Yesterday we brought you our preview of Star Citizen , the new game from Chris Roberts, creator of Wing Commander and Freelancer. It sounds pretty spectacular - a massive persistent universe in which you forge your own path as a pirate, explorer, trader, soldier or any combination thereof. You can even be the first to discover new star-systems and name them after yourself. And it looks pretty spectacular, too - with CryEngine 3 stumping up about ten times the number of faces seen in current gen games. But underneath the tech, the rigid-body physics and particle effects is a rather slick aesthetic vision of the future - as this collection of the game's concept art attests.
As Chris Roberts took me on a fly-past of the massive carrier, I spotted the name "Paul Steed" emblazoned on the side - a reference to the legendary id Software artist who sadly passed away earlier this year.
"Paul Steed started in the industry under me," explained Roberts. "I gave him his first job. He worked for me on Strike Commander and Wing Commander III. He was a fairly close friend of mine, and it's sad he's not around anymore. So this is my little tribute to him."
There's a huge amount of detail in the environments - because the player can leap out of his vehicle, everything needs to look good close-up.
"The power of a modern PC in terms of realising heavy visual fidelity is great," says Roberts. "Basically I can do stuff that a few years ago you'd have to pre render on workstations. I'm not worrying about current day consoles; there's a level of detail I can do that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Just the memory it would take to store these textures - you just don't have that on the consoles."
Next: the ships and the setting .
The cockpits are dense with detail - but as impressive as they look, it was important to Roberts that the ships function in just as coherent and finely realised a manner. The game calculates the ship's movement using a model based on rigid-body physics, so the placement of each thruster directly affects how you can turn. Which also means damage to a specific part of your craft will radically alter your manoeuvrability.
As for the overall setting, Roberts describes the universe's premise like this: "Think the fall of the Roman empire. On the western borders there are barbarian races, and there's a schism in the empire - there's an eastern capital, Terra, and the western capital is Earth - the stand-in for Rome." And we know how well that all worked out for the Romans...
If you're intrigued to see more, head over to the Roberts Space Industries site .