This week’s episode of Nightbus takes on some drama, theory crafting, tidbits and new fiction.
Welcome to the Star Citizen NightBus, a quirky mixture of fact, fiction and opinion. I’m your host, Alysianah from AlysianahsWorld.com. This week’s show are:
Please sit back, relax and enjoy.
The Nightbus is existing statis. Please secure all personal items. Departing the station is 3…2…1
With planetary landings on the horizon, conversations have started within the community, speculating on the methods CIG might utilize for planetside node harvesting in Star Citizen.
Every MMO that I’ve played, and I’ve played every AAA MMO that’s come to North America over the past 20 years, has utilized surface level node collection. The one exception being SOE’s Landmark which — well, in the end, didn’t materialize into the planned MMO, Everquest Next, so perhaps that one doesn’t even count.
By surface level nodes, I mean objects that appear directly on the surface of the visible terrain. Even when a node is inside a cave, it’s on the surface — you can see it. There’s no digging below terrain you’re standing on.
I don’t have a problem when games only employing surface level nodes. They’re easy to find and access, which makes harvesting a more casual affair. Depending on the concentration of nodes needed to support the player-base however, surface nodes can clutter up the landscape if not done very well. And require very unnatural looking zones of heavy density of nodes to support large-scale collection.
While digging below the surface wouldn’t bother me, I’m fine with surface-only. I enjoy harvesting casually while I explore. Finding resources below the surface necessitates more intent than aimlessly meandering and picking up whatever you happen to see. Or opportunistically harvesting while you’re traveling.
I’ve recently seen high concentration surface level nodes only done very well. Unlike most other MMOs using surface nodes, BDO doesn’t use visual cues that can be seen from a distance. You can’t tell if an element is a harvestable node until you’re right on it. And the nodes themselves – ore, plants, trees, etc., look like any other part in of landscape. This results in a natural looking environment that doesn’t break your immersion or call your attention to “fake thing here” when you’re not trying to harvest.
In BDO, I explore while harvesting because you have to mingle in with the environment to know if you can gather an item. I enjoy walking along the furrowed rows of a farm along side NPCs maintaining it, looking for vegetables to harvest for cooking recipes. Chopping down trees in a nearby wood while seeing if there were any quest mobs in the area. Or vice versa.
So while I’m open to surface only, beneath only or a combination, I found BDO’s surface only implementation quite compelling and natural. Do you have a preference? What game have you played that got it just right?
For more interesting facts, check out the Star Hangar Facebook page. I’ll include a link in the Show Notes
If you’ve subscribed on Alysianahsworld.com, you know that in my May newsletter, I expressed my thoughts on the whole Referral Program contest kerfuffle. The short version is that something that was initially billed as an exciting restructuring of the program does not a one time contest make. I was expecting a permanent enhancement to the program aka restructuring, that all backers could work toward over the lifetime of their referral activity. Who thought a timed contest with a short duration was going to excite most of us, was sadly mistaken. The game development is in alpha, yes. But it’s time for marketing and communications raise their game out of alpha mode.
Ben Lesnick of CIG, posted a reply in a thread on Spectrum that addresses some of the concerns expressed by a part of the community. Why they showed referral codes of some, concerns about it being timed event that most can’t reach and why the new backer push with such a harsh new player experience, among other things. Net-net is that they appreciate the feedback and are going to work on improvements in the area of new player experience and it appears they’re going to extend the time to allow us “regular folks” a chance at the lower tier items.
While it’s good to see a direct response and some action. It’s sad that this sort of misstep happened in the first place. It’s as if they don’t know this community at all or worse, they don’t perceive the disconnect between what they say sometimes versus what they actually do. I’m sorry but we shouldn’t be having these kinds of disconnects at this stage of the game.
DO NOT USE MARKETING SPIN when communicating with the backer community. Save that for potential customers when the game goes live. Save that for interviews. PLEASE SPEAK PLAIN LANGUAGE TO US. This will greatly reduce the unnecessary drama that inspirational letters from Chris won’t always be able to solve. Stop using that and conciliatory messages afterward as a crutch. Please please, get it together and consider vetting this stuff outside the circle of people working on it. Perhaps they’re too close to it and can’t see the pitfalls that other CIG staff who interact with the community might have before the cat was out of the bag.
If you haven’t seen Ben’s response, check the Show Notes for a direct link.
That wraps up another episode of the Nightbus. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have, please considering subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up.
For more of my Star Citizen coverage visit alysianahsworld.com, where you’ll also find Aly’s Starmap Matrix, a mobile-friendly easier to read version of the official ARK Starmap. While you’re there be sure to register on Aly’s World for an exclusive Monthly Newsletter.
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If you haven’t created an account yet on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com, you can earn 5K in-game currency when the game goes live by using my referral code when you do and I’ll also earn some in-game goodies. You’ll find my referral code in the show notes.
This is Alysianah signing off until next time. Be kind and fly safe!
The Nightbus has arrived. Please watch your step while departing. Re-entering stasis in 3…2…1
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Audio version available on YouTube in the Star Citizen Nightbus: Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 4
ArcCorp Area 18 | Sleep Pod Barracks #21
Fog laps at the edges of a dimly lit street. Debris turns to mush in shallow pools of rain. Vermin scurry, snatching morsels from overflowing trash bins. A neon marquee flickers intermittently then fades to black before restarting. Letters scroll by identifying Pod Barracks #21, a row of nondescript cement towers. You’re asleep inside sleep pod 16. Over the hum of the air recycler, you hear the rat-a-tat of raindrops pelting the pavement. Ugh, just what you need. Your chest rumbles when you breathe. You shiver and wipe beads of sweat off your forehead.
You’re asleep inside sleep pod 16. Over the hum of the air recycler, you hear the rat-a-tat of raindrops pelting the pavement. Ugh, just what you need. Your chest rumbles when you breathe. You shiver and wipe beads of sweat off your forehead. “Not yet. More sleep.” Exhaustion drags you back under. Your eyelids clamp shut. Heavy as a stone, you plummet into blackness. Time stands still until…
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. A loud beeping ricochets around the pod. You flay a hand over your exposed ear as if swatting a mosquito. Yawning, your wits begin knitting themselves back into place. Alarm clock!
You groan. Your stomach grumbles. From muscle memory, you whack the button on the panel overhead. Ahhh, sweet sweet snooze. Curling into a ball, you grab a fistful of blanket and drift back to sleep.
Precisely fifteen minutes after hitting snooze for the second time, your sleeping pallet begins vibrating. Muscles and joints protest. You groan but can’t afford to be late. Gingerly, you roll over onto your back, turn off the alarm and flip on the lights. You take a moment to wake up more fully and gain your bearings.
You’re in a stark white claustrophobia-inducing fiberglass tube. Pinpricks in the ceiling cast diffused light. Cubbyholes of varying sizes line the curved side walls. Your UEE Citizen dog tag and mobiGlas are in the cubby closest to you. Yesterday’s uniform and work boots are in a heap at your feet. You peek through the slatted window behind you. Dawn is creeping up over the horizon. At least it’s stopped raining – for now.
Propped up on an elbow, you grab your dog tag and slip it over your head and clip your mobiGlas to your wrist. You inch toward the pod’s entrance by sliding on your butt. Before deactivating the door lock with your heel, you check that your PJs are still snapped shut. The pod door hisses as it retracts. You scoot into a sitting position, your legs dangling out over the edge of the sleeping pod. Your slippers are hanging on a nearby hook. You mindlessly put them on while rummaging in the wardrobe inset into the wall on your right.
You hop down into the growing throng of residents preparing for the zero-five-hundred shift change. They’re in various states of undress. You nod ‘morning to familiar faces, fellow transients, and low-wage workers at an industrial facility or loading dock here on ArcCorp. You check that you have everything you need to get going. A bathroom kit is wedged under your right arm. Work boots attached by their shoelaces are slung over the opposite shoulder. A freshly laundered uniform is on a hanger in your right hand. When you turn to head toward the restrooms, you see Naomi. Punctual to a fault, she’s already dressed in the drab and common olive colored jumpsuit you all wear. Waving a hand back and forth, you croak out her name – once…twice.
It takes her a moment to figure out who’s calling her. When she realizes it’s you, she smiles and heads your way. “What’s doing?” Her voice is light and cheerful. Curse her, it’s too early to be chipper.
“Not much. Heading to the salt mines.” You hold up your uniform as evidence.
She laughs. “Ouch, still shuffling crates?”
You nod in disgust.
Her mouth puckers as if tasting something sour. “Damn. Short on experience but you’ve got certs.”
You’re seized by a coughing fit as you’re about to reply. You have to clear your throat a couple of times before you can speak. “Tell me about it.”
As your coughing continues her face takes on a yikes look. “That sounds nasty.” She mockingly takes a step back. “Taking anything?”
“Didn’t want to spend the creds. Trying to get outta this dump. At least get a real room.”
She laughs. “You and me both!” She adopts a more serious tone. “Still salty I never got moved to the shift manager dorms like my contract says. But who the hell am I going to complain to here?”
You rub your throat which is starting to burn. “Exactly.”
“I don’t push ‘cuz it could be worse. We dropped a hundred freshies last week. No warning.” No free ride off-world like their contract says. They’re basically screwed.” Punching you on the shoulder she adds, “These days steady creds, couple meals and a bed is the dream.”
Pointedly looking around, you reply with disgust, “Yeah… it’s the dream alright.” Inside you’re disappointed with yourself and situation. Most of all, your stupid choices that landed you here.
Naomi’s voice pulls you out of your reverie. Checking her mobi she says, “Better get moving. Don’t be late. I’ll catch you later.”
You nod in agreement and turn to walk away. Over your shoulder, you call out, “grub later?”
“Sure – meet you at G after the shift.”
The wait in line for an all-in-one restroom cube was less than five minutes. With the exception of a small mirror above the pull out washbasin, the interior and all of the fixtures are made of stainless steel.
You use the pull-out toilet to relieve yourself. The smell of the disinfectant used to make you gag but you’re used to it now. You wash your hands, face and splash water under your arms. That’s as good as it’s getting today. Brushing your teeth, you take a good look in the mirror. Bleh, you look exactly how you feel. Your cheekbones are more pronounced, body leaner and arms more defined. Wide-eyed wonder has been replaced by dark rings of harsh reality. You run a hand through your severely short haircut. It suits the new you that’s evolving. You aren’t the same person who eagerly waved goodbye to parents, a comfortable home, and a scholarship because “I need adventure in my life before settling down! C’mon dad, I need to see more than this planet. There’s a universe to explore!”
Unfortunately, having your business associates steal your ship, stranding you on ArcCorp, wasn’t the grand adventure you had in mind. No way gonna message home for a hand-out. And couldn’t hit up friends either, all of whom were at university with tight pockets of their own. You’re better than these first few mistakes. Pointing a finger at the reflection in the mirror you assert, “If granny made it out here on her own, so can I!”
Through bouts of coughing, you slide into your jumper and put on work boots. You chuck the paper slippers in the recycler and ball up your PJs. Dressed in a clean uniform you feel a bit better. You stop by your sleeping pod to grab a plastic laundry bag. The front of the bag is stamped with your UEE ID barcode. You shove yesterday’s uniform and PJs into the bag. Heading toward the back entrance, you drop it down the laundry shoot. Bracing yourself for the weather you exit the barracks.
Towering industrial buildings box you in on all sides, stealing the meager sunlight of an overcast sky. The air is thick with moisture. You shiver as a clammy breeze snakes down the collar of your jumpsuit. You check your mobi. Good – just enough time to make a quick trip to the Area 18 Med Unit. As much as you loathe spending the credits, you can’t see how you’ll make it through the day without something. You mutter to yourself as you approach the Area 18 Medical Unit. “Better not be crowded…” Tan walls, shiny floors, and uncomfortably bright lights. They’re all the same – medical facilities. A twinge starts in the pit of your stomach as you enter the triple-wide sliding glass doors. They hiss and whomp as they retract.
You wrinkle your nose at the potent antiseptic smell. Instantly, your mind is transported to five years earlier when you and your parents were frequent visitors to the hospice facility where your grandmother had been placed. Days turned into weeks of visiting every day. Watching — and waiting for her to die. She’d lived to a ripe old age. Feisty and fearless, roaming the galaxy in a souped-up science ship with granddad. She even kept at it after he was gone. Seeing her crippled and deflated by age was hard to watch. The remembered loss grabs you by the throat, threatening to suffocate you. The pain of it, as lethal today, as it was then.
Throw the throng of people milling around while waiting to be seen, you spot the QuickMeds dispenser across the waiting room and sprint to it. Eyes front, you block out everything around you except the display case. Your nose pressed against the glass, you scan the medicinal options. “What the hell? This is crazy.” You contemplate not buying anything. You can tough it out another… Before you finish the thought you’re seized by a hacking cough that near doubles you over. That seals it. You can’t afford to be dismissed from the shift altogether. “Freakin’ spacelane robbery!”
You choose a moderately priced antibiotic and a low priced cough suppressant from the QuickMeds LED display. A 60/40 mixture stem should do it. After confirming your purchase and authorizing payment, the dispenser begins to whir. You hear faint metallic clinking noises. You anxiously tap your fingers on the glass while watching the progress meter inch toward ‘Ready’. When it’s done, a metal drawer slides open from the bottom of the dispenser. You grab the package and go. On your way out the sliding doors, you pop the top off the stem, exposing the head with its pincushion of needles. You quickly jab it into the left side of your neck. Wincing you say, “shit better work.”
Walking briskly through the growing crowd of pedestrians, you arrive at loading dock J42 with a few minutes to spare. You hurry up the stairs, turn right and swipe your ID to open the security gate. A Freelancer MAX is parked on the landing pad. Quasar is painted with gold metallic swirls encircling the letters like a tornado. You recognize the ship and it’s Captain. He unloads cargo here a few times a week. Being that this landing pad is for smaller cargo vessels, the Quasar is the first of many Freelancers you expect to unload today. There will also be the occasional Avenger or Hull A. But in these parts, the boring Lancer is king.
You’re not a fan of the Lancer’s design. With its elongated forward cabin, slightly bigger than the neck on which it rests, the Lancer has always reminded you of pictures you’ve seen of tortoises found on Earth. Not an attractive shape for a ship in your eyes. But you ain’t going to complain by starting with a small one today. You walk forward to join coworkers who are standing around Zone Manager Rodrick. You put on your work gloves as Rodrick begins speaking. He’s a no-nonsense ex-military guy with a booming voice.
“Listen up!” He waits for silence. “We have a newly registered Connie arriving on platform J45. It’s going to take a bit longer to process her through. To stay on schedule I’m going to switch things up.”
Rodrick checks his mobi before continuing. “I’m leaving a few of freshies here to process the MAX. It’s business as usual.” He points over his shoulder to the man standing by the ship’s cargo bay. “You all know Captain Chuzen.”
You look to where Rodrick is pointing to see Captain Chuzen talking in a huddle with his crew.
Rodrick checks his mobi again and begins calling names. “Bryony as cargo inspector.” Wait. What? That’s you! You hesitate. When you don’t move, Rodrick looks up and calls your name again. Coworkers standing nearby give you the “Are you stupid? look”
You gain your composure. “Sir… Yes, Sir, I’m here.” You separate from the crowd and walk forward. Thomas, the actual inspector for J42 gives you a “What the fuck?” look as you go by. You shrug your shoulders in his direction.
Rodrick calls out the rest of the assignments. Thomas has been assigned to lead the team processing the new Connie. Damn, you’re jealous of that one. You’d rather be unloading crew, getting a chance to see inside the Connie, than leading the team processing a tortoise.
When all’s said and done, you have three cargo movers assigned to you. Rodrick hands you the Inspector mobi and says, “You know your way around this right?”
You nod your head. “Yes, Sir.”
He continues. “The ship’s manifest, travel log and cargo list are loaded. I want this done quickly.” He makes eye contact with the others in the group. “An Aurora CL is scheduled to touch down in 30. I want the MAX gone before it arrives.” Everyone nods their head.
As Rodrick is about to step away, Thomas comes forward. “Sir, I think I should stay here to make sure this is processed quickly. I can walk Bryony through it and join the J45 team right after.”
Rodrick looks surprised but not annoyed by the interruption. “Bryony can handle it. I need you with the other team. First time processing is a full inspection, as you well know”, he says in an admonishing tone. “It’s gonna take more time and I’m not having my schedule jacked over it.”
Thomas starts to speak but Rodrick cuts him off. “Is there a problem?”
You look at Thomas quizzically wondering, “What’s your problem?” There’s a long silence. Thomas’ eyes cut toward the MAX. You and Rodrick both notice and look in that direction too.
“No, nothing. Just trying to make sure regular customers get good service.” Thomas replies.
Rodrick claps Thomas on the back. “Captain Chuzen’s not goin’ anywhere. He’ll forgive us a hiccup or two.” Looking pointedly at you, he adds, “But that’s not going to happen is it?”
You stand up a little straighter and add a little bit of base to your voice. “No, Sir! It’ll be like clockwork, Sir.”
“Excellent” Rodrick slaps you on the shoulder and walks away with Thomas trailing behind.
Scanning through the manifest you notice a discrepancy between the ship logs and its approved route plan. The log shows an unscheduled stop in Cathcart. “Probably just an oversight. Last minute change of plans,” you shrug. Around you, the team is preparing to unload the cargo. Joey, a hefty bald guy in his early thirties, is hoisting himself into a mech suit to handle the heavier crates. The suit hydraulics hiss and clank as he stretches and retracts the arms, and tests rotating the hand clamps. The other two, Rhon and Alya, grab hover carts for the smaller crates. The platform vibrates under your feet as Joey lumbers toward the Freelancer. You head toward Captain Chuzen.
You approach the Captain of the Quasar, your hand extended in greeting. His meaty hand grabs yours and gives it a quick shake. Captain Chuzen’s hair, wide sideburns, and beard are all immaculately trimmed. His hands are callous free with manicured nails. No bruises, no tats mar his skin. If not for the Quasar jumpsuit, you’d mistake him for the office type, not a space trucker.
“Morning Captain. I’m Bryony. I’ll be overseeing your inspection and unloading today.”
Captain Chuzen’s staring off in the direction Roderick and Thomas went. “Where’s Thomas going? He usually handles my ships. He keeps it quick and simple. Suits are schedule.”
“He’s helping Roderick with a new Connie coming in on LZ J45.” Adding more confidence to your voice you continue. “We’ll get you done as fast.”
Distractedly Captain Chuzen replies, “Sure kid. Let’s get moving.”
“Excellent.” Flipping through screens on the inspector mobiGlas you continue. “One thing to clear up first.” You raise the mobi up so Chuzen can see the display. “There’s seems to be a discrepancy between your ship log and your approved flight plan.” You gain the Captain’s full attention. But his only reply is a grunt.
You continue. “Yes, it’s showing an unscheduled stop in Cathcart. Ship appears to have docked at Spinward for roughly 2 hours.” Hesitantly you add, “I think that’s part of your company’s no-fly zone regulations?” Rethinking how that might have come out you say, “Not that it’s our business. We just have to perform a different kind of inspection for ships with stops outside of UEE space.” Chuzen’s eyes narrow and his silence makes you nervous but you press on. “’Cuz of… the kinda… of stuff happening there. Robberies. Hijackings and uh — contraband.” Emphasizing this isn’t an uncommon situation you say, “Not a big deal on our end. Just different forms and takes a little longer. But we can still get you out of here in about the same time as usual.”
Captain Chuzen is staring you up and down like sizing up an opponent. You don’t want to be his opponent. You just want to get this done quickly. Beads of sweat start forming on your forehead as the silence stretches out. Are the meds wearing off?? You wipe your forehead on the back of your sleeve. Clearing your throat you suggest, “Maybe you had an emergency? If you can state the reason and add it to your official logs, I can re-sync and get the inspection started.” Pointing toward the ship you add, “We’re already starting to unload. This really isn’t a big deal.”
Like flipping a switch, Captain gives you a wry smile, puts his arm around your shoulder and pulls you in close. You’re not pleased by the gesture which violates what you consider your personal space. But you go with it since he’s talking.
“You see kid it’s like this.” He continues in a conspiratorial tone. “Sometimes when we’re ahead of schedule we like to take a break. Blow off some steam. Stretch our legs. Have something other than space rations. “ His tone is nonchalant. “We may wander off course for a bit of recreation.” He steps back and waves his hand in an “it’s not big deal” manner and concludes, “No harm. No foul.”
You’re surprised they could get away with that undetected. I mean, it’s in the ship logs. That’s how you know that they went to Cathcart. You scratch your head in confusion. “But that stuff shows in the ship logs?”
“Not by the time we go back for inspection,” he laughs. “Forgot to take care of it before hitting Stanton. In more of a hurry than usual.” He flicks his thumb off the end of his nose and winks.
You’ve got no reasonable response to that explanation. Like what the hell? “But…” He cuts you off.
“You get paid extra to unload ships faster? Or extra creds for playing inspector on my ship today?”
“See what I mean! Me and the boys stopped in Cath for a bit of a stretch. Have a real meal planetside. We don’t report it ‘cuz we don’t want anyone getting the idea to add more stops on our route. Beaners love “more work same pay” thing, stiffing civs like you and me.”
Your throat is starting to itch. You want to cough but Captain Chuzen is leaning in too close. You’d cough right in his face. Another beat of very uncomfortable silence follows as you hold back your cough and really have no idea what to say.
“Not even your job. You want the hassle of more forms to complete?”
You clear your throat and swallow the urge to cough. “Not really. Haven’t seen those forms before myself. Above my pay grade.” There’s an echo resentment in your tone.
Chuzen seizes on it. “See what I mean. That’s my point exactly! More work, same pay.”
That last bit got you thinking that maybe he’s right. You nod your head slowly at first. “You’re right.” A little something extra for today could replace what you spent on meds this morning, get more to help sleep better tonight or a full meal., Is that really too much to ask? But you’re sure nothing extra is coming for acting as inspector on this ship. Shrugging your shoulders you concur, “like you sad, Not my real job anyway.”
Captain Chuzen claps you on the shoulder. “What’s your ID kid? I’ll shoot you some cred as a thanks.”
It’s tempting but you know that’s strictly against regulations and could cost you your job if anyone found out. Shit as it is, it’s still a job and it’s the company that should be compensating you for doing the extra work. Shaking your head you say, “No. Not necessary. Let me hurry up with the interior inspection then I’ll validate the off-loaded cargo and get you on your way.”
Relaxed and jovial Chuzen replies, “Great. Going to stretch my legs and throw one back at G-Loc. Buzz me when you’re done.”
“Sure thing. Won’t be long.”
Walking up the rear ramp into the primary cargo bay, you nod as you pass Joey. He’s busy stacking three crates precariously on top of each other. You wonder what he’s about when you notice that Alya is coming up behind you.
Alya’s the new kid on the dock. For a quick second, it stings that no one tries to get your attention anymore. Then you remember that you don’t want that kind of attention anyway. Alya’s still into being who she was before she landed here — the ass end of Stanton. Well near it anyway. From what you’ve heard, Hurston is even worse with its pea-soup smog and a shortage of living accommodations. Rumor has it workers have resorted to sharing sleeping tubes. You pull a face at the mere thought.
You turn your attention back to Joey. “If that falls and gets damaged you better have another gig lined up. Rod will have your ass. ”
Joey laughs and raises his voice unnecessarily. “I got this kid. Gonna help you do it in record time. You know I’m the best mech operator we got.”
You watch Joey glance to the side to see if Alya is paying him any attention. She’s not. She’s stacking smaller crates on the hover cart, scanning them as she goes. A lock of hair falls forward and blocks her view. She tries pushing it behind her ear but that’s near impossible with the oversize padded gloves she’s required to wear. She gives up in a huff after three attempts. You chuckle, remembering when that was you.
Realizing that Ayla isn’t going to pay him any attention, Joey’s resumes his normal speaking voice. “We do this super fast and maybe Rod gives you this zone. Stick Thomas elsewhere.”
While it would be music to your ears if they officially bumped you up, why would Joey care? You ask him. “Nice for me. Why do you care?”
Maneuvering himself down the ramp he replies, “I ain’t gonna get it and something about ole Tommy boy don’t sit right. Count close and see what you make of it.”
You’re not a fan of Thomas yourself. He’s always hunched over like he’s trying to fold in on himself. And there’s something about his eyes. They’re shifty, always darting around like a trapped rodent. Beyond that though, you don’t know of any wrong he’s done. And what did Joey mean by that last comment? Count close? You want to ask him but he’s out of earshot now and there’s no time waste. You’ve got a job to do and just enough time to do it.
You do a perfunctory scan of the main and secondary cargo bays, swiping the radar wand across the walls, ceiling and, floor as you go. When the door to the crew cabin swishes open, you’re surprised by the cleanliness. The bunk beds inset into the walls on each side has been made – more or less. The random personal items stashed in the cubbies look neatly placed. You’re instantly jealous of the personal Spectrum LCDs hung above each bed. You’d kill to have one of those to pass the evenings with when your creds are low and your stomach is grumbling.
Continuing to move forward, you notice that immediately after the berths, there’s a toilet shower combo on one side and a cramped single counter kitchenette on the other. Standing in the middle of the aisle, you can almost touch the door to the commode and the food prep station on the other side. That must make for interesting situations. You thought your accommodations were small. You’re not eating and shitting within arm’s reach. But the truth is, you’d switch places in a heartbeat to get outta here. You continue casually scanning your surroundings. So far the ship has a clean bill of health. No illegal substances detected. You expect to encounter the same as you enter the flight deck.
When the door opens onto the flight deck you stand there for a moment taking it all in. You remember the pride and elation piloting your own ship. And this is not too shabby. Not too shabby indeed. You might not like the look of the ship from the outside but the interior is winning you over.
The flight deck contains four high back cushy seats, perfect for long hop travel. There’s one for the pilot, co-pilot and two additional passengers. The Quasar’s been around the ‘verse a few times but the components show very little wear and tear. They’re substantial — meaty, like an oversized breakfast. You check the time on your mobi – still 15 minutes to spare.
You step down to the pilot’s seat and survey the instrumentation. You wistfully glide your hand above the controls. Feeling a bit audacious, you slide into the pilot’s seat. The dash is massive with slots for personal storage — beverage holder, small firearms, whatever. The field of view reminds you more of a ground vehicle or passenger transport vessel but you sort of like it. The struts are thick and blocky which makes sense for an industrial ship with a reputation of long reliable years of service. Definitely a step up from the Aurora that you got swindled out of, leaving you stranded on ArcCorp, scrapping for survival. A call comes through on your mobi. You almost jump out of your skin!
You answer it. “Bryony here.”
It’s Joey. “Cargo’s in transport hangar.”
“Great. It’s a go here, coming out.” You exhale. Time to hop back to it. You walk briskly through the cabins, your footsteps echoing in the now empty ship. You break into a jog when you hit the rear exit ramp.
You head over to the transportation hangar. Just a fancy name for the section of the landing pad that has a protective tarp over it and is reserved for pickups. Two ArcCorp trucks are standing by to collect cargo and transport them to their next destinations.
Joey, still in his mech suit is standing by the first stack of cargo. “Record time,” he brags. “Stacked, scanned and Trans ID’d. Needs your sig and it’s done.”
“Cool! We killed this with time to spare. Thanks!” You mock bump fists with his mech hand. As you quickly survey the piles, you notice one of the crates is a good distance from the rest. Rohn and Alya are approaching. You point to the lone crate. To no one, in particular, you ask, “Why’s that one way down there?”
Alya shrugs. Rohn and Joey look at each other.
Joey answers. “That one – blue Big Box crate always goes there. Thomas has us separate it out for special delivery.”
You screw up your face and cock your head to the side. “Really?” You don’t recall having seen that in the past. “You sure?” Rohn and Joey nod in agreement. That seems odd. Big Box is one of the more expensive and secure storage containers from Stor-All. They’re tough specialty crates. With a titan-grade metal exterior, a ribbed body skeleton and a cushioned super-reinforced ablative rubber interior. They’re used for fragile important cargo.
You scan through the Quasar cargo manifest. Nothing but common ship components and raws. You don’t see anything that would warrant the Big Box. Worse you don’t see the container listed in the inventory. So why is it here? Why is it being set aside?
Noticing the consternation on your face, Rohn shrugs his shoulders. Even through the padded jumpsuit, he looks starved. As if a sudden breeze would blow him off the platform. “Been doing this for months Bry. That crate from Quasar always goes there. You just never noticed. Don’t ever operate the mech suit or come up here to talk to Thomas while he’s doing the final sign off. It’s legit according to him.” He points a thumb over his shoulder. “Just go with the flow. We’re done with time to spare. Let’s catch a quick break.”
Rohn had a point. If you call it now, you’ll beat the best unloading time for the Quasar for the quarter. But something is itching at the back of your brain. “Sure, you all take a break, I’ll call it in.” You check your mobi. Ten minutes left to spare. You watch the team walk away, chatting among themselves. Joey is pulling up the rear clomping along in the Mech suit.
Just before entering the Employee-only habicube that’s next to the platform steps, Joey turns back to you. He puts his hand up in the air with his fingers splayed open and then starts folding them down one by one. You flip your hands palms up and shrug. “What??” Slowly he pops each finger back up. Then it hits you — he’s counting. Oh. OOOOOOOH. Your eyes bulge. When he realizes you get his meaning he shoots you a thumbs-up and you do the same in return.
Like puzzle pieces, things falls into place, forming an uncomfortable idea. An unscheduled stop. Thomas and Captain Chuzen’s concern about who’s doing the inspection. An unlisted crate set aside for special delivery. “Well… Fuck!” you curse under your breath. “Really? I need this shit?” Then again, it doesn’t have to be my problem if it’s been going on for months. You can sign off and it will be business as usual.
You walk over to the container. It’s only 2 feet by 2 feet. Too big to sneak past passenger security but small enough to fly under the radar of someone carting it off. You pass over it with the scanner. Nothing detected. You use your temporary inspector code to fiddle with the settings, changing it to a high-grade scan. Still nothing. They could be using scan protection tech.
Taking the few extra credits Chuzen had offered, is sounding good about now. But are you that desperate? You note the chills are slowly starting to return as the meds you took this morning wear off. Still — aren’t these the same kind of people that tricked you into disengaging your ship’s transponder code before stealing it and dumping you here? If Chuzen and crew ever get caught, it will be too easy to trace if he’s ever made payments to ArcCorp personnel. That’s not the kind of mess you want to be mixed up in. Sign off and mind your business. Whatever’s inside is eluding detection by the equipment you’ve been given. Wash your hands of it. Maybe Roderick will suggest a little something be thrown your team’s way for beating the standing record. Anything – any little gesture will help you out.
On the inspector mobi, you access the cargo authorization file for the Quasar. You tap it once to display the inspection outcome section. You press your thumbprint in the Inspector authorization code slot. You inhale and hold your breath as your finger hovers over green indicator for “inspection passed”. Your heart thuds in your ears as your finger is poised to tap green. At the last second you slide it over and press “yellow” – failed and “red” possible contraband detected. Feeling lightheaded you back up and flop down on the nearest crate.
Head in hands you ask yourself, “Why Bry, why?” But you know the answer. Right is right and wrong ain’t. Your mobi emits the three beat signal for priority message. It’s from Roderick. It reads On my way with security DO NOT MOVE! “Fuck me!”
You’re alone, sitting at a table in the back left corner of the G Loc, a popular bar in Area 18. Well, the only bar actually. You have a raggedy cap you grabbed out of the lost and found at work, pulled forward to obscure your face. The orange murky lighting helps you to fade into the background. Your eyes unfocused, you stare at the holographic menu hovering above the table top. Music is booming and your leg is shaking but not in time with the song blaring out of the speakers.
Every time you notice the doors open, you crane your neck looking for Naomi. Damn, she’s usually punctual to a fault. Another group of loading dock workers saunters in. You look away and slouch down into your seat. Area 18 is a big place but news like yours travels quickly. Never in years in a million years could you have anticipated Roderick’s reaction or what had ensued when he arrived with security in tow.
Caught daydreaming, you’re startled by the sound of someone flopping down into the seat next to you. It’s Naomi. Relief washes over you. Then you notice she’s staring at you with an OMG look on her face. Clearly, she’d already heard — something.
No hello or preamble. “What the frak happened?” She asks in a hushed tone. She leans in waiting for a reply.
You slouch back into the chair shaking your head. “So you heard.”
“Pretty sure most have. Went to your sleeping cube. Saw goons hanging outside your door. Then remembered we were meeting here.”
“Well that sucks. Not much in there worth having but still…”
She looks like she wants to shake you silly. “Well — what the hell happened??”
You inhale. “I’m actually starting to think that I’m a drama magnet,” you say with a wry smile.
That puts a small smile on her face. She crosses hers and leans back into the booth. “Just might be.”
“Probably already know that I got assigned as temporary inspector on J42. Things were going good. Finished early. Except for 2 hiccups. Unplanned stop in Cathcart on the ship log and unlisted container.”
“New ship? Crew?”
“Nope. Regulars. Initially fell for the excuse for the unscheduled stop.”
Naomi shrugs. “It happens. Crew has things to do that aren’t necessarily the company’s business.”
“Flying the company’s ship?”
Another shrug. “On time. Cargo intact. Who cares?”
“Yeah, I can get with that. Was willing to let that part slide. Right up until I’m told that setting aside a particular container is a routine thing. Something Thomas manages as a special request.”
“Oook, now we’re moving into shaky territory.” She agrees.
“But this is ArcCorp. Who cares? Not like the Corp is doing us any favors.”
“True, there’s that. I’ll give you that and I nearly let that slide too. It’s ArcCorp, where fucking the likes us over, is on someone’s daily to-do list.” You lean forward, more intensity in your voice. “What happens if today of all days, that special delivery gets policed in transit and they backtrack to the inspection?”
The possible ramifications dawn in Naomi’s eyes. “You’d be fraked is what.”
You nod in agreement. “And then some! So at the last sec I called it in.”
“Still don’t understand how you ended up fired for it?” Her mouth slants down and she has a sore look on her face. “Ain’t right.”
“I’m okay with how things turned out – in the end anyway.”
You explain how Roderick had arrived in a near rage with a team of security. Joey, Rohn, and Alya were coming back just as Roderick had shown up. Security put all of you in handcuffs and rushed you off the platform. You were frantic not understanding what the hell was going on. When you tried speaking to Roderick but he told you to shut up until you were spoken to.
You unconsciously rub your wrists. “It was scary and embarrassing being dragged across Area 18 until we reached the security building.”
“I bet. So what happened?”
You continue your tale. You’d each been placed in a separate security holding cell. While you were anxiously waiting to speak to someone – anyone, you saw them marching in Thomas in handcuffs and then the crew of the Quasar a short while later. They hadn’t been in restraints and in fact, seemed to be talking in a carefree manner with Roderick.
“My stomach hit the floor when I saw Chuzen prancing in full of confidence and Roderick seeming to eating it up.”
One by one you saw your team escorted into what you realized later was an interrogation room. You were the last to be taken in and pushed none too gently into a metal folding chair across from desk with two people on one side of it. Roderick and a security officer. You explained what you’d seen and done in painstaking detail. You were questioned about your actions repeatedly. When they’d had enough, Roderick asked the security officer to leave the room.
Once it was just the two of you, Roderick’s face softened. He removed the handcuffs, pulled his chair next to yours and sat down with a sigh. “Rough day kid and you done good.”
A look of extreme confusion had covered your face. “I – I don’t understand what’s happening.”
“We’ve had a drug smuggling problem for quite some time. We could occasionally catch the users but not break into the cartel managing the operation or how the narcs were arriving.” Smiling he said, “You just gave us our first break.” He stood up and paced the small room while he talked. “I doubt ArcCorp would even care if not for the accidents caused by narc’d up workers. It messes with their safety rating and slows down production.”
“I’d heard about two guys losing a limb on the large engines assembly line.” Scratching your head you say, “Last week wasn’t there construction worker who dropped a scaffolding down 8 stories over where they’re building the Galleria?”
“Yeah, got the whole project temporary put on hold until the safety investigation is over. Stuff like this costs the company hundreds of thousands of creds per incident and it’s adding up quickly these days.”
“Oh” is all you can think to say. You’re still shaken by what’s happened.
“This whole dragging you all in here is for your own safety. We think the group working out of here is rather sophisticated and we’re after the big fish. We’re going to be able to nail Chuzen but we need to find who they work for and who else is falsifying inspections. I want to protect you four so here’s what we’re going to do.”
At this point, Roderick sat down next to you again. He dropped the managerial tone and spoke to you like a friend. He explained that he was going to have your inspection findings scrubbed from the record. He’s going to claim that he and security had come by to do a spot audit and found the crate, which by the way, was filled with vials of hallucinogen class narcotics.
He’s going to say that since it was your first time inspecting a shipment you were late and hadn’t gotten to validating the off-loaded cargo. For their own protection, your team was being given a company paid transfer to another Arc facility with a 2 weeks bonus pay. He’s leaving Thomas in place even though they know he’s on the smuggler payroll. But now that they know that, they can use him to catch the next crew that comes in and then they’ll nab him.
“Wow, umm okay. But don’t you think anyone will catch on?”
“They make think something is up at first but once a few months go by, they’ll be bold enough to restart their operation. Plus now we know what to look for at the other landing zones and can update the security procedures accordingly.”
“What if they don’t use Thomas again? Seems like he gets off the hook.”
“We’ll be keeping him under close surveillance,” Roderick said with a smile. “He’s not conspiring with them for free. Likely used to the extra income. Even if they don’t seek him out, he’ll no doubt contact them for more work.”
You nod your head in agreement. “Gotcha.” Nervously you ask, “What about me? Do I get the 2 weeks bonus and transfer option?” Your gut twists. You want off this rock but if it just means dropping you on another where you have to start over? That’s not sounding so great. At least here you have a couple of friends and Naomi. The idea of slugging it out alone again is depressing.
“No, I have something different for you in mind.”
You stop for a moment to gauge Naomi’s reaction. Her mouth is gaped open and her neck craned forward in rapt attention. You wonder if she’d miss you as much as you’d miss her? She has such an easy way about her. She makes friends easily. Always liked and well respected. You on the other hand — no so much. You’re private, quiet and often prefer the company of the ideas spinning around in your head, than conversing with others. You keep the friends you gain but don’t gain them very often which is by choice. You miss home, your friends off at university and now you’ll miss the few you’ve gathered here too. You sigh.
Naomi kicks your foot under the table over your sudden silence. “No stopping now!” She exclaims, “what’s the plan for you?”
“He’s worried that the cartel would come around asking me questions and might not be that nice about asking ‘em. They just lost a lot of creds having that crate confiscated.”
“Those goons outside your door,” Naomi whispers.
“Exactly. So I have to get gone too but with a different kind of bonus.”
Her eyes widen in surprise seeing the smile on your face. “How much?” she says in a near shout.
“Shhhhhhhh!” Noticing the couple at the table next to you glance your direction, you pull the cap down lower over your face.
“Oops — sorry.” She giggles and her excitement is infectious.
You’d been trying not to be too excited least the rug get pulled out from under your feet. And you’d miss Naomi unless…
You lean across the table toward her and show her your UEC balance on your Mobi. She gasps in response, her eyes growing wide. Now you’re smiling too and giggling like a child.
Whispering she says, “That’s leave for good money.” In awe, she adds, “Start over money. Wow!”
“Or ship for two money?” You let the question hang in the air.
Naomi’s eyes bug out and her eyebrows arch up to her hairline. “Me? You’d take me?”
“Of course! I wouldn’t leave you behind. You’ve been a good friend to me.”
“What would we do? Where would we go?”
“What do you want to do? We can decide together.” Your stomach twists waiting for an answer. You want her to come, to help her out of this place. But you also have selfish reasons. You don’t go back out into the black alone. You’ve got more advanced skills than Naomi but she’s got the life experiences. In your mind, that would be a great mix.
Naomi leans back into the booth. “I need a drink and you’re buying,” she says with a smile. “Holy shit!”
She sounds happy. Does that mean she’s coming? “That mean you’re in?” you ask outright.
“Oh yeah, I’m in!” She nods several times for emphasis. Her eyes dart side to side as if working out a problem in her head. “Maybe we get you off here tonight and lay low somewhere cheap to make plans.”
Relief washes over you. “Sounds good to me!”
With a wry smile, Naomi asks, “Ever been to Terra? It’s the most expensive ticket outta here. But lots of resources to figure out what you want to do next. That money won’t get you setup in place like Terra but can get all the supplies you need for whatever…”
You correct her. “The supplies we need.” The idea of it makes you giddy and lightheaded.
“Yeah. What we need.” She laughs. “Holy frak, I can’t even… Holy shit, we’re outta here!”
Today, our Discovered series presents the personal correspondence of Dr. Kellar Lench, on loan to us from the Gemma Museum of Interspecies Tolerance. Lench was a young scientist when he first discovered the Elysium System and the existence of the Tevarin in 2541.
TEXT GOES HERE
It’s the discovery of the Vanguard system, captured in the journal of Christian Meyer. Here’s a look at the actual star system composition via Aly’s World Star System Dossier pages.
From the on-going Discovered series on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com we have, the Journals of Lieutenant Eli Price of the United Empire of Earth Navy and the discovery of Oya.
Hello citizens, this is Alysianah from Mystic Worlds with the next installment in the Casual Citizen series. This week we’ll be discussing the Baker system and racing. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Directly from the official Star Citizen Galactic Guide for Baker…
Baker is a binary system consisting of two K-type main sequence stars surrounded by a relatively desolate collection of planets that range from completely uninhabitable to barely habitable. A Covalex shipping hub and a largely automated mining outpost are the sole bastions of civilization in the region. As usual, that’s only half of the story — the Baker system is also home to the “Able Baker Challenge,” arguably underground racing’s most dangerous event.
Baker’s claim to fame is twofold: it is one of the only binary star systems in the United Empire of Earth that is (technically) inhabited, and it lies just a single jump from the breadbasket of Terra. The first point has earned the system the attention of a large number of astrophysicists eager to study such a star setup within the confines of safe and patrolled space. The second is the reason for both the system’s high point of civilization — the shipping hub — and for its use as an underground racing arena.
Baker and the surrounding cluster were first charted in 2508, by the same expedition that first identified Terra. While Terra was reached and explored soon after the region was charted, Baker remained forgotten due to the fact that binary stars traditionally offer little of value to Humans. Even when a planet within a binary star’s green zone can be terraformed, the gravitic stress associated with passing close to (or between) two stars renders attempts at civilization a moot point.
The first successful jump transit to Baker occurred in 2676, well after Terra had become established as a major player in galactic politics. The jump point to Baker was discovered by accident in the outer reaches of the Terra System, and Baker was subsequently explored by a purely scientific expedition. Formal territorial commerce rights were awarded to the Terran government, which has quietly partitioned them out to Terra-based concerns.
That ends the historical details and relevance of the Baker system. Let’s explore it further from the point of view of the ARK Starmap.
Baker is controlled by the UEE – United Empire of Earth. It contains jump points to Hadur, Kiel, Osiris, Pallas and Tayac. You may recall that Tayac is the home of the ARK space station, curators of the ARK Starmap. The system consists of 4 planets. Of those one is Iron, one smog and one is Ice. Planetoid types are important for player careers that require processing resources. For example, players who will be captaining the Starfarer as a refueling platform, will need access to Gas giants as one of the elements required for processing fuel. The only manmade celestial body is the Covalex Shipping hub which seems to be in better shape than its cousin in Station, near Crusader.
The Able Baker Racing Challenge and you
From the Galactic Guide…
While Baker’s three inner planets may be useless in any formal sense, they have taken on new life as one of the galaxy’s most dangerous unofficial racetracks. The Able Baker Challenge, held once every six months on a date announced to the competitors only 24 hours before start time, pits pilots against each other and Baker’s innermost planets.
The challenge consists of three legs, connected by quantum travel phases which can only be initiated at specific locations. First, pilots must navigate the space that surrounds Baker III, which is filled with dangerous ice crystals that can impair instrumentation and severely hamper visibility. The second stage is called ‘breathing the vapors.’ This segment involves ring targets that are placed very close to Baker II’s toxic atmosphere. Pilots must navigate the course carefully to avoid hull damage. Finally, pilots must make their way to Baker I, where the final leg is a weapons-free race. Unlike more “civilized” events, racers are not immediately disqualified for the destruction of an opponent’s ship (although pilot kills are still forbidden).
This makes for one of the most dangerous competitions in the galaxy.
That said, although Baker isn’t the most habitable environment, it has its place within the Star Citizen economy. Racing or sports of any kind attracts tourism, which means civilian transport. Influxes of tourists opens up avenues for selling speciality items, food supplies and cargo hauling. There might be unsavory activities taking place such as illegal betting and crime typically follows in its wake. Races may need escorts to transport their expensive toys to and from the system. So let’s not right Baker off based on its seemingly narrow resources or population. I see lots of opportunities to turn some creds for savvy players.
Speaking of racing, the early manifestation of racing in Star Citizen are in the Arena Commander module. The Spectrum Match variant lets you compete against other players. In Drone Sim mode you’re doing the course solo.
Even if you have no plans to race, everyone should be adept at running all of the AC speedways. Your minimum goal should be to complete a single lap with no deaths. You don’t have to be very fast, as long as you can do it at a consistent rate of speed. I say this because I think these are precursors for navigating jump points. If things play out as described by Chris Roberts, the first time you use a Jump Point you will have to navigate it manually which can be hazardous. He has mentioned that damaging your ship would be the least that can happen if you aren’t a competent pilot.
We’ve also been told that harvesting the rarest materials will often be in densely packed asteroid fields and your ship isn’t going to bounce off of things unscathed. If you plan on manning a ship that does mining, salvage or other activities that require getting your ship and crew close to the source, auto-landing all the time might not be your best friend. We need to master maneuvering in tight places with a variety of ship types and sizes. This is what I use the Arena Commander racing maps for and why I feel alternating between the daylight and twilight lit maps is important.
In summary, don’t right off Baker as being of worth based on face value. It’s racing fosters a tourism which will provide business opportunities for several of the player professions. And even if you don’t enjoy racing or plan to compete, you should be running the AC racing maps, to master navigating maneuvering your ship if challenging environments and under different lighting conditions.
The show notes will include links to the ARK Starmap in case you haven’t check that out yet and shame on you if you haven’t. Zhatt has created an excellent tube map showing all of the known systems and their jump point connections. It’s a subway map of sorts. For an bird’s eye view of the galaxy from a gross level of what each system contains, I created a Google Doc Matrix that aims to help with large scale logistics planning.
This is Alysianah signing off until next time. See you in the ‘verse
This is Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds gaming blog with another episode of Casual Citizen. A series about Cloud Imperium Games’ ambitious crowd funded games Star Citizen and Squadron 42. The goal is to help casual follower or players understand the games and stay abreast of important events.
For as much information as Cloud Imperium Games has on the Star Citizen game site, figuring out what’s currently playable, flyable and how to join up, isn’t an easy task. For casual followers of the game, it can easily become information overload. In this episode we’re going to focus on unlocking the mystery of how to become a Star Citizen.
Let’s begin by reiterating that Star Citizen is FAR from a completed game! Star Citizen is using an open development process that allows supporters to play test content as it becomes available. Players who choose to participate in this process can provide CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK that contributes to improving the breadth of testing that’s possible and in some cases, refine how mechanics are implemented.
That said, remember that we are not shareholders or part of the Cloud Imperium Games development staff. Whether or not to utilize feedback being provided is ultimately up to them and their collective vision for the game as a whole. The reasons behind some of their decisions may not initially be apparent to us, as we’re only seeing tiny slices of mechanics at a time. That ends my personal disclaimer in hopes that if you do choose to fund Star Citizen and participate in play testing, you’ll behave as a positive influence in our growing community.
As of this recording, the only way to have permanent access to play-test Star Citizen content being released to backers, is by purchasing a GAME PACKAGE. Game packages currently include a ship, alpha and beta PLAYTEST access to Star Citizen, first episodes released for Squadron 42, a ship hangar and other digital assets depending on the package.
The variance in package prices reflect the ship or ships being included in the pledge you’re contributing toward development. Remember that ships being purchased now can be acquired in-game without using real life cash once the game releases. The primary reason to pledge/purchase now is to fund the development of the game. If you’re not into play-testing alpha quality content or early access games, this scenario isn’t for you. Stop now – beyond here be dragons. It’s better for you to wait for the beta or released game than becoming disgruntled, upset and foaming at the mouth over alpha quality content.
If however, you possess the willingness and patience then listen on, we’re glad to have you come aboard.
Choosing the Fly Now option is the easiest and lowest costing method of obtaining a game package that is regularly available.
Fly Now presents you with two $45 USD options for backing Star Citizen.
First up is the Aurora MR which is actually one of three ships in the Aurora line. The MR is the middle of the road choice between a combat focused ship and low price point ship with cargo capacity.
The other option is the Mustang Alpha. A fast ship often used for racing. The Mustang can also stand up to combat. But it wouldn’t be my first choice as a dedicated combat ship.
You may see people talking about the Star Citizen Starter package. These are limited offer packages that are discounted to $30 USD and only offered during special events. If you really want to play-test NOW I wouldn’t wait around for one. If you’re on the fence, then keep your eyes open for the next special event or sale where these will be offered. Be forewarned – the Star Citizen Starter packages tend to sell out very quickly when restocked.
Fairly recently CIG has added a Squadron 42 pre-order package which is essentially the Aurora MR Fly Now package but is only available until Squadron 42 releases in 2016. At some point in the not too distant future they will remove Squadron 42 as a standard part of game packages and sell it as a stand alone item. Therefore buying a game package NOW is the cheapest you will ever be able to buy both games and participate in the play test.
In summary, the easiest and cheapest way to become a Star Citizen and have permanent access to play test content and the first release of Squadron 42, is by purchasing one of the two Fly Now options which are the Aurora MR and Mustang Alpha.
Don’t blackout from sticker shock when you see the price tag on some of the other Game Packages. These are for people who want to contribute that much to the game’s development in exchange for the contents of those packages.
I suggest that until you know more about what you want to do in Star Citizen, you stick to the ships in the $45 to $100 USD range. If you want to contribute more at a later date, by way of acquiring a large ship, you can upgrade your existing ship using the Cross Chassis Upgrade system that I’ll discuss in a future episode.
All you need to know now is that you will get 100% purchase price CREDIT on any ship you buy. You can in turn use the credit to upgrade to different ship in the future. This means you have nothing to lose by starting small until you know more about the game and whether or not it’s really going to float your boat.
In case you couldn’t help surfing beyond the Fly Now options, let’s discuss things you might consider even as a casual citizen. Unfortunately is rather easy to become confusing about what you’re purchasing if you free roam the “All Game Packages” section of RSI. Let’s discuss what’s there at a high level but don’t you dare take a gander at “All Ships” yet! You must learn to walk first little duck. You are not prepared for what lurks under “All Ships”.
The “All Game Packages” section contains all packages that are purchasable as pledges to fund Star Citizen. However, not all the ships are ready for play testing. And this is what trips some people up when trying to pledge.
“Flight ready” ships are viewable in your hangar AND are available for play-testing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re 100% in their final release state. Remember THIS IS ALPHA. Things can and will continue to change. However, enough of the design and technical implementation have been defined and developed, that these ships are ready to be used on a regular basis. Say this with me…Flight ready ship means I can use it now.
A second category of ship are those that are only “hangar ready”. “Hangar ready” ships are viewable in your hangar but ARE NOT ready for play-testing. The development pipeline classification allows you to see your new toy inside your hangar. You can go inside the ship’s cockpit and/or interior to see a preview of the design intent. Note that these ships often contain placeholder elements so don’t become concerned if an interior element doesn’t look as high fidelity as something else you’ve seen. This isn’t a finished ship.
When you own a ship that is only “Hangar Ready” you will have a loaner ship available to fly but that loaner won’t be sitting in your hanger. However, when you go to join any module that contains flight options the name of a ship you don’t actually own will be in the list for you. That’s your loaner and you’ll have access to it until your ship is “Flight Ready”. In summary, Hangar Ready means you can see it in your hangar and walk around inside of it but it’s not flyable and even its visual aspects may contain placeholder elements.
Another classification of ship that is frequently discussed, so you should be aware of is a “Concept Ship”. For all intents and purposes, these ships are still at the “on paper” stage.
The ship’s intent is known but it’s VERY early in the design process. A good amount of players do pledge for concept ships because of their special roles, which are usually tied to specific professions. If you know for sure that you’re interested in something like mining for example, and want to start out with a mining ship, you could have purchased the Orion concept ship, which is the first dedicated mining ship introduced. At concept means, there’s nothing to show you but pictures and possibly a design document discussing its planned implementation and in-game mechanics. Generally speaking, these ships are a long way from being made “Flight Ready”.
Players who’ve pledged by purchasing concept ships also receive a loaner ship to fly but nothing will be sitting in the hangar for that ship until it’s “hangar ready”. So… Concept ships are for people who are really sure about their commitment to playing Star Citizen and have a strong grasp on what they plan to do. These ships are furthest away from being delivered and there won’t be anything to see but pictures online. You won’t have anything related to the ship in your hangar but you will have a loaner available in any module that has ship flight.
PLEASE make sure you know the at least the difference between Flight Ready, Hangar Ready and Concept Ship, if you’re going to move beyond the “Fly Now” page to make your first pledge.
If that brief explanation left your mind twisted and triggered a bout of terrets, stick to my advice of starting small. Get yourself a package that contains a flight ready ship until you understand what’s going on more completely.
From the Fly Now page you have the Aurora MR or Mustang Alpha for $45 USD. Go for the Aurora MR is you want more variety in capabilities in the Persistent Universe, as it has cargo space.
If you’re a bit bolder step beyond Fly Now and have a look at ….
Good Lord. I don’t know about you but that wore me the hell out. Just outlining all of this as talking points was a brain teaser, so I can imagine how complicated this can all feel if you’re completely new to Star Citizen.
I’m going to call it quits here. Be sure to check out the show notes for the RSI links I’ve mentioned as well as videos from other Star Citizen content creators that are relevant to today’s episode. If you do sign up to become a Star Citizen and feel this content was useful please consider using my referral code found in the show notes. I’ll earn some in-game goodies and you’ll be given 5K UEC to spend in Voyager Direct store.
In the next show we’ll discuss what there is to play-test in the current Live version of Star Citizen and what’s all this “multi-crew ship” stuff people are drooling over. We also go where there be dragons to review the ship upgrade system.
Welcome to the Star Citizen NightBus, a quirky mixture of fact, fiction and opinion. I’m your host, Alysianah from AlysianahsWorld.com. This week’s show focuses on community reactions, lore and more fan fiction. I’ll have to save the conclusion of Bryony’s Dilemma for the next episode. I need to finish the final edits. I’d planned it for this show but Chop Shop got away from me. What I sat down to write as Flash Fiction ended up shorty story length.
Our show topics are:
Sit back, relax and I’ll see you on the other side…
Exiting statis. The Nightbus departing in 3…2…1
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SO MUCH ANGST
Some weeks it feels as though the Star Citizen community is trying its best to tear its throat out. Pages of angst filled posts on Reddit, rage posts on the forums and angry comments everywhere. I’m not sure I quite get what all the drama is about.
It’s not that I don’t see the fumbles being made by Cloud Imperium Games on their way to developing the ambitious project collectively known as Star Citizen. I shake my head at some of the decisions. I cringe at the fodder they too easily hand to their detractors. I feel embarrassed at times that they don’t cover their asses a bit better. Baby, it’s cold out in a world where you’re tottering on being the most expensive game ever made and title for most crowdfunded project. And yet, anger isn’t an emotion I’ve experienced.
A senior VP I worked closely with for many years and respected, gave me some valuable advice to help me temper my expectations of others, as someone who tends to over achieve. First is that most people endeavor to do the right thing and be good at their jobs. They don’t go out of their way to fail. And when they do, it’s not intentional. Accusations and recriminations aren’t helpful and don’t change the outcome. Suggestions for improvement without emotion and negative words are better received. And to remember that everything appears easier than it really is, when you’re gaping from the outside looking in.
It’s not that I’m not emotionally invested in Star Citizen being successful. I’ve pledged a considerable amount and of course want to see the day that my expectations are realized. However, I haven’t witnessed any missteps, mistakes or less than stellar choices that I perceive to be intentional. Lacking INTENT, I can be disappointed but it doesn’t move me to anger. Nor do they inspire me to issue internet threats.
If you’ve had enough, that’s your right. But do the readers on reddit or the forums really need to know that you’re done! It’s over! For you, the sky is falling and it brought the last straw with it! Take that noise to customer support and keep it moving. More importantly, why are you back next week and the week after still yapping? Move on. Let it go. It’s a game. When I’m done with a thing, I’m done with a thing.
CIG has certainly had their fair share of speed bumps and times they appear out of touch, at least with the vocal minority, which I’m not a fan of them reacting to anyway, and even then I’m still all in. It’s not defending. It’s not being a zealot. It’s about realizing this is a complicated project with many moving parts. A team effort where some of the players at bat, haven’t competed in the World Series before. This is their first quest for a championship ring and mistakes will be made. Even Jordan has failed – missed a free throw, didn’t pass the ball when he should have, rimmed out of the basket at the buzzer. Who among us IS perfect? No one at your job makes mistakes? Management has never made a questionable decision?
I simply can’t see any evidence of them not working hard and trying their best to deliver the dream that is Star Citizen. Until I see evidence to the contrary, I continue to be supportive, open-minded, enthusiastic and patient.
That said, I’m not immune to being disappointed or rolling my eyes at some decisions – Holiday Live Stream I’m looking at you. And then there’s the announcement of Lumberyard which sent some people reeling. Why I don’t know. All was explained in due time. Not like we get a vote anyway so the entitled sense of needing to know details immediately seemed completely out of place to me.
Like most I wish there was more content, the whole project progressing faster, more stable, better performance, etc. But mouth foaming, spital spouting, rage posting, hate spewing angry??? Nah, not even close to warranted.
How are you feeling about CIG, Star Citizen and the community reactions overall?
LORE FROM ZERAH
Accessing ARK Starmap data bank for Tanga…
Government Alignment is Unclaimed
At the heart of an unusual rectangular planetary nebula, lies the Tanga star system. The main-sequence star at the its center has entered into a white dwarf phase.
With Tanga’s two planets located on the outer edges of the system, scientists believe its inner planets were destroyed when the star expanded. Miners have found a variety of precious and heavy metals in its asteroid belt and believe the resources to be remnants of Tanga’s inner planets. The star has ejected its outer layers and formed a picturesque nebula that draws sightseers to the system.
Tanga now consists of Tanga 1 a former gas giant, Tanga 2 an Ice Giant, the Tanga Belt Alpha asteroid belt and Jump Point access to Bremen and Odin.
Record complete. It was my pleasure to serve you. Thank you for using the The ARK.
For more information on Tanga be sure to check out the Starmap matrix on Alysianahsworld.com. I’ll include a direct link in the show notes.
PVP – ARE YOU IN OR OUT?
Even though there have always been plans for Star Citizen to include PVP, there are backers more interested in a PVE only experience. In the early days, CIG discussed having a slider that would allow players to set their preference for exposure to PVP encounters. That idea has since been scrapped for technical reasons but we haven’t had definitive information on how it will work instead.
Although I play MMOs that include PVP, I don’t consider myself a PVP player. I will fight if someone brings drama to my door. I will participate in org PVP ops. However, I would never play a game that focused heavily on PVP such as Darkfall. Some might consider EVE Online in that category but I’d disagree, because of the robust economy and industry careers options.
I think the sooner CIG clarifies how this is going to work the better off for the community. Posts from players complaining that someone is camping the landing pad at Grim Hex or killed them unprovoked at Covalex, leads me to believe they don’t understand the game they’ve signed up for. And it’s not helpful that we haven’t been provided a clear black-n-white document spelling it out.
Personally, I prefer rulesets where there are distinct PVE and PVP zones such as World of Warcraft, Aion, ArchAge, etc. I find this to be the best of both worlds. PVE only players know where to stay and PVP players have their areas of conflict. For all the horrors of the launch, hacks and cash shop grab, ArcheAge had an excellent ruleset for PVP. It rewarded players for taking the risk of traversing PVP zones. Certain materials and NPC payouts could only be acquired in PVP areas. The highest payouts for delivering goods necessitated that you cross PVP zones as well.
Want to play it safe and enjoy yourself? Great, you can do that minus the best rewards since you’re taking less risk. I did both. When I was alone delivering goods I took the best price I could get transporting across safe zones. With the guild, we travel through PVP zones on land and by sea. For these reasons, I always felt the ArchAge model was a win-win.
Based on how security has been implemented in Stanton, I get the impression that the Star Citizen PVP ruleset is going to be closer to EVE Online. There will the zones where you should be relatively safe but no game mechanics to ensure it. If someone wants to trade their life for yours, they can. If someone wants to trade their ship for yours, they can. NPC security will retaliate but it won’t prevent the aggressor from killing you first. This is how it works in EVE and for the most part, is an excellent deterrent.
Concord, EVE’s NPC security, is no joke. There is no surviving their retribution. None. If you attack someone in safe space, your ship is forfeit. There was a time when kamikaze killings of players in safe zones was done for lulz. These days, it’s a bit more sophisticated with pirates having alts or friends there to pick up dropped goods and salvage the wrecks, after killing haulers in safe zones. So now it’s done for profit but even still, it’s not a common occurrence in my experience.
I’d be okay with an EVE like model but that’s not going to be to everyone’s taste. I think the retribution options need to be strong and swift. The gradual permadeath mechanic will also be a deterrent to some but not all. Whatever the plans are, it’s important for them to be clarified sooner than later.
Let’s get the misconceptions cleared up as soon as possible so players can make informed decisions. Related to this topic, I recently did an article on Redacted.TV discussing the Top 10 Things Star Citizen players can learn from EVE Online. Some players are going to need an attitude adjustment and realignment of expectations, to get the most out of a sandbox MMO with PVP elements. EVE now has a F2P model that I highly recommend. I’ll include a link in the show notes.
What’s your stance on PVP? What’s your best case scenario for a PVP ruleset in Star Citizen?
That wraps up another episode of the Star Citizen NightBus. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have, please considering subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up. Also consider using my referral code if you haven’t created an account on Robertsspaceindustries.com. Doing so will give you 5K in game credits when the game goes live and grants me some in-game goodies.
Be kind and fly safe. This is Alysianah signing off until next time.
Hello World, it’s Alysianah from AlysianahsWorld.com. I’m back with another episode of the Star Citizen NightBus. I apologize in advance for this uncharacteristically long show, owed to finishing out Bryony’s Dilemma. Avail yourself of the time-stamps listed in the video description to skip around. Having promised the conclusion in this episode, I didn’t want to break it up into a fourth installment.
This week’s show topics are:
* You can donate using Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Alysianah
* Use my referral code and earn 5K UEC when creating an account on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com: Referral Code: STAR-QSVR-JFTR
Funny how things work out. The show’s audio was recorded a few weeks ago but I was too busy to edit and produce. Two of the topics were recently covered by CIG.
BAR CITIZEN, WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Bar Citizen is something of a gaming community phenomenon in my experience. It started slowly at first, people getting together in lieu of being able to attend official events being held by Cloud Imperium Games. Now, they’re happening all over the place and with increasingly frequency. It’s a wonderful thing to connect in person with others who share your passion for a topic – gaming or otherwise. I hope it bodes well for the longevity of this community and its ability to be friendly, cooperative and inviting. So where did the official Bar Citizen scene begin? You’re about to find out.
From Jorunn, one of the curators of the Bar Citizen site and its Discord channels.
There were some Bar Citizens here and there for a couple of years but only in a few places were they regular. Elsewhere there were efforts to use the forums to get people together but they seemed to mostly fizzle out, even though there was a lot of interest.
GrayHeadedGamer and Twerk17 wanted to get a Florida Bar Citizen event together and I was asked to take point. This turned out to be a perfect confluence of my passion for Star Citizen, event management and team building skills.
We figured Orlando would be a good central location for the state with a lot of possible places to meet. GHG started the Florida Discord Channel that was used as a coordination point. I went to the forums and tracked down everyone who had ever expressed interest in a meetup, tagged them all in a forum post with event info, possible venues, and a date that would give us enough time to organize, and directed them to the discord channel.
By the time it was said and done, I’d tagged around 140 people from the forums and started to get many people in the Discord with a lot of interest. Sofiegirl mentioned the upcoming Bar to SC community managers, who in turn lent their support. The upcoming Bar Citizen was featured in an ATV Spotlight and Community Manager Tyler Witkin attended the event.
The rest is history. Momentum continued to grow up to the event and after. The rising interest encouraged us to formalize the process with a website where events could be listed and to find additional event planners.
Well done one and all! I think the Bar Citizen movement is nothing short of amazing. I haven’t had the opportunity to attend one yet myself. Real life continues to conspire against me but I plan to. Hats off to all the organizers and to CIG for getting behind the events. I’ll include a link to the official Bar Citizen website in the show notes.
ABBREVIATED STAR SYSTEM GUIDE: DAVIEN
According to the current ARK Starmap: Managing Government is UEE, Population is high, Economic standing is low and is the general threat level.
Davien is most famous for being the location of our first alien contact. In 2483, a NavJumper named Vernon Tar took a potshot at a Banu pilot, mistaking him for a pirate. Things were smoothed over and the first interstellar peace treaty was formed. Humans quickly flooded the system to do business with the Banu. However, as larger systems and more jump point tunnels were discovered, interest gradually moved elsewhere.
Highlights for Player Careers and Commodities:
Interstellar Travel: Davien contains Jump Point Tunnels to Ferron, Kilian, Sol, Cano, and Cathcart
For more information on Davien and the Banu, check out articles on Aly’s Starmap Matrix and Detailed Star System Dossier pages on Alysianahsworld.com. I’ll include direct links in the show notes.
That wraps up another episode of the Star Citizen NightBus. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have, please considering subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up. For more game commentary, lore, reviews and other Star Citizen coverage, including mobile-friendly easier to read version of the official ARK Starmap data, please visit AlysianahsWorld.com. Be sure to register on Aly’s World for an exclusive Monthly Newsletter.
You can also support my videos, Alysianahsworld.com and my Star Citizen fiction efforts through my Patreon. A big thank you to my current subscribers. Your sponsorship is greatly appreciated!
If you haven’t created an account yet on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com, you can earn 5K in game currency when the game goes live by using my referral code when you do and I’ll also earn some in-game goodies. You’ll find my referral code in the show notes.
This is Alysianah signing off until next time. Be kind and fly safe! The Nightbus has arrived. Please watch your step while departing. Re-entering stasis in 3…2…1
Star Citizen is many things, some of which are different to different people. The game itself is the brainchild of veteran game developer Chris Roberts, who is most widely known for his Wing Commander game series and the movie. Under the banner of Cloud Imperium Games, he’s now developing his dream space sim and first person universe, Star Citizen. The development costs are being covered using a crowdfunding model and to date, Star Citizen has raised a record breaking 115 million dollars and counting. What is so compelling about the planned content for Star Citizen that people are willing to crowdfund it to such an unprecedented amount?
Star Citizen – Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
Let’s begin with a quote from the official game site for star Citizen, RobertsSpaceIndustries.com…
From the mind of Chris Roberts, acclaimed creator of Wing Commander and Freelancer, comes STAR CITIZEN. 100% crowd funded, Star Citizen aims to create a living, breathing science fiction universe with unparalleled immersion… and you’re invited to follow every step of development!
More than a space combat sim, more than a first person shooter and more than an MMO: Star Citizen is the First Person Universe that will allow for unlimited game-play.
Based on that blurb you come away with an understanding that Star Citizen has a massively multiplayer persistent universe that contains space combat, first person shooter combat and open-ended game play mechanics, where the player decides what role to assume and how they will interact with others and world around them. The latter is often referred to as sandbox. However, in addition to the “make your own fun” of a sandbox game, there will also be a robust questing system, trade professions and a dynamic and responsive in-game economy. That alone is a whole lot of game! But there’s more.
Because that’s not enough to wrap your mind around, Star Citizen is also incorporating never before seen game mechanics such as multi-crew ships, a completely seamless universe from deep space down to planet side landing zones, high definition streaming tech of procedurally generated planets and space combat using Newtonian physics. If I had to put Star Citizen into the narrow context of other games you may know it’s like combining bits of EVE Online + Destiny + basic MMO tropes. Okay, hold on to all that, cuz that’s Star Citizen and only one of the games being developed.
Squadron 42 – Single Player Role Playing Game
In parallel, Cloud Imperium games is also building Squadron 42 using the same funding and resource pool. At its core, Squadron 42 is a triple A RPG campaign that takes place in the same universe and lore as Star Citizen. It’s a hero’s journey look at the world where the storyline is all about YOU – your decisions and actions, and this version of YOU, has an impact on your character in the Star Citizen persistent universe. Think single player campaign of Halo with top casting talent such as Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman and Gillian Anderson, using next-gen animation technology. Squadron 42 is being designed as episodic journey, where the first set of episodes is scheduled to release in 2016.
Two Games – Three Ways to Buy
These two games combined – Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are what Could Imperium Games is working to develop and deliver, using their record-breaking crowd funding campaign that began in 2012. So when someone speaks of Star Citizen, oftentimes they are lumping both games into that conversation. However, for accuracy’s sake Star Citizen is just the MMO and you can purchase a game package for just those features here. Squadron 42 is the RPG and is also available for purchase separately here. Or you can purchase a combination package that include Star Citizen and Squadron 42 at a discounted price with the Aurora MR or the Mustang Alpha.
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