This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse begins with a project update recap. CIG says it’s working on legacy armor sets, shopping kiosks, audio and VFX, ships (including the Starfarer’s landing sequence), props, environmental art to make spaces feel more lived-in, and planetary tech, at least some of which is planned for 3.2. The feature for the week is on service beacons, which sounds super boring until you realize they’re basically player generated content, from mining contracts to bounties. Not boring at all. This is the good stuff.
“At a conceptual level, the service beacon is a mechanism that allows players who want something to easily form a short term contract with others who want to provide it,” PU Director Tony Zurovec says. “This is a much more important feature than it might initially appear because it effectively means we’re leveraging the playerbase to supplement and enhance the scripted and systemic content that’s available within the game, while at the same time – because other players are involved – injecting a very unpredictable element that’s ultimately going to result in a lot of very unique gameplay experiences. Just as importantly, by constantly pushing players together when they’ve got compatible interests, the service beacon is going to help foster the creation of relationships within the community, and that in turn will lead to the formation of a lot of new friendships, alliances and in the case of deals gone bad sometimes even vendettas.”
The word “Origin” has a special meaning to Chris Roberts and the Star Citizen team, so it’s not surprising that there has been special attention given to the Origin 100 Series starter ship.
While a starter ship, the 100i doesn’t sound like a slouch: “With all the class and sophistication you already associate with Origin Jumpworks, elegantly presented in an attractive, compact frame, the 100 series has been designed specifically for solo pilots looking to turn heads without sacrificing functionality or reliability.”
The team answered specific questions about the ship this past week, including its specs and its comparison to other spacecraft that players might select early on in the game. The introduction of the Origin 100 means that the 300 series is due to get an upgrade in the future.
Do you have too much money? Awesome. Star Citizen has some ideas for where you can spend it – say, on some new ships? Some old ships? Some reskinned ships? Some ships you missed the first time ’round? Some ships you want to upgrade to? Some ships you could’ve gotten cheaper if you’d done it ages ago?
“To commemorate the incoming 3.1 patch, we are offering a War Bond option to give you all one final chance to pledge for this selection of flyable ships at their original concept prices,” says CIG. The roster includes versions of the Anvil Terrapin, Tumbril Cyclone, MISC Razor, Aegis Reclaimer, Aopoa Nox Kue, RSI Constellation Aquila, MISC Prospector, and Drake Dragonfly.
Meanwhile, Chris Roberts dropped by the live Reverse the Verse yesterday to discuss the state of the game, compare it to Sea of Thieves (he says SC has more content but is less polished, which sounds about right), and ponder a minimum viable product for the masses who evidently prefer playing video games to testing them (crazy, huh?). To that end, CIG has posted what it’s calling the Alpha 3.2 Feature Survey for backers to essentially allow them to vote on which features the team focuses on for the next-next update.
Sea of Thieves’ character customization got you down? Star Citizen won’t be making that mistake. This week’s Around the Verse details the game’s roadmap for the character customizer arriving with the 3.1 alpha – and yes, tweaking your dudes and dudettes is going to be a game in itself.
“The character customizer being introduced in Alpha 3.1 is being polished by several teams working to fine-tune this highly anticipated feature,” says CIG’s Eric Kieron Davis. “The gameplay feature team is tweaking the options for eye and skin color as well as the way they’re presented within the customizer. We want to make sure the interface is intuitive and responsive as possible and the UI team continues to make adjustments to the customizer to ensure that. The character customizer is one of the most exciting new features coming online with Alpha 3.1, as it will allow citizens to begin their journey, creating an avatar that can fully represent them within the Star Citizen universe.”
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.
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.”
The bombshell of December 2017 was the news that Crytek was suing Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries, the companies behind the sprawling and controversial crowdfunded MMO Star Citizen, alleging that CIG infringed its copyrights by using CryEngine to develop non-Star Citizen game assets in the form of Squadron 42 while misusing Crytek’s logo in marketing materials and Crytek’s CryEngine in the form of Star Engine. In its initial filing, Crytek demanded a huge pile of direct damages, lost profits, and punitive damages, as well as a permanent injunction against CIG’s use of CryEngine.
At the time, CIG told Massively OP that it was aware of the complaint but that the lawsuit was “meritless” as CIG hadn’t used CryEngine since it switched to Amazon’s Lumberyard. And now we see its promised “vigorous defense” action, as CIG has issued a volley of its own in the form of a motion to dismiss the entire suit.
Massively OP’s not-so-serious end-of-the-year awards conclude today with our blooper award for Schlag meme of the year, given to and in honor of MOP commenter Schlag Sweetleaf, who’s well-known as a snarky and insightful mememaker in the chatter under our articles. I know I’m not alone in frequently skimming the comments hunting for his jokes.
And the winner is…
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2018!
September dazzled with Guild Wars 2’s Path of Fire launch, while indies lit up PAX West, Destiny 2 rolled out to consolers, EVE Online dabbled in drama, toxicity became the new buzzword, and Chris Roberts got fed up. The oldest living games of the genre had their day too, as Ultima Online turned 20 years old and announced free-to-play.
Read on for the whole list!
Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017, which we awarded to the industry’s VR obsession last year, and I just need to point out that some of you mocked us for that pick, but we’re feeling mighty vindicated this year, and you’ll soon see why. This isn’t an award we particularly enjoy giving, but I think it’s a fitting complement to praising trends and big stories: We must consider the mistakes of the year so we don’t make them again and so we can be prepared for how they’ll affect us in the future.
The Massively OP staff pick for Biggest MMO Industry Blunder of 2017 is…
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.”