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Star Citizen 2018 Recap – Year in Review

Welcome to some more Star Citizen with a 2018 Recap for the Persistent Universe & Squadron 42, CIG, Patch Milestones, Concept Ships and Drama from the year!

As of the End of 2018 CIG has over 500 staff working across Star Citizen and Squadron 42 across 5 Studios.
And has raised over $213 Million with over 2.2 Million Star Citizen Accounts.

Q1 – End of March 2018
The end of 2017 had left us with the Sq42 Vertical Slice which was pretty awesome and SC Alpha 3.0.0 which was the rebuilding of PU, Crusader, it’s 3 moons which had the long awaited procedural tech allowing us to travel from space, to atmosphere to ground, a New Mission System, an increase to 50 players on a server, a dynamic economy and a huge amount of background tech… it was basically smashing the previous placeholder PU gameplay area and setting it up as a foundation for all future work.

But this also left a lot to be desired and there were a lot of bugs, performance problems, unresponsive NPCs, IFCS/ESP problems and crashes. The first patch of 2018 3.0.1 on Feb 2nd helped fix some of those issues, it also severely reduced NPC Ships health.

We had the Vulcan Concept Sale at the end of Feb 2018 to state of the years Concept Ships, It’s a small/medium refuel, repair and rearm drone based utility service ship. The ship has 4 drones that can be used to supply another ship with the required service and that is the focus of it’s gameplay. To be useful for fleets and Service Beacon Calls alike.

At the End of March we had Alpha 3.1 – At the end of Q1 Alpha 3.1 was released allowing us to customize characters, we had to create our character before entering the PU, it only has a few options BUT everyone wasn’t a clone anymore.

Persistent Logouts were added meaning if you had visited GrimHex, PO, Levski then the last one of them would be your spawn location in the future or when logging on.

AI Interdiction – NPCing pulling you out of QT was added, this went through iterations of being ALL THE TIME getting QI and being turned off as it was causing a huge amount of performance issues.

Service Beacons were added, allowing player contracts to request combat assistance like an escort or distress signal OR transportation from one place to another. This patch opened up a load of gameplay.

As well as adding the Reclaimer WHICH was the biggest ship yet, the Terrapin, the Tumbril Cyclone (probably the most fun of the ground vehicles) the MISC Razor and Nox Kue.

 

Q2 – End of June 2018
We saw a series of 3.1.x patches fixing performance and memory leaks, as well as a way to reconnect to servers if you crash, 3.1.1 .2 .3 finishing the branch with a 3.1.4 patch this actually saw a IFCS Refactor, ESP tweaks, giving ships and ground vehicles some big changes, thought there were still a lot of problems.

There were various Concept Ships that went on Sale

The Origin 100 Series a new starter line of ships – 100i, 125a combat variant, 135c cargo variant

The Hercules Starlifter C2 Cargo, M2 Military & A2 Assault Bomber – The Hercules can carry Nova Tanks or other ground vehicles easily to the surface of a planet. The C2 being able to carry loads of cargo as well or 2 tanks. The M2 was the more armored military version with less cargo space and the A2 threw the brief out the window and said I want to be an assault bomber flying fortress with huge S10 MOABs but it could still carry a tank or 234 scu of cargo

The Drake Vulture Small Scavenger Ship also concepted, the ship allows a single person to more fully enjoy the salvage gameplay. The ship itself having hull stripping beams to collect salvage from hulls and an area to process and compress scrap down.

The mechanics for this also include players EVAing out, blowing parts of ships to nom up with salvage charges, removing working components and weapons with a multitool and bringing them back to your ship.

The Vulture also caused a light bit of tongue in cheek drama with the EvE community as it looked a bit like the Venture from EvE Online. This even saw the eve devs poking fun too with a skin sale for the venture talking about sneaky vultures.

$27,000 Pack – There were some headlines at the end of May with some media taking issue with a reworked Completionist Ship Package the Legatus Pack which was available for $27000 to players that had concierge status.

The end of June we had Alpha 3.2
Added some ships the Anvil Hurricane, Esperia Blade, Aegis Eclipse, Origin 600i explorer

Scanning & Pinging – so we could scan down signals of interest, ships, probes, mineables.

Destroy Probes – This was the first time props were given weapons and could be set up like ships.

The Mining mechanic was added, you could scan down mineable rocks on the surface of moons, see what they contained, then with the prospector fracture the rock, then tractor in rock sections that were small enough then sell that at a trade console. It was a hands on gameplay loop that worked extremely well in it’s first implementation.

Overclocking of components.

Groups / Party System, allowing you to form groups and see where your members are.

Quantum Linking & Quantum Improvements

If you were in a group & proximate you could now all QT together, also a new way of QTing was set with you pressing B to see all the locations you could travel to and then spooling up your drive then QTing.

Tweaks to the Economy, seeing items, weapons and armor, clothing for both fps and ships sold & split up at different locations around the game.

There was some Drama as well with the Flight Model & IFCS there was a decision to make big changes and entirely rework the flight model bringing the model fully in house with a full team dedicated to both it’s design and implementation.

Then John Pritchett the designer of the current implemented model (not the new one coming) had finished his contract with CIG, someone had pretended to be him on Glass Door in a fake review of working for CIG which was odd, which John later posted to say… this dude isn’t me.

John’s Model was pretty awesome on paper BUT extremely complex, it had problems with implementation (which was handled by a different team) and perhaps being a bit too complex for SC’s needs.

The New Model was planned for end of year 2018 in 3.4 BUT we’ll come to that in a bit.

 

Q3 – End of September 2018
There was a 3.2.1 & 3.2.2 patch fixing various QoL issues, bugs & increasing the availability of missions as well as removing watermelons that were causing crashes!

The RSI Apollo went on Concept Sale – this was a medium sized medical ship that could be configured for 2 – 6 patients based on what Tier of damage you wanted to be able to deal with. T1 could deal with almost anything including near death, T2 multiple crippled limbs and injuries, T3 more minor wounds and stabilization. You could use the ships medical drones to rescue people in space or that are injured.

Mercury Star Runner also went to concept, this ship is a Courier ship that has large storage for Data and a reasonable Cargo bay, it also finds itself very suitable for smuggling and more stealthly / evasion type gameplay. It’s very much influenced by the Millennium Falcon.

But Q3 didn’t see much actually added to the game, it had that 3.3 patch pushed to October 10th for CitizenCon.

There was a little bit of drama where CIG wanted to charge for LIVESTREAM digital tickets to watch CitizenCon LIVE, this decision was changed within a few hours as the community was pretty annoyed, they instead made the stream available to all and there was a $10 CitizenCon Digital Goodies Pack that backers could buy if they wanted to further support the stream.

 

Q4 to the End of 2018 – was overly crammed with the most content CIG have ever released.

CitizenCon was the largest and most successful fan event they’ve held to date, it was held in Austin Texas and had 1000s of Citizens turn up to see LIVE presentations and a expo hall at this fanfest.

They had various presentations LIVESTREAMED throughout the day, the Keynote had gameplay of the 3.3 branch, the new planet Hurston, the city of Lorville and a new mission to recover an item from a down satellite on the planets surface, which turned out to be stolen by a load of NPCs in a bunker that had to be cleared out.

They did also release 3.3 to PTU for everyone though it wasn’t ready to have it’s LIVE debut yet.

There was presentations on the Economy, Plans for Gameplay, Various Tech, Character Customization, How they build planets and a Road to release.. That highlighted they would continue to release major updates for the PU every 3 months and the major focus is getting 3 remaining “pillars” of the game completed Organization/Group Play Features, Full Persistence & Server Meshing.

On the same day we saw The Drake Kraken Light Carrier go on Concept sale, this is a mighty Capital Ship that backers had wanted for ages, allowing for a load of ships to travel land on it, as well as be serviced. It was a limited sale, with only a few 1000 hulls available and it was waved with backers having to request access to the sale and put in a story of why it should be added to their fleet.

Also there was a Squadron 42 Trailer that was pretty damn awesome showing off a load of scenes from the game and some awesome action, locations, characters and was generally pretty cool.

A little later than planned November 10th 3.3 went LIVE
The Valkyrie was unveiled as a new and immediately flyable ship, it’s a might drop ship that can carry 25 marines and a crew, the ship can also carry a vehicle like a Tumbril Cyclone which makes it extremely useful for combat mission running planetside. Some backers were annoyed at it’s lack of any useable cargo capacity though!

Cyclone Variants TR, AA & RC,Constellation Phoenix as well as the Hammerhead, the Hammerhead is a massive Gunboat Corvette and was immediately used to have capital ship battles in the Verse.

VOIP & FOIP, Rest Stops, New Mission Givers, Asteroid Mining, Scramble Races, FPS AI Missions at Kareah, Teach’s Ship Shop – Where we could actually buy ships and vehicles with in game aUEC, though this caused a little drama as players thought the prices too high, especially if every 3 months purchases and wallets would be reset.

BUT Major parts of the patch were pushed to 3.3.5 a couple of weeks later.

3.3.5 was Released on the 21st of November quickly followed by a .6 and 3.3.7 patch.
This added Hurston, Lorville, 4 new moons, another ship shop new deal, more rest stops and Object Container Streaming. OCS actually gave us MASSIVE performance improvements, taking frame rates from 30-40 average to 70-80 average for me at 1440p. Lorville and Levski had performance issues BUT even at their worst it was still the best playable experience Star Citizen had seen.

And this massive new gameplay area which had ships travelling 5 – 12 mins between Crusader and Hurston was there. Though at this stage there wasn’t much to do at Hurston and Lorville than look around BUT Lorville is a massive Austin sized city, with a working train system, genuinely an amazing feat of game engineering.

November 23rd saw the 2984 Anniversary Expo, a big ship sale spanning a week, with each day seeing another in game ship manufacturers ships go on sale, this was also an event that was physicalized in game. At Lorville on Hurston there was an elevator at the Spaceport there to take you to a different expohall each day, this also allowed you to rent the ships shown… which was EVERY FLYABLE SHIP IN THE GAME over the course of the week.

They also showed off the Idris-M that was in one of the show floors on the Aegis day.

They had a Idris K upgrade pack available to Idris P owners giving their ship a Large Beam Weapon (where the RailGun goes on the M) and some turret upgrades.

The 300i current greybox was displayed, as was the F7A military Hornet & F8A Lightning.

During that event there were 2 new Ships unveiled the Arrow Light Fighter which went straight to flyable.

The AopoA Santokyai also went on Concept this is the medium fighter version of the Light Kartual Xi’An Fighter. It was one of the most successful sale periods for Star Citizen seeing over $7million raised during that period.

December 21st saw Alpha 3.4 Release HOWEVER some features had slipped to 3.5 coming 2019 most notably the New Flight Model, Female Characters & ArcCorp. Due to the sheer amount of patches and time in left in Q4 they basically extended the 3.3 game branch into 3.4, giving us this 3.4 “light” patch.

Lorville’s CBD, New Mission Givers, some Ships the Anvil Hawk, the 600i Touring, Connie Emerald and Freelancer Variants DUR, MIS and MAX

Scanning saw more improvements, there was some cool new armors and weapons BUT the patch saw a lot of QoL and polish updates, accessibility to missions and the Hurston area get hooked up with missions.

It was quickly followed by a 3.4.1 patch with some additional QoL & bug fixes which has actually left Star Citizen in an incredibly playable accessible state.

Financials Revealed – CIG also revealed that they had sold 10% of the company to a private investor to $46 Million, this is planned to be used for SQ42 Advertising purposes.
At the same time they also made their financials public with exactly what they had made from year to year and what they had spent it on showing that CIG had a healthy $14 million in the bank at the end of 2017 and 2018 has been their best year so far for funding.

We also had a huge info dump with the Squadron 42 Roadmap for Episode 1 ending with a Beta Planned for around Q2 2020, it appears that SQ42 episode 1 is at least roughly planned for a full release in 2020 now.That Roadmap also highlights a load of features that are ALSO important to the PU and will be made PU ready where appropriate at similar times BUT some features take a bit more work to get ready for the PU. A couple of highlights from that were the TitanSuits ExoSuits on that SQ42 Roadmap pegged for Q4 2019 & The Idris-M and Javelin planned for Q3. We’ll look at Expectations for the PU in 2019 and some more of that Roadmap in another video.

There was no Holiday Special this year which was a little bit of a shame BUT Q4 has been jammed packed!

Most of 2018 also saw a Crytek v CIG Lawsuit where at the very end of 2017 Crytek had tried to sue CIG for various things including IP infringement, using the CryEngine for Squadron 42 and changing engine to Lumberyard. However in December 2018 a Motion to Dismiss for the major parts of the case was granted and as it currently stands there isn’t much if anything left to Crytek’s complaints. Though they do still have a change to amend them in the New Year it does look like it may have been put to bed.