Alpha 3.3.5 - Stanton

With all the new backers arriving and trying to acclimate themselves to the persistent universe, I thought it would be a good time to do a brief overview of Stanton. I read and hear confused and misinformed answers about where we are within the Star Citizen universe at this time.  For a longer overview, you can take a look at an early more detailed I did last year on YouTube.

Why Stanton?

When we consider the crowdfunded scope for the Star Citizen universe, there are 100+ star systems planned. The persistent universe we’re currently enjoying as part of alpha is the Stanton star system. It contains four Super Earths – Hurston, Crusader, ArcCorp, and Microtech, all of whom have tidally locked moons of their own. Stanton’s biome diversity is one of the reasons it was selected as the starting point for persistent universe development.

Official Lore

Stanton was originally discovered by independent explorers. Although the details are fuzzy, most agree that the star system was discovered by a free agent trader. Word of mouth, spread the tale, of a system that contained four Super-Earths. Privateers moved in to capitalize on this extremely rare find. Planets of this size, all within a wide green zone is unusual in its own right.  Combined with the large variances in planet ecologies, even more so. When the existence of Stanton came to the attention of the UEE, they moved in quickly to claim eminent domain. The official reason was to protect and extend nearby jump lanes.

Unfortunately, the original settlers of Stanton hadn’t formalized their colonization by filing the necessary paperwork.  Largely made up of homesteaders, prospectors and survivalists, the local populace had no legal rights to Stanton and certainly weren’t in a position to dissuade military forces when they arrived.

The uniqueness of the system and the potential resources notwithstanding, the UEE was in the midst of huge economic struggles. A down economy from a hundred-year colonization drought, the UEE could only afford to do the bare minimum to claim its new prize. Naval engineers performed the small amount of terraforming required and underfunded military outposts were established. Lacking funds to do more, Stanton wasn’t developed further.

Eventually, the decision was made to sell the system piecemeal to the highest bidders. Large corporations were discreetly contacted and asked to bid on whole planets. It’s believed that the winners must have bid trillions to acquire rights. The winners did the obvious, naming the planets after their corporations – Hurston Dynamics, Crusader Industries, ArcCorp, and MicroTech

Stanton as of Alpha 3.3.x

As of Alpha 3.3.5, the persistent universe was expanded to include the first of Stanton’s planets, Hurston, its moons and capital city, Lorville. Unlike the locations we’ve seen thus far, Hurston contains multiple biomes. There are also bodies of water and underground bunkers. While Lorville is still incomplete, it’s a must-see location that introduces a working railway system and habicubes with interactive objects. More locations are being added over time.

LINK TO PDF VERSION

The addition of Hurston brings the landing sights to:

  • 1 planet
  • 7 moons
  • 2 asteroid based locations
  • 1 starbase
  • 2 space stations

This doesn’t include CryAstro fueling and repair of the various Truckstops located around Crusader and Hurston. It’s also worth noting that Delamar’s presence in Stanton is temporary. Delamar belongs in the Nyx star system, a dangerous unclaimed star system. However, it was placed in Stanton for testing purposes when its tier 1 development completed. You can find a more in-depth overview of Nyx on my YouTube channel as well.


New Faces

Free Fly Success

I didn’t partake in this year’s Anniversary Sale. With the fleet I’ve amassed over the years, it’s going to take a specialized ship to pique my interest enough to swap in something new. Note, swap-in. I’ve hit my ceiling on ship purchases. I know, I’ve said that before but this time I mean it! What I have engaged in as a result of the sale and freefly, is the amazing influx of new players and streamers. It’s easy to spot new and returning players by the questions they ask. I enjoying helping out where I can – sharing information or giving a tour of a ship. It’s great seeing game chat alive with new names.

I’ve watched more SC streams since 3.3.5 than I have in a very long time. I enjoy bopping between my long-time favorites, brand new low view streamers, and the mega Twitch names checking in. I haven’t laughed so hard or screamed at the screen as if watching a spine-tingling movie, as I have the past couple of weeks. Lirik and crew simply had me in stitches. GiantWaffle was definitely entertaining. And the night they played together — my stomach hurt from laughing. At one point I was doubled over on the bed, crying at the hilarity. Seeing streams with 25K viewers that aren’t CIG events — very exciting.

Zyloh made appearances. He was a mole on one stream. Rode with them to Kareah and then turned on his team. Another night he was trying to give Lirik a look at the 600i. Unfortunately, Lirik’s ADD fidget all over the place like he’s tiptoeing on hot coals manner, had him glitching into anything and everything an unlucky player could. At one point, I guess Zyloh was over it and not going back for his dead ass, so he used a dev command to drag him from where he’d resurrected at Lorville over to Port Olisar where the 600i had landed. Comedy gold!

New Faces

If combat is your thing – PVP and FPS, Rexzilla is a good watch. Like all MMOs I’ve played, while I don’t consider myself a PVP player, I will engage if attacked and enjoy watching others do their thing. Whew, they had some hot fights happen at Kareah and over at Jumptown. Very cool stuff to check out if you want to see what kind of impromptu combat can happen even in these early days.

Visiting new streamers is equally entertaining. Seeing their enthusiasm is infectious. Watching their jaws drop approaching Lorville. Their heads explode the first time the EVA. Always grateful to be given help or offered to try a ship they don’t own. Sure, we go in hard on trolls but this is definitely one of the most helpful gaming communities I’ve been a part of. I enjoyed the time I spent with BruceCooper and Harry0. For the first time in a long time, I actually joined a streamer live. We were talking about vehicle types and Bruce hadn’t seen a Dragonfly, so I joined live to spawn one for him. Coasting on a hoverbike on a high fidelity alien planet – that right there can only happen in Star Citizen.

The RP is Real

If you’re interested in watching roleplay in the Star Citizen universe, strong contenders have entered the atmosphere. They’re all new to actually playing but are learning quickly with the help of the community. I’m happily surprised by the enthusiasm and number of RP streamers that have landed. Among my favorites so far are Timmac, PMSProxy, and Koil.

If you’re a long time backer, you know this game isn’t the easiest thing to pick up on your own. Hop in a few new channels to share your knowledge and love for the game. To all the new players and streamers, welcome aboard. Welcome to the community. See ya in the verse.


Alpha 3.3.5 - Hurston is Magic

As most will realize, Star Citizen is still in its alpha phase of development. Many of us had hoped, things would be moving along a bit faster. There is no shortage of complaints about the plodding and sometimes painfully mundane pace at which content was being released in 2017. And for all the waiting and need for polish eschewed, as to why a feature isn’t being released for testing, there are still significant bugs on Live. Yep, there’s no shortage of complaints about CIG and Star Citizen, even among loyal backers, myself included.

I spent two days and several hours trying to get out of the new city, Lorville, after 3.3.5 went Live. It didn’t make me angry. It was so absurd that it became a comical challenge to Escape Lorville. I mean come on, players were trapped in the first city, unable to get out and explore. I laughed a lot on Twitter but there are some who didn’t find it as amusing.

Yes, development is taking longer than most would like. Bugs hang around for a long time, even ones that break gameplay for some. Personally, I refuse to do missions at this point. I’m not a fan of game generated checklists, to begin with, let alone subject my gaming time to ones that are broken. All of that melts away, in the face of what was delivered in Alpha patch 3.3.5.

  • Waking up in a habicube that looks considerably more realistic as a place someone lives in.  
  • The rudimentary interactions available inside the rooms give us a glimpse of where things are headed.
  • Riding the train from one part of Lorville to the next.
  • Seeing the imperfect but improved NPCs co-populating the city.
  • Having a drink at a bar and taking it with you as you continue on your journey.

 

 

Until now, I haven’t given a damn about clothing since there’s still no female model. Seeing other players walking – not running, walking around in civilian clothing changed my mind. Now I strut around in my Concerige outfits and made my way to Tammany & Sons to buy a few more things to wear. No, I’m not happy that we lose chat if not wearing a helmet since that’s an unnecessary negative side effect of wearing civilian clothing. One that I hope, they will change in short order. It’s fun seeing other players starting to roleplay now that we have our first planet with an atmosphere.

As the first city on the first planet implemented in Star Citizen, only a relatively small part of Lorville is accessible. Regardless, there’s no shortage of spectacular views.

  • Watching the everyday activities of those living in outer space.
  • Seeing the underbelly of how Hurston Dynamics runs the planet like a slumlord, doling out slave wages and workers living in filth and pollution. You know this type of scenario would and will exist if humans become an interstellar species.
  • Walking into an active hangar – NPCs and services around you.
  • Departing during the day to see the cityscape.
  • While leaving at night is like seeing Paris lights.
  • Alone, surfing sand dunes in the dark.

It’s coming together now. We can see it. Feel it. It’s just around the bend.

One trip in particular really gave them feels. I’m standing there in my semi-steampunk looking gear on an alien planet. Tallgrass is swaying while the wind blows around. It’s fading from dusk into darkness and I’m staring up at the night sky. I mean come on, I haven’t and can’t have this experience in any other MMO. None. You simply can’t name one with this scope and breadth.

This is magic…  It’s extraordinary…  Why we keep the believing…  This is Star Citizen.


Star Citizen Alpha 3.2

Excitement abounds for Star Citizen Alpha 3.2. In addition to new ships, such as the first luxury yacht to roll out of the showroom, the Origin 600i, we have the first iteration of the mining mechanics. Quality of life improvements is also addressed with updates to the party system and quantum travel. Things are really heating up in the development now, with many new game mechanics and professions slated to be introduced in 2018.

Casual Citizen EP 31 – Alpha 3.2 PTU


Squadron 42 All-Star Cast

When you think of the biggest names in Sci-Fi, Mark Hamill would be high on any list. So for him to be only one of the major cast members of Squadron 42 says a lot about how amazing the cast of this game is.

Hamill’s relationship with Chris Roberts spans back to the days of Wing Commander. When he was approached to play ‘Lt. Cdr. Steve ‘Old Man’ Colton’  in Robert’s new single player game, he claims he didn’t even have to read the script to know it would be good. He was there from the moment the game was announced.

This must have helped to some extent. Whilst Hamill alone in any game would be a coup, the casting for Squadron 42 just gets better and better!

  • Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour, Dark Knight, The Fifth Element, Bram Stroker’s Dracula) plays Admiral Ernst Bishop.  
  • Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall, American Gods) has been cast as Captain MacLaren
  • Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Sherlock Holmes) voices Captain Thomas Wade
  • John Rhys-Davies (Lord of the Rings) plays Randall Graves.
  • Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and probably the biggest name in motion capture technology has been cast as Thul’Óqquray, an alien character who speaks in a fictional language created for Star Citizen.
  • Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) plays Captain Noah White

We haven’t yet been told how big each role will be, but one can assume that casting such huge household names to take part in a game of this size would mean that their parts are substantial.

There are numerous other well-known names cast. At the time of writing,  the IMDB ‘main cast’ list sits at twenty-five people, with ‘Other Cast’  sitting at sixty-one people and rumored to be over one hundred!

You may also like:


Alpha 3.1 Impressions

SHOW TRANSCRIPT  |  Also Available on YouTube

All Work and No Play

It’s been a few months since my last show and I haven’t played very much Star Citizen. However, I have spent time over the past couple of weeks, enjoying the changes introduced in 3.1. But let’s start with where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to since it all began with Star Citizen.

For me at least, Star Citizen turned out to be the gift that keeps giving. Regular listeners will know that I’ve been playing and blogging about MMOs for the better part of 20 years but until Star Citizen, I’d stopped doing fanfiction. There are many reasons for this, being extremely busy among them but lore and vision for Star Citizen ignited a fire. Taking up the hobby again and penning a few stories reminded me how much I enjoy writing short fiction.

In the intervening years since I started blogging about games, podcasts and vidcasts became the popular choice for consuming content, so I tried my hand it, as you know and found a new form of creative expression to enjoy. Resurrecting my writing and doing the narrated shows eventually led to doing freelance work in both areas. Suddenly, I’d added a part-time job into my hectic life but I was doing work that I really enjoyed. So much so, it made me wonder if there was an opportunity to push the boundaries into a new career. Well, as they say, you’ll never know unless you try.

In the past 8 months, I’ve ghostwritten over 150,000 words.
That’s 2 novel’s worth of freelance writing.

“Trying” is where I’ve been the past several months. So in addition to my day job, I’ve ghostwritten over 150,000 words. That’s two novel’s worth of freelance writing work. I’ve narrated on 115 different projects – commercials, 5 radio spots, 4 indy games and lots and lots of corporate training materials.

Some weeks have been insane, working 7 days a week and long hours but it has validated for me, that this might be something to pursue in a serious fashion. For now, I’m stepping back and deciding next steps which leaves me a bit of room for gaming. As a result, here I am again.

Nope, I don’t Give a Flip about LTI

I’m sick to death of the LTI trial of tears. For all I care, CIG can give it to all ships acquired before release or stop awarding it all together. Sure, I have it on most of my ships because I bought them during the first concept sale. But not having it, didn’t stop me from purchasing concept ships during subsequent offerings, when LTI isn’t available and there was no way to CCU into having it, such as with the 890 Jump.

Buy them or don’t.
I wish the LTI and tears over ships prices would die already!

If I think I’m going to enjoy the gameplay offered by a ship, can afford it and am willing to part with the money, I buy it. If not, it doesn’t matter what’s coming with the ship or not, it’s a no-go and I’ not buying it. To me, it’s always been and will remain, just that simple.

I agree, that no one is being forced to do anything — purchase anything. Buy it or not. Melt it or not. CCU to it or not. I’m just over the incessant tears about LTI and ship prices, in general. Hindsight is 20-20, as is quarterbacking plays from your gaming chair.

Life in Alpha 3.1

Overall, 3.1 is the best performance I’ve had since early 2.6. It feels good to see an end in sight. I’m sure we’ll have more hiccups as new technology and features are integrated but for now, it’s smooth sailing. Consistent FPS in the high 20s to mid-30s feels magical in the PU. 30s with no micro-stuttering will be amazing. Higher than that? Well, that’s the dream ladies and gents. Based on what I’ve experienced, 3.1 is a breath of fresh air in performance.

Ship, Ships, Ships.

I am all about the ships in Star Citizen. I equate ships with the classes you have in other MMOs. They are the gateway to interacting with the planned space content. I never get tired of hearing updates. I don’t get tired of seeing new concepts. It’s a treat when your ships arrive, and two more of mine landed in 3.1 – the Reclaimer and the Terrapin. Even missing their planned mechanics, it’s exciting to finally see them in the game.

Aegis Reclaimer

The Reclaimer is a beast. It looks like its role, a ship that eats other ships, for breakfast. Figuring out where to enter the Reclaimer while it was sitting on a dark platform was an exercise in patience. Finding my way to the bridge a puzzling adventure. Along the way, I toured the various rooms and compartments. The quality of the ship interiors never fails to impress. Every detail has been considered. The lighting and animation contribute to the atmosphere of making the ship feel grounded in reality. I can only imagine when it’s full of players running around, manning the various stations.

The growing concern I have, as the larger ships make their way into Star Citizen, is the sheer size of them. The Reclaimer, not nearly the biggest ship in my fleet, feels like a floating neighborhood. With the older concept ships growing in size as concept meets the reality of the space needed to support game mechanics, I’m starting to feel I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

My preference for solo and small group is my jam.
Why so many large ships??

My playstyle includes a lot of soloing and small group gaming. I enjoy large fleet operations but that’s not my bread and butter. It’s been years since I had the time and patience for the coordination effort needed to corral a large group of players. It can be like herding cats. I’d rather be off accomplishing a task or wandering into a new adventure. And yet, staring down the list of ships in my fleet, more than half are large.

If there’d been medium-size ships offered, I’d have gone that route instead. To date, however, we mostly have starter and “end game, with very little in between for the profession ships. Nothing to do about it now but see how things play out and make adjustments if my concerns remain.

Anvil Terrapin

I spent most of my flight-time scuttling around in the Terrapin. I gotta say, she floats my boat. Size, style and handling, I can see myself hurtling into danger zones rescuing players or doing fleet reconn. Several short story ideas instantly popped into my head while zooming place to place. The only thing I didn’t like so far, is that the guns on the nose are a single turret instead of separate weapons. This prevented me from swapping the T1s out for gimbal T2s. She’s not designed for combat but with NPCs interdicting me, left, right and center, I wanted an upgrade. Hrm, the ship’s description claiming that it has hard-hitting weapons is a bit suspect.

Hovercraft Fixes

I didn’t expect much from the Dragonfly. It’s not designed for traveling long distances. I purchased a pair as a way of traveling around cities and small areas where a ship is overkill. 3.1 fixed many of the issues the hovercraft vehicles were experiencing. I took mine out for a brief spin around Port Olisar and it was quite satisfying. Much more so than I expected.

Zooming around deep space, with nothing between you and the view, is exhilarating. It was surreal. I mean, c’mon, it’s a space motorcycle! We don’t see many players using them in space so when I did, ships pulled alongside me to check it out. Staring down a Starfarer in one exchange, I felt very much the bug on a windshield.

I’m suddenly looking forward to whisking through different biomes with the wind in my hair. I’m suddenly wondering if I need to buy back my Nox?

Missions

I haven’t tried them and don’t really care about them. I don’t plan on doing many game generated missions, especially of the type currently in the game. I’m waiting for content that is directly tied to the player careers I’ve pledged into – medical, exploration, luxury tourism, base building, and food production. I’m hoping to combine game generated with fulfilling player contracts when I want task directed activity. Beyond that, I more interested in creating my own opportunities and moments. So nope, haven’t tried a single mission.

Persistence

Persistence improvements have been hit-and-miss for me. Twice I was disconnected while taking a spin planetside. When I rejoined the game, I was still aboard my ship, which was awesome! Other times, I’ve DC’d while in combat and rejoined the game laying in a bunk on Port Olisar. Boo! It’s still very much a work in progress and I hope to see a more solid character and the ship with its contents and location persisting sooner than later.

Flight Model Changes

As a HOTAS user, I LOVE the flight model changes introduced in 3.1.  Flying and aiming have never felt better. I was a fan of the flight model prior to 2.6 but it didn’t take too long to reacclimate myself when that changed.

There are ALWAYS complaints about the flight model from some of the backers no matter what CIG does. This is one of those instances where they’ll never please everyone. I was surprised to hear that joystick users were kicking up a ruckus over changes I thought were great. Oh well, to each his own.

Chasing Them Rats

None of my primary career choices are on the roadmap for 2018, much to my dismay. However, by year’s end, we’ll have planetary mining, salvage, ship repair, refueling and land claims. That’s a huge injection of game-play in a comparatively short period of time. And we’re finally starting to have the makings of the MMO backers are greedily awaiting.

3.1 has added the shell for activity that brings us a few inches closer. I can sense the shift in my own attitudes about what to do when I log-in. As I’ve said, I’m not into chasing game generated checklists aka missions BUT the beacon system creates random opportunities for adventure. I’ve done a few pick-ups while out test-driving my ships, and am looking forward to the expanded options coming in 3.2. But the real signal to me, that Star Citizen is starting to feel like a game, is that I’ve been out ratting.

Now we’re cooking with gas. My gamer’s soul is ready!

Roaming the system and picking fights with NPCs is an activity I often engaged in while playing EVE Online. The end goal was looting their cargo and salvaging their ships. Ergo, earning a living from a self-directed activity. I chose the where and when.

It’s like farming mobs for crafting components in other MMOs. This activity suits my style and temperament. It’s a free-roaming enterprise that lets me explore, set up in favorite zones or pick a location purely for the convenience. I also find it relaxing and often end gaming sessions with farming comps or mob for comps.

Finding myself logging in just to do that – chasing rats, signals a shift from fiddling with mechanics and ships to logging in with an objective. And even though it’s the least of my plans for Star Citizen, it does, for the first time, resemble behavior and gameplay from other MMOs – finally. Bring on 3.2. My so soul is ready.


Gaming and Nostalgia

You can’t put a price on recapturing your childhood. The opportunity to relive fond memories or achieve the ones that slipped by is priceless. Our favorite television shows, movies, books, and games from childhood are powerful motivators. We’re more easily tempted to spend disposable income on a second chance with these than trusting the new and unknown. It’s even more compelling when it’s tied to a fond memory. Nostalgia is a powerful drug.

In recent years, we’ve seen re-mastered games and revived IPs top the charts. Even against big, new and shiny, supported by generous marketing budgets, these older and often less sophisticated gaming titles are winning the day. Games like the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Wipeout: Omega Collection and perennially remastered Final Fantasy games are making developers and publishers alike, take a more serious look at reviving successful titles of old. If there are profits, they will build it. In the face of Crash Bandicoot surpassing expectations by a wide margin, Eric Hirshberg, Activision CEO said, “You can be confident there will be more activity like this in the future…”

For the adults of today, the gaming console and PC revolution came at a time when they were young, and in most cases, lacked the funds to invest in the hobby as much as they would have liked. Unless your parents were technology geeks, which mine certainly were not, you were lucky to get a gaming console or personal computer in the first place. And the games for them came at a slow pace – birthdays, holidays and saving up your allowance.

To have a game, you had to buy the game. There were no rental shops. I sound like my grandparents, “I walked to school backward in the snow with no shoes!” The library of games at your disposal was a collection of what you and your besties shared with each other. What you owned, was yours for life if you couldn’t trade it a friend. There was no Game Stop taking in games you’d finished as credit toward purchasing a new one. For most of us, this meant that we didn’t get to play all that we would have if the opportunity to buy more were within our control.

For older adults who’ve squarely settled into the “I’m a gamer” moniker, they will spend big when they have the disposable income to support it. They’re the parents where there are multiple consoles and personal computers outfitted for gaming in our homes. They have enough games to start a rental service of their own. That’s if they’d even consider parting with them and in many cases, they won’t. Their games are stacked on shelves, labeled in boxes, soaking up hard drives and cluttering online digital libraries.

Entertainment is a big business where companies are looking to maximize profits. Funds are allocated to projects that are most likely to succeed in reaching the desired return on investment targets. The trend of capitalizing on nostalgia isn’t new, and it’s a two-way street. Adults with disposable income will throw it at things they’ve enjoyed in the past. Investors are more willing to spend on products that have a proven track record. The aforementioned doesn’t only happen in gaming. We see similar trends in other areas of entertainment such as movies. Like game development, these projects cost millions of dollars from inception to release. Taking a chance on a new unproven IP is a financial risk. If this weren’t the case, we wouldn’t see as many rehashes as we do. Honestly, how many remakes of King Kong does the world need? Planet of the Apes, The 10 Commandments, re-booting Batman again, our favorite comic book heroes starring in the small and the big screen are all predicated on this same trend, as are the proliferation of serialized books and movies. If we liked it once, we’ll take a chance on savoring it again. The money you may not have been allowed to spend back then, you’ll throw at your favorite something now.

Even with new chapters of life added, Legenda of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is appealing to older gamers and their nostalgic love of the franchise. The release of the most recent Zelda title was so successful, that it outsold its primary target console, the Switch, by selling 2.76 million copies as of March 31, 2017. More of the game sold than the console? Yes, enthusiasts are buying multiple copies in households with a single console or buying a copy for the Nintendo Switch and the Wii U. For Nintendo, Breath of the Wild in the U.S. is their fastest-selling release title of all time and fastest-selling game in the history of the Zelda series. That’s the power of nostalgia, something no marketing budget can touch.

The ability for remastered and revived games to beat the competition isn’t confined to new games and IPs. Newer titles with a successful first release and good reviews can falter in a market where reliving our childhood is claiming our spending dollars. Dishonored 2, Watch Dogs 2 and Titanfall 2 all struggled in 2016,  not hitting any of the major “Top Games of 2016” lists in an environment where Final Fantasy, Zelda, etc. were claiming market share.

On the flip side, wanting to capitalize on past glory isn’t always a path strewn with sunshine and rainbows. As I’ve said, making games cost hundreds of millions of dollars per title in development. If the studio isn’t making money in the interim, potentially big contenders will be lost by the waste side, nostalgic or not. Two games in development with legions of nostalgic fans who were eagerly awaiting a new release were Fable and EverQuest, the latter being the one of the longest-running Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) in history. Both of these had their revivals abandoned in 2016. Much to the chagrin of many, I’m sure.

As an adult with discretionary funds at my disposal, I have plenty of the things I wanted as a child but couldn’t have for whatever reason. And I have none of the things I didn’t like but had plenty of because my parents said so. Oh, the joys and privilege of being an adult. It’s a good time to be a gamer. It’s a fabulous time to have money to spend on this particular hobby.

Are there games from your youth that you’re still hoping to see revived? Which are your favorites among the ones that have been given a new lease on life?


3.0 PTU - I Have Concerns

I’ve been play-testing the newest patch for Star Citizen, Alpha 3.0, on the Private Test Universe. I’ll admit up front, this is the first patch that’s left me feeling concerned about Star Citizen as a whole. I’m a long time backer with a considerable amount pledged. I’m not worried that the game won’t be completed. I’m not concerned about how backer money is being used. I believe that CIG is doing everything in their power to deliver what has been promised. However, the time it’s taken to develop and test 3.0 leaves me with the impression, it’s a much longer road to hoe than many of us think. And I considered myself realistic and patient, recognizing the ambition of the game and its feature-set. However, the condition of 3.0 after the Evocati has already been testing for weeks and the fact that we don’t even have all of the planned 3.0 content to test yet, gives me pause. The mountain I knew we were climbing and willing joined in on the adventure, suddenly appears considerably steeper.

I believe certain design decisions will be reoccurring issues, the detailed animations being among them. I fear that some aspects of what Chris Roberts and crew think adds immersion is going to seem like unnecessary time wasting fiddly bits to me. There’s lots of time to change course if enough backers don’t like an implementation. But who among us wants more rework?? I know I don’t. I work in product management so I get the iterative nature of agile development. At this point, however, I’d probably vote to suffer a few things I don’t like then see systems reworked, delaying the release further.

In the end, I still have confidence that CR and CIG will deliver the goods. I believe they’re doing everything in their power to get there. Hell, I’m sure they want things done even more than we do as backers. I may not agree with how some things are implemented. I’ll adjust as and where I can. But this is going to be longer than I’d dared to think it would be.

Want to hear specifics? Check out my First Impressions of the Alpha 3.0 PTU.


Alpha 3.1 Truck Stops

Space, the ultimate frontier, is why I backed Star Citizen. Traveling to distant star systems as captain of a themed luxury cruise ship, remote medical facility, food production facility, science and research vessel or purveyor of unique goods, is what I care about most. I will visit alien worlds to explore or acquire resources. However, being aboard my ship is my prime directive, which is why I’m much more excited about CIG’s plans for space stations and truck stops than planetside outposts.

We’ve seen the early development of space stations in what’s available in Alpha 2.x. We know that the design team has been hard at work devising modular set pieces to assist in populating the vast open spaces of the planned persistence universe. Space stations, planetside outposts, and truck stops are part of the toolbox being used to bring the Star Citizen universe to life.

Alpha 3.0 will be our first taste of the outposts. Truck stops aren’t scheduled to debut until Alpha 3.1. I’m looking forward to these much more so than the content planned for the planets other than the actual cities.

FROM CIG

Design has been outlining the types of stores that will start to make their way into the PU. In the discussions about the new Truck Stop, it became apparent that all stations have the need for a certain level of resources to sustain their existence and thought that it was a little weird to sell resources directly to the shops themselves, so a new shop type was created. The Admin Office will focus on buying and selling station imports and exports for the local stores on the stage. This shop would also control Local Storage Rentals and include a job board to complete and plan deliveries. This shop type will be in the majority of the locations that don’t have a full-fleshed out Trade and Development Division, which is focused more on commodity trading.

END QUOTE

The ability to refuel and repair already exists in the persistent universe gameplay albeit they’ve been using placeholder animation. With the A.I./NPCs coming on board with 3.0, the 3.1 version of Truck Stops should have actual NPCs replacing the placeholder animations carried out at places like Cry Astro. Even more exciting will be the actionable content and missions, that will come with having an Admin Office at a Truck Stop. As well as the trade and cargo opportunities offered using the Kiosks. I envision players being able to take missions to pick up and deliver cargo plus acquire items for import/export. We’re likely to encounter scenarios where Truck Stop A needs XYZ which can only be obtained by traveling to Truck Stop B or perhaps, you have to go planetside to Station D. Missions along this line seem obvious as options.

Equally intriguing are CIG’s statements that Truck Stops can provide local storage for rent. What type of services will that offer? Can I store a ship there? Cargo? Both? If I’m carrying more items than required for a particular delivery and don’t want to risk taking everything on board with me, can I put some in local storage and come back for it later? I might consider doing that in certain locations. My EVE days have taught me that traveling with all your eggs in one basket can be an unwise decision with gut wrenching outcomes.

Perhaps a group of friends wants to explore on Dragonflies. Is it possible for us to show up in a Caterpillar that has our bikes in the cargo bays, put the Cat in storage at a Truck Stop then jet off into the unknown on the bikes? I like the idea of being able to change out ships without heading all the way back to a Port Olisar type station. Either by bringing my side ride along and putting the larger in storage at a truck stop or having ship kiosks available there which would allow the same flexibility.  Right now, players often kill themselves for a quick ride back to exchange ships. The introduction of persistent damage states in Alpha Patch 3.0, makes that less attractive quick ride option.

I’m also looking forward to Truck Stops adding more life to the dark recesses of deep space. New areas where players can congregate, shop and explore. I visit all locations in MMOs. I hang out in storefronts and buildings that are little more than window dressing. I like poking around behind the curtain and chilling with the NPCs while I do management type tasks – checking email, gabbing in local chat, talking on voice comms or having my dinner. So while I think all the planetside tech is cool and the outposts look great, I’m more excited by seeing space populated with more locations such as the Truck Stops currently estimated to arrive in Alpha Patch 3.1.