Star Citizen

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Star Citizen
Star Citizen logo.png
Logo of Star Citizen
Developer(s)
Publisher(s) Cloud Imperium Games
Director(s) Chris Roberts
Writer(s) Dave Haddock[1]
Composer(s) Pedro Camacho
Geoff Zanelli[2]
Engine Amazon Lumberyard
Platform(s) Linux, Microsoft Windows
Release
  • Star Citizen: TBA
  • Squadron 42: 2017
Genre(s) Space trading and combat, first-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Star Citizen is an upcoming massively multiplayer, space trading and combat computer game for Microsoft Windows and Linux. The development includes a single-player campaign titled Squadron 42.

Star Citizen and Squadron 42 are produced by Chris Roberts' company Cloud Imperium Games and its European counterpart Foundry 42 and marketed under the Cloud Imperium Games subsidiary Roberts Space Industries. The games are built on Amazon Lumberyard. Originally planned for a release in 2014, and again in 2016, there is as of 2017 no official release date, and the game is still in active development. Squadron 42 was originally announced for a late 2015 release, but was delayed. As of June 2017, the game's website lists 2017 for release.

Gameplay[edit]

Arena Commander[edit]

Arena Commander is the second playable alpha component of Star Citizen.[3] It is an in-fiction space combat simulator allowing players to playtest ship combat against other players or AI opponents.[4] According to the developers, it features a highly detailed ship flight model,[citation needed] simulating space flight using the mass of the ship and location and force of the thrusters. Other claimed features include realistic application of g-force on the pilot and a high level of visual fidelity.[4][5] Racing and cooperative game modes were added in an update.[6]

Star Marine[edit]

Star Marine, originally announced for release in 2015,[7] is the first-person shooter element of Star Citizen; like Arena Commander, Star Marine is an in-fiction combat simulator. There are two ways to play Star Marine: one game mode is a 'capture-and-hold' game ('Last Stand'), where two opposing teams (the Marines and the Outlaws) each attempt to capture one or more 'control points' (Laptops) to gain points; as a team captures more control points, they gain points at a steadily increasing rate. 'Elimination' is a free-for-all 'last man standing' match; unlike the team-based 'Last Stand', players work individually to gain the highest kill-count before the match ends. Both game variants last for ten minutes or (in the case of 'Last Stand') until one team accrues the higher score.[8] The first-person shooter mechanics are claimed to be relatively realistic, with armor levels, weapon stances and stamina effects manifesting as heavy breathing.[9]

On January 26, 2015, the development of Star Marine was contracted out to a studio called IllFonic; in August 2015, the contract was terminated and development of Star Marine returned to an in-house team at Cloud Imperium Games.[10][10] It was released on December 23, 2016[11] missing many of the previously promoted features like SATABall, a cover system and multiple maps (Gold Horizon, Crusader etc.).[citation needed]

Mini Persistent Universe[edit]

In this newer mode, the player wakes up in a space station called Port Olisar, and can walk around it to visit its various shops(currently being Casaba Outlet, for civilian clothing, Garrity Defense for space suits, and Live Fire Weapons for armament) and the ship requisition area where you can spawn your owned ship on a landing pad. once it is spawned, you can go through an airlock and Get into your ship and fly around. by use of quantum travel you can go to various locations such as comm arrays, cry-astro repair stations, Covalex shipping hub, and Security Port Kareah(essentially an FPS area for players to fight). There are also missions for the player. these missions are fighting off pirates and restoring various comm arrays,exploring covalex, and sometimes guarding the terminal in kareah to keep criminals from lowering their crime stat. The player is awarded in UEC for their missions and can then purchase gear with that money at olisar and the elusive pirate base.

Development[edit]

Star Citizen was announced in 2012 with an estimated release date of 2014, and has since been delayed repeatedly.[12][13][14][15] The game's developers have attracted criticism for continuing to raise funds enthusiastically while failing to meet project deadlines.[16][17] From the outset, Chris Roberts, the game's lead developer, pledged to treat every customer with the same respect as a publisher.[18] However, he has been late to disclose major events like an engine change[19] and missed release estimates.[14][15][20]

Development started in 2012, initially using CryEngine 3 with plans to release for Microsoft Windows first, followed by a possible Linux release.[21] The engine was migrated to Amazon Lumberyard in 2016.[22][23][24][25][26] Star Citizen is being developed using a modular approach, with the first module, dubbed the "Hangar Module," released August 29, 2013.[3][27] The Hangar Module allows backers of the project to explore their virtual ships from a 1st person perspective.[3] Arena Commander, the second module, was released on June 4, 2014. It allows backers to playtest the ship combat and racing portion of the game against other players or AI opponents.[3] Development on a first-person shooter component of the game, to be called Star Marine, was announced at PAX Australia 2014, promising features like artificial gravity and weightlessness.[28] After a lengthy period of development, with multiple online publications reported it being cancelled,[29][30] Star Marine was released at the end of 2016.[31]

The game is produced in a distributed development process by Cloud Imperium Games and Foundry 42 with studios in Austin, Frankfurt, Santa Monica, Wilmslow and Derby[32][33][34][35] in cooperation with Behaviour Interactive and formerly IllFonic.[36][37] The games utilize the artificial intelligence system Kythera, developed by Moon Collider.[38] Additional partners that are or have been working on the project include Crytek, CGBot, Rmory, The Imaginarium Studios,[39] Turbulent, Virtuos, voidALPHA,[40] Wyrmbyte and Amazon.[41][42][43] The developers also exchange knowledge and technology with Warhorse Studios, the creators of Kingdom Come: Deliverance.[44]

In March 2017, CIG announced Star Citizen would eventually use Vulkan (API) and drop support for the DirectX 12 API to support Linux and pre-Windows 10 users.[45]

Version 3.0 of the Star Citizen alpha, which the developers have stated would be a major step in the development containing many of the promised features including planetary landing, subsumption architecture AI, optimized network performance, professions incl. mining and 30 to 40 space stations was announced for a release in December 2016 at Gamescom.[46] It was then announced in October 2016 that it will be split into three smaller releases (3.1, 3.2 and 3.3)[47] but failed to make the 2016 release date. In April 2017, the company released a detailed schedule report detailing everything that needed to be finished for 3.0 as well as expected feature completion dates.[48]

Planned Features[edit]

Star Citizen aims to combine multiple video game genres, including space, trading, flight combat simulation and first-person shooter, in a massively multiplayer online game.[49][50] In a 2012 interview, lead developer Chris Roberts emphasized immersion: "The changes in the technology in the industry will allow me to do a much more immersive experience. [...] It's all about that suspension of disbelief."[51]

According to Roberts, players will complete objectives to gain currency used to buy, repair and upgrade their ships or to purchase items used in trade.[52] The game will be set in a 30th-century Milky Way, centered on the fictional United Empire of Earth (UEE). A central theme of the game is citizenship – or lack thereof – in the UEE, which must be earned through player actions such as completing a period of military service. It is anticipated that citizens will enjoy certain in-game benefits, like paying a reduced tax rate, but the exact details are yet to be determined.[3][49][53]

In a 2014 interview, Chris Roberts highlighted the importance of player-driven content: "It's like a sandbox for everybody, and occasionally you'll sprinkle in little bits of scripted content to give a bit of character, but you're letting a lot of the players generate the intrigue and the drama."[54] In 2013, he described an non-player character-driven economy, where players could gradually take on a greater role over time.[55]

In accordance with the 50 million dollar stretch goal of the game's crowdfunding campaign, developers partnered with linguists to create distinctive fictional languages for the three most prominent alien races, the Banu, the Vanduul and the Xi'An.[56]

The game's first-person shooter mechanics are reported to be inspired by games such as Rainbow Six, ARMA, Counter-Strike and Killzone.[57]

Persistent universe[edit]

The developers state that Star Citizen will continue to develop after commercial release via a combination of emergent gameplay generated by players and new content which will be developed by Cloud Imperium Games on an ongoing basis.[3] Players and organizations will be able to own certain production nodes including factories and mines. Capital ships can be owned and operated by players. Select lawless planets and moons will feature ground-based combat using infantry style weapons and vehicles. Personal armaments can also be used to board disabled ships and stations.[58][48]

The developers state that players will not be separated by different game servers. A matchmaking and instancing mechanic will handle how players connect to each other.[59] The developers plan to include a slider allowing players to determine their level of exposure to other players.[27][citation needed]

Squadron 42[edit]

Squadron 42 is a story-based single-player campaign set in the Star Citizen fictional universe described by the developers as a "spiritual successor to Wing Commander".[60][61] It was originally announced for release in 2014 during the Kickstarter campaign,[12] but has been repeatedly delayed. Roberts claimed in an January 2017 interview that it would be released in 2017, and as of May 2017, the game's homepage shows 2017 release date.[62][63] It is being developed by the Foundry 42 UK studio under the supervision of Chris Roberts' brother Erin, who had already worked with him on the "Wing Commander" series and led the production and development of titles like Privateer 2: The Darkening and Starlancer.[34][64][65]

The developers state that the interactive storyline centers on an elite military unit and involves the player character enlisting in the United Empire of Earth Navy, taking part in a campaign that starts with a large space battle.[3][60] The player's actions will allow them to optionally achieve citizenship in the UEE and affect their status in the Star Citizen persistent universe, but neither of the two games has to be played in order to access the other.[49][64] In addition to space combat simulation and first-person shooter elements,[64] reported features include a conversation system that affects relationships with non-player pilots and an optional cooperative multiplayer[citation needed] mode.[60][61] The game is planned to be released in multiple chapters, and according to the developers will be offering an estimated of 20 hours of gameplay for SQ42 Episode 1 with about 70 missions worth of game play, "Squadron 42 Episode Two: Behind Enemy Lines" and "Episode 3," will launch later.[65][66][67] The cast for Squadron 42 includes Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson, Mark Strong, John Rhys Davies and Andy Serkis amongst others.[68][69]

Funding[edit]

The developers of Star Citizen began crowdfunding in 2012, on their own website and Kickstarter.[70][71][72] Funding quickly surpassed initial target goals and subsequently additional stretch goals have been added to the funding campaign, most promising more or expanded content at release.[73][74][75] Stretch goals included:

  • numerous new ships unlocked;
  • 100 star systems available on release for players to explore;
  • a galactic public transportation system;
  • a salvage mechanic, with its own story tie-ins and universe-shaping endgames;
  • procedural generation and motion-capture technology;
  • an independent arbitrator's guild for settling disputes between players;
  • expanded roles for AI characters; and,
  • various perks for backers, like cosmetic awards and secret star systems.[75]

Most of these stretch goals have not yet been delivered.

After the initial campaign, funding has continued through the game's website.[72] The developers of Star Citizen raise money through sale of:[76]

  • starter packages, which include access to the game client and a starter ship, for $45;
  • a wide variety of spacecraft, ranging in price from $45 to $2,500;[77]
  • packages of spacecraft, such as the "Completionist" package for $15,000;
  • upgrades for previously-purchased ships;
  • subscriptions to online content, for $10-$20 per month, including videos, a monthly magazine, and perks;
  • in-game cosmetic upgrades and currency;
  • pre-orders for Squadron 42;
  • branded merchandise and gift cards; and,
  • tickets to real-world events, such as "Citizencon."

Funding Milestones[edit]

On November 17, 2012, two days before campaign closure, the game achieved the record for highest crowdfunded game project with over US$4.2 million.[78] At initial pledge campaign end, the total pledge amount was above all goals initially set by Cloud Imperium Games and reached US$6.2 million.[72] In mid-2013, with US$15 million raised in less than a year, Star Citizen became the "most-funded crowdfunding project anywhere".[79] In 2014, Guinness World Records listed the sum of US$39,680,576 pledged on Star Citizen's website as the "largest single amount ever raised via crowdsourcing".[80] During the 2014 Gamescom event on August 15, Chris Roberts announced the crowdfunding campaign had surpassed US$50 million.[81] On May 19, 2017, crowdfunding surpassed $150 million.[82]

In January 2017, when asked about the financial situation of Star Citizen, Chris Roberts said: "I am not worried, we would have enough money to finish Squadron 42 even if no more money would come in. The revenue could then in turn be used to complete Star Citizen."[83][84]

For contributing to the project's funding, backers receive virtual rewards in the form of tiered pledge packages, which include a spaceship and credits to buy additional equipment and to cover initial costs in the virtual economy, like fuel and rental fees,[85] but according to the developers, players will be able to earn all backer rewards in the game itself, with the exception of certain cosmetic items and Lifetime Insurance (LTI), without having to spend additional money.[86][87]

Reception[edit]

Awards[edit]

Star Citizen was a recipient of Wired.com's 2016 Vaporware Awards, citing its long development time and unspecified release date.[88]

Similar games[edit]

Along with Star Citizen, other titles contributed to the resurgence of space games. In a Polygon opinion article, Charlie Hall compared Star Citizen to No Man's Sky and Elite: Dangerous, writing that "Last time I checked, Star Citizen writ large was a hope wrapped inside a dream buried inside a few layers of controversy", while stating that each game has something different to offer within the space sim genre.[89] PC Gamer writer Luke Winkie also compared Star Citizen to No Man's Sky, describing Star Citizen as "the other super ambitious, controversial space sim on the horizon", and indicating that fans of the genre, disappointed in No Man's Sky were turning to the as-yet-unfinished Star Citizen, while sometimes expressing concerns should the latter fail to deliver.[90]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]