Welcome to some more Star Citizen, Alpha 3.6 Initial Release has been Scaled Down BUT still contains a lot of new content, today we are going to go over it’s features and that content in some detail as well as look at updates coming in the same branch before 3.7 in 3.6.x patches.
Law System & Black Market Economy are probably the most major part of gameplay additions in 3.6.
The Law system here will be the foundations of the future law & security systems that will be improved and expanded upon over the next few quarters.
They have 19 laws that they have currently defined from murder to possession of Stolen Goods.
Different crimes have different punishments and responses.
There will be jurisdictions that define the area that force security will come after you and what constitutes a crime within that area.
Detection and dispatch mechanics will, in turn, activate local security and bounty hunters to go after the lawbreaker.
You will be unable to sell Narcotics or Stolen Goods to Normal Vendors, there will be some fences (a trader of stolen items) around the Stanton System, it sounds like upto 2 areas where you can at least sell stolen goods per planetary area, so around ArcCorp, Crusader, Hurston. GrimHex is also certain to be one of those locations.
They have also talked about Salvage Yards being one of these locations you can sell stolen items… whether these are locations in 3.6 remains to be seen BUT it is certainly implied that they are. Stolen goods will sell for only a fraction of their original price.
It is also currently unknown if players scan a ship with stolen cargo or narcotics on, will they be able to detect that is stolen cargo or if it’s a stolen ship and engage appropriately in 3.6?
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.
CIG said if you are discovered with goods you’ll have a choice to lose the goods and pay a fine OR Fight OR Run. Security may bring in reinforcements & interdict the player so they cannot leave until they deal with the ship blocking their QT or get far enough away.
They want to add prisons in the next couple of quarters or so, once they have arrested a player (or taken them out I suppose) they may put them in one of those areas. Prisons will have some gameplay attached to them.
Space Station Exterior Updates are Expanding the size and diversity of core space station exterior & their modular components, this will have a lot of different looks for Rest Stop and other new POI in the game, eventually branching out to things like Cargo Depots, Larger Stations, Abandoned Facilities & Mission Areas.
Alpha 3.7 will see the interiors get more work and then marry both updates together.
One of the additions these stations appear to have is docking ports for ship to station docking, that will be extremely important for when they finish that tech (currently planned for 3.8) allowing larger, cumbersome or damaged ships to dock with stations that would not otherwise be able to land on a pad.
As part of ongoing improvements to Procedural Planet and Generation Tech there is Several distribution and ecosystem pipeline improvements with Unification of terrain and distribution maps, ecosystem modeling at a global planetary level and several updates to terrain blending.
And Harvestable Entity Spawning an automated system to spawn harvestable entities on planets, moons, and asteroid fields. Basically this can deal with the appropriate spawning of mineables, plants, loot, helping fill areas full of content. Other examples are for things like farming gameplay in the future.
Planets and the Gameplay area are going to get more and more updates, visual improvements and additional content with features like these getting built upon each patch.
The New Ship Purchasing Kiosks Will give the Ability for players to buy a wide range of ships & Vehicles from a designated kiosk. The inventory available will differ based on location. We know one of these will be in AstroArmada on ArcCorp, Area 18. The inventory available will differ based on location, but will apparently cover a majority of flyable ships.
In addition to further Flight Model Updates and some balance we will see the new Hover / VTOL Mode this will vastly improve the behavior of ships flying at low speeds in gravity and atmosphere. While going below a certain speed in atmosphere or where there is gravity like on a landing pad a ship will direct it’s thrust downwards to stay aloft, this will have the ship acting more like a helicopter, tilting forward will move you forward. Build up enough speed and you’ll go back into the traditional flight mode.
They have brought back acceleration control as well, allowing you to dial in a precise % of thrust / acceleration increments rather than just velocity control. So you’ll be able to do more fiddly maneuvers and softer landings.
The Vanguard Warden (and all it’s variants) got a larger rework than was originally intended, they brought it back to the original vision / concept of the ship. It now has glowing intakes for an aggressive look. It’s internals have been made wider and it has a wider ramp too. Expect Balance and Loadout Changes, there is a component room leading out of the cockpit, the central module has a station allow access to the ship systems, there are weapons racks, armor / suit storage, 2 beds, a toilet room, turret access the central rooms will change for each of the variants. The Hoplite has also been updated and is assumed to also be updated in 3.6 as well. I am not exactly sure where turret access is for the ship, it’s possible the central room console connects to it remotely.
The Snub “Defense Fighter” the P-52 Merlin is getting an Update which includes improvements to the landing gear compression, material updates as well as balance changes. It’s sister ship the P-72 Archimedes which is the more expensive luxury version is also being made flight ready. These are both snubs and do not have a QD, so can only leave the area they are spawned in on convention engines OR when carried by another ship. The functionality for them to parasite dock with the Constellations or more appropriately with other ships won’t be in until after Ship to Ship docking is in game (currently planned for 3.8)
They are testing a New Central Flight HUD in 3.6 with just the Aegis Gladius which will be rolled out to more ships in the future – This includes indicators for velocity, g-force, afterburner, ESP, and some new mechanics such as the thruster strength limiter and radar altimeter.
There’s Shield Systems Tech that replaces the old legacy shields with the new Signed Distance Field tech to allow for the future implementation of more dynamic, form-fitting visuals and effects, as well as improved performance for collision. This will also more appropriately represent different types of shields and more than one type of shield being used on the same ship. The plans for this are to have better looking shields that hug the hull of a ship much more closely and deform to it if it gets damaged. It’s also expected to come with new VFX and graphical improvements too.
They are adding proper Misfire Events which can cause items to cease working or perform unexpectedly this is based on them being overheated or worn. A thruster might cut out for a second or more, which could be critical if you are in the atmosphere OR in combat and need to turn quickly. This is combined with Degradation Improvements v2 that better ties wear and misfire mechanics together as well as visualizing the wear on items.
There is a new Weapon Attachments Feature allowing player controlled customization for personal weapons, adding different attachments to guns, such as scopes and grips. This feature will allow the customization of the player’s FPS arsenal in real time. There is 4 major categories for weapon customization currently we know about Under Barrel, Barrel, Sights & Magazines.
Probably connected to this as well is the new Player Carriables v 2 with Improvements to how the player picks up and carries items. This will give characters greater interaction with certain items and the way you hold them, look at them and potentially more complex operation as well. It will improve and add dynamic grips so the player can correctly hold several types of object. The example commonly given is holding a helmet under your arm BUT it’s also the interaction & inspecting of your FPS weapons to add attachments to them.
There are a couple of FPS weapons, the Behring S38 Pistol as well as the K&W Lumin V SMG. There is a new Ship Weapon Series – MaxOx NN Neutron Repeaters to add to the Neutron Cannons we already have in game I believe it’s for Size 1 – 3.
There are various Animations & Ragdoll Improvements Player Jump v2 will improve the look and feel of the current jump mechanic (including falling and landing) with new animation time-warping tech that reduces the number of individual animations.
Ragdoll properties such as joint limits, collision, and other physical parameters are getting some love to make the simulation react appropriately and accurately, including in zero-g.
Player Free Look will Give players greater control of their view they can look away from where their weapon is aiming, giving them more situational awareness while keeping their weapon trained on a known threat. Basically allowing you to decouple your head from where you are aiming.
The Transit Systems v2 sees Improvements to the systems that allow players to transfer between various map sections such as doors, elevators, planetary transport and airlocks, hopefully clearing up a lot of issues with them as well as making them more efficient.
Client to Server Actor Networking Rework is a major Network & Server Improvement
To help better communicate player actions from the client to the server.
This is Improvements to the upstream part of the actor networking responsible for communicating player actions from the local client to the server. This will pave the way for downstream improvements and solve a variety of validation issues. It makes the Server Authoritative rather than the Client which is what we have previous to 3.6.
So the Server here is now in charge, it says where players & everything is from it’s POV.
If someone has a poor connection or lag, they suffer rather than everyone around them, the server knows where they are and tracks that. So you shouldn’t see players rubberbanding around & you should have better more accurate hit reg and this should work really well with the animation / character updates giving a much better looking experience. This tech is also a pre-requisite of SSOCS, FP and SM!
3.6 will also see Asynchronous Disconnection Refactor this will clean-up a lot of bugs such as infinite loading screens, server crashes, and client crashes, while also helping to assure that more of these issues don’t occur in the future.
The Anvil Valkyrie is getting a limited Cargo Grid in 3.6, they are updating the ship to be able to take some cargo, they did emphasis that you are not going to be able to stack the cargo crates high it is a limited amount, so the whole rear bay is not going to be available for that purpose and you can only have like 1 layer high of cargo BUT it’s still a major improvement to the ship. It’s expected that you’ll be able to take a Medium Sized Vehicle OR Some Cargo OR a smaller vehicle and a little cargo.
There are various FOIP & VOIP Improvements in 3.6 in addition to QoL & Bug Fixes it will allow you to hail other ships and chat to them on comms & Screens. You’ll have seperate channels to talk to squad mates. They hope to see VOIP & FOIP widely used in 3.6.
You’ll be able to communicate with players that you have requested or responded to a Service beacon of.
There will be General Performance & Bug Fix Updates. Alpha 3.5’s branch was extremely buggy and relatively poor gameplay wise compared to 3.4 BUT a good lot of those issues that weren’t solved in 3.5.1 should make the 3.6 patch.
There is a Confirmed 3.6.x patch or patches as well, coming at some point after 3.6 goes LIVE and before 3.7.
This will contain The 890 Jump the massive 199m Origin Luxury Ship, which will be the largest flyable ship in game when it is in. I believe it can fit on the largest landing pads that we will have in 3.6 as ship to station docking isn’t in game until 3.8.
Ship Rentals are the other known 3.6.x update, this has been one of the features I have most been looking forward to. This will see the ability to rent various flyable ships for short increments of time for affordable amounts of aUEC.
With both the Ship Purchase Consoles & Rentals we don’t have confirmation of exactly what ships will be available during the 3.6 branch. It could potentially be most if not all of the flyable ships in game, though they might restrict some (like the Esperia Range) or make certain rare ships, very expensive.
Things that we won’t see in this 3.6 branch are:
Mission Sharing, the v2 of the Character Customizer, the Banu Defender, major AI updates although I am expecting that there will be tweaks to get them more functional than in 3.5.1.
Most of these are currently planned to be in 3.7, we don’t know when mission sharing will drop in the Roadmap though.
I am excited about Star Citizen Alpha 3.6, but then I am excited for any major release.
The Law System & Black Market could provide a lot more gameplay for outlaws, pirates and then also players on the lawful side escorting, responding to distress signals & bounty hunting as well as potentially helping clean up the streets of stolen goods and narcotics.
The Server Improvements making them authoritative and a massive needed step towards SSOCS we could see a lot of improvements in 3.6 OR bugs based on how it’s handled.
I am expecting the Evocati Release of 3.6 on or by the 21st of June with a LIVE build of 3.6 by the end of the month OR at least a wider PTU with everyone with a game package having access.