Star Citizen Extra By Souswurm
Right, so you guys have seen Star Citizen news being featured in The Geek Headlines a few times, and probably wondered what the big deal is. It's a space game, but what does that mean? For me, a lot. For those of you that suffer from the TL:DR syndrome, the article is split up into sections, with headings that might catch your eye.
Some Background info
A couple of years ago I was talking to a friend from college days on how bloody awesome Freelancer was and that that type of space game is so scarce "these days". There was EvE Online, but it had the main attribute of most MMO's when it came to attacking; click on the enemy and telling your character (or in this case ship) what to do.
Now the debate between that stereotyped control scheme and direct control is a topic on its own, but simply put, there are people that want to fly the ship themselves, rudder and stick, or mouse and keyboard, and shoot at the other ship, with hitboxes, aiming and the other typical features pertaining a simulated firefight, as opposed to clicking on the bad guy and attacking based on a dice roll, including other calculations of the attacker and defender stats to determine how much damage has been done.
So a few years passed after that discussion, the idea still stuck in our minds about how we wanted a new Freelancer type game, but with maybe new cool stuff, like landing around on planets instead of just accepting missions from a list, or attacking a capital ship with your fighter by boarding it instead of attacking it from outside. Then later, Star Citizen was announced...
Your mission, if you choose to accept it...
Objectively, it's a flight sim in space. It has a single player portion that features a linear set of missions of you flying for the Navy with storyline, action, plot developments, voice acting and all that jazz, similar to the Wing Commander games. Fighting, trading and exploring like Freelancer, Wing Commander and Privateer in one package. That's because those three franchises have been made by Chris Roberts, and he is making this game as well. He is making Star Citizen like he wants to, with no limits, rules or restrictions set by publishers like EA or Activision. That's because the game is crowd funded through Kickstarter and the game's own website. Over $20 million raised and the media is going gaga about the largest crowd sourcing project for a game ever yet.
So you can play singleplayer, or jump into multiplayer immediately or do both, like take your single player character into MP after you finished with the missions.
They refer to the multiplayer part as the persistent universe or PU, this is like the MMO part of the game, (think EvE) with the features related to a space sim game. Here is a list of them, and if they hit half of this list I'll be a happy chappie. Something of interest is the economy model, which is dynamic, based on the supply and demand of the players.
But to sum up in this game, you can do the following:
Take missions or even request made by other players
Trade missions or your own trade runs (contraband possible too)
Mine resources in space
Become a pirate or bounty hunter
Steal a ship from another player
Explore and find new jump holes to other systems or space secrets and artefacts
FPS fighting inside ships (boarding), on planetside or in zero-g with space suits
Mini RTS, oversee and issue orders to your squadron from the bridge on your capital ship
You can die. As in permanently. Game continues with a next of kin idea, friend or family member that you design in game.
Buy ship insurance to get a replacement in case of destruction or theft, don't wanna lose your hard earned ship right?
This is South Africa and MMO's with their overseas servers always have the issue of 200+ ping. Star Citizen lets you host your own private game apart of the PU so if the online play is too much of an issue we can play locally (not LAN though D: ) where your friends can join you. Fly multiple ships in a squadron, or one big ship with multiple roles. Me and my college friendcan use his freighter to mine asteroids with my ship running escort defence and assisting with collection since his cargohold is much bigger than my shippie.
Nice PC, but can it play Star Citizen?
In 2007, Crysis made PC's beg for their motherboard and today you can still make your computer's performance take a hit if you go into the graphics options and "MAXIMUM PRETTY" the game. Star Citizen plans to make that seem like the "good ol' days". Here's the current minimum specs, just to run the Hangar module, the little demo room that shows of your parked ship:
Windows 7 or 8 64-bit
Dual Core CPU
Intel: Core2 Duo 2.4Ghz
AMD: Phenom X2
8GB of RAM
NVidia Geforce 460GTX
AMD Radeon HD5850
Bit steep right? Here is why:
The game is slated for an end 2014 - start 2015 release date, meaning it will use tech of that time. The details in this title will have a much higher polygon count than today's games. A polygon is (among other things) a shape in graphics design. For example a square is a poly, as are a trapezoid and a triangle. A game 3d model uses triangles mostly, so a simple cube can exist of six polys (squares) or 12 triangles.
Now with today's lesson done, let's put it in perspective; Commander Shepard from Mass Effect pushed 25 000 polys with his armour and guns. A character in Star Citizen can have 100 000, a fighter ship 300 000 and the aircraft carrier with its interior runway, barracks and all those rooms inside where you can walk and interact, pushes 7 Million polys.
Designing a ship in Star citizen costs between $35 000 to $150 000 (that's concept art, modelling, animating, programming and all the logistics to make it happen). Yes folks, it costs money to make big games.
I have a AMD Phenom II quad core 965 3.4Ghz, 8GB RAM and a Geforce 560TI, and I'm running on medium GFX settings in the Hangar Module and averaging about 30 frames per second.
Tech wise, the game will support joysticks, gamepads, Multiple screens, Mobile tablet and phone apps, Oculus rift (VR goggles) and they're playing around with facial recognition on webcams, so if you smile or talk, your character smiles or talks.
I already bought the game, so I have access to the hangar module already and at the end of the year the dogfighting module will release. I expect most people are waiting to test the actual gameplay feeling before purchasing this game. If you want to look at the packages on offer look at the shop page of the game and see if you like something there. I went for the cheapest shippie at $35 dollars, and since I bought it real early, I got some extra stuff, like lifetime insurance on the ship, free landing fees on my starting planet and access to the Alpha and Beta. Just opt for the digital packages though, it's always a hassle to deal with international shipping, unless a local retailer picks it up.