STAR CITIZEN – A DISTURBANCE IN THE VERSE
Things are rapidly going from bad to worse over at the ranch. In my 16-10-25 update, I had pointed out some cracks which appear to now be getting larger. In fact, just the other day, multiple sources informed me that things were so bad now it would be a miracle if they are able to push the 2.6 patch out before year end; let alone the 3.0 Jesus Patch. As a result, I sent out some tweets (1, 2) of what I had learned, while awaiting further information.
In their defense, this sort of thing happens in game development and it’s par for the course. As I’ve stated over and over, as a gamedev myself, I simply cannot fault them for having major blockers in a game which, for all intent and purposes is basically a glorified tech demo; and with nothing that even resembles a vertical slice, let alone a pre-Alpha (as they’re calling it). However, the fault lies squarely on Chris Roberts due to having significantly increased the scope of the game, even as the engine chosen for the original vision, could only marginally have made that original vision possible.
The other side of this coin is that he has – repeatedly – lied to backers about the state of the project, withheld critical information, and intentionally failed to communicate to backers the true state of the project. Why? Because the truth will let backers see that not only is the entire project FUBAR, but it’s an impossible vision for a game which – as I stated over 18 months ago – simply cannot be made.
With the anniversary events mere weeks away, and during which they intend to again raise money through selling ships, the silence on the state of the 2.6 and 3.0 patches shouldn’t be surprising in the least. This has been the on-going theme. It happened with Arena Commander, then with Star Marine which was later flat-out canceled before being resurrected after an uproar. Then it happened with Squadron 42 (I wrote about that in my Shattered Dreams blog). Now it’s continuing with Star Citizen (aka Persistent Universe).
The biggest issue here is not that the 2.6 patch is late, it’s that the current 2.5 build is in a terrible state; and as some backers have said, very few people (even the pro streamers have either bailed or on their last legs) are even playing it now. The results and commentary for the latest free fly period which ended Oct 31st, should be yet another wake up call for the project. Most backers – rightfully – don’t have a problem with 2.6 being late. For a game that’s in constant development, this should be expected. But nevertheless, when you are touting “open development”, even as you focus on non-essential updates, selling in-game items etc, amid the uproar, information about a much awaited patch, should be front and center. They spend so much time writing and filming a bunch of nonsensical fluff – most of which, being R&D aren’t even likely to be in the game. That time – all of it – is better spent outlining specifically what is going on with the patches, how they are being addressed, what the delay looks like etc. That’s how you keep a community on your side, while keeping stragglers, dissenters, and trolls, in check. By doing this, you completely disarm them. Yes, there will still be some dissent, but then you can point at a bulletin, or a video and say “This is what we said. Go read or watch it“. Case closed.
When it comes to the 3.0 patch, backers may as well just reconcile the fact that they were lied to – again. It’s not even a case of a missed schedule. He basically came up with a list of features (none of which, according to sources, exists or in a form that would have lent any credibility to his “end of year” promise) he knew backers would fall for, then put it out there as “coming soon”; thus – like the demos at GamesCom and CitizenCon – raising money from the few whales who are still dumb enough to keep giving him money.
The issue with Star Citizen is that $130 million comes with a lot of strings, and accountability. Especially when, not even 15% of the larger game is completed; and by all accounts, won’t even be 50% completed (this promises list is 100% accurate and derived from the stretch goals, and updates from Roberts himself) by the 4.0 release slated for end of 2017 (which we all know is rubbish anyway). Since there is no publisher, the strings are the money that backers keep giving, sans the accountability that should go with it.
What backers are experiencing right now should come as no surprise that the accountability that comes with delivering a product, let alone accounting for the money given, went out the window with the June 2016 ToS update. They had no other reason for doing that as anyone can see. Most believe that they were basically preparing – well ahead – for the ultimate collapse and total loss of this project because it will end if they can’t keep raising the money to sustain it. Hence the on-going lies which are mandatory to keeping the money flowing.
Rumors and source leaks aside, the writing is on the wall. They are either going to move 2.6 into 2017 – as indeed they should if it’s not ready for test release – or they will try to push some interim 2.5.x minor branch out in order to quash some of the dissent. But the fact remains, waiting until the last minute, or at a time when the bad news won’t affect the anniversary stream, is just another dishonest plan, and one which has become a staple for them.
My advice remains the same. STOP giving them money; and just let them continue with their dev schedule and plan, release their patch updates as they see fit, then wait to see how things pan out. And if you’re sick and tired of waiting, the lies etc, do what others are doing, go get a refund. If you backed the game ahead of the June ToS, you are 100% entitled to it. If you backed after that date, and agreed to that ToS change, then you have 14 days from your purchase to get a refund. When all else fails, you can be like this guy, sell your ships on the Grey market, and buy a car, house or something.
With that editorial out of the way, here is how things stand as I understand it from my sources.
2.6 status: Not even close to ready for Evocati, let alone GA. Star Marine still laughably doesn’t EXIST because they are still trying to cobble together many bits in order to make that one happen – again. There are said to be many old and new blockers which are creating lots of problems. And sources say the 2.6 list (see above pic) is rubbish because a good portion of that, as basic as it looks, isn’t in a working state. And sources say that most don’t even have a clear understanding as to why Star Marine was even promised for this release; when it could very well have been pushed into a 3.0 point release, which – seeing as it’s nowhere near reality – would have given more time for implementation and testing further into 2017. For my part, I still maintain that Star Marine being back on the schedule (even though Chris went on the record saying it was already released and in the game) as a standalone” module is just a check mark against the liability based promises made to backers years ago.
3.0 status: sources say all are still laughing at this one. It simple does NOT exist as was communicated to backers. It was basically a wishlist of items they wanted to see in a point release; and which Roberts when on the record (again) as saying was coming by “year end, and not on Dec 19th like last year“.
As a result of all this, many threads (1, 2, 3, ) are now popping up all over the place, questioning not only the “silence” on the part of CIG as per the status of these two patches, now that the year is close to an end, but also whether or not, Roberts – again – went public with a litany of lies in order to continue misleading backers and raising money. When Shitizen #3 has a top Reddit thread about how he’s “bored”, you know you done goofed, and should probably start planning for inevitable conclusion of the in-progress E.L.E.
Here are some backer comments.
Even as Rome burns, Lando, a CIG community member, instead of providing info to backers as to the state of progress, instead decided to point out that:
“Updates on the development of the game: while the Comm-Link Schedule has never been the place for this, I certainly understand (and even share) your voracious appetite for updates. The primary source of updates to Star Citizen’s continuing development is in Around the Verse. “
Which was met with accurate responses like:
“I appreciate the sentiment but I believe you would agree that ATV has been mostly looking backwards since CitCon and not the future. At this stage the “we are working on it” that we got last week on ATV is not really an update – unless anyone thought you guys were all just partying instead of “working on it.”
“Sadly last 3 ATVs and RTV were about things you got had to get done for CitCon. There have been no word about what have been done since CitCon so you have to understand the frustration. We know that you are working on the game… But we would “really” like see that.”
“Curiousity here. Not hostility.
Can I ask why you have to show before you tell? That doesn’t really make sense to me. I have personally seen a lot of feedback on requests for telling us more about where 2.6 and 3.0 are in development.
I work in project management and when my team is late on delivering storyboards or late on a project in general (this can be date or not date focused, as a project manager, I can just gauge when it has been a while since a client has heard something) I give a list of what is keeping things back. Do you guys have a protocol for responding to the community until you have something to show? Again, for the love of god, I am just asking/curious.“
LATEST INSIDER SCOOPS
TheAgent (man on the inside looking at the abyss outside from the inside) is back with more insider scoops. Most of them echo what I said yesterday, but with more details (I tend to be vague in some regard, so as to protect sources).
here’s the problem
CIG has to push out a new patch before years end. this cannot be 2.6 (with FPS mechanics) or 3.0 or anything star marine related because its so fucking broken
- their current matchmaking breaks every damn thing on the server
- it also breaks your client when two people try and use cover at the same time
- half the time you still respawn inside your bunk during a match
- the new arena FPS maps are still buggy as hell (clipping, wall walking, etc) and have to get redone
- the replacement arena maps are areas that have been wholly lifted from current areas, like grimhex
- roberts doesn’t want “maps” but entire seamless areas (“Shoot in the same universe you can fly in.”)
- this is not so good for the servers or players in ships flying around outside the hostile zone (which is why the arena style maps are still being worked on)
- the team is confused on what exactly they are putting together and what roberts wants to release
- there’s a separate module for SM but roberts wants it folded into the universe
- lag is bad, really fucking bad, even with less than a dozen players
- the instance network code is six months to a year out for rudimentary matches (24 to 36 players, small arena type maps, etc)
- a year+ out for higher matches (multiple areas, surface to air combat, 50+ players etc)
- the much touted “local physics grids” don’t work for shit with FPS stuffs
they are discussing prepping the flight model changes and releasing that as 2.6 instead, with star marine being totally folded into 3.0. but this is a big problem, because chris said star marine is weeks away back in september
they are kinda fucked either way so I’m really interested to see what they do. if they really do end up pushing out 2.6 with star marine in its current state, I don’t think the game will survive. its like, not playable. you can only wave your hands around and say alpha so many times before people start figuring out this is the game they just paid $2500 to play
current standing at the office is there will be no more numbered releases until 3.0 in late 2017/2018, after the sq42 prelude/episode 1 is released. I posted that awhile back but it’s looking more and more like 2.5 will be the last patch for SC for quite awhile