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The best Star citizen joystick

Picking the best Star Citizen joystick is a challenge. Do you want the best quality joystick or perhaps you’re on a budget? Do you need a single-stick, dual joystick (Hands On Stick And Stick), HOTAS, HOSAK or maybe HOSAM?
And what about the flight models? Space and atmosphere flight will both be in the game, although the latter will take a while.
The best Star Citizen flight stick really depends on your personal preferences and how much you are willing to spend. It’s 2017 and there are some excellent PC gaming joysticks on the market. Many are suitable for space sims like Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous. For those looking for a custom Star Citizen HOTAS, we can only hope and wait until we get an update.

I’ve divided the joysticks in by price range so you can see which sticks fit your budget. If it’s your first joysticks go for cheaper stick and consider reading my basic joystick buyers guide.

Joystick summary
NameDescriptionLink
BudgetTM T16000 FCSBest budget joystick. Review
Mid-rangeVKB GladiatorExcellent mid-range stick. Review
High-endTM WarthogBest joystick but expensive. Review
HOTAS summary
NameDescriptionLink
BudgetTM HOTAS XCheapest Hotas (poor quality). Review
Mid-rangeTM T16000 FCS HOTASBest overal HOTAS price quality wise. Review
High-endTM HOTAS WarthogBest HOTAS but lacks an analogue stick (strafing). Better to combine a stick with a separate HOTAS like the CH pro throttleReview

The best joysticks to play Star Citizen

I’ve picked a few joysticks and HOTAS setups which I think are the best considering the price, build quality, precision and internal sensors. I’ve divided them into budget, mid-range and high-end joysticks. I also looked at dual sticks and HOTAS setups based on price quality ratio.
To save you some reading I’ve put them all together in one image, but you’re welcome to read about all the sticks if you want to learn more.

Best budget flight stick

best budget joystick

The best budget joystick is the Thrustmaster VG T16000M FCS Joystick which has all the features you need. Recommended by the Star Citizen community and this edition is designed for Elite dangerous. If you want a slightly more accurate stick you might also consider the VKB Gladiator. There are currently 2 versions of this stick, the older greenish model and the latest. The main differences are improved sensors and the rubber material used on the stick and buttons to improve grip.

Read the full description

Best budget Hotas joystick setupbest budget hotas star citizen

Again the winner is Thrustmaster, with their recently released HOTAS Controller which features an analogue stick. It’s a really cheap setup compared to the quality you get. It’s not the best in regards to components but really all you need if you’re looking for the best budget HOTAS. If you want the very best quality, you need to get the Warthog hotas (and pedals) or de VKB Gladiator pro combined with a CH Throttle.

Read the full description

Best dual joystick setup

dual stick setup

I’ll leave this up to you but you’ll need an ambidextrous(left-handed and right-handed) stick, and another stick with great precision. Thrustmaster T16000M is an ambidextrous stick which you can combine with the Thrustmaster Warthog or the VKB Gladiator pro. Two T16000M is also an excellent dual joystick combo if you don’t want to burn your wallet. You might also want to consider to buy pedals if you want to wield two sticks. Read my joystick guide to get an idea about what you need.

Best mid-range joystick

best mid range joystick

The VKB Gladiator is a great mid-range joystick to play space sims. The stick has better precision than the T16000m and a decent amount of buttons. It also has twist which is great for single-stick usage combined with a mouse or keyboard. VKB may be somewhat unknown to the general public, but has top quality products. I am personally trying to get my hands on the pro version.

Read the full description

Best High-end joystick

best high-end joystick

The  best available high-end joystick is the Thrustmaster Warthog.The Warthog is an excellent aiming stick with great precision. This is a replica of a fighter jet stick and very popular among flight sim gamers. The ergonomics and precision are great and build quality is outstanding.

Read the full description

Special mention- VKB Gladiator Pro

superior high-end joystick

The Gladiator pro is hard to obtain due to limited production capacity but actually is a superior stick. It’s better than the Warthog and comes close to the high-end custom sticks that flight sim enthusiasts build themselves.  The great thing about this stick is the ability to customize resistance by changing out springs and cams and he metal gimbal.

Keep an eye out for VKB sticks as they’ve shown interest in space sims and we might see something special in the near future.

Budget joysticks under $100

I’m not going to review all the flight sticks but you’ll be surprised that in this range you can actually get a great Star Citizen joystick. Of course you can just pick one of the cheapest to see if you actually like flying this way and move on to a better stick another time. At least that’s what I did. Note that pricing may vary depending on your region or discounts.

Mad Catz/Saitek FLY 5

  •  Highly customisable
  •  Good precision
  •  More buttons than the V1
  •  Hall sensors
  •  Two independent throttle controls
  •  Bad internal wiring
  •  LED on the stick is very bright
  •  Buttons may fall off after extended use



An ergonomic and highly customisable (handle height, angle etc) stick and comes with 21 buttons. It has a shift button which allows you to change everything, meaning you have about 42 buttons! Great throttle placement which feels natural when used and you actually have two that can work independently. There is a minor dead zone on the twist but this could actually work for you as you don’t want to twist the stick by accident. There’s a good amount of feedback on the spring to tell you when you’re twisting it.
Nice stick in general but I’ve heard many stories that it breaks down after a while. Buttons tend to fall off and it’s not uncommon for the internal wiring to break.
If you are a casual gamer and are looking for an entry-level stick with decent precision, this might be a good choice. If you are a heavy gamer you should consider other options. Excellent choice for single-stick users!

Thrustmaster T16000M – Community choice!

Thrustmaster T16000 FCM

  • Solid build, doesn’t feel cheap
  • Hall effect sensors
  • Good amount of buttons on the base
  • T.A.R.G.E.T software compatible
  • Button placement on the stick could be better
  • Precise aiming is a tad difficult (modding is an option)

 

This is the best joystick when you’re on a budget, without a doubt. It’s an excellent stick and very cheap considering the quality. If you ask the Star Citizen community which joystick to buy, they usually recommend the T16000m.
The T16000m joystick has magnetic sensors (same as the expensive Warthog), it’s fairly cheap, has decent components and a long life-span. Button placement on the stick could be better but you get used to it quickly.
The stick has a very strong return and center snap, so it’s harder to get it out of the center for small corrections. You can however mod the spring by zip-tying the spring to improve accuracy, just search for tutorials on Youtube.
I would recommend this stick as it’s relatively cheap, pretty accurate (after modding) and suitable for single-stick use.

Logitech Extreme 3D

  •   Great placement of buttons on the head of the stick
  •   Not very accurate
  •   Can develop spiking
  •   Throttle placement feels unnatural

Used this stick for a few months but I had a hard time aiming, precision isn’t all that great. I did like button layout on the stick which is better than the T16000m. It’s a low-budget stick which is known to have calibration issues and can develop spiking. I think it is safe to say that this stick is suitable to fly larger ships, but not for fighter ships where you need accuracy. In all honesty I would look for something else.

Mid-range joysticks between $100 and $200

I selected a few sticks that deserve to be mentioned and I’m sure I forgot some. The joysticks price in this range are between $100 and $200. In general sticks within this price range have better build quality and precision, but not a huge deal. If you only want to make use of one stick make sure you pick one which has twist for controlling the Z-axis.

VKB gladiator

VKB gladiator

  •  Outstanding precision and quality build
  •  Very smooth movement and handling
  •  Perfect for dual stick setup
  •  Hall-effect sensor on twist axis
  •  Trigger up safety switch
  •  Should be part of dual setup

Fairly new on the market but VKB already has a good reputation. The stick is of high quality and perhaps one of the best you can can at this price range. The movement is smooth and precision is outstanding, users seem very happy with the handling due to excellent ergonomics. Although there aren’t many buttons available, the pinky shift gives you access to 12 buttons without taking your hand off. Honestly that’s enough buttons if you are going for a dual stick setup.

The stick features exchangeable cams and springs which allows you to adjust the responsiveness and resistance of the stick. Use it as an aiming stick because of its great precision and handling. The VKB has a light return to the centre and can travel into the opposite direction upon return. This makes is perfect for great precision and corrections as there is almost no centre return.
I think this is one of the best sticks you can get considering its price and precision.

CH products fighter stick

  •  High precision
  •  smooth handling, throw resistance is very low
  •  Superior build quality
  •  Two distinct axis of movement


CH products is a manufacturing and engineering company who build high-end industrial level products. At first I wanted to leave this stick out of this review because the stick has two distinct axis of travel. This may feel strange when you fly around in space.
This stick features great precision, low throw resistance and therefore moves very smooth. The buttons are precise and hardly wobble. The software (CH Control Manager) is perhaps the best available on the market.

My personal preference is a gimballed stick but I know of many citizens that aren’t bothered by the distinct axis. The stick is quite big and less suitable for people with small hands. Some people don’t like the aesthetics , but I rather buy a quality stick and choose function over looks. Many people prefer Hall effect sensors but the high-quality pots CH uses are just as good.

High-end Joysticks over $250

When it comes to high-end flight sticks your options are limited. These sticks are from a different category, built to last, high precision and great quality components. A high precision stick should generally be used for aim, flying with two high-end sticks would be overkill. The sticks selected lack twist, consider buying pedals in case you’re going for HOTAS or dual stick.

VKB Gladiator Pro

vkb gladiator pro

  •  29 Total Logical Buttons Using Shift/Mode Functions
  •  Aluminum gimbal with changeable springs & cams
  •  Superior quality, unmatched precision
  •  Throttle on the base
  •  Great movement and handling
  •  2 SHIFT modes and 13 buttons on the base
  •  Save and load Profiles
  •  Not always available
  •  Lacks twist

Based on a real fighter stick and a very cool and authentic design, the Gladiator pro is probably the best flight stick you can get. Superb quality and precision/accuracy and enough weight to prevent it from moving.  This is the kind of stick you can let go to press some buttons at the base, without deviating from your flight path. If you want the best, this is it! Unfortunately the stick isn’t always available, hopefully they will produce another batch soon.

Thrustmaster Warthog joystick

Thrustmaster warthog joystick

  •  Superior quality
  •  Heavy weight, can be bolted
  •  Real fighter stick replica
  •  Great precession and accuracy
  •  Lacks twist

The design is a replica of the A-10C Thunderbolt II airplane and considered one of the best high-end flight sticks. The sticks feel is solid and very comfortable compared to the budget sticks . This is the most expensive stick (depending on your region) you can get but worth the money if you can afford it. On the other hand you probably won’t buy another one because this stick is made to last. The Warthog has quite some weight on the base which prevents it from moving and you’re able to bolt the plate.

Star Citizen HOTAS

There aren’t many options in the space sim genre when you’re looking for the best Star Citizen HOTAS. Most of them don’t have analogue sticks which you’ll need to make use of the six degrees of freedom (6DoF). Many HOTAS users that play Star Citizen also play other flight sims and use pedals to make use of 6DoF.
With the increasing popularity of the space sim genre a few manufactures added analogue sticks to fill the gap in this niche market. CIG also announced a dedicated Star Citizen HOTAS at Gamescom 2015, but Madcatz went out of business and Logitech took over. This means it’s going to take a while before we hear anything so let’s see which flight sticks and throttles are available.

Thrustmaster HOTAS X:

Thrustmaster Hotas X

  •  Cheapest you can get
  •  Can’t make use of T.A.R.G.E.T software
  •  Breaks down easily
  •  Short cable between the two pieces

If you just want to experience what it’s like to fly a HOTAS without burning your budget you can consider this HOTAS setup. This isn’t my favourite and it has lots of issues but it’s a cheap HOTAS, a decent HOTAS starts around $130. Main problems are large dead zones, no resistance in the throttle and cable is a little short.
The pro of this set is pricing, it has twist, programmable buttons and you can separate and attach the two pieces. It works as advertised but tends to break down easily, it’s perhaps a bit too delicate for playing space sims like Star Citizen.

Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS

Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS

  •  Analogue mini stick is a big plus
  •  Easy to setup, T.A.R.G.E.T software is great
  •  Cheap in comparison to other setups
  •  The throttle doesn’t glide well
  •  Button layout on the stick could be better

This HOTAS is one of the few which comes with and analogue mini stick. The placement however is questionable as you need to control it with your left index finger, which feels very unnatural IMO. The throttle feels a bit cheap and is inaccurate due to friction, you can solve this by slightly modding it with Velcro strips. If you’re looking for a better throttle you should checkout the CH throttle but it’s more expensive.
Both the throttle and stick come with TARGET software which allows you to configure the set very easily. Great thing is that it works straight out of the box! This is a very good Star Citizen HOTAS considering it’s price, you can also buy them individually or go for the flight pack which includes pedals. Recommended when you’re on a budget or looking for a decent entry-level setup!

T16000m + Ch throttle

Ch throttle plus t16000m

  •  One of the best throttles, CH quality product
  •  Throttle comes with an analogue thumb stick
  •  Throttle isn’t always available

A good setup as the CH Pro throttle has an analogue thumb stick on the throttle. CH is known for it’s quality builds but the throttle isn’t always available.
You get twist on the stick, and analogue control on the throttle thumb stick. This combination of throttle and joystick basically covers all you need to play Star Citizen. In comparison to the T16000 FCS throttle the CH Pro throttle is of better quality but also more expensive. The throttle slides in a horizontal direction which may feel bit strange when you’re use to an arc like movement.
Downside is that you’ll need to make use of two different programs, TARGET and CH Control Manager.

Logitech G Saitek Pro Flight X56 Rhino HOTAS

Saitek x56 hotas

  •  2 analogue thumb sticks
  •  Accurate stick, decent button layout, interchangeable springs
  •  3 modifier buttons to switch profiles
  •  Can develop problems when heavily used
  •  Stick is rather large, hard to reach button on the top
  •  More expensive compared to the FCS

The X56 Rhino HOTAS looks like an updated version of X55 Rhino with RGB led and analogue thumb sticks attached. The X56 is the only HOTAS on the market that comes with 2 analogue sticks. One located on the joystick and the other is located on the throttle. This setup is the last product from Madcatz/Saitek (before Logitech took over) and designed for space games like Elite dangerous and Star Citizen.

I have mixed feelings about this setup as it seems like the perfect HOTAS to play a space game. You have control over al 6DoF and it’s pretty accurate. The thumb sticks really are a great addition and two thumb sticks is are a unique feature. The manufacturing quality however could use some improvements (just like its predecessor) and the wiring in the throttle are a concern. On the other hand it’s half the price of the Warthog, but almost double the price of the T16000 FCS hotas.

The stick is rather large and not suitable for smaller hands but you can mod the stick to adjust it to your needs. Modding the stick will break warranty so do it at your own risk.
The throttle feels great just like the X55 and moves in an arc like direction. The is quite some tension on the throttle but this gradually becomes smoother.

Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog

Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog hotas

  •  High-end stick, quality build and internals
  •  Very precise
  •  Very ergonomic, copied from A-10C Thunderbolt II airplane
  •  Heavy weight, ability to bolt and attach
  •  Can be bought separately
  •  Very expensive, one of the most expensive sticks and throttles
  •  Lack twist and analog thumb stick means you need pedals

This is the most expensive HOTAS, has a very solid mostly metal exterior and excellent internal components (although some are plastic). The set is a copy of the A-10C Thunderbolt II airplane and looks amazing.
Because the stick has no twist you also need pedals which will make the set even more costly. In general the Warthog is better for flight sims and less suitable for space sims like Star Citizen and Elite dangerous. Although people are very satisfied with the quality and accuracy some report the stick having stiction (static friction) issues.
The weight is impressive, you’ll notice this immediately when you unbox the package. You could consider just getting the stick for aim with a dual setup and pedals.

Star Citizen joystick buyers guide

The best joysticks aren’t cheap, in most cases this is because of the build quality which you don’t see on the outside. Another reason is probably the niche market, supply and demand.
There is a huge difference between a low-budget stick and a more expensive one. Think of a cheap mouse compared to a gaming mouse, they both work but you just notice the difference in quality and accuracy. The same goes for the best HOTAS, build quality is everything.
When it comes to space simulators in general for best precision you need fine control at the centre . There are some sticks where you can replace the spring (x55 and x56) with a lighter one and even adjust the strain (like the Warthog and VKB Gladiator pro). You can also mod a stick like the T16000m to give you more centre control, but this is probably not needed when you’re just starting out.
Keep the following things in mind when you’re looking to buy a flight stick to play Star Citizen

  • Deadzones
  • Ergonomics
  • Durability, internal and external build quality
  • Motion and precision
  • Gimbals should move smoothly across the axis

Single joystick VS dual joystick VS HOTAS

If you’re going for a single joystick make sure it has twist. You’ll also need a throttle on the base and a good amount of buttons. Downside of a single-stick is that you have less control than double stick users. You often see single joystick pilots using a mouse (HOSAM) or keyboard (HOSAK).

Many fighter pilots recommend using a dual joystick setup. Two flight sticks give you great control over your ship, thrusting however might become a bit more challenging. There are ways to avoid this problem by assigning the throttles to one of the sticks. Some assign it to a hat control, others use the forward and backward movement. Dual flight sticks are great for small and nimble fighters. If you’re new to the game and/or joysticks, a dual setup is probably the best solution.

When it comes to Star Citizen, HOTAS is better for larger ships and atmospheric flight. Star Citizen will also have atmospheric flight so keep that in mind. Some HOTAS users use additional pedals to control strafing and/or forward/backward movement. but fortunately there are some devices on the market which have analog controls. If you’re also playing other flight simulators (non space) you’re best pick would be a HOTAS.

Twist versus no twist

Another thing to consider when buying a joystick (especially space sims) is stick twist. If you buy a stick without twist you also need to consider getting pedals or get a second stick with twist to control the Z-axis. The benefit of not having twist is better precision.
Joysticks that feature twist are usually weaker in comparison and suffer from axis bleed. Last disadvantage is the unnatural motion which causes strain on the wrist. I notice it can start to hurt after a long period of gaming.
The advantages of having twist is that you don’t need pedals for yaw movement, it saves desk space and is easier to use.

Cheap joystick vs Expensive joystick

Obviously they key here is quality, a joystick is a mechanical device which gets to endure a lot more than a keyboard. Cheaper joysticks can’t handle ‘abuse’ very well, especially in the long run. Quality joysticks can last for over a decade easily when properly used. Some sticks break just after a few months by simply using them, buttons fail and accuracy decreases.

Cheaper joysticks tend to have low quality components, lack precision, are harder to calibrate and can suffer from ’spiking’. Spiking means a stick will slightly ‘move’ without giving it commands, some sticks develop spiking over time.

Some tips to improve ergonomics

Many joysticks and HOTAS users report that the devices move when being used. There are a couple of simple solutions you can try yourself. Some setups can be bolted to your desk, but most of the sticks don’t have this option.

You can attach Velcro or 3m dual lock to the bottom of the base to stop movement. Another simple solution you often see is to attach pole mounting brackets to a chair and Velcro on the base. If you’re handy you could consider building a construction to support the sticks or HOTAS like this example or go crazy and build this awesome setup.

Summary

best star citizen joystick infographic

Gaming joysticks suitable to play the PC game Star Citizen. The image represents the recommended flight controllers described in this blogpost.

Choosing the right HOTAS or joystick for Star Citizen is a combination of nuance and personal preferences. With the comeback of the space sim/arcade, joysticks seem to get more popular. This blogpost is based on personal experience and from what I’ve heard from other Star Citizens. I did a fair amount of research, used many sticks and tried to narrow down throttle and sticks specifically suitable for Star Citizen. Good setups aren’t cheap but if you do your research you can get a great flight stick or HOTAS to play Star Citizen.

  • Dedicated fighter pilots should use a dual joystick setup.
  • HOTAS setups are more suitable for larger ships and the atmospheric flight model.
  • Single stick users need to make sure their stick has twist and a throttle. Either use a mouse or a keyboard to complement your stick.

If anything is incorrect, outdated or could use improvement, please let me know.

4th Anniversary – Star Citizen 2.6 ships – Capital ships sale & Star Marine

Star Citizen anniversary

I wasn’t expecting much of the 4th Star Citizen anniversary to be honest, mainly because of all the negativity on Reddit. I’m glad I was sceptical because what a great surprise I was in for.

The vocal minority within the community were quite upset with the lack of communication and delays but Cloud Imperium Games gave the community what they wanted, open development and transparency. The latest letter from the chairman addresses the concerns by providing the status of development as CIG has internally planned. Now let’s leave the drama behind and talk about the Star Citizen anniversary 2016.

Star Citizen 2.6 alpha new ships and Star Marine

Star Citizen alpha 2.6 will come with Star Marine, the delayed FPS which was supposed to be out last year. There are valid reasons why Star Marine was delayed, but the good news is we can finally try the FPS module soon™! It’s still in alpha and by no means a Battlefield 1 FPS, but I’m sure in time we’ll have a great shooter on our hands.

Announced ships that we’ll see in 2.6 are the info runner Drake Herald, the Origin 85X and the long awaited Drake Caterpillar. The Caterpillar was one of the first ships that was sold and I can imagine the excitement the backers which purchased the ship must feel.
Additionally some ship ‘variants’ will make their first appearance like the Gladius Valiant, Sabre Comet, Hornet Wildfire and Avenger Titan Renegade. The only differences are cosmetic and some changes to the hardpoint loadouts to bring more variety to the game. The loadouts are slightly better than the default but the chassis remains unchanged.

Anniversary sale 2016

Every year CIG hosts greatly anticipated Star Citizen anniversary sale. The sale means that most of the available ships are sold on different days. Additionally discounted combo packages are and many stand alone ships with 4 years of insurance.
The sale will continue for 8 days, on the last day most of the ships will be sold in the grand finale. Keep an eye out for the discounted starter packages! Check out the schedule on the RSI website.

Capital ships available in limited quantity

A number of capital ships will be sold in the upcoming week, including the  Idris P and the Javelin. The Origin 890 jump is for sale for the second time since 2014. The ships prices increased dramatically but they are mainly for Orgs and passionate backers.

Discounted starter packages

Just confirmed on Twitter by Ben. The price and contents of the discounted starter package is still unknown for now. I’m hoping it will consist of both Squadron 42 and Star Citizen. If you want to back the game, now is a really good time to create an account and buy a package on the 26th of November. Make sure to get some free in game credits when you create a new account.

Esperia prowler concept sale

Pricey ship but very impressive. The Esperia Prowler is a boarding ship with alien features and design. I can image this low signature ship will be very intimidating when you see one landing and marines storm out.

Dynamic ship skinning

Finally we learned about ship skinning, in the long run we might be able to completely customize our ships colors.

10 reasons to buy star citizen

10 reasons to buy Star Citizen

Star Citizen is gradually maturing in development and communication towards backers. The gaming media is shifting away from drama and funding is not slowing down. With Alpha 2.6 and 3.0 right around the corner I created a list why to buy Star Citizen now.

Potentially the best game for years to come

With the scope of the project and the ground breaking technology, this game could keep you entertained for the next 8 to 10 years. Without the pressure of investors and the freedom Cloud Imperium Games has, they have a chance to do it right. CIG aims for quality and explores the ‘impossible’ to deliver something unique. This also means some ideas don’t work, but you can’t create something great without failing the first few times. In the last demo you could see the rings of a space station move in real time from the planet surface.
Some examples that makes Star Citizen unique.

  • Star Engine, a 64 bit precision engine that allows for large scale worlds.
  • Seamless transitions from space to planetary landings. No cut scenes.
  • Synchronized local Physic grids, allowing you to leave and enter your ships in space.
  • Many unique professions, you don’t even need a ship to make a living.

Awesome space ships

The ships are out of this world, the details are just amazing. Every ship consists of several components and some ships even have modular components. You can change or add parts like shields, weapons or power plants. Some ships even have modular components where you change a cargo bay into a medical bay. The component system will be quite advanced, I’ll explain more about this another time.
Star Citizen is also a space simulator so this means you can control the ships to great detail. Coupled and decoupled mode, strafing, pitch/yaw and 6 degrees of freedom (6DOF), it all feels very real! Not to mention the atmospheric flight model that they are working on. Entering the atmosphere of a planet should dramatically change the way your ships handles. Now if only we could jump using a parachute, but I am probably asking too much.

Star Citizen is cheap!

Buy Star citizen starter packages
There, I’ve said it. Star Citizen isn’t expensive at all! You get two games when you buy Star Citizen. The full package only costs you $60 and if you only are interested in buying the multiplayer game you pay $45. Squadron 42 is the single player campaign and the Persistent Universe is the online multiplayer game. They can be bought separately or combined in a package.

Star Citizen isn’t expensive at all! You get two games when you buy Star Citizen.

The more expensive ships are merely to contribute to development. You can earn all ships and items in game without the need of real money. Just control yourself and wait until the game releases, don’t go on a compulsive ship buying spree. If you do have disposable income and love to contribute then please, by all means. Furthermore if you don’t feel like risking $60 just wait until the game is released.
Star Citizen has a group of dedicated fans which love the concept and are willing to contribute using their wallets. These fans are usually between 30 and 45 years old, have a decent income and can afford to get a hangar full of ships. They completely trust Chris Roberts and know him from way back when he developed the Wing Commander series and Privateer.
Some of these space whales state that they don’t have the time to earn all ships in game and rather buy them upfront. Others say they consider this a hobby and they enjoy spending it on Star Citizen. They realise there is the possibility of losing their money if all should fail and are perfectly fine with that.

A chance to change the status quo

Last 10/15 years the game industry has changed. As companies rely on investors to fund game development, creativity seems to suffer. Many companies don’t want to take risk or experiment to deliver something new. Downloadable content is a prime example of maximising profit, but can you blame them? We are to blame as well as we buy the games because we feel like we have no other choice. It’s just the way it is and you can’t do anything about it.
So who do those people at CIG think they are? Delivering all these updates with shows like Around the Verse, Reverse the verse, Bug Smashers, detailed lore content, Gamescom/Citizencon demo’s and what not. Seriously stop it! I could write on and on about this but that would require you to download the seasons pass at an additional fee.

Development has matured

Star Citizen development started back in 2012 with a limited scope. Many of the features that were added in the course of the years weren’t part of the original concept. CIG grew from only a couple of dedicated developers to a huge gaming company with 4 offices in Los Angeles, Austin, Wilmslow and Frankfurt with over 300 employees.
With the rapid expansion of CIG organisational problems will occur. This is quite common and happens in any organisation. CIG now has streamlined production more efficiently and we can see the results. The procedural generated planet tech has dramatically improved from version 1.0 to version 2.0 in just a couple of months for example.
Chris Roberts originally aimed for 6 million USD to prove the space genre was still viable, but crowd funding went ballistic and today we are sitting at almost 130 million USD in crowd funding. This opened new possibilities and allowed CIG to star creating the game space enthousiasts dream of.

CIG grew from only a couple of dedicated developers to a huge gaming company with 4 offices in Los Angeles, Austin, Wilmslow and Frankfurt with over 300 employees.

In addition the fall of Crytek CIG was very beneficial to CIG. They were able to hire the experts which build the Crytek engine and their expertise contributed greatly to the game engines evolution. Almost 60% has been rewritten and the pace of development has been increasing because of hiring former Crytek engine developers.

Transparancy & communication

CIG is fairly transparent when it comes to developing Star Citizen. Backers are involved in the Alpha which greatly contributes to identifying bugs and testing concepts. The open development is something unique when talking about AAA budgets but the downside is managing expectations from the backers. In the end some people will be extremely happy with the game where other will be disappointed as it doesn’t represent the game they wanted.
Sometimes a feature doesn’t really perform like envisioned and this causes the community to critique design decisions made by CIG. On the other hand the engagement of the community gives an unique opportunity to contribute and help shape the game.
Many engaged Star Citizens contribute to the issue council and identify and reproduce bugs which testers and developers have missed. This help CIG tremendously in the development process.

The gaming media coverage is moving away from doom and gloom

Star Citizen has been the subject of controversy in gaming media for a couple of years now. As of lately we see a change in tone of voice when it comes to reporting about Star Citizen. Recently the focus is moving away from all the drama and negativity and has shifted to uplifting well researched articles. Drama sells obviously but the recent positive articles could be a sign that the nay-sayers are losing momentum.

Outlook more positive than ever

funding graph

With over 140 million USD in funding and without any signs of slowing down we can be a little bit optimistic about the delivery of the game. Funding is consistent and a lot of progress has been made. The recent change in communication towards the backers are also greatly appreciated by the community. Around the verse episodes now give more insight into development and delivers quality content that keeps the community engaged.

Great gaming community

I am completely biased of course by making such a statement, but I am often surprised by the dedication and kindness of the community. There can be a lot of criticism on the Subreddit and the official forums but it helps to create the perfect game.
Engaged citizens are not shy in stating their opinions but also know when they are wrong, well most of the time. A good example is the lack of Squadron 42 footage during Citizencon 2016, this was a huge let down to the dedicated fans. When CIG explained why in a short documentary people actually apologised for their behaviour.

This community is really helpful and goes through great length to help aspiring citizens with questions they have. Just go to the Subreddit and ask a question, you will have multiple responses within minutes. Please read the FAQ first but even common questions are answered without hostility.

Star Citizen 3.0 Alpha

Probably the most anticipated patch is Star Citizen Alpha 3.0. This will be the first patch that will included a number of professions. 3.0 is expected in the first quarter of 2017 but delays are not unlikely. This patch will include trading, cargo hauling, bounty hunting and more.
Another great update on the netcode will come with 3.0 which should dramatically increase the FPS and overall performance. CIG stated network issues will not be fixed, this is probably the biggest reason to not buy the game right now. The multiplayer performance issues are pretty frustrating.

If you are still on the fence you might want to wait for 3.0 (August 2017) before you buy Star Citizen and become a backer.

The difference between No Man’s Sky and Star Citizen

no man's sky versus star citizen

I recently noticed I get many visitors looking for a No Man’s Sky alternative space game.
In short you can’t really compare No Man’s Sky to Star Citizen. On top of that I imagine NMS refugees are cautious when it comes to backing another space game. While I can’t really say Star Citizen is No Mans’s sky replacement, I can explain the difference between development.

Star Citizen’s open development is fundamentally different from No Man’s Sky. CIG has been as open as possible about development and actively involve the community. A recent example is Citizencon 2016 where the Squadron 42 demo couldn’t be shown because it wasn’t polished enough. Some of the community were outraged and CIG responded by showing why they couldn’t just demo it yet. There is a short documentary about what was going on inside prior to Citizencon 2016.

What do the games have in common?

Well to be honest they don’t have anything in common really. They are both space games and have a great soundtrack but that’s where the comparison ends. Star Citizen is going to be high fidelity massive online multiplayer game where No Man’s Sky is not. However if you are into space games, Star Citizen will be a great No Man’s Sky alternative!

The biggest concerns regarding Star Citizen

The biggest concern for many people about Star Citizen is the promised release dates and delays. Squadron 42 (single player campaign) was promised in 2016 but it will possibly arrive late 2017. The vocal minority of the backers can be quite unforgiving when it comes to delays. To be honest promising release dates is usually a bad idea in software development. Another concern is the slow release of patches and updates, and they tend to be delayed as well. Fortunately Cloud Imperium Games is maturing and actively addresses the concerns of the community.

Star Citizen is a ridiculously complex game and they are creating tech that hasn’t been done before. They are doing amazing work and communicate about it with shows like Around The Verse, Bug Smashers, Reverse The Verse and Star Citizen lore. If they manage to achieve something they communicate about it and if they can’t they will let us know.

People are concerned about the time it takes to deliver the game and this makes people skeptical about Star Citizen. Usually you don’t hear about a game in development, just look at the bar chart below it’s not that bad at all.

bar chart development time comparison

The difference between Star citizen development and No Man’s Sky

No man’s Sky developers made a lot of promises and were way too ambitious and never delivered. Feature after feature was promised but in the end they never existed. The main developer has been accused of actually faking controlling the game, you can see for yourself and make your own judgement.
If you are a No Man’s Sky refugee you probably know all this so I don’t want to bore you with all this negativity.

Like I said, Star Citizen has been a bit too optimistic about delivery dates. The difference is that eventually they pull it off and show what they achieved to the community. You don’t deliver a AAA game within a few years, that is just unrealistic.
All we need is time and so far CIG is doing what they promised or at least showed the community internal builds. On top of that they let us play the game and help test certain features and use the feedback to further improve these builds. This is a huge difference with No Man’s sky where a lot of the features showed in demos didn’t exist!

So where is Star Citizen now?

In the early days of development Star Citizen was only a dog fighting space game without all the fancy features like we see today. Chris Roberts was aiming for 6 million in crowd funding to deliver a proof of concept but then something amazing happened which resulted in the biggest crowd funded game ever.

First person shooter,  procedurally generated planets, ground exploration and the level of detail we are seeing today were never part of the original game. Some of the stuff we see now was considered to be impossible but their persistence in trying to accomplish the impossible resulted in unprecedented tech.

There is a game but it is very thin at the moment. It can be considered a framework where game features are being tested with an active community. Even though the content is thin it can be quite enjoyable. If you are not convinced you could wait for a free fly week to test the game for free.
The next big update will be 2.6 and after that 3.0 which should have some of the professions and roles implemented.
I leave it up to you if you want to back the game and if you do you can use this referral to get 5000 UEC (worth $5) which is the virtual currency used in Star Citizen.

This code gets you 5000 UEC for free when creating a new account.
STAR-L6Q2-2394
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