Star Citizen – Scoops

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  • #4508

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    NEW INVESTIGATIVE MEDIA ARTICLES

    In the vein of the recent The Chris Roberts Theory Of Everything article, comes a Kotaku UK article which delves into the Star Citizen fiasco. It’s quite a lengthy read. Read Inside the Troubled Development of Star Citizen

    Several mags, including PC Gamer are also covering it, while adding their own commentary. Read Eight-month investigation lifts the lid on Star Citizen’s troubled development

    PCGamesN now also has a Former Star Citizen devs claim impossible standards wasted months of development, Roberts responds article, as does Rock, Paper, Shotgun with Roberts Acknowledges Some Of Star Citizen’s Woes In Tell-All Investigation

    A Swedish magazine, LEVEL, did a similar article back in July, and which, last we heard, was picked up by a leading English media outlet for re-publication; with the Swedish author doing the official translation. As that has been some months now, some are of the opinion that the article may have been bought and buried. But as these things go, there is an unofficial English language translation floating around from back in July. UPDATE: That outlet was in fact Kotaku UK; and they have now published the article on 09/26/16.

    BREAKING NEWS! EXPLOSIVE NEW LEAKS!

    So TheAgent, who frequents the Goon enclave, and who has posted leaked info in the past, and which were correct, has posted a new slew of leaks. Some are pretty explosive.

    What’s interesting is that just yesterday from the 2.6 Evocati leak which I wrote about (see below), I had extrapolated that there was no chance of the much touted (at GamesCom 2016) 3.0 patch (aka Jesus Patch) coming out in 2016. Heck, it’s bad enough that neither Star Citizen nor Squadron 42 are coming out this year. So if TheAgent is correct, that’s pretty hilarious. Then again, as they did with the completely disastrous (it was rushed out) 2.0 patch from Dec 2015, they may just rush out a subset of 3.0 at some point this year, just to prove us wrong. We’ll see.

    The bottom line is that, as I previously wrote, Chris has done it again. He went on stage, made false promises, raised money as a result, and once again is probably not going to deliver.

    Printed verbatim from TheAgent :


    • no 3.0 this year (duh), release date is now “after [a significant portion of] SQ42 is released”
    • ship sales will continue
    • there’s yet another new studio involved (most likely contractors/outside dev pool) for planet artwork/maps
    • “The Squadron 42 [Prelude] has to hit its [Q1 2017] goal. No more excuses.” unsure who, just listed as “top exec”
    • a lot of mocap issues with translating them directly into the game, mostly due to character and players size (?? not sure what this means)
    • “Expect a lot of cutscenes.”
    • mocapped characters are fine stationary (sitting, standing, etc) but currently anything involving complex animation makes the models freak out, mostly clipping and clothes problems (still)
    • certain characters have several (reported up to six!) different models, as certain scenes had to use entirely different models for the same character due to model size, lod and poor mocap translation
    • specific reshoots using stand ins for A list actors are ongoing, mostly animation, actions and poses (still occurring as of q3 2016)
    • FPS AI still murders everything through walls, doors, whatever
    • certain departments continue to pump out work at an incredible rate while others snail behind, causing back up and necessary “refactoring” when certain elements do not work or had scope change
    • heads of department told to “turtle” and avoid outside influences (?? )
    • they can’t get the intricate damage model to work in SP/MP at all yet, ships continue to randomly jumble themselves to death

    Also…

    CitizenCon 2016 (Oct 9th)

    • crunch time continues for all studios, many people are working seven days a week for the citcon showing
    • companion app with $ to ingame currency purchases, chat, etc (design phase only, citcon slide)
    • new A list cutscene, wrapped shooting july 2016 (majority of overtime is spent working on this)
    • touting multiple SQ42 endings on one citcon slide, also says it directly affects SC world/player character
    • FPS purchasable classes still a thing and one of the major things they are revealing
    • SQ42 prelude still listed as march 2017
    • ^ “no way we’ll hit that deadline” ^
    • Roberts: 2.6 should be playable at Citcon
    • nothing playable at this time, live streams still using 2.5

    Follow up…

    the hope is to release SQ42, which will retain players and continue to grow their base while they work on the major problems of SC. SC ship sales and some single player sales (models, skins, ships, va packs, etc) to continue to bring in revenue

    they will be pushing a new subscription thing at citcon too, btw

    it supposedly rewards sub only campaign missions, fps classes, certain ships, etc

    #4493

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    STAR CITIZEN 10 FOR THE CHAIRMAN (16-09-21)

    After a long absence, the 10FTC program is back, featuring The Chairman himself, Chris Roberts – with a different format. This one was all about characters; specifically about scanning of character heads for the actors in the Squadron 42 interactive movie, and also having player head/face character customization.

    It’s all the usual bullshit really.

    The most important takeaways from this video are the following:

    1. Chris completely forgot that, back in 10FTC Ep19, (14-05-05), over two and a half years ago, he had promised character aging (1, 2).
    2. There has been a lot of talk about how CIG/RSI, despite the work being done on the “game”, continues to use a lot of movies, scripted demos etc in order to show work that’s coming soon. Most of that stuff over the years, has never made it into the game; either because it was just a promo, or because the R&D simply didn’t pan out and had to be trashed.The most recent of this was the GamesCom mission demo (16-09-19), which while being heavily scripted, staged and full of R&D stuff not in the game, helped them raise $4 million. Before that it was things like the Star Marine movie (14-08-19), the Pupil To Planet (15-12-16) movie, the Nyx base (15-08-28) on a procgen planet etc. In fact, their Vimeo and YouTube channels are littered with this stuff going all the way back to 2012.So now comes the kicker. In this segment (starts at 16:40), Chris now tells backers to “forget about The Morrow Tour” which he now basically admits (just as I reported back then) was put together, rushed etc. For those of you not paying attention, The Morrow Tour gameplay segment was from Squadron 42. It was shown in Oct 2015 at the CitizenCon 2015 event. They raised over $3.5 million during the month of Oct based on that presentation, and JPEG ship sales.
    3. The $22 million dollar stretch goal promised a facial capture mechanism which would import backers facial image into the game. At the 11:30 mark, Chris now pretty much says that’s off the table due to fidelity of the system they are now using.

    Yes, games in development evolve over time, things change, are improved upon, tweaked etc. That’s not the issue here. The issue here is that time and time again, we’ve seen this happen whereby they spend resources on creating these assets in order to continue raising money. Most of the work ends up getting trashed because they can’t be used in the actual games being made. Heck, they once trashed an entire gameplay module (Star Marine developed by a third-party contractor, Illfonic). And just a few months back, amid major outcry, not to mention the legal liability issue, it’s apparently coming back. This despite Chris – falsely – claiming in 10FTC Ep85 (16-01-25), that the long promised, and much touted Star Marine, was already in the Star Citizen game backers were playing at the time.

    So, with all this time and money wasted, it should have come as no surprise when in 10FTC Ep83 (16-04-18), Chris declared that the first release of the game wasn’t going to be the full game promised (for Nov 2014), but rather a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

    By all accounts, most of us believe that this whole thing has evolved into an elaborate scam which goes beyond just a simple case of broken promises in a video game.  It has all the makings of a massive engineering Ponzi scheme designed to unjustly enrich the execs in charge of it, under the pretext of making the games promised. This is why they need to keep raising money using these tactics. The pattern is easy to see:

    1. Wind up backers with wild promises (mostly lies) and unachievable objectives
    2. Take the money raised as per the aforementioned
    3. Later, walk it all back, or ignore that the promises were ever made
    4. Rinse. Repeat

    And according to metrics, even with the suspicious nature of their funding chart, there appears to be around 2000 backers still putting money into this train-wreck. It’s mind-boggling to say the least.

    ABOUT THAT VISUAL STABILIZATION BULLSHIT

    This one is particularly hilarious to most of us. The “head bob” issue in the fps part of Star Citizen has always been a problem, and a major source of complaints. So a week ago, CIG released a video segment in which they were touting the implementation of something they were calling “visual stabilization”. Pretty much the same horseshit they come up with when making up names for tech that already exists, and which they’re pretending to have created.

    Basically, as most of us had already said, they removed the “head bob” from the animation. That’s it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    So yesterday, in an AtV segment, the Lead Animation Engineer confirmed this. The segment starts around the 11:22 mark.

    THE OPEN-BUT-NOT-SO-OPEN DEVELOPMENT

    A few months ago, CIG/RSI introduced a new layer to their testing protocols, dubbed Evocati. We had a laugh with that one, and I covered it in my April blog. Basically, it’s been going on since then. With the current 2.5 patch being a horrid and largely unplayable mess, with backers aching for the upcoming 2.6 patch which they hope will bring much needed fixes and stability, it comes as no surprise that details about that upcoming patch have now leaked. Again.

    But that’s not the issue here.

    The issue is that some of the more toxic members of the community are up in arms about Evocati backers breaking the NDA by leaking patch details. To the extent that there is now a Reddit discussion going on about how to deal with such leaks. Oh the irony.

    Here’s the thing, nobody should be encouraged to break an NDA they agreed to. When you think about an NDA as a contract, the only circumstance under which those can be broken and details leaked, is if the leaker is either a whistleblower or a concerned person passing along info about fraud, wrong-doing etc. Thing is, even the media, bloggers etc, all encourage this sort of thing when they accept info from anonymous sources at companies where they may have either a specific NDA, or a contract with an NDA section. But stuff still leaks, regardless.

    It’s interesting to note that most, if not all, all crowd-funded game projects in development, tend to give access to alpha and beta builds to their backers. Star Citizen has been in a perpetual state of Alpha (according to CIG/RSI who are redefining the terminology; in our books it’s a pre-Alpha aka tech demo).

    Anyway, this Evocati NDA represents an interesting conundrum for backers. As a backer in the Evocati, you already have access to the game you paid for. Just like the other backers who were not selected to be in the Evocati. But then, being in the Evocati for a game you already paid for, you now have to agree to an NDA which forbids you from sharing any details about it. So why would someone choose to break the NDA and share the patch details? One person in a discussion, told me:

    It’s wrong for them to be doing this. We all payed (sp) for the game, and yet some have access to it, while others do not. They claim open development but we have no clue what is going on with the project most of the time. A friend of mine pledged over eleven hundred dollars and is not in the Evocati. How is that fair?

    While it does not absolve them of the liability of breaking an NDA, it’s easy to see why it makes sense to the people doing it. Especially in light of the fact that this latest leak has clearly shown that not only is the 2.6 patch most likely not coming in Oct; but that given that the test pattern has a lengthy period from “limited Evocati –> wide testing –> live“, it means that it probably won’t be out until sometime in the Nov/Dec time frame. And that, my friends, all but guarantees that the much touted 3.0 (aka the Jesus Patch) which Chris was heavily promoting at GamesCom as coming by end of the year, is not being released this year. At all. Yeah, I know – shocking. Note that there isn’t even a 2.7 patch. It was once talked about, then came GamesCom and Chris saying that after 2.5 (current), there will be 2.6, and then it’s onto 3.0 – the Jesus Patch which fixes everything, and includes all of the latest promises.

    So much for “open development“; and one in which backers have no clue what’s going with their game, how the money is being spent, let alone how Squadron 42, which is rumored to have now cost over $30 (!) million to develop, is coming along.

    STAR CITIZEN vs LINE OF DEFENSE. AGAIN

    Yes, they’re still doing it. As soon as someone says something negative about Star Citizen, one of two things is likely to happen. i) Derek Smart is evoked ii) Line Of Defense is crap becomes a point of discussion. Happened again within the past 24 hours; I’ll just post excerpts from the exchange. It’s just amazing to us how it is that these guys truly think that attacking and slamming me and my game, will somehow make Star Citizen a reality, a better game etc. It’s mind-boggling.

    Mr. Smart – Do you want to know what really the funny part is? The maintenance mode you claimed the project was in earlier this year shows astonishing progress. I hope that your own project will also enter such an maintenance mode at some point.


    Usually when people call me out in a thread, when I respond, it tends not to work out so well for them.

    So, for your sake, aside from the fact that it’s a violation of the forum rules (look it up), try not to do that. There is nothing to be gained by singling me out. Just post; and anyone who cares enough will respond.

    My indie game, like it or hate it, is coming along just fine; and the people testing and helping us out with it, are perfectly happy with it. Our changelog shows steady and meaningful progress; our bugs list isn’t even noteworthy, our roadmap remains focused, straightforward and informative.

    Meanwhile, 500 people + five years + $124 million later; Star Citizen has no clear focus nor objective or roadmap; has over 29K (!) documented bugs – most of which are 2+ years old; and the changelog for each patch shows even more issues, while not fixing the majority of what came before.

    And the “game” is very much in maintenance mode seeing as NOTHING tangible (unlike you, most of us actually pay attention to the changelog) has been done to the game since I made that comment earlier (Mar 30th, 2016 in post #2805 to be exact) this year.

    Despite the fact that you guys think that by obfuscating facts, you’re going to convince anyone of anything, the reality of the situation is that all of this material is actually out there. Anyone who knows anything about games, can look at the SC changelog since Mar to now, and clearly see that, outside of shops, one new location (GrimHex), as well as some new weapons and ships made flight ready, NOTHING tangible by way of meaningful progress outside of bug fixes and tweaks, have been made to the game.

    No, I am not going to explain to you what “maintenance” mode means as it pertains to software development; go look it up and add it to your MS Word document, so you can copy and paste it wherever you guys post.

    Comparing this multi-million dollar game with a triple-A budget, to an indie game with a small team, isn’t going to make Star Citizen any better, nor increase its chances of ever being released (even as promised), or make it a good game. And the more you guys do it, the sillier and more desperate it looks. At the end of the day, just like all my games, LOD is in no danger of not being released.

    As we’ve all stated, the people like you in the community, are the worst thing that could ever have happened to this project. So no matter how the game turns out in the end, it is forever tainted, and will forever remain the laughing stock of gamers and game devs everywhere.

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