Just a few hours after publishing a quick warning that the dog-fighting "Arena Commander" module would be available today, the team at Roberts Space Industries have delayed v0.8 alpha once again.
The delay comes in the face of two high-severity, game-breaking issues. In a statement, Chris Roberts justified the delay by pointing-out the lack of publisher pressure:
"It would be foolish to release an unstable build, even if pre-alpha for the sake of meeting an internal deadline. This is the power of the crowdfunding that made Star Citizen possible: a publisher would make us ship tomorrow regardless of the current build quality… but as you are all focused on quality rather than a financial return for shareholders we are able to take a few more days to deliver something that is stable."
It's been known for a few days that Star Citizen's "Arena Commander" space-flight combat simulation module will be playable on May 29. We first reported on this module from the floor of PAX East, where we interviewed Chris Roberts post-unveil, then again about FPS mechanics, and one more time about Arena Commander.
Star Citizen's Arena Commander module is described in our post here. In short, it is a 'simulation' (within canon) of space-flight combat that is being released primarily for testing purposes. It is important to realize that this is very early alpha (0.8) and will be buggy and broken; the onus is on gamers to report issues they discover. This alpha test will help determine maximum player count, stress test server / back-end stability, and get us some hands-on with the shooting mechanics.
We've been following Star Citizen fairly extensively since its 2012 campaign. As journalists, part of the job is "discovering" games before they make it big; I always task writers with dedicating some portion of our time at PAX to discovering indie games, the hope being that one goes mainstream after we've made it in the door early. I vividly remember Star Citizen hitting the $800,000 mark on Kickstarter and feeling like I'd missed the boat for journalistic success -- it was at the height of its campaign and everyone else had already started talking about it. Even still, we linked up with CIG CEO & Chairman Chris Roberts to discuss technology in-depth (lots of hardware conversation in that link), which had been entirely unexplored up until that point. It's still one of my favorite articles I've worked on, and much of that content remains relevant through today. Funny how much I've learned since then, too.
Months later, we caught up with Roberts at PAX East 2013 shortly before a discussion panel (filmed). Fast forward to July, and we found ourselves at the Cloud Imperium Games office in Santa Monica. At this point, Roberts' next major goal was $21 million; that'd allow him the freedom of ditching private investors in favor of crowd-sourcing the entire game, he told us, and it was no longer a pipe dream to do so. Everyone in the room knew the funding target was on the horizon, it was just a matter of when. I don't think any of us could have told you that Star Citizen would be sitting at $42 million -- more than double our July meeting -- less than a year later.
At Star Citizen’s dogfighting module (DFM) unveil on Thursday night, Chairman & CEO of Cloud Imperium Games Chris Roberts showcased a pre-alpha build of the spaceflight combat mechanics and gameplay. The fan event exhibited a number of crashing and other show-inhibiting technical hurdles, but ultimately the game’s early build was well-received by the crowd and fans seemed to be understanding. The nature CIG’s transparent approach to game development brings with it some risk of visibility into a turbulent game-making process; the lead-up to a game's launch involves countless alpha builds of similar stability, it's just that we don't normally (as gamers) see the behind-the-scenes development.
We caught-up with Chris Roberts after the event for a brief run-n-gun interview to discuss his thoughts on the unveil. Since then, we spent Saturday morning with the Star Citizen visionary to answer community questions (from reddit) and talk FPS mechanics. Due to the sheer amount of content we walked away with -- as always is the case with Chris -- we'll be publishing two articles + two videos this week. The first is here; the next will be released on Saturday. This content will focus purely on FPS mechanics and gameplay within Star Citizen -- the article releasing on Saturday will be a pure Q&A format.
Let's get started. (A big thanks to /u/rolfski for FPS questions & thoughts).
Cloud Imperium Games’ PAX East pre-show saw the unveiling of a (somewhat) functional multiplayer dogfighting module (DFM), as helmed by the game’s visionary and renowned industry veteran Chris Roberts. We were able to get an exclusive video interview in a very quick run-n-gun format after the event to collect Roberts’ thoughts on the somewhat shaky unveil, embedded below; we’ll also be covering the immediate roadmap for the dogfighting module, plans for multi-crew combat, and plans for initial FPS gameplay mechanics (boarding).
The fan event today collected journalists and monetary backers of Star Citizen, which we’ve written about extensively in three previous interviews:
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