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Star Citizen Alpha 3.9 Mission Gameplay & Persistent Universe Updates

Welcome to some more Star Citizen, Alpha 3.9 is coming soon and CIG keep releasing more eye candy and information about what’s planned for it.

I wanted to talk about what CIG have recently shown us and what they are currently working on, this is basically a merging of Inside Star Citizen Idris Attack and the new Monthly report for the PU.

There has been a focus on group missions recently for 3.9

There are some “true” multiplayer missions now, the synced assassination mission requires you to take out 2 targets similainiously in 2 different areas. So you need to be communicating with your team mates. Once you commence your attack you have to take them both out within 2 mins otherwise they will quantum out of there.

A Criminal Focused Mission is Assaulting a Prisoner Transport Ship

You’ll get the mission on your mobiGlas via Twitch Pacheco.

You need to rescue some prisoners from a disabled Caterpillar.

There are new Cryopod assets where the prisoners are “stored” but you’ll need to find the manifest to work out which ones to open.

It’s a few interesting elements of the game coming together here.

You fighting some ships, then boarding and fighting Security, then doing a bit of an investigation and data gather before opening the correct pods.

The Idris Mission – This involves the Arlington Gang Stealing an Idris.

The mission chain builds in difficulty and persistence allows them to have longer form chains of missions that don’t have to be completed in one go.

CIG Confirmed that it is not the completed Idris, it’s just the exterior with AI controlling turrets BUT we will still be able to fight an Idris in 3.9.

This will require a FLEET of players to take down. The Idris has massive health, shields and armaments.

You can only complete this mission once tho… OR you’ll only be able to receive it once yourself… then you’ll have to join someone elses group that is doing it, IF you want to do it again.

I suspect you could also reset your account to get it again.

BUT we should see more people interacting with each other and forming groups to go up against this mighty ship.

They are now also able to easily set different cargo manifests and loot in NPC Ships.

You’ll be able to attack NPC ships and take their varied cargos. I suspect this will be the focus of some missions in the future BUT shorter term it means piracy is more profitable.

Volatile cargo & mining consumables also had various work done getting them ready for prime time.

Work Continues on the Cutlass Blue… they are working out the Shade of Blue they want for the paint job. The Blue will have Prisoner Pods rather than cells now as standard it seems, these are more like large cargo containers and make more sense to me gameplay wise.

They are currently deciding how many pods will be in the ship.

We know that they have redesigned the Origin M50 cockpit to align with the updated brand style and to conform with UI requirements. The geometry will be updated shortly.

The Prowler is getting ready for Flight. We will be getting a full tour soon BUT we have seen the bottom large troop transport section of the ship and it’s very cool… tho very red xD

The new visual style is favoring stealth and defense. The effects are toned down compared to other ships to make it harder to detect and track as it flies around.

Size variants of the Esperia ballistic and laser cannons were finalized assimidly for the Prowler too.

They have worked on sub-targeting, which will allow players to cycle between specific target areas on a single vehicle. 

We should see players able to store and spawn vehicles within the cargo bays of appropriate ships. Work also began on the life support systems, while the repair system is being upgraded for compatibility with server meshing and other upcoming features.

There are improvements being made to the Flight model IFCS, changing thruster efficiency curves, making aerodynamics changes, this is paired with HUD/UI improvements incoming and general balance passes for the combat and flight experience.

The whitebox assets for the Crusader Hercules and an upcoming (but as-yet-unannounced) ship were also reviewed, this very well might be the New Origin Ship that has been teased OR something else.

Environment

They are finalizing and polishing New Babbage

We have seen some of Wallys Bar, the social area of new babbage.

There are palm trees as well as various GM Plants, a DJ, Cocktails, a wierd glowing rock pillar.There is a domed glass ceiling to stare out at space from.

Several shop locations within New Babbage received their main passes, including TDD, OmegaPro, Centermass, Planetary Services, and Aparelli. Lighting tasks are currently progressing for the main commons, plaza, and promenade dome. The biggest challenge is relaying different visual identities based on the time of day, with that in mind they have been working on a day and night light state system. That has lights on buildings turn on & off based on the time of day.

There is some interesting new clothing from the New Babbage Landing Zone. Lots of cold gear. There are some very cyberpunk type clothing now with animated textures, displaying stock prices or ships.

We are going to see various armors with environmental protection in mind and a Prison Jumpsuit too.

microTech’s moons, Calliope, Clio, and Euterpe, which are now ready for release.

New assets were also created in preparation for the upcoming organics shader. The team updated the pipelines and streamlined the creation process on asset packs and any files left over from the conversion to V4 were cleaned up. This puts them in a good place to continue with new content for the Pyro System.

Water & Ocean Shader Improvements have been made… more generally we are going to see effects and shader improvements across the planets and moons in 3.9.

The next iteration of the restricted areas system was started and will bring no-fly zones closer to final delivery. There’s still work to be done as more code comes online, but the second iteration will provide an improvement over the current one.

The Klesher Prison saw work embedding it appropriately on the Moon of Aberdeen and getting all the interior components completed and lighted properly, with a man made lighting system in the caves under the prison feeling very oppressive and uncomfortable. The prison also includes the first test-case use of dynamic cubemaps, which will periodically re-bake probes based on player distance and the angle of the sun. The exterior of the facility is a perfect use case, as the boreholes should appear differently throughout the day. Once the potential bugs and performance issues are ironed out, the feature will be rolled out to new and existing locations across the PU.

There are UI additions with environmental displays, including the screen graphics for prisons and signs, screens, and menus for New Babbage.They further improved the look of the radial Inner Thought menus and polished the Actor Status display for the visor for 3.9 as well. 

This sees Several new health effects that communicate to players when they’re too hot, cold, and hungry/thirsty being shown.

There are lots of foods and consumables that they have been working on. This ranges from Harvestables to Street Vendors and other places to buy or obtain – Fruit and Veg, Ice Cream Cones, Sandwiches & moar.

Backend Services – have focused on scaling the loadout service and fixed several small issues with long-term persistence, insurance claims, account resets, and ship loadouts. The iCache is in the final stages, with advanced query methods being added and tested – internal stress and reliability testing are ongoing. This is required for full persistence and will afford a lot of flexibility with further development of the PU.

They have began integrating the new SDF system this will see effects and shields looking much better when complete. Further progress has been made with the Vulkan & Gen12 Render updates, we should hear more about this soon.

A Friends & Groups Update looks like it’s coming to 3.9 potentially too – The aim is to make it considerably easier for players to connect in the universe by unifying each iteration of the friend database. Though a multi-quarter task, the first version will be available soon.

For AI combat behaviors they have been working on assault and hold-position tactics. They began adjusting the AI system to accommodate server meshing. 

Ship AI completed the first iteration of the full 3D navigation system for NPC ships. The system is currently with QA for testing before it’s integrated into Alpha 3.9. This is an important step for the Ship AI Team as it offers new opportunities to implement more diverse missions not limited to open-space environments. Thanks to dynamic collision avoidance, they were able to remove the current speed limits on all AI ships. Instead of a capped standard combat mode (SCM) speed, NPCs can now set their own according to the desired relative goal velocity.

They have been assigning all mission-giver usables new object templates. This is important as it enables them to take advantage of the new Subsumption hooks. 

Social AI continued polishing vendor behavior, readying it for use in the bar setups and shops. 

They have NPCs able to prepare and deliver drinks and cocktails too.

Currently, the vendor can pick up and deliver anything that already exists in the world, such as a bottle of beer, and prepare many things that don’t, such as a cocktail. They’re also working on other social behaviors, such as fitness and janitor activities. Both leverage the in-development ‘path scripting’ functionality. The purpose of this is to use the environment to define possible AI options, such as cleaning and patrolling, and can be used to simplify story scene scripting. The AI use appropriate behaviors based on the job role and environment.