Choose My Adventure: Flying, dogfighting, and struggling with hardware in Star Citizen


Well, talk about a massive disappointment. After a bunch of attempts, tweaks, and some general stubbornness, I’m pretty much going to have to concede that Star Citizen just can’t operate on my hardware. Or at least not as cleanly as I would like it to.

I should point out that the game runs. It almost runs well. But the problem I’ve been running in to is the fact that, if I want to play Star Citizen, then that is all that I am allowed to do on my PC. If I have the temerity to use my rig for anything else while the game is fired up, I’m pretty much hosed.

For the few times I was able to get into the game, things were… fine I guess? I was reminded just how much of life in the ‘Verse is simply going from one place to another in order to get to my spaceship, and then moving that to an intended destination. While I do like some deep levels of immersion, I’m now beginning to appreciate that verisimilitude should not constantly get in the way of just trying to have fun.

And try to have fun I did. Or at least try to complete some missions, anyway. I’ve done delivery missions before plenty of times, so I wasn’t immediately interested in doing that right now, particularly without the cargo refactor and other more industrial-sized updates that the game is slated to get later, so I elected to try my hand at doing some bounty hunting missions. Particularly since I wanted to get my feet wet in space combat again. It had been a while, after all.

Once I picked up the contract job I wanted to pick up (which came with a 500 credit fee, sure why not), I walked, took a flying bus, then walked again to the kiosk that allowed me to summon my ship. And it was here that I found a couple of surprises sitting in my list. I was, apparently, the owner of a San’tok.yai and a Khartu-Al, two ships that I never remembered purchasing or melting other ships to get to.

Sure, why not? I’ll see what the San’tok is all about.

It’s here that, despite all of the drudgery of getting in front of the ship, I was reminded about one of SC’s coolest features. Honestly, nobody does ship design like CIG, and the alien craft are a perfect encapsulation of the incredible skill of the designers, artists, and developers. This thing is controlled by moving floating balls. The ship floats out of the cockpit for you to sit in so it can carry you back into the cockpit again. It’s a wild ship.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t really able to carry her into combat purely because I misjudged the jump range of the objective I was meant to go to, and when I redirected to a nearby location, things started to hitch up on me and I elected to reset. That meant, of course, that the ship was lost to the wilds and needed time to return to me at Area 18.

So once more I made the literal commute back to the hangars and summoned the Anvil Arrow that I’m much more familiar with to take on a different bounty hunt target. Of course, it would figure that this target was in a much closer location, but whatever. I figured it was probably best for me to go with a ship I’m familiar with anyway.

Once I got to the place where my bounty target was located, I engaged with two escort fighters. Here I started to struggle, since the dogfight was taking place just over the surface of the moon I was at, and the flight control felt… squirrely. Things were not quite as stable as I had first recalled them being. So while I was wrestling with both the new sensation of flight while trying to get a bead on my enemy, the bounty target apparently left. Or something? I’m not entirely sure what happened, all I know is that the contract failed.

But since I was already dogfighting, I figured I’d commit. Here I began to run afoul of hardware problems again to the point that a pause in frame rate caused me to smash my ship into the surface of the planet. That, I presumed, was the point when I would log off and come back another day.

Third time’s the charm, right? Another commute, another bounty contract, another attempt at using the San’tok.yai. This time, however, the target was on the same moon that I was in that dogfight earlier. Perhaps now I’d get the opportunity to see what this ship is capable of!

Nope. Once more, frame rate hitching (and an admitted high rate of speed) once again saw me just kind of… blow up. I think I crashed? Or maybe a turret shot me down. I genuinely couldn’t tell you what happened; one minute I was in the air, the next I was watching my ship pop.

So I guess that, despite my upgrades and my adjustments, Star Citizen and my equipment just can’t get along. And I’m frustrated.

For reference, my rig has 32GB RAM, an Intel i7 CPU @ 3.61 GHz, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU. Now there are perhaps any number of additional hardware upgrades I could use in order to smooth out my experience even more. Perhaps my SSD wasn’t read/writing fast enough. Perhaps I still don’t have the right GPU. But honestly, after a certain point, software has to make up some ground as well. And I do not make enough money to transform my computer into a Star Citizen-only box, no matter how desperately CIG would probably want me to do so.

Besides, Dawntrail is coming soon. Those gigs of SSD space are better reserved for that anyway.

So yes, despite my hopes and efforts, it’s looking like I have to put the kibosh on this return to Star Citizen. Maybe sometime later I’ll be able to afford the other parts that I apparently need to play this game and have other programs running at the same time, but I’ve clearly been told to jog on. And so that means that we’re leaping forward to the next adventure instead. I’m ready to move on.

What game should I play next? Choose My Adventure!

  • RIFT. It's been awhile, maybe come on back here? (9%, 12 Votes)
  • Wayfinder. Continue to see how this RPG fares. (6%, 8 Votes)
  • Pax Dei. Live life in this early access sandbox. (33%, 42 Votes)
  • Tarisland. Roam the... land of... Taris? Whatever, do this one. (14%, 18 Votes)
  • Elite Dangerous. At least you know this space sandbox still functions. (38%, 49 Votes)

Total Voters: 129

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Polling will wrap at the usual 1:00 p.m. EDT time on Friday, June 21st. I’m sorry that this turned out the way it did, and perhaps I’ll circle back around if I figure out whether there’s something else I’m missing. But in the meantime, I’ll make sure that this next CMA round is much longer to make up for the shortfall I regrettably have to report in with.

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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