Welcome to some more Star Citizen, today looking at new features that Star Citizen has planned, with Alpha 3.7 we will see the start of Gathering & Harvesting beyond that of Mining in the Prospector, this new gameplay is not gated for mining ships and can be done by everyone on foot.
Caves are a major new POI in Star Citizen and are build with procedural parts like space stations, they will appear on planets and moons and will be dotted around like outposts.
Within caves but also on the surface of planets & moons as well as in asteroid fields will be opportunities for FPS Mining.
In fact Alpha 3.7 sees various other forms of Harvesting – The Personal Commodity System
Allows players to pick up – Plants, Dung, Mineables, Valuables & more into their inventory via Holding F with Innerthought and then being able to drop those items OR combine everything in your PCI into a single Cargo Box that can be placed into a cargo grid of a ship, detected by kiosks to then sell to, and even picked up by other players.
This gameplay is also supported by various other mechanics and planned features:
The Teams that were working on Salvage have now been tasked to closing out a full Refueling Gameplay Loop.
Fuel Harvesting is supposed to be the Starfarer gathering fuel from appropriate gas clouds.
There is a refining process that the Starfarer can then do to make this into useable fuel.
It’s worth pointing out here that ships with fuel intakes will be able to slowly recharge their common or hydrogen fuel, any system that CIG implement is likely to balance and flesh that out a bit more too.
After Fuel is harvested it will be sellable at certain locations. There are some unknowns about the first implementation of the system though.
Will it include the ability to refine the fuel on the Starfarer, if so will that have gameplay OR just a time associated with it? Does Fuel need to be refined to sell or can you sell both refined and unrefined fuel? Are there other types of gas you can mine that is valuable that isn’t fuel? Will this stage of the gameplay allow for transfer of fuel to another ship (most likely not).
Most importantly though is how will the fuel harvesting mechanic work, again the expectation for this type of gathering job is that it will have many similarities to mining, scan an area to detect if there are any appropriate gases/liquids, travel closely and scan, then gather, I am not entirely sure how a Starfarer gathers… maybe it’s a bit sucky or maybe it flies through the gas it wants to gather.
One of the other things that this brings to the game is new cargo to haul in the form of gases/liquids. At this stage, though it’s possible that only the Starfarer will be able to take that cargo type until new standardized cargo containers are made for all ships to carry in their cargo bays.
Quantum Fuel Mining/Harvesting is a different beast altogether it seems as well from hydrogen fuel. A few months March 31st 2019 Chris Roberts posted some info on QDs & Fuel, of which I’ll read the relevent sections:
“We don’t have it the game yet but our plan is to allow players to harvest / mine Quantum Matter. This would be different than collecting regular thruster fuel, which is accomplished by scooping up various gasses (dense inert ones would be best) from atmospheres or space clouds / nebula. Quantum Matter would likely be quite hard to find, dangerous to mine and very valuable. Mining Quantum Matter will be part of the Harvestable Entities work we have planned for Q2 and may come online with the Q3 fuel work.”
“The Starfarer will be able to transport and deliver / refuel in flight both regular thruster propellant and Quantum Matter. It will also be able to refine Quantum Matter into Quantum Fuel. The only aspect not decided is the mining aspect as we really don’t want to make the Starfafer a heavy duty mining ship but its likely we’ll have some smaller equipment; like a hand held mining device to allow you to EVA out to collect Quantum Matter – but we haven’t decided this just yet.”
More Recently they said for the release of 3.7, it didn’t make sense to implement caves without gameplay, so we tasked the team on Salvage with creating the FPS Mining and Quantum Fuel Mining.
We know the teams working on FPS Mining are also working on Quantum Fuel Mining, so it is expected that QF will be something mineable by hand (and probably via ship later, possibly the Prospector may be able to mine QF if it’s a solid)… though it could still be something that requires special FPS gear or is a liquid that can only be refined properly at a station or in the Starfarer, However if it’s planned for 3.7 then it will be part of FPS Mining and Caves and stored in your Personal Commodity Inventory.
These Fuel Mechanics are currently expected between 3.7 – 3.9 as they are coming before Salvage and Salvage is now on the Roadmap for 4.0. Though it’s now likely that some are coming in 3.7.
Caves are an exciting addition to POI and will be used for mission locations, areas to explore, locations for harvestables and mineables, you’ll see NPCs here too, to start with there will be enemies in some of these, probably in a similar way as we see in underground bunkers. Later there are plans for other NPCs, mission givers and factions to potentially be present at some of these sites.
Caves are going to be one of the more prime locations for FPS Mining. FPS Mining will have players using the multi-tool and an attachment for it to extract harvestables from valuable deposits this could range from very valuable new commodities as well as previously mentioned QF.
We should see these systems and features evolve over the next few quarterly updates.
There are limits to what a player can carry BUT it appears once you put it in a cargo box (which you can do at the touch of a button) then you can continue to gather.
We don’t know how valuable materials you will pick up could be, eventually they may have many more uses than just to sell. We know that there will be edible items as part of the player statues system, that you’ll use for thirst and hunger but also potentially other drug type effects. There is also the possibility that some of these types of items will be used for the science mechanic or farming. There are also going to be animals eventually that are likely going to want to eat and interact with some of these harvestables as part of their schedules in the future too.
The Start of Harvesting and Gathering in Alpha 3.7 in this way in star citizen is extremely exciting for me. It’s an important part of the economy and exploration, giving players reasons to go out and explore, gather, interact and fight… I suspect that these new items will be able to be picked up by ships scanners when in the cargo bay of a ship BUT we don’t know yet whether these boxes would count as stolen items if taken by another player OR if they will be freely sellable.
I do want to know more about the QF plans… does that mean the Starfarer will have to get it’s crew to go and gather QF by hand or get a mining ship to help it gather it?
I am disappointed seeing Salvage Mechanics move back BUT it is to get other mechanics that I want in the game in… so it’s a mixed bag.