Welcome to some more Star Citizen, The current Cargo system leaves a lot to be desired, it is very static, resource intensive and largely a placeholder for the future systems.
I wanted to talk about what is on the Roadmap for Cargo, Hauling, Smuggling & Related Economy Features, important updates to Cargo that have yet to be visible there & some potentials for the mechanic too.
Commodity Cargo Containers at the moment are 1 small size.
We do have some different looking boxes for different types of cargo, there are some boxes that can be picked up by hand but it’s very limited.
This leads to many problems as they are each an entity, this is very resource intensive on the Server and Client. They have been working on various Sizes of Cargo Containers for different types of cargo too, liquids, gases and solids.
These larger containers are essential to be able to have ships like the Hull-C be able to have cargo on it’s spindles without crashing a server (causing issues) as they are significantly less resource intensive than having dozens of smaller entities.
Another major issue with commodity cargo containers is that once they are spawned on your ship they are static there. If your ship is destroyed with cargo on board it has a chance to spawn a % of that are pick-upable containers.
Again this is less than ideal, cargo needs to be moveable between ships by hand or at least somehow in space from ship to ship without their destruction, they have previously talked about this a number of times, from pushing and pulling of containers, to thrusters on crates.
In the future as well ships will be disabled much more than destroyed, as physicalized components will mean ships will no longer have health pools, these components will be individually destroyed, thus leading a ship to be disabled until repaired.
I have collectively termed this Cargo 2.0 – which currently isn’t on the Roadmap HOWEVER the Hull-C is on the Roadmap for 3.8 (December 2019) so it’s very possible that at least some of that will be ready for then.
Physicalized Player Inventories – More Types of Cargo
We are getting more cargo in the forms of guns, clothing and armor. When Physicalized inventories are in, then players will have to have equipment on their ships to change into, you won’t be able to carry everything on you character in magic bags of holding.
At some point these items should be sellable in game as well as purchasable Opening up to a lot more items to trade in.
We have actually seen previously some of the crates that we could see in the future as well that would allow the storage of multiple weapons to then be treated as cargo.
Part of the expanded cargo systems that CI are working on is smuggling. In the shorter term for 3.6 we have the Black Market and Law System Updates.
“Security forces will search for stolen and illicit items and respond appropriately, while NPCs and shops will be able to distinguish between legitimate and stolen merchandise.”
This will see some cargo illegal and if detected you will in the short term be attacked & get a criminal rating. This will add to the risk and reward of smuggling, you should see narcotics be worth a lot more again for those that want to risk taking then from A to B.
Eventually they have said they want you to be able to buy cargo containers that shield the scanning of your cargo, places where you can hide goods and that NPCs may board your ship to inspect your cargo.
Scanning a ship will tell you if they have cargo on them BUT in the future we should have a lot more potential data exposed to use, maybe what type of cargo, gas, liquid or maybe even specifics this may depend on your scanners, as well as the amount of time you spend scanning.
Buying And Selling Cargo
The range of what you can buy and trade routes is reasonably limited in Star Citizen at the moment, some commodities are artificially capped with their amount you can buy and sell every 1-2 min cycle, this can be incredibly frustrating there are plans for –
Commodity Transfer Timers, a planned feature of 3.9 – allowing automatic loading and unloading of cargo but requiring time to complete, with this duration dependent upon the location, the current level of demand for such services, whether an additional fee to expedite the process has been paid, and the quantity of material being transferred. Ships will be unavailable until such processes have completed.
They have also been building features to lead to a Dynamic Economy, meaning that there will be fluctuations in the prices of goods based on supply, demand, simulation & missions all through the deeper subsumption system.
This will have much more dynamic trade routes, commodities will change in profitability.
Ship-to-Station Docking – Cargo Stations & Rest Stops
Ships Larger than the Landing Pads on Planets and Stations need somewhere to land BUT also it’s not particularly convenient to bring a massive Cargo ship from planet to planet and have to land in and escape from atmosphere… some ships will be too heavy to leave, for larger ships and budding haulers they have Cargo Depots planned in 3.9 as well- Positioned close to planets and jump points, these depots are the first port of call for haulers and cargo ships. They should allow for more trade routes and delivery points around the universe. There will be automated & more occupied version of these across the Verse.
A Huge amount of Cargo Improvements are Planned in Alpha 3.9, not only the cargo depots & Transfer Timers but also ways to expose commodity values to players.
There’s an Accounting App in the works for the mobiGlas displaying a variety of information about a player’s active financial commitments, including recurring rentals, insurance, organization membership fees and the associated benefits, etc. It also allows for such commitments to be extended or cancelled.
Economy display terminals like billboards / screens / terminals that allow for the real-time display of economic information including commodity prices, available missions and payments, retail sale events, area threat levels, etc.
Having this information should allow for players to more easily choose what routes and commodities to trade in BUT also may give pirates the information they need to set traps and work out where players / NPCs will be trading.
Player Interdiction is obviously something that is planned BUT not on the Roadmap yet, NPCs have it in game currently where some ships will force ships out of QD and not allow them to go back in until they are far enough away or have destroyed that ship causing the Quantum Interdiction.
With that in mind, Escorts are going to be something players may want to consider in the future.
They talked recently about expanding Service Beacons to have more functions so players might be able to set up things like transporting Cargo, Pickup and Deliver Type Contract for other players and NPCs to do.
Again not on the Roadmap yet but there are plans for Physicalized (to some degree) Storage, Hangars and places to store your Cargo beyond just your ship. This is important for future hoarding, selling commodities at the right time.
Some Commodities in the future might be useful to players as well, Fuel, Food, Materials for Outpost Building we don’t know to what extent though or how this will be handled yet.
The whole economy Gameplay is important, Star Citizen will have simulated use of commodities, reasons that they change in price, the Dynamic Mission System will make use of this information to generate missions from deliver 100 tons of iron here to escort missions protecting shipments to clear out pirate base missions.
I am excited to get involved with deeper, more dynamic trading / cargo hauling, this major aspect of the game’s economy has a huge amount of gameplay & some players genuinely love the idea of space truckin for most of their time in game, it appeals to that Euro Truck Sim BUT also the fact you are generating in game money, toiling for progress is to some a fun prospect. Another massive pull to this kind of gameplay will be when there are no more resets, keeping you UEC progress would certainly entice me to play a lot more thoughout the day, especially some of the chill Cargo Hauling.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a giant Cargo Ship, in Alpha 3.6 there will be Ship Rentals, so they should have you covered to some degree.