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