ArcCorp, Star Citizen’s First Planet

2015-07-01

A sheaf of 48 pages from the February issue of Jump Point now released to non-subscribers shows the progress of ArcCorp, the third planet in the Stanton system and the “first planetside environment in Star Citizen.” The entire “massive superearth” is completely industrialized and covered by a single city. It serves as the headquarters for its namesake ArcCorp, a manufacturer of fusion engines, terraforming, and mining equipment. Starting as concept art, the scenes progress to rendered assets, paintovers, and test scenes.

One interesting page is the comparison between concept art for ArcCorp and another planet, called Crusader, demonstrating the artists’ plan to make many different planetside environments by palette swapping and laying out the same architectural assets in new ways.

The art shown includes views of the landing area, different shops, a bar, as well as character designs for named, feature, and crowd NPCs. The final pages show stills of motion-capture sessions used to create animations for the NPCs, including one example implemented in the engine, a flight-suited character dancing in a bar.

Another 8 pages talk about progress on the Persistent Universe part of the game and the ArcCorp environment that has been worked on for almost a year. Compared to the demo shown at CitizenCon in 2014, we’re told a lot has changed about ArcCorp. There are more NPCs, and shops that can actually be entered:

  • Cubby Blast, a personal weapons shop
  • The Trade and Development Division (TDD), for buying and selling cargo
  • G-Loc, a bar
  • The Medical Unit
  • Astro Armada, a luxury spacecraft showroom

Unfortunately, with more development comes more load for the graphics card. At the point of highest complexity, “the demo was pushing over 25 million triangles and more than 10,000 drawcalls”, while a “normal” number for recent PC games is “about 4000 draw-calls and 1.5 to 2 million triangles.” It has been optimized a bit since though, resulting in a frame rate of “30 FPS, fortunately (on a good PC).”

The developers agree that using the mobiGlas (the in-game PDA that will diagetically house the player’s UI) for the first time is the most interesting part of the ArcCorp planet. They say it might be used for shopping or in “AR (augmented reality) mode”, presumably some Google Glass-like thing. After ArcCorp is revealed, “new mobiGlas applications will be developed, like skyLine and cargoManager.” skyLine will function as a galaxy map, star map, city map, and “navigation planner” that can be “synced with other apps for various dynamic information such as market data, pirate sightings, touristic must-sees, and much more.”

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Ramon Rakow.

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