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Star Citizen Roadmap to Becoming an MMO

Star Citizen, CitizenCon gave updates to the Focused Priorities and Pillars of the Persistent Universe that CIG are working on for Completion for the next year or so AND this had a lot of surprises and announcements, basically expanding out a Roadmap for Completion of some major features, let’s take a look at what surprises there were for 3.8 for end of this year and for 2020 as well.

SOCS v1 (Server-Side Object Container Streaming) was confirmed for Alpha 3.8

The Gameplay Demo they showed at CitizenCon was running with it.

With this release it will able able to standby areas on a server if no players are there and remember what data was in that area BUT unable to save that data across session so it can’t hand it over to another server.

Later the iCache will be able to save data of even small object between sessions and servers, so you could potentially hide a multi-tool under a rock on a random planet and get it a few days later.

Items will have a level of importance before they degrade or are removed by the server tho.

Shell Casings, trash and shrapnel being obvious things that the server might want to clean up rather than save.

They are going to be experimenting with adding more players to instances around this time too BUT they do not know to what extent the tech will allow them to have higher player caps and it requires investigation and testing. In the mid term we could see more players in each server even before Server Meshing v1.

Platform Persistence is also now planned for 3.8, this is a step towards one of the main things that makes Star Citizen an MMO. From 3.8 onwards (so starting fresh from 3.8) aUEC, ships and items purchased in game will persist on your account between minor and hopefully major patches. They reserve the right to do resets still IF THEY NEED TO and when they switch the game over to LIVE persistence in the future BUT this should now see less resets and make it viable for players to enjoy grinding a bit more and actually earn some of those larger ships to have on your account!

Planetary Tech v4 is there in 3.8, they have had to redo the planets for this or I should say the other moons and planets have been updated for it. It allows for more higher quality assets, textures and data to be shown with much less if any popping of assets, a significantly smoother set of LODs changes. It also has Effects and Resource usage improvements too, large scale shadows and more… microTech really did look fantastic and you’ll see the planet and the exterior of New Babbage in 3.8 too, the interior and more in 3.9.

Better Social & Group Gameplay is still a major focus for them, they want to get VOIP and FOIP working as well as possible, have missions that encourage groups and multi-crew, have gameplay loops that reward organization between players. There are improves for 3.8, 3.9 and beyond.

There is going to be More Robust Mission Gameplay in 3.8 as well. They are introducing more AI into missions in the game, rescuing hostages on an 890 Jump, AI participating in missions not just as enemies.

They are working on various multipart missions for 3.9 and onwards should start to see, the mission from the Gameplay demo is one of these multi-part ones that you could have AI assisting you as well a group of players focused on various tasks.

They have added the Argo Mole, Multi-Crew Mining Ship as straight to flyable for Alpha 3.8

Some of the 3.8 Ships have been split up for later release BUT still in the 3.8 branch, the Cutlass Red for January, the Carrack for Feb and the Prowler for March.

The New Theatres of War Gamemode is also planned to go to Evocati and PTU as soon as possible, expect to be able to play it early 2020.

Mid 2020 they want to have Full Universe Persistence, that’s having dynamic item data saved between servers and sessions on the iCache. They do want to prevent abuse and not have players stack thousands of turtles in a single place for example. The location in question will also be important for when an item gets cleaned up too, if you are at a busy landing zone… assume a NPC janitor will clean up most things that you drop on the floor after a while BUT in the future when you create your own base somewhere, you’ll be able to place turtles around maybe not thousands… but go crazy.

This is needed for Resources that will eventually be dynamic and finite BUT we will talk about this will my summary of the Tony Zurovich and Economy / Simulation Panel.

They are pushing for Server Meshing after this, Chris thinks they will be close to implementation that for the end of 2020. They are currently working on the network side needed for Server Meshing Now. Server Meshing will allow for the game to start to become a true mmo with 100s / 1000s of players in each area and for everyone to be able to interact with each other without the restrictions of having to login to a closed 50 player game session. 

Beyond this they want Star Citizen’s PU to be as playable as possible, they have some teams that tweak, refine and improve various aspects of the game from cockpit and vehicle experiences.

They are working towards more gameplay loops, more areas, more content, salvage gameplay, orison and crusader as a gas giant.

They are looking to expand out the Star Systems in game as well, they showed a Jump Point and Relatively empty Pyro System and said they wanted to have this in game in 2020 as well.

The Jump Points are interesting, they take a couple of mins to traverse and you are being pushed down a stream or rapids and have to lightly steer your ship with the current and avoid any obstacles or risk damage, it’s at the very least tactile, you wouldn’t be able to AFK like you can when travelling around in EVE unless you have someone else piloting you.

The Pyro System is also something they showed, it has awesome looking space weather and lightning and different lighting and ambience BUT looks pretty bare at the moment. However Pyro is a simple system for them to flesh out and if 2020 brings another Star System then AWESOME!

Another thing that is planned for 2020 is dynamic weather for planets as well. Allowing storms to sweep in and the room system to appropriately use environmental data to map changing weather. In some situations without the right equipment this is going to be reasonably fatal to players I would expect and I hope it also leads onto other dynamic environmental effects that would give reasons to not use Vehicles.

Talking to Devs at the event they are working on Physicalized components, Getting the Flight Model in the right place, general balance, player habs, AI companions, interesting puzzles as parts of missions, they have been R&Ding logic puzzles and intergation puzzles.

Prison Gameplay was something which I will dedicate a whole video to as there was a lot of info in the Locked Up Panel and I was able to talk to Luke Presley at some length about the prisons afterwards as well. Prisons are planned to premiere in Alpha 3.9 BUT there is a lot more planned for them after too.