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CitizenCon Analysis Written Thursday 13th of October 2016 at 12:00pm by Nehkara

Hello there Citizens!  After the 2016 CitizenCon presentation, a few members of INN sat down to discuss it.

CitizenCon 2016 is over, the fallout has begun. The night after CitizenCon, we at INN spent three hours dissecting everything we learned during the presentation. You can watch or listen to that analysis below.

If you don’t have time to listen to us ramble about what we learned, and we understand if you don’t, I’m going to try to cover here, in text, some of the main points. Our strategy for the podcast was to go through each of the slides shown during the presentation and discuss key details from the slide, and I’m going to do more or less the same here.

Before we get into the slides we wanted to comment on Spectrum:

  • Spectrum is honestly an amazing concept for communication in a video game.  The combination of Discord-like chat, live modern forums, organizations, and complex voice chat into one application that also serves as the game's launcher is pretty spectacular.  We can't wait.

Now on to the slides:

  • Squadron 42 has expanded since we last had a chapter/mission list which was 20 and 50 respectively.
  • Procedural tech has allowed Squadron 42 to feature enhanced environments.
  • Planetary atmosphere dogfighting is a new development
  • Subsumption has some interesting features but the most interesting might be "simultaneous secondary objectives" which to me means that AI can have multiple priorities simultaneous competing for their attention.

  • The remaining technical blockers for Squadron 42 are Subsumption(AI), networking, and optimization.
  • Object container streaming essentially means that the game will stream objects in and out rather than holding them in memory.  This allows for the game to run much better, and is essentially an advanced way of optimizing.
  • CPU and GPU optimizations are the last thing a game company does before releasing.

  • Squadron 42 is content complete and can be played from start to finish.
  • Finishing touches and polish still required.
  • Vertical slice will help complete the game's development by forcing Foundry 42 to to figure out all of the little problems keeping it from being finished.
  • Everything made for Squadron will be used in Star Citizen - this is something that could not have been achieved if the two games were not being developed in parallel.
  • Squadron 42 vertical slice was not shown at CitizenCon which was rather depressing, though understandable.  Hopefully we'll see it soon.

  • 2.6 will flesh out the combat systems in Star Citizen and provide a mountain of quality-of-life improvements for players.
  • Lobby refactor will allow for multicrew ships to be used effectively in Arena Commander.

  • Significant quality of life improvements for Star Citizen players.  These should make the game easier to play regularly.

  • Two potentially new locations for Star Marine.
  • Standard FPS game modes.  Reasonable game sizes in terms of players.
  • Achievements and ribbons should help with player engagement.

  • Addition of one mechanic (cargo) spawns 5 professions!
  • Full star system will be incredible - massive play area
  • Caterpillar will be great to have in-game.  Long-awaited ship.
  • Constellation Aquila and Ursa Rover will be a fantastic combo for exploring around the entirety of Stanton.

  • The second major pillar of the in-game economy is raised in 3.1 with mining and, by extension, refining/processing.  Will this include fuel/gas mining?
  • Refueling adds more interesting player interaction opportunities.
  • MISC Hull C will provide heavy cargo transport capability and allow the Hull D and Hull E to be easily built by extension.  The Hull A and B are on a different chassis from the C-E and will need their own work, although some could obviously be recycled.
  • The addition of the MISC Prospector allows for mining gameplay both planet-side and in asteroid fields.

  • Salvage and Repair round out the early-game professions and provide additional context to cargo and mining gameplay.  In addition, repair will give crew members on board multicrew ships more to do.
  • We're not entirely sure what Mercenary - Covert Operations will look like.
  • HUGE patch for ships.  Constellations are complete, Terrapin arrives earlier than expected, Vanguards are complete, and...
  • The Aegis Reclaimer enters the fray.  One of the most intimidating and massive ships in Star Citizen, the Reclaimer will put an exclamation mark on the addition of salvage gameplay.  Depending on its implementation, the arrival of a Reclaimer could be a harbinger of death in Star Citizen.

  • Farming!  Lots of folks very excited for this addition to Star Citizen.  This will be the beginning of true planet-side occupation by players.
  • This patch also brings some of the most-loved ships in Star Citizen to life with the Carrack, 890 Jump, and Banu Merchantman.

  • Coming roughly December 2017 - Star Citizen becomes a multiple star system space sim.  What does multiple mean?  Well, I am hoping it's the original 5 systems that were posited last year.
  • Science and Research bring some very interesting and unique gameplay to Star Citizen, starting to set it further apart from games that have come before.
  • Initial science/research ships?  Perhaps the Carrack, Reliant Sen, Constellation Aquila.
  • Orion and Crucible will refine and enhance the Mining and Repair gameplay.

  • Weather effects are already quite impressive.  Clouds look great, low-level fog/clouds add atmosphere and are appropriately placed on the planet.  Snow is distributed correctly and gets deeper at higher altitudes.  Sand storms both large and small also add a lot to the environment in the desert biome.
  • Jank.  There was a fair amount of jankiness in the demo whether it be pop-in, artifacting, clipping, or frame rate drops.
  • Terrain blending, which was one of the big challenges coming in to the demo, was done very very well.  It is quite difficult to spot the edges of the biomes.  Fantastic job here.
  • Massive improvement in terrain textures since Gamescom and Procedural Planets V1.
  • Cloth physics in SC are looking great already.
  • Suspension on the Ursa has improved but still needs work.
  • We need anti-aliasing.
  • Minerals?!  There are minerals.
  • Variable levels of zoom on the sniper rifle, including one that actually makes your scope full-screen which is frankly pretty cool and looks great.
  • The Orpheus Horizon, Javelin-class destroyer, is 155 years old and was built on Cestulus in the Davien system at the Vaspen Drydock.
  • During massive sandstorm, the interior of the crashed Javelin should have been more affected.  Suspect that the zone system that isolates the interior of the ship from the exterior likely caused the storm to not affect the interior.
  • Panels flying off the Javelin was cool but raises a lot of questions about what would happen if you went away and came back?
  • Sandworm.  Yeah.  Wow.
  • We love you all, thank you for reading/watching!
  • We had a FANTASTIC time at CitizenCon!
  • Keep it tuned to INN for more SC interviews and news!
  • Keep it tuned to Star Citizen as well!  There are two livestreams coming up before the end of the year - one in the last half of November (Anniversary) and one in the 3rd week of December (Holiday).

Our overall takeaway from the presentation was that not enough was shown (because Squadron 42 was cut) but we have much more information about the upcoming updates to the game stretching out for the next 15 months.

I hope you all enjoyed our breakdown!



Writer and inhabitant of the Star Citizen subreddit.