Welcome to some more Star Citizen, the next major patch Alpha 3.7 is pegged to be released to LIVE at the end of September 2019… There have been major roadmap changes to this patch with CIGs adoption of staggered development. Let’s take a look at all the features and what they are adding to the PU.
Caves are being added to Planets & Moons to be explored by players. Caves are built from modular pieces that a procedural system lays out. Caves can be used as locations for missions, loot, locations for harvestables and minables. Some Caves may be abandoned, others could contain NPCs. Caves can have multiple types of entrances from sinkholes, to crave aces to more traditional caves arches. There should be ways to both enter and exit caves as well as traverse between the zones in them. Although generated with procedural tools, devs still pick which generated cave is used and can easily make tweaks to them.
This release has Rocky Caves, more cave types and modular pieces will be added in the future.
They are adding FPS Mining allowing players to use the multi-tool to mine small deposits while on foot or EVA. You’ll be able to buy a multi-tool equipped with a mining attachment and find small deposits of minerals in caves, on the surface of planets, and even in asteroid fields. Once activated, they can fracture and collect highly valuable shards to sell for profit. I suspect in the future this will be one of the ways we can help mining ships or survey areas to find more valuable mineable clusters. It also allows access at this stage for players to make some aUEC from finding some rare materials in hard to get to areas like caves.
Human AI Combat v2 is being implemented to Improve the player PvE experience with more modular combat behavior when fighting against humanoid NPCs. Updating how AI’s react to initial stimuli like seeing an enemy or hearing sounds, then getting that all to systematically transition to those behaviors from otherwise scheduled activities like patrolling. Also, the combat behavior is being refactored to include multiple types of tactics that can be evaluated and selected accordingly to the situation.
For Ships there is AI Dogfighting Combat v2 as well this is the second iteration of Average ship AI combat, including behaviors and skill differentiation per faction, to create a more diverse combat experience. Basic improvements will also include smart selection of targets for the AI, which provides a more realistic reaction to the player’s actions.
These combined AI tasks should have Combat AI in 3.7 in a much more active and interesting state .
The long awaited Mission Sharing Feature is now confirmed for 3.7. Allowing players to share missions with parties and all members to see and complete shared objectives and share in the rewards. The last we heard on this is that the party leader will have access to share any mission of any of the party members as the “active group mission”. There may be some parts of specific mission that are needed to be completed by the original mission taker, an example they gave previously was if you were doing a race then the original player that took the mission would be where the game marks completion from, you’d have to get them past the line BUT this will allow for mission items to be taken and delivered by other members or targets to be killed by them and the mission be completed rather than failed.
Personal Commodity Inventory – seems to be the new name for physical inventories & may represent a light version of the feature. It Introduces a personal inventory that allows players to store various commodities, including items bought from kiosks or stores, and harvestables discovered in the environment. This is going to be things like backpacks, pockets and attachment points for storing various items.
Harvestables are being added this will include fruit on bushes & trees, interesting gatherables from the environment. Players will be able to harvest or pick up items from various places in the environment that can then be used, consumed, or sold as commodities.
Ship Rentals were meant to be in the 3.6 branch but are now confirmed for 3.7.
This enables players to rent ships from selected shops for limited periods of time for an affordable amount of aUEC. Ships will act as if you own them while being rented in regard to reclaiming them and any changes.
They are making improvements to Hover Mode with IFCS “Proximity Assist”
This will automatically detect when you’re close to obstacles and will slow the ship’s accelerations down and allow for softer, more fine control. This feature will be intelligent in how it works and won’t limit the player from flying at high speed while low to the ground, but rather this activates only when the player is trying to fly slowly. The player will be able to turn this off if they desire. The idea here is that ships won’t fly around like helicopters, on paper this is exactly what I wanted from Hover Mode…
The Vanguard Variants Harbinger Missile / Torpedo Focused Ship & Sentinel E-Warfare Focused Ship are both still here as is the first Banu Ship we are going to see in the game the Banu Defender, this is going to be the gold standard for Banu ships and help the Merchantman’s development once it’s released.
There are more Weapon Attachments additions landing here with suppressors, compensators and under-barrel gadgets being added to scopes. This will also allow for customization of the player’s FPS arsenal in real time.
There is a couple of Weapons the Hedeby Salvo frag pistol for FPS and the Kroneg FL-33 laser cannon ship weapon
They are adding Bounty Hunter Armor Sets to purchase and wear in game, NPCs can make use of these new items too, these are not as anaracic as ship jacker armors, more intimidating and cool
The Character Customizer is getting updated with new features, a better User Interface and more functionality, you should be able to create a wider range of character faces more easily and precisely.
And that’s it for Alpha 3.7 at the moment, we could potentially have a few extra pieces make it in as they are working out were a few features will land currently, CIG also seem very happy to add a secret straight to flyable ship or vehicle where possible as well.
Although 3.7 is a little light for a major patch due to the new staggered development CIG are using, it does still contain some extremely good features for gameplay, FPS Mining & Harvestables, Mission Sharing, Ship Rentals, Caves… it’s a lot of busy work and gameplay to keep groups and players engaged exploring, running missions together and finding loot.
If they can get the game stable, functional and a little addictive then it will be a very solid patch.