One of the challenges for indie and crowdfunded MMORPGs is surely the nature of their development: plugging along without much fanfare, with players seeing only one part of the equation. Saga of Lucimia has a piece out meant to show what that behind-the-scenes iteration looks like in the construction of an in-game asset as it travels from art concept to 3-D model to textured asset to something that’s added to the world by a different team entirely. But then what might be a mundane art blog takes a sharp turn to talk about other MMORPGs and their communities and expectations.
“There’s a major disconnect with some players when it comes to the misconceptions regarding iterations over the course of the game’s development,” argues Lucimia Creative Director Tim “Renfail” Anderson. “We see a lot of anger around the ‘net in regards to how things change over time with almost every MMORPG’s development, with many claiming the developers lied about how something was going to work, or how something was perceived as being a certain way, and then when it doesn’t work out quite the way players perceived, they claim that the developers deceived them, and that the launched product isn’t anything like what was initially discussed during the development process. The perfect example of this is Star Citizen/Squadron 42.”
This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse is only indirectly about Star Citizen. The episode instead centers on Squadron 42, which is either a separate game or the same game depending on which side of the lawsuit you fall on, but either way, updates for one are crossover updates for the other too. The S42 team says that lately it’s working on details for ships that are so big they basically have their own completely functional massive subway systems to help you get around them, something I can honestly say I’ve never seen in an MMO before, so that’ll be fun to see in the bigger game.
‘Course, if it takes that long to travel between areas on the ship subway, your character’s going to need a loaded mobiGlas device with some minigames to pass the time. Gems, anyone?
The larger section of the episode focuses on flight AI. “This is a single-player affair,” CIG’s Sean Tracy says of S42 specifically, “so a lot of the heavy-lifting when it comes to both gameplay and story falls on those NPCs and their AI.”
This week’s Star Citizen Around the Verse episode is actually more about Squadron 42 than Star Citizen. To illustrate how the game is coming along, CIG digs into the Idris frigate, using it as an example environment where the NPCs are simulating reality with AI schedules rather than just standing around staring blankly into space waiting for you to return.
“The goal of the Idris was always to create a ship for people and we want you to walk around the ship and see these people going about their lives, doing whatever their role is and generally just doing whereas that they wanted or have to do. So in doing that we have every character on the ship has their own name, their own rank, their own role on the ship and that spreads among all the different disciplines.”
Meanwhile, if you had your eyes, heart, and wallet set on the Aegis Vulcan support ship that went up for sale to VIPs last week, rejoice as it’s now available to the plebes too with a brand-new splash page breaking down all its key bits. It’s $185, with packs running up to $950.
The Star Citizen crew is back to work on Squadron 42 in 2018, as chronicled in the latest episode of Around the Verse. The Frankfurt studio, now up to 79 people, says it’s hard at work on fog and lighting, AI, graphics, weapons, engine performance, and ambient occlusion. The feature bit is all about the cinematics whipped up for the big stream reveal just before Christmas – you’ll recall it as the scene where Mark Hamill is kind of a jerk to your noob self.
Meanwhile, CIG has also just released its monthly studio report. And as teased earlier this week, the Star Citizen 3.0.1 alpha has landed on the PTU for testing, although you’ll note that now you’ll need a subscription to guarantee your earliest access to it, else you’ll wait for your invite. Bonus, now the game has monocles.
On this week’s Around the Verse, the Star Citizen devs are dipping into Squadron 42 specifically to explain the design behind the Coil, a massive electrical space storm left in the chunky, spooky, gaseous ruins of a system that went supernova.
Meanwhile, CIG sent around a press blast touting what is apparently the first phase of its brand-new website, intended to help newbies find their space legs and to “introduce cohesiveness” between Star Citizen and Squadron 42.
And finally, this week CIG released a stunning alpha 3.0 feature trailer showing an orbital ship battle… and what happens afterward. We’ve tucked that below too.
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.
With a relatively flat year in terms of Kickstarter’s video games fundraising, 2017 ended up handing the crown of crowdfunding back to Star Citizen. The sci-fi project raised $34.91 million over the year, versus $17.25 million for all of the 2017 Kickstarter video game projects combined.
Star Citizen’s 2017 haul was only slightly down from both 2016 ($36.11M) and 2015 ($35.9M). With game creation so lucrative, you have to wonder what incentive there is to launch it, eh? Polygon notes that the numbers here come from Roberts Space Industries and does not include any adjustments based on returns.
So far, the new year is off to a good start, with the testing of Star Citizen’s Alpha 3.0 currently running and an increased focus on the upcoming Squadron 42 single-player experience.
We’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey as we head into 2018!
Far from being a slow month for MMOs and the site, December has been hopping these last few years, spurred on partly by of our massive awards and end-of-the-year content rollout. But plenty of MMOs added fuel to the fire: Star Citizen pushed its alpha 3.0 out the door at the very last minute, under siege from the Crytek lawsuit, Squadron 42 doubts, and criticism over its latest concept
ship tank sale; Wild West Online delayed into the new year following the gutting of its open PvP system; and RIFT studio Trion stepped into quite a mess – twice – when it posted a pay-to-win currency pack and a $100 random mount lockbox up for sale (and later backtracked on both).
Read on for the whole list and have a happy new year!
Didn’t get enough of Mark Hamill in Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Then head on over to Squadron 42, where Hamill plays “The Old Man,” your wingman and probable mentor. He’s always mentoring everyone.
Roberts Space Industries gave Squadron 42 fans a special treat this holiday season, with around three hours of previews and gameplay footage of the single-player game set in the Star Citizen universe. The team said that it is taking the project out of “stealth mode” and will be delivering monthly updates on its progress leading up to launch.
You can check out two hours of studio talk on the project after the jump, as well as a “Vertical Slice” of gameplay that comes in both regular and commentary flavor. Keep your eye out for the space janitor, whom we are going to unofficially call Roger Wilco.
The team’s also uploaded its 2017 retrospective, worth a look all by itself.
Is it ready? Probably not, but Star Citizen backers can all play the 3.0 alpha today anyway.
“We’ve enabled all backers to participate in the current PTU build,” CIG announced this morning to Spectrum forumgoers. “If you have a game package, you can follow these instructions to test 3.0!”
The Around the Verse “holiday special” Twitch stream was rescheduled from yesterday to today at 3 p.m. EST thanks to technical issues; you can watch it down below for the Star Citizen recap and Squadron 42 status report.
If you were waiting up for the Star Citizen/Squadron 42 holiday special Around the Verse stream slated for today, looks like you’re going to be playing video games instead of watching them, as CIG has just announced that it’s postponing the stream until tomorrow over technical difficulties.
“Due to technical issues, we are pushing our Holiday ATV Special by 24 hours. As you can imagine, there are multiple pieces that we’ve been pulling together for this episode, which is now running around two hours in length. We’re also planning on finally revealing some long-awaited Squadron 42 gameplay. In the course of going over final reviews this morning, we’ve encountered a few technical issues. Though the team is still hard at work to quickly resolve these, we didn’t want to delay the Holiday Special to a later time or inconvenience our backers around the world. Pushing the episode a day later felt like the best option to accommodate our global audience. We hope you can join us tomorrow for this very special episode.”
The episode is expected to lay out a timeline for the delayed Squadron 42 spinoff. You can get a peek into what’s in store with yesterday’s video reveal.
File this one under “bad press is still press right guys” or possibly “are you even kidding me right now”: Star Citizen announced today that it’s whipped up another concept ship, only it’s not a ship; it’s a tank. The pre-sale is currently open to folks who already purchased one of the Tumbril vehicles. The price? The warbond version starts at $95, and with addons, you can run your bill up to a reported $725. And lest we forget, we’re talking about concept vehicles, here; these are not items that will be accessible in the game any time soon.
Interestingly, the reception on the fan-stuffed subreddit has been rather chilly, chiefly because folks are there for the space stuff, which this isn’t.
Last week, the Massively OP staff picked Star Citizen to receive our “worst business model of 2017” award. The game currently has 60% of the reader vote to boot.
As teased last week, IGN has a new Squadron 42 trailer up today straight from CIG itself. Clocking in at two minutes, the video features in-game footage of the player character’s first encounter with Mark Hamill’s character. Hamill’s gruff mocapped version may look a little like a grumpy cross between Luke Skywalker and Brad Pitt, but we doubt anyone’s complaining!
Tomorrow, the studio is planning a holiday special edition of its regular weekly Star Citizen video, this one streamed on Twitch and loaded with news on the long-delayed S42 game that IGN declares an “eagerly anticipated space combat spin-off.”