Star Citizen adds mining and party system in latest update

Star Citizen's Alpha 3.2 update has added a couple of meaty features, most notably mining. If you own either an Orion or Prospector ship—you can only buy them with real money for now, but in-game ship purchasing is scheduled for Alpha 3.3—then you can head to the moons of Crusader to start prospecting. You'll be able to sell any ores you dig up at new mining kiosks found at GrimHex, Levski, and Port Olisar.

Mining is a multi-step process. First, you have to do a general scan of the moon to look for signs of deposits. Then, you have to scan a specific deposit to find out what it contains. Next, you have to man your mining laser to break up the rock around the deposit, using the mouse wheel to adjust the "laser throttle" to keep it in the optimum zone. Last, you have to use your extraction tractor beam to pick up the ore.

Developer Roberts Space Industries says that the game's economy is "still very much still in flux", so expect prices for ores you're buying and selling to swing wildly over the next few weeks.

The update also added a new group play feature, allowing you to create a party that can all share each other's ships. AR markers will appear for all party members, and you'll find a party chat section on the contact app of the MobiGlas.

As well as the mining kiosks, the update debuts other shopping kiosks for the first time, and they can be found at stores throughout the universe. They'll let you buy and sell items from a single interface—I wrote about them around this time last year, when Robert Space Industries was showing them off for the first time.

Alpha 3.2 adds a number of new ships, weapons, and bug fixes. You can read about them all in detail in the patch notes.