Star Citizen’s Roadmap Update has finally been released but it appears we are on the worst possible timeline, CI appear to want to phase out the extended Release View tho will still have a Release View for the next major patch. Let’s take a look at the changes:
They have temporarily removed some Features off the Roadmap because they are at risk or need some more time.
- Persistent Hangars & Hangar Manager App has been removed from Alpha 3.17 at least currently.
- Player Interaction Experience
- FPS Radar & Scanning
- Hacking – Tech
- EVA T2
- Zero G Push & Pull
- MISC Hull C
- NPC Taxi Mission T0
- Pirate Swarm / Vanduul Swarm Improvements
The important things to mention here is that 3.17 still currently has Expanded Selling, Ship to Ship Refuelling AND 3.18 still has Salvage.
Also they have added a Coffee Shop Vendor for 3.17
Area 18 is getting a new, interactable coffee shop. The AI will interact with three new usables – Hot drink dispenser, soft drink dispenser, and drinks fridge – to serve the player with a variety of new drinks.
CI certainly know how to add a feature that will be meme’d on.
So why have these features been “delayed” or at least removed from the roadmap?
The Core Gameplay Pillar has moved to focus exclusively on Squadron 42. Features developed by this team will be integrated into Squadron 42 first, and then migrated over to the Persistent Universe. This has a two-fold benefit: Squadron 42 will benefit greatly from the additional resources and dedicated focus, and the Persistent Universe will see features come online in a more complete and polished state.
Some Features have a dependency with the Persistent Streaming a core technology. While great progress is being made on this tech, the required completion of it puts a few features at risk like Persistent hangars.
Others just need more polish.
CI are planning on changing the Roadmap View to only show a single Release Patch… so we’d only see for example 3.17 until it was released. CI had a massive statement which we will delve into:
When we remade our Public Roadmap in 2020, our goal was to truly lift the veil on development and show the progress of our entire company, right down to all 50+ development teams and each (anonymized) developer on each specific team, so you could see what deliverable they were working on currently and planned for the next three quarters, for a full 12-month view on development. The Progress Tracker was the cornerstone of this initiative. With the introduction of this new view, we shared publicly a whopping 450+ features, across fifty-two teams. Today, we have decided to double-down on that commitment.
Showing nearly everything wasn’t our only major goal. Another big objective for us was to use our new Public Roadmap to better educate our community about how incredibly fluid game development truly is, and to help you understand that features and content shifting around (both forwards and backwards) is a natural state in software development. That kind of fluidity should not be seen as good or bad; it’s simply how development works, as shifting priorities, unforeseen blockers, unknown unknowns, unexpected technical hurdles, and normal R&D impacts timelines and development schedules. When these inevitable shifts happened in the past, we were frequently apprehensive
about how the community might take yet another delay. But when we unveiled the new Public Roadmap in December 2020, we decided we would no longer invest emotion and hesitation into our presentation of schedule changes but rather move them dispassionately. And in order to assure the community that development didn’t stop just because a feature got removed from a Patch Card, we pointed you all to the new Progress Tracker, so you could see that the devs were in fact still working on said feature, even if its expected delivery for a stated patch could no longer be committed to. This is why the Progress Tracker is meaningful. It doesn’t focus on estimates, targets, or desires, but instead shines a bright light on the actuality of what is.
Because our focus was very vocally shifting from delivery to progress, we also intentionally decided to minimize the importance of the Release View. We no longer wanted you or our developers to focus so much on when a feature was coming out, but to instead focus on what we were working on in the moment and what we planned to tackle next. That was the flaw of the old Public Roadmap; we only showed you what was coming, so we unintentionally told you that’s all that mattered. But with the total shift in the new Public Roadmap, it was time to focus on progress. That’s why the Progress Tracker is the first thing you see when you go to the Roadmap app on our site. We consider that our default Public Roadmap view.
We had considered removing the Release View entirely when the new Public Roadmap debuted. We felt the Progress Tracker did a much better job of showing what everyone was working on. And it was what we wanted everyone to now focus on, instead of unintended promises. The Progress Tracker was meant to be what you spend your time really diving into now. It is here that you can see when a feature leaves concepting and moves to integration, or when vehicle art is complete, and now VFX gets to dive in; the sequential changing of hands as content or features make their way through our development pipeline.
However, at the same time, we felt that while the focus should be on development progress, we also still saw value in showing players what features and content they could look forward to down the line, and when they could get their hands on them. Thus, the Release View remained. Instead of removing the Release View, we opted to add new functionality, where cards could be marked as Tentatively Planned or Committed. And in trying to preserve the legacy and maintain the precedence of the old Roadmap, we decided to still hold to a four-quarters-out Release View.
In hindsight, after living with this new Public Roadmap for the past 6 quarters, we’ve come to realize that this was a mistake. It put too much attention on features that had a high probability of shifting around. It has become abundantly clear to us that despite our best efforts to communicate the fluidity of development, and how features marked as Tentative should sincerely not be relied upon, the general focus of many of our most passionate players has continued to lead them to interpret anything on the Release View as a promise. We want to acknowledge that not all of you saw it that way; many took our new focus and our words to heart and understood exactly what we tried to convey. But there still remains a very loud contingent of Roadmap watchers who see projections as promises. And their continued noise every time we shift deliverables has become a distraction both internally at CIG and within our community, as well as to prospective Star Citizen fans watching from the sidelines at our Open Development communications.
Rather than continuing to display release projections that carry a high percentage chance of moving (those multiple quarters out), we will no longer show any deliverables in the Release View for any patches beyond the immediate one in the next quarter. Even though we always added a caveat that a card could move, we feel now that it’s better to just not put a deliverable on Release View until we can truly commit to it. We’re going to emphasise more strongly than ever that you should focus your attention on our Progress Tracker, which has been our continued goal. Going forward (starting after Alpha 3.18), we’ll only add cards on Release View one quarter out. Our process remains the same for updating a feature’s status: cards on Release View will be listed as Tentative until they pass their final review, in which they are marked as committed upon passing. This is no different than how things are handled today.
I am glad that CI are still sharing at least the one patch in the form of a release view… I feel that the changes planned may further obscure development.
You said that the Progress Tracker shines a bright light on the actuality of what is BUT it currently doesn’t, I am all up for new ways of conveying information and if they are evolving that great. I hold potentially unpopular opinion that even if they don’t hit all of the features on a major patch they had planned it still shows what there plans were and what they missed and explains why… I feel this takes away a bit more from their accountability BUT I am open to them trying something new and maybe some updates to the Progress Tracker will actually make sense.
I do think CI are correct to make a statement and say look… these patches are massively in flux so we can’t really pin them down at the moment.
How that changes our content, we still will be able to see the next major patch in some details AND beyond that well I suppose we will look at all the features that were completed on the Progress Tracker in the quarter before a major patch and that might suggest that they could be in that patch but it’s all speculation.