Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

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Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby TronPaul » 2012-10-10 06:57pm

A friend linked this article to me earlier. I wish I could say I'm skeptical, but I want a reason to own a joystick again so bad.

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PC Gamer wrote:What the hell is Chris Roberts thinking? The creator of Wing Commander, who recently returned to game development after spending some time in film production, was in talks to bring his acclaimed series back on EA’s dime. Instead, he spent a year producing a prototype of Star Citizen: a multiplayer, persistent-universe space combat sim with monstrous ambition and no publisher support.

“I was having conversations with EA to do another Wing Commander, but I’m not really that interested in doing a next-gen console game and being a part of that loop,” Roberts tells me as he sets up the demonstration. It’s a few weeks before he plans to debut this prototype to the world.

“So the pitch is a combination of normal investors, and then cut out the EAs and Activisions and go straight to the die-hard crowd and say, ‘OK, I want to deliver you this, but it’s not going to be a small thing. Not a $500,000 or $100,000 thing. It’s going to be millions. But it’s something you’ll show your friends who play on consoles and they’ll be drooling.’ That’s my intention.”

The game loads, and a modified CryEngine renders the interior of a cavernous carrier. His character, wearing a frighteningly high-poly flight suit, climbs a ladder into the cockpit of a fighter. He plugs a tube into his suit and taps away at touchscreens. Yes, it will have Oculus Rift support, Roberts tells me — he’s going to see the VR headset prototype in a week.

The fighter is now hovering above the deck, but there’s a problem: the hanger doors aren’t opening. Roberts quits out to hunt down an XML file in need of fixing. While he works, we discuss the game.

“I had this vision with Freelancer and it never got finished because I left and sold the company to Microsoft. The overarching game is a big persistent universe, but there is this single-player aspect you can play offline, sort of like the Wing Commander experience. So imagine that you’re in this massive persistent universe, but you sign up for a tour of duty on the front lines against the barbarians — that’s your single-player experience. Then after that you’re out in the world to make your fortune.”

The persistent universe, Roberts tells me, will feature instanced combat scenarios with 60 to 100 players. It will also have a fully simulated economy, and regular updates to add content and permanently change the spacescape. Additionally, players will influence the universe with a ship and item marketplace similar to that in Team Fortress 2, as well as with in-game actions.

“For instance, one of the things you can do is be an explorer, and you can find jump points,” says Roberts. “If you’re the first person to navigate it successfully, you can record your trajectory. First, you can sell that back for a great amount of money, but also, that jump point [will be] named after you in the game, for the rest of the game going on.”

Regarding scope, Roberts says that a player with enough wealth (earned in-game or purchased with microtransactions) will be able to buy a ship big enough to house his friends’ fighters, or have mannable turrets for them. And outside of the curated persistent universe, you’ll also be able to run your own multiplayer server with full mod support, where you can do anything you want.

On the single-player side, a campaign called Squadron 42 will provide the “Wing Commander experience” Roberts referred to with a scenario inspired by the fall of Rome. It’s not totally isolated though — like he said, it’s a “tour of duty” with the same character you’ll be playing in the multiplayer universe, and with co-op if you want help from friends. The list of features just keeps growing – if it can be imagined, he wants to put it in Star Citizen.

The game is running again. This time, giant motors crank back the hangar doors and the fighter zips into a massive asteroid field. Articulated thrusters and turrets react to every control, missiles detach from their pylons and fire up. The pilot hits the correct buttons on his joystick for each action. I ask if the asteroids have physics, if they’re destructible. They do, they are. Fidelity is the game.

I ask Roberts if he can land on top of the carrier and get out. He can, and does. He floats about awkwardly (zero-G movement isn’t animated yet), then returns to the cockpit and does a fly-by of the carrier’s flight deck. Ideally, he tells me, a friend standing inside the carrier will wave to you as you fly by.

Now I understand what the hell Roberts is thinking – why he’s taking so much risk by doing this on his own: this isn’t just a prototype for a product, it’s his dream. It’s what Freelancer was meant to be: a super high-fidelity persistent universe rendered with millions and millions of polygons. The space sim Chris Roberts always wanted to play.

“This is my vision,” he says after the demonstration. “I’ve spent the past year [putting this together] with my money and a few others’, but we can’t take it all the way. It’s too expensive and I’m not doing the traditional EA publisher deal. I don’t want to make a console game. This is what I want to do.”

Roberts hopes to leverage both traditional investors and crowdfunding to make Star Citizen happen, and he’ll be taking pre-orders at http://www.robertsspaceindustries.com. Speaking more recently to PC Gamer Online Editor Marsh Davies, Roberts further explained his funding decisions.

“We’re trying to raise between two and four million from the crowd, and that triggers all the rest of the stuff,” he said. “Inside the site itself, we have our own [Kickstarter-like] platform – because we wanted to theme it inside the world. So the idea is that you are pre-ordering your space-ship. One year in we’ll release the alpha of the multiplayer stuff, which won’t have the persistent universe, but it will have all the instant action. And you’ll be privy to a lot of development stuff and your voice will be heard. Hopefully people are psyched. There are a lot of PC gamers who are proud of their gaming rigs but don’t have anything to really show it off.”

It’s a lot of money to raise (Double Fine’s adventure game is still the leader in the category with $3,336,371 raised on Kickstarter), and it’s a hugely ambitious project which is currently only a prototype. Roberts is confident that the support from hardcore PC gamers will come, and the Star Citizen dream will come true.


It is very, very ambitious, but if they make a space sim MMO that you can play with a joystick worth playing... I will be a very, very happy gamer.
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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Stark » 2012-10-10 07:02pm

Ambitious is a word for people who want to go to college and get a good job and buy a nice house. This sounds like Peter Molyneux might be out of a job as 'most hilarious developer'.

Glad to see that PC inferiority is literally a part of the pitch, though. Please sir, more polys on my flight suit!

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-10 07:06pm

They had me until MMO.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Stark » 2012-10-10 07:07pm

Why are you hung up on something so vague? The article is full of absurd pipe dreams and you're worried about multiplayer/monetisation/world of star citizen?

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-10 07:24pm

Depends on what tropes they adopt.

But seriously, a fucking single player space combat game. Please? Please?

Tiny audience wants it. Why they no deliver?

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Stark » 2012-10-10 07:30pm

Hey want a funny statistic?

Minecraft sold 6M on PC over however long it was available.

In the much shorter time it's available on 360, it has sold 4M.

But hey, piracy not a big deal RIGHT GUYS? :lol:

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-10 08:16pm

Nothing to do with publicity cycles or the fact the PC version was frequently free to play?

I would like to see sales charts though. I imagine most of the 6m PC sales happened in a similar length window to the 360 4m when the buzz was hottest.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Stark » 2012-10-10 08:21pm

'Publicity cycles', lol. It's cute as hell that you 'assume' 'most' of the sales happened 'similarly' based on nothing but your desire to defend piracy (ps pirating Minecraft is almost easier than buying it but this certainly hasn't affected sales christ no).

Anyway next time you want to know why nobody makes your bullshit single player game, this is why. This is why devs want IAP and F2P and monetisation etc. That you just want a creatively bankrupt repeat of a dead genre that always sucked anyway because you're anal retentive is a joke, but there's a very serious punchline.

This game is full of bullshit pipe dreams, but they wouldn't even be thinking about it if they couldn't get a decent revenue stream out of it.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-10 08:30pm

So what you are saying is that the fact that Minecraft was already one of the biggest "indie" titles and had been covered extensively for years had nothing at all to do with the fact that it's been able to sell 4m units so quickly on 360?

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Stark » 2012-10-10 08:42pm

Dude I am floored that you honestly think selling comparable amounts on a platform less geared to niche nerd bullshit in a far smaller amount of time isn't noteworthy. Maybe you're just trolling? I mean sure, the 360 version is better and people who had it on PC bought it on 360 automatically, but if 360 sales exceed PC sales it'll be an amazing day for both piracy apologists and knee-jerk consoletard posters.

But wai no niche singleplayer games!?!?! It is a mystery! :lol:

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-10 08:48pm

Holy shit, you honestly can't tell that this is sarcasm:

"But seriously, a fucking single player space combat game. Please? Please?

Tiny audience wants it. Why they no deliver?"

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Stark » 2012-10-10 08:57pm

I'm well aware you were being 'hilarious' about your inability to engage with new things, but with respect to Chris Roberts announcement the explanation is both obvious and informative. Minecraft's absurd success on a platform which avoids piracy just highlights how divorced from reality hidebound nerds have become. People knee-jerk dislike multi, but it's an easy way to ensure people playing your game actually bought it. At this point I almost think you could raise money for almost any freemium multi game, because the model is so successful and isn't affected by piracy as much as retail boxes.

So if you want to make hilarious jokes about F2P casual mobile games ruining the fatnerd world, just look in your torrent folder for the tragic explanation. And then play Chris Roberts' hilarious pipe dream which will certainly deliver on all promises.

Just like Obsidian. :v

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-10 09:07pm

I'll happily play a MMO in the WoT style (which this would seem to fit).

But if I see one "recover 15 asteroid fragments" quest box...

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-10 09:14pm

Finally watching the full video.

HOLY SHIT HE SAID "MOHR'S LAW". THIS WILL BE AMAZING.

OK, so Squadron 42 is pseudo SP/MP hybrid thing and then you can go into the Star Citizen MMO style thing? OK. Squadron 42 it is for me.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-10 09:17pm

WAAAAAAAAH! HE'S HOLDING A CONTROLLER IN THE VIDEO! TRAITOR! TRAITOR! BURN THE WITCH!

What? The pilot model is quoted as being 100x more detailed than a comparable model in a "current AAA game". That's insanity. Pure fucking insanity.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Vendetta » 2012-10-10 09:24pm

Man, it has taken 13 years for Chris Roberts to finally decide that the world has forgotten what happened the last time people gave him money for a personal vanity project and try doing it again.

And he is apparently using this golden chance to make Eve with knobs on.

And I am not sure that knobs are the thing that Eve needs.

Gameplay, maybe. Knobs, Not so much.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Vendetta » 2012-10-10 09:28pm

weemadando wrote:I'll happily play a MMO in the WoT style (which this would seem to fit).

But if I see one "recover 15 asteroid fragments" quest box...


There are f2p spaceship shooting games, but IIRC they're all terrible so far.

I am fairly sure that if you wait long enough WG will make World of Spaceships.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Stark » 2012-10-10 09:39pm

It's that he's aiming squarely at feely-experience stuff that makes his sound so bad. Need to buy a peripheral for real tapping on touchscreen experience! The walk to your ship you'll always skip is amazing! And then some vague stuff about spaceships I dunno ...

It wouldn't even (conceptually) be hard to make a game like this interesting once you ditch the story driven mission scripted approach. It's clear that Chrissy knows what was success tasty years ago but doesn't actually understand why.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby CaptHawkeye » 2012-10-10 11:15pm

I literally groaned when I saw the [PC Gamer Pride] shit on the opening of the trailer. Then again the developer sounds like one of the Old Boys Club of forgotten 90s developers who haven't made a real game in decades. You can tell his head was pretty far up his ass after the first 10 seconds of the trailer.

At least the game's art design looks great.
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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Tolya » 2012-10-11 04:22am

weemadando wrote:WAAAAAAAAH! HE'S HOLDING A CONTROLLER IN THE VIDEO! TRAITOR! TRAITOR! BURN THE WITCH!

What? The pilot model is quoted as being 100x more detailed than a comparable model in a "current AAA game". That's insanity. Pure fucking insanity.


Dude, it's not a big deal to keep improving the mesh till you run out of RAM. I am more interested in how this affects the game. Because boasting detailed graphics in this world is like claiming your car can go 120 mph. Sure it can, as well as anybody's else's.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Tolya » 2012-10-11 04:43am

CaptHawkeye wrote:I literally groaned when I saw the [PC Gamer Pride] shit on the opening of the trailer. Then again the developer sounds like one of the Old Boys Club of forgotten 90s developers who haven't made a real game in decades. You can tell his head was pretty far up his ass after the first 10 seconds of the trailer.

At least the game's art design looks great.


Yes, because ze PC's are the best, ja? It's really interesting to see people pitch PC as the ultimate gaming platform because it can output more polygonz.

Also, Chris Roberts coming back... it somehow feels like Napoleon coming back and saying he'll sort out Afghanistan.

I remain skeptical about the title. Graphically it looks good, but so does Prometheus.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby weemadando » 2012-10-11 04:53am

I thought that he was pitching a PC product because it's an open platform and they can do whatever they want and monetise it however they want without stakeholders like platform owners or publishers getting involved.

Not that an "auteur" being given a stack of money with no effective oversight aside from angry fans is a recipe for guaranteed success.

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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby Feil » 2012-10-11 09:33pm

I am happy that the game appears to be built around controllers, because controllers are great at controlling vehicles in three dimensions on a screen. (Unlike, say, joysticks, which are actually terrible.)

I am not happy that the selling point of the game appears to be LOL MEGAPIXELYGONS PC IS BEST HAR HAR HAR CONSOLES MORE LIKE NONSOLES AM I RIGHT?


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Re: Star Citizen - Space Combat Sim MMO

Postby White Haven » 2012-10-12 01:59am

I love how you focus on a minor side-note to it all for the GAME'S MAIN SELLING POINT. The material on the game's site consists of a whole litany of fairly nifty ideas and talking points, only a few of which even mention graphics in any way. Yes, they're bragging that their very pretty game is very pretty. Shocker, I know. Does it take special training to become as painfully fucking cynical and jaded as you lot, or does it come to you naturally?
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