Star Citizen Nightbus EP05 - Referral Contest Kerfuffle and More

This week’s episode of Nightbus takes on some drama, theory crafting, tidbits and new fiction.

Show Transcript

Welcome to the Star Citizen NightBus, a quirky mixture of fact, fiction and opinion. I’m your host, Alysianah from AlysianahsWorld.com. This week’s show are:

  • Surface level resource nodes. Are you for or against?Interesting Facts
  • Interesting FactsMore Kerfuffle – Ben’s Response to Community feedback on the Referral Program kicks up more dust
  • More Kerfuffle – Ben’s Response to Community feedback on the Referral Program kicks up more dustThe Exterminator Part One
  • The Exterminator Part One

Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

The Nightbus is existing statis. Please secure all personal items. Departing the station is 3…2…1

Surface Level Resource Nodes

With planetary landings on the horizon, conversations have started within the community, speculating on the methods CIG might utilize for planetside node harvesting in Star Citizen.

Every MMO that I’ve played, and I’ve played every AAA MMO that’s come to North America over the past 20 years, has utilized surface level node collection. The one exception being SOE’s Landmark which — well, in the end, didn’t materialize into the planned MMO, Everquest Next, so perhaps that one doesn’t even count.

By surface level nodes, I mean objects that appear directly on the surface of the visible terrain. Even when a node is inside a cave, it’s on the surface — you can see it. There’s no digging below terrain you’re standing on.

I don’t have a problem when games only employing surface level nodes. They’re easy to find and access, which makes harvesting a more casual affair. Depending on the concentration of nodes needed to support the player-base however, surface nodes can clutter up the landscape if not done very well. And require very unnatural looking zones of heavy density of nodes to support large-scale collection.

While digging below the surface wouldn’t bother me, I’m fine with surface-only. I enjoy harvesting casually while I explore. Finding resources below the surface necessitates more intent than aimlessly meandering and picking up whatever you happen to see. Or opportunistically harvesting while you’re traveling.

I’ve recently seen high concentration surface level nodes only done very well. Unlike most other MMOs using surface nodes, BDO doesn’t use visual cues that can be seen from a distance. You can’t tell if an element is a harvestable node until you’re right on it. And the nodes themselves – ore, plants, trees, etc., look like any other part in of landscape. This results in a natural looking environment that doesn’t break your immersion or call your attention to “fake thing here” when you’re not trying to harvest.

In BDO, I explore while harvesting because you have to mingle in with the environment to know if you can gather an item. I enjoy walking along the furrowed rows of a farm along side NPCs maintaining it, looking for vegetables to harvest for cooking recipes. Chopping down trees in a nearby wood while seeing if there were any quest mobs in the area. Or vice versa.

So while I’m open to surface only, beneath only or a combination, I found BDO’s surface only implementation quite compelling and natural. Do you have a preference? What game have you played that got it just right?

Interesting Facts brought to by Star Hangar


For more interesting facts, check out the Star Hangar Facebook page. I’ll include a link in the Show Notes

More Kerfuffle – Referral Program Contest Hits a Sour Note

If you’ve subscribed on Alysianahsworld.com, you know that in my May newsletter, I expressed my thoughts on the whole Referral Program contest kerfuffle. The short version is that something that was initially billed as an exciting restructuring of the program does not a one time contest make. I was expecting a permanent enhancement to the program aka restructuring, that all backers could work toward over the lifetime of their referral activity. Who thought a timed contest with a short duration was going to excite most of us, was sadly mistaken. The game development is in alpha, yes. But it’s time for marketing and communications raise their game out of alpha mode.

Ben Lesnick of CIG, posted a reply in a thread on Spectrum that addresses some of the concerns expressed by a part of the community. Why they showed referral codes of some, concerns about it being timed event that most can’t reach and why the new backer push with such a harsh new player experience, among other things. Net-net is that they appreciate the feedback and are going to work on improvements in the area of new player experience and it appears they’re going to extend the time to allow us “regular folks” a chance at the lower tier items.

While it’s good to see a direct response and some action. It’s sad that this sort of misstep happened in the first place. It’s as if they don’t know this community at all or worse, they don’t perceive the disconnect between what they say sometimes versus what they actually do. I’m sorry but we shouldn’t be having these kinds of disconnects at this stage of the game.

DO NOT USE MARKETING SPIN when communicating with the backer community. Save that for potential customers when the game goes live. Save that for interviews. PLEASE SPEAK PLAIN LANGUAGE TO US. This will greatly reduce the unnecessary drama that inspirational letters from Chris won’t always be able to solve. Stop using that and conciliatory messages afterward as a crutch. Please please, get it together and consider vetting this stuff outside the circle of people working on it. Perhaps they’re too close to it and can’t see the pitfalls that other CIG staff who interact with the community might have before the cat was out of the bag.

If you haven’t seen Ben’s response, check the Show Notes for a direct link.

The Exterminator Part One – Original fan fiction by Alysianah Noire

 

Wrap Up

That wraps up another episode of the Nightbus. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have, please considering subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up.

For more of my Star Citizen coverage visit alysianahsworld.com, where you’ll also find Aly’s Starmap Matrix, a mobile-friendly easier to read version of the official ARK Starmap. While you’re there be sure to register on Aly’s World for an exclusive Monthly Newsletter.

You can also support my videos and Alysianahsworld.com efforts through my Patreon and receive exclusive articles, more fan fiction, narrations, monthly extract of Aly’s Starmap Matrix and more. A big thank you to my current subscribers. Your sponsorship is greatly appreciated!

If you haven’t created an account yet on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com, you can earn 5K in-game currency when the game goes live by using my referral code when you do and I’ll also earn some in-game goodies. You’ll find my referral code in the show notes.

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

The Nightbus has arrived. Please watch your step while departing. Re-entering stasis in 3…2…1

HOW TO SUPPORT THE SHOW AND WEBSITE

You can donate using Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Alysianah

Use my referral code and earn 5K UEC when creating an account on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com: Referral Code: STAR-QSVR-JFTR

Direct Links


Star Citizen Races: Banu Protectorate

This week we’re taking a closer look at the Star Citizen alien race I’m most excited to see in the game, the Banu. I like the idea of their unorthodox societal structure and the fact that they’re welcoming to all races. I’ll to put my thoughts about their participation in the slave market aside. In many cases, it’s being referred to as indentured servants. We’ll have to see just how far down the rabbit whole their practice goes. For now, their lore and star systems sound exciting and hospitable to humans.

Show Transcript

CAVEAT – THIS IS THE BEGINNING

Star Citizen’s feature set and lore are evolving. This article is based on what we know now. The information in the Star Systems section is based on the current ARK Starmap. That said, we know that economy, population and locations of conflict will change as the universe evolves and players begin impacting it. Therefore, this discussion is the likely starting point for the Banu species.

BANU AS A SPECIES

Our first encounter with the Banu occurred in the Davien system. In 2438 an independent nav-jumper named Vernon Tar opened fire on what he thought was another privateer trying to steal his meager claim in the system.  The pilot of the other ship turned out to be Banu. Luckily, the incident didn’t lead to any deaths and became humanity’s first introduction to the Banu Protectorate.

Directly from CIG

Known best for their industrious nature, Banu pride themselves on their artisan craftsmanship and astute business acumen. Rather than the traditional family units or corporations typically found among Humans, the Banu instead have a societal structure that combines both into one single unit – the Souli. Often translated as ‘guild,’ the Souli is the foundation for life in the Protectorate, where Banu work and live together.

This is an interesting characteristic the lore team has decided to attribute to the Banu. Unlike humans, there’s no concept of family within their culture. Their identity and affiliation are defined by the Souli assigned to them which is most equivalent to an occupation for humans. I wonder if they form loyalties of any kind outside of that structure? Do they only mate within that Souli?

More on the Souli from CIG

Each Souli specializes in a specific industry and can vary widely; from a ship manufacturing Souli, to a trade Souli, even a Souli that raises Banu young. There is a Souli for everything. This regimented division of labor translates directly into the skilled expertise present on Banu worlds.

Bacchus is believed to be the Banu’s home world.  We say “believe” because they haven’t been forthcoming on the subject. As with most Banu systems, their trade lanes are always packed with travelers from across the universe. Permanent flotillas are built anywhere they find a confluence of potential customers. The Banu are the traders and lore hounds of the Star Citizen Universe. As such, it makes sense that they would be the manufacturers of the prize among deep space merchants, the Banu Merchantman.  A vessel that is more of a lifestyle than a ship and acts has the primary residence among the stars.

The Banu worship multiple deities. The most popular being Cassa, the Patron of Luck and Taernin, the Great Traveler. Banu societal beliefs and principles are dictated by The Council, their religious leaders located in the Trise system.

Members of The Council intentionally remain isolated from the rest of Banu society.  Pride in craftsmanship is even demonstrated by Banu equivalent to monks who produce elaborate copper-based artwork which has a certain kitsch value.

The Banu Political System is a republic of planet states, each run under its own set of governing laws. The representatives of each planet gather for a quorum to debate legal and trade issues that affect the entire species. Otherwise, each planet is left to their own devices.  The lack of a central government, formal or required communication between the planets and loose historical recordkeeping, means that Banu planets are rife with crime. Criminals can migrate from one Banu planet to the next when things get too hot. And since the UEE is forbidden from crossing borders to pursue wanted felons, Banu worlds are also a haven for human criminals and syndicates.

The Banu do not maintain a standing army.  Local militia keeps the peace within their systems and they’re not especially selective. Even criminals can and do serve.  However, don’t be fooled into thinking this makes the Banu worlds an easy target.  On the contrary, they have the means to muster a formidable fighting force if necessary.  

It should be noted that the Banu belief system supports and participates in indentured servitude. The Kins system is their primary slave trade market. Visitors should take extreme care to avoid dubious areas and refrain from visiting the slave markets.

BANU STAR SYSTEMS

Banu aligned star systems account for 7% of the known Star Citizen Universe. Which means that they govern 6 of the 90 systems currently represented in the ARK Starmap. That’s small compared to the UEE’s 42%. With so few planets, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the populations within their systems is very high.  Unlike other species who have some systems with very low populations, the Banu appear to utilize what they have to it’s fullest and are able to attract other races to them because of their reputation of having diverse and abundant marketplaces.

LIVE IN THE MOMENT. RELAX BANU STYLE

DIRECTLY FROM CIG

Banu they take their relaxation almost as seriously as they take their work. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to diversions and there’s sure to be something to match almost any taste.

Traveling throughout the Banu Protectorate offers a variety of exotic sights and sounds. From the flotillas of Yulin to the hallowed halls of Trise, you can find adventure and mystery around every corner. So where do you even start? We’ve assembled a handy guide of some of the systems, to make planning your journey even easier.

  • Bacchus II – Skip between the thousands of archipelagos and islands across this vast ocean world to experience what many consider the quintessential Banu world.
  • Geddon I – Fancy a little danger? Visit the arcologies among the beautiful desolation of this geologically active volcanic world to see how mining soulis are harvesting planetary resources for trade goods.
  • Gliese IV – Ever wonder what an uninhabited planet looks like? Traverse the unkempt wilds of Gliese IV, perfectly habitable to Humans and Banu, but completely unoccupied.
  • Kins II – For you history buffs, no trip to the Banu Protectorate would be complete without seeing the ancient structure on Kins II. Completely defying any existing Banu engineering styles, these sites have long baffled xenoarchaeologists about who (or what) built them.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER? Things to Do When Among the Banu

Things to Do When Among the Banu

  • Try your hand at one of the bustling gambling halls where goods are exuberantly exchanged in games of chance.
  • Take in a game of Sataball. The Banu have taken a strong liking to the sport. You can find many Sataball arenas within Banu space.
  • Shop! Banu markets are considered second to none, offering what many consider the best shopping anywhere in the universe. Browse Souli elite craftsmanship and exotic goods from every corner of known universe.  These marketplaces are always built around a central area making it a hassle free experience for visitors.
  • Purchase the Banu’s version of the human magic 8 ball. Tholo, a small three-sided token representative of Cassa, the Banu patron of luck are sold as decision-making devices. Ask a question, then roll the tholo to get a ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘run for your life’ as an answer.
  • Partake in large communal meals. While Banu typically eat with their hands, some places that cater to Humans will have silverware available.
  • Negotiating is a must. It is considered very strange to accept an initial offer.
  • Even though an item or a ship can look the same on the outside, it’s worth taking a closer look at Banu manufacturing can vary widely from Souli to Souli.
  • It is traditional for Banu to offer hospitality while negotiating and you will often see traders gathered around a slomaddon, a large ornate brewing vessel, each of them having contributed an ingredient to the drink, sloma. If you are offered a cup, be polite and take a sip, but make sure to drink responsibility – sloma can sometimes be quite potent.
  • Most Banu will consider a deal final once the transaction is complete. Make sure you inspect everything closely and double check the terms of your agreement before leaving.
  • A good tip for finding a reputable dealer is watching where other Banu shop. If a Souli doesn’t have very many customers there might be a reason for it. If you see something you like, go ahead and buy it! Banu traders are often transient and may not be there next time you return.

So far we’ve only seen two Banu ships. The Banu Merchantman and the recently unveiled Banu Defender. I’ve pledged for the BMM and am waiting with baited breath for more updates on the ship’s design. If you’d like to know more about the BMM check out Causal Citizen Episode 9. I’ll include a link in the show notes.

Of what’s been revealed so far about the alien races planned for Star Citizen, the Banu interest me the most. Their societal structure is very foreign from a human’s perspective. I like that they live in the moment and are cordial to other races. I see a piece of fiction with a Banu protagonist in my future. I’m sure their systems will be among the first that I visit in the live game.

WRAP UP

That wraps up another episode of Causal Citizen. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have, please considering subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up. For more game commentary, lore, reviews and other Star Citizen coverage. If you want to know more about the physical universe being built visit Aly’s Starmap Matrix, a mobile-friendly and easier to read version of the official ARK Starmap data. Be sure to register on Aly’s World for an exclusive Monthly Newsletter.

You can also support my videos, Alysianahsworld.com and my Star Citizen fiction efforts through my Patreon. A big thank you to my current subscribers. Your sponsorship is greatly appreciated!

If you haven’t created an account yet on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com, you can earn 5K in-game currency when the game goes live by using my referral code when you do and I’ll also earn some in-game goodies. You’ll find my referral code in the show notes.
This is Alysianah signing off until next time. Be kind and fly safe!

DIRECT LINKS

 


Dramatized Lore: Discovery of the Tevarin

Excerpt…

Today, our Discovered series presents the personal correspondence of Dr. Kellar Lench, on loan to us from the Gemma Museum of Interspecies Tolerance. Lench was a young scientist when he first discovered the Elysium System and the existence of the Tevarin in 2541.

Related Content

 

TEXT GOES HERE


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.

 

END TRANSMISSION

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.


Star Citizen Universe Historical Timeline

Related Content:

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.

This week’s episode returns to Star Citizen lore. I know people enjoy shows about ships, which is understandable.  But I don’t always have enough time to compile the content necessary to do a those the way I prefer.  I’m working on doing the Hull Series for next week.  For this week, I hope you enjoy this narrated look at our fictional universe timeline.

Please sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION
2075: Roberts Space Industries introduces Quantum Core Engine Technology. Capable of traveling at 1/100th the speed of light, this new engine allows humanity to travel to the corners of our solar system with relative ease.

2113: Terraforming technology patented.

2120: First attempt to terraform Mars begins.

2125: The Mars Tragedy. An Early attempt at terraforming the planet suffers catastrophic failure. Over 5000 souls killed when the atmo collapses.

2140: First commercially available starship.

2157: Mars successfully terraformed. Memorial built to honor those killed in the Mars Tragedy.

2214: New version of the RSI engine released, allowing travel up to 1/10th the speed of light. More ships exploring our solar system.

2232: Artemis Launched. First attempt to have a manned spacecraft fly (slow-burn) to the nearest star system. Captain, crew and thousands of volunteer colonists are placed in stasis for the flight. Ultimately the ship disappears.

2262: A series of ships inexplicably disappear in the same area of space. Drawing comparisons to the Bermuda Triangle, the government declares the Neso Triangle a no-fly zone. There is much more myth and conjecture about why this happens than there are hard facts.

2271: After almost ten years of study, Nick Croshaw goes to investigate the Bermuda Triangle-esque Space Anomaly and discovers the first jump point, becoming the first human to travel to another system and the godfather of the modern Navjumpers.

2380: Croshaw System has been terraformed. The search for new jump points signifies the beginning of Humanity’s expansion to the stars. The Earth’s social and political differences are set aside. We are united in our desire to strike out into the stars. The United Nations of Earth (UNE) is born.

2438: First Contact. It is considerably less cinematic or romantic than many had dreamed of. An explorer encounters a Banu in Davien. He is just as surprised as we are. The Banu are also just beginning to expand into the universe. General Neal Socolovich and delegates negotiate the first intergalactic peace and trade treaty.

2460: Through expansion and terraforming, there are vast amounts of land and territory for humanity to move to. Earth is overcrowded, so more and more people are leaving to stake their claim out in the universe.

2516: Terra settlement established. Found at a confluence of jump points, it’s a perfect nexus.

2523: 70% of humans live off-world. They feel that they deserve equal representation in UNE proceedings. The government changes form once again, becoming the United Planets of Earth (UPE). The new government will be run by a tribunal; a High-Secretary (responsible for maintaining the infrastructure), High-General (responsible for expansion and protection), and a High-Advocate (responsible for maintaining the law).

2530: Discovery of the Xi’an Empire. We stumble into their territory without knowing and are about to start terraforming. High-General Volder receives criticism for being too aggressive, while there is muscle flexing and threats from both sides. A cold war of sorts begins, with occasional casualties, but not full-on open conflict.

2541: The UPE first establish contact with the Tevarin. While not as technologically advanced as us, they were just beginning to strike out into the universe. A proud, martial society, the Tevarin wanted what we had and struck first. The First Tevarin War begins. Colonel Ivar Messer, a brilliant and ruthless strategist, distinguishes himself in the Battle of Idris IV. He quickly becomes the pride of the military and the face of the War.

2546: Messer, now promoted to commander, brings the captured Tevarin leader to the UPE floor. He rides the popularity of his victory to become High-General. Claiming the Tribunal is an outdated system and cultivating a fear of the Xi’an, Messer proposes the creation of a new single office with the title of Prime Citizen. Upon election as the first (and last) Prime Citizen, it isn’t long before he restructures the government into the new United Empire of Earth (UEE) and anoints himself Imperator, ushering on in an age of unprecedented expansion and colonization.

2603-2610: The Second Tevarin War. Repopulated after hiding on the Fringe, the Tevarin have spent the last fifty years building their forces for the sole purpose of retaking their homeworld Kaleeth (renamed/resettled by the UEE as Elysium IV. While theirs is a cause that some humans could support, the UEE isn’t about to give up territory. Realizing that they can’t win, the Tevarin decide to make a final desperate push to scuttle their ships on Elysium IV. If they can’t live there, they will die there.

2638: Senator Assan Kieren of Terra publicly decries the pro-military agenda of the UEE and its unconditional support of the military-industrial complex. He calls for another vote of sovereignty for Terra and its adjacent systems. Imperator Messer XI wields the UEE’s brutally efficient propaganda machine to discredit and destroy Kieren, who disappears soon after. There are rumors that he is murdered, but nothing can be proven.

2681: The Vanduul, a nomadic leeward race in the west, starts raiding our new settlements in the Tevarin systems and disappearing. They seemingly have no homeworld; each Vanduul clan is a roaming fleet, making them exceedingly hard to catch.

2715-2788: The military regime reaches a plateau. While the human populace has been somewhat beaten into submission, there’s a current of subversion in the culture. People are starting to see the cracks in the system. Activist groups launch attacks against the political/propaganda machine. The military is stretched thin, bracing for war with Xi’an, chasing down Vanduul raiders, and trying to maintain security on the human systems. The Imperator’s power is waning.

2789: In a daring act of defiance, peace is independently brokered with the young Xi’an Emperor Kray by Senator Terrence Akari of Terra, who refuses to fight open war on his doorstep. Terra blasts Earth for being imperialistic and short-sighted. Xi’an looks at the situation as a potential way to create a divide in the Human Empire.

2792: The Massacre of Garron II. A terraforming Corp begins to terraform an inhabited planet. The inhabitants weren’t star-travelers, just a developing race, which gets wiped out from the atmo-processors. The corp vehemently denies that the aliens were capable of conscious thought. Activist vid footage of the aliens’ rational behavior is leaked to the Spectrum. It is also revealed that the terraforming Corp is closely tied to the Benevolent Imperator’s family. That’s the final straw; the people rise up and overthrow the government. Erin Toi of Earth becomes the new Imperator and promises an age of enlightenment and social consciousness.

2795: The Fair Chance Act is ratified, decreeing that is a capital crime to attempt to terraform planets with developing creatures. These planets are to be left alone to give the species a chance to advance/evolve.

2800: UEE builds the Ark, a repository of information and culture located in space for all the races in the universe. It is seen by some as an attempt at reparation.

2872: In response to criticism that humanity is only interested in greed and blood, the UEE embarks on its greatest achievement: a SynthWorld, converting a lifeless rock into a life-sustaining planet. Construction begins in Chronos system. It is viewed as the current era’s legacy. A massive undertaking, it will take decades, maybe centuries to complete.

2920: The SynthWorld project is moving slowly and it’s draining the Empire economically. This is the point where our reach starts exceeding our grasp. The disparity between the rich and the poor is reaching an all-time divide, and the poor are reacting with greater and greater frustration. The Vanduul attacks are growing in frequency and the UEE doesn’t seem to be doing a thing about it.

2942: Today…


Nyx - Home of Anti-UEE Activists and Pirates

Related Content:

Nyx consists of three unremarkable planets circling an F-Type Main Sequence star.  Located directly on the border of a dark nebula, visibility and scanner use are limited due to the gases being discharged. The system’s few inhabitants are rather fond of being able to fly under the radar.  Lacking invaluable natural resources, the system is not known for possessing much of interest.  However, it has gained utility as a waypoint for haulers flying the Castra-Stanton run. Be forewarned – piracy is common is very common in this system. Travelers are advised not to veer off the standard space lanes. And even then, your safety is not guaranteed.

NYX SYSTEM

  • Alignment: Unclaimed
  • Habitable Planets: None
  • Space Stations: None
  • Asteroid Belts: Glaciem Ring and Keeger Belt
  • Gas Giant: None
  • Ice Giant: Nyx III
  • Jump points: Breman (L), Castra (L), Odin (L), Tohil (L), Pyro (M) and Virgil (L)
  • Points of Interest
    • Delamar asteroid settle.  Be sure to bring a weapon and some mace


Dramatized Lore: Ellis to Taranis Jump Tunnel Discovery

Excerpt…

This standard year marks the 150th anniversary of Harper Nguyen’s famous journey. At 128 years old, she holds the record for the oldest explorer to ever chart a jump point. To this day, she is renowned for not only her discovery but also the harrowing circumstance in which it occurred.  To honor her accomplishment, below are select excerpts from the incredibly detailed audio journal Harper kept during her voyage.

Star System Dossier pages on Aly’s World:


Dramatized Lore: Discovery of the Oya System

From the on-going Discovered series on RobertsSpaceIndustries.com we have, the Journals of Lieutenant Eli Price of the United Empire of Earth Navy and the discovery of Oya.

 

  • Oya Aly’s World Star System Dossier page: http://alysianahsworld.com/_system-overview/?q=409
  • Official dispatch on RSI: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch/15093-DISCOVERED
  • Oya on the Starmap: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/starmap?location=OYA&camera=60,-73.15,0.002,0,0″,”Oya”
  • Castra on the Starmap: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/starmap?location=CASTRA&camera=60,0,0.0591,0,0″,”Castra”


Baker - Home of the Able Baker Racing Challenge

Show Transcript

Hello citizens, this is Alysianah from Mystic Worlds with the next installment in the Casual Citizen series.  This week we’ll be discussing the Baker system and racing.  Sit back, relax and enjoy.

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

Directly from the official Star Citizen Galactic Guide for Baker…

Baker is a binary system consisting of two K-type main sequence stars surrounded by a relatively desolate collection of planets that range from completely uninhabitable to barely habitable. A Covalex shipping hub and a largely automated mining outpost are the sole bastions of civilization in the region. As usual, that’s only half of the story — the Baker system is also home to the “Able Baker Challenge,” arguably underground racing’s most dangerous event.

Baker’s claim to fame is twofold: it is one of the only binary star systems in the United Empire of Earth that is (technically) inhabited, and it lies just a single jump from the breadbasket of Terra. The first point has earned the system the attention of a large number of astrophysicists eager to study such a star setup within the confines of safe and patrolled space. The second is the reason for both the system’s high point of civilization — the shipping hub — and for its use as an underground racing arena.

Baker and the surrounding cluster were first charted in 2508, by the same expedition that first identified Terra. While Terra was reached and explored soon after the region was charted, Baker remained forgotten due to the fact that binary stars traditionally offer little of value to Humans. Even when a planet within a binary star’s green zone can be terraformed, the gravitic stress associated with passing close to (or between) two stars renders attempts at civilization a moot point.

The first successful jump transit to Baker occurred in 2676, well after Terra had become established as a major player in galactic politics. The jump point to Baker was discovered by accident in the outer reaches of the Terra System, and Baker was subsequently explored by a purely scientific expedition. Formal territorial commerce rights were awarded to the Terran government, which has quietly partitioned them out to Terra-based concerns.

That ends the historical details and relevance of the Baker system. Let’s explore it further from the point of view of the ARK Starmap.

System Composition

Baker is controlled by the UEE – United Empire of Earth.  It contains jump points to Hadur, Kiel, Osiris, Pallas and Tayac.  You may recall that Tayac is the home of the ARK space station, curators of the ARK Starmap.  The system consists of 4 planets. Of those one is Iron, one smog and one is Ice. Planetoid types are important for player careers that require processing resources.  For example, players who will be captaining the Starfarer as a refueling platform, will need access to Gas giants as one of the elements required for processing fuel. The only manmade celestial body is the Covalex Shipping hub which seems to be in better shape than its cousin in Station, near Crusader.

The Able Baker Racing Challenge and you

From the Galactic Guide…

While Baker’s three inner planets may be useless in any formal sense, they have taken on new life as one of the galaxy’s most dangerous unofficial racetracks. The Able Baker Challenge, held once every six months on a date announced to the competitors only 24 hours before start time, pits pilots against each other and Baker’s innermost planets.

The challenge consists of three legs, connected by quantum travel phases which can only be initiated at specific locations. First, pilots must navigate the space that surrounds Baker III, which is filled with dangerous ice crystals that can impair instrumentation and severely hamper visibility. The second stage is called ‘breathing the vapors.’ This segment involves ring targets that are placed very close to Baker II’s toxic atmosphere. Pilots must navigate the course carefully to avoid hull damage. Finally, pilots must make their way to Baker I, where the final leg is a weapons-free race. Unlike more “civilized” events, racers are not immediately disqualified for the destruction of an opponent’s ship (although pilot kills are still forbidden).

This makes for one of the most dangerous competitions in the galaxy.

That said, although Baker isn’t the most habitable environment, it has its place within the Star Citizen economy.  Racing or sports of any kind attracts tourism, which means civilian transport. Influxes of tourists opens up avenues for selling speciality items, food supplies and cargo hauling. There might be unsavory activities taking place such as illegal betting and crime typically follows in its wake.  Races may need escorts to transport their expensive toys to and from the system. So let’s not right Baker off based on its seemingly narrow resources or population. I see lots of opportunities to turn some creds for savvy players.

Speaking of racing, the early manifestation of racing in Star Citizen are in the Arena Commander module.  The Spectrum Match variant lets you compete against other players.  In Drone Sim mode you’re doing the course solo.

Even if you have no plans to race, everyone should be adept at running all of the AC speedways.  Your minimum goal should be to complete a single lap with no deaths.  You don’t have to be very fast, as long as you can do it at a consistent rate of speed. I say this because I think these are precursors for navigating jump points.  If things play out as described by Chris Roberts, the first time you use a Jump Point you will have to navigate it manually which can be hazardous. He has mentioned that damaging your ship would be the least that can happen if you aren’t a competent pilot.

We’ve also been told that harvesting the rarest materials will often be in densely packed asteroid fields and your ship isn’t going to bounce off of things unscathed. If you plan on manning a ship that does mining, salvage or other activities that require getting your ship and crew close to the source, auto-landing all the time might not be your best friend.  We need to master maneuvering in tight places with a variety of ship types and sizes.  This is what I use the Arena Commander racing maps for and why I feel alternating between the daylight and twilight lit maps is important.

In summary, don’t right off Baker as being of worth based on face value. It’s racing fosters a tourism which will provide business opportunities for several of the player professions.  And even if you don’t enjoy racing or plan to compete, you should be running the AC racing maps, to master navigating maneuvering your ship if challenging environments and under different lighting conditions.

Show Notes

The show notes will include links to the ARK Starmap in case you haven’t check that out yet and shame on you if you haven’t. Zhatt has created an excellent tube map showing all of the known systems and their jump point connections.  It’s a subway map of sorts.  For an bird’s eye view of the galaxy from a gross level of what each system contains, I created a Google Doc Matrix that aims to help with large scale logistics planning.

This is Alysianah signing off until next time.  See you in the ‘verse

END TRANSMISSION

Show Notes


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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