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I’m A Star Citizen – An opinion piece on the biggest game so far

Star Citizen. Over a hundred massive star systems, hundreds of planets and space stations, and many species including hostile aliens and a massive human empire on the verge of collapse…

And it’s all crowdfunded.

Nearly a million people have pledged nearly a hundred million dollars to Chris Robert’s long awaited return to the space epic genre. And this project blows everything else before it out of the water. So much so, it has caused his old rivals to go beyond just being bitter. However, the mass army of fans (myself included) are leaping to defend against the sheer baseless accusations made against the game, Cloud Imperium Games and Chris Roberts and his family. So before we go into the controversies, let’s talk about the game itself and what it is going to become.

At the moment, there are three modules to look around. The hangar module allows you to view your ships, if they have a completed model at that time. All the ships you can see have impeccable detail, and have many animations that you can trigger. They all fit into the design style of their respective manufacturer, whether that be Aegis Dynamics, MISC, Anvil Aerospace (which is a funny name, given a previous studio created by the games creator, Digital Anvil) , Drake Interplanetary or any of the others, and feel that they have a place in the ‘verse.

You can also walk around a variety of hangars (if your ship package contains said hangar) and there are several available to you, such as the Revel & York hangar, which is a luxury hangar for the spacer who likes a bit of luxury when planetside. There’s the Aeroview hangar, which is a middle of the road hangar built to be as efficient as possible, and still look decent, the Self Land hangar, which is cheap, dirty and just designed to be a bargain landing area. Finally, there is the Industrial hangar, which is an asteroid hangar, so it has the feel more of a deep space mining outpost or a pirate base. You also get “hangar flair” that you can buy from the store on the website or earn either by attending conventions or being a subscriber. Those items are then displayed in the hangar that you have selected.

The next module is called “Arena Commander” and features several modes, including Squadron Battles which has two large teams of players fighting it out to gain the most kills. Capture the core is similar, albeit fewer players and the teams battle to capture each other’s cores and return it to their base, much like capture the flag. Free Flight is a more sandbox mode, where you can land, EVA, take other peoples ships or just shoot them. You can still dogfight, but there is no scoring. Vanduul Swarm is a co-operative or single player wave survival based mode where you fight against an ever increasing in number and difficulty AI enemy, namely the Vanduul. You battle at first against Vanduul scavengers, and move onto fighting aces, hunters and more. You get limited respawns and reloads of weapons come every 3 rounds, so you have to make the missiles and any projectile weapon ammo last. Finally, you have the Murray Cup mode, which is a series of racetracks around the low gravity gas giant named Crusader, after the corporation that owns the world. You can either fly solo as a sort of time trial or you can race against other players. You fly through a series of rings in a set order to set the best time or to beat the other players to first place.

The final module so far which was added around a month ago is the Social Module, which is a demo of part of the planetside area on the planet known as ArcCorp (Just like Crusader, it is owned by the corporation that it is named after) which is a massive city planet, much like Corusanct on Star Wars. You can look in some of the in game stores and get a feel of what the landing areas will be like in the final game and there is even a pub. The area is very well detailed, and when you first load in and walk around and see the reflections in the puddles and then go to one of the open areas like the bridge, and look out, see the city and see the ships flying above and below you, it will blow you away.

Now, within this year, most likely before December, the Alpha 2.0, Baby PU or AC2.0 or one of the many other names for it will be released. This will be the first version of the persistent universe, and will contain many features of the final game. The area to explore, which is around the Crusader planet to begin with, is absolutely HUGE, expanding to over a billion cubic kilometers. You will start on a space station, with your own little quarters which will be yours on the server, and you will be able to call for one of your ships to be spawned on a landing pad outside. There are various missions you can take, comm relays that need re-activating and pirates to be fought. There is even an abandoned station that you can have gun battles with. Along with the release of the alpha will come the Star Marine module, which is the objective based FPS combat demo which pits two teams of combatants against each other. No more details on that are available.

In the alpha you will be able to crew multi-crew ships for the first time, and you can walk around the ship whilst people fly it, including into quantum travel, which is the fastest speed you can go in the game, to get to other systems, although not in the alpha, you have to use jump points which come in small, medium and large. Only small ships can use small jump points, and medium sized ships such as the Freelancer can use medium jump points along with small ships. And large… well you get the picture.

For the actual game, things are going to get massive. That billion square kilometre map? Imagine over 100 of those. All with unique visuals, stations, planets and more. There will be many types of ships, 4 alien races, and a possible civil war on the horizon.

So onto the factions:

The United Earth Empire.

The UEE is an ancient empire, spanning hundreds of years, around 80 star systems and a population in the tens or hundreds of trillions. At its core is Earth, although there is a growing movement to make Terra, a “super earth” planet, its capital due to its significance. Earth is very close to the frontlines with the UEE’s main adversary, the Vanduul. Although the UEE has a massive military, many of its ships are old, with many of its Idris class frigates over 100, and its Bengal class carriers can be up to 200 years old. A massive modernization campaign is under way to match Vanduul progress in combat. The UEE is an empire in name only however, operating more like a republic. They are trying to improve relations with their former enemy the Xi’an and maintain close relationships with the Banu Protectorate, a species which mostly trades, although relations are straining as the Banu will trade with the Vanduul too, even though the Vanduul would probably attack them too if the humans were not a problem.

Of course, there is a growing movement that is calling the Earth based government corrupt, and is trying to secede from the empire, with Terra as the new capital.

The Vanduul Swarm.

The Vanduul are a reptilian race; extremely aggressive pack hunters who live on massive warships as clans, and fight amongst themselves as much as other races. When called upon though they form the mightiest fleets that the ‘verse has ever seen, laying siege to entire systems for however long their enemy can hold. They have extremely deadly fighters, that whilst are not very well armoured, they have wings that are for ramming, heavy weapons and are as fast as the quickest human ships. They are deadly in numbers, and a single clan ship, called a Kinship, can hold up to 100 active fighters with 200 in reserve! They control a number of known and an unknown number of unknown systems, but are close to several key worlds, including Earth itself.

The Xi’an.

The Xi’an are a species of mercenaries and warriors, although they seem to also be more advanced when it comes to engine technology and other ship based tech. They seem to have an admiration for human culture, having been bitter enemies for centuries, and they respect each other for how capable both are. Not much more is known.

The Banu.

They are even more of an unknown right now, what is known is that they are a species of traders and gifted architects. They are led by a council which is separate from the rest of their people, and create trinkets which are desirable though human space. And although their vessels may appear weak and defenseless, their ships have hidden weapons which can be deployed very quickly and can quickly dispatch the mistaken pirates who dared to attack one of their ships.

Features in the final game will include a player influenced economy, player influenced storylines, massive player events, random AI’s fighting and having their own lives and goals and more. Chris Roberts is creating a living, breathing universe and this will become something that will last the test of time. The graphics are incredible, featuring 8k textures and all the latest rendering technologies. Facial animations are better than anything seen in any other game or any movie, and the cast list for the single player campaign is beyond expectation.

The single player/co-op campaign, titled Squadron 42, puts you as your own character as a new marine pilot, you start on a 120 year old Idris class frigate, the UEE Stanton, and you can experience dynamic conversations with other crew and the result of your missions influences the results of the campaign. Not many other details are known about the campaign as CIG is keeping it a close secret.

Well, onto the controversy (this is the opinion of the writer of this article).

A week or so ago, The Escapist published a complete hatchet job on Star Citizen and its developers. This article, inspired by Derek Smart’s unabated ranting and jealousy against Star Citizen and Chris Roberts, accused CIG of racist hiring policies, workplace harassment, embezzlement and cutting staff, all of which is untrue and has been answered fully by Chris Roberts and his team. The Escapist has been issued a legal letter, demanding a public apology otherwise legal action will be taken. However, they have not responded. They also did not include any responses from CIG in their article despite CIG responding in time. The journalist who created the article has links to Derek Smart, and Derek Smart supplied the disgruntled former employees for the article who all talked to each other and colluded to make CIG look bad, which goes to show why they were fired in the first place. Despite that, the article still claims that the former employees never spoke to each other, which is clearly false. Derek Smart will say anything to crash Star Citizen whilst promoting his own glitchy as hell games. He has never made anything half decent, and this is not the first time he has attacked Chris Roberts over his raging jealousy and insecurity.

In short, the accusations are dumb. CIG recruits people on skill and commitment, not a checklist. Nobody verified as working for CIG has complained of workplace bullying. The one so called claim they had in The Escapist had someone with an “ID Card”… To which CIG pointed out, they don’t issue ID cards. They know everyone who works with them. They are a close knit team. Perhaps The Escapist could learn a thing or two.

Star Citizen is going to be amazing. And, despite all the bull, in the last week they have pulled in over 2 million dollars. Us Star Citizens stand together

#IMASTARCITIZEN #STANDWITHCIG

Signing off,

Your fellow citizen,

Steve.

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