Welcome to some more Star Citizen, Star Citizen Alpha 3.7 is with the Evocati and should go to wider PTU shortly, I wanted to talk in more detail about the update what’s in it, what we know of it’s new gameplay mechanics and what we can expect from the patch.
Alpha 3.7 is currently with the Evocati and I am unable to talk about specifics of that Evocati testing HOWEVER Alpha 3.7 does look like it may very well ship with all it’s intended features though we don’t have confirmation of when the patch will be wider PTU & LIVE it’s supposed to be LIVE by the end of September. 3.7 became a little lighter on content due to CIG’s Staggered Development Pivot & to more appropriately meet deadlines.
And we have a lot of info on the Mechanics for 3.7 and how they will work as well, typically I would be grumpy and complainy that I can’t cover Evocati leaks BUT most of the information about the patch is on the roadmap or been made public via Inside Star Citizen, which is awesome!
Alpha 3.7 is in an interesting place, it’s sort of part of the new Staggered Development model that has teams working on Features for a given patch for 6 months typically rather than 3.
There are already teams working on 3.8 and when the teams are finished with 3.7 they will move straight on to 3.9. Then when the other teams are done with 3.8 they move onto 4.0.
Obviously they will move some teams around and support changing priorities.
This should allow for CIG to make deadlines more accurately as well as having less features slip and features should be more fleshed out and playable even in their first implementation.
More generally CIG want Star Citizen to have less bugs and be more playable.
However 3.7 is kind of on the cusp of this change and it’s uncertain how playable and polished it will be. Hopefully they will be able to get missions consistently working, AI/NPCs & Combat in ships and ground working to a state that isn’t jittery or frustrating.
Caves are new points of interest that will be appearing over planets and moons in game, caves are built from modular pieces like rest stops and there are 3 types of cave in 3.7 explored, unexplored and a secret type. Unexplored caves won’t have structures, man made light or boxes and that kind of loot there BUT may have more mineables. These POI will require players to explore them and this should reward players for doing so.
I am expecting that missions will be hooked up to them in 3.7 so that you might have to retrieve cargo, black boxes or other items from within caves.
They have made throwable, purchasable glow sticks for use in dark areas now, as well as making improvements to the flashlight… previously the flashlight was cutting through all the effects, atmosphere and washing out scenes so they have been trying to make something that allows you to see BUT doesn’t ruin an atmospheric scene.
In regard to the mineables in cave FPS Mining which should really by called on foot or by hand or multitool mining now allows you to mine smaller ore nodes using a Multi-Tool and Mining Attachment which you can buy and equip.
The mechanic is a streamlined version of mining in the prospector.
You have to find the nodes by sight rather than scanning tho. They can appear in caves & on mineable asteroids.
When you are at a node, you ADS with the Multi-Tool (with mining attachment) to scan the rock and this will give you the details about it’s contents.
You then need to fire your multitool beam at the rock (using mouse wheel I assume) to change the power level, too little power, nothing happens, too much the rock will boom.
If you successfully mine the node valuable materials will drop. Which can be placed in your personal commodity inventory……..this allows you to store various commodities, including items bought from kiosks or stores, and harvestables discovered in the environment.
You can store different amounts of commodity based on your armor, pick up and drop individual things from your looted items as well as bundling all the items together and dropping it as a cargo box. You can sell items straight from your inventory or one of the cargo boxes if it’s in a cargo grid.
There are a lot of other lootables and Harvestables that have value that you can find in 3.7.
Fruit, Dung, Circuitboards, Plants. Some of these will be found in caves, the surface of moons and planets or inside Outposts and Bunkers.
The Multi-Tool and Mining Attachment are going to be available for a very low amount of aUEC. These mechanics are not gated by what ships you own and should allow players a lot of grinding & busy work that’s pretty fun but also a huge amount of exploration and reward for searching areas.
Mission Sharing is one of the features I have longed for in Star Citizen since 3.0, in 3.7 players will be able to share missions with parties, which will allow them all to see and complete shared objectives and share in the rewards. It’s also expected that there will be additional missions and the difficulty of some missions may increase and require or at least lend themselves to group & multi-crew gameplay.
Hover Mode is being replaced with IFCS Proximity Assist & VTOL Engine Toggle.
Now when you are in atmosphere and close to an object your acceleration will automatically adjust so that you are moving slower and more precisely the closer you are BUT this only activates if you are slowing down anyway, so you can still fly at high speed close to the ground if you want. It is my hope that this is a much better solution to the Hover Mode Issues that I and many other players had.
CIG said for a while they were going to have a small team working on Updates for Arena Commander & Star Marine, that appears to have been happening and for 3.7 we have a new Star Marine Map The Good Doctor, which is supposed to be a clean looking, fast, close quarters map, in Lore it’s situated on Leir II in the Leir System, you may have heard that system before because Leir III is where the Sandworm and first gameplay teaser of Procedural Planets was situated.
Pirate Swarm is getting an overhaul with it’s waves and difficulty to make it challenging and enjoyable for varying skills of players.
We know there is new updates to the Character Customization System allowing players much more control over making their character and some UI improvements for that as well.
This will also allow for more variation for NPCs too.
Ship Rentals are in 3.7 allowing players to rent many of the ships flyable in game for upto a month at a reasonable aUEC cost. We will have to wait and see exactly how these prices will be balanced by the LIVE build as this along with the value of lootables, mineables and harvestables.
The Vanguard Harbinger and Sentinel are flyable here and we should be seeing various nose weapons that the Vanguards can purchase and equip too.
The Banu Defender is here too, it was delayed multiple times and has even caused the Cutlass Blue to be further delayed BUT it’s our first Banu Ship in game and it’s a 2 seater escort fighter.
It’s suspected that the Coming Soon Mystery Ship that CIG have been teasing could be flyable with Alpha 3.7. The most likely thing looks that this ship is the RSI Mantis Heavy Fighter. We are seeing more of the ship slowly revealed each day.
FPS Weapons have more attachment choices with 3.7 including suppressors, compensators and under-barrel gadgets. There is a new Salvo Frag Pistol and a Ship Weapon too the Kroneg FL33 Laser Cannon.
There are some much needed AI Improvements coming in 3.7
They are Implementing the second iteration of Average ship AI combat, including behaviors and skill differentiation per faction, to create a more diverse combat experience including smart selection of targets for the AI, which provides a more realistic reaction to the player’s actions.
FPS AI Combat is improving the AI’s initial reactions to different types of stimuli from being seen to being heard, and all the systemic transition into those behaviors from idle and scheduled activities. Also, the combat behavior is going to be refactored to include multiple types of tactics that can be evaluated and selected accordingly to the situation.
These improvements are expected to be bundled with general AI fixes as well.
There is going to be general performance improvements and bug fixing too. Now dependent on how much they are able to do is going to make or break 3.7 for me.
If I can play all the missions and mission share them and the NPCs are not broken and I don’t crash all the time and there isn’t game breaking bugs THEN GREAT.
I’d like to see a bit of balance with auto-gimbals, I know they said they were going to allow S1 mounts to be gimballed to allow for starter ships to use auto gimbals with S1 weapons.
How do you think we should refer to the FPS mining, I am liking the term multi-tool mining I think this is less vague and ambiguous.