On this week’s episode of Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts bookend segments on the ship pipeline in the game. Did you know Star Citizen has introduced 114 ships, vehicles, and variants since the start of development? Neither did I. Here comes another one: the Aegis Vulcan. The adorably ugly and chunky ship is essentially a utility starter support spacecraft that packs in repairing, refueling, and rearming. Says CIG,
“It’s a versatile support ship. It’s there to support other ships. It’s not great at combat. It’s not great at transport. It’s not great at racing. It’s there for helping out with other ships. So if you’re that sort of person that is interested in the not more active combat side but helping others, then this is a really great entry into that, because it does allow you to help out massively for ships that run out of fuel, ships that have minor damage, ships that run out of ammo and any of these ships could be stuck out in deep space. They can call for your help, and you can go out there and give them just enough to get them where they need to go to. It’s sort of like the space AA or AAA for America. You call them up. They give you just enough to get to where you’re going, and then you can do your full repairs, rearm, refuel there.”
It’s also for sale as part of the early VIP optioning system. It’s $185 right now (warbond price), and
it is actually scheduled to no, it won’t make it into the 3.1 alpha (thanks Dividian).
Chris Roberts is joined by CIG Leader Writer Dave Haddock for this week’s episode of Star Citizen Around the Verse, during which they check in with multiple studio reps who reinforce the decision to move to quarterly releases as well as better organize projects within the individual studios to actually deliver 3.0.1. And the deep-dive this week? It’s all about weapons. Pew pew. Specifically weapon balancing.
“We want to make sure that each weapon type – say the scatter gun – is relatively balanced towards a cannon weapon type or a hypothetical beam cannon type,” Tech Designer Andrew Nicholson explains. “So the scatter gun will do more damage that a regular cannon but obviously it’s rate of fire is slower. And we just make sure that all these parameters fit in the correct range that we give them on a per size basis, and that nothing is too strong or too weak.”
Meanwhile, the Crytek lawsuit continues. As of yesterday, the judge in the suit canceled the hearing with oral arguments set for today, noting she would be considering the existing arguments for and against dismissal.
The Star Citizen crew is back to work on Squadron 42 in 2018, as chronicled in the latest episode of Around the Verse. The Frankfurt studio, now up to 79 people, says it’s hard at work on fog and lighting, AI, graphics, weapons, engine performance, and ambient occlusion. The feature bit is all about the cinematics whipped up for the big stream reveal just before Christmas – you’ll recall it as the scene where Mark Hamill is kind of a jerk to your noob self.
Meanwhile, CIG has also just released its monthly studio report. And as teased earlier this week, the Star Citizen 3.0.1 alpha has landed on the PTU for testing, although you’ll note that now you’ll need a subscription to guarantee your earliest access to it, else you’ll wait for your invite. Bonus, now the game has monocles.
On this week’s Around the Verse, the Star Citizen devs are dipping into Squadron 42 specifically to explain the design behind the Coil, a massive electrical space storm left in the chunky, spooky, gaseous ruins of a system that went supernova.
Meanwhile, CIG sent around a press blast touting what is apparently the first phase of its brand-new website, intended to help newbies find their space legs and to “introduce cohesiveness” between Star Citizen and Squadron 42.
And finally, this week CIG released a stunning alpha 3.0 feature trailer showing an orbital ship battle… and what happens afterward. We’ve tucked that below too.
Star Citizen just wouldn’t be Star Citizen without its obsession with meticulously crafted starships, and they’re exactly the focus of the Ship Shape segment in this week’s Around the Verse. After an interminably long round of introductions, Chris Roberts and company discuss how ships are born.
“It’s a long process,” Roberts quips. “It involves approximately 49 years of obsessively watching science fiction films and TV shows and reading a lot of science fiction novels, plus being a bit of a World War I and World War II enthusiast, and taking all of that and then coming up with various ideas for ships that have sort of been inspired by things that you’ve seen, things that you’ve read, things you know in the real world that fill in the various roles that we have in the game.”
Things like, you know, Serenity or the Millennium Falcon, to which you surely have an “emotional attachment,” he posits. “So we balance the combination of the practical needs that we want to fill in from the game requirements with the sense of an emotional attachment, so it’s not just a purely kind of cold pragmatic science.”
Now that Star Citizen’s Alpha 3.0 is finally here, the team has a high outlook for the development process going forward. In this week’s Around the Verse, RSI says that future patches will be more predictable and will come out on specific dates instead of falling behind due to feature delays.
“There was actually a lot of debate as to whether or not we should cut some of the critical foundational features from 3.0 and push them into 3.1,” said Persistent Universe Director Tony Zurovec. “But we really wanted to ensure that we got the basic skeleton for what we’re going to need for all of the evolutionary gameplay enhancements that we’re going to deliver in all of the 3.x series — 3.1, 3.2, 3.3 — on a quarterly basis next year.”
The team is still evaluating how all of the technology that went into 3.0 is functioning together, which is why Patch 3.1 is going to focus on performance and improving the reportedly low frame rates that players are seeing. Past that, Patch 3.2 is slated to receive the first iteration of mining.
Is it ready? Probably not, but Star Citizen backers can all play the 3.0 alpha today anyway.
“We’ve enabled all backers to participate in the current PTU build,” CIG announced this morning to Spectrum forumgoers. “If you have a game package, you can follow these instructions to test 3.0!”
The Around the Verse “holiday special” Twitch stream was rescheduled from yesterday to today at 3 p.m. EST thanks to technical issues; you can watch it down below for the Star Citizen recap and Squadron 42 status report.
If you were waiting up for the Star Citizen/Squadron 42 holiday special Around the Verse stream slated for today, looks like you’re going to be playing video games instead of watching them, as CIG has just announced that it’s postponing the stream until tomorrow over technical difficulties.
“Due to technical issues, we are pushing our Holiday ATV Special by 24 hours. As you can imagine, there are multiple pieces that we’ve been pulling together for this episode, which is now running around two hours in length. We’re also planning on finally revealing some long-awaited Squadron 42 gameplay. In the course of going over final reviews this morning, we’ve encountered a few technical issues. Though the team is still hard at work to quickly resolve these, we didn’t want to delay the Holiday Special to a later time or inconvenience our backers around the world. Pushing the episode a day later felt like the best option to accommodate our global audience. We hope you can join us tomorrow for this very special episode.”
The episode is expected to lay out a timeline for the delayed Squadron 42 spinoff. You can get a peek into what’s in store with yesterday’s video reveal.
Shake it off, Star Citizen: On this week’s Around the Verse, CIG says it’s “getting close to live release,” stress testing the current version of the game with 176 must-fix issues still to go. Is that too many to make it by 2018? Probably! Are they still trying anyway? Probably! The back half of the episode focuses on atmospheric flight (and yes, it’s just going to make Star Wars Galaxies fans sad) as the engineers explain how they’re making flying spaceships near the ground feel as real as possible for different sizes and types of vessels and atmo situations.
Meanwhile, as MOP reader Space Captain Zor pointed out yesterday, CIG has pegged December 20th for the Squadron 42 details promised for this month back at CitizenCon; that rollout will apparently include an exclusive newsletter, Mark Hamill teaser video, and report during next week’s streamed ATV. That’d be the same Squadron 42 over whose existence Crytek is currently suing CIG. 2018 is going to stretch our popcorn budgets thin!
Is Star Citizen alpha 3.0 going to make it past the PTU testers to the live server by Christmas? It’s looking pretty tight. According to the game’s weekly Around the Verse, CIG is “making steady progress” thanks to the latest influx of testers, thousands of whom are helping the studio test stability and server performance on some of the heavy game features (like shopping). The team says it has 240 must-fix issues to go before 3.0 goes “live.”
The second half of this week’s episode digs into “gravlev tech,” which is basically a fancy way of explaining the physics system that makes bikes appear to levitate off the ground when traveling on planetary surfaces, without using some sort of kludgey “invisible wheel” to make it happen. Hoverbikes, basically, but as realistic-looking as possible. Check it all out below!
What’s Cloud Imperium been up to the last month? Oh nothing much, just frantically trying to prepare Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 to debut ahead of the holidays – that’s the gist of the studio’s monthly report, anyway. “Since our last report, we’ve gone to Evocati and begun a staggered release to the PTU, so the team’s busy fixing bugs discovered by the testers and working on overall stability and performance,” says the studio.
There’s the usual round of check-ins from the globally scattered studios and several notes about the long-delayed Squadron 42 as the teams work on parsing MoCap data and animations: “Lots of Squadron 42 specific tasks were tackled. [… W]ork ranged from Coil-specific plasma experiments, to mysterious debris clusters, and distant storms brewing.” Indeed, as some teams – like the lighting team – finish their work on 3.0, they’re turning back to S42, and the holiday livestream is set to feature the standalone game prominently as well.
All week, CIG has been rolling out multiple anniversary videos in a mini-series for Around the Verse, the most notable of which heralded the new land claim sales that have some backers and watchers all riled up. We’ve recapped them all below.
This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse doesn’t pull any punches: Indeed, it heralds the expansion of 3.0 testing to several more tiers of backers and testers, meaning you should go grab the PTU launcher and get to work having fun.
“The goal of this initial PTU release is to increase our total player count in an effort test concurrency,” CIG says. “We also need you to focus on testing the traversal system by quantum traveling, landing on moons, locating and visiting Levski, and just exploring the great expanse of space around Crusader. Please note that the complete Alpha 3.0 experience is not in this build, as some features are still being implemented and refined. These features will be added to future builds when ready for wider testing.”
With the studio rumored to be in crunch mode and heading into the holidays, the ATV itself is short, focusing entirely on an extended Burndown segment that reads like a game dev reality show. Eric Kieron Davis does say the team burned through enough of the outstanding 179 issues from last week to get to this point. “From here we’ll be releasing updates to more and more PTU testers until we feel thorough improvements have been completed, then 3.0 will be released live.”
If you lost your mind over Star Citizen’s procedural cities reveals at CitizenCon a few weeks ago, you definitely need to tune in to this week’s Around the Verse, where city tech is the star of the episode (if a bit backloaded).
“We are just working on human cities at the moment,” CIG’s Wai-Hung Wan explains. “I would love to see how we tackle alien cities. Is that going to be completely random? Are we going to have some or a greater degree of refinement by hand? I don’t know yet. I would hope even on an alien civilisation they have some degree of control and they would make logical, intelligent choices about where they would place specific buildings – even recreational facilities – so each time you visit that location it will look exactly the same as you left it.”
Studio Director Eric Kieron Davis says the team has checked in over 700 updates since last week (with 197 total issues, not bugs, remaining to address 3.0). “We are making steady progress to get [the 3.0 alpha] into your hands as quickly as possible,” he says.