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Dwenos

After the 12 pillars

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I really enjoyed CitizenCon 2018.  I thought it was very well done, and the game is finally showing real progress.  CR's talk at the end laid out, in a general way, the major milestones remaining to make SC a fully playable game (I notice he carefully avoided using the words "complete" or "finished").  But that's assuming only gameplay improvements; it doesn't take into consideration fleshing out the 'verse with additional star systems.

Let's be extremely optimistic and assume that CIG will reach its 12 milestones (CR referred to these as "pillars" I believe) by the end of 2019.  How much more time will it take to flesh out the 'verse?

If CIG manages to complete an entire system every quarter, it will take them 14 years to finish just UEE, Unclaimed, and Developing sytems; 18.5 years to finish everything except Vanduul systems, and 22.5 years to finish every system currently on the Star Map.  This doesn't count systems which have been mentioned in lore which aren't on the current Star Map.  That's a very long time, and it's highly unlikely the game will last long enough for even a small portion of the systems to be finished.

If CIG manages to complete 2 systems every quarter, those times are halved to 7 years, 9.25 years, and 11.25 years respectively.

If CIG manages to complete 3 entire systems every quarter, those times are 4.7, 6.2, and 7.5 years.

If CIG somehow manages to complete 4 entire systems every quarter, times are actually reasonable: 3.5 years to complete all UEE, Unclaimed, and Developing systems (basically, all of UEE-sphere space); about another year to finish Banu and Xi'an systems, and another year - about 5 and a half years total - to finish every system on the current Star Map.  I'm not sure if this pace is possible, but it's what we'll need to see if we want the 'verse created in a reasonable time.  I think CIG is buiding the tools to allow them to quickly create and populate star systems.  Unique assets and hand-built locations would probably have to be kept to a minimum to meet this pace, if it's possible at all.

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Chris talked about this in one of the Around the Verse or something similar recently.  He knows that its a problem, and as a result most of their work is still on the tools, not the assets themselves.  The only realistic way to speed up the creation of entire star systems (as an aside, technically it should be "planetary systems") is to improve the tools they use to create them in the first place.  They're not going to really work on making new planetary systems until the tools are good enough that they can do it in a reasonable timeframe.

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Procedural creation. That's what they are doing and will allow them to achieve their goal during our lifetime.

Think of games like Elite and No Man's Sky.

CIG has already demonstrated several of their procedural creation tools.
How they can for instance create huge cities in minutes.  How they can rapidly generate an entire system and so on.

Populating those systems is a big challenge for sure. Adding interesting missions, characters and all that. And make it all varied enough and fun to play.
But possible.


With that said. The technical challenges are huge. And from the looks of it they still have a long way to go. 

 

 

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The above assumption is based on the premise that all star systems are created equal, which they are not. Some will have cities, some will not. Some will have multiple planets, some will not. However, the Op's math is accurate and it should be assumed that it will take considerable time to complete all systems shown in the current star map. How much time depends on what @Boildown has pointed to. Tools! Tools, tools and more tools!

The SOLed tool as demonstrated is very powerful and showed that a very basic system can be created in a less than one hour. With more refinement I believe this tool will have the ability to create more detailed features in any given system, such as predefined biomes, fauna and other key feature of a planetary body. This is unfortunately only a part of the equation. What about cities, outposts, missions? They will certainly need procedural assistance in all aspects of creation if, as stated by the Op, we would like to see the star map realized in less than 25 years.

Good thoughts @Dwenos

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Thank you @Juntau

Fortunately, the second-most up-voted question in the Calling All Devs October Questions Thread (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/spectrum/community/SC/forum/3/thread/calling-all-devs-october-questions-thread) is: "How fast do you think will you be able to create a solar system, once all tools are in place for creating them?"  As of this post, it has 191 votes.  So, I think we'll see it answered during the next Calling All Devs.  Assuming they have an answer.  I'll certainly be interested in hearing their response!  👴

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11 minutes ago, Dwenos said:

Thank you @Juntau

Fortunately, the second-most up-voted question in the Calling All Devs October Questions Thread (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/spectrum/community/SC/forum/3/thread/calling-all-devs-october-questions-thread) is: "How fast do you think will you be able to create a solar system, once all tools are in place for creating them?"  As of this post, it has 191 votes.  So, I think we'll see it answered during the next Calling All Devs.  Assuming they have an answer.  I'll certainly be interested in hearing their response!  👴

A heavily disguised "When?" question is still a "When?" question and will probably be treated as such. We probably won't be able to infer much without context:

"Once all the tools are in place, how long will it take to create a solar system?" (Exaggerated) Answer: 5 minutes.

"How long will it take to make such tools?" (Hypothetical) Answer: 5 years.

Whatever happens, once all the tools are in place and SC is released in all its full glory, if (a very big "if") CIG decides to sell off parts of the Star Engine tech (because, lets face it, what games company wouldn't be interested by then?) it would be nice for backers to see some return on their initial investments. At the very least, development of the game and server running costs would be funded for years to come without the need to monetarize certain aspects of it or rely on attracting new players.

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Timestamped for the part I want, of course!

I think their pace will increase over time as they get their tools in place and build up a larger library of city assets that they can use, reuse, kitbash, or reshape. 

Lets go back. Just listen to Papa Chard as he takes you back.

Anyway. Way, way back they were going to build out a few architecture styles and then replicate them across the verse to more rapidly construct cityscapes and landing zones. With a handful of modifications and altered color palettes they could use the same assets for multiple locations in a single system:

Stanton-PlanetVariations01.jpg

Of course, this ain't gonna fly these days, but I still think something extremely similar is possible. Once they get a good library of assets, they should be able to kitbash new city scapes together (which now that I think of it was always their plan anyway). I'm having problems hunting down all of the exact posts and I'm not sure what was post and what was video and being that I'm extremely lazy, I'm not going to dig into the videos for supporting evidence. 

The Hurston and ArcCorp of today are good models of what can be done (somewhat) rapidly (I'm sure it took years of effort to get Hurston to where it is now, but probably only months of effort to build the assets we saw during the recent demo. I get the feeling that the old Hurston from last year got scrapped in its entirety since everything was at a different scale than what we saw this year). Much of each city is being cleverly hidden underground in the large art blocks. There aren't many apparent surface roadways. The people of the future apparently have discarded the idea of single family homes sprawling across the landscape and mass private automobile ownership.

Additionally, they've shown early versions of their rapid cityscape, architecture, and building interior prototyping and procedural systems. We don't know how far those have gone. With Hurston though, we're still getting told that a lot of the central facets of cities are being curated. I'm not sure how they're going to speed their creation up or how they can make that procedural. The larger spaces though should be somewhat easier to build. They can probably automate that the way they're doing plants and rocks-just replace the nature assets with city assets.

The hard parts are always going to be hero zones like the Spider, or Terra Prime, or Earth or those crazy alien ruins on Hades (etc.) where things are described as so unique and iconic that assets cannot be readily used form elsewhere.

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