star citizen

Official Site: Star Citizen
Studio: Cloud Imperium Games Corporation/Roberts Space Industries
Launch Date: N/A
Genre: Sci-fi Sandbox
Business Model: B2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

Make My MMO: Star Citizen's subber promo, Planet Nomads' early access, Project Gorgon's bards (March 25, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen capped off a week of DirectX revelations and mega map explanations with a round of celebrations -- for its fifth year of subscriptions. Folks who join the game's dev subber program pick up a magazine, discounts, and extra test access; sub before April 17th while the promo is live, you get vending machine flair for your hangar. At least you'll have cold beverages while you wait for the game, right? (Thanks, Cotic!)

Elsewhere in space MMOs, congrats are due to Planet Nomads, which was Kickstarted last year and is now plotting an early access launch for April 18th.

And in epic news for fans of the best video game class of all time, Project Gorgon rolled out the bard support skills for testing this week. Don't think you're just going to pick up a lute and start strumming, either: "As you advance in Bard skill, you will also need to improve other skills, including performance, vocabulary, and poetry appreciation." Bring your thesaurus!

Meanwhile, ECO patched in some major upgrades to its economy, Starfighter is nearing half its goal with 20 days remaining (thanks Crow!), Ever, Jane's beta picked up horseback riding features, Camelot Unchained danced with its own bot army, City of Titans previewed its core archetypes, SOTA nabbed a new newsletter layout, and The Exiled's early access began its second season.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.

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Star Citizen's Around the Verse on the benefits of the 'mega map'

Try saying "mega map" 10 times fast! This week's Around the Verse does indeed cover the heck out of Star Citizen's mega map. Lead Gameplay Programmer Rob Johnson says that the intent of the mega map is to eliminate -- or at least reduce -- the annoyance of loading screens.

"We load the Mega Map as we would a standard map. The Mega Map itself is empty, but once the Mega Map is loaded, we actually start to fill the Mega Map with content of various game modes, fire, and object containers. So, we would load the Mega Map, which is empty; load the front end, which is a set of object containers; [and] load the front-end game rules, which tells the game how to work in that game mode. The user would then pick a new game mode to play. At that point we throw away all the object containers. We throw away the game mode, [then] load in the Free Fly game mode and the Dying Star object containers, but we do that via streaming rather than a complete level load, so we are able to shave the vast majority of the load time down to a few seconds rather than long enough to warrant a load screen."

ATV also catches up with the LA studio's work on ship production, multifunction displays, the room system, and the "entity owner manager" -- critical for the persistent experience. Listen up below.

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Star Citizen will drop DX11, avoid DX12 support

Over the weekend, Cloud Imperium fielded questions from players on some of the more technical elements on display in Star Citizen's last Around the Verse. Turns out that some major DirectX changes are on the horizon.

"Years ago we stated our intention to support DX12, but since the introduction of Vulkan which has the same feature set and performance advantages this seemed a much more logical rendering API to use as it doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10 and opens the door for a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux," explains Director of Graphics Engineering Ali Brown. "As a result our current intention is to only support Vulkan and eventually drop support for DX11 as this shouldn't effect any of our backers. DX12 would only be considered if we found it gave us a specific and substantial advantage over Vulkan. The API's really aren't that different though, 95% of the work for these APIs is to change the paradigm of the rendering pipeline, which is the same for both APIs."

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Star Citizen's level design is coming along much faster than you probably thought

Following what turned out to be an intriguing Ten for the Chairman earlier this week, Cloud Imperium has released a Star Citizen Around the Verse episode that -- our tipster summed it up perfectly -- represents a "decent barometer of where we currently are in Star Citizen." Design Director Todd Papy and Persistent Universe Lead Level Designer Andreas Johansson provide a behind-the-scenes look at the sci-fi MMO's level design, arguing that using traditional level design would have meant their four level designers would need "650 years" to build out the game.

"We do build our locations with a tile set, which is small pieces of walls and corners and doors that we put together into rooms, but this is still not fast enough," Johansson says. "We have to find a quicker way to do this. So, the way we can approach this is to looking into grouping these smaller tile sets into bigger entities, rooms. We have kitchens. We have toilets. We have locker rooms. We have lobbies."

A modular approach using seeds and flowcharts proved necessary, allowing a level designer to theoretically pushed out dozens of space stations every day, although of course the designers have to playtest each to make sure they're logical and consistent -- in other words, to make sure "we don't walk into a room and it's a door into space and everyone has a very bad day."

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Star Citizen's Ten for the Chairman basically describes Tramp Freighters Online

Star Citizen's Chris Roberts and Tony Zurovec teamed up to field backer questions on a new round of Ten for the Chairman this week. This episode is at least in part about stuff, literally: The early questions focus on cargo and salvage and how it all works. Star Citizen is all about the realism and the ecosystem of living and trading in space; you'll be able to truly see the stuff you're buying and hauling, there will be a combination of automatic and manual cargo unloading, salvaging will be a completely legitimate playstyle, "player-generated mayhem" will be possible across certain parts of the persistent universe, and you will indeed be able to "move fluidly between professions."

Roberts also addresses the basic difficulty of just keeping your hunk of junk in the air. "There will definitely be a certain amount of maintenance keeping your ship running especially in the bigger ships," he says. "If you’ve watched any science fiction movie and you’ve seen Chewie banging the Millennium Falcon or the crew of the Nostromo having to keep their ship running and stuff like that."

It's definitely worth a listen, especially if you're my kind of geek -- i.e., the kind who isn't much into World of Evil Space Jerk Empire but thinks the idea of Tramp Freighters Online sounds damn fun.

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Make My MMO: Shards becomes Legends of Aria, The Repopulation revivifies (March 11, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Shards Online surprised the gamer community by announcing a namechange -- to Legends of Aria -- and a scope-change, the good kind of scope change if you're an MMO player, as the game just got bigger.

More good news: The Repopulation is expected to come back online for original backers and Steam buyers tomorrow. Idea Fabrik expects the sandbox to once again be for sale on Steam later this month.

Still more good news! As I write this, indie VR MMO OrbusVR has nearly tripled its Kickstarter goal already. Its whirlwind one-week campaign ends on Monday.

Meanwhile, gamers pledged over $12K US to bring Swedish brawler RUiN to a winning Kickstarter a few days back, but Caribbean Conquest wasn't so fortunate: Its Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully earlier this week. Plus, Dogma: Eternal Night worked on its character module, Grim Dawn talked itemization, and AdventureQuest 3D hyped The Dragons of Ashfall.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.

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Star Citizen unlocks Sabre for free flight this weekend, talks about Star Marine weapons and economic chain

In honor of PAX East this weekend, Star Citizen has unlocked its Sabre fighter for anyone to try. You'll just need to use the "PAXEAST2017" code on any account to get the free trial, which will last through Tuesday, March 14th.

As you're downloading that, you might want to check out the latest episode of Around the Verse. The team broke down Star Citizen's rather impressive economic chain in an elaborate flow chart (who doesn't appreciate a good flow chart?) and took a close look at the arsenal of weapons that will be used in Star Marine.

We've tucked the economy flow chart and Around the Verse for you after the break!

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Make My MMO: Crowfall's crafting, RUiN's Kickstarter, Ashes of Creation's gameplay (March 4, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, we sent MOP's Matt Daniel into Crowfall, from which he emerged with many opinions on the state of the game's high-profile crafting and gathering systems. Economy folks should give it a read!

There are two MMO-related Kickstarters ending this week you may be interested in. Arena brawler RUiN is about 200 bucks from funding as I type this, so it's going to happen for sure. Caribbean Conquest's second go at Kickstarter, however, is likely to fall short; it's secured only about $2000 in pledges of its $30,000-ish goal with only a few days left.

What else is new? Worlds Adrift got a new website (thanks, Daras!), Project Gorgon rolled out a new patch, Albion Online released videos on its sound and music, Elite Dangerous began testing part of the Commanders patch, Camelot Unchained teased beta 1, and Ashes of Creation demoed its gameplay.

Finally, get thee over to Steam, where a trial of Shroud of the Avatar can currently be had entirely for free.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.

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Star Citizen's Around the Verse: Character customization, concept ships, and the commodities market

Persistent universe fans, heads up: On this week's Star Citizen Around the Verse, Chris Roberts is joined by Persistent Universe Game Director Tony Zurovec, who explains that his team is hard at work on mission scenario conversion and solar system services -- like commodities and shopping.

"The first one of these out the door will be the shopping service, and it's going to control inventory, prices, and demand levels for all the shops within a system. It's also going to hook up to the mission service so that low inventory levels will automatically result in the creation of mission to reverse the trend. The mission service is also really interesting because along with a lot of work that’s occurred, it's also going to allow us to start instantiating a lot of dynamic content for the game. This is all dramatically different than what we've had in the game today, which has always been much more static in nature."

There's also a studio check-in with the Frankfurt team; a lengthy segment on the Anvil Hurricane, the concept ship that rolled out to buyers last week; and a behind-the-scenes feature on character customization. Check it below!

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Make My MMO: The Exiled arrives to mixed reviews on Steam (February 25, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, The Exiled was released to the wilds of Steam early access. Formerly called Das Tal, the buy-to-play indie sandbox attempted to raise funds through Kickstarter back in 2015 but pulled in only €33,000 of its €50,000 goal and resorted to website preorders instead, forging ahead to now. Reviews on Steam so far are mixed; once you subtract the confused trial players who seem surprised to see PvP in a PvP sandbox, the main complaints revolve around crafting grind and lag.

Meanwhile, Ship of Heroes teased its Kickstarter, Shroud of the Avatar released R39, Albion Online settled on a July release, Life is Feudal rolled out its second beta, Pantheon brought on more new employees (thanks, Reht!), Dual Universe planned a GDC community meetup, Star Citizen explored the Magnus system and released a new concept ship, HEX got a new publisher, and Elite: Dangerous did science and turned... beige.

Closer to home, games critic and veritable prince of Patreon Jim Sterling scored a victory for games journalism in the courts as a judge dismissed with prejudice a game developer's libel lawsuit against him. (Thanks to everyone who tipped this our way!)

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.

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Star Citizen promotes Spectrum, begins Anvil Hurricane ship sale

Star Citizen's weekly Around the Verse treks to the Los Angeles studio for a check-in, but the real meat is the behind-the-scenes look at Spectrum, the communication platform the studio is building from the ground up, intended to be a chat and forum system that works within and without the game.

Meanwhile, the community is abuzz over the newly introduced concept ship sale featuring the Anvil Hurricane, which has its very own brochure. What are we buying again? Oh right, a pixel spaceship, carry on... or don't, in the case of the salty Redditors who are annoyed that RSI was able to get out the ship sale but not the promised internal schedule before the weekend.

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Perfect Ten: MMORPGs that help you get your spaceship on

Sometimes even the most die-hard MMORPG player finds him or herself a little tired of constantly looking at the back of a head and a running butt. We yearn to slip the surly bonds of the world to explore the cosmos in our very own rocket ship to see what is out there. E.T., are you taking house calls? Can we hang for a little while? I brought Reese's Pieces!

Getting this experience isn't quite as easy as, say, finding an MMO that caters to the dragon-slaying crowd. It's well-known that sci-fi MMORPGs are in the minority, and only a fraction of those center around or contain some element of space flight and combat. However, over the years we've seen online games here and there allow us to live out our fantasies of being a space jockey, whether in the form of a trader, a fighter pilot, or an explorer.

Today, let's look at 10 MMOs, past and present, that helped us get our spaceship on!

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Make My MMO: Smed's new studio, Camelot's beta, and Elite's Holo-Me (February 18, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, we did a retrospective on why crowdfunded MMOARPG Hero's Song failed. It's almost as if Justin knew (cue spooky music) because two days later, Hero's Song's John Smedley and most of the Pixelmage team showed up at Amazon, announcing a new studio and a new game for the shopping giant's games division. In other words, don't expect Smed back on Kickstarter any time soon.

Meanwhile, Star Citizen's alpha 2.6.1 went live, we poked around TUG's status, Elite Dangerous demoed its upcoming "Holo-Me" character creator, The Exiled prepped for next week's launch, Ruin of the Reckless entered its backer test phase, and Camelot Unchained hinted at beta.

Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on.

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