After almost five years on the early access assembling pad, Star Citizen continues to have new booster rockets and decals attached. The space sim launched alpha version 3.2.0 over the weekend, strapping on the thrilling ability to mine spacerock. Hey, it's a living. Mining is supposed to eventually become a core part of the space sandbox MMO's economy, though without half the rest of the MMO it's something to do, innit. Over on the banter and antics end of the spacespectrum, the update also added a new group system and an easy way to engage hyper warp jump together with your pals.
Mining is a touch more involved than in some spacegames, as Cloud Imperium Games explain:
Prospecting for Deposits: To scan for deposits, use the "ping" mechanic. Enter the ship's scanning mode (TAB) then hold and release LMB to scan. Any minable deposits will appear highlighted with a UI box for distant zones of deposits and specific markers for closer rocks. Note: A ping will also temporarily increase passive radar detection range..
Scanning Deposits: While in scanning mode (TAB), place the crosshair over the mineable rock to gain more information. Alternatively, enter mining mode (M) and aim the mining reticle at the rock you wish to scan/mine. Your ship will automatically begin the scanning process and reveal the contents of the rock.
Fracturing: Use LMB to activate the ship's mining laser. Keep the "Rock Energy Level" inside the optimal window (green) by adjusting the "Laser Throttle" using the mouse wheel. Once the "Rock Energy Level" is inside the optimal window the "Fracturing Sensor" bar will begin to increase and once at 100% the rock will break apart into smaller chunks. Chunks that can be further shattered/mined will highlight orange when targeted whereas chunks that are now extractable will highlight purple.
When the "Rock Energy Level" bar exceeds the optimal window and goes into the red, the "Overcharge Sensor" bar will begin to increase. If the "Overcharge Sensor" bar goes to 100%, the rock will explode violently damaging the your ship and destroying all extractable material.
Extracting Ore: To extract ore from the purple highlighted bits of rock, switch from "Fracture Mode" to "Extraction Mode" using RMB, then using LMB to activate the extraction tractor beam. The "Cargo Capacity" bar will begin to increase as the ore is extracted to the ship's cargo.
Why not mix business and pleasure?
On the social side, Quantum Linking lets spacemen connect their quantum drives to automatically jump to a destination as a group. And the new group system lets up to fifty players join together to lark about. Four new spaceships are in too, along with three new weapons for on-foot FPS action.
Star Citizen is due to launch in full shortly before the heat death of the universe.