Chris Roberts checks in with word on Star Citizen alpha 3.15, server meshing progress, and finishing Squadron 42

    
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“It was meant to be a five minute video,” remarks creative producer Jared Huckaby in the background of the final minutes of Star Citizen’s latest video. However, since this video features Chris Roberts, a man who is not very good at giving short answers by his own admission, fans of the game instead get nearly 30 minutes of CIG’s boss talking about progress on the game.

The video can essentially be broken up into three larger portions. The first part talks about progress on server meshing, where Roberts remarks that about 20 engineers in total are working on the matter. Roberts hopes to have server meshing completed by the end of this year, and notes that the work of server meshing will be an overall boon to Star Citizen as multiple servers will be handling different portions of the game’s world instead of having one server managing most of the load, resulting in a generally smoother gameplay experience for everyone.

In terms of more immediate updates, Roberts hopes to have alpha 3.14 arrive by the end of July, and also talks up the features of alpha 3.15, which will be headlined by the start of the game’s more involved death and respawning mechanics, hospital features, and a personal inventory among other things. After that, there’s the digital CitizenCon for 2021 coming this October, and then by the end of the year CIG should be coming back to their physical offices, while Roberts and his family will be moving from California to Manchester, UK, in order to finish work on Squadron 42.

Finally, Roberts takes some moments to talk about a feature that he’s been helping to code that will create more specific geometry for player avatars based on the equipment they’re wearing. Right now, player geometry is based on their skeleton, but this new feature will focus on “skin geometry” which will take into account the size and shape of helmets and armor, creating a more realistic mesh for cloth pieces and hair to drape on and more predictable shot landing when FPS weapons are fired.

source: YouTube, thanks to RonC for the tip!
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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AGx-07_162

8 years later and it still in Alpha? By the time this actually releases (which I’m certain it never will) it’s going to be outdated.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Every few months, for what feels like a decade, this game has been like, “Oh! Shiny!” and gone chasing something that has added time to the development, generally for things that are intellectually interesting, perhaps, but not needed. It’s extraordinary. The result – even if it comes out – will not have been worth the time and, more importantly, money, spent on it. Star Citizen is just a video game. Someone needs to say it.

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Joe Blobers

Do you thing Destiny 2 is worth 500M$ (including marketing)?

As per grandviewresearch, The global video game market size was valued at USD 151.06 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.9% from 2020 to 2027.

Game industry is creating jobs. Just in US, from 2010 to 2020, jobs creation grow from 124K to 241k.

How many Star Citizen clone (IE including at least all features packed in current alpha) have been released vs roughly 150 B$ per year during 9 years? None, zero.

To summary SC is just like all others games with one fundamental difference: ambition, translating in the required times to create from scratch.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Gosh, where to start with this?

First, I note that you completely ignore my main comment, which is about feature creep in Star Citizen. Yet it’s a real and very problematic thing.

Second, you think Destiny 2 cost $500 million. It didn’t. Do some simple searching on this. The number has been widely misinterpreted as a production number for the first game, yet actually relates to multiple games, multiple marketing campaigns, and more. So extremely disingenuous to try and compare the two. MOST games regarded to have massive budgets are actually around the 100-150 million mark. Again, do some searching.

Third, you ask how many Star Citizen clones are out there, but will only accept them as clones if they include every feature. LOL. Given Roberts’ ridiculous chase for new shinies, no game will ever fit your limited scope for comparison.

Fourth, there’s a difference between ambition, and being able to deliver on a project. Roberts’ has struggled with this throughout his whole career.

At the end of the day my point stands. WAY too much money has been spent on this game. It’s in an EXTREMELY niche genre. If it ever comes out people will be like, “Oh, is that it? And it cost HOW MUCH?” And, within years, it will wither away to be super niche, and eventually die. And will have been a complete waste of time and money. Wait and see.

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Joe Blobers

First Stretch goals have stopped mid-2015 after backers did requested them from pool in 2014…. What CIG is implementing is SC lore with all mechanisms. Also some stretch goals were planned… after release.

Second I perfectly know the 500M$ figure is not for Destiny 2 only. Hence the brackets. Destiny 1 was also developed on that budget. Again is Destiny 2 worth the budget used to make it released?

Third clone mean of course it include all features. There are many games with some spacish gameplay or flying ships. We all know about them and probably played many of them. Those multiple games don’t fit my space game fan expectation, apparently I am not alone.

Fourth ambition without resources is just a dream not coming to fruition… Which is exactly the opposite happening to SC. Not because I beg not to fail but because they reach a point of no technical debt (except server meshing to be delivered with a 20 devs team working on it daily), be able to pour new gameplay starting next quarters (medic, salvage, large container transport) and a studio dedicated to create full new systems.

The niche genre have been raised years ago by prophet of doom.. we know how it turned….
MMO are a very profitable niche many people like to play more than regularly.
Project ambition was not to sell more copies than Battlefield on multiple platforms but to be attractive enough for a wider audience than pure space fans (trade, transport, medic, repair, salvage, fps, ground vehicles, titan suit…), everyone being able to pick what he prefer, solo (SQ42) or MMO with plenty of options.

With zero publishers caring about gamer but profit, SC is sure dying next years lol… By the way, even WOW will stop servers at some point… PC/consoles games, nothing of what human are doing is eternal.

Entertainment is a concept, pick the ones you like much depending of your age or point of interest. That include never touching any PC/Consoles but reading or having fun participating to one football final costing 10 times more than a single SC copy.

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

You’ve read the article and/or watched the video right? Something like starting to code “skin geometry” is a PRIME example of something that’s NOT a stretch goal, NOT part of the lore, NOT something that anyone needs. But Roberts is like, hey, my game’s massively overdue and costing a bomb… but let’s start coding something intellectually interesting but COMPLETELY NOT ESSENTIAL anyway…! How much time is stuffing around with “skin geometry” going to add to the game? No one knows! Roberts doesn’t care though, as he just likes tinkering, rather than completing anything. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. The game, and its management, is a disaster zone. But honestly I could give two-dozen examples of things like this, and a rusted-on Star Citizen fan will just wave them away as if they’re not real or important. The thing is… they kinda are. And is the reason why what was a simple sort of space sim is now years overdue, and still shows no real signs of being an actual game and is instead just a few semi-working pieces stuck together with bubblegum.

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Joe Blobers

LOL… This is part of core tech development: ensure assets don’t clip in each others.
You don’t need it because you are use to see visual artifacts in AAA’s since decades. So clipping assets are now a standard where it should be a bug by nature….

Another proof that misunderstanding basics can transform a must have tech in mismanagement perception…

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

I find it extraordinary that, even now, with the game in development for the best part of a decade – and still nowhere near being a proper game (not even its single player component), you can sit there and think everything’s just fine. You’ve clearly drank the Roberts Kool Aid. Go back for another cup. After all, you’ll need something to pass the time while another decade goes by and the game still isn’t out and buying .JPGs of spaceships can only take you so far. Stop wasting your life on it.

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Joe Blobers

I find extraordinary that, that even now, with decades of copy/paste and remaster games made by multi-billionaires companies, you still don’t understand what starting from scratch means, while slowly grow from there to create ex nihilo two ambitious games with an Apha packed with more features than any released single AAA games.

No Kool aid involved dude, just basics facts put together.
Already hundreds hours testing/playing in alpha.

Entertainment is not a waste of life, confirmed by 1 million individual backers and growing every day :)

Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

No, if you want to know what extraordinary is – it’s you thinking that big studios have some magical head-start when making new games. This is definitely the Chris Roberts, “publishers are evil!” brand of Kool Aid kicking in. Generally speaking, studios have to hire in talent; often quite extensively. They don’t have tons and tons of ‘spare’ people just hanging around between projects. That’s not how the games industry works. Sometimes they will even be opening new buildings. And in terms of the content they all start from scratch, obviously. Roberts uses the “publisher as bogeyman” thing as a cover. Yet the fact of the matter is, massive AAA games are generally knocked out in about 5 years, start to finish. Roberts has had almost DOUBLE that, and he’s still nowhere near a coherent game. He’s hopeless. But you sit there defending him. Again… extraordinary.

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Joe Blobers

Quote: “Yet the fact of the matter is, massive AAA games are generally knocked out in about 5 years”

Those AAA’s have nothing of massive vs SC alone. There are massively copy/paste of previous game, using most same assets, adding few more with no new gameplay. All from studios with hundreds or thousands of devs, up-to-date pipelines, game engine and billions $ pf cash… still none have what SC pack in alpha.
You totally miss basics then rush to wrong conclusion.

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AGx-07_162

You think they’d spend half a billion dollars on one game? Are you out of your mind? Destiny (the franchise) and Star Citizen (the game) are two totally different things. That $500M your quoting probably comes from the initial reports on Destiny, not Destiny 2 specifically but I’m all that $500M was for the franchise (3 planned games) plus marketing. Destiny 1 actually only cost $140M to make. Doubtful Destiny 2 cost over 2x that.

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Dug From The Earth

At this point, ill be happy if ALL we ever officially get, is Squadron 42.

Thats all I really wanted way back when the crowd funding first started anyway.

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MothballShow

“It was meant to be a five minute video…”

*checks development timeline since the 2012 kickstarter*

This tracks.

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Blake

That was my first thought as well.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

Chris going to the UK to be hands on with SQ42 does not mean SQ42 will come out more quickly. It means Chris has ideas he wants to implement that will inevitably lead to delaying its release. That’s just how it is.

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Joe Blobers

No it just confirm what he said about devs returning to office: it is way more efficient to discuss physically work in progress in the same office to improve and speed up communication.

UK team being the main office working on SQ42 and SQ42 being so much important in terms of first finished product by CIG, having the CEO focusing all day long in office is a must.

Nobody want SQ42 to get out more quickly but to be released when done. Having a release ala CP2077 is just not an option.

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angrakhan

it is way more efficient to discuss physically work in progress in the same office to improve and speed up communication.

Except it’s not. My team has been remote since covid hit and we’re more efficient now than when we were in the office. It takes zero time to start a Teams meeting and collaborate even sharing your screen to show someone exactly what you’re talking about.

CR just has it in his head he can micromanage and ride asses better in person than remote. We’ll see if it makes a difference.

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Joe Blobers

I would agree on principle. Some jobs are fully compatible with homeworking as long provided tools are good and employees autonomous in their daily tasks.
We are talking about an office packing all people in charge of the future of the company. So it is normal and somehow welcome to have CEO right on the battlefield.

Managing does not equal necessarily to ride asses… but it is CR so it must be negative, otherwise it won’t be a SC comment section :)

As long SQ42 is good, any option is good to me.

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W2KS

Joe, it’s pretty clear you are either an employee or a sycophant.

I suspect I’ve spent more than you on this game (multiple capital ships), so you can’t call me a nay sayer, I’ve supported it and not pursued a refund as the thought originally sounded great and there is a minuscule part of me thinking maybe he will get out of his own way one day and deliver.

That said, you ALWAYS defend CR and CIG blindly.

None of us need CR’s new character modeling, we really don’t. But of course, CR continues to come up with new ideas he thinks he should add and lets be honest here, new ideas/content take dev time. He just keeps pushing out the timeline because he is accountable to nobody but himself.

I believe most publishers push games out too fast but in CR’s case, he’s taken the polar opposite approach and seems to be continuing to replicate the same problems he had while he worked at Microsoft.

I loved the vision initially, I again think many publishers push games out too fast, but CR is abusing his position and can’t stop adding new features, etc.

FOCUS ON RELEASING THE DAMN GAME, stop adding new features like this character modeling garbage. Get the game out, once it is out, go ahead and add all the new content you want and sell us expansion packs or use the subscription funding if you like.

It seems to me he doesn’t want to lose his silly ship income stream though so he is going to drag his feet and avoid releasing the game, continue adding more stuff most don’t care about at this point (or would much prefer having a released game over vs said content) because he gets to continue selling his spaceships for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.

Until he has some real accountability, I see CR continuing to abuse his position and the good faith of the people that initially entrusted him. He thinks it’s ok and he’s doing nothing wrong because he’s on a glorious mission but he himself is deluded.

The irony is, if this does in fact fail to launch, he will have earned himself a nasty legacy. Sure he won’t need $$ anymore but any positive reputation he might have had will be forever lost, save a small group of zealot consumers that continue to believe he does no wrong.

He will go down as the guy who broke records on funding, only to piss away all of these consumer’s money and who given ridiculous sums of cash, still couldn’t release a working product.

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Joe Blobers

Quote: “But of course, CR continues to come up with new ideas he thinks he should add”

Thanks for being part of this project. Not being a naysayer because you pledged more than regular backer say very little about your vision of the project.

That say I don’t see in past years and upcoming patch anything which was not in either stretch goals (stopped mid-2015) or in SC lore.
CIG is delivering techs required to deliver both SQ42 and SC.

Your vision of ships sale is totally not accurate and indeed false.

All pledges are going to the game development. Believe it or not it is coming to fruition with no tech debt (even server meshing is worked on by a 20 devs team with first test/implementation end of the year).
CR will make big $$ only with SQ42 release + SC reaching a playable none alpha state. If $ were the main CR goal, pushing artificially a release is the worth thing to do.
The best for gamer and him is to release a ‘perfect’ product and certainly not to duplicate CDPR’s last title release fiasco.

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Totes McGoats

So when is Squadron 42 coming out? I’m a bit fuzzy on this point.

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MothballShow

Chris, is that you? We’ve been asking that the same question since 2014.