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My Full Hitman III Concept (Repost)

Update: Obviously, Dubai is confirmed as one of (maybe the first) missions... so one of my levels has to go. That said, I'm not going to pick, I'm going to leave them all in. Maybe IO will do 7 main missions ;) I also know that this post is outdated and it's very likely some of my suggestions have either been confirmed, will be confirmed, or will not be possible. This is very simply a thought exercise.

Original Post:
I know IO already know what they're doing, but I enjoy pretending I can do their work for them, so here's my overall concept for Hitman 3. I've posted a version of this once before, but I've added more to it and have adjusted some things.
Basic Plot Synopsis: 47 continues to hunt down remaining key members of Providence with the help of Lucas Grey, as it becomes clear that Grey has a hidden agenda, culminating in a final showdown between 47 and Grey to tie up all loose ends.
MAIN MISSIONS (summaries posted here may different somewhat from the full versions linked)
  1. Ireland - Murder at Black Valley (Murder Mystery Dinner): A trio of crucial Providence members are celebrating the grand opening of their joint venture; a prestigious Castle Hotel in Black Valley, Ireland, by hosting a Murder Mystery Dinner theater for wealthy elites. A portion of the hotel is open to the public, but the "First Class" wing is restricted for the elites only, and is where the Dinner is taking place. 47 has many devilishly poetic opportunities to kill his targets in plain site with guests possibly believing that it's all part of the game.
  2. Ohio, USA - Power Struggle (Nuclear Power Plant): The grand opening of a Nuclear Power Plant (built out of a retrofitted century-old coal plant) owned by a Providence Member as part of a wider scheme to control the US Power Grid is threatened by an Cultist Terrorist who plans to cause a meltdown. An opportunity to eliminate another member of Providence is met with the chance to prevent a nuclear catastrophe, a world concern that can't be ignored even by the typically a-political Agent 47.
  3. South Dakota, USA - The Ecstasy of Gold (Wild West Resort Town): Low-key Providence Members operating a Wild West themed resort town as a front for human trafficking are on the menu this time. All staff of the resort town remain in character as guests try live out their Wild West fantasies. Daily scripted shows such as show-downs in front of the saloon, hangings, and jail breaks take place on schedule, and can provide 47 with some excellent opportunities to stage unfortunate "accidents" for his targets.
  4. Puerto Rico - Safe Harbor (Cruise Ship): Word is spreading that it's not just the higher-ups being taken down; ALL notable members of Providence are being hunted. A few more of these Providence members are attempting to vanish via a Cruise Ship which is currently moored in Puerto Rico awaiting the clearing of a storm at sea. One of the Targets is the owner of the Cruise Line; the other two are a married couple who have worked with the Cruise Line owner on a number of different Providence-related ventures. Intel acquired by Olivia Hall suggests that the three are planning on sinking the ship at sea after escaping via a small watercraft, sacrificing the hundreds of innocent lives aboard to cover up their own disappearance. With the ship stuck in port, this is the best opportunity for 47 to get aboard and take down this trio before their plans come to fruition.
  5. Alberta, Canada - Terminal Departure (Airport): As the remaining key Providence players are on the run, Olivia Hall tracks down two more as they attempt to board a private aircraft at a Providence-owned small airfield in Alberta. A looming blizzard has grounded flights and the duo is nervously held up at the airport, giving 47 an opportunity to take them out.
  6. Copenhagen, Denmark - Enemies Within (ICA Headquarters): With Providence almost entirely eradicated, the remaining members have enacted a "scorched Earth" protocol to take down several pillars of control throughout the world - the ICA being one of them. With the ICA destroyed and its secrets exposed, world governments will have been revealed for having contracted the ICA, leaders will be overthrown, and in the ensuring chaos and confusion, any number of other Providence contingency plans could essentially spell the end of civilization as we know it. On top of this severe problem, Lucas Grey's ultimate agenda has finally been revealed- manipulating 47 and The Constant alike in order to fulfill his desire to see the world burn. This location provides 47's greatest challenge yet - getting around in a highly secured facility full of other highly skilled field agents and handlers who know 47's appearance and tactics. Of course, it also gives 47 the opportunity to play with new gadgets and weapons not yet cleared for field service... as well as his own personal vault, containing numerous weapons and items he's obtained throughout his career. The main conflict of this mission is a "Boss Battle" with Lucas Grey, which is sort of a cat and mouse game during the whole mission - Grey knows 47's tactics and will use them against him, including set ups for "accident kills", use of disguises and so on. Apart from taking down the Providence operatives in the mix, 47 will also need to keep a keen eye out for Lucas Grey's attempts to catch him by surprise.
BONUS MISSIONS/DLC MISSIONS: These missions will be released over time as part of regular updates.
  1. Hawke’s Bay - The Human Inferno: An illegitimate festival involving the burning of a massive effigy representing human greed is taking place on the now abandoned remote beachfront property in Hawke’s Bay, formerly occupied by Alma Reynard. The target is the organizer of the event, who has already taken payment from many eager party-goers that arrived only to find provisions and utilities very limited and inadequate for the number of people in attendance - and ultimately, not much to do other than stand around. This happens to be the second sham event put on by this organizer, and the client, the son of a wealthy film producer and previous victim of the festival scam, feels this to be the appropriate time and place to exact revenge on the organizer, who can be found milling about the abandoned house, or participating in the lighting of the effigy.
  2. Mumbai - Blackout: A power vacuum in the wake of the deaths of Vanya Shah, Dawood Rangan and Wazir Kale has left the slums of Mumbai to be preyed upon by both the remants of The Crows gang as well as an insidious real estate mogul with nefarious intentions. Although the ICA doesn’t concern itself with the political and social fallout resulting from their contracts, in this particular case it would seem that fate had intervened - The ICA has accepted a contract from an anonymous source in Mumbai to take down the heirarchy of The Crows as well as the Mogul and end this strife once and for all. The majority of the city has been plunged into darkness as the The Crows have destroyed a utility sub station leaving citizens without power or running water. 47 infiltrates the chaos under the veil of darkness to eliminate his targets. This mission plays with light and darkness in a new way, allowing 47 to use the dark as cover if he remains motionless. This works the same way as hiding in tall brush and would be easy to program - dark areas are simply flagged as "tall grass" hiding areas.
  3. Miami - Fire Sale: The quest to destroy the remnants of Providence leads the team back to Miami during the 4th of July Celebration to intercept and destroy an armored briefcase which houses an off-network computer containing Kronstadt's top-secret, advanced research and development, blueprints, and schematics, as well as eliminate two key players in Providence between which the briefcase is to be traded. This mission takes place in the late evening as hundreds of people celebrate the 4th of July holiday.
  4. Whittleton Creek - Holiday Hoarders 2: Lost in Whittleton Creek: The same client that hired the ICA to take down two thieves in Paris have contracted the ICA once again to eliminate two more members of the same theft ring who are prowling Whittleton Creek for a score, right before Christmas.
  5. Whittleton Creek - Fright Night: A social media star who victimizes society with tasteless and dangerous pranks for internet fame is under the gun from an angry father whose daughter died in an accident during a previous stunt. The star has set up a Halloween party in the suburb of Whittleton Creek as a cover for the staging of his latest stunt. The client wants him dead.
  6. Paris - Eye of the Beholder: A priceless 13th Century Brooch is on display at the Palais de Walewska's annual "Arts and Artifacts" Exhibit and Auction. The event draws in wealthy individuals from all over the world to view many rare and valuable works of art and historical artifacts, and/or to bid on a selection of art and relics. Two obscenely rich men have a seemingly equal interest in the Brooch, and are willing to shed blood in order to take ownership. Money seems to be no object for either of them... which is why, in a unique twist, EACH of the men have hired the ICA to eliminate the other. The ICA Board of Directors deliberated for nearly an hour on how to approach this situation and ultimately concluded to leave the choice up to the Field Agent - either of the contracts is valid, so it should not make a difference which contract the Field Agent chooses to complete, as the other will be void upon the client's death.
  7. Colorado - The Ghost of Vengeance: A team of fraudulent “ghost hunters” with an extremely popular internet video channel has honed in on the abandoned Apricot Farm in Colorado, after hearing the urban legends about a series of mysterious deaths that befell 4 members of a militia that once resided there. Instead of merely filming their fake ghost hunting shenanigans, they’re hosting a massive Halloween party on the premises as well. The client was formerly one of the two creators of the ghost hunting series, but was ousted by his partner after objecting to the staged hauntings that his partner had been arranging. The client, wealthy from years of internet stardom, has put up the money to have his former partner as well a the two crew members that were complicit in the ousting eliminated partly out of revenge - but this isn't purely about revenge. The client discovered shortly after the ousting that his former business partner was directly responsible for the drug-fueled car accident that claimed the life of the client's girlfriend, and two of the show's crew members share a portion of the blame, as well. The client wants all three responsible parties eliminated at the Halloween Party at the old Apricot Farm.
NEW MULTIPLAYER MODE:
  1. Target Hunt: The premise of this mode is very similar to Gmod Murder. One player is the Assassin and must eliminate the other players, before the other players collect enough clues to unlock weapons and eventually reveal the identity of the Assassin. If you've played Gmod Murder, you know exactly how this works - however, there is a Hitman twist by way of disguises and the ability to covertly kill and hide bodies.
IMPROVED CONTRACT CREATOR:
  1. A distinction will be made between Challenge-Based Contracts and Standard Contracts. Standard Contracts involve OPTIONAL additional challenges only, allowing players to complete them as they wish without suffering penalties for not using the right exit, or having only one exit available, for example. Challenge-Based Contracts will have those additional complications in effect.
  2. Creators can now select certain objects and designate them as an Objective Item. For example, you can now require the Player to obtain a specific object on the map in order to complete their mission. Safes and locked wall Cabinets can also be targeted for breaking into, and a random object will be placed inside for the player to collect.
  3. Creators can now designate certain number of NPC's as Enforcers for 47's default Suit.
WEAPON/ITEM INVENTORY CHANGES:
  1. Each main type of firearm will now be represented as it's own category in the weapon selection menus. For example, there are many variants of the ICA19/Silverballer - The Chrome one, the standard Silverballer, Black Lilly, basic ICA19, etc. Instead of having each variant of this gun listed in the pistols menu, you will now select the ICA19 category, and from there you can choose which variant you wish to use. Your last-used variant will become the Default, so selecting the ICA19 in the weapons menu will equip that gun, should you choose not to select a different variant. This is true for all firearms that have multiple versions - shotguns with and without silencers, the different variations of Jaeger 7 or Sieger 300, etc.
  2. Mark 2 weapons/items have been removed entirely.
  3. Players can now Save up to 4 individual Load Outs (and name them individually). Load Outs can be selected in the mission-prep menu as a new option. The current tile which says "PLANNING" will be split in half horizontally, and just below it will be a new option, "SAVED LOAD OUTS". Within this menu are your named custom load outs, and selecting one will equip it to the "PLANNING" menu.
  4. The Suit Menu is now organized based on Categories - Casual, Formal, Tactical, Special. Casual includes things like the Italian Suit or Tourist Suit, etc. Formal includes anything with a Tie, essentially. Tactical are things like The Raven Suit, Hunter's Gear, Wet Suit, etc. Special are things like the Clown Suit, Flamingo, Santa, and so on. Your last-used Suit is the default for each Category, and simply selecting the Category and backing out of the menu will equip the Default suit.
NPC/AI CHANGES:
  1. Super Enforcers: Some Enforcers, referred to as "Super Enforcers", who are particularly observant, are able to "inspect" found bodies. If allowed to complete their inspection, they will discover things like needle-marks, dart-gun darts, or other suspicious circumstances regarding a death/knockout/sickening. For example, two guards are standing near each other. One is a Super Enforcer. You shoot the other guard with an Emetic Dart, causing him to become sick. The Super Enforcer looks at him (as NPC's do) and the little "awareness" circle above his head slowly begins to fill, indicating that they are going to notice the dart sticking out of their partner and realize something is up. Super Enforcers are recognized by the Gold Color of the dot above their head and on the mini-map.
  2. Armed Targets: Some Targets are now designated as hostile toward the player and carry their own firearms. Their behavior when the player becomes compromised is the same as any Guard, except for one difference - they do not actively hunt the player down. They are programmed to retreat to a safe area (as a Guard would if they were escorting a target, for example) and stay there, but will engage if they see the player. This is retroactively effective for targets such as Reza Zaydan, Sean Rose, Maya Parvatti, Rico Delgado, Andrea Martinez, Wazir Kale, Nolan Cassidy, and Zoe & Sophie Washington.
  3. Buddy System: Certain Guards are paired up with one another in such a way that if one goes missing, after about a minute or two, the other will go searching for them. This may create opportunities, or it may create challenges.
  4. Lost and Found: Guards will take found Cell Phones to the nearest Security Hub and leave them on the desk. They will still answer the phone if activated.
GAME PLAY CHANGES:
  1. Pistol-Whip: Non-Lethal weapons such as the Kalmer can now be used to pistol-whip NPC's into unconsciousness. The works exactly the same as an Elimination with a lethal pistol does - sneak up behind, and hit the prompt to "Eliminate" (it will say "Knock Out" instead), and 47 will simply bonk them over the back of the head with the butt of the pistol, instantly knocking them unconscious.
  2. Long-Weapon Eliminations: It is now possible to perform an up-close elimination with a long-weapon such as a shotgun or rifle. If within range, tapping the "Eliminate" button will cause 47 to hip-fire into your target's back, killing them in one shot. This is obviously only a silent kill if using a silenced weapon. This action is not available for Sniper Rifles.
  3. Dual-Use Syringes: Poison Syringes of any type can now be used to poison drinks and food. This is an illegal action regardless of disguise.
  4. NPC's Use Briefcases: Some NPC's may be carrying Briefcases, depending on the situation/location. If you happen to notice them leaving their Briefcase unattended, you can place an item inside and that may carry the Briefcase past a Checkpoint for you - assuming they have security clearance to avoid inspection. Otherwise, they may be arrested (taken to a Security Room) and the Briefcase and item confiscated.
  5. Point-Blending: When wearing certain disguises and/or in certain circumstances, 47 can "blend in" to avoid Enforcers simply by standing still. If wearing a Guard uniform, for example, standing still for a few seconds will cause 47 to assume a Guard-like Posture, helping him to blend in to the role. If dressed as a waiter, he may pull out a note pad and pretend to be reading or writing something. In his Default Suit, he may pull out his Smart Phone and pretend to be on a call.
  6. Smashing Cameras: Certain heavy items can be used to destroy cameras by throwing them. These items include things like Bricks, Hammers, Wrenches, etc - anything heavy enough to damage the camera.
  7. The Warning System: On Casual Mode, you are given up to 3 warnings for certain illegal actions before your Mission Rating is affected. For example, if you are caught trespassing once and you allow yourself to be escorted away, you will receive one warning marker. These are represented by 3 translucent X's beneath the mini-map, and they are made opaque when you receive a warning. You may earn up to 3 warnings, and a 4th will void Silent Assassin. Professional Mode allows for ONE Warning, and Master allows for none. NOTE: The Warning System is VOID once a Target has been killed. The disappearance of a Target makes issues such a trespassing more notable to Security Forces.
  8. Trespassing Areas now visible with Instinct: When using Instinct, a Red "laser grid" will appear on the floor of Trespassing areas. This is based on disguise, of course- the grid will not appear if you are in the correct disguise.
NEW WEAPONS/ITEMS:
  1. Umbrella Gun- Small Caliber single-shot Rifle cleverly concealed within the form of a fancy Umbrella. Very quiet, limited range, and can only be fired once. Make it count.
  2. Silverballer Custom- Includes a red laser sight and an extended magazine.
  3. Silverballer Custom Auto- Includes an extended magazine and automatic-fire capability.
  4. Emetic Gas Phone- A decoy Cell Phone that emits a small cloud of Emetic Gas when a call is answered.
  5. Tracker Coin- A coin with a discreet GPS tracker inside. Allows 47 to track certain individuals of importance (they are highlighted blue when using Instinct).
submitted by Left4DayZ1 to HiTMAN

Squadron 42 Update

May 6th, 2020
Attention Recruits,
What you are about to read is the latest information on the continuing development of Squadron 42 (SCI des: SQ42).
Our top agents went into deep cover and managed to extract information on work on the Javelin's weapons and engineering sections, as well as key info on the next step of cinematics.
The information contained in this communication is extremely sensitive and it is of paramount importance that it does not fall into the wrong hands. Purge all records after reading.
UEE Naval High Command

AI (Combat)

The Combat AI Team started the month improving stability and fixing bugs for Alpha 3.9. Afterwards, they began work on realistic firing, initially tackling reload actions for NPCs. They extended the actor state machine to report the results of reloading actions so that NPC behaviors are notified and branch correctly in the decision-making process.
They’re currently working to keep track of NPC bullet quantity so that reloading is triggered at appropriate times. This will include an extension of the current combat behavior that allows NPCs to evaluate the best fire mode for the selected tactic. For example, choosing a mode that consumes less ammo, switching to a different weapon, or looking for ammo in the environment if they run out. They also created the base for the Vanduul character, starting with the entity setup, evaluation of the available locomotion animations, and priorities for the lance AimIK.

AI (Ships)

April saw Ship AI complete their rework of the Defend Target AI, which involves a leader and one or more escort ships:
When out of combat, the in-formation escorts fly alongside the leader and only enter combat when threatened. When flying out-of-formation, the escorts will join the formation if allowed to by the leader. If no formation is supported or all positions are reserved, the escort will utilize the ‘FollowAtDistance’ behavior, where the AI selects a direction and distance relative to the leader and maintains a loose position. Periodically, all escorts will change position or leave the formation depending on the situation.
When in combat, escorts engage enemies governed by an assignment range that can be different for each ship. However, ‘engage’ doesn't initiate a dogfight immediately and leave the leader undefended; engagement happens gradually. First, escorts gravitate around the leader to ensure they’re between the leader and target. If the enemy is closer (also defined by the assignment), the escorts engage in a dogfight. The overall flow ensures an escort is always in proximity of the leader to protect it and react if other attackers intervene. It's possible to differentiate the defend dynamic by assigning different engage-ranges to escorts or adjusting how tightly they shadow the leader.
The Defend Target mechanic is also useful for implementing simple convoy behaviors for shipments and peaceful operations.
Ship AI also worked on the ongoing refactor of the Tactical Point system and the creation of the Tactical Targeting system. They’re currently in the last development cycle and are investigating ways to express variations of TTS queries to cope with the mission or scene at hand. They introduced the concept of optional overrides on query parameters, conditions, and weights that are only relevant and applied based on the fulfillment of a specific requirement (such as a tag set on the actor). So, they can define a base query that will be used normally but also introduce variations of specific parts that only affect characters specific to a single scene. For example, encouraging an NPC to target ships with low shields or with a criminal rating instead of the standard selection defined in the base query.

AI (Social)

The Social AI Team spent time improving the performance of the Usable Cache Manager. They added the ability to time-slice the main update to make it easier to control the update usage of different jobs, and began using queued physical ray-casting to validate which usable enteexit locations are available and not blocked by other objects.
They started work on compound usables, which can inherit functionalities from other usables and override data based on specific setups. For example, maintenance or inspection operations on a Gladius might use generic animations in most locations, but a more complex section of the ship may require specific Mannequin tags.
Functionality and visual quality were further developed for vendors, such as the Bartender. Work went into potentially allowing designers to set up proc clips that stow/unstow objects from a specific inventory pocket. They also extended the Communication system to allow designers to tag different options relating to the same contextual voice line. This will allow a generic behavior to automatically select the right option for a specific context. For example, a shop patron can use a generic ‘order’ communication line to pass the tag of the object they want to order, which selects a relevant voice and animation. If one isn’t present, a generic option might be selected. This, in combination with a pass on wildlines and secondary sub-activities for the vendor behavior, allowed the team to significantly improve the visual fidelity of the behaviors.
They’re currently integrating more functionalities into consumable objects to create an additional layer of customization to the flow, such as enabling AI to differentiate between open and closed bottles and act accordingly.
Focus was also given to improving several aspects of the patrol path tech. This involved moving some of the parallel functionalities trigger-logic to the movement system, which is a big change for several reasons: The team can now send simple requests related to a designer path to the movement system, making the subsumption task much simpler; they can use the same approach that was started for complex usables, such as closed doors, elevators, and the transit system; and the movement planner is now responsible for analyzing the data and creating a plan that can be as complex as needed.

Animation

Last month, Animation supported Social AI with their ship hangar work, general inspection places, bar patron idles and actions, bridge control seats, and lockers. They also worked on reloading and malfunction animations for all weapon classes and progressed with the Vanduul enemy combat style. Development of stumbles, knockdowns, body dragging, and what happens when a player is injured or incapacitated continued.
The Mo-Cap Team improved the motion builder skeleton, which will help the wider team create assets faster, and the ‘take selection’ tool, which will improve post-shoot turnaround. Tools were also created to enable quick data renaming and video conversion. Several team members are temporarily supporting other related areas of development due to the suspension of all mo-cap shoots, including making headway into the large amount of comms calls used throughout the campaign.

Art (Characters)

Art continued their ongoing hair work, which included remodeling some existing hairstyles and working on new shorter styles. They also further improved the fidelity of blonde hair using the latest iteration of the shader.
They’re currently finalizing officer uniforms and will move onto others in the coming weeks. Thanks to the multitude of ranks in the UEE Navy, around fifteen outfits will be created.
“Our focus is ensuring that details hold up during cinematic close-ups, as we do not use separate cinematic meshes. What you see in the game is what you get in the cutscene. By the end of this, they will be looking better than ever.” - Character Art Team

Art (Environment)

Last month, the Environment Art Team increased the Javelin’s engineering section, which came about after playtesting one of the chapters that takes place on the ship. Lighting work also continued across the ship for this chapter, utilizing the new real-time cubemap feature used for light-state transitions
They also continued to build up the Aciedo comms array set. The player visits several arrays during the first section of the campaign, so the set needs to serve as the base for multiple stations before the unique art and assets can be added to each. The truck stops are progressing well, with impact damage being introduced to add to the feel of long-term abandonment. Bear in mind these aren’t the truck stops players are familiar with from the PU; all of SQ42’s environments are unique to the campaign.
The team also fleshed out the hangar interiors on one of the mining bases. This is the largest hangar in the game and needs to carry out multiple functions for the station and passersby. Important story moments take place here, which gave the team the opportunity to dress such a large space with interesting narrative-relevant props. Work also began on two new unique locations; one Brutalist in design and another more like a shantytown.

Art (Props)

April saw the Props Team looking into how to approach dressing some of SQ42’s more unique locations. This involved focusing on the dressing asset materials to bed them into the environment and completing some of the storytelling assets from the Narrative Team. They created new maintenance and electrical spares and revisited the hangar assets to improve their visual quality and prep them for AI interactions. Finally, several props were prepared and rigged in Maya for the animators to use in gameplay story scenes.

Art (Weapons)

The Ship Weapons Team focused on the Javelin’s built-in arsenal, including a new Behring Gatling cannon and a considerably sized Behring torpedo.

Cinematics

In April, the Cinematics Team shifted from scene implementation to the production pass. There are five stages in the pipeline: Pre-vis, Kick-Off, Implementation, Production, and Finalization. After the implementation pass, scenes will work in-game with the correct root for all NPCs, timing and editing is synced for all scene members, the number of animation fragments is decided so the player can interact correctly, poses are roughly matched, and the correct markup for abandon/interrupt is created. While the designers are marking up the abandon/interrupt points, the animators can make their production pass. This stage is all about final pose matching, fixing remaining small gaps in animation, starting proper polish, and making sure the scene state machine is delivered. Once done, mo-cap polish is tackled by the animators. At the same time, the designers work alongside them to ensure cameras are locked and lighting passes progress to show the scene in the best way possible. The LookIK markup is also done at this stage:
LookIK refers to how an NPC, like Captain White, can look at the player and follow them. This can be with 100% strength, meaning he is leaning his upper body and the neck, head, and eyes follow the player with a field-of-view angle of 120°. However, each of these elements can be tweaked to a smaller percentage. For performance captured animation, the team don’t want Captain White to stare down the player at all times as it would override most of what the actor did on set.
For Implementation, the first pass of LookIK is done, meaning the team turn it on/off at appropriate parts of a scene. But at Production, they revisit the markup and spend time evaluating the original on-set reference camera data of the actor and analyze the performance down to the small details. For example: Why did he look away? Was it because he thought about his answer or to give more emphasis? How much of the look utilized his neck and shoulders? The animators then dial in the markup percentages for body, head, eyes, and carefully animate each of the LookIK parameters via a curve editor in Maya. Then, they review the scene to evaluate how successful the markup is in retaining the actor's intent.
For scenes where the player is ‘locked in’ watching a briefing, a certain percent is still enabled to accommodate the slightly smaller female player model.
“What we’ve found during these reviews is that we need to be careful with the strength of the eyes in LookIK. In real-life, people talking to each other are not completely locked together, so keeping the eyes alive is a small but rather important detail to get right. It helps to keep as much of the performance alive as we can while pushing what was once a linear mo-cap performance into our interactive realm.” - Cinematics Team

Engineering

Engineering’s April involved working on AFT, adding rotation resistance to the driven articulated entity tracking joint (exposing tuning parameters), making body-dragging-driven ragdoll behavior less framerate dependent, and adding rotation damping for the dragging character (with exposed linear and angular damping factors). They also fixed animation pops, added force reactions, and made the head and neck joints of a drag-driven ragdolls ignore actor entity collisions.
Physics-wise, they made improvements to the load and spawn time for entities, reworked the processing of dead-marked entities, and optimized the CheckAreas function (which is now three-to-five times faster in new grid-OC-split regions). Basic ricochet behavior was also added and made deterministic. They also looked into character physicalization issues for the Cinematics Team and integrated physics into the main development stream too.
Engineering wrapped up the mesh refactor for the Gen12 renderer, moved shader item creation away from the render thread, relocated shader objects to resource containers (to improve material-streaming during OCS), and made headway into permanently enabling certain G12 effects. They added asynchronous shader compilation support to the Gen12 code and refactored the buffer management for render mesh. This means they can now create buffers on any thread instead of deferring it to RT, use a VB stream wrapper object to maintain ref counts for writes and reads on render mesh streams, and run numerous API cleanups. They further cleaned the loading and refreshing of the shader system, ported texture sampler state code, and started porting brush rendering to the new pipeline.
Regarding the shader system, they fixed an issue in cache generation that caused certain combinations of hull, domain, geometry, and compute to not pre-cache. For hair, they created a new slider for creating a ‘salt and pepper’ look and improved scattering for blonde and bright hair.
Engineering bundled the processing of adaptive resolution samples so that lowering adaptive resolution will show GPU perf scaling as expected. They changed the way active sample indices are built to maintain the desired serialization order per sample block. Each sample block can now be processed as a bundle via the thread group to better utilize cache effects. They also looked into deep learning-based de-noising and up-sampling, and worked to implement a guided filter to de-noise and up-sample lower resolution raymarched inscatter and transmittance results. For the ongoing ocean work, the team upgraded buoyancy physics to make it functional with the new changes, fixed motion vectors on deferred oceans, and added sub-surface scattering to improve the appearance of crest waves.
General system worked involved enabling advanced CPU features for Linux DGS (in addition to already enabled Haswell-based code gen in Clang). Batch worker wakeup was improved and optimizations to the aggregate broad phase were made, such as replacing the sphere tree with an optimized radix tree and an optimized state update.
Finally for Engineering, the entity component update scheduler was developed further. To this end, they added a new component update policy based on entity rendering bounds with an optional view ratio and added support for view ratio in component updates. They also fixed a crash in a video driver due to incorrect use of the texture upload path taken for UI/Flash assets. Various frame times were added to important threads (MT, RT, network, physics), with one of the goals being to derive a VSync agnostic frame time. The exception handler and crash dump processing tools now support new cig-trace events and have unique folders to dump debug information into, which streamlines runtime error processing and analysis. The developers can now also mute FPEs until a given date.

Gameplay Story

The Gameplay Story Team continued to support Design as they work through various scenes. They also made significant improvements to their library of generic interrupt animations and now have 14 male and female animations that work well from standing poses. The gameplay story scenes on and around the bridge seats on the Idris underwent iteration and they are now beginning to support the Social AI Team's work in this location. Lastly, they moved a few scenes for chapter eight through the pipeline. These scenes started life as individual lines of dialogue delivered by a single standing character, though new mo-cap (recorded before the lockdown) meant they could be turned into two-person scenes related to the environment.

Graphics

The Graphics Team continued their crucial work on the Gen12/Vulkan renderer, with focus on getting the first version of a complete graphics pipeline up and running. This is the first of several major milestones in the renderer’s development and will allow the team to deprecate much of the old post-effect code. The organic shader used for vegetation and rocks is currently receiving a long-planned upgrade, which adds many new features and integrates it into Planet Tech v4 and allows for much better integration of assets into planetary terrain.

Level Design

Social Design pushed on with their complex scene work, working closely with Animation to make sure all eventualities involving the player breaking, re-joining, or abandoning scenes are covered.
Level Design worked closely with Art, fleshing out some of the alternate routes that players can take through the levels that allow for more exploration or stealth-type gameplay. They further tuned the pre-combat and patrol work delivered by AI Features.
The Space/Dogfight Team continued ‘space scaping’ various locations in the game, crafting them into believable places with function and identity. They also implemented work from the Vehicle Feature Team on the updated scanning mechanics, making sure they function correctly within SQ42.
submitted by TheJudge1979 to StarCitizenUniverse