You might hear a lot about Star Citizen [official site], about its grand visions for a sandbox universe and about its $107 million crowdfunded by selling virtual spaceships, but what's the game actually like now? Is it worth paying for? Well, you can read Alec's thoughts or you can now go see for yourself. For another few days, a 'Free Fly' event lets all and sundry sign up and play at exploring, shooting, questing, and socialising in Alpha 2.1.2.
Everyone will get to play the 'Crusader' fragment of space with its places to explore and missions to complete, the combat-focused Arena Commander, and the Social Module with folks milling around, developers Cloud Imperium Games explained in a dev update on Friday night.
The trial began late on Friday (look, we'd clocked off for the weekend), so expect it to run through to Friday? To play, register for an account, download the 106MB launcher, watch that to download a new patcher (with cute ASCII art!), then download the 27.8GB o' game. I am doing that myself now, see.
I'm pretty dang wary of Star Citizen, and some commenters have grumbled about my dismay over people paying thousands of dollars to an unfinished game for virtual spaceships which haven't even been created yet - making them imaginary. Star Citizen's dream of a sandbox universe with ship-shooting and man-walking letting folks e.g. board ships and murder their crews is a wonderful dream, but it's also a massive - and unproven - one. Making a good FPS or a good space sandbox is difficult enough for most developers, so smooshing together is a huge task. But sure, while I won't give Cloud Imperium money now, I will download a free trial for a nose around.
The dev update also gave a date for when Star Citizen and the singleplayer campaign Squadron 42 will split into separate packages, February 14th. Until then, buying in will get you both, but after that they'll be sold separately.