Welcome to some more Star Citizen, Salvage has Slipped out of 3.5 but should be seen sometime in 2019 in the next couple of weeks we should see an expanded Roadmap with more updates to 3.6 and actually beyond that with 3.7 / 3.8. Today I wanted to talk about what appears to be CIGs changing priorities for this year for Star Citizen and how this may affect patches and gameplay throughout 2019. This is more of a “I reckon” video & musings rather than a statement of fact.
With the Updates to Alpha 3.5s Roadmap we have seen a bit more about what is prioritized and what is not. It’s very possible that Salvage just wasn’t in an appropriate place for it’s 1st implementation and needs more work, in fact that’s exactly what it is whatever else has caused any delays or scheduling changes.
It’s also very possible that they are prioritizing other features for the PU for this year.
Star Citizen is becoming a bit more mainstream with more players and bigger content creators playing the game. And traditionally every year in Jan CIG reschedule large sections of their roadmap.
Based on various factors, what they want to get out for certain times of the year like CitizenCon, the 4 major PU releases that year, what they believe the game currently needs as it’s being treated as a live environment where they are improving the game each patch.
This year there is a concerted effort to get Squadron 42 Episode 1 finished now, with optimistic plans to get the game content and feature complete for the end of 2019 for release in 2020.
Almost everything that is going into Squadron 42 can and will be used in the PU some of it requires a bit more work to get PU/Multiplayer Ready though.
It’s logical that scheduling aspects of the game that are entirely shared by both SQ42 and SC would take precedence AND beyond that SQ42 features may be getting more priority than they previously have.
With that in mind expect the Squadron 42 Roadmap to be almost entirely absorbed in the PU Roadmap, typically with some of the features coming the same Quarter as they sit in SQ42 or the Q after if they need a bit more work.
Some Core Gameplay Features for Star Citizen are desperately needed to get into a place that is more stable – The New Flight Model needs to not only work well but combat has to be in it’s almost final state for Squadron 42’s Launch. This touches pretty much everything in game in some way & you can’t have a game about spaceships, without a pretty damn good flight model, esp and combat. The Model is an entire overhaul to the previous one so every ship will be affected, weapons need rebalancing and it’s going to take a while beyond 3.5s release to get it appropriately ready for primetime. Yes there are almost certainly going to be tweaks and balances after SQ42s launch to the PU.
Consider that they will likely want to get all the features of SQ42 in a similar state, why not get that into the PU as well. 3d Maps, HuD improvements, Scanning, Radars, Signatures all to their final versions.
Beyond the Flight Model for ships, Ship Items, Physicalization, Sub Items, Repair & the new Physical Damage System all need to be completed for SQ42. This would have all the common elements across all ships complete.
Items can be shot and disabled, repaired, customized and ships will look awesome when the take damage BUT will no longer have health pools, ships will be disabled more than explode. You should see the new shield tech with signed distance fields conforming much more accurately and closely to the hull of ships.
AI/NPCs needs to be working for SQ, so expect to see a massive improvement in the PU, with combat, the way NPCs react, use cover, seem to have their own lives, Social NPCs, shop keepers, NPC ships moving around landing zones, trade lanes and missions BUT challenging Combat NPCs across multiple skill areas is really
NPC Crew or at least wingmen you can hire become more of a possibility. Probably not this year… BUT we could certainly have NPCs join us on missions or be much more active in them.
Procedural Improvements – Lots more props and assets for the creation of cities, biomes, planets, asteroid fields, outposts, rest stops, stations & other POI as well as gas cloud tech, it’s needed for the Coil.
FPS Gameplay Light Survival Mechanics – with Food, Drink, Washing
Swimming, Close Combat, useable mounted weapons, mag boots for eva.
Animations will be a focus getting them looking great, having players sliding, walking up stairs, climbing ledges.
The Vanduul are going to be very fleshed out, with their ships and troops on the ground so maybe we will see some bits with these beyond AC.
The Pillars – They’ve said they want Expanded Group Features & Full Persistence this year as well to lay the groundwork for Server Meshing.
That should include a focus on group gameplay like sharing missions, rewards, a more robust service beacon system as well as organization features.
Performance & Polish – The Engine and General polish of the game is going to be a lot better, things like Vulkan support, performance & more, VOIP and FOIP working stably.
Server Side Object Container Streaming is needed for both the PU and SQ.
Gameplay Area – They have said they want to get planet ArcCorp, Microtech and at a push Orison the cloud city above Crusader, also implying the cloud tech for Crusader will be completed too. It makes sense that they want to try and get the Stanton system finished off as soon as possible.
Yes, lots of ships like the Carrack & Titan Suits are also likely to be here in 2019 too.
Do and Should Gameplay Loops Suffer?
Well in the long term probably not, having the core mechanics in should make planning and implementing gameplay loops more easy and for them to be closer to what is intended for them straight away.
Repairing & Refueling are already listed for 3.6, I am also expecting higher times to kill because of disabling, on ships.
They are already trying to add more bounty hunting, law and reputation based stuff.
I still expect we will see Salvage this year and then Mining to get a lot more love too.
Medical Gameplay is part of Squadron 42 so I’d expect them to work on that a bit more and get a more full medical experience in game this year, medding other players with medipens, dragging them, stunning and knock downs rather than kills.
Beyond that I would expect them to try and get in some of the features they wanted last year.
Land Claims, Ship Rentals, Weapon Inspection and Interaction, Stealth, Persistent Habs & Hangars. We know they’ve talked about ship to station docking & an expanded cargo system too.
It makes sense that they will try and get as many parts of the core game and feature set in a close to finished state as possible and all the gameplay in game we can as full as possible.
More Missions and variants for them being a large factor of that. General Subsumption with all these other elements coming together is likely to get a lot of work too BUT I am expecting PU wise Gameplay area, AI & NPCs, Missions, The Flight Model, Combat, Ship Components, Customization, Group Features / Multi-Crew AND Full Persistence to take a huge chunk of the priority this year now. Getting Star Citizen in much less of a buggy state and more of a robust game, in my predicted scenario there is a lot more content and gameplay area BUT there is still a lot for them to do, getting the gameplay loops there to make the game less shallow.
I do expect that SQ42 will need Jump Points, I doubt the whole game is just in the Odin System.
I am expecting Modularity to see some work BUT I would expect modular room changes in ships, more gameplay loops, Jump Points, New Systems and Capital Ships in 2020 now along with something pushing towards the first iteration of server meshing OR at least it’s foundation.