Recapping Star Citizen’s CitizenCon 2018, plus the new Squadron 42 trailer

    
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“Well, you can’t accuse us of not running a live demo,” Chris Roberts quipped today during CitizenCon when the Star Citizen demo he was showing on the big screen hit a snag and crashed to desktop in front of the hooting audience. No indeed: CitizenCon’s big day of live panels in Austin is now winding down with just one more to go, and if you didn’t catch it live, you can catch the recap.

The core of the keynote focused on new bits in alpha 3.3, which as planned did go live for all backers today, including its new and overhauled vehicles, gear, collectibles, new AI enemies, new scramble races content, and of course, OCS – object container streaming – which should make the multiplayer experience more immersive with what CIG is calling “huge performance gains.”

One of the key bits being shown off was the face- and voice-over-IP system, which basically allows players to use their actual expressions to pilot their character’s faces. If you remember SOE’s SOEmote, well, it’s basically that. “Co-developed with Faceware Technologies, ‘Face and Voice over IP’ allows players to connect their webcams and control their in-game character’s facial expressions with their own, creating a new level of immersion never before seen in video games,” CIG says, which is again a hard sell given that SOEmote existed in 2012. What we got to see of CIG’s system live was a bit wonky, but it’s getting there.

This being Star Citizen, multiple ships and vehicles were on display during the early portion of the show this afternoon, including the Anvil Valkyrie, which is live today with no waiting for those who shell out for it. At one point, Roberts directed the camera to linger on the massive Drake Kraken (it has its own TRAM, people), to the oohs and aahs of the crowd, who’d already been primed with the in-character sales pitch video. Yes, it’s a buyable concept ship, although as MOP reader DK pointed out, it’s currently marked not for sale. There was some sort of lottery thing. I’m sure you can buy it later for your firstborn!

Probably the most impressive part to me during the keynote was the procedural planet landscaping and cityscaping (and dynamic weather), which has come a long way since last year when everyone was freaking out over comparisons to Coruscant.

Not all of the videos demoed during the panels are up yet, but a few are. Here’s the eyecandy we’ve got so far:

The final leg of today’s presentations is set to go on at 9 p.m. EDT just as this article goes live. You can watch along below, and you’ll probably want to, since CIG has been teasing a big surprise during the “road to release” panel. Hey maybe it’s a release date? j/k.

Source: Official site, Twitch, press release
Update
The surprise was a brand-new Squadron 42 trailer. CIG aims to publish a full roadmap for S42’s release in December.

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Stuani

Squadron 42 trailer is amazing and surprising. Can’t wait for the movie to release. Movies and TV shows are now available for free on Android app called MediaBox HD app. Download the app and install to enjoy movies for free

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Ken from Chicago

The thing I liked most about the planet Hurston / Lorville city demo was something completely unexpected and somewhat personal, less about the game in particular or mmos in general:

The commuter train.

From the moment they boarded the train and I saw those seats facing sideways. It brought years of growing up in Chicago riding the L (that’s the “elevated trains”), flipping back and forth from one side of the station to the other side to see the train going in the opposite direction, racing up two flights of stairs to catch the Green line L heading downtown to the Loop or heading back home to Oak Park, or racing down what seemed like a mile long ramp to catch a Blue line L heading down the center of the Ike downtown before going northwest up the Kennedy to O’Hare, hoping I got there quick enough so the conductor would delay long enough for me to get on before it left.

Or else end up having to wait, sitting on hard benches in the summer heat or freezing winter cold–unless all the benches were full and I’d have to stand up waiting those extra 10-20 minutes, on a good day or 30-60 minutes on a bad day–and worse on weekends when the frequency was cut back further still.

While the L’s were originally elevated commuter trains, about 3 stories in the air, some of them went underground, along their routes and going from above ground into the tunnels were perfectly mirrored in that STAR CITIZEN train going underground as it neared a station.

It also reminded me of what first impressed me about WORLD OF WARCRAFT, the 2nd mmo I had ever played–after GUILD WARS. GW original recipe spoiled me for other mmos. I was very disappointed by WoW character models with their Popeye-esque over-sized forearms and elves that didn’t nearly as good as the ones in LORD OF THE RINGS, movies or animations or even as cute as the Keeblers elves. Seeing them in motion helped vs seeing still-pics, which, back before YouTube and widespread broadband, the Internet was mostly photos and text not so much video medium. At least not what I could afford. But I digress, back in the day, last decade, the thing that really impressed me during my 2 week free trial of WoW was:

Flying a gryphon.

No, not a flying a mount. It took months just to level up to level 40 to get a land mount. Even then I found out I didn’t have the money to for it. I had the coin for the black panther mount (the perfect match for my Night Elf Hunter, didn’t everyone start out with one in Burning Crusade? At least on the Alliance side??), but I didn’t have the gold to buy the book for the riding skill. I had to grind to get that gold and it wasn’t until level 41 that I finally got my first land mount.

But back to flying the gryphon. I’m talking about the *public* transportation everyone got access to and from fixed points in the game. The thing that blew my mind was that it was 3d CONTINUOUS flight showing the ground even other players on the ground. GW was gorgeous even on a low in pc but it was all instances. Nothing prepared me for being able to fly above other players seemlessly. I was enthralled with it and would just watch the land soar by–for several weeks. Then I learned what everyone learned, they were perfect for bio breaks.

Months later I would level up enough to finally go through the Black Gate, on the way to reaching level 60 and my first flying mount–and was massively disappointed. The big rectangular rift gate that lead to Outland(?) was … a loading screen. After all the time and effort to having seemless flying this was hugely anticlimactic. I was hoping Blizzard would at least some kind of wormhole travel ala STARGATE SG-1 but nope, just a load screen.

Even my beloved CITY OF HEROES had just a loadscreen to travel from various points in-game, the monorail, city wall gates, from one dimension to another including the Midnight Squad or the Ouroroborealos(?) It also had a city monorail but it was just loadscreens. I wished it simulated the L experience from back home, even if it was just an animated loadscreen showing the monorail travelling through Paragon City.

I had never expected to have that L train itch scratched by a space-based mmo.

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Lethality

This was a great CitizenCon because they focused on what’s right around the corner, rather than years away.

If you’re a fan of virtual worlds, you should be doing nothing but praising what CIG has accomplished.

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ichi sakari

some of the highlights for me were:

-Chris saying they (he?) had an epiphany about what ‘release’ means, and they were going with more immediate improvements in some QoL and playability

-the improvements in character rendering, especially the facial lighting and textures

-meeting some of the devs, had some fun conversations

-seeing them trying to deal with the flight model and finally seeing some movement in what I think is the ‘right’ direction (like losing afterburners!!!)

-and, of course, to be around a bunch of fools who are too stupid to realize they’re being milked for vaporware, a group of hopeful, positive people, and realizing I’m one of them

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Estranged

Oh gosh, expound on your last point, please.

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ichi sakari

Its not uncommon for the comments in MOP SC articles to include references to how stupid someone must be to be a fan and have hope for the game, its all so negative and contrived that I frequently LOLIRL.

I continue to have hope that CR will make a game that I will enjoy, one that doesn’t make me feel like I’m trained rooster clicking a button to get a reward.

The folks at CitizenCon seemed to share that hope, which, according to the usual suspects around here makes us all blind fools. It was good to be in a positive atmosphere.

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primal

well 3.3 PTU, framerate bit all over the place must be when loading new stuff in but im hitting about 60fps, and is finally pretty smooth

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Joe Blobers

Talking about FOIP, I can’t resist to share this video from #hasgaha, because it is both pretty fun and demonstrate potential of FOIP at large, for SC or others games.

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blue touchpaper123

So here we are ,another citizencon and the game is still many years away from release .

I suspect that CIG will run out of money long before its anywhere near completion and unless the backers have very deep pockets it will either get released in a totally unfinished and unpolished state or have to secure funding for an established gaming developer like EA for example to finish it .

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Kevin McCaughey

Hubris.

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Dan

Ship fittings are a thing of the past. Its all about prefit new ships ad naseum. Until I can pickup a cargo container and fit a small mining (prospecting) rig on my Aurora LN – I’m out.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

ships are still modular in the same way they were always going to be. you don’t fit a mining rig on a pick up truck in real life, why would you want to fit a mining lazer that is half the size of the aurora on an aurora which also lacks the mining storage capabilities of miners?

there’s also always been specialized ships from the get go and they never promised anything remotely as freeform as you suggest in this scenario.

but oddly enough this is the third time i’ve seen this expressed today…

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primal

how do you access the PTU? not showing up as available

deekay_000
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deekay_000

despite the rumours of it being available for all on the 10th it did the same concierge/sub/select first wave access thing. bit dissapointing but i heard the thing about access for all on the 10th as more word of mouth than actual statement…. but it did seem like a big wave as it took several hours to recieve the ptu copy email unlike previous ptu’s this year.

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primal

finally getting about 60fps :D framerate drops alot periodically must be when loading new containers in i guess but finally pretty good. only popped on for 10 minutes got stuff do today but hopefully combat will stay smooth to

deekay_000
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deekay_000

proltip – get out of ollisar area and to some other POI asap for lower crash frequencies.

i mean you’ll still crash often but olli is crash central.

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Ken from Chicago

It’s an ongoing STAR CITIZEN discussion. specialized ships vs customizable ships.

Every time CIG releases a specialized ship for a specific purpose, people ask if it can do some other purpose, what kind of ships can it carry (to make it a “pocket carrier”, and if it has interchangeable modules or weapons.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

and it’s an discussion that continuies to be silly especially when you start talking about putting “prospector rigs” on auroras ffs.

the prospector’s mining lazer alone is half the size of a fucking aurora. then there’s the special hold for raw mining material on top of that.

there are plenty of modification options for all ships. but this is beyond the original stupidity of “can i make my freelancer a space superiority fighter? HURRRRRRRRR”

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Ken from Chicago

Philosophically, I don’t mind being able to customize ships to do things they were not originally built for. I think, gamewise, if your engine could technically handle it, then it should be allowed in-game–BUT BE RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE AND TIME-CONSUMING TO DO.

Like the difficulty of becoming a jedi–in STAR WARS GALAXIES.

And then it would be expensive to maintain. You want your capital ship to fly like a star fighter? Go for it–after installing multiple ginormous engines and quintupling the size of your fuel tank to carry enough fuel for maybe one skirmish.

It’s not just about game balance but realistically, there are reasons why in real life an air carrier isn’t as nimble as a jet fighter. Sure, there’s a difference in mediums, water being way denser than air but that could be compensated for with much larger engines and nuclear reactors used to power said ship.

That said, the technical difficult in researching how to have that level of customization for every ship would add decades to game development. So, let’s just say I’m not holding my breath for it.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

asking for a prospector rig on an aurora is like asking for a hornet to be a long range hauler.

the basic knowledge to know that those two things exists should be enough to know they don’t make any kind of sense but here we are, asking for them like it’s space engineers and the geometry in game is based on voxels.

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Arcanum Zero

can i make my freelancer a space superiority fighter?

It’s pretty unfair to label interest in this idea as ‘hurr’ when there can be little doubt that the Holy Grail of starship ownership is the Millennium Falcon. “Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” might be hyperbole, but it is a long-haul bulk freighter that can compete with snub fighters.

Realistic? No. But to suggest it is a concept with no desirability, or one that shouldn’t have any desirability, in a space-game community is just ill-conceived.

If you want realism, go play a game without faster-than-light travel.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

it’s heavily armed already. but it’s still silly to expect to go toe to toe with a space superiority fighter. and that’s what people were asking for. and it was silly af. there’s even a combat focused variant but it’s not a space superiority fighter and never will be.

eedit; No one said anything about realism. try game balance reasons.

which no one was ever saying you couldn’t go into a scrim with a freelancer, but that it was silly to want it to be a heavy fighter when the fuselage and thruster profile simply doesn’t support that idea. and never was the millenium falcon such a thing. it ran blockades (ti fighters are light fighters in the extreme) and it got a shot on vader’s heavy fighter while he was preoccupied. that’s the extent of the falcon’s combat prowess in the movies, she’s good at running away.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

checked out ptu a bit but still crashy. a new patch just deployed so may cgheck that out. but probably still crashy. not sure if ocs is on but performance was much more variable vs 3.2.2 live, iwth higher highs but lower lows.

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Fervor Bliss

2 years ago New World was announced, today there is a playable Alpha.
I really do not understand what is taking so long with this project, they have funding.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

if you had seen new world gameplay, you would wonder what about it has taken more than a few weeks.

it’s garbage.

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Ken from Chicago

NEW WORLD is a land-based mmo set in an alternate history of colonial America. In other words, it’s yet another fantasy mmo.

STAR CITIZEN is a space-based mmo, set not just on one planet, but multiple planets, moon, in outer space, with 3d space travel, seamlessly with no load screens. The closest thing to ever been attempted is ELITE DANGEROUS and years after launch, your character is still stuck in ships or vehicles. Your character can’t get up and walk around your ship much less leave your ship or engage in recon, discussion or combat on foot, in first-person or third-person perspective. So, yeah, it’s gonna take a minute.

Also, STAR CITIZEN’s kickstarter was announced October 2012. It was using much older technology than 2016. For comparison, GUILD WARS 2 was announced March 2007 and released August 2012. It took 5 years to release and it’s a fantasy mmo set on land, on one planet, with no air travel when launched and limited air travel added later. BLIZZARD, maker of WORLD OF WARCRAFT admitted working on an mmo, TITAN in 2007 and after seven years cancelled it 2014 (though recycled parts of it for OVERWATCH).

Game development of large scale mmos can take a lot of time. Normally we don’t hear much about a game until it’s about to be released. With crowdfunded games we get more details earlier on and because it’s crowdfunded, usually (keyword “usually”) the budget is a lot lower so the aim is more modest, sometimes more a labor of love by volunteers when moonlighting vs dedicated professionals working on it as their main job. CITY OF TITANS (one of several “spiritual successors” to CITY OF HEROES) has been in development for 5 years by fans of COH, volunteering their time and energy to develop the game, learning the UNREAL 4 game engine, how to manage the project and it’s really been mainly this past year they’ve had a lot visible progress. They showed up the character creator (a ginormous deal in superhero mmos) at the NEW YORK COMIC-CON last week.

CIG has raised over $200,000,000 and has almost a five studios in four cities in three countries around the world. The management of that alone is enormous yet what has been achieved is still unmatched in other mmos. It’s easy to take for granted a character waking up in a room, getting dressed, walking to a ship, taking off into space, flying to another planet, landing, getting out and walking into another building–seamlessly with no load screens–because STAR CITIZEN has been doing that for years. But how many other mmos can replicate that? If you’re a PVP fan, it has features in Alpha that many games at launch didn’t have (eg, NO MAN’S SKY, ELITE DANGEROUS, etc.). A single planet is larger than the entire world of some other games. They are few mission givers so it’s better for PvP than PvE, but if you like PvP it’s pretty massive indeed.

That all said, if you are interested in a space-based game, and STAR CITIZEN Alpha 3.3 isn’t enough (I’m more of a PvE person myself than PvP), then there’s ELITE DANGEROUS, NO MAN’S SKY, DUAL UNIVERSE, ROKH, REBEL GALAXY OUTLAW, KERBAL’S SPACE PROGRAM, etc. to scratch space-opera itch.

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Estranged

RSI should be embarrassed by NMS. What they are doing with a small group is astounding.

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Joe Blobers

It is not a matter of group but goals and scope.

I could buy NMS and play it in 30 minutes from now. I don’t because NMS gameplay ans style is not what I am expecting for a space game.

Good if it please (and it did) many others… for an higher price than Star Citizen :)

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Estranged

Uh huh. No whales for NMS.

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Fervor Bliss

I think the difference is more aspirations vs talent.

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Lateris

I would so enjoy Elite Dangerous FPS avatar game that I backed it for to happen.

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Roger Melly

There have been rumors for a while now that development of Star Citizen is a shambolic mess .

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Joe Blobers

Quote Roger: “There have been rumors for a while”…

Roger you are wondering why I leave multiple comments… Look at yours and you realize that shooting lies and obfuscation tend to attract more attention than gameplay discussion :)

I guess your source are anon or from Glassdoor?

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Roger Melly

I have made 3 comments (including this one ) compared to your 22 in this thread and as always anyone who makes a comment questioning this game that is years behind in development , who the public have invested over 150 million of their own money in and that refuses to give people refunds .

No my sources are just various gaming websites which anyone can find by googling about Star Citizens development .

http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2016/09/23/inside-the-troubled-development-of-star-citizen

https://www.polygon.com/2017/9/15/16308452/star-citizen-scam-hoax-45000-dollar-refund

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-01-09-star-citizen-alpha-3-impressions

I have included one article from the past 3 years about the games development to illustrate what I am talking about , there are plenty more online questioning what is going on at CIG if people are interested enough they can always google it for further information .

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Joe Blobers

Roger: “I have included one article from the past 3 years” (in fact two but anyway)

And none from this week… :)

During a project development, you have always some asking if the project will be as good as expected. Add the crowdfunded flag plus +100M$ and you have those questions raised by not some but close to everybody.
Fair enough.

I won’t list all links articles of this week covering Citizencon or one of its features.
I count 62 in 4 days. Best score ever… including many new website with zero previous coverage of SC project.

Out of those 62, please do precise the number of those talking about SC as “shambolic mess”… or just mess.
Most are talking about a lot to do on optimizations or final release date missing, about dream coming through or how far development has come… but no mess.

May be you should avoid to stick to what you did not get in January or 2 years ago but to what you have today?

and now because of you I am at 23 comments! :)

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Roger Melly

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2018-10-13-six-years-later-star-citizen-is-still-raking-it-in

“Star Citizen is a controversial project and its trials and tribulations are well documented. Still, there are enough people still willing to invest even now, six years after the project launched and with no release date in sight, that hundreds of thousands of pounds are made in just a single day. Fans, clearly, get it. Everyone else? Well, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.”

https://www.polygon.com/2018/10/11/17963754/star-citizen-multiplayer-demo-anvil-valkyrie-bugs-citizencon

“With more than $194 million raised since 2012, the Star Citizen project remains the most-funded crowdfunding campaign of any kind. Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries have endured many controversies since its inception in 2012 ”

two from this week , the second article links to this one which explains the controversies in greater detail .

https://www.polygon.com/2018/2/12/16997396/star-citizen-better-business-bureau-terms-of-service-changes

The fact is there are questions surrounding the development of Star Citizen and the practises of CIG from various reliable sources all over the internet .

And even a BBC documentary focused on Star Citizen and the question of continual delays in the project .

We are six years into development and there is still no realistic release date in site in regards to Star Citizen itself . The best we can do is hope for a Squadron 42 release in either 2019 or 2020 .

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Joe Blobers

Thanks Roger. 3 out of 62. From the very same OP on Polygon and Eurogamer.
For those October 2018 articles, I read: “head-scratcher”, “controversies”, or “no realistic release date in site”.

The sum of all does not connect to “shambolic mess” and I note also the inflection in tone. “Controversy” and “head-scratcher” are much more forgiving than mess, don’t you think so?

About release date question, nothing shocking really. Jump on any project and you have always one asking: “but when is it going to be released?” or “is it going to be as good as depicted?”

Reality is that this is more or less what remain from all past “drama”.
This is very positive indeed and assuming next 4 patch bring good/fun new gameplay, locations and features that many are expecting, I have no doubt next Citizen articles will have more of those reactions like current Oct. articles:

“the gameplay shown this time around is much closer to a vertical slice that you’d expect from other publishers at an E3,”

or “The trailer looks pretty damn incredible on its own”

or “is Actually Looking Pretty Mind-blowing”

… minus (hopefully by that time) the inevitable question about date of release :)