Inside Star Citizen: Life of VFX

“Can you imagine a world without visual effects? Today we’re going behind the scenes with the VFX team to reveal how their work breathes life into every game element they touch, from obvious explosions to many subtle environmental effects yo”

In this episode of Inside Star Citizen, the focus is on the life of VFX (Visual Effects) in game development. VFX are responsible for representing energy and motion in the game, from explosions and fires to even leaves being blown around by the wind. They provide visual cues to help players understand what’s happening in the game. The VFX team at CIG has grown from a small group to a proper department with different skill sets and disciplines over the span of nine years. They work closely with VFX programmers to create and refine effects for various environments, ships, and gameplay elements.

The VFX team consists of 21 people, including VFX programmers, production team members, concept artists, and QA. The programmers’ role is to create tools and features for the artists to work with, ensuring that they have an intuitive interface to create visually stunning effects. Communication and feedback within the team are crucial, with schedule management being handled by the assistant producer. Without this support, the workload would be overwhelming.

VFX artists are responsible for creating effects for ships, locations (including planets), and gameplay elements. They work with parameters and textures to create effects like muzzle flashes, smoke, and explosions. The goal is to create visually appealing effects that seamlessly blend with the environment and enhance the player experience. The VFX team not only maintains existing effects but also aims to improve them by building tools that streamline the process. This includes features like external reference, which allows for easier updates and consistency across similar effects.

The team is currently working on improving the visuals of lightning within gas clouds and finalizing the fire propagation system, which adds a sense of danger and realism to the game. They find satisfaction in seeing their work quickly implemented into the game and appreciate the visual impact VFX brings to the overall experience. Ultimately, VFX adds the finishing touches that elevate the immersive quality of the game. The episode ends with a reminder to check out the Ship Show and the new Salvage missions on the Roberts Space Industries website.

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