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Star Citizen Alpha 3.16 – The Start Of Quantum Gameplay

Star Citizen Alpha 3.16 is the planned end of 2021 patch and what CI are working on this quarter. There is a lot of uncertainty about exactly what will be in this patch especially with cloud imperium recently changing their release strategy and having features more fleshed out and worked on in Dev and Sq42 branches of the game and have actual tangible gameplay with them rather than just features in isolation.

We do have the Roadmap for 3.16… and we will go over what’s on that BUT it’s very possible that this might get a lot of changes. We do also have information from CitizenCon and CI about other features that are planned for 3.16… in fact they are pretty big things.

When are we going to see Alpha 3.16… we should see Evocati early December most likely and at least an Open PTU mid-late december before CI go on their Xmas and New Year’s Holiday. At least that’s what I would assume.

Let’s take a look at that 3.16 Roadmap Release View:

The Area 18 Hospital / Medical Unit will open up on ArcCorp and will have the same facilities as the others, a pharmacy for purchasing drugs and gear, medical room hire, also expect the landing zone there to get an emergency elevator too.

Weapon Handling and Player Stances seem to be a focus too. Sliding will allow players to traverse short distances by sling along the floor, assumedly this will take some stamina.

They are improving prone movement.

They are also updating weapon interaction for better customization of weapons and adding some more animations.

Possibility the most anticipated and delayed feature Salvage starts here on a small scale… 

The Multi-Tool Salvage Attachment will allow players to strip the hull of a ship or salvage spot and store those materials in a canister, they can also use this to repair ships.

It’s a pretty minor version of what we want the mechanic to eventually be BUT it’s an important step.

Laser Trip Mines are being added to the verse, this first iteration will have the mines at derelicts and POI or part of missions. Adding another obstacle for players to overcome.

Break the beam BOOM… tho you can use other objects to detonate them or just avoid…

There are some Ship features planned here as well.

Dynamic door alignment aims to tackle issues with ramps and elevators on ships and having them work on all terrain. So now they should touch the ground and then clip or deform into a surface a bit so they are more readily useable by vehicles & players.

There is some engine modularity planned for the M50 allowing the component to be swapped out for different ones. Assumedly this will be a service at Cousin Crows Custom Craft at Orison.

But it’s quite possible we could see some other bits at the same time with Ship customization from that area.

Shield Emitters are a new physicalized component that do their namesake. These can be targeted and destroyed meaning that they cant produce shields on that face of the ship or in the case of bubble shields the whole ship would lose shields.

Shield Generators are still used providing the juice and stats for the shields.

The last thing currently on the Roadmap is the long awaited Hull-C.

The ship is a large hauling vessel… The Ship expands out to have spindles that can take large cargo containers.

In the short term we are unsure how cargo will be handled for it, it will probably just spawn in containers when you purchase commodities… but we do know that CI are moving toward a more physicalized cargo over the next few quarters and they want times and costs associated with loading and unloading of cargo as well as appropriate facilities to do that.. And some of the containers on the Hull-C are likely to be pretty big.

So that’s what was on the Roadmap and thats a bit up in the air atm… however we do have some more information from CitizenCon about what CI wanted to get in for the end of the year and Alpha 3.16.

They’ve said they want to get deeper Selling into the game… so the ability to sell looted items, weapons, suits of armor that you might of been collecting.

This is actually pretty big, short term it might give you more reasons to attack and loot ships or spend time in an area taking all the weapons off the bodies you’ve just cleared out.

Another feature that takes several forms is Quantum Dynamic Universe Updates that are planned.

The Universe Sim will be in control of the prices of Fuel both plasma and quantum as well as repair costs AND all their associated trade goods… These prices will fluctuate by the amount of activity in an area, this will be partially simulated.

The System will also be fully in control of Combat Assist Service Beacons, their frequency and make up will be based on the area and activity in question.

Encounter frequencies with miners, security and pirates will also be dictated by this system.

It takes into account activity in the area, are there lots of people mining or doing a mission… pirates start to turn up to attack the miners, then security try to counter the pirates and all of these forces are pulled around… eventually the viability of mining will decrease either because the mineables are running low, costs are too high OR the perceived risk is too high. 

That will in turn make the pirates start to leave. Players fighting pirates or security and doing  missions in the area will have an effect too.

Connected to the economy and some dynamism is the event JumpTown v2 which was implied to be coming with Alpha 3.16 if it was ready. This has an outpost producing free crates of a valuable commodity (probably a narcotic) over a period of time.

The event will be announced on the server somehow I believe. It can be at various locations, for different periods of time and for different commodities.

And will trigger based on that outposts sales activity… when it hits a certain level the event starts. Something else that CI talked about at the same time was modding shops so that it was easier to buy and sell larger quantities of these items if necessary… 

We do also know that Star Citizen is phasing in more Gen12 Renderer elements so prettier more efficient effects and graphics.

So what else might we see?

Well there is the possibility of some new variants or straight to flyable ships / vehicles with 3.16.

Events beyond just JumpTown V2 in the 3.16 cycle are likely as well in my opinion. Maybe an evolved NineTails Lockdown and even XenoThreat V3.

It’s also likely that there will be missions added to support some of the new gameplay and evolve the current.

We also know that CI are trying to re-add variety in components again and further balance.

Hopefully they will also get some improvements to AI and Desync.

I heard rumors of sub-system targeting improvements… which kind of makes sense if we have shield emitters but theres nothing concrete.

Again an I reckon but Vehicle In Ship Spawning allowing us to pre-select a vehicle in our ships in the VMA would be super useful in 3.16, especially as all vehicles and ships are delivered to your home location and some (like Area18) don’t have vehicle pads.

The biggest hope I have for 3.16 is that it isn’t broken… it’s the end of year patch and that means a few weeks of Star Citizen not really having any patches or bug fixes. Having a largely playable patch with nothing massively game breaking is a must.
Boom, that’s it for my Alpha 3.16 summary of what we are expecting to see currently.