Got it when it came out originally.
I've been keeping an eye on it, but I'm really at a loss as to what the objective of the single player is going to be. Space combat? Trading with NPCs? Galactic Domination?
╪Wherever you tread, tread lightly. We are closer than you think, and our blades are sharp.╪
I put in $20 a long time ago... mainly for the single player portion (Squadron 42). I really had no intention of playing the MMO-ish side of it.
With as much money as they have gotten... I think I'll get my $20 worth out of Squadron 42 for sure... and the funding may actually be enough to make decent multi-player now.
I won't, however, spend a bunch more money on ships and stuff before the game even really exists. That's just crazy to me.
Yeah the way I see it is I normally drop $60-80 on new games... So I don't mind tossing a little cash at the screen. I think it looks pretty promising. The single player campaign (squadron 42) alone looks badass. But I'm really excited for the multi player universe.
I wasn't aware of the Kickstarter campaign for this, but glad to see it successful. I'll definitely give it a go, even for single player, to get a Wing Commander / Decent: Freespace fix that I've been missing for years. Thanks for sharing!
"Faergus - pronounced - fay hair gooos! Mighty celt of unestimable drinking ability!" -Haelmo
Whatever comes with the $40 package. I don't want to buy stuff now because I may enjoy working towards purchasing them more IN GAME than with Real Life cash you know? Then again, if I get sick of doing it in-game, you can always buy some in-game currency and fast track your purchase.
These Ship Commercials are pretty cool:
They have ship brochures n $#@! with more info: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/m...s_brochure.pdf
Portalstorm.Net has started up an organization if anyone is looking for a small casual group of gamers to play with. There is no formal application process. Everyone is respected and welcomed. We use Mumble to communicate. Server info: mumble.portalstorm.net port 64738
Game looks cool I know I've been following it for a while. I'll probably give it a try when it comes out.
Dog fighting module alpha/beta on the 29th!
Let me begin with the information you most want to hear: we intend to launch Arena Commander in two weeks, on May 29th.The goal is that every backer will have access to the single player “Free Flight” and “Vanduul Swarm” games modes on this day, and the very first batch of multiplayer testers will get access to the game’s multiplayer game modes. We will scale up the multiplayer as quickly as possible starting on that date, increasing the number of players as it is stable and stopping to fix bugs where needed.
This date is based on our best possible projections using the latest information put together by Star Citizen’s production team as of this afternoon. This is a big part of what the often-unseen production side of game development does: schedule out every task they believe is required for a game to ship. Sometimes (in fact, more often than not) things go wrong and these forecasts change: bugs we don’t foresee appear, features we didn’t realize we needed become necessary and so on. This is why we haven’t had a solid release date yet; it’s not to better schedule marketing or because we want to keep you out of the $#@!pit… it’s because game development is a complex beast, and there are few games more complex than Star Citizen! At this point, we’re close enough that we feel fairly confident in this date… but the next two weeks will be a march!
Before I leave you to the individual studio weekly reports, I’d like to walk you through exactly what the next two weeks—if all goes well—mean for Arena Commander’s development:
May 17th: our IT groups will be updating our global internal server infrastructure. A lot of the internal tools we use for game development (checking in builds, storing assets, etc.) are in dire need of downtime and update; we’ve been running them in the red zone so we can have 24 hour round-the-world development on Arena Commander. During this downtime we will also be switching over to a much more flexible and advanced architecture for our content management system Perforce. We will be upgrading to using Perforce Streams which will allow much quicker and more flexible movement between code branches for our development team. This prepares us for the added complexity of launching and supporting a live multiplayer service like Arena Commander. Saturday’s update will allow us to push the final Arena Commander update out to the world with much more confidence (corrupted data from these servers was a major issue at the PAX East reveal!)
May 18th: with the new servers in place, we will split off the “Arena Commander Release” branch of Star Citizen. This will separate the Arena Commander you play from the rest of the game that is being developed by other teams. So data checked in by teams around the world that doesn’t have anything to do with dogfighting (such as FPS weapons, planetside maps or future ship assets) won’t cause additional bugs for the team to worry about.
May 19th: The QA team will begin their final troubleshooting session with the new Arena Commander Release branch. They will go through the entire game and catalog all the current bugs they can find – ships not spawning in the correct place, physics not functioning correctly, disconnects during battle and so on. This will help to generate our final “Must Fix” list for release. It is important to remember though that our internal QA team cannot find everything and it is very likely that we will not fix everything prior to release. We are releasing playable code to the community much, much earlier than you normally would in AAA game development. Because of this it will not be as polished as a final game would be so we are going to need a lot of support from all of you to help us in bug finding and gameplay feedback!
May 23rd: The official cross-studio playtesting of the Arena Commander Release begins. This represents a “pencils down” phase where, unless you are working on an authorized must fix issue the team is expected to QA the game as much as possible. After this point, only a limited number of “designated driver” team leads will be able to check in any changes to the game itself.
May 27th: By this point, we hope to have the egregious, game breaking issues resolved but there will still be plenty of known and unknown issues. This is also our deadline for making sure the launcher is hardened for the deluge of users and the first set of necessary servers for the release have been spun up. After this point all check in privileges will be revoked and will only be returned on an as needed basis by senior Production staff and myself.
May 28th: The release candidate build of the game will be compiled. If all goes as planned, this is the version of Arena Commander you will be playing! The team at Turbulent will begin switching over the website to the version that will make Arena Commander available to backers. I will personally ‘sign off’ Arena Commander as ready for the community on the evening of the 28th. To be clear, we fully expect that there will be bugs remaining, potentially some bad ones. That said, our primary focus is getting a version out to the community to help us find all the issues and work together to improve Arena Commander.
May 29th: This morning, the web team will spin up additional authentication and web servers in the in anticipation of high traffic during the release. The engineering team will begin “warming” caches on cloud servers around the world, making sure the release candidate game is ready and waiting for users. By the end of the day, we will update the website making the game available, and the first public release of Arena Commander (which we’re calling v0.8) will be live to the world for testing!
After this we will continue to work hard finishing off game modes, making balancing calls and hotfixes as we spin up more and more servers, allowing for more and more concurrent multiplayer games.
v0.9 will be an intermediate step with additional features, polish, fixes and the Squadron Battle game mode.
v1.0 will be when everyone can access the multiplayer and all game modes are in (Capture the Core comes in with v1.0).
As you can see, there’s a lot to do over the next two weeks and as you have seen there can be many unforeseen issues. I believe this is the best development team in the industry and we are certainly backed by the most invested, supportive community in gaming. We will keep you updated as this process continues; if there are any unexpected changes, the community will know what they are AND how they impact the schedule as soon as I do.
This is what is unique about Star Citizen – you are getting a very close and personal look at what development is like from the inside. Enjoy the ride!
— Chris Roberts
arena commander (dog fighting module) alpha went live this morning:
will be streaming it live later tonight when i get home for anyone who wants to check it out. Note it is early alpha and there will most likely be many bugs but hopefully if gives us a good early idea of what space combat will be like.
edit: also here is a earlier version of the arena commander "pilots guide" check it out if you are bored at work like me. Some pretty interesting stuffs: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/m...Guide-V0-8.pdf
Do you know if it's going to support rudder pedals? I saw setting for joystick and throttle.
Some videos from my live stream over the weekend:
Two Really cool ships designed by the community. Shard Collective's Origin AX-114 & Four Horsemen's Aegis Redeemer Final Ships for the Next Great Starship Contest:
Free Flight Mode with the Hornet:
The Economy As We Know It (thus far* everything is subject to change):
Basic Goods: Items produced at a factory, and otherwise unmodified items.
Premium Goods: Basic Goods that have been upgraded through performance tuning/overclocking.
Unique Goods: Items that cannot be produced at a factory, i.e. Vanduul knives, rare loot from boss characters, mission/storyline rewards, rare salvaged parts, alien artifacts, etc.
Raw Materials: Ore, gas and other found, gathered or mined materials that can be refined into parts, fuel, drinking water etc.
Refined Materials: Fuel, metal (plates, rods), and other parts refined from Raw Materials. Some are used at a production node to produce Basic Goods.
Salvaged Materials: Salvaged metal, parts etc. that can be used at a production node to produce Basic Goods.
*This over-simplified illustration is intended to explain at-a-glance how everything is interconnected through the economy-generating mission system. The diagrams below help complete the picture of what's possible in the SC economy.
Items and Loot
First and perhaps most importantly: MOST items in the game will come from the manufacturing system.
There will not be traditional loot drops or loot tables as found in other MMOs.
We will be able to salvage some items from destroyed ships.
Unique items will be found in the universe, from bosses.
NPCs will disappear from the world when theyre killed, so it wont be possible to farm an NPC for loot.
Each star system will have a pre-determined number of people, made up of NPCs and players.
The player population will be smaller than the NPC population (one example states as low as 10%).
When a player enters the system, they take the place of an NPC.
As long as the NPCs are there, they are living, working, trading, pirating, manufacturing, or whatever else -- just as a player would do.
Players will not be able to spike the economy, as the the large number of NPCs working and trading will help keep things in check.
There will always be a market, even if players arent currently filling it.
"We dont simulate the AI stuff if you arent actually seeing it, but we resolve it. "
Crafting in Star Citizen has been compared to SimCity's system.
There is a planned companion app to help manage production when not logged into the actual game.
The production process consists of getting the proper equipment, gathering materials, refining materials, producing goods, transporting goods, improving basic goods (performance tuning), and selling goods.
Factories and storefronts on planets can be owned by players.
Factories consist of multiple production nodes.
Production nodes are specific to a certain type of item, i.e. lasers
Refining can be done on board ships as well as at factories.
Production quality is potentially impacted by employee happiness.
Economy-generating missions are spawned based on what is needed or missing in the supply chain, including piracy.
At each step in the process an NPC will fill the role if a player is not available.
Production is turn-based. You will need the proper grade of electronics, materials, and a certain amount of crew to produce x amount of items per turn. The factory will create an order for whatever you're missing. The orders will go to the mission boards. AI will fill the order if a player doesn't.
If your factory is doing well, purchasing more machines will attract more employees and the population of that planet will actually grow as a result.
"If you go to a factory and the AI has bought all the missiles, there are no more missiles for purchase that turn. Now, of course, if nobodys buying any missiles, theres a big inventory. First of all, the price of missiles would go down, but then also that factory is going to be running at a loss, and so maybe it starts to lay off some of its people."
...if a factory is mismanaged and its owner cant pay his workers and is forced to lay them off, the population of the planet becomes unhappy. And an unhappy planet spawns more criminal missions, which increases piracy in the star system.
Mining will require a mix of Exploration (Scanning), Skill (laser cutting), and logistics (hauling).
Spaceborne gases can be collected from gas giants and extrasolar sources and refined into fuel.
Larger ships are capable of tractoring in spaceborne junk and asteroids.
All devices will have a threshold where they're running at maximum efficiency, and a maximum yield. Performance tuning is the process of tweaking a basic item to find that threshold. Some items will have a potential that will be greater than others.
"Parts are manufactured within tolerances, and while every part that rolls off the line will function precisely to its rated value, its true capability can be discovered by players willing to risk the consequences of failure. Pushing hardware past its rated specifications can have disastrous results though, and even successfully tuned parts will likely be more power hungry and generate a larger signature!"
To alleviate some of the risk, well be able to bench test our equipment in the hangar before taking it into space.
Taxes - on credit transactions
Fees - docking, hangar rental, insurance, fuel, medical bills, repairs/upkeep, ammunition, wages (hired NPCs)
One of the most frequently asked-about systems in Star Citizen is the game’s economy. Today, we’d like to give you a brief introduction to that system and how it works to make the game richer, more immersive, and more fun.
Star Citizen is, at its heart, a vast living world that combines a remarkably detailed space combat simulation with an equally in-depth model of the economy of a star-spanning empire.
This article will shed some light on the engine that makes the economy go.
DISCLAIMER: As with all early releases of design information, this is a work in progress. Particularly with the economy, which is a very volatile system and will require the most careful balancing, systems and data are subject to change.
In order to create a fairly stable economy, and yet one that is still able to be affected by player actions, the economy in Star Citizen is built to represent millions of entities (whether players or NPCs) that work together to move resources and finished goods from one end of the galaxy to the other. Miners and other resource gatherers work to extract basic resources from the available supply, traders collect those goods and deliver them to other places, escorts protect those convoys from harm (while pirates attempt the opposite), refineries turn the raw goods into processed goods, and factories collect these processed goods to build the finished products that are in demand on worlds throughout the Star Citizen universe. These goods are not assigned an arbitrary fixed price at each location. Instead, we are creating an organic system that keeps track of how much of everything is available, how much it is needed, where it is needed, and what individuals are willing to pay to get it.
Because the simulation reflects a real population going about their business, if a player is not available to carry ore from Ellis to Terra, an NPC cargo hauler will step in and run the route. If escorts are needed, and players are unavailable to escort that transport, then NPC pilots will escort the vessel. Pirates, too, might be NPC or player ships.
Meanwhile, the nodes that are producing, refining, and consuming these goods are run by non-player characters, as well. As players progress in the game, they may choose to purchase some of these facilities and take over the day-to-day oversight.
Business goes on, and players step in wherever they wish to take part.
It’s all about the Nodes
The Star Citizen universe is made up of literally thousands of nodes that drive the economy. A node is an abstract entity that accepts one or more types of input goods and outputs one or more types of output goods. The most basic nodes are “atomic” entities, meaning that they cannot be subdivided further. These atomic nodes are then combined to make up larger nodes that behave in the same fashion as the atomic nodes – requiring certain inputs and producing certain outputs. When these nodes operate together, they are able to handle some portions of their business in a self-contained fashion, while other needs must be met by external entities whether NPC trade routes, or player-run missions).
How a Node is Constructed
Each node is made up of several parts:
- Node Inputs
Inputs are the types of things that a node requires to operate. If too little of any given need is supplied, the node will lose productivity and alter prices and processing capacity in reaction to the shortage.
- Node Storage
Storage tells how much of each thing a node can have on hand at one time. If the node’s storage for a particular desired item is full, the node will stop requesting that item until quantities diminish. Conversely, if a node’s storage is nearly out of a desired good, then the node will raise prices and spawn additional missions in an attempt to rectify the shortage.
Output items also take up storage space until they are sold or transported elsewhere. Again, if there is too much of a produced item on hand, the node will slow down production and reduce prices until demand increases sufficiently. If too little is on hand, prices will increase until production can catch up.
As a node grows, it can buy additional warehouse space to expand storage capacity.
Node Processing Capacity.
A node’s processing capacity is determined by the number of workers in that node, their current happiness, and the quality of processing equipment that is currently installed. As a node grows, it can upgrade existing equipment or add additional space/equipment in order to accommodate more production.
- Node Outputs
When a node has the necessary raw materials, it produces output based upon its production capacity. That output is then stored in the warehouses until it can be distributed. The equation for node production will look something like this:
Production per cycle [P] = the number of units produced per “tick” of the economy
Worker morale [M] = number of workers / required workers * morale (%)
Equipment percentage [E] = size of facility * (quality of equipment / max quality)
Material co-efficient [MC] = minimum percentage available of all required construction units
P = M * E * MC
Types of Nodes
While there are many different varieties of each node, there are a limited number of general types of nodes. Each has a particular function, and requires varying amounts of the same types of inputs to create categories of outputs. The node types can be found in Table 1.0.
People are abstracted into population nodes so that every other node in the game does not have to track the basic needs of its workers in addition to its other inputs. That way, nodes other than population nodes will not need to track anything other than whether they have enough workers to determine their effectiveness on the human side. If a group of settlers arrive on a previously uninhabited planet, a population node is created first.
Every inhabited area will consist of, at the minimum, a single population node, an entertainment node, and a landing node. For outposts and other small colonies, a raw materials node will generally round out the landing zone, perhaps with a reseller for basic supplies. Some planets will have only a single cluster of nodes, while others will have much larger clusters in several different planetary locations.
Taken as whole, a planet can also be looked at as a single macro-node, as it still has a set of resources that it needs, and a set of resources available to trade.
If the people are happy and productive, then nodes will continue to grow, enabling further nodes to be added to take advantage of the additional labor. When that now-thriving colony needs to increase its production – both to satisfy its own needs and to grow trade – perhaps an entrepreneur will decide that a nearby plot of land would be perfect for a new casino to keep those workers happy.
Table 1.0 Node Types
Let’s see it all put together in a very basic example:
This sample could be a single small outpost or a network of several worlds – or even systems.
The Production Chain
The simple example above is far short of the actual complexity of the production chain, as the list of nodes indicates. You don’t just turn a lump of ore into a spaceship. Instead, there are many steps and many actors involved in the creation of just a single Aurora.
Very large amounts of raw resources must be combined into the necessary basic materials to build the ship’s frame, $#@!pit, electronics, HUD screens, seats (don’t forget the leather!), and other building blocks. Meanwhile, other manufacturers are building the guns and missiles that will be added to the finished ship.
Manufactured goods are not unlimited. If nearby missile factories suddenly have a shortage of necessary components, escorts who come in from an extended firefight to restock may find missile prices very high – or stocks depleted entirely.
For the biggest, most complex products, production can take a very long time. If it takes Aegis a month to produce an Idris, and there has been a recent run on corvettes, you might find yourself waiting for a while to pick up a shiny new ship from their shipyards.
Keeping Resources Flowing
Heavily-populated systems (as far as nodes are concerned) will often have very consistent needs for resources, as well as having fairly constant exports available. Systems that can meet one another’s needs may set up regular trade lanes, which will cause transport missions to be launched at a regular frequency to deliver needed goods to a constant buyer. If these lanes go through more dangerous space, they may be diverted to take longer routes, or request escorts to accompany the missions.
In such a case, players who own larger transports or are interested in escort duty can step in to take over these missions, provided that they are well-known to the corporations or organizations in question.
At any point where expected production levels have not been reached, freely-available trade goods will become more limited. Regularly-established trade routes will be the last to suffer from shortages.
Nodes where buyers have less need and nodes that are farther away from protected space, will request resources on a less frequent basis, and missions of this sort will generally be given to the lowest bidder, although relationships might be established with traders who perform frequent services for the client.
For emergencies – where deliveries have been disrupted, or some sort of major event has caused a sudden shortage of resources, higher-paying missions will be sent out on a first-come, first-served basis. Similar missions will be generated when a location that is typically self-sustaining with regards to some resources experiences a change in conditions, such as drought, riots, or other events that cause a temporary shift in that area’s ability to provide for its own basic needs.
Whatever route players choose to trade along, there will always be places for traders of any means to make a living throughout the Star Citizen universe.
Making Your Name as an Industry Giant
Even players who start out with the most humble beginnings may eventually grow vast trading empires. Starting with small on-demand cargo runs, players can grow their wealth, acquire larger ships, build their reputations with the biggest corporations, and establish their own trade lanes that span the galaxy.
Players and organizations who amass enough wealth can take control of individual production nodes and begin building an industrial empire. The most aggressive entrepreneurs may take over whole sections of a supply chain and begin producing their own goods for sale on the open market – if they can keep the resources flowing. But be warned – some large corporations don’t appreciate competition!
While you are running your mine, refinery, or factory, you will be interested in more than just the raw materials that it needs! If your production node slows down because it doesn’t have enough workers, or their morale is low, you will need to help support the local population node or make sure that there are enough entertainment nodes to keep your workers happy and productive.
What’s in it for me?
The Star Citizen economy is certainly a vast undertaking. In addition to making a massive space combat simulation, we are also building a simulation of the economic universe in which the characters live. We offer players the ability to participate as much (or as little) in the economy as they desire. As new worlds are discovered, colonies are born, and new cities grow on the frontier, each type of player can be a link somewhere in the economic chain.
However much your character is driving the economy, the economy is helping to drive your play experience.
“There is no undefeatable MMO RPG style build in Star Citizen as we don't have character stats that affect your damage. Instead your skill as a pilot is key. In addition the ship design / abilities is very rock, paper, shotgun so every build of ship has a weakness. And in case you're worried that we're going to make the basic missions boring to encourage you to buy credits; We're not! trading and flying missions are the core of the open world experience. They're the fun parts and there is no way I am going to deliberately nerf them to encourage people to pay Zynga style. It's a big reason I'm building this game outside the publisher system."
However I do believe that any "hired npcs" will gain experience in a sense and improve in whatever they are doing.
So this is a fancy remake of EVE Online?
╪Wherever you tread, tread lightly. We are closer than you think, and our blades are sharp.╪
Love child of Wing Commander + Eve.
"Faergus - pronounced - fay hair gooos! Mighty celt of unestimable drinking ability!" -Haelmo
╪Wherever you tread, tread lightly. We are closer than you think, and our blades are sharp.╪
Going by the comment, you never played the original Wing Commander games, Privateer 1 or 2 or Freelancer. They were some of the best space games ever created, next to X-Wing and Tie-Fighter, which were slightly better IMO. Privateer 1 and 2 had economies in the games, and Freelancer was the successor to Privateer but not in the same Universe as Microsoft owns Freelancer and EA bought Wing Commander and its world from Origin in the 1990's. Privateer is set in the same world as Wing Commander. Chris Roberts designed them all.
The original Wing Commander games had a story that started you off as a rookie pilot flying for the navy against the Kilrathi with a crappy ship, and eventually you worked through the game, getting better ships given to you and doing different types of missions. Later versions of the game included branching campaigns that had you being on the winning or loosing side, full motion video, characters you spoke too between missions, etc. The stories were very well told and awesome for the time. Wing Commander 1 and 2 with the expansion packs had a crap load of missions as well.
Star Citizens story aspect will be similar to the above.
Now here is what is important and why YOU might be interested in this game:
Star Citizen is the spiritual successor of these games, which means it will be a much improved cloan in a different world.
The space simulation aspect of combat was not entirely physics based because that isn't much fun, but it was a blast to play. For example, on a typical mission in the previous games, you would head out with your ship. You would fly to your navigation points and you may enter combat. Combat however was as much about using tactics and flying as it was about how good you were at leading ahead to shoot your enemies, though after you got good at the game, you pretty much knew how the AI would always break right/left.
If I recall correctly, you had comeplete control of your shields, weapon power and engines. This means you could shift your power to front or rear shields, take all power out of your shields and put it into weapons or engines (increasing speed or recharge rate of weapons). This part was like Tie Fighter and X-Wing, and was super important. If you were going in on a head on assault, you would bump all your power to the front shields, unload your weapons then perhaps re balance to rear shields and engine and get the $#@! out of there, leaving weapons fully unpowered.
At other times, you would need to use your lasers to take out the shields on a capital ship, then you could drop your missiles on it to blow it up.
OR you would need to take out turrets first and THEN take out the ship.
Other missions were more complex. You might have 4 missiles and 6 tough bogeys to kill and some hard flying to do, so you might have to do some awesome flying to wittle down the shields somewhat of your target then finish it off with a missile only when you were 100% sure you were going to hit it, else you would be stuck flying around in dog fights.
It was really challenging and a blast. I've played through Wing Commander 1 and 2 about 5 or 6 times each way back in the day. I played the later games less because my system at the time wasn't the best and they really pushed a PC HARD at the time. We are talking about 386 PC's for Wing Commander 1 and 2, and 486 PC's for Wing Commander 3 and Privateer.
Privateer and Freelancer was a different breed. You now had an economy and the object of your game was to follow a story line through the game but you had the option of roaming around and through various side missions that were randomly generated, making money so you could buy weapons, ammunition and better ships. You could also do trading, similar to Eve, so buying water on one world might yield you a profit on the next world.
Missions were varied. Escort Missions, Bounty Hunt, Mailman, etc.
Ships also had weaknesses and strenghts. Some might be fast with few guns, but moderate shields. Or fast with lots of guns but no shields or whatever. Typical rock/paper/scissors type thing there. However, somebody with a crap ship could in theory kill somebody with a good ship if they were that much better. s
The games featured ZERO stats. Eve is totally stat based, which is fine, but it shifts your brain power to other aspects of the game. It isn't that one is better than the other, it is that they are different and I prefer the Wing Commander/X-Wing model over Eve BECAUSE as with a first person shooter, it rewards you for how good you are with your hands/eye coordination.
This isn't going to be like World of Warcraft where a level 10 guy can not even HIT a level 90 guy, because the game does all stats internally. In Star Citizen, your weapon either hits the target or doesn't hit the target. You don't hit the target and then have a calculation that says if you hit or not, and how much damage you did.
Going ABOVE AND BEYOND a first person shooter though, you have another element though, which is strategy and tactics because of the way you can change your Shield/Guns/Engines. A superior gunner or flyer may lose a fight just because they didn't know how to adjust their equipment properly during the flight, or choose the correct missile load out.
Personally, I am super excited to play it when it comes out next year and think I will avoid all the beta's and such so I can just the final version. The 50 or so story missions alone should be awesome if they are anything like the original Wing Commander games.
I'm in the same boat, I pledged as soon as I found out. I got on once to fly around a little, but I'm done until it releases.
I'll be getting a joystick and throttle. I'm so burnt out on Fantasy MMOs, just waiting on this.
I even tried loading up my old Wing Commander disks several years ago, but that didn't work.
If I REALLY like this game and think I can play for more than a few dozen hours before getting bored and quitting, I would probably spend a $100-150 on a good set.
Great read. i have personally never played any of Chris roberts previous games like freelancer or wing commander but i've heard nothing but good things.
here's a post by the man himself talking about the flight module and game physics:
Most space games (including my past ones) greatly simplify the simulation, usually as an atmospheric flight model without gravity and air resistance – ships have predefined pitch, roll and yaw rates, linear acceleration (that is applied to a simplified point mass) and a capped top speed. When you want to turn, the joystick or mouse input is mapped directly to the specified turn rate irrelevant of the ship’s moment of inertia. Damage is usually handled as a multiplier on the turn rates and linear acceleration.
Star Citizen doesn’t do that. We model what would be needed on an actual spaceship, including correct application of thrust at the places where the thrusters are attached to the hull of the ship – in our model moment of inertia, mass changes and counter thrust are VERY necessary. Star Citizen’s physical simulation of spaceflight is based on what would actually happen in space.
There were a couple of reasons why we went this direction –
1. Because we were planning on modeling and simulating spaceships with a fidelity that hadn’t been seen before I felt we needed a simulation that would let the player have different flight behavior if a thruster is damaged, a wing is blown off or a pilot overloads his ship with weapons and ammunition? I wanted a system that could feel distinct for a huge variety of ships, with wildly different sizes and roles because in Star Citizen you can go from a single seater ship 15 meters in length to a huge capital ship over 1km in size crewed by many players. I wanted these ships to come with their own identity and feel much like similar sized cars, even if equivalent in mass can feel radically different. I wanted ships to have their own personality – not just a slower of faster version of the base ship.
2. The second is that Star Citizen will have a significant amount of player vs. player combat. I don’t know how many people played Wing Commander Armada (the first Wing Commander game to feature multiplayer) but it wasn’t that much fun in battle mode (the head to head mode). When you design a single player game you can deliberately dumb down the AI to allow the player to get on the tail and shoot down multiple enemies, which gives the player a sense of achievement. There’s nothing more fun than single handily clearing a wave of 10 enemy Kilrathi fighters. But let’s be honest, in single player games the ability for the player to gun down waves of enemies has less to do with the skill of the player because the player is usually overpowered in respect to the base enemies he will fight. You can’t do this in player vs player, and it’s likely that multiple players will have the same ship. Without a sophisticated simulation and flight model, with lots of options for a pilot to fluidly try different tactics to get the upper hand the battles can end up as a frustrating stalemate when both pilots have the same ship as no one can get on the other’s tail because you don’t have the same forces that affect air combat (namely gravity and air resistance) to bleed energy from the maneuvers.
These reasons are why we went out of our way to fully simulate the physics that would involve controlling and moving a ship in space with no short cuts.
In the very same way we also simulate the ship systems. Every function is tied to individual items that are “plugged” into the ship – the weapons, the thrusters, power plant, heat sinks, radar, fuel tank, batteries, targeting system, CPU, HUD and even the Intelligent Flight Control System (IFCS) are all items that tie into various “pipes” that connect the systems – there’s a pipe for power, heat, fuel and CPU cycles. The targeting computer needs power from the Power Plant and CPU cycles from the Ship’s Computer, positional information from the Radar to resolve targets. If there aren’t enough CPU cycles to go around the targets will resolve slower, not enough power and the targeting computer may stop functioning all together. If you don’t draw off enough heat from the weapons, they may overheat, malfunction or even become damaged. If one of your wings gets blown off with its attached heat sinks, you better scale back your heat output.
By fully simulating both the systems and physics of powered spaceflight we allow for a huge amount of emergent behavior and variety in the final game. Ship load out becomes very important not just for functionality but also for actual flight and responsiveness. Just like in real military aviation design, you could decide to have redundant systems for better battle survivability or you could maximize your hitting power at the expense of maneuverability.
Sounds pretty cool right? So why all the fuss?
Proper space flight simulation is inherently different than an atmospheric flight model. In space there is no aerodynamic force (lift or drag) and so both angular and linear inertia becomes much more important. Unless you apply a counter force to arrest the angular or linear momentum of an object in space it will continue unaltered. When a player pulls back on the stick the thrusters apply thrust to create rotation, which accelerates the ship’s angular velocity. When you let the stick return to zero or move it the other way, the IFCS now has to apply counter thrust to first retrograde the current angular velocity and then move you towards the new desired angular velocity. Unless the ship has hugely overpowered thrusters, this will not happen instantly. As the IFCS isn’t clairvoyant and doesn’t know when you wish to change angular velocity it can’t anticipate your actions, so unless the pilot himself eases into his desired orientation, it’s likely he will overshoot it. Think of it as stopping in a car; you normally have a good feel for your stopping distance and so when approaching a stop sign you start to slow down. You don’t expect to go from 50 mph to zero instantly. This behavior is quite different from an airplane which uses control surfaces that alter the airflow over the wings/tail to maneuver. In this case the angular velocity change is normally directly proportional to the rudder/flaps position.
This means that to a certain extent you need to anticipate where you want to be and ease into that position. If you’re used to an atmospheric model when first flying in a model where momentum is much more important it is pretty easy to overshoot your desired heading. Then as the counter thrust isn’t instant you can overcorrect the other way. This is why the ship can feel “twitchy” when trying to line up a target.
As this is different than what people are used to, a portion of our community clearly feels the current flight model is “wrong.”
But if you think about what we are doing, we actually allow for a LOT more variation and nuance in flight and combat than a simplified Wing Commander/X-Wing style flight model. Like learning to drive a car really well…it requires some learning. You have to anticipate where you want to be and plan for it.
Does this mean I think the system is perfect?
This is one of the big reasons we wanted to get it into all of your hands. It’s been great seeing people play the game and provide their feedback. It’s been really great to see quite a few people who first hated the flight model, come around to seeing its potential after some other members of the community have shared their insights. This doesn’t mean everyone is sold but it’s always heartening to see people being open to new possibilities.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied with where we are. My goal is to have all the nuance that I describe above for the players that want to go deep but also make it accessible in the way Wing Commander was for someone new to the game (and genre).
The key thing to remember is that the Intelligent Flight Control System is just the interface between the physical simulation of the ship’s movement via its thrusters and the force they exert. It’s not the model. I see a lot of posts talking about the desire for “Newtonian” mode. The physics simulation is already a full Newtonian rigid body simulation. For what we are trying to achieve there will always need to be a fly by wire interface between the players input and the actual physics as no human can simultaneously direct eight thrusters simultaneously, specifying their thrust and attitude to achieve desired movement. Within the confines of physical reality the IFCS can do pretty much anything we want. The key is determining what we want the player’s input to map to.
The first pass of various modes – basic IFCS, De-Coupled, G-Safe and Comstab are all different modes that we felt would be useful at various times. It doesn’t mean it is the end of the modes, or how they are implemented is the only way they will be. A lot of people have been asking for “true” 6DOF available all the time – basically having strafe available during normal IFCS flight mode and to make strafe additive to the ship’s velocity in decoupled mode. These are all things that we will experiment with, along with quite a few other options e.g., an additional G-Safe mode that is turn limited rather than speed limited and we’re also going to be playing with thruster power as currently the maneuvering thrusters are about a half to a third of the power of the main engines which is fairly overpowered Just be warned the weaker the maneuvering thrusters the more the ship will “slide” at speed before vectoring to the desired direction.
To give you even more insight into how the IFCS works, John Pritchett, the engineer who wrote the current implementation of the IFCS has written an in-depth piece that goes into the detail of how the system works. I hope you will all appreciate the level of detail we are aiming for in Star Citizen. Don’t forget there is so much more to the game than just Arena Commander – and even in Arena Commander there is so much that cannot be appreciated yet as we are blocked by a work in progress HUD and lack of items to equip your ship with – both of which will open up new possibilities and tactics.
There has been a lot of debate about mouse control vs. joystick control and the worry from some portion of the community that the mouse scheme makes the game too “arcadey” and HOTAS users feeling that their control mechanism of choice has not been supported properly.
Firstly let me state the goal for Star Citizen will be controller agnostic. No one control mechanism should have an advantage over the others. Personally I am a joystick pilot (either through HOTAS or Gamepad) as opposed to a mouse pilot. I just feel like I have more precise flight control with a joystick. In our various studios there is a huge variety of controller use – some prefer mouse, some joystick, some HOTAS and some gamepad. This is the best guarantee that any one control mode will not dominate.
Having said this we recognize that the control input schemes need work in flexibility/customization to achieve this goal.
One of our top priorities for Arena Commander is to allow users to customize their key bindings form inside the game. We are actively working on this and hope to deliver something next month.
We also will be working on the various HOTAS profiles, as well as fine tuning the control filtering for joysticks to hopefully allow for crisper maneuvering during smaller movements of the stick. There are also some additional head look modes that haven’t been implemented yet that will allow a joystick player to take advantage of the gimbaled weapons the way the mouse player can. And of course if you feel the mouse, with its greater precision allows for better aiming you could always fly the ship with a joystick and look with a mouse!
Yaw vs Roll
There has also been some discussion around the fact that yawing does not impact your pilot in terms of negative G effects (i.e. the black and red out of the vertical G forces). There are a few things to consider here. First, pure yawing turns, without any bank, are certainly possible in space, but that isn’t the optimal way to turn. You can generate more thrust by combining your side and lower thrusters than you can with just your side thrusters. IFCS automatically banks a ship to optimize its turning thrust, and this is where vertical G forces come into play (note this is different from atmospheric flight where banking is necessary for turn stability). Second, the amount of bank in any yawing turn will depend on the amount of side thrust that your ship can provide, which means the amount of vertical G forces in a yawing turn will vary based on the situation. Third, black/redout and loss of consciousness are consequences of vertical g-force exposure only, where blood is being either drained from or forced into the pilot’s head. Properly constrained pilots can withstand very high levels of horizontal G forces without any significant loss of cognitive ability.
For horizontal g-forces, the limiting factor is structural. Unfortunately, that limitation has not yet been implemented in our model. Once it is, there will be consequences for extreme unbanked turns. Instead of blacking out, you might rip off a thruster or a wing from the sheer magnitude of the horizontal Gs. And if enabled, G-safe mode will guarantee the structural integrity of your ship by limiting the amount of thrust in any maneuver.
A portion of the community has expressed concern about the ability for players to “turret” by going into decoupled mode and spin around to fire at their target, feeling this removes the skill level of dogfighting. I know people think this but I can assure you that in our internal multiplayer tests pretty no one exclusively decouples and “turrets” as they would get destroyed very quickly. The key to surviving a dogfight is about being constantly on the move and not being predicable with your movements – sitting still or moving in a constant vector (which is what happens when you decouple) will get you killed. Decoupled mode is best used by going into briefly for a quick orientation change then dropping back into coupled mode. As we tweak the power of the maneuvering thrusters to make the main engine more significant going into decoupled mode, making a quick orientation change and going back into normal flight will be a great way to maximize your available thrust for a quick vector change. I know that some people think that being able to change your orientation much quicker than you can in an atmospheric flight sim makes the game easy but this is a space combat simulation NOT an atmospheric flight simulation and the ability to decouple your orientation from your velocity vector is absolutely something that would be used – and don’t forget a huge amount of the community demanded to be able to do the maneuvers you loved from Battle Star Galactica!
Gimbaled Weapons vs Fixed
In Arena Commander V1.0 (and Star Citizen as a whole) there will be both fixed weapons and gimbaled/turreted weapons. The fixed weapons will have a slow auto convergence of perhaps -/+ five degrees to allow them to focus at a point that is user definable (defaults to half maximum range) or will adjust to the distance of the current target. We didn’t have time to finish this feature so for v0.8 we just made all fixed weapons gimbaled in order to not give the Hornet a huge advantage over the Aurora and 300i. This is not the long term plan.
Fixed weapons will have a lead indicator (just like in a real combat aircraft). We are also considering altering how the gimbaled guns look reticle operates. Right now you just have to place it over your target and the targeting computer gimbals the guns to achieve that firing solution, when the dotted lines collapse inside the reticle it means that all guns have achieved the solution. We are thinking about making it so you have to place the look reticle over the lead indicator in order to achieve the firing solution.
This will allow a pilot who is not using the full power of his gimbaled guns (it’s not always easy to aim and fly into two different directions or if you’re in a combined look and fly mode like the “Freelancer” mouse mode) to fly in a more optimal manner for leading the target (you want to heading at where the target is heading not where it is now)
As for people thinking that gimbaled weapons spoil the “skill” in the game, gimbaled / turreted weapons are a mainstay of current military equipment and will likely be even more so in the future. That doesn’t mean a hit is automatic. The weapon still has to come to bear on the target and you have to be pointing your ship’s nose in such a way as the firing solution can be met. And that’s assuming the target doesn’t start changing course or speed erratically!
— Chris Roberts
i haven't had time to put together a nice video myself. all my footage above is unedited directly from my twitch live stream. but here is a nice little video (all footage is from the current alpha arena commander):
keep in mind... this is still alpha. the game still has along way to go.
As I was doing a little research into Joysticks, I came across Elite: Dangerous.
Any of you look into it at all?
HotShot- you've apparently been following this more than I have, what can you tell me about the multi player RSI Constellation?
According to the description it's a multi person ship, does that mean you can have a player as a gunner?
I said FREESPACE above, I meant to say Freelancer.