Choose My Adventure: Returning to Star Citizen (and fussing with tech)


It’s been a long while since I got to hop into Star Citizen. Not for a lack of desire, but mostly for a lack of hardware grunt; my PC hasn’t been able to handle this game for some time, and even after I thought upgrades did make it possible, the watermark was raised yet again on me. However, I’ve since gotten the missing piece of the puzzle (a RAM stick, to be precise) and was able to hop back in.

And even now, most of my time was spent with futzing with controls, which does kind of mean that a lot of what I did in the game was… well, boring. But also a lot of things were significantly different. Different enough that this was time well spent.

First and foremost, the character creator that was one of the marquee features of alpha 3.23 is significantly better. I don’t know why it took CIG this long to get up to the standard of regular MMOs, but putting together my custom avatar was leaps and bounds better than the DNA blending nonsense and limited features of the previous version.

I also have to admit that the tutorial segment that was on offer was helpful as well, particularly since I was effectively coming back as brand-new as possible without being totally new. Obviously much of my prior experience in the game helped me out, and the tutorial probably could have gone a little longer, but it did at least get me hit the ground running in terms of movement, navigation, and flight. After those directions, though, it basically sent me an email to my mobiGlas telling me that the training wheels were off.

From there on, a lot of my playtime was as I described in the opening, with some moving around my chosen starting location of Area 18, a quick visit to the Invictus Launch Week venue (though I regrettably did so too late to get on to the show floor), and a hop into my Avenger Titan for some atmospheric flight. This was shortly after the point when the game encountered a server error that completely froze the whole thing and required a force-close. I took that as my cue to stop for now.

All along the way, I was tweaking visual settings, keyboard controls, and HOTAS controls. I even was attempting to get my head tracker to work, but apparently the camera was picking up some glinting off of my glasses, rendering it useless until I can find a way to limit the glare that’s apparently bouncing off of them.

Yes, I’m going in on the immersion and control for this one much as I would many other flight and space sims that let me do so. In for a penny, in for a pound. Proverbially, anyway; I am not spending another dime on this game.

So obviously that doesn’t leave me a whole lot of time to get used to how the game actually plays, but there was enough time for me to get a sense of how Star Citizen has progressed since the last time I was able to step into my space boots, and overall I do have to admit that it has indeed progressed in a few ways. Performance has since been pretty good, though the framerate could probably be better; it felt mostly stable up until the server error; and there weren’t any instances of ravenous elevators, though there was one point when I was in a space bus that had doubled up and was flipping around when moving to its destination that caused me to fear for my digital life.

Control also felt pretty good since I last played (and after the aforementioned keybinding finagling). While CIG was making perhaps a bit too much noise about having contextual presses for interacting with things like buttons and kiosks, hitting the “F” key to do thing when approaching them does make things leagues better than the way it was before. Also the minimap and other mobiGlas UI elements were great quality-of-life touches that certainly should have been in-game much sooner, but I’m glad to finally have them now.

Of course, that’s not to suggest that this stage of the game is flawless. There’s still some of those old bugs hanging around, like NPCs standing on chairs and the galaxy map still feeling kind of busted, although that happened just before the server error, so maybe that had an effect on things. All told, it is good to be back. Particularly since I have missed being able to actually play this game.

That isn’t to suggest that I’ve been agonizing over not being in-game every day. Mostly I’ve been wanting to keep abreast of how Star Citizen is trying to evolve, especially since that evolution feels incremental from the outside looking in. Obviously I’ve been keeping tabs on what this game and its studio has been up to as I’m the one who covers it the most for MOP, but there really is no replacement for direct experience, and I’m glad that I can once again bring that to all of you, both in this column and in future write-ups.

Until the tech requirement bar raises once again, anyway.

At the time of this writing, I still feel like I’ve got a couple of controls to get situated and keybinds to map both on my devices and in my memory, but by and large it’s looking like I’m ready to dive into this one whole hog. So that means that it’s poll time! Let’s figure out just what sort of thing I should start off with on this return trip through the ‘Verse, shall we?

What activity should I focus on first?

  • Missions. Open up the mobiGlas job board. (52%, 38 Votes)
  • Mining. Get out there and eat on some space rocks. (15%, 11 Votes)
  • Exploration. Get your feet wet a bit more in terms of control. (29%, 21 Votes)
  • Arena Commander. Hop into the deathmatches and see what's what. (4%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 73

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Polls close at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 7th; y’all know the drill by now. In the meantime, I’m going to continue the boring yet necessary work of refining my control schemes, creating some muscle memory, and re-acclimating to life in this sandbox once again. Especially since nobody wants to read about my adventures in menu’ing a second time, I’m sure. We’ll get into some proper gameplay soon, I promise, I just need a little more time to get things comfortable.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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