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Star Citizen Alpha 3.3.5 | When is it Coming & What’s New?

Welcome to some more Star Citizen I wanted to talk about 3.3 going LIVE, 3.3.5 estimated dates, Hurston, Lorville and other bits that we are getting with that 3.3.5 patch.

3.3.5 gives us an enormous amount of gameplay area, new missions, more accessibility to ships in the form New Deal Ship Shop and Vantage Rentals and a taste of the immersion they want to do with cities, NPCs running about, players moving around in Habs, new mission flavors & biomes a plenty. It should be going to the Evocati in my estimation between now and maybe the 16th of November

3.3 Live & 3.3.5

Looking at the latest PTU patch 3.3 looks to me like it could go LIVE any hour now.

It makes sense as the Devs will want to close that branch and move onto getting 3.3.5 out, so I expect that will go to evocati within a few days of 3.3 LIVE if not sooner.

 

3.3.5, Hurston & Lorville

Let’s talk about 3.3.5, Hurston, Lorville and how they put it together. I’ll be combining bits from the CitizenCon Panels Welcome to Lorville, The Loremakers Guide, the Keynote & various other sources.

Hurston is the first planet in game.

It has huge scale and allows for a huge amount of new and diverse gameplay

The diameter of the moon Daymar is around 590km and Hurston is 2370km, it is magnitudes bigger.

Lorville is a massive city on Hurston, it has grown significantly since it was shown in 2017

It’s heavily polluted, industrial city with a down trodden population.

The city is broken up into industrial areas, the CBD, Hurston Dynamics HQ, residential areas, gates & transit systems in the form of trains connecting these area together.

The city has a multi-;layered feel, tall skyscrapers juxtaposed with plated structures that expose the planet and industry beneath.

Each area is supposed to convey a different feeling.

Players will be able to fly into the city, there is Tesea Spaceport. This is marked with holo-beuys that mark where the fly/no-fly zone is. There are a large amount of pad, landing strips and hangars around the airport, that will be used by both players and AI

In 3.3.5 there will be the illusion of busyness in the space port with NPC ships quantum jumping in, going from orbit to land at the space port, then from the space port to orbit and QTing out.

 

The outer region of Lorville is broken up into the 6 gates you can enter and exit by.

Each gate has a different feel and biome attached to it, you’d be able to describe a gate by saying its the savannah one OR the Junk pile one.

After doing a few missions on Hurston you’ll get a read and get used to the city and where the gates are.

L19 was one of the the areas they showed us at CitizenCon previously known by them as the workers district. Central to that area as a land mark is a security tower you can use to orientate yourself.There are bars, habs where players will spawn and then a train station to give you access to the rest of the city.

There are also various shops in L19, they are basically renting similar pods & then being branded by the business that is there.

Reclamation & Disposal has Clovus Darneely – He is a new Mission Giver in 3.3.5 that gives you missions focused on retrieving items from crashes, wrecks & eventually he will have missions for the Salvage mechanics. The Mission from the CitizenCon 3.3.5 Demo, to find the Prototype Board was from him. Also I just want to say Clovus Darneely is the best looking NPC animation & detail wise I have EVER seen in game.

There is a large admin office with various trade terminals

Various shops for weapons & item shops.

There is a large amount of NPCs that will be moving around Lorville, they will largely be themed with a Hurston Clothing set, these items will also be available for players to buy in the shops there too. NPC types we will see at Lorville include security, workers, later  in 3.4 business executive, there are homeless people living outside the city, with shanty towns.

The Air is breathable on the planet, so you don’t need to wear a helmet either BUT you’ll see a lot of NPCs using helmets to represent the air being bad, there are also super cheap alternatives with effectively plastic bag type gas masks being used.

Some of the habs are actually repurposed straddle frames for industrial containers (or at least based on the design), the internal hab rooms are basically mass produced containers.

The Hab Blocks will be where you spawn and are much bigger and have more interaction than we have previously had HOWEVER they are not customizable and persist to your player in 3.3.5, that is coming later.

There is also a Hospital in Hurston by the Hab Area, that will be where you respawn when you die. That isn’t confirmed whether it’s in 3.3.5 or not yet, or if it’s part of 3.4. The idea in the future is that you’ll respawn in the last visited major landing zone hospital OR closest based on a few different factors.

There are various security guards walking around but also at every gate and important area. They will be phasing out no weapons being a hard restriction at some point to have these guards protect you in case of attack, but to also allow for some more combat type, stealth and outlaw missions in cities.

The trains come every min or so based on where you are in the city (if you are on the outskirts this could be longer) and go to different locations based on what platform you are on. There are maps and a sign showing train info that updates you when the train is arriving.

Throughout Lorville there is signage clearly showing you routes and helping you navigate, you shouldn’t get too lost. They are color coded too.

The security checkpoints are quite light in terms of function at the moment, eventually these will have a lot more, scanning you for contraband.

You’ll go through a security checkpoint to get onto the spaceport & ship shop.

New Deal is a Ship Shop there that allows for a variety of ships, I’ll give you the prices they were listed for buying in game with aUEC in that demo where available, tho they have likely changed for 3.3.5 both in what ships are there and the amount & eventually it will be entirely dynamically driven based on the economy:

  • Hammerhead –  21.4 mill aUEC
  • 85X – 616k aUEC
  • Aurora – 220k aUEC
  • Prospector – 1.62 mil (the Aurora & Prospector are the same for Teach’s in 3.3s PTU)
  • We also so the Constellation Phoenix, Mustang Alpha & M50 on display there.

There is also going to be Vantage Rentals as well tho which is going to allow for Ship Renting, this is one of the rental shops on Lorville that we will be able to rent ships from BUT there will be others with varying ships available.

 

Large hangars are also part of the space port.

There are going to be various sized hangars and hangars for different uses.

Some of these hangars can house Starfarers.

For larger ships like the Hammerhead in the shorter term, they will be landing on the surface of the spaceport at pads there rather than enclosed hangars.

The transit system connects the inner city to the outer districts and gates too.

There are giant walls that separate the city from the outer biomes.

The gates are marked with towers and flares. At night they will be very well light.

 

Hurston is a massive planet with biome diversity

30-40% of the planet is wasteland biome

They have bodies of Water, Seas & Lakes on Hurston if you want to call that a biome.

There is polluted coast biome, where ever the sea hits the land.

There are mining pits biomes containing both old abandoned mines and newer active ones.

Trash Mesa Biome dumping grounds for anything that’s too expensive to scrap or recycle

Savanna area is actually a beautiful area, yet unexploited. The idea is that most of the planet was savanna before all the pollution, weapons tests and mining.

Acid Biome is about 5% of the planet more of an accent, they are like the planet is fighting back.

 

For the biomes they have increased the 3 channel and material types they previously had for making the moons textures and features, to now having 16 as of 3.3.5, which gives them a massive range of variation and details to each of these areas. This also gives more palete variations but also a better break up of areas and a smoother transition between them.

Assets, like rocks integrate with this system much better.

 

They build biomes like the savanna using botanical zoos, a small area to see how flora feels merged with the rest of the area.

There is a natural logic in the way that trees are generated in biomes, with them spreading out in a way that simulates where seeds might of landed from trees.

Once they are happy with this, it becomes part of the procedural generation.

With distribution maps, they increased their old 3 channel system and now have 6, allowing for areas that make more sense visually but also are harder to see any form of generated repetition.

They then use scatter patterns to cluster assets together and for this to not be too resource heavy.

Trees will blow in the wind, which is at least in some way simulated in 3.3.5.

Different biomes and areas can have different values for wind, eventually this will be entirely automated and done dynamically by the planets procedural weather system.

They can have variation to the vegetation with shaders changing the colors, this could also represent changes in seasons.

There will be areas on Hurston of green splendor, untouched by any form of pollution.

The lighting on hurston was made slightly bluer a bit more like earth, not too red/brown.

 

They want to have clever canopy lighting where light shines through trees based on leaf density, this is wanted for jungle planets especially.

 

Outposts will be all over Hurston and it’s moons, as will Underground Facilities.

The FPS AI that are in 3.3 should make their way into certain areas here too, typically they will spawn based on missions being generated for them.

We will also see various other missions and POI with Crashed Satellites, Dereclits & crashed ships.

 

There is so much content on Hurston that many players will consider Living Surface Side from 3.3.5, you might not even need a ship when there as long as you have a vehicle, I don’t actually know if there are pads outside to spawn a ground vehicle BUT if there isn’t there soon will be when players request it. Obviously a ship will make stuff faster, I am just saying some people will want to do what they want to do and it will probably be possible with missions entirely planetside in some cases.

 

Moons & Other Gameplay Area

Let’s not forget they also have 4 new moons for around the Planet Hurston, Aberdeen, Arial, Ita & Magda. These will have a mix of biomes but typically only 1 or 2. They are a testament of how the procedural tech can quickly create a gameplay area, they will have outposts, missions and various other ways of populating the moons surfaces.

The additional Gameplay area is both many magnitudes larger in space as well as on the ground.

With the larger distance to travel across from Crusader, to Hurston various rest stops (which are entirely replacing the cry-astro services), they allow players a natural break from flying there ship and being able to buy items too, there’s asteroid fields and mission areas will inhabit these areas of space. Travel time from Crusader to Hurston is likely to be a couple of mins at least, tho these times and distances will get a lot of balancing as the system gets fully built out.

There are lots of additions they want to make to Lorville, with the Business District being opened up in 3.4, they are also going to be making underground facilities and structures larger & with more variation.

Expect some missions to span across the entire new gameplay area.

Cargo hauling is really going to vary in the profits you can make with it, do you bring escorts on these long distance cargo runs?

How much is your refueling to time spents to aUEC earned.

 

Some Mission givers will get some more functionality, as a point of note, Recco Battaglia is on Levski atm but will stay in Stanton once Levski moves to the correct system in the future. She will start to provide more mining focused missions soon too.

 

Performance wise, we should have a more dialled in OCS and additional optimizations to planet, city and core tech to allow us to enjoy the great frame rates we are getting in 3.3 BUT we won’t 100% know until it’s in our hands.