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Star Citizen PU Monthly Report August 2022

Welcome to August’s PU Monthly Report. From ladder updates to all-new outposts for Pyro, a huge amount of work was completed this month for the next few patch releases. Read on for everything done in pursuit of the ‘verse’s biggest-ever updates.  

AI Content

Last month, AI Content focused on new medical behaviors, creating three new usables:

  • Sitting Angled Console: This is a desk where NPCs can sit and do admin work, such as checking on patient’s medical records
  • Examine: These spots on either side of the medical bed allow doctors to approach a patient and diagnose their condition. This will include the use of both datapad and hand scanners
  • Medical Fridge: This is where medicine is stored. For now, NPCs will visually inspect the stock level and enter the information on the datapad. Eventually, they will restock it when quantities are low

The team also continued to work through numerous bugs on the chowline usables, which was challenging due to their complex nature, and resumed work on the food vendor from last year.

Alongside this, AI Content continued to improve general locomotion realism by taking the overlay animations worked on last month and categorizing them by frequency. For example, coughs and sneezes will play 10% of the time, head stretches 40%, and more extensive, bolder actions like checking the mobiGlas will happen 30% of the time. They’re currently designing a priority system to trigger these animations.

AI Features

Last month, the AI Feature Team continued implementing the traits system, which allows them to specialize AI characters using behavior logic by either limiting or favoring certain behaviors. For example, an AI with the ‘cautious’ trait will prefer moving from cover to cover when approaching the target, whereas with the ‘aggressive’ trait will directly move towards the target ignoring available cover. Other traits include ‘gunners’ who prefer using turrets, ‘medics’ who aid allies by healing them, and ‘addicts’ who use stim drugs whenever available. The core system has been implemented and several traits are now in place. Further traits will be implemented once the corresponding behaviors are developed.

With the basis of the ‘investigation’ behavior implemented, the team moved on to implementing group investigation, which involves sharing potential hiding locations between AI characters searching for the same target. This behavior is built from the token system that allows multiple AIs to collaborate by pooling resources and was developed with future use in mind. The generic shared data, in this case hiding location, can be specialized for specific use cases. As the NPCs move around the room, they determine and share which hiding locations have been seen so that the other NPCs won’t revisit them. From a simple implementation comes quite complicated results, with NPC’s now moving to cover the room as you would expect them to do in real life.

A new system related to both features was also implemented last month: the firing token. When several AIs are targeting the same character and want to fire, they request one of a limited number of shared tokens. If they’re successful, they will be able to fire. However, if there are no tokens available, they will not be able to fire and may consider alternative behaviors, such as moving to cover. This allows the team to further control the pressure placed on the player while also generating covering-fire behaviors, as some characters will fire whilst others are moving.

Traits were also implemented to suppress requiring the firing token in different ways. The first is to ignore the firing token completely, which means that the character will always be able to fire without reducing the number of available tokens, which can be used for boss characters. The second is to allow a specific AI character to always get a firing token, giving them firing priority without increasing the number of firing enemies.

Development of the AI perception system continued throughout August, ensuring that the escalation of threats in the perception meter can be controlled by tweaking the setup in Dataforge. A new sixth-sense perception range was also developed to control gameplay when the player is sneaking up behind enemy characters. The perception meter now allows the devs to generate gameplay for stealth kills, rather than stealth killing being an easy option, as the player must minimize the amount of time they’re in close range before they’re noticed.

On the animation side, AI Features polished female Human combat animations and created block-out animations for the improved sharp-turn functionality. They also continued polishing Vanduul search-and-investigation animations, including specific search locomotion animations.

“The AI Feature team have been hard at work developing lots of different features. This is partly due to the strong foundations of our AI code that were developed by spending a long time thinking about future functionality. As a team, we’ve also grown and have been improving the communication between our team and the designers through shared language, documentation, and regular meetings. Through this, we’ve able to take their vision and make it a reality” – AI Feature Team

AI Tech

During August, AI Tech continued to extend and implement new functionalities for NPCs traversing navigation areas. One improvement allows the designers to specify the opening width for a door navigation link and use that information during the pathfinding step. Now, NPCs will use the entire width of a door, not only the center.

They also began extending ladder functionality by creating new navigation link adapters and movement blocks so that AI characters can use them in similar ways to the players.

AI Tech also progressed with the NPC movement refactor. Specifically, they worked on a better separation of how logic is processed when animated character and actor states are updated. This allows them to correctly handle the actor LOD system, which can have both parts of a character updating at different rates. The overall movement refactor also went through a review process and intensive QA testing in preparation for its release.

Further iterations were made on the NPC seamless transitions prototype. This involved ironing out the small position and pose pops when handling animation control between different systems and adding support for selecting the best usable enter animation based on which has the best enter pose requiring the least warping.

The Subsumption editor tool was opened up to more designers so that it could go through more intensive and in-depth functionality and performance testing. Bugs and feedback from users were addressed and performance improvements began when loading bigger mission graphs.

A new feature for ship combat behaviors, ship-pilot perception, was extended to include vision alongside radar signals. This will allow AI ships to react to hostile characters on foot and engage them in combat.

Finally, AI Tech continued developing and improving reinforcement and disembarking behaviors. Part of this involved allowing missions to designate points where the squad group will go and investigate in case hostiles aren’t visible.


The Facial Animation team worked on a large set of life and mission animations for various PU characters. On the body side, they followed the development of a new creature with the Art and Design teams and discussed the animation needs for when it’s available.

Art (Characters)

The Character Art and Tech Art teams continued developing collections of frontier and high-fashion outfits. They also prepared armor variants for the upcoming Security Post Kareah mission, Subscriber program, and IAE 2952. On the concept side, they’re currently exploring gameplay armors and creatures.

Art (Ships)

In the UK, Ship Art continued work on the Argo SRV, which is progressing through greybox with only habitation remaining.

The final art pass of an unannounced ship continued, with the bulk of the LOD work nearing completion.

An unannounced ground vehicle passed its final review gate, with some small alterations to the dashboard being made to improve the visibility of the speedometer alongside small polish tasks.

The resource-management pass on the Aegis Hammerhead continued, with a new gravity generator room being added. The team also began implementing the new component bays.

Work on the MISC Hull-C continued too, with progress being made on the outstanding issues on the ship.

The US team continued moving the Drake Corsair through final art. Last month, they completed the left and right nacelles, upper and lower port wings, spine, cockpit, co-pilot cockpit exteriors, spine-mounted turret, chin/cheek mounted turret, landing gear, and landing-gear housing. They’re currently polishing the exterior, with the cargo hold and loading ramp now complete.

They also supported the Drake Vulture as it approaches release.


The Community team began August supporting the Alpha 3.17.2 live release with a detailed guide to the Siege of Orison Dynamic Event and accompanying screenshot contest

On August 15, they launched Phase One of Ship Showdown – a month-long community challenge to find the most popular flyable or drivable vehicle in the ‘verse. Players championed their favorites by creating original artwork, videos, songs, models, and more before sharing them on Spectrum and social media. The 16 most liked and upvoted vehicles then made it into the knock-out stages of Phase 2, which is currently in progress.  

The team also continued its Bar Citizen World Tour and stopped by Cologne for Gamescom.

“At two well-attended Bar Citizen events, we met many old and new friends and distributed more Banu Cube codes among the attendees. Thanks for attending, citizens!” – Community Team


In August, the Physics team continued code optimization. For instance, the binding of sim topology skinning data across skin instances is now shared, which reduces loading time and memory consumption significantly. Also, reposition queue processing was sped up significantly. Each time a dynamic physical entity moves, a search of the physical environment needed to be performed to find and inform surrounding entities that something has moved. A change was made to separate out the moving and subsequent awakening into distinct phases so work can be efficiently processed in parallel.

Brushes no longer awaken their environment when they spawn in, are repositioned, or are deleted. This has reduced stalls significantly as there are no longer storms of brushes being spawned or destroyed. In the rigid time step code, dead or disabled colliders of active rigids are filtered out before being added to the lists of inter-colliding groups of entities. Mass tracking was restricted to grids that are on vehicles (spaceships/wheeled vehicles). Moreover, support was added to allow primitive world intersection to detect overlaps/intersection with an entity’s local space OBB. Lastly, the calculation of planar skinning info was optimized by utilizing an AABB tree to reduce the search space when finding the best tetrahedron for a skinned vertex.

On the renderer, the transition to Gen12 continued with numerous render node types ported over to the new APIs. The RTT Gen12 pipeline was enabled by default and MIP map generation, gas cloud processing, and forward and tiled-forward rendering were transitioned. Support for transient graphics render passes was added, which various render sub-systems already take advantage of, to simplify code. Also, the compilation of fallback pipeline state object caches was optimized by allowing for more parallel execution. Lastly, the sorting code for draw packets was unified.

The Gen12 port of atmospheric rendering was completed, and the port of volumetric cloud rendering is currently being wrapped up. Work will then commence to further improve the rendering of volumetric clouds.

On the core engine, the team implemented a more cooperative threading approach (instead of an update thread) that utilizes the parallelism of calling code to update different zones at the same time. Also, the entity lifetime changes introduced last month received further improvements. All entity components were switched over to use the new custom weak pointer implementation that was submitted in July. Finally, several legacy systems for profiling were removed from the engine, and support was given to Alpha 3.18 and the PU.

Features (Arena Commander)

The Arena Commander Feature team progressed with improvements to both Arena Commander’s and Star Marine’s frontend player experience. This will make finding matches and connecting to other players a more rewarding experience.

Additionally, map improvements are in the works following community feedback. For example, in Dying Star, the smoke cloud has had its opacity reduced and the ash particles were made smaller and less obtrusive, greatly reducing the overall glare in the level and increasing visibility. They’re currently investigating using the in-progress radar and scanning improvements to show gas cloud and asteroid locations that players can use to hide in.

UI enhancements were also made to radar and scanning to help players look for targets and perform scans. Finally, bugs for the team’s upcoming releases were addressed.

Features (Characters & Weapons) 

Last month, the team revisited ladder traversal, adding support for entering and exiting a ladder at midpoints so that a single ladder can service multiple floors. While extending the feature set, they took the opportunity to improve the mechanic, making it possible to look around while traversing the ladder with a (most likely) full 360° view range while idling. With a large degree of freedom in view, the team felt it made sense to allow the player to jump from the ladder in the direction they’re looking, further increasing options when traversing game environments. All the animations and poses are currently being updated too, alongside early exploration into allowing item usage, such as weapons, while on ladders.

The team is also performing a much-needed cleanup of the actor rotation handling. An actor essentially has four different rotations: the actual entity rotation (the systemic orientation of the actor), the base rotation (desired orientation), the aim rotation (where a weapon or held item should be pointing), and the look rotation (camera/eye orientation). Each type has different rules and limits but is codependent. The team has been working to simplify the update flow, ensuring limits are only applied once and always in the correct order. Work also went into removing special cases wherever possible as well as improving how inputs translate to these different rotations. The latter also meant improving how the rotation input flows from client to server, especially for headtracking devices.

Features (Gameplay) 

Gameplay Features continued with Resource Network work, with relay items for the Hammerhead and the Hull A being updated to align with the Vehicle Content team’s work mentioned above. They then started looking into the setup of the Crusader Ares and other similar-sized ships.

A solution was also found for smaller items that connect to a ship’s power, like coffee machines and small lamps. This will also be utilized in the upcoming colonial outposts.

Work on life support was finalized and is now awaiting downstream support. In the meantime, work began on the gravity generator.

Finally, Salvage is now in the QA-test-request phase, which involves fixing bugs and other issues.

Features (Mission)

The Mission Feature team worked on a variety of new missions and features. They also took part in the launch of Siege of Orison and planned improvements based on feedback.

“As the roadmap states, we are working on packing more content into Kareah and the prison, and are creating mission modules that can be placed on Orison’s platforms that can occupy anything from single buildings all the way up to entire platforms.” – Mission Feature Team

They also brought various teams together to discuss solving combat logging and are currently making a workable pitch.

Mission Features are currently investigating how to lessen the impact of CrimeStats obtained through bugs (though the majority of bugs aren’t within the team’s remit). In pursuit of this, they worked on a change that will make CS1 and 2 not cause security (or allow players) to attack, meaning players will be able to request landing and reach the kiosks to pay off crimes. Providing it doesn’t cause any negative knock-ons, this is planned for release soon.

Mission Features also prototyped a time-trial race. The first iteration will likely not have leaderboards but will allow for accurate time measurement, with leaderboards, new tracks, and vehicle types following in a subsequent release. Alongside this, they investigated allowing players to rent and spawn the necessary vehicles at the race location for ease of entry.

On top of this, the game design documentation and foundation work for Bounty Hunting v2 is nearing completion, which includes bounty drop-offs and the use of virtual NPCs. A new investigation mission type entered the prototyping stage and is one of the most complex the team have ever tackled.

Features (Vehicles) 

August had the team focus on the new multi-function displays (MFDs) and integrated ship UI system. The team solved technical problems relating to the MFDs and nailed down detailed designs for various elements.

“Progress is moving forward finally on this feature that’s been on the cards for a long time.” – Vehicle Features Team

The team is also currently working closely with the EUPU team on the Resource Network system. This involved integrating various vehicle features with resource networking and having them exchange things like power and coolant. They also updated and improved the design of how various items interact with resources.

Significant research also went into improving combat AI for fighters, with the team researching things they can do and making plans for how to implement them.

Graphics, VFX Programming & Planet Tech

The damage map tech for salvage is approaching the end of feature development and is running into the bug-fixing phase. With all the required tech coming together, the team began testing the persistence of damage maps for the first time, highlighting additional improvements to be made. Damage map persistence will soon be ready for enabling, allowing wider testing by QA.

With QA testing hull scraping, improvements were made to the gameplay values and how they can be debugged. On the visual side, Graphics are currently preparing to allow Vehicle Art to iterate on and fine-tune the damage-map visuals.

Progress was also made on porting particles to Gen12, including mesh and submesh particle rendering and bringing them to feature parity with legacy particles. Several lighting and shadow update passes on gas clouds were also ported to Gen12.

Optimizations were made to the clip volume submission and inscattering injection stages for volumetric fog. Now, the artists are able to tag mesh sub-objects as interiors or exteriors to better handle lighting around turrets and doors. Progress began on an edge highlight rendering mode for objects that would normally be occluded/culled by walls to support the FPS scanning of other players and NPCs.

A tool progressed that will allow the team to perform multiple jittered captures of a scene and interleave them together to output an ultra-high resolution image. The rastar tool also received a useful tech refresh to make it usable with built-in editor tools, while additional efforts were made to improve stability, usability, and responsiveness.

With multiple improvements recently made on river tech, the team received a QATR report that allowed them to find new issues. These were addressed and will be included in the latest iteration in Alpha 3.18.

Finally for Graphics, the team began the initial tasks targeting CPU offloading of planet tech code. The goal is to provide equivalent functionalities of ground-level scattered objects with compute shaders instead of relying on the slower CPU path. The benefits are significant, with the team able to spend the saved computational budget on other purposes, such as gameplay and tech.


In August, Lighting spent time on the new cave systems, which allowed them to differentiate from the typical artificial lighting usually seen around the ‘verse. 

Aside from this, they further worked on Pyro, contributing to some of the new location’s impressive visuals.

Locations (EU)

EU Sandbox spent part of the month working on outlaw themes for the colonialism outposts, which will be darker and more dangerous places to explore. Elsewhere, they began whiteboxing various new modules for outposts, including landing areas, smaller habitations, refineries, and ore extractors. Whitebox work continued on upcoming space sandbox locations that will provide more interesting opportunities for ship-based exploration and gameplay.

The Landing Zone team progressed with Pyro’s Ruin Station, focusing on art for the external industrial areas and damage locations. Inside, cold route areas were injected with extra side routes and activities. Exterior access hatches were developed to give extra access options, while exploratory work was performed to craft ideas for the shanty town habitations.

Time was also dedicated to the revamped underground facilities, with the team whiteboxing the remaining layouts with a focus on how the player navigates the surface structure down to the top of the physical elevator. Work was also done on the entrance lobby and elevator entrance room, with the final pieces getting close to being set up and working in whitebox.

Beyond whiteboxing, the devs explored the visual targets for final art, with new asset kits being created and worked up to a high polish. A push was also made on interactable props featuring modular machines, interactable cupboards and lockers, switches, and fuses.

These will provide great gameplay opportunities to designers for implementing exploration and traversal puzzles.” – Locations Team

Different initiatives were explored for adding to landing zones and feature work, tasks for this year’s IAE were started, and the buggy racetrack received extensive playtesting and bug fixing. A new fuel barge for Orison is now art complete (barring LODs) and will be used in the future for a variety of mission types.

Preproduction began for the new law and bounty offices, which will be found around the system and will be where bounties can be taken and new bounty missions can be found.

The team also whiteboxed improvements to Kareah in support of the Mission Feature team’s gameplay initiatives. Spawn closets were added to all landing zones and improved signage was prototyped for Area18 to help new players too.

Locations (Montreal)

The Montreal Locations team dedicated time to debugging and polishing several content elements, including the Daymar derelict settlement, which is nearing completion. The crash site released in January was upgraded with AI, loot, and other features, while the derelict Reclaimer settlement was updated too. The Art team continued creating a wider library of habitations that will be used in upcoming derelict settlements. This will allow the team to create more diverse settlements with different gameplay opportunities.

The ongoing rework of Lorville’s cityscape is progressing well and is now in the greybox phase. The team are currently adding high-frequency details and landing pads, and connecting the various neighborhood together.

They also kicked off Building Interiors, with the first steps being a prototype and the de-risking of a number of technical items.

In-Game Branding (Montreal)

The In-Game Branding team completed tasks for IAE and are currently working on a new signage pass for various landing zones as part of the new player experience effort. The goal for this pass is to make it easier for new players to find their way around the PU’s various landing zones.


Alongside the various mission design teams Narrative worked on new content for upcoming patches, including the expansions coming to Security Post Kareah and the Klescher Rehabilitation Facility as highlighted in a recent Inside Star Citizen. They also discussed adjustments to existing dynamic missions.

They also explored narrative needs for some environmental missions currently in development. While they don’t have contracts and objectives like traditional missions, Narrative still worked closely with Design to ensure that the mission is presented with a strong sense of flow and fits within the universe. For the all-new mission type mentioned in last month’s update, the team finished a full-text pass and were able to make revisions after playing through an in-game prototype.

The team also assisted in writing text to support several in-development game features, like hacking and salvaging, as well as writing names and descriptions for dozens of props, items, weapons, vehicles, armor, and clothing. Since there are several holidays and events coming up in the final stretch of 2022, the team outlined the text and narrative support needed and began the writing process.  

Narrative Design spent time in August reviewing the AI wildline sets currently being used in-game and investigating improvements that could be made using assets that have already been recorded and captured.

“Hopefully, some of the things outlined will be able to make their way into the game soon to help improve the player experience when interacting with NPCs either in landing zones or in combat.” – Narrative Team

They also published new content to the website including an Observist Lifestyle introducing a growing movement called ‘Citizens for Pyro,’ a Portfolio about the Bremen Beltway, a new Plain Truth where Parker exposes some possible shady business at Hurston, this quarter’s Loremakers: Community Questions, and a new set of Galactapedia posts.

Player Relations

Both the Player Support and Player Experience teams combined and grew about 30%, with an emphasis on delivering better, quicker service for the playerbase.

If you’re interested in joining the team, there are Game Support Specialist and Live QA Specialist roles open now.  


The Interactables team developed prototypes for deployable props, which were shown on Inside Star Citizen. After completing initial prototyping and getting to grips with the new workflows, they moved on to their first harvestable. 

“We’ve worked diligently to bring some life to the ‘verse in the very first of its kind – a bug harvestable! You can find these little critters in the new caves dotted around Stanton.” – Interactables Team 

Alongside harvestables, the team looked into consumables that players can find throughout Pyro to keep themselves alive.

“These may not be appetizing… some don’t even look edible… but in Pyro, you can’t be too picky on what your next meal will be!”

Tools (Montreal)

The Montreal-based Tools team released Mighty Bridge v.0.6 to the dev team. This update adds two new functionalities: V2 of the object spawner, which allows the team to spawn multiple layers of objects on geometries and planet surfaces, and the CableGenerator, which generates complex cables from a simple spline. These two tools will help the Art teams create locations faster. The release also includes a variety of improvements and services, including an updated debug mesh that helps selecting the parent tool and increases precision on planet surfaces.

The team is also nearing completion of the first version of the procedural locations creation tool. This will allow them to create and edit simple layouts of space stations in minutes and will dramatically decrease the time it takes to make stations out of existing modules.

They’re also in the final push of the first version of the tool that will help create derelict settlements. The goal of this iteration is to be able to create 80% of a derelict settlement procedurally. This heavy lifting will allow the artists more time to polish and finish the location. Reaching this goal will mean that a derelict settlement will take weeks rather than months to create.

Tech Animation 

Alongside long-term planning, Tech Animation approached the release of the revamped loadout pipeline in Maya. This will dramatically speed up the loading of complex Maya assets and accurately reflect their current state in-game.

“It’s a win on every level and we’re excited to share it.” – Tech Animation

Further to this, the team began consolidating all the new heads they would like to appear in-game. This involves processing a lot of old and new data along with alignment to deliver on the requirements for both parts of the game. So far, 60 heads need to be scanned, created, rigged, and integrated into the DNA gene pool to achieve the vision.

Online Services (Montreal)

The Online Services team spent the month preparing for the release of Alpha 3.18 by focusing on stability, bug fixing, and the deployment process for the new login flow.

They also fixed bugs on the entity graph and login flow, and worked alongside the team in Austin on testing various deployment options and performance of the login flow service.

Significant progress was made towards the new fleet service and shard manager. Both are needed for Persistent Entity Streaming and are almost ready for internal demo. Development of private lobbies began too, which will add new matchmaking and gameplay options for Arena Commander.

Lastly, a bug was fixed in the ‘fixed closure rate indicator’ UI element; the indicator was giving the full relative speed instead of only the velocity component towards the target.

Live Tools (Montreal)

The Live Tools team progressed with design improvement for Hex gathered from the feedback provided by its regular users.

Since the new login process was implemented successfully, the team is now developing the login flow and the entity graph for the Network Operation Center, which will allow users to access detailed information about the login log details and the different inventories of players and ships. These new modules will provide an advanced capacity of investigation for monitoring and troubleshooting a wide range of issues.

Turbulent (Web Platform)

Throughout August, Turbulent’s Web team continued to add to the Alexandria CMS tool, adding a new and improved RSI skin as well as completing the designs on a new Drake style.

The Backend Architecture team upgraded the code base with PHP 7.4. They also made major advances in resurrecting the much-needed K8s project to make it easier and more efficient to scale web browsers and QA environments.

Turbulent’s Community Web team further developed the upcoming Community Hub, while the Experience team began several new projects, including clearer onboarding for new players.


The UI team continued to push forwards with features on the new Star Map, implementing three-dimensional text and shader effects for space clouds.

The artists worked on a range of concepts for terminal screens in different locations around the universe, and several bugs were fixed.

Currently, focus remains on adjusting the existing loadout systems ready to support Persistent Streaming.


Last month saw VFX Concept Art continue to iterate on quantum travel effects, which involved collaborating with a VFX artist to prototype the effects in-engine.

Elsewhere, the team added effects to several new modular locations, including some crashed and derelict spaceships. They also began working on two new vehicles.

Finally, work continued on salvage effects, specifically the hull-stripping laser used by some vehicles.


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