Star Citizen [official site] released the first iteration of its chatty Social Module a few days ago in Patch 1.2, with several areas for small numbers of players to wander around and chat together, which makes me wonder: isn't it time to rename the game Star Citizens?
The Social Module was supposed to launch after the sandbox space 'em up's FPS aspect Star Marine but, with that still held up, developers Roberts Space Industries have pushed this social space out first. It's a virtual chatroom, basically. In space!
Up to 25 players can now wander around the ArcCorp Area 18 Landing Zone together. Accessible through your hangar, it contains a few (currently non-functional) shops, a bar, and other spaces for players to chat in text and emote with... emotes. Future updates to the Social Module will open up more areas around ArcCorp, including a firing range.
It's all very basic, but Roberts Space Industries say the Social Module will "serve as a testing ground for a multitude of fundamental technologies" - networking stuff, mainly - and as the foundation of the game's Persistent Universe. This dev blog post has more details on all of those plans. They say, "The next major update will be Subsumption, which will showcase some of the hard work that's been going into the development of systems that will allow us to construct environments filled with intelligent NPCs going about their business and that really feels alive."
The full notes for Patch 1.2 are over here too.
As I write this, Star Citizen has raised $88,332,362 through crowdfunding. Good grief.
Anyway, here's a peek at a new zone Roberts Space Industries are working on: