Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
While it surely won’t comfort anyone angrily counting down the days until alpha 3.0’s eventual release to all backers, Star Citizen’s CitizenCon 2017 delivered an enticing look at what players can expect in the more distant future of the game’s development: specifically, the persistent universe mechanics brought down to the city scale. Cloud Imperium’s Chris Roberts likened the cityscapes to Star Wars’ Coruscant or Blade Runner’s dystopian sci-fi urban settings as the demo video zipped across the planet’s smoggy surface. The downside? There’s no ETA for when these ideas and demos will be realized as truly playable.
The Star Citizen subreddit has exploded over the last couple of days as attendees and home-viewers pile in to share clips and interviews, bicker over the business model, and trade notes on the 3.0 demo. Roberts did tell attendees the game will be switching over to “date-driven content release schedule“; he also clarified his old “5-10 star systems at release” misquote and spoke to the game’s post-launch monetization, telling Eli Paley that the studio’s goal is to charge only for game packages, though it will reassess if that doesn’t properly support the game post-launch. “Our goal is that you buy a game package, or you can buy some credits, or you can earn money in the game – that’s our monetization strategy,” he says. “That’s what I’m planning. We have other things, like subscriptions, for people supporting community content.”
As part of its CitizenCon 2017 reveals this morning – or this afternoon, if you’re local to Frankfurt, where the event is taking place – Cloud Imperium announced a partnership with Intel. Why do you care? The deal means an in-game Star Citizen ship will be provided along with your real-world purchase of an Intel Optane 900P Series SSD.
“The Intel Optane SSD 900P Series delivers incredibly low latency and best-in-class random read and write performance at low queue depths – up to four times faster than competitive NAND-based SSDs – opening incredible new possibilities. With the new SSDs, users will unlock more potential from their platform. The Intel Optane SSD 900P Series is ideal for the most demanding storage workloads, including 3D rendering, complex simulations, fast game load times and more. Up to 22 times more endurance than other drives also gives the heaviest users peace of mind.”
In this week’s episode of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse, the team says it’s gotten its must-fix bug list down from 20 to 16 blocks, improving load times, repairing disconnection issues, and tweaking inventory use. The feature segment of the episode is the second part of last week’s legacy armor, how the team is updating (really, re-doing them) for the latest tech, and even how the team is working the older-looking armor into the lore.
Meanwhile, CitizenCon 2017 officially opened its doors just an hour ago in Frankfurt, Germany, where attendees are being treated to science panels, booze, dev demos, booze, playable demos of alpha 3.0, more booze, and of course, presentations by Chris Roberts himself. Watch the opening ceremonies below!
Star Citizen’s annual CitizenCon event is almost here, kicking off in the Capitol Theater in Frankfurt, Germany, on Friday, with plenty of player panels, science discussions, science-fiction discussions, developer demonstrations, and of course, the requisite presentation by Chris Roberts himself.
And yes, attendees will be treated to playable demos of alpha 3.0., along with what will presumably turn into copious amounts of booze at the pub. Pubs. Plural.
The whole shebang will be streamed live on Twitch for those who can’t be there in person beginning at 3 p.m. local time Friday with an opening address from Chris Roberts. Frankfurt is six hours ahead of the US east coast and nine ahead of the west coast, so bear that in mind if you’ll be trying to watch from the US.
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.