Star Citizen – Year Four

Main Star Citizen – Year Four

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    They removed the other refund link from both TinyPic as well as UltraIMG. So now I’m hosting it.


    Seeing the condition in which they recently released 2.0 in, I wanted to just paste this post I made back in August when the social/planetside module was first released. It seems even more relevant now since by all accounts, this 2.0 pre-Alpha release is going to be in this broken unfixed state for many months to come. And assuming they even survive 2016, I don’t see how this game – in it’s entirety and with everything promised – ever go Beta in 2016.

    So they have released the first pass of the social/planetside module in the recent 1.2 update which, amid cries of foul, went live to all backers, not just those selected for participation in the PTU (Public Test Universe).

    Here is the release announcement by Tony Zurovec (He’s in charge of the Persistent Universe. Yes, he’s a fantastic developer who joined CIG a little over a year ago).

    Yes, I have played it since it was in the PTU.

    It looks outstanding! But as I’ve stated before, I don’t believe that anyone is going to be arguing about the visual fidelity of this game. So I’m not going to waste my time on that. As I’ve always said, they have a team of stellar content creators and developers who are stretching CryEngine3 to its full potential.

    From the standpoint of a game developer and engineer, an avid gamer and ex-backer (FYI. I am no longer an official backer. My office received a check directly from Ortwin via FEDEX yesterday. More on this in another blog due out next week; and in which I will post an image of the check, showing the 08/24 check date etc) of this project, I am very disappointed in this release.

    Why? I hear you ask.

    Simple. They are doing precisely what I predicted that they would do, now that all this noise that we’re all making has thrown this project, and its creators into the “wtf is going on!? spotlight, garnered the attention of the Feds via the many reports etc.

    Let me quote what I said in my latest Interstellar Breach blog on the matter; and the one that contained the legal demand letter they were sent last week.

    As far as this project is concerned, from my observation and experience, it is my opinion that if they ever ship a completed Star Citizen game, that is true to the “vision” they have been selling, it will be a game that could have been made in four years for $20m.

    Instead, with all this resource waste due to bad project management, scope creep, wasteful and improper spending etc, they would have blown through $86m+ and with zero accounting for where the money went. But hey, they shipped something, right? But since I don’t believe that the game – as pitched – will ever see the light of day, backers are going lose, no matter how this ends.

    Here is the crucial problem with this. The minute they deliver a “game” that fits the framework they have described, regardless of how buggy or incomplete it is, the legal hurdle of accountability becomes harder to get over.

    For example. You pay me $100 to build you a quality box. Then through delays you start getting irate, forcing me to deliver or face legal consequences. The end result is that I’m going to build you a flimsy box for $10. Now you have a box. I get to keep $90.

    You now have to decide whether or not it’s worth coming after me for building you a cheap flimsy box.

    How many times haven’t you ordered something online, received it, then had to return it because the quality or operation was not as expected? That’s what we’re facing here if we don’t push for accountability. Except in this regard, you won’t be able to return it; nor will you be able to get a refund.

    Unless there is fraud and/or criminal conduct uncovered, they will get away with it; walking away with millions of dollars either through unjust enrichment, or spent foolishly in order to keep up appearances.”

    Having seen what they released a few days ago as the social/planetside module, there is no doubt in my mind that precisely what I said above, is what they’re doing now.

    This module was in no way, shape or form ready for release. Yet they released it in order to – for the first time – make a deadline in order to “silence” critics like me in an effort to show that stuff is coming.

    I am just shocked that $88m+, 500+ people and four years later, backers to date, only have three largely buggy and incomplete modules, with network code that is still incredibly sub-par.

    And no, they didn’t meet this end of Aug deadline as many seem to think, and which White Knights are rejoicing over. This module is vastly incomplete, contains glaring bugs etc and there is no way on this God’s Earth that anyone can tell me that they didn’t know about these bugs ahead of the release, seeing how obvious they are.

    Worse still, they have to build 800 of these things. At first, it was 100. It’s now Aug 2015 and the 1st one – right out of the gate – is this beautiful, incomplete mess.

    And CR says the game will be complete by end of 2016.

    Take a look at the epic looking Nyx Landing Zone video ( Yet another example of how spectacular this game looks.

    Now look again. See that chugging? Those are some of the performance issues that they’re going to be facing. And this is just one client in this “level”. Imagine what’s going to happen with 4, let alone 24 (or whatever client count they’re shooting for these days) clients in here at that visual fidelity level.

    Oh, and as I understand it, this is just a flyby landing zone. So yeah, all this work for what amounts to a glorified landing cut-scene in the social/planetside module. Most are going to skip it once the novelty wears off.

    And let’s not even get into the performance issues.

    Anyway, here’s the thing. We already saw this ArCorp level at GC2015 a month ago. And we know now that it was staged because the experience (from my play through and from other reviews) we saw then, is totally different from what they have now released.

    Let me explain staged:

    “In dev speak, the term “staged” means to have been designed and executed specifically for a different purpose other than that which would be experienced by a user.

    In this regard, even by the directions that CR was giving which in and of itself is part of the “staging” process, it was easy to see that the team of players only flowed the way they did because there was a director (in this case, Chris) in charge.

    Also, we saw the same client/user “sprinting” (actually is “positional rubberbanding”) in the 1.2 PTU just now released, that we saw a month ago in that demo. And of course, we didn’t see people falling through the world, clipping into geometry etc. Pretty much, most of what is in this user review of the 1.2 PTU wasn’t evident (at least not clearly) in that presentation.

    Finally, if you looked at the recent dev update, you will see references to merging code from the Gamescon build. That means they had a special build for that event and which was not part of the current dev pipeline.

    So no, that presentation was not indicative of the actual experience that a gamer would have. And that’s now evident in the 1.2 PTU which contains those same assets, levels etc. That’s why I say it is “staged”.”

    Aside from that, back in a Forbes interview (the same one in which he said the game would cost $20m to finish) from May 2013, CR claimed that this social/planetside module would be finished and playable in 2014, with the full game being ready for delivery by the end of 2014.

    It’s now end of Aug 2015.

    Which means that it is now over a year and a half late. You can actually chart this yourself, even if you ignore the interviews themselves. In fact, here is an RSI forum thread from Feb 2014 asking about the release of this module which was scheduled for March 2014.

    Like AC 1.0 which was released in a similar fashion, and almost a year later is still buggy for the most part, this social/planetside module is also incomplete and buggy. Which, from what I’ve seen, means that there is a very good chance that it could take several months for it to get into any decent working and complete state.

    So once they release what I believe is also going to be a half-baked Star Marine and SQ42 (Episode 1) and whatever the heck they think (my guess is that they’re going to peddle it as AC 2.0 / Multi-Ship) is the PU, that box mentioned above will be their delivery vehicle for the “vision 2.0” game.

    Hangar, Arena Commander, Social/Planetside, Star Marine, SQ 42, Persistent Universe (derived from AC 2.0 w/ multi-ship)

    At that point, regardless of the quality, they would have “delivered” on Chris’ vision 2.0, thus reducing their liability. You know why? Because there is a big difference between these two:

    i) non-delivery for something you’ve taken money for

    This one keeps them open to a lawsuit. More disastrous is that it subjects them to the invasive prying eyes of the Feds (especially the FTC and the FBI) for so many reasons that when the attorneys ran me through the list a couple of weeks ago in a strategy meeting, I was astonished. In fact, while I was focusing on the FTC, I had no idea that any part of this would even fall under the purview of the FBI.

    ii) delivery of something – anything – that has no guarantee of performance

    This one can get them out of a lawsuit, and possibly the invasive prying eyes of the Feds.

    However, as we have seen with lawsuits against game companies such as Sony, Sega et al, companies can still be sued if they are perceived to have intentionally shipped a shoddy product, false advertising a product etc. So depending on who would decide to pursue this, the risks are still there. Especially given the numerous statements that CR has made over the years about this project’s schedule, scope, funding etc, which are collectively going to make it a slam dunk to get this one in front of a judge if they end up shipping a rushed and shoddy product.

    The end result is that, if they “deliver”, backers are going to end up with a shoddy mess that took five (assuming they survive 2016, which at this rate, I have no reason to believe that they will) and $88m+ to develop.

    There are those White Knights already crying foul saying that they were forced (well doh!) to release this in order to silence critics (fuck Derek Smart!), that they met (uhm, no they didn’t) a milestone release etc.

    This is all just the usual noise.

    And they’re not saying:

    “Hey hang on! Why is this, after almost two year delay, STILL IN THIS CONDITION!!?”

    While I continue to applaud the stellar development teams who are doing everything that they can to create Chris’s over-ambitious vision 2.0 pipe-dream funded by other people’s money and with zero accountability, I am still holding him 100% accountable for the disaster that is now unfolding in full public view due to the direction that he has taken this project.

    While I have nothing against ambition, the fact remains that if you make promises to backers, then break them, you should be open about it and hold yourself accountable rather than making excuses.

    And part of that “openness” means showing backers i) how their money has and is being spent ii) why they should continue giving money and putting faith in the project

    I still believe that this project is FUBAR. And it saddens me to say it. I simply do not see how, from what we’ve seen thus far and what I know, they could ever hope to deliver on promises made for this “vision 2.0” game; let alone meet the expectations of those who funded an $88m+ epic dream of a game.

    At this point, I don’t even need to sue them because for all intent and purposes, I should just sit back and wait.

    lir big

    It seems they removed it.


    They say Goons ruin everything. But one put together this guidance on how to get a Star Citizen refund. Do it.


    Meanwhile, in the latest PC Gamer, Star Citizen got the cover. And despite the fact that the magazine went there to get coverage of Squadron 42, they didn’t see ANYTHING being played. And I quote:

    “But here’s the thing, I didn’t see or play any of this. Squadron 42 seems to still be very much in the early stages of development, and I wasn’t shown a working build. Everything I saw was in the CryEngine editor or described verbally by one of the developers.”

    It’s now Dec 2015 and they claim (it’s bullshit) that it’s coming out next year.



    The Star Citizen financial waste continues:

    For those of us keeping track of this inbound train wreck, some have been compiling all the stuff seen in videos of the new Santa Monica location (the one rumored to have a $20K cappuccino machine).

    This one is new. It’s from the latest broadcast. See this pic?

    That lamp alone cost this much:



    TOTAL (without tax): $703

    For a floor lamp.

    And others have been cataloging this sort of thing from various new videos. Take a wild guess what those work tables (with the casters) in the background cost. e.g. the chair and desk are from there. The wing desk costs $2,500.

    So much for this:

    “As a crowd funded project, Star Citizen’s scope is based directly on the support provided by our backers. Money pledged goes directly to the game’s development.”

    Found here:


    I never made such a claim, nor did I infer it. Please read my post again. There will be FPS; just not in the stand-alone form that Star Marine was originally designed to be. It has been canceled. By Chris. At CitizenCon.

    I never said anything about FPS being canceled.

    Star Marine, as a stand-alone module, has been canceled. There’s no argument about that.


    The Ill-Fated Star Marine Module

    Back in Aug when I said that the Star Marine “module” had in fact been canceled, they denied it; and White Knight extremists went on the attack.


    Enhanced Mission Design for Squadron 42 – The team at Foundry 42 has big plans for Squadron 42, and we’re going to provide extra funding to make it a true spiritual successor to Wing Commander! Squadron 42 can go above and beyond anything you’ve seen before. From opening with an epic battle instead of a training patrol to missions that seamlessly combine boarding and space combat, we aim to put you right into the action! Additional funding will let the team realize this, with enhanced mission design and more resources and animations to enhance fidelity.


    First person combat on select lawless planets. Don’t just battle on space stations and platforms… take the fight to the ground!


    Arena mode: The next generation of Wing Commander’s TrainSim allows pilots to test out their combat skills against friends or strangers in a simulation. Gain valuable combat experience without the downside of losing your ship in the game universe! Place bets on competitions across the galaxy.


    Enhanced boarding options: melee combat, heavy weapons, zero gravity simulation, suit HUD options and EVA combat.


    Ship boarding – learn more about how Star Citizen will allow players to conduct boarding operations.

    FPS gameplay style was introduced right off the bat and added in various forms via stretch goals.

    Like changing “Arena” to “Arena Commander”, Chris himself tagged the FPS module as “Star Marine”.

    And like Arena commander’s ships, flight dynamics etc, everything SM was to be in the PU as well as SQ42.

    The Star Marine module was only as “independent” as Arena Commander in terms of it being used as a testbed.

    According to in-game lore, Star Marine was developed by InterDimension Software. It can be accessed from the Sim pod located in every player’s hangar.

    …and this update was made on Oct 3rd, 2015.

    Below you will find the weekly list of changes, updates, fixes and issues. We’re getting very close to release; those that remember the early days of Arena Commander will remember how frustrating it was that last minute blockers continued to pop up… and the same is true here. It’s part of the process, for sure, but a part we’ll be happy to be done with very soon.

    In closing, it’s been another week of solid progress. We get closer and closer to putting this into your hands. I hope to have a video for you next week detailing one of the major blockers that’s kept Star Marine out of your hands thus far, including the solution we’re in the process of implementing even as I write this.

    At that was merely three weeks before Chris announced at CitizenCon that Star Marine was no longer going to be released as a stand alone module, but that it would be a component of the Star Citizen Persistent Universe.

    This was June 2015: Star Marine: Bringing crowd-funding to a gun fight

    As we’ve seen in the 2.0 pre-Alpha, the same shit that was shown before, is what’s actually in there now. None of the new stuff they claimed they were working on appears to be in it. In fact, last I checked, they haven’t even mentioned anything about FPS in these 2.0 updates, let alone “Star Marine”. And it’s apparently still in the production schedule.

    Star Marine, as we knew it, is dead.

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