The Star Citizen subreddit is in the middle of a massive flamewar as a big backer loses faith

Star Citizen drama on the internet – who’d have seen that coming, right? If you run a search for Star Citizen drama just on the current version of Massively OP, you’ll find piles of threads that qualify, all the way back to the 2015 “long troll” mess.

But the current drama brewing on Reddit isn’t about the Crytek lawsuit, endless alpha delays, subber perks, feature creep, refunds, or ridiculous whaling. Nope. It’s about losing hope. Right now, a massive thread has racked up 1500 upvotes from the Star Citizen Reddit community, as players weigh in on a long concern post from a fellow backer with $4500 in the game.

Criticizing both CIG for turning a “neat little space sim with multiplayer coop missions” into an “MMO [he] didn’t ask for” and the community for letting CIG get away with it, Redditor firefly212 (as reposted by Sean_Murray_ [but not that Sean Murray]) writes that he has MS and his “body gets a little worse with each passing year,” so it’s doubly frustrating that the game is taking so long.

“There’s also a degree of denialism in the defense of CIG’s frankly shady marketing tactics… they say stuff [about the ship sale LTI grace period] then just kind of dance around it with creative wording… then they move on to [a totally new LTI plan] and play semantic games with what a ‘pledge’ is. Even for the Q&A’s, where we get hypothetical transparency, to Q&A’s frequently don’t match the product like the uniquely Aegis Starfarer Gemini. […] Add onto that a complete lack of transparent financials, TOS that lock people into arbitration that costs two hundred bucks to file for, and the fact CIG/RSI haven’t voluntarily issued a refund since january, and what you’ve got is a bunch of pissed off people who feel like they’ve been conned, but CIG won’t let them just have refunds and go away. There’s even more denialism when it comes to the actual development process itself… you get attacked vitriolically if you point out that CIG seem to have an inability to feature lock anything, or that when you say something is ‘right around the corner’ in 2016, people may be frustrated when it doesn’t come in 2017, and you can’t even put out a roadmap to it in 2018, for fear of accidentally showing backers just how far away SQ42 still is from done. I’ll grant you that I manage AI/ML/HL projects, not gaming things, but if I missed my stakeholder facing goals as consistently as CIG/RSI do, I’d be fired, and rightly so.”

1200 comments later and the community is alternately nodding along in agreement or roasting the OP, basically airing the game’s biggest problems (chiefly, development progress and refund hassles) in an open forum.

“The game may be brilliant eventually, and I get why so many of you want it to happen, but I don’t see why I have to be dragged along in this adventure that’s nothing like what I originally signed up for,” he concludes. “I don’t hate the backers, or the game, but I do want off this crazy ride.”

Source: Reddit. Thanks, Cotic!
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292 Comments on "The Star Citizen subreddit is in the middle of a massive flamewar as a big backer loses faith"

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Gene Elder

They need to do three things to get my faith back.

1) promote Erin Roberts to Gamer Director, the guy that makes ALL final decisions, and demote Chris to Creative Director, or the guy that makes decisions on how the game looks. He really needs his tendency to micromanage every damn thing reigned in.

2) Stop wasting resources on the roadmap to nowhere, and focus on completing the engine and locking the features for an actual, dictionary definition, ALPHA. I understand needing the elaborate tech demo PU for backers to see something, anything as progress, but they will never finish the engine as long as they keep adding features with every concept sale because they need revenues. Finish the Engine and lock the features down and go from there.

3) Give us as much information about Squadron 42 as Star Citizen. The media blackout on the single player game isnt saving people from the story line, its make people worry there is little to no progress on the single player game, and can only gauge what progress might be made by the progress of the PU. After all, both games share mechanics, and the game mechanics in the PU are woefully underdeveloped or missing entirely.

I do believe the game has impressive technology, and I know the game has impressive fidelity. I also know Arena Commander is by magnitudes better than Derek Smart has ever produced or released, so there is that. If Chris can be reigned in, there is a chance the game will reach an actual ALPHA, BETA and finally RELEASE. I pray, because I want to see the game, but I would have been happy with Customization ships with components, Skyboxes and Landing Zones, and fun to play Professions with an RPG Skill Tree. I dont need actual space distances.. lie to me if it means the game comes out in my lifetime.

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Kickstarter Donor
flying_dutchman

Glad I decided to stay out of this quagmire. I almost handed them some money early-on but their crazy cash-grabbing and feature creep made me decide to wait on launch. It’s now five years later and I’m happily still waiting with all my money still in my pocket.

Not saying this wont be a great game at somepoint but the current game is still very concept rich and feature poor.

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John Kennedy

Classic case of bad management. Ton of money came in, said yes to every idea they had and now they’re having to put so much effort into maintaining that cash flow to finish the work that at this point probably seems insurmountable.

I’m just hoping they can get Squadron 42 out the door, as that’s the only aspect of the game I ever gave a shit about and still want to play.

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Santiago Draco

I’m hopeful the game will deliver… but the constant introduction of new ships… while the previous ships were promised as the “creme of the crop” (Constellation Phoenix anyone?) is utter bullshit. Constant cash grab bs using the whole “keeping up with the Joneses” psychology shenanigans. Frankly they should be required by law to provide refunds for crowdfunded products that have not shipped. Not one person has received the final product so they should not be obligated.

You’d see things change mighty quick if the law protected consumers form these money grubbing companies by requiring refunds prior to release.

flyingltj
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flyingltj

I’m sure that pivot to presidential… I mean release… is going to happen any day now.

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Kevin McCaughey

What really gets me about this thing is the apologists for the project, who are all going to magically go missing the day it is announced the project is over. Fanbois are ruining gaming.

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Aaron Biegalski

I backed for the base price and basically ignored the game since.

Part of me is concerned that this whole thing has gotten completely out of hand. The other parts says that I am doing the right thing by wiping it from my mind.

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Geux Bacon

Thats exactly what I did. I logged in to the website for the first time in over 2 years cause I couldn’t honestly remember if I pledged 45 or 60. Turns out it was just 45 in mid 2015. So I had already waited a few years before being willing to give them even that much.

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Loyal Patron
Byórðæįr

not going to join the wine and cheese manics but I think if people have questions as to what the early backers paid as little as five dollars to prove that self publishing works.


Real quick, Star Citizen is:

A rich universe focused on epic space adventure, trading and dogfighting in first person.
Single Player – Offline or Online(Drop in / Drop out co-op play)
Persistent Universe (hosted by US)
Mod-able multiplayer (hosted by YOU)
No Subscriptions
No Pay to Win

that suggests that one that the pu has always been a massive mmo. the modable is still in the cards as far as everything rsi said, which suggests that rsi is still working on the game engine and people can see the progress. forking code means that a developer put code into the engine that turned out to be proprietary and the proprietary code goes on the right branch for if the code ever is usable, and the open source or legally licensed stuff goes on the left branch.

The high level backers got to see the faces and a working 3.2 about almost nine months ago and as a result the faces customization was moved ahead of other stuff so that everyone did not feel like they were agent smith. as far as stake holder goals, there was a poll years ago if people wanted the game in six months or what they promised. since it is a company there is no board of trusttees so people have to wait for the game. Personally as the idiot who bought out a companies stock by buying the voting stock that people traded the dollar stocks because they got tired of waiting for that corp to do what they promised and I have to wait for the securities exchange commission to investigate and figure out why that board has any control at this point, I a glad rsi can make us wait until they fix it since their personal best interest is not to ruin their ip but make money on it.

tenakafurey
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tenakafurey

Real quick, Star Citizen is:

A POTENTIALLY rich universe that MAY BE focused on epic space adventure, trading and dogfighting in first person.
Single Player – Offline or Online(Drop in / Drop out co-op play)….but you have to buy a separate game for the single player experience
Persistent Universe (hosted by US)…if CIG ever get it working
Mod-able multiplayer (hosted by YOU)…if CIG ever get it working
No Subscriptions…we hope but there will likely be “premium” subscriptions
Pay to Win

As for your hope that RSI can take their tune because they want to make their money and not ruin their IP….

Too late.
The IP had potential but the game itself is becoming more and more of a joke. That, to me, is very disappointing but even the press coverage is becoming more and more negative, more and more questioning. There is a notable shift, even on the SC forums and reddits.

And CIG have already made their money. $187 million and counting.

And what did they do with it? What have they produced?

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syberghost

Didn’t they say in a dev stream recently that “hosted by YOU” was off the table?

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dsmart

Didn’t they say in a dev stream recently that “hosted by YOU” was off the table?

Yes – that would be private servers. Like co-op in SQ42, that’s also been killed. As has VR and a litany of similar promises made back in 2012.

Oh, also, they’re no longer even focused on shipping a final game as promised. Instead, Chris says they’re embracing the MVP / Early Access model. Which is why when they released 3.0 in Dec 2017, they stopped doing refunds.

Yes – it’s a complete scam.

Ken Smith
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Ken Smith

Oh look…Derek Smart is lying again..shocking.

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Joe Blobers

Boy,

Honesty would also require to pinpoint that Co-Op Support for Squadron 42 was always limited to missions and not a full all SQ42 C-Op experience:

Erin Roberts, 2014:
We have also included a multiplayer mode which gives the possibility for both coop and PvP. The multiplayer mode is about short, intense mission instead of telling a story. The Background for the choice is because different players make different choices and are focusing on different things. We didn’t want the experience to be unbalanced because some only play through the story, and others only play the side missions” says Roberts. “As in the single player campaign,will the multiplayer mission play out both in space and on the ground? A variant we’re working on lets each team move on the outside of their ships, where they can try shooting each other.

Same for VR, honesty would require that you deliver the right message and not pick what please you: 29th January 2018: Star Citizen Will Still Get VR Support, Chris Roberts Confirms

CR said: “Star Citizen his never to be finished as an MMO… ” also on Kickstarter page (2012 not 2016 like this video…)

Constantly expanding and evolving universe
We’re committed to making Star Citizen a living, breathing universe that is its own entity. It will be a constantly shifting and evolving place for players to explore and affect.

Micro updates rule!
We’re not interested in having yearly updates. Once live, we will have a team of people adding content on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. So we’ll always be adding data, stories and campaigns as well as reacting to the needs and actions of the players.

Indeed the whole MMO concept embrace by extension the early access concept model :)…
If you like to have 10 billion’s planets… pick ED. Star Citizen with his PG model could duplicate it in a couple of weeks… So they can deliver the 100 systems promised without problem… But better more handcraft systems locations than 100 generic systems ala ED.
Beside the 100 systems… go pretend something is cut even with early access model while nothing more than 100 systems where described :) and as I explained, they can deliver them without problem.

The scam is your permanent ranting about how or why seniors developers should have made a Triple-A while you prove to be incompetent yourself by releaseing 15 times the same game without gathering more than 2 concurrent players (real steam data!) after 20 years… before being kicked out of Steam… Scam did you say?

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Joe Blobers

Quote Tenakafurey: “the press coverage is becoming more and more negative, more and more questioning”

You mean the “27K package” drama or now this E3 trailer?

SC get served every month a new “drama” story. The 27k package is a joke, no one is going to buy it except one or two org who did request this specific package.
It is proven by facts and numbers, that players of an Org of 100 in WOW are close to pay this… per year, depending if there is an extension this year plus micro-transaction of mount/hat/skin purchase.

The shift is the same at every quarter. Replace 27k package by any past “drama”: Loan, refund, laundering money… whatever match the fantasy of the moment and a “shift” happen.
That specific situation will return to normal as soon CIG do provide a SQ42 roadmap and have successfully released most features of planned next 4 patch.

About Single and multiplayer experience, it was included in original Kickstarter and splitted in Mid-2014. Visible by everyone as nobody can pledge through original Kickstarter page. Still, both are currently the same price than one Publisher single Triple-A with or without season pass…

Nobody say CIG did not made their money. Still thiq iq a company that anticipate and have to ensure a reasonnable income flow to keep a safe wallet of cash, hence they offer concept ship to those looking to support the project.

Whales are a fraction. Someone with a starter package can choose to upgrade to a medium ship or more a specialized ship… or wait for further patch or Beta.

tenakafurey
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tenakafurey

Not just the 27k fiasco…no. The tone has been shifting for some time.

As for “have to ensure a reasonable income” of cash….

Why?

This is a game that has raised $187 million. It was fully funded at $2 million…at $6 million…at $20 million….no, at $23 million because Chris Roberts deserved $3 million backpay for the work he did before Kickstarter….at $65 million….and again, “fully funded” at 100 million

AAA games do take a lot of money. I know this. But they also produce results. CIG has spent over $150 million so far. What it has produced…even counting 3.2…has less content and gameplay than several proof of concept demos I have seen, less even than some indie games produced in a coders bedroom.

CIG has an engine that needs major work to get it to a release standard….and that is without worrying about the critical sections that are missing. CIG are still doing basic design work…that should have been done years ago.

So the answer to why do they need a massive income stream appears to be because they are using the money to heat their buildings by tossing it on the fire.

AAA games take a lot of money because they out a lot of effort into graphics…into detail…into content. They create entire worlds and cities for us to explore.

What none of them do is spend $150million on a preAlpha or take six years to create or modify a half finished game engine.

Truth is…and you won’t accept this….Star Citizen could have been created for less than $50 million.

CIG is too big and has too many staff but not enough developers for a AAA game. It is wasting huge amounts of money through gross mismanagement and extravagance. It has raised $187 million….but achieved something that would be expensive at $10 million.

So….no. They don’t need that income stream to develop the game. They need that income stream because they are spendthrift and extravagant and because their backers have proven the slightest hint of progress will be handsomely rewarded.

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dsmart

Truth is…and you won’t accept this….Star Citizen could have been created for less than $50 million.

As I have stated before, I could have done it for $20M.

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Joe Blobers

20M$ was the budget (according to you) to your 15’s attempt to release the disaster of “game” you served to players 20 years ago…

This “gem” is since 2016 buried deep down in an obscur site with no refund policy… Despite, according to you, being the sum of both Star Citizen and PlanetSide 2, but was gathering an incredible amount of 2 concurrent players while on early access on Steam… for years.

You realize that it is clear for all to see?

((Edited by mod. Seriously, stop calling black men “boy.” It is a racist dogwhistle in the US.))

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Joe Blobers

Tenakafurey, you are entitled to your very own interpretation and seems to be very aware of Cry Engine at large and heavily code rework done by CIG so far. Great, we do not have often game engine specialist able to provide deep insight.

You said with certainty that:”CIG has an engine that needs major work to get it to a release standard….and that is without worrying about the critical sections that are missing

Please feel free to name the critical sections missing (we know already about Bind Culling having substantial inpact on overall data server exchange) , % of completion in current dev. build and how it is linked to others “major work”? Which one? We are eager to see your precise technical insight… really.

Also: ” What none of them do is spend $150million on a preAlpha or take six years to create or modify a half finished game engine

So first you missed to aggregate all costs involved. Publishers releasing a triple-A for 50M$… spend already 4 times this amount during the last decade to create their company, hired thousands of devs, create full uptodate pipelines and engines… and spending even more in dividend to shareholders and middlemen organization.

and: “ Star Citizen could have been created for less than $50 million.”
Sure. And we would have an ED clone… precisely what backers do not want because.. they already have ED as alternate space game experience, released since years… but wait a minute. ED was Gold released mid 2014… and CIG pledges switch from 31M$ in 2013 to 34M$ in 2014 and 36M$ in the 2 following years…
Does it means Backers are looking for an ED clone to you or that they do support another project? Clearly the later.

Facts and numbers. Waiting for you game engine explanation versus date of completion of missing code. A roadmap would be appreciated :)

tenakafurey
Reader
tenakafurey

Joe Blobers I have to be quick but I’ll try to cover your questions.

You ask what section of the engine are missing and then answer with NBC. The situation is a little more complex than that. The netcode that 3.x is using is a modified version of that originally shipped with CE3. It has been improved but the truth remains that CEs entire netcode is woefully inadequate for handling an MMO. When CIG yet again delayed its NBC implementation because OCS had yet to be implemented and the interaction between the two systems was what it was, that is an example. CIG needs to do more than improve the netcode it has…if it is to meet the promises it has made, it needs to replace it entirely with a new solution. The lack of fundamental design in this area and the apparent lack of focus can only hamper this.

Related to this is the code related to servers, specifically dealing with server clusters, instance creation and holding, communication between them and so on. CIG has…or has not …at least begun design work on how to implement said systems but has not yet begun to code them into the game.

These two systems are fundamental to the game as it has been promised, and both are awaiting their turn to be added to the game. Unfortunately, neither are really the type of system which can simply be bolted on and adding these systems after the fact will, by necessity, require substantial reworking of the existing codebase. Systems such as this should have been discussed and decided upon in the design phase and up and running before game development began.

CIG could attempt to short circuit the entire process of course. It could continue to improve the current existing netcode rather than replace it. But that in turn would impose certain limitations upon the design of the game that would contradict the vision.

It could try developing both at the same time, but that leads to unnecessary complexity and bloat in the code.

And doesn’t change that the game still lacks appropriate netcode. At least, for the vision we’ve been promised.

As for the rest of your response…the idea about aggregation of the costs is new. I’ve not seen a SC backer use that particular argument before so bravo. Well done.

Unfortunately, it is simply the old “CIG had to set up a studio” excuse given a new flavour.

When you hear that SWTOR cost $150 million or that Witcher 3 took $70 million to develop, are you of the opinion that capital costs are excluded from that figure?

When you argue that Chris Roberts had to spend time and money hiring staff, are you of the opinion that AAA development teams are immune from such HR issues?

When you argue that development time was increased because of the need to hire people, are you of the opinion that developers drop everything to interview people?

This argument of yours ignores the reality of how development teams work in reality.

CIG started small and had to ramp up its development team?
Welcome to the world of software development. Teams dedicated to projects ALWAYS start small and ALWAYS ramp up.

CIG needed to spend time to interview and hire devs?
This isn’t different with other AAA teams. Even internal recruitment requires interviews and can be a hindrance if their existing manager doesn’t want to let them go. Development teams with 1000 people don’t spring up overnight, even in the largest conpanies.

To keep it short….CIG has faced no issue other development teams have not. They need to hire and fire and manage staff. They need to manage a project. They need to budget time and money, pay for licenses and training, account for familiarisation. Rent and power and equipment and sickness and more must be accounted for.

CIG are not special.

And no….$50 million wouldn’t buy an ED clone. It’d buy SC.

CIG loves justifying the time it has taken by claiming ground breaking research. What this “research” is appears to be finding ways to integrate existing technologies, some of them standard and decades old, into the game rather than developing anything new.

Serialized Variables, RaaT, Localised Physics Grids and more….they’ve all been used before.

CIG would have gotten more value for money by writing an engine customised to accept all these technologies rather than try to shoehorn them into an existing engine and working around the inherent limitations of that engine.

Spending two or three years designing the game and mapping out the gameplay, mechanics, instance limitations and so on would also help cut down costs. And would have presented the coders with a feature locked design right from the start rather than have a manager that seems to enjoy adding anything shiny that catches his eye.

Star Citizen is eminently doable. But the engine needs work, the game needs a design to work from and someone should tell Chris Roberts that his understanding of “feature lock” appears very different from everybody elses.

Add in the focus on polishing preAlpha code, the emphasis on creating assets to be deleted rather than gameplay, the poor project management and so on and CIG are getting VERY poor value for their dollars.

So…yes. $50 million, assuming decent project management, should get you Star Citizen. But, as thing are now, CIG are going to need at least another 4 years to finish, unless they start cutting content.

Anyway…I have got to go but hopefully this may be of interest. I doubt it’ll change your mind though.

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Joe Blobers

Thanks tenakafurey.

I won’t even reply to the other guy because you clearly made an effort while for him he see it as a “master-stroke”… while it is just another opinion.

Taking “It has been improved but the truth remains that CEs entire netcode is woefully inadequate for handling an MMO. “

That was known and communicated by CIG. There are many threads about Bind Culling and OCS, even wording included in roadmap. So the question is not about having a perfect engine that does not exist in any company but how they are going to handle this known issue while matching Backers expectation in terms of roadmap.
Some say 4 years, some say never… whatever match their incomplete vision of current dev engine tweaked version or for some, their own agenda.

Also,

CIG would have gotten more value for money by writing an engine customised to accept all these technologies rather than try to shoehorn them into an existing engine and working around the inherent limitations of that engine.

They lenghtly explained why they picked Cry Engine at start. Now this is pretty easy to say 6 years after what they should have done as potential option B… CR did not know (nor Backers) what would be the funding end of 2014.
Do you think they would have picked the same option if they knew every single events of the next 6 years? We know the answer.

Also

So…yes. $50 million, assuming decent project management, should get you Star Citizen.

So… no 50M$ are not enough. Your “mistake” is to think Backers are looking for something decent. They don’t. They are looking for mind blowing experience.

You did not change my mind and I explained why. Thanks anyway for taking the time to explain your point of view.

Reader
dsmart

CIG would have gotten more value for money by writing an engine customised to accept all these technologies rather than try to shoehorn them into an existing engine and working around the inherent limitations of that engine.

ahem!

ps: That entire post was a master-stroke. Well done. Too bad it’s just going to mostly fall on deaf ears because there is NOTHING that ANY of us can say to change their minds or cause them to change their stance. Not that we care, or trying to get them to do that. To me, it’s so hilarious that what’s coming next is a gift from the God Of Lols.

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Joe Blobers

Bree I got it since day one. As you say: “sometimes the person you try it on actually knows”… we can reasonnably say this is exception rather than the rule :)

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dsmart

Joe, this is why you shouldn’t gish gallop. Not only is it exhausting for bystanders, but sometimes the person you try it on actually knows what they’re talking about and is patient enough to actually answer.

We all least he doesn’t copy and paste anymore. So we get some new hilarious material to lol at.

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Joe Blobers

((Deleted by mod. STOP CALLING BLACK MEN “BOY.” YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED FOR MONTHS.))

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Night Train123

Please feel free to name the critical sections missing (we know already about Bind Culling having substantial inpact on overall data server exchange)

You just said it yourself but you act like the netcode and server solutions are just something trivial which can be bolted on to easily ‘optimise’ the game. Just because CIG blow smoke about blind culling and object container streaming doesn’t mean they can easily implement them. Where is the proof of concept for an MMO of this scale?

Reader
Joe Blobers

Quote Night Train123: “You just said it yourself but you act like the netcode and server solutions are just something trivial which can be bolted on to easily ‘optimise’ the game.”

You realize that I never said or imply it was trivial right? In fact it is not. This why I added: “… % of completion in current dev. build and how it is linked to others “major work”?

For proof of concept, don’t look further: Star Citizen + Roadmap + patch delivered. The day Bind Culling + OCS are in one of the released patch you will have your answer :)

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kgptzac

Just gonna leave an agreeable quote here regarding why CIG won’t feature lock the game.

When the crux of your marketing plan is to get people to pay you for their own imagination, the last thing you want to do is lock down features and ground things in reality. CR promised anything and everything as a feature in SC so not to limits peoples’ idealized vision of the completed game. Then they simply pump out some concept images, a bit of lore text and ships (literally pictures of ships, mind you) and people start paying for how they imagine the ship will operate in the version of the game that’s in their head, since only about 1/10th game exists in real life at the moment. If features were locked and we could see prototype builds, the reality of the game-play systems may not match up with what people envisioned and they’d probably pass on a lot of ships. Until all of the core features are in the game, selling people back their own imagination is the only way CiG can fund development.

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Kvarin Sunermidst

Well now that the game has reached cult status and is very much as Faith based as religion itself, there are no words or debates that will deter the bulk of supporters.

I really feel bad for the guy, but money doesn’t follow us into the afterlife. He may just have to cut his losses and be a bit more careful next time.

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Kevin McCaughey

Tell that to L Ron Hubbard lol :)

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Kickstarter Donor
Dividion

Yep, money doesn’t follow us into the afterlife.
Give to C-R what is C-R’s, and give to God what is God’s.
:)