Dev diary shows how Star Citizen's alpha 3.0 will make space travel more 'Hollywood'

Everyone remembers the moments in Star Wars where a ship shoots into a hyperspace tunnel and all the stars become a blur, and Star Citizen wants to add some of that Hollywood drama into its upcoming alpha 3.0, according to the latest development diary.

At the moment Star Citizen's interplanetary travel is a binary system: every 'short' journey looks and feels the same, and over a particular threshold those effects change to mimic a 'long' journey. It's not particular dynamic, and it's something the developers wanted to address, so they've created a new system in which your speed ramps up and down depending on the length of your journey, and each stage looks and feels different.

You slowly accelerate and if your journey is long enough for you to hit a certain speed you'll enter a new travel state with massive acceleration, which the team likens to hitting 88 mph in the Back to the Future films. You'll carry on accelerating to a top speed, cruise, and then your speed ramps down as you approach your target. 

And it's not just mathematics in the background: that's all accompanied by some impressive visual effects that add some Hollywood pizzazz. You get a big acceleration boom accompanied by cones of colour streaking off the front of the ship, and then flares trailing off the back. Different ships will have different colours, so two crafts shouldn't feel alike. Then when you exit this ultra-fast travel state you'll get a similarly impressive explosion.

All the information comes from the latest Around the Verse video, a series that chronicles the development of the game. Alpha 3.0 can't come fast enough for fans, who have done more of their fair share of waiting for it. A version is currently being tested and all backers should have their hands on it soon.

Skip to 16:10 in the video to watch the team talk about the system (before that is the latest update on squashing bugs), and at 24:00 you get to see the visual effects.

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.