I can't stop watching Star Citizen's 'Around the Verse' videos, which chronicle the development of this incredibly ambitious game. The latest looks at the animation system, and how players and NPCs will interact with usable objects in the game world.
Sadly, there's no word in the video on when exactly the big alpha 3.0 update is due. It was initially penciled in for August, then September, and now it looks set to launch in October. These constant delays are frustrating for fans, many of whom have already invested a fair bit of money into the game.
However, the video is still pretty impressive. A lot of it goes over my head, such as how NPCs will decide which animation to use in a given situation, but there's a lot to like in the results. Characters will physically remove elements from ships when they're repairing them and slot them into place when they're finished. If they want to destroy a laptop they might pick up a nearby glass of water and pour it over the keyboard.
When sitting at a table, what a character does will depend on where they're sitting at the table, what objects are in front of them—they might pick up a glass and take a sip—and who else is with them. There will be lots of fidgeting, and NPCs will be able to react to what's going on around them, so if a player walks past they'll look up and acknowledge that. Pretty smart stuff.
There's still work to be done, with the team finalising animations for the "thousands" of usables. But it's clear that there's going to be a lot of detail packed into every situation, which should make the game feel more realistic. There's even a couple of animations for flushing the toilet.
"We finally have settled on toilet metrics and we've captured a couple of little moves we need to flush out our toilet system," lead animator Brian Brewer explains. Good to know.
Anyway, here's the video. Skip to 14:35 for the start of the 'usables' segment, and watch from the start for the latest update on bug fixes ahead of the alpha 3.0 release. Oh, and Joe sat down with the developers ahead of the 3.0 release last month, here's what he thought.