Following what turned out to be an intriguing Ten for the Chairman earlier this week, Cloud Imperium has released a Star Citizen Around the Verse episode that — our tipster summed it up perfectly — represents a “decent barometer of where we currently are in Star Citizen.” Design Director Todd Papy and Persistent Universe Lead Level Designer Andreas Johansson provide a behind-the-scenes look at the sci-fi MMO’s level design, arguing that using traditional level design would have meant their four level designers would need “650 years” to build out the game.
“We do build our locations with a tile set, which is small pieces of walls and corners and doors that we put together into rooms, but this is still not fast enough,” Johansson says. “We have to find a quicker way to do this. So, the way we can approach this is to looking into grouping these smaller tile sets into bigger entities, rooms. We have kitchens. We have toilets. We have locker rooms. We have lobbies.”
A modular approach using seeds and flowcharts proved necessary, allowing a level designer to theoretically pushed out dozens of space stations every day, although of course the designers have to playtest each to make sure they’re logical and consistent — in other words, to make sure “we don’t walk into a room and it’s a door into space and everyone has a very bad day.”
Erin Roberts also checks in from Manchester to note that the Foundry 42 Wilmslow and Derby studios now count 210 people together as the former expands office space. We’ve tucked the whole episode down below — it’s absolutely worth a watch for folks curious about the state of development and how quickly it can move going forward.