Star Citizen – Scoops

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  • #4905
    dsmart
    Keymaster

    THE SHITIZEN SCAMMER

    We know that all gaming communities have their share of toxic anti-social nutjobs, scammers etc. In fact, the average Shitizen (toxic Star Citizen fans waging an Internet war of attrition against dissent toward the project) is all of those things – and then some. I have written a number of blog and forum articles about them 0ver the years, and it just keeps getting better and funnier. So it should come as no surprise that recently the person we once thought was your garden variety citizen, turned out to be a scammer running a variety of cons in various MMO gaming communities. Heck, there’s a Shitizen (Fuzzy Modem, who is also now banned on SA), an alleged pedophile, sitting in jail right now.

    It all started with this thread on the Star Citizen forum started by one Deloria who was originally thought to be an 18 yr old Norwegian girl who backed the project when “she” was aged 14. At first, this person was only notable for the thread because shockingly it was neither deleted nor moved by CIG. If you scroll down to other posts here, you will see the posts about the growing dissent since CitizenCon. Well, after I tweeted that link, apparently Deloria got wind of it; then showed up on the SA (Goon enclave) forum – where we found out “she” had been banned since 2013.

    Even with the paywall ($10 to read the site), we get all kinds of stragglers over at SA, and we tend not to pay too much attention to them; only regarding them as lol fodder for the most part. But Deloria decided that she was now famous, seeing as not only had I tweeted and written about her forum thread, but also it was being discussed on the SA forum. What followed was the most hilarious case of self-own in recent memory.

    At first Goons were basically telling “her” to get a refund, that a “girl” spending $6K (which she said was her Confirmation gift from family) on a game that doesn’t look like it was ever seeing the light of day, was a bad idea etc. During all this time the “Curious case of Deloria” generated over 400+ posts. At some point, a pattern appeared to form, and it caught my autistic attention. So I decided to run with it. In the end, I found out that “she” was a middle aged dude, posing as a teenage girl. As soon as I mentioned that this person was a dude; some Goons decided to look into it.

    In the end it was discovered that not only was Deloria a dude, but also had been running various scams across several MMO gaming communities. So with all the background material collected, I made a single effort post about it. Deloria stopped posting; and shortly after, asked a mod on the Star Citizen forum to close their original thread. It gets better. He also reported the post I had made on SA, as doxing (hint: it’s not). That last part is as hilarious as it sounds; seeing as these clowns tend to use that word as they see fit, even as they scam their way across the Internet. If posting publicly accessible social media pages is doxing, well I’m guessing that all the websites, including mainstream media sites such as Ars Technica, Gizmodo etc which tend to do expose articles with relevant links, are all guilty of doxing. It’s bullshit really. This was basically exposing a scammer. Period. End of story.

    Anyway, below is the post that I made in its entirety, and as was originally written on SA. Enjoy.

    NOTE: Deloria was subsequently banned on the SA forum. Again.


    Once they get busted and outed, they are always quick to pull out the “harassment” and “doxing” card. It’s the oldest – and dumbest – game in the play book.

    No, you’re a scam artist who got busted the minute you decided to come back to SA and mouth off.

    The good thing is that you decided to try and prove who you were (a UK citizen living in Norway), thus giving everyone carte blanche to debunk it.

    This is all public, and most of it backtraced to what you posted. So if you even utter the word doxing, you’re getting temp-banned – again.

    This is where you claimed – at 14 – that you were gifted an Idris by your boyfriend who just happens to backtrace to this Facebook page

    After comparing to the previous Mann Facebook page – which freaked you out and you started sending out frantic PMs here – the question is: did a middle aged (approx 35 yrs old) man have a 14 yr old GF in 2013, or are you (Mann) all these alt accounts?

    And from your very own post here on SA, there’s that “Mann” surname again.

    Here is where it gets even better…

    Your Star Citizen profile, links back to an email (siobahnmahon) which backtraces to an account on the Crowfall site (one of the communities you frequent)

    And that Facebook account, was FB friends with Mann before you hid it after being busted here. And as of this writing, you are still in Mann’s FB friends list; better go hide that one too.

    This article was interesting though.

    You’re a scammer that’s been lurking in various MMO gaming communities such as Star Citizen, Black Desert Online, Archeage, Shroud Of The Avatar, TERA, Crowfall, Elder Scrolls Online obtaining money and items while posing as an Norwegian girl.

    There’s more – a lot more – but posting those will definitely be within the realms of doxing. Which is why I called you out as being a dude* the minute you showed up here; and others took up the mantle to look into it.

    Bear in mind that roleplaying with an online persona is perfectly OK. What’s not OK is using that to scam others. As far as your history shows, you’ve tried to raise $10K twice (once with a calendar for which you got over $1k). Not to mention all the other gifts you’ve got from those gaming communities. That’s not different from a garden variety 419 scam.

    * I have extensive AI experience; so pattern recognition is something that my brain is wired for. Your post patterns, sentence composition, context connectivity, and word usage, were a dead giveaway. The more you posted, the more obvious it became that you were a dude.

    ps: In case you guys missed it, the Facebook page for Shiv Mahon has an image of Deloria’s Star Citizen membership card.

    #5064
    dsmart
    Keymaster

    STAR CITIZEN UK FINANCIALS

    Seeing as five years and over $138 million later they have yet to ship either of the promised games, all eyes are on the Star Citizen project financials. Especially given the recent fundraising shenanigans (1, 2) that CIG has been up to of late. The US corporations are private entities, so they are not required to file financials. Those financials are only shared with investors, banks and similar parties. Backers of the project were once promised access to those financials if CIG failed to deliver the project within the allotted time. So far, aside from the fact that CIG have since rescinded that offer in the June 2016 ToS change, no backer has challenged them to produce the financials. I have written before that the state of their financials represents the smoking gun as it pertains to their ability to complete and deliver the project as promised.

    In the UK, where there are three (!) corporate entities, they are required to file public financials for the preceding year, by Sept 30th. Back on Sept 26th, F42 (UK), the entity with the liabilities, and which is tasked with making the game (as the developer), filed their accounting. It was pretty uneventful. The other two corporate entities, CIG (UK) which now owns 100% (1, 2) of both F42 (UK) and RSI (UK), as well as F42 (GER) didn’t file. Yesterday, RSI (UK) filed their accounting; leaving only the parent company, CIG (UK) which is currently late in filing.

    I had written back in my July 2016 blog about what appears to be the execs cashing out and selling back their shares to the parent company, thus taking out wealth from the company.

    There are so many holes in this whole thing that the minute I even make public everything I know, I would no doubt have pretty much impeded on-going investigations. So we wait. But while we’re waiting, here’s a nugget. Please ask them if it’s true that: after they founded a studio (Foundry42-UK) to help develop this game, and Chris pulled in his brother and childhood friends in from another company to head it, that less than two years later, another subsidiary (associated with the project) then turned around and bought the company back from those very people. Thus taking out a significant amount of wealth out of the project and putting it into the pockets of those very friends and family. While still paying his brother Erin, what amounts to almost $250K in yearly salary; not including benefits or bonuses – which aren’t disclosed. Aside from this being reported to be almost 3x what he was making at his previous company, it’s also 2x the average for a director in the Manchester region. And in case you forgot, this is a crowd-funded project.”

    In 2015, according to the funding chart (which is 100% inaccurate), the project raised approximately $35.9 million. That’s not taking into account refunds, investor amounts, bank loans etc. The RSI (UK) filing clearly shows that they are playing a financial shell game with the funding that’s going into the project. Arguably one would do this sort of thing not only for tax and liability reasons, but also as way to mask accounting anomalies and irregularities, while also inflating the value of the associated entities.

    Also it should be noted that not only is RSI (UK) operating at a loss (!), but also F42 (UK) – the developer – is holding a secured loan note with NatWest bank. And they blew through almost $20 million in 2015 alone. Can’t wait to see the 2016 numbers.

    Someone made a handy chart showing how the money reported in this filing, has moved around.

     

    When the parent entity, CIG (UK), files its accounting, we should have a much clearer picture of how the money – up to 2015 – flowed to the UK entities. It won’t tell us anything about the F42 GER financials, nor the financials for the two US studios. And when you think about it, the fact that backers have no insight into the financials – something they were promised – it’s going to be very interesting to see how those very people who are saying “it doesn’t matter“, react when the dust settles.

    List of Star Citizen related corporate entities

    1. Cloud Imperium Games Corp, West Hollywood, CA
    2. Cloud Imperium Games LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    3. Cloud Imperium Services, LLC West Hollywood, CA <– The one is interesting. It is found on BBB, but is not in the CA Secretary Of State dB records
    4. Cloud Imperium Games LLC, Santa Monica, CA
    5. Cloud Imperium Games Texas LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    6. Cloud Imperium Games Texas LLC, Austin, TX
    7. Cloud Imperium Games UK Limited, UK
    8. Foundry 42 Limited, UK
    9. Foundry 42, Germany
    10. Gemini 42 Entertainment LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    11. Gemini 42 Productions LLC, Santa Monica, CA
    12. Roberts Space Industries Corp, West Hollywood, CA
    13. Roberts Space Industries International Limited, UK
    14. Twin Brothers Production Inc, West Hollywood, CA
    15. Twin Bros, Germany

    I am still of the belief that the project is on the verge of collapse; and the recent desperate cash grab plays into that. What is unclear is what form that collapse will take, how they will handle the wind down (e.g. from 4 studios and 350+ people), and whether or not the project will continue in some fashion following the downsizing. As of Nov 2016, they had 363 employees working at the four studios. That does not include the many contractors at third-party studios which are also working on the project. Though several (including no less than three high profile positions) have left since the chart below was shown by Chris Roberts; and many more are rumored to be on the way out.

    Seeing as F42 (UK) and F42 (GER) are primarily tasked with tech and Squadron 42 (the single-player game) development, it stands to reason that the two US studios are likely to suffer the most casualties; especially since nobody with half a brain really thinks Star Citizen is ever going to see the light of day.

    THE END OF YEAR FIVE

    Back when I said that neither Star Citizen nor Squadron 42 was going to be released in 2016; I faced quite a bit of derision and attacks. You know, all the standard things I’ve been dealing with since I got involved in this farce last Summer. Then came the August GamesCom event (I wrote about that here) in which even more lofty promises were made; topped only by even more lofty promises in the Nov CitizenCon event, and the subsequent anniversary event. The key takeaway from all those three Q4/16 events is that CIG created proof-of-concept tech demos, passed them off as being in the game, while promoting the sales of ship assets which aren’t likely to ever see the light of day. All designed to do one single thing: raise money based on LIES.

    The most egregious affront to backers, has to be the promise that 3.0 patch, which included elements shown in all of the above streams, was imminent. Heck, they even went on record, while creating an entire “Road To CitizenCon” video, telling backers that a demo/preview of Squadron 42 was imminent, but that they ran out of time to polish it. Now, with the year ending, not even the much delayed 2.6 patch has been released to backers, let alone anything of Squadron 42. And you know what, I already raised the alarm on ALL of this months ago, and again quite recently (1, 2, 3).

    This is what was promised in 2.6, which is already over six months late. They have yet to deliver it, even as they continue to shift the schedule.

    And this is what was promised in 3.0 for end of 2016 release.

    And even as I type this, there are backers who are vehemently denying that Chris Roberts ever promised 3.0 by year end. Despite his own word salad to that effect.

    ..so, it’s our big end of the year release. er so er yeah, so we’re gonna get it out the end of the year; hopefully not on December 19th but, er, like last year….but it is a big one, so, not making er, I got shot for making promises, but er, that’s our goal.”

    Note that back when I said the schedule was released in order to appease irate backers, and that it was inconsequential, again, I got attacked for it. But here’s the thing: since they first released it, they’ve missed every single milestone contained within. So it’s no different if they didn’t release it, since backers should just as well ignore it. And they keep making suspicious changes (1, 2) to the schedule page itself.

    When I wrote the Star Citizen – E.L.E. blog back in April, and pointed out specifically why I believed that the project was inexplicably doomed, that neither of the two games was going to see a 2016 release, some backers waved it out of hand, while others decided to heed the warning and go for refunds (you can read the resulting fiasco in my Star Citizen – Refund Debacle blog from July). Since then, hardly anything has changed that would serve to change that opinion. Heck, this year, all they’ve released have been bug fixes to the 2.0x kernel, an in-game shop for buying pants, some flyable ships, and one new base (GrimHex). That’s it. All year. And, despite the dispute regarding the accuracy of the funding chart, they appear to be on track to raise over $35 million in 2016. In a year where they are on track to raise half of all the money that all of crowd-funding did.

    As for Squadron 42, if they ever release any version (demo, prelude, episode 1 or whatever) of it, and it’s not stellar, they’re screwed because seeing as it’s built on the same engine components, it is going to automatically affect the larger Star Citizen game. But that won’t matter, seeing as they have already been paid in advance.

    At end of the day, it’s all been a pack of lies, and what I believe to be protracted efforts to mislead backers at every turn. Which, when you think about it, makes sense that they would revise the ToS in order to not only reduce their liability, but also rescind whatever leverage backers have in terms of financial accountability.

    At this point in time, what’s going to be interesting is just how those very same toxic backers who are attacking dissenting opinions, will react when they get wind of what is currently playing out behind closed doors. But that’s why we have the legal system, as well as State and Federal agencies who pay attention to things like this.

    You all had ample warning. Now you get to bear the consequences.

    Discuss!!

    #5096
    dsmart
    Keymaster

    Today’s Star Citizen leaks courtesy of TheAgent. Some I already knew and tweeted about. 

    • 2017 is now looking like the last full operational year for CIG (*from the perspective of 2 people who recently left)
    • several office/staff moves (including the Brno move, disco lando, ben, etc) are still planned
    • roberts joked at one point “the cheap labor must flow”
    • the “must deliver” deadline is still march/q1 of 2017 for the sqlude
    • might be much less than what was planned to be released (think less than an hour of story content, highly repetitive missions to pad playtime, grind, etc)
    • sqlude will include the new footage shot earlier this year of hamill
    • direction/management are being shuffled around, some people with no experience are now in charge of dozens of employees
    • several employees and execs are now gone, including cashing out on promised bonuses or other monies when they left
    • “If [we] didn’t have money in the tank for refunds, delay. Delay, delay, delay. Promise, then delay. That was standard, yes.”
    • had to cut one or several major characters from SQ42
    • additional mocap is required “to have the story make any sense” thanks to “constant” changes to the script
    • entire maps, levels, mocap, VA, music and SFX have been thrown out, reworked and thrown out again
    • what was promised for 2.6, especially networking, won’t be in until late Jan/Feb 2017 at the earliest (maybe midyear)
    • 3.0 networking is a massive, complete mess and won’t be anywhere ready for 2017
    • “They are walking the design back on a massive scale. Try and get a refund.”
    • ^ moma that one is for you because the guy who said it, lol, just lol
    • crunch time has continued now for over six months, some people over a year


    if you’re in this project for anything over $40, get a refund. get a refund like now. after 2.6 releases to the PU you’re going to have a hard damn time getting anything back unless you pledged for the SQ42 package only

    #5174
    dsmart
    Keymaster

    STAR CITIZEN – EARLY 2017 UPDATE

    The year has barely started, but the clowns over at CIG/RSI are making waves again, even as they come up with new and inventive ways to piss off their backers who have so far given them $141 million to make a pair of games (neither of which is even near completion). So, let’s see where we are barely two weeks into the New Year.

    THE LUMBERYARD NON-SWITCH

    You probably know by now, as I wrote in my last blog, Irreconcilable Differences, that after several months of delays, they finally rushed out the 2.6 patch in late December. Not only has it been confirmed that in 2.6 the switch was basically restricted to their use of Lumberyard’s abstracted access to EC2, hence the need for displaying the logo, but also that aside from some network performance improvements due to the switch from Google Compute to Amazon EC2 cloud servers, it had zero impact on the game. Same game. Same custom engine. Same bugs. Same performance & networking issues. Which pretty much explains why they didn’t even bother mentioning that – for almost a year – they were considering this switch, but never once mentioned it to the backers.

    As one joker put it: “The development is so transparent and open, that you can’t even see it.”

    STAR MARINE. TOO LITTLE. TOO LATE.

    The 2.6 patch also brought the once canceled and much anticipated, delayed, then canceled, fps module.

    Some backers were rejoicing that – after four years of promoting it – CIG managed to release a stand-alone fps game module built with an engine designed specifically for fps games. The end result? It’s generic, lackluster, buggy (hey pre-Alpha!), and uninspiring in every way. Needless to say, this one won’t be saving PC gaming any time soon. And if you believed Chris Roberts – even for a second – when he said that “it would be more lethal than Call Of Duty“, congrats; you’re a fool.

    Basically, this was just them ticking off another check mark in the list of documented promises, and which joins the hangar, Arena Commander, and persistent universe modules in their mediocrity (at least for a $141 million project). And if those other modules are anything to go by, this first release will also lack any meaningful content and updates for quite some time.

    Case in point, people are already using hacks to cheat. For a game that is in pre-alpha, you would think that these reports would be useful to CIG in order that they be identified and fixed. But no, that’s too easy and logical. So instead, they’re threatening to ban accounts. For cheating in a pre-alpha game. Yeah.

    And speaking of Arena Commander – which first appeared in 2014 – after all this time, not only do they still not have a plausible flight module, but in 2.6 they somehow managed to make it worse; if you can imagine that.

    SQUADRON 42. STILL MIA

    This single-player version of the game, and which was to tie into the larger Star Citizen (aka Persistent Universe), is still a no-show; and all bets about it even being released in 2017, are off. In fact, in a recent issue of German magazine, Der Spiegel, Chris was quoted as saying that it would “probably be finished in 2017“.

    Rumors have been swirling for months that not only is that module itself in serious trouble, but that it doesn’t even exist as a cohesive game. Just think, it was supposed to be coming in 2014, then 2015, then for real, in 2016. But so far, aside from the godawful Morrow Tour video from CitizenCon 2015, nothing of it has been shown. Not even a trailer or a demo.

    After seeing the likes of the recently released Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare and the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda, anything less than a spectacular showing of SQ42 – the game that Chris mostly cares about – will be devastating. But let’s not ignore the fact that Chris had gone on the record and stated that they had a demo “ready to go” for CitizenCon 2016, but they opted not to release it due to time constraints. I wrote about that in my Shattered Dreams blog.

    Other rumors say that only a prelude (aka demo) – not the full Episode 1 – will be released sometime in Q1/17. Seriously, we can’t wait. Though with some top level team members (e.g. Tom Johnson, Todd Pappy) on that project rumored to have either left or on their way out, one has to wonder how far along that module is at this point.

    A recent rumor that’s been floating around also suggests that SQ42 will probably no longer exist as a separate game as previously planned. Instead, the missions will be rolled into Star Citizen, thus making it just another game mode like Arena Commander and Star Marine. Yeah, it’s hilarious. Especially when you consider that they split it into a separate product earlier this year; no doubt in order to maximize sales, as well as spin it off as its own title; thus justifying a console port, as well as DLC (episodic content etc).

    To be honest, as a developer, and given the structure of the what they’ve built so far, I think making it a game mode and accessible via the Star Citizen menu, is probably a good call. Though it is mission based single-player, but originally billed to support co-op (which requires networking support), it makes sense. In fact, doing that could also enable them to bring back co-op play. But that would require revisions to the missions of course. And if nothing else, it would be consistent with the other game modules (hangar, persistent universe, star marine, arena commander).

    None of this matters anyway. Now that they are switching to Lumberyard – five years into development – they have bigger problems to worry about.

    THE DEV SCHEDULE

    Back in Dec, following the disastrous CitizenCon 2016 and anniversary community events, they released a dev schedule. Most of us – after we finished laughing – remained skeptical, seeing as we already knew that they did that only to boost backer confidence in the name of “open development”. Of course, aside from the fact that the schedule was just rubbish, they missed every single deadline contained within. Finally rushing to release a broken 2.6 patch, of which various promised items were removed. Which begs the question. Why bother? They are already notorious for missing deadlines; so how does releasing a schedule in which they continue that trend, change anything? It doesn’t. They only did it due to the backer uprising.

    So here we are, week two of the New Year, and the first problem (shocker) was just made public via the latest communication to backers from Chris. They’re now talking about delivering 3.0 (aka The Jesus Patch) in 2017. The same 3.0 that Chris, according to these slides, said would be released before Dec 19th, 2016. No talk of 4.0 coming in 2017 now. The Reddit thread that popped out around it, contains the usual hilarity.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="726"]Star Citizen 01/06/17 newsletter Star Citizen 01/06/17 newsletter[/caption]

    FOR SALE, ONE BARELY FUNCTIONAL FLAMETHROWER

    Quite a number of backers continue requesting and getting refunds. Some have made it public, while others are doing it quietly in order to stay out of the on-going fray. Even the hardcore backers who were once convinced that I was wrong about all this, that my sole purpose was to kill (yeah, hilarious, I know) the project etc are getting refunds. In the last 24 hrs, two made public that they had requested a refund. In fact, when this hardcore backer posted that he put in for a refund, he got attacked; prompting another backer ($7.2K) to put in for his refund.

    CIG have in fact been granting refunds – as indeed they should – or face the wrath of State and Fed officials who are long aware of what’s going on with the project. However, in the New Year, there have been some reports of refunds being rejected. We’re still looking into it; but it appears as if either they’ve stopped doing refunds in 2017, thus only doing those who filed before the end of 2016, or they’re enforcing the 2016 ToS refund criteria now.

    They’re rumored to be quite low on funds (it’s expensive to fund 4 studios and almost 400 people around the globe), so we already expected this to start happening eventually. With this much money at stake, all things considered, CIG is basically robbing Peter (new backers) to pay Paul (refunds). Which is how a Ponzi scheme collapses once the amount of money needed to give to Paul, exceeds what was taken from Peter – and spent.

    If after all these months of being warned you didn’t get a refund, well, you only have yourself to blame.

    Across the web, and on the official forums, many a heated thread has either been closed or flat-out deleted. A lot of the hardcore backers, already fed up with what is going on, are voicing dissent on a daily basis; even as they face incessant attacks from the anti-social Shitizens (the backers who are waging an Internet war of attrition against dissent).

    And even long-time backers are facing attacks and ridicule for even questioning what is going on. This thread popped on Reddit after a long time original backer ($8K vested!) was censored on the CIG forums for basically doing nothing wrong. So he got even and put in for a refund.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, in the past 24 hours, yet another original (2012) backer, Badger, a Golden ticket holder and the second or third oldest documented backer, also faced similar derision. Get this. A CIG staffer even threatened to close his account if he leaked the plot to Star Wars Rogue One movie. Yes, something that has nothing to do with Star Citizen.

    If you have been following my Star Citizen writings, then you should know that this won’t be the first time that CIG have taken action against a backer for something said outside of CIG forums. There was a media article about it as well. Anyway, the backer wrote an entire missive about it up on Google Docs; which he then posted in this Reddit thread. Well, go look and see what happened next.

    Basically, the backers – who just wanted a game they paid for and who are now seeking accountability, while voicing their dissent, are in an all-out war with Shitizens (who are fighting a proxy war for CIG), and even CIG community staffers.

    Aside from the wars going on in the backer community, CIG has also been scaling back on community activities. Last year they canceled the popular 10 For The Chairman programming (in which Chris answered questions from subscribers and backers), while scaling back on a number of other broadcasts. This new year has now seen the cancellation of the Reverse The Verse (weekly updates from the community teams) programming as well. And – get this – that has now been replaced with a Happy Hour broadcast in which CIG community members get to play the game on a stream. No, I’m not making that up.

    Note that all of these broadcasts are supposedly paid for by subscribers paying $10 or $20 per month. Yes, it’s hilarious. The RSI forum and Reddit threads are…well, go look.

    SHOW ME THE MONEY!

    Having failed to deliver the games promised and within the 18 month grace period following the Nov 2014 promised date, CIG have not only failed to release financials to backers as promised, but they also changed the ToS in June 2016, removing that requirement for new backers completely. That single action alone sparked a refund cascade, and which I wrote about extensively in my Refund Debacle blog. Since that time, seeing as the UK laws, unlike US laws, require companies to make their financials public, we’ve been paying close attention to the money being funneled into the UK from the US.

    After being late (like the other two entities) and paying fines each year, for whatever reason, CIG (UK) have recently filed their 2015 financials. Basically, CIG (UK) costs £15m (approx $18m) a year; which is almost 50% of the $35.9m raised in 2015. These financials are evidence as to why they need to keep raising money. Think about it. If this single studio cost this much to run in 2015; how were they planning to build a game for $65m, let alone $15m as they were saying merely two years ago?

    And my guess is that this funding amount is going to probably be higher in 2016 due to the increased head count as shown in this slide during CitizenCon 2016 this past Oct.

    Remember, for some reason, there are 3 (!) UK companies for this single project. Seriously. CIG (UK), RSI (UK), F42 (UK).

    Links for financials for all three UK entities: CIG, F42, RSI, and the complete (we think) list of companies setup for and/or associated with the Star Citizen project in some form or another:

    1) Cloud Imperium Games Corp, West Hollywood, CA
    2) Cloud Imperium Games LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    3) Cloud Imperium Services, LLC West Hollywood, CA <– The one is interesting. It is found on BBB, but is not in the CA Secretary Of State dB records
    4) Cloud Imperium Games LLC, Santa Monica, CA
    5) Cloud Imperium Games Texas LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    6) Cloud Imperium Games Texas LLC, Austin, TX
    7) Cloud Imperium Games UK Limited, UK
    8) Foundry 42 Limited, UK
    9) Foundry 42, Germany
    10) Gemini 42 Entertainment LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    11) Gemini 42 Productions LLC, Santa Monica, CA
    12) Roberts Space Industries Corp, West Hollywood, CA
    13) Roberts Space Industries International Limited, UK
    14) Twin Brothers Production Inc, West Hollywood, CA
    15) Twin Bros, Germany

    The money flow for 2014-2015:

    Also, similar to how some States here in the US give tax breaks and financial assistance to some companies (see the 38 Studios debacle) depending on investment, jobs etc, we’ve been trying to find out how much financial or tax breaks CIG received from the UK; specifically the city of Manchester. This is something that some of the local businesses are also trying to find out, amid rumors that CIG may have sucked up most of it. To that end, when we came across the 2016 Science & Innovation Audit report from Manchester, which listed CIG as having a £1 billion turnover, we immediately jumped on it seeing as we knew it to be factually incorrect. In fact, given their yearly fund-raising, not taking into account bank loans (e.g. the NatWest loan in the UK), and investor money, the entity is barely a $35 million company. Assuming you go with gross revenue and not P&L.

    Manchester wrote back to confirm that it was in fact an error.

    But they also indicated that the US parent company had a £150 million turnover. We have no freaking clue where they got those numbers from either; so another query has been sent to them. We’re just hoping that whatever it is they filed with the UK officials, is accurate, because when the final end game starts to play out in the coming months, this is the sort of data that’s going to be crucial to following the money and finding out how they could possibly have raised – and blown through over $141 million (not including loans and investments) in five years – and never shipping any of the games promised.

    update 01/12/17: A response was received regarding the £150 million turnover amount. So basically they were just publishing data straight from CIG/F42 – with zero vetting.

    THE ROAD AHEAD

    If rumors and insider leaks are to be believed, not only are they now facing the prospects of doing layoffs (so far, we’re tracking over 20 people having departed in the past weeks) in order to curb spending, but even with SQ42 now a “maybe” for 2017, without additional funding or curbing their spending, not only do they stand a very slim chance of delivering on even 25% of what was promised, but they stand zero chance of delivering 100% of what was promised by Q4/2020. Back in July 2015, in my first blog, Interstellar Citizens, I opined that they simply couldn’t make the ultra ambitious game Chris pitched. And I further went on to say that even if they had the tech and the talent, they’d need $150m minimum to do it. That was at $85m. Clearly they neither have the tech, nor the talent; and even with $141m and five years in, by all accounts, they simply can’t build that game.

    At this point, short of money laundering and similar shenanigans, anyone giving them money, knowing that they have zero incentive to complete, let alone ship the games promised, deserves to lose it. Enough is enough. And those backers fighting a proxy Internet war of attrition against dissent, are doing more to taint and tarnish the project and its community, than they can imagine. Even so, for those guys, no matter how this ends, the worst thing to them isn’t that Chris Roberts was wrong; it’s that Derek Smart was right.

    How did I get involved in this on-going farce? I’m glad you asked. It’s hilarious; and the sort of dumb thing that only someone like Chris Roberts would do.

    Discuss in the forums.

    #5224
    dsmart
    Keymaster

    IS AMAZON THE NEW STAR CITIZEN PUBLISHER?

    So TheAgent is back with some info that even I find it very hard to believe, let alone absorb. I have reached out to my own sources for some confirmation. Will report back when I hear more.

    so amazon is 100% their publisher now

    welcome to the jungle, motherfuckers

    I know everyone has said, no no, Lumberyard is free or whatever

    but they just got a huge cash injection and programmers and support from amazon

    so there you go

    all severs are free. new patcher by amazon. new devs from amazon. new higher up execs are all amazon. no more dreams. mvp early 2018.

    and they just tossed all the dead weight devs. goodbye, tony z

    expect to see amazon partnerships everywhere this year, like the AMD days of old

    btw according to rumors amazon is going to take a loss of $700m over 3 years in their games division in order to make it a viable product going forward

    Basically, if true, then the circle is complete, and this is the Freelancer (1, 2) debacle all over again, and which happened mere years after Microsoft bought Digital Anvil and booted Chris Roberts off the project.

    I have to wonder how on Earth any publisher – let alone Amazon – would look at the state and notoriety of this project, let alone the largely toxic community, and find it to be a good investment.

    For one thing, very few devs are using LumberYard; not because it’s a bad engine mind you, but because, well, UE4 and Unity5 are so far ahead, it’s not even funny. Plus, regardless of all the wonderful (they really knocked it out of the park, when compared to what they originally pulled from CryTek) things they’ve done with it, LumberYard at its core, is still based on CryEngine 3.x which very few devs actually used; when compared to other offerings.

    Not to mention the HUGE liability Amazon would be saddled with, nor the inevitable lawsuits (from either whales or State and/or Fed officials) and backer backlash they are going to be facing when the final chips fall and the game promised, and for which they have received over $145m to date, isn’t delivered.

    It beggars belief. But this is the videogame industry; it’s not supposed to make any sense.

    In my Irreconcilable Differences blog from Dec 2016, I wrote about how I thought it makes sense that CIG switched to LumberYard. At the time, from what we could tell from the 2.6.0 build (which first had the LumberYard logo), and sources, they hadn’t actually switched at all; other than the move from Google Compute Engine to AWS. The current 2.6.1 build still doesn’t have any evidence (if you have access to LumberYard and Star Citizen 2.6.x, and you know what to look for – go look and see) that they have in fact made a “switch” beyond that move from GCE to AWS.

    Note that they never gave backers ANY forewarning about the LumberYard switch back in December 2016. This despite the fact that for most of 2016; they were already contemplating the switch. Which isn’t all that surprising, considering all the information they tend to either withhold from backers or communicate poorly.

    To wit, in the past 24hrs, they have discontinued (1, 2) yet another aspect of the project which most backers have come to rely on for information about the project. Yes, they have now canned – without notice or forewarning – the monthly studio reports. These were detailed reports which, despite being mostly bullshit and inconsequential fluff, the backers could still use in their wet dreams about all the crap (none of which – six years later – has come to fruition mind you) they’re going to be doing in a largely vaporware game.

    It’s hilarious that my first Star Citizen blog from July 2015, Interstellar Citizens, was written due to what I had read in an earlier monthly report and determined that they were i) fucked, and couldn’t deliver on what was promised ii) making shit up on the fly iii) lying to backers in order to continue raising funds

    As I type this, there is still no public schedule for the much awaited 3.0 patch (which was really coming by Dec 19th 2016). At the time, I had said (1, 2) that it was pure bullshit, and that it didn’t even exist. It’s now March 2017 and the next 2.6.2 patch is supposedly coming around Mar 23rd. That’s basically the end of Q1/17. This despite Chris Roberts going on the record and saying that they share with backers the same internal schedule they use.

    So taken at face value, the absence of a 3.0 schedule basically means that it doesn’t yet exist as a build; thus no schedule. Either that or they won’t share it because then backers are going to hold them to it. All of which makes sense, seeing as even when they started doing schedules in Dec 2016 in order to give backers even more false sense of security, they tend to remove items from the schedule without warning or notification. So basically, for all intent and purposes, despite what was promised in 3.0, they could very well take any patch higher than 2.6.2 and call it 3.0.

    Back in late 2015 when this whole thing fell in my lap, and Chris decided to “face the devil and give it a face” by calling me out for writing a blog that went mainstream, I had taken legal action in which I asked them for three things. Their legal “come at me bro” response; was basically as worthless as the medium it was written on. I had asked for:

    1. Refunds for backers who asked for itThey resisted this until a brave backer, reading my blogs, decided to get State officials involved after they refused his refund. The end result basically proved what I had been saying all along that the ToS (which has been revised several times and skewed in favor of CIG) wouldn’t hold up to any legal scrutiny if backers were being refused refunds. I wrote about this in detail in my Star Citizen Refund Debacle blog. And just like that, compared to previous years, refunds were a thing.Not to mention this recent case brought by the CA District Attorney over the Lily drone crowd-funding fiasco. That case, like other State actions against crowd-funded projects, sets yet another standard and precedent for what I believe is coming down the line for Star Citizen if they continue along this path of non-delivery. It’s just too big to ignore.

      There’s also a slightly technical issue that forms a second front in the DA’s lawsuit: the fact that they went with an independent “pre-order” strategy rather than an established crowdfunded development site like Kickstarter. That makes Lily’s money qualify more on the side of internet sales than investment in an idea (something Kickstarter and its projects are always careful to explain), which exposed the company to certain consumer protection laws.

    2. A schedule that backers can rely upon as an indicator for when they would get the games paid forThey refused to do this until Dec 2016 during a major backer backlash after they – again – missed the 2016 ship date for both Star Citizen and Squadron 42, then never gave any forewarning. Then, out of the Blue – without forewarning – there was a schedule. And it was largely bullshit because not only was it not even complete, let alone detailed, what they ended up releasing in 2.6.0 and 2.6.1 barely contained what was promised, but also contained a slew of things that weren’t even in the schedule to begin with. Which means that they were just sharing what they felt was enough to keep backers on a leash. The practice continues in the current 2.6.2 schedule.
    3. The promised financial accountability promised in the ToS which they used as a way to gain backer confidenceGiven the controversy surrounding the claims of monies $145 million to date raised (1, 2) for the project, not to mention the Red flags in the filings of the UK entities or the disparity in the funding chart (which doesn’t appear to take into account backer refunds, bank loans, and investor money), it is highly unlikely that outside of a lawsuit (whale backers, investors, State and/or Fed officials) that backers will ever get this financial accountability. And the arbitration clause in the ToS pretty much represents the first hurdle for whale backers because only investors, State and Fed officials can get around that, as they are not bound by the ToS.

    So aside from the many rumors – and evidence – that the project is in trouble, whale backers ejecting like rats from a sinking ship etc, if Amazon has in fact taken on the liability and the role of “publisher” for this project, thus putting it under the purview of one of the Amazon Game Studios, to me, that’s the one move that’s going to cause the largest backer revolt yet. For one thing, as long as Chris Roberts isn’t in charge, any competent AGS lead producer will immediately have access to the game’s design and schedule, then see that i) what they’ve promised is all but a dream, and – as I’ve stated – simply cannot be built as promised ii) even if they chopped it up, scaled it down, and shipped both Star Citizen and Squadron 42, it likely won’t happen before 2020 – at best.

    The flip side of Amazon (who is apparently doubling down) being the publisher is that they stand a very good chance of stripping away all the lofty promises, while attempting to ship a game they can deliver – even in an MVP form. Unlike Freelancer, it won’t be such an easy sell to backers who have paid upfront – and in some cases thousands of dollars – for a completely different game.

    LumberYard needs a boost because it’s not widely adopted. But using it to sell AWS is a tough call because contrary to popular belief the AWS costs can be prohibitive – especially for multiplayer games. And when those games stop making enough money to pay for AWS, well, it’s sunset time. So in the case of Star Citizen, I just don’t see how AMZ buying or publishing this game makes sense. It’s a massive financial and PR liability. And if that were to happen, the end result is that those acting like they are in a cult will just end up blaming AMZ for ruining Chris’s ‘vision‘ if they shipped anything less than what he has promised – even as all indications are that he can’t deliver on said promises anyway. With $145m (if you believe it) to date in liability, what exactly would AMZ be buying for them to even recoup that; let alone make any money? All that money is basically pre-orders with very little room for further monetization. Not even if it came to consoles. It makes no sense for them to do it; which is why I find it hard to believe this rumor. But if AMZ is going to do this as a way of marketing LumberYard + AWS for games, it’s one heck of an expensive spend – aside from it being completely nonsensical.

    If you’re a whale backer, or investor in this project, and not already asking questions or trying to find out whether or not this very specific rumor is in fact true (in some form or another), you will only have yourself to blame for the end result.

    Stay tuned.

    #5276
    dsmart
    Keymaster

    SQUADRON 42 DELAYED TO 2018

    As I reported on Twitter earlier today, several sources, as they have done twice before in 2015 and 2016, have once again informed me that SQ42 is now a 2018 game. In fact, the current internal schedule shows it stretching all the way to mid-2018, and possibly beyond. The past two times that I had reported this, some people didn’t believe it. And CIG kept denying it. This Sept 2016 denial was my favorite. Both 2015 and 2016 came and went. Right up to the blatant lies that CIG told during the events (GamesCom and CitizenCon) of Q4/2016. I wrote extensively about that in my Shattered Dreams blog from Oct 2016.

    Sources also tell me that they’re frantically trying to either get a preview or trailer out before the end of the year. So yeah, probably a repeat of Q4/2016 all over again.

    Oh, and they have definitely chopped up the SQ42 game. I reported on this back in 2016 as well, but they have apparently stuck to the goal of releasing the once full game, into bits and pieces in order to “keep things going and raising money”. It makes perfect sense if you ask me. They know that the minute they release any “final” version of any portion of this train-wreck project, that’s it’s all over. So why not maintain the bait and switch Status Quo by splitting a full game into parts, then sell them separately? If you recall, they did that back in 2016 when they split SQ42 from Star Citizen, in order to sell it separately. Except this time, they’re going to split SQ42 even further. Which, now that I think about it, explains why you can buy that game for $15 (instead of $45) if you buy it as a bundle ($45 + $15) with Star Citizen. My God man! We’re doing it all wrong.

    DAT DEV SCHEDULE!

    I have seen it.

    It’s amazing.

    And it goes beyond 2017, and all the way to 2021. <—- LOL!!

    The internal dev schedule looks absolutely nothing like the public dev schedule they put up for backers. Not only does the internal one have entries for SQ42, but it also shows all the tech and asset dependencies that the title is currently awaiting. Since SQ42 uses the same engine as Star Citizen Actual, it stands to reason that, networking fiasco aside, they simply can’t complete that title without those core engine components and assets.

    When they first released a dev schedule, following backer dissent and outcry, it was along the lines of what was shown in Q4/2016. They got quite a bit of money by the time dust settled, and backer trust (in some regard) was regained. That didn’t last very long because shortly thereafter, they released a new version for the upcoming 3.0 that looked nothing like the original plan, though it did go all the way to 4.0. Then, shockingly, they later released another version which completely removed everything after 3.2. Yeah.

    Basically, having failed to “save PC gaming“, while singing the “death to publishers!” theme song, Chris is basically doing what publishers know some devs with publisher funding tend to do: maintain two separate schedules. One to keep the publisher happy, and milestones paid; and one that’s the actual internal one which they hope will match the timeline that leads to a game. It’s the equivalent of having two accounting “books”, one of which is highly fraudulent. Only this time, backers are the publishers. Except that the backers still giving them money, are either completely gullible fools, or they’re using Star Citizen to launder money as I wrote in my Money Laundromat blog.

    It is amazing to me that there are two games in development; but yet still, even though backers haven’t seen anything tangible from SQ42 since the Godawful Morrow Tour from 2015, that it doesn’t even appear in the public dev schedule. It’s as if it doesn’t even exist; or that they know if they release it, that backers would freak out, and see that it’s nowhere near complete in the short-term. This despite the fact that they keep showing art and videos purportedly from the game. But that’s normal though, right?

    What’s even more egregious to me, is that backers have forked out over $150 million for two games, but they have to rely on insider leaks – for a crowdfunded project – to get most of the tangible and reliable information about the project they paid for. And they still don’t have a clue about most of what’s left to do in the games. So we have a public tracker that’s just as hilarious as it is shocking.

    AND FURTHERMORE

    The project is FUBAR. And backers are in for the most interesting shocker yet. But I’m holding on to that one for now. Stay tuned.

    #5325
    dsmart
    Keymaster

    2015 STAR CITIZEN FINANCIALS FROM FOUNDRY 42 (UK)

    The 2015 financials are up. For the first time, they actually filed on time this time around. I wonder what could possibly be going on over there. If I had to guess, I would say that section 19 has something to do with it.

    Anyway, the numbers are in stark contrast to the 2015 (analysis here) numbers. As of Dec 2016, they had £593K ($754K) in the bank. Considering that they get money from the parent (Cloud Imperium Games UK) company as-needed, there is no immediate concern here. If the parent company runs out of money, well, they’re screwed. They actually mention this “going concern” in section 1.2 of the filing.

    They are now taking the tax credits awarded by the government for software companies in the region. For 2016, they took £3.3m ($4.1m) allowance, and with the £3.1m ($3.9m) taken in 2015, brings the total tax credit to £6.4m ($8.1m) thus far. Due to how this is calculated (after expenses), this tax credit adds approximately £6.4m ($8.1m) to the projects P&L calculations.

    Yearly expenses increased from £12.7m ($16m) to £15.4m ($19.5m), which is an average of £225K ($285K) per month.

    The average employee count increased from 132 in 2015, to 221 in 2016. This was a financial increase from £5.9m ($7.4m) to £9.8m ($12.4) in wages and benefits. What’s curious here is that they hired 89 more people in 2016, with an increase of only £3.9m ($4.9m) in wages & benefits. Thus making the average yearly “per person” increase of only £43.8K ($55.4K). Given those numbers, these are probably either mostly interns, or part-time contractors. Especially when you consider their monthly burn rate for prior years.

    It appears that they still owe money to NatWest bank. Going from the financials, that amount seems (it’s not stated with clarity in section 13) to be £794K ($1m).

    They don’t own the building they are in. Their five year lease is now disclosed as being £249K ($315K) per year.

    Alarmingly, Erin Roberts (brother of CEO, Chris Roberts), the director of the studio, took a pay increase from £152.7K ($193.5) to £230K ($291.3) in 2016. As if it wasn’t bad enough that it was previously over 2x the average for someone in his position in the Manchester region; at that 22% increase, it is way higher than the inflation increase for the region. Aside from the fact that the average salary in the region declined by almost 2x the inflation rate between 2015-2016 period. Not to mention the overall financial conditions in the UK, especially in the videogame sector. Oh well, backers will never know.

    To date, they’ve raised over $151m in crowd-funded money, not including known and unknown loans, as well as other outside investment money, without ever shipping either of the promised games. So even as they keep using all kinds of tricks to continue raising money from the few remaining gullible believer whales, they’re basically continuing to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of the project. If Erin alone is making this much money, one can only wonder what the rest of the people in the nepotism-r-us friends (Elms brothers, Derek Senior, Ortwin Freyermuth) and family (Chris & Sandi Roberts) program are making off a project they seemingly stand no chance of ever delivering on.

    Section 19 is very curious. Due to the huge restated amount of £2.4m ($3.0m) from 2015, it reads like the sort of thing that would result from either a govt audit, or them just cleaning up their books in order to pass any due diligence muster.  Also, as they’re now taking tax credits, it makes sense that these sort of numbers should be devoid of any such discrepancies, or they would also be in some serious problems with the govt. If you look at the chart from the previous analysis, with these restated numbers, it is now also clear that though the company doesn’t sell anything, they’re using money received from the parent (the backer piggy bank) company, as their income/turnover cash flow.

    A single studio is burning about $2m per month. Yet, when we estimated that they had to be burning approx $3m per month worldwide (five studios), some said nuh-uh. In 2016, they raised about $36m, and this single studio burned through about $24m (including the $8m tax credit) of it.

    Finally there is one very important element – the more funds we can raise in the pre-launch phase, the more we can invest in additional content (more ships, characters etc.) and perhaps more importantly we can apply greater number of resources to the various tasks to ensure we deliver the full functionality sooner rather than later” – Chris Roberts, Sept 16, 2013

    UPDATE: Analysis of suspicious asset allocation.

    STATE OF THE SCAM

    As it stands, the upcoming highly anticipated 3.0 patch, as per the schedule update of June 9th, is already late, and with a slew of items either on the “TBD” chopping block, or delayed by up to a whole month.  In fact, since the schedule first showed up six months ago, it’s been consistently rubbish. When sources recently told me that the public schedule was bullshit, and that it didn’t even reflect the internal dev schedule, I was a bit skeptical. It all makes sense when you consider all the radical changes to the schedule, and then think back to Aug 19, 2016, during GamesCom, when Chris stated this:

    .so, it’s our big end of the year release. er so er yeah, so we’re gonna get it out the end of the year; hopefully not on December 19th but, er, like last year….but it is a big one, so, not making er, I got shot for making promises, but er, that’s our goal.

    That was a whole 10 months ago. So by the time it is released – assuming Aug (yah! just in time for another GamesCom fundraising) – it would have been a year since it was “coming in four months”.

    The changes in last week’s schedule update are truly hilarious. Some highlights:


    Line 47: Procedural Planets
    Line 154: Netcode
    Line 162-182: Cargo
    Line 180: Repair. This was feature complete in the last schedule. Now it’s back on the menu + 2 weeks.
    Line 208-211: Component system (in case you missed it, read my latest Quora reply regarding performance issues)
    Line 349: Volumetric Fog. Notice how it was due to be completed on June 9th (today), but somehow isn’t marked as “Feature Complete”? Yeah, me too.
    Line 378: Mission System Broker. Delayed a whole – freaking – month. LOL! I’m dying.


    Whatever they brand and release as 3.0 between July and Aug, is going to truly test the patience and loyalty of the remaining (those who didn’t get a refund off this sinking ship) backers. Even those who are probably laundering money through the game, are going to be concerned. From what I am hearing from inside sources, 3.0 is going to be just another chopped up mess, masquerading as a point (remember 2.0? yeah, me too) release, just in time for a critical fundraising (Gamescom in Aug, CitizenCon in Oct) drive as 2017 draws to a close. As I’ve written before, every single promise they have made for planets (moons vs planets), networking (critical revisions removed from schedule), etc in 3.0, has either been revised/removed, or in a state of disarray. But wait! If you read my May 24th analysis of the networking and instancing issues they have to contend with, it should give a good idea of what they are facing, and what to expect if/when 3.0 is actually released.

    Two years ago in July 2015, after they had raised an unprecedented $85m, I stated in my Interstellar Citizens blog that they simply couldn’t build the game as pitched, let alone for less than $150m. I had no clue that two years later, with an engine switch, and over $151m raised, that they still wouldn’t have shipped either of the two games, let alone 25% of the Star Citizen MMO game. It’s just amazing to me.

    And with E3 2017 going on, and the studio and the projects (Star Citizen and Squadron 42) nowhere (they were last seen at the Amazon Lumberyard showcase booth at GDC 2017 in Feb) in sight, given the amazing games on display, all made for less than $150m, it stands to reason that, as most of us have said all along, this project – in its entirety – is DOA. It will never be “finished”, let alone delivered as promised.

    #5346
    dsmart
    Keymaster

    THE STAR CITIZEN PROJECT IS IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE

    As I have reported in the past, for some time now sources have informed me that the project was in financial straits. Despite denials from some in the toxic backer community, and silence from CIG/RSI – even though they had pledged to provide financials to backers – their recent 2016 financials filing in the UK, had some curious entries which served to support this notion.

    Read more in Star Citizen – The Final Countdown blog.

    STAR CITIZEN 3.0 DELAYED – AGAIN. BUT THE SALE MUST GO ON!

    The on-going saga surrounding the much touted 3.0 build also just had another event.

    Back on May 26th, I wrote up an article based on some new info sent to me via various sources. Sources had claimed that not only was Squadron 42, the single player game based on Star Citizen, not due out in 2017, but neither is Star Citizen itself. They also claimed that the internal dev schedule was totally different from the public version, and that the former stretched all the way to 2021.

    Since they started publicizing the dev schedule, it has been consistently riddled with bogus and highly questionable entries. During that time, they continued to use all kinds of new and inventive ways to squeeze their backer whales for money, under the guise of progress being made on the project. And they just did it – again.

    After announcing a new concept sale for June 23rd (date of new schedule) weeks prior, they started the sale a day before the new schedule was due to be released. The sale was for a “racing” bike, which doesn’t exist, and for a game mechanic that doesn’t exist either; but which they have been touting as coming in 3.0. The same build in which they touted procedural planets, but have now settled for “level” based moons and planetoids due to on-going technical difficulties with the engine. I wrote about this on June 22nd:

    **BREAKING*** two sources have now confirmed that 3.0 is such a technological nightmare, and performance hog, that nobody knows how they are going to end up releasing it within the current time frame; let alone for GamesCom.

    Croberts working on his new justification speech (aka newsletter), in which he may have no choice but to admit that the switch to LY hasn’t been as straightforward (gee, who knew!?) as they made it out to be – seven months ago.

    It’s amazing to me that since July 2015, I’ve been right about so many things, that those guys don’t even bother recapping them anymore. This despite the fact that I document them religiously in my blogs and forum posts – for a reason.

    All that aside, the primary claim that “they can’t build the game as pitched” and which everyone was saying that I was wrong about, remains true.

    Ignoring the $150m (they were at $85, and have since passed this) + proper engine (they switched to the more advanced LY) that I said they would need to pull it off.

    Recently (well, before GamesCom 2016), I said that they simply didn’t have the tech to do procedurally generated planets, that the pitched 3.0 was bullshit dipped in Ether. Less than 6 months later, 3.0 has been significantly scaled back. And has moons – in a level – instead of procedural planets (shown in an elaborate R&D video showcase posing as in-game).

    I have no doubt that they will probably release something called 3.0, then continue to update it. They did the same thing with 2.0. Right up to 2.6.x

    ps: There is another JPEG sale tomorrow June 23rd. So they’re probably going to lie in tomorrow’s 3.0 schedule update, then update it again the following week with the proper data.”

    The sale for the Nox bike went up, and so far they have raised about $700K from it. Bear in mind that the funding chart is said to be highly inaccurate and being manipulated and used by CIG/RSI as a way to show that there is continued interest in the project,

    Then the 3.0 schedule went up the day following the sale. And it’s hilariously as expected.

    On June 20th, I had written that, from looking at the June 16th schedule, that there was no way they were going to make it.

    “But 3.0 is on the way. The Evocati “aim” date, as per last week’s schedule update, is 06-21-17 to 07-05-17. We know that’s probably not going to happen. And when it eventually drops, we’ll see what the performance is like.”

    So in last week’s schedule, the Evocati (closed test group) release date window was 06/21/17 – 07/05/17. This week it’s now 07/07/17 – 07/20/17. And from comparing it to the previous schedule, while littered with entries such as “TBD” and “delayed due to unforeseen shortage in resources”, it’s clear that they’re not likely to make that date either.

    Basically, a total of 7 items were “completed” (this is subjective, when you look at notes which indicate that such tasks spawned new sub-tasks), and a total of 19 (!) were pushed back.

    This is all in line with sources saying that the internal dev and public schedules are completely out of sync, and that CIG/RSI are just releasing as much as they feel is needed to appease backers. As far back as the April schedule, which I wrote about, among other things, and during which it was scheduled to be released the end of June, I was saying that it’s highly unlikely to happen.

    The Star Citizen Tracker which is religiously maintained and updated as development continues, is a stark reminder that, regardless of the rumored 2021 date (subject to further delays of course), there is so much work left to be done, that even if they automagically got the resources (money, talent, tech) to pull it off, that it clearly has another five or more years to go.

    And here I was, back in July 2015 being conservative when I stated that to pull off what they promised would require $150 million minimum, a competent team, and capable engine. Since that time, at $85 million raised, they’ve exceeded that $150m, and switched engines – even as they continue to bleed experienced talent who are being replaced by inexperienced people who have to get up to speed on a six year project.

    With their two biggest fundraising events, GamesCom (Aug 22-26) and CitizenCon (Oct 27th) coming up, as they have done in the past, it is likely that they will brand and push out whatever build (3.0 was previously 2.7, as sources had stated that the former didn’t exist at the time Chris announced it) they have in time for either of those two events.

    Which brings me to…

    THE LATEST BLATANT CASH GRAB

    Basically, ahead of this latest sale, without any forewarning or announcement, they yanked the Redeemer ship from sale.

    Unless you are familiar with how the game’s assets work, you won’t understand what just happened. Basically, this move not only removes the ability for backers to trade up and/or trade in better ships, but it also requires them to spend more money in order to get what they want. Here, are some choice comments (1, 2 3) from those affected.

    I’ve got a big ship pack and am fully reliant on CCUs to convert the contained ships into the ones I want.
    After CIG’s initial threat to erase all $0 CCUs from our hangars, I quickly hunkered down to make a solid upgrade plan, got it in place, and bought all the necessary CCUs. These were not particularly cheap, and largely revolved around using the Redeemer as a stepping stone, simply because it iswas the only always-available ship at that price. Now a large majority of the upgrade plan that CIG ‘encouraged’ me to invest in just got decimated. And the remainder of it will go down the drain with the $0 CCU wipe, removing the CCUs I can now no longer use because of the Redeemer removal.
    I’m starting to have some serious regret about giving money to a company that treats its backers with such blatant hostility.

    Kinda pissed.
    I bought the 5-pack of the Nox with the sole intention of grabbing 3x Redeemers so I could use my Eclipse and BMM CCU with LTI, and still have a Redeemer and a Nox to hang on to.
    Without warning that kinda screws up my plans to finalize ships before the 3.0 $0CCU wipe…
    Awesome. :/

    My guess is that the Redeemer was removed to break the $0 CCU conversion to Banu Merchantman.
    Might be a very clever first step to the anticipated Great $0 CCU Hangar Cleanout of ’17.
    Once they started doing sudden, unannounced price changes on existing ships (like BMM going from $250>$300>$350), the writing was on the wall.
    My guess is they WILL continue to announce prices for new Concept ships ahead of time (as stated), but they WON’T announce price hikes for anything that isn’t new. And temporarily removing the Redeemer removes a critical permanent CCU upgrade point.
    So…. Remove previously permanent ships temporarily, mix in some selective price hikes, and remove old $0 CCUs from hangars- it will go along way to stop the ability to build ships for less than sticker price.
    If you can, complete any upgrade chains while it is still possible!”

    Peachy!

    STILL BUILDING TOOLS & TECH

    As if all that wasn’t bad enough, having dropped the pretext of doing procedural planets in the game world, in a June 22nd broadcast of Around The Verse, they showed a segment (FF to 26:46) showcasing a new tool – outside of the CryEditor – that’s basically barebones for manual entity placement. In a “level” based world. Essentially, this tool basically sets up the world entities – and has nothing to do with the actual creation of the 110 star systems and 500+ planets and moons they have yet to manually create (in the CryEditor) for the game. And as of the upcoming 3.0, they are still struggling to create even the three moons promised; even after removing the promised planet from the schedule.

    Six years later, they are still building tools. For a game that was supposed to have been released in Nov 2014.

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