we are looking at a Star Citizen Alpha 3.10 Postmortem Summary, looking at what worked, what didn’t and what CI learned from the publish and what they are working towards.
Alpha 3.10 launched to live August 5th 2020 over a month later than intended (end of June being the target) This was due to a mixture of the change to working from home and lockdown and some more major updates to the flight model and other features.
Environments had quite a few changes and additions in 3.10.
GrimHex received updates to make it in line with a more fully featured landing zone adding internal hangars including big ones so you can spawn all your ships!
They added the racing and betting area too but with no gameplay there yet, eventually mission giver Luca Brunt will be there but also the ability to bet on and participate in PU races around Yela’s Asteroid Field. They are currently laying the foundations for future mission content.
They updated the Hangars on microTech to HighTech Aeroview Branded ones (similar to that we have in the hangar module) more appropriate to the area. Expect more hangar brands coming in the future.
Just next to some of those hangars they added a novelty item store where you can pick up Pico The Penguin… a plushie interactable that has been surprisingly popular, expect more silly things like star kitten and pico in the future… these items will be partly for customization of players ships and habs.
The Factory Line Store was introduced with a super high tech campus vibe they tested out large animated screens, curved stairs, new shop items, mobiGlas Variants and how AI/Players would move around a new shape of social structure.
They are going to be adding microTech Field Rep mission-givers and new shopping items here in the future.
Planets themselves received increased resolution to their height maps allowing for more detail.
As part of the process they needed to re-drop all ground locations currently in-game; this was everything from landing zones to derelicts. This is the first step in a multi-stage initiative to implement planet tech features as they come online. Expect more exciting improvements soon.
Also on planets we saw Quntanium have its own shader effect so you could see it looked dangerous and volatile and a new larger gem node for the GreyCat ROC to mine.
There was a Restricted Area Rework… which was a really frustrating part of 3.10 testing.
The goal was to provide a more realistic and I believe orderly entry method to landing locations. The Flight corridors for take off and landing at Lorville and Area 18 where the Restricted Zones were, were a little confusing if you didn’t know where to look. You had to find them and quickly before they assumed you had left or landed… because otherwise you could become trapped. Going out of your flight corridor would have the ATC take control of your ship and autopilot you briefly but if the corridor had disappeared you might not be able to escape a landing zone or being pulled into a killzone.
It’s been tweaked into a better state BUT is not great imo and CI say:
“We feel this system is in a much better state (than during original testing) though we are not happy with where it currently is in gameplay terms.
We’re looking at doing another pass to the system to try and remove some of the heavy-handed restrictions and let players go where they want, instead punishing misbehaviour with the Law System (impounding, fines, crimestats, etc.) rather than with autopiloting and destruction of property.”
The Lion’s Share of the work and most notable changes in 3.10 are vehicle & ship Feature based.
Thruster Efficiency Curves & Aerodynamics changes were made to the flight model, with hover-mode being a little confusing with it’s implementation for landings they tried something different here.
Thruster Efficiency directly affects/lowers max thrust based on atmosphere effectively making you less agile on planets and moons the closer to the ground you are.
Aerodynamics makes ships behavior more like aeroplanes… with some lift and glide.
These features went in relatively smoothly however it took a huge amount of time as over 120 vehicles had to be balanced for the new system.
There will be ongoing flight balance and tweaks to ship handling as needed.
They want to now add input-driven control surfaces, such as elevators and ailerons, for both visual and physical handling changes. They are also looking at ways to improve the visuals of thrusters to make it clear they are in use when viewed from a distance. This will prevent ships from appearing in odd-looking positions, even with all the recent changes.
Targeting & Gunnery Improvements were made in order to address various issues with Star Citizen’s Ship Combat.
Turrets got new HuDs, better movement and fixed weapon assist which nudges projectiles towards a target, basically giving you a small margin of error when aiming where your shots will still hit. This massively helps close the ground between auto gimbal and fixed weapons and these improvements were also applied to fixed weapons on all ships not just turrets.
During early testing with this they seemed to feel turrets had become Overpowered which then they dialed back. Now Fixed Weapons certainly are very powerful and competitive with auto gimbals, which is nice.
There are issues with synchronisation of projectiles that they will be further improving in future patches.
They did a huge amount of work on New Targeting Changes which totally overhauled everything for ship/combat targeting then they tweaked it loads to kind of merge it with what we had before.
One of the major goals was to clean up on screen clutter and make the UI look better, which they seemed to do pretty well with this release.
You can see targets passively on your radar that you’ve detected, and target them if they are in your front view cone there aren’t dozens of targeting reticles everywhere anymore. They streamlined the process to essentially automatic selection with the ability to lock and pin.
They will be improving target cycling in the future with information on the 3D radar display alongside having selected targets show on a Target Status MFD BUT the ability to quickly target a ship is there now and for players that want to manually bind a load of keys and want some more control on targeting that is doable too.
They added / improved bits of the HuDs displaying what your gimbals are doing, adding new 3d reticles and pops & added a thrust meter.
In the future, they’ll improve the visibility of 3D elements on the HUD by enabling them to use the same dynamic brightness feature they have on the 2D HUD elements.
The High Speed Combat Feature in 3.10 is there to discourage and add vulnerabilities to high speed combat. This saw Increased missile lock time & Decreased auto gimbal slew rate.
In the future, they want more restrictions like this by using capacitors on weapons, thrusters, and shields to make players consider which of these three ‘resources’ they want to use for maximum effect with the power triangle managing this.
They added the first Ground Mining Vehicle the GreyCat ROC.
The gathering beam on the vehicle looked like the extraction beam on the mining ships BUT it’s actually a proper tractor beam that pulls in the mineable gems. Tractor Beam tech like this will be used for well tractor beams on ships and salvage too.
There were issues with the ROCs capacity which they resolved in 3.10.1 and now they are allowing interaction with it’s cargo container in 3.11 so you can move items in and out of it.
The ROC is very good at making money currently in game and it looks like it is in quite a good place for new content coming down the road.
Character & AI Updates
Body Dragging will eventually be an important part of medical and bounty hunter / capture gameplay. The initial implementation of this in 3.10 saw dead bodies or knocked out characters be able to be dragged by players with also the ability to use one handed items, defend yourself with a pistol or interact with things while dragging.
They are working on the “stickiness” of body being dragged so it gets randomly dropped less, Also better visuals as the dragging was hand-keyed rather than mo-capped due to the lockdown.
Electron Damage the first in a line of new exotic damage types was added to the game. Mixing elec, dist and stun damage together in different ways based on the given weapon.
The Lightning Bolt Co Pistol and Sniper applied a aoe electron effect to a target that would detonate if hit again by one of those weapons, also your HUD would be glitchy. They are now working on new non-lethal weapons using the electron damage type.
AI are a little more aware of what’s going on around them (when the servers are not acting up). AI will push players if they are using a shotgun, closing the distance to make use of their weapon OR act more cautiously if they are armed with a rifle, choosing to fire from a distance. This is going to be very cool once the new Force Reactions are adding in 3.11 with close range shotgun blasts knocking characters down.
Cover Usage improvements for AI were rolled out in 3.10, in an attempt to make the AI use cover beyond items that were over 1.25m tall. Increasing this range so that objects of .5m or greater could be used too. Unfortunately there are still issues that they are ironing out AND for me the AI are still very derpy… FPS AI especially needs a lot of work though that could come down to server deterioration and low tick rates making them not act as intended.
They are aware that the AI needs tuning, balance and are improving them patch to patch.
Beyond That Some bits that CI didn’t mention that they should of are that there are still issues with 30ks and disconnects tho I have a much more stable experience since 3.10.2. Probably the most stable I have ever had. Desync is very annoying at the moment AND probably the most major problem is missile spam though they are addressing missiles & countermeasures in 3.11 and a much larger overhaul to them in early 2021.
And that’s it for the 3.10 Post Mortem… it’s looking like that they are certainly some lesions learned with that build and 3.11 should be better for it. 3.11 is currently in it’s Evocati Phase and looks to me like they are planning to push it’s live build out for around October 10th with whatever they have planned instead of CitizenCon.