Star Citizen Alpha 3.17 is planned to get the first true implementation of the Quanta System this is the start of the Dynamic Universe and ties into many things. Today I wanted to talk about exactly what the Quanta System is, why is it important, what we are getting in 3.17 and what lies beyond.
What is the Quanta System?
The Quanta System is not the name we should be using the Dynamic Universe Sim or Quantum System are better names.
The System dynamically changes and affects all aspects of the games economy, mission generation, encounters and NPCs physicalizion / tracking to be appropriate to what’s happening in the game world BUT both simulate and physicalize when necessary.
The Importance of Quanta
Quanta are part of this system, they are lightweight NPCs that are tracked to varying degrees as well as data relating to probability volumes that help generate encounters.
Let me give you an example of Probability Volumes you’ll have an area of space that you are travelling thru.
There are lots of security forces there in an area where lots of successful bounty hunting missions have been completed, this means you may be less likely to see criminals or pirates but more likely to see security forces and get scanned.
If an area has a newly discovered ore vein, that will attract NPCs or Quanta to mine that area. This in turn have pirate quanta attacking those miners, then security forces respond.
The probability volumes track this data and appropriate respond with events and encounters.
What Are We Getting In Alpha 3.17?
In Alpha 3.17 we are getting the Start of these Quanta.
Quantum and Hydrogen Fuel will be dynamically priced and controlled by the system as will the costs of repair. This will be affected by activity in an area, the busier it is, the higher the cost of fuel will go. If there is a lot of combat, repair prices will go up.
This is compounded by the system also dealing with NPC service beacons and tracking security forces, pirates and freighters / miners.
So services beacons will appropriately reflect the state of the balance between
Security vs pirates vs opportunity to attack tasty civilians.
Player activity like dealing with pirates will then make them less likely to turn up as some are dead and others don’t want the risk. If players are very active mining then it’s likely that there will be more pirates around as they will also be simulating NPCs mining and being targeted.
This is suppose to be being tracked in a dozen or so locations in 3.17… however the end goal is this will be tracked everywhere and tied in to a huge amount more…
What Else Will It Evolve Into?
The system will eventually enable individual NPCs to become tracked to a greater level and become more important to the sim.
You have a pirate that gets encountered by a player as part of a bounty hunt but that pirate gets away… well the system will still track and simulate his involvement with other Quanta, he might start building up a much larger bounty as he takes out more miners.
This system will also track his needing to land, repair, rearm and rest. So a prospective bounty hunter could maybe find him at GrimHex when he is out of his ship.
Not all NPCs will be tracked in this way, some will very much be background noise but the quantum system differentiates between NPCs or Quanta that are simulated, tracked and physicalized for the player.
Quanta will all have their own desires or at least stats attributed to them that influence what they will do for jobs. How risk averse they are, could they turn into pirates, miners, bounty hunters, it’s all based on supply, demand, risk, and opportunity as well as their personal tastes etc… Wages on planets, danger, the state of the economy and much more can all affect these individual quanta but then at the scale of 1000s – 10ks of them being tracked at once.
These systems will drive prices in the economy which will in turn drive quanta to do different jobs potentially.
Missions & Service Beacons will be generated based on the data and needs of the system to reflect what is going on in the Verse.
Dynamic Events can be directly affected, triggered and evolve based on Quanta and the state of the verse. XenoThreat for example could amass a force and attack Stanton after they are left too long without bounty hunting or keeping their forces in check in Pyro.
This would then trigger that XenoThreat Event but the outcome of that would be much more important and actually affect how long and how many pirates are in the Stanton System.
There would be knockon effects to the economy as fuel prices rise along with ship repair costs, ammo etc… as these items are used in the ongoing fight.
Medical Supplies might be very valuable but conversely dangerous to bring in.
It’s the same for the triggering and tracking of jumptown.
For me the Dynamic Universe Sim and Quanta start to bring all of the important elements together of the economy, mission generation and adventure. It will start to drive gameplay and allow for a constant stream of content to participate in… at least eventually.
Because eventually when it focuses more on the economy you’ll have the commodities being mined being converted into goods, then missions and npcs will move these goods around the verse to be made into other goods and that will affect the price and stock of individual shops. Lose a ship, that will have to be replaced as well weapons and ammo… too many pirates around an area… you might not be getting supplies thru to a planet and it might run low on certain goods and prices skyrocket.
The opportunities for Cargo Hauling based on the changing universe are pretty exciting but then you have to think about escorts. It’s just all of those systems being interconnected and affecting each other. It’s not just the simulation of those NPCs it’s a full blown economy, mission and empire sim.
Star Citizen very much still needs to build on it’s AI and NPC physicalization and pathfinding and that is being worked on as is more on Quanta and the Dynamic Universe… expect to see and hear a lot more about these systems over the coming months but Alpha 3.17 should represent a major step forward.