Please Stop Destroying My Items

I think it’s long past time that Star Citizen’s persistent universe, actually persisted all player related assets. One of the foundational covenants between a player and a persistent universe is that the game won’t lose my shit or willfully destroy my assets. Star Citizen continues to violate this fundamental convention.

I’m not playing Super Mario. I’m not playing a single player RPG with the ability to pause or explicitly save. I’m playing an online game, in an area called the persistent universe, that doesn’t keep certain aspects of my activity until I reach a golden checkpoint. If I’m not able to land my ship at one of these golden checkpoints, the game disavows all knowledge of my ship’s contents. Why?

I’m not talking about a cup I brought on board. A teddy bear I grabbed out of a habicube and put on the dash for grins. I’m talking about items related to missions and the player professions. This is especially true for assets that, at this point, only the game can place and remove from my ship. It’s really egregious the persistent universe isn’t storing the fact that those items, in particular, exist, the instant the game places them there. Why does it only retain the fact that the items are there when I store the ship?

So few of the planned features related to professions are available in the Alpha, it’s frustrating to lose items related to the ones we do have.  I’m not even sure why this interim mechanic of only retaining your ship’s inventory when you land at space pads was ever considered okay. It’s alpha where many many things can go wrong on the game’s side of things. Why leave us at risk of consistently losing progress?

The sad truth is that I’m always more concerned about the game causing me to lose my things than it being the result of PVP. The game itself is the biggest pirate and griefer. In all this time, I’ve only lost a single load of mined ore to combat. All of my cargo hauling losses are due to the game disappearing it. Being disconnected, crashes, freezes and other unrecoverable incidents that require a player to restart the game, for me, result in considerably more instances of losing progress than PVP ever has. It shouldn’t be this way.

This also goes for having to recover a ship that’s lost in space because of a DC or crash. Reclaiming it needs to stop destroying the ship’s inventory. It should be transported to you at a cost that’s less than and faster than, the replacement insurance. This feature popped up on the ship console for a little while in the 3.5 PTU. Not sure why it disappeared.

I can deal with wipes. I can deal with delays. I can pace myself and enjoy what’s currently available even though, it doesn’t reflect any of the professions I back yet. What frustrates me beyond belief, however, is the game continually breaking a fundamental covenant between a player and a persistent universe. Please stop destroying my shit.


Remove Public Transportation from Commercial Careers

Trains in and of themselves are cool. However, when interjected into transportation like professions, they’re bad. I mean, really bad. There isn’t a courier or transportation service in the world, that would have a driver disembark their utility vehicle to hop on public transportation to complete a delivery. NONE.

Off-loading to a smaller utility vehicle is common. If we had to do that, it would make perfect sense to me. You’re not going to land your Hull E at Area 18. If you need to deliver a load there, you’ll have to transfer the merchandise to a smaller ship before going planetside. I’m good with that scenario. It’s extra steps, but it’s logical. We all know commercial carriers redistribute merchandise once it arrives at a warehousing facility. Items are regrouped into smaller sensible routing clusters. However, that effort would not include, “Hey, let’s hop on this public train for the last leg of the journey.” What??

Some of the nit things we encounter in the game in the name of realism make decisions such as not having terminals at the spaceports feel a bit crazy. Especially when these assets already exist for mining, trade, and package delivery. The fact that they’re not present in abundance, at the spaceports, is a huge oversight.

I’m all for trains, shuttles and the alike, as part of civilian life. However, they have no place being part of the commercial process. I hope this gets addressed soon. Being forced to ride a train after landing my cargo ship just to get to a trade terminal is annoying and detracts from the experience. The same holds true for selling mined materials. We’re essentially forced to use trains and shuttles merely to go interact with a terminal. Why? I’d like to pass on that, please.


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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