Hello & welcome to some more Star Citizen, the Roadmap shows various things that CI are working on for the next major patch and currently the one after that as well so 3.17 and 3.18 but it also has a load of what CI say is important development information on the Progress Tracker. I wanted to talk about some highlights of what Features and work is expected to be completed during Q1 of this year and what that means for the game as well as what’s currently shown in Alpha 3.17 & 3.18.
So let’s take a brief look at Alpha 3.17 and 3.18 and what’s currently planned for them… more features are likely going to turn up and it’s always possible features will get delayed.
What’s Left For Alpha 3.17?
MISC Hull A
DNA Head Texture Update
Lorville Maria Pure of Heart Hospital
Coffee Shop Vendor
Ship To Ship Refueling
Selling Items to Shops
What’s Left for Alpha 3.18? Well there are only a few features currently planned for 3.18… with CI being expected to add a load more once 3.17 is out. As they are then able to more accurately confirm what’s there. So currently we have 2 of the most important features for this year.
Cargo System Refactor
Salvage Tool Attachment
Let’s now focus on Highlights for work on the Progress Tracker that’s completing in Q1. Some of this may of already been complete, some might need more work before being implemented in a patch, some might be seen in Alpha 3.17, 3.18 and later this year BUT it doesn’t currently have a patch that it is targeted for. Some of these features still might need other features to come online or to go thru the SQ42 pipeline before coming to the PU, so just bare that in mind.
There are features like Atmospheric Pressure Damage players/NPCs or ships will receive damage in situations where the exterior pressure exceeds the pressure resistance of the corresponding ship/armor/suit.
The Banu Merchantman has some of it’s work completing in Q1 from the Concept and Weapons content teams… it still has further work scheduled in until the end of Q2.
We see bombs completed here and we know that CI are working on Cluster Bombs too.
Bounty Hunting V2 work started in Q1 and plans to run into Q3 –
Enabling players to track criminals via a mobiGlas security app linked to distress beacons, comm arrays, air traffic control systems, cameras, and NPC informants. This will rely on various new backend tech, including Virtual AI, the NPC Scheduler, and Security Service. This ties into the to the NPC Tracker Service which saw work completed on it in Jan.
There are loads of AI & NPC Improvements, making them feel less stiff and robotic as well as adding to their behaviors and interactivity while also giving them more awareness of their surroundings.
They are adding more NPC archetypes like Hospital Surgeons… and making the shopping experience more enjoyable. As well as getting NPCs to use Arcade Machines and Vending Machines.
I do also want to mention the Illegal Goods Dealer – This ‘Goods Dealer’ is a new roaming ‘Vendor’ AI behaviour that brokers illegal products, located mostly wandering around shadowy and secretive areas, this dealer trades without a license or permission and is always on the lookout for security. (Completed end of Dec 2021)
There is also work wrapping up on having NPCs be able to move around planets and pathfind more easily, as well as land ships and move between planet to ground.
New Homestead Outposts might be largely completed by the end of March – A small home for AI to live and shelter. They consist of a central hub and a few optional internal and external modules. They provide the basic necessities to support a small group of people for an indefinite amount of time.
Fire Hazard & fire extinguisher work looks to be wrapping up… this could be great news for more interesting missions in game as well as damage control on ships.
The T1 version of the Gen12 Renderer looks to be wrapping up… it will require more work before fully implemented in game and we have that tasty Vulkan integration however each major patch will see more tangible updates.
Work on Dedicated Tractor and Salvage Tools are wrapping up too.
As we are on the Road to Pyro work on Jump Point Spacescaping may already be complete.
As is work on Lava Tech – Modifying and tuning river tech to produce impressive lava rivers and lakes.
And with that in mind current work on Rivers and basins should be wrapping up now with work on Roads wrapping up in Q2… that said we don’t know what’s then needed to integrate them into the planetary pipeline and into our hands.
Long Distance Probing is being worked on by the Systemic Services and Tools Team –
This feature will allow players to launch quantum-traveling probes that can detect signatures at extreme ranges far beyond the reach of ship scanners. The signatures can ultimately be used to identify point-of-interest and plan quantum travel.
Concept Work on the Hull D should conclude later in the month.
There are lots of Player interaction improvements and updates to things like the QT experience and Reputation Updates that will have your Rep driving AI hostility.
There was Rescue / Transport Mission work that looked to be completed in Jan – Taking advantage of AI follow behaviors to create missions where players transport customers from one location to another, along with prototype missions where player must rescue imperiled clients from dangerous situations and escort them to safety.
What may be our first truly physicalized component beyond weapons shield emmiters look to be wrapping up in March – This will be Converting ship shield-emitters into physical objects that can be targeted and destroyed, giving players the ability to permanently disable enemy shields.
There is lots of various work on server meshing and it’s prerequisites completing, this ranges from updating the ATC services to having a robust asset reference database.
Hybrid Service work wraps ups – Moves the network code’s Replication Layer out of the Dedicated Game Server (DGS) and into a stand-alone service. This service is referred to as the Hybrid, as later versions of Server Meshing will split it into component services handling different aspects of the Replication Layer’s functionality. The first version of Server Meshing will use the Hybrid service to manage client and server streaming, replication of networked state between clients and servers, and persisting state changes to the EntityGraph.
Work should be completing on the DGS Crash Recovery Service – When a Dedicated Game Server (DGS) crashes, this system will spin-up a replacement DGS and restore its state from the Replication Layer.
The Network Team have been working on Atlas which adds functionality that splits the game up into multiple manageble regions (known as territories) which are then provided to the Replicant functions Dedicated Game Servers (DGS). This puts sharding and the replication layer in a good position.
What is sharding / replication layer?
There are various features completing that are important for the new inventory system and tying it into the cargo refactor and server meshing.
I think it’s safe to say that Server Meshing, Pyro & NPC/AI Features are the focus for the PU this year or at least currently. With the changes to the Roadmap we will be looking at the Progress Tracker a lot more, hopefully CI will give us a bit more context to what additional work a feature might need once it’s completed it’s listed work on the tracker.
Boom that’s it for this look at the Roadmap for Q1, I am very much looking forward to Server Meshing updates and Pyro getting added to the Game, I hope that we see that at the end of the year. But what do you think? Will we see the Cargo reFactor and Salvage later this year? Will Alpha 3.17 be a solid patch or are we going to constantly see delays and features just out of reach? Are you looking forward to anything Banu Merchantman related?
What would you like to see CI add to the Progress Tracker? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.