Star Citizen provides a detailed look at the systems that will power AI, dynamic events, and the economy

    
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sky boats

Fans of Star Citizen got a truly massive info dump thrown on them by way of a recent video from Persistent Universe director Tony Zurovec that’s all about the game’s Quantum background simulation, the Quasar event system, and various NPC AI matters.

For those who missed out on earlier discussions about the Quantum system, just know it effectively powers the game’s overall economy and NPC movement. NPCs, known as Quanta, have attributes and a personality that falls on a morality and aggression scale, which in turn powers their behavior and how they perceives opportunities; a pirate-like Quanta would have low morality and high aggression, while a security officer Quanta would have high aggression and high morality, for example. More traits on this scale are planned to be added later.

Zurovec provided detailed updates on where Quantum is going, noting how moving the system to C# has increased performance by “two orders of magnitude,” providing a look at a graph system that gives the devs a high-level view of product node and economic activity, showcasing a heatmap system that lets the devs see where PvP is happening and deploy security forces if it’s happening at a location that’s meant to be secure, and looking at tools that allow the devs to see what mission types players find interesting so more of those kinds of missions can be added.

According to Zurovec, Quantum has been “pretty thoroughly” integrated into Star Citizen’s backing architecture and will be built and shipped with all future releases of the game. Further work and testing needs to be done, and the arrival of Quantum will be gradual, starting with analysis of fuel and repair materials and the possibility to control movement of pirates, freighters, and security forces.

Zurovec also took closer looks at virtual AI systems that are in development, discussed how they operate in different states of logic, and demonstrated how they behave. He also offered a step-by-step demonstration of Quasar, a system that allows the devs to initiate dynamic events in the game through a variety of parameters. All of these systems culminate in what Zurovec hopes will be a dynamic and interesting universe for players.

These highlights are just the very top of an extremely dense iceberg, as the video provides 40 minutes of highly informative and extremely granular presentation, all of which can be found below.

source: YouTube
Longtime MMORPG gamers will know that Star Citizen was originally Kickstarted for over $2M back in 2012 with a planned launch for 2014. As of 2021, it still lingers in an incomplete but playable alpha, having raised around $350M from gamers over years of continuing crowdfunding and sales of in-game ships and other assets. It is currently the highest-crowdfunded video game ever and has endured both indefatigable loyalty from advocates and immense skepticism from critics. A co-developed single-player title, Squadron 42, has also been repeatedly delayed.
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Fervor Bliss

Is this really still a thing?

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

There is no way in hell that the finished game – if there even in one – will have been worth the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on it. This has been textbook, “how not to make a video game”. It won’t even be worth HALF the overall budget if/when it’s done. It’s a disaster.

misanthropomorphic
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misanthropomorphic

It feels like they are far too concerned with making the AI NPCs happy rather than their (paying) human customers.

“Congratulations everyone, the simulation is complete! Unfortunately, due to resource constraints, the game is only capable of playing itself and no players can ever actually join the server.”

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Joe Blobers

You are almost right, except what you say is pure fiction.

Invictus is pretty stable and better have a company doing good AI’s rather than what we are served by Publishers since decades.
This is about ambition, demonstrated with mining, dynamic weather, caves, female skeleton, FOIP, physical grid, Quantum… the all project indeed.

Everyone is free to buy the same copy-paste game every two years or to support, for a fraction of those same games, a project developing a game for players.

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Nosy Gamer

Did you really come to the MassivelyOP comments section and suggest that not gender locking player avatars is ambitious game design?

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Joe Blobers

Quote from Bree, August 31, 2017 8:00 PM: “One of the reasons I gravitated to and stick by the MMORPG genre in spite of its many ups and downs (oh, so many downs) over the last two decades is the fact that I can play more or less exactly the character I want to play, which is usually female characters.”

So why bringing MOP on the table? You can pick male or female avatar in SC Zero gameplay restrictions based on gender. I am not 100% sure about SQ42 but I see no reason why it would be gender locked either.

Turing fail
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Turing fail

+1 for your user name alone.

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laelgon

Thought it was a rather interesting look at managing AI and the economy. Always a fan of games where the AI can drive changes in the world without any necessary player interference. If they can start getting that AI implented, and get the events happening with some regularity (the xenothreat event last year was honestly really fun), it’ll start feeling more like a game and less like a static level in which to look at your hundred to thousand dollar spaceships.

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styopa

IIRC the whole POINT of the SC exercise was to produce more or less a 2012-updated (haha) version of Wing Commander….which was a GREAT space combat game about fighting the Kilrathi!
Hilariously, this cinematic trailer from 2012 was the last mention of the Kilrathi at all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpgUuGunU0o
comment image

I mean…ideally it’s well-trodden ground for Roberts & co, meaning that they build an engine, lay out some campaigns using already-established IP. Should be simple to spit out at least the basis of a product, yes?

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Sean Barfoot

The argument against your very reasonable point is usually that ‘the backers voted to increase scope’, when they actually voted to keep funding going in order to ‘make the game even better’.

Citizens often take this to mean they voted for a more than a decade development cycle and a hand to mouth funding model the entire time.

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Ardra Diva

the one thing I think we can all agree on is that other game companies somehow manage to produce highly enjoyable games (some rather complex, too) on a fraction of the budget, in a fraction of the time.

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Joe Blobers

I do have hundreds of games through different libraries: Steam, Ubi, Origin, GoG but none is developing SC+SQ42.

That is the very point.
About budget, Publishers did spend as much if not more to be able (create company, hire hundreds or thousands, develop pipelines and game engine) to throw new games every 2 or three years for “only” 50/60 M$.
Which is already a lot of cash knowing they keep copying the same game since decades…
The project can cost a few extra hundreds M$, I don’t know serious backers that care about it but the contents added to play/test new in game experience, others than 30K :)
What matter is that cash is going massively in devs pocket for development and not massively in shareholder pocket for pure profit. Maximum profit + zero ambition. Thanks but I do prefer to support SC rather than spend another 60$ on the same re-skinned game.

So somehow you can play others games you do enjoy, which is good because SC backers are not different.

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Sean Barfoot

CIG have shareholders too.

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Joe Blobers

True. Did they split the 350M pledges and run away? No All cash is going into development.
Shareholders will have profit to share when the company do release both games and make profit.
Something to remember: sharing profit is a decision of the shareholders board. Apple during years did not share profit despite having 100 Billions of cash.
What I was pointing out is Publishers single goal: spend a minimum (I.E. no ambition, no innovation) and share a maximum of profit.

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Sean Barfoot

I was just highlighting your childlike idea that CIG are benevolent benefactors, instead of a company selling more and more shares to hard nosed billionaires. It has already greatly enriched the ‘Robert’s Family Trust’ too. So grow up.

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Joe Blobers

Because selling share you own to ensure development goes on hence protect backers “investment” is weird?
Doing so he does reduce his part of future company profit.

Oh and about ‘Robert’s Family Trust’, you mean the fake resort and Island he bought with backers pledges as per haters or the house in California you have no idea how he finance the 4M$ value based on its successful pro life and/or bank loan.

May be you refer to 2 family members working with him? Let’s call 2 vs +500 devs a trust….

By the way among the worldwide greatest successful business companies, you will find plenty of family driven business, not 2 individual but many members.

I am personally fine with 2 giving job to +500 devs and +100 others through contractors over years.

Nobody said or suggested CIG was benevolent benefactors… grow up lol

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Tee Parsley

Yep, at least 4.5 million of that money went to a really nice house.

Let’s see, just how many $45 dollar folks did that take to do….?
And yes, Joe, you have no idea how the Roberts Trust funded that house. Nor do you know how much Roberts and Sandy’s salaries are.

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Ardra Diva

Honest question: what is the maximum timeframe you’re willing to wait for the game you imagine it will be?

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Joe Blobers

Honest answer: I have no timeframe set in stone as developing from scratch ambitious games needs time, something people forgot with companies releasing so called AAA every two or three years.
As long I have fun, new patch add new contents, waiting is not an issue.

What matter are progress made to build required core tech, contents, gameplay, diversity.
Tony’s video clearly explain where they are and what remain to be implemented.

Because of core tech implementation, CIG is now able to add more gameplay in 2021 and most of the remaining gameplay next year. The question is about server meshing. Does all core tech implementation will be matched by a serviceable, good or very good SM R&D + implementation? We will see

To me the game I want to play for hours every day instead of week is a game with more gameplay, stability and zero wipe. The later is probably not for next year. Still it is fine as at the same period of time, no other game will approach what is and will be SC.

Turing fail
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Turing fail

So long as one can bequeath their account to heirs, all is well.

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Totes McGoats

Their revenue stream is fleecing hopeful players by promising the moon for fundraising. It’s lies, lies, lies all the way down.

I am in awe at how effective this scam is as we approach the ten year mark. Ten years of scamming the same marks over and over and over – with no sign its going to abate soon.

Here is a pro-tip – if you want the game to release STOP GIVING THEM MONEY. Why would they ever release the game if its more money in their pockets to develop it forever?

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Joe Blobers

+500 devs working hard, all cash spent for development, several free weeks for all per year to test/play latest build,a strong community, a year ahead of roadmap with last core tech implemented allowing to implement new gameplay and contents… all for 45$

Worst scam ever @Totes :)

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Jim Bergevin Jr

A year ahead? Try seven years behind. It’s shenanigans like this that give Kickstarters a bad name.

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Joe Blobers

Still not a scam, shenanigan or not.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

Neither is Chronicles of Elyria, apparently.

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wayshuba

The game is already a financial disaster when it comes to retail outlook. Even if the game sells say 4 million copies – which is high considering it’s niche genre – that would net SCI $168 million in revenue. By the time this is done – if it ever is – it will be probably the first game to raise and spend $600-$700 million to, at best, make a $200-$250 million title.

Considering you are ten years into this project and you don’t even have a half complete Alpha game and the devs are still talking about “concepts” like the game is still in it’s first three years of development, the likelihood of full-featured retail release is getting slimmer by the month.

Anyone denying this at this point needs to really shake off your cognitive dissonance. With $350 million raised so far you have a game not even half done (actually less than 20% done if you actually look at promised features versus released ones). New dev pipedreams still being discussed, adding further to that list of promised features, and thereby making the current delivered feature list smaller each time they do this.

That being said, with $350 million into what is delivered, take a look at what is still to be delivered and actually ask yourself if it took that much money to get where you are, how much more is going to be needed to get where they claim it is going (assuming they can actually stop moving the goal posts on where it is going).

How much more is going to be needed? Another $350 million? Another $700 million? Do you believe they will be able to raise that much more money?

Instead of awing at their glorified tech demo they call an Alpha, perhaps people should spend more time looking at the list of what is promised to be delivered versus what IS delivered today. Then look at the time and money spent to deliver so little versus final expectations and realize unless they can raise another $350 million plus and keep backers on the hook for another ten years, this project is never going to see the light of day as promised. Nothing in what has transpired to date is pointing to this having a successful outcome to that criteria.

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styopa

And let’s note that sales number…is undercut by kickstarter IN THE FIRST PLACE.
I’d guess at least 75% of those interested in SC are already in the KS, meaning that is a shelf-sale that doesn’t happen. SC already *has* that sale in the KS money they have already spent.

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wayshuba

While a good point, is a traditional development path those backers still contribute to the overall potential of what the game makes at retail.

Personally, I am not a backer in SC because I know Chris Roberts dismal record when he is given money and allowed to run the show – he has NEVER produced a product or project when those two instances have been present as they are in this case.

However, even ignoring his track record, the numbers at this point are not adding up for this project to ever be completed with even half of what is promised. I know the backers that still are taken with CR will say how cool things in the Alpha look and what you can do with it today. But when a simple spreadsheet analysis of promised features versus delivered features (and not taking into account delivered features that still need bug squashing) is done, then realizing that less than 25% of the game is currently delivered and the amount of money spent to get it to that state, you quickly realize that this game is going to most likely need another $700 million and 15 years to complete based on current progress.

In other words, mathematically the game has already reached a point where there is less than a 10% chance it will ever be released in final – promised – form.

One thing to also note, promises are important here. This is not a game where the development studio is funding on it’s own and reserves the right to cut features to stay within a budget. These are promises being made to RAISE money from backers. You don’t promise someone a Bugatti for their product and raise money on it then deliver a Ford Mustang.

All I can ascertain is that CR thinks he will be able to keep the donation spigot on and backers on the hook for another ten to fifteen years (as thus the rumored ten year lease they are about to sign) because I don’t believe there is going to be much revenue after this releases as he will already have captured that from the backers.

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Sean Barfoot

I generally feel that one of Star Citizen’s greatest achievements is that the final desired mechanics are completely nebulous at this point. Just about everything has been confirmed, hinted at, implied, cancelled, in discussion, will not happen or definitely will at various points in the project’s history.

Will it be a game of thousands of players fighting in spaceships, boarding parties cutting open hulls with ground vehicles and FPS combat helping out, with procedural birds and eggs and individually simulated particles of argon – or will it be a space sim where you like do missions and stuff with a bit of walking around your ship. Nobody agrees on any of this.

The fascinating point for me will be when it can no longer be all things to all people, but will have to become something specific and tangible.

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Joe Blobers

Quote: “You don’t promise someone a Bugatti for their product and raise money on it then deliver a Ford Mustang.”

What happened is the exact opposite: promise a Ford Mustang to deliver a Bugatti.
My first 45$ Bugatti. Thanks CR!

By the way, the reason the initial kickstarter and following years have been so successful is because of CR.
I already said what I think about your donation speculation in another comment.

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wayshuba

No, you’ve been delivered a Ford Mustang to this point and are being told it is a Bugatti. The Bugatti is the FINAL game with all promised features which you have NOT been delivered.

You are delusional to keep thinking promises are the same as delivery of something. Welcome to the real world.

Every year some NFL team says they are going to deliver an undefeated season and then they fail to make the playoffs.

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laelgon

My theory on their goals with regards to funding is that the singleplayer Squadron 42 game is going to end up as a console release. A flashy space adventure game with big names like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson, Henry Cavill, Ben Mendelsohn, and other recognizable actors could do rather well on consoles with the right marketing. Not saying it’ll work, but they may be banking on that.

Where I’ll disagree is that they’ll never get it done. So long as they keep getting the crazy level of funding from their existing pool of backers and new people, which doesn’t seem to be slowing down, the project will keep chugging along. I don’t want to sound like someone who has absolute faith in Chris Roberts or anything, and I know the “well they’ve been building the tools first” has a been a common refrain, but it’s also kind of true. I don’t play a ton, probably a few short sessions every quarter, but there are signs of an actual game starting to emerge with events and an economy. Whether things will accelerate to the degree that the game can actually be completed, I’m not sure, but I think it’s more likely than not.

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wayshuba

That is the point I was trying to make. Considering where progress is to what is spent, I highly doubt they will be able to keep this money train going for as long and as much as they need to finish at this point.

I will add that I have been managing large scale projects for more than thirty years myself. My experience is such now that I am usually brought in to rescue projects in trouble, so I have seen my fair share of them and am well versed in the warning signs when a project is in trouble. Point being – SC is in trouble.

Even IF they are able to continue to raise the funds, it is obvious that ten years into the project they still haven’t got a feature lock. There is no excuse for that and it is a tell tale sign of complete lack of any concrete management. Giving more money to someone who doesn’t know how to manage it to begin with doesn’t suddenly make them better at management, it just means they will waste more money before the bottom eventually comes crashing in.

It is clear SCI has lost their focus on building a game and instead are trying to build the Matrix in space. A game is about having fun. Building a realistic supply chain model based on what NPCs are doing in the game is a perfect example of wasting time and resources on something that doesn’t matter to the goal of a game.

I will stick with my assertion above. At this point in time, based on all factors known and progress to date, there is a less than 10% chance a final product will ever be delivered with the non-stop funnel of features they keep introducing. In fact, I will go so far as to say – based on my past professional experience – that SCI has about two to three years left before the rubicon of tolerance, and funding cadence, is crossed and this thing is going to come crashing down hard.

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Tee Parsley

Thing is, if the money stops, they’ll probably just declare it a finished MVP, that needs a few additions. Or sell it to some deep pockets guys, like their investors or Amazon.

I guarantee it that Roberts will walk off with all the infratructure (special effects units, motion capture studio, etc) so he can still envision himself as a Hollywood contender! All paid for by guileless fans.

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Joe Blobers

Sure that is the most realistic scenario with 10 thousands new backers every quarter, more gameplay, contents, features, core tech to be added in the next 6 next patch.
CR The Evil will run away with backers cash… A ‘promise’ made by haters since 2015, proven wrong at every quarter and with more coming this year than in the past two years.

The single thing you can guarantee is this unstoppable non sense about who is CR or what he is doing next year :)

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wayshuba

CRs history once he left Origin, where he had bosses to keep him in line and deliver a final product is one of failure, after failure, after failure. Yet, suddenly, you expect people to be in la-la land that this time it is different.

I don’t care how many new backers or money he raises at the current time. What I do believe is he will not be able to keep this ridiculous money train going for another ten years and another $400 million. Based on progress to date – both in time and money – it is going to take at LEAST that much to deliver on the promises made of what this game is supposed to be.

Once again I am going to say it, I do not think they are going to be able to keep this money train going at the pace it is for another ten years. First, this is a fairly niche genre (I know, you are going to say they have over a million backers, which in today’s day and age is a small niche). Secondly, they are not going to get the level of support they have to this point for another ten years – which based on progress to date and still to be developed features – it the MINIMUM they are going to need to finish this title. Stop fooling yourself that they are only a few years from being done, they are not even close to that.

Leo
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Leo

Squenix took a loss on a multi-platform Avengers game, so yeah it’s hard to see these guys making a profit on this unknown series with all the money already spent.

But yet the devs here seem to act like the money so far is a profit. The only reason I can see them posting so many vids and talking so much about the game is to keep the ‘investors’ invested, keep the game there, in the forefront, so that they go buy those fancy expensive ships. If they can make so many vids with so many topics then there must be progress right?…

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2Ton Gamer

It ain’t worth it…

Cheer mate!

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Armsman

Oh please. Most MMOs take between 5 and 8 years to recoup the development costs undertaken. If / when Star Citizen launches with whatever it’s retail v 1.0 is; virtually the entire cost of development will already have been paid for.

Star Citizen won’t make any money off of SC client sales. The buy to play model requires that the player be engaged enough to want to spend more money for digital items (be they cosmetic or actual items/in-game property like ‘a plot of land’ on a planet, etc. that assist in attaining gameplay goals) on a regular basis.

It remains to be seen how well that will go, But given how they continue to sustain a good cash flow doing four new ships a year; as long as The gameplay interests and retains players, the cash flow will continue.

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MothballShow

While it remains to be seen if they will stop ship sales after the game is released (I know they made mention of that early on, but haven’t reinforced that intention), between those and being able to buy in-game currency, upkeep for the ploots of land you mentioned (kind of the way SotA did it with land tax- LOL), that could be enough to cover overhead and future expansions/systems.

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Tee Parsley

Dreams sell better than buggy reality….

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Joe Blobers

Next time make it more simple: “Collapse 90 days top for sure!!”

This prophecy, repeated through different sentences have been served since 2015.

Result: numbers of individual backers jumped from 36K at end of Kickstarter to 1 million by end of 2020… and growing.
More backers, more pledges, more contents, more backers… and we are talking about a game in alpha, something the vast majority of players never touch before officially released.

Also SQ42 is a good candidate for current consoles like PS5 and XboxX, to be released in 3 Episode while SC keep adding contents and a lot of few $ micro-transactions, which have proven to be way more profitable than selling a game.

Nothing of what you say is more than another internet ‘expert’ speculating the worst when the very opposite is emerging from facts. So true you have to deny backers the ability to make choice because of some cognitive dissonance… this is a weak “argument”. 1 million individual with cognitive dissonance but @wayshuba :)

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Joe Blobers

Let’s totally ignore on purposes they started from scratch: 12 guys, no studios, no pipelines, a generic game engine.

Publishers did spend hundreds M$ over years to be able to make copy/paste games for ‘only’ 50/60 M$.
The so called financial disaster is exactly the opposite: a clever handling of pledges to be able to deliver an alpha packed with features no others companies have in a single AAA while implementing the latest core tech allowing to spread away more gameplay, contents and features in the next 8 quarters than in the past 6 years…. because starting from scratch.

The thing that will never going to see the light of day is the end of internet ‘experts’ and there loud uneducated comments about finance and game development…

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Jim Bergevin Jr

You say that like no other studio in history has started out that way, including many Kickstarted projects that have ended up offering experiences you get from well developed triple A games. truth of the matter is that Roberts is one of the worst project managers in game development and your excuse, quite frankly Joe, is bullshit.

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Joe Blobers

So can we just get more developers like CR than DO deliver several good to memorable games for less than 50$!

I say it like no a single other kickstarter have been so successful and for a reason. You can lure people for a couple years, not a million over +8 years AND several free weeks of full access to latest build per year…
The BS is Publishers and their none stop slap in gamer community faces, year after year. The more we goes, the more we get slapped harder every year.

+50 Billions over 8 years and nothing but copy/paste and remaster.

SC with +350M$ during the same period do bring more in alpha and upcoming next 4 quarters than those behemoth of gamer community slappers.

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Ardra Diva

i’d rather have a truly playable game after 9 years than hearing devgasms about how a butterfly flapping his wings in Sector 1 will affect the weather on the 3rd moon of InsertPlanetNameHere. But I’m just crazy like that.

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Joe Blobers

If you want to focus on development years, I suggest you do buy ED Odyssey… this is an expansion from a game developed and released more than 9 years ago, for a much more simple game (simple not being equal to bad or not interesting).

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Ardra Diva

Duke Nukem Forever would like a chat with you

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Joe Blobers

They better get a chat with Braben as I fully got and more what I support with SC :)

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angrakhan

The one thing I picked up on was they moved code to C# and it has”two orders of magnitude” more performance. Not that I particularly want to become a game developer, but I’ve been writing C# since it was available in preview releases. Game development always seemed to be limited to the C++ ubernerds. I guess that’s changed. That’s a whole new industry I could explore if I wanted. It’s good to have options.

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Vanquesse V

Unity is primarily C#. Not a bad place to start. Godot and cryengine are also options.