What is Star Citizen

what is star citizen

Star Citizen is an ambitious massive multiplayer space simulator, first person shooter and built on the (heavily altered) CryEngine. Star Citizen aims to be the most detailed space game and will consist of an vast expanding galaxy for players to explore and build. Currently the game is in Alpha where players can test ideas and provide feedback to help develop the game.

Star Citizen will consist of a single player game called Squadron 42 and a multiplayer known as The Persistent universe. The single player game will let you earn your citizenship and your place in the online Persistent Universe. You can however opt-out and enter the Universe right away. Your initial reputation will partially depend on the choices you make in Squadron 42.

The space game will launch with over 100 star systems including landing zones where you can disembark to explore. Players can descent from orbit to highly detailed planets seamlessly. You will experience what it is like to enter and leave planets which is rather unique. Explore worlds, hunt down bad guys or become a pirate, it’s up to you how you want to leave your mark.
It is hard to describe the exact definition of star citizen. CIG aims to push the boundaries of hardware which allows them to create unprecedented detail and innovative game play.

What can I do right now?

Star Citizens current state allows you to take on a few missions in the mini Persistent universe and dog fight or race in single an multiplayer mode.
Arena commander is the dog fight and racing module and works pretty well, where the mini PU is still very much Alpha. Currently there are frame rate issues in the mini PU which should be resolved when Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 releases. Arena Commander will also get a big update with the next patch. Star Citizen is currently in Alpha which means you will encounter bug and glitches.

The Mini Persistent Universe

The mini Persistent Universe is only a glimpse of the final multiplayer game. At this moment there are several things you can do other than gazing at the stars and beautiful scenery. There are a few missions available, FPS combat (still very alpha) and an outlaw station called Grimhex.
Don’t forget to put on your space suit, you will choke if you enter the decompression rooms without one!

Arena Commander

arena commander

Engage in dog fighting, racing, earn REC to upgrade your weapons and practice your pilot skills in Arena Commander. You can play against AI in single or multiplayer mode or just peacefully get to know your ship in free flight mode.
Other game modes consist of capture the core in multiplayer or race against time or other people in multiplayer. Once you earned a little bit of REC (placeholder currency) you can visit the REC shop and get some upgrades. Keep in mind that only multiplayer allows you to earn REC.

Social module

The social module allows you to interact with players and is considered the first landing zone.  This module is intended as a starting point for world building. At the moment you can visit some shops and buy weapons, armor, and clothing with Alpha UEC. The items you buy can only be used in the mini PU. You can connect to the social module by clicking on ArcCorp after you selected the Universe from the main menu.

Hangar module

The hangar module allows you to configure and view your ships. You can spawn ships by using the Port Mod Mobiglass app. Configuring a ship is done by using the hollow table, you can swap weapons, shields, power plants to get the best ships performance.

Star Citizen 3.0 Alpha

Star Citizen 3.0 Alpha release will show the first professions in the Verse. This will make the game much more interesting than it is at the moment. We can expect the first iteration on trading, cargo transport, piracy, mercenary and bounty hunting.

What is Star Citizen going to be like?

impression of Terra prime

Star Citizen wants to create a living, breathing science fiction universe with unparalleled immersion.

Simply put it is going to be the best damn space game ever. Explore solo or join an organization to fight for their cause. Whether you want to be a law-abiding citizen or pirate, your choices will impact how the Star Citizen universe will play out for you. Your reputation and role will determine your path and encounters in this space game.
Basically, you will have all the freedom to make your own choices and impact the universe. The risk you take to earn your living will determine the rewards.

Risk can even mean death, your character can actually die. With death comes your successor, which will have traits of your previous character. As death will be an element of the game you will think twice before taking a risky assignment. Don’t worry though, you won’t die that easily and medics can patch you up but it may leave some scars, even artificial limbs.

Not an arcade game but a real space simulator

Star Citizens flight model is based on Newtonian physics. Performance of each ship is carefully calculated meaning different ship components will impact your flight experience. The spaceships have sophisticated fly-by-wire and with ICFS active ships will respond naturally.  The flight model allows you to control all six degrees of freedom (6DoF).
Vectoring your ship using your thrusters, toggle decoupled and coupled mode and G-forces which can cause blackouts. It all feels very natural and is a great experience.
Space simulator may sound intimidating, but basic flight controls aren’t hard to learn. Mastering your ship however will be a great challenge. Fortunately, there are roughly 50 different ships available at this moment.

The Star Citizen economy

The last formal update about the Star Citizen economy was posted a while ago. Something that has been consistent throughout the years is risk vs reward. The more risk you take the more you earn. Mining in UEE space will be safe and you will make a profit, but minerals in unsafe space will earn you more. While scarcity obviously is a part of the economy, the inner workings of the economy are complex and subjected to change.

In game currency (a)UEC and REC

The currency used will be United Earth Credits (UEC) which you earn by completing missions designed for the profession you have chosen at that time. At this moment you can earn aUEC in the Universe by completing missions.
REC is the currency to rent ships, weapons, and shield for your ships. REC will be replaced by UEC in the final game.

What is the Star Citizen release date?

If only I knew the release date, it’s hard to say when Star Citizen launches. With the huge scope and ambition of the project we might have to wait for another 2 years for the multiplayer to come out. Cloud Imperium Games wants to do it right, however this is one of the biggest concerns about the project. To be fair developing such a sophisticated AAA space game and do it right, you’ll probably need some time.
Good news is that the single-player game Squadron 42 is planned to be released somewhere in 2017.

Who is making Star Citizen

The company making the game is called Cloud Imperium Games. At the head of the company is Chris Roberts who has a proven track record by creating the successful Wing Commander series and the game Freelancer. Many of the early backers support the dream of Chris Roberts to create the “Best Damn Space Sim Ever”. CIG grew from just a couple of people back in the kick starter days to a triple AAA development studio with hundreds of employees.

How much money did Star Citizen raise

Back in 2012 the original Kickstarter earned Star Citizen over 6 million USD. After the Kickstarter CIG continued to crowdfund the game themselves. As of this writing, the backers raised over 180 million USD, enough to keep development going for a while. Good news is that funding is not slowing down, estimations are that by the end of 2016 a total of 150 million dollars will be raised.

What are the system requirements

Star Citizen system requirements aren’t known yet. The idea is to push PC hardware boundaries, so when the game releases you probably need a mid/ high-end PC to run the game smoothly. Right now in alpha, the game isn’t optimized yet so drops in FPS and glitches are known issues. This means that if you own a high-end PC today, you won’t get optimal performance. The reason behind this isn’t because of your computer, but the Star Citizen server communicating with your computer and the data it’s sending. When Star Citizen moves to the Beta phase of development you can expect a more optimized experience.

So where do I begin?

Now you know a little bit about what Star Citizen is you should check out my up to date guide for beginners. It describes the basic steps to start playing Star Citizen. From creating an account to your first flight and mission. The guide focuses on your first steps to take. Advanced play is something you need to find out once you get the basics.

starter guideStar Citizen starter guide
Basic guide for new and aspiring Star Citizens. Covers account creation, flight controls, keybindings, your first flight and Star Marine
Which ship to buyPicking the right ship
A guide to help you pick the right ship. Learn about professions, various ships and find out which suits you best.
UEE logoHow to earn UEC, REC and aUEC
Ways to earn Star Citizen game credits like UEC, REC and aUEC.
m50 in spaceStar Citizen PC requirements and specs
Specifications you need to play the current alpha version. SC config files and game optimisation settings.