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New Gameplay Features – Finding Locations, Probes, Resource System & Refining

We have had some juicy development information on various Star Citizen Features.

The EU PU Feature Team answered a load of questions and talked about various feature plans in the Star Citizen Live: EU PU Gameplay Features Episode.

They are looking at mining, refining, long distance probing, making the starfarer into a refiner.

They are working on a laser trip mine as part of environmental gameplay. A gadget that will need to be avoided or overcome by players wanting to get past them. Eventually we will be able to place them too. They want traps like this to help make the environment more hostile.

Long Distance Probing sounds like it will work in a similar way to how I remember scanning down POIs in Eve Online. You’ll be able to send out probes in the star system you are in and ping the area to reveal the POI and objects there… asteroids, ships, stations, bases…

Multiple Probes can be used to accurately triangulate a location and create a QT Beacon for you to travel to. This location can be saved, shared and sold.

There will be different types of Probes and they will have a travel time and limited fuel.

They are looking at signature analysis gameplay too (all using the IR, EM and CS system we already have) and you’ll be able to potentially work out what you have detected from the signature of a ship of thing that you have scanned… but you might mistake a group of fighters for a capital ship.

The more data your probes collect the greater your info pool and more precise your analysis will be.

You’ll have to make a call when you scan if a location is worth scanning down fully and visiting or just ignoring.

Once we have this in as a feature we will have a MASSIVE AMOUNT of gameplay area and content to find, visit and adventure in. They will be able to dynamically spawn POI like derelicts for this BUT also super dense asteroid fields, pirate bases, alien tech… this is a big part of exploration for me AND I needs it!

Atmospheric Depth Damage is a thing, different ships will be able to handle different pressures, allowing some to go deeper into places like Crusader without starting to take damage, eventually being squished. This system is only being used for Crusader at the moment but can be used for all gas giants and similar things BUT could be used for things like water pressure too.

They talked about Loot Generation on Characters. The system for this needs to look at item ownership, work out if it’s a stolen or liberated item, spawn appropriate loot based on the area and loadout of the character. 

It’s likely that we will be able to take the exact items that an NPC was using from their body, their armor (tho it might be pretty heavy and unwieldy…if you don’t just change into it then and there) and weapons/gear they were using.

Characters may have items in their pockets and backpacks.

You’ll be able to use scanners to see what’s on a body in a backpack too and presumably see a character’s gear while they are still alive in the future.

Harvestables are something they are working on making more than just quick sell items. They want them to have more use and value. Some will be useful to consume others for crafting or science gameplay. You’ll be able to extract or refine some into useful materials. These will be very important in the future, rather than an after thought to most players like they are now.

Crops will be able to be grown on planets BUT they are unable to give us any more information at this time.

Ship Refining is a different mechanic than Station Refining.

Ship refining is active rather than passive. You’ll have to analyse the given materials & choose what processes you want to use to refine them and prepare / customize the Refineries Reactor for the type of material too… And things may happen or change that require adjusting or tweaking on the fly, you need to pay attention to the temperatures, reactor, processes… so you won’t be able to do this AFK.

Multiple mining ships might accompany a refinery ship… Prospectors could eject their mining pods for the refiner to then tractor and empty those containers.

But you’ll have to be managing what materials you are refining and what you are ejecting.

You could then either sell that refined ore OR drop it for a cargo ship to pickup…

Orgs and mining groups might want to travel to a newly discovered asteroid field and stay there for hours running an op with multi-mining ships bringing ore to the refiner, that then drops refined ore for a cargo ship that fills up and sells at a profitable area.

Station Refining might produce better yields BUT when looking at efficiency a Refinery Ship might make you a lot more profit. However there is obviously, risk and reward concerns from pirates that might want to get a slice of that pie.

The ship refining design and proof is done, it’s waiting on developer manpower  to be in active development BUT it will be soon.

The Starfarer is going to have some good customization and choices available to players. You are going to need to choose how many of your tanks hold raw material, gas, liquid, refined, fuel or are empty ready to be used. As well as how many refining reactors they have. You could use it as a hauler in the operation OR as the refiner or both.

In Regards to Refueling, that is in active development right now for the Starfarer, players will have a boom arm that attaches to the fuel receiving ship, using the same dock system that the connine / p52 uses.

As long as you are moving at similar speeds you should be able to fuel and fly.

Ships may get small reserve fuel tanks in the future.

Refueling is not required for the implementation for Pyro BUT it is preferable as it’s going to be one of the major ways of refueling there as there are few stations to refuel and fuel costs there are high.

Ground vehicles do not currently use the fuel system… they probably will in the future.

Resource Management is a major core system that connects ship systems together and move power and resources between the. It needed a large code and system refactor to support it. They thought it was going to be 6 months of ground work BUT it turned out to be a lot more.

They want a single system that covers power, fuel, ammo etc… rather than having each of them as individuals. It will be the system that refueling uses to move fuel from one tank to another.

It will be used by stations, structures, ships and vehicles AND this requires more work especially for having a ship make full use of it HOWEVER they are now able to start having feature teams look into using it in gameplay AND newer features and updates are able to plan for resource management more appropriately too. Someone working on weapons knows they need to have it powered, ammo supplied, heat vented etc…

They feel Ship Mining is in a good place, they want some more gameplay content and some more difficult mineables for it tho, so when we have dynamic asteroid fields and more POI that will be awesome. 

They will look at the Orion and Strip mining in the future. 

FPS Mining needs some love, consumables, gadgets, specialized versions of the mining tool are all coming in the future.

Boom, that’s it for the Star Citizen Live Summary… It was juicer than normal as it was a feature team talking about what amounts to gameplay that we can expect in the mid term…