How Star Citizen uses science to build out its galaxy

This week’s episode of Star Citizen Around the Verse sees Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts and Eric Kieron Davis bookending Foundry 42, Ship Shape, and solar system segments. From the Foundry 42 Frankfurt office, Development Director Brian Chambers checks in to discuss new hires, level design work, landing zones, atmosphere mapping, buddy AI, enemy reactions, planet surfacing, outpost lighting, environment art, and multiplayer persistent universe gameplay testing (yay!), while Ship Shape is aimed at you motorcycle lovers.

“Being able to see your footsteps in the snow or have your vehicle kick up dust while speeding across the desert are those little details that’ll make you believe that you’re really in those environments and be much more immersive, and you know me – I love immersive,” Roberts chimes in.

The best bit is easily the solar system segment, but I’m biased – I married an astrophysicist. The devs explain how they use the Solar System Ed (SolEd) to build out the parts of their galaxy in the service of the Star Map, making use of volunteer astronomers and other scientists to vet their ideas for scientific plausibility. Fun!

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28 Comments on "How Star Citizen uses science to build out its galaxy"

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primal

i said i wasnt going to buy anything else till release but i had to buy that Nox its awesome

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Bob Dobalina

That Nox is sexy. Couldn’t help myself and bought one. Hope it’s ready for 3.0.

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Kickstarter Donor
mysecretid

I Married An Astrophysicist — a new situation comedy, coming soon to Netflix!

Zander
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Zander

– In the upcoming alpha 3.0 patch, it takes 15 hours to circumnavigate one of the moons by vehicle.
– Their solar system editor (SolEd) does all the calculations for the orbits and axis rotations of planets around a star, moons around a planet and asteroid belts around those celestial bodies so that things like gravity, day/night cycles, weather patterns the position of those objects and most importantly, distance traveled are real enough to maintain a convincing experience without having lengthy travel times.

The sheer amount of science researched and included in making this game work is incredible. No seriously, grab cup of your drink of choice and watch this episode of ATV. It will truly give you a barometer at the depth of this game.

edangerous
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edangerous

That’s a pretty small moon in all honesty. If your vehicle was doing 50 miles an hour that is a circumference of 750 miles. Our moon by comparison is almost 10 times that. When Elite were showing off their moons prior to releasing Horizons they were talking about 10 days of travel to circumnavigate a moon.

The Solar system editor looks a handy tool. Will be good to see the fruits of this stuff in game.

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primal

he did say the tech is limited to a max size of our earth at the moment so they have to scale everything down because obviously something like jupiter is much bigger than our planet then they can also have super earths and stuff so obviously a moon needs to be much smaller than reality.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

The vast majority of moons in our solar system are much smaller than our moon.

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Lethality

What about if the ship is going 1700 miles per hour (which is average max speed).

And 10 days of travel around a moon, yet minutes to get across the galaxy. Interesting problem, that.

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Joe Blobers

Throw the spacebike into a bigger ship and drive to your destination, or take a passenger transporter.
Also what about if you walk around a moon or planet, how long does it takes? The result does not really matter, the most important is to have the possibility to do it and all implies scenarios.

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Melissa McDonald

“that’s no moon, that’s a space station!”

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

“Being able to see your footsteps in the snow or have your vehicle kick up dust while speeding across the desert are those little details that’ll make you believe that you’re really in those environments and be much more immersive, and you know me – I love immersive,” Roberts chimes in.

dat cutting edge 2004 game tech. bleeding edge folks! never done before!

edangerous
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edangerous

Praise Roberts! Showing publishers how it is done….

Zander
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Zander

You tell em buddy. Gotta stand up to these big pubs and show them we can fund our own game development. Quick observation though for you Ed. You and I are really the only outspoken space sim gamers on MOP. The SC community considers E:D like a brother even though the E:D has this unfound disparity for SC and I don’t know why. Notice that I never comment on any of the Elite Dangerous articles. Two reasons; I don’t own the game so I have no place to comment. The other reason is, I simply don’t care enough. I could come into E:D articles and bash it for its short comings. I have plenty of guild mates who do own it and played it through who say it’s boring as fuck in the end. But it doesn’t help fans of the game or the game itself. Many of you E:D guys will be migrating over to SC at some point. This is why, even though you despise SC’s funding and development methods, I’d never do that to our little brother, E:D.

edangerous
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edangerous

I don’t know what you mean by “E:D has this unfound disparity for SC”, and who is speaking for the E:D community here?

I have to laugh that you claim ED is treated more fairly by the SC community and yet your SC brothers claim it is boring as fuck, as if that doesn’t display some sort of bias….

Anyhow, there’s too much passive aggressiveness wrappped up in your post for my liking, ewww

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

and for the record the amusing thing here is that it’s so emphasized and played up despite being so incredibly mundane stuff. wow vanilla had both of these things 13 years ago. countless games have had them since.

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primal

yeah but those tracks would disappear pretty quickly, if those footprints persist for some time so a bounty hunter or something could potentially track you using those foot prints or tracks then yeah its pretty nextgen stuff, well next gen in terms of using the extra power and space server side to store that stuff.

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Rumm

Meh, this still impressed me, and its just footprints and dust particles

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Joe Blobers

Nice video and nice game. Do you know if footprint last more than a few minutes or if you walk 500 hundred meters back, footprints are still there?

Zander
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Zander

are you gonna really pretend footprints on ground textures and kicking up dust particle effects from vehicles is something novel?

If footprints and vehicle tracks remain persistent for great lengths of time so that others can track you on a surface, then yes. It’s pretty novel.

and for the record the amusing thing here is..

..you didn’t even watch the video so your not using your lips or brain to talk.

Watch the video and get back to me when you can sound a little informed.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

this sort of thing goes without saying for the past decade.

Zander
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Zander

DK, you are better than that. Watch the video instead of taking quotes, then come back and make sarcastic comments with the idea that you know what your talking about. If your going to troll, at least make it an educated troll. Be pro like me, not some mouth breather.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

are you gonna really pretend footprints on ground textures and kicking up dust particle effects from vehicles is something novel?

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Joe Blobers

Deekay_Plus… Nobody said particle effects is something novel… It just there to show progress vs last Dec 2016 video’s with no such details. Read: details not breakthrough technology never done somehow before. And as usual CIG did implemented them with a satisfying level of fidelity.

Novelty as Zander said would be that footprints remain visible long enough for many to track them down to the originator. Many games do have some type of trail effect but it is still to be defined how long they last in SC.

Last CitizenCon video was impressive in many ways but small thing like rover wheels was far to be polished. The good news is that they now have time to focus on much smaller things than a planet or mountains.

And this is just 60 seconds of a 40:24 minutes show talking about many insights like improvement on NPC’s gestures, buddy AI behaviors, ecosystem ground materials for 3 moons and many more…

Zander
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Zander

I appreciate a different perspective on this, thank you. Don’t take DK personally. His attempts at pessimism isn’t limited to Star Citizen. Just go look at the Elite Dangerous post. I’m more disappointed at his low effort at trolling in what could be looked at as a true adversary. Yet still I remain king, trying to teach him. ¯_(ツ)_/ ¯

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Melissa McDonald

what’s latest estimate on being able to play in the PU? Still waiting for the “reason” to reinstall and log in and play.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

wait till 3.0 is “live”. 2.6 is kind of really a mess in certain ways.

Zander
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Zander

Don’t reinstall until their ‘Delta Patcher’ is ready. It should come out with alpha 3.0 but downloading 40+gigs of data everytime they update just isn’t worth it. The new patcher only updates the changes made.

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TheDonDude

21st to 27th of July. Likely it’ll get pushed back some more, though.

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