November 8th 2012
Three million dollars! It’s hard to believe we’re already here, far above our initial objective and well into some of the stretch goals, with still 10 days left in the campaign. It’s all thanks to you, our incredible fans. I am impressed every single day when I see the dedication you have already given this project, spreading the word and building a great and supporting community. It’s going to be a daunting—and rewarding—task for the team to continue to build the game knowing how much this community believes in us. And it’s a task I’m proud to say we’re up to.
Sorry to have been quiet for the past few days. I just got back from Montreal, Canada, which is likely to be one of the locations where we will build Star Citizen, along with Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, California. It may seem inefficient to have the team spread out but I’m actually a big fan of distributed development. The tech prototype was built by a small team spread out between Austin, Frankfurt (Germany), Los Angeles, Montreal, Monterey (Mexico) and San Francisco
The concept is to focus on where the talent is and not try to fit the talent to the location. So a lot of my old Origin and Digital Anvil compatriots will be based in Austin, in LA the focus will be some of the high end conceptual design (leaning heavily on the deep pool of talent from film like Ryan Church and Jim Martin) and some engineering. In Montreal we’re likely to be building some of the backend persistent server infrastructure and web front end. I’ll be spending time in each location and heavily using Skype! The idea is to break the various components of Star Citizen into discrete parts that are the responsibility of focused “tiger” teams – dogfighting, shipboard FPS, planet side buying / selling / chatting / mission acquisition, persistent server backend and so on. This way it keeps the various elements of the project manageable and the responsibility of small, tight teams. It’s always been my experience that small teams tend to be the most effective, so the idea is to utilize the small team concept in such a way that it can scale for a project with the ambition of Star Citizen. Think of it as taking the multi-core / threading approach to development as opposed to the old way of just increasing the speed and size of one big processor.
The pledge referral program was actually something that was part of the spec of the custom crowd funding plug in we built and was meant to launch day 1. Unfortunately, due to our launch issues it was never deployed and it has taken this long to get up and running.
Before we started the campaign we had talked to Alienware, NVIDIA and Logitech, who were all very excited by what Star Citizen represented for PC gaming and were eager to help out with some free swag to give away with some of the pledge tiers. We thought it would be much more fun, and allow a wider range of the community to participate if everyone had the chance of winning the bad ass Alienware gaming rig, rather than bundling it with some custom $15,000 pledge level. So we thought that tying it to rounding up as many friends to play with you would be a great way, especially as we want to encourage co-op play and building up your squadron (which is another feature we will roll out once vBulletin is active)
We know that a lot of you are concerned that you won’t be credited for everyone you encouraged to join the fight for high end PC gaming and space sims. Don’t worry! We’re building a referral input to the My Account screen on the RSI site that will give you the ability to retroactively specify if someone has referred you, so everyone can get credit even from the very beginning of the campaign.
We hope you like it. It was designed for fun, and to give everyone a chance to win some cool swag (who doesn’t want an Alienware desktop, Oculus Rift or a GTX680?).
I’ve also had a few questions about the contests we’ve run previously. For legal reasons we’re not allowed to identify the winners unless they give us permission… but if you won a signed Wing Commander or an Anvil Gladiator bomber, you have been contacted by our staff, so make sure to check your spam filters in case there’s a surprise stuck out of view!