Welcome to some more Star Citizen with 3.9.0 hopefully about to release to wider PTU and LIVE we now look to the future, at least in this video to the current plans for Alpha 4.0 the Q2 2020 Patch planned for Release at the end of June, it’s had some features added and absorbed some bits from 3.8 and 3.9.
It’s worth mentioning that these patches see change and bits moved, added and delayed BUT the goal of these videos is to look at CI’s priorities and track those changes.
The First Gas Giant Planet in game Crusader will now be physicalized and visitable and has a major landing zone Orison. This is a floating city in high atmosphere where the air is breathable.
The area is going to be a beautiful scenic area with lots of commerce areas and a large scale shipyard which would be a great place to rent or buy larger ships.
New Shops, new items, new food, new clothing, a hab area, it’s your typical landing zone in forms of functionality.
The Gas Giant itself is planned to have POI, and missions around it, I am expecting combat missions, recovery of black boxes, wrecks and that sort of thing in the short term.
I’d expect some new space stations and the like around Crusader as well, that area of space is largely fleshed out already but expect some new little bits and pieces with 4.0.
They are Updating and “Finalizing” the GrimHEX location, making it a complete landing zone. Main changes will include new location-branded utilitarian hangars accessible by the main hub, a scramble race feature which should be weapons free ship destruction derby around the asteroid field, and other additional content.
The Restricted Area Rework that was recently pushed here from 3.9 will see a Vast improvement to behavior of restricted areas with a more natural, less obtrusive system.This will include landing splines, allowing ATC to open up paths for players to enter the restricted area and fly to a landing pad with guidance. These areas will become more natural and won’t have giant orange or green walls breaking your immersion. There is an expectation you should also be able to get a bit closer to some cities and landing zones too.
The Mission Givers Lisa Gibbs & Devin Bautista will be at Orison in the Crusader Security Office there. The Missions they will give are planned to be targeted at lawful players that want to help with security and combat type stuff as far as I am aware.
Also Mission Giver wise Eddie Parr is set to be added in New Babbage on microTech… we don’t know too much about him as a mission giver yet tho.
You’ll see various new missions with these mission givers & the new gameplay area will be hooked up with missions too.
We CI have been working towards multipart missions as well as missions with more sub-objectives like we saw with the 2019 CitizenCon Demo.
The Arlington Gang Idris Mission that was delayed from 3.9 now sits in Alpha 4.0, the delay may have the mission a good bit more polished BUT the idea is to have a large group of players have to take on the Idris and it won’t be easy.
It’s just going to be the externals of the Idris tho, we won’t be able to board and capture it at this stage.
Expect to see some other interesting new mission with the patch too.
A big part of the more interesting missions and more challenging gameplay is the NPC & AI Updates:
The NPC Scheduler is meant to add and remove NPCs to the Game, dynamically spawning them into and out of based on NPC Archetype, determining the maximum number of NPCs in a Given area (based on a ratio of players in the area and server performance), and the probabilities of those NPC Archetypes.
NPCs will need to spawn in a ‘Spawn Locker’ for every Landing Zone, spawning in a hidden location that is impassable by a player such as an invisible barrier or more likely an air-shield or turnstile that cannot be used by players.
They are also Updating FPS combat AI to make them act more realistic and tactical. Adding new behaviors that will allow AI to utilize a wider range of weaponry.
As well as Expanding tactics to analyse the environment and detect, different useable bits of cover. This includes objects such as small crates, which could potentially provide partial cover BUT also rubble and anything of an appropriate size it seems.
There are Lots of planned Ship Combat Improvements here with a rework of Ships HUDs with the new Building Blocks tech bringing it closer to a more complete experience.
Targeting Updates with Fundamental changes to how targets are tracked on and off your screen, with UI updates to improve the visibility of locked and tracked targets, and the return of pinned targets. This actually should be a big step towards a lot of features, subsystem targeting, scanning updates, generally better interaction with your ship WE need lots of UI tasks completed.
We also have High Speed Combat Tweaks here, Ship systems will suffer the strains of traveling at high speeds, with maximum velocity resulting in the restriction of some player options in the cockpit, creating a vulnerability that will push players into engagement at lower speeds. You might not be able to fire missiles OR go to quantum OR that sort of thing, the idea is to have less jousting and also have ships not be able to constantly engage at incredibly high speeds. I am also hoping they have this so it also means that players cannot evade constantly as well a good balance will do well here.
We also have the New SDF Shields – Adapting shield code to determine shield hits based off of dynamically contoured shield meshes for more accurate combat gameplay, and to eliminate possible weak spots in shields. This also extends shield tech to entities beyond just vehicles.
This should see the end of shield holes but also have very cool looking shields!#
The Server to Client Actor Networking Rework is One of the more major Network code updates we have been waiting on – Improvements to the downstream networking responsible for communicating actor state from the server down to clients. This will improve the positioning and movement of other players and NPCs on your client, with improved dead reckoning, helping to reduce perceived lag and instances of rubber-banding. Meaning better looking movement, hit-prediction, more robust code and less in the way of desync are all expected.
All of this combined could see general ship combat & AI combatants in a much better place than we currently have, as we should see the dialling in of Ship AI with the Navigation and Pathfinding Updates that were in 3.9.
We are going to see Body Dragging allowing players to move an incapacitated or dead NPC by dragging the body around an environment as well as Ragdoll improvements for better more realistic death reactions of players and NPCs. We know CI want to have knockdowns, stuns and medical gameplay that body dragging is very important for. But it could also be used for missions, bounty hunting and lots more.
The Surrender ability is here allowing players to be arrested without losing their life, by coming to a halt and powering down their ships when ordered to by security a player can be arrested rather than leatheled. Security will halt their attack and arrest criminal players aboard the ship, impounding the ship if owned by a criminal.
There are a trio of New FPS Weapons available to purchase and use
The Lighting Bolt Co Pistol & Sniper Rifle, really looking forward to this new manufacturer, there is also a Gemini’s C54 SMG.
For Ships the Sledge Mass Driver is getting a Revision, I would hope that Mass Drivers are not mega op for PvP at this stage. We should see a general weapon & meta rebalance here anyway.
The m50 is getting updated to bring it inline with the rest of the Origin Line, I actually think it’s a little more in depth than I originally expected.
There are some possible other ships that might be placed in this patch but no confirmations yet.
There may very well be a new straight to flyable ship or vehicle.
The Cutlass Blue was looking very near completion.
The Constellation Taurus is also a long awaited ship that potentially could be added to a patch like 4.0.
There are some technologies that CIG have been working towards that are not on the Roadmap, which may well make it in the 4.0 patch the iCache or Item Cache, “Full Persistence” & the start of Vulkan Integration.
The iCache will have a more efficient database of all items and entities in game that can be moved, interacted with etc… and their locational data, this allows for Full Persistence and having ships, items and eventually homesteads or player habs properly persist. I believe it’s also important for navigation and sharing locational data potentially too.
Vulkan integration has been worked on for a while as part of their Gen12 Renderer and CI is planning to have in the short term both Vulkan and DX support before moving entirely to Vulkan. It is very possible we could see the start of that Vulkan support in 4.0 as we only have DX11 support currently… this would see a much more efficient scalable rendering. The end goal more
Theatres of War is the New Gamemode for Star Marine which expands the mode to have Objective Team Based 20v20 objective based mission more like a traditional battlefield experience, it’s expected somewhere in the first half of 2020 in some form. This could be before 4.0 or with 4.0 but hopefully not delayed.
Further Updates to the Inner Thought System & Weapons Modding – They wanted to have inspecting unified with mods, more generally the interaction and inner thought UIs should see some improvements.
We typically see more laws with each patch and Crusader should have a more detailed jurisdiction. New Commodities are also very likely. Further additions to Prison Gameplay.
More recently as well the Narrative team said that the cryptic messages what were in Alpha 3.7 will payoff at some point, so I am really waiting with baited breath for that.
It’s not yet known how the Current Global Situation and CI Working From Home will affect the 4.0 patch, it could see delays the the 3.9 has or features push back because of the timings.
But that’s sort of what I have on the docket for Star Citizen 4.0 currently. It’s got a lot of potential with it’s core features, AI & Combat improvement, expanded gameplay area etc… but I am really wanting to see things like salvage gameplay, enhanced scanning and location saving/sharing.