Star Citizen’s Biggest Goal Yet: A Procedural Gen Team

By Nathan Grayson on February 25th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Star Citizen is going to be colossal. That was never in question. Then it became even more not in question with the crowdfunded additions of everything from first-person combat to facial capture tech to a collaboration with Kingdom Come to probably, like, the virtually reanimated consciousness of Chris Roberts himself, a beaming face of ceaseless encouragement winking at you from the stars. But those are all handcrafted bits and bytes. They are finite, limited by the work of human hands. Thus, given proper funding (which they will no doubt receive), Roberts and co would like to bring on a full-blown procedural generation team. The goal is to procedurally whip up “entire planets worth of exploration and development content.” And then Star Citizen was all the games.

Star Citizen has now tractor beamed in a whopping $39 million, which means another user-picked star system. Procedural generation, meanwhile, will come online when the surging space sim reaches $41 million, and that will go a little something like this:

“Among the most common feature requests for Star Citizen are atmospheric combat and ground exploration. These are the single biggest things we would like to include in the game, but they’re also something we know we can’t have day one. Our universe is a big place, and creating the hundreds of existing landouts properly is enough of a challenge… building entire continents and atmospheres in the current system would take a lifetime. That’s where procedural generation comes in.”

“This stretch goal will allocate funding for Cloud Imperium to develop procedural generation technology for future iterations of Star Citizen. Advanced procedural generation will be necessary for creating entire planets worth of exploration and development content. A special strike team of procedural generation-oriented developers will be assembled to make this technology a reality.”

“Future iterations,” by the way, doesn’t necessarily mean new games. Roberts added that he wants to keep Star Citizen fresh for upwards of a decade or more, so procedural generation would presumably be bolted onto the existing game. Granted, highly sophisticated procedural generation isn’t easy, especially when it comes to the creation of truly unique places that feel natural and – as Roberts put it – “atmospheric.” I want massive landmasses of mystery to dig into, but not if they turn out to only be haphazard patchwork quilts of recycled material.

Is it madness? Only time will tell. At this point, we don’t even have Star Citizen’s long-awaited dogfighting module yet, and that’s kind of the core of whole shebang. Baby steps, then, for an infant of a game that dreams of growing up to be the whole goddamn universe.

We shall see. We shall see.

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138 Comments »

  1. golem09 says:

    Hopefully their next unofficial teamup will be with the devs of No Man’s Sky. Those guys could really need it, and the procedural team would get a headstart.

  2. coffeetable says:

    Good lord, this game will go down in the dictionary under “feature creep”. It’s going to be an absolute fucking disaster.

    e: This isn’t pessimism by the way, it’s the realities of software development. Any programmer that’s suffered through spec changes would run a mile from this.

    • frightlever says:

      The more I hear the less interested I am. That aside, which I’m sure isn’t going to bother anyone, making so many promises is just giving their community ammunition to throw at them if they don’t deliver absolutely everything they’ve contracted to. It doesn’t seem smart.

    • gschmidl says:

      Only if they implement everything at the same time. Which they’re obviously not.

    • yonsito says:

      I’m worried, too.
      I really admire Mr. Roberts for his ambition, but there is still so much to do and he keeps adding to the pile.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        *The post release pile.

        Oh and a quick note for RPS, with “atmospheric fight” they actually meant in-atmosphere, same as for exploration.

        This idea was previously scrapped as there would be no way without PG to allow this in a 100+ star systems without impacting the overall level of polish or limiting it to a few planets only. Or releasing in 2023 that is.

        • waltC says:

          This is the kind of thing I’ve been expecting (for years) that some enterprising developer would do with a modern Starflight reboot–the potential for a complete remake of that game is awesome. But, uh…nobody wants to do it, for some reason I haven’t been able to fathom. The game was a big seller in its day because of the seemingly “open-ended” planet/star-system exploration/mining/alien-contact/overarching Interstellar plot lines (mouthful!). Planet formation was done via a crude form of procedural generation. Chris R. has the kind of imagination needed, but so far no one has stepped up to the plate. A real pity considering what could be done with the game today.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Good lord this. Elite, i.e. the shittiest kickstarter ever, has a playable combat demo and Star Citizen is still expanding in scope. The worst part is they’re not even expanding artistic content, which can be predicted by a very skilled manager; instead they’re going for greater technical complexity.

      • witzkawumme (wkw) says:

        why was Elite the “shittiest kickstarter”? And in what way?

        • Werthead says:

          That was hyperbolic, but it was the case that the ELITE Kickstarter wasn’t very well thought-out. It didn’t have in-game videos (something STAR CITIZEN did from the off), just concept art and a somewhat vague initial design document. It wasn’t a storming success from the off, either, and I remember speculation that it wouldn’t make its goal. It wasn’t until they did star t adding more info further into the Kickstarter that it started doing better.

          It wasn’t the ‘worst Kickstarter ever’ though. I’d nominate the Red Eagle Games/Jet Set Studios attempt to do a WHEEL OF TIME mobile game (raising $3,000 of a $450,000 target) for that.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “ELITE STAR CITIZEN WHEEL OF TIME”

          • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

            Star Citizen did not have an in-game video. It had an in-engine video and, as it’s based on CryEngine, that’s not really a humongous feat. Elite’s engine has been developed from scratch.

        • Themadcow says:

          Elite didn’t have the worst overall, but I’d say it probably had the worst KS launch relative to the campaign target. It was basically Uncle Dave popping up to say “Hi, you might remember me as the guy who made a game called Elite back in the 80′s – I fancy making another one, give me £2m. Oh, and here’s a couple of sketches” (OK, paraphrasing slightly).

          …and yet I still backed it on day 1, because it’s Uncle Dave.

        • InternetBatman says:

          It didn’t have a video at the start (for several days), some of the tiers were incredibly poorly defined. It’s really expensive for a Kickstarter. It relies heavily on non-cosmetic in-game items at the middle tiers. They had absolutely no concept art at the start. All while asking for a huge sum of money.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Most of the stretch goals, including this one ( especially this one ) are gonna fall in after launch, much in the same vein as what Elite will do. These points are never stressed/understood enough.

      Feature creep is something that defines the newer AC games or Far Cry 3, not an ever expanding project that will most definitely enjoy some added bonuses further down the line ( months and even years ).

      Please everyone, don’t get roflstomped by the emotive train, Elite had the same negativity back when it had nothing to show. SC development is even more parallel than that, which means that you get almost nothing at the start and a lot near the end.

    • GenBanks says:

      I keep thinking of the early days after Spore was announced. It sounded like The Ultimate Game, everything you could want fused into one piece of software, making the rest of my hard drive obsolete.

    • joa says:

      I think Star Citizen and other high budget Kickstarter games are going to turn PC gaming into a bit of a laughing stock (I mean more than it is already thanks to all the Linux bullshit). Basically people are pouring money into games that are very likely to turn out poor. This is simple probability – look at all the games that are given money by publishers and turn out poor.

      Wasteland 2 is already out and by all accounts is very poor. Obsidian are just on auto pilot mode, churning out the old fashioned rubbish. And somehow they have everyone thinking this is a good idea. The way it’s supposed to work is that you pay for something after it has been developed, after people have reviewed it and publishers have performed quality control. This method of game development will only lead to poor quality games.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        Wastelands 2 isn’t “out”. It’s still in Beta and they’re still adding features and changing mechanics. If Wastelands 2 is “out” then so is Elite. (Hint: Neither of them are “out”)

      • Saul says:

        Previous commentator is correct. Wasteland 2 is nowhere near out. I’ll also add that it’s being made by ineXile, not Obsidian. Obsidian are making Pillars of Eternity. And if you’d seen any of the Kickstarter materials from either company, you’d probably have the sense that they are extremely invested in and excited by the games they’re making. Kickstarter has let them make things that they actually want to make (for the first time in ages), and that’s something any AAA developer would give their right leg for. The main pitfall is that the budgets are going to be much tighter than they’re used to.

        • Cinek says:

          “Wasteland 2 is nowhere near out.” – really? I thought it was about to be released in first half of this year. So in next 3-4 month. It sux if they delayed it even further.

        • Rutok says:

          Wasteland 2 is on steam for 44€.. if that is not “out” then i dont know what is. They may not call it that..

      • lgfriess says:

        I understand the OPs concerns but the fact he says Wasteland 2 is out and bad makes me think he’s basing his opinion on poor information. There have been a number of kickstarters that have released with good success. Yes, there is reason to be concerned. Then again you can say that about any AAA release. Some games just suck.

        I can’t wait until Wasteland 2 and Pillars of Eternity are released. From what I’ve seen so far, they’ll further validate the indie/kickstarter process.

      • LordDamien says:

        Thank you troll for your opinion, now back to your cave.

    • Keyrock says:

      Agreed. Every time I hear of them asking for yet more money and adding yet more features I get turned more and more off the project and am more an more thankful I never pulled the trigger on pledging to it. This is smelling more rotten by the hour.

      Hopefully I’m wrong and it turns out to be a wonderful game, in which case, I may purchase it at a future date. As it stands right now, I’m staying far away from this project.

    • HothMonster says:

      It’s not really feature creep if it won’t delay the initial game. They are just planning for something they want to add to the game in a couple years and trying to throw a dedicated team together to work on that specifically so it doesn’t affect the current timelines.

      This is more foresight than feature creep.

    • 2late2die says:

      FFS, it’s not feature creep – it’s called long term planning. Why is it so hard to understand? This money allows these devs to plan out features years in advance, something that most developers don’t have the luxury of doing due to publishers putting money and time constraints and putting metacritic scores as conditions for future sequels. The work on most post $20+ mill goals, and certainly on the $30+ mill goals, hasn’t started and won’t be starting for months. So they’re not spending money or time on that stuff, they are working on the basics of the game. But when that’s done, and when the Squadron 42 campaign is done and the persistent universe is fleshed out, they’ll have more goals to reach for and already funded.

      That is awesome stuff and this whole “feature creep” nonsense is getting seriously old.

  3. FabriciusRex says:

    This game will be so buggy. Why can’t they just scale down and add features as the player base grows?

    • coffeetable says:

      Because the objective of Star Citizen isn’t to make a game, it’s to get Chris Roberts rich.

      Or maybe I’m assigning to malice what’s well explained by stupidity.

    • golem09 says:

      You did read the thing about all these additional features being implemented over years and years, right?

      I mean even for the most basic version of the game every module was meant to be implemented onto an existing version, first hangar, then dogfight, then single player campaign, then online MP. Thing is they already have enough money to be sure to implement fps mode after that, and exploration, and then eventually procedural generation.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Aye, it’s also worth nothing that the FPS part is truly the easiest thing they could possibly make, given the engine.

        That’ll be at launch with SQ42 mostly because it has a whole parallel studio just for the campaign alone, but i bet some other implementations in the public universe, aside from the basic ones, will wait after launch.

  4. LunyAlex says:

    It’s probably the best way to go at making planetary exploration a thing, but I’m always particularly skeptical regarding procedurally generated content within a fixed game context.

    i.e. Minecraft works because it has none, whereas, after playing Starbound, I just felt like I would’ve traded the close-to-infinite number of procedurally generated planets for 50 hand crafted ones.
    Because in spite of the impressive scale, I could never get rid of the voice in the back of my head screaming “THIS IS NOT AS BIG AS IT SEEMS! THESE ARE 10 ELEMENTS RANDOMLY COMBINED AND COPY/PASTED BY AN ALGORITHM! STOP FALLING FOR IT JESUS CHRIST!”; it was pretty detrimental to immersion for me, personally.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yes, Minecraft works because you can make a certain part of the PCG landscape your own and craft it into something, so you spend more time in certain geographic features that you find interesting, or even just find a flat plain near a river or coast and turn it into a city. Like you say, I’m not convinced that randomised versions of 10 basic planets would be a good thing, or visiting a hundred cities with the same architecture laid out randomly, unless they really nail the computational creativity aspect and really get some interesting algorithms, which I’m not convinced is something that’s ready to escape academia in a big way yet.

    • Cinek says:

      That’s pretty much what every procedurally generated game is: Few bricks semi-randomly placed around the map. Many people think it magically makes game huge, while in fact you quickly get bored by seeing the same bricks in different combinations.

      • Harlander says:

        Remind the next person who gushes about how big Daggerfall’s play area was about this.

      • Gap Gen says:

        The brain is pretty good at spotting patterns, and tricking it into accepting that something is new is tricky. Then again, it’s possible, since you get reductionist arguments like Seven Basic Plots, and people will happily watch TV shows based on the same premise as other shows, like police procedurals, space operas or costume dramas.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Double post.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Check Outerra. http://www.outerra.com/

      Minecraft and other heavily procedural games are riddled with patterns because the procedural generation is used in full auto mode, on the fly, with just a set of rules.

      Procedural generation can be used offline, before shipping, and refined to great extents, it’s something that if used wisely makes stuff possible rather than being a quick ticket to slack-a-land. Elite is using PG this way, make new rules, switch them around, actually follow the process and tweak it, THEN add all the handcrafted stuff you might want and modify it until it’s good.

      A perfectly refined PG can be more realistic and enjoyable than 100% handcrafted content, as the latter is dependant on the artists vision ( which can be a good thing ) and the former can be made complex enough that abides to realistic rules and then tweaked and retweaked, the best of both worlds when it comes to creating a LOT of data.

      Take Arma 2-3 for example, the good thing about that landmass is that it makes sense, touring that place is a joy because you’re not overwhelmed by epic and awesome stuff everywhere ( or random shit if the artists are crap ), but instead you’re met with a logical scale that feels right, the countryside is a countryside and a forest is a forest, and the city you want to visit will sit there looming in the horizon.

      Eitherway, remember that SC at launch will be 100% handcrafted, all the systems they promised and so on are still being developed that way. PG will mean that all these planets will no longer be a bunch of landing spots but they will also be fully explorable. it’s an extra feature and nothing else, but it allows decent planetary flight in a 100+ star systems game that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

      • Cinek says:

        A perfectly refined PG can be more realistic and enjoyable than 100% handcrafted content,” – beautiful theory that got nothing to deal with reality.

        I haven’t seen any procedurally generated game that would even come close to the realism and enjoyability (though that one is extremely subjective) of hand-crafted games. The beauty of mentioned Minecraft is in handcrafting. Building order out of chaos of P.G. – not the other way around.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          None of the games mentioned above use PG purely as an artist’s tool, but a quick generation device that works on the fly, clientside, with a limited set of rules.

          PG should save time to artists that keep tweaking the rules and authoring most of it’s moves, it should only serve as the tool that creates most of the meat and THEN still requires artists to do their stuff, either changing values and creating different sections with different algorythms, but most importantly still doing a lot of handcrafting on TOP of it.

          Sounds like much, but it’s still quicker enough to make this method feasible, while otherwise impossible.

          Besides, however this will turn, we’re still talking about an extra among the extras that won’t see the light anywhere near launch.

          • LunyAlex says:

            I understand what you’re saying and it makes more sense now. When I hear PG I instantly imagine something that is dynamically generated on an instance to instance basis. That said I imagine having a team of developers try to work on each planet (even if already procedurally generated) would take a really really long time still.

            I imagine them procedurally generating it and that’s it, because of that.

  5. Morlock says:

    But will players be able to bake bread?

  6. Chris says:

    Chris Roberts will become the new Peter Molyneux, that is the Jimmy Savile of game developers.

    He’s something of a one trick pony. He did space shooty well, about twenty years ago. Then he went to Hollywood and bombed as a movie director.

    I predict that SC will be the biggest video game disaster ever, including X-Rebirth. I could be wrong of course, but the $50 stretch goal of zero gravity morris dancing is just around the corner.

  7. Chris says:

    I bet that Star Citizen will be the target of more opprobrium than Godus.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  8. tomimt says:

    I’m glad I decided not to back Starcitize, as it is starting to sound way, way too ambitious. There’s nothing wrong with a little ambition, but this does sound like theyr’e going start shipping their actual backers to the space with the next stretch goals in order to give them “best space experience ever”.

    Everything in me is screaming how brightly this will crash and burn, there’s just too much on the plate for this. Expectations are gearing up too high.

  9. Cinek says:

    Just a tiny reminder – this is just a stretch goal for a team that will develop the technology – probably look for some pre-made solutions and try to write some scripts that will procedurally generate content in the game.

    It’s not about building whole planets procedurally for just one million bucks.

    It’s more like a beginning of the development for something that will be added to the game very late after it’s release – as officially the released version of a game won’t include atmospheric flight or combat. First expansion pack also will not include any of this. We’re talking here about 1 year or more after the release.

    This stretch goal does not add any new features to the initial game release.

    • Sathure says:

      It’s not even that. The stretch goal is for a team to research the technologies and their feasibility for being added later. This isn’t a gaurenteed feature yet.

    • lgfriess says:

      This would require people to read and pay attention to what is actually being proposed. Asking a lot ya know.

  10. jarowdowsky says:

    I just don’t see how you’d get past the difference between procedural and hand-crafted elements in this vision of the game.

    Surely this would always feel like it was bolted on to the space based elements that had been created by hand for the game. If the worlds were predominantly procedural aren’t they always just going to seem like a bit of eye-candy thrown in as an afterthought?

    Feels to me like something that’ll go down as well as those space stations in X Rebirth.

  11. jarowdowsky says:

    By the way, just being cheeky here, but how close was the decision to delay the dog fighting model of Star Citizen to the early peeks of the Elite Alpha?

    • Thurgret says:

      They hummed and hawed and procrastinated for months without saying anything definite, then within days of the Elite: Dangerous alpha opening up, they put the dogfighting thing back to February – and then to April, subsequently. I guess there isn’t actually any game there yet. Just, er, a hangar.

      • aleander says:

        They have a fish tank, though, and if there’s one thing I learned from space sims, it’s that space is a huge murky fish tank and space ships are actually tiny subs. So they totally have the space sim done.

  12. Caiman says:

    It’s been fascinating watching internet comments about Star Citizen slowly morph from excitement and hope to bitterness and trolling, when all it has done is succeed in what everyone wanted in the first place; acquire a budget large enough to do a game of this scope really well. But no, it’s now apparently a scam because it’s behind schedule with a dogfighting module? Or something, who knows. I’m just following the regular newsletter updates that show it’s coming along nicely.

    • thaquoth says:

      I see far more worrying than bitterness.

      Which I think is absolutely warranted at this point. I really want this to be good, but I can’t help but see some definite warning signs there. Anyone who has ever developed a piece of software knows how easy it is to get out of hand.

      • Keyrock says:

        Agreed. I want this to turn out awesome, but I’m becoming more and more worried that it will be a colossal disaster.

    • Cinek says:

      when all it has done is succeed in what everyone wanted in the first place” – What people wanted in first place was new Wing Commander-alike game with great, persistent multiplayer. None of which was delivered yet. Hence the bitterness.

      But no, it’s now apparently a scam because it’s behind schedule with a dogfighting module?” – DFM got very little to deal with it. Re-read the comments. Majority are complains about feature-creep.

    • Bostec says:

      Its not just that is it? Its stretch goal after stretch goal. Bloat after bloat. Its beginning to sound like a fucking rogue-like here, it will never end development. People want a solid base line on when it will be feature complete, not more fluff to be added. When will it end? What about the people who backed it first and don’t want any of this? Most people like to play games feature complete, I know I do. And thats going to take most of my life time by the sound of it.

      • Cinek says:

        “, it will never end development. ” – Welcome to the 21st century. Most of the community-driven multiplayer games got never ending development cycle.

      • Docs says:

        Well this specific stretch goal is going to be implemented after the initial release of the game, they’re just putting together a separate team to begin R&D on this now, so it wont be delaying any releases.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      I was just interested in the space aspect, but I am not even sure of what it is going to be anymore. All this talk of FPS and ground combat is giving me Battlecruiser and “he who shall not be named” vibes. Hopefully Squadron 42 will keep me happy.

      • Cinek says:

        FPS and ground combat are just small sides. Majority of game time will be spent in starships flying around. And this game is build on an FPS shooter engine, so think of FPS combat as a free bonus. Something to bring an innovation into the genre that was rather stagnant for years.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Derek Smart. Derek Smart. Derek Smart!

        *looks behind*

  13. MeestaNob says:

    When I funded this I just wanted a space flight sim.

    This sounds even better!

  14. nrvsNRG says:

    “…And then Star Citizen was all the games.”
    Thats always been my dream for gamings future.(erm, not SC, I meant in general, one day)

  15. Werthead says:

    I remember all the stuff we were promised for FREELANCER and it turned out to be rather ‘less’ than what was promised, and that was with a big budget and Microsoft backing him. In fact, for me FREELANCER ended up being hugely disappointing compared to its sister-game STARLANCER, which was much more straightforward, cohesive and had a better story and direction to it.

    I am hopeful the game will be good, but it seems a bit odd that this game started development long before ELITE: DANGEROUS (there was a STAR CITIZEN trailer video around a long time before E:D launched), has raised vastly more money, has a lot more people working on it (and a second team dedicated to SQUADRON 42) but we’re at a point now where ELITE’s combat is in place and other features are getting locked and STAR CITIZEN is still nailing down its final design structure. It doesn’t seem as efficiently-run.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      “FREELANCER FREELANCER STARLANCER ELITE: DANGEROUS STAR CITIZEN SQUADRON STAR CITIZEN”

    • Cinek says:

      Star Citizen design structure was done lone ago. What you see here is adding post-release features. It won’t affect development of a release-worthy game in any way.

    • Docs says:

      I’m not too sure if Elite: dangerous started development after SC, I think I heard a that they’d been working on it a little while before seeing all of the success games were having on Kickstarter.

      Plus elite seems to be concentrating much more on single seat ships and the combat, whereas SC has built out a whole bunch of large multi-crew ships with a lot more detail and eventually more functionality. They showed an early version of the multiplayer dogfighting in the hornet around the time Elites alpha came out, they just wanted to get it all a bit more polished and working properly first.

  16. lomaxgnome says:

    While I have little faith in them being able to deliver on the greatest everything that ever was everything like they seem to want to make, at least this goal is specific. “Give us this money and we’ll hire these people to do this thing.” That’s the biggest problem with most so-called stretch goals, they don’t say how or why something is a stretch or what the money is being used for.

  17. derbefrier says:

    Rps and its commenters: consoles suck and so do publishers. They hold back pc gaming and keep it in the dark ages. I wish there was some way we could go back to theglory days of PC gaming when it was open and constantly pushing limits of what we thought was possible.

    Chris Roberts: hey guys give me money and we will do all of that!

    …..39 million dollars later

    Rps and commenters: impossible! This game will suck! You can’t do that on your own feaaaatuuurreeeee crreeeepppp. I miss the saefty of knowing what’s going to happen. Oh look its a new elite game they are playing it safe not trying to do anything crazy. Let’s all go for this new stuff scares me.

    • Thurgret says:

      Alternatively, people are being responsible consumers?

      • derbefrier says:

        keeping your money is one thing. bashing the game and stating its gonna fail every time there’s an article posted is a little different and the antithesis of what this site and many PC gamer have been screaming from the rooftops since big publishers took over the industry. Its seems for a lot of you when it came time to put your money were mouth is. you just ran away screaming “featureeeee creeeeppppp!!!”

        • RaveTurned says:

          You seem to be implying that the people worrying about over-scoping this project are all non-backers naysaying for the hell of it, rather than people who have already put money down and are trying to protect their investment. I suspect more are the latter than the former.

          Unless you’re saying that people who have already invested should just keep throwing more money at Roberts whenever he announces some new feature? Because that’s a tactic that works so well in other software projects. :/

      • Jenks says:

        There’s an enormous gap between responsible consumer and pessimistic shithead.

    • Twitchblade says:

      Doesn’t it feel a bit like putting the cart before the horse here, though? Like, I get that all this stuff is meant to be added post release and everything, but it seems like they’re already planning on releasing the equivalent of multiple expansion packs before the base game is even complete. That seems incredibly over ambitious, and I feel that’s why people are skeptical. Especially since the base game is going to be so massive in scope and will probably be riddled with problems, even post release.

      • Docs says:

        I think that would have felt like the case if they didn’t have a whole lot of money and limited developers. Right now though they’re swimming in it, and after a certain point throwing more developers onto the same thing will probably not do much good, they already have multiple studios around the world and are taking on tons of new devs, so using that money for a completely separate team to work on something independent of the release version of game seems like a good idea.

    • blacksun_redux says:

      Thank you!

      People, especially game fans, just love to be reactionary and combative. Additionally, I suspect many naysayers are not backers, aren’t following the development, and thus don’t really know what they are talking about.

      I’m an original Star Citizen backer. I paid $30 and have the starter ship. If they deliver on even a fraction of what has been promised, I will have gotten my $30 worth. I rarely comment on this site. and when I do, I often find myself making this similar sort of comment. We are talking about video games here people! Lighten up! Look, outside, a bird! A pretty girl! People having a picnic! *grabs coat and leaves*

  18. wz says:

    The end result of the procedural universe sort of depends on the calibre of the coding team. Have they released any details?

    So, on the ‘photorealistic’ procedural space sim crowdsourcing front we have, in order of how much is realised:

    1. Infinity Quest for Earth’s upcoming Kickstarter
    (Already realised procedural sim to the extent shown by videos, team already in place, always planned to be procedural, budget doesn’t need to be that large because of the community created element)

    2. Elite Dangerous Expansion (Funding is still accepted at Kickstarter tier pricing here)
    (Team already in place, already realised procedural asteroids and star systems, always planned to be procedural)

    3. Star citizen (Do they at least know their team? What are the end results of having a team for 41 million?. How much beyond this is needed and to produce what quality? Are they planning to use middleware? Around when will this be realised?)

    (Not including the funded Limit-theory, or voxel-ised space games, or the upcoming North Star kickstarter which is a bit different).

    An interview or two with the Star Citizen team might be needed before people know who to back and to what extent.

    • Cinek says:

      Do they at least know their team?
      - Stretch goal is about setting up initial R&D team. They don’t know it yet cause noone is hired as of now. If/when stretch goal will be achieved – they’ll begin hiring.

      What are the end results of having a team for 41 million?
      - Initial, working concept of procedurally generated surface of a planet. Eventually to be developed into fully-fledged procedural generation of a planets – long after game release for additional funding

      How much beyond this is needed and to produce what quality? Are they planning to use middleware?
      - Role of a team founded through this goal is to determine both of these.

      Around when will this be realised?
      - Long after the game release and a release of first expansion pack.

  19. Stellar Duck says:

    I’ve long since given up on finding out what the hell Star Citizen is even about.

    And don’t get me started on the nickel and diming cash shop thing they got going.

    • Cinek says:

      Free-roam space combat sim. That’s what it is about. You play as a pilot living in the sci-fi universe.
      Simple as that.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      And an MMO with heavy NPC presence ( With a single player campaign ) about either combat, trading ( or pirating ), exploring and generally doing your shit, with the ability to walk around and being part of a crew in bigger ship, manned either by players, NPC or a mix.

      But not EVE, that is 100% about player agency and while SC has some of that, it won’t matter as much. You’ll be able to influence part of the economy and there will be some persistency, but players are still supposed to be a minor part. Stuff can be influenced dinamically, if you intercept a shipment of missiles a certain factory won’t get them, but other NPCs will try to fill the gap.

      You can’t break everything, but you can play a lot with the mechanics and generally find your own place in the universe. This is your endgame: doing your shit and filling your goals. You want all the ship? That’s a goal. You want to be a trading baron? A famous pirate? Find your own amusement, that’s your content. Maybe you just want to be a nobody that simply wants to fuck around, even more power to you!

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I’m aware of the basics.

        My semi serious post was meant to illustrate that at this point there’s so much shit added that I’ve given up. Just trying to figure out how the cash shop works gives me a head ache.

        Well, also that I’m not really interested in it after it turned out to be yet another bloody MMO. I’ll stick to EVE methinks, and consider Limit Theory in the mean time.

        Nothing against SC, I suppose, but it’s just too confusing for my blood.

        Edit: and to echo a poster above me: it’s starting to remind quite a bit about how a certain someone described Battlecruiser 3000AD back in my youthful days. I’ve grown too jaded, perhaps, to really have faith in a project with this scope, especially since it seems the scope is not even settled yet.

        While I have my list of issues with Elite, at least it seems stronger from a conceptual standpoint.

        And hey, if SC turns out well, good on them! In the meantime, I’ll remain dubious.

  20. cpy says:

    I’d really love to land on planets and enter atmosphere and feel the drag slowing me down from orbit, this would make have my dream game come true. Since starglider 2 i haven’t played a game that really hit the spot. Though escape velocity series came very close to what i really love about space games.

  21. Colej_uk says:

    This sounds like a way to actually reduce their workload. It would mean less time spent on terrain design essentially- which otherwise would be the biggest challenge/resource sink for them. It’s quite a sensible approach I think. If the tiny team at Hello Games can come up with the impressive looking No Man’s Sky, I think there is hope for Star Citizen. I wish they’d implemented this sooner though, right at the start.

    • Cinek says:

      I’m super happy that they don’t. I would be even happier if they wouldn’t spend time and money on atmospheric combat and focus more on a core experience – space combat – and expand upon it. Instead of eating 3D artists, concepts, programmers, and everyone else’s time for something that doesn’t add anything at all to the game core.

      I’m very afraid that atmospheric flight will be exactly the same that space stations were in X3 Rebirth – huge time-consuming annoyance that should be skipped with a simple cut scene.

  22. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I, for one, wish to see how they implement cats.

    • Weed says:

      Maybe they’ll implement a computer like station on your ships where you can bring up a browser and watch funny cat videos, and then send links of said funny cat videos to your friends in game. That would be AWESOME!

      Probably another stretch goal though.

  23. BobsLawnService says:

    I’m glad I haven’t backed this. It is going to turn into a glorious, giant, messy failure. It is now time to quit the ambition and focus on releasing the best damn space shooter that they can for fourty million dollars.

  24. macc says:

    Wow, the amount of negativity is amazing in here!! For years we are crying for ambitious games which take risks and that push our PC’s. We cry that we only get console trash the same as COD 125. Finally, ambitious developers come around with PC as the #1 platform, and what we do? We smash it in the ground while the game is only in pre alpha without even forming an informed opinion!!

    READ people. The procedural generation stretchgoal is only for an R&D team to look at the possibilities of procedural generation. This will not be in the first release of the game, it is only investigating. This has nothing to do with feature creep. Actually most stretch goals are not even meant for the first release of the game, it’s about plans where this game can go in years to come.

    You guys are just like EA. We’re a year in development and all I see is: I WANT TO SEE CONTENT NOW, OTHERWISE ITS VAPORWARE. You know who also did that? Jim Ward when he entered Lucasarts as new CEO, a little while later the company was gone.

    I am not asking you to back this game or to like it, but just give Roberts the chance to take his risks, because he actually has the balls to do it. Keep your FEATURE CREEP and VAPORWARE comments for when there is actually some content to judge like the dogfighting module, which will be there in april after PAX.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I thought the Dogfight module was released in December?

      Well, I know it wasn’t. But saying to people “just wait til PAX to see the DF module!” seems a little shrill, considering it should be out by February.

      • macc says:

        It should be out when it’s ready to be out. Name me a game which didn’t have delays.

        • Thurgret says:

          FreeSpace 2?

        • craigdolphin says:

          A game without delays? Dragon Age 2.

          So, your point is valid. :) No one wants SC to be analogous to DA2

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Many games have delays. I don’t really care.

          But the shrill cries of “Just you wait til the DFM when it comes!” are tiring.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            It is tired, but we wouldn’t even consider telling such a thing if it wasn’t forced. There are tons and tons of clues that this game is still being developed full steam, and they are accessible to those who really follow this project very closely. Also, their DFM test on december was simply lacking polish, but it’s there. Just more time, really.

            I’m not trying to force people to go through millions of pages of research, i’m merely asking those who have understandably little knowledge about it to not just go “Buuuuuuuuut there’s nothing out yet! Scam! Molyneux! Spore!” without much thinking.

            Being dubious is one thing, mindlessly riding the bandwagon is another ( and rest assure that i’m not talking about you ).

            Many people were baffled by Chris Roberts acknowledging himself that extra caution has to be used at every iteration, as a lot of people want to see this thing fail. People went “How does that make any sense?”, yet the interwebs are indeed a proof of this.

  25. Jenks says:

    “I’m worried about the development of the game with all this feature creep,” said the concern troll.

  26. Servizio says:

    I still kinda just want X: Rebirth to not suck. Anyone have a time machine and a few million dollars? Actually, the time machine is probably enough.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Right, a time machine would do it. There isn’t any hope I can see for fixing what they released. They designed the game for an imaginary audience that wasn’t there, and the core audience they already had, hates it. They nuked their fan base from orbit.

      • Flank Sinatra says:

        Actually, even if you had a time machine and went back a few years to warn Egosoft, they wouldn’t have listened. They were blinded by their egos, which were not very soft.

  27. Trondur says:

    Oh boy, an RPS post about Star Citizen, time to grab the popcorn and read through the comments full of people who think they know what they are talking about.

    • Flank Sinatra says:

      We geeks love arguing about wild future technology that only exists in the imagination, like lightsabers, holodecks, and Star Citizen.

  28. Zenicetus says:

    I think some of the negativity inevitably comes from people like me, who are only interested in a single-player experience. What does this new announcement have to do with that, and why should I support it? They don’t always make it clear how much of what they’re talking about will be available to the non-MMO players.

    As far as I can tell, the single player experience is going to be locked away in a scripted, linear military game (i.e. “let’s remake Wing Commander!”). If I can’t also fly the full complement of ships available in Star Citizen, or fly through that universe and see all this procedurally generated stuff, and do something besides being a military jock, then I’m not interested. Because that means the singleplayer game is just a teaser for the MMO game, where they want you to spend more money for ships, upgrades, and all the rest.

    That’s not “negativity”, just a reaction to how multiplayer-focused most of the promotion for this project is. If that’s what they want to do, and enough other people are deep into this multiplayer stuff, then fine. But I’ve read the forums, and I’ve spent my time in WoW. The one thing I know, is that I don’t want to fly around a universe populated by those people.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      You can open your own private server, which has the added benefits of having some selected friends in that, or you can use it as a single player alone.

      It might be inconvenient, though, as there is no dedicated SP mode, but this private server thing has other advantages that might be pretty nice.

      About what you can do: everything aside from doing anything of worth with a full sized bengal carrier, as that requires dozens of people and it’s a persistent server object with which you can’t log out with, it has to be defended 24/7. You can man any other ship though with NPCs, and the rest of the game is perfectly capable as a SP experience aswell, you’re just doing the very same stuff with the difference that you’re only playing with AI. Same as Elite’s SP basically.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Okay, but if I run my own private server, who am I trading with? Who owns the ship I’m attacking if I’m a pirate instead of a trader? How does the economy work if there are no other players in the game? Will the galaxy be an interesting place to roam around in, with no human players?

        To put it another way, is it even possible to develop a game on a scale like this, that works equally well as a single player game, or alternatively as a MMO?

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Your answer to all of that is NPCs, which brings the experience in line with the space sims of old, i guess. NPCs are central to the game, they are the reason why no player organization will ever be able to break the game EVE style. Influencing it is one thing, but the world is still supposed to be able to cope by itself.

          Eitherway, MP is not supposed to scare off anyone. You can still crew your big ships with other NPC’s, or have them as wingman with one of your ships ( or their own ), you can tune the PvP slider to your desire ( there’ll be instancing otherwise this game wouldn’t be technically feasible! ), though you can’t turn it off entirely, and the only really risky place will be outlaw space ( and the better rewards ).

          In this light i see having other players around as an added bonus, or even knowing that they are doing -something-, affecting the universe wheter you participate or not.

          • Zenicetus says:

            Well, I hope it works as well as you’re outlining here.

            Programming good AI for singleplayer interaction with NPC’s, and creating a compelling context for a singleplayer experience, is harder than just setting up a playground for multiplayer battles. That’s why all the recent Mecha games have been MP only, I guess. So we’ll have to see how much they care about creating that experience outside the walls of the one singleplayer campaign.

            Same goes for Elite:D of course, but Braben has a better track record for non-scripted singleplayer space faring. I just hope one of these games turns out well.

  29. B0GiE-uk- says:

    I’ve backed Star Citizen but am concerned about the cry engine they are using, not really suited to a space combat game. Also its very resource hungry and not very smooth, and thats running on 2x HD 7970 Crossfire rig.

  30. Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

    I try and not follow this game too closely. That way when it is finally released, I’ll love every minute of it and not be tainted by all the broken promises and/or melodrama that has taken place on the message boards for years.

    I remember when I first bought Skyrim after not following its development whatsoever. It blew my mind when I came back to a place where I had killed a couple spiders and I saw that snow had accumulated on their dead bodies. Coolest thing ever. Later I found on a message board that people were complaining endlessly about all the snow features that were under-delivered or misinterpreted by fans. My ignorance was bliss. Where they saw broken promises I saw an awesome feature.

  31. P-Dazzle says:

    So instead of just coding all these new ideas in, they make them “stretch goals”?
    As if they havn’t had enough money already. Milking it a bit too much for my liking.

  32. Arglebargle says:

    Star Citizen will be as good as the team they’ve assembled. Without much help from Roberts, I expect, as he’s mostly PR frontman and otherwise a dead weight.

    I’ve talked to 10 ex-Origin employees over the last year. None of them have anything good to say about Chris Roberts. Self-aggrandizing yahoo, egotistical maniac, uncreative asshole, and other such terms do get prime mention though. He seems to be number 2 or 3 on the ‘most disliked Origin boss’ list. The best thing anyone had to say was that maybe he’d matured in the last 15 years. He’s spent a decade as a Hollywood hack producer, working on mediocre to bad films, that also didn’t make money (the Hollywood Cardinal Sin).

    So you’ll have to forgive me if I discount the future of Star Citizen. It will continue to drown in feature creep as long as he can keep pulling in a million a month promising things that may or may not ever show up in game. Won’t matter if it does, because they’ll already have the money.

    • VOAD says:

      Sure. And I talk to several none Origin guys who said the opposite. Be honest. Have a look to this video :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE3WxpO4jW0
      This is really screaming in big letters SCAM isn’t it? Looks like yours 10 Origin guys are good to create copy cat games. And this video is based on a Pre-Alpha module. Final game is planned in 2 years. Also Chris do have a very talented team and no Publisher to say : release it now and sell DLC’s every quarter at 20$ each. Look at Battlefield 4. This is just ridiculous. They will soon sell ammunition, one cartridge at a time ! At least Chris is trying to change that and even Pre-Alpha show a very good potential.

  33. malkav11 says:

    I read the headline as announcing that they were going to introduce that most forward thinking and innovative feature of all: a procedurally generated development team.

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