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Star Citizen Playable Alpha Paradox

While we are waiting on Alpha 3.10 I wanted to ask a few questions and discuss Star Citizen’s Quarterly Playable Alpha Releases and Patches. As well as some more critical bits of Star Citizen’s Development from my point of view.

Would you prefer Star Citizen releases to just have new features in their newest forms put into the game ASAP?

Would you rather have date driven releases that aggressively cut / push back features if they are not ready BUT releases on a set schedule every quarter.

Or do you prefer what CI do at the moment which is a little bit more curated and seemingly erratic sometimes when looking from the outside which is Date Targeted releases, but ready when it’s ready, held back if they need to, if a feature needs a little more dialing in hold the patch/keep it longer in evo.

I think I would like anything that’s a bit more consistent BUT there is an argument to be made for being more dynamic and looking at individual patches and features and making decisions based on a number of factors at the time rather than a hard stance.

There is a bit of a problem for me with this “Playable Alpha” Paradox… with CI marketing each of their major patches as these polished Playable New Cool Feature Releases with hype, videos and marketing that show it off in the same way as almost a released product… BUT while also a lot of juxtaposition in stating that it’s an Alpha… AND IT VERY MUCH IS still Alpha with all the bugs and development evolutions that brings from patch to patch. I think part of what it is… is that Star Citizen as a Game, Project, Development everything… is very very unique AND I struggle to understand sometimes why it markets the way it does as I compare it to other games… BUT really I don’t have much reference for this type of project.

And the inconsistency or at least constant change that the project has come to have makes it confusing and frustrating sometimes for it’s followers.

The current Roadmap is now Only showing 3.11…there isn’t even an updated Squadron Roadmap (tho we do still get monthly reports and the old roadmap is there).

But only seeing around 3 months of development is a pretty poor show when we expect around 9-12 months.

Even with the Roadmap when it does show features they often slip and CI also don’t fully list features and updates for patches. So the accuracy of these is correctly called into question, that said I do think the Roadmap for the PU is extremely useful in showing what CI are working on and their targets and priorities for patches and large amount of what they intend to be in a patch within the next 1-2 patches / 3 – 6 months is much more accurate in terms of features that are going to be there now… but still they do see slippage.

Star Citizen is still got a good few years in it’s development cycle still it’s a very slow burn development and I think that is part in due to them focusing on their Playable Alphas rather than getting everything feature complete then going back and getting it all working and up to spec… BUT going that way would most likely have HUGELY affected monetization of the project and they would have a much smaller team and scope MAYBE?

Also the integration of features on the roadmap is a little erratic, some being extremely early in development OR placeholder OTHERS being held back because they want them in a much closer to complete state before adding them.

When it comes to issues CI are largely Reactive rather than proactive at least when it comes to communication & development,  that’s the way it appears to me from them being an open development… they react to feedback and then make a statement.

The issue with this is that they often say one thing BUT do another a little be later down the line… that’s to be expected somewhat with changing priorities AND the nature of their development.

And a lot of the issues could be solved with CI being more communicative more often… and tell the community at the EARLIEST possible stage if a feature is getting pushed OR even if it’s struggling to meet a deadline with something.

What’s happening with Squadron 42s roadmap are there major delays? We Don’t know.

Why is 3.10 still not 1st wave PTU, it’s not ready… BUT it would be nice to have a more official statement from CI.

There are various Leaks that come with any game development but I suppose the longer the development cycle and the more open that development is the more “leaks” will occur.

Star Citizen suffers from Datamines, Leaks from Sources potentially being employees or journalists, NDAs being broken & Evocati-Leaks… to be honest it doesn’t really seem to cause much harm to SC imo at least yet BUT I still think CI should get ahead of the Leaks / use them… if there is a new vehicle or feature they no is going out to evo… run the reveal of that new ship/vehicle at the same time it goes to Evo… then… that generates hype, sales and controls the information.

They know that anything they show to evocati will almost always get leaked in some form on reddit or whatever and then appear on a load of channels.

I’ve talked to CI staff members and they are disappointed when some leaks come out as they want to surprise and wow the community and I do understand their frustration BUT the wowing imo has to come from playing the game and if it spoils the PU for you to know that a particular mission or ship is in a new patch then maybe that mission or new vehicle needs to be able to stand on it’s own wow factor.

I know that some people don’t like any spoilers and that’s cool… I could certainly understand someone spoiling the PLOT of Squadron 42 and it’s story being EXTREMELY lame of them.

I think the major issue is that in the future that leaks could really be damaging to CI’s marketing plans.