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Stick and Rudder

Stick and Rudder: The best bits of Star Citizen's Thanksgiving livestream

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

Star Citizen - Stick and Rudder cockpit
Cloud Imperium hosted another lengthy Star Citizen livestream this week, and if you missed it, well, so did nearly everyone else who has a nine-to-five job. This particular shindig was some 20 hours shorter than the last one, but there were nonetheless plenty of interesting details to digest.

If you want a blow-by-blow summary -- and you don't share my aversion to Reddit -- here you go. If you want my personal highlights, click past the cut.

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Stick and Rudder: How to be an informed Star Citizen

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

Stick and Rudder - Your Star Citizen source
Massively's podcast fielded a listener question about Star Citizen and various other Kickstarters a couple weeks back, and while I answered it on our weekly show, I'd like to expand on it in more detail here. Call it a public service for people who are mildly interested in Cloud Imperium's space sim but not interested enough to scarf up the considerable amount of news flowing out of the studio these days.

The question, in a nutshell, was how can a 30-person dev team make a triple-A title. There was more to it, including the usual concerns about crowdfunding, trust, and bits about investing vs. donating, but the dev team portion is the portion that I want to highlight.

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Stick and Rudder: What if Star Citizen fails?

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

Stick and Rudder What if Star Citizen fails
As Star Citizen's crowdfunding totals spiral ever higher, so too do the cries of the naysayers, negative nancies, and the ne'er-do-wells who seemingly exist to rain on the space sim sandbox's parade.

Some of this hand-wringing is probably justified since with each new stretch goal, fan expectations for SC increase exponentially. Regardless, what the game has already accomplished is worth celebrating, and two of the most common reasons I've seen cited for remaining skeptical simply don't make sense.

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Stick and Rudder: Ten space sims to fill your Star Citizen void

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

Stick and Rudder
This week I'd like to throw around a few ideas for enjoying yourself in Star Citizen's absence. Yeah, there's the hangar module, and it's pretty spectacular for what it is. But after dorking around in cockpits and doing a few I'll-be-in-my-bunk Jayne Cobb impersonations as I wedge my avatar into my Aurora's sleeping compartment, I ache to spool up those engines and go somewhere.

Fortunately there are a ton of worthy space sims that we can use to while away the next couple of years. Or the next couple of months, because dogfighting alpha!

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Star Citizen's salvaging career unveiled

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

Star Citizen's salvaging career unveiledDon't look now, but there's some more, ahem, feature creep coming to Star Citizen. OK, not really, but Cloud Imperium has announced the $21 million stretch goal, and it is "a major gameplay feature we have been hoping to include," according to Chris Roberts' latest letter from the chairman. The feature is salvage, and "salvage isn't an aside: It's a career with its own mechanic, story tie-ins, and universe-shaping endgames."

The dev team has also released some new concept art of a female explorer avatar, and Roberts also takes a moment to outline the options for continuing the fundraising campaign beyond the original fully-funded mark. "The more funds we can raise in the pre-launch phase, the more we can invest in additional content and perhaps more importantly we can apply greater numbers of resources to the various tasks to ensure we deliver the full functionality sooner rather than later," he explains.

There's currently a poll at the end of the letter that offers three options for crowdfunding continuation. As of press time, 88% of the 13,000 respondents have voted to continue crowdfunding extra features and development milestones.

Stick and Rudder: On Star Citizen's so-called 'feature creep'

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

Stick and Rudder - On Star Citizen's 'feature creep'
I'm going to address the allegations of "feature creep" in Star Citizen this week before misperceptions get further out of hand. If you haven't been following the sci-fi space sandbox in recent weeks, note that Chris Roberts and Cloud Imperium unveiled the title's $20 million stretch goal several days ago. Said goal is FPS combat on select lawless planets, but to hear some armchair developers tell it, Roberts is jumping the shark and gunning for PlanetSide 2 instead of simply adding some instanced bells and whistles onto what's affectionately known as the best damn space sim ever (BDSSE).

If you're a Star Citizen backer or enthusiast, you already know everything I'm about to type. If you're casually lurking on the periphery of the game's fandom, though, join me after the cut for the most complete SC crash course that 1,700 words can buy.

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Stick and Rudder: On Star Citizen's cash shop

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

Stick and Rudder On Star Citizen's cash shop
Remember last time when I said that Cloud Imperium's decision to release a playable pre-alpha Star Citizen module was a risky move?

Forget that.

I mean, it still kinda was, but this particular story had a happy ending. Star Citizen's first public-facing in-game deliverable has been live for over a week now, and for all intents and purposes it was a smashing success.

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Stick and Rudder: Star Citizen's risky hangar module reveal

Sci-Fi, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Stick and Rudder
Man, I'm excited for next Thursday! Not because it's the day before Friday -- although that's pretty great, too -- but because we're going to get our hands on the first official release of Star Citizen. Chris Roberts called it the "baby Star Citizen" during last night's Gamescom love-in, which you should watch if you'd like to see the Cloud Imperium crew overwhelmed by the rock star treatment it received from the backers who journeyed to Cologne.

Anyway, the hangar module! The devs have been showing it off to fans and press, and if initial reactions are anything to go by, it's going to be a successful mini-launch.

It's still a risky move, though.

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Stick and Rudder: Wingman's Hangar is must-see Star Citizen TV

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

Stick and Rudder Wingman's Hangar is mustsee Star Citizen TV
OK, technically Star Citizen's weekly Wingman's Hangar webcast is must-see YouTube. I mean, does anyone still watch television? On a TV, really?

Over the past couple of weeks I've powered through my personal back catalogue of WH episodes, mostly for my own fanbot gratification but also to minimize the knowledge gaps in this column. And as I was watching, the strangest thing happened. I began to care about the people involved. Not care as in I'm-going-to-go-stalk-Eric-Peterson, but care as in the sort of distanced-but-semi-invested attachment that I form with characters in a particularly effective documentary film.

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Stick and Rudder: The myth of the PC master race

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

Stick and Rudder
One of the finest games I've ever played in my life is a console-only title. Last night I finished devouring Naughty Dog's PS3-exclusive The Last of Us, and I've logged more hours in Turn 10's sublime Forza Motorsport series than I care to admit.

That said, the PC is and likely always will be my preferred gaming device, and those games I just mentioned would have better served my personal funtime goals if they'd been available on the PC. More importantly for the purposes of this particular column, the PC is the only platform that can do justice to a giant juicy steak of a game like Star Citizen.

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Stick and Rudder Extra: Chris Roberts on Star Citizen's persistent world PvE, PvP, and more

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Sandbox, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

roberts interview
At first glance, Star Citizen is a game about internet spaceships. Extremely high-poly pardon-me-while-I-pick-my-jaw-up-off-the-floor internet spaceships, but internet spaceships nonetheless. If you look deeper, though, you'll see a sim that aims to be just as immersive outside the cockpit as in, thanks in no small part to a diverse set of gameplay options wrapped around a dense player-driven economy.

Creator Chris Roberts says this was the plan from the beginning. Actually, it was the plan as far back as 1999, when Roberts first spoke publicly about Freelancer and his grand ideas for a persistent universe title. Fast forward 14 years and Roberts sits in the captain's chair at Cloud Imperium, presiding over a small army of talented gamemakers and a ravenous horde of fans who've made Star Citizen the most successful crowdfunding project in history.

Will the finished game live up to lofty expectations? I recently interviewed Roberts in an attempt to find out. Join us after the cut as we talk PvE vs. PvP, the passage of in-game time, and much more.

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Stick and Rudder: How dare you spend money on Star Citizen!

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

Stick and Rudder - How dare you spend money on Star Citizen!
I've got to perform a public service this week because there's a certain subset of our audience that simply doesn't get Star Citizen. Granted, taking the time to explain things to trolls may do nothing but invite additional trolling, but hey, at least now I'll have a handy link to copy/paste any time I see some of the how-dare-you-bankroll-Star-Citizen bellyaching going forward.

And no, today's column isn't addressed to you personally. If you think it is addressed to you personally, though, that's probably a good indication that you should do what well-adjusted people do and refrain from continually posting about games you don't like!

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Stick and Rudder: The best bits of Star Citizen's 24-hour livestream

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, Business Models, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, News Items, PvE, Opinion, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Sandbox, Crowdfunding, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Stick and Rudder Dissecting Star Citizen's 24hour livestream
There are livestreams, and then there are livestreams, and Star Citizen's 24-hour marathon that concluded yesterday was a prime example of the latter. The event was crammed full of developer roundtables, celebrity cameos, and enough internet spaceship shenanigans to keep me watching for far longer than I originally intended.

Cloud Imperium revealed several new spacecraft, along with additional stretch goals that blew my mind, plenty of slickly produced videos, concept art, and more.

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Stick and Rudder: On Star Citizen's E3 absence

Sci-Fi, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Sandbox, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Stick and Rudder - On Star Citizen's E3 absence
So E3 happened this past week. If you're a Massively regular, you're no doubt aware of that since we spammed up our front page and your RSS feed with gobs of hands-on coverage including everything from racing games to The Elder Scrolls Online.

One thing we didn't cover was Star Citizen, because thankfully, Cloud Imperium's upcoming space sim sandbox didn't bother with an official E3 presence.

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Stick and Rudder: The five types of Star Citizen guys

Sci-Fi, Culture, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Humor, Sandbox, Stick and Rudder, Star Citizen, Buy-to-Play

Stick and Rudder The myth of the PC master race
I've been through my share of alphas, betas, and early release communities over the years, and without exception, every one of them is chock-full of the same five guys. Oh sure, these guys have hundreds of different forum handles, and in the case of a nostalgia-drenched core title like Star Citizen, some of them may even be old enough to know better. But they're still the same five guys.

These guys are in the good pre-release communities and the bad, and while their passion is largely laudible, their busy-body forum hijinks are nothing if not high-lariously predictable.

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