February 21st 2015
In my last letter, I announced that we are moving away from the traditional stretch goals in favor of spending more time diving into how Star Citizen will work. The design post on the basic mechanics of mining in Star Citizen is a great example of this. Mining and the reveal of the Orion are the result of Star Citizen’s unique synergy. The ship you see was visualized by George Hull, a Hollywood artist who has worked on everything from The Matrix to Transformers to Chappie… for a role developed in Austin, Texas by Tony Zurovec and the Persistent Universe team. I’ve often spoken about my desire to blend the techniques developed for filmmaking with the best aspects of traditional game design (something that goes back to my Wing Commander days), and you are seeing the result here. I’m pleased with both the system and the ship, and can’t wait to see both working in Star Citizen.
At CitizenCon, we talked about how we would like to double down on community content in 2015. This is something I believe in because it means better connecting backers to the game you’re making possible. In the last twenty four hours, you’ve seen the reveal of the RSI Orion, our design for mining in the persistent universe, a video round table from concept artists in Austin, an extended discussion of REC with Travis and Calix, a poll and first look at the Star Citizen box art and an Inside CIG on the recent mocap shoot at Imaginarium! Later tonight, we’ll have a new edition of Jump Point for our loyal subscribers. Tonight’s edition focuses on much of the planet side work being done in Austin and Montreal… and next month will be the long-awaited Retaliator issue!
What I would really like to talk about today is what an exciting time this is in Star Citizen’s development. Building our universe is already the most creatively satisfying thing I’ve ever done. But the coming months are going to be something else. Without sharing internal target dates, I will tell you that we are entering into the tightest schedule we’ve ever had for public releases. In short order, you will see Arena Commander 1.1 (now with REC!), the FPS module and the so-called ‘social module,’ our first foray into the persistent universe. We’ve talked a lot about how Star Citizen will come together from disparate pieces over the past year, and we are now entering into when that happens. I can’t express how excited I am. Will there be unforeseen issues, bugs to squash and things to balance? Yes! …but I know that I have an amazing development team AND the best community ever assembled behind me. Stay tuned: it’s going to be big!
I’d also like to take a moment to thank all of the backers who have been helping with Arena Commander’s testing. We have thousands of players brave enough to try PTU releases which has helped the QA team immensely; our public patches are now more stable on release and we are able to focus more effort on balancing. A special credit for those who helped us stress test the servers earlier in the week; we discovered and fixed a bug that we would have otherwise not seen. We’re going to try again this next week, so tune in Monday, February 23rd at 1 PM PST when hopefully you’ll have a better chance of battling members of the dev team!
Backing and playing aren’t the only ways to help determine Star Citizen’s future, though. Your support of the game, your sharing it with others and spreading the word is what’s making this endeavor possible. I’d like to share the latest from years1hundred in this space. You may remember him as the creator of the original Imagine trailer, and his latest work is just as good. We’ve been talking internally about creating a “Career” campaign for Star Citizen when the Persistent Universe launches and we have enough gameplay footage to showcase the various roles you can play as it’s a great way to highlight the promise of Star Citizen’s open universe. Years1hundred (Simon Peña) must have been reading our mind! :) It’s always a great feeling to see proof that backers understand the possibility behind Star Citizen just like the team and I do.
Speaking of fan videos, a number of backers have been disappointed that we no longer highlight them on Around the Verse. To that end, we’ve asked Jared Huckaby, who you may know as Disco Lando, to put together a sort of ‘Talk Soup’ for Star Citizen fan videos. The pilot of Wonderful World of Star Citizen will run next week; it’s an irreverent look at the Star Citizen community FROM the Star Citizen community, and I’m eager to see it evolve the same way as our other productions. The backers who put so much blood, sweat and tears into supporting the game need a platform, and we’re going to build one. Additionally, the upcoming Community Hub at the RSI site will allow us to highlight fan videos, streams, art, ship designs and more… and you’ll be seeing more information on that soon.
Let’s talk events! Everyone on the team who attended last month’s Town Hall has expressed how energized they were from being able to interact with backers. We have plenty of upcoming events, including PAX East and the SXSW Interactive closing party. Meeting members of the community and talking to them about their desires and dreams for Star Citizen keeps us going through the toughest bugs and design challenges. I’m happy to announce here that at PAX East in Boston you will get your first chance to play the First Person Shooter’s zero-gravity Battlesphere mode. We’ll have demo machines up and running at the event, so please consider joining us. You can learn more here.
Finally, I know that everyone is expecting me to talk more about Rental Equipment Credits. I took part in the heated discussion over the weekend and one of our priorities this week was clarifying some of the confusion about the system. I don’t have much to add right now, but I do want to stress: we asked for your feedback because we genuinely wanted it. A sincere thank you to everyone who provided that feedback. I’ll stress: we’re going to create a system that’s fun, not one that hurts players. Like everything else in Star Citizen, we will balance and expand our system to that goal once it launches until it meets our vision, and we will not settle for less.
I will close with the traditional thank you. There’s no million dollar milestone being celebrated, but there doesn’t have to be. The Star Citizen community does things every day that deserve our thanks. From testing the game to supporting the team to rallying for us to succeed (and telling us when we’re wrong!) this game has your DNA through and through. Thank you for making it possible. We have a hard few months ahead of us on the team, but it’s the best work in the world. And after that, we can look forward to a major motion capture shoot at which Squadron 42’s script will finally become a reality! You in the community will be the first to share in all of this.
— Chris Roberts