Did you know that you can command your own fleet in Star Citizen? I suppose that shouldn't really surprise you, given that you can also do everything else ever in the history/future of space in Star Citizen. Unsurprisingly, Roberts is shooting for the stars with this aspect of the space sim to end all space sims (and/or trigger a flood of other space sims) as well, with phrases like "most sophisticated AI that I’ve attempted on any of my games" drawing widened eyeballs. As ever, though, footage of Roberts' grand schemes in action makes a decently convincing case for cautious optimism. Do some kind of physics-defying space flip past the break to give it a watch.
Roberts' aim, meanwhile, is to iterate upon ideas present in his previous games, but with More Betterness (TM).
"The Squadron 42 / Star Citizen pilot AI will be the most sophisticated AI that I’ve attempted on any of my games. My goal is to take the ideas that I pioneered with Wing Commander and later games; distinct personalities, dynamic learning, signature moves to next level with the power of modern CPUs."
"The laser effects, explosions are all placeholders and there will be significant work done here, as well as some very cool shield effects I have cooking up in the background. My goal with the visual effects is to use a lot the techniques and looks used in film work, which are now possible with DX11 and modern day PCs."
He also notes that all dogfighting in the video is AI-driven - not pre-scripted. And I'm inclined to believe him, given that the demo I saw at GDC Online already had rudimentary (though hardly mind-blowing) AI in place.
Star Citizen, then, is in kind of a weird spot. It's still so wildly ambitious that it's tough to not doubt it, but among crowd-funded games, it's actually done a pretty solid job of giving us concrete reasons to be confident that it'll ultimately deliver. In less than a week, Roberts and co will be jettisoned back into the mysterious reaches of more traditional game development. Here's hoping they put the spoils of this exceedingly successful raid on our wallets to good use.