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

Star Citizen Around the Verse: Female character meshes, engineering, and the LA studio

Hellion isn’t the only sci-fi sandbox finally getting female characters underway: Star Citizen is working on the female body meshing, just one of the tidbits in this week’s edition of community-oriented infodump program Around the Verse, this episode helmed by brothers Chris and Erin Roberts, aka “Roberts squared.”

“A female transfer mesh has been created and the male transfer mesh has been massively updated. Now these transfer meshes are used in conjunction with all of our skinning tools to automate basic skinning of all of our new characters. Tech Animators can now spend time affecting the weighting of a mesh, allowing for a higher quality and a more accurate deformation in less time.”

The check-in with the LA studio provides updates on the narrative work and dialogue for 3.0, ship cargo mechanics, solar system content, object container editing, the intelligent flight control system, costumes, and improved character rigging. And there’s a behind-the-scenes on the game’s networking and database code. Enjoy!

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Make My MMO: Broke Protocol launches early access after failed Kickstarter (June 10, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Minecraft-meets-GTAO MMO Broke Protocol’s Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully on Thursday, but the good news is that the game launched its early access program anyway. The better news is that early access is free. “The last few updates have seen the focus shift to enable more roleplaying opportunities,” writes the team. “Cylinder Studios has now pushed updates to Police, Paramedics, and in this latest update: Firefighters. Demolished vehicles now leave a burning inferno that has to be taken care of by the city’s loyal Fire Department.” Good times.

Meanwhile, Gloria Victis previewed its map expansion, Project Gorgon delayed part of the Serbule revamp, Albion Online launched its Hector update, ROKH rolled out a new build with salvaging and chat, and Elite Dangerous opened the 2.3.10 beta and prepped players for the PS4 debut later this month.

Finally, we spoke to Shroud of the Avatar’s Richard Garriott about his studio’s equity crowdfunding announcement.

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 Around the Verse: Manchester’s work on 3.0 and ship migration progress

This week’s Around the Verse has arrived for Star Citizen fans, helmed by both Chris Roberts and Sandi Gardiner. This episode has a crapton of footage worth a skim for the visuals alone; there’s a lengthy studio update from the folks in Manchester, discussing the accessibility of the early game, including the hint system, plus 3.0 mission development, AI pathing, lighting and reflection, weapons, animations, ships, ground vehicles, weapons, habitable units for outposts, cockpit graphics, and character customization.

Item 2.0 and the great ship migration of 2017 get the back half of the episode. The takeaway? Seats are really important. 3.0 is coming, citizens! Check it all out down below.

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Massively Overthinking: MMO monetization run amok

Over the last couple of weeks, the monetization of unreleased games has become a pervasive and uncomfortable theme for the MMO genre. Just in brief:

The frustrating bit is I could go on, and this is just for games that aren’t even formally launched yet. So for this week’s Massively Overthinking, I want to take the temperature of alarm regarding these types of business models for unlaunched games. Is this all par for the course, in line with what we expect from the new MMO market? Have they gone too far yet? If not, what’s too far? How do we feel about this type of pre-launch monetization run amok?

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Make My MMO: Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter, Shroud of the Avatar’s equity crowdfund (June 3, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter came to a close with $3.2M and nearly 20,000 backers, making it the biggest MMORPG Kickstarter to date. Backers — and would-be backers who didn’t jump into the Kickstarter — should take a peek at the game’s latest update, which outlines the backer awards for everyone as crowdfunding continues this month on the official site. Intrepid does note that there won’t be any stretch goals, however, to avoid “scope creep.”

Meanwhile, Shroud of the Avatar surprised its players this week by announcing on its seasonal fundraising livestream that it’s pitched a $2M equity crowdfunding campaign to raise money ahead of the game’s formal launch, which is happening this year. (Stay tuned for more on this Monday!)

Plus, Elite Dangerous is awash in Thargoid sightings (thanks, Kinya!), OrbusVR previewed the Ranger, Crowfall patched up ahead of this weekend’s pre-alpha testing, and Grim Dawn sold its millionth copy.

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 new website and colossal ship migration

Big changes are coming to Star Citizen — well, to its website. This week’s episode of Around the Verse explains that the game’s website is being overhauled to make it more functional and responsive for both hardcore backers and newbies who stumble into it and can’t figure out what’s actually playable yet. Spectrum 0.3.5 – that’s Cloud Imperium’s built-from-scratch communication tool – is on the way as well.

Meanwhile, the studios are hard at work on all things 3.0, as the Austin studio check-in outlines, with additional work on mocap, persistent universe animations, the subsumption system, and the new mission manager. There’s also a look at the massive ongoing ship migration project as older ships are updated to the item 2.0 framework, what Producer Ashram Kain calls “one of the largest things that [he thinks] has ever been done in a game, particularly a multiplayer game.”

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Make My MMO: Legends of Aria’s alpha, Ashes of Creation’s lofty ambitions (May 27, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Legends of Aria — which we’ll probably never stop accidentally calling Shards Onlinebegan its alpha, introducing testers and founder pack players to the revitalized game. While gamers will still be able to roll their own “shards” and play their own way, Citadel Studios has expanded its scope and plans a much bigger map, improved combat, and official servers to bring the game in line with MMORPG gamer expectations.

Meanwhile, Grim Dawn sold a million copies on PC, Valiance Online caught us up on its weekly build, Crowfall pushed its 5.0.2 alpha to testers, AdventureQuest 3D began its Battleon attack event, Ashes of Creation revealed its lofty ambitions to be the biggest Kickstarted MMORPG ever, and Shroud of the Avatar rolled out release 42!

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 checks in with Frankfurt studio, talks about designing the Eclipse

In this week’s rip-roaring episode of Around the Verse, the Star Citizen team checks in with the game’s Frankfurt studio. This studio has recently grown to 74 employees, which raises the question of who on this planet isn’t currently working on Star Citizen?

“We routinely visitors to the office and this month was no exception with people here from both our US and U.K. offices,” Development Director Brian Chambers said. “Most of the senior production staff from across all the offices came together in one place for their annual summit. Had some intensive meetings and discussed upcoming and ongoing plans and we found that a few days face to face without distraction can actually go a long way.”

Following an update of Chambers’ team’s progress, the episode moves on to look at the design of a stealthy bomber, the Eclipse. You can get the full effect of developer genius by watching the full episode below, or if you prefer you could always simply read the transcript via Relay.

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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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Make My MMO: Star Citizen has now raised $150M in crowdfunds (May 20, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen officially broke the $150,000,000 crowdfunding mark, propelled along by gamers sinking large sums of cash into the latest concept ship. As Relay points out, the original Kickstarter year for the game brought in only about $7M; since then, the game has raised between $28M and $36M every year since, with the biggest year to date being 2016. On paper, the game isn’t on pace to break that record in 2017 so far, but the fansite’s estimation that it might pass $200M this year if Squadron 42 launches as planned isn’t unreasonable. (Thanks, i-Spy, Zander, and fastcart!)

Wild West Online also announced that it won’t be seeking Kickstarter funds after all as it’s already received full funding from investors. That means it probably won’t be back in Make My MMO again since it’s not crowdfunding — but take a peek at our exclusive interview on the game from earlier this week all the same.

Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation’s Kickstarter pushed on toward $3M, ROKH’s early access launched as planned, and Crowfall concluded its teaser week with a massive reveal: Classes won’t be racially bound after all, and beta should hit before the end of the year.

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 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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