The past Friday the 6th, almost during the midnight of saturday the 7th for those who were in Spain, the members of Chats in the Spectrum (Conversaciones en el Espectro) had the privilege of spending almost one hour chatting with Chris Roberts about Star Citizen and other topics.
What follows is a transcription of the very (very) long chat we had which him. Since there were 4 persons in the chat each one is identified at the beggining of each paragraph with their initials as follow:
As happens with almost everything in this phase of Star Citizen’s developement, we talk of a work in progress and nothing is written in stone…, yet.
We hope you enjoy the transcription as much as we enjoyed the chatting with Chris Roberts.
A: Hello Mr Roberts
CR: Good! How are you doing?
A: Good afternoon, there.
CR: There is like 12:30?
CR: Good evening. Where are you in Spain?
A: Yeah, we are in Spain. I drive the spanish community here in Spain, Ciudadano Estelar, actually we are 700 members in the site and we have a weekly podcast too, explaining the game and the news about the Star Citizen every week and we would like to conduct this like an special edition of the podcast. That’s why here are Frost, another member of the podcast, and ReaverT, and we will ask several questions about the Star Citizen game and the development of the game. And we would like to make you feel its more like a chat than a serious interview.
A: I’m going to make a brief introduction in Spanish and then we will talk about… we will start the interview.
CR: Ok, that’s great. So… Where are you based on Spain?
A: I am in Asturias, in Oviedo, is a northern city in Spain. Frost is in Galicia, in another city, and ReaverT is in Mallorca, Ibiza.
CR: All over there!
CR: Mallorca is probably a bit warmer than Galicia right now.
F: You tell me…
R&A: (laughs) Ok. I’m recording the interview, there’s no problem, right?
CR: That’s fine, no problem.
A: Ok, ok, I hope this goes well, let me put this full screen.. ok. Here it is. I’m going to start with a brief introduction in spanish for the podcast and then we will start the interview, ok?
A: Good day. This is a new edition of the podcast, an special edition, in which we have the Star Citizen creator as a guest, Mr Chris Roberts. Hello, Mr Roberts?
CR: Hello. ¡Hola! (laughs) Is that right?
A: I will like to make the first question. It is about translation in the game. The community in Ciudadano Estelar is about how it is going to make the translation into the Spanish, because we’ve been suffering for years of very terrible translations of the games in PC and consoles. We wouldn’t like to see that happening to Star Citizen. We would like to accurately represent the spanish so…
How’s gonna turn out your plans for the translation and how are you going to involve the community in the process of making the translation into spanish, english, french, german etcetera?
CR. Oh, wow, it’s a good idea to involve the community. We’ve talked about potentially setting up things like the website so the community itself can do the translation, like you would have on the forums and the community of Moderators. Maybe they would volunteer to translate it, not unlike the wikipedia or whatever.
For the general game we are planning to localize it in what we call E.F.I.G.S, which is english, french, italian, german, spanish. That’s sort of the name the industry has for that. But we are going to have french, german and spanish as both the voice and obviously the text. The other ones will probably have only text and we will probably do some other translations as well.
But in terms of like “how we are handling that level of the translation?”, in a way… I don’t know if you played any of my old Wing Commanders. I kind of remember whether they were good or not. I know that when we did them, we had specific teams to handle the translation. We also had the voice actors that played the Rogue/Robin, that played Mark Hamill when they dubbed Star Wars, or played Malcolm McDowell. So we will probably try to do the same stuff for Star Citizen, which is not on that stage and that’s something we will probably be doing towards the end of next year (2014).
A: Let me clarify one thing. You mean that there is gonna be voiceover in spanish and in french and german? For the game?
CR: Yes. Spanish, French and German.
A: Oh! So it’s not a stretch goal, it’s something that is already… for the game?
CR: Yeah, we are planning for that. Everything else will be subtitled. But maybe we will consider other voice localization too, but generally that’s sort of the standard. On big games, anyway. That’s what it used to be and I’m planning to do the same for Star Citizen. You know, there is Spain, but there’s also a lot other countries that speak spanish. It’s really a good one to localize.
A: Ok, that’s great news! Thank you!
CR: You are welcome!
A: (Laughs) I think Frost wants to make a question.
F: Ok, hello Mr Roberts, I’m Frost, from the 127th Angry Angels. Maybe you know our squadron, is pretty popular. We are going to do refueling for the community, we are a logistics squadron.
CR: Awesome! With Retaliators?
CR: Are you retired? (I understood that, I think he meant Retaliators)
F: No, no! I’m not retired, I’m not in the military!
CR: Oh, sorry!
F: I’m from a squadron in the game that is going to be about logistics, about refueling. I’m just presenting myself.
CR: Sorry, I was saying you need Retaliators, but I think it should be Starfarers.
F: Ok, sorry. So, I have a question for you, from the community. The Star Citizen project has made almost 34 millions through crowd funding. Thats 11 million over what you planned as a final budget to realize your vision of the game, Also, it seems it will even get to 50 million dollars at launch, possibly even more, which means all incoming stretch goals are meant to enhace the core game. So my question, pretty much was answered by you because you said that you were going to dub the Squadron 42. You are also gonna dub also the Star Citizen core game, the persistent universe? That’s what I mean…
CR: Yes, I mean, definitely. So Squadron 42 and then the core universe as much as we can, basically. Because with all the different stories that we could be adding and adding and adding to it… so.. But the good news about raising all the money that we raised, obviously, I don’t think it’s gonna stop…
F: Yes (laughs)
CR: .. at a certain amount. It just means that I’m not very worried now about being able to deliver the best possible experience. Because, essentially, right now, this is the biggest funded space game ever and that, you know, we are already significant competitors with some other games and publishers too, because we don’t have any overhead, so our 33 millions are more like 40 plus million dollars or 50 million dollars in EA or Activision.
And, of course, we are gonna carry on going so, for me, you know, what I mean is the money we raise before the game comes out is really just about making the game bigger and better, you know, more content, more ships. Maybe the systems are more sophisticated.
So another thing we have been able to do because we have more money is start more people sooner, so we are going wider in terms of the talent developing that we would have done if we didn’t have as much money. So that is what allowing me to make sure more of the game, the content, the functionality, will be avaliable earlier than it would have been if we didn’t have as much money. So, I think it’s just gonna be better for everyone. It’s pretty awesome. It’s awesome there’s many people so excited about this kind of game that they helped support it to the level that we can make one that can compete with anyone else out there.
We don’t have to worry. It’s not like that we have to go, “oh, we wanna have this new technology!” or “do this special technology!” or whatever. The decisions won’t be making up really about “Can we afford it?”, the decisions will be making up “whats best for the game?”, you know. “What will make the game the funniest?” “What will make it the most inmersive?”.
F: Yeah, because, that’s great but, even if you have lots of money it’s going to be a logistical nightmare to constantly be updating every week, or every two weeks, (because you want to constantly update the product) and it’s gonna be a nightmare for you!
CR: No, no, no…
CR: Exactly. That’s part of what, like having more of the money now means that I can invest in the infraestructure plans, how this get’s rolled out. So, there’s a lot of things like probably what would have happen if we didn’t have as much money, some of this stuff that I’m talking about would have happened, but I would have happened later and along the way.
For as now, I can start to really think how I can step this up, how this is going to work on a, you know, more global basis. So we certainly have it possible to do the core Persistent Universe and Squadron 42 and then we are just gonna figure out the process of the ongoing content that we are going to add. And you know, obviously, that’s always slightly tricky, because everyone wants to be playing in the same universe, live.
CR: I don’t know wheter we will, necessarily, be able to basically release everything localized in the same language or maybe you can play but it is in English but a week later we recorded the spanish stuff and now it will be in spanish, I don’t know. We haven’t worked out those details yet, but definitely the extra funds are gonna allow us to essentially have like servers around the world, instead of just starting in one or two locations, and work on the infrastructure: just making a better game. I’m pretty excited about that.
F: Wow, seems you have all figured out! (laughs)
CR: No, no, no. This is an incredible huge, big project! It is a massive undertaking and people that have huge amounts of resources like Electronic Arts o Activision-Blizzard… mess up all the time. So…
F: Yeah (laughs). You tell me… (Everyone laughs)
A: We have seen recently… (laughs)
CR: You know, I would be delusional if I thought that we were gonna be perfect all the time, but I think, like anyone else we will make mistakes, but our heart is in the right place. We don’t have any extra noise, cause all we are, are we care about is Star Citizen. We are not like part of a bigger company that is forcing us to ship this for this date, to work with this system because they have some marketing deal… or whatever it is. So we just care about making the decisions that work really well for Star Citizen, so that will give us some advantage.
But I’m sure there will be things that won’t work. It’s just human nature. The bigger the project, the more things you’ve got, the more things can go wrong. I think that we’ve got some ideas about how to maybe avoid some things other people have encountered; but that’s not to say we won’t encounter some other things that will not necessarily work out.
But, the thing that I can say is that we are just comitted to making this work really well and we’ve got the whole community supporting us, so I think we are in a really good position to make it work, which in some ways with some other people is not as easy, because of the nature of what we’ve done. All of you guys that backed it now, you are basically like partners in getting this game done, almost.
So even rolling it out and getting the glitches out, figuring it out: that’s the whole point of testing the modules. It’s like everyone is part of one big team or community that want’s to see this thing happen, and that’s a completely different attitude that say a group of people that like play an open beta or something that is just about ready to come out, which is what has happened, I think, to some of the bigger publishers is they had some open betas, they had problems with them, you are seeing problems with Battlefield 4 right now, you had Sim City before… Where I see the attitude of our audience that wants to be involved much sooner, hopefully. We won’t be perfect, but hopefully we will be in a better position to be smooth at that point.
F: The only thing that I can tell you is that if you keep honest, and you are honest with the community, we will pardon everything you do wrong. (nervous laugh) You only need to say things beforehand and people are going to understand you. Because we all know there are going to be problems.
We have to move on, because we only have so much time with you, and Reaver has a question for you, so…
R: Thanks, Frost. Good afternoon, Mr Roberts, I think is afternoon there, right?
CR: Yes, it is like 3:30 in the afternoon here. Nice to meet you, how do I call you, Alberto or Reaver?
R: Mmmm You tell… your choice, I don’t mind! (nervous laughing) Ok, moving to the question. In previous interviews, you’ve stated that you have been working in the game’s code for a year before it was introduced in GDC 2012. Which piece of that code was the most challenging and what part are you most proud of?
CR: Ahh, wow, I would say, probably the most… we used CryEngine. CryEngine is a very powerful, but it is a very difficult, complicated, piece of software because it is so powerful. So it took a lot of time for me to get the basic flight spaceship stuff working. I spent a huge amount of time on, essentially, because CryEngine doesn’t support this but… that huge Carrier, the Bengal Carrier you could see.
It was like, visually, kilometer long in scale and you could fly inside and out, and all the guns tracked. You could be on the bridge looking out well. People were flying around and dogfighting outside. So, for me, that was kind of a… thats probably why I’m the proudest of. Because I basically took the vehicle system, which really was only built for like a buggy or a tank and you could actually be inside it, like, you can in our stuff.
And did have any of the fidelity, the detail and all: it fits the moving animation.. So that’s what I was really working on, sort of as a proof of concept, that you sort of create the ships with that level of fidelity that you could actually be inside and there’s all these little parts that you can touch, you use, it moves. You have ships flying inside another ships. Just like..it really sort of delivers some of the scale that likes, for me, whenever as I was growing watching science fiction movies I always wanted to have that feeling of like, really, flying the Millenium Falcon inside the Death Star, and getting out, walking around the Death Star! That must be awesome!
So that was what sort of what the big proof of concept was. Can you do something at that level of fidelity? Now we see a lot of games, that obviously have increased the polygons counts because of the new consoles and everything. But back when I was working on the prototype, which it was a year before I showed it, you know, everyone whas thinking that was like an insane amount of detail for a space ship or a character.
So it was just fun to prototype that. It sort of felt like I was not worrying about the past, I was thinking: “Ok, I really want to push it more to the limits.” So, I think that’s why I’m proud of stuff. It was fun, when it comes the moment I went to show this, CryTek were really nice, they gave me everything, “Today we are just checking it out, just use it. Don’t worry about it, we will figure out what the deal is down the road.”
But you know, Star Citizen was probably difficult, so I showed an early version of the prototype in, probably the GDC in March of 2012, so I showed the game to the public in October. It was actually kind of fun sitting in a meeting with like all the engineers that worked on the engine, and showing it like getting in the ship and all the things the ship did. And they’re like, it was basically, jaws dropping down to the floor. Pretty awesome, it was their engine.
R: That was my sensation when I saw it for the first time. It was like, ok, Star Wars met Galactica and then they mated, and then it came out this: Epic Sci-Fi at it’s finest, certainly!
CR: That’s the goal. The goal is to give you that. It’s not to be as limited It’s not to be as limited as, maybe, some of my past ones, like the Wing Commanders, the Privateers or the Freelancers, they are all really good, but they were sort of limited at the time, by what you could do with the technology. Now I feel I can really have a much more epic feeling of sense. I was looking at a, sort of going over at some of the main locations on Terra, which is one of the main places you go to. But it’s not like Freelancer or Privateer, where is just a couple of rooms. It’s like…
First of all I think there’s three different locations you can land on the planet itself. In each one those, like Terra Prime, which is the main city, it has something like 25 plus different locations. Like different rooms, shops, fields, like walking around, there’s a subway to take you… I mean, it’s just like a whole thing that you can do exploring just on that planet. That was never something that in the past I was able to do and we can do here right, partly because we’ve got some pretty amazing backing but.. yeah.. It’s a lot a work to get all that stuff done, so there’s a vast amount of work for lot of people to go through, but going between planets and, you know, going down a shady back alley to get a mission, or something, it’s gonna be awesome.
R: Yeah, that’s right. We can say, it’s a living, breathing, universe literally, I think. Keeping on with the interview, I think Adamanter has a question for you or was it Frost?
A: No, it’s me, it’s me. One thing I want to say before making my question, is that I think that all the work you did for the demo was the key. Was part of the key of this success: show a solid project and a plan to on how is going to be developed the game. Is one of the keys, that’s why we are almost on 34 millions right now.
CR: A hundred percent, I agree. It is one thing to say, hey, I wanna go like, it’s easy for Tim Schaefer to do a graphic adventure! You kind of know what it is and it’s not that big of a project, relatively. But yeah, I’m talking about a huge universe that I want to build and everything. So I think unless I was showing something it would be hard to people to really buy into it to the level they’ve afforded. I mean, I definitely knew there would be some that sort of know why, that liked Wing Commander, liked Privateer and liked Freelancer so, that would back it. But I think if you actually can see what, you can see a little bit about the trade in gonna be like, it makes it much easier for people to believe it, I guess, to put in some way.
A: Yes, that’s the key. Because the people see that there’s something real to pledge on. Not just some ideas explained by a talented person like you. But seeing the demo, that demo, that carrier flying within those asteroids, that whole battle, it was awesome. And it showed that it was a whole work behind the proposal, And it showed there is a whole work behind the proposal, that there is no steam.
CR: Yeah, they say smoke and mirrors in America. But yeah, totally. And I would say that another thing that we are trying to do is, is because we tried to like to share as much about what we do. Have a lot of updates. All the money we are raising is being basically just spent on developers, and like we raise more money I can just hire the best film concept artist, or whatever. I think it’s good to show people that, because a lot of times, yeah, you will raise money and then it’s like a black hole and you don’t know what’s happening.
So for us, even if something doesn’t work out perfectly, we will say: “We want to take a little longer to make this thing perfect, so we don’t wanna give it you just yet.” Even in that case, it’s not like you won’t know what’s happening, because you will still see the updates, things are happening, you can see the people are working. So everyone knows that the money they that they basically put towards making this dream a reality is getting used on the game to make the best thing possible. And everybody on the team itself are comitted to make an awesome game.
A: Yeah, we understand perfectly. And the question we want to ask you now is: there’s gonna be mod tools for the persistent universe to allow the community have their own private servers, make their own mods of the game. What about missions editors to make our own campaigns?
CR: Definitely! I mean, all will be there. One of our focuses is… Now we are just starting right now to spec out the tools. Because a lot of the stuff right now, trust me, won’t be very user friendly… at the moment.
But the plan is like all the tools we are building for, like populating the planetside or mission editing tools for say Squadron 42 are going to be built in a way that they’re front facing, so they are easy for people to use in the modding community. So that’s kind of what is on the specs. A lot of times in game development you may do something simpler if it was just for internal use, but because this is gonna be used for modding as well, we actually will put an extra amount of work for the presentation, to make it’s user interface easier and simpler, stuff like that. But that’s sort of in progress. But yeah, that’s definitely possible. There will be tools to build your own missions, drop people down, all that, for the modding side of stuff.
A: Ok. Frost, Do you have any question for Chris Roberts?
F: Ha! Yes! My question is about Multi-function Displays. Will Star Citizen truly support those or, it will be a stretch of the highest resolution that deforms the image, as happens in most games that claim to support multi-function displays?
CR: Ahh… You mean multi-function ingame? as actually..?
F: No, I mean about having a multi-monitor setup, like when you increase…
CR: Like Eyefinity, for instance?
F: Yes, like that. Because Eyefinity deforms the image, and it seems like a frog’s eye. It seems deformed like one camera. For example, a table, instead of looking circular it looks like an ellipsis, like an ellipsoid.
CR: Yes. When I did the AMD, at the unveiling of the new of the 290 or whatever X, I did Eyefinity, we actually did some work to not have that weird streched field of view thing.
CR: The actual look on the stage, actually, we were projecting three monitors there, and the aspect ratio is correct. So, we are putting work into making sure that we work with multiple displays, including in the HUD, like it shouldn’t broken up to situate as you track around. So, yes, we will definitely be supporting that.
F: That’s great. It was a worry that a lot of people in the community had, because most games don’t do that right, like iRacing. They make something half-baked, and it looks deformed!
CR: Right, right. We are pretty keen in supporting things like HOTAS, joysticks, setups and a whole bunch of other high end peripheral setups, because we think is cool and more inmersive.
F: Ok, thanks. I think now Reaver has a question for you.
R: Ok, last question. We have many, many, questions to do, but I’ll just keep on with the script we prepared. We know the game is focused in the players ability, to handle their ships. If the ship the player is using and the way it has been prepared by the pilot…. do you think the overclocked items, like alien tech or high quality materials that can be added to the ships are going to unbalance the game? I mean, if I’m gonna be beaten by someone, be it because he has 1500 APMs more than me, like in Starcraft 2, because I’m really bad at Starcraft! (laugh) Beaten by that, because he or she is a better pilot than me, and not only because he or she has a better ship equipped than mine.
CR: No. I think that the skill aspect is gonna be very important. Because it won’t even matter if you have an overclocked weapon, or whatever, it’s not.. You are still get into someone’s tail, you are still gonna hit him, even if you have all these other things. And then, the way we are conceiving the overclocking is very much like you would overclock a computer, which means, yes, you can get maybe get another 10% or 20% of damage, but you have a huge to price to pay for that. In the computer example that usually means having a lot more heat, right? So you need more cooling to keep it under control and this is happening the same.
As you overclock you start to ramp up the heat. and you’ve got to have a way to cool it. If you are not cooling it, maybe you are damaging your weapons or if it is not energy weapons, it’s still increasing your heat signature. So the way the game works, we have different signatures for radar. We have: heat, electro-magnet or reflector. Basically if you are pushing out a lot of heat, it’s really easy to lock on you. Whether as if you had a ship that you have setup where you are basically cooling, getting rid of it, dissipating all your heat, you would be much harder to be locked on. So, yeah, you may have a ship that you’ve got ready to pack a big punch, but you are paying the price for it. The whole game, the whole combat, it’s being set up like that. We are really aiming to have all these tradeoffs, right? So if you go one way, you won’t be as good in this other way.
R: Yes, so…
CR: And that’s why we wanted also.. When the dogfight module comes out, the whole point of that is to balance these things. I don’t want a game where you just roll in with this undefeatable ship, even if you are not very good, you beat them. It just wouldn’t be fun in my mind.
R: That’s a pretty good thing, because as a former X-Wing: Alliance Tie Fighter pilot on the internet we practiced with ships and there were certain amount of combinations that were unbeatable. I mean, there was literally no way to beat a certain kind of fighter with countermeasures and missiles. So, basically, if you tell me that by buffing one system, like power-weapons, that’s gonna nerf your stealth capability, thats good. That’s balanced, and you have to think twice before upgrading something, so… Cool! Thank you!
CR: It really works like rock, paper, scissors. You used Starcraft as an example, I mean. I really like Starcraft and Starcraft 2 a lot. But yeah, but, everything in there is rock-paper-scissors, even the Super Units, right? When I play Starcraft I like to play Terrans, and those Battlecruisers are pretty awesome, but you know, there’s things in there that take out those pretty easily. You just got to know, is really for me about how do you equip your ship and how do you set it up all these different things you do. It sort of sets how do you play against someone else. So like if you know someone’s playstyle, you may very well set up your ship equipment differently that if they played in a different way, if that makes some sense. I think that will be fun for people, because hasn’t been in any Wing Commander, Privateer or Freelancer before.
R: Ok, perfect. Thank you. Adamanter, do you wanna say something? Or?
A: Eh, you explained in multiple times the instance systems, but some people doesn’t grasp it. Can you elaborate a little more about it? I mean, for example, there is going to be multiple instancing for an explorable area where there’s something that is unique or there is going to be just one instance for that unique… derelict, for example?
CR: Persistent locations that we are gonna have in space, they won’t be instanced. So they can all be in one instance, like an space station. And so, then along, limited to the amount of people at any one time. So there is a bit of an edge case about how do you handle it if more people want to go to that place that you can fit on it.
So.. we’ve got some ideas for that, but we haven’t quite figured that out yet. But the way the instancing works, the idea, is that only uses instances when it has to, right? So as long there is enough room for the people that happens to be in that section set in space, they will all be in the same area. It just that when we create an instance, we basically allow for a certain amount of people in it and also reserve some slots for friends and everything to show up. So if all of that is basically is full, and you arrive to the same area of space, and you aren’t friend with someone that is in that other instance (an you wouldn’t really know about this), we will spin up a separate instance, which you can think of it as being sort of like in the same place but in another “dimension”, it could be a good way to think about it. And then you start pooling in there.
But the likelihood is that there are lots of places that will never really be instanced, it’s dynamic, because it’s creating instances and destroying them as it’s going along, so for most people all the game should feel like they are walking around and flying around this world, there’s people in it, and they don’t even concieve the fact that maybe there was some instancing. It just that there is an area in space, there could be 50 ships or 200 ships. Basically the places with probably the heaviest instancing will be like Terra, where a lot of people would go, because they are going to land on the planet or orbit. Yeah, you can probably and easily have 400 people orbiting around Terra, but you can’t really display 400 people all at once. So there would maybe be like 8 instances running. But generally you would put people in the instances that knew each other. So like you and your friends (cause we know what your friends list is) will be like “ok. you know, we can all part from there and run well”. We will put all of you guys together and you would go like “Ok. We are all here!” You wouldn’t really sort of even concieve there’s another instance going on.
Where it would be obvious would be if you and a hundred of your friends got together and said “let’s all be in orbit around Terra!”. Well, we can’t have a hundred people… I don’t know, maybe we can, but say we couldn’t fit a 100 people in one instance, 40 can be in an instance. So that’s the only time is gonna show up, but I would say it would probably be an issue more for the like for the large groups of people, like big guilds or something that they are trying to organize like a large scale warfare, than it would be for most of the players. Most of the players are not even gonna realize this instancing.
Because it’s not like World of Warcraft, where you really are in this shard and that’s where you are. As you move from one planet to another planet, you would be going in and out of different instances. Every time, like in the Wing Commander or the Privateer analogy, dropping in and out of like autopilot into Nav Areas, you drop out and you get basically put into an instance. And maybe there’s some other people in that instance, maybe there’s a couple instances in that area because there’s so many people in there.
But you most of the time won’t even realize that this is all happening. So I think for most people it would just feel like a big, breathing, universe.
F: We are really sorry for asking this AGAIN, because we know you are sick of explaining this. (laughs) But..
CR: It’s ok.
R: And ain’t over…
CR: I think it’s one of these things that, you know, basically people are gonna have to play and see, and then it’s going to be less of an issue to worry. I mean, the things that are difficult to work well is, like I said, the case when there’s a lot of players all decided to get together in the same place to either attack one persistent space station, like I mentioned at the beginning or have a big guild war with lots of people fighting each other.
Those are the only two cases where instancing is gonna be would sort of creep into the world, so to speak, the inmersion of the world. Cause other than that, mostly it’s gonna feel like you are flying around, you running across other traders or whatever. I think it’s gonna be pretty cool.
F: Ok, I have a… I know we are out of your allotted time so, I don’t want to keep you from your work, so. I have a final question, if you want to leave…
CR: No, no, no. Why don’t everyone does one more question and we are good?
F: Okey. This question is about the Galactopedia. We wanted to know if the Galactopedia is going to be a lore friendly way to access the timeline of the game, every event that takes place in the universe, or it’s going to be like a wikipedia with all the gameplay elements, the lore, the ships stats and so on and so on?
CR: The Galactopedia is meant to be the inner fiction Galactopedia, so we’re probably gonna have something parallel for like the non in-fiction stuff, like the gameplay, like how to do stuff… But the Galactopedia is meant to be like the real Galactopedia of this universe, and my goal is, first off, we are gonna have like have all the different locations and characters in there. But also, the stuff that happens once the universe is live and the players do, like if there’s a big war between two guilds or someone discovers a jump point, for instance… all that will actually also go into the Galactopedia.
So kind of my idea is: once we are running and people are doing stuff in the game, even the content people in our side that are adding more content for the game, are seeing what the players are doing and they are actually taking some of that, feeding it back into the content we are generating. Yeah, maybe there’s a big guild war going on somewhere and we decide, “ok, well, let’s generate some missions for people to take supplies to the planets that are in the middle of this war”, because people are starving cause there’s no supplies, they aren’t getting through or whatever. So, the idea is to sort of use what the community is doing, to feed of it, like we can maybe even have news report, and the news report is about a player action. So the bigger things should get into the Galactopedia, and that’s the whole idea, I want people to feel that this universe is a real universe and they have impact in it. And if they do big or great things they will be recorded forever, and, I think that in a game is way cooler for me than getting an achievement trophy in Xbox or anything.
F: Yeah, way cooler. And I hope you never implement achievements! (laughs) Because…
CR: The only achievements we have are like in-fiction achievements, sort of like the fish tank. So the idea is different planets you go and visit, we will have the equivalent like, when you are flying to different places you have the novelty store.
F: And your stamp on your luggage!
CR: Yes! We are definitely going to have in fiction stuff, like, you go into your hangar and your friend can visit you and can almost see where you have been in the galaxy because of the knick-knacks they brought back.
F: That’s awesome!
CR: It’s all gonna be in fiction. I don’t like any of this… I hate that whole achievement system that they use in consoles, that it doesn’t feels like it’s part of the game. It’s in fiction.
F: You are the man. Because, the achievement system is really against everything that makes a game fun, because it makes people, for example, kill 5.000 creatures just for the sake of unlocking. And that doesn’t mean you are a better gamer or a better person, you just have lost 100 hours doing something mechanical.
R: Yeah, and maybe they want a cookie after that!
CR: I mean, for me I want achievements to be relevant to the game. So, if I go get whatever, a fringer…
A: And to kill the dreaded pirate Roberts!
CR: If it is in fiction, it’s cool. That’s kind of the idea. In one update of the hangar we will have a little trophy case and stuff in it, so you can display thinks like. whatever planets you went on. Right now, we are gonna put, if you are a Golden Ticket Holder, your Golden Ticket will be in a cabinet in the hangar. That kind of stuff.
F: Maybe some snapshots of the best vistas in the universe.
CR: Yeah, totally. That’s kind of the idea, the idea would be to have that. One of the coolest things in GTA V was the ability to be able to take “selfies”. I liked that a lot.
F: Yeah, selfies, yeah.
CR: Pictures of yourself in different locations in the place. But yeah, definitely. Because I want people to explore. I want people to go around this universe. We are deliberately building the universe in a way that, it’s not like you can go into one shop and you get every weapon, every ship and all the rest is up. Is like “No, you have to different parts of the galaxy.” Like, this is the guy who makes the best of this kind of weapon, and this is the place that makes the best of this kind of ship. You actually have to fly and travel all around and buy. I want to have a little bit about that because it forces you to in the universe and give you a reason to get to different locations.
F: Yeah, it isn’t for the casual but the logistics make the game more interesting and it feels like a real world. Not like: every bartender in the universe has all the liquors in the galaxy, even Xi’an liquors that anyone there would like.
CR: Yeah, that’s right, I want that! I definetly, that’s exactly I want it to be like you..! To have a holiday planet and you go there and they got their animals, family miniatures… It needs to be that! You need that…You know, to be honest, even in todays world, you almost don’t have that… like… I remember when I was growing up, visiting different countries was a bigger deal than it is now. I mean, now you see everything on tv and on the internet and so people sort of feel they know everything even if they haven’t been there. I think is kind of fun to go and explore different places that people don’t know about. So I definitely want to have like an aspect of that in the game.
F: That’s awesome.
A: Thank you. I don’t know if we have time for a little more questions. Do we have time for more questions?
CR: Oh yeah, I already said a few more rounds, so that’s how it is. You have one more and…
A: Oh, Okey! We can stay here for hours talking with you! (Everyone laughs) We don’t want keep you from your work or whatever you have to do! You are very busy building the game with
R: We don’t want the forums to come at us and say, “Hey, you delayed the work! It’s all because of you!”
CR: I think an extra 20 minutes isn’t going to kill anyone…
R: Ok, that sounds good.
A: Oh, thank you very much! I’m going to ask something… The game is fully funded. Is raising money at a rate that is incredible, and since that is going to last 10 years, actually maybe 15 or even 20.
CR. Touch wood!
A: What? Do you hear me?
CR: Yeah. No, no. Touch wood. It’s like a superstition thing. I have a wooden desk, so I was touching it.
F: It’s the same in spanish: tocar madera.
A: Touch wood, ok. What’s the plan in the long run? I mean, do you want to expand the universe to become a full real universe, I mean, where people can do anything in every planet, for example, even be a farmer that grows crops and sell them in the market for profit?
CR: My goal as Star Citizen carries on is to make the universe bigger, richer and deeper. So, continue to sort of add not only new locations, and ships, characters, stories…all the rest of stuff, but also functionality, right? But at some point.. you know… This is difficult because, you know, detailing a world out is a lot… but it would nice to be able to fly from space down onto the world, it would be nice to be able to fly around on the world, it would be nice to be able to do more stuff on the ground, like you said you could have a farm or whatever.
So there’s definitely we’re doing aspects of that now, little bits of it, and all that sort of stuff would be increased. Because for me I sort of viewed Star Citizen as a destination. And it’s like an alternate universe or world. And, if I am still lucky enough to be working on it in 10 years time, all I’ll be thinking about is what cool extra stuff we can put in, how can we make it a more inmersive universe. So that’s kind of what the goal is. My goal is: when we have the game, yeah, is done now. That’s not the end, is the beginning. We just keep it on going, it doesn’t end. We just keep trying to make it better and cooler and richer and deeper.
A: That’s the feeling I had. I’ve been in the project from the the day 1. You won me with the demo when I saw: Vega Sector, Kurasawa System. I cried of happiness. I thought “Oh, my god, the kilrathi are back!” Unfortunately, they were not the kilrathi, but, I didn’t care. I didn’t care. It was your project and it was awesome that the rest of the video was awesome. And I thought “I have to be here!”. I’m not a man that pledges in crowdfunding because I know it’s very risky and I’m not a man that has money and I cannot afford to pledge for all the games I would have liked, so… But, Star Citizen, I must, I must.
CR: Thank you. The emotion is appreciated. We wouldn’t be sitting here, we wouldn’t be having the opportunity to build this great thing, so I’m really thankful. It’s awesome.
A: Yes. But my feeling was that as you were developing the game along this year, I just saw the game evolving. And expanding. And my feeling was that it’s going to be much more than a simple space sim. Of course, we’ve got the boarding mechanics. And there’s gonna be fights in several locations in the game. But, so far, they were going to be more like arenas than a real ground content. But I think that the game, I have the feeling, that you had the idea to expand it, to make it a truly real universe where there’s content in space, there’s also content in the ground. Maybe there will be that can be fully explored and travel along there with cars and vehicles different than ships. Or even fight or be a dancer for example. And that’s one thing that’s gonna make this game really unique and great. It’s gonna be a compendium of everything in MMOs, I think.
CR: I don’t know if we are gonna get there, but that’s the goal. The goal is to really just keep on building and adding…to make it. I mean, basically I care, is like a world. So I wanna build this world and we’re gonna keep building and fleshing it out. You know, we may even do some sort of linear stuff, where you know, like in “Tales of Kid Crimson”, that could be a TV Show about Kid Crimson, and a cliffhanger thing or whatever. So there’s always gonna be, we are just gonna keep on trying to build and flesh out the world. I think it’s gonna be an awesome world.
A: It’s already an awesome world.
R: The sky is the limit!
F: Right now, the sky is the limit. Eh, so, keeping on, we are getting out of the script, because we never thought you were going to give us more than half an hour.. so.. I have a question for you.
We know you are going to expand the history of the universe, introduce the Kr’Thak, eventually. And keep on expanding the frontier of the human knowledge of the galaxy. So eventually, we will have like complete changes in the political aspect of the Empire. The border with the Xi’an may become a warzone. Maybe the Kr’Thak will come from the north of our borders. Maybe the Vanduul will become, like the Klingons in Star Trek, that they were the enemies at the beginning, but then they become, maybe, allies you cannot maybe trust.
F: (Laughing) Yeah, they are pretty angry at us (laughing). I don’t know what we did, but they seem to be pretty pissed off!
CR: Oh, I just think that they’re just like…It’s just who they are. The model of them is sort of the Visigoths and the Vandals of antiquity. They would be always raiding against ancient Rome. I’m not sure if they were pissed of at Rome, but Rome was the big, fat, rich thing that they could go, and raid and pillage. So, that’s kind of sort of what the Vanduul are about.
F: It’s a way of life. Maybe the story will change… That’s what… I really like combat, so I’m not like Adamanter, that really likes to be a farmer! In a planet…
A: No, that’s not true.
F: I’m more like “pew pew, things explode” and I’m into the military aspect of the game. But I’m really looking forward to see how you expand the history. Maybe Reaver has a..
CR: Totally. That’s a big goal. I want the history to evolve the game. Like, again, like I just talked about the game itself as time goes on. Like it should feel like time has passed and governments fall, and things change, and you should feel like… You shouldn’t feel like it’s static, because that’s what I feel the most in MMOs, so, that’s one of my big goals with the game.
F: Yeah. One little question about that. You are gonna keep the timeline going like “one second is one second in the universe” or you are gonna compress the timeline, so, for example, “one day is a week ingame”? So the events can move forward.
CR: Haven’t fully decided, but my guess is it would be compressed to some level, just cause… otherwise, yeah. Not a lot happens even if we ride for 10 years. 10 years is a relatively a pretty short period of time.
F: Yeah, yeah.
CR: Like world history level and galaxy history. So I would say, you know. I don’t know… I don’t know what the scale is, but, you know.. You could probably, like, yeah, play session, see it in the day-night cycle on the planet you are on like… three or four times? I’m just making guesses… So, essentially, I think that the time will be spread up, so maybe a calendar year for us would represent ten years in the universe, or something… I don’t know.
F: Yeah, that would make sense, because that way we can change Imperators, see different governments rise and fall, and … that would move along the history better. And Haddock has something to do! Because he would get bored in one day, every day.
R: That’s whats fascinating about science fiction. Well, science fiction and all universes: fantasy, comedy… But science fiction has the capability of bringing everything we have known about our history, to things that could happen. Science fiction, for me, is the big “what if?” in the history of literature and pop culture.
CR: Yeah, yeah. That’s like what I, all my stuff when I write, the same with Wing Commander. But generally I always use the model of some part of history to sort of form the base of the story. If you look at science fiction that you like, most of it is generally that. For instance, the Foundation Trilogy that Asimov did, that was all based on the fall of ancient Rome. I mean, thats basically the decline and fall of Rome, and the rise afterwards. So, even Star Wars, if you think about it, definitely has elements from ancient Roman times.
CR: So, you know, Wing Commander was War on the Pacific: WWII. Kilrathi was the japanese and the Federation was the US Navy, so… I always try to use that. I just think it makes (telephone rings in the background), it basically makes the world feel more real, like things that are happening and all the rest of the stuff. So, yes, that’s my mode.
R: Okay. No, that’s a good thing, because not only shows how far imagination can go. If many people doesn’t know about many things in history, by watching them on a sci-fi show or in literature. Maybe then “Oh, so this happened? In other time, with other characters, but the story is the same.” So, that’s why I like it. You can really learn a lot history by reading or watching sci-fi. That way we love it. It’s pretty close, actually.
CR: That’s good. Same here, definitely.
F: I have a little question… When you finally voice-over the game, are you gonna try to do accents? For example, trying to do the accents from the Earth and the old colonies be more British, more from the Commonwealth, and do the colonies more American and Australian, and so on.
CR: Yeah, that’s..
F: I’m saying this because you have to know that in the spanish community we have a big divide: the language, same as yours. The spanish we talk in the penninsula, in Spain, it isn’t really liked by the people in South america. And the same happens with you.
CR: It’s more Castillian Spanish, which is more…
F: Yeah, castillian Spanish. Yeah. It’s more dry for their ears. And maybe is the same for you. So I was thinking that maybe you were going to do that approach and, maybe, when you do the voiceover of the spanish version you could do the same. So we can keep the same…
CR: Yeah, we haven’t made a decision… There definitely would be places where people obviously would sound different, but we haven’t decided something like “ok, everyone on Earth is old, like, English accents, and everybody in Terra are American accents” or anything like that. So, I don’t know. We actually talked a little about it, but we haven’t sort of decided. But we’ll probably try and have different accents or inflexions for the different types of people in the universe.
F: Yeah, because in the new colonies…
CR: Or real life. When you go to a location and it’s somewhere else and they speak with a different accent, it’s would make it feel like more like a different location.
F: There, because the Xi’an would probably speak with a chinese accent. And the Banu would probably have, maybe an african accent, moroccan accent, something like that. So that could give another layer to the universe, keep the accents..
CR: I sort of view the Banu.. it’s like, you know, the bazaars at Morocco or that kind of..
F: Multicultural aspect, people that trade with everyone. That’s great.
CR: Ok; I think you guys ran out of questions, but I also have to run.
A: It’s okey, it’s okay. You were really generous with us, even the extra time. We pacted 30 minutes and its..
R: Almost an hour.
A: It’s about 50 minutes and that was awesome.
CR: It was great talking to you guys. It was very in…really nice. And, thank so much for supporting!
A: Something that’s worthy to support. But you are making a very, very good job. It’s awesome how you are developing this game. You are creating a new way to develop a game involving the community and that’s why it’s so successful. And that’s why this game is going to last 20 years, I’m sure of that. And this community has to make it’s, sorry, I don’t get the word.. contribution! That’s the reason I made Ciudadano Estelar, to involve the hispanic community in the game, to have a voice in the community of Star Citizen and watch for the translations. That’s something that we want to…
CR: Make sure its good!
F: To say the least… we have all kinds of flames with the translation, so..
R: We could say we are very proud of our language…
F: But, I think what Adamanter is trying to say is that you are going above and beyond and the community is responding in kind. We are doing all for you because you are doing it for us. And we know you are busting your balls creating the Best Damm Space Sim! (laughing) So we are doing the same for you.
R: And because we know you are a gamer, too!
CR: I feel really lucky. I mean, it’s like, everyone that is a creative person, like your dream is to be able to get to make what you want to make without having to have a whole bunch, sort of, people that aren’t passionate about: bussiness, publishers, investors… tend not to be very passionate about games. They just think of them as a way to make the money. Whether as I’m passionate. I’m making games I wanna play as much as any other reason, and so it’s just really nice to be able to make this game with the support of the community.
And everyone just wants to have the best game. We are like 100% on the same page. I want it to be as cool as possible, and I think you guys want it to be as cool as possible. So, luckily, you guys trust me to try and make a really cool game… But, trust me, is very easy working hard when is this kind of situation. You’ve got like an amazing support of the community. I didn’t know it would nearly this great or much fun as has been and I’m really glad I went this way instead of a different.
A: Thank you very much! It was great to have this interview with you. I hope we have another in a year about the launch of the game. Anyway, thank you very much, and we don’t want to keep you from your duties.
CR: Ok, I’ll let you guys go, because… It’s been fun.
CR: Good night, guys
F: Bye, bye.
A: Good night!
R: See you!