Welcome to a Saltier Update on Star Citizen’s Squadron 42 today…
For the last few months we have been left without much in the way of updates on the Development of Star Citizen’s Single player campaign Squadron 42.
It’s player facing roadmap has been discontinued since March AND we are waiting on some new way of getting development info on Squadron more regularly.
Though we do still admittedly get a good amount of information from it’s monthly report at the start of each month.
We don’t get much other information than that, some weeks ago now CI promised a Squadron 42 Video that was going to show off some of the development and give us much need updates HOWEVER that video was delayed on the day it was meant to release it was pulled and now many weeks later we still don’t have it, with CI basically saying it will be ready when it’s ready and it didn’t convey all the info they wanted, wasn’t up to standard and didn’t have enough appropriate b-roll. Which is kind of fair enough… it’s just taking a little bit longer than is reasonable. That said I am mega low effort with my editing so I am probably not the best to judge how long a turnaround on a high quality video should be.
There have been a good few Reddit and Spectrum threads complaining about the lack of updates about Squadron 42.
I am going to say something I never thought I would say, thanks Kotaku… they posted an Article Even Star Citizen Fans Are Getting Shitty About Squadron 42 and linked one of my videos. Lovely thumbnail there I made from Hasgaha’s Screenshot… Checkout his website I love you bud!
CI have now posted a statement Squadron 42 & Roadmap Update
When we realized that our old Roadmap didn’t represent our development progress very well, we started exploring options for how to build something more informational that fit how we develop games. Our original message about this was in one of March’s Roadmap Roundups, and we followed up with hints about this in our Squadron 42-focused Calling All Devs on March 13.
We mentioned then that we are happy with Squadron 42 development and committed to a few things I’d like to bring up again. We talked about injecting more Squadron 42 content into our regularly scheduled releases, which is why you may have noticed things like the Squadron 42 themed episode of Calling All Devs, or the Inside Star Citizen updates on Vanduul ships, gas tech, a deeper look at the Aciedo Comm Array, and other related content. This was all alongside our monthly Squadron 42 Reports (March, April, May, June). One of the important elements to messaging Squadron 42 updates has also been to raise awareness that work completed for Star Citizen is also work done for Squadron 42. The only content that’s exclusively SQ42 are people, places and plot – and we don’t want to spoil those.
With all SQ42 updates, our goal has been to find balance in sharing SQ42 content while minimally impacting the development team so they can focus on what matters most: finishing the game.
The recent SQ42 video update, which is a brand-new show we were debuting called “The Briefing Room,” was a lower-effort video that we embarked on with the goal of sharing more information with you but in a scrappy and fast manner, so as to minimize the disruption to the dev team and yet still give you new information. We planned for this to be a semi-regular show, with its cadence depending on how well the content was received and how disruptive (or not) this first episode would be to our dev team. This first episode was meant to focus specifically on (spoiler alert) updates on our conversation interrupt tech and level design in SQ42. What we discovered after the whole piece was finished and getting ready for publish was that our approach resulted in an underwhelming show. Not only did the episode have major audio issues due to WFH recording, but it lacked visuals to support the talking, and we truly prefer to show rather than tell. Ultimately, we decided that it wasn’t good enough to show, even for a “scrappy” video that was not meant to be a marketing sizzle trailer. However, before that “stop ship” message could permeate our entire marketing org, we had moved forward with a public publish date.
Originally, we thought we could simply splice in fresh b-roll, but as we spent the next few days reviewing the show, we saw the need to update our visuals to better reflect what we were discussing, and that led us to the realization that we still didn’t have the right footage, at our quality bar, to tell the story we wanted to tell. So, we ended up deciding to re-shoot the entire episode with our usual quality standards. As mentioned, The Briefing Room was never meant to be such a disruption to the team that we would prioritize footage for the show above our internal milestones for development. Therefore, our SQ42 art team could only work on capturing new footage after normal work hours. Add to the mix that key personnel were actually out sick for over a week, and you can see how our schedule kept getting pushed back further and further.
We’ve certainly communicated the delays and the reasons for it, and have even had Brian Chambers relay the news initially, with our CMs (Community Managers?) repeating that message when the topic cropped up multiple times. We’ve had to do that a couple of times over the past weeks. And unfortunately, the plain truth was always the same: The initial video didn’t meet our standards and we are redoing it. We didn’t get into such details as sick personnel nor did we explicitly spell out that the video footage couldn’t leapfrog actual dev work in our priority list. After all, we don’t like to make excuses. But it’s clear that the confluence of the prolonged delay to the Briefing Room and the lack of any new information (because there was none) created angst within the community.
Something that’s often not seen externally is the actual amount of time and effort it takes to put together the video content we regularly release. Delivering the updates to the standards we want takes time, and despite those saying they would be fine with a rough cut of talking heads, we get endless complaints when that’s what we deliver, example being that the Monthly Reports or linked examples above are quickly dismissed or forgotten. The SQ42 video is still coming (probably in the next few weeks), along with an assortment of other updates, including an overhaul to our Public Roadmap.
The new Roadmap is something we hinted at in March but because that is still very much in development, we can’t share as much about it as I would like. Believe me when I say I’m personally very eager to release it to you. We took the time to explore options for how we could better represent our progress, and I believe we are getting close to landing in a pretty great spot. Our goal with this new Roadmap is to give you better visibility into what teams are working on, share the progress of more teams, and go so far as to indicate the size of the projects for our tech, features, and content teams. This new Roadmap will drastically change how you follow the development progress for both Squadron 42 and Star Citizen. The new Roadmap will focus more on breaking out teams and features so you can interactively see what is being worked on across all teams, as opposed to what features will make X release. While it’s not quite ready, it’s currently top priority on the web team’s current projects. In the immediate future, we plan to deliver the following communications:
- Give an explanation of the goals of our new Roadmap and what to expect from it
- Show a rough mockup of the proposed new Roadmap
- Share a work in progress version of the Roadmap for at least one of our core teams
- And then finally transition to this new Roadmap
We’ll approach them in the order above, and we’ll likely need a few weeks between steps, so I don’t want to create the impression that this is happening overnight. But we should be announcing step 1 pretty soon if my meeting on Thursday about this is as good as I think it will be.
So that’s what CI had to say, I am certainly up for more deeper info from the Roadmap BUT I would of actually of liked to see the rough Briefing Room videos on Squadron and like the idea of a lower effort snappier show. Yes I like pretty stuff and cool things being shown BUT I want roadmap, feature and development updates… They could read them off a spreadsheet and I would be relatively happy as long as those updates are accurate and semi-detailed.
I hope in the mean time CI maybe give us additional updates in the form of FORUM POSTS…give us some development updates, where are we rough date wise with Squadron 42, roughly how much of a delay has it been hit with for its Alpha/Beta, a forum post is better than nothing in the short term AND it’s better than remaining tight lipped… NO MORE UPDATES FOR YOU UNTIL OUR UPDATES MEET OUR STANDARDS isn’t a great stance.
I do appreciate Zyloh and CI responding and sharing the plans, it’s just weeks of roadmap development… literally waiting on a new roadmap isn’t what I had in mind for updates in the short term for Squadron. That said I am excited about the finished product xD and I am glad I know what is going on with CI’s plans rather than making “where is the SQ42 video?” memes each week.
So much of CI’s marketing and funding is tied to their Roadmap I do understand them wanting to improve it BUT that can’t take priority over use actually receiving updates imo.
But I’d love to know what you think. Even if you don’t care about squadron the new roadmap updates will also be for the PU roadmap.