Well at least the clouds in Star Citizen look good
One of the things I hoped I could do before leaving this job was to play a completed, or at least fully released, version of Citizen of the stars. According to all the information from the latest CitizenCon 2951, this isn’t close to happening, but there is good news: the clouds look really attractive.
CitizenCon is the annual continuous celebration for all things Citizen of the stars, or for all the others, the annual event where everyone hopes to finally have a release date for Squadron 42 or the bigger and more persistent multiplayer game. Unfortunately, this year’s CitizenCon did not provide such an update. And judging by the quality of the new outposts and the amount of work in the clouds, I guess I’ll need another Upgrade PC and PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive to enjoy the game the way the developers intended, especially if they keep adding things like this:
The image above is from a slice in the middle of the larger Citizen of the stars weekend panel, which was a global tour of the game world. As part of this, the developers talked about the “cloud building process” and how clouds are rendered in different environments.
Part of the reason for all of this work is to help create alien cloud formations, things that wouldn’t appear on Earth but could theoretically appear on particular planets or certain atmospheric formations.
Of course, this also means that developers can have fun with clouds in a more memorable way. Like drawings of crappy cats.
There was a whole section on the rest of Planetary Assets and Creation, with one developer posing as part of the art team that focuses solely on organics. Another explained the biome generation process in more detail, describing how something like this:
will eventually turn into something like this:
The amount of detail is actually insanely impressive, if you can put aside the whole part where Citizen of the stars and its developers still refer to the project as being five years before its completion. The feature slippage doesn’t even seem appropriate for the absurd amount of work and details the Citizen of the stars The team has apparently added, optimized, or just fundamentally rewritten every part of CryEngine to make it work… well, that.
Nice transitions, however, don’t make a game. And I’m not trying to take away the many real concerns of many contributors. always have to know if Squadron 42 where its persistent multiplayer universe will start to look like a more cohesive experience by 2023 or 2024. But like it did last year, there’s a lot of really cool and interesting tech coming into it. Citizen of the stars along the way.
It hasn’t stopped the moments when I step out of a building and my the ship disappeared for unknown reasons. And I still have tons of reservations about whether other projects could one day benefit from all of these advancements, as they are fundamentally built into an engine that the Citizen of the stars the developers probably wished they had given up six years ago.
For those hoping for a more concrete update on Squadron 42, the solo experience with Gary Oldman, Marc Hamill, and Gillian Anderson, which should be released later this year. CitizenCon is more about upcoming ships (from that there are plenty), multicore rendering, and how the networking of the servers takes place. Who, judging by the panel, sounds like an absolute nightmare.
Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of Citizen of the stars. It would be nice if Squadron 42 was playable in one form or another at that time, but so many systems seem to be still in the early stages of development. There was nothing substantially new announced in the Gen12 + Vulkan update, beyond an appreciation of the deep complexity involved. The server mesh should not be started before Citizen of the stars hits alpha 4.0, which is at least a year away given where Citizen of the stars is right now. And the time spent expanding the planetary tools should at least help the expansion of the Citizen of the stars Universes Further Down the Road: Being more complete should help developers create deeper, more dynamic planetary environments faster, so it’s still a huge win.
For what it’s worth, the current feature roadmap has work to do through July 2022, with two chapters – Chapter 5 and Chapter 26 – expected to be completed no later than May 2022. The rest of the Citizen of the stars The roadmap is always interesting to read, if only to get a little insight into the production management of a team of 700 people, half a billion dollar project looks like.