The Star Citizen crowdfunding campaign broke the $49 million mark yesterday, a sum that's especially astonishing because it's being thrown at the niche—some would say dead—space combat sim genre. Yet even with all that scratch at his disposal, Cloud Imperium mastermind Chris Roberts wants even more! Why? Well, because he's building a really big game.
It's not uncommon for developers of indie PC games to hope that their creations will ultimately make it to consoles. Cloud Imperium Games holds out no such hope for Star Citizen, however, and in fact Eric "Wingman" Peterson says it couldn't be done anyway, because consoles, including the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, simply don't have the power to drive the game.
The vast majority of space combat simulators we've come to know and love over the years—Wing Commander, TIE Fighter, X: Beyond the Frontier and all the rest—have one thing in common: They employ atmospheric flight models rather than "Newtonian." What this means is that despite "flying" through the zero-gravity void of space, starfighters behave more or less as real-world aircraft do. It's generally seen as a necessary concession to gameplay and conformation to the space dogfight standard established by Star Wars, but Star Citizen will be taking a more complex and realistic approach to its flight model.
It's been a long time coming, but after multiple delays, Star Citizen's dogfighting module—titled Arena Commander v0.8—has been released to backers. Expected last week (and at many other points over the last few months), the module was held back these few extra days due to critical bugs. With the repairs now finished, players have been told they're okay for launch.
The Kickstarter-funded space games are in an interesting place at the moment. On the one hand, there's Elite: Dangerous, which is fast approaching its beta. On the other, heavier, bulkier hand, there's Star Citizen. As a crowdfunding campaign, it's unstoppable—nearing $45 million. As a game, it's yet to leave the hanger. That was set to change with the release of a dogfighting module, due to be sent out to backers today. Project director Chris Roberts has instead announced that the current build is too unstable for release and has been delayed. Again.
Star Citizen's recent blast of gameplay footage is what happens when you give the Once and Future King of space games $41 million to make his dream space game a reality: ie much whooping and unbridled excitement over one admittedly pretty stonking video. But what if you could watch the same video again, with added interview bits and extra footage, including stealth manoeuvers (in the dark) and a moderately terrifying Gravity-style spacewalk? If your answer contains hollering and/or whooping, you may join me after the break.
Sometimes, just sometimes, the whooping and hollering you get at conventions feels acceptable. The first in-game footage of the dogfighting element of Star Citizen, which was shown by Chris Roberts at PAX East today, feels like just such an occasion. See the footage below.
Cloud Imperium founder and creator of the upcoming Star Citizen Chris Roberts doesn’t think Oculus VR betrayed gamers by “selling out” to Facebook. In a post to Star Citizen's official website, he makes an argument that’s familiar at this point: Oculus VR needed a lot more money in order for the Rift to succeed.
Virtual reality, SteamOS, fiber broadband, 4K displays, holodecks (you know, maybe)—the next five years of PC gaming will radically transform our immortal hobby. What new experiences will the PC games of the near future provide? How will technology surprise us? This April at PAX East 2014, we'll look into that glowing future with the innovators and PC gaming stakeholders shaping it.
We last checked in with Star Citizen three weeks ago, and so presumably the unstoppable crowdfunding juggernaut has made some serious money since then. Well, yes - multiple millions, in fact - but for once that's not what this news is about. The ambitious space-'em-ups roadmap had planned for the release of a dogfighting module at the end of this month, giving backers a taste of the game's combat. In an address to the community, Chris Roberts has now revealed that the launch is being delayed by a couple of months.
Star Citizen is getting organized. And not in the sense that it's getting really good at raising incredible amounts of game development cash. No, we knew that already. Dubbed "Organizations," the upcoming space sim has announced a new faction/clan system that's being prepped to go live sometime next month, according to an update from developer Cloud Imperium Games.
There’s nothing PC gamers love quite as much as a good rumor. We had a bunch of Fallout 4 speculation crop up over the weekend, and some doomsayers are claiming the end of the world will be brought about by a freakishly powerful rig cobbled together by mad scientists. Now the skies of Star Citizen are falling because someone spotted a PlayStation 4 dev kit in a picture posted by the developers. Taking to the community forums, creator Chris Roberts addressed rumors that Star Citizen would be dumbed down for console release—and destroyed them.
Another week, another million-dollar milestone for Star Citizen. With $25 million now raised, "galactic" seems too small a word to describe the scale of the in-development space sim's crowdfunding effort. Beyond the big number, developer Chris Roberts reports in announcing the funding goal that as many as 50,000 more testers could be added to the game's first alpha testing phase thanks to the massive recent fundraising success.
Star Citizen continues to rake in the money, and at this rate Cloud Imperium Games will be able to fund its own real-life space program. We’ve previously made note of Star Citizen and developer Chris Roberts’ unstoppable crowdfunding effort; this time, the new $20 million milestone adds planet-based combat to the game. Now, in addition to combat on space stations and while boarding enemy ships, players will be able to fight for control on individual worlds.
Star Citizen's latest video is pure space sim. Assembled for a recent presentation of developments in AMD graphics technology, the footage does more than show off all the polish that's being applied to the ambitious project. The video also works as a subtle vehicle for the highly-anticipated game's story.
Back when the global financial markets went on their extended package holiday, roughly 90% of the adverts on TV were hysterical men shouting about how you should be giving them all the gold you've hoarded away in your secret underground gold bins. I bet those people feel like idiots now, because, as Star Citizen is proving, the real money isn't in stockpiles of shiny metal, but in fictional recreations of space. Not only has the crowdfunded sim raised over $18 million, but now its developers have announced that if they raise $20 million - which they will - the final game will include first person ground combat.
Speaking at our PC Gaming World Congress last Friday, DayZ creator Dean Hall responded to an audience question about server-side games and what they mean for modding. Specifically, the question cited SimCity 4's modding community and what's happened with Maxis' always-online SimCity reboot, which can't support significant modding. Will the trend of developer-controlled servers mean an end to all mods?
Last Friday at PAX Prime in Seattle, we gathered four of PC gaming's most important people—from left to right: Chris Taylor (GM, Wargaming Seattle), Jon Mavor (Co-Founder, Uber Entertainment), Chris Roberts (Founder, Cloud Imperium Games), and Dean Hall (Creator, DayZ, Bohemia Interactive)—for a discussion on the state of PC gaming. Now, through the magic of streaming video, you too can watch these four titans talk about what they love, what they want, and where they predict our dear hobby is going.
Sandbox space sim Star Citizen is raising money at such a steady rate that we'll soon be able to use its funding total as a replacement for calendars. Christmas will now be scheduled for $24.7 million, the new year for $24.9, and Half-Life 3's release date is projected somewhere in the billions. Today's date, for those who need to adjust to the new system, is $17 million. This, despite the fact that the only part of the game in players' hands is a hangar module, which acts as a museum for their purchased ships.
Millions of crowdfunded dollars aside, that museum now has an microtransaction store tied to it. Voyager Direct offers players in-game items for UEC - the game's currency, which is currently only available as a real-money purchase. It has prompted controversy among the game's community, with criticism over the pricing of items. For instance: a buggy that players can drive around the hangar costs 20,000 UEC - the equivalent of $20.
Attention PC gaming vanguards! If you're coming to this weekend's PAX Prime in Seattle, join us in our quest to shine the biggest, brightest spotlight on our beloved hobby. We're putting on two panels, starting with The PC Gaming World Congress on Friday (don't miss the chance to see Dean "Rocket" Hall and Chris Roberts talk shop), and chatting with readers all weekend.