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Liftoff: First Star Citizen Dogfight Looks Pretty, Buggy

Up, up, and-- oh hm. Can you wait a moment?

So it was promised, so shall it be. Chris Roberts said he'd lift the lid on Star Citizen's long-awaited dogfighting module in April, and now here we are. Previously, a sleepy hangar was The Final Frontier, but below you can watch Roberts take one giant leap into space's infinite, gleaming black. It looks absolutely beautiful, but yeeeeeeeah this is still a very, very early game.

And here, for those who have a galaxy's worth of time on their hands, is the entire panel:

That was very nice looking... when it worked. Hopefully Star Citizen's dogfighting module is in a more stable state when it lands in backers' hands, because this demo had rampant interface glitches, AI issues, targeting problems, ship invulnerability/hyper vulnerability, and a crazy spinning physics glitch - all of which crashed and burned at the end when Roberts was unable to respawn and the reveal concluded on a somewhat awkward note.

Now, this is an alpha. Bugs are totally understandable. But the stakes are ultra-high for Star Citizen due to its stratosphere-scraping development cost and the fact that dogfighting is kind of the core of a space sim, at least in the classic sense of the genre. This module, then, will inevitably serve as a proof-of-concept for some. Competitors like Elite: Dangerous and Limit Theory, meanwhile, can't match Star Citizen's engine or space-age ShinyTech, but there's more oomph and speed in their combat at the moment.

I did like bits of what I saw quite a lot, though. The extent to which each ship is apparently simulated, for instance. Losing parts will shift your center of mass, and as Roberts demonstrated on numerous occasions, ships are definitely destructible.

I think once this all comes together, it could be really impressive. Right now, though, the dogfighting module is looking less like one giant leap and more like a small step. I'm sure it will be more polished when it launches in full, but maybe brace for a bumpy takeoff. Just in case.

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