Welcome to some more Star Citizen looking at the updated Roadmap for Alpha 3.8, the end of 2019 patch expected mid December. The Patch has inherited some of 3.7s features and expanded out a lot of additional ones. As I understand it Alpha 3.8 represents the first patch on SC’s New Staggered Development Model, which has suggested it will be more playable and refined than previous patches, there may still be changes and gearing up still so bare that in mind.
Probably what I am looking forward to the most in the patch is the new job role & gameplay loop of Salvage v1 as this stage it will be the ability to collect material from ship hulls both from a ship or by hand. Players can scan the environment to find salvageable debris. Once harvested, unrefined materials can be sold at a kiosk.
They are vastly improving the behavior of access around restricted areas with a more natural, less obtrusive system. This will include landing splines, allowing ATC to open up paths for players to enter the restricted area and fly to a landing pad with guidance. These areas will become more natural and won’t require obtrusive materials to show their presence.
They are adding security systems that controls who has access to areas and objects based on various factors such as reputation, ownership, keycards, and faction. It will automatically issue warnings to people breaking the law and, if ignored, will flag them as criminals to security forces. This will lead to better systems for law and general permissions in the future as well as the potential to start phasing out armistice zones relying instead on laws & defenses which a lot of other features in 3.8 also help with.
Lots of the planetary Improvements that were coming with 3.7 are now here. This is part of the v4 of CIGs planetary tech they are deploying.
Planetary Fog Tech adding varying layers of fog on planetary terrain to add depth.
Improved Large Scale Terrain Shadows allowing for shadows to be cast at massive ranges over terrain and ships.
Atmosphere Tech Improvements including various stability improvements to reduce certain artifacting & the incorporation of additional density layers to capture effects like an ozone layer at high altitudes that will result in more natural looking skies at sun set on planets.
Planet microTech still is planned for 3.8, this has an icy/snowy focus but also with Nordic Forests and some greenery.
The first version of New Babbage is planned for here as well, this is the premiere landing zone on the planet with a limited version of domed city, looking very green house like, with interesting bioengineered plants, various shops, a transit network
There is a mission giver planned for the location too, Eddie Parr…
And a clothing range for both the inhabitants of microtech but also for players that want to purchase some new threads and armor. We should see some more cold environmental focused gear too. microTech also has 4 moons that are listed for the patch too.
It has also been stated by CIG that they are planning to get SSOCS in for Alpha 3.8 if possible, that’s their target and it’s also my understanding that microTech and it’s moons require this. As SSOCS allows Star Citizen to expand out the gameplay area further and help with bottlenecks on the server. SSOCS allows for areas of the server to be put on standby the data saved / loaded in and out seamlessly based on player proximity. If SSOCS is not ready for this release then it’s likely that it will get pushed back to 3.9.
Rest Stop Interiors for Station’s were pushed back to 3.8 as well… Expanding the interior module and archetype libraries to achieve wider diversity for the interiors of space stations with new rooms like large atriums, hab areas, and more appropriate reflections of the interior to exterior of a station.
A huge amount of AI Features are now sitting in 3.8
For Social AI there are Bartender & Shop Keeper Behavior Archetypes being added to the game, we will see various new animations and interactions with NPCs and players. Vendors should be more alive and actually seem to be working in their shops/bar rather than being static.
FPS AI wise there is Cover USage that has NPCs appropriate using cover based on the area they are in and how the player is engaging them, they will be able to use various types of full or partial cover like boxes and should appropriately push or move between cover.
We are also going to see a large variety in weapon & gear loadout for NPCs, expect the same weapons that players can use for NPCs to use and using these weapons at appropriate engagement ranges.
And for Ship AI we have some really important items – 3D Pathfinding v2 allowing AI ships too pathfind using physics grids and the new flight model. This will have them being able to use data to move around the verse without ramming asteroids and other assets and they are aware of planetary bodies, asteroids fields and POI. This allows for smarter and more challenging AI.
Ace Pilot Behavior is basically some of the functionality we will also see planned in 3.8 allowing the AI Ships to use decoupling, change behavior based on ship loadout, or to cleverly use the environment in their tactics
We are also seeing Advanced Gunship Defensive Maneuvers so that NPCs more appropriately move there ship to recharge shields, prevent critical damage and to keep enemies in firing arcs where appropriate.
The FPS Experience is getting some improvements
Better Death Animations blending them with physical ragdoll simulation.
They are adding Close Combat Mechanics, take downs, melee attacks, stealth kills and the ability to use both melee weapons or bare hands.
For FPS Weapons we have quite a few
Verified Offworld Laser Technologies Parallax assault rifle
Apocalypse Arms Animus missile launcher
Behring GP-33 grenade launcher
Lightning Bolt Co. Atzkav Electron Sniper Rifle
For Ships we also have revisions to the S1-3 K&W Sledge Mass Drivers
There are a quite a few Ship Updates lots associated with new HUDs and the Cockpit Experience. There are Improvements to the player cockpit experience, adding more visual and audio effects to reflect the state of the ship along with more immersive interactions. You should have more to interact with and everything feel a bit more tactile as I understand it.
There is additional work on vehicle HUDs to support the storing and management of scan results, advanced scanning and pinging features & generally a better interface.
We will also see Annunciator Panels in some ships that show critical information about on-board systems at a glance. Alerting you to power failures, approaching missiles, quantum failures and other potential hazards or risks.
We have Ship to Ship Docking planned for here too – This feature allows smaller ships to dock in larger ships while in space. Though it may also allow for ships to dock to others with their docking ports potentially too at this stage.
Ships wise we have the Esperia Prowler here, the ship is the first Tevarin Ship we will have in game and is a stealthy EVA dropship. Both the Cutlass Red and Blue, Medical and Combat/Police Variant respectively are planned for here too.
The most exciting ship for me coming out in 2019 is still planned for here, the Anvil Carrack. It’s a large yet compact exploration ship that is going to be very suitable a wide variety of mission running as it has a vast range of facilities, medical & drone bays, a snub craft and rover as well as powerful scanners.
Interestingly the MISC Hull-C is here as well BUT Ship to Station Docking is not… let me explain.
The Hull C is a big Cargo Hauler that can expand out and attach cargo boxes to it’s spindles, a while ago CIG said they need to get multi-grid physics tech and morphing the ship working as well as getting updated cargo features that would cater for larger boxes so that the server doesn’t have to tracks 10000s of small boxes on ships the other thing that was said that was needed was ship to station docking to allow the Hull C to be expanded and cargo laden and dock with stations to transfer and buy/sell cargo… without that I am not entirely sure how it’s going to land when it has cargo.