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Staying Alive & Death of Your Spaceman

Welcome to some more Star Citizen looking at the Importance of Staying Alive and Dying in game but also Survival, medical, escape pods, NPCs and how this all ties together in a quick summary.

Staying Alive & Death of Your Spaceman
Star Citizen’s Death of a Spaceman was an article written in 2013, to explain the plans and thinking behind risk, reward, mortality & the “soft lives” system.

It’s also as far as we are aware still for the most part the plan at least currently, these mechanics could & should evolve somewhat for sure and what we are going to be talking about is what the plans were and some speculation to what they are going to become.

The idea here is Player Characters are mortal, they can permanently die.

However you will be able to get killed a few times before the final death triggers.

Your character will start to show damage and scars, bionic replaced limbs, cybernetic eyes so at a glance other players would be able to tell how worn you are. These might also have downsides potentially with EMPs or interference slowing your character if they have a bionic leg.

Once you are dead dead dead, you create a new character and they inherit your old characters items, ships and gear. We are unsure of much beyond that, there might be a death tax, reputation loss or other reasons that you would not want to die too.

They do need to balance this appropriately, you wouldn’t want players to be able to abuse a system to play as a pirate for a year amass a load of wealth and purposely kill themselves to then to have a clean character that is no longer a criminal but with all the items and wealth of their previous character.

They have said there may be ways of reducing the long term damage to your character too, so maybe paying UEC for operations, better insurance and that sort of thing.

Survival Mechanics
Star Citizen is planned to have light survival mechanics.

In terms of Roadmap Alpha 3.7  (which is typically deployed in October for CitizenCon) has the Player Status System listed for completion in Q3 of 2019.

The player status tracks the various well-being attributes of a character. They already simulate their health, stamina, and oxygen levels and are going to extend this to include thirst, hunger, rest, inebriation, hygiene, and temperature. These will have knock-ons for player stamina and ability, and can be used by the AI behaviors to make intelligent decisions based on their own condition or the condition of others.

So these status effects will effect the players stamina and effectively debuff them BUT also NPCs will be using this to determine their condition and what actions they are able to do and want to do.

Hygiene will have you needing to use the shower, change into civilian clothing, use the toilet otherwise NPCs may comment on the fact you smell, there could be more effects too, maybe NPC mission givers won’t talk to you if you are severely unwashed.

When it comes to how often you have to eat and drink, it’s not going to be CONSTANTLY like in a hardcore survival game.

Stamina allows your character to run, jump and perform actions, this is affected by the amount of oxygen that character has & the weight of their gear & loadout.

If you character has no oxygen they will take damage and die,

Inebriation is likely to be only really affecting your character if you are socializing in game OR potentially if you are forced to drink with an NPC or something for part of a mission.

Environmental Effects like cold, heat and more will effect your character and affectively debuff you, there should be some protections to this in the future maybe we’ll see systems that help give you protections to extremes, armor / undersuits that protect you from corrosive atmospheres or freezing.

As I said earlier, these will all affect NPCs too & they will have 24 hour schedules, times they want to work, eat, drink, sleep. NPC crews will be able to be forced to be on alert and action ready that will override there schedule BUT if they don’t eat/rest then their performance will start to drop.

Medical Mechanics
At the moment we have Medipens in game that stop bleeding and heal your character.

These will eventually be temporary get you back on your feet so that you can get to some medical facilities or for a quick combat heal.

We are going to start to see early medical gameplay start to seep in this year too. NPC and 3rd Person healing is Currently Planned for Alpha 3.7

Expanding the healing gameplay to allow the player to use items with healing properties (like the MedPen) on other players and NPCs.

Eventually treatment for certain damage to your character will require visiting different medical facilities there are Tiers of damage that require treatment

T3 is minor damage & stabilization

T2 is crippled limbs

T1 is near death

Not seeking aid for these will have knock on effects to your character, facilities may charge for their services and only be able to treat upto a certain level of damage, the Apollo Medical Ship for example can choose to have 3 T3 beds, 2 T2 or 1 T1 in each of it’s 2 modular medical rooms. It’s worth mentioning that even T3 facilities will be able to stabilize more critical wounds until they can receive treatment.

You will have search and rescue mechanics along with this, missions to rescue NPCs after a fight, Players requesting help via service beacons, we don’t really know what sort of timer there will be on injuries to needing to be treated.

Loss – Insurance, Physical Inventories & Looting
Respawning – At the moment there is no penalty for dying other than you respawn at the last major zone you visited and you may have to reclaim your ship HOWEVER in the future this is planned to be on the closest appropriate hospital or medical facility & there will also be more lasting effects.

Loss of inventory – Physicalized Inventories are coming in the game again in 3.7

Design and implementation of a localized physical inventory system (with persistence and limitations), allowing for a more immersive and realistic experience.

This means that you will only be able to carry the items you physically have attached to your character and you’ll need to make use of lockers, weapons racks and more.

Players will at some point be able to loot your gear and you are likely to lose the items you had on you when you respawn.

Insurance mechanics should be evolving to accommodate this it’s expected that players will be able to insure their inventories or gear as well as ships in various ways.

Escape Pods & Ejecting
An important part of staying alive is going to be knowing when to retreat, eject or use escape pods.

Ships are not going to have health pools and then just explode when that reaches zero in the future. Physicalized components are coming this will start to have the new system supported for ships being disabled more often by having components destroyed, thrusters, power plants, shield generators, they will all be damage / destroyable leaving a ship disabled or crippled, some of this damage might be easily repairable, in a larger ship you can have players (or eventually NPCs) literally running around replacing sub components, doing spot repairs on systems and items (as well as relay points where power or data might run) in larger ships this will be incredibly important during combat.

There are still going to be cases where items explode killing you or you staying around too long gets you shot by ordinance BUT it’s going to be less of an instant death like we have currently.

Ejecting is going to be a valid tactic to stay alive and something that isn’t used that much currently.

Escape Pods will be placed around some ships, these require ship to ship docking and the same tech that is needed for the Hull-C and Parasite Ships to be able to come online too.

It’s not known yet what the final plans will be for ejecting and using escape pods in the PU, we may just respawn at a location (maybe a S&R center rather than a Hospital) but haven’t lost a life.

It maybe you need to be rescued via a Service Beacon that an NPC / Player will come to complete.

There is the possibility you may be able to pilot escape pods to some degree.

This combined with Combat being slowing in the new Flight Model and effectively higher times to kill should make for more meaningful decisions.

Other Stuff
They’ve previously said that NPCs will be able to die too, I don’t expect that Mission Givers or VINPCs will be able to be permanently killed though. The subsumption system is supposed to support named NPCs as parts of missions like a pirate leader you are hunting to gain reputation and infamy, an especially hard Mission that players fail at could lead to that Pirate leader or faction getting more powerful and more missions being generated to deal with him & his possy.

Another thing they were adding was knock downs and you are more likely to be briefly incapped or knocked down than instantly dead from attacks.

Thus you’ll be able to use medical equipment to stabilize you or have someone drag you off to help you.

Getting killed offline is still a real issue they need to talk about.

Racing is something players talk about a lot as well, both scramble races and the types of race we have in AC will be in the PU BUT there is extreme risk of dying in racing, maybe the less health pool driven vehicle and ship health will help mitigate this will ships just taking major damage when ramming things rather than killing the pilot. Also they have said that with this sort of gameplay they do want less risk where appropriate & have talked about having really good medics on stand by for these activities or nearby medicals facilities.

However they decide to evolve that as long as they balance risk and reward appropriately and make sure that the mechanic adds to the game rather than just creating constant uncertainty, anxiety and stress then it will be worthwhile.