Monthly Studio Report: April 2017

Monthly Studio Report: April 2017

Welcome to our April Monthly Report! Below you’ll find a compilation of the ATV studio updates.

You can easily find out what the developers in Los Angeles, Frankfurt, Austin, and the UK have been up to for the past four weeks in both written and video form. And the studio update cycle starts all over again next with the LA offices. Check it out on ATV!

This month, Turbulent released Spectrum version 0.3.3. This version contains a new type of discussion called nested threads. A nested thread works by stacking replies to an earlier comment directly below it, so users can see a discussion evolve from a specific comment or reply. The first level is sorted by votes, so the most upvoted sub trees are on to top. Nested threads are akin to Reddit discussions.

When a new discussion is started on Spectrum 0.3.3, the user can choose between a nested thread and a chronological thread. This new type of discussion allow for faster and more dynamic threads. The upvote feature is also useful for the community teams to gather questions, among other things. Turbulent is looking into how the nested thread option can be transformed into a view option, so users can decide how to view threads. The team is also improving the unread status as well as adding staff tracking, so users can know from the top of the thread list which ones have a had a staff response. This will be particularly useful for the Ask The Dev forums.

Also included in 0.3.3 is the ability to flag posts for moderation. This works within orgs and the public community. Users can flag a reply, a thread, or message for moderation, so public moderators know to intervene. In your private orgs, anyone who has the moderation permission will receive a notification to investigate. There has been massive progress on mobile support for the keyboard system in 0.3.3 and it should be fixed in the next release.

Currently the team is working on the 0.3.4 release. The main feature of this release will be more refinement on tags in sub forums. These tags will be surfaced at the top level of the community index in the channel list, so that users can jump directly from a global community index to a specific tag within a channel. The second part of this release is that users will be able to bookmark a tag just like it was a channel in itself. This will give the functionality of a sub forum, while keeping the tagging system in place.

The team is also adding more filters and working on the search subsystem, which will power all the “view my own posts,” “view somebody else’s posts,” and let users search by author, role, or dev posts. This feature will also power a new mini profile, so users will be able to just jump directly to a list of posts from a specific player directly from the mini profile.

Virtual lists are also being developed on the back end. Currently, there is an issue rendering long presence lists in the chat lobbies, which causes the backers group to collapse by default in the general forum. Virtual lists will allow for rendering what is visible plus a buffer. This will save on performance and allow everybody to be present in the lobby lists. One of the most reported issues is that users can’t jump directly to a message and then go back in time. Virtual lists will allow this.

In the meantime, the research team from Spectrum is working on the overlay for Spectrum desktop, which is an integration between the game and Spectrum. This means taking the redux application store and moving it to an area where two processes can benefit from it. Then, there can be an overlay that will keep the game and the desktop client synchronized without having to double the resources for it.

There has been some research on PM groups, specifically the ability to refactor the currently 1 on 1 PM system to have more than one person in a group, so users can have a party system for specific a lobby.

Turbulent also visited the Austin studio to presented the new art design for the site revamp. There were also some major infrastructure changes as the platform was moved to a new set of hardware. There was a brief downtime while it was shifted, but everything was quickly back up and running better than before.

The Banu Defender was launched via a concept presentation. As part of the process, the ship rollout system was upgraded with an improved Q&A, a live Town Hall to discuss the ship, and a focus on the development process in Jump Point and the Vault. Simultaneously, the updated Banu race was revealed in a futuristic ‘National Geographic’ style magazine.

The Star Citizen store added new merchandise, including Star Citizen and Squadron shirts and hats, plus a beautiful new Terra mousepad. Subscribers can purchase exclusive Polaris shirts. Shipping and handling was revamped as a part of these new additions. Now, merchandise ships immediately instead of as a pre-order.

Internally, the team is in the process of supporting a major website update, which includes a long-awaited overhaul to the ship stats page. New player content is also in production thanks to community feedback, which has highlighted how daunting Star Citizen can be to new players.

Tickets for Gamescom went on sale this month and event planning continues. Our community team and staff from Austin attended DREAMHACK, where they met with backers and talked Star Citizen. The con concluded with an appropriately Texas-themed BBQ Bar Citizen. Devs also attended the backer-organized BritizenCon and took part in not one, but two panels! It was an honor to participate and connect with the community.

The team ran four Happy Hour livestreams this month, including a live look at how production schedules are made. Happy Hour will be going on a ‘half hiatus’ for a bit as the team works on the New Player Experience videos, but it will return to its usual schedule in the near future.

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