Stick and Rudder: The best bits of Star CitizenCon 2015

Wow, so, where to start with this week's Stick and Rudder? I guess I picked the wrong time for a vacation, and shame on me for forgetting the CitizenCon date! In any case, Star Citizen acquitted itself pretty well last weekend by most accounts, and whether we're talking about Squadron 42's A-list cast reveal, our first real look inside its single-player campaign, or the kick ass starmap, there was a lot to like at this year's Con.

starmapLet's start with the star map, both because it's awesome and because you can actually play around with it courtesy of the RSI website. As per usual, Cloud Imperium went to a lot of trouble to design the thing with immersion in mind, and alongside the current browser functionality there's a good bit of lore that explains how the ARK project is a multi-species cooperative created by the brightest human, Xi'An, Banu, and Tevarian minds in order to curate the ever-evolving galactipedia and starmap.

The latter is a public resource that allows for a god's-eye look at Star Citizen's universe, including planetary snapshots, travel routes, economic and crime data, etc. The web tool itself is pretty slick, even though CIG says that it's currently in an alpha state. It features galaxy view, system view, and celestial object view options that tickle my cartography nerd fancy. You can navigate the three-dimensional star field via your mouse wheel and clicking and dragging, and there's plenty of contextual object info via right-click. There's even a routing tool that allows you to enter your departure point and destination, along with a search feature and some fun visuals related to jump points.

Though the web utility is currently limited in terms of gameplay, it's both fun to mess around with and more importantly it shows just how big Star Citizen's universe has become. When viewed in context with the recent social module deployment, it makes me think that I may actually be tooling around SC's persistent universe sooner rather than later.

Cloud Imperium isn't resting on its laurels with the starmap's alpha version, either. The firm says that real-time data from the game will be a thing, as will additional models for objects in space and possibly even support for orbital mechanics and virtual reality device integration.

42Aside from the starmap, I was pretty keen on the Squadron 42 footage from this weekend's CitizenCon. If you're new to Star Citizen fandom, S42 is basically the (optional) single-player campaign that introduces your player character to the Star Citizen universe via a series of story-driven missions from the perspective of a UEE Navy pilot. S42 was in fact the very first bit of Star Citizen that we glimpsed way back in October of 2012, and I still spool up that original pitch trailer from time to time because everything about it -- from the music to the camera angles to the aircraft-carrier-in-space motif -- is basically my own personal gaming wet dream.

At the conclusion of S42's single-player game, which Chris Roberts has described as a modern take on his classic Wing Commander, your character will join Star Citizen's MMO-like persistent universe. Alternatively, you can skip the single-player story altogether and jump right into the PU.

I'd recommend against that, though, since CIG is putting a ton of effort into Squadron 42. At the very least, it'll offer you an opportunity to digest Star Citizen's dense lore in an interactive manner instead of trying to assimilate all of the stuff that's been written (and re-written) on the title's website since 2012. In gameplay terms, Squadron 42 should also serve as a primer for those of you who aren't too familiar with space sims, or a refresher course for people like me who played the crap out of them in the 1990s but have since become a little rusty.

Either way, CitizenCon gifted us with our first extended look at the cutscenes, the motion-captured NPCs and voiceovers, and the mind-boggling levels of environmental detail on display inside Star Citizen's spaceships. The recap video below, which clocks in at just under 12 minutes, also shows off the newly redesigned Idris interior, which your character can explore in S42 and later fly in the persistent universe.

castFinally, I've got to say a word about Squadron 42's newly announced cast. Actually, let me say two words: holy shit. Normally I couldn't care less about voice acting or A-list motion capture, particularly as it relates to virtual worlds which exist to facilitate player-driven stories. Since S42 is basically a single-player preview of the main event, though, I'm inclined to let my inner fanboy run wild and just appreciate the fact that CIG has lined up a who's-who of geek icons.

I thought about just thanking them for realizing teenage Jef's Agent-Scully-in-space fantasy and ending this article before it gets too awkward, but they didn't stop with Gillian Anderson! Oh no, they also managed to land one of the greatest actors of this or any other generation (Gary Oldman), as well as peerless character players like John Rhys-Davies (Gimli son of Gloin, Indiana Jones' best bud) and Andy Serkis (Smeagol). Did I mention that Wing Commander alum, once-and-future Luke Skywalker, and the world's best Joker is on board, too?

thoughtsAll in all, CitizenCon 2015 was a smashing success from my vantage point. I've written before about my on-again-off-again Star Citizen obsession, which is mainly due to the information overload that often results from Cloud Imperium's commitment to transparent development. These particular reveals struck all the right notes, though, even the story- and cast-related stuff that normally elicits an eyeroll when it comes to online games.

Star Citizen has certainly taken its lumps in the court of public opinion this year, but despite the silly rhetoric put forth by low-information and instant-gratification types, it remains the most ambitious project in gaming history. And it remains quite far along at three years, especially when compared to various megabudget virtual worlds that delivered fewer features after twice the development time. I didn't really need anything to reaffirm my fandom, but this year's CitizenCon gave it to me anyway.

xsc.jpg.pagespeed.ic.SFmFDO-eeKWhether it's interviews with Chris Roberts and the Cloud Imperium team or tips and guides for pushing your ship's performance envelope, Stick and Rudder is your inside source for news and commentary on the world of Star Citizen. Join Jef Reahard every Friday during the run-up to alpha, beta, and beyond.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

LEAVE A COMMENT

131 Comments on "Stick and Rudder: The best bits of Star CitizenCon 2015"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Zeplini
Guest
Zeplini

I find the lack of reporting on the recent troubles of Star Citizen alarming.

This appears to be a advertisement.

Mifune
Guest
Mifune

Darkwalker75 Mifune I said the excuse for not allowing manual landing on planets was stupid, not the theory behind automated landings. Are you being dense on purpose?

I'd expect a guy with a star citizen logo as an avatar to have seen the citcon demo. Then maybe he would have seen the manual landing the freelancer performed there.

Keep saying I'm going from one side to another when I've been saying the same thing over and over again. Your excuses are the ones going all over the place trying to find some sort of ridiculous excuse to excuse another ridiculous excuse.

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

Mifune Darkwalker75 
You were toe one saying that it was a stupid excuse to allow scripted(automated) landings in places like Nyx.
I tried to explain to you how that was a stupid argument.
Since then you have been going from one side of the argument to the other like a pendulum, every time I counter your argument.
I don't know where you get the idea from that we can land at spaceports manually in this game, because we cannot, it will be automated.

As for my comment on spaceships sizes, you didn't just miss the point, you missed the whole message.
Ships small enough to land on a planet would be stupid to allow to fly around anywhere and an automated landing procedure would be not just realistic but a smart thing to do to avoid idiots crashing into things.

Ships too large to land on a planet would have some kind of hangar bay with crafts small enough to land on a planet, to allow for transfer or equipment and personnel.

Mifune
Guest
Mifune

Darkwalker75 Mifune Not understand it? Are you trying to offend me? I wasn't dismissing it, just disagreeing with the excuse.
Also your comment on spaceship size is ridiculous. The ports are made so that ships can land on them... the ships that CAN land on that spaceport won't be too large.
Again you seem to avoid responding as to why we're allowed to manually land on spaceports but we can't on a planetary port. Doesn't the exact same realistic logic apply to both?

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

Mifune Darkwalker75 Vikingr 
You are right if it was real we would not be(as you say) "needing to fly little spaceships that shoot missiles and pew pew lazers"
However we would still need to have ships to fly between a planets surface and the ship in space in order to transfer people and equipment as those spaceships would likely be too large to land on the planet, and you would not want them to be flying anywhere they want, as such the realism factor is still very much there.
Trying to dismiss the concept because you either do not accept or understand it, does not change the facts that its more realistic and immersion to do it this way.

Mifune
Guest
Mifune

Darkwalker75 Mifune Vikingr Had it been real we wouldn't be needing to fly little spaceships that shoot missiles and pew pew lazers.
If you're going to apply "realism" to excuse a certain design feature then apply it to other parts of the game as well.. especially when the action taken is so similar (basically identical).
It makes no sense for the game to not allow you to land on planets manually so that you don't crash and break immersion but allows you to land/crash/break immersion on spaceports.

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

Mifune Darkwalker75 Vikingr 
Well that's just it, they are not letting people take off and land manually.
Which means that people will not be able to crash into buildings.
And while you probably will not accept that it is actually the logical and smart thing to do and would have been done that way had it been real as well.

scaasi
Guest
scaasi

Want to check out Star Citizen for free and need a recruitment code to get 5000 extra ingame credits?
Use the code STAR-TSS9-VS7Q
For accessing the two week free-flight period you then have to enter the code "citconflight2k15" in this promotion page and you are ready to go.
https://robertsspaceindustries.com/promotions/citizencon2k15

Mifune
Guest
Mifune

Darkwalker75 Mifune Vikingr You can't prevent it. It's a multiplayer game, there's always going to be people doing non-immersive things.
Feel free to restrict freedom in S42 which is a singleplayer game for the sake of immersion.. but saying you're having automated landings because people will crash into buildings and break immersion is absurd (especially since you're letting them take off and land on spaceports manually... no immersion problems there I guess? ;))

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

Mifune Vikingr 
Lets say for the sake of discussion that they do away with the "scripted landing" as you call it, and allow people to fly and land manually.
Now answer me this, how do you prevent players from just flying into buildings or the ground, just for the fun of it or to grief other players?

If you consider it immersion breaking to not allow players to land manually, imagine how immersion breaking it would be to have a ship fly into a building and blow up, yet have that building still standing without even a scratch on it.

Mifune
Guest
Mifune

Vikingr Mifune Oh snap! You got me there. It's a scripted landing because CIG doesn't want you to fly into buildings. It doesn't get any more ridiculous than an excuse like that.
Just go search comments on the Nyx landing video from numerous other SC fans who understand that the landing sequence masks loading. So many people get it but it seems you don't :)

Mifune
Guest
Mifune

tobascodagama Mifune Vikingr So it's scripted because they don't want you to fly your ship into a building, but they're allow you to fly your ship into a spaceport? Both are buildings, both are full of people. It's a ridiculous excuse to avoid mentioning it's a loading mechanism ;)

Vikingr
Guest
Vikingr

Mifune 
"I can't be bothered to go find dev quotes though."
Of course you can't! ;)

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

Mifune Vikingr What's awkward about not wanting people to fly spaceships into buildings? Like, it's not even a gamification thing. Why wouldn't spaceport operators do everything in their power to limit the possibility of multiple-hundred-ton spaceships colliding with buildings at hundreds of kilometers per hour?

In real life, commercial airliners are automated to the greatest extent feasible under current technology, and that includes during landing. Precisely because of the potential for catastrophic damage to passengers and surrounding buildings.

Self-driving cars are also a Really Big Deal now for similar reasons. Automobile accidents are a huge source of human mortality and property damage. As soon as self-driving technology is reasonably mature, some level of it (starting with "accident avoidance" then progressing further as people become more comfortable with the tech) will become a mandatory safety feature.

DavidRennie
Guest
DavidRennie

When people ask about what makes SC so groundbreaking, i always see people answer 'because it's FPS and Space Sim.' They say it's all the features and the level of immersion and the graphics. In fact it's all all of that, but there's more.
If the economy in the game is implemented as described, this will be a living universe. With the economy reacting dynamically to even small changes. Take the following example:
You normally buy your favorite heat seaking missiles from a store on Nyx. Once the stock of those missiles from that store drop below a certain threshold, it will not magically regenerate the missiles. It will generate an order with the supplier to acquire more. This order will create a cargo mission and possibly an escort mission that goes to the job boards. NPCs might take the job or a player might. This job will generally be a smaller quantity. Say hundreds or thousands of units.
The supplier's stock now dips and once that gets below a certain threshold, it too will generate a reorder mission from the missile manufacturer. This order will be larger, in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of units. This mission can't be taken by Joe blow in an Aurora, but rather needs someone in his Hull-D or E.
Said manufacturer tries to maintain a certain level of output from the factory which requires them to be ordering a constant supply of missile casings. Perhaps these orders can be filled in one large bulk run (Hull-E) or several smaller runs (Connie Taurus or even Freelancer Max), but it relies on these supplies to keep the line going.
Now imagine you used the last of your missiles to shoot down some random Hull-E in some isolated part of the galaxy. You think nothing of it, but soon return to Nyx for a refill of your favorite missiles. It turns out, they're out of atock. You shot down the trnasport of missile casings. The manufacturer never received them and production stopped (until a new shipment is received), they couldn't fill their order to the distributor who then couldn't resupply Nyx.
The economy is supposed to be living and dynamic. No more magically appearing stock because one hour had passed since you purchased from them.
Will this happen? Who knows if they pull it off or it adheres to the descriptions. But this economy simulator for a game is ambitious alone.
So when people ask what makes SC so ambitious, it's not just one thing, one aspect of gameplay which defines that. It's the combination of all the parts that make the whole project ambitious.
Also ambition isn't based on results. It's based on your aim. If the FPS is shitty and the space sim is mediocre, it doesn't mean they weren't ambitious to try to combine them. Simply that they failed in implementation.
No one can say BC3000 wasn't ambitious. Most people can agree it was shit though.

Mifune
Guest
Mifune

Vikingr Mifune That sounds like a really awkward design decision!?
They don't you manually fly down becuase you'll crush into buildings?! wtf.
The fact that the city maps aren't large is also a very bad excuse. Nyx seemed large enough to be able to allow manual landing.
I'm pretty sure they're loading stuff while the scripted landing sequence is played.
I can't be bothered to go find dev quotes though.

Caec
Guest
Caec

Reihen Caec "Inmates" was possibly too harsh. The point being that there's a big difference in designing a game, and publishing one.

schlag sweetleaf
Guest
schlag sweetleaf

captainzor melissaheather Any Metalocalypse fans in the house?

captainzor
Guest
captainzor

melissaheather I think you would be pretty surprised to know when Hamill's voice is in something and you weren't aware it was him ;)

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

Vikingr Darkwalker75 
And he would probably sue you for it.

MikedotFoster
Guest
MikedotFoster

melissaheather WHAT BRO DO YOU EVEN JOKER

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

valentino dagher Oleg Chebeneev looks like a cutscene with Oldman though, would rather show a player avatar emoting/talking

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

Enikuo Wing Commander III:  Heart of the Tiger was good enough to be a hollywood movie. It was honestly better than the WC movie they made with Prinze.

This was 1994, most people were playing Genesis or SNES.   The leap to CD rom gaming and symphonic Dolby surround sound was simply breathtaking (3DO).  Truly one of the very first Interactive Movies. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he4G-TYh2CM

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

JRD and Serkis are amazing character actors.  Oldman is a master of accents.  Very good choices.  Hamill doesn't have a very distinctive or resonant voice, so not so sure about him.   He's more visual as an actor.

SomniumWintersun
Guest
SomniumWintersun

jefreahard theeknighthood No idea what i'll be doing when the game goes live, but figured I'll join you guys in the mean-time :). I was looking through the members list and saw someone was redacted. Was that who I think it was? :P

Taun
Guest
Taun

ohforfs I disagree, but I had to applaud your post.  It's very rare to see people use the vaporware term appropriately.   The success or failure of the game isn't yet determined. Guess we can all just wait & see. :~)

Kheran
Guest
Kheran

ichi plays SteveJackn111 Or actually liking video games and not hating because it's the general trend.

Vikingr
Guest
Vikingr

Mifune 
"It looks seamless because you can still move around on your ship
while the content loads. You can't move your ship around or anything..
it's a disguised loading mechanism."
No. Currently, the loading occurs when you pass through the clouds. Then the ship is guided to the landing pad from the ground on autopilot, because you aren't allowed to fly freely over the city. This is because -- 
a) they don't want you to crash into any scyscrapers, and
b) the planets aren't yet procedural generated so the city maps are not very large anyway.
This last point will change later on, when procedural generation is ready, but the first point is likely to stay because it's an in-game policy descision from ArcCorp to steer your ship down to a landing pad. On other planets it may be different.

Vikingr
Guest
Vikingr

Darkwalker75 
I'd given him the finger and hoped he would be furious, leap out of his car and attack me.

valentino dagher
Guest
valentino dagher

Oleg Chebeneev This is the level of quality they are going for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EC4WHPxnrk Everything is in game in that video

DugFromTheEarth
Guest
DugFromTheEarth

Darkwalker75 rioinsignia playerxx At this point, its worth spending money on SC just to see what Derek does next. Its a completely entertaining riot!

In a way, I think he is helping the game bring in more people! lol

Oleg Chebeneev
Guest
Oleg Chebeneev

I hope they improve faces and facial animation. It looks dated compared to stunning interiors.

Enikuo
Guest
Enikuo

The Squadron 42 ship tour was interesting. I never playing any of the Wing Commanders, so I didn't know they were so story heavy or how they had evolved. I haven't been following the game closely, but the Squadron 42 stuff has my attention.

rioinsignia
Guest
rioinsignia

ichi plays Darkwalker75  playerxx I can go one better....imagine you are the bike rider...and Derek is........Ronnie Pickering
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0dcv6GKNNw

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

ichi plays Darkwalker75 rioinsignia playerxx 
I would take one look in the rear view mirror, shake my head, and keep driving.
If he is a danger to other traffic I would call the police and have them deal with him.

Not encountered a scenario exactly like what you describe, but have encountered plenty of stupid people and idiotic driving in the 20+ years I had my drivers license.
Plenty of people who think they can intimidate you in traffic, I just ignore them.

deganderson
Guest
deganderson

Darkwalker75 I hope he rants so much because it is increasing his sales. I'm surely not going to buy any of the products he isn't working on, seeing he's too busy kicking the ones of others. Pathetic school yard behaviour even if he's right.

ichi plays
Guest
ichi plays

Darkwalker75 rioinsignia playerxx close your eyes and imagine that you've just cut off DS in traffic, and now he's behind you waving out the window and yelling at you to pull over!

ichi plays
Guest
ichi plays

SteveJackn111 and there have been a lot of poor ones recently on other sites, good to see someone staying pro.

Rustybladez
Guest
Rustybladez

Gibbins Play Assent: The Space Game.  Not sexy but has more features than ED right now.  Ships and graphics are not AAA, but the game over all is fun.

SteveJackn111
Guest
SteveJackn111

Jeff very nice article BTW

Professor K.
Guest
Professor K.

Actually came out of watching the citicon videos with a sense of pride, seeing how my funds have been spent. The ARK Project Map looks fantastic and has received quite a bit of use in my off-time over the past couple of days. The same goes w/ SQ42, glad to see the progress on that side of the project and even the alpha-based walkthrough of the Stanton. All in all, I'm glad to see CIG rise to to challenge and deliver accordingly..

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

ManastuUtakata Darkwalker75 Cyclone Jack Estranged 
Well I would have to find the ship first.
Given how vast space are, that's quite a challenge.

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Darkwalker75 Cyclone Jack Estranged 
...just follow the pink ship. <3

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

WatchOutWedge Darkwalker75 rioinsignia playerxx 
Best part is, the more he posts, the funnier it gets.

Theo454
Guest
Theo454

9thLEGION GeneMartin2  If you're walking on air, this seems appropriate ;) https://youtu.be/B4JCehDOy54

WatchOutWedge
Guest
WatchOutWedge

Darkwalker75 rioinsignia playerxx hahahahahahaha omg that is just...just wonderful!

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

Darkwalker75 rioinsignia playerxx lol

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

rioinsignia playerxx 
Someone posted an image of a meltdown he had on twitter right after CitCon in  the article detailing the event.

http://imgur.com/QGytBUI

Gibbins
Guest
Gibbins

Everything is pure speculation until the game is in a close to release state, however for me there is still one overarching concern, and that is the problem Chris Roberts has had realising ambition in the past.

That isn't to say he isn't trying, or that he isn't capable, but sometimes projects that grow and grow in scope and in the end deliver something that is smaller than the sum of it's parts.  I personally would be happy with a superbly realised space sim mmo without the FPS elements, but if he gets it right then good job.  Unfortunately it often doesn't work that way, and time has proven again and again that focusing on a single well thought out set of objectives works best rather than trying to do everything superbly at the same time.

Imagine a Ferrari, it's fast and looks good, but they go after the MPV market, and the off road market and maybe some extra luggage space, and some more comforts, and yeah, there's your lumpy slow Ferrari weighed down by stuff that it really doesn't need and in the end nobody gets real enjoyment from.

I hope I am wrong, but I would still rather see a fast as f*** good looking core space sim first, then they spend time doing the rest later.

Darkwalker75
Guest
Darkwalker75

Cyclone Jack Estranged 
I would go looking for that person just to see that.

wpDiscuz