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!

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Origin 600i Series

ORIGIN Jumpworks GmbH

Origin’s notoriety comes from merging class and sophistication. They are the unchallenged leaders is providing luxury. Their designs are sleek with sophisticated lines. Their customers among the cultivated elite. When you purchase an Origin ship, you’re not just buying a vessel, you’re indulging a lifestyle.

While Origin was founded in Cologne, Germany, the headquarters was moved to New Austin on Terra in 2913. New Austin is now considered “ORIGIN town”, as they are a key employer in the region. In the Star Citizen universe, Origin is best known for its moderately priced 300 series of ships and the ostentatious 890 Jump luxury yacht.

600i Ship Series

Directly from CIG…

Let the voyage begin with the 2947 600i from Origin Jumpworks. This multi-role luxury vessel from Origin Jumpworks features an exquisitely detailed hull design that balances performance and versatility in a sleek and timeless form. The 600i is designed with a cutting-edge modular technology, allowing you to customize your ship for your needs.

End quote

The 600i concept sale was released with the flourish you’d expect for ships in this price range. A slick brochure which is still available online and a stunning in-lore ship commercial were included as marketing promotion materials. The 600i is intended to provide owners with an alternative to the Constellation Aquila for exploration and the Constellation Phoenix as a luxe party boat.

 

Highlights

  • The 600i comes in two variants – Touring and Explorer.
  • In its final state, an additional module that will allow you to swap between the Touring and Explorer variants.
  • Features two remote turrets which can be automated using an AI module.
  • Supports from 2 to 5 crew members.
  • Although intended as a multi-crew ship, for the size, it’s one of the most solo-friendly ships to date.
  • Touring module lets your guests relax in ease, with stunning furniture from some of the Empire’s top designers. The bridge has 3 seats for the pilot and crew members.
  • Explorer variant bridge has 3 seats for pilot and crew, in addition to two manned scanning stations, a deployable ramp for an exploratory ground vehicle (Origin-created Rover) and additional storage for artifacts you may discover.
  • Cargo capacity: Touring 16 SCU and Explorer 40 SCU.

My Impressions

The first iteration of the 600i ships arrived in Alpha 3.2, June 2018. I own the 600i Explorer variant. My original intention was to have a luxury version for exploration and RP-themed romps across the galaxy for groups smaller than the 890 Jump. However, as has been the case with many of the concept ships, they increase in size once concept meets the demands of physical reality. As such, it’s no longer the size I was hoping to acquire. We’ll have to see if it lives up to the claim that it’s very solo friendly in which case playing as a duo should still work well.

  • Every corner of the interior drips luxury.
  • Has the best cockpit and all ‘round ship views to date.
  • Best Captains Quarters by a mile… Until the 890 Jump arrives.
  • Handles well and floats like a cloud.
  • It’s a slow burn to top speed, so be careful and maintain situational awareness.
  • Landing gear doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the ship.
  • Some of the spaces are empty but I think that’s great IF we’ll be able to decorate our ships with flair items.

I’m decidedly happy with the 600i Explorer. However, this is all without being able to compare it to the Carrack. For me at least, I don’t care if the Connie Aquila beats the 600i in a size and feature comparison, I don’t like the Connie. Therefore comparisons between those two ships are moot.

My decision to keep the 600i Explorer will rest with how it compares to the Carrack. If the size and features are close, it won’t make sense to own both ships. I’ve melted a few very large ships to pick up the medium-sized profession ships coming into the game. This is intentional which leaves me a bit sad when medium ships become large during the implementation process. Here’s hoping there’s enough distinction between them.

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Anvil Terrapin Pathfinder

The Little Turtle That Could

Developed near the end of the 28th century, The Anvil Aerospace U4A-3 Terrapin Class ship is built for pure overwatch, scanning and exploration tasks. It’s the first ship to be built under direct Naval contract for the empire. Refocusing the military on a more defensive effort to ‘protect and serve’.

The Terrapin is built with absolute protection in mind. With extensive shields and deep armored layers, it offers the maximum level of defense for its 2 person crew. Unfortunately, the heightened defense does come at the cost of fast maneuverability.

The Terrapin is a slow-moving ship with a pair of primary engines and 10 small thrusters. For exploration and slow-paced surveying that isn’t an issue, as the design sacrifices engine speed for longer flight duration.

During space battles, you would expect the Terrapin to endure most attacks easily, if it hasn’t already avoided them with its long-range sensors. If you find yourself backed into a corner with no choice but to fight back, the ship’s array of hard-hitting weapons should help you carve out an exit without too much collateral damage.

The Terrapin is famed for mounting daring search and rescue missions, saving soldiers under fire, or traveling into remote far-flung areas with hostile and extreme environmental conditions.

This is a ship designed to remain self-sufficient for extended periods of time in areas where you are unlikely to find regular supplies.

Upgrades

When equipped with a high-end long-range radar, the Terrapin is ideal for finding new worlds and exploring new sectors. Coupling this upgrade with its high-level defense makes the Terrapin perfect for navigating asteroid clusters with precision, analyzing their contents or rescuing stranded crews who were less prepared. Beyond advanced sensors, the Terrapin is not designed for modular upgrades. There are no additional frills, bells or whistles to add to this pure military hardened exploration and reconnaissance ship.

Storage

In terms of Cargo, crew members can drop salvage where they find space, but this ship does not have a dedicated hold, as such – cargo will not be safe from harm.

Personal Impressions

The Terrapin is one of my favorite ships even without having its intended mechanics implemented into the alpha as of June 2018. It’s a nice looking ship and has ample space for two players to participate in missions.

  • Even without a traditional cargo hold, you can do fetch and carry missions.
  • Right size and defensive attributes to do escort and transport/rescue missions generated by players which are sometimes a trap! This ships hardened exterior will help the situationally aware pilot escape unscathed.

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Alpha 3.2 Prospector Mining Guide

As was CIG’s intent, mining will not support AFK behavior. They want all professions to be engaging and require some level of interaction by the player. They want there to be skill involved, in this case, monitoring and muscle memory are a factor in the outcome. For this first release, we can only mine on moons, asteroid mining will arrive later. Using the Prospector, there are (4) parts to the mining mechanic once you arrive at your desired location.

Edit June 26, 2018: Click Here for Enhanced Step-by-Step Video Version Available on YouTube

Step One – Scan the Area

Your first step is to scan the area for minable objects.

  • Toggle scan mode using the [TAB] key
  • Click the left mouse button to scan/ping the area.
  • Land the ship or float slowing over the surface of the moon pinging as you go.
  • Mineable rocks will be marked with a blue icon and orange outline.

Step Two – Start Mining Rocks

The next step is to fracture the rocks down into smaller units that can be extracted.

  • Hover over the rocks identified as mineable to view their composition. You want to spend your time mining rocks that contain the highest concentration of sellable materials. Even better, are those that contain decent percentages of multiple metals.

  • To mine, press the [M] key which activates the mining mode called Fracture.
  • Fracturing is a mini-game of heating the rock enough to break it into pieces without blowing it up. In order to accomplish this, you must watch the two gauges on the left part of the HUD.

Step Three – Control the Mining Laser

  • The mouse scroll wheel controls the mining laser intensity
  • Watch the Laser Throttle indicator to see your laser intensity setting.
  • Simultaneously, monitor the Rock Energy Level.
  • The Energy Gauge measures the rock’s internal temperature for combustibility.
  • Gradually increase the laser throttle until the rock’s internal temperature moves into the green zone on the Rock Energy Level.
  • Watch the Energy Transfer Graph (line chart) to see the trending effect of your current throttle setting. Is it stable – showing a flat line? Is it increasing – line trending up? Is it decreasing – line trending down? Use that to guide whether or not you need to increase, decrease or maintain your current laser throttle setting.
  • Once you’ve moved the Energy Gauge into the green zone, hold it there until the Fracturing Sensor on the right side of the HUD reaches 100%.
  • At 100%, while in the optimum energy zone, causes a successful fracture.

Note: If you overheat the rock it will explode causing damage to nearby objects, including your ship.

To avoid overheating the rock you should be slowly ramping up the throttle on the mining laser, watching to see how that impacts the rock’s energy and throttling the laser up and down as appropriate. You’ll hear a warning sound if the internal temperature is getting too high. If throttling down isn’t letting it cool fast enough, turn off the laser or point it away from the rock until it cools down a bit.

Step Four – Extract Ore

When you’ve fractured a rock successfully, it splits into smaller pieces.

  • Hover over the fractured pieces to locate ones with a purple outline.
  • Click the right mouse button to active Extraction Mode.
  • Extraction will vacuum up the smaller pieces into the Prospector’s cargo canisters.
  • Any rocks that still have an orange outline will have to be fractured further before you can extract the ore.

RECAP

In a nutshell, you

  1. Scan for mineable rocks
  2. Inspect them to find the best compositions
  3. Switch to mining mode
  4. Use the fracture laser to break the rock into smaller pieces.
  5. Monitor the rock’s internal heat temperature and control the laser throttle accordingly until the energy bar is sitting in the green zone
  6. After a successful fracture, toggle to the extraction laser to vacuum up your earnings.

Like most things in games, the harder it is the bigger return. For now, at least, Cellin has the lower level metals so it’s easier to learn the basics of mining there. Whereas Daymar has the more lucrative materials making them harder to mine successfully. This is likely to change over time as CIG rolls out more of the mineable components. Either way, mining isn’t as complicated as it sounds on paper. You’ll have the hang of it in no time. Head on over to Cellin and enjoy!

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MISC Prospector - Introductory Mining Ship

Manufactured by MISC

Musashi Industrial and Starflight Concern (MISC) are well known for their genius designs and incredibly ergonomic factories. Their ships are precision built by huge production lines spanning dozens of worlds throughout the galaxy. The main output of their industrial empire comes from their heavy industrial division, which creates a wide range of modular bulk transport spacecraft.

MISC is responsible for the majority of human corporate shipping, and have made impressive, albeit unexpected, gains amongst the Xi’an too. This is mainly due to their durable hulls and generous storage capacities, something that appeals to any miner, regardless of species. So far it seems as though Humans and Xi’an alike can benefit from MISC’s exclusive Xi’an partnership.

This is an unusual agreement that creates a rare opportunity for Xi’An technology to be incorporated into ships like The Prospector, a vessel that blends the technology of two rival people, to the benefit of all those who wish to spend their time mining for precious materials. For more information on MISC, please visit here.

Star Citizen’s First Mining Ship

Thanks to the Xi’an, the Prospector comes with improved VTOL Thrusters that enable it to maintain a sturdy position whilst navigating through dense clusters. It’ll also keep the ship still during precise mining tasks as you’re trying to snag that last chunk of precious metal from within a meteor.

As the name suggests, the Prospector isn’t just a mining vessel, it’s also built for Prospecting the galaxy for precious minerals. Underneath the ship, an upgraded scanner provides a huge search area for hunting out resources, without having to move around. This is useful as although perfect for mining and prospecting, these ships are not built for speed and every movement will feel like a slog. The default retractable mining laser was modified to enable more efficient extractions. The Prospector is capable of reaching ore in hard to reach places that lesser ships would have to leave behind.

Technical Overview

Like all smaller mining ships, The Prospector is fitted with only the bare necessities needed to maximize potential mining.  You get one seat for a single pilot but no room for crew members. However, other amenities have been provided such as a sleeping bunk, restroom, and space for hand-carried cargo containers. Whilst it will be lonely out in space, you’ll be protected by a top quality hull design, and can while away your time, loading your storage containers with up to 32 SCU of space.

In terms of additional features, The prospector comes with an upgrade to a more advanced scanner. It also comes with a basic CF-117 Bulldog Laser Repeater to blast apart bigger rocks, or to defend you from would-be thieves. Of course, there are also options for upgrading your mining laser as you become wealthier from your mining hauls.  The Prospector is a hardy ship, designed perfectly for mining your way through the galaxy. The only other resources you need are out there in the stars, waiting to be mined.

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Alpha 3.0 Brings First Iteration of Trading

UPDATE: List of player contributed >> Speculative Trading Aides

Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 introduced the first iteration of cargo hauling and trading. Although these professions aren’t ones that I will be pursuing long term, I know that that they are popular among the game’s backer community. This first iteration of cargo hauling is carried out by doing game generated missions. In the future, players will be able to create contracts for cargo hauling requests.

There are cargo hauling missions to pick up specific items and deliver them to an identified location. Recover a black box, recover crates, retrieve and dispose of waste,  actual pick-up and deliver tasks, etc. These missions represent simple go-fetch quests you find in many games and allow CIG to test basic hauling mechanics. The locations for pick-up and delivery vary between wreck sites in space, crash sites on one of the moons, space stations, or planetside hubs. The ones that I’ve seen so far pay very little in comparison to the cost of items you might want to purchase for your character. However, I’m sure all of this will be balanced over time.

What I spent my time doing was investigating the ability to do freelance trading. I prefer the freedom of choice and ability to incorporate this activity with other pursuits such as exploration. If you want to give this a try, it’s fun, but there be dragons.

There are bugs and persistence isn’t complete. I see posts from players who’ve lost all of their money trading. Don’t let that be you.

As to be expected, this first release of 3.0 is buggy. It contains a lot of new technology and foundational features. If you’re not careful, these bugs can cause you to lose money that can only be replaced by grinding out missions. Players can’t trade money or goods with each other yet. Run out of coin and you’re on your own to earn it back. Additionally, the current implementation of persistence isn’t complete. The only aspects that are genuinely persistent at this time are the condition of your ship and a player’s personal inventory – your ships, weapons, gear, and money.

Missions themselves do not persist!

Theoretically, you can log out in the bed aboard your ship and respawn back aboard that vessel. However, this only works if you just happen to log on the same exact server, a choice that is not in your control. If not, like the days of old, you’re back at Port Olisar. Additionally, nothing to do with missions persists. Not accepting them, partially completing them or turning them in. You must start, complete and collect your earnings from a mission all in the same gaming session. I mention all of this because people are going broke conducting ad-hoc trading because of the limited persistence at this time.

Game bugs might not be your worst enemy. Players are already doing piracy. Always keep enough money in reserve in case you run into a defect that causes you to lose your cargo.

In most cases, if you disconnect from the server, experience a client crash or log out with cargo aboard your ship it won’t be there the next time you log into the game. The merchandise is gone, and of course, there’s no way to get your money back for it. Poof. Consequently, if you’re going to do trading which requires you to purchase items on spec and transport them to a location that wants to buy it, never go all-in on one load. You must also consider the implications of PVP. Yep, there are players already doing piracy. If they destroy your ship, some portion of your cargo is left lootable. They must carry it aboard their ship crate-by-crate and can then sell it.

TRADING BASICS

Trading is easy as far as what you need to do. Choosing a profitable item and arriving at your destination safely, not so much. There are three major hubs in the persistent universe – Port Olisar, Grim Hex and Levski. All of them have commodity kiosks.

  • In Port Olisar, which is where law-abiding citizens spawn, it’s right near the ship deck. You’ll see an administration area with one operational terminal.
  • At Grim Hex, where criminals arrive in the game, you need to take the elevator to the Core. When you exit the elevator look for a poster with RSI ships. Next, to them, you’ll see an opening. Follow the seedy little corridor to the end and go inside the sealed room. There you’ll see the Admin Office and trade kiosks.
  • At Levski, make a left after passing through customs and go to the end of the corridor. It’s along the wall by the windows, right next to the Admin Office.

Commodity availability, prices and payout are dynamic.

Availability of items, prices, and payouts are dynamic. It’s impacted by how many other players are trading the same goods. No one location has all or buys all of the available commodities. You have to plan what you want to sell and who’s willing to buy it. Although this information is highly subject to change players are collecting lists of buy/sell information and sharing it with the community. Here’s a link to a recent list that I’m using.

Not worried about profits just yet, I used a commodities list to plan my trade route which included locations I wanted to explore more of, as this is how’d I’d do it in the released game. My trading will be opportunistic; done while doing luxury transport, exploration or science-related activities. Knowing the places I wanted to visit, I looked to see which was selling commodities that one of the others would buy. This provided me with a list of what to purchase/sell at each stop. I organized the locations into a logical order and included redundant sell options. Voila, I now had a route plan.

I did a few trial runs of a simple trade route without losing my shirt.

The first time I ran the route, I bought small quantities of two items, made the trips and sold the items when I arrived at the appropriate destination. The second time, I got a little bolder but ended up biting my nails halfway through the run when server performance started tanking. Luckily, I sold all the goods before the server died.

The third trip, I returned to being more cautious and luckily so. With one more delivery to make I lost connection to the server. Fortunately, I’d already landed and stored my ship along with its cargo. I was already on foot, heading to the Administration Office to sell the goods when I was disconnected.

Bad news? The disconnect left my ship at Levski while the game returned me to Port Olisar when I logged in. Good news? I could see that my cargo hold still had 6 units of cargo on board. More bad news? Three attempts to return to Levski all ended with disconnects. With Delamar being one of the furthest locations from Port Olisar, it’s not exactly a quick trip. After the third disconnect, I decided to call it quits for the day. It will be interesting to see if the cargo is still aboard my ship the next time I play.

Disconnects withstanding, I ended the session with more money than I had when I started.

It was a decent showing for the first implementation of trading. There are players rolling in millions of aUEC from doing it. I ended the day with more than I started with and may still have goods I can sell at Levski next time I can get there. *grumble-grumble* All in all, it was entertaining.

A reminder that only a tiny slice of Stanton is implemented in the persistent universe today. All of this activity takes places around Crusader, one of the four planets found in the Stanton Star System. You can see the lore and an AU map of the system on my website.


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.




What is Squadron 42?

Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium Games

Since the late 80s, Chris Roberts has been taking the most advanced video game platforms available to him and using them to build simulators that allow gamers live out epic space battles that put Star Wars to shame.

As graphics get better, so does his work – Freelancer was a masterpiece in 2003 when it released on PC and since that time, Roberts has focused on cinematic work whilst those of us who didn’t get sucked into Eve Online, have spent fifteen years living in wait for him to return to gaming.

Squadron 42 forms part of Roberts’ glorious return to gaming, a story-driven RPG set in the Star Citizen universe, that is essentially Wing Commander and Freelancer on steroids but with modern day graphics and  AAA budgets. The icing on the cake is the stellar cast he’s assembled. One that is worthy of a blockbuster movie.

It feels like everything Roberts has learned in the past 30+ years from his work in film and gaming has lead to this project. Since the overwhelming success of the Kickstarter campaign, Chris has been attracting top talent to the groundbreaking ambitious project. Ultimately responsible for delivering two games, S42 and an open world MMO called Star Citizen, Chris formed Cloud Imperium Games. With offices in the US and Europe, this intrepid crew holds the dreams of many gamers in their hands.

S42’s Initial Scope

Squadron 42, called S42 by its fans and backers, is a single player campaign comprised of 28 chapters and over 60 missions to complete. It was originally a stretch goal for when the crowdfunding exceeded $29million but considering Star Citizen exceeded $180million in funding, it was a sure thing from the very beginning.

The scope of this story is insane, with over 340 speaking roles cast, over 1250 pages of dialogue written and 50 ships designed. It feels as though every effort is being made to polish the fine details of Squadron 42 and every video released so far has supported that.

The main draw for a game like Star Citizen, and Squadron 42 is the space battles and dogfights. Wing Commander and Freelancer both delivered this, but with modern capabilities, you can expect a much more advanced physics engine, which will put your flying skills to the test.

The aim of Squadron 42, is to complete the campaign and have your character achieve citizenship in the United Empire of Earth.

Citizenship and Choices

Star Citizen has a defined class system where people do not automatically receive citizenship into the Empire just for being born there. Players will find they have multiple options, they can opt out of citizenship altogether, perform civic duties, or join the military by playing Squadron 42, and by completing it, you are set apart from other civilians of the empire as an Elite fighter who served and earned their status.  

This is intended to encourage conflict and division amongst players so that there are different ways to play the game and different benefits for the choices players make.  Citizens of the Empire will receive faster police response when they are chased by pirates and other threats and can enjoy the general protection that Empire citizens deserve. There will be alternative ways to conscientiously object to fighting and still become an Empire Citizen, but as far as we currently know, not in Squadron 42.

We do know that the story will be set in 2945 – after the events of Vega II. The player joins the 42nd Squadron of the UEE Navy, a  team with a reputation for great success in turning ‘problem’ pilots into Elite units who favor unorthodox tactics and space combat.  

So far we’ve seen little of the story, beyond previews from 2015 where the player was serving on the UEES Stanton during a slightly unpolished video shows us a taste of the on-ship interactions.

Due to various postponements, the game has missed its 2016 release date,  there were rumors for 2017 and 2018 but no official date has been set, so we’re now hoping for a 2019 release.

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The Drake Herald, Info Running & EWAR

Show Transcript

Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An on-going series about the upcoming first person MMO Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.

Sorry about the two-week hiatus. Between work, a business trip and being offered an exciting opportunity to narrate a small audiobook, I’ve been rather overloaded. I was at least spared the agony of watching the pot boil for 2.4 hitting the Live Server. Here’s hoping it’s not too far off.

This week’s episode will discuss another ship that’s near and dear to my heart, the Drake Herald.  It’s one of only three small career ships in my line-up. The fact that I can own platform ships, ships for medium sized groups AND engage in solo or duo activities, is a huge part of what excites me about Star Citizen.  I like the flexibility to control my playstyle and/or dependency on other players to fit my mood or what I feel like accomplishing at any given time. In looking at the Herald, we’ll touch on Drake as a company, the Magnus System where they’re headquartered and Electronic Warfare, as it relates to the Herald.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

Most players would likely agree, that the Herald isn’t the prettiest or sleekest ship in the ‘verse.  Some consider it downright ugly. For me, it falls into the so quirky that it’s cute category.  I find it attractive in a crooked smile kinda way. And although I preferred the original asymmetrical design, I’m not bothered by the change in direction.  Those were concept images.  This is alpha.  Shit happens…Yadda.  Before delving into the Herald, let’s take our first look at its manufacturer, Drake Interplanetary.

For many citizens, the name Drake Interplanetary conjures up images of ships whose silhouettes don’t look aerodynamically balanced.  And the ne’er-do-wells and criminals flying them.  Pirates.  Drake hasn’t helped change this perception by naming its ships things like Cutlass and Buccaneer. And their the cheesy billboards featuring an overly endowed woman, dripping sex appeal all over the newest starfighter they’re showcasing, doesn’t help much either.  When you’re not seeing Drake’s in-your-face adverts, it’s yet another newsvid about investigations into their criminal ties.

Drake’s keystone design is the Drake Interplanetary AS-1 Cutlass. Incredibly inexpensive, Drake Cutlasses are used across the galaxy for thousands of different roles. From search and rescue ambulances to mining prospector conversions, to short hop food transports.  The modular nature of the Cutlass means it can be anything to anyone. Including those skirting the law.

Beyond its modularity, the Cutlass’ claim to fame is that it’s built from common parts.  This makes it an affordable ship to replace for those who are living a lifestyle that no longer offers the benefit of purchasable insurance. Drake Interplanetary incorporated soon after the success of the Cutlass. Lead designer Jan Dredge became CEO, with a seven-member board, consisting largely of aerospace engineers who had worked on the project.

Drake is not the surname of anyone involved in the project; it was selected as an acceptable “smooth-sounding” name, chosen specifically in the hopes that it would make their spacecraft more appealing. This was the first of a series of money-over-all decisions that would quickly come to define the company.

Another factor that swaying the UEE’s belief that Drake is in some fashion associated with criminal activity, was their decision to locate their corporate headquarters and key factories on Borea in the Magnus system.  At the time, Magnus was a desolate and lawless system, peppered with ghost towns and people living on the fringe of the space frontier. Locating on Borea, was yet another seed planted in the garden of their outlaw image.  Regardless of the UEE’s assumptions or those of more polite society, within five years Drake was the fifth largest spacecraft manufacturing concern.  

However, with the Galaxy in a relative level of peace, or as close to peace as it had ever been –  Vanduul raids at the time were disorganized and the UEE military was in the middle of several years stand down. Who was buying thousands upon thousands of Cutlasses? The answer, of course – pirate organizations.  The affordability of Drake ships created readily replaceable spacecraft that fit a pirate’s budget, and thanks to its larger-than-average cargo hold, they could also transport pirate booty.

It eventually became clear, though not publically acknowledged, that Drake had made a deal with the devil … but the money was too good to turn back. It’s rumored that in looking toward future, CEO Dredge is authoring a plan to streamline their spacecraft lineup and clean up the company’s image.  A daunting task for the modular, boxy Cutlass, Caterpillar, and Buccaneer! And then there are those ship names. Only time will tell.

Life in Magnus

Directly from CIG

“Magnus: On the Edge of the Unknown!” or so reads the local government’s standard travel brochure. In truth, the phrase better describes Magnus a century ago; recent decades have seen increasing settlement and overall civilization in a system that considers itself the unofficial capital of Human frontier culture.

End Quote

First discovered in 2499, Magnus was a small, entirely undistinguished system: three planets orbiting a type K main sequence star. Dimmer than Earth’s own sun, Magnus did not have the pull to generate a system of outer planets or an extensive network of jump point tie-ins. Surveys have located no protoplanets, gas pockets or asteroid fields in the system’s environs; the area surrounding Magnus is the deepest, most desolate space imaginable. A single world, Magnus II, was identified as ideal for terraforming.

For a time, Borea – Magnus II, was a barren desert world — the effects of terraforming had not yet completely transformed the planet, and a ten-year period of extreme solar flares hampered its transition to a temperate world.  This increased the decay of the UEE facilities and generally reduced overall interest in resettling Magnus. The result was an eerie, depopulated ghost world with declining structures full of refining and shipbuilding equipment considered too expensive to move elsewhere. During this period, the system’s population declined to less than 3,000, most of whom had no legal right to their encampments.  

Let’s step back for a moment to consider living on a planet whose entire population is 3000 inhabitants. It has to feel something like living in a post-apocalyptic world. Or being on a backwater border planet in FireFly, where Jayne is worshiped as a deity. I think I’ll pass but Drake said sure, sounds good!

Drake’s decision to locate the headquarters and primary factories on Borea eventually helped to revitalized the landscape. Vast tracts of empty warehouses and rusting construction yards have been modernized and returned to life from building Cutlasses and Caterpillars.  All’s well that ends well and good on Drake.  But personally, I’d have started job hunting when the news came around about where the offices were going.

The Drake Interplanetary Herald

Overview

The original concept sale for the Herald was November 2014.  The Herald is a small armored ship, designed to safely deliver information and you, from one place to the next.  Its speed will rival racers but it won’t have the same nimble handling. It has a powerful central engine to support advanced data encryption. It also sports data protection systems, redundant power subsystems, EMP shielding and high capacity broadcast arrays for data transmission.  In a nutshell, it’s spec’d to acquire rare data, encrypt/protect it, escape with said data and/or transmit it to your cohorts. As a fallback, it has a quick method to clear your drives of evidence, in case you get caught in the act or hijacked.

Ship Configuration

Classified has Info Runner.  Is 23 meters in length and weighs 18 thousand kilograms.  Supports 2 crew stations and 0 cargo units.  For hardpoints, it’s configured with 3 S1 gimbal mounts, an S3 shield, and one additional equipment mount.

A bit of Drake related fiction from RobertsSpaceIndustries.com…

Dispatch:  A New Threat to Data Security by Drake Interplanetary

SUBJECT: DRAKE HERALD DATA

STATUS: URGENT

Attention Team,

Attached to this dispatch are the final specifications and 3D holo-model of what you have worked all these long months to accomplish! Our Herald prototype will now enter the construction and testing phase, with a planned Q2 2945 rollout for the first sales units.

On the surface, the Herald represents a significant advance in interstellar data transfer… but as we Drake team members know, its long-term implications for data interception, stream interruption, and even outright piracy are enormous. I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished, and now I can’t wait to see this baby fly!

Becke Linns

Senior Spacecraft Designer

Drake Interplanetary

END QUOTE

 

In that final paragraph, we can see that Drake’s intention of cleaning up their act is only surface level.  A little spit-n-shine for the ole public image.  Clearly, they understand and acknowledge the potential ramifications of their designs!

Quick Chat about Electronic Warfare

In August of 2015, CIG published a design document discussing their plans for implementing Electronic Warfare, often abbreviated to EWAR.  EWAR mechanics played such a heavy role in EVE Online combat, I’ve been very interested in learning more about how it would play out in Star Citizen. Oftentimes in EVE, you can lose a fight before you’ve undocked from a station, simply by not having your ship adequately configured for an encounter.  Will EWAR in Star Citizen has the same far-reaching impacts? It will be quite some time before we can answer that question.

Let’s review the portion of the Star Citizen EWAR Design Document that speaks to capabilities we can expect to see incorporated into the Herald, as an interceptor of information.

Radar (Object-Detection) and Scanning

The Drake Herald is an information runner but includes a dedicated e-war suite, which includes the ability to scan.  Scanning is the tracking or gathering of information based off of the three main signature outputs: Infrared, Electromagnetic, and Cross-section.

Every ship has a suite of default systems that give it basic operational functionality. Our radar systems use IR, EM, or radio waves to determine the range, angle, and velocity of objects. Standard operating mode for radar systems is omnidirectional.  However, players with the right equipment can change the focus of their unit. Changing the focus increases the transmit power, but reduces the area in which targets can be located.

Scan and radar effectiveness are also impacted by the environment.  For example, solar radiation from the nearby star could wreak havoc on your results.  The goal is to introduce variance in performance between radar components and require choices from the player, as to what type of information they value above others, as well as reduce the time of a scan and/or the risk of being detected.

Players will be able to scan their surroundings either passively or actively.

  • Passive – The player is letting the information come to them versus actively searching for the information (in essence listening). This emits a much smaller signature.
  • Active – The player’s ship is actively looking for information about their ship. This emits a much higher signature.

In passive scanning, the range and detection type are based on the radar component that your ship has installed. Any potentially targetable object within your ship’s radar zone will show up as different contact states, discussed in the detailed design doc. This feature will emit a signature when turned on. It will be up to the player to choose if they want scans to run constantly or enabled during certain times. Multi-crew ships can assign this as a full-time task to a radar officer; allowing them to balance scanning systems with the ship’s signature output.

By switching to active scanning, you can acquire more specific information on a target such as their type of armor, shields, weapons, etc.  You can even attempt to reveal undetectable targets. This can be done with the focus set to either omni or fixed direction, with fixed direction requiring more skill to use but potentially producing a more detailed result. Active scanning will also increase a ship’s signature since it requires additional power.

To stay safe from incoming hacking and electronic warfare attacks, pilots will need to outfit their ships and flight suits with appropriate countermeasures. Electronic defenses require less specialized equipment than their offensive counterparts, and while this does favor defenders to an extent, they can still be met with multiple attacks and overwhelmed.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Electronic Warfare.  Please read the full design document for more details.  Including the defensive mechanics, players will have at their disposal to minimize and/or negate, the offensive effectiveness of EWAR attacks.

I liked the idea of the Herald before we had the EWAR design document.  My primary decision for purchasing one was to have another two station ship. Although I’ll probably do a lot of the work solo, since I enjoy that too, I’m hoping to introduce friends to Star Citizen who don’t traditionally play MMOs but are interested in space. And it’s a non-combat focused activity I can do with younger kids in the family.

For now, it remains to be seen how heavy of a role EWAR will play in day-to-day combat.  Most encounters happen too quickly at the moment when we’re mostly flying small fighters.  In EVE, EWAR plays a large factor even in those types of encounters.  Or determines the outcome before the first shot was fired.  In that scenario, fitting EWAR modules is a foregone conclusion – a necessity of survival.  I could live without that level of EWAR in Star Citizen combat and have it more focused on being used in career pursuits.  But I’m okay dealing with however the chips fall on it.

SHOW NOTES

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the Herald and Drake Interplanetary.  Please check out the show notes on my blog for links to mentioned content such as the Herald ship page, Drake’s write up on RSI and the Magnus Galactic Guide.

If you found this episode useful and entertaining, please consider subscribing to my channel and giving the show a thumbs up.  It would be greatly appreciated and doing so helps the show’s visibility, making it easier for others to find their way here.

Be kind and fly safe.  This is Alysianah signing off until next time.

 

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Tying it all together

Understanding that the Herald was designed to intercept data, a fancy way of saying steal, we can imagine that part of gameplay.  I imagine there will be an opportunity to hijack information from ship systems, structures with data storage capabilities and possibly mobi devices.
If we also consider that it has a dedicated EWAR suite, that introduces offensive combat mechanics.  Acting as a scout, the herald can gather information about primary targets and relay that data back to the fleet. It may be possible for it to disable certain subsystems, which inches us closer to aspects of how EWAR plays out in EVE.  Exciting times and sounds like very interesting gameplay mechanics for a small two station ship.


Alpha 2.1 Available Content

Show Transcript

Welcome to episode 3 of Casual Citizen, an on-going series about the upcoming 1st person MMO, Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games.  I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

This week’s episode will take us into the realm of actual game content, as we discuss what’s available for play-testing Alpha 2.0. Sit back, relax and enjoy.

What version of the game are you play testing?

One of the first things to understand about play-testing Star Citizen is that there are two different environments. We have the Private Test Universe, commonly called PTU.  This is where new content and changes are released to a subset of the backers for testing.  Testing on the PTU allows development to ensure they don’t introduce game-breaking defects to the other environment for play-test called the Live server.

As a backer, you are not guaranteed access to the PTU. The subset of players invited to PTU changes based on how wide an audience they feel they need to participate. The duration of the PTU also varies, depending on the number of issues found and how long it takes to fix them.  When and if you’re invited to play-test on PTU, you’ll receive an email from CIG explaining how to participate.

The Live Server is the version of Star Citizen that is available to all backers who own a game package.  Live content has already gone through play-test on the PTU, and was deemed appropriate for wider consumption.  In general, when people are discussing game mechanics and what there is to do in Star Citizen, they’re discussing the Live version.  If not, they’ll preface that it’s PTU. Likewise, if you encounter an issue or have a question, make sure you’re clear in distinguishing PTU from Live.

One of the ways in which development teams keep track of the content included in a particular release, is by using version numbers.  Star Citizen is no different.  The content on the PTU has a version number as does the Live Server.  In general, the PTU is further ahead than Live because it’s where content is released first.  For example, the PTU is currently at 2.1.d while the Live Server is sitting at 2.0.  This means that not only did a 2.1 version of the game get published to PTU but it’s been updated  four times – a, b, c, d. Additionally, no version of the changes sitting on PTU were deemed stable enough to be published to the Live Server and we know this because it’s sitting at 2.0.

All that said, it’s important to know the distinction between PTU and Live when you’re asking for help.  People generally need to know the version number too. This is especially true when discussing issues on the forums, Reddit or reporting bugs on the Issues Council. Now that we have the preliminaries out of the way let’s discuss the content that’s currently available on the Live Server.

The Hangar Module

The hangar module was the first part of the game released to players for play-testing. Historically speaking, it’s also the first place a ship shows up in the game. Ships are made Hangar Ready before they become flight ready, something we discussed in the episode 2.

When you purchase ships beyond the one from your initial game package, you must add them to the hanger yourself. This is done using the My RSI option on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com. After clicking My RSI, click the My Hangar link. From there you’ll see the different hangars you have access to and all of the items you’ve purchased, that can be displayed in a hangar, such as your ships.

Click the Configure button to change to a different themed hangar or drag and drop available ships on the left, to where you want them in your hanger on the right. Depending on the ship size, multiple ships may be able to fit in the same bay.  The number of bays in your hanger will shrink and grow to fit the number of ships you have placed into your hangar configuration. When you’re done changing things around, click save.  These changes will be reflected in the actual game the next time you enter your hangar.

In addition to previewing ships before they’re Flight Ready, the hangar allows you to customize Flight Ready ships. Each hangar contains a Holo table.  This is a 3D interface that can be used to customize your ship by changing weapon load-outs, shields, etc. and applying different paint jobs where applicable. Be aware that configurations made using the Holo table do not persist past your current gaming session.  The next time you log into the game, you’ll have to set your ship’s load-out again. This is not the long term intention.  The ability to permanently save changes you’ve made will be implemented sometime after persistence is added to Star Citizen.

In the not too distant future – I hope, the features needed to invite other players into your hangar will be incorporated. This will be a great way to group up with friends in multi-crew ships and discuss the layout and various roles you’ll each play before doing so in combat.  It can also serve as and way to socialize in a private space and allow friends to see ships that are only hangar ready that they might not own. I’m really crossing my fingers that this feature is available alongside the much larger ships being made hangar-ready. Players are speculating that the Starfarer will be the next large ship made hangar ready. I’d be very happy if inviting people into your hangar is unveiled at the same time.

Sim Pod

The Sim Pod is used to access simulation modules such as Arena Commander and Star Marine when it’s available for play-testing.  From a lore perspective, these are games within the Star Citizen universe that citizens play.  For us, they’re modules designed to test very specific game mechanics.  Arena commander supports testing flight and ship combat mechanics.  Star Marine will be for play-testing FPS.  The Sim Pod is one of the ways you can access these modules.  Another way is through the game menu recently added.  The new menu simplifies moving between play-test modules.  To access the Game Menu press the Escape key and choose main menu.

Character Load-out

You can change the armor your character is wearing by accessing the character load-out platform in your hanger or by pressing F6. Doing either will let you choose from pre-configured outfits such as light armor or heavy armor.  In the future, we’ll be able to mix and match armor sets as well as other items of clothing that will be purchasable in game. The first such in game store will the Casaba located in ArcCorp Area 18. More on Area 18 in a bit.

Customizing Your Hangar

Similar to player housing in other MMOs, the hangar can store decorative items you purchase from the RSI website, earn through the referral program or are awarded as a subscriber. Aquariums, liquor cabinets, cots, workbenches, posters, trophies, etc. are some of the things currently available.  For now, the game places these items in a static location inside your hangar.  Once the game adds grabby hands, the mechanic that will allow players to grab and place items, we’ll be able to move items to where we want them inside the hangar.

In summary, the hangar is used to view ships and configure their load-outs. Change your character’s armor set and view items you purchased or were rewarded as decorations in your hangar. You can interact with the Sim Pod to enter Arena Commander. In the near future, we’ll be able to invite friends into our hangar and arrange its contents ourselves.

Arena Commander

Arena Commander, called AC, is a module that will remain as module, even after other aspects of the game are molded into a seamless experience.  From an in-game fiction perspective, AC is what pilots use to simulate and test flight mechanics, space combat and racing.  It provides players with an opportunity to experiment and compete, without fear of losing their ship or having their character permanently injured.

The AC menu can be accessed via the game menu by pressing Escape | Electronics Access | Arena Commander or by interacting with the Sim Pod inside your hangar.  Once accessed, the main AC menu has three options. Option 1 is Spectrum Match, which allows you to compete with and against other players in public or private matches. There are different modes, each with different objectives and maps options. Option 2 is Drone Sim, which allows you to access the subset of the Spectrum Match modes that make sense for solo play. Option 3 is Basic Flight Training, the in-game tutorial.

I won’t discuss details of the various AC modes but here are some general thoughts. People play AC Public Matches to compete on the Leaderboards and to earn REC points. REC is used to rent ships and weapons.  A try before buy sort of thing.  To rent items using REC visit RobertsSpaceIndustries.com | Store | Electronic Access.

Drone Sim is very good for learning how flight and combat mechanics work.  There are many videos on YouTube on all aspects of Star Citizen, and this area is no exception.  You can practice what you’re seeing in the video in a safe environment by using Drone Sim Free Flight Mode.  Perfecting takeoff and landing is something good to try in Free Flight Mode.  Press CTRL + F to leave the pilot’s seat which would allow you to then exit your ship.

If you want a “safe” place to practice combat fighting NPCs, Drone Sim Vanduul Swarm mode is the ticket.  Vanduul Swarm presents waves of NPCs for you to defeat. You can gage your improvement by how long it takes you to complete waves and how many waves you can complete before your three lives are depleted.

I enjoy using the Drone Sim racing maps to practice fine tuning my control of a ship. Each ship feels and flies differently.  As a new HOTAS user, I need and want the practice in preparation for navigating Jump Points in the Persistent Universe. Something we’ve been told is dangerous, can lead to damaging your ship on the low end of consequences or death at its worst.

This may seem silly to some but I also use the racing maps to see my ship in daylight. The racing maps are very detailed – like flying through a futuristic city. I imagine this is what it may feel like when I’m departing or arriving with passengers on my Genesis Starliner. Similar to Free Flight, you can exit your ship and goof around in the racing maps.

Lastly, while the Basic Flight Training is a good effort as an alpha tutorial, it does contain bugs and walls of text I find disruptive.  I often found it less frustrating using YouTube and Free Flight.  That said, the tutorial is an excellent method of learning the game’s lingo and default key mappings.

The Social Module – ArcCorp Area 18

Before I talk about the role of ArcCorp Area 18, I want to provide some context. Like our universe, Star Citizen will be made up of many star systems.  Within a star system such as ours which is called Soul, there is of course a star, our sun, and planets that orbit it, like earth.  Those planets may have satellite celestial bodies of their own, like our earth has the moon. Stanton is a star system within the fictional universe of Star Citizen. ArcCorp is one of the 4 planets within that system. Area 18 is a landing zone on the planet ArcCorp.

From a play test perspective, Area 18 is for testing social features of the game. It’s our first look at the types of content we will find planetside. There are pure social locations such as bars. Medical facilities where players would be resurrected if they died in the vicinity or wanted to purchase medical supplies. In the near future, we’ll be able to customize your character’s clothing by shopping in various clothing and weapon stores. Some cities will have dealerships with ships on display that you can purchase.  There are job boards where we can receive missions, accept fulfillment orders or take requests to ship cargo, etc.  Planetside landing zones is where players will connect with each other and the NPCs carrying out the everyday activities that keep the society humming.

For now, there’s not a lot to DO in Area 18 but it’s still a must see!  I’ve yet to visit the area and find it empty. It’s definitely a fun place to explore and get a taste of what’s to come.  You access Area 18 by entering the elevator in your ship hangar.  The location of the elevator varies depending on the hangar but it’s usually not too far from where your character appears when you spawn in. Once inside the elevator use the keypad to select Area 18.

There are some helpful functions to know for the social module

  • F10 brings up chat
  • F11 opens augmented reality – like name plates in other MMOs but way cooler
  • F12 is your contacts list
  • There are slash emotes such as salute, hello and dance1 thru dance 6 will let you get your groove on at the G Loc bar.

Dun-dun-dun…The Persistent Universe – Crusader

Earlier I mentioned that ArcCorp is one of 4 planets in the Stanton system. Crusader is another. Similar to how ArcCorp Area 18 is being used to play-test planetside content, Crusader is being used to test persistent universe mechanics.

The persistent universe is where Star Citizen becomes a seamless first person MMO gaming experience.  It’s where you can move from a station or planet-side location to deep space. Once in space, you can explore, do missions, work on careers and trade professions, engage in combat, etc., all without a single loading screen.

Star Citizen Alpha 2.0 contains the first tiny slice of the persistent universe – the area around Crusader and some of its celestial objects. The map itself is small compared to the intended size of the system, and the Star Citizen universe in general.  However, it’s large compared to the other play test areas available to us.  It would take several hours for you to fly from one end of the crusader map boundary to the other.

The Crusader we’re play-testing in over the coming months will deviate from the content it will have in the released version of the game. CIG will be injecting space stations, landing zones and other elements in order to test mechanics and features, as they’re developed.  For example, the planetoid and space station shown in the Pupil to Planet demo, is part of the Nyx star system.  However, to test the technology, they’ll be dropped temporarily into Crusader and likely removed once navigating Jump Points have been added so that we can’t actually get to Nyx.  It’s important to keep in mind that content may come and go in Crusader for testing purposes and that its composition at any given time, may not match what’s described in the Stanton Galactic Guide or shown in the ARK Starmap.

How to Access Crusader

You can access Crusader from Persistent Universe option on the game menu.  It’s also accessible on the keypad in the elevator that’s inside your hanger.  If you’re not already in your hanger, pressing the escape key to bring up the Game Menu is the easiest method.

What’s Currently Available in Crusader?

There are a handful of activities you can participate in now, in the persistent universe for Crusader.  First off, when you spawn into Crusader you’re in the Port Olisar space station. You’ll want to exit your room and make your way downstairs to the Ship Deck.  Interact with one of the consoles in the Ship Deck to summon a ship. Remember that the list of ships includes only those that are Flight Ready and loaners for ships you own, that aren’t Flight Ready. Pay attention to the message on the console telling you where your ship will be delivered and make your way there. You’ll need to interact with the closest airlock to get outside. Once to open the airlock and then to close it on the station side, pressurize and open the door on the external side.

Ship security features have not been implemented yet.  Once you open your ship, anyone can enter from thereafter. Stowaways and ship theft are a thing right now.  Similarly, if you leave your ship on the landing pad for a long period of time – I think after 10 minutes, it will auto unlock for anyone to take.

Features to control PVP have not been completed.  The only location that is safe from non-consensual PVP is Port Olisar, which is an armistice zone. Once you leave those friendly waters, you can be attacked anywhere. Situational awareness is key, as is patience.  Most of the trolling and griefing has died down now that the newness has worn off but it’s fairly easy to stumble across trolls on in any MMO.

Keep in mind that PVP and piracy are a part of Star Citizen.  They are valid play styles.  However, the mechanics to control the where and when, as well as impose consequences, haven’t been implemented but they will be. For now, be patient, take things as they come.  Nothing that happens in Crusader is permanent.  NOTHING. If your ship is stolen or destroyed, make your way back to the Ship deck and summon it again. It’s that simple.

Once you’re in a ship, you’re free to play-test the following elements:

Missions – The basics of the mission delivery system are in place.  Visiting the various Comm Arrays will start a mission event, which has a series of objectives to complete. You can track missions using your Mobi Glass which is accessed by pressing F9. Be prepared for combat. NPC pirates will arrive a few seconds after you enter the general vicinity. You’ll also need to exit your ship and EVA into the Comm Array. CTFL +F lets you exit the pilot’s seat.

You can explore the Covalex Shipping Hub, an abandoned space station that’s lost its gravity generator among other things. Collecting data files will tell the story of what happened there and complete a mission.  The ending varies depending on which files you collected. Be on your guard. You may get shot in the face if you startle someone or run across a trigger happy player.

Cry Astro is where you can refuel, restock ammo and repair your ship.  Right now everything is free, so make use of these services.  Eventually, this will cost in-game money.  The drones that come out to service your ship are placeholders until NPCs are introduced into the game.

Be sure to visit Tessa at the ICC Scan Probe. She’s cheeky and really shows off the quality of voice over talent we can expect in-game. Her missions aren’t about tipping through the tulips. In most cases, be ready for combat wherever it is she sends you.

Yela is nearby asteroid belt.  I believe the asteroids there are placeholder since it should be the Aaron Halo ring which isn’t as close to Crusader.  Again – liberties are being taken to support testing.  This is probably where we’ll first test the mining mechanics.  For now, it’s just a cool place to fly around.  You’ll occasionally run into NPC pirates and PVP players.  Some of the asteroids are large enough to land your ship on.  It’s a cool thing to do so be sure to check it out.

Last but not least is the Koreah space station. This is for all intents and purposes a FPS location. Players can find automatic weapons here. Don’t go there unless you WANT TO PVP. You can’t sightsee there and whine if you get your head blown off. You will likely encounter PVP on the way in, as players try to clear a safe landing for themselves to enter – which is to be expected.  Might not be the best idea to show up alone if you can avoid it. Troll-ish behavior is rather rampant around the location. Players will destroy ships on the landing pads and then leave. Clearly, not looking for a fight, just an easy target. If you land a ship someone else doesn’t have and wants to try, expect it to be stolen. If you land safely and someone else is already there, people often destroy your ship so you can’t leave, in hopes of initiating a FPS exchange. Net-net is no Korea unless you want to engage in PVP. PERIOD.

Those are the highlights of the content currently available in Crusader, which is the Persistent Universe alpha.  Two things you’ll need to know to reach any of these locations efficiently.

Flight Modes – there are three flight modes when flying in the persistent universe.  

  • PRE is Precision mode and is for small slow movements like takeoff and landing.
  • SCM is faster movements such as those needed in combat. CRU is cruise mode, the fastest your ship can fly and being in your control.  It’s for covering large distances but allows very limited changes in direction. Use PRE to land or maneuver in tight spaces.  Use SCM for combat. USE CRU to close the gap on someone, run or move thru an area quickly. Toggle through the flight modes using the V key.
  • Quantum Drive – QD is like the warp travel we’ve seen in movies like Star Trek.  In Star Citizen, it’s used to travel large distances within the same Star System, such as the Crusader area in Stanton.  The QD lets you leap from one location to the next.  You can warp to specific locations by pressing the B key to see available locations.  Point the nose of your ship toward the location until you see it highlighted. Press the middle mouse button to engage your Quantum Drive and warp to that location. Incidentally, you can warp to the middle of nowhere using the same steps. Press B, pick a location in space and click the middle mouse button. This is an excellent tactic for escaping an encounter. Technically, you shouldn’t be able to warp away if your shields are down but the game isn’t currently enforcing that rule.

Oh my, that was a lot of content to cover this week but I wanted to complete the preliminaries so we could dive into more details and fun stuff, as casual citizens.  This week’s show notes are simple.  Check out Citizen Academy, Tactical Advance, Bored Gamer and TheNoobifier1337 on YouTube.  The types of videos I suggest reviewing are landing and takeoff, HUD basics, basic combat and flight mechanics, especially the new Flight Modes and introductions to the PU – Persistent Universe. I also recommend viewing videos that discuss whatever ship you plan on flying first.  These usually discuss the ins-and-outs of that particular ship.

That was much longer than what I plan as a typical show.  I hope you find it useful, albeit you may have to listen to it a couple of times.  This is Alysianah signing off until next time.

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