An hour of space tourism with Star Citizen 3.0

starcitizen

It wasn’t until developer Cloud Imperium began showing off Star Citizen‘s alpha 3.0 that I started to get interested in Chris Roberts’ baby. Sure, the ambitious plans have always sounded impressive, but only recently has it started to look like there’s a hint of cohesion, that there’s a game in there I might like to play.

In August, Roberts and co showcased all manner of exciting things, from co-op missions to plummeting down towards a planet’s surface with nothing but a hoverbike and a space suit. But now we’re able to see what the most recent version looks like outside of a controlled environment, from the perspective of a player.

The footage above was taken by Xenthor Xi in 4K while they indulged in a spot of space tourism in the alpha 3.0 test server. Unfortunately, they don’t do much aside from soaking in the sights, but what sights they are. It is, at times, unbearably gorgeous, and all I want to do is hop into a spaceship and find a lovely planet to take hundreds of screenshots of. It would be a nice escape from the chaos of Black Friday.

Xenthor Xi goes from wandering around inside a space station — where it’s clear from the dodgy NPC animations that there’s still work to be done — to hurtling towards a desert world, criss-crossed with canyons that look perfect for some womp rat target practice. Then he gets out and walks around. Elite Dangerous, even though it’s made some moves to change this, still feels like a game in which you’re controlling vehicles, but in Star Citizen, you’re controlling a person. At times the difference is subtle, but here it’s on full display.

Since Cloud Imperium has invited a new batch of players to test 3.0, we’ll hopefully see more of the things missing from this video, like the impressive ship damage system, missions and combat.

The space sim has had a troubled development, investigated in great detail by Kotaku, and they’ve tried to improve things with weekly reports. These highlight what bugs are being squashed and which new features are being worked on. And to finish up 2017, the developers will be hosting a livestream in December that promises to show off more of the delayed single-player component: Squadron 42.

42 Comments

  1. Shiloh says:

    It’s Squadron 42 isn’t it? Anyway, this comments section should be fun in an hour or so…

  2. DoomBroom says:

    Let me say it before anyone else does so we can get it over with. It’s a fake and a scam tricking dumb people into buying 10000$ ships!!! Also a fad like 3DTV and VR. There, done.

    I want 3.0 ready to the holiday! Looks gorgeous and fun! :)

    • Shiloh says:

      Looks gorgeous and fun!

      I think YMMV on that – it seems very dependent on finding a good server. I was watching a streamer yesterday on Twitch and his FPS count barely rose above 15, while there are others reporting FPS counts in the high 30s/early 40s (and maybe even higher).

    • tomimt says:

      Let’s be fair though, if you do spend 10000$ to buy digital ships you either have too much money on your hands or are pretty dumb.

  3. Pilgore says:

    Honestly, it looks really fucking impressive. I hope all the pieces come together into a cohesive and *fun* whole and wish them the best of luck.
    I’ve already figured out what I want to do when it comes out, Search and Rescue! Space Ambulance! Here’s hoping that will get fleshed out properly and the Cutlass Red make-over will look nice.

  4. BobbyDylan says:

    [edit] This should have been a replay to Pilgore /\
    This is the challenge that SC seems to struggling with. They’re very good at creating a whole bunch of isolated elements with very little regard to how they will all mesh into a game-loop. Also, the fact that Sc still hasn’t decided how the flight model (the core component of the game) will “feel” is very alarming to me. Can you imagine if a FPS had a half decade of development under it’s belt and still didn’t know how the gunplay was gonna feel?

  5. automatic says:

    I was skeptical about SC at first. Now I’m just bored of it.

    • wheeb says:

      Congratulations, you’ve found a new way to tedious about speculation on a game that isn’t even finished yet. Maybe take up a new hobby, like tennis or fishing

      • automatic says:

        You seem mad. Am I doing something wrong by exposing my opinion? It’s been how many years since this game is being promoted? I’m sincerely bored to hear about it. I’m not on the same bandwagon of people that literally threw their money on a promise and threat every single line of code and every pixel they get like it’s the most precious thing in the universe. I’m sorry to tell you this, but it isn’t.

        • wheeb says:

          I guess I just can’t understand why someone would bother to go out of their way to login and write a comment to express boredom over something that they could easily ignore.

          I’m not trying to start an argument, honestly. Forget I said anything.

          • Maxheadroom says:

            I guess I can see both sides. Its always annoying and counter intuitive when someone takes the time to log in and write “Im not interested in this” in the comments.

            But speaking as someone who got caught up in the hype train and sunk £100 into this I’m finding im less and less interested in stories about it as the months and years roll by. Alpha and Preview fatigue I guess

          • automatic says:

            I’m just expressing my opinion. It’s like the comments of people saying how they love to hear about every single progress on something they expect to be awesome, just the opposite.

          • Asurmen says:

            Unless you’re personally affected by it, why come in to share that you don’t like it? Just move along.

        • Unclepauly says:

          I logged in to say I’m bored of tedious posts claiming boredness of tedious news about an unreleased game.

    • Megatron says:

      Time was, you would hear about a game a few months ahead of release, so you could enjoy a few months of excitement and then have the thing in your hands.

      These days, you hear about a game when a developer happens to fart his idea out over a pint glass, and now thanks to crowd-funding we get to watch all seventeen years of it play out step by step by step by painstaking step. It’s hard to keep enthusiasm going for that long. Star Citizen started development in 2011. It’s almost 2018, and we’re on Alpha 3. I got off this ride a LONG time ago. Wake me when it’s done?

      • KillahMate says:

        Didn’t Star Citizen start development in 2013? They kickstarted the game at the end of 2012, right?

        • Arglebargle says:

          There are published claims by the devs that they’d ‘been at work with a small team’ for the year of 2011. Mostly early on, when they were wanting to pimp the game for crowd funding, or just look cool. The timing claimed is almost always what will better fit the argument of the person talking about the game.

  6. Janichsan says:

    Given the current pace of SC’s development and their planned roadmap, the game will be released around 2020. At the earliest.

    • skyturnedred says:

      Must be nice to be so optimistic about things.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Back in 2014 I predicted a 2020 release. Don’t know why I was so optimistic. And boy were the fans enthused in their pillorying of the opinion.

      Bad project management will do that though.

  7. mukuste says:

    Whatever you think of SC, this video is impressive. While other games have done the seamless transition from space station to space ship to planet before, none in anything even remotely approaching this graphical fidelity. And wow, is this game a screenshot factory if I’ve ever seen one.

    Then on the other hand, the pace of doing anything seems glacial to a point where I don’t know how long I would stand it, and probably all the planets, as impressive as the landing approach is, will soon start looking same-ish. And I suspect that the reason that he’s not doing more than sightseeing is because there is not much to do other than sightseeing, currently.

    But undoubtedly, it’s impressive.

  8. GrumpyCatFace says:

    Half-billion dollars, and 5 years later… we have a walking sim. :facepalm:

  9. MrLoque says:

    Planet landing looks very very cool but I must admit there is still some work to do on that level of detail “jumps”: rocks appearing out of nothing, reshaping mountains, etc. I understand it’s a hell of a job but if you can notice it on a desertic planet I can’t imagine what happens on a forest biome, for example :|

  10. Xelos says:

    I don’t get why people are so fixated on mechanics when gameplay design is what makes games actually fun to play. This is exactly what killed No Mans Sky and most other huge open world early access games on steam. No matter how impressive your world looks, how far it reaches, how seamless the transitions are, even how good the moment to moment gameplay is – it is not enough to make a fun game. And so far ST has shown nothing but their basic mechanics, which would have to be done and polished before you csn BEGIN to design the actual GAME part of the game.

    Unless you want to make a sci-fi version of Microsoft Flight Simulator – which would be fine, but I don’t think that’s their goal.

    • tomimt says:

      What I’ve perused the developers’ forums, it’s been quite an interesting thing to see how much people are getting caught on little details in their constant search of the always so elusive “immersion”.

      There’s always someone, who jumps forward and talks about their hopes of seeing something that has no real gameplay value other than immersion, like functional toilets for an example. They have no real gameplay value and as a whole even if implementing them would be trivial, you do have to ask does the game really need them as you still need to actually go to a toilet yourself in real life if you feel a need to relieve yourself.

      Another discussion was about seatbelts and how to include them realistically into the game like it would actually matter when you can just say “technological advancement made them obsolete.”

    • Arglebargle says:

      I don’t think much of Chris Roberts’ competency, but talking to Origin vets who worked with him (and dislike him to this day), they did say that he was really innovative in the realm of cinematics. You can still see that in the game’s focus on good visuals.

      • YourMomWillDoIt says:

        yeah, very believable, next please tell us about your stories where you were partying away with jimi hendrixx and mick jagger while sipping on a glass of milk.

  11. JCRM87 says:

    I would love to see a proyect like SC when it’s finished, but for me, it’s painful to follow this development at this slow pace, and I’ve considered backing it plenty of times.

    I’m enjoying E:D a lot, feels more finished even if it’s also more limited/smaller scope. I just prefer not to think about SC and then, in 5 years or so, getting it as a finished product.

  12. jonfitt says:

    I’m an original $30 backer but I’m not at all excited by this. I’m just not going to put any time into SC until the final build of Sq42 is out or the ability to permanently unlock ships is added.

    I have no desire to get burnt out on something that is undoubtedly going to require grinding to get ships later. There’s just no way they could charge so much for a digital item that won’t require hella grind to get in game.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      I don’t even plan on watching the video. Yes, I backed the kickstarter and I’m glad they are seemingly progressing and putting updates out there but I don’t want any of it until it’s done. Maybe that way, when (or if) it comes out in who knows how many years, it’ll come as a nice surprise.

  13. Premium User Badge

    syllopsium says:

    It’s a little more pretty than Wing Commander 2…

    Still, wake me up when there’s a finished single player campaign. I’m guessing that’s running on a monster rig, too. Still, props for impressive graphics.

  14. fish99 says:

    I don’t know if the video is indicative of the content and gameplay currently on offer, but the things he’s doing in that video don’t actually look very fun. Looks nice though.

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