On this week’s edition of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse, Sandi Gardiner does a happy dance as Chris Roberts updates viewers on how Evocati testing of the 3.0 alpha is going. CIG says that the testers are getting daily builds and finding fun new bugs, which has brought the must-fix bug total back up to 23 before it moves along to release (and backers no doubt find even more).
The feature segment of the episode is all about cockpits. Get your snickers out of the way, folks, because this actually looks awesome. You’re not just sitting in a chair; the cockpit experience is trying to be fully immersive with all the sticks and gizmos and buttons and screens and g-forces and hit reactions you’d expect if you were actually flying (a spaceship) in combat. Things might even catch on fire! You might even need to hit eject! Maybe watch the whole episode first, though. It’s down below.
If you need a break from counting down the time until Star Citizen alpha 3.0 is here, you could always just go buy a new concept ship. The new Origin X1 racing bike is a stylish futuristic speedster is more lightly armed than its contemporaries but makes up for it with a second shield generator and extra toughness. In lore, it’s described as
“a fast, maneuverable open-canopy racer that’s as much of a work of art while at rest as it is in motion. With thrusters seemlessly integrated into the sleek hull, the X1 organically fuses function with form and continues Origin’s proud legacy of luxury perfection.”
The low-end version will set you back just $35, but if you have cash to splash around on pixels, there’s a $1200 addon pack as well. You should probably check the new Q&A (and maybe yourself) before whipping out a credit card, however, as the X1 will not actually make it into alpha 3.0; it’s set for a more distant date.
Last week, the team at one point had the must-fix bug list down to 0, but it crept back up, forcing another delay for Evocati testers. Expect the latest update, in addition to the monthly report, by tomorrow.
What’s that sound? That’s the sound of Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 creeping ever closer, as the teams say they’ve made “substantial progress.”
In the latest edition of Around the Verse, Chris Roberts says the dev team is focused on “clearing out the remaining blockers,” while “the dev-ops team is going through the process of preparing the build for distribution.” They’ve cleaned up 19 more must-fix issues, with 7 more to go.
The feature for this episode centers on air traffic control, which sounds like a weird and boring thing my kids would play, but nope – it’s actually pretty important to landing ships in an open-world MMO, as it’s critical to help players land in a spot that’s actually big enough and actually empty. Otherwise, you’d be landing Serrenity II on top of my Millennium Falcon IV, and we can’t have that. The whole episode is below.
During this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I attempted to tackle a question sent in by commenter and listener Sally Bowls – specifically, she wanted us to speculate on what a post-launch monetization plan for Star Citizen might look like.
“Assuming they have a lot of overhead and expense, are they going to fire most of their employees at launch? Keep them and support them with subscriptions? DLC? Cosmetics? A stream of new ships would be my first guess – but new ships good enough that people spend $50M-$100M per year withouth causing old customers to think the new shiny invalidates their previous purchase? That seems to me a non-trivial tightrope to walk.”
Put away your instinct to joke that it won’t matter because Star Citizen is never coming out. Let’s just reasonably assume that it does eventually launch into something the studio will call more or less ready. How do you think Star Citizen will make money after launch? That’s the question I’ve posed the Massively OP team for this round of Massively Overthinking.
My husband and I were chatting about the whole Chris-Roberts-is-fed-up-with-trolls-and-date-estimates-that-everyone-knows-aren’t-going-to-stick thing from last week when he said something that struck me. “It reminds me of how people harangue George R. R. Martin (of Game of Thrones fame) about his next book,” he observed. “They believe he owes them something for being his loyal fans,” which you’ll recall once prompted famed author Neil Gaiman to declare, “George Martin is not your bitch.”
The difference, of course, is that George R. R. Martin can do whatever the heck he wants while he rolls around in his well-earned piles of money because his books aren’t crowdfunded. He quite literally doesn’t owe us anything, even if people who’ve been his fans for multiple decades might feel otherwise.
Crowfunded MMOs like Star Citizen aren’t quite in that position. Technically, you knew when your credit card number hit the screen that yours was a donation toward an idea. Some of the games we Kickstart? They fail. Or they drift in limbo. Or they don’t meet the vision. They aren’t all Path of Exile and Elite Dangerous is what I’m saying. But when those campaigns masquerade as pre-orders, people can be left with the idea that, well, they’re owed what they think they paid for.
Do you feel the MMO you’ve crowdfunded owe you something? Or are you content knowing you donated toward a vision of a better genre?
[Update: ArsTechnica now reports that a Cloud Imperium rep has gone on the record stating that some of the Redditor’s claims are fabrication, including the amount (CIG maintains it was $330, not $45000) and that the screenshots and videos depicting poor customer service are forgeries. We can confirm the same statements have now been made to us by the same CIG rep. Cheers, Cotic! The original article follows.]
If you’re as “fed up” with waiting for Star Citizen as Chris Roberts is “fed up” with providing endless moving release dates for alpha 3.0, there’s one recourse left to you: get a refund.
That appears to be precisely what one guild has done. A report on ArsTechnica points to claims on the Star Citizen Refunds subreddit, where an anonymous player has seemingly provided proof to the public and to moderators that he and his guild sought and received refunds on $45,000 worth of completionist packages (three for $15,000 apiece). He makes clear his antagonism toward the game, too.
Eurogamer’s just published a long Gamescom interview with Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts on Star Citizen, and anybody concerned about the state of 3.0 and its long delay and missed windows should probably give it a read — it may not change your mind, but it’s the gospel from the boss’ mouth. Also it’s significantly more entertaining than debating space poop.
Roberts first won’t agree that the 3.0 alpha, when we finally see it, constitutes beta. “With 3.0, the game is moving into a phase akin to Early Access,” he says, as “3.0 is the first time you’ll have some of the basic game loops and mechanics,” the first slice of the game with “proper persistence for your character, ship and items in terms of what their state is, their location is.” Terms like beta and early access, he says, are “just labels.”
“People still think of the old way [of making games], like my past games. We’d talk about a game for years, we’d show it, but no one would have their hands on it ’til it was out. There was an obsession with ‘when will it get released’. Even with those [traditional boxed] games now, they get patched, they add things, make things better over time.”
The capstone to Star Citizen’s Gamescom hoopla is slated for this afternoon at 3 p.m. EDT, when Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts takes the stage from Cologne for the core presentation of the game.
“We’re excited to be back at Gloria Theater on 9 p.m. (UTC) Friday, August 25th, for another great show. Hosted by Chris Roberts, showcasing some of what we’ve been working on this year, and delivering some never-seen-before gameplay! If you’re not there in person you can watch live on Twitch, or join one of the 20+ Bar Citizens around the world and watch with the community.”
Join us as we watch along below as it begins shortly, and don’t forget to get caught up on this week’s Star Citizen news so far.
With the high drama and surly community demanding Star Citizen 3.0 already, it’s made for a slightly awkward Gamescom appearance for the crew.
On the show floor, Erin and Chris Roberts were front and center for a live show in which they discussed little else but 3.0. The team is only showing the demo of a single moon at the show, while 3.0 will reportedly span an entire system. There’s a lot of parts that the devs need to finish up and make sure they work well together, such as getting more players into the same server space, character customization, survival mechanics, and ship items.
The team said that it wants “as many [players] as it can” fit on a server at 3.0’s launch, although whatever this cap will be will most certainly increase afterward.
If you’re still wondering what the holdup is with the Alpha 3.0 release, the Star Citizen team devoted this week’s entire Around the Verse show to going point-by-point through the various issues that the team is addressing. Check it out after the jump, and then check back this afternoon at 3 p.m. EDT when Roberts takes the stage for the big presentation.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Cologne this week for Gamescom, make sure you make your way over to the Star Citizen booth as it appears at least part of the 3.0 build — which you’ll recall has been severely delayed and is not available for backers just yet — is playable at the con.
If you can’t be there, of course, you can just set up a dedicated rig to stream the next four days of developer shows from the con floor, “leading up to the main event on Friday night, where Chris Roberts will share the latest on Star Citizen’s development (and as always a surprise or two) with a backer-only crowd.” The whole schedule is posted up on the official site.
Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner are helming another episode of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse this week, in the temporarily abbreviated format introduced previously. The headliner of the episode? MobiGlas, which is basically a super fancy in-game smartwatch that your character can use to display every imaginable statistic to you in an overlay interface. I want one!
The Burndown segment this week covers the team’s progress toward alpha 3.0. “If you saw our update to the Public Release Schedule last Friday, you should notice that we started this week at 90 must fix issues that we need to complete before we’re ready to release to our first round of non CIG testers,” Senior Producer Eric Kieron Davis says. “These 90 issues are our detailed lists with set priorities guiding the closed down phase of this release. The reason we need priorities is to help us understand which are crucial to be completed first. We currently use terms and definitions such as blocker, critical, high, moderate and trivial and identifying these issues all start with QA.”
Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts has taken the opening segment of this week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse episode to personally address the reasons behind the continuing delay of alpha 3.0.
“The majority of 3.0’s new features are almost complete, and we’ve shifted into the final phase of production process that focuses on feature and content integration, optimization and bug fixing,” he says. “But we want to make sure that it’s ready.”
In fact, the studio is planning to adjust how the Around the Verse weekly video works, replacing the developer report drop-ins with a new segment called Burn Down, which’ll provide an overview of production meetings and current work, along with a “weekly deep dive into a feature [CIG is] working on for the game,” though the normal AtV cadence will resume after 3.0 has launched.
This week’s deep-dive? Secondary viewports.
Ever wonder whether developers regret transparency? With Star Citizen, probably not so much when the money keeps coming anyway, even when the game’s 3.0 alpha and persistent universe continue being delayed.
In April, CIG estimated 3.0 for this summer, achieved mainly by pushing off many of its features to later in the year. Earlier this month, we found out that 3.0 would be delayed into August following a month in Evocati testing. And this week’s production schedule report suggests it’ll be even further delayed.
“This week, we entered the optimization, polish and bug fixing phase for the 3.0 feature set,” says CIG. “As there have been so many features and content implemented, we’ve encountered some stability issues that we want to address before going to a wider test audience. The ongoing work on the new Patcher system (that will save you from having to completely re-download each build) and some new bugs with CopyBuild3 (our internal version of the patcher) have also slowed us down. Because of this we have pushed back the Evocati and subsequent date ranges to reflect the additional time needed to get Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 ready for prime time.”