September 5th 2014
This morning, we held a “go/no-go” meeting to discuss whether or not we could launch Arena Commander V0.9 today. The decision from the production team was that we are not go for release at this time. While we hope that today’s build will resolve some of the last remaining blockers we do not want to release a build that has not been thoroughly tested as these fixes may have had knock on effects. Additionally, Star Citizen’s team members have gone above and beyond lately so we didn’t want to make people work straight through the weekend again, as some worked over Labor Day and we’ll be immediately sprinting to V0.9.1 and ultimately V1.0. We know some will be disappointed not to play this weekend, but we’re also cautious about releasing an untested build to our community.
Last week, we had a number of backers asking about specific features planned for V0.9. Here’s the “short list,” which I think you will find represents a major step forward for Arena Commander!
• Murray Cup Racing Mode: As shown at Gamescom, players can now race their pledge ships in a specially designed upper-atmospheric scenario!
• Vanduul Swarm Co-Op: Take on the alien hoards with a friend, or competitor!
• Flyable M50 and 350R: The M50 and the 350R have been readied for flight to kick off the race mode. These ships will now be flyable in all Arena Commander game modes.
• Private Matches: Tired of being matched with random players in AC? Private matches will let you play with friends!
• Friend Codes: We’re launching a code system for both private and public matches so you can connect with your wingmen.
• Leaderboards: Your performance in Arena Commander’s various modes will display on the RSI website and allow you to compare with others.
• Updated Ship Performance: We’ve increased the speed and acceleration of every ship. With this we’ve also reworked the afterburner mechanic to increase acceleration instead of top speed.
• HUD Update: We’ve overhauled the usability of the visor HUD interface so you can customize your ships systems much more easily in flight.
• New Hangars: We’ve remastered all of Star Citizen’s Hangars with the new forward-looking room system and added the Asteroid Hangar.
• New Pause Menu: Our refactored pause menu is a large step forward aesthetically, and will support new features like custom keybindings in the future. In the meantime we’ve included selectable profiles for the most common peripherals.
• 6DOF: With the improvements to the IFCS and flight physics we are now ready to introduce 6DOF movement for an entirely new way to fly.
Some of these are big, headlining features that we know backers are eager to get their hands on; Like Murray Cup Racing and Vanduul Swarm Coop! The reality is that the less flashy features are some of the most important in the long run and also some of the most challenging. You’re seeing the individual atoms of the persistent universe coming together before your eyes. The Friend Code feature represents the first step towards connecting you with friends and organization members from the web platform in the game itself. Likewise the leaderboards involve building the platform/client connection that will someday let you interact with your character through the RSI website and will serve as the basis for stat tracking and rating based matchmaking!
Other features are a direct result of your feedback. The HUD improvement is designed to address how players have responded to HUD navigation and interaction. Every patch we release involves listening to our backers, watching them play and aiming to improve the experience. We hope that you will find the HUD much more user friendly, functional, and intuitive than it has been in previous iterations.
We’re also giving pilots more control over how they fly their ship. In addition to adding 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) controls pilots will now have the ability to “overboost” directional thrusters, at the expense of more fuel burn. This allows you to temporarily increase the thrust output of your maneuvering thrusters to better arrest undesirable angular velocity such as in a tight turn.
The physics modeling and damage feedback have also been improved. We’ve resolved some ongoing issues with the damage modeling but more importantly we also provided increased feedback to players on incoming damage and the direction it came from. You are now jostled in your ship based on the direction and power of a weapon impact. We have changed the g-force animations to more accurately reflect the physics g-force has on your character.
With a patch that adds so much and is thusly so complex as V0.9 issues are inevitably going to come up. Due to the diligent work of our team we have been able to solve most of the biggest blockers: leaderboards, rubber banding, stuttering in Vanduul Swarm Coop, and friend code issues. While these issues and a few other appear to be nearly resolved we need a couple more days to test and validate that our fixes haven’t created any new issues.
Our goal for V0.9 isn’t just to add exciting new features, it’s to keep improving every aspect of Arena Commander (and ultimately Star Citizen) based on your testing and feedback. We very much look forward to being able to share V0.9 with all of you as soon as it is proven to be stable enough to release. We are aiming for the middle of next week and we will update the community on Wednesday, September 10th about the status of the build if plans change. Until then we appreciate your patience and support as we engage in this open development process together.