Star Citizen Alpha 4.0 is the next major milestone in Star Citizen’s Development and it’s playable Persistent Universe. And is potentially going to be in Players hands by the end of 2022. That said it’s been at the end of the year 2020 & 2021 without it materialising.
But what is so important about Alpha 4.0 and what are the expectations here?
There are 3 main expectations for the patch for it to be dubbed 4.0 that is the New Star System Pyro, Server Meshing & Jump Points.
Star Citizen only has 1 star system currently, the Stanton System… it’s been using this to make a cross-section of content and the tools to build out all the other Star Systems in game and now CI have a large studio focused on creating gameplay area with Turbulent.
Pyro will be the next Star System added to the game as part of the 4.0 patch.
And it appears to be massive compared to the Stanton System with the scale and distance between it’s planets. CI had said they needed Ship to Ship Refuelling to be in before Pyro was added (this feature is currently planned for Alpha 3.17) partly due to the systems size and partly as it’s a less lawful system with minimal infrastructure.
The System has 6 planets that have 6 moons between them.
We saw some ret-conning of the Pyro System making one of the planets more habitable and more resource abundant for risk/reward gameplay and mining opportunities.
We saw Pyro 3 at CitizenCon 2021 where they showed a desert type planet with blue skies, clouds and new outposts that will help populate the frontier.
There is a major space station too, ruin station that will be a hub of activity in the System but the whole System is reasonably lawless save the rules set by any of the factions territory you may go into.
So you can very much suspect factional warfare and reputation to be extremely important as you interact with alien hating XenoThreat, the vigilante Overlords and the mad cultist Fire Rats.
And there are various abandoned and repurposed stations around that some of these factions have made their homes too. So you might be able to find some resupply services in the system BUT they are not going to be cheap or something you should rely on actually being able to get.
Something else CI have been working on for the system beyond new planets and biomes of them is the dangerous flare star there… which every so often will send out a dangerous pulse of radiation that you should avoid by hiding behind a asteroid or something… we don’t know exactly how deadly this will be but it will look cool I am sure!
Jump Points are an essential part of getting Pyro in the game or at least a Jump Point linking Stanton to Pyro is. Jump Points link Star Systems together across huge distances and allow ships that have a Jump Drive to move between them.
We have seen an early example of some of what we can expect from CitizenCon 2019.
CI have previously said a few things that may or may not of changed.
Jump Points will have a ship size limit… if you ship is too big, you’ll have to find another route, use another ship or maybe risk damaging yours? There will be a bit of a minigame or some skill to traversing jump points potentially, avoiding hitting the sides of the tunnel or other obstacles there… tho that said I do expect a more auto-feature as well… but we will have to wait and see.
The Jump Point areas have some form of infrastructure around them too… (not all jump points as some will be discoverable in the future).
We have seen the differences in how jump points will vary at CitizenCon 2022 as well with Stanton’s JP to Pyro being very calm and orderly looking… and the Pyro side being much more chaotic.
But boom you’ll be able to travel from Stanton to Pyro and vice-versa AND this may be where XenoThreat emerge from and retreat to.
We are expecting some form of Static Server Meshing or at Least Sharding allowing the transition between the 2 Star Systems. Now static Server meshing will allow a Star System, areas of space and planets to be run by different servers that then share information between them seamlessly. Thusly evolving the 50 players per server we have now into having many times that in players per system on the same mega server.
I mention sharding as it’s a necessary step towards SMing and allows for persistent data to move with players between servers but also stores things like base locations between all servers.
Technically you wouldn’t need full on server meshing to have Jump Points and Pyro BUT it’s still something that CI want to have with the Alpha 4.0 release and have been working on it for years. If you want to learn more about SMing, sharding and the solutions CI have to turn the game into an MMO and raise player counts on each server then you can checkout the CitizenCon 2021 presentation on that or my breakdown of it.
Now that is the rough sort of what makes up the core of the 4.0 patch but you can probably expect other features there too.
Those new Outposts on Pyro 3 are likely going to be used in other areas and we know that they are steps towards player bases and customizable habs… some of which may come at the same time… I think that we will be able to “live” at some of these outposts personally.
We know there will be a range of new missions, like the acquire the hadisain artefact one BUT also interacting and fighting with the factions around Pyro, Bounty Hunting, Pirate extermination… much higher risk vs reward missions, lots of PvP as there are less if any repercussions to fighting in Pyro.
A new star system is going to mean new opportunities for mining & cargo hauling as well as tracking for bounty hunting.
Could we see things like Physical Components or Vulkan Integration at the same time… potentially but it’s going to be based on whatever if ready at the same time.
And I’d expect that the core of 4.0 is the main thing that would want to be focused on.
That and getting all the missions and encounters hooked up and working.
Tho new ships and some more minor features are very likely.
Something I have seen a lot of talk about are animals like the microTech Yeti and Pyro Crabs seeing a lot of work too… so it would be great to see something even derpy this year.
From what CI have talked about at Citizencon 2021 and looking at the Roadmap it looks like Q4 2022 is a very strong possibility for the drop of the 4.0 patch… but realistically we don’t know for sure… it’s down to the whims of CI and how well feature development goes.
And that’s it at the very least we will see a lot of updates on Pyro, Server Meshing, Jump Points and many other features this year as Star Citizen continues to expand it’s development team and infrastructure moving to some new studios in Q1/Q2 2022 in the UK and Frankfurt.
As of January 2022 we know that a large portion of Pyro is complete and Server Meshing is a major development focus… work on jump points has been ongoing as well. I will keep you up to date on any developments but that looks to be the focus (when not talking about SQ42 anyway).