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Star Citizen March Dev Update – Rivers Coming To Alpha 3.17

Welcome to some more Star Citizen with a double whammy of development updates for you today… we have the very brief yet important Roadmap Update and a Summary of Star Cititizen’s Persistent Universe Monthly Report looking at what CI have been working on over the last few weeks and what they are focused on now.

Roadmap Roundup

Star Citizen Alpha 3.17 which is due to start being tested in the next few weeks is getting Rivers… with the description of the Feature here being – This tool allows rivers and basins to be further developed and readied for production use, in order to enhance the ecosystems of our planets. The first implementation of this in the persistent universe is microTech’s river.

So only 1 river to start with but I didn’t think they were going to have them in yet… The development gods are kind today.

On the Progress Tracker The Dynamic Mission System has been added this will allow select mission types to be dynamically tailored to the current environment (and Quantum at a later date). These missions will be customizable and payment will accurately reflect the distance traveled and risk involved. This has been added to the Mission Feature Team’s schedule and is targeted for completion end of September.

This is a big part of making Star Citizen an engaging MMo and having lots of stuff for players to do.

PU Monthly Report

Let’s move onto the Monthly Report 


Over the last few weeks the the Montreal-based Locations team completed their work on the new medical locations, with the Maria Pure of Heart hospital on Lorville and the space clinic variations now ready for release. Levski’s hospital is considered complete for the time being, though the team will return for a final polish and debug pass closer to its release.

After completing the medical locations the team moved onto derelict settlements, completing the whitebox stage for the first proof-of-concept location based around a crashed Aegis Reclaimer. This first settlement is a way to build and validate a full production pipeline to eventually produce derelict settlements on a larger scale. The Art team is creating the visual target, the Design team began learning the mission system and Subsumption to allow them to populate the locations with gameplay, and the Tools team is building a suite of procedural tools to improve productivity and quality. The artists also began looking at a potential crash site with the Crusader Mercury and Origin 600i.

A rework of Lorville’s cityscape kicked off too. The objective is to first upgrade the visual quality of the cityscape and then pave the way for larger buildings with interiors. The current scale of the buildings prevents building interiors with gameplay inside them. By scaling them up, the team will be able to add interiors as needed.

The Tools Team supported the Locations team with derelict settlements, iterating on tools to help with asset scattering. The Art team will use this tool to quickly scatter assets like ship debris and VFX to create interesting-looking locations. This tool will also be used in the production of other locations, like derelict outposts.  

The UI team progressed with the visuals and underlying features of the new Starmap. This included creating an in-editor concept and implementing the controls and marker icon transitions.

Sandbox 1

The Sandbox team moved the new outposts down the pipeline and began playtesting with the wider team. Outposts are being placed on Pyro 3 for initial testing and layouts. Makeup and composition progressed, with Design iterating on feedback to the solidify gameplay experience.

“There’s still a way to go to a polished experience but it’s great to be able to play this as a more complete product than we have in the past.” Sandbox Team

The team also began to add a wider variety of static modules to mix up the sub-themes scattered around the outskirts of the outposts.

Elsewhere, Art began early whitebox on derelict outpost variations. The team want to give a feeling of age and history, so they’re creating several smaller exploration-driven spaces alongside the main occupied buildings.

Further work was done on Pyro’s skybox and Stanton’s Lagrange points too. The team also began pre-production on a wider variety of space debris and interesting space structures that will allow them to create more interesting exploration opportunities in space.


Narrative continued scripting and capturing dialogue for an upcoming Dynamic Event. With multiple characters and several non-linear objectives, it’s one of the more complicated event scripts to date and required close coordination to ensure that every possible gameplay trigger was accounted for.

The team also supported Design on various upcoming features, like refueling, that require text, hints, and items. Additionally, new documentation was created for branding and environmental storytelling throughout the universe, including the Pyro system. Another focus was on proposing new mission character archetypes, with the hopes of eventually populating locations with new ways to interact with NPCs and find missions.


Lighting began working on a major event planned for later in the year, progressing with various minor areas before the key locations are available for a full pass.

Progress was made on Pyro’s space stations, with the team focusing on look-dev work towards the colder and less hospitable corners of the locations.

Art (Ships)

The UK-based Ship team progressed with the MISC Hull A, finalizing the interior lighting, completing LODs, and working on the damage pass.  

The RSI Scorpius is close to final-art complete. The wings were finished and added to the main body with working animations, while the cockpit is currently in the polish phase with the final details being added. The LOD and damage passes are underway too.

The Banu Merchantman is now whitebox-complete and due to start greybox. The team are currently researching and developing materials to establish the ship’s final look.

Finally, two unannounced vehicles are approaching greybox and final art respectively. The latter received work on the LODs and will receive final lighting, tints, and damage passes shortly.

In the US, the team spent most of their time finishing out the Drake Vulture, creating a series of paints and cut-in patterns to allow for a wider range of customization options. After addressing bugs, most of the team moved to finalizing LODs.

They also worked to create a quality bar for the Drake Corsair. An updated kit was created and the cockpit and mess hall were brought to final art. They also made design changes to the ship’s layout after seeing that some areas were negatively affecting the player experience, such as trapping players in the cockpit and manned turrets.

Features (Characters & Weapons) 

Throughout February, the Features team continued to develop salvage gameplay.

“The use of damage mapping, which was mentioned in a previous report, is showing a lot of promise. However, there is still work to be done to reach the level of fidelity and persistence we are looking for visually. The actual gameplay is progressing well too.” Features Team

Currently, the Multi-Tool (with salvage attachment) is used to salvage material from physical parts with damage maps and reapply the same material to repair them. Work also began on a dedicated salvage/repair tool that will offer better stats compared to the Multi-Tool attachment.

On the technical side, the team looked into improving movement synchronization when viewing other players. 

The priority is always to tackle complete-desync bugs where a player doesn’t appear at all in the correct place, though this work involves improving how other players appear on a client’s screen. The team are aiming to achieve improved fidelity without increasing latency and last month saw locally simulated characters reliably playing locomotion stop animations.

Features (Gameplay) 

The EU PU team continued their polish work and integration tasks for refueling, which is launching in Alpha 3.17. Development also continued on the life support system and engineering gameplay. The team also took over vehicle functionalities for the salvage mechanic.

The Weapons team continued to work on the extinguisher required for fire gameplay.

They’re currently wrapping up final art on the dedicated salvage tool.

Features (Vehicles)

The Vehicle Feature team focused on technical initiatives for future releases throughout February. This included the transit system, which requires a rework to function under server meshing. This is because transit carriages need to simulate and continue operating when no one is around. This was previously solved by ensuring the carriages never stream out, unlike most objects. However, this isn’t possible with server meshing, so the team are exploring solutions to allow them to simulate when no one is around.

Improvements were also made to restricted areas, which involved reworking tools for the level designers to create restricted areas faster and easier. However, this will result in functional changes for players at some point. Minor improvements and updates were also made to features relating to upcoming ships.

Vehicle Tech

Vehicle Tech began February by fixing bugs for an upcoming release, including many issues involving network sync, vehicle damage, doors and elevators, and itemport validations.

Improved tools are being made to make implementing and fixing issues with doors and elevators easier, both within vehicles and space stations. When complete, it will help the developers fix issues without having to know the technical properties of these highly logic-driven items.


Last month, VFX continued their work on salvage effects, including using particle emitter strength curves to show when there’s nothing left to salvage in a chosen area. Aside from the gaping hole in the hull, the ember and particulate matter will stop spawning from the impact area. The artists are collaborating with the Weapons Feature team to create the best possible player experience when this feature goes live in a future release.

Elsewhere, pre-production was completed and production began on the MISC Hull A. An effects pass was done on the Maria Pure of Heart hospital, including a purification scanner that sterilizes the player when passing through the entrance. Effects support was given to a new destructible prop too.

Systemic Services & Tools

Systemic Services & Tools (SST) continued to work on various internal tools, wrapping up the development of automation and scheduling for Dynamic Events, which will be used when manual activation isn’t appropriate.

Service-wise, they expanded the NPC tracker service to include various in-game events and make them available for future use.

Support for the selling feature continued, with SST working closely with the gameplay teams on the final elements, edge cases, and general polish.


The Animation team worked through issues with vendors, security, vending machines, and cowering/surrender. They also progressed with general security and emote facial animations.

Art (Characters)

Character Art worked on a Subscriber flightsuit for Q3 and continued to develop the frontier outfits debuting with Pyro. They also created Nine Tails-themed material variants for use later in the year.

Concept Art wrapped up work on a salvage-specialist backpack and a selection of Pyro gang outfits before moving onto frontier outfits with the artists.

The New DNA System continues to be upgraded and they pushing for higher fidelity in their character models and movements.


Development of the overhauled Community Hub continues, and the team is very excited to show more on this soon.

The Player Relations team are also recruiting extensively for Live QA, tripling the number of team members to improve service stability and publish quality.

Turbulent (Game Services)

Turbulent’s Online Services team split their time between anti-cheat, login flow, and reputation system initiatives:

For anti-cheat, they implemented the new SDK to solve issues for Linux and Windows users using special characters. Anti-cheat logs have also been closely monitored and several hotfixes were made in preparation for infraction enforcement.

The login and document services were finalized for the overall login flow. These services constitute around a third of the overall effort needed for this project that aims to improve performance and fits into the wider global server-meshing project.

Following significant engagement during community events, performance improvements were made to the reputation service. The team also took the opportunity to shift the stack to follow changes in the stack made for server meshing.

The Live Tools team transitioned one of the key dev tools to new hosting technology, delivering minor feature improvements along the way. The Hex project (Game Master tool) made significant progress throughout the month, shifting the network operation center to its new UI and enabling all other tools in Hex to leverage the new UI structure.

Turbulent (Web Platform)

Last month, Turbulent pushed forward with backlog and tech-debt cleanup in preparation for the year ahead. They also worked to resolve current issues as well as expand the library to evolve components and give a more structured design system. They also prepared for upcoming in-game events, adding new features to better showcase vehicles.

Boom that’s it for you Roadmap & Monthly Report Updates today.