architecture for the Persistence Cache to help increase the scalability of the backend as well as link important services to a new database architecture. Character Art Character Art’s focus throughout November was to make all armor and undersuits available for female avatars. They also worked on modeling two of our new mission givers to bring more life to the Persistent Universe. Additionally, they’re creating a new set of outlaw armor (designation ‘Shipjacker’) that will include armor, an undersuit, and subscriber items. Community “The Community Team started the month in the Halloween spirit with two spooky contests in anticipation of the holiday. Players joined the festivities and showcased their talent in a pumpkin carving contest and a FOIP screenshot contest depicting the most terrifying and terrified expressions they had to offer. Spooktacular! The Mustang Commercial Contest put the community’s filmmaking skills to the test. Our bold cinematographers embraced the maverick spirit of Consolidated Outland to create commercials that Silas Koerner himself would be proud of. During Thanksgiving, Citizens shared what they were thankful for and participated in two holiday contests in honor of Turkey Day. With these two contests, we are now up to 25 total contests run in 2018, and the team still has more planned to go live before the end of the year. As Alpha 3.3 made its way to the Persistent Universe, we welcomed the first fully-explorable planet and city with Hurston and Lorville respectively. While everyone was exploring the new environments, the bustling landing zone, and four new moons, the Star Citizen content creators outdid themselves, creating beautiful shots of sunsets on Hurston, days out on the beach next to Lorville, and joyrides to Aberdeen. We are proud and thankful for all the content the community shared on social media, Reddit, and the community hub, and are looking forward to seeing even more. Keep on sharing! The 2948 Anniversary special kicked off our most epic Free-Fly event to date with all flyable ships and vehicles to try out at no extra cost. The Intergalactic Aerospace Expo came a long way and made its in-game debut with their Hurston-based satellite branch. Exclusive reveals at the expo included Anvil’s ‘light fighter of the future’, the Hawk, and the next evolution of Xi’an tech and design innovation with the Aopoa San’tok.yāi. Lastly, we also reached a significant funding milestone and want to thank our amazing community who made this possible. The amount is the highest total for any project in the history of crowdfunding and is beyond anything we could have imagined. In a letter from the chairman, Chris Roberts shared his thoughts on the fantastic journey so far and the exciting future that lies ahead. Here’s to tomorrow!” Design Design got the Anniversary Event’s Convention Center up and running for all backers to enjoy. To help encourage players to browse the inventories at New Deal and Teach’s Ship Shop, the team began implementing a new type of NPC: the Ship Dealer. The aim is to provide a realistic and interesting ship purchasing experience to further liven up the process of acquiring a dream ship. “We sincerely hope you got a chance to try out and see the different ships at the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo on Hurston!” Tuning for the Economy continues, with work going into adjusting prices for various services and goods across Stanton. Work has also started towards the design and implementation of a robust and important Economic Editing Tool to help better visualize and tweak the Economy than ever before. They also tuned Arena Commander’s REC Reward. DevOps November is always one of the busiest months for DevOps due to the Anniversary Event, and this month was no exception, with the team scaling the servers to the highest capacity since the beginning of the project. To ease the overall DevOps workload, the Publishing Team expanded their internal tools, which allowed most of the team to enjoy a well-deserved break for Thanksgiving (even if they did stay very close to their laptops). Between PTU & Live, they successfully published 30 times throughout November, with some days seeing 3-4 builds. Engineering Engineering teams around the globe worked on OCS throughout November. The first iteration of client-side streaming was released in Alpha 3.3, with an ongoing focus on improving asynchronous entity loading and unloading. The core OCS and network and backend teams had the Object Container Server Streaming summit this month to plan the next iteration of OCS, which will focus on server-side streaming and full persistent servers. LA-based Engineering collaborated with the Austin Backend Team to build the tech required for in-game ship rentals. It was premiered during the anniversary promotion and forms the foundation for all in-game rentals. Development on backend tech moved forward towards allowing persistent EZ Habs and enable players to customize and persist their start location. The Vehicle Team continued to work on Ping & Scanning gameplay, this month focusing on ship scanning. Work has also begun on the new DNA component to integrate the R&D technology into the character pipeline. Turbulent worked closely with the LA Gamecode Team to further improve the group system, spectrum integration, and FOIP & VOIP. Engine Tools The Engine Team spent time supporting the Alpha 3.3 and 3.3.5 releases, bug fixing, profiling, and optimizing code (especially for Object Container Streaming). Work continued on GPU skinning, adding vertex velocity support (for motion blur, etc.), completed several optimizations to skip zero weights (which improved throughput), prepared background data, and made the first pass on memory layout and LOD support. For physics optimizations, the execution of ray collision checks and the defragmentation of grids run were made to run concurrently. This achieved a 30-50% speedup for physics planet terrain computation, reduced the number of cell queries on planets, and improved proxy mesh generation of terrain ground volumes. Terrain rendering improvements were made (glow forward pass) as well as fixes for water volume and ocean rendering. The existing hair shader was improved, and a new depth of field algorithm was created, improving quality, performance, and fixing halos around silhouettes. They completed additional culling refinements in the zone system to submit fewer objects to the renderer, as well as various low-level optimizations to reduce the load on the render thread. Further enhancements were made to engine-side support for the public telemetry page to allow user-specific optimization hints to be displayed to improve the gameplay experience, and a new tool was developed to easily analyze core dumps of Linux dedicated game servers. Environment Art The UK team focused on bug fixing and optimization for the Alpha 3.3 release, mainly for Lorville and Hurston. A focused sprint was completed for the Anniversary Event convention halls, with the aim to provide a versatile and time-economic environment to show off the ships in their best light. Additional Underground Facility interior exteriors and a new Alpha 3.3 splash screen were also made and implemented. The DE Location Team made great progress on Lorville’s Central Business District (CBD). Here, players can access the Hurston Dynamics Showcase, the flagship store for all weaponry produced by the brand, as well as the Transfers store where players can engage in various trading activities. The CBD has a very different feel to the rest of Lorville and clearly services a different type of clientele. Luxurious materials and modern design set the ambiance for this experience. The Organics and Planet Team are making great progress on upcoming locations and are currently working on ArcCorp and exploring microTech. Both locations need additional features to be added to the planet tech to make them truly unique, so while it’s still early days, things are steadily moving on. Facial Animation The team is actively working on upcoming mission-givers, including Klim, along with ship dealers, bar patrons, and bartenders. They’re also testing the results of the player’s facial animation recordings on the default loadout. Graphics This month, the Graphics Team firmly focussed on the release of Alpha 3.3.5 and improving both stability and performance. The PTU was plagued by some quite frequent GPU crashes, but Evocati testing helped them track down the cause and remedy it. With the release of Lorville, QA saw high video memory usage due to the scale of the environment and number of ships and characters. Due to some bugs, this resulted in serious performance issues as the video driver began to page memory, resulting in noticeable stutters. Fixes were made to the worst offending video memory bugs in Alpha 3.3.5. Looking forward, the team continues to reduce memory usage and optimize the game for the next release. Issue Council The Issue Council deployed version 1.1.5 in October. Several issues were fixed including editable fields of the different forms not displaying correctly, versions not ordered from the latest to the oldest, and display names with special characters not showing properly. Level Design The Live Team placed and marked-up locations on and around Hurston for mission use. Big improvements to the delivery missions were made – players can now take contracts from companies who operate specific routes and require the player to have a certain level of reputation. The Downed Relay mission (as seen in CitizenCon) now has multiple outcomes, including having other players tasked with destroying the stolen blade before its data is uploaded. Finally, most of the combat missions found at Crusader are now available at Hurston. Work has begun to define the contractors and progression for them, too. Lighting This month, the Lighting Team worked on improving the headlights across almost all ships available in the PU. Due to plenty of issues regarding visibility while flying ships in dark environments, the headlights were improved to provide more visible light from greater distances. There’s still room for improvement, but in the meantime, it’s a positive change that makes the planetary flying experience more enjoyable. Additionally, the team focused on bug fixing and optimizing the lighting in Lorville to maintain a high degree of quality while improving framerates and lowering drawcall costs. They also worked on the lighting for the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo to help show off all the amazing ships being featured in the various halls. Narrative The Narrative Team pushed heavily on Alpha 3.3 and 3.3.5 tasks to knock out remaining mission text and standardize in-game descriptions for ship components on the terminals. They also continued working on editorial selects for the lower priority lines for NPCs that were captured back in September. To cover the new convention center and other contexts, they ran a pickup recording session to add additional Lorville announcement lines. The team also worked closely with Marketing to support the recent IAE expansion event in Lorville. Not only providing written copy but joining some of the roundtable discussions to provide fictional backstory for the various manufacturers. Lastly, they worked to schedule tasks for the PU and undertook overall team planning for the upcoming year. Player Relations Player Relations busily plugged away at the Alpha 3.3 and the Anniversary Event, working alongside the Evocati on several builds to make sure key components were properly tested. “As always, we’d like to point all players to our growing Knowledge Base, which now has over 100 articles and saw almost 450,000 visitors this month! We will continue to grow this by adding new ‘How To’ articles, patch notes, and live service notifications.” Props The Props Team focused on the stands, booths, and branding for the Intergalactic Aerospace Expo and the Anniversary Event. They recently shifted onto closing out the CBD props in Lorville and are currently creating bespoke furniture to help sell the wealth and decadence of the Hurston Central building. QA On the publishing side, QA busily tested the Alpha 3.3.0 and 3.3.5 builds for publishing to Evocati and Live. On the game side, the focus was on testing Hurston, its four moons, and city Lorville. They also completed a number of QATRs relating to FOIP & VOIP, ship purchasing in the PU, ship rental in Arena Commander, and improvements to Object Container Streaming. It was business as usual on the leadership side, with coordinated testing priorities between the UK, LA, and DE. Two new recruits were welcomed to QA; a dedicated tester in Frankfurt to support the AI Team and an additional tester in the UK. They will be primarily focused on providing day-to-day updates on the state of AI and will report all issues directly to the team to be investigated. QA also made the decision to do away with the general design tests and instead focus on specific sanity/smoke tests for AI and another test suite specifically for the Transit System and locations. The previous design tests were too broad and covered areas that were not always prevalent to the in-house design teams. Refocusing towards specific in-house feature teams has proven that the testing and information provided is much more valuable. A fair amount of time was spent on major QA test requests for new animation update optimizations, physics terrain patch optimization changes, and general optimization that will further improve performance in the PU. Frankfurt’s QA branch supported the Planetary Tech Team in investigating an issue on one of Hurston’s moons. Something in its setup was causing the normals on the moon surface to be very intense. This was tracked down to a lighting issue and further steps were taken (with the assistance of the Graphics Team) to enable the surface to get back to, well, normal. Services At CitizenCon, the team was present on the show floor to prepare local environments to run the game backend for both the FOIP LAN demonstration area and the main stage demonstration. This local setup included the entire game backend allowing for the demonstration to represent exactly what is being played in the PTU and the Live environment, including the network of social services that power groups, chat, and FOIP. With the release of Alpha 3.3 and 3.3.5, the team mostly focused on observing and scaling the voice and face transmission solution to the increase of backers in the game. DevOp teams mainly worked to ensure that voice channels created by players during one-to-one calls, group channels, and global server channels were properly sharded to new voice servers, as the number of connected players increased. With the addition of global chat auto-connect in Alpha 3.3.5, the team also added new systems to monitor and move voice channels between servers when the supported load on a given voice server instance is too high. “The team has been ecstatic about the use of the technology by players and we hope to keep growing its use with gameplay connected features.” In order to help with the above tasks, the social game services were moved to a Kubernetes-based orchestration solution that allows easier management of voice and service containers. This new backplane supports continuous integration of service changes and will greatly improve the team velocity when deploying updates and builds. Working in conjunction with the universe team, Game Services began the development of a web-based administration tool to help manage the runtime state of the game world from a macro level. This is still in the very early stages of development but, using this tool, the designers will ultimately have the ability to inspect social objects like groups and their life cycles, ban, chase, and player controls. Integrating the WebGL Starmap engine will also allow the viewing of commodities, player locations, gameplay analytics, and much more. Ships This month, the UK Vehicle Team returned to the Origin 890 Jump after wrapping up the Valkyrie. What will undoubtedly be well-received news amongst the community is that, after long hiatus, work continues on the greatly-anticipated Anvil Carrack. Since the ship was last worked on around 18 months ago, there have been significant improvements to the ship pipeline and workflow. So, when re-reviewing the previous state, the team decided to undertake a second whitebox pass of the interior to bring it closer to its original concept. In addition to next year’s larger vehicles, progress was made to the Alpha 3.4 ships, including the Origin 600i Touring. The Freelancer Expedition, Transporter, and Gun Ship are all receiving the final touches by art. Ship Art Lead Vehicle Artist Chris Smith made great progress on the greybox model, interior, and exterior of the 300i rework and began implementing different paint jobs and modeled the modified components for the other three variants. Next, he will move onto an alternative interior to be used in one of them. 3D Modeler Josh Coons recently completed the whitebox model for the Banu Defender and has now moved onto testing some of the modified workflow using Zbrush models, which will be baked down to create the type of detail we are looking for in this ship. He is continually creating new textures and also starting to build up the greybox model with the alternative workflow. System Design The System Design Team worked on integrating updated flight mechanics into enemy ship AI, ensuring that with all the changes, they are still engaging to fight against and don’t become unbalanced. They noticed that the updated flight model currently causes too much unwanted ‘jousting behavior’, so are currently looking into ways to modify it. Work was done on restructuring dialogue wildlines for the ship/FPS/social AI to unify them within the same overall structure. A large amount of work has been done with the audio & writing teams to ensure the system works properly for all systemic dialogue in the game. They are also working to develop tools to automate the setup of dialogue lines. More work was completed on designing stealth gameplay elements, which in turn requires the AI perception to be upgraded to cater for peripheral vision, as well as various audio events and stimuli from environmental sources, such as throwing a pebble to distract enemies. Telemetry Shortly after CitizenCon, the Public Telemetry page was launched. The data presented here reflects the data CIG receives from clients while playing the game. This data is used to assess and improve performance across a variety of hardware. If logged in while on the telemetry page, players will see their stats, including their computer’s GPU and CPU score and average FPS. The heatmap displays other user’s average FPS and the most popular hardware for each GPU and CPU score. On launch, the telemetry page showed a massive improvement between Alpha 3.2 and 3.3 thanks to OCS. Turbulent Throughout November, Turbulent supported CitizenCon, the Alpha 3.3. Flyable Ships, the new Anvil Valkyrie, the release of the Drake Kraken, and preparations for the Anniversary Event. CitizenCon: CitizenCon 2948 was an amazing event, with Turbulent supporting many components such as the livestream, merchandise, badges, microsite, and the release of new ships from Drake and Anvil! The Drake Kraken: In October, Turbulent supported the unveiling of Drake’s first capital ship, the Kraken. The Kraken has two multi-purpose hangars, five manned turrets, four remote turrets, a massive cargo capacity, comfortable habs for a full crew, a Dragonfly Bay, and six landing pads. The website showed multiple features such as an interactive cross-section of the ship and a registry for those interested in obtaining one. The Anvil Valkyrie: Turbulent supported the release of the Valkyrie, the new flyable drop ship from Anvil. The Valkyrie contains multiple side guns and turrets and can deploy up to twenty troops as well as a vehicle into combat. The website displayed features such as in-game footage of the Valkyrie and a CitizenCon-exclusive edition called the Valkyrie Liberator. This was also released on October 10th. The 3.3 Flyable: With the release of Alpha 3.3, Turbulent supported the availability of the flyable ships on the website. The ships include the Aegis Hammerhead, Tumbril Cyclone, RSI Constellation Phoenix, and the CO Mustang. An exclusive CitizenCon Mustang was also available, called the Mustang Alpha Vindicator. The 2948 Anniversary Special: The Anniversary Special was launched on Friday, November 23rd. Over the course of the week, a different manufacturer was released each day. On the first day, the Arrow was released, along with the rest of the Anvil ships. RSI day was on the 24th, Origin Jumpworks the 25th, Aegis Dynamics the 26th, Drake Interplanetary the 27th, and the alien ships on the 28th. The new San’tok’yai ship was unveiled by Aopoa too. MISC had its featured day on the 29th, and the new manufacturers on the 30th, including Tumbril, Crusader, CO, Argo, and Kruger. The last days of the Anniversary Special featured discount starter packs. The Anniversary Quiz: With the help of Player Relations, Turbulent executed a quiz featuring three questions for each manufacturer. A passing score awarded a ‘Ship Master’ Spectrum badge and certificate. By passing the quiz, players were entered into a draw to win an Anvil Arrow. The IAE Free-Fly Promotion: For the week of November 23rd until December 1st, five different flyable ships were featured each day of the week according to the featured manufacturer. The page contained information about the Desmond Memorial Convention Center in Lorville and linked to the Knowledge Base, which provided detailed instructions on how to get started. The IAE Free-Fly page also instructed new players on how to make an account and get into the ‘verse. The Aopoa Santok’yāi: Turbulent supported the release of the Santok’yāi, a new Xi’an ship from Aopoa. The Santok’yāi features Yeng’tu Laser Repeaters and the latest Xi’an technology in a light-to-medium fighter chassis. UI The UI Team worked on adding the ability to rent items in Arena Commander, as well as supporting the needs of the Environment Team working on Lorville’s CBD. Vehicle Features Based on recent feedback from both internal and external sources, turret improvements have continued throughout November. In addition to bug fixes, there were multiple improvements to turrets including making multi-axis turrets controllable at min/max pitch, fixing the gyro pip offset, and improved aiming methods from a variety of input devices. The foundational mechanics to allow ships to aim at the engines on target ships has also been completed, and the feature itself is nearly ready to be rolled out to the PU, as is scanning nav points for destination info. The rest of the month was rounded out with a clean-up of debris network flow and a variety of vehicle-related crash bugs. Vehicle Content Art, Systems Design, and Tech Art worked together to release the Anvil Arrow as part of the November Anniversary Event as well as continuing to work on ships for upcoming releases: The Anvil Hawk is in the release-prep stage with both the Art and System Design Teams, the 300 Series is in greybox with Systems Design, and the Freelancers had entered release-prep with Tech Art. Additionally, Systems Design and Tech Art worked with the animators on character animation sequencing for vehicles, and Tech Art worked on a thruster pass for the new flight model. VFX The VFX Team continued to polish and optimize the many environmental effects of Hurston and implemented general improvements to the various moons throughout the ‘verse. They also finalized VFX for the Anvil Arrow and Anvil Hawk. The VFX Team spent time optimizing existing assets to help with the overall performance of Alpha 3.3.5. They also cleaned out all unused VFX texture assets in hopes of reducing the amount of memory required to load all the particle textures. Now that the base work for Lorville is finished, the Level Design Team are focusing on the CBD. The whitebox is already done, with most of the remaining work involving connecting the trains and ensuring all the logistics work. New Underground Facilities components were added to the procedural tech. These are built with modularity in mind and can be generated in the same way as Rest Stops. Once the modular library has enough content (rooms, connectors, POIs), it will become much easier to provide more variety. They also continued working on the procedural tech to make sure that it provides everything needed from a design perspective. This can be difficult at times, as compromises are required; what is the most fun to play is not necessarily what looks the best. Weapons The Weapon Art Team worked on the Multi-Tool rework, Kastak Arms Ravager-212, and the level two and three upgrades for the Hurston Dynamics Laser Repeaters. They also made minor adjustments to the iron sights on a handful of weapons to improve the sight picture and to make them more user-friendly when no optics are attached. Conclusion WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT MONTH… View the full article
  3. https://youtu.be/gOgF5bf3Y24 The ultimate modern sports car is now available in Rocket League! Just announced live at The 2018 Game Awards, the McLaren 570S Car Pack DLC can now be purchased on all platforms for $1.99 (or regional equivalent). We’ve given the McLaren 570S Coupé the Battle-Car treatment, complete with two Player Banners so you can show your love for McLaren everywhere in the game. Check out the McLaren 570S in the trailer up above and let us know what you think of our newest Premium DLC on Facebook, Reddit and Twitter. (Please Note: The McLaren 570S cannot be equipped with any additional Wheels, Toppers and Antennas other than what is offered in the DLC pack.) View the full article
  4. OceanicBot

    Meet Constantine Hurston, take a trip to Lyria, and get a look at Lorville’s Central Business District in this week’s update. View the full article
  5. OceanicBot

    Independent Mercenary News Welcome to OP.NET. Your single source for all the news, tips, and insights that any independent mercenary could ever want. I’m your host Conva Maynard. And although we’re not Guild affiliated in any way, I’d like to give a special welcome to Local Guild 806 out in Ferron who comm’d in to tell me about their weekly OP.NET gatherings. While it may surprise some of you to learn that Guild members would be fans of the program, in fact, more and more of our audience are people like the 806 who are eager to get their hands on any solid information no matter the source. Basically, what I’m saying is that Skiv’s reviews are useful no matter who you are. I know a lot of time it can feel like it’s an ‘us versus them’ thing. Independents and Guild members out there scrapping for the same work, arguing about what’s the best way to handle our business, but if you want to know the truth, we all have a lot more in common than not. We’re all trying to do the job the best we can. I’ve always felt an important part of being independent is respecting and learning from the way other people like to operate. Yeah, the Guild may not be for everyone, and it sure as heck ain’t for me, but for a lot of folks it makes sense and that’s okay. OP.NET is all in favor of making the choice that’s right for you, as long as you do the proper research and diligence first. Speaking of, with this week’s Job Board, research all of these opportunities on your own to make sure they check out square before signing up for anything. We say it every episode, but any merc worth their body armor always vets their leads before making a move. First up, we got an offer coming all the way out of Oberon. A growing refinery concern, Miguello Extraction, has expanded recently and it seems that a local outfit of marauders has taken notice of Miguello’s success. While the Navy have been flying more ships in system as of late, their priority is definitely dealing with any Vanduul threats, leaving folks like Miguello to fend for themselves. The company has been hit more than a couple times this year and they’re looking to hire a security detail to patrol and protect their spread of collector arrays, ASAP. What’s interesting about this contract is that they aren’t just looking for sluggers to tangle in the field, they’re looking for strategic consultants, someone who can help figure out the logistics of guarding such a large area. So, if planning routes, schedules, and security protocols gets your thrusters boosting, and you don’t mind how isolated the location is, then I’d snatch this one up right quick. Next, we got something for those of you who might be a little less cerebral. An individual wishing to remain anonymous had their estate robbed of a so-called “sensitive item” by a local gang. Now, they’re being blackmailed for the return of said item unless they pay up. For various reasons, paying the ransom is not palatable, so they’re looking to hire a recovery team. Now you can see why there aren’t a lot of public details on this one. The crooks catch wind that their mark is hiring mercs and you can bet they’ll retaliate. For my creds, a job like this requires either a very light touch or a very heavy hand – i.e. sneak in so they don’t know you’re there or hit them so hard and fast they don’t have time to do anything but panic. Hard to say which is best without some more information but that’ll be up to you to acquire. Understandably, this contract’s looking to staff up fast, so if you’re interested, don’t wait long. Finally, we’ve got an escort contract protecting a hauling convoy doing regular runs out to Tal. What makes this job a little bit different than your standard fly-along is that the escorts will be expected to directly interface with the Xi’an criminal houses in control of the sectors the route travels through. Since the passage of HuXa, I have seen more and more of these kinds of requests popping up, and I don’t know about you, but I pretty much know next to nothing about navigating the intricacies of Xi’an politics. Figured that it was about time I do something about my ignorance and hopefully help out any of you interested in operating in Xi’an space. Please join me in welcoming to the show our special guest for today, former MISC security officer Jack Leong. Jack Leong: Pleasure to be on the show. Thanks for taking the time out of your well-deserved retirement to talk with us. Jack Leong: Don’t worry, I’m having my granddaughter keep an eye on the fish for me until I can get back to my boat. So, just for a little bit of history, my understanding is that you worked for MISC going on sixty-two years? Jack Leong: Correct. Joined them right out of equivalency as an off-shift factory guard and worked my way up from there. I’m one of those odd people you meet who’ve only ever worked one job in their life. Didn’t even have to bother with the whole Guild or Independent debate. Just always been MISC. Now, I’m sure with six decades in security we could fill a couple episodes with your advice and wisdom, but for today I wanted to talk to you specifically about your experience operating in Xi’an space. Jack Leong: I’m happy to tell you what I can. You were one of the first civilian Human pilots to officially be permitted to fly a combat ship through their territory correct? Jack Leong: That’s right. Back in 2910. MISC had just signed their partnership deal and was going to be sending some execs and techs out to Tal on a regular basis. I was the lucky guy picked to go along and make sure all the important people got there and back in one piece. What was that like? Flying into Xi’an space for the first time? Jack Leong: Security-wise? Pretty darn easy to tell the truth. It was a big deal and all eyes were on us and the Xi’an to see how this whole thing would shake out. Nobody was going to risk anything happening to us. We got a military escort everywhere we went. For the first five years at least. Turned out, that was all the initial lendlease agreement covered. After that, we were on our own and let me just say it was a damn pretty steep learning curve. Sounds a bit like my dad teaching me to EVA by kicking me out an airlock. Jack Leong: Not too far from the truth. First flight after our government protection ended, we ran into a collector for one of the major criminal houses, the Kuang. Let me see, I have a list of terms here. That’s a yu’at.ōngh’uitā, correct? Jack Leong: You’ll have to excuse me, I never did learn to speak much Xi’an. Blame it on me relying on my extremely competent translators too much. No worries. We’ll post a bunch of terms to our spectrum page for anyone who’s inclined to look it up. For now, would you mind explaining a bit more about these criminal houses? Jack Leong: Basically, the Xi’an have legal crime. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes much sense but that’s the way they do things. Criminal houses get permission from the government to run what amounts to a protection scheme; pay us and we’ll leave you alone. I heard that’s what they do, but I still have a hard time believing it. Jack Leong: I did too at first, but after having to deal with the system for a few decades I’ll admit the logic of it all is appealing. The Xi’an will tell you that they have just come to terms with crime being a fact of life and since there’s no way to get rid of it, why not try to control it? The criminals have to follow certain rules, right? Jack Leong: Exactly. For example, they’re limited to only taking a certain amount of profit every cycle. They’re not allowed to kill. They can’t take all your cargo. They can’t hit the same people too often. And that’s just a few of the rules. As with all things Xi’an, the list is long and complicated. One of the more interesting things is that a lot of the time these criminal houses wind up acting like security forces since it’s usually them who hunt down and catch rogue outlaw Xi’an who break the rules. That thing about not being able to take all the cargo has to be pretty nice for haulers. Jack Leong: Well, to risk sounding like the retired old dodder that I am, it’s a bit like fishing. Take all the fish out of lake in one go, and next time there won’t be anything for you to catch. Wish some of the gangs out here showed that kind of restraint. Jack Leong: It’s all a numbers game with the Xi’an. In fact, another way to think of Xi’an crime is almost like a second tax or an alternate form of insurance. Depending on how much you fly you can choose to risk being held up, or you can plan ahead and pay a fee. After being robbed a few times, MISC eventually figure out that it was smarter to just make regular payments to the Kuang. Sounds like it would all be pretty straightforward after that. Jack Leong: It would have been if it weren’t for the renegotiations. It was never clear if it was because we were Humans or if it was just because we were seen as valuable targets, but more often than I’d like our payments were refused. Let me guess. They wanted more money? Jack Leong: Yup. It meant that we would have to settle on a new price en route. Or as one of my associates called it, “Combat Haggling.” Okay, definitely want to hear more on this, but I’m gonna have to ask you to hold that thought right there, Jack, as we need to take a quick break. When we come back, we will have plenty more insights from Mr. Leong and Skiv will be by to provide his hot-take on the newly available fighter from Aopoa, the San’tok.yāi. All that and more as OP.NET continues. View the full article
  6. Happy Tuesday, Survivors! It's patch day and we've got two exciting things to chat about that we are currently working on. Structures Plus: Now that Extinction has been officially released, the team will be dedicating some time to the integration of Structures Plus. Pulling S+ into ARK's already existing structure system without causing issues with current structures is very important to us. There are also many features that exist in S+ that we cannot integrate into official servers without taking into consideration the impact on game balance. The plan is to integrate S+ on a feature by feature basis, prioritizing features that are compatible with the official game. We may integrate additional features gated by options for unofficials as time permits. https://gfycat.com/appropriatefearfulfiddlercrab Our first bit of integration starts immediately in today’s PC patch where we introduce the ability to pick up undamaged structures for free if it was placed in the last 30 seconds. You can pick up a placed structure by looking directly at the structure and pressing the interact key (E). This change will be included in the next patch for console, due later this week. Kibble Rework: Extinction's kibble setup (known as Augmented Kibble) was phase one of our kibble rework. We are currently in the process of assigning these new kibble types to all of the remaining ARK creatures across all maps. All eggs will be assigned a value based on the size and rarity of the egg. These sizes include: Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, and Special. The eggs are then used in a recipe to create kibble of a coinciding value: Basic, Simple, Regular, Superior, Exceptional, and Extraordinary. This new system will make it so that creature kibble desires are based on the quality levels instead of specific creatures. We plan to introduce these changes on an experimental beta branch before letting it loose into the wild population at a later date. We’re excited to tackle this much needed rework! NOTE: These plans are subject to change.View the full article
  7. Now that our December Update is available on all platforms, we’re ready to talk about Rocket Pass 2! Starting at 10:00 AM PST (1:00 PM EST/ 6:00 PM UTC) on December 10, Rocket Pass 2[www.rocketleague.com] will be available for FREE in Rocket League on all platforms with no download required. Just like our first Rocket Pass, we’re also offering a Premium Upgrade in exchange for 10 Keys (USD $9.99 or regional equivalent) that will include even more content, including the brand new Artemis Battle-Car! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzYv1__CXu8 We listened to your feedback about the first Rocket Pass and (as a result) have now increased the variety of items found in the Premium track. Additionally, items in the Premium Upgrade path are no longer tradeable for Tiers 1 thru 70, but 'Pro Tier' items (i.e. Tier 71 and above) and Free items CAN still be traded. We have also changed Pro Tier behavior so that they will ALWAYS drop as a 'Painted' item, while still carrying a 25% chance to drop as a 'Certified' item. Moreover, we've increased the base experience you earn from matches by 40% so that you can reach Pro Tiers faster and increased the weekly match maximum from 14 to 21. You can read more about all progression changes, including how 'Weekly Win' bonuses are awarded, RIGHT HERE[www.rocketleague.com]. Finally, we’re introducing a brand new Customization Item attribute to various Pro Tier items. The 'Special Edition' attribute reworks an item into an alternate version of itself that still supports Painted attribute colors. Several of the Pro Tier Wheels in Rocket Pass 2 -- ‘Gripstride HX,’ ‘Rocket Forge II’ and ‘Sprocket’ -- support the Special Edition attribute; any time you unlock one from a Pro Tier, you'll have a 25% chance to receive the Special Edition version. You can see an awesome example of a Special Edition item in the screenshot below. Be sure to check out the Rocket Pass 2 trailer and Artemis Battle-Car up top. You can let us know what you think of our changes to the system on Instagram[www.instagram.com], Reddit and Twitter, while also heading over to http://rocketpass.com/ to view the entire list of what’s coming next week. Thanks, everyone! View the full article
  8. Winter Wonderland Is Returning! Have you been Naughty or Nice this year? I've heard whispers from the elves and reindeer that a certain Mr. Claws may be dropping gifts for all of the good survivors this holiday season, and coal for the naughty ones too. ;) We'll have more information on this in the coming weeks! Dev Diary! This weeks diary entry is brought to you by Lead Programmer, Chris Willoughby. This weeks dev diary is about Extinction-related game balance and also about the big fixing process of Extinction since it's initial release. ARK, at its core, is successful because it offers the best and most diverse survival experience that it can to each player who plays it, and the many options that we provide allows that to happen. There are many, many players that play our game over multiple platforms and each of them has a different definition of what’s most important to them, what ARK does well, and what it should do better. Early on we made a decision to offer a vast array of options, modes, maps, servers, and mods to get as close as we could to being the best survival game for everyone. This creates a major challenge when it comes to development however, as each piece of content or change is used in a large number of different ways. The many play modes are likely to be at odds with each other and are competing for the same development resources, so we have to make a number of tough decisions and pick our priorities. This can result in mechanics that feel less than ideal for your setup or bugs that only appear in certain modes. I do believe it’s better than the primary alternative - not offering or supporting these options at all. In this industry we need to develop and introduce new content and mechanics to keep our game interesting and relevant. When we set out to develop something with the size and scope of Extinction, we first sit down and figure out what new experiences we could bring to the table. We brainstorm far and wide, documenting and elaborating on ideas before scoring them. We try very hard to introduce features that either have broad reach and appeal across our play modes or add a high amount of depth to one. The things that resonate the most through this process are grouped together into creatures, items, or features that become the key features for the expansion. Generally when we do this we’re intentionally trying to shake up the meta to breathe new life into the game. Often times it’s hard to predict exactly how the new features will be used by players, and just how much they’ll shake things up. On the other side of the coin, testing changes to a game like ARK is quite difficult. Stepping back, it’s really a numbers game. Let’s say, for example, that you have 10 QA testers, and they’re testing 50 hours a week, that’s 500 hours of testing per week. Next, let’s say that you have 3 months to fully test your changes. Multiply the 500 by 12, and you get 6,000 hours of serious, in-depth testing. That can seem like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the amount of time that players put in. ARK averaged ~50k users for November on PC. If you multiply that by 30 days and 24 hours, you end up with a rough estimate of 36,000,000 hours of ARK played in November. That’s 6,000 times as many hours as in the example above. There were approximately 1,200,000 hours of ARK played in the first day of Extinction. There were 50,000 hours played in the first hour after release. 10 minutes after Extinction released, players had already played 10,000 hours of Extinction, eclipsing the amount of testing done by the 10 testers above. Suffice it to say that when you experience problems when playing a game just after release this is a big reason why. Obviously we don’t like it when our game has problems, so we focus much of our testing on critical areas and we test them over and over again and prioritize the issues we find. As you can imagine, this is a lot easier in a single player game with a fixed path through a scripted storyline. Once you start multiplying out all of the options and variables, however, it quickly becomes a monumental challenge. As illustrated above, it’s impossible to test every experience that a player is going to have in a game like ARK within a reasonable timeframe. Our volume of players means that players will always have for more time playing ARK than us. When you combine this with the fact that most of those players are playing competitively you realize that many of them are looking for a way to get a leg up on their competition. Very quickly they’re using things in ways that you didn’t intend or even think about, and it’s up to strong systems and well placed testing to make sure that they stay in a healthy place. Sometimes you experience breakdowns in one or two of the above and you have to turn around a fix as fast as possible. When we built the Titans, for example, we balanced them against dinos, items, each other, and bases. We wanted each of them to feel different and wanted them to have roles almost like classes in a class-based shooter. We wanted them to be somewhat slow and predictable, and ultimately squishy when faced with organized and concentrated fire. We felt very early on that they should be able to do a lot of damage to an endgame base, if left unchecked. Beyond countering this strength, we wanted to limit how fast people could tame and transfer in Titans, and make it a difficult decision to make - so we went for cooldowns on transfer and starvation. Of course, players discovered a way around starvation (kibble?!?!?!), so that broke a big piece of their cost completely. Last week we released a patch that brought this back closer to where we envisioned it, but it’s unlikely that it’s the end of balance changes to the Titans. Meks were built to counter Titans. Generally, the math that we used when developing the Titans and Meks was that approximately three Meks should be able to make short work of a Titan, and we set out to arm the Meks with abilities (like the rocket pack) that would allow them to take the Titans on. In this regard, our primary focus was on the defensive capabilities of the Mek. Unfortunately, in our efforts to nail the defensive-side of things we overlooked a few issues that could occur on the offensive side; especially related to base raiding. The reality is that this was a mistake. Players discovered within the first few days that they could be used to dismantle bases by bypassing most of their automated defenses. Once something like this is discovered we need to act quickly - we ask ourselves if we feel like the mechanic is overpowered. Then we ask if it fits with the design of the creature. We ask what the counter is and talk through the best way to balance it. Ideally, we’d have all of these discussions and make all of these decisions early in development. When faced with the numbers game above, however, you realize how likely it is that a few of these slip through the cracks to the final game. We work diligently to to step up and resolve the issue the best way that we can, as fast as we can. If I were to step back and put on an Idealistic hat, I’d want to reshape ARK such that none of these bugs ever made it through to our players. I’d want to test and retest every interaction, every spot in every map, every scenario that a player could find themselves in. The reality, however, is that it would take a very large team, a very large amount of time to develop something as broad as ARK and deliver it flawlessly. Large enough on both fronts, that the likelihood of success drops dramatically. And even then, that game would have bugs. Yes, ARK is not perfect. However, we enjoy working on a game that delivers a broad, good experience to many players over one that offers a narrow but perfect experience to only a few or takes ten years to make. We strive to minimize the number of problems. We pride ourselves on recognizing and resolving them as fast as possible. As we continue to work on Extinction issues, long standing issues, previous promises, and whatever is next for ARK (stay tuned!), we’ll continue to approach it from that perspective. Our job is to provide the best experience we can to the highest number of players we can reach, as fast as we can. Sometimes there will be bumps in the road, but they’re a necessary part of making the things we make at the scale that we make them. We think it’s worth it. PC Patch Tomorrow! Tomorrow at 10am PST there will be a PC patch. There will also be another post tomorrow here on the community forums going over some of the changes coming up and things currently being worked on by our development team. Mod Community Updates! Hello, fellow modders. You'll be happy to know we have a manual devkit update ready that includes all of the extinction content! https://forums.unrealengine.com/development-discussion/modding/ark-survival-evolved/62293-12-2-ark-dev-kit-v287-1-is-now-on-google-drive We also have a new tutorial ready for you, this time we're finally going to get started on some graphs for this mod. Specifically how to convert our tamed creatures into the sentry crystals that will be used elsewhere by the mod. https://survivetheark.com/index.php?/forums/topic/387144-wildcard-workshop-19-vss-virtualization-process/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z99VYpN59o Be sure to check out todays Community Crunch post on our website for the full Crunch announcement post.[survivetheark.com]View the full article
  9. OceanicBot

    Hello everyone, Last week, the 2948 Anniversary special featured our most epic Free Fly event to date with all flyable ships and vehicles available to try. We saw players reenacting Top Gun, staging a Vanduul Attack and creating stunning Arrow formations. We’re still catching up with all the fantastic videos, screenshots, and stories and hope that you had a blast exploring the ‘verse, whether you’re a veteran pilot or a rookie behind the stick. The Intergalactic Aerospace Expo with its Hurston-based satellite branch has now closed its doors, but who knows – it might make a return to the game some day. Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed the Expo. If you haven’t yet, check out the Q&A’s on both new ships revealed during the Anniversary – Anvils “light fighter of the future,” the Arrow, and the next evolution of Xi’an tech and design innovation, the Aopoa San’tok.yāi. Also: fledgling pilots still have until December 4th to grab everything they need to start their adventure in Star Citizen with Starter Pack specials still on offer. And 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 how long it should take to earn a ship in game, physicalized inventories and more. On Tuesday, the Lore Team will publish a new episode of OP.NET, the home for non-guild news, tips and reviews – unfiltered and raw. This time around, Host Conva Maynard will talk about guarding ships in Xi’an Space. You can 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. Tune in on Friday at at 9am PST for another episode of Reverse the Verse, broadcast live on our Star Citizen Twitch channel. This week’s episode, “The Shape Of Ships” will feature a general Q&A on all ships Star Citizen, following up on the Anniversary round-table discussions. Post your questions on Spectrum and vote on the ones you want to see addressed most. See you in the ‘verse! Ulf Kuerschner Senior Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, DECEMBER 3RD, 2018 Calling All Devs (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4TH, 2018 Lore Post – OP.NET (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5TH, 2018 - THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6TH, 2018 Around the Verse (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Vault Update Monthly Report November FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7TH, 2018 Reverse the Verse (https://www.twitch.tv/starcitizen) Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter Community MVP: December 3rd, 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 here. 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! Best of 3.3.6 screenshots by Captain_Raoul Captain_Raoul with an incredible screenshot collection he brought back from his adventures in the ‘verse. Well done, Captain! Enjoy the gallery on the Community Hub. View the full article
  10. OceanicBot

    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: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions View the full article
  11. THE HEADLINES Enhanced Xbox One X Support is now available ‘Rocket League x Monstercat Vol. 5’ is now available Made several updates to the Progression system Skill Leaderboards have been added for each Ranked Extra Mode v1.55 was a PS4-only update we released on October 23 NEW CONTENT Monstercat ‘Rocket League x Monstercat Vol. 5’ is now available to all players under Music Playlists Monstercat Flags have been added‘CloudNone’ ‘Grant’ ‘Hyper Potions’ ‘Nokae’ ‘Rogue’ ‘Rootkit’ ‘SMLE’ Community Flags ‘Extra Life’ ‘Kinda Funny’ ‘Speedy’ CHANGES AND UPDATES Xbox One X Enhanced with 4K and HDR Rocket League on Xbox One X now displays in native 4K4K support requires a 4K-capable television and compatible HDMI cable Supersampling is enabled if playing on Xbox One X with a 1920x1080 display HDR support has been added HDR will automatically activate if:Your 4K TV supports HDR HDR is enabled on your 4K TV HDR is enabled on your Xbox One X via the “Display and Sound” settings menu HDR options includeHDR Paper White: Adjusts how bright a paper white surface should be when HDR is enabled HDR Contrast Side-by-Side Visualizer: Allows you to compare when HDR is enabled vs disabled Progression Increased XP/second in Casual and Competitive Playlists by 40% Increased Win Bonus from 50 to 100 Increased Weekly Win Bonus from two matches per day to three per dayWeekly maximum has increased from 14 matches to 21 matches A limited number of points are now awarded for each ball hitYou earn two points per touch Points earned per touch limited to one touch per second Players who have not met the minimum point threshold needed to earn XP will now see a notification on the End Match screen Ranked Extra Modes Leaderboards Skill Leaderboards have been added for each Ranked Extra Mode Each Extra Mode Leaderboard will include MMR data going back to the beginning of Season 9 Competitive Placement Match wins now count towards your Bronze Season Reward LevelCrates and Keys Crate contents are now revealed with a new, faster unlock sequenceGeneral Start and End dates have been added to the Rocket Pass screen New item notifications have been removed Adjusted how Club colors are displayed in an Arena during a Club Match [Beta Feature] You can now remap controls through Steam while playing in Big Picture Mode BUG FIXES General [PlayStation 4] Game should no longer freeze when starting matchmaking Fixed the ‘Striker Legend’ Goal Explosion displaying as ‘Striker Pro’ Painted ‘MG-88’ and ‘Mummified’ Decals now properly display on Endo Fixed a bug that would give incorrect results after filtering by Most Recent [Nintendo Switch] Trades involving more than 10 Keys will no longer fail Rocket Pass XP Boost amount now correctly displays at the end of a match Silver and Gold Season 6 Reward Wheels now correctly display on Battle-Cars RLCS Decals now display all relevant details in the trade window Fixed an edge near the Wasteland Blue team goal post that caused an irregular bounce KNOWN ISSUES Tournament creators may not be able to spectate matchesView the full article
  12. OceanicBot

    Q&A: Anvil Arrow Following the launch of the Arrow from Anvil, we took your community-voted questions to our designers to give you more information on the recently unveiled light fighter. Special thanks to John Crewe and Stephen Hosmer for answering our questions. What gives it the designation “Stealth” on the ship page? This is an error on the webstore due to a mix up on the internal design page and it should say Light Fighter and has been corrected. However the Stealth part is still valid, in reference to the class of components with which the Arrow can be fitted. Utilizing stealth components could allow the Arrow to be used as a patrol craft without being seen, or in an ambush to surprise one’s enemies. The commercial states that this ship is one of the fastest and most agile in its class. However, once you try it in game, it handles like a turtle. Is this a bug? It is intended to have agile handling as described. The current handling is a result of a bug in the current IFCS system that affects all ships randomly. The Arrow seems particularly prone to this bug, but cycling the landing gear often fixes it. We’re working towards making the Arrow true to its intent. How does the Arrow compare to Aegis’ Gladius and Anvil’s own Hawk in the light fighter role? The Arrow is more maneuverable than the Gladius, but isn’t as fast. The Hawk is slightly harder to compare, as it is intended to have above-average maneuverability and speed but not in an extreme capacity. Therefore, the Hawk will also be faster than the Arrow (to chase down its bounties), but not as maneuverable. Given Anvil’s boast that the Arrow is the “most agile fighter in its class”, and that it is smaller and cheaper than the Gladius, with identical maximum hardpoints and components, why would I want a Gladius instead? Anvil Aerospace built the Arrow to compete with the Gladius for a lucrative military contract. Anvil’s marketing team would have you believe it outperforms the competition in every way, but that isn’t exactly the case. The Gladius has superior missile hardpoints and its dual engines should out-accelerate the Arrow in a straight line. To get the price that low, Anvil included a cheaper turret mount with Size-1 weapons, and users may want to purchase larger weapons to get the most from the Arrow’s hardpoints. As always, balance is still being worked on and is subject to change. Which ships will the Arrow fit in and how many could each ship carry (Carrack/Idris/Javelin/ Bengal-carrier)? The Arrow was designed to have a small form factor and folding wings to accommodate fitting them in a carrier. Any ship that is built to be a dedicated carrier, such as the Idris, Kraken, or Bengal, will be able to fit an Arrow. Many other ships will be able to carry at least one such as the Javelin, Endeavor (with Hangar module), 890 Jump, and Polaris. The folding wings prevent it from being stored in a Carrack as that bay is designed specifically for the Pisces. As always, until the parent ship has been completed it is always tricky to confirm/deny some of the older options. Is the Arrow tuned with the new FM in mind? The Arrow was tuned and built in the IFCS 1.0 system and will need to be converted to the new IFCS flight model when it is released to the public, as such its current handling (bugs aside) is not fully representative of the finished product. Will the Arrow have storage space for personal items such as a survival kit, weapons and armor? In the future, we would like for each ship to be able to store a personal weapon for the player. Currently, the Arrow does not allow for these items, but may include a slot for a personal weapon or emergency kit in the future. How do you plan to create meaningful balance for light fighters considering the class now has 9 ships: Arrow, Gladius, Hawk, Aurora LN, Reliant Tana, Mustang Delta, 125A, Blade and Khartu-al? The Arrow, Gladius, Mustang Delta, and Blade are all dedicated fighters and their flight characteristics and loadouts differ. The Aurora LN and 125A can both carry cargo while having combat capabilities. The Hawk can carry a prisoner and packs an EMP, making it ideal for bounty hunting. The Reliant Tana is meant for long range combat and features multi-crew gameplay. The Khartu-al is a scout ship meant to get in and out and use its agility rather than firepower. The light fighter category encompasses many ships, but the role and capabilities of each of these ships vary. We hope each one will fill a niche for different play styles. What options will we see from the turret? Will there be utility options such as stor-all? The top turret mount was designed to only accommodate weapons. Currently the attached turret can hold two Size-1 weapons, but it can also be removed to add either a single fixed Size-3 weapon or a gimballed Size-2 weapon. The mount was designed to be flexible in this aspect. There are no plans to allow other utility options. The ship matrix indicates that the Arrow has 8 joint maneuvering thrusters, against the Gladius 8 gimballed thrusters. The shipyard post on thrusters, however, only discuses gimballed and fixed maneuvering. What are Joint thrusters? A gimballed thruster has multiple vectors of thrust whereas a fixed thruster has a single vector of thrust. A joint thruster is a subset of gimballed thrusters and refers to the range of movement. A few examples of gimballed thrusters we use are joint, roll, and flex. The Arrow uses joint thrusters, which means the thrusters can change their pitch in a 90-degree arc. The Aurora uses roll thrusters, which pitch in a 180-degree arc. The Hornet uses flex thrusters, which pitch and yaw in 90-degree arcs. There are more configurations of thrusters, but these are the most common. The more vectors a thruster can hit, the more complexity it adds, and generally reduces maneuverability. Please state which of the component lines (civilian, industrial, stealth, performance, military) the Arrow can equip and what it comes equipped with stock. Are certain components limited to X line while others are limited to Y line (example being: powerplant can be industrial or civilian but the rest of the systems can only be civilian). The Arrow can use Military, Stealth and Civilian components and comes stock with Military components. Can we blade the turret for pds? Yes you can use a Computer Blade to turn the turret into a AI Controlled Turret akin to a Point Defense System, however on such a small ship you may be using up all (or more than 50%) of the blade slots to do this leaving you with no other options to upgrade. Is the very limited fuel capacity something actively being looked into, or is this the dev team’s intent? The Arrow was built to be a short-range fighter and mainly to act as a ship deployed from a carrier where it can refuel and restock. View the full article
  13. OceanicBot

    Jump Point Now Available! Attention development subscribers: the November 2018 issue of Jump Point is now available in your subscription area. You’ll learn about the development of the Apoa San’tok.yāi, go in-depth with the team working on the in-game economy, experience the UEE’s first encounters with the San’tok.yāi in a new Whitley’s Guide excerpt and more! Interested in becoming a development subscriber? You can learn more here. View the full article
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  17. The Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) Season 6 World Champions have been crowned[www.rocketleagueesports.com] and there’s no doubt that players have been hit with a new wave of post-"LANVegas" inspiration. With everything on the line, Rocket League Esports has been a consistent source of on-field excitement, so let’s take a look at what makes a play memorable (and how we can make our own unforgettable moments). Custom TrainingWith practice comes perfection... or at least the hope that you’ll get there, someday. Instead of worrying about making every play perfect, though, you should first focus on taking advantage of the situation. Do you have space and enough boost to take the ball off of the wall for a ceiling shot? Drill yourself with the “= CEILING SHOT =” pack and you’ll be sure to catch your opponents off-guard. Pinging the ball off of the wall like in “Backboard Clears” helps you send a long clear that can not only gives your team time to rotate, but also sets up passes from across the arena. If you’re up for a challenge to test your abilities on the spot, then the “Grand Champion Redirects” pack offers a perfect selection of fast and difficult passes to knock into the back of the net. It takes a lot of practice to recreate some of the most memorable moments and some of us may not be able to, at first, but you never know when you might recreate a play from some of the most epic moments in Rocket League Esports history. # Author Name Difficulty Code 1 Wayprotein Grand Champion Redirects Grand Champion 34AF-5323-A9EF-E80D 2 Vithek #N1k = CEILING SHOT = Champion CE7A-43C2-1513-3804 3 Snopper Shots from enemy backboard Grand Champion 420B-38A2-AAF2-8DE2 4 Fickle Platypus The Backboard and You Champion 1D24-5C37-1C29-AA44 5 Wheezy10 Backboard clears Platinum 3395-7A28-800B-D6CB 6 Jayless Doooink [XXL Pack] Champion D0BF-3B8E-0264-1FAF 7 Vokster Backboard Shots (Varied) Champion 6800-938A-C7C6-71E4 8 Reen Long Distance Air Drag Grand Champion 772B-1A3B-32D0-EA62 9 Yeeza Overhead Saves Diamond 9223-FCC3-D504-D1B8 Boost over to last month’s Community Spotlight[www.rocketleague.com] to find a Custom Training pack that fits your style! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdYvV6P974Y Which Cuts Make the Highlight Reel?In most cases, it’s the outrageously high-skill maneuvers that will never be forgotten; much like Mariano ‘Squishymuffinz’ Arruda’s ceiling reset shot during the RLCS Season 4 World Championship Lower Bracket Finals. Looking back a bit further, Kyle Mascitelli created one of the first defining moments of Rocket League Esports when he sank a zero-second buzzer-beater to defeat Cosmic Aftershock in the 2015 MLG Tournament Grand Finals. Typically, we more easily remember the insanity and creativity of a shot; much like one of the first aerial dribbles ever performed in a competitive match, when Cameron “Kronovi” Bills scored this shot against Kings of Urban (or even some of Linus “al0t” Möllergren’s insane redirects). But it’s not always about the goal itself, as a demolition like Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon’s, can pave the way to a game-winning play. So what leaves an imprint that we’ll never forget? Creative new shots that we’ve never before seen at such a high level, clutch goals to win it all, and a perfect demolition to clear the way! Do you think we’re missing something? Check out FluuMP’s list with some of the most iconic goals for some more high-octane clips. What’s your most memorable play? Share it with us on Twitter or the subreddit and maybe you’ll be featured in the next Community Spotlight! View the full article
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    Q&A: Aopoa San’tok.yāi Following the launch of the San’tok.yāi from Aopoa, we took our questions to the ship designers to give you more information on this recently-unveiled medium class fighter. Special thanks to John Crewe and Todd Papy for answering our questions. What can the San’tok.yāi do that the Khartu-al cannot and vice versa? What are the advantages and disadvantages? What are the main differences? In the Xi’an order of battle, the Khartu-al serves principally as a light fighter, scout, and skirmisher, whereas the San’tok.yāi is a medium fighter and direct combatant. Just like the UEE Military, the Xi’an military employs various types of fighters with different strengths and performance characteristics. The comparison between a Khartu-al and a San’tok.yāi is similar to the comparison between a Gladius and a Hornet – one emphasizes firepower and the other emphasizes speed and agility. Particularly due to its lower mass and lighter weapons complement, the Khartu-al is faster, accelerates more quickly, and is even more responsive than the San’tok.yāi. However, the San’tok.yāi carries considerably more weaponry. That said, the Khartu-al and San’tok.yāi are both Xi’an designs through and through, set apart from other fighters by the exceptional maneuverability afforded to them by their distinctive maneuvering rigs. In the hands of a capable pilot well-versed in the ship’s capabilities, the San’tok.yāi is a difficult target. The Khartu-al, maddeningly so. Is this a true Xi’an military ship or a civilian export? Similar to the Khartu-al, the Santok’yai is a civilian version of the Xi’an military ship designed for export and sale in the Human market. Like the Khartu-al, the San’tok.yāi is an original Xi’an-produced export by Aopoa, and not a replica, reconstruction, or a product of reverse-engineering. How does this ship handle, maneuverability wise? In terms of maneuverability, the San’tok.yāi is one of the best-handling ships of its size and weight class – in this case, the proper point of comparison is other medium fighters, such as the Hornet or Sabre. The design of Xi’an fighter craft revolves around their unique thruster configuration, which relies on highly articulated main thrusters. When compared with the typically human thruster setup, which relies on one or more main fixed thrusters with yaw, pitch, and roll delivered through additional small maneuvering thrusters, the Xi’an approach provides superior strafe-movement capabilities and lateral acceleration. The ability to deliver main engine performance on multiple axes also affords some other benefits. For example, many ships have finite VTOL endurance or exert heavy wear on their maneuvering thrusters while engaged in VTOL. Xi’an fighters, like the San’tok.yāi, barely notice such activity, it being nearly as natural to them as forward flight. Will the Xi’an tech that introduces this new strafing maneuverability be applied to any other ships? Theoretically it’s possible, but it will likely remain exclusive to Xi’an ship designs. While Xi’an thruster technology plays a large part in delivering this unique strafing flight capability, the overall design of the ship’s entire spaceframe and power infrastructure is also integral to providing the full range of articulation and point reinforcement needed to utilize it to its fullest. It is not something that can be effectively or efficiently retrofitted to ships not designed with them in mind from the ground up. Furthermore, the resulting structural arrangement, with main thrusters located outside the ship’s main fuselage and borne articulation joints that may be exposed from multiple angles, is less durable under fire than contemporary ‘bricky’ human designs. Xi’an engineers still make their fighters as strong and durable as they can without compromising the ship’s other capabilities, but this requires accounting for these requirements from the get-go. An attempt to retrofit a Xi’an thruster rig to a ship that wasn’t designed with one in mind from the start would result in something downright rickety. Is this a common ship in the Xi’an empire? As a mainstay medium fighter in the arsenal of the Xi’an Empire, the San’tok.yāi is about as common a sight in Xi’an space as a Hornet or Sabre would be in UEE space. It serves prominently in the Xi’an fleet and may also occasionally be found serving civilian security forces of some of the more powerful Xi’an houses. Are we getting any cool Xi’an weapons? Xi’an missiles maybe? The Yeng’tu S3 Laser Repeater (full name in Xi’an: Aoō’nu se T.or’al Ro’thli Yeng’tu) that comes with the Santok’yai is manufactured by Torral Aggregate and uses Xi’an technology to provide a higher rate of fire than traditional human-produced laser repeaters of comparable size. While powerful, the design that produces this increased rate of fire comes at the expense of a lower maximum heat threshold, leading to a reduced firing duration before overheating. Will Xi’an ships get their own UI style? (They currently use VNCL UI) Yes, as noted they currently use a recoloured Vanduul ship UI as a temporary stand-in. We have plans in the future to make all the Alien manufacturer ships feel different UI wise. Will the ship have a Xi’an branded ship-computer-voice? If yes, will we be able to switch between English and Xi’an? That’s certainly an interesting idea and while we have plans to record new cockpit audio for all the alien ships, we hadn’t planned on doing them in alien languages specifically, assuming that the export version of the fighter would use human language. Now that you mention it, we’ll try to gauge interest for this feature. In terms of combat capability, how does it compare to ships like the Anvil Super Hornet or Aegis Sabre? The San’tok.yāi resides within the same medium fighter weight class that the Super Hornet and Sabre inhabit, so it is designed to be competitive with them. As noted above, the San’tok.yāi’s design makes it less resilient to damage than either of those two ships, and its weapons loadout is lighter than these two specific contemporaries, but not by much. It’s the Xi’an thruster design and arrangement, of course, that make it superior to either of those two fighters in terms of lateral acceleration and strafe-focused flight, while its Xi’an-designed weapons are designed to capitalize on relatively brief windows of target vulnerability. Each fighter is capable in a variety of scenarios and yet each matches particularly well for certain types of pilots: We expect that the Super Hornet will be favored by sluggers and endurance fighters who can maintain steady firing solutions and use their ability to shrug off minor hits to press an advantage. The swift, stealthy Sabre may be favored by pilots who prefer ambush and boom-n’-zoom tactics, using momentum to strike and fade. We anticipate that the San’tok.yāi may be the favorite of consummate dogfighters and sneaky pilots who thrive in furballs and crowded, tricky environments, never giving anyone more than a few seconds to fire before ducking behind cover. Of course, how it all bears out depends greatly on how you, the players, decide to use these ships in practice. We’re eager to see what you can do with them! What amenities will pilots find on board the ship? The San’tok.yāi is a military medium fighter, so while it’s big on maneuverability and firepower, it’s short on creature comforts – same as you’d expect from other military medium fighters. If you’re looking for cargo, storage, or living space, you won’t find it here; but then, if you’re designing a ship specifically to go up against Super Hornets and Sabres, you’d best keep your head in that game and focus the ship’s edges on combat! View the full article
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    Writer’s Note: Phantom Bounty: Part Three was published originally in Jump Point 3.3. Read Part One here and Part Two here. Mila and Rhys had chased the Phantom for months, had spent nearly every last credit, had put all their hope in finding her and collecting the bounty. The Phantom stood in front of them at last, cuffed inside their prisoner pod. Mila should have felt elated, but all she felt was shock. Evony Salinas. Mila had stopped going by Evony a decade ago, yet the Phantom knew her real name. And the Phantom’s face looked just like her former best friend’s — Casey Phan — a girl found murdered ten years ago. It couldn’t be possible. But it was. The terrorist who had hit all those Phan Pharmaceutical labs was the founder’s own daughter. And she wasn’t dead. She’s alive. Mila kept her eyes on the Phantom and wavered on her feet. Rhys reached out and grabbed her arm, steadying her. “You’re supposed to be dead,” Mila whispered. Casey swallowed and averted her eyes, looking at the wall behind them. “And you’re supposed to be on Terra.” “You . . . you almost killed me.” Emotions Mila hadn’t expected flashed across Casey’s face. Anxiety. Regret. “I swear I didn’t know it was you. You shouldn’t have followed me.” Rhys stepped in front of Mila, blocking her view of Casey, and made a move to shut the pod. “Stop,” Mila commanded. Rhys sharply responded, “She’s a terrorist, Mila.” “I need to talk to her.” Rhys paused and stepped back, working his jaw. “We can’t stay here. We’re sitting ducks.” He looked at the Phantom. “Did you contact anyone to meet you?” Casey pressed her lips together and didn’t answer. Mila clenched her hands into fists. “Everyone thinks you’re dead. How could you . . . and now you’re attacking your father’s labs — killing people?” Casey’s nostrils flared. “It’s not like that. I’ll tell you. But not with him here.” She pointed to Rhys. “I don’t know him.” Rhys let out an abrupt laugh. “You tried to kill us three times today. That has to be some kind of record. Now you wanna give Mila some sob story, hope she’ll free you? Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.” Casey went rigid as Rhys started searching her spacesuit for anything she might be hiding. Conflicting emotions swirled within Mila, anger warring with relief. How the hell could Casey be alive? She’d seen the reports of her murder, she’d attended the funeral. It was basically a state ceremony, with many ranking Terran officials in attendance. Mila wore a solid black floor-length dress and a widebrimmed Terran hat. She covered her face, crying the whole time as Casey’s father gave the eulogy. Afterward, her own mother stayed by her side every day, helping her to get through the grief. Her mother had always supported her until the day she’d turned her back on her family to become a bounty hunter. And it had all started with Casey’s death. Casey Phan was supposed to be dead. Mila met Casey’s eyes. This . . . this person in front of her couldn’t be her friend. Was it some kind of trick? Rhys finished searching Casey, found nothing, and slammed a fist into the button on the pod. The door eased shut, locking Casey away again. When the door beeped, verifying it was secured, Rhys turned to Mila. He ran a hand through his brown hair, clearly trying to make sense of the situation. He shook his head. “Look. We gotta get out of here and back to Tevistal to hand her over to the Advocacy. We’re too exposed right now if she called for back-up.” Mila nodded. She cast a glance back at the pod and saw the top of Casey’s head through the glass panel. Her head was hanging low, the expression on her face not visible. How could this be happening? Mila’s stomach churned as she followed Rhys back to the cockpit. “Please. You fly. I’m no good right now.” Rhys took the pilot’s seat and fired up the engines. He eased them away from the cargo ship and past Casey’s abandoned Cutlass, through the floating detritus of the junkyard. Mila pulled up the scanner, searching for signs of powered ships, but she found none. The scans were either blocked by the debris, or they were alone out here. She and Rhys sat in tense silence until they reached the edge of the junkyard. A few ships popped up on their scanner, but all of them were docked at the nearby platform, Septa. None of them were headed their way. “The Advocacy will want to go back and search her ship.” “I logged the coordinates,” Mila said. They pulled into open space, and the revelations of the last few minutes hung heavy in the air between them. Mila took a deep breath. “You asked me back on Tevistal . . . you asked why I couldn’t let this bounty go?” Rhys nodded, but didn’t speak. Mila sighed and settled back in her seat, trying not to be so aware of Casey, locked in a pod behind them. “Casey and I were really close. We grew up together. My father owned a components manufacturer, and her father owned a biotech firm, and they did business together. Our families spent a lot of time together. I thought I knew her.” Mila’s voice broke, but she forced herself to continue. “When I was sixteen, Casey went missing. They eventually found her body off-world — she’d been murdered. Her father threw everything he had at finding her, then at trying to track down her killer, but they never figured it out. I thought she was kidnapped or lured off planet. I couldn’t believe she’d just take a transport off-world and not even tell me where she was going.” “So everyone believed she was dead.” “Yeah. They did. I did.” Mila turned toward Rhys and gripped the armrest tightly. “Casey’s death ten years ago was the reason I went into bounty hunting. I couldn’t get justice for Casey, but I could for others. My family basically disowned me when I left. And when a terrorist started attacking Phan Pharmaceuticals again a few months ago. . . it brought up all those old feelings.” Mila’s eyes burned, and she tried to keep tears from coming, but failed. “Casey’s murderer had gotten away, but now someone else was hurting the Phan family, and I could actually do something about it this time.” Rhys stopped the ship and let it drift. He took off his harness and leaned toward her to wipe the tears from her cheeks. “Thank you for telling me.” Mila unstrapped her harness and got up. Rhys stood with her, wrapping her in a hug, which only made her cry harder. She gave in, letting him hold her for a few moments, then got it together and wiped her eyes. She stepped away from him and blew out a breath. “I gotta talk to her. I can’t hand her over without finding out the truth. I need to know what happened.” Rhys narrowed his eyes. “I don’t trust her. She’s dangerous. I need you to remember she’s not the friend you grew up with. She might say anything to gain your sympathy.” “I know. I know. I just . . .” “I’ll stay up here. . . I can listen in if you want me to.” “No. She said she wanted to talk to me alone. Do you trust me?” Rhys touched her face, wiping away the last of her tears. “You know I do.” Mila gave him a small smile and went to clean up at the sink to make sure she didn’t look a mess. She couldn’t let Casey see how much of an effect she’d had on her. Rhys was right. Casey was a terrorist now. She’d faked her own death. Those were the actions of a sociopath, at the very least. But she still needed to hear what Casey had to say. Mila typed in the pod’s code and stepped back as the door swung open. Casey blinked at her blearily and then straightened her shoulders. “I want to talk,” Mila said. Casey narrowed her eyes. “Where’s the other guy? I want proof he’s not listening in.” “He’s not. Take my word for it, or I’m closing this pod. You won’t get another chance to talk.” The tension hanging in the air was palpable, and a trickle of sweat made its way down Mila’s back. Finally Casey relented, and she gave a stiff nod. Mila let out a breath. “Why did you fake your own murder?” Casey’s eyes softened at something she saw in Mila’s face, which threw Mila off balance again. Could a sociopath show empathy? Or was she faking that, too? “That’s not what happened,” Casey said. “Trust me . . . it’s eaten away at me that people I loved thought I was dead. But it was better that way. Safer for everyone involved.” “Explain.” “Are you taking me to the Advocacy now? How far out are we?” Mila stepped forward and jabbed a finger into Casey’s chest. Casey flinched back. “No. I’m asking the questions. And you’re answering. What happened to you?” Casey licked her lips. “Right before I . . . before I disappeared . . . I discovered some things. About what my father’s company was doing. Illegal bio testing on Human subjects. The more I dug the worse it got. He was making bioweapons, Evony.” “Mila. My name is Mila now. And you’re lying. If your father was into any of that, the UEE would have shut him down years ago.” Casey barked out a laugh. “There’s so much that goes on under the surface. People get paid off along the way to keep things hidden. ‘Law-abiding’ Citizens deal in just as much dirt as the people you hunt. But I guess you wouldn’t see it that way. I mean, you’re a bounty hunter now. How did that happen?” Rage flooded Mila. I did this for you. She suddenly couldn’t stand to look at Casey any longer. She lifted a hand to shut the pod. “Wait,” Casey said. “Okay. You don’t have to believe me, but I’ll tell you everything.” Mila let her hand fall away from the button. “Fine. Talk.” “I heard my father on a private comm. . . He said things about experiments, getting rid of the evidence. It scared me. So I snooped through his mobi, found what I had hoped I wouldn’t — terrible, cold reports. Then I had proof. But I didn’t know who to go to.” “We were close.” Mila’s words came out like an accusation. “Why didn’t you tell me?” “I was terrified you’d go to your parents. Do you know how much stock they have in Phan Pharmaceuticals? They’d want to cover it up just like my dad did. When he caught me poking around, he got so angry I knew he was guilty. I needed to find a way to stop him . . . but how could I turn my own father in to the UEE?” “You apparently don’t mind blowing up his facilities and employees.” “I didn’t . . .” Casey shook her head, looking frustrated. “Just listen. I showed up at a few of those anti-pharm meetings. I met a guy who called himself Desh. Said he and some others were secretly working to stop the pharmaceutical corporations that engaged in dirty work. I confessed I had information about a company — and he promised if I provided proof, he and his friends could make it stop. They said that no one else would get hurt.” “Seriously? You expect me to believe this? Were you really that stupid?” Casey’s face screwed up with regret. “I was sixteen.” “And what happened at these meetings? What happened with Desh?” “He asked me to bring the proof with him to meet the other members. He and I boarded transports separately and met up off-world. But it all went sideways from there. He took me to a ship waiting at the edge of the system, and that’s where I found out he was part of PF.” “People First. Yeah, I know them. Bunch of conspiracy theory nut jobs. They weren’t mentioned anywhere in your bounty. You work alone. And they were smalltime. They haven’t been active in years.” “You’re wrong. They’ve just gotten better funding. And got better at covering their tracks.” “So what happened? You just . . . faked your own death and joined PF?” Casey shook her head sadly. “Not exactly. Two Advocacy agents infiltrated us. Desh took them both out, but not before they transmitted an image of us back to Terra. We got out of there, but I couldn’t go back to Terra.” This had to be an elaborate lie, but how else could she explain how her dead friend had disappeared from Terra as a teenager and turned up as a terrorist ten years later? “PF took me with them,” Casey continued. “They helped me disappear. They had people still on Terra who told me that my dad covered it all up . . . made it look like I was just an innocent bystander who died during the shootout. He made sure my name wouldn’t be connected with PF. He covered it up with your mother’s help, Ev.” Mila’s pulse sped up, and she shook her head. “No. No, my mother wouldn’t do that.” “She did.” Casey’s voice turned bitter. “Remember, my dad was making a run for the Terran Senate that year. He couldn’t have it getting out I was seen with terrorists.” Mila pressed her lips together and laid a hand on the wall to stay standing. Her mother. A cover-up. She felt suddenly dizzy. Nauseous. Her mother had high-level connections as Chair of the Governors Council Budget Committee. If she was part of a cover-up . . . “PF protected me,” Casey said again, interrupting Mila’s thoughts. “They gave me a new identity. I soon learned they destroyed facilities where illegal experiments were taking place. They freed test subjects who could be saved. We have benefactors in and out of UEE space that help fund our mission. PF seemed to be doing the right thing.” “You sound proud of yourself.” Mila’s voice rose. “Proud to be a terrorist. How many people have you killed?” “I didn’t.” Casey pulled against her restraints like she wanted to move her hands, plead with Mila to believe her. A desperate look crossed her face. “Whatever they say about me isn’t true. I get in, get the goods, destroy the labs, and get out. I’m not a murderer.” “You almost killed us. You planted a bomb in a hostel.” A rueful smile cracked through Casey’s desperation. “But was it empty when you showed up?” Mila narrowed her eyes and didn’t respond. Casey nodded. “It should have been empty. I paid a guy to warn everyone. It wasn’t my fault if they stayed.” “So that’s how you sleep at night. You just lie to yourself. Explain away everything bad you do.” Casey got quiet and averted her eyes. “No. I do what I have to do. Doesn’t everyone?” “Why are you even telling me all this?” “You wanted to know.” “If you think it’s going to make me free you . . . it’s not. The Advocacy will try you for your crimes. You have to pay for your choices.” Casey’s eyes widened. “Look — the things I’ve done probably have saved millions, maybe billions of lives. Do you know what was in the last lab I hit? They were working on a bioweapon that could take out entire worlds. Entire worlds, Ev. My father has been playing with fire for years, and we finally had the funding and information we needed to hit his labs. If I didn’t do these jobs, some other PF agent would have. And they might have left fewer survivors. He’s my father. His crimes were my responsibility. But. . . that job was the last job I was ever going to do for them. You have to believe me.” “I don’t. Of course you’d say it was your last job.” “I was giving it all up. PF doesn’t just let people quit the organization . . . once you’re in, you’re in for life. I was on my way to meet someone who was going to smuggle me into Xi’an territory. If you let me go now, you’ll never hear from me again. But I have to go somewhere they can’t find me either.” Mila stayed silent for a few, long moments, then finally met Casey’s eyes. “You were my best friend. I would have done anything to help you.” “You can help me now.” “No. You’re the Advocacy’s problem now.” Real fear appeared on Casey’s face. “The Advocacy can’t protect me. The second I’m in custody, I’m a liability to PF. I’m a problem to be taken care of. There’s a reason no one knows much about them. And if they don’t get me, my father will.” Mila’s chest tightened, and she found herself repeating the words Rhys had said to her back on Tevistal. “There’s always a choice. Always. You made the wrong one. I’ll make sure you’re taken to a secure facility.” “I have to warn you, then. If I do manage to make it to trial . . . I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure my father is exposed. Your mother covered up my death, so I can’t promise she won’t be a casualty. After that . . . if my father doesn’t kill me, PF will. If you hand me in . . . you’ll be responsible for all of that.” Mila’s anger flared. “Is that a threat? No. You’re responsible for all of that.” Mila slammed a fist on the pod button and the door swung closed on Casey, beeping when it sealed. Breathing hard, Mila stalked back to the cockpit. Rhys lifted his brows, waiting for her to speak. “You were right. She’s a liar. Every word out of her mouth was a lie, and she just wants me to free her.” Rhys narrowed his eyes, searching Mila’s face, worried about her. He ran a hand along her arm. “You okay?” “I’m fine,” Mila said, trying to talk around the giant lump in her throat. “You just gotta keep remembering . . . that’s not your friend in there. It’s someone else.” “I know. Let’s just get her back to Tevistal.” Mila and Rhys strapped back in, and she kept the scanner up as they retraced their course back to the planet they’d just left. “I’m exhausted.” Mila leaned back in the seat. They hadn’t slept in almost twenty hours. “As soon as we hand her over we’ll crash.” Mila murmured a noncommittal reply. “Do you want to sleep while I fly? You do look like you need it.” “Oh, thanks. No. I don’t think I could, even if I wanted to.” “Are you really okay?” Mila released her long brown hair from its tie and ran her fingers through it. “Honestly? No.” “I’m ready to hear what she said, whenever you’re ready to share it.” “Just what you said she would. Claimed she wasn’t a bad terrorist, whatever that means. She says her father is into . . . illegal testing. She says she’s working with PF — the People First crazies.” Mila pressed her lips together. She couldn’t bring herself to say the things that could implicate her own mother. Rhys worked his jaw. “So Casey’s a front for something bigger, and her dad is just as bad as she is, but no one in the entire UEE has caught on to it in more than a decade.” He shook his head. “Well, the Advocacy will know what to do with her. It’s not our job.” “Yeah, I know.” Mila thought of the young girl she’d been friends with. Thin and petite, long black hair always hanging in her intelligent eyes. “I don’t get it.” “People change.” “Ever since we were children, though . . . When we were twelve, there was this girl at school, Lia. Really wealthy, who held these ridiculous parties at her mansion. They’d bring in games, expensive prizes, the kinds of rides you’d find at fairs. It was crazy. We were all friends with her . . . until I accidentally insulted her one day at Academy. So I was the only one not invited to this party. Casey announced she was done with Lia in front of everyone, then stayed home the night of the party, watching old vids with me in our crash room. She was always doing stuff like that for the people she cared about. Always so . . . loyal. None of this adds up.” “There’s never a good enough reason to do what she’s done.” A long silence stretched on between them, and Mila’s mind struggled to come to terms with the Casey she’d known and the Casey locked up in the pod on Devana. The story Casey had told . . . about finding the illegal research, about deciding to fix it herself . . . it did line up with the old Casey. It made Mila doubt . . . everything. And the fact that she felt doubt scared her. There was no room for doubt in this job. “What if Casey’s telling the truth?” she blurted out. Rhys stiffened in his seat. “Then we let the Advocacy determine that,” he said carefully. He looked toward her, studying her face. “We stick to the mission. The right thing to do is hand her over. If they determine she’s telling the truth, the proper authorities can handle it. You and I will get away from all this . . . get some downtime. That was the plan, right?” “Right,” Mila answered quickly. After a few awkward minutes, Rhys cleared his throat. “You know, this is the most you’ve ever told me about your past.” “You’re a bounty hunter.” Mila said, glad to drop the subject of Casey. “Didn’t you research me before we went into business together?” Rhys smirked, but it had no real mirth behind it. “Yeah. You did a good job wiping yourself off the map. Evony, huh?” Mila winced. “Yeah. My family kind of disowned me when I joined the guild. This wasn’t the life they had planned for their only child. I decided to start over, use my middle name.” “We all have histories . . . and a lot of us choose bounty hunting to leave those behind. I followed my gut about you.” Rhys met her eyes, and she could see the open trust displayed there. “And I know I made the right decision.” Mila smiled, and they lapsed into silence for the rest of the flight back to Tevistal. Rhys trusted her. But could she trust herself? The pit in Mila’s stomach grew worse as Rhys landed back at the Tevistal docks. He commed with maintenance and used up the last of their creds to get the forward screen patched and the maneuvering thruster replaced. “I have just enough to hire a hover,” he said to Mila, as he brought up the Advocacy office address and a list of the agents who worked there. “We can’t risk broadcasting the Phantom’s whereabouts. I know this Advocacy agent,” he said, pointing to a name. “I’ve worked with him before, and I trust him. I’ll make contact with him personally so we can hand Casey over. Then we get paid, and we get outta here.” Mila nodded, and Rhys headed back to their quarters to change into planetside clothes and grab his gear. Mila squeezed her hands tight in her lap and watched as the workers began to patch the cockpit from the outside. I can do this. I can turn Casey over. Mila stood up as Rhys headed back toward her. She lowered the forward ramp for him and looked up at him, at the worry on his face, wondering what her own face looked like. His eyes crinkled around the edges and he leaned down to press his lips to hers. She kissed him back, relishing his warmth, willing Rhys and his loyalty and trust to erase her doubt over Casey. He wrapped her in a tight hug. She listened to the thump of his heart beneath his shirt, and a new feeling of dread bloomed within her. She didn’t want to let him go, but he finally pulled away. “I should be back soon with agents. Don’t let anyone inside this ship.” “I won’t.” “Everything will be fine.” Rhys kissed her gently again, and then she was watching his back as he headed down the ramp to the docks. Mila retracted the ramp and went back to the co-pilot’s seat, not allowing herself even to look at the pod holding Casey. She’d never had such a hard time turning in a criminal before. But then, she’d never personally known a criminal like this. It was good Rhys was handling it. She couldn’t. He had faith in her, and that meant everything. This was her life now. And she needed to do her job. But . . . Mila activated her mobiGlas and accessed the local network. She searched a decade back, looking for old news posts about Owen Phan and Casey Phan’s death. The first image she pulled up was of Owen Phan during his failed Senate run. Owen and Casey’s mother Lynn stood together at a charity event. And next to them: Mila’s parents. Mila’s heart lurched. Her mother stood between her father and Owen. She pulled up another dozen images, and more than half of them showed her parents with the Phans. If Casey was telling the truth, then Casey’s trial would destroy both their families. And if it was true, it meant her own mother had lied to her, let her mourn when Casey wasn’t even dead. Mila took a deep breath and pushed down her anger at the thought. She searched for articles on Casey’s death. Phan Pharmaceutical Heir Found Murdered Off-World Mila had read this statement dozens of times. Casey had taken a trip on her own. Someone had killed her. Wrong place, wrong time. Murderer never found. Family devastated. No new leads. Case closed. Mila ran a new query. Phan Pharmaceutical, Illegal Bioweapons More than a thousand results appeared. Mila raced through them. Most of them were PR releases from Phan Pharmaceutical themselves, promoting all the hard work they’d done to stop the creation of bioweapons. Spectrum wasn’t getting her anywhere. She was going to have to dive deep into the boards. She switched her profile over to a persona she had built up for just such occasions and began pinging threads. Within seconds messages appeared. Illegal test subjects. Proof of bioweapon development. Suspected facilities. Heart in her throat, Mila scanned the documents someone named “DarkStar” had uploaded. The list contained all the facilities the Phantom was reputed to have hit in the past few months. Why hadn’t Mila thought to do this research before? She’d been so focused on tracking down the Phantom, she’d ignored any possibility that Phan Pharmaceuticals might have done something to deserve the attacks. But there was never a good reason for terrorism. There wasn’t. Another user had posted documents with the claim that Phan’s research facility on Gen was up to its eyes in psychoactive weapons. It was the third facility the Phantom had attacked. Mila pulled up the documents. Internal memos with the Phan Pharmaceuticals logo on top. Redacted statements recovered. References made to the ILIOS Project. Mila skimmed them, her heart pounding. 100% fatality rate Spread quickly through physical contact Quarantine Buyers from four worlds This wasn’t proof. Maybe they were working on a cure for something, not a disease. But what disease still existed that had a 100% fatality rate . . . something people would want to buy a cure for? Mila exited her search and got to her feet. Her hands were shaking as she made her way back to Casey’s pod and typed in the code. It beeped back at her and flashed red. She tried it again. It denied her access. Again. Rhys had changed the code on it. He hadn’t trusted her. The realization was a kick in the gut. She assumed things . . . believed things to be true. She’d thought he trusted her. But she’d built her whole life on lies. And now everything she’d taken as truth was falling apart around her. Mila swallowed hard and held her mobiGlas up to the panel. She activated the hack program she’d used back at the hostel, and the door swung open. Casey blinked at her. “The Advocacy here?” “How do I know you’re telling the truth about the bioweapons? Do you have proof?” Casey’s eyes widened. “I destroy everything when I go in. That’s the point.” “I can’t —” “Evony. I knew you. You knew me. Am I lying to you?” Her eyes were wide, pleading. Mila shook her head. “I don’t know . . . I . . .” She met Casey’s eyes and tried to see the girl she used to know. Mila couldn’t be responsible for her childhood friend’s murder. Not after she’d already grieved once. And she couldn’t risk Casey bringing down the whole Salinas family with her. Because something in her gut told her that her mother might well have done whatever it took to help the Phan family succeed. Her mother was perfectly capable of manipulating reality to fit with her goals. Mila groaned. “If I let you go, you’ll leave? You’ll leave and never come back?” A light sprang into Casey’s eyes. “If you can help me get to the meeting with my patron, she’ll get me into Xi’an territory. You’ll never see or hear from me again. I swear it.” “I don’t want Rhys involved in this . . . I’ll say . . . I’ll say you overpowered me, stole the ship. They can find me later.” “Yes. We’ll keep him out of it. I promise.” “You better not make me regret this.” Mila used her mobi to release the cuffs from the interior bar. Mila clenched her jaw tight as she loosened Casey’s cuffs. If she was wrong about this, Casey could try to overpower her right now and escape. But the blows never came. Instead, Casey threw her arms around Mila, surprising her with a tight hug. “You won’t regret this.” She stepped back and massaged her red wrists. “Now tell me what I need to do.” “I’ll fly us out of here,” Mila said. “You navigate us to your meeting point.” They hurried to the cockpit, and Mila barely breathed, still expecting a betrayal, waiting to see if she’d made a mistake. But Casey didn’t turn on her. Not yet, anyway. Right after they’d strapped into their seats, the comm crackled. “Mila,” Rhys’s voice came through. “Ten minutes out by hover.” Mila jabbed a finger into the comm. “Received. Everything’s . . . good.” “See you soon,” Rhys said. Dread threatened to engulf Mila, but she tried to ignore the feelings as she took the controls. In the seat beside her, Casey pulled up the comms and requested emergency clearance to take off. If they made it off-world, Rhys would never, ever forgive her. But it was too late. She’d made her decision, and now Casey Phan, the Phantom, sat beside her, ready to escape UEE space once and for all. Clearance came in, and Mila fired up the engines. “Thank you, Ev. I mean it. I don’t deserve your trust after . . .” Mila just shook her head. “No. You don’t.” “Mila.” Rhys’s panicked voice came over the comm. “Mila, I have you in sight. Why are the engines fired up? What’s going on?” Mila activated the comm, and winced against a jolt of pain in her shoulder. The numbing agent was fading, the burn from her pistol wound returning. Casey had shot her, and here she was freeing her. Mila stared at the comm and tried to think of what she could say to Rhys. But there was nothing to say. She’d have to lie to him if she got out of this alive. Whatever they’d had together . . . it was over now, burned by her decision. And the less he knew, the better off he’d be. I’m so sorry, Rhys. She removed her finger from the comm without saying a word and lifted Devana into the sky. TO BE CONTINUED… View the full article
  23. OceanicBot

    Electric contraptions, cool maps, great art, Rust's Wild West, and more.View the full article
  24. OceanicBot

    View the full article
  25. OceanicBot

    Hello everyone, Last week we held two contests to highlight Citizens coming together and celebrating Thanksgiving. Having received almost 800 submissions across both contests combined, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for. Congratulations to the winners! Enjoy their entries here and here. We’re currently deep into our anniversary celebration at this year’s Intergalactic Aerospace Expo. We’ve seen a massive amount of images, videos, and stories detailing your recent adventures in the ‘verse, and they’ve been circulating through our offices globally. We really enjoy seeing the ‘verse from your perspective, so keep them coming. If you’re looking more information on the Anniversary Special, the Free Fly event, or the IAE, make sure to check out our anniversary page where you can find all the details about this year’s promotion, including a detailed guide to the in-game festivities happening on Hurston. And with that, let’s see what’s going on this week: On Tuesday, the Lore Team will publish “Phantom Bounty Pt.3.” Hang onto your butts as this thrilling tale continues to unfold, and check out previously published lore posts here. Calling All Devs, Around the Verse, and Reverse the Verse will not have new episodes airing this week, as we’re still in full Anniversary mode. Check out daily videos highlighting Star Citizen’s diverse selection of ships, and for more info on our Anniversary Free Fly event, check out the promotion page. See you in the ‘verse! Tyler Witkin Lead Community Manager The Weekly Community Content Schedule MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH, 2018 Anniversary Special – Aegis (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27TH, 2018 Anniversary Special – Drake (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Lore Post: Serialized Fiction – Phantom Bounty Pt.3 (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch) WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28TH, 2018 Anniversary Special – Exotics & Imports (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29TH, 2018 Anniversary Special – MISC (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Vault Update FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30TH, 2018 Anniversary Special – Manufacturers Spotlight & Starter Packs (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/) Roadmap Update RSI Newsletter SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1ST, 2018 Anniversary Special – For The Fledgling Pilot – Starter Packs SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2ND, 2018 Anniversary Special – For The Fledgling Pilot – Starter Packs Community MVP: November 26th, 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 here. 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! Small Guns of UEE Part 1 by Frustmaster Frustmaster has captured stunning visuals highlighting the FPS weapons currently available in the ‘verse. Enjoy the full video on the Community Hub. View the full article