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The universe of Star Citizen: recap of a 24-hour livestream


Anyone who has been following projects on kickstarter or indie games in general might have heard of perhaps one of the most ambitious and hyped space trading and combat simulating games around: Star Citizen. These were atleast my first impressions when the game first captured my attention. Only a few days ago Cloud Imperium Games were hosting a 24-hour livestream event to share all of their new developments and announcements with their community.

That’s a fair amount of time put into a livestream; but in the end it paid off really well, quite literally, with another million dollars raised since the livestream started. Ever since the game was first released on Kickstarter in 2012, the game has gathered a whopping 12 million dollar worth of crowdfunding, making it by far and large the most crowdfunded game in history.

That’s quite an impressive figure, and this just shows how much support this studio has been receiving from their ever expanding community. Star Citizen is on its way to becoming the first fully crowd funded AAA game; and slowly shaping into a persistent massive multiplayer universe that captures the imagination of many players. In an interview with rockpapershotgun,  lead designer and director of Cloud Imperium Games Chris Roberts  said there could be ‘somewhere between 60 and 100-some people’ playing in the universe at the same time, perhaps slightly more than the 64 players in Battlefield (PC). Right now you’ll find that hard to imagine when you see later on in this article the incredible amount of technical aspects that go into one space ship.

Although I havn’t seen the entire livestream myself, this is a brief overview of the biggest announcements; not to mention the immense number of videos and screens that were released during the 24-hour event. If you’ve been uncertain about supporting Star Citizen, then now is the opportunity to see how the game is shaping.

New Space Ships

The Avenger

avenger

The 14th pledge ship, and the first ship announced during the livestream was the Avenger, a police patrol ship ‘which is commonly refurbished for bounty hunter use. Avengers will serve as the initial training ship in Squadron 42’s single player campaign. Though concept art is early, the ship looks slick and refined.

The Idris Corvette

The Idris Corvette was probably the most anticipated vessel of the livestream event. In a remarkable time span of nine minutes Cloud Imperium Games sold 150 of these vessels like hot cakes to fanatical fans- a further 50 were sold shortly afterwards due to the high demand. This is perhaps not a surprise, since the Idris Corvette is the largest ship available for purchase during the campaign, and only a handful of them are made in order to preserve game balance.

The Idris consists of a ‘small capital ship capable of storing smaller fighters and being run by a team of players working together’. It was designed by Hollywood artist Ryan Church, well-known for his work on the Star Wars movies and others like Dead Space, Transformers and Tron. Here’s a ship I would honestly display on my shelf if I could.

The Starfarer Tanker

starfarer tanker

If there’s something Iv’e learnt from this livestream is that the developers are definitely going BIG in this game. The Starfarer Tanker is not an exception. Cloud Imperium Games: “It’s one of the largest ships we’ve built for Star Citizen thus far and we think its inclusion gives you a good idea how much more complex the game is than something that focuses on fighters and bombers.” The Starfarer is still a concept so not much more was revealed on it.

RSI Constellation Footage

Here’s an example of the technical aspects with which an individual ship is supplied; an impressive display of details and genuine mechanics to say the least, seeing as everything is supposed to run in-game!

Next to the live stream and their new website the Star Citizen team also recently created a gorgeous in-engine trailer for one of the game’s ships.

The Hangar

An important part of the game is concentrated on the player’s hangar, because of course, this is where you’ll be able to walk around your vessel and observe it from up close with a strong feeling of pride. In this video, artist Artist Forrest Stephan walks us through the hangar’s status and what people can expect of it.

“The idea was that we were going to build some kind of environment that allows you to have your ships run infront of you, on your computer, so you actually get what you’ve put into the game.” Forrest Stephan explains. According to Massively, Roberts also revealed that players would be able to personalize their space with obtainable objects in the game. He also hinted at the existence of guild hangars.

Art and Design

As an art enthousiast I found these videos very interesting: it reveals some of the process behind designing characters in Star Citizen with lead artist Mark Skelton and the process of creating the ‘Vanduul’ race with lead visual officer Chris Olivia. Although the game revolves around space ships and battles in space, the team is still putting emphasis on character design.

“I have the most awesome job in the entire planet” -Mark Skelton. A lot of positive energy is coming out of this team, which is definitely a plus!

Final Thoughts

All in all, Star Citizen is looking promising with everything that was shown during the livestream event. The team has taken its time to present their developments with the community, and this is already a lot compared to other game developers. With a release slated for late 2014, Star Citizen is still a long way from completion though, and the project is looking ever more ambitious with every pledge goal the game reaches. However the production values and sharp details shown in every aspect of the development process so far shows that the team is capable of creating something special; let’s just hope the game lives up to its promises by the time it’s finished.

For those who want to dive into the universe as soon as possible, an alpha version of the game is slated to release Q4 2013. Until then, you can follow their development up closely on their website. To finish off their livestream Cloud Imperium Games have treated us with a beautiful cinematic trailer. Enjoy!