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Roberts Space Industries ®






April 8th 2013

Crossbow Clarifications and Character Animation

Crossbow Clarifications and Character Animation

Greetings Citizens,

A number of people have written in with questions about the crossbow promotion that happened over the weekend and so we’d like to clarify some things. We’d like to begin by explaining how the first person shooter boarding’s weapons mechanic will work in the game:


Rock, Paper, Scissors in Space

A Brief Discussion of Weaponry and Defenses in Star Citizen

Who would have thought that something as simple as a crossbow would get so many people talking?

To clear the air, we were always planning on having weapons like crossbows in Star Citizen. The goal was always to have a wide range of weapons, from knives to modern ballistic weapons (guns) to futuristic technologies like laser cannons. Our system aims to pit a variety of weapons against one another in a meaningful way that will create both deeper gameplay and provide a more interesting experience for the player than simply gunning down your opponents with the heaviest assault rifle. As for this particular choice: crossbows are cool. Why would we not include a weapon that has been around for thousands of years (literally) and continues to be improved upon today? Tell the nearest Vanduul that you think his knife is archaic. I’m guessing that the response will be brief and very painful.

The critical idea behind both ground-based and space combat in Star Citizen is making tradeoffs. As we’ve said all along, there is no perfect weapon (or shield, or armor) for beating every opponent. Each piece of equipment has its pluses and minuses, so there are many appropriate tools for each situation.

In space combat, lasers are frequently preferred weapons, as they do not require the extra mass of carrying physical ammunition, and they can be continually fired without depleting (as long as your power plant is intact). Lasers, however, tend to do less overall damage than some projectile weaponry, and they are more readily stopped by a ship’s shields. Of course, some shields are tuned for slowing down projectiles more effectively, as well, but might be weaker overall or have a larger EM signature.

Ground-based combat is similar in nature. While we’re still figuring out precisely what types of personal armor might be available, rest assured that there will be tradeoffs for everything. Sure, crossbows are quiet and don’t run the risk of punching a hole in your hull, but they don’t have unlimited ammunition, and there are already body armors today that are capable of stopping a crossbow bolt (at the expense of providing poorer protection against bullets).

It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to get the balance right in our final game. The important thing is that there will be balance, and not one right answer for every situation.

Why did you support Shroud of the Avatar in this way?

Chris Roberts and Richard Garriott go way back: Richard hired Chris to work at Origin and supported him in creating the Wing Commander series and his other classic games. Without Richard’s support and friendship all those years ago, space sims would be in a very different place today! The team at Cloud Imperium is also genuinely excited to see Richard and Portalarium returning to roleplaying games. Richard developing the successor to Ultima and Chris returning to his space sim roots together just seems right!

Chris Roberts and Richard Garriott have been including nods to each other’s games as long as they’ve been working together. In fact, Chris’ first job at Origin was to help write conversations in Richard’s Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny… and as a result, Richard included Chris as a character in the game! Chris’ Kilrathi appear in several Ultima games, including Ultima VII where you can discover a crashed Kilrathi fighter as part of a sidequest! Several of Chris’ games mention the “Britannia System”… and if you sit waiting in the barracks in Super Wing Commander, the Avatar flies by the outside of the ship!

Even more than supporting an old friend, we believe in supporting crowdfunding projects like Shroud of the Avatar. One of the goals behind Star Citizen was to prove that crowdfunding could support AAA game development and allow creators to throw off the shackles of big publishers. Many of Richard’s more recent titles were famously stymied by Electronic Arts and NCSoft… we’re excited that his campaign is going to let him make a game on his own terms, for his fans.

Can I still get the crossbow?

Yes! We realize the promotion came very late in the game and that many people may have missed the deadline to pledge on Kickstarter. You can still pledge for Shroud of the Avatar through their website at

Is this “pay to win”?

NO. Pay to win refers to the idea that someone can spend extra money to do better in the game. That is not the case here: the finished Star Citizen game will include crossbows with the same functionality as this special Shroud of the Avatar weapon. It’s a symbol that you backed Richard’s game and nothing more. You will not have any special advantage in the finished game.

We created this tie-in out of love and support for our friends, not out of any attempt to extort money from you. Please remember that we will NEVER expect you to pay any more money for Star Citizen. The crossbow promotion is an optional tie-in designed to appeal to those interested in supporting both games. We know you’ve been more than generous already in supporting our project and we do not expect anything else.

I only want to hear about Star Citizen!

We promise that this kind of update will happen rarely and that it won’t replace our other frequent updates about Star Citizen. We feel strongly that we need to support smaller developers working outside the traditional publisher system. Studios like Portalarium, Double Fine, Obsidian, InXile, Frontier, 22Cans and others descended from the golden age of PC gaming have the same dream we do, to make games for players instead of publishers. We’re sick of seeing great developers—like LucasArts just last week—being shut down by corporations who only want to make the next Call of Duty… so we will always have their backs!

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a reward. Here’s the uncut character “range of motion” video which you saw part of on last week’s Wingman’s Hangar. This shows you how the character model you saw being built several weeks ago will function in the finished game… how he’ll walk, talk and, yes, ultimately how he’ll fire a crossbow. This is real-time, in-engine movement and not a pre-rendered video.

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