Music and sound for Squadron 42 is the focus of this week's Star Citizen Across the Verse show. The team brought on Emmy Award-winning Composer Geoff Zanelli to handle the score, who is also the focus of the episode's featured interview. Zanelli has worked on a variety of projects, including several Pirates of the Caribbean films, HBO's The Pacific miniseries, and the Call of Duty Nintendo DS games.
You can watch the episode after the break (and the music interview begins at the five-minute mark).
"We wanted to take some time to day and talk about the process, how lore is actually made for a video game, since that's not a part of a video game's story that's often told."
And thus begins a remarkable, nay, monumental episode of Star Citizen's Loremaker's Guide to the Galaxy. OK, maybe it's not going to rock your world, but it is kind of interesting to hear about the years -- dating back to 2012 -- of lore creation for this upcoming space sim.
If you can't wait to sink your teeth into the backstory and world setting of Star Citizen and Squadron 42, you'll want to check out this week's episode!
Just before the holiday weekend, Cloud Imperium announced that both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are using Lumberyard, Amazon’s robust game engine, and in fact have done so for "more than a year." Lumberyard's only been public knowledge for about 10 months and change, and Star Citizen's devs haven't mentioned it at all, which got players buzzing about transparency along the way, to say nothing of the folks puzzling over the CryEngine base Star Citizen was originally said to be using.
Yesterday, Chris Roberts addressed both issues. First, he says, "Lumberyard and StarEngine are both forks from exactly the SAME build of CryEngine."
"We stopped taking new builds from Crytek towards the end of 2015. So did Amazon. Because of this the core of the engine that we use is the same one that Amazon use and the switch was painless (I think it took us a day or so of two engineers on the engine team). What runs Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is our heavily modified version of the engine which we have dubbed StarEngine, just now our foundation is Lumberyard not CryEngine. None of our work was thrown away or modified. We switched the like for like parts of the engine from CryEngine to Lumberyard. All of our bespoke work from 64 bit precision, new rendering and planet tech, Item / Entity 2.0, Local Physics Grids, Zone System, Object Containers and so on were unaffected and remain unique to Star Citizen."
It's always nice to be able to report good news about Star Citizen, as one of our readers noted when sending us this tip, and we agree, so here goes, just in time for Christmas: Cloud Imperium has tonight announced both that alpha 2.6 is live for all backers and that it's utilizing Amazon's Lumberyard engine.
First, 2.6 and Star Marine, only a wee bit off the original December 16th target date, is fully playable:
"Alpha 2.6 includes the first iteration of Star Marine, our dedicated FPS module, as well as significant updates to the rest of the Star Citizen experience. Star Marine offers two game modes that will give you a taste of first person combat in the ’verse while a new Pirate Swarm game mode has been added to Arena Commander and a grand total of eight new ships are available in the PU. The patch also includes a major spaceflight balance pass, a brand new menu system, as well as dozens of bug fixes, quality of life improvements and other changes."
As we do every year, today we're going to squint back a year, into the depths of a Massively Overthinking from the tail end of 2015 when we issued our predictions for 2016. Sure, sure, it's a little unfair since we usually egg each other on to make wild and bold assertions for the fun of it -- plus that makes the hits all the sweeter -- but all the same: Did we nail it or fail it?
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, congrats are due to Dual Universe, the sci-fi sandbox whose Kickstarter successfully funded on Tuesday with over 8100 backers pledging over $630,000 toward a $556,421 goal.
Meanwhile, Star Citizen's CitizenCon came to a close, we interviewed Smed about Hero's Song's now-ended Indiegogo and future plans, Pantheon dished on raiding, Wasteland 3 appears to have funded early on Fig, Chronicles of Elyria explained how its "influence points" work, Fragmented wiped its test servers for a major progression and skill patch, and Shroud of the Avatar presented the town of Harvest, which just could not possibly be more fall appropriate.
Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!
This week in MMO beta news, RIFT announced a delay for the beta of its upcoming Starfall Prophecy expansion, first to next week, now indefinitely. "It's not ready to welcome hordes of players yet," the studio's Linda "Brasse" Carlson told our commenters yesterday. "We want the focus and feedback to be on content and features, not tech issues, and I think our fellow players prefer to wait for a good experience." Trion has promised to announce a new date when it has one.
Here's what else happened on the testing front this week:
- Revelation Online announced its first round of closed beta will begin October 25th. Don't have a key? Make sure you enter one of our giveaways!
- Albion Online has delayed its launch and extended its ongoing beta deep into 2017, frustrating fans.
- Star Citizen brought its A game to CitizenCon -- its alpha game, that is. (Squadron 42 can't say the same, as it's now been delayed into 2017.)
- Cloud Pirates, the Allods Online-inspired dirigible MOBA, enters its closed beta test next week.
- Chronicles of Elyria explained how players will earn spendable points for, among other things, helping to test the game.
- Lineage II: Revolution -- that's a mobile MMO -- abruptly canceled its beta test. We assume the game's launch won't be November as planned.
- Project Genom landed on Steam early access.
And as always, here's our list of games in various test phases around the MMO universe. Is there something missing or something that slipped live without our noticing? Let us know!
In celebration of the anniversary of Star Citizen's original Kickstarter (and maybe as a wee apology for the delay of Squadron 42 announced at CitizenCon over the weekend), Cloud Imperium has announced a promotion for backers:
Star Citizen's rolled out its massive CitizenCon finale last night in LA, with multiple Cloud Imperium reps hitting the stage during the presentation to talk up everything from the Spectrum community tools to the Star Citizen progress report and roadmap, finishing out with a long, in-engine video on procedural planet tech.
Probably the big news was that Chris Roberts admitted that the star-studded, standalone, story-driven Squadron 42 wasn't ready to be shown as planned and indeed has been delayed beyond this year as rumored -- we just don't know when. One journalist told Reddit, "Talked w/ Erin Roberts at the Con, he said it was animations for different things, such as repairing and the like. It would not have looked as fluid as it was needed to be. Literally EVERYTHING else was finished. They want to have that one shot to show off SQ42 in its top condition. Hope I am paraphrasing everything correctly. I'll be glad to wait for the finished product."
That doesn't mean the event was without any detractors; there's a massive thread complaining about the show on Reddit. While the planetary tech is indeed gorgeous, backer concerns center on SQ42, delays, and a lack of desired gameplay previews for specific types of content, like capital ships.
We've tucked the whole presentation below, but if you're strapped for time, jump to about 1:25:30 -- that's when it starts feeling like an IMAX show.
Star Citizens are focused on exactly one thing this weekend. (Well, two if you're in Florida, in which case you're probably fleeing for your life, and godspeed.) I'm talking about CitizenCon, which kicks off today at 3 p.m. EDT. Everyone can watch the whole shebang streamed live on Twitch from 3 p.m. EDT to 9 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. Sunday's presentation is the big finale the Avalon Hollywood in LA:
"Hosted by Chris Roberts, watch as we showcase what we’ve been working on since last year’s event, and take a look ahead at continuing work on both Squadron 42 and the Procedural Planets system slated to come online in Star Citizen Alpha 3.0."
In other Star Citizen news, Chris Roberts recently gave an interview to Gear Patrol about the game's development. There's not much new in there for anyone following the game closely, but there are some great quotes -- for instance, he's asked what he'd say to skeptics who "believe Star Citizen is simply too ambitious to be realized."
Last week, we introduced the first part of our guide to the best upcoming, in-development indie MMORPGs -- yes, the list was so long that we had to split it lest our CMS explode! So this week we're back with the other half of our list, a quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: We're not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, we won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.
On with part two!
When you write for an MMORPG website that covers literally hundreds of games and could probably add in hundreds more that are extinct, are in operation only overseas, or are so incredibly niche that their creators' moms don't even know about them, you start devoting a large portion of your brain to trying to keep details about all of these games straight. This not only results in forgetting two of your kids' names (after all, space is limited), but it's nearly an impossible task. There's just too much out there.
And lately I've noticed that the staff and readers alike have started to become incredibly confused regarding all of the indie MMOs that are oozing through the development process in their 72 planned testing stages (the other week I could swear that I saw a game declare itself to be going into "state semi-regionals"). There are too many games, some of which look far too similar, and it's stressing us out.
Enhance your calm, citizen. Here's the first part of our quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: It's not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, I won't be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you're interested in these games, then you'll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns. Then stay tuned next week for the second half of this list!
A German games journalist whose Gamescom video report on Star Citizen and Squadron 42 was picked up by an English-speaking outlet has clarified his remarks.
PCGamesN had quoted a video by Gamestar's Michael Graf and declared that Squadron 42 had been delayed from 2016 to 2017, but it has since become clear that Roberts said the Star Citizen-spinoff game's content would be complete by the "end of the year" and that "some [base] systems like the AI or the cover system for infiltration missions [...] will take more time," presumably into the next year, further muddying the supposed release date.
"You are right, that was a mistake," Graf told his readers. "I have watched the recording of the [Gamescom Roberts] interview again, and Chris talked about 2017. You hear that much during Gamescon, I've just mixed things up. Sorry about that!" (Translation by Rarehero.)
CIG has not yet addressed the understandable confusion, so do note that a formal updated declaration about Squadron 42 and any delay or lack thereof has not been made.