cloud imperium

Studio known primarily for Star Citizen.

Massively OP Podcast Episode 118: Crowfall breaks up the band

Just when you think the MMO industry is predictable, it jukes and jags all over the place, tossing out surprises left and right in an attempt to shake you off its tail (or to pull you in, we haven’t decided on that one yet). Marking one of the most unpredictable news weeks of 2017, Bree and Justin ride out westerns, space operas, and fantasies with aplomb.

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:

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Star Citizen’s latest concept ship sale has already raised almost half a million bucks

Currently on sale in Star Citizen right now is a new concept ship, the Aegis Eclipse, on sale now for $250 for VIP backers and soon to be on sale for everyone else too. CIG has not given out ship stats, so you’re buying it blind if you’re buying it early, or you can wait for the full reveal today. You’re also buying it with cash (not credit) if you’re buying it early — part of CIG’s ongoing attempts to curb melt-down credit hoarding and exploits. The ship has thus far raised $400,000.

The sale is further teased in this week’s Around the Verse episode, in which the team checks in with the LA studio for a recap of its work on the new item system, plus there’s a behind-the-scenes update from multiple members of the team spread out over the world working on lighting and fog.

In sadder news, Rogue-Jaсk, a prominent Russian Star Citizen and dedicated translator of Star Citizen news, has passed away. Friends and gamers are currently posting in an effort to see him memorialized in the game come launch.

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Ashes of Creation’s very good, totally tubular, quite excellent day

For Ashes of Creation, May 16th will go down as one of its best days. For starters, the title was featured on Kickstarter’s front page as the project of the day. This honor probably helped to push the game past not one but two significant milestones.

The same day, the sandbox MMO hit $2 million in crowdfunding, a feat that has only been done by two other MMORPGs (Star Citizen and Camelot Unchained). And to put a cap on it, a second stretch goal, 11,000 backers, was also achieved. Not too shabby for a Tuesday!

Thanks to these met stretch goals, social organizations will be included in Ashes of Creation’s feature set and all backers will receive the exclusive Tidesnapper underwater mount. There’s a little over two weeks left in the campaign, which is plenty of time to hit another stretch goal or two. Next up is a playable Underrealm beast race (unlocked at $2.5M), exclusive dye colors (12,000 backers), and unique mount barding (13,500 backers).

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Star Citizen reverses course on CCU concept ship swap system

Cloud Imperium has reversed course on its plans to renovate Star Citizen’s Cross Chassis Upgrade (CCU) system in time for the sale of the Eclipse concept ship.

CIG’s Tyler Zyloh explains that the CCU system was originally designed to allow package purchasers to “melt down” the theoretical ships they’d bought in order to buy different ones without sacrificing other package components or causing customer service overhead. Last week, the studio introduced plans to raise the base price of CCUs to $5 in order to encourage players to spend the more than a million unspent CCUs floating around in the system, aid the design team’s metrics on ship desirability, and reduce future stockpiling and what Zyloh calls “exploits that do not benefit all backers.”

But CIG is now rethinking that plan:

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Star Citizen Around the Verse deep-dives its player interaction system

On Star Citizen’s Around the Verse episode this week, Erin Roberts checks in from the UK studios in Wilmslow, where the team is working on 3.0 as well as Squadron 42. Of note, there’s been progress on the player interaction system, air traffic control, player useables, conversation tech, fog, visual effects, and multiple ships, plus hundreds of animations, including facial animations for shooting guns, which is an absurd level of detail, I think you’ll agree.

The behind-the-scenes segment loops back to the player interaction system, mechanics critical to not just the player’s ability to function in the world but to immersion.

“The Player Interaction System touches everything. It’s a unified interaction across first person experience of shooting, of shopping, of looting,” Calix Reneau explains. “Being able to point at things with reckless abandon actually opens up a lot of opportunity for interactions of ‘I want to find out more about that,’ and we can give back contextual clues of the things that you can do.”

Check out the whole episode below.

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The Daily Grind: What do you want out of a space sim MMO?

Watching the whole development and phenomenon of Star Citizen from a slightly detached perspective, I’ve often wondered (as I’m sure you have) what this game will actually end up being in the end. Certainly, many grand and impressive-sounding statements have been put out there, but we’ve all been hurt by unfulfilled promises before.

What’s really got me thinking is how everyone interested in this project seems to project their own desires into it. Ain’t none of us want the same things for a space sim MMO, unless you’re one of those mad players who wave your hands around and say “EVERYTHING!” like you’re a kid at a toy store who can’t focus on a few important purchases.

So assuming that you’re interested in space sims, what do you want out of MMORPGs in this field? Is it narrative? Trading? Planetary exploration? Combat? FPS boarding action? Weird aliens? Your own starbase? Janitorial simulation? Hardcore survival mechanics? Softcore space visuals?

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Mark Hamill caps off Star Citizen’s latest Around the Verse

This week’s episode of Around the Verse sees Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner bookending the Austin studio update and tech check-in. The Austin branch is focused on major features for 3.0, Producer Jake Ross says, from commodity trading and the mission-giver experience to landing zones (yes with smuggling) and ship damage modeling. Work on Spectrum — that’s the huge in-game/out-of-game communication tool being custom-built for the game — continues as well.

The behind-the-scenes segment will be music to the ears of those of you who want to hear all about how the game and its builds are hosted.

The episode concludes with what is probably its best bit, a May the 4th tease that amounts to “a little glimpse of Mark Hamill in the cockpit of Squadron 42.” We’ve tucked it down below.

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‘This universe is going to be awesome’: Chris Roberts on Star Citizen’s evolving moons

On this week’s Around the Verse, Star Citizen’s Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner bookend two key segments. The first is a studio update with Foundry 42 checking in from Frankfurt; Brian Chambers describes the team’s efforts on procedural planets, spawning, moons, performance capture, the conversation system, NPC AI, and missions headed into Squadron 42.

The moons “are getting cooler every week, and they’re actually a really great test example where we’re sort of pushing our tech for the planets, which will also pay off on the more involved planets like Hurston or ArcCorp or Microtech and beyond,” Roberts says. “So it’s a great test bed, and it’s kinda fun for me, and we share it with you guys, but I sort of see the progress weekly in it, and it gets cooler and better. So this universe is going to be awesome.”

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Global Chat: Which MMO developer do you most appreciate?

Recently, Ravalation carried on an annual blogger tradition called Developer Appreciation Week. During this week, gamers would put aside their usual vitriol and criticism for devs to pen posts about the appreciated side of studios. It was certainly nice to see a bloom of positivity and praise, that’s for sure.

“If there’s something I’ve learned from my fellow participants during this year’s DAW it’s that 1) game developers work extremely hard purely because they love their games, 2) bugs frequently appear in complicated coding, and 3) devs are usually aware that bugs exist when content goes live and feel terrible about it,” she wrote.

Join us after the break for more MMO blog essays, including a tour of Star Citizen’s luxury ship, more thoughts on Secret World Legends, and the enduring love of a World of Warcraft fan.

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Star Citizen’s Around the Verse deep-dives the Banu, begins referral contest starring Star Kitten

Still reeling over the last Star Citizen infodump? You’re getting a breather with this week’s Around the Verse as the bulk of it is centered on… lore. Specifically, the Banu, one of the alien groups in the game initially based on elements of Persian culture and the first to make contact with humans. There’s also a check-in with the Los Angeles team (recently expanded to 74 peeps); they’ve been working on ship temperature and cooling systems, the game’s control manager, shopping systems, character gear, and the Anvil Terrapin.

But the best bit is the studio’s new referral program contest, which aims to entice followers to bring in new players and backers in return for a chance to everything from a free trip to this year’s Gamescom in Germany to Star Kitten-themed in-game merch. Star Kitten, by the way, appears to be an in-lore knock-off of Hello Kitty, so expect to see her everywhere.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 113: Avatar vs. toon

Do you want to date my space avatar? She’s a star and she’s hotter than a supernova by far. Or maybe you’re a loony tooner? What’s the socially acceptable way to reference your character in an MMORPG without coming across like some weirdo from another gaming era? Bree and Justin will devote their lives to figuring out this question.

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:

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Star Citizen’s 3.0 to ‘simulate a first-person universe with almost no limits’

As Star Citizen players are still grappling with the recently revealed development schedule, Chris Roberts has swooped in to provide some context and explanation for the roadmap. He said that the early summer jump to the alpha 3.0 build of the game will greatly expand on what Star Citizen can do and offer. The June update will contain a trio of moons to explore and the possibility of a large asteroid as well.

“When you see a planet or moon, you will be able to fly there, land and explore on foot, or from your ship or a ground vehicle you have brought with you. All seamlessly, all with the incredible first person detail that Star Citizen is known for,” Roberts said. “With this we are delivering something that goes way beyond the initial promises and conception of Star Citizen; we will be simulating a first-person universe with almost no limits.”

If Roberts’ letter isn’t enough to sate your need for information, there’s also the new monthly studio report to absorb. We’ve got it for you below, so watch now and thank us later!

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A trimmed-down Star Citizen 3.0 alpha is coming this summer

You can stop fidgeting about what might or might not arrive in Star Citizen this year: Cloud Imperium has released its promised development roadmap for the rest of 2017. The studio stresses that quality will trump everything, that estimates are merely estimates, and that the schedule isn’t all-encompassing, but the words “3.0” and “persistent universe” and “planetary tech” have been enough to send Reddit into a tizzy of excitement.

It’s also sent the community into a tizzy of concern, as it appears the original plans for 3.0 have been trimmed down to get it out the door this summer, with many of its features pushed off to later patches later in the year. According to the newsletter, this is partly the result of Behaviour Interactive ending its subcontract for Cloud Imperium (you MMO folks will know it as the studio behind Eternal Crusade).

Check out the whole shebang below.

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