Star Citizen: How to Cause a Heart Attack in 52 Minutes

Posted on 23 Aug 2016 by
Lee Braden

So, taking on a main stage, CIG gave us an hour and a half long presentation about the upcoming Star Citizen features in 2.5, 2.6 and then 3.0, which they showed off a somewhat short demo for 3.0 as well.

Starting off, we are given a beautiful montage showing off the new and improved ArcCorp, a new “Pirates Den” station called Grim Hex, as well as improved weapons models and also some new emotes for your character, and different space suits, quite form fitting ones though. Followed by a montage of various states of combat, turret gunners, on an abandoned space station, on an active space station and also fighters engaging targets, as well as the take-off animation for the new MISC Reliant.

After the short speech from Marketing Manager Sandi Gardner we get the man himself Chris Roberts taking the stage to give us a run-down of features that are upcoming to Star Citizen, along with the slight sorry about patch 2.5 having a bit of a framerate issue so they are wanting to test it over the weekend before it gets release.

Starting off, Patch Pre-Alpha 2.5 gives us Grim Hex, New audio fidelity in regards to distances and types of sounds, Ship landing systems – which will be expanded on later on in the presentation. New GFX with upgraded turn mapping and lens system, and for new content, the first Size 5 guns, a flyable MISC Reliant – that is almost as adaptable as the Reliant Robin, and the Argo which is expanded on later, but it’s the short-haul system for capital ships.

After a bit of a chuckle about the Bluetooth slide clicker due to everyone’s phones, we get onto the slide about Grim Hex, the new outlaw station that will be in 2.5. It is a station for the, morally ambiguous people in Star Citizen. It is also the default spawn location for any wanted player, and comes with its own bar, shops of various kinds with both legal and “fell of the back of a lorry” goods, Hacker/Bounty booth and a racetrack kiosk, which there is a racetrack in the asteroid field that Grim Hex is part of, however not everything will be in the first 2.5 release.

As mentioned above, the new landing system will be in, this is quite a complex system for a game, but is very much what to expect based off modern airports, there will be 3 types of landing system, fully manual, semi-automated and fully automated.

  • The Fully Manual system would be just a light on a pad with the landing officer telling you to land there, and you have to glide her in, going to be difficult for some people at first, but practice will make it easier.
  • The Semi-automated system is similar to a modern Instrument Landing System approach where you will be given a virtual glide-slope along with range updates so you can find your way to the pad easier and come down a lot smoother.
  • The Fully automated system will be rarer as it will require a ship equipped with that system and also a very high tech landing area, such as the ones on Earth and also Terra, where you will press the land button and head off to check your cargo manifest.

Included within the new landing system will be UI changes to make it easier to see what landing zones are suitable along with the one you are told to land at, as well as an easier way to request or abort landing when within the controllers zone and that when you activate landing gear the correct thrusters will engage to help.

Next up is the Argo MPUV a “Multi-Purpose Utility Vehicle” for large ships, such as the Bengal, Idris and Javelin, it is a simple craft with no jump or quantum drive that can have different pods attached to the rear frame, such as cargo, passenger or medial triage.  We are treated to a beauty shot montage as well of what is effectively a simple launch, to which Roberts jokes about the British ship team being great at making it look sexy.

Next up, is the MISC Reliant, a hybrid of Xi’an and Human technology to create a simple frame that can be used for various roles, its base role is as a light hauler. A montage for this craft shows off the various views, along with a shot leading from the pilot and co-pilots seats, through the neck and into the cargobay, and the only entry point being the cargo door.

The variants of the Reliant are:

  • Kore – A standard light hauler with a larger cargo section than ships of it class, making it a great starter for anyone wishing to get into the cargo business
  • Mako – The Reliant frame that has been melded with state of the art camera, communications system and is kitted out for capturing everything to make tomorrow’s headline.
  • Sen – Heavily modified with the latest and greatest sensor systems that the Empire can offer, this ship is designed with research and exploration in mind, maybe you can get your name down in history as a great explorer.
  • Tana – A dedicated skirmisher, removal of cargo space and an upgraded shield system along with extra weapons makes this Reliant great as a picket vessel for new colonies and research outposts.

Moving on, after much cheering, and one gentleman saying how much he wants the Reliant because of how sexy it looks, we get to “Alpha 2.6” with a picture of a bloke in a light armoured space suit holding what I believe to be a Behring combustion pistol, to which just as Roberts is about to speak, the crowd goes, well, completely mad.  Alpha 2.6 will include the “Simulator” game, similar to Arena Commander (see, Holodeck from Star Trek) Space Marine, where you can engage in ground combat scenarios without the worry of permanent death. This has been a long awaited feature in Star Citizen, and more so since the removal of Illfonic earlier this year, with the line “The rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated” by Roberts.

Star Marine will be the competitive FPS mode for Star Citizen, as of it effectively being a simulator game, so you don’t have to worry about death as much as you do when you are in a boarding action. There will be team based game modes, both on space station and Zero-G combat arenas, all weapons will be given work and remastered, improved controls for movement and item usage, such as medpacks and grenades, along with the player characters being given a high level of fidelity, not quite to the standard we saw with Garry Oldman and Mark Hammil’s characters in earlier trailers.

Also in 2.6 we will get an Arena Commander update as well, improved control scheme and flight characteristics for ships, improved camera modes, various gameplay improvement which will deal with the “crash into an asteroid to reload weapons” and various other little fixes like that, along with the Grim Hex race track,

There will be a new mode similar to Wipeout series, Death-match racing, this update will be the much needed love and improvement due to CIG focusing on getting features into the game to get the game closer to release.

For flight ready release in 2.6 will be the Drake Herald a directed communications runner and listener, and the AEGIS Vanguard variant called the “Hoplite” which is a heavily armoured troop transport craft.

Now onto the meat of the Gamescon presentation, Alpha 3.0, to which a loud roar was heard as people are very excited. This was going to be Alpha 2.7 but due to it being the last patch of the year, and some big work in it, they are jumping numbering to 3.0, following what they did last year. Roberts joked about wanting to get it out before the end of the year, “hopefully not on Dec 19th like last year, but I get shot when I make a date” so we don’t know exactly when, but it is the beginning of their planetary tech along with some big improvements.

Expansion of the Stanton system to become the full system, and in order

  • Stanton I: Hurston, Hurston Dynamics headquarters planet, owned by the company itself, this planet has been effectively killed by the mining and manufacturing of weapons on the planet.
  • Stanton II: Crusader, The headquarters of Crusader Industries is here, this planet is a sort of solid-core gas giant, and is only habitable in the upper atmosphere, specially constructed floating platforms is the only way of living there.
  • Stanton III: ArcCorp headquarters planet for ArcCorp, this planet is completely turned over to cities, there is no nature left, everything has been constructed, this planet is also the current Starter-planet for people in 2.4.
  • Stanton IV: Microtech, the headquarters planet for the company that makes all manner of electronic devices, along with the ubiquitous MobiGlas that everyone in the UEE now has.
  • New space stations, moons and asteroid belts to flesh out the system, there will be about a dozen moons and around 30 space stations, unsure if this also includes communications relay stations.

Also added for the time being is the planet Delmar, which is actually in the Nyx system, but due to it being a different type of planet, they brought it in for testing out some different planetary tech items.

Roberts mentioned about how planetary landings are in the consciousness of people playing space games because of the recent launch of No Man’s Sky and also the Horizons update to Elite: Dangerous, and that CIG is more focused on building a world with lore due to long history. But with Star Citizen having a smaller scope, it’s going to be more artistic driven than fully procedural generation, and does mention about how in previous games he really enjoyed working on the lore.

Basic Professions which will be in 3.0:

  • Trading
  • Cargo Hauling
  • Pirating
  • Mercenary work
  • Bounty Hunting

Roberts summed this up as “Trading to get the Cargo for hauling, piracy for taking someone else’s cargo for profit, Mercenary work to protect those who are hauling cargo and Bounty Hunting going after those people who try to take the cargo from someone who is trading”

Additionally we will get some features to make the world seem more realistic in 3.0

  • Diverse NPC actions, so you will see people go from home, to shops, to home, to bar in the evening, maybe go to the hospital and be seen there before going home, this will be basic in 3.0 but will get better later on.
  • Day Night cycles for celestial bodies, something which will be difficult to balance but will be put in so each world feels right
  • Improved Mission Complexity, a very difficult system to get right, but is an attempt to cut down the usual tropes we see in MMO quests.
  • Economy driven Missions, work to make missions that are set up, so that if you get more pirates in system, NPC haulers will be fewer and there will be more bounty missions for people.

Also listed was the strides in technology that they have worked on:

  • Items 2.0
  • Star Network 1.0
  • Subsumption 1.0
  • Mission 1.0

To expand on the items part, Roberts described that you could activate the ladder, climb up, press to power on the engines, or open up a weapons port without getting into the seat, or climb in full, order for the ladder to retract, turn on engines, cycle the power to weapons, turn on sensors, that sort of slow start up sequence. Also described as an example with a bottle of water, how you could pick it up, take a drink and put it back down half empty, the in-work name for this is “Grabby Hands” and also ties into the in-flight repairs for ships, both in and out of combat.

Star Network 1.0 is the name for the combined server system that allows for more players to be together, travelling between different star systems, planets and such, the netcode for most games.

The presentation continues with the demo, however, some points came out in interviews after this.

There will be a homestead system, whoever that wasn’t elaborated upon but it sounds like we might be able to claim zones on low or unsettled planets, nor do they say how big it will be.

You can put your own music into the in-hangar jukebox, however due to licensing issues only you will be able to hear it, not much can be done due to the legal issues.

There will be a mini-game called Sataball later on, it won’t be in 2.6, but will be later on.

Components will wear out, as will guns and ships, you can repair them while in space, or on planet, you can have a fuse blow and drop you out of Quantum until you replace it and such, if you have used your gun so much that it has been repaired a lot, it may come to a point where it would be easier and cheaper to replace it.

More information about Squadron 42, and better versions of the Planetary tech along with AI behaviour will be shown off at Citizencon later this year.

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