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Star Citizen

Stick and Rudder: On crowdfunding and 'dev abuse'

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Stick and Rudder Hornet header
The DFM PAX reveal came and went, and it was exactly what I expected: full of bugs befitting an alpha state and still absolutely stunning in terms of its potential.

And that's all that really needs to be said about that, at least until we get our hands on it in the comfort of our own homes! I'm more interested in riffing off some of the trollish behavior from the pre-PAX backer-only gala. If you watched the full presentation, you probably know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, well, it was basically drunks being drunk, but it leads into something I've wanted to talk about for a while, which is mass appeal, niches, and the gaming industry viewed through the prism of Star Citizen.

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Star Citizen tops $42 million, adds towels

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Humor, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen's damaged towel
The Star Citizen money train is still chugging along, as Chris Roberts' latest chairman letter makes clear. What's the occasion? The crowdsourced space sim sandbox just passed $42 million in funding, which unlocked several "celebratory goals" including an updated observist guide, an explorer-class mobiGlas rig for backers, a new Squadron 42 fighter craft called the Gladius, and most crucially, a towel for your hangar that comes complete with its own damage state.

Roberts says that the SC team is back at work on the dogfighting module after its PAX East hiatus, and he also provides a poll for choosing the next stretch goal reward.

PAX East 2014: Erin Roberts on Star Citizen's development

Sci-Fi, Interviews, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

It's a game about space shooters shooting space in space.
Star Citizen's backers have been waiting to see the game's dogfighting module in action for quite some time now, and it finally happened just before PAX East 2014. Unfortunately, it also wound up having some technical difficulties right at the beginning, which wasn't exactly what anyone had in mind when showing off the whole thing in action. It wasn't quite as bad as having the computer running the module burst into flames and die, but it was bad.

Do the developers regret it? Not a chance. We got a chance to sit down and talk to Squadron 42 producer Erin Roberts and were told, in no uncertain terms, that even hitting technical hiccups like that don't make a more private development cycle feel better. In a way, having the development cycle be so public actually makes technical hurdles less problematic for the company when they're encountered because the language is in place to keep a meaningful dialogue going with the fans.

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The Game Archaeologist: The danger of expecting lightning to strike twice

City of Heroes, Opinion, Champions Online, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Camelot Unchained, Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

It's no secret that many of the more successful Kickstarter projects over the past few years have heavily capitalized on player nostalgia, brand names, and former dev gods who are back for another round. The formula for drawing in the big bucks seems to be the following: Take something players hugely loved back in the day, dangle the concept of a sequel (spiritual or otherwise), and promise some measure of iterative improvement.

I once wrote about how we really can't go back again to recreate a particular game experience because it was usually a confluence of several factors that were related to where the industry was then and where you were then. I'm not saying that there isn't value to retro gaming, playing classic MMOs, or involving the past in future development! But there is a danger in how we as gamers become so beholden to our nostalgia that we dare lightning to strike twice -- and we're paying big bucks to see that happen.

But can we? Will it?

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PAX East 2014: Star Citizen and the DFM are 'more than just PvP'

Sci-Fi, Video, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen: We're more than just PvP!
Chris Roberts took the stage at a backer-only pre-PAX event in Boston last night to show off some of Star Citizen's alpha dogfighting footage. Despite a few technical glitches, fans were able to get an extended glimpse of the game's first playable module, which Roberts said will likely release in a month or so.

The dogfighting module will be presented as part of the in-universe fiction and thus will take the form of a space sim called Arena Commander which released to gamers in the year 2944. Players will load into the DFM through their pre-existing hangar module where they'll choose between five alpha game modes: Free Flight, Battle Royale, Squadron Battle, Capture the Core, and Vanduul Swarm (basically a horde mode). Cloud Imperium is including leaderboards and plenty of stats which will show up both on Star Citizen's web-based player and organization profiles as well as in the finished game.

The upcoming module will also feature co-op capabilities along with PvE AI. "At the end of the day, for me, it's not all about combat," Roberts explained, "so if [combat's] not your thing you don't have to worry about it."

Click past the cut to watch the full livestream.

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Star Citizen updates backers on progress in March

Sci-Fi, Previews, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen

It looks like it's loaded for bear.  But there are few bears in space.
Eagerly anticipating Star Citizen? Then you'll be happy to see that the latest development update from the team is now live, focusing on the many projects in development for the game. At the top of the list, of course, is the much-anticipated dogfighting module, which has dominated the attention of all departments. The update goes to great lengths to try and show off just what has been the result of the extra time and effort sunk into the module as a whole.

The dogfighting HUD has been revised to ensure that a great deal of information is accessible without cluttering the display. There's also been a push to improve the visuals on the ships, making them look more realistic and detailed when in motion. And that's not getting into the other work being done in fields like personal weaponry... but you don't have to take our word for it. Take a look at the March progress update and see for yourself.

Roberts praises Oculus-Facebook deal, says Star Citizen will remain independent

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen dying star art
Star Citizen topped $41 million in crowdfunding yesterday, and Cloud Imperium boss Chris Roberts penned a new Letter from the Chairman as a result. The latest stretch goal unlocked the procedural generation R&D team, but perhaps more notably it served as an opportunity for Roberts to weigh in on the Oculus-Facebook debate and reassure Star Citizen fans of the game's independence.

Roberts explained how Facebook's investment will help defer the obscene manufacturing and supply chain costs involved in bringing new hardware to the mass market. He also pointed out that Star Citizen features none of those costs, so there's no desire to sell to a larger firm.

"We don't need to go to anyone with deep pockets to make our dream a reality," Roberts wrote. "Luckily our ships are digital so we have hardly any cost of goods, just the cost of developing the universe of Star Citizen and running servers that Star Citizen's universe will be simulated on. Thanks to the generosity of the Star Citizen community we have these two things covered."

Here's an early look at Star Citizen's room system

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Star Citizen

Star Citizen asteroid hangar
If you missed yesterday's Wingman's Hangar, it's worth watching to get an early glimpse of Star Citizen's room system. The room system is core technology that will be used to build out planetside locations, hangars, ship interiors, and more.

Montreal-based Behaviour Interactive is currently building the system out, and the video shows off plenty of behind-the-scenes footage as well as portions of Star Citizen's asteroid hangar.

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Stick and Rudder: Five more space sims to fill the Star Citizen void

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvE, Opinion, Sandbox, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen

Stick and Rudder - Five more space sims to fill the Star Citizen void
A few months back I put together a list of my favorite space sims in an effort to pass the time remaining until Star Citizen's release.

Well, that release is still a ways off, even though we are scheduled to get our grubby little space mitts on the dogfighting module next month. I'm in the mood to pew pew right now, though, and if you are too, here are a few more classic games to help fill the void.

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This is the advanced AI tech that's powering Star Citizen

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen dogfighting debug
Cloud Imperium has publicized its relationship with Moon Collider, maker of an advanced AI middleware technology known as Kythera.

A new press release says that Star Citizen fans will get their first taste of what Kythera can do in April's dogfighting module, while CIG chairman Chris Roberts enthuses over what the tech brings to the table. "The dynamic nature of the technology allows for more realistic dogfights, but at the same time it delivers a very true-to-life universe where planetside environments will be able to display very large scale city simulations all going on at once," he explains. "Kythera will give Star Citizen a true world AI rather than a less dynamic scripted AI which you may find in other games."

You can read the full release after the cut.

[Source: CIG press release]

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Star Citizen passes $40 million, details player-driven Galactapedia

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen mobiGlass storyboard
Star Citizen has officially cracked the $40 million crowdfunding mark. Cloud Imperium boss Chris Roberts penned another celebratory letter, which details the two backer-voted star systems unlocked as a result of surpassing the magic number.

Roberts also unveiled the newest stretch goal, which features multiple rewards including a Gladius fighter craft, a mobiGlas rig, and an updated Observist portion of Star Citizen's Galactapedia. The Galactapedia is arguably the most interesting development, as it will "integrate directly into the game universe and respond in real time as players steer the course of SC's world."

"We envision making the news with an impressive feat in the Galactapedia as a major goal for many players," Roberts writes. "If you're the one who finally defeats the Dread Pirate Roberts, charts a new Jump Point or makes the Advocacy's Most Wanted list, your actions will become memorialized for all time in the Galactapedia! What's more, the Galactapedia will be available both inside Star Citizen and through the RSI website."

Stick and Rudder: Getting perspective on Star Citizen's development

Sci-Fi, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen - Stick and Rudder Hornet header
I recently spent a week enjoying the hell out of Elite: Dangerous. CCP's Valkyrie project -- a virtual reality EVE Online riff powered by Oculus -- is apparently far enough along to merit public demos and a slow-burning hype train. And Star Citizen? Well, I can still solo around in my hangar, fitting ship guns and firing them at cardboard targets.

I bring all this up not to pile on Cloud Imperium. On the contrary, I'm OK with SC's development pace, and if you're on the world side of the world-vs.-game debate, you should be OK with it too.

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Star Citizen vid shows off the Hornet's 100 different damage states

Sci-Fi, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen Hornet damage
If you've yet to watch this week's episode of Wingman's Hangar (or any episode of Wingman's Hangar, for that matter), number 59 features plenty of interesting nuggets for Star Citizen fans. Nearly half of the show's 32-minute running time is devoted to the space sim's ship damage states, and Cloud Imperium shares plenty of behind-the-scenes footage on the creation process as well as a roundtable discussion featuring the principal designers.

Lead ship modeller Chris Smith says that the Hornet alone has 100 different states. "We wanted a lot of fidelity, kind of movie-like breakup on these ships with lots of little pieces," he explains.

Click past the cut for the full episode!

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212 devs are working on Star Citizen, dogfighting launch 'shortly after PAX'

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen Void Alpha Terra concept art
Feel like you're not getting enough info on Star Citizen's development progress? Cloud Imperium chairman Chris Roberts has penned an epically long update that's now live on the game's website. "The concept is simple -- a high level monthly production progress report from the various teams from around the world working on Star Citizen," he writes.

Those teams include a whopping 212 developers, which Roberts says is more people than typically work on a triple-A console title and which makes SC the largest space sim project in history. In terms of alpha progress, Roberts says that CIG will unveil the long-awaited dogfighting module at a special backer-only pre-PAX event. It will be playable "shortly after PAX."

There's much more to the post, including updates from all of CIG's studios, so grab your favorite beverage and click through the links below to get caught up.

The Daily Grind: Have you created any pro-quality MMO fan content?

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Sandbox, Music, Crowdfunding, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Star Citizen Retaliator concept art
I spent part of the weekend listening to Star Citizen's blowaway-badass unofficial soundtrack. It's unofficial because award-winning composer Pedro Camacho has been tapped to score Cloud Imperium's space sim sandbox opus for realz. Fortunately, though, that hasn't stopped an enterprising group of musicians from creating their own pro-quality digital album and releasing it for free on the SC forums.

What about you, Massively readers? Have you created any noteworthy fan content for your favorite game?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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