Patch 3.3.0 will have a LIVE release at the end of Sept.
There is a huge amount more Gameplay area with the First Full Planet Hurston, this will also cover points of interests positioned around the planet, various new biomes with plants & the first time we will have liquid water.
This will also include the primary landing zoneon Hurston, Lorville, populated with NPCs, Missions and Stores.
There is an Additional 4 Moons: Arial, Averdeen, Magda & Ita which again will have outposts, points of interest and missions.
Modular Rest Stop Space Stations are getting their first implementation too, they will include installing stores, ATC, NPCs, Landing Areas (Maybe Full blown hangars) and will replace stations like the CryAstro & Port Olisar.
These are generated in a procedurally assisted fashion, so there could be a large amount of these stations in the Verse all with their own unique layout.
3.3 will add to the FPS AI further with & Combat behaviors that allow them to better use weapons and grenades. Some of this work will allow NPCs to not only throw grenades, but react to them being thrown at them, as well as adding animated weapon recoil.
Also Ship Behaviors are getting improved with new behaviors for fighter, bomber and gunship types to allow for a varied gameplay experience when fighting different enemy styles. Furthermore, this will improve general path finding and collision avoidance as well as improved/new skills for an increasing challenging fighting experience.
Additions Vehicle wise The Tumbril Cyclone variants are being added – the TR (turreted), RC (Racing), AA (Anti-Aircraft) & RN Reconnaissance models.
Ship wise The Luxury Constellation Phoenix , Aegis Hammerhead Gunship and the mustang with all it’s variants Rework as well.
There is the addition of 3 new weapons – The Kastak Arms Karna Assault Rifle.
And on the ship side The Hurston Dynamics Dominance & Attrition Series of weapons.
They are implementing various new sets of Character Clothing & Armor.
Adding the Virgil TrueDef-Pro armor set that’s commonly used by Advocacy Agents.
Various clothing sets that will be worn by the inhabitants and available in stores of Hurston.
And they are Updating the RSI Odyssey flightsuit to the current artistic fidelity.
Probably the most important part of 3.3 is the Core Tech and from that Object Container Streaming – it considerably expands the playable game area and increases performance.
They are doing various foundation work for the system:
converting all legacy Lua code to C++ & all remaining GameObjectExtensions so that they no longer use the script table.
reworking various game systems to trigger more entity spawns in the background, relieving
moving spawning to the background to reduce stalls.
allowing entities to spawn from background threads so that vehicles or object containers can be spawned with minimal stalling.
This all lead to improved performance and greater flexibility for multi-threading.
And to Object Container Streamering being implemented:
At its core, Object Container Streaming allows Star Citizen to create our Universe. We will no longer be restrained by the physical memory on your PC and will be able to stream in new environments, locations and ships seamlessly as you approach. This will also be one of the biggest wins for increased performance as your graphics memory will no longer be overloaded. This work requires that a handful of other Object Container Streaming prerequisites be completed.
Network Entity Streaming which Restructuring how the network code handles entity spawning and binding to allow for asynchronous streaming will assist ObCS for multiplayer.
Both Face Over IP & Voice Over IP will be added to the game. These features should work with most Microphones and WebCams.
Cloud Tech – The aspect of the refueling mechanic that creates patches of space that contain the raw elements needed to create fuel. These would be the areas/locations that players would seek out to harvest fuel BUT it will also be used to make space look better & create areas of interest.
There is Environmental Blending Shaders – that allows smoother blending of dirt, ice, and sand onto objects for planets and moons.
There are some gameplay additions
Mission Modularity & Racing in the PU – This feature includes a number of improvements to the existing mission system. One task will transform the logic setup for missions into modular pieces, allowing designers to quickly string mission types together into a single mission. This also includes the introduction of a new style of race mode called a Scramble, where pilots race to destroy beacons. This also includes the introduction of the scanning mechanic to the missions.
There are Expanded Service Beacon features, including new contract types, filters, and interactions with these player created missions and contracts.
Repairing Ships is a big part of 3.3 The mechanics necessary for players to use specialized repair ships to perform ship-to-ship repairs on other players or NPCs are being added as well as the the AMX-1 small personal repair bot.
Building off of the Distress Call functionality, Service Beacon Repair will allow players to pay another player to travel to their location for the purpose of providing repairs.
Manual Repair will also be a thing The ability for players to go outside and physically repair their ship, this should also give us the mutli-tool to do spot repairs on damaged hulls.
The Starfarer will have the ability for players to harvest & collect fuel elements from clouds.
And Service Beacon Refuel will allow players to pay another player to travel to their location for the purpose of refueling their ship.
They will also be adding the mechanics for Fuel Transfer between the Starfarer to another ship at this time (that will be available to other ships that have the appropriate mechanics in the future, like the Vulcan)
We will also be able to buy and sell fuel in bulk from stations and/or other players.
Salvage Mechanics are another big gameplay mechanic coming in 3.3.
Scanning & identify debris that could be salvaged.
Collecting debris from wrecks and planets.
Processing to break down debris into its component parts or refine it.
And the ability to buy and sell both refined or raw salvage.
Service Beacon Escorts is going to allow you to protect yourself while doing other service beacons, cargo hauling or performing mission – By integrating Quantum Linking, the new Escort beacons will improve Combat Assistance by allowing your hired guns to more readily accompany you.
Patch 3.4.0 will have a LIVE release at the end of December.
In terms of Gameplay area the Massive City Planet of ArcCorp is getting added to the game. It will have points of interest around the planet with explorable interiors BUT the Procedrual city tech here is awesome it allows large procedural cities to render more efficiently in engine regardless of distance from the camera & to a high level of detail! Area18 is the Hero landing zone on the planet that will updated and expanded for the patch.
We will also see 2 new moons around ArcCorp Lyria & Wala.
AI are getting added behaviors allowing the player to approach an FPS encounter using stealth tactics and also allow NPCs to react appropriately.
And on the Ship AI side, AI Pilots will use quantum travel, provide more updates to the IFCS flight mode, and allow AI to use basic scanning mechanics to possibly detect stealthed ships.
For flyable ships the MISC Reliant Variants, the Mako, Sen and Tana are planned.
As are the Freelancer Variants the DUR, MAX and MIS.
The 300 series of ships, the 300i, 315p, 325a & 350r are all being reworked
And the Anvil Hawk Light Bounty Hunter & Constellation Taurus will also be flyable.
Weapons wise the Sawbuck Ballistic Repeater S1-3 & Suckerpunch Distortion Cannon are getting revised.
On the FPS side there is a new Kastak Ark Ravager-212 Twin Shotgun being added.
It adds Shipjacker Armor – that consist of a wilder, more anarchic combination of styles for use by players & NPCs.
More importantly there will also be Playable Female Characters finally added to the game. You’ll also see many more female NPCs.
Some more core tech will come online improving space scenery and spacescaping Using some elements of the gas cloud tech to improve the quality of our asteroid fields and space scenery to create more interesting space environments.
Server Meshing is another huge piece of tech & really the last piece of core tech that Star Citizen needs urgently. Its the first iteration allowing, individual servers to be responsible for different locations within the solar system. Players and entities should experience seamless transitions between servers during quantum travel.
This also comes with lots of background work Refactoring the Lobby or Session Management.
Also Parallel Network Jobs will be being used – Moving the packet receive processing into the job system so that the server can handle a greater number of connections. This system should allow the game to increase player count per server beyond the limitations of the current tech.
All of this is to expand player counts in the game.
We will be getting the ability for players to interdict other Pilots out of Quantum Travel, allowing outlaw players to find new prey or bounty hunters to intercept fugitives.
We are also getting salvage missions into the array of missions that players can undertake.
Land Claims are another big mechanics for 3.4.
You’ll be able to obtain a license to purchase an area of land.
Then survey and register a claim for a piece of land by planting a beacon and collecting data.
This will also include Legal, protection and Tresspass Gameplay on claimed land – Some examples of this would be establishing the ability to call the authorities on trespassers or claimjumpers.
It includes the ability to create missions (paying someone to patrol or mine) connected to your land claim.
Patch 3.5.0 will have a LIVE release at the end of March 2019.
Gameplay area wise it’s adding Refineries players can go to sell unrefined ore that they have mined. Players can also visit these facilities to purchase refined minerals to sell elsewhere. This may include both facilities on the ground and in space.
Also revisions to the CommArray stations positioned around the universe. These not only facilitate the ability to transfer data but also provide ECN coverage to report any security violations, these are important for outlaw gameplay in the Stanton System.
Ships wise we are getting the Origin 890 Jump, the Luxury Yahct of my dream & the Banu Defender Escort Fighter.
For Ship Weapons they are revising the GT-870 Tarantulas.
There are 3 new FPS Weapons tho the Gemini S71 assault rifle.
The Kastak Arms Coda Ballistic Pistol.
And the Kastak Arms Firestorm Microwave Cannon.
FPS & Flight AI are introducing a variety of Combat styles that can be applied to NPCs. Some of these initial personalities would range from untrained fighters to trained military, allowing a variety of flavors to an encounter & approches to scenarios. This update will also allow AI ships to attack ground targets.
Gameplay wise they are adding more Liquid/Gas Exploration mechanics allowing players to search for, identify, and extract deposits of liquids or gases on planets as well as in space.
The Cargo system is expanding you’ll see increased sizes and types of cargo containers that the players will use to transport commodities and goods.
Data Running Mechanics – The ability to transfer data between locations, but this system also includes the creation of data packets/tags to points of interest in the universe that allow it to be tracked. For example, a prospector identifies a vein of nickel. The location of that discovery becomes a piece of data that the prospector can transfer or sell.
And Long Range Scanning – allowing a ship to scan wider areas of space, find points of interest and travel to them. This will feature heavily with prospecting and exploration ships.
FOR ALL THE PATCHES we’ve mentioned there is General optimization and engine improvements to increase stability and performance for the players.
This includes continued transition of gameplay systems to Item 2.0 as well as investigation and resolution of possible memory leaks and performance spikes.
We should be seeing Squadron 42 Episode 1 added at somepoint & 3.6 for June 2019 in the coming weeks.
We may see items move around the roadmap, if they are not ready they will move to the next patch OR a minor minor in between the quarterly releases, in fact you may well see some additional features not listed make there way in if they are ready, along with further iterations and improvements to current mechanics.