Debate Magazine

Star Citizen - Four Years on - the Grand Re-build

Posted on the 10 November 2018 by Freeplanet @CUST0D1AN
Star Citizen - four years on - the grand re-build
As 2019 approaches, Cloud Imperium Games still haven't released details of, or even a flowchart of, their plans to accommodate multi-system gaming into their multi-player game Star Citizen. If a game giant like Sega, Konami or Nintendo were making the Star Citizen demo, internally away from the prying eyes of non-game-makers, at this four-year point in its development they would GUT THE WHOLE THING.
Star Citizen currently looks weird and fractured, it's like it's been hammered together from different bits of scrap metal, cue Frankenstein's Monster. This is not even a surprise considering the game was Kickstarter pitched as a carrier-launched space flight sim game like Star Wars X-wing (which was great) and a CryEngine'd version of something like that would have been lovely. I digress...
What Star Citizen needs is a proper Persistence Spring Clean from yours truly to ready it for mainstream release some time in 2020-21. I'm not talking about bug-fixing, I'm talking about making it easier to play. I'm going to add ZERO NEW TECH to achieve this, it's all already there, just used in the wrong (clumsy (non intuitive (geeky (pages of excruciatingly parenthetical keybindings)))) way.
When you buy the Star Citizen game, you get a choice of package that normally includes one ship. Every Star Citizen player buys at least one ship. It's the rule. Jeezus, is this fun yet? Let's begin the fourth-year structural overhaul, ffs.
START SCREEN: a list of United Empire of Earth worlds in which you can...
  • Citizen Register
  • Org Register
  • Faction Register 
  • Practise
  • Settings
Citizen Register in an already logged in world will just log you in: you'll log into the body you left behind in that system, where you left your ship. 
Org Register means you join an org, or log into an already joined org.
Faction Register, you get the drift already. Right?
Citizen Register a new UEE world will a) make you a citizen of that world and b) melt all but your starter ship. Org Registering in new world, you can carry a medium ship with you, all others are melted. Faction Register, plus big ship if you have one.
Practise means Arena Commander and Star Marine are EXACTLY LIKE THE FULL GAME you're just practicing in a safe offline environment.
Settings is where you alter your preferences.
LOCOMOTION: this happens when you log into the game...

Star Citizen - four years on - the grand re-build

it's just a slow, medium, fast anim issue

  • Mouse move = change orientation.
  • Roll mouse wheel = move forward or backward at slow, medium or fast pace in the direction of intent.
  • Extra hotkeys for the 'sixth axis' and 'look around'.

This 'sixth axis' covers movements like Strafe or moving from screen-relative side to side or screen-relative up and down.
Apply that simple same model to anything you're driving be that your body or your ship. Same set of controls, unified. You could even have a free look-around if you're standing still or sat in pilot seat in a parked ship for example. Moving look around is an extra hotkey where your body/ship continues what it's doing while you look around.
All animations/reaction will be contextual to the asset you're ascending or descending - case in point different walk animation for going up stairs than going down stairs, going up mountain than going down mountain. More likelihood of tripping or ankle-roll if you're foot-aligning in a reversing direction as opposed to foot aligning in a standing still direction.
Everything is a locomotion animation, there are no canned animations that play like a cutscene e.g. entry of one-man ship up a ladder. In this case there should be slow, medium or fast way to move along that spline, your mouse-roll should control which one plays. If you stop, that's okay. If you take your gun out to defend yourself while in the middle of the ladder, that's okay too. If you reverse your anim, no problemo. You can jump onto and jump off any entry canned anim with UP strafe.
When you are sat in the driving seat of your ship, you have access to ALL THE FACILITES THAT SHIP CAN OFFER: jump drive, navigation, weapons systems.No using MobiGlas when you're flying, it's the law.
2.0 ASSET HELPERS: these are things that can 'do stuff' for you...
a door or ladder (see image), as you approach it, it senses your presence, and your approach speed, and offers its services as a door (or ladder). Airlock or automatic door, doesn't matter, it highlights from way out if you're running towards it. Animation only takes place when you can PHYSICALLY ACTIVATE THE BUTTON or means of operation.
If you're in the cockpit, flying your ship, and you use the look around key each MFD will highlight when you look at it, your finger will point at what you're looking at. Click = window opens up into full-screen interface mode. The same mode that's already used for other Consoles or Panels in the game. See, no new tech.

Star Citizen - four years on - the grand re-build

curved QT-path arund planetary bodies

QUANTUM JUMPING: penalise the hell out of it...
you've played a lot of game missions to enjoy the luxuries your ship offers you, one of these luxuries is the bizarre and exotic Quantum Jump Drive. Every ship has them: small, medium or large.
  • Short journeys: no blue fizzling interface, 0-10 second. It takes 10 seconds to reach 0.2 c.
  • Medium journeys: full blue fizzling tunnel effect, 10 seconds to 1 minute. Speed of 0.2 c.
  • Long journeys: secondary BOOST to the blue fizzling tunnel effect, some camera shake, after one minute. No more than that within any star system. It's a game, ffs. It's not supposed to take WEEKS or MONTHS to get anywhere... 
When you use your Quantum Jump Engine, it should be a) door-to-door with curved paths from A to B etc. but b) once you've jumped you'll have to wait for a time equivalent to the time taken to get there until you can re-use the QJE.
LANDING THRUSTERS: only those ships whose thrusters can rotate can VTOL...
all other ships have to take off using their main engines, and wheels... like a normal jet plane or carrier-launched star ship. Orientation thrusters, while powerful,  shouldn't be strong enough to allow your ship to VTOL (vertical take-of and landing).
PERSISTENCE: it's all in the profit/loss table, mate...
hopefully you've hidden your body and/or parked your ship safely before logging off. You log off wherever you want, and it's like your ingame persona 'goes to sleep'. You can't be woken up until you log back in, this can be days, weeks or months later. I recommend logging of after you've parked your ship in a garage where the NPCs will take care of it for you, until later.
THIRD PERSON: and this is only because everyone plays it like this...
from this point on, Star Citizen is a THIRD PERSON ONLY game, what were CIG thinking making this a first person game? Can they really claim that Star Citizen is a worthy competitor to the visual fidelity of something like Cyberpunk 2077? Any clothing/weapons changes, any ship loadout changes, therefore will take place on the third person asset in the real world. When you enter pilot seat or gunner seat you are shown a third person view of the ship from the relevant viewpoint. All interface will be embed'd in the 3D world: gun sights, navigation helpers, etc...
First person interaction is activated by the MobiGlas functionality which takes you to a flip screen for mission updates, messaging, ship garage, repair gameplay etc. or the FIX THIS BROKEN THING only, mode.

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