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Chris Roberts on New Flight Model, Future Releases & More

Welcome to some more Star Citizen, Chris Roberts answered a load of Questions this week on RTV and also wrote a Letter From The Chairman, this will be a summary of those 2 juciy data piles. Talking about a New IFCS model, Ship Renting, Player Caps on Servers, Future Releases, Pay2Win, Vulkan Support & a whole lot more.

New IFCS
There is a new Version of IFCS that they will be bringing to the game soon with ships thrusters being converted over to item system 2.0, it will be multi-threaded, batched & optimized with some more shown at CitizenCon & deployed by the end of the year.
So what are the changes?
Chris is not happy with the current Dogfight experience, the old IFCS was trying to do too many things and was overly designer focused.
They are aware that everyone has their own visions of what they would prefer.He feels that in some cases they have overpowered the maneuvering and mass of the ships wasn’t really affecting their flight enough.
They don’t want to go full science, but they want dogfighting to work in the parameter of proper physics, balance on the ships thrusters (ships not being able to change course as rapidly as they currently do, BUT not too far in that direction), cleaning up the mismatched styles, ships to have a distinct flight personality (Xi’An ships more suited for strafing & the Hornet more a traditional Fighter), allocation of power will be much more important as will damage taken. There will be trade off with you overpowering you thrusters, yes you’ll be able to turn more quickly BUT you’ll generate more heat, use more power, the item may misfire or degrade faster.
They want the system to be easy to pick up for a new player BUT for their to be huge amount of high skill opportunity with some potential micromanagement of your systems.
Atmospheric flight will be affected by drag, lift and environmental forces.
It doesn’t sound like they are scraping the old IFCS model, just overhauling it.

Ship Renting in the PU
The intention is to have Ships Renting and Purchasing in 3.3 if possible.
They are also trying to push persistence where database resets will happen less too.

Other
Star Citizen will cater for both PvP and PvE styles of Gameplay, there will be a lot of PvE around. PvP will be typically more common in certain systems.
Players will set their own goals and be able to pursue what they want, there will NPCs of all levels so even if you are a crappy dogfighter you could still find a mission for you if you wanted to do that.
Object Container Streaming requires a large update of the code, this is a major focus for them right now.
For a later update the physics system is also undergoing a major refactor at the moment as well, for greater performance and scalability, as well as a more reliable rigid body system.
Currently servers will only use upto 4 CPU threads for physics, once this number can be increased they can really up the player counts, they estimate 200 or so to start with.
Server Meshing will then allow them to go beyond that in close proximity.
The aim is to still have everyone in the same universe eventually.

CitizenCon Releases
3.3 and the 3rd quarterly patch release of each year is now planned to be released with CitizenCon, so previously Sept for 3.3 would shift a week or 2 to early to mid October.
Going forward the releases will be: Q1 end of March, Q2 the end of June, Q3 in October with CitizenCon (this year on the 10th), and the Q4 in mid-to-late December.
Typically the Q2 & Q3 updates in the future will be more meaty in terms of updates.
The Roadmap will continue to show around 12 months ahead.
The Squadron 42 Roadmap will be added to that in the future too.
There was no Roadmap update this week tho, They are updating to Roadmap soon with a more accurate scheduling ASAP.

Water
They have swimming in backlog of items to be completed.
Some Ships will be able to float as part of the physics model.
There will be boats.
For 3.3 tho it’s going to have water with wave simulation  BUT not much in the way of ways of being to interact with it.

Other
The Apollo Q&A is planned for the August 8.
Vulkan Support is on hold at the moment until Object Container Streaming, GPU Skinning & DNA FaceTech are complete then they will work on Vulkan integration.
Players will be encouraged to wear clothing, heavy armor and clothing will restrict your movement and seats/chairs you can use (this could mean you can’t operate a pilot seat in certain armor) There will be lockers on ships to change into.
They want players to take off their battle armor around landing zones.
If armor slowly degrades slight over time while wearing it I suspect players will change into civies where possible VERY QUICKLY.
Decompression mechanics will still be a thing, once they’ve completed the physics reactor they will continue their work on it.

Video Content
They are planning on creating video content to cater for Hardcore, Casual and Potential Backers.
They have been getting some new video production staff together.
They plan to make fewer featurettes but more detailed deep dives into features & mechanics.
There video content will evolve going forward as they try new things.
They will hold a few things back when it comes to SQ42 and CitizenCon but other than that the Roadmap and Videos will show the active development of the game.

Pay2Win
Both in the RTV and Newsletter Chris address the Pay2Win and UEC Cap Lifting, but it was pretty much exactly the same as the video I released the day before, so I’ll link you to that and the Statement from Chris below.
But Star Citizen is not intended to be Pay2Win, in the words of Chris Roberts:

“Some people are worried that they will be disadvantaged when the game starts for ‘real’ compared to players that have stockpiled ships or UEC. This has been a debate on the forums since the project started, but this is not a concern for me as I know what the game will be and I know how we’re designing it.

There will always be some players that have more than others, regardless of whether they’ve spent more or played more, because people start at different times and play at different paces. This is the nature of persistent MMOs. Star Citizen isn’t some race to the top; it’s not like Highlander where “There can only be one!” It is an open-ended Persistent Universe Sandbox that doesn’t have an end game or a specific win-state. We are building it to cater to players of all skill levels, that prefer PvE or PvP, that like to play solo or in a group or a large organization, that want to pursue various professions, some peaceful and some combat orientated. This is the core philosophy of Star Citizen; there isn’t one path, nor is there one way to have fun.

This may be a foreign concept to gamers as the majority of games are about winning and losing, but Star Citizen isn’t a normal game. It’s a First Person Universe that allows you to live a virtual life in a compelling futuristic setting. You win by having fun, and fun is different things to different people.”