Star Citizen enters alpha 3.18 with more persistence, a new graphics renderer, and more ships and locations


Last night saw Star Citizen make what it’s calling the game’s biggest update yet. Alpha 3.18 has now gone live, introducing some under-the-hood tech that looks to move the space sandbox forward as well as some additional gameplay features for players to get in to.

The highlight of the new build (and the one that’s suggested in the patch’s subtitle Lasting Legacies) is the introduction of persistent entity streaming tech, which promises a significantly greater level of persistence in the persistent universe as the locations of dropped items, ruined ships, and other things will now be… well, persistent. Tied into this new tech is a cargo refactor that physically creates crates for cargo that can be manually moved, stored, loaded, and stolen. Finally on the tech front, the Gen 12 graphics renderer’s first iteration is online, offering transparent geometry for certain items now and promising improved game performance down the road.

In terms of gameplay elements, this update introduces the first iteration of salvage gameplay along with the launch of the Drake Vulture salvage ship to go along with it, a new heavy fighter in the form of the Scorpius Antares, some new locations like sand caves and a new derelict settlement, new missions available in Orison and Kleischer prison, the return of Kareah space port, and the ability for ships to experience “soft death” (aka have its critical components taken out and make them dead in the water). Full patch notes are available here.

In other SC news, members of the Turbulent team were brought in for an episode of Star Citizen Live, where they talked about their entry into the games industry and discussed a little bit about how the studio and CIG came to partner together. The vast majority of the video, however, was noted as having “no point” as it was broadcast before 3.18’s release; as if to hammer home this point, the video opened up with one of the devs reading from a general chainsaw guide. If you truly need to see this, that video lies below.

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 2022, it still lingers in an incomplete but playable alpha, having raised over $500M 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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