Let’s just get this out of the way upfront: There are 25 serious issues still on the docket before Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 moves from Evocati testers to the next stage of testing, with fixes chiefly centering on doors, broken interactions, and multiplayer crashes. That’s a bigger number than last week, you’ll notice, because while some issues were fixed, new ones cropped up. Welcome to game dev.
The rest of this week’s edition of Around the Verse is fun, as it’s all about armor sets – specifically, how the team has gone about retooling and updating one-piece legacy armor to use new tech and split into separate pieces.
Meanwhile, there was a rash of claims on the (dodgy) Star Citizen refunds subreddit last week insinuating that CIG had stopped issuing refunds now that alpha 3.0 is in Evocati testing. You’ll be shocked to find out those claims have been rebuffed. We spoke to a representative from CIG who stated that the studio’s position on refunds has not changed at all. “If a request comes through within the statutory period, we take care of them, no questions asked,” he told us. “Everything else is considered on a case by case basis.”
With all of the many spaceships designed (and sold) for Star Citizen so far, it might be a little confusing which might be the best for any particular person or playstyle when one strolls up to the lot and stares at all of the options.
To assist with this selection process, the devs are releasing a 10-part article series revolving around a “new ship matrix” that clearly outlines the purposes and capabilities of each of the vessels available in the game for the upcoming Alpha 3.0. The first of this series separates ships into different careers and then further separates them by roles.
These roles include combat, transport, exploration, industrial, support, and competition (racing). The team went on to explain a few examples from this wide selection, such as going exploring as a pathfinder, hauling human cargo as a passenger transport, or offering tourists a lift as a luxury tour.
All right, let’s be honest, you probably didn’t actually think that Star Citizen’s much-delayed single-player Squadron 42 was coming out this year. Around this time last year, it was confirmed to have been delayed; now it seems rather definite that it’s not going to be this year, either, as the most recent update on the schedule for CitizenCon confirmed that it will be the focus of the game’s holiday livestream in December.
So it’s probably not going to be on display at the convention later this month, either.
CitizenCon will be focused on Star Citizen version 3.0 and beyond, which the announcement in question stresses is very important to the development on Squadron 42 and vice-versa. There’s been some ambiguity about which release windows qualify as stated release dates with the single-player game in the past, but the big takeaway is that you’re not seeing the game this year. Next year is still open for placing your bets.
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.
Get your “it’s happening” gifs out: Star Citizen’s alpha 3.0 is here. Kind of. Sort of. It’s here if you’re a member the 800-member Evocati group, who are generally high-dollar-amount donors and hardcore bug-reporters. But hey: It’s non-CIG testers. This is really happening, and you can put away your tired old “scam” cards.
If you’ve learned anything from the Burndown segments on Around the Verse, it’s that organizing and producing the schedule for a game this big is boring. But in case you hadn’t figured that out, today’s episode has 25 minutes of meetings to remind you again.
The fun part of the update is all about the ongoing turret gameplay overhaul, which is actually pretty cool for anybody who’s played a rare MMO with multicrew ships – in fact, apart from the 2017 graphics, the whole system looks an awful lot like climbing into a YT-1300’s turret dome and pew pewing. Watch along 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.
On this week’s show, the amazing duo of Bree and Justin look at another beefy Camelot Unchained interview, talk about several new mystery games in development, and boggle over the mobile MMO revolution that has arrived.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
Another week, another countdown to Star Citizen alpha 3.0, and we are getting close. In this week’s Around the Verse, Cloud Imperium says it’s still got 5 issues left to work on, a reduction of two since last week, although it hit 0 at one point before creeping back up.
The feature segment this week is all about the stuff you touch: the useables system. It’s everything from the hacking panels and medical tools to even more simple things like sitting in chairs, which as we all know is traditionally difficult for sci-fi MMOs to pull off. (Ahem.) The system isn’t just for the player, either; even the AI NPCs make use of the interactions.
Good news for you guys obsessed with space toilets, too: CIG has “finally settled on toilet metrics,” says Lead Animator Brian Brewer. “We’ve captured a couple little moves we needed to ‘flush out’ our toilet system.” I watched to the very end for this quote. You’re welcome.
Instead of looking back at MMORPGs this week, the crew of Battle Bards launches forward into early access! What would a show about music from MMOs that aren’t even officially out yet be like? We’re going to find out in this wild and woolly episode!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 106: Early access themes (or download it) now:
“It’s possible, pig, I might be bluffing. It’s conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I’m only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. But, then again… perhaps I have the strength after all. DROP… YOUR… SWORD!”
Can’t imagine why this screenshot of Secret World Legends from Winterskorn has me thinking of The Princess Bride. It’s inconceivable. Also, that sword doesn’t look like it can cut very well, just saying!
As it will be powering MMOs like New World and Star Citizen, Amazon’s Lumberyard game engine deserves attention as it continues to be built and improved. Amazon released a development update to shed light on just how far Lumberyard has come and what is being worked on for the future.
“Simply put, our focus for the next few releases is to make Lumberyard easier, more powerful, and more modular,” the company said. “A lot has changed since we first launched the beta: We’ve replaced over 60% of the original codebase, switching out older, redundant systems (e.g. CryEntity) for more modern, performant ones (e.g. Component entity systems).”
Improvements on the way for Lumberyard include a new visual scripting language, a revised animation system, more integration with Amazon’s other tech (like Lex and Polly), the ability to store games in any location, better optimization, a new shader system, and Mac support.
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.