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Star Citizen 2019 Review

Star Citizen, with a roundup and summary of 2019 what milestones SC accomplished, what ships were released, what we actually saw through the year and what have CIG been up to with the development of their games.

2019 had the CIG studios focused on Squadron 42 Episode 1 & Core Mechanics for both that and the PU, however Squadron 42 is something that CIG keep close to their chest with updates being quite bare but we still had a lot of progress with the PU and project as a whole.

2019’s first Concept ship was of the Argo SRV Tractor Beam Tow-ship – 14th Feb.

This will focus on the tractor beam mechanics to allow you to tow damaged ships OR help them out of the atmosphere of a planet.

We then had the Drake Corsair a No Frills Medium Sized Explorer on 21st March again on Concept.

Alpha 3.5 the Q1 2019 Patch was released on 17th April over 2 weeks later than planned.

Planet ArcCorp was released a Massive City Planet with it’s landing zone Area 18 with new mission giver and missions.

The New Flight Model was implemented a MASSIVE CHANGE with many problems but lots of fixes followed and spoilers the Flight Model is still receiving updates.

The 300 Series of ships had a major Rework & it also came with some New Website based Ship Customization allowing different skins, weapons, items and more aesthetics. As of the end of 2019 though only the 300 series make use of this system.

The Tumbril Ranger Compact Bike Series went on Concept sale on the 9th May. This had extremely small bikes that will be very useful in the Verse once they are live.

Alpha 3.6 the Q2 2019 went to LIVE on the 19th of July, again almost 3 weeks later than planned.

Added New Space Stations though they still had the older Interiors

The Vanguard had a Rework and unification of it’s models to bring it more in line with what CIG wanted.

The largest ship that we have flyable in the verse the might 890 Jump Capital Luxury Ship was released.

The Ballista went straight to driveable a Ground Based Missile Launching Truck

Ship Purchasing was added to the game, though some were very expensive and purchases are not yet saved between major patches.

Hover Mode was added to the new flight model for atmospheric flight. This was relatively controversial as although it had ships reacting in a more believable manner it also made it incredibly difficult to land at areas like Lorville and area 18 as your ship would move like a helicopter and lurch forward.

The New Law System was implemented which had jurisdiction and crimes tied to those areas as well as a fines system.

The Nautilus MineLayer Ship went to concept on the 24th Aug as well as details of it’s mines. They can be more traditional magnetic explosive BUT also deployable turrets.

The Nautilus it’s self is quite a large ship and can also minesweep with it’s drones and then repurpose those mines or turrets for it’s own use.

In August Star Citizen Announced they were moving over to a “Staggered Development” Model for the game. This has CIG working in a 6 month overlapped workflow rather than 3 month sprints. There are still 4 major PU releases a year BUT CIG prioritize the next 2 proximate patches simultaneously so 3.7 & 3.8 are worked on, when 3.7 is complete those teams move onto 3.8 & 3.9, when 3.8 is complete 3.9 and 4.0 are worked on, this means each patch gets 6 months work for more complete and polished features as well as a more playable experience with less bugs and more QoL updates too.

Alpha 3.7 the Q3 build released on the 11th of October, this 3rd release each year previously had been released with CitizenCon but CitizenCon was on the 23rd of November and holding the 3.7 for then would of meant that the 3.8 patch would of been less than a month away.

Due to the move to Staggered development CIG had to cut a few features from 3.7.

We saw the addition of massive Cave networks.

FPS Mining & Harvesting a Personal Commodity Inventory, which is a step towards a full physicalized inventory.

The Mantis Quantum Interdiction ship went straight to flyable with the patch as well as the QE mechanic allowing players to pull ships out of quantum and hold them there.

Much awaited Ship Rentals were added to the game allowing a huge portion of the game’s ships to be rented for an affordable amount of credits.

They Changed Hover Mode to IFCS Proximity Assist which now has ships moving more precisely automatically the closer they are to the surface of a planet it also had ships more controversially moving like mobile turrets and very floaty again, some that CIG plan to iterate on with more atmospheric modifier and weaker engines in atmosphere in the future.

The first Banu ship the Defender Fighter was released with it’s sniper like Singe Tachyon weapon. They also finally added the Vanguard Variants.

CitizenCon saw a demo of some near future gameplay expanding on what 3.8 was about to release.

The Release of the C8 Pisces scout snub, the first look at The Anvil Carrack in game with a Gameplay demo that showed, Planet microTech,Planetary Tech v4, Weather, a full multipart mission, SOCS integration, we also saw Jump Points and entry into a new Star System Pyro which are all coming in 2020 some came in 3.8.

CitizenCon also had a huge day of Presentations & Reveals:

A New Game Mode for Star Marine Theatres of War was shown off that’s coming early 2020, it’s 20 v 20 Battlefield 5 objective based gameplay with the scale of star citizen.

Prison Gameplay for 3.9 was also revealed with criminal players getting punished by respawning in prison and having to pay off their debt by mining in the dangerous mines there, escaping or waiting until they are released.

Some other Ships were mentioned the Xi’An Cargo Ship, Tevarin Fighter, Mobile Refinery Ship & a Mining Ground Vehicle.

The other major showcase was of Quanta & the Dynamic Economy showing the plans for simulation which has the game universe reacting to and generating appropriate content.

I also was attending CitizenCon which is also a giant fanfest, it was held in Manchester in England and is one of my favorite experiences of gaming to date.

The IAE – Anniversary Sale started a day after CitizenCon on the 24th of November, basically all of the ships that had previously been on sale were sold again over a 2 week period, as well as having a big in game freefly event, The Kraken Privateer went on Sale which is a variant of the Kraken that focuses on being a mobile shopping station.

The Concept for the Crusader Heavy Fighters Ares Ion & Inferno went on sale on 12th December. The ship centres around a massive S7 gun, clearly punching above it’s weight class.

Alpha 3.8 the last LIVE release of the year hit Servers on Saturday the 21st of December. Technically before it’s deadline of the end of Q4. Though it still requires some triage and bug fixes for sure, it is the most playable Star Citizen Build we have had.

The Multi-Mining ship the Mole went straight to flyable.

There were Mining Updates as well expanding out the mechanics.

Planet microTech was added and the Landing Zone New babbage exterior BUT not it’s interior space which is coming in 3.9. We had the New Planetary Tech & Weather effects which saw all of the planets and moons updated with better visuals and less popping of assets.

The long awaited SOCS Server Object Container Streaming was implemented this ties into to pretty much every component of the game and allows for better Server Performance and a major bottleneck and milestone to be cleared.

There were more Space Stations & they Updated the Interiors of stations with new spaces.

Melee was added, which has led to fight clubs popping up around pretty much every content creator I watch. 

There were Lots of New Iterations on Gameplay & Systems – a 890 Jump Mission, Claim Jumps having you clear out turrets and miners, Fines v2 where you manually pay off your fines rather than automatically, there are AI Improvements partly due to SOCS and there are event Updated Cameras.

Ship Components saw a lot more variance in their stats and QT saw changes with ships being able to travel quicker but this often comes with the need to refuel more often.

The Major Ships in 3.8 were delayed tho, the Cutlass to Jan, Carrack to Feb and Prowler to March.

Also Platform Persistence which would see less in the way of progress resets and potentially aUEC and Ship Purchases carry over to major patches pushed to a future 3.8.x build in 2020.

Throughout 2019 even though it was a focus did SQ42 progress beyond some newsletters that themselves were quite low on info wasn’t really shown, there were no major announcements and even the Roadmap was quite sparsely updated BUT on Christmas Day we had a Squadron 42 Teaser.

This showed us a lot of cool stuff from the Odin System, the Giant Shubin Mining Facility, a Acideio Comm relay, a giant OMC Pirate Base, Ship Jacker Junker Ships, Update & New Vanduul Ships & Warrior, Capital Ships and some amazing scenics.  

Mark Hamill and BBC Click have both stated that SQ42 is coming out 2020 BUT CIG have not made a statement on this so we don’t know for sure, the current SQ42 Roadmap has a feature complete beta planned for Q3 2020 currently.

CIG & Turbulent Mutual Investment

In December as well CIG cemented a mutual long term relationship with Turbulent the studio that manages their RSI web platform and online starmap. CIG acquired 25% of Turbulents Stock and the Turbulent owners acquired around 2% of CIG UK’s Stock between them. They clearly want Turbulent to be involved in the project beyond it’s release and Turbulent are working on things like deeper integration with the web platform and Star Citizen, Spectrum, Ship Customization and more.

How Much Funding in 2019 roughly?

We can take a quick look at the funding and finicals in 2019. The Project has now surpassed $260 million on it’s funding chart BUT the true amount is quite a bit more than that.

It looks like Star Citizen has raised over $46.5 million so far for the year just in pledges to give you a bit of context they raised $37.7 million in their previous best year 2018, around a $9 million increase.

Including Subscriptions and Other Income they could be optimistically looking at over $60 million for the year (I don’t have access to the 2019 full numbers but looking at 2018s figures this does seem possible).

It will be interesting to see how much they spent in 2019 and how it compares to 2018’s $56 million expenses though.

And how they have continued to invest the $46 million minority investment they received in Marketing and Company infrastructure.

As the end of 2019 closes out Star Citizen is approaching 2.5 million RSI Accounts, these aren’t all unique players as I have like 4 accounts myself BUT it’s still a huge player base.

Throughout 2019 Each week we saw a Inside Star Citizen (Basically what was previously known as Around The Verse but in 10 min sessions) and Star Citizen Live (an hour long look at a particular topic with relevant devs LIVE). In terms of video content it was quite light and I certainly want a bit more. We did see Ship Trailers and Pillar talk as well with each major release of a patch they basically talked about features they were excited about and the context and work behind them. 

And that’s it for Star Citizen in 2019 a lot of major milestones and hurdles overcome with SOCS, Planet Tech, the New Flight Model, Staggered Development, record breaking funding numbers a move towards more straight to flyable ships BUT conversely a frustrating amount of progress obscured from what is currently taking the lion’s share of development resources SQ42 and this sees the PU a bit bare when it comes to new mechanics like Salvage, Repair, Medical, Science & Exploration Gameplay.