3, 2, 1: Star Citizen Dogfighting Module Blasts Off

By Alice O'Connor on June 5th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Space is the place.

Star Citizen‘s dream of Internet spaceships has made its real steps into the tangible with the release this week of the crowdfunded space sim’s ‘dogfighting module,’ more formally known as Arena Commander. Backers can now blast off in their ships and blast each other, getting the first real idea of what the game that’s so far raised $44 million might actually be like. The Arena Commander update brings deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, and wave survival modes for online play, as well as a free-roaming mode. Spaceships, away!

If I sound a bit incredulous, it’s because I’m still wrestling with it all. I’ve been astonished by the amounts I’ve seen people spend on virtual spaceships without having the slightest clue whether they’d even like the game. But it’s their money, and they’ve certainly enjoyed months of imagining flying these spaceships. Even if Star Citizen had turned out pants, they’d still have got a lot of pleasure from their purchases, right? Maybe I’m a bit burnt out on personality-driven nostalgic crowdfunding.

Anyway, if you are a Star Citizen, you should download the manual which is just like the ones from the good old days, with adverts for in-game things and other games too. If you want to fly with a throttle and stick, Roberts Space Industries have layouts for a few popular sets.

If you’re not already a backer but fancy having a crack now, I believe the cheapest way in is to buy this spaceship for $40 then an Arena Commander Pass for $5. I think. The store is so caught up in in-fiction selling spaceships that it neglects to simply say “this is a thing wot’ll let you play now.”

Go on, Star Citizens–tell us what it’s like. Go on. Go on. Tell us. Go on. Tell us. Or I’ll embed a trailer.

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172 Comments »

  1. WhatKateDoes says:

    Spectacularly disappointing so far. I backed this early on with meager donation, and later Elite: Dangerous on a whim too, which I felt was the underdog to Chris Roberts’ epic opus. Alpha footage of Elite blew me away, and I increased my backing to beta level, and am loving it so far. By comparison SC as manifested in Arena Commander feels like Battlefield Helos in SPAAAACE. Slipping sliding all over the place, with no real support for controllers… its all about the mouse and keyboard a la Freelancer – which I liked! – but this seemed to be really going for the spaceshippy daggadagga flight stick crowd, and is most assuredly not so far.

    It *is* however, the most spectacular looking space game ever seen to date tho!

    Scott Manley’s youtube video more comprehensively describes some of the problems with it:

    • Zenicetus says:

      I ignored the complaints about joystick button assignments, because that’s something I’d expect to be on an options screen, or else the old-school method of using the joystick’s own software to program key assignments.

      However…. that jerky motion of the virtual in-game joystick looks terrible. And if it’s true that there is no actual analog control from HOTAS systems — just mapping digital input — then it’s bad news for anyone using a HOTAS system. I can’t believe they’d do that, so hopefully this is just a misunderstanding of the system and the controls will be smoother at some point.

      The other thing I noticed was how slow the impression of movement was, like flying through molasses. Why can’t a game like this give a better impression of speed? Is it to lock down “lesser” ships that cost less money or something?

      • Tim says:

        The in game stick is jerky, but the actual controls are smooth, even if they aren’t linear. The sensitivity seems to have been set to “xbox controller” for all input devices, making it very difficult for joystick users to play.

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          Hanban says:

          @Tim

          I really, really, really hope they fix this problem. If joystick isn’t a viable option as compared to using a mouse + keyboard then I’m going to have to give the game a pass despite having backed it already.

        • P.Funk says:

          There is no legitimate joystick game which doesn’t offer the ability to generously tweak sensitivity curves and deadzones for every individual axis. If SC doesn’t include a control configuration menu as robust as anything you’d expect in a proper flight sim then it will be a failure from a joystick/HOTAS perspective. For all the money in it I highly doubt this’ll be the case.

          One of the things I expect to be missing in early access is lots of menu options.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        I too hated the control setups and wont be playing this till they allow customization controls.

        What really grinds my gears is that they had the time to make a fancy control manual and a video showing you you controls, when they could have just let us pick out own. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

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      Cinek says:

      I don’t have a sound, so I can’t hear what he is talking about, but the guy on a video is completely clueless. It’s probably his first time using joystick in a space game. I don’t know what he is doing, but for me it looks nothing like that paralyzed incompetent newbie.
      I don’t know… read the manual? Get in and configure your hardware for a game, or just wait for patch that supports in-game controls customization if you can’t do it yourself?

      [edit] He is flying with all assists on and shoots when there’s clearly no enemy in a crosshairs. No way he is that stupid. He must be trolling.

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        slerbal says:

        The sounds is quite important – he is talking about how the feedback of the fighter isn’t matching his joystick and how the controls are all mis-mapped. Whether that is correct or not, I couldn’t say, but I think the dialogue/audio is pretty key to the video.

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          Cinek says:

          There are like… 3 officially supported joysticks. Everything else you need to configure manually through XML files. If game doesn’t match his joystick input – he has it misconfigured or he is using a joystick that isn’t supported.
          Common mistake I noticed from people having issues with the game is that they don’t RTFM. This game is shit if you don’t know what’s going on because you didn’t read the manual from first to last page.

          Besides – I’m not a technical support. If someone has a problem – he should either contact CIG or post on a forums and hope someone will be kind enough to help.

          • Zenicetus says:

            I’m having trouble understanding this idea of “officially supported” joysticks. Sure, there can be stock button assignments, but most people using HOTAS systems will want to re-assign to personal preference anyway.

            What’s more worrying is that analog input is just analog input, whatever joystick you’re using. If the game is using standard analog input, then all that’s needed is a config screen for adjusting the size of the center null zone, and (ideally) response curves on each axis. Heck, in Rise of Flight you can program different response curves that are saved for each different plane you fly, because some are twitchier than others.

            So the question is… does the game actually support standard joystick input, like other space games and flight sims? Or is it doing something weird like mapping joystick input so it looks like an Xbox controller to the game?

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            Cinek says:

            Right now using random joysticks requires messing with XML and configuring them to the game itself. Thing takes plenty of time and not everything can be done through XMLs alone (I believe mentioned response curves cannot). “Officially supported” means as much as the fact that they pre-made XML files with configuration. When they’ll FINALLY release settings menu where you’ll be able to properly customize controls – every joystick will be supported just fine.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            You are missing the point. The majority of the people aren’t complaining about joystick support or that they can’t get it working. Their complaint is that the game seems balanced around mouse controls a la Freelancer (which I wanted to like but couldn’t because to me mouse controls in a space game feel sucky), and that joystick controls feel sluggish, clunky and poorly optimised. Hopefully this gets fixed but naturally this has a lot of people worried who grew up playing space games with a joystick and haven’t had a decent one to play in over 10 years. I don’t need another mouse/keyboard shooting game, there are fucktons of those, but at the moment Joystick controls seem secondary to the developers and I will not buy this unless that is fixed, people wanting to play with a joystick should not be at a disadvantage.

      • WhatKateDoes says:

        He says he’s using an X52 – which I’ve got too – and I encountered the same thing, it feels laggy and seems to lack any kind of “feel”. I switched to mouse + keyboard and it suddenly felt just like Freelancer. That’s going to please a lot of people, and horrify others, especially the weapons which track the mouse pointer, when no such functionality exists when using a stick.

        Here’s my own foray:

        vs. the magnificent feeling of control I felt in Elite: Dangerous:

        (proper link in following comment)

        It’s interesting that Elite players are finding mouse control very difficult vs. flight stick whereas SC players are finding the exact opposite! 2 different games indeed :)

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          Cinek says:

          I’m running X55 and it goes all smooth. But ok, it is weird – X52 is one of these 3 joysticks that are officially supported.

          especially the weapons which track the mouse pointer, when no such functionality exists when using a stick.
          Just wait for the patch that allows in-game controls customization and setup a game to fly with Joystick + Mouse setup. Mouse for aiming, joystick for flying. Yea, bit cheap solution if you don’t have two joysticks, but it’s one of the best setups you can get out there when it comes to combat performance.

          • Zenicetus says:

            Just wait for the patch that allows in-game controls customization and setup a game to fly with Joystick + Mouse setup. Mouse for aiming, joystick for flying. Yea, bit cheap solution if you don’t have two joysticks, but it’s one of the best setups you can get out there when it comes to combat performance.

            Waitaminnit… what is someone with a standard HOTAS setup — joystick in right hand, throttle quadrant in left hand — supposed to do? Is “mouse aiming” actually required in the game????

            I mean, you can do that with a throttle quadrant that has a mouse-type hat switch, but it’s a damn weird idea, and I doubt it would work well.

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            Cinek says:

            Required? No. If you have other means of controlling second crosshair – go for it. Oculus Rift does the job very well and right now – the best way to fly in Star Citizen is with O.R. + HOTAS.

            How exactly do you expect to control ship with independent weapon systems using just one input device? In theory you could keep on switching between different modes – flying and aiming – but that’s totally ineffective. Otherwise you’ll have weapons pointing at the middle (so-called “alternative flight mode” – the one from joystick or CTRL+F for mouse and keyboard) or a huge deadzone (default flight mode for mouse, they’re suppose to implement it as an option for joysticks… eventually).

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            Stellar Duck says:

            “How exactly do you expect to control ship with independent weapon systems using just one input device?”

            Amazingly, that’s something that real world combat air craft generally does.

            In a A-10c you generally don’t need to remove your hands from stick and throttle when in a fight or doing an attack. That’s the entire point of HOTAS, not needing to spend time heads down pressing buttons.

            Real research and thought has gone into stuff like that but it seems this game disregards that in order to look flashy.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            Everything you’ve said, basically to me shows a complete failing of the game currently. If the ideal control system is a Joystick in the left hand and a mouse in the right hand, then WTF? That is nonsense and I do not want to play that game. That is not the experience I and most of the people interested in this game want. Just give us a game that works with a traditional fucking Joystick or HOTAS setup and then match the mouse/keyboard and gamepad controls to compete with them. Not some bullshit joystick and mouse controls that literally NOBODY wants to use.

            Here’s an idea, if they can’t get indepentantly aiming guns to work well with a decent control system DON’T PUT THEM IN THE FUCKING GAME.

          • P.Funk says:

            “How exactly do you expect to control ship with independent weapon systems using just one input device?”

            The same way real pilots do. Sure modern F-16s and F-18s can use head mounted cuing systems to point weapons but before that you would use a hat switch on the throttle to guide the seeker heads for weapons or have a hat switch guide the cursor on a radar display that would tell the system to lock onto a given target and then the weapons would guide to it.

            If there is no capacity to manage and guide weapons like pilots have been doing since the 1970s then I dunno wtf they were doing with all this extra time before releasing this mode.

          • Loiosh says:

            Hi Guys,

            Just wanted to notify everyone that you will be able to independently control weapons with gimbal in a future update. Right now, they don’t have support for things like the thumbstick on the Thrustmaster Warthog controller, but it’s coming. You can actually bind it in the XML, but it’s doesn’t read it, just like how TrackIR can be put into the config, but it does not work yet.

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          Hanban says:

          Got the same controller and can confirm that the sensitivity and deadzone is all kinds of messed up.

        • ChromeSkull says:

          Hello, I have to agree with everyone’s comments about the joystick controls feeling terrible to say the least.
          However mouse mode is very easy to understand and shoot with, to say the joystick has no auto tracking is incorrect. Playing it last night i noticed when you get the crosshair over an enemy ship it goes into a green diamond. When its in the green diamond state you will see your lasers shoot ahead of where your targets flight path and not straight forward of your ship. Where as mouse control removes the auto aim of joystick its a hell of a lot easier than keeping your nose pointed on a twitching vandul fighter.

          It just needs the controls and general feel fixing. Engines & thrusters need some sort of sounds apart from the distant nothing we get at the moment. speed is FAR too slow, it honestly feels faster running around the hangar. Flight assist modes (i could only find 1 for the short time i was playing) no matter if its on or off you should still have the ability to use lateral thrust. And when in assist off it disables the throttle of the x52 and changes the x axis from roll to yaw… thats just inconvenient. Pitch and roll should be a better feel than pitch and yaw. after all you have more thrusters facing up/down than you do left/right. Which means it should have greater thrust to stop your ship drifting than yawing left and right. Its definately setup at the moment for Mouse and keyboard or joypad (it seems they’re going the arcade route).

      • ScottTFrazer says:

        “but the guy on a video is completely clueless. It’s probably his first time using joystick in a space game. I don’t know what he is doing, but for me it looks nothing like that paralyzed incompetent newbie.”

        Ummm… That’s Scott Manley. He is, quite literally, a rocket scientist.

        And no, it’s not his first rodeo with space sims or joysticks. Check out any of the other 800+ videos he’s uploaded.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Unless I’m mistaken, he’s “only” got degrees in the subject. His dayjob is a software developer and he’s done some DJing before.

          Which is not to say that he isn’t terrifyingly good at KSP and full of all kinds of astrophysicsy facts.

          • ScottTFrazer says:

            Yeah, according to his Google+ page he works as a search engineer at Topsy Labs… Which I guess makes him an Apple employee now.

        • WiggumEsquilax says:

          Badmouthing Scott Manley’s space sim competence.

          O_O

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Yeah the OP went with the “Well he disagrees with me so he must be a moron” argument and in the process made himself look stupid.

    • seniorgato says:

      I bought the game to explore the galaxy, to fly a cool ship and to encounter crazy story. This allows me to fly a cool ship, but not to exotic places.

      Okay, that’s not perfect, but we are dealing with a small portion of the game, in an alpha state. Have some perspective people!

      And comparing it to Elite Dangerous, fair enough. Right now, Elite looks fantastic and I want to play it too. But don’t compare a fantastic game that is almost complete to an early alpha version of a fantastic game. That’s just my opinion.

      /Course, I may be lucky. In the controller settings it literally has a picture of my joystick, preconfigured.

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      FriendlyFire says:

      Wait, have you actually used mouse controls? They’re disastrous!

      At least on the Aurora, the only area your guns can point in is this tiny window in the middle of the screen. Outside of that, you can’t fire at all, not even with leading. Yet, in order to actually turn, you NEED to move the cursor well outside of that zone, so you end up having to oversteer, then move the cursor back in the central area. It’s very annoying and something Freelancer didn’t have at all.

      The irony is that this particular limitation feels like a concession to joysticks, since as soon as your cursor is even remotely near the enemy within that window your ship will autoaim onto it without even the need for any sort of accuracy on your part.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        “Concession to joysticks”!!! This is a SPACE GAME. If you want to play something where you aim with your mouse there are literally a thousand games to pick from. I do not want them simplifying the experience of flying so that people can play the game like an FPS. Freelancer could have been a great game but to me was ruined by being designed for a mouse and had no joystick support. I do not want this going the same way. Anyway a lot of people are saying mouse controls are superior at the moment due to the independently aiming guns that you don’t have a good way to aim with on a joystick.

        • little says:

          “If you want to play something where you aim with your mouse there are literally a thousand games to pick from. ”

          Like Wing Commander for example.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Sure but it worked just as well with a joystick. Thats all people want. I don’t care if 90% of people are using a mouse as long as I can compete evenly using a joystick because to me it just feels better. It feels like I’m actually flying a fighter. Waving a mouse around to turn a billion dollar space ship just doesn’t have the same enjoyment to it.

    • Nautilus says:

      I don’t know how you can be spectacularly disappointed with an alpha of only a small module of the game.

      Yeah, joystick controls (and controls in general) need a lot of work, but I’m finding the combat to be exciting when it works correctly. It’s very satisfying when you get those kills and it’s even more exhilarating when you have to roll and narrowly dodge flying debris.

      I can’t be disappointed with this release because I feel like SC has such MASSIVE potential based on the AC release. It’s very rough around the edges, extremely late and overall needs a lot of work…but so do a LOT of triple A titles that make it to market. I can’t condemn the entire game based on just an alpha.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        This is the voice of reason (one I have been guilty of ignoring with my other comments). I guess it feels good to “debate” these things but it is still a very early test build and will change a huge amount over the next year or so.

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        Harlander says:

        I don’t know how you can be spectacularly disappointed with an alpha of only a small module of the game.

        Like this:

        “Hmm, this alpha version of the dogfighting module is nowhere near as far along as I hoped it would be.”

        Wait, that’s not very spectacular, hold on…

        “Guess I’d better parachute out of my building, through the open roof of my convertible, and drive away on two wheels.”

        Ahh, got it.

    • Loiosh says:

      Unfortunately, Scott is out of luck and has one of the joysticks that does not include a good mapping. The mouse controls are nice.

      He is incorrect about the gimbaling. As I show in my clip, the guns do auto-gimbal without a mouse-stick if you have a selected target in front of you and bring it into the gimbal range, indicated by the Green Diamond selector. It’s too bad Scott didn’t read the manual, where this is explained. Here’s a video showing it in action: http://www.twitch.tv/loiosh/c/4402659

  2. lightweaver says:

    While I agree it can be a little mind-boggling to see how much money people have already spent on virtual items, I think one has to see the other side of the coin as well: great games cost money to make.
    Star Citizen has collected some $40-odd million. That’s a lot of money for sure, especially since it has all been given in good faith by people who believe in the project for nothing more than the promise of future reward.

    But it is only about a quarter of what Grand Theft Auto V cost to make. If we want games like that with budgets like that without the backing of a studio like that, then I think the Star Citizen way is the only way that’s ever going to happen.

    Just my 2 cent…

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      amateurviking says:

      Some great games were made for basically nothing beyond the cost of a computer and the value people put on their time.

      Some terrible games were made for tens of millions of pounds.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Money alone doesn’t make anything, i can totally agree with you.

        Production value, budget, man power are not the most important thing, but they are a factor that can either do little to save a shitty game or do a lot to enhance a great one.

        GTA5 would still be good with less money, but it wouldn’t be as dense, polished and rich. Sure, i’d still play that, but i’m happier this way.

      • P.Funk says:

        No game thats trying to do what Star Citizen is. This nobility of the broke student developer and his lone PC thing is a silly comparison. Its like saying Apocalypse Now could have been just as good on a shoestring budget shot with a single shakey cam in the hills of California (the way George Lucas wanted to do it).

        Star Citizen is trying to be a AAA game made by people who don’t want to be as derivative as the people that usually make those games. Its a pretty unique thing to be honest. Its hard to compare it to anything and as such before its done and released and we can do a proper post mortem there is no way to gauge what has happened so far or to guess what will happen next based on anything thats happened before unless there’s a similar story that I’ve forgotten about.

        • Cockie says:

          Have you seen Limit Theory? Because that’s being developed by one guy and looks REALLY good.

    • IneptFromRussia says:

      GTA 5 had marketing budget, Star Citizen is purely word of mouth

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        Cinek says:

        And all these trade shows around the world they go to are free, right? Right?

    • waltC says:

      GTA5 cost nowhere near $160M to make…;) (I’ve seen morons state up to $500M to make GTA5…Lol!) What happened is they spent 3-4x what the game cost to make to market the darn thing….! I dunno, but comparing Star Citizen to GTA seems like comparing the Mona Lisa to Mad magazine…;) (I was a Mad reader, too, but a work of art it ain’t…;))

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        In the film industry the ludicrous big budget movies are mostly marketing money. Commonly 50-75% of the budget. AAA games are pretty much the same. Like $150 million in marketing while production costs are around $100 million.
        The nature of the current short-sighted model with the majority of sales in the first three weeks. Understandable for cinema’s limited slots for screen time but not really necessary for games.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Also understandable for a lot of modern games which are uninspired rehashes/clones and mostly shit. Best make your money right away by blinding them with marketing hype because if the game is shit it won’t pick up sales long term.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Worth noting that the Indian space program has sent an actual real life spaceship to another planet for $75 million.

      • Arglebargle says:

        But I bet they had inferior laser control, and a poor HOTAS set up as well!

  3. JustAPigeon says:

    Well let’s see. I didn’t expect much, especially after enjoying Elite: Dangerous so much, but it’s even worse than I could have imagined. It’s utter dogshit actually.

    Yes yes, I know it’s pre-alpha or whatever, but I’d have thought they would have spent some time on their flight model and controls. The nearest similarity I can think of is that it’s like flying around an FPS map with the noclip command. Take hold of your mouse and point it towards the enemies and hold the mouse buttons down to kill them with the shitty-sounding lasers. You don’t have to worry about your throttle or whatever, ignore that. Just plop your cursor over the icons representing ships and you’re done.

    It’s a bit hard to define the quality of “feel of flight” but it’s something that only the best flight sims have. FSX without addons doesn’t have it, for example, whereas Rise of Flight is the champion in that field. Elite: Dangerous has it, even though it’s a space sim they decided to go for something that is actually fun to fly around and not just “turrets in space”. This iteration of Star Citizen is one of the worst flight models I have seen in my life.

    Oh, it looks kinda pretty I guess.

    • Galaxy613 says:

      For a game like this, the basic mechanics need to feel good. It’s the first thing that needs to be done, I guess they wanted to push SOME gameplay out ASAP considering Elite: Dangerous but it would be best to show the best mechanics, not just the best graphics…

    • Muttley says:

      This is exactly right. The feeling of being in a spaceship just isn’t there (yet?), in fact it pretty much only feels like you’re a turret floating in… well… molasses is the nearest I can think of. There’s really no sense of inertia, speed or weight behind the ships. It’s seriously disappointing.

      Thankfully I backed both Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous, so at least I have one superb space sim to play.

      I just hope CIG can pull this around, but I’m beginning to lose faith…

    • subshell001 says:

      Wow, I have the complete opposite impression. Which ship did you fly? I have the Hornet and to me, it feels the exact opposite of “noclip”. I feel like I am flying something with quite a lot of mass. The inertia and momentum is very apparent. In fact this morning I was going on and on to my coworkers about how much I love the flight model. Performing advanced maneuvers, switching back and forth between coupled and decoupled mode is a complete joy. Accidentally side swiping into an asteroid causing my wing to fly off is a joy.

      Most of the complaints here make sense, but the flight model is clearly the one thing they spent a lot of time on.

      Tried with M+KB as well as J+KB, and did better with M+KB but using the Joystick was more fun of course. The sensitivity curves are definitely way off. But that’s an implementation detail and really isn’t even worth mentioning at this point.

  4. frightlever says:

    If you were designing a starfighter, why would you give it such a constricted view?

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      Chaz says:

      In that regard it’s kind of sci-fantasy isn’t it. I mean if you were designing a real space fighter, why would you have any kind of windowed view, as it’s such a major weak point? External sensors and VR would be the way to go surely. It probably wouldn’t even have a live pilot on board.

      But for the sake of a game or TV show/movie, that’s just not as enthralling. So you get the jet plane in space type ships instead.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Yeah there’s really not much to look at IRL. Perhaps someone should do a space game based on submarine warfare. Maneuvering only by instruments and with sensors instead of a periscope.

        Silent Service in space.

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        Harlander says:

        Some guy doing his space-fighter sim had it so the inside “window” faces of the cockpit were actually screens relaying visual data from the outside.

        Can’t remember who it was, or what he called it, though.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Because game designers still worship at the feet of George Lucas, who gave us the “early WW2 prop fighters in space” look for Star Wars.

      Fighters were being flown with bubble canopies by the end of the war, and it’s how all modern fighters are designed that rely on visual target acquisition. But no… let’s ignore that, because it has to look like Star Wars.

      • Arglebargle says:

        From what I gather, Roberts’ ‘inspiration’ for Wing Commander was a viewing of a bad WWII air combat movie. Spielberg’s 1941, iirc. And there wasn’t much beyond that…

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      Hanban says:

      The hud really bugged me when I played it. The blue map sphere in the middle felt oddly intrusive.

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        Cinek says:

        It’s ok for me, but radar right now is pointless. You don’t have any sense of scale, or anything to tell how far the enemy is and… well: there is no way to orientate around using the radar, It’s borderline useless.
        Thankfully rest of the GUI is actually helpful with finding the enemies cause otherwise it’d be a nightmare.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Technically “windows” in spacecraft are limited to quite a small size due to the pressure gradient overwhelming any transparent material that we know of once it goes beyond a certain size.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Technically, not so much. The window of a spacecraft only has to hold in 1 atmosphere of pressure (roughly 15 PSI). The pressure at the bottom of the ocean is far higher, around 10,000 to 15,000 PSI and we make submersibles with windows that go there, including ones with big spherical canopies.

        The reason windows on contemporary spacecraft like Shuttle and Soyuz are small, is mostly because they have to withstand the heat of ballistic atmospheric reentry. A dedicated spacecraft wouldn’t have that limitation, especially if you have shields for high-speed reentry.

        If we’re going with the “WW2 prop fighter paradigm” where a computer isn’t doing your flying and shooting, and you have to maintain target contact with the Mark 1 human eyeball, then you’d want maximum situational awareness like a modern F-22 jet fighter. Not a cockpit that looks like an early WW2 Brewster Buffalo.

        • frightlever says:

          Thanks for the reasoned explanation of how pressure works. I wouldn’t have been so polite.

          You get roll bars on sports cars, why not cockpit shutters on starfighters, for when the shields fail and your transparisteel “wind”shield is about to shatter? I dunno. Like people have said, you could be six feet deep inside your ship, buried in metal, sitting at a HUD that gives you a perfect, clutter free 3d representation of what’s happening outside. Being inches away from vacuum makes no sense.

  5. Stargazer86 says:

    It’s still in pre-alpha. You can’t expect it to be a fully formed and fleshed out game yet. How long ago was development started anyway? I know that they keep adding stretch goal after stretch goal and just seem to be continually raking in insane amounts of cash, but you can’t expect a complete, awesome game to be made within a single year, or even two, or even three. Development can go on for quite a while.

    Of course, I also haven’t spent any money on it whatsoever and refuse to do so until it’s, y’know, actually finished. So I may have less of a stake in simply watching and waiting to see what happens with it.

    I do know, however, that if Star Citizen fails to be good then it’ll be highly damaging to ‘Kickstarters’ and ‘Pre-Alphas’, if not fatal. They’ve raised, like, 40 million dollars. At this point, I couldn’t blame Chris Roberts if he just scooped it all up and ran off to Venezuela.

    • Spongbo says:

      Just noting that Back In The Day, Chris Robert’s *Commander games were known for their delays.

  6. Premium User Badge

    slerbal says:

    The hype surrounding Star citizen kinda washed over me, but I have a question for those more in the know: Everything I have seen thus far spends a lot of time talking about “I’ve bought XX model ship which is a pro version of XX”, or “XX ship which I bought has XX feature”. It sounds to me like a weird car buying thing? Is this a game where you have to buy the in game ships with real world money or will you be able to buy them in game?

    • JS says:

      Everything that is sold now will also eventually be available in game. All the money spent now is purely for supporting the development.

      • Premium User Badge

        deadfolk says:

        This. My understanding is that paying real money for ships now is just a shortcut to grinding for them in the finished game – and obviously it supports development.

        I bought in with a modest ship which didn’t cost much more than the base game. If the game turns out any good, then working my way up to a better ship is something I’ll look forward to. I don’t want to buy a top-level MMO character, either.

        • Premium User Badge

          slerbal says:

          OK, good to know and that sounds like a sensible approach. Thanks for answering my question :)

        • derbefrier says:

          as a fram of reference Chris has stated a constellation should take around 40 hours of gameplay or so to be able to get. so its not like you are gonna be grinding for months or anything.

      • Shadow says:

        All the money spent ever has been primarily to support the game. People repeatedly fail to understand they’re mainly paying to back the game’s development, and that the ships, suits, buggies, towels, etc. they get are a bonus for investing a given sum. i.e. So you have chosen to pledge $150? Thank you, have this military fighter and stuff as a show of appreciation.

        The devs themselves have stated that time and time again, but there’s a constant shitstorm around the subject of expensive ships because people don’t have a clue and aren’t interested in getting a clue.

        The shitstorm that’ll come when Star Citizen’s released and some people realize getting ships in-game’s not a massive grind, therefore not making them special snowflakes after spending hundreds of dollars, will be as appalling as it’ll be hilarious. But to be honest, I don’t know how many of the big spenders are actually unaware of the intent of their pledges: I think this is all mainly an erroneous notion misinformed critics like to cling to when they take shots at the game.

        • little says:

          Yeah. Also don’t forget the devs stating (and this has been mentioned very early) that ships will be replaced by newer and better models over time. They just recently published new info on the F8, which is the top-tier military grade fighter. Which is outright better than the F7 people can pledge for now. At least some people were outright pissed about the fact that there is a ship in the universe (although nobody can buy it and most likely not able to in the future) that’s better then what they bought.

          • Flank Sinatra says:

            I used to puzzle over people spending real money on virtual items in games. Now they’re spending ridiculous amounts of money on imaginary concepts of virtual items in games that don’t yet exist!
            I love space combat sims and I’m excited about Star Citizen but I’m not that crazy.

            Then again, I spent 10 bucks in Star Trek Online on uniforms for my all female bridge crew that revealed their ample cleavage. Maybe I am a little crazy.

          • frightlever says:

            For fuck’s sake, Frank, this is RPS. We’re going to need a team of covert agents to get you out of here without getting lynched after that comment.

  7. 0positivo says:

    Spectacular so far. Does it have problems? Yes, for sure. The controls are a pile of arse, they’re not rebindable, with a ridicolously huge deadzone and some obvious nonlinearity issues… and the sound assets are… incomplete to say the least.

    but when it works, it is truly marvelous. The phisycs engine is a joy to watch in motion. I’ve purposedly tried to crash in a way that breaks off some of the thrusters just to watch suddently how differently the ship handles. The fights are brutal, and it’s relatively easy to pickup and shoot.. but the sheer complexity of it all allows for some very interesting manouvers that i have, quite frankly, never seen any videogame pull off

    I love the attention to details and the immersion.. how eachship not only looks different… but Feels different, starting from the engine computer.. the military hornet warning about Boogies and announcing “all sistems nominal”, while the luxurious 300i is ” at your service “… down to things like constant overheating warning being fixed and explained in-lore as a ” factory faulty issue computer ” being retired from service.

    And the lasers have freaking Doppler effect, for crying out loud. This game has Soul, and I’m even more excited about it

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      I’ll have to quote you on “soul”, this is what made people spend so much money in the first place.

      And it’s also the reason some people will never get why, that or i guess it’s easier to just put some hipster glasses on and call it a failure.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hanban says:

      It’s pretty for sure. I’ve got an okay rig and can run it on maxed settings without noticable frame drops. But, before the pretties they really have to nail the controls. I have hope!

    • little says:

      Thanks for writing that down. I really don’t get why people get so hung up on the controls and sound. Yes, those are really big weak-points of the Alpha so far. But it is an Alpha. The issues are known and the devs have already stated that they will be addressed with patch 0.9 and 1.0.

      I just wish people would cool down a little bit. It’s the first slice of gameplay we got so far and a lot of things about it are marvelous. Others are not. There is still plenty of time to get this right. This is what Arena Commander is for.

    • Premium User Badge

      DarkLiberator says:

      Have you tried Relative mode? Makes the game more fun for more. CRTL+ F switches your ship to that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      And the lasers have freaking Doppler effect, for crying out loud.

      If you’re going fast enough to see the doppler effect on your lasers, won’t dogfighting be a bit tricky to say the least?

  8. CmdrCrunchy says:

    I dived in, heartily enjoyed it for a while, went on to the forums to say just that, and…well, I felt like I was standing in the middle of a busy street surrounded by people spontaneously catching alight. I didn’t really understand it and, in truth, still don’t. Its not that I never played older space combat games because I played X Wing vs Tie Fighter, X Wing Alliance, Privateer 2 and Freelancer to death, thoroughly enjoying all of them, and so far it looks like im going to thoroughly enjoy this too.

    I cant speak for Elite : Dangerous, because I haven’t played it yet, but is this really that bad, and is E:D really that much better? Watching videos doesn’t really seem to reveal the answer, to me they just seem to play a little different, neither better than the other.

    EDIT : I should add however, that a lot of forum commenters who are complaining about controls, seem like the type who didn’t spend more than 2 minutes with their joysticks before going to mouse and throwing their toys out the pram because in their mind their £50+ stick doesn’t make them some sort of space god, when in reality stick controls are pretty complex if you take the time to figure them out.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      SC and Elite are indeed very different in their approach and both have pro and cons.

      People here are simply taking shots at SC. I always laugh when they go like “More money means nothing” on some titles and then come to bash SC on the basis that with so much money it was supposed to be perfect.

    • bill says:

      I haven’t played any of them, but flight model / controls / feel is a key thing in space games. So I can understand why people might get upset if it wasn’t good.

      I mean, basically, most flight sims are about turning in space shooting at small dots against a black background. So the turning has to feel good.
      Tie Fighter is a game about turning in space and shooting small objects. Starfighter is a game about turning in space and shooting small objects. The first feels great. The second feels awful. Watching videos they would probably look very similar.

      I always loved the x-wing games and yet could never get along with the wing commander games, purely because of the flight model / controls.

  9. BeefChesthair says:

    It’s very easy to see that the Elite Dangerous team started with a cohesive plan about a spaceship game and realized it, it has loads of cool flashy stuff but it all serves a purpose and contributes to the game.

    It’s also easy to see that CIG spent a lot of time and money designing pretty spaceships and flashy helmet flipping animations to sell people spaceships for exorbitant amounts of cash and then tacked on gameplay at the last minute. People used to complain that Crysis was nothing but a pretty tech demo, Star Citizen will take that crown now.

    • fish99 says:

      ” People used to complain that Crysis was nothing but a pretty tech demo”

      Only stupid people.

      (just to be clear that’s not aimed at you Beef, just it annoyed me when people used to say that about one of the best shooters around)

    • Shadow says:

      Overall, Beef, get a clue. You don’t even know what you’re complaining about.

      • BeefChesthair says:

        I thought it was pretty clear, CIG produces pretty spaceships for money, the game itself is at best a secondary concern. This DFM looks exactly like what they displayed in December and at that ****show at PAX and they are over 6 months behind schedule in getting this “pre-alpha” out. They were supposed to have people shooting at each other in the FPS module and socializing on the planetary module over a month ago but all they’ve done is sell people question marks and promise the moon.

        • Shadow says:

          Ignoring your continuous, baseless cynical assumptions (I suggest you read my comment about expensive ships further up), development times are fluid and unforeseen issues can easily crop up. Yeah, perhaps they were overly optimistic with their estimates, but they’re making a huge game that’s gonna take a long time to be fully realized.

          The DFM is also not the same they showed at PAX: at the very least it’s way more stable and several more ships than the Hornet are flyable. Ships with a lot of moving parts and modular damage simulation compared to space bricks with a few cosmetic verniers and two guns. I really don’t mean to rag on Elite: I’m looking forward to it as well, but this isn’t a race, and they’re completely different in terms of complexity.

          Star Citizen might yet need a couple of years to fully mature, and you know what? That’s fine. I’d rather they took their time to make the game they set out to make than rush to cater to the dumbasses who demand a final version within two years of the initial announcement, and release a piece of garbage as a result.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            This.

            SC is designed in a way that will require far more development time than Elite, which also had it’s own engine and procedural generator already set ( instead of a CryEngine in need of constant modifications ), yet it’s convenient to ignore this and compare what both companies shipped up until this point.

            This war is so stupid, really.

          • Bull0 says:

            Yeah, I for one could really do without the constant comparisons between the two. But people sure do love to get tribal about their entertainment products.
            :(

          • Gron says:

            TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            SC is designed in a way that will require far more development time than Elite, which also had it’s own engine and procedural generator already set ( instead of a CryEngine in need of constant modifications ), yet it’s convenient to ignore this and compare what both companies shipped up until this point.

            Excuse me, what? So let me get this straight.. A game, developed from ground up, without using any of the existing third party solutions (game ‘engines’) is.. easier to make? Now that’s something new…

            You should really share that knowledge with the rest of the game development community – because now companies are spending HUGE amounts of money on licensing that obstructive pieces of worthless code!

            And don’t even start explaining it to me how they ‘rewritten’ the CryEngine for 64b precision and shit like that – it was their fault they picked that engine to begin with – it was never designed for tasks like that – and it never will be. However it wasn’t a coincidence also – at that time it was one of the few engines that could output most appealing visuals with the least effort put into it. Exactly what most of you backers wanted – pretty picture, sweet promises (shitload of latter).

            This war is so stupid, really.

            Now about that ‘war’… There is no war. There’s only slaughter. Roberts is good at making hyped promo campaigns – not the actual games. Meanwhile Frontier Developments is an actual game development studio (with staff that worked together, has experience in the field, etc) – and had been for the last 20+ years. And that shows – they made twice more progress in half of the time SC had, with 1/20 of the budget.

            Anyway. What i’m trying to say is.. I feel sorry for all those people that backed this overhyped… game (?).

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Elite had a longer inception, what i was comparing was more or less what the general public could see.

            I’m not saying that kind of development is easier, on the contrary, but Elite started releasing it’s playable modules as the back bone was more or less sorted, and starting from that point it will have a perceived smaller development time, let alone the fact that it will be finished before SC.

            Thing is, SC still needs a lot of work for that engine, you can rant all you want about that choice and how they’re handling their PR, you can also try to put me into a stupid demographic to devaluate my points for as much as you like with your silly arguments. Don’t put words in my mouth, it’s just not a space sim engine out of the box and you are perfectly aware of that yourself.

            They started far earlier into development than Elite to show their stuff and that’s why they’re PERCEIVED as late, they have a lot of work ahead and “their” engine is not tailored for what they’re trying to achieve.

            Do what you want with this post, it’s already a stretch that i even considered the idea of answering to the usual dick who loves hyperboles and especially out of context quotes.

            Luckily, there are a lot of good folks in the Elite community, if it was only for you and other RPS dwellers i’d already ask for a refund, much like if SC fans were just those found in their official forums.

    • Shooop says:

      The first Crysis had a fully realized game under the hood though.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Thurgret says:

    Cack.

    That seems a bit short, really, so I might instead just point to JustAPigeon’s post above. No matter how much polish is applied, it doesn’t change that the underlying game is still rubbish. The flight model is a bit like Freelancer – I loved Freelancer, incidentally – but Freelancer had, at least for me, a very definite sense of speed (and also fantastic modded multiplayer servers). And with that flight model being something so fundamental to the game, I am not optimistic that they will change it. We’ll see, I guess. I’d obviously quite like it to improve.

    Yes, I forked out €100 to support this – because it had a fantastic tech demo and I love space games – and I’m peeved.

    • Chalky says:

      The “underlying game” is rubbish after playing what is basically a tech demo?

      That’s such a crazy thing to say. They could overhaul the flight model repeatedly prior to release and change any number of fundamental elements. I don’t know what some people were expecting from a fragment of an incomplete game that’s pretty much held together with gum and wishful thinking at this point. First alpha builds of games frequently bare next to zero resemblance with the completed product.

      This is why early alpha access is a bad idea. People write off games because your first attempt at something feels like a first attempt.

      • derbefrier says:

        yeah they have also shown there willingness to listen and incorporate fan feedback. I would expect lots of tweaking to the flight model over the next few months.

        • Zenicetus says:

          It’s not just tweaking the flight model though. The real question is whether they can make a game that flies equally well, when controlled by analog joystick/HOTAS setups, or Xbox controllers, or mouse and keyboard, without compromising the feel and control on any of those input devices. Not many games have done that, which is why the more hardcore flight sims don’t bother supporting anything but joysticks.

          I’m not saying they can’t pull it off, but it’s not going to be easy. On top of everything else, it’s a competitive multiplayer environment, where people will whine if they think someone has an advantage using one type of controller over another. That’s going to be fun to balance. It’s a problem a game like, say, Rise of Flight doesn’t have in multiplayer battles, because everyone’s using joysticks.

          • derbefrier says:

            ahhh yeah you got a point there. the balance of different control methods is already a hot topic on the forums. Its gonna be a game of give and take for sure.

    • Bull0 says:

      Might suggest that early access/alpha funding of these AAA-style games probably isn’t for you, then. There’s no unique mechanic to charm you while they develop, like back at the dawn of the cube-based roguelike survival wave – they’re making a space sim, it’s going to take ages, and until they’re finished it’s going to be dogshit. It’s a worry that people can pay such large sums without really appreciating or understanding what they’re buying.

      • Premium User Badge

        Thurgret says:

        Why is the modus operandi of Star Citizen fans to leap straight to rather poorly informed ad hominem arguments whenever people criticize the game?

        (See what I did there?)

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          It’s not just Star Citizen though. Every single beta people are on Reddit and comments sections like this spouting off about how shit the game is and this and that is broken. It’s so early in development and you are already writing the game off. It’s a silly stance to take. Be cautious, fine. But you outright declared it as “cack”. You are already forming an opinion on the finished product based on a tiny section of alpha/pre-alpha gameplay. That is a ridiculous mindset to have.

        • Bull0 says:

          Well I’m not an SC fan and that wasn’t an argument or an ad hominem attack, it was just advice. So all in all… that angry rebuke was about as useful a contribution as your panning of the first alpha of a massive space game. Lol

  11. Tim says:

    Control issues everywhere! The sensitivity curves are all set for thumbsticks (xbox controllers) and can’t be configured, so it’s extremely hard to aim with a full HOTAS. Mouse users have the same sensitivity on their virtual joystick, but they get the advantage of being able to aim the guns with the huge deadzone in the center of the screen. So far the only control scheme that isn’t terrible is the gamepad, which it seems like the game was designed around. After some fiddling with CH Control Center, I was able to get a profile for my HOTAS that worked pretty well, but it certainly wans’t easy, and I wasn’t able to completely fix the sensitivity.

    Also, with the FOV so low, it’s really easy to overshoot your target when turning, they’re only on screen for half a second, and the thrusters take time to react, so you often wave your crosshairs back and forth across the target when turning. They restricted the fov command in the console, so you can’t fix this one manually either.

    Joystick users also get some terrible auto aim on gimballed weapons, which will make all of your shots miss unless the enemy is flying in a straight line, and there’s no indicator of your target’s path to show you where to aim with your fixed guns, not that you’d be able to hit much with them anyways, the controls are so terrible.

    Aside from the control issues, the game is suprisingly stable and fast on my machine. Sound design is terrible, but the sounds are apparently placeholders until they get better ones. The flight model feels good if you turn off COM-STAB and drift around everywhere. If you leave it on, it feels like Wing Commander, e.g. WW2 in space. There is a decoupled mode, which lets you flip the ship around without changing your velocity vector, and gives translation controls, but there’s currently no reason to switch to it, it’s pretty limited.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      Also, with the FOV so low, it’s really easy to overshoot your target when turning, they’re only on screen for half a second, and the thrusters take time to react,
      Problem isn’t in FoV, you can change fov through console commands and overshooting is still there. Problem is in a fact that ships turn super-fast and shells have a slow flight speed what forces people to fight very close to the enemies – which means you spent half of your time trying not to collide with them (thank got enemy AI is good in manoeuvring away from player, lol) and you overshoot very often (high speed + high turn rate and noticeable inertia are not really a newbie-friendly mix).

      and there’s no indicator of your target’s path to show you where to aim with your fixed guns, – there is one… if you have a fixed weapons. AFAIK right now the only ship that has truly fixed weapons is customized Hornet to have a guns mounted on a nose (these are not there by default).

      • Tim says:

        Yeah, but if you could see them sooner, you’d have more time to let off the stick smoothly. Increasing the engagement distances would also defiintely help. Maybe I’m just too used to TrackIR at this point to fly well without it.

        • Premium User Badge

          Cinek says:

          Yea…. I really hope they’ll implement TIR support. But the engagement distance needs to be greater too – I want to be able to use terrain as an advantage and hide behind asteroids or make a runs between the space stations… right now it’s pointless when turning your arse to the enemy means getting a very long burst from all his weapons >_>

    • derbefrier says:

      and there’s no indicator of your target’s path to show you where to aim with your fixed guns,

      aim right at them the targeting computer leads for you.

      • bill says:

        Seriously?? That makes sense in terms of tech, but it sounds terrible in terms of gameplay.

  12. DanMan says:

    Who doesn’t like guys blasting at each other?

  13. Premium User Badge

    JamesTheNumberless says:

    pewpewpew

    Doesn’t look as good as Tie Fighter

  14. Dr Wookie says:

    Hi, I am an alpha backer of both Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen. Disclaimer… I won a competion for US-based ED backers and will be representing the game at E3. If you’re in the area, come and say hi :)!

    ED has felt like you were in control of a space ship right from the start; SC just doesn’t. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just think that Chris Roberts should have owned it from the start… the game he wants to make and play is an arcade-style shooter with incredible graphics and very cool destruction effects (that seem to have no impact on gameplay unless you actually die). It’s one thing to model each thruster individually in real time, it’s quite another to make it FEEL right.

    A lot of people seem to be really enjoying SC so far, and that’s fantastic, but calling it a sim is just wrong, and leads to a lot of disappointment.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thurgret says:

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head for summing up what’s bothering me so much about Star Citizen, and more eloquently than I did.

    • Zenicetus says:

      That’s very discouraging to hear, but thanks for the assessment. It sounds like Roberts and company just took a wrong turn here, from the perspective of old-school simulation fans like me.

      Every space game or flight sim has that problem of making what is essentially a steer-able window in 3D space feel like flying a spaceship or aircraft. Nailing it, or not, can make all the difference. Rise of Flight makes me feel like I’m flying a biplane. I-War 2 makes me feel like I’m flying a spaceship. That’s all I ask, as a baseline. Then you can add all the other stuff like enemy AI, damage effects, environmental effects etc., but without the baseline feel of flight, what’s the point?

      I’ll still keep an eye on SC to see how they handle this, but when a developer takes this point-n-click approach, and prioritizes console controllers (hello, X:Rebirth!), it’s hard to keep one’s hopes up.

    • derbefrier says:

      since when the meaning of space sim change? arent games like wing commander, freelancer, freespace etc.. all considered space sims? we have known from the start this was meant to be a spiritual succeesor to the wing commander, freelancer games so i must ask what you and people like you were expecting? This seems to more misplaced expectations than being led to believe this was going to be a hardcore sim bin game. Also another question what makes elite more of a sim? honest question as i have not played it. the videos dont seem to reveal anything as they look pretty similar to me. not trying to set you up or anything just genuinly curious as I have heard your complaints directly leveled at ED also(though that was some time ago so maybe thats changed)

      • Zenicetus says:

        Red Baron was a great WW1 biplane sim for its time. Compared to a modern sim like Rise of Flight though, it has shitty graphics and a very basic flight model. Rise of Flight looks better, and it flies better. It feels more like flying a biplane; the immersion is deeper.

        Is it unreasonable for someone looking for a modern version of Wing Commander to want the same thing? Or should it just be fancier graphics?

        • derbefrier says:

          Are you seriously implying the flight model for SC is no more complex than it was in the first wing commander?

          Have you actually played it?

          Could someone who isn’t talking out their ass try and answer?

          • Loiosh says:

            As someone who has played this extensively (yes: http://www.twitch.tv/loiosh/c/4402659 ) I can tell you he’s entirely wrong. The flight model is entirely newtonian, with inertia, mass, and thruster controls all accurately simulated. Each of the ships has a variety of thrusters located on the hull that have to gimbal into position to direct flight. There are four flight modes, 3 of which are available in AC 0.8:
            IFCS + GLOCK + Com Stability
            IFCS + GLOCK or Com Stability
            IFCS Only
            Raw Thruster Control – Not available in AC v.8

            GLOCK keeps the gforces under 6 Gs (vertical positive), 3 Gs (negative vertical), and 4-6Gs lateral to prevent the pilot from blacking out.
            Com Stability keeps the weapons and ship stable and prevents overcorrecting
            IFCS – Intelligent Flight Control System – This is the computer-based control that gimbals and moves the thrusters and is always in on AC v.8.

            Wookie is correct in that Elite uses a similar system, though they never allow you to disable G-LOCK or their IFCS control.

          • Zenicetus says:

            @Loiosh: If the flight model is “entirely Newtonian,” then why do the ships appear to move so slowly, like they’re flying through molasses? If you hit a max speed and can fly no faster, then it sure as hell isn’t an “entirely Newtonian” flight model.

            Independence War 2 did better than that. So it’s not just the joystick control issues that matter in a game like this.

            I understand the arguments about speed caps to keep ships closer together in combat, and not incidentally to sell faster ships for more money than slower ones (although *acceleration* could just as easily be used, in a true Newtonian or semi-Newtonian game). But if you’re going to have speed caps in a game, they can’t be too slow, or it doesn’t feel like you’re flying a spaceship.

            Right now, when I bounce an enemy fighter in the WW1 biplane sim Rise of Flight, I zoom past faster than what I see in these early SC videos. Jet fighters in the Falcon series or even the Korean War game Mig Alley have very fast engagement speeds, and they’re still fun to play. Maybe that can be improved before release, because otherwise it contributes to the “steering a turret around” look of the game. All the talk about gymballed thrusters for “realism” doesn’t matter when the ships are plowing through space with speed caps.

            To be honest, I’m not thrilled at the engagement speeds I see in Elite:D either, but until the beta buy-in price drops, I won’t have a chance to see what the subjective feel of that flight model is like.

          • Loiosh says:

            @Zenicetus

            > If the flight model is “entirely Newtonian,” then why do the ships appear to move so slowly, like they’re flying through molasses? If you hit a max speed and can fly no faster
            You didn’t read my post. Com Stability mode restricts your speed. If you press shift+f I believe, you can turn it off and accelerate to your heart’s content.
            >But if you’re going to have speed caps in a game, they can’t be too slow, or it doesn’t feel like you’re flying a spaceship.
            There are no speed caps. The speed is controlled by the IFCS, which you can adjust (in a future release). You can completely disable the speed controls by turning Com Stability mode off. The ‘speeds’ you see are rated thruster strengths in newtons. The more powerful the thrusters, the faster they can change your vector and overcome inertia.

            >Right now, when I bounce an enemy fighter in the WW1 biplane sim Rise of Flight, I zoom past faster than what I see in these early SC videos.
            Take a look at the video I linked, that shows combat in the middle-tier ship that’s available: http://www.twitch.tv/loiosh/c/4402659

            I didn’t trigger Com Stability mode because it’s not bound to my Warthog yet, but otherwise, if you’ve played FreeSpace 2 or I-War 2, the combat is almost exactly at the same speed. If you look in my Twitch Highlights you can see me playing FS2 and comparing the speed vs Star Citizen.

          • Zenicetus says:

            @Loiosh: Is there an update to what Chris Roberts posted about the flight model since last August? Because here’s what he said about it then:
            https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/618968/#Comment_618968
            ———-
            8) We will limit the top speed of ships you can fly for technical issues (physics engines have problems when the numbers get too big) and fun – figuring out an intercept course for an opponent traveling at 0.2 speed of light (which is our fictional max for practical spaceflight in 2943) maybe be challenging if you’re a mathematician or physicist but not what I call fun gameplay.

            9) This top speed will be less than the top speed of weapons.

            10) Top speed will probably be dependent on ship class but we haven’t balanced this so it may be a matter of all ships having the same cap but the smaller faster ones can reach that limit much quicker (and therefore put some distance between them and their pursuers even if they go to max). This needs to be tuned so that people with the right kind of ships can run from a fight.
            ———-
            That doesn’t sound “Newtonian” or even a workaround like what I-War did, to me. Has any of this changed? I couldn’t find more recent info, but then I haven’t been tracking SC that closely. I’m going mostly by what I see in the video clips for the new dogfighting release, where the speeds look capped (and too slow).

      • Dr Wookie says:

        One major difference between the control of AC right now and ED is that the right stick on the 360 pad moves the gunsight in AC, but controls the horizontal and vertical thrusters in ED. The ED guns are either fixed, or gimballed with limited auto-aim, but you basically aim by moving the ship. For ED, we can move in 6 dof at all times on the gamepad; also multi-device setups (throttles, pedals, one or more sticks) are supported now although this has taken quite some time. By contrast, you can fly SC by moving the mouse around!

        Another big difference, and an important one for a lot of people, is that ED prioritises roll over yaw; this decision was made to avoid the kind of turreting in space I’ve been seeing in SC. Some people hate the nerfing of yaw in ED, and might be much happier with SC

        It’s hard to describe in words what the difference is, apart from maybe inertia and momentum, between the flight models, but ED has no shackled mode where direction of travel is just where you’re pointing. You would have to try it yourself, but I wouldn’t recommend paying extra to get into beta unless you are happy for that extra money to go to support ED being made rather than to getting extra stuff

        • derbefrier says:

          now this is the type of response i was looking for thanks!!! I think i get it now. beside the control issues(which i think can be easily fixed) I get what you mean about how it feels. Infinity War 2 had a much better feel to it than SC currently does and I do hope they move to something similar.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Well personally although Freelancer is seen as a space sim I hated it because of the mouse controls. I grew up playing space games with a joystick. It’s been over 10 years since a game did that well (Freespace 2). If this is just another game where I aim and shoot with a mouse, which it sounds very much like is the case listening to a lot of people, the joystick controls are woeful, then I will be very dissapointed. This is not what I class as a space sim.
        The phrase “Space sim” in itself is kind of stupid imo. It’s not at all modelling how it would be to fly in space and nobody has ever flown a fighter in space so there is literally nothing to sim. However it’s down to the general feel. All of the space games (apart from EVE as that’s completely different) have been designed with mouse controls, have been very twitchy and fast and played more like an FPS than the space games of old. This is not the feeling I want from either SC or E:D.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      I just don’t understand it myself. Number of arcade shooters released in the last 12 months = Somewhere in the millions. The number of decent space sims released in the last 10 years = fuck all. This seemed like a brilliant opportunity for the latter and I’m almost certain a large percentage of the backers wanted the same. If it does turn out to be an arcade shooter I will not be purchasing. This is not what this has been built up as and what the majority of the backers gave money for.

  15. drakmaniso says:

    As others have said, the flight model is really, really bad. It’s clearly aimed at providing a “point and click” approach to combat, which is probably what many people wanted. This is a space shooter, not a space sim…

    But on top of that, there is absolutely no “feel”, no impression of movement. The 3D modeling is very good, the PBR rendering gives us some of the best looking materials I have ever seen in a game. But the animation completely miss the point. You are a not in a cockpit flying through space, you are behind a screen, pointing a turret.

    This might still be a fantastic space MMO, but if you’re there for the joy of piloting, you’ll have to turn to Elite, or maybe some of the less known alternatives (Enemy Starfighter, Limit theory…).

  16. derbefrier says:

    I don’t have time to go into too much depth but all and all I an loving it. I think what’s most need though is the ablity to bind you own controls. Seems to be most peoples biggest issue at the moment. I know I can’t hit shit on my x52 because the roll and yaw(I think its ya turning to the left or right. Give me a break I am new at this) is opposite of what I am used too. It does seem a little jerky as some have said but I get that same shit in other games before I take the time to set everything up properly so I have am confident this is just one of those things you have to deal with in an aplha this early on. As far as the game itself I love it. The flight model is great. It looks great and is fun. Its pretty much exactly what I expected.

  17. macc says:

    People who post impressions after 1 hour gameplay should be banned. You need longer to get the hang of it and see all the possibilities. After 2 days I must say it’s really fun. But yes the controls need a lot of improvements. They feel too artificial. The thrusters are way too powerful which makes you turn really quick. This makes that a ship “feel” is missing. But I think the way it is set up is really good with the coupling/decoupling mode, G safe etc. But the IFCS definitely need improvements in its execution. But as you can read in the .9 improvement list, this will all be adressed. So, all “this game is doomed” comments above are way too premature.

    The game looks damn pretty and I really like the damage states and the fact that collissions really damage your ships. The built is also surprisingly stable, so good job in that department.

    For people who want a different key binding for their HOTAS there is a solution:
    https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/13925-Arena-Commander-V08-Thank-You

    I know it’s a cool thing to say in the RPS comment section how Chris Roberts is a d*ck who is scamming the stupid backers out of their money and how it always needs to be compared with Elite (apples and oranges). But for a first pre Alpha built this is pretty damn good! Yes, it needs lots of improvements, but great things can come out of this.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      People who make sweeping generalizations and then asking for people to get banned should get banned first.

      First impressions are just that: first impressions. I don’t understand the people who get so peeved because their pet game isn’t getting universal love from everyone ever. The level of defensiveness coming from a lot of the Star Citizen community is astounding and, quite frankly, off-putting. This is coming as someone who’s a ridiculous Freelancer fan and who was around for SC’s beginning moments.

      • LionsPhil says:

        The level of defensiveness is frankly consistent with people who have sunk far, far too much into it, financially or emotionally, and now need to scream as hard as possible in the hope that reality will warp to make it good.

    • Shooop says:

      The question skeptics are asking isn’t “Can something great come out of this” but “Will something great come out of this?” You can say the former about about literally anything.

      Star Citizen has lots of ambition but doesn’t appear to be delivering on much of it.

      • macc says:

        How did you come to that conclusion?? Since only a tiny part has been delivered yet?? Did you play it?

        • Shooop says:

          I read. I pay attention to what other people are saying about it.

  18. Casimir's Blake says:

    How about the many, many people that cannot get the game to work at all? Me included. I’m quite disappointed and I haven’t even played the damn thing yet.

    • derbefrier says:

      i know if you get the please wait on the launcher restarting it will fix it. i have been lucky enough not to get the login failure i guess.

    • macc says:

      Did you try to delete your “USER” folder?

  19. SillyWizard says:

    I’m glad being an Earth Citizen doesn’t involve quite so much shooting and getting shot at.

    • BooleanBob says:

      As with all shooters, everything depends on where you spawn.

  20. Fox89 says:

    I was surprised by the Freelancer controls, and didn’t really get on with them too well. However, if you press CTRL+F you can switch flight mode to lock your weapons centrally (with a small amount of auto-gimbal) and have the mouse control flight without any deadzone, as I would expect from this kind of game. Basically doing this makes it less Freelancer and more Starlancer, which I prefer. I also needed to adjust my mouse sensitivity to make that feel right.

    At the moment it lacks a way to invert the pitch controls in this mode, so mouse up will pitch up, and a lot of people would prefer that pitched down like it would on a Joystick. Overall though, for a first playable build it was pretty decent fun in my Origin 300i, once I had the setup that I liked.

    Another cool system is being able to use CTRL+CAPS to turn off the G-safety system. Turning that off will allow you to make faster, tighter turns at silly g-forces and can make your pilot black out. So there are certainly lots of fundamental things that need to be fixed, but also some really nice little touches. If by Arena Commander version 1.0 I can invert my mouse, rebind my keys and get into team deathmatches, I’ll be pretty happy.

  21. SooSiaal says:

    I’m getting along quite nicely with a nonsupported joystick, but yeah a bit too sensitive. The thing that is bugging me tho is people calling it arcadey and not a sim. You’re flying a futuristic space fighter, it doesn’t excist, therefor we all have no clue how a spacefighter would work and perform.
    The game simulates things, I think that’s enough to call it a sim.

    • little says:

      Especially since the devs stated several times that “rule of cool” and gameplay/game-design beats realism. But some people just seem to be in “LALALALALALALALA I CANT HEAR YOU!” mode.

    • bill says:

      There is a clear difference in feel between a space sim (such as x-wing or freespace) and a space shooter (such as Jedi Starfighter).

      It’s true that no one has ever flown a fighter in space. It’s also true that “space sim” physics are usually totally unrealistic, as they are based on earth plane physics. But that doesn’t change the fact that space sims feel totally different from space shooters.
      (In the same way that Battlefield feels different from Quake).

      Some might prefer one or the other, but I think most people were expecting Star Citizen to feel like a space sim, as we haven’t had many of those over the years, and have only had space shooters.

  22. HumpX says:

    Dammit!, Lets get someone on this game who knows how to make a goddamned SPACE SIM!

    DEREK SMART!

  23. Sathure says:

    I enjoyed it quite a bit actually. It definitely has that raw and new feel to it. Needs a bit more work but the core game is fun, that’s what counts.

    The Mouse KB controls bugged me a bit at first but then I started using an Xbox 360 control. Much better. Then I started figuring out the more advanced stuff like toggling the different flight computer modes. COMSTAB, Decoupling, G-Safe. And it went from pretty cool to AWESOME. Can pull off all kinds of cool maneuvers toggling them on and off on the fly.

    The damage states and effects really cool. Blow up a ship and fly through smoking flaming debris field as parts of the destroyed ship bounce off your ship. At one point my primary thruster got blown off and the only way I could move was through the maneuvering thrusters. I had to set it to Decouple mode and strafe to move. Sparks and fires in the cockpit, alarms going off, lights flashing. Was pretty cool.

    My one big complaint is the Audio. The game needs more sounds and they need to be louder. The ships themselves are moving fast enough but you don’t feel like your moving fast because the engine isn’t really humming to tell you. The thrusters firing don’t produce any noise either.

  24. Arglebargle says:

    Kind of a slipshod introduction, imo. A release where they forgot to put in the space maps, with difficulties installing the game, etc. Still seems like a rushed delivery, even after the series of delays. Has anyone actually played the PvP version (ie, the main excuse for the big delay)? I expect this to be par for the course though, ie, a bumpy ride….

    Now I’m a negative nancy on all this Star Citizen stuff, mostly due to knowing too much about Roberts. I do see the standard m.o. of Grandiose Promises with troubles delivering in reality. If this follows the form of Strike Commander or Freelancer, it could mean delays of years. Though the superb performance of the Cash-Shop-in-Advance selling of starship art will be good for the development of other space games, at least.

    While there are some really good ideas in Star Citizen (particularly the promise of running your own servers), I feel the game will rise or fall on the prowess of the doubtlessly overworked, overpromised dev team.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thurgret says:

      Last time I checked – almost a year ago by now, admittedly – they had quietly withdrawn any mention of being able to run your own server.

      • macc says:

        No, they never did that.

      • Arglebargle says:

        That would be sad. Hope the server option is still on the table.

        I do fully expect that large chunks of the promised activities will turn out to be problematic. I expect that many of the promised game extensions were mentioned without any definite system planning. More along the lines of ‘In two years, someone will have figured out how to do this.’

        But the idea that a couple of dedicated guilds could get together and set up a Star Citizen universe that they can control access to is really a cool option.

      • kaffis says:

        Nah. They’ve mentioned it several times on 10 for the Chairman, which only started this year. Now, maybe you’re conflating this alleged “backing off” with “being more explicitly clear that the PU will be running on massive server clusters that the player run dedicated servers won’t emulate,” but only a fool would have read their promises as giving away the full code to run rival moddable persistent universes that get psyched with new content and can play host to thousands.

  25. manzes says:

    Star Citizen is not bad… But all those details that they put in the ships, all the polishing and so on, seems more important when you see ships in the Hangar, not in the space, when fighting against them.

    It should be the Best Damn Space Sim Ever, BDSSE, but it’s from far, the worst dogfighting design that I ever see, considering the HUD and general look and feel.

    Graphics? Well… That’s an obligation. They are using Cry Engine. Is not that they need to make spetacular mathematic formulas to make it work. CE have it ready for them, quick and easy. Would be weird they releasing something with bad graphics using CE, so, I don’t add bonus for them here.

    But their creativity and design is the worst EVER!

    The dogfigthing is basically all the time, you against circles, that when locked create more circles and you barely can see anything inside that circle unless in a rare moments when those Vanduul approach and you have a blink of something inside, that you can’t really figure out too much its form.

    It seems that the only way to see how a Vanduul is, is only in Hangar or in that holographic view of the target, that is just a representation of the real thing.

    Star Citizen a game that were delayed due a necessity of been super-polished, but the only that you fight are squares, retangles, circles and more circles, with different colors.

    Meanwhile some obstacles appear magically in front of you without alert and you have your ship destroyed :D

    That’s not cool after the third wave where you spent half an hour to destroy all those fancy circles.

    LoL

    I don’t know. When I look to the Elite Dangerous videos, I can see that people are fighting against ships. God, even in all the earlier CR games I can. Wing Commander Prophecy, the worst of the series is still from far better than what they presented here. In SC, the only thing that I can see are colored circles. Something is not right with the SC design.

    They called Dogfighting Module, I call it CircleFighting Module.

    And the worst news is that they are proud by this design and definitely won’t change that at this point, since it could probably cause huge delays in the whole thing. That is the base of the whole thing and is a bad base. This game is gonna fail hard.

    I just feel sorry for that.

  26. bill says:

    I find it interesting that everyone thinks the flight model is awful. I loved X-wing and Tie-fighter, but I could never really get on with any Wing Commander games because the flight model was so bad. It was the main thing I was worried about. (Note: I haven’t backed or played Star Citizen).

  27. Marblecake says:

    I find the amount of ignorance, spite, arrogance and obstinacy in this discussion astounding. People here either dismiss the game out of hand or play it for 30 minutes before claiming the flight model is either too arcadey or too wonky.
    I’ll copy-paste something for those who are really interested in the depth the realistic physics simulation of Star Citizien offers (from a thread entitled “Flight Model is implemented so well, it’s perceived as bad” https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/142233/flight-model-is-implemented-so-well-it-s-perceived-as-bad/p1):

    “Hello all,
    although this may seem one of the usual “flight model is bad” threads, I would like to explain why, in my opinion, the flight model is GREAT, but does not meet the expectations of many.
    Most joystick users complain about lag input and overcorrection.
    That is true, both exist.
    Why?
    Because CIG implemented perfectly the thruster system, and how it is handled by the IFCS
    There is lag because the maneuvering thrusters, being gimbaled, have to turn to the appropriate direction, and need a little time to pass from zero to full thrust.
    There is overcorrection because the pilot, feeling the delay, pushes harder, requiring even more power from the thrusters – and this extra power then means that when the input is ended, the ship still moves as thrusters need to spool down. Basically, we have a case of pilot induced oscillation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot-induced_oscillation

    This is not so much a problem with a mouse, since there you are telling the IFCS where you want to go, and the IFCS calculates the correct vectoring of thrust to orient your ship. Basically, your are telling the computer “point my nose towards that asteroid”
    With a joystick on the other hand, your are not telling the IFCS where you want to go; you are providing him inputs of pitch,yaw,roll. YOU, the pilot, is the one that must calibrate his input to make sure he stops turning when his nose is pointed at the asteroid.
    And this requires getting used to.
    I do feel that the maneuvering thrusters need a shorter reaction time, as currently it makes precise maneuvers very difficult. But this is, I believe, something that can be fine-tuned easily by CIG. Increase thruster gimbal rate and shorten time needed to go from zero to full thrust, and you improve overall handling of the ship.
    Therefore in my opinion the flight model is not “bad”, but perhaps too realistic, and actually easier to use with a mouse, than a joystick, at least for part of the population

    TL:DR
    i do not perceive the flight model to be bad, but it needs tuning to increase ships response, especially for joysticks.”

    • macc says:

      Yes, a lot of the complaints are actually because people overcompensate with their joysticks because the thrusters have a short delay before turning in a certain direction. SC uses a completely different system than other space games and that does take some getting used to. The guy in that thread explained it really well.

      That’s actually the paradox of a lot of the complainers. They say it’s too arcadey and then blame the game mechanics that actually make Star Citizen more “sim”.

      That’s not to say that SC’s controls are perfect. The thrusters need a lot of tuning to improve the feel.

      But hell, it’s cooler to say Star Citizen sucks without any explanation, because it’s not the underdog like Elite.

      • Sunjammer says:

        So hey, speaking as a fairly hardcore simmer, having most recently spent years in the DCS series: Either you sim, and then your flight model needs to be accurate. Or you make a game, and then your flight model needs to be fun. All things being equal, no matter the relative quality of your flight model, if the craft flies like shit, it’s not fun to fly.

        I have no stake in ED or SC, but championing a game on the basis of a how “accurately” it models a fictional spacecraft versus how *enjoyable* flying said fictional spacecraft is seems like misplaced effort to me. These are sci-fi make believe space games. At the end of the day, “is it fun fantasy fulfilment” is all that matters.

        Personally, I’ll take detailed simulated fictional avionics over a simulated fictional flight model any day. I-War 2 nailed it.

        Someone make an Independence War 3 already, Christ.

        • Marblecake says:

          Hey, yeah, no argument there. However, this is very far away from being a finished game. People being up in arms about how not fun the flight model is is a bit beside the point. With a physics simulation as intricate as Star Citizen’s, it takes a lot of time and balancing effort to make it smooth enough for a finished game. That is what the open alpha is for. Simply saying “this is shit, they failed” is not only unfair but also disingenuous. You can be a lot more constructive about that.

          Then there’s the thing how fun is subjective. For example, I enjoy what we have now quite a bit. It’s by no means perfect, there is still a heck of a lot of work to do, but it’s quite enjoyable for me.

          In any case, calling it unplayable or a failure is mean-spirited and betrays a mindset of people who only backed the project to see it fail. Which is pretty strange, no?

        • macc says:

          I fully agree with you. The devs need to do a lot of improving to make the controls more fun. But in the core it’s a very cool system.

          A lot of people in the comments want to throw out the entire control system without knowing the idea behind it and without giving CIG the chance to improve the current control scheme.

  28. Loiosh says:

    Oops, the XML got removed. You can find the corrections to swap roll-on-X to yaw-on-X, and how to enable rudder pedals here: http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=31983932#item_31983932

  29. wodin says:

    I can’t see this ever living upto the hype and expectations. To me it’s always felt that Elite would end up being THE game just due to the fact people have spent SO MUCH money on SC ..life isn’t fair..and I see this going the same way.

  30. macc says:

    Here a very good read from a developer how the control system works and how they will adress it in the future:

    https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/2722695/#Comment_2722695