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The Evolution Of Star Citizen 3.11

Welcome to some more Star Citizen, Star Citizen Alpha 3.11 referred to as the High Impact Release went live October 8, 2020 AND we have had a Postmortem looking at what was added, what’s being worked on for the near future and some dev feedback on the most recent Star Citizen Major Release.


Cargo Deck Locations were added to Space Stations – The idea for the major stations located around planets is that they would be more than just rest stops; they would have their own facilities dedicated to other services, like cargo.

This is mostly visual at the moment but they want a lot of gameplay and interactivity here, form Missions, to Trade, to buying Cargo / Ship Gear, to Cargo and Storage Management.

They relaxed armistice zones allowing combat in them. Adding Destructible Station Defenses and are preparing for the Idris coming in 3.12 that will defend space stations.

Players were stealing sentry turrets in the PU and moving them around in the 3.11 PTU… they fixed that quickly lol

They crime stats of all players in an area now cause waves of security to spawn with more powerful ships the higher that combined level, this needs tweaking as the response for a large group of players is not really strong enough currently. They will develop this system further in the future to also take into account the ships that players are using and the aggression shown.

They want players to struggle to take down the Idris in 3.12…

They will be rolling this out to outposts and grimhex BUT these stations will have their own laws / jurisdictions with defenses responding to “crimes” commited within their operating area.

Luke Pressley Said – Moving forward, we also plan to relax the arbitrary limitations found in interiors, again starting at the rest stops. We are already well underway with a spawn closet system that will allow us to spawn the guards necessary to police the area. As well as this, we are working on a security network that will know whether players have the right to be in certain areas and enable cameras, turrets, and guards to respond to trespassers, those with CrimeStats, or those in the process of committing crimes.

They have improved their planetary tech tools this includes new painting brushes, revamped UI, and merged ground layer and object presets to make it even faster to paint planets. Utilising the new planetary painting tools, the Environment Art Team went through all planets and moons in the Stanton System and repainted the ground surfaces and object presets. This also futureproofs us and allows us to take advantage of new tech in existing locations.

CI said – For this quarter we were able to keep momentum in updating the planets and moons in the Stanton System with the latest tools and tech we’re using to build out the Pyro System. New Heightmaps, updated geology packs, shader improvements.

We learnt recently that CI are opening a new studio that appears to be focusing on planet and star system / gameplay area so these tools are going to make that much BETTER / EASIER!

They’ve improved water and added buoyancy.

Atmosphere and volumetric cloud render tech has been further developed.

Objects on clients should now stay streamed for noticeably larger distances.

Ian Leyland SC’s Art Director Said:

With the introduction of scanned data for our surfaces, we saw a substantial jump in quality. However, some of the global painting passes were not as detailed and involved as we would have liked. This is mainly due to time restraints in the quarter. Some of the geology surfacing with the new libraries could be more appropriate to the biome/region also.

For cargo decks, we should have foreseen the disconnect between the interior and exterior when separating out the commercial decks. To improve the experience and help give context to the player we would like this transit network to be physicalized in the future. This will provide visibility out from the transit cab to the exterior of the station as it moves towards its destination.

Core Gameplay

The first iteration of external inventory was added for the ROC and players moving items between that and their backpack as well as between the inventory space of their different armor pieces/pockets… in the future with icache this will expand to looting bodies, containers and more.

They are contiuing to develop the UI for useability and game function.

They are continuing to add more to the Force Reaction Gameplay currently there are

Low impact: twitches, flinches, and leans including being blown by wind

High impact: knockdowns

They are working on the addition of Medium impact: staggers – where you will partially lose control of your movement.

In hindsight they mention that potentially designing the reactions around gravity and the gravity generators in ships might of been a cleaner option.

Grenades and other items being thrown is now much better with an over/under arm choice and AR arc (while you are wearing a helmet)… in the future this AR arc will only be seen on certain combat armors visors.

They added the Behring Grenade Launcher & Behring BR2 Shotgun and they achnolowedge that the GL is still too OP in the game currently. In the future grenade ammo will be cumbersom and expansive as well as potentially damaging and lowering the value of the gear that it hits… if you want to loot someone then maybe less than lethal actually makes you the most money!

Vehicle Features

They added the 100 series of starter ships for new players.

Missiles & Countermeasures were updated as they had many issues prior to 3.11.

  1. Countermeasures would act only on IR missiles (flares) and EM missiles (chaff)
  2. Only flares worked (sometimes and highly server-dependant)
  3. There were no countermeasures available to spoof CS missiles
  4. Firing missiles was extremely easy, defending against missiles was extremely hard

Then they focused on 2 ways that CMs would affect missiles and detection either creating a strong signal or dampening all signals around. 

  1. Flares would act on all missile types
  2. Chaff would be turned into a noise field, dampening all signatures around the field

But this means that at least in some way CMs are somewhat effective against all missiles whatever type you use. They do want to change the names of flares and chaff to reflect their roles. 

The missile updates mean spamming can’t occur either.

  1. Each vehicle is only allowed four locks at a time
  2. Only one missile can launch per rack at a time
  3. Only one missile type (IR/EM/CS) can launch at a time
  4. Missiles lose lock outside of their locking angle
  5. They also introduced minimum and maximum lock ranges as well.

This notably stretched the missile gameplay out of gun range, allowing missile-focussed ships to loiter at the edge of combat as designed while dedicated gunfighters would get in closer. 

These are more temporary changes until Missile Operator Mode is ready, which will change the behaviour again and/or remove certain aspects when it is implemented. However the direction they are going in with missiles is certainly better than before with the giga-spam.

CI Said – The overall goal we want to achieve in the missile gameplay loop is to make both employing missiles and defending against missiles deeper and more rewarding, with its own “slot” in the combat environment. Missiles are not supposed to be an alternative to guns but tactical weapons, and the use of them should be a conscious decision with consequences. We also want to give special missile boats, like the Talon Shrike or Freelancer MIS, an edge when it comes to employing ordnance for the same reason. Those ships will excel in offensive missile gameplay though have obvious drawbacks in other categories. So, there will be more iterations on countermeasures and missile gameplay in the next couple of releases. For the time being though, we’re quite happy the missile experience stepped away from the frustrations of previous releases.

I’ll quote Richard Tyrer Core Gameplay Director for the closing statement here:

Everyone is trying to deliver the best features/content/tech that they can to the highest possible quality and sometimes the stars don’t align when it comes to priorities. In this case, it is purely on my shoulders due to a lack of communication. As developers, we don’t always get it right when we’re in the thick of things, but hopefully this gives some insight into our processes and how we are always giving it 100% to try and create the best experiences for you to enjoy.

And that’s it for the Star Citizen Alpha 3.11 Postmortem. Some of those updates for 3.11.