Byronyk and Bluir are back, this time with the most comprehensive review of Star Marine I’ve seen. Check out his full transcript after the video.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen! My name is byronyk and today’s Star Guide will be a comprehensive overview of Star Marine, Cloud Imperium Games FPS simulator and a major piece of groundwork for the persistent universe. I’ve created a handy navigation tool on the top and bottom of the screen because this guide is extensive. That being said, I would highly recommend watching the whole thing because hey, knowing, is half the battle.
Alright, enough of the prelude. Let’s do this!
To begin this guide, one must understand the importance of star marine. This is not just an fps module being created to sate the masses and stop forum [concern] posts for a short while, no. This is in fact the framework for the social module, zero-G movement, boarding actions, planetary exploration, loading cargo, and basically everything that is not you directly flying or manning a station on a ship.
The FPS module at its core is a test bed for the full release of Star Citizen. Along with Arena Commander, the FPS module helps set the base of SQ42 and the Persistent Universe. Anything else such as the social and planetary module, the multicrew update in AC version 2.0, and the chapter 1 release of SQ42 will simply bring focus and character to our ever expanding universe.
On the initial launch of Star Marine, there will be two game modes being featured on one map each with two maps total.
First up, we have the battle sphere! This is a robust training school teaching potential commanders to lead the human force against the buggers and save humanity! Our star pupil Andrew Wiggins.. (BLEEP) First up, we have SATABall, an intense game of zero-G movement, teamwork, and balls. Played within the Astro Arena map, two teams of up to 16 players total will compete over possession of the ball with the primary goal of scoring points within their opposing teams gate. A full match of SATAball consists of 7 rounds with each round ending on the successful score of a single point.
Player interaction in SATAball is divided into two categories — movement control and FPS mechanics. Using your arms, legs, and grappling attachment, you can propel yourself through a zero-gravity environment to navigate around floating objects or close the gap with your enemy. Similarly, interacting with the sataball itself can be done with your hands or your grappling attachment. While managing THAT, every player is also equipped with a stun gun that will temporarily paralyze your target.
Now while this may seem like a lot, the game itself will help you on the progress of your match. Once a player picks up the sataball, that player is highlighted visually for both friendly and opposing teams. Be warned though — once you DO pickup the ball you will be unable to fire your weapon, only being able to pass, shoot, or drop the ball.
So! As a quick recap, SATAball is all about putting balls into your enemy teams gate. Use your limbs and grappling device to maneuver zero-g, stun guns to paralyze your foe, and teamwork to bring your team victory and make your opponent rue the day they thought they could man handle space balls better than you!
Next up, we have the second gamemode which is your traditional team elimination with a twist. This mode will be premiered on Gold Horizon Station, an abandoned relic of the past controlled by various groups of outlaws. If you’d like to know more about the lore surrounding Gold Horizon Station, I have a link in the description, so check it out.
Moving on, this game mode will feature an 8v8 team comp with the UEE attacking an entrenched band of pirate shock troopers. This mode focuses far more on gun play and tactical strategy than sataball, allowing the use of lethal weapons, grenades, and utility devices such as shields, holograms, and claymore-like traps. A team wins when the other is completely wiped-out
The station itself has artificial gravity. At any point during a game, a player may choose to shut those systems off creating a zero-g environment. Using either magnetized boots, micro-thrusters, grappling devices, or simply your hands, you will have to navigate the now weightless environment similar to Astro Arena. As a side note, it was stated previously that micro-thrusters could be damaged/destroyed — I can’t confirm if this will be in-game day 1, but let’s hope it is because that would be freaking awesome!
If you would like to see a detailed breakdown of the Gold Horizon station itself, feel free to click the video as seen here. I discuss utility devices, grenade and weapon types, HUD information, and much more, so check it out.
On to the next subject, customization. Customization at the start of Star Marine will primarily consist of custom load outs which include weapons, utility devices, grenades, and so forth.
Now as of the last official discussion on this topic, CIG stated there will most likely be no weapon customization at the launch of Star Marine, but that WILL be seen in a future patch. That being said, we do know SOME stuff regarding weapon modifications. Seen in this image here, your gun contains a multitude of attachment options such as sights, rails, and barrels, as well as ammo types. Now none of this is truly groundbreaking as even call of duty and battlefield share most of these, but keep in mind weapon types will also extend to pneumatic, radiation, and energy guns which I’m sure contains non-traditional kinetic weapon attachments.
Before we move on, there are two very important side notes to address. First, Sataball will have no customization — you have your stun gun, your grappler, and your wits. That’s it. Second, character customization which includes your actual appearance will not be in Star Marine but instead will premier in the social module.
Next up we have the armory. In this segment, I’m going to cover armor, weapons, and gadgets in that order. To start, let’s look at the armor. As of today, there are 6 armor sets being created for Star Marine with 3 being for the UEE and 3 for the outlaws. The armor is classified into 3 categories — Light, Medium, and Heavy. In these images, we can see that each armor type comes with weapon restrictions as well as passive benefits and drawbacks.
Starting with the light armor, we can see that these suits are capable of holding 1 medium and 1 small weapon. Within the description, we can see that both the PAB-4 and Hyperion Special armor is meant to boost maneuverability by sacrificing durability.
The medium armor allows for 2 medium weapons and 1 small weapon. Where the light armor was primarily used by police, civilians, and some military forces, this is the first standard marine quality armor available. Compared to the light and heavy armors, the ORC MK9 and Privateer find a balance between speed and survivabilty.
Finally, we have the heavy armor. The only systems capable of holding large weapon types, the Achilles and COLLOSUS heavy armors sacrifice speed for endurance. While shear power of arms does not always win the battle, it sure doesn’t hurt.
Moving on to weapons, CIG has been pretty diverse so far at the various TYPES of weapons offered at the launch of Star Marine. We have traditional assault rifles and ballistic pistols, but we also have electric shotguns, combustion pistols, and microwave cannons.
I’m going to break down the weapons into their respective size categories and quickly show you what we know so far. First we have the Gemini LH-86 combustion pistol and the Klaus & Werner model II Arclight laser pistol. While I could speculate that the laser pistol will be more effective against shields and the combustion pistol will be more effective against armor, that’s far too much mass effect bias so I’ll move on. Strangely enough, the only FPS weapon available on the RSI site for purchase IS the LH-86 combustion handgun. Seen here, you can purchase this weapon right now for 10,000 UEC. As a side note, this weapon is NOT available for REC.. yet.
Next up we have the medium sized weapons. This includes the Kastak Devastator-12, an electric shotgun with a magazine size of 132 and classified as an energy weapon. This is the Behring P4SC, a blastic submachine gun used for close quarters combat and one of the few traditional ballistic weapons available. Finally in the medium category, we have the Klaus & Werner ATT-4. With an effective range of 100 meters and an enormous magazine size of 300, this energy weapon will most likely be my personal bread and butter when Star Marine goes live.
To wrap up the weapons, let’s look at the heavy weight champions. First is the Klaus & Werner Arrowhead sniper rifle. While I may not be a sniper in any game I play, this is one sweet looking weapon. Following that is the Bhering Hp21i Thunder burst cannon. While this weapon LOOKS the part, I don’t really know much about this weapon outside my warhammer 40k knowledge on burst cannons. The final heavy weapon choice is the Kastak Firestorm, a microwave cannon that will cook you so hot that even your freshly made hotpocket will seem cold. An old youtuber by the name of AnythingFPS pulled the assets of this weapon months ago and is the only actual footage available that I know of for this weapon. AnythingFPS no longer makes videos, but he was one of the best.
So we’ve looked at armor and weapons, but what about the gadgets? Well first off, we have the grenades — six in fact. There’s the EMP grenade which temporarily stuns and blinds you. The Mk4 fragmentation grenade which blows you to little pieces. The force propulsion grenade which throws enemies and debris in all directions. The LiDar grenade which acts as a continuous minimap scanner, and finally the Radar Scanner grenade which is similar to the LiDar grenade, except we believe it will give you a better grasp of a larger area for a short time.
Moving on, we’ve got a ton of random gadgets that I’d like to fire off quickly and not spend a whole lot of time on. First, we have an area of denial device which basically looks like a claymore with feet. If that thing actually begins to walk around, I’m done. Next, we have the hologram decoy generator which we saw in the original fps module demo and is used as a distraction for your enemies. This is the Dynapak, a field medic device which is used to heal downed comrades and stop them bleeding all over your ship. This will initially be implemented through simple targeted healing ala the Team Fortress medic, however major changes will be made to that system in the future. In the description below, you’ll find the official “Healing your spaceman”, so check that out for more details. Finally, we have the personal shield system which saw extensive use in the fps module demo.
That’s it for the armory. We’ve looked at armor, guns, and gadgets, and after all that, I’m pretty floored at the extent to which CIG is going for diversity in Star Marine. Seriously, name me one triple A title that had 6 grenade types in the last decade. There are still plenty of weapons I didn’t cover such as the crossbow which was a partnered kickstarter reward, the FSK-8 combat knife, unidentified weapons, alien weapons which I’m sure we’ll see, and much more. This video is already going to be long enough, so let’s move on!
In this next section I’ve titled advanced mastery, I’m going to cover Stances, Breathing, and Jukes. These are critically important aspects of FPS combat and if you want to “get good” as they say, you’d best pay attention.
I’m going to start with stances. Most traditional FPS games have two stances: first, firing while you’re moving and second, aiming down the sights for better accuracy. In Star Marine, there are 3 stances. The first one is called Lowered Stance. In Lowered Stance, your weapon is set in a casual position. You are able to sprint, jump, and generally move faster while also being able to use the contextual navigation available on your HUD. If you decide to fire your weapon in this stance, it’s essentially firing from the hip and will be highly inaccurate.
The second stance is called the ready stance. In this mode, your weapon is brought up to your shoulder but you are still not looking down the sights. Because of this, your accuracy is greatly increased from the lowered stance, but your movement speed is reduced and your use of menu options is limited. This is basically the default stance for nearly every FPS to date.
The third and final stance is called the ADS stance. Also known as the “Aim Down Sights” stance, this mode allows for looking directly down the sights of a weapon and is the choice option if you are in cover, have a tactical advantage, or think your trigger finger is faster than your enemies. The obvious downside is you’re moving at a slow-walk and all contextual actions are disabled.
Now that you are familiar with all three stances, a big part about these modes is how you transition from one to the other. Lowered and Ready stance is determined by the speed at which your character is moving. If you are running or sprinting, your character will by default be in lowered stance. When you come to a walk, your character will then shift to ready stance. Now unlike these two stances which are activated based on player movement, the ADS stance must be explicitly activated. Think pressing the right mouse button in most FPS games that brings up your sights.
The important take-away from this is that moving from one stance to another takes time. If you want to go from a sprint to ADS, your character will have to perform the action of slowing down into ready stance, and THEN you can pull up your sights. From a gameplay perspective, this was created to force players to think about the actions they are making. If you expect to run into a room guns blazing like you’re rambo, you’re going to learn a very quick lesson.
Next up under advanced mastery, we have breathing and stamina. Stamina in Star Marine is another resource you as a player will have to manage. Sprinting, vaulting, mounting, and breath control will all lower your stamina. If your stamina is low, your character will incur temporary effects such as reduced sprint distance, aim penalties, and so forth on. Additionally, your armor and equipment choices will affect the rate at which stamina is drained. Decided you want to wear Collosus armor, a microwave gun, and sprint like you’re usain bolt? I think not.
As I said before, breathing is a stamina drain, but what does it do? Breathing directly correlates to weapon accuracy by looking at your stamina and applying neutral or negative effects. That may sound confusing, so let me explain. If you have a full stamina bar, your breathing patterns are more relaxed and allow for standard accuracy. If you have just finished sprinting and your stamina bar is near zero, your breath will be erratic causing additional weapon sway.
As an additional modifier, players will be able to press a specific button and go into a “hold breath” state. In this state, your weapon sway is reduced to 0 for the duration. The duration is completely dependant on how much stamina you have. If you have a full bar of stamina, hold breath will last for 10 seconds followed by 3 seconds of extra weapon sway if you hold for the entire duration. If you have no stamina at all, the hold breath state will last exactly 1 second followed by 6 seconds of extra weapon sway.
The entire point of the stamina system is to slow the pace of combat and have you make tactical decisions. Players who fully utilize stamina by balancing high intensity and periods of rest will be taking full advantage of this system.
In the final section of the advanced mastery segment, I’m going to cover Jukes and movement transition. In most modern FPS’s, the player is able to stop on a dime and change directions instantly. In Star Marine, CIG is following their stance on realism and adding physics based momentum to your movement. What this means is that when you decide to come to a stop, it will take an additional amount of time to come to a complete stop. Think of it as the brief half-second of forward momentum you have when you try to suddenly stop from a run.
Using this system, CIG has created an automatic action called jukes. Jukes will represent the animation for quickly changing directions as seen in this video. From a gameplay perspective, this means the player will have to wait X seconds before they can turn their forward momentum into another direction.
Moving on, I want to discuss Star Marine access and when you can play. Access will come in two forms. The first is if you were an early backer and have a game package that includes ALPHA access, you will be granted Star Marine at no cost. For everyone else, as long as you have a game package on your account, you will have to purchase a star marine module pass which will most likely cost $5 US dollars which is the same as the arena commander pass.
As for when you can play? I don’t know. As of the release date of this video, Star Marine is still in development. CIG in the past has given hard dates on releases and has since learned the mistakes of promising the internet anything they can’t deliver. The best answer I can give you is that Star Marine will launch, when it’s ready.
On the upside though, CIG has made it very clear that the delays on Star Marine are NOT — I repeat — NOT affecting the overall development of Star Citizen that much. What a lot of people forget is Star Citizen is being developed by multiple studios and while Illfonic is working on the FPS module, other studios are working on SQ42, the persistent universe, and so on.
Holy Crap, this is probably the longest video I’ve ever done. For those of you still watching, I just gave you an e-hug. Don’t worry, I didn’t hug you for that long… that would have been awkward. If you enjoyed this video and have friends or org mates who need a refresher on everything Star Marine, pass this video along. Thanks for watching, my name is byronyk, and I’ll see you in the ‘verse!