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Star Citizen Alpha 3.18 Even More New Features – Ares Ion & Ship Updates

Welcome to some more Star Citizen Updates… we have new features for Alpha 3.18, a Roadmap Update, Alpha 3.17.4 in testing as the IAE approaches.

We also have some dev responses about the Gen12 Renderer and yet another on the Ares Ion. 

We’ve had some new features added to Alpha 3.18 this week with Star Citizen’s Roadmap Update:

Time Trial Race Missions are being added throughout the Stanton System. Players will be able to test their skills versus set times, earning rewards based on performance and even unlocking more tracks as they progress.

Gen12 Scene Renderer – New Rendering Architecture to improve performance. This milestone renders every scene object through the new renderer, with optimizations and additional features, such as Vulkan, coming in the future.

Sandbox Prison Activities have been 100% confirmed for 3.18 now too as it’s passed it’s final review this is the Expansion of prison gameplay with a new suite of missions and sandbox activities to give inmates more opportunities to earn merits or to aid in their escape from prison.

Beyond 3.18… The Crusader Spirit was added to the progress Tracker. This appears to be all 3 of the Series… Currently Scheduled work wraps up mid June 2023.

The Anvil Legionnaire is awaiting a gameplay dependency from Squadron 42, so has been temporarily removed from the Progress Tracker until they know more.

A Spectrum User said they were concerned the Corsair hasn’t technically been committed for 3.17.4 yet but CIG responded:

No need! The roadmap is updated based on data we pull about a week prior. It just hadn’t had its final review yet.

Again on the various 3.18 features that are planned but are yet to be committed for the patch CIG said:

Committed status only gets switched on once the features have passed their final reviews. As of this update, these haven’t had their reviews yet.

Star Citizen Alpha 3.17.4 has gone into PTU testing making sure the Expo Halls work for the IAE… there isn’t that much in the way of spoilers here. Just the red color scheme and branding. There were problems with the first test being extremely crashy and there were a load of fixes for that in the current test for that as well as various polish to the expo hall itself.

The 2952 IAE starts proper on the 18th November at 4pm UTC.

It was confirmed there are no plans for any additional referral / recruitment bonuses for this years IAE.

I’ve got some juicy Dev Responses for you as well:

Is 3.18’s Gen12 update the complete iteration? Or will it be split across many patches?

Silvan CIG Responded – Gen12 is split across many patches.

The first Gen12 code was in 3.14 which was just post processing effects.

3.17 had all static geometry rendered with Gen12 but transparent objects and other stuff was still on legacy.

3.18 will have all scene geometry and many more passes rendered in Gen12.

On top of that we managed to get the pipeline centric rendering working as well, which is a very specialized codepath to render one single view (imagine the main view or an rtt or a cubemap).

Both of these combined and no longer having to render legacy+gen12 at the same time will improve RenderThread performance massively.

How much this will have an affect on your overall framerate we still don’t know. We’ve never tested it in a full release environment, but im eager to see some analysis from you once it’s in your hands:)

There are still a few more passes to port:

– GPUSkinning

– Lensflares

– Damagemap rendering

Expect to see that in our monthly reports the coming months.

But 3.18 is the biggest milestone for Gen12. This marks the point where we can finally get rid of all the legacy rendering code and that is a LOT.

Porting everything to Gen12 is mandatory to get vulkan fully up and running.

Also let me emphasize again that the current Gen12 renderer hasn’t been optimized at all.

Expect to see some big performance improvements to our renderer in the upcoming patches after 3.18.

Again: How much this affects your FPS i do not know. It’s a very complicated topic.

There was another Ares Ion! Thread:

Please give us back the Ares Ion from the PTU!

A real S7 gun with only 13 shots, but when you shoot it you feel it’s an S7 made to attack capital ship. Currently, the semi-cannon-repeater is insipid as possible, devoid of soul.

Ditto for the inferno…

It’s not up to the Ares to be nerfed (we can talk about the totally incomprehensible spread of the inferno’s gatling), but to some weekend skywalkers to understand that flying in a straight line against a size 7 is not the recommended approach.

YogiKlatt CIG Responded – we likely will not be updating the Ares weaponry for quite a while until other things are out of the way. As we mentioned before VFT’s priorities are currently on SQ42 and a lot of the PU maintenance work will have to wait. 

Just to get some light at the end of the tunnel there are two big things which are currently happening which are related to the issues you listed:

– The first is a ticket we call “weapon diversification” that is currently in progress. It means getting rid of the two gun archetypes and tuning the weapons individually and this includes the Ares weaponry.

– The second thing are the updates to aiming & gunnery systems. I hinted at it before but these updates give us a lot more freedom to tune every single weapon individually, specifically with regards to aim assist params. The PIPs are also calculated in a slightly different way so that they give you more precise PIPs, especially when the targets are close (which is important because the Ares has a single fixed gun which is far offset from the center of the ship). Once these changes are in place I’m less concerned with going back to the heavy cannon style of the earlier PTU patches as we have a lot more control over the hit performance.

Anyways … once these two things hit the PU I am quite positive that the experience surrounding the Ares will be better. I can’t give dates of course … just stating we’re actively working on the gunnery, aiming and weapon systems … and they are coming along pretty well.

A couple of things coming later This Week in Star Citizen

Later Thursday Inside Star Citizen is an environment-themed look at several of the new locations coming online in upcoming patches. 

Friday’s Star Citizen Live at 4pm UTC on the SC Twitch follows up with even more location-based with Turbulent.
Boom, that’s it for your Roadmap, News & Dev Response Updates for you today