"If I was making Wing Commander today, Star Citizen is what I would do." - Chris Roberts
Star Citizen: Squadron 42 was announced by Chris Roberts at GDC on the 10th of October, 2012 after his long absence from the games industry. Players will be able to take on various roles and duties within a vast space-faring empire in order to earn their citizenship (or revoke it!). You will be free to play however you like, for example, becoming a freelance merchant, pirate or signing up for military duty, effectively joining Squadron 42 - the single-player story component of the project. Star Citizen is described as a first-person action-focused game where player skill takes priority over statistical chance-based events.
Star Citizen's visuals are based on a heavily modified version of CryEngine 3. It is intended to push the limits of PC hardware. The developers want to prove that video gaming exclusively for the PC still has an audience and a big enough market to exist amongst the various consoles, handheld and browser-based markets.
Crowd Funding Initiative
Star Citizen / Squadron 42 was successful in reaching its initial pledge campaign funding goals and holds the record for being the highest ever crowd-funded game. It is currently being further funded directly from the developers website. The pledge packages contain a selection of ships to pilot, ranging from small trading vessels and fighter craft up to large multi-crew freighters reminiscent of the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars. These ships will take time to purchase in-game, but are being offered as an incentive for early backing of the game. Also included are multiple levels of citizenship for the player's character, which defines your place in the social class within the game world, as well as physical rewards and extra in-game currency to begin with. Those who are interested in making a pledge to support Star Citizen can reach the official backers page here at Roberts Space Industries.
The game is divided into two main components. The online persistent game universe is called Star Citizen. Squadron 42 is the singleplayer (w. optional co-op) component.
- The single-player component is more akin to the Wing Commander campaigns. The player joins the navy and is recruited by the titular Squadron 42. It will have a mission structure similar to most single-player games, with cinematic events and an engaging story as the main attraction. After serving time, the game opens up into the persistent universe, allowing either to stay on with the military or move on to other endeavours. Although the military path can be played exclusively in single-player mode, friends can join the game for online co-op gameplay via a drop-in feature. They can become additional wingmen and tag along for assistance in tough missions.
- The open persistent world starts players off without any ties to the military, and promises a mercenary-like experience where they are their own boss, choosing how to earn their place. Everything has to be earned in the game, and civic status is very important in this large, unstable empire. In this component the game is described to be an online Freelancer/Privateer experience.
Any combination of joystick, HOTAS, gamepad, mouse and keyboard are supported for character and ship control. The game will also have built-in support for Oculus Rift and TrackIR.
The universe, and all the characters and happenings within it is integral to how the game plays. The game aims to simulate the entirety to allow the players some extra level of immersion. Player statistics will be tracked and preserved throughout the game. A virtual economy system will play an important part of this game's universe, and it will reward non-military achievements for example through the exploration of rare uncharted jump points in space.
- Hubs are fixed places that are highly secure and regulated sectors within the core systems of the empire. A hub in a less secure sector will have less rules and regulations, but will also leave people exposed to the risk of piracy. The players themselves choose where to go.
- Instances will be a crucial part of the game's online component and will allow for a large amount of players to interact in a sector.
Regional servers will be hosted publicly through a central server system. Later on, tools will be available to allow private servers akin to Freelancer. These private servers will have no link to the public persistent universe.
Players will be able to purchase a variety of ships and ship modifications as they progress in the game to develop their chosen career and play style. Control of ships will be predominantly from the cockpit, with a limited 3rd person camera with no HUD for gameplay balance. The cockpits will feature detailed instrument panels and HUD UI, intended to enhance immersion.
The larger space ships will allow multiple players to manage ship operations such as manning turrets or controlling ship subsystems for optimal combat efficiency.
The game will feature advanced physics simulation that will handle the operation of navigational thrusters convincingly based on the player's input. In-game this will be called the IFCS or Intelligent Flight Control System. Players can choose to fly with it switched on or off depending on whether they wish to fly in an atmospheric on-rails style of motion or a free-floating drift style.
Ships will feature accurate locational damage modelling which will allow for individual components to be damaged. For example, if a system is positioned on the rear-left of a ship and a projectile penetrates that point, the system will be damaged and affect the pilot's ability to pilot / survive without seeking repairs. If the ship takes damage to a manoeuvring thruster this will directly affect how the ship handles. Visual wear and tear effects will also gradually appear on the hull the longer the ships are used.
A set of modding tools will allow players to submit their own mods and ship designs for potential inclusion in the game universe by the developers. As an example of ship complexity, a small fighter consists of over 150 parts and within that design there are around 60 individually animated parts.
Hangar Module (Released August 29, 2013)
Intended both as an early reward for backers as well as a preliminary testbed for the game's systems, the Hangar Module lets players preview a small selection of ships they purchased in their own personal hangar. There are three aesthetic 'tiers' of hangar based on the size of ship purchased; Discount for the Aurora and 300i, Business for the Hornet and Freelancer ships, and Deluxe for the Constellation.
Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) has already received a significant amount of feedback from the community which has allowed them to make further refinements to the quality of the module.
Alongside this feature, CIG opened up access to its in-game store called Voyager Direct which allows players to purchase equipment and decorations with credits earned in the game, or through credit packs purchased with real money.
Future revisions of the module will allow players to visit each other online in their own hangars, purchase additional decorative items and living areas, and customise the layout of items within the hangars and rooms.
Dogfighting Module (TBA Q1 2014)
This module will enable players to participate in multiplayer space combat.
Planetside Module (TBA Q2 / Q3 2014)
This module will allow players to experience the walkable outdoor environments outside of the hangar such as trade shops, bars / clubs and the city streets.
System Requirements (General)
- CPU: Dual core CPU
- GPU: GTX 460 or equivalent
- RAM: 4GB of system memory
- CPU: i7 2500, 2600, 2700
- GPU: GTX 670, equivalent or better
System Requirements (Hangar Module)
- OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
- CPU: Quad core CPU
- GPU: DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM
- RAM: 8GB of system memory