Can ORGS Hold Treeitory in Star Citizen?

Can ORGS Hold Treeitory in Star Citizen?

Recently I came across a Star Citizen fan asked: Will organizations be able to hold territory in Star Citizen? Or more specifically, similar to the experience in EVE Online, will large orgs be able to dominate areas of the ‘verse, effectively shrinking the playable area for small, independent operators?

This question captured my imagination. I think it’s because it immediately evokes visions of massive space battles with capital ships blasting away at each other broadsides, while small fighters circle in graceful, zero-g jousting matches and torpedo corvettes drop in their deadly payload to a dazzling array of explosions.

However, while witnessing something like this will be cool for reasons obvious to anyone attracted to the space sim genre (pew! pew!) -I have no interest in being part of or building an organization big enough and with all the infrastructure necessary to operate on such a scale. To the contrary, I am much more interested in living a life like Han Solo out there. Coming and going as I please, taking missions when I want. (When I’m not gathering the news!)

So what’s the answer to the question? To be honest, it’s still difficult to say. Some are quick to point out that Star Citizen is not Eve, that there is no area on the map which can be compared to ‘Nullsec’ because there will be NPC factions and alien races outside of UEE controlled space. Plus there’s the important, open question of how instancing will eventually be handled in the open universe. We definitely know there will be instancing. However, how many players can be in one instance at a time is still not clear, but estimates are growing.

Can ORGS Hold Treeitory in Star Citizen?

Based on the information CIG has released so far, we also know the game will have a 90% NPC population. Such a balance does seem to indicate that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to take and hold any territory for any amount of time. However, we’ve also heard from Chris Roberts it will be possible to possess objects such as space stations. In episode 39 of Ten for the Chairman he said:

Definitely organizations will be able to have some sort of real estate, have a headquarters, we already talked about having some sort of persistent areas in space, like an asteroid base/derelict station that a group of players can take over and make their headquarters and defend it from other players. And of course, down on planets, there’d be some more safe areas you could buy a “guild hall” that you could have for your organization. Down the track, we want to have real estate for players and organizations to buy and own, like factories etc which would extend to and be good for organizations.

Let’s assume for a second that all our instancing wishes come true player limits are not a practical concern. It’s important to remember that there are already orgs with over 10,000 members so even if they could rally a tenth of their base to a single cause, it will not be impossible for a single org to occupy and patrol the region around a planet, or perhaps multiple planets in a system outside the control of one of the bigger NPC factions. On the flip side, if we see the kind of instancing player limits we have all grown to expect, then a large org can simply log in together and hold some patch of space for a while.

However, then the problems begin. If you can’t create the infrastructure necessary to support a fleet over the long term, holding some patch of otherwise barren space is unlikely to be a compelling, long-term goal. It’s certainly interesting through the lens of winning a fleet battle, but I don’t think it will be easy to keep a thousand org members excited about a long term occupation mission. Possible, not practical.

More than four years into development Star Citizen changes game engine

Star Citizen, the spiritual successor to the Wing Commander franchise and the single largest crowdfunding effort of any kind, has announced it will be using a new game engine going forward.

In a press release issued, the team at Roberts Space Industries announced they would be moving on from Crytek’s CryEngine in favor of Amazon’s Lumberyard.

“We’ve been working with Amazon for more than a year, as we have been looking for a technology leader to partner with for the long term future of Star Citizen and Squadron 42,” said the game’s creative lead and studio head Chris Roberts. “Lumberyard provides groundbreaking technology features for online games. Because we share a common technical vision, it has been a very smooth and easy transition to Lumberyard.”

More than four years into development Star Citizen changes game engine

The news comes on the heels of an announcement by Crytek that it would be shuttering five of its international studios in favor of reorganizing around its core technologies. CryEngine is central to that effort, and represents a significant portion of the studio’s income.

Reached for comment at the time, Roberts said that closure would have no effect on the work on Star Citizen.

Star Citizen’s latest update, referred to as the “2.6 Alpha” in today’s press release, will run on Lumberyard. Polygon has reached out to the team at Amazon for more information on the game engine, which is currently still in beta. It is based on CryEngine, and has been used internally by Amazon studios for some time.

In a Gamasutra article, published earlier this year, Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon Games, said that the company had licensed the German studio’s engine and got “full, unencumbered access to the technology” as the basis for future development.

Star Citizen is a sprawling project, featuring multiple modules all being worked on simultaneously by a full-time staff of more than 350 developers spread across three continents. At its core is a spacefaring single-player adventure called Squadron 42, which features performance capture by Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson and other top-tier Hollywood talent.

In February, Roberts Space Industries began selling the Squadron 42 single-player module separately from the others.

The first episode of that single-player module was expected this year, but Roberts made the announcement in October that he and his team had decided to postpone it into 2017 at the earliest.

“We want to do it right,” Roberts said at the time to a theater packed with dedicated fans. “It’s really important to do it right. … As much as we wanted to have Squadron 42 for this year, it is not going to be this year because, for all the polish we need to do, it still needs more time.”

The project also includes the parallel development of a massively multiplayer persistent universe, an arena combat spaceflight simulator and a tactical first-person shooter called Star Marine. Some of those modules are playable in a partially completed, semi-functional state. The project is funded by the sale of access to these modules, as well as premium ships which may or may not be accessible in-game for some time to come.

Star Citizen dev says Crytek closures will have no impact on his game

Star Citizen dev says Crytek closures will have no impact on his game

Roberts Space Industries, the team behind the sprawling Star Citizen game project, tells Polygon they will not be affected by the studio closures at developer Crytek.

Star Citizen is being built with a heavily modified version of Crytek’s CryEngine product. In a press release issued today, Crytek announced a major restructuring of their operations. Five studios will be cast off in order to “refocus on its core strengths,” which include its CryEngine game engine.

Polygon reached out to Roberts Space Industries about those closures this morning. Director of communications David Swofford replied, stating that development on Star Citizen will continue unimpeded.

“Won’t impact us one bit,” Swofford said via email. He said that he personally checked with studio head and creative lead Chris Roberts.

“We are totally not dependent on them for anything at this point,” Swofford said.

Roberts and his team hosted the fourth annual CitizenCon fan convention in October. The plan had been to show a demo of the first chapter in the game’s long-delayed single player module, called Squadron 42. A special behind the scenes video details their decision to hold that content back.

The module, which features performances by Mark Hamill and Gillian Anderson, has been delayed until 2017 at the earliest.

“We want to do it right,” Roberts said at the time. “It’s really important to do it right. … For all the polish we need to do, it still needs more time.”

A new trailer for the Star Marine module was released today through IGN, showing off more of the game’s infantry combat. You can see that video below.

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

Forget the hype, delays, and controversy surrounding the crowdfunded behemoth. What’s it like to play?

Star Citizen! It’s been the subject of so much speculation, analysis, and controversy since becoming the biggest crowdfunding success of all time, and many unanswered questions continue to surround the highly-anticipated space sim. Is it too ambitious? Will it ever be finished? Is a crowdfunded project of this size a problem? Is the game’s development in trouble?

With this diary, though, I’m going to try answer a more important question: what color cap defines me as a Star Citizen?

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

Wait, that’s not the question. The question is: “Yeah, but, like… is Star Citizen any fun to play right now?” To date, despite the reams of stories and features written about Star Citizen, not a single person has actually played it. [Editor’s note: this is not true.] It’s high time someone did, and unfortunately for you, that person—that Citizen of Star—is me.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I stuck with the standard issue yellow cap.)

I’m going in cold. No video tutorials, no prep work, no real idea what you can and can’t do in the current playable version (2.5) of Star Citizen. I just want to jump in and see how things go. I’m a Star Citizen, not a Star Expert, and I hate video tutorials because they always start with “Hey, guys, it’s your boy…”

I begin by browsing the hat selection at Area 18, a sort of player hub and shopping mall. Area 18 is a sprawling metropolitan space that, frankly, doesn’t currently contain a lot. You can buy guns, clothes, and spacesuits, and watch as other players in yellow caps who look exactly like you run around looking at other players who look exactly like them. There are some nice views, and the promise of more to come, but a quick visit felt like plenty and I can’t say it was much fun. It’s got space but not outer space, and outer space is what I want.

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

Onto the real thing, then. I spawn in a small “hab” on a space station orbiting a planet named Crusader. I get out of bed, then immediately get back into bed, sort of by accident: a “Use” prompt appears on my screen, so earnestly attempting to be a compliant citizen, I use it. This makes me climb back into bed, where I become stuck. I can’t get up. I can’t move. I can’t do anything. It’s a decent recreation of Sleep Paralysis Citizen, but not quite the awe-inspiring beginning to a trillion dollar space opera I was hoping for.

I’ve just begun playing and already I’m forced to look for help in the place all newbies dread: global chat.

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

“How do I get out of bed?” I ask. I wait for the joke reply, which comes immediately. “Set an alarm clock,” someone says. Someone else suggests “Press right-Alt + Backspace.”

“That feels like a trick,” I type, thinking it’s perhaps the Star Citizen equivalent of Alt-F4. Turns out, it’s how you suicide, since becoming stuck in bed is a known glitch, and when it happens there’s no way to get out of bed without ending your life. Either way, nothing happens when I try it. I return to the main menu, then respawn. And immediately get back into bed.

I don’t really want to be in bed, okay? I want to be in space doing space things. But in the interest of being a responsible citizen reporter, I just want to see if the glitch reoccurs. It doesn’t, though I recommend staying in first-person mode while you’re in your hab. I don’t recommend trying to watch yourself get out of bed while in freelook, or you might wind up dizzy and staring up at your own groin.

Leaving the drama of my bed behind, I start preparing to actually go into space. Getting my ship, and finding my ship, and climbing into my ship proves to be a bit of a chore, but eventually I figure out I need visit a terminal to have one of my ships of brought to a landing pad, then go through an airlock and find the correct pad.

Again, in the interest of being a good citizen reporter, I attempt to go through the airlock without a spacesuit just to see what happens. What happens is, you die. This has been a public service announcement that no one needed. You’re welcome.

Once outside, I then need to reach the ship, which is occasionally challenging for a Star Citizen who hasn’t quite got his space legs yet.

Even entering the ship is a little adventure. It can be hard to tell where the entrance hatch is: sometimes you clamber right into the cockpit, but on larger ships you have to hunt around underneath for the entrance, climb inside, open a door, shuffle down a corridor, open another door, and finally get into the pilot’s seat and swivel around to face the controls. I like this: it makes the ships all feel different.

I also enjoy all the legwork involved in getting ready to take off. Having to actually undergo the process of getting your ship out of long-term parking gives you the sense that, yeah, you are a citizen. Spawning in the cockpit and being able to blast off instantly would detract from that. I’m definitely digging the space station.

As I prepare to launch, it becomes clear rather quickly that this isn’t an arcade game where WASD does everything you need. That’s great, but it’s also just a bit intimidating for a newcomer. After several visits to the keybinding scheme in the menu, which is so filled with commands it has its own little magnifying tool just so you can read them, I find a jpg of the controls and put it on my second monitor.

Even with instructions, operating the ship is enjoyably complex. Many keys have multiple uses and different ways to activate them, such as:

  • tap
  • hold
  • tap and hold
  • double tap
  • double tap and hold
  • alt + tap
  • alt + hold
  • alt + tap + hold
  • double hold + tap alt
  • dap
  • double dap
  • have a friend hold while you tap
  • tap so much you’re hammering, because nothing is working
  • realize you’re looking at a control scheme from the previous update and the keybindings have all changed and that’s why nothing is working

Star Citizen diary, part 1: So, is it actually fun?

I do manage to eventually launch my ship and fly around the space station a bit, enjoying the view and getting used to the controls. Figuring I should begin the same way I began playing Elite: Dangerous, I decide to simply practice taking off and landing, again and again, until I’ve got it down pat (or down tap, I suppose). A couple little things go wrong, and they all involve violent explosions and instant death.

On my first try, my ship simply blows up. In fact, I hadn’t even begun to try. I didn’t crash, I didn’t press a button. I was simply hovering motionless over the station. I know in Elite: Dangerous you could get nuked for dicking around inside the space station with your ship for too long, but there was no warning or anything. Just: kaboom.

The reason my next ship explodes is more obvious: it’s because I pressed the key I thought engaged the auto-lander, but rather than landing, the throttle jumped and I slammed right into the landing platform and blew up.

As the saying goes, any landing you can float away from utterly deceased, forever tumbling into the infinite void of space, is a good one. Since my citizenship has so far consisted of an hour spent trying to get out of bed, repeatedly exploding on the launch pad, and shopping for hats without actually buying a hat, I decide to skip landings for the moment and try to complete an actual mission. I get into yet another ship, figure out how to engage the quantum drive, and fly to a random icon on my HUD where I’m immediately attacked by the thing that space is always full of: pirates.

Note to space games: I don’t like that AI characters can just start talking to you while you’re flying around, especially space pirates. As soon as one shows up, they start speaking directly into your cockpit. How do they have my phone number? Shouldn’t I at least have the chance to screen the call before answering? I don’t need to listen to AI space pirates because I already know what they’re gonna say. “Eaaaasy pickings,” or something wry like that. “Well, well, look who wandered into the wrong asteroid field.” That kinda crap. I don’t need to hear that, and I don’t think they shouldn’t be able to just start speaking directly into my space phone.

Still, I get to fight pirates! Real spaceship stuff! I do pretty well despite not really knowing what I’m doing. I’m also pleased to see one pirate, fleeing my wimpy lasers, fly his ship at top speed directly toward an asteroid, donk into it, and go spinning off. Ha ha, loser! That’s like something I would do!

In fact, it’s exactly like something I would do, because I do it a moment later. I donk right off the same asteroid. I also donk into that pirate, and later, donk into another pirate. I do manage to blow up the pirates, though, both fun and satisfying, and I even almost complete my assignment, which is to locate a mysterious signal and find out what it is. I get very close to the origin of the signal, but during the pirate fight one of the wings of my ship was destroyed and since I predictably wind up donking into the source of the signal, my ship winds up exploding again.

I’m beginning to feel like I need a lot more practice flying before I take on any more pirate-based missions, so I decide to switch gears and see how Star Citizen fares as an FPS. I want to visit Security Post Kareah, which I saw referred to as “The FPS Station,” which sounds like a good spot to shoot some guns. I aim my fourth ship at Kareah, spool up my quantum drive, and… I miss it. Somehow, I fly right by Kareah. I’m just headed deeper and deeper into space and I can’t seem to shut off the quantum drive to turn around. Then, there’s a boom and everything goes black.

Then everything goes not-black. I’m back in my tiny hab, slumping to the floor. The game apparently decided to teleport me back to my room so just I could watch myself die twitching on the floor. Thanks, game! Very considerate of you.

Lying inert and helpless in my tiny space cubicle is how I began playing Star Citizen, so I think that’s how I’ll stop. For today, anyway. Tune in next week, because I’m determined to become a better pilot, shoot some guns, and complete at least one mission. And I’m thinking about maybe buying a blue hat, too.

Despite my lack of expertise, and several glitches, I am having fun with Star Citizen so far. And it’s quite a nice-looking game. Every time my ship exploded and I suffocated in space, it was very, very pretty. Just watch out for the pirates, the asteroids, and the beds.

New In Star Citizen: Esperia Prowler And More

New In Star Citizen: Esperia Prowler And More

While the guys over at Cloud Imperium Games put a ton of effort into keeping the community updated on development progress several times each week, the game only hits mainstream news when something major is announced. Even though the team puts out a whole suite of different posts, ranging from videos showing how they fix bugs through star-system lore written up by their creative team all the way to in-house interviews, something major like, say, a new spaceship being announced, is needed to make a bigger splash.

The latest ship to be unveiled is one that looks quite different from anything seen in Star Citizen before, from a stylistic standpoint. While so far everything we’ve seen more or less follows a sleeker and obviously far-future aesthetic, this newest ship takes a different approach. The recently announced Esperia Prowler rather looks like something that dropped out of a near-future military sci-fi action flick, or even a game like Deus Ex.

The backstory of the Prowler is that it’s a recreation of a historic ship used by the Tevarin, one of the many alien races in the Star Citizen universe. The Prowler’s main role is that of a troop transport, as it has stealth abilities, unique magnetic thrusters for low-altitude atmospheric flight and individual hatches for the soldiers being carried for quick deployment and extraction.

Star Citizen’s already broad lineup of ships is constantly being added to, and this is hardly the first dropship in the selection. That said, the Prowler manages to stand out by virtue of its unique design, both in terms of visuals and gameplay. While most ships can be used in a number of creative ways, those geared towards being dropships didn’t really have a stealth angle until now. The two main advantages the Prowler has is stealth systems and the individual troop hatches. The latter effectively removes the main drawback of traditional dropships, which is the single ramp or hatch being an obvious bottleneck target for any opponents on-site.

Those familiar with Star Citizen will know that one of the most popular dropships is the Redeemer, which is an entirely different beast compared to the Prowler. While the Prowler will likely live up to its name, the Redeemer is a much more aggressive ship with greater focus on offensive capabilities alongside the transportation of other players or NPCs into battle. While the Redeemer is likely to blow stuff up on the approach, the Prowler will deploy troops without the enemy even noticing.

Like all ships in Star Citizen, the Prowler will be available in-game, for in-game currency, upon launch. The ship was briefly available for real cash following reveal, however, it has since been pulled from sale – though it will likely resurface every now-and-then when there is some special event going on. You can also probably grab one on the Star Citizen gray market for a massively inflated price, but the latter option does much to damage the game’s economy – and your wallet.

In other news, Cloud Imperium Games’ writing team has released another system-profile. The game’s second star system to be named after a German city, Bremen is being set up to have quite a bit of historic significance in the game. Those familiar with the lore and backstory of the game will know that prior to the events of Star Citizen, the United Empire of Earth – the human spacefaring civilization – was ruled by the tyrannical Messer dynasty, which was a xenophobic and oppressive establishment. The Bremen system was key to the eventual downfall of the dictatorship, which gave way to the much more peaceful Federation-esque government which allows for humanity in Star Citizen to not seem like a bunch of space-nazis.

Star Citizen will be rolling out its next major update in the following months. Currently, a single star system is playable for early adopters and backers of the massively ambitious game on PC.

Star Citizen Alpha 2.5 Out Now, Here’s What the “Major” Update Adds

Star Citizen Alpha 2.5

Star Citizen continues to grow and evolve.

Developer Cloud Imperium Games announced that it launched a “major” new update to the in-development PC game in the form of Alpha 2.5. This update includes “significant changes” to the game’s Crusader persistent universe environment, while it also adds the Grim HEX pirate base and three ships. There are also balance tweaks and bug fixes included with the update.

The Grim HEX outlaw base sounds pretty cool. It’s where those operating outside the law can meet up and purchase weapons and items, among other things.

“There’s plenty to discover at Grim HEX, including a pair of stores: Skutters is a guns and armor shop with a focus on energy weapons, and KC Trending is a new clothing store with unique merchandise, but that’s only the beginning. Grim HEX will continue to expand with future patches with the addition of a bar, criminal missions and outlaw racing area,” Cloud Imperium said in a blog post.

Additionally, the arrival of the Grim HEX pirate base will have an effect on Star Citizen’s faction and reputation system. This is because, with the update applied, players who decide to break the law will now spawn at Grim HEX instead of with everyone else. Additionally, lawbreakers are losing the ability to use Quantum Travel to reach Port Olisar as part of this update.

“Grim HEX is located deep in the Yela asteroid belt, and you’ll need to explore the region yourself to locate it. Or, just ask an outlaw… they’re a trustworthy sort!” the developer said.

Alpha 2.5 also adds Star Citizen’s first version of its ship landing system that aims to offer a “simple and smooth automated landing system AND gives players the ability to land manually.”

In the future, the landing system will be improved and will feature things like docking and the ability to ask and attain landing authorization through in-game communication.

These are just a sampling of the changes for Star Citizen with the Alpha 2.5 update. Be sure to read this in-depth blog post and the full patch notes to get up to speed with everything the update introduces.

For more on Star Citizen, check out GameSpot’s interview with creator Chris Roberts about the upcoming 3.0 update. This piece is called, “How Star Citizen Plans to Do Much of What No Man’s Sky Doesn’t.”

Star Citizen is the most successful crowdfunded project of any kind in history. The latest numbers show that people have pitched in more than $122 million to help make the game a reality.

Star Citizen Dev Responds to Criticisms, Announces Plans to Share Internal Timelines

Star Citizen Dev Responds to Criticisms, Announces Plans to Share Internal Timelines

Star Citizen has been in development for a long, long time now, as the original Kickstarter campaign began in October 2012. Pieces of the game have been released, but the full thing isn’t out yet. The game has grown in scope over the years, so the initial target release dates have come and gone. In a frank and candid blog post today, director Chris Roberts announced a major change for how the studio will communicate release dates, namely that the studio will share “target” dates that could change.

“Whether or not to share this kind of information has been a long running debate among the team here at Cloud Imperium Games,” Roberts said. “Target dates are not release dates, and everything you see will shift at some point, sometimes slightly and sometimes wildly. The danger in doing this has always been that casual observers will not understand this, that there will be an outcry about delays every time we update the page.

“We’ve taken stock, thought through everything and decided that, while that is a risk, above all we trust the community that has given us so much support,” he added. “The community that has let us focus our passions on this incredible project. You have allowed us to take this journey, you have tracked and followed so much of how game development works… and now we think it is right to further part the curtain and share with you our production process.”

Beginning with Star Citizen Alpha 2.6, Cloud Imperium will share its internal development schedule on a weekly basis. “These are the very same schedules we update daily and are circulated internally on our intra-studio hand-offs with a few exceptions: the individual developer names assigned to the tasks will be omitted (for obvious reasons), we’ll remove the JIRA details and we’ll modify the technical wording to make it readable for a wider audience, but otherwise, when something changes, slips or is completed, you will know,” Roberts went on to say.

Here is a sample of what the production chart will look like:

Star Citizen Dev Responds to Criticisms, Announces Plans to Share Internal Timelines

This schedule will be permanently posted on the Roberts Space Industries website; additionally, the developer will provide updates every week with a new “snapshot” of its internal schedule.

“We take the process of production very seriously and spend a lot of time on improving our ability in this area,” Roberts added. “Our worldwide Production Team is twenty-five strong and they are the backbone that drives our development forward. They work closely with developers to break down and create tasks, chase up task completion daily, update their respective team’s schedules, encourage and strengthen open communication by organizing meetings, agendas, and creating action items to help push the project forward day by day. The Production Team has many collective years with some of the biggest developers, publishers and games. They are like the rest of the CIG team, world class.”

Also in the blog post, Roberts spoke about how the studio has “take a lot of flak” over the years for pushing Star Citizen’s timeline further into the future.

“But the simple fact is that game development, especially game development on the scale of Star Citizen, is complicated. If you talk to any developer that works on large titles they will tell you that schedules, especially early in the development cycle, move all the time,” he said. “Most people never see this because a publisher won’t announce a project publicly until it is very far along; normally at least in Alpha, with all the technology and gameplay R&D completed. Even then, the timelines can be unpredictable as can be seen in the delays on big name titles from publishers.”

“Open development does have its drawbacks,” he added. “Not everyone understands the process or how difficult it can be. We have always tried to be open and share our progress. We refactored Around the Verse to focus more on developers showing and talking about their work to help give insight into the process. Our monthly reports have more information than any monthly report I had to do for Electronic Arts or Microsoft when at Origin or Digital Anvil.”

Star Citizen fans should really read the full blog post here from Roberts.

As alluded to, not everyone has been thrilled with Star Citizen’s delays. One backer recently received a refund after complaining to California’s Attorney General

Star Citizen Video Previews Origin Spaceships

Star Citizen Video Previews Origin Spaceships

Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries have slowly been releasing new promotional videos for Star Citizen as they continue to move toward the next alpha release for the ambitious, crowd-funded space simulator.

DualShockers spotted the latest promo video for the game, which covers the Origin space vessels. There’s a video just under two minutes long that give you a quick look at the sleek transports. Check it out below.

The majority of the video consists of the fake version of Jeremy Clarkson talking up the M50 from the fictional in-game manufacturer, Origin.

The imperfect teeth and wind-creased wrinkles across the face of the aging enthusiast highlights the detail they’re putting into Star Citizen. It’s definitely not realism achieved, but it looks about par the course for most game’s CG sequences. Amid the talk and the banter about the high-tech ship and the things that you can do it, we get a brief look at the 350i stationed in the background on the hardwood floors like a trophy worn on the raised palms of a premiere league champion.

The 85x – amidst a haze of smoke and giant billboards lined along a convention center in the backdrop – looks like a sleek sports car on a showroom floor. The bright lights from the convention center bounce off the glossy, curved plates like the lights reflecting off the shiny botox-forehead of a celebrity accepting an award on stage.

The graphics, as usual, look gorgeous.

There’s no arguing that the game has the visuals nailed down tight. Now they just need to get the persistent universe situated, the procedurally generated planets optimized, and more of those quests finished.

It’s been a slow road toward the finish line, but the developers have been inching their way toward completing various alpha builds.

Up next, they’ve promised that the Star Marine FPS module will be due at some point in the near future. So we’ll how long that takes before it arrives fo

Star Citizen’s production schedule made public

Star Citizen’s production schedule made public

The makers of Star Citizen will make their production schedule public in a show of transparency, four years into a $131 million, crowdfunded project which shows no signs of a completion date, much less one by the end of this year.

In a lengthy note to donors, Cloud Imperium Games founder Chris Roberts said the schedule for Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 will be shared on a weekly basis with the public. This page breaks out production schedules for the Star Marine and Arena Commander modules; the technology/systems, content and UI teams, and the Mega Map stretch goal, with bullet-point notes on where they stand.

Notably, the production schedule for Squadron 42, the single-player campaign, is not among them. That long anticipated module, originally expected in the fall of 2015, was not even shown at CitizenCon in October. There is no timeline on when the campaign, which stars Mark Hamill and Gillian Anderson, will be shown or made available to backers.

Star Citizen’s production schedule made public

“As you know we’ve not been keen to give hard dates on the project after the initial set of dates which we had estimated when the project was a lot smaller in scope,” Roberts wrote. He insisted that any dates he’d given for the completion of a module or the release of a beta were rough guidelines only, “but unfortunately some people often tend to forget the qualifiers and treated my comments nonetheless as a promise.”

At this point in Star Citizen’s development, though, he and a development team of 377 across four internal studios felt it was appropriate to share the schedules with the more than 1.6 million individuals who have given to Star Citizen’s campaign, a record-setter in video games development and crowdfunding as a whole.

“These are the very same schedules we update daily and are circulated internally on our intra-studio hand-offs with a few exceptions,” Roberts said. Individual developer names will be removed for privacy purposes, technical wording will be rewritten to make it understandable to non-developers and the JIRA project tracking details will be omitted. “But otherwise, when something changes, slips or is completed, you will know,” Roberts wrote.

The ambitious, sprawling space epic led by Roberts, the creator of the Wing Commander space combat simulation series, has published an alpha (currently version 2.5.0) but the repeated delays of modules and features along the way to that have made some backers restless. Some have demanded and received refunds.

Roberts said sharing deadlines and completion goal dates seemed to divide Star Citizen’s community between one group upset that the game is continually portrayed as delayed, and another that wonders why a date would be shared if developers aren’t solidly assured it is attainable.

“We have taken a lot of flak over the last couple of years for the extending timeline of Star Citizen, but the simple fact is that game development, especially game development on the scale of Star Citizen, is complicated,” Roberts wrote. “If you talk to any developer that works on large titles they will tell you that schedules, especially early in the development cycle, move all the time. Most people never see this because a publisher won’t announce a project publicly until it is very far along; normally at least in Alpha, with all the technology and gameplay R&D completed.”

Star Citizen, of course, has no publisher and was announced with practically nothing built at all, in the form of a $2.1 million Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2012. Its crowdfunding has continued since, largely through the very lucrative sale of in-game spaceships.