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CitizenCon 2022 – Chris Roberts On HUGE Changes Coming To Star Citizen

At Star Citizen’s CitizenCon 2022 – Chris Roberts talked about the huge amount of work that’s going into SQ42 and this will be improving Star Citizen’s PU, but its features that are being actively worked on now… this was a talk that lasted over 2 hours, so let me summarise all of that juicy information BUT I’ll also link the full VOD below.

These Features are being tested and polished in the SQ42 game branch before coming to the PU, this means features are more meaty and more functional before getting into players hands than previously.

They are still very much wanting to keep SQ42 info close to their chest but we got a big development update and some sneak peeks.

There is a big redesign for the HuDs & MFDs which will be a lot different from what we have now, some of this may be shared between your ship and visor. It’s going to be loadout dependent. It’s being rolled out to all the ships in SQ42 first…

They are hoping everything comes together over the next couple of years… which may imply that is a rough expectation of when SQ42 Episode 1 will be ready… maybe?

They are improving the Player Interaction System, making it easier for you to open doors, grab items, interact with objects or electronics. Also making persistence more pertinent. They want physical puzzles to be easy to interact with. A lot of functionality will be more intuitive and less clunky.

It’s a weighted system, you don’t have to look at precisely what you want to interact with, you’ll quickly be able to push a trolley, or grab a cup.

You’ll also be able to set default actions but you’ll still be able to have complex interactions if you want too.

FPS Radar & Scanning has been split. Quick scan will allow you to ping and quickly see POIs / important objects, doors, vents and tag them and tell you more about each item. Allowing for detail and scale to persist without getting too complex.

Charged scanning will ping out wider areas, allowing you to see objectives or details on characters through walls. This will make it quite obvious at range that you have activated a scan and your location to any form of scanner. So might be dangerous if you are trying to be stealthy and SQ42 is very much not a run and gun shooter. In PvP this will be EXTREMELY obvious that you have been pinged by another player.

Ledges & Ladders have seen a load of improvements along with the traversal experience. You’ll be able to grab onto nearby ledges and jump to them, it’s a lot more forgiving. You can also use items on ladders and have a much greater range of movement, you can even jump onto or off a ladder.

They have action queuing coming too, allowing for more intuitive fluid controls and movement across multiple control devices.

EVA (T2) has been overhauled, your momentum carries, you can pull and push your way around. It’s fully decoupled, your suit acts as a tiny spaceship… as long as you have an EVA pack and it will be limited on fuel.

You can crawl around on the outside of ships and structures or push off.

You can use tractor beams too to help you move. All the animations and movements are systemic. This will also work in close tight environments too.

What you wear will be important, you won’t be able to seat in a small seat in heavy armour for example. Storage is important. You’ll have able to quickly setup outfits and change clothing / gear.

Hover Trolleys will be a real improvement for moving freight, cargo, items and for puzzles allowing for traversal opportunities. Physicalized cargo will be in alpha 3.18 but after that there will be more ways to move larger cargo and load containers with multiple items.

Logistics will be an important part of the game. From field repairs of ships and vehicles to resupplying ammo. Hover Trolleys will come in various sizes from small to eventually massive. You’ll be able to snap cargo / items to a trolley easily.

CI have been improving their Cockpit Experience. The new master modes help with this and they have streamlined the amount of stuff on the HUD and MFDs to be relevant and not clog up the screen real estate.

You’ll have options of exactly what to display to some extent. They are not ready to show this off yet. They want targeting to be more simple as well and not to be swamped with target markers, putting more focus on the radar BUT also using all the tools and diegetic mechanics at your disposal.

The new Starmap is currently in development. 

The Starmap and Radar will become somewhat blended as you’ll be able to zoom out / in from system view all the way to very close and you’ll be able to select targets from your radar more easily. There will be a good level of customization to this too.

You’ll have a “passive” radar for 100km and then a wider scan for a much longer distance.

They are looking forward to opening up Exploration in the game as well with the master modes and Quantum Boost, there will be various things to find in space that you can go off piste. So now random pockets of space will also have content. You’ll just be able to travel around without markers / waypoints.

The minimap will give you a 3d isometric view in FPS via your HUD or mobiglas.

It will give you some contextual pathfinding with a map in areas you know OR allow you to map an area you’ve never been to, there may be terminals where you can download maps.

Some maps will be readily available, some you’ll have to map yourself. They showed a detailed minimap on board the Idris. You can also get a load more information from scanning finding out states of doors, characters, items, there is so much info.

The Combat AI have been greatly changed, they threw away their old combat AI systems… really they have reworked and improved them hugely, so that they are another beast now. Previously it’s been a bit spaghetti’d and never really been refined.

That’s changing the work they are doing in SQ42 and with Server Meshing should make the AI actually complex and interesting. It’s been a long slog for them but they want the AI to be systemic in their behaviours.

AI are now able to track players, communicate with each other, they react differently to various sounds, they have mixed group tactics for combat, there is a huge amount of variety and a high level of difficulty potentially… they aren’t going to be insta-headshotting you, they are more human and tactical, tho thats based on the AI skill and type you are fighting, SQ42 is very much not a run and gun game. 

When searching for a player they will actively clear a room, check areas, corners, behind objects… it’s all systemic. If the AI are threatened and know a hostile is around they will be more perceptive.

The basics of combat AI are now archetypes of Pusher, Strafer and Defenders and the AI focus on that style of combat when engaged, and it’s weighted so there are a mix of styles in an AI encounter.

A lot of this is already in the game and they are going to be working on medic behaviours in the near future along with advanced combat behaviours.

AI are able to jump over terrain, use ladders, hide ect… too.

These archetypes and styles will also affect Spaceship AI and Combat too… it’s the same ethos.

CI are extremely proud of their Social AI, wild lines, conversations that NPCs have and scenes that play out in Squadron 42 between characters systemically. Again this will also be in the PU.

Previously Star Citizen was going to be entirely personal skill based but it appears that CI have now decided to have some character progression with attributes and techniques.

There are Stats that players can improve, there are 4 physical attributes:

Strength – Lift heavy things and run with them… means you can do that better but also you can carry more.

Agility – You can swap weapons quicker

Endurance – Resistance to the environmental factors and need for food, Resistance to G-Force

Fitness – Run and swim longer / faster.

Basically these will give small buffs to your ability to do things in the game and you improve them by doing that type of activity more.

Is there an in game gym?! Probably…

Stat improvements are going to give you overpowered advantages in combat.

Techniques are another way you will improve as you play for example takedowns, the first time you take a character down it’s going to be a bit sloppy… after you’ve done a few you’ll get a bit better and have a quicker better looking animation.

There will also be improvements for melee combat with HTH or with knives… maybe even new moves you can learn.

AI will also have attributes and techniques.

This can all be tracked on your mobiGlas… there is basically a fitness app.

The mobiGlass has also been reworked, currently the new one is in Sq42 and is a cutdown military mobiGlas. It looks much better and has better access and ergonomics for users. It will blend various apps, the galatapedia, objectives, emails, health, ship status, environment etc… with this foundation they are able to add more apps and evolve the mobiGlas further.

All of these features are things that CI are working on now and tweaking and this is just a snapshot of some of the things they are developing and that are coming to the PU. Chris said although building 2 games simultaneously is challenging it is also rewarding and gives them a unique scope as they support each other. It’s the best job in the world… the community allow them build the games they want. They wish they could work faster… but they are working hard.

They do read all the feedback and will further improve all parts of the game.

There are alot of game changers in the pipeline.