From the outside, Star Citizen is progressing very slowly. At least when it comes to developing content for the open space simulator, there just isn’t much here. At least according to what we were promised. When it comes to crowdfunding and fan events, you constantly hear about new recordings. And of course, from new offers of increasingly expensive and unusual ships you can buy. It seems… well… a little fishy here and there, but that doesn’t change the fact that most of Star Citizen’s changes are still happening under the hood.
And not too short. Because the challenges Cloud Imperium faced were anything but trivial. Each solar system should become a freely exploitable and explorable space of authentic size and without loading times. Here various ‘bodies’ the size of the agile hunter planet with their own gravity intersect and the detail should be equally impressive at the macro and micro levels. Version 3.8 mainly pulls the generation of the planet to the left for this purpose and thus ensures a more natural look with different biomes – more details on this can be found in the video at the bottom of the page.
And indeed, the landing approach of each of these planets is breathtaking in 3.8. The effect of the person’s sky that the planets in orbit look different from the ones you land on them is not given here. In Elite: Dangerous, you’ve already landed on some really pretty moons. But to see the wonderful and realistic mountains rise first in lines, then in small elevations and finally in real masses covered with clouds after you have just traveled between the planets at the speed of light, which is incredibly impressive .
Recently, you can also land on the huge planet MicroTech and fly over a city of the future there, even if you still don’t see anyone there and a landing is not planned yet. It doesn’t mean that I don’t try it anyway and successfully land on one of the skyscrapers and look around. More on this in the video, sometimes from minute 27 onwards. A lot has to be done by hand on the planet, but of course automated processes do basic things. First, humidity and temperature variables determine the basic structure of a star, which translates into weather conditions, atmospheric effects, and biomes. And it would have to be the devil if the topography of the celestial bodies did not also come from the computer. The landscapes always look authentic, as if the continental plates have actually shifted into each other over billions of years. An incredibly good performance that makes you dream of the kind of game we have here.
And you have to dream, because when it comes to interfaces and missions, it’s still very good (and I don’t know if the “a” is enough) at the start. The menus are absurd, the flight model looks realistic and therefore proves that realism is not always about fun and there are still many bugs that often sabotage basic navigation in the room. Entertainment – getting into the seat, climbing ladders, etc. – are often out of the box and cannot be interrupted, the shooter still has a long way to go and a friend that I would like to play the Alpha with is usually considered to be shown offline even though it is clearly live. Most of the performances are playable, but they even break down on solid maps. The CPU certainly plays a major role here and my i7 6700K no longer detaches the shafts. Countless promised ship systems are still without function. He’s an alpha and has as much to do with fun as with frustration. Maybe more often with the latter.
However, the basic Bounty, Delivery, and Exploration missions are already here and reward with game credits you can already invest in weapons for your personal astronaut and the ship. There is also new armor on offer, and you get a feeling that if the controls get more interesting over time and the player’s progress is completely persistent, you can play for a bit longer. But the question of how Cloud Imperium wants to fill his freshly made universe with life, which also seems important and not too computerized far from the player, remains and will remain in the room for some time.
I still can’t escape this game until now, I can understand why so many people give up on skepticism. Version 3.8 is already incredibly successful and attractive as proof of feasibility. But seven and a half years after the Kickstarter, did you expect more than that? Given the technical effort that had to be made here to realize the dimensions of this one solar system, this is no small task. The hope is that content can now move faster, as some technological barriers have been removed. Hopefully it will, and at least Squadron 42, the game’s campaign, will appear in some form or another soon.
Strangely, I feel like I can wait. Every time I open the side door of my spaceship while stationing in space, the atmosphere escapes into an airless space and my astronaut glides weightlessly through space, while a busy space station turns its habitat rings in front of a gas giant a few hundred meters away, my dream comes true of the game that knows me deeply, a little more realized. I don’t know if it will be a good game. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Star Citizen didn’t have the traditional fun – but I also understand why fans don’t tire of throwing tickets at the screen when they see it.
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