March 14th 2015
Dateline: Austin, Texas. I am in town helping the persistent universe team prepare for our SXSW presentation on Sunday and to kick off next week’s CIG Networking Summit. We’ll be talking out the details of our backend infrastructure in the cloud and how the various servers and services will interact with the clients. Not as sexy as showing off new spaceships, but absolutely essential to make Star Citizen work! On Sunday, we’re hosting a SXSW closing party which will include a Star Citizen presentation. Anyone in the area is encouraged to attend, see what we’re working on and spend time with the team. It’s a good sneak peak at what we’re going to be putting out after Star Marine drops. For those that can’t make it, we’ll have a video from the presentation up on Sunday and the entire presentation available next week.
Of course, we’re also pushing forward with our public releases of the game itself! As you know, we’ve been working in the week since PAX East to get Star Citizen 1.1 out the door. We sat down to review a build candidate this morning and have decided that it’s not ready for launch today. We’re doing some additional work to make sure that two of our big features are polished: the multiplayer free flight mode and the manual take-off and landing. Both of these are important prototypes for the finished Star Citizen game and both move us away from a simple combat game to a broader universe to explore and interact with.
In the meantime, we have launched a new PTU build of our most current iteration. The PTU process is proving invaluable because it not only gives backers more opportunities to test things, but it also shows you what we’re working on and (on occasion) why it isn’t ready for primetime yet. In this case, expect to enjoy the Retaliator in the Hangar and the Gladius in flight… but you may run into some trouble while trying to use the auto-landing system! Being open with your backers is one of the keys to a successful crowd funding project, and it’s hard to imagine being more open than letting you play our test builds! I’ve also asked that the long-awaited weapons mount design post, which we had been planning to put out for the 1.1 release, be published today. It should be available now on the Comm-Link!
When it goes live next week (barring serious issues!) Star Citizen 1.1 will add the Retaliator, the Gladius, the REC system, multiplayer free flight, improvements to the flight model, manual and automatic landings… and then behind the screens it will premiere things like the 64-bit floating point that will soon allow us to create significantly larger maps. But perhaps the single most important thing about 1.1 is that it’s Star Citizen and not Arena Commander.: With 1.1, we’re doing a lot behind the scenes to set up rapid expansion that you’ll see over the next few months as we add Star Marine and the social module to the Star Citizen experience. You’ll still see plenty of changes and enhancements to Arena Commander, which forms the basis for our spaceflight system, but I now see us building the full game out in many directions.
Looking forward: our next major release is Star Citizen 1.2, which will add Star Marine to the mix. I’m incredibly pleased with the reaction both backers and gamers alike had to the Astro Arena at PAX East, and I’ve asked the team at Illfonic to spend additional time on the polish for this one. With a big focus on cleaning up character animations, I’m hoping to put out something that won’t just meet the expectations of our backers but that will also showcase to other gamers what Star Citizen is capable of! We’ll have more details as we get closer; expect to see our Community team in Denver hosting a remote episode of AtV and introducing you to more of the characters behind this aspect of Star Citizen.
Finally, I’d also like to congratulate all of our backers on $75 million in crowd funding raised. As I’ve said before, I don’t like to focus on money in these letters… but it’s still quite a milestone! You have put an incredible amount of trust in me and the Star Citizen team, and we intend to deliver the game you deserve. In honor of this achievement and the impending launch of 1.1, I’m going to go ahead and start everyone off with 5,000 REC. This should help us kickstart the new system, let our designers observe it in action for the next balance pass… and give you all some cool toys to play with!
— Chris Roberts