In a new letter to the community, Chris Roberts takes stock of the development of Star Citizen, while pointing to the future with in particular version 4.0 leading to a beta version.
To become a reality, space simulation StarCitizen still has to complete its fundamentals, the essential technologies to continue its development. Among the various aspects of development covered, this is the key point of the latest edition of the letter to the community of Chris Robertsthe creator of a project – very long – which will reach 500 million dollars in crowdfunding this year. Cloud Imperium Games currently has 780 employees, plus 130 within the partner Turbulent who are at work on Star Citizen and Squadron 42the solo campaign developed in parallel.
These dizzying figures are up to the ambitions of Chris Roberts, but also to his excess for his detractors. “Always more” is the red thread of the development of Star Citizen, like a crucial feature to emerge this year: the persistence of each dynamic object in the game, which are no longer linked to the character but to the universe. In the idea, a weapon deposited on the ground will remain present as long as a player does not come to pick it up. Each action of a player must thus have persistent repercussions for all the other players. If you crash your ship on a planet, every pilot passing by will notice the accident. It’s an unprecedented level of immersion, the raison d’être of Improbable’s SpatialOS technologies that never came to fruition.
It is necessary for Cloud Imperium to bring this technology to fruition in order to work in a viable way on the management of Star Citizen’s servers, which must form a dynamic mesh to respond to load increases, without the servers being tied to an in-game location. servers is scheduled for the end of 2022 for subscribers, followed by a release in the first quarter of 2023. This is the moment when the water is sent after having connected all the piping, the famous moment when an online game under development checks if it holds water. The number of players that can cross paths is the glass ceiling that Elite Dangerous — with fewer ambitions but also resources — hit too quickly, while the studio Frontier Developments made the task much easier, like the transition needed to get on a ship.
Once the network infrastructure has been tested, it will then be a question of switching to version 4.0, because the foundations of Star Citizen will then be sufficient to consider leaving the alpha and moving towards a beta test. In parallel, the studio is working on the complete replacement of the graphics engine with version 3.18, the price to pay when development goes slower than the evolution of technologies.
We understand that the development of Star Citizen is at a key stage, when we can envisage a future or confront the limits of our time. While anticipating likely delays, the technologies to switch Star Citizen into beta will have to be mastered in 2023, accompanied by the arrival of a second star system with Pyro. Without igniting, this is the moment when this creation can really take off, or continue to maintain a persistent fog as to its viability.
All of the Star Citizen ships and gameplay shown so far will only be able to simulate a universe — and therefore a real game — if they come together to form a cohesive, persistent, and well-served whole. In the meantime, these are just promises not yet kept.