Debate Magazine

Star Citizen - Persistence and Spawning - the Existential Debate

Posted on the 14 April 2018 by Freeplanet @CUST0D1AN

Star Citizen - persistence and spawning - the existential debate

tell the truth, man...

Star Citizen, the (supposed) sandbox companion to the Squadron 42 story version of CIG's near-$200,000,000.00 crowd-funded space-flight planet-exloring privateer-empire endeavour, has a persistence element attached to it involving logouts and insurance and re-spawning and...
What does it really mean, this Persistence?

WARNING: this might seem picky (in the extreme) but it's not, it's a really valid argument about the difference between story-games and sandbox-games.
Let's go back to basics. In the Squadron 42 military-story variant, CIG can play it like a conventional narrative-driven product where re-spawning makes sense to 'keep the action flowing' after you die or your ship is destroyed. But they've never admitted to what spawning really means in a Persistence-Verse context. In fact, they've never even admitted that Star Citizen has anything to do with the Military Campaign in Squadron. It's like Star Citizen is completely stripped of the 'corporate-military' and is now a totally freelance or wild-west gaming pit.
But there are real (existential) problems from the get-go. 

When you play Star Citizen, you're 'not alive' in the 'Verse. You're not you're own person. You've not been educated in the world of Star Citizen. You've not even grown up in the world of Star Citizen. You are a 'generated entity' spawned by some all-encompassing Galactic Hyperspace Technology, a corporate drone runtime-generated by the 'verse-system to relate to some statistical databases or profit and loss. To someone else's running of the 'Verse... who is this name-shall-not-be-spoken Wizard of Oz character running your show?
Seriously, while this debate might seem usless to most players because YOU'RE A DIGITAL CHARACTER IN A VIRTUAL WORLD, think about it. I mean, "Really think about it." 

When you 'die in-game', you're re-spawned. What? Like what was I before this death-re-spawn? Was I 'originally' a re-spawn? Am I not me in my persistent universe? When did I start to be me, as my character? What does 'character' even mean when I can flip my identity via the interface whenever I want? How is the overt/covert dichotomy addressed with such flippant abuse of the term 'identity'? And then there's the clothing, equipment, weapons, ammo spawning issue... I can swap out any of these parameters on the fly. But where are they coming from? When I swap out a ship at least I'm forced to go to a physical place to digital-generate such a craft (let's not talk about where the craft are stored, because they're not, they're built while youi wait by some amazing atomic/cellular generation technology that's never addressed)...
Be honest with the player, ffs. If one's assets are beamed-down from Hyperspace (or some game-generated else-where) why can't that technology be embedded into the Star Citizen gameplay? I'll tell you why, "Because that's not what Star Citizen i.e. the galactic sandbox, is supposed to be." So why are they embedding such obfuscation into their galactic sandbox?
COMMERCIALISE HYPERSPACE NOW is the only valid solution, within the current asset-gaming model. When you change your hair, you're charged. When you change your ID at all, you're charged and logged. When you change any asset at all, you're charged. Might seem stupid but you're charged for flying the ship and the fuel/wear-and-tear it incurs.
The other way is to look at what Sandbox Gaming actually means and allow the Player to be a Totally Real participant of the Verse. Or something... anything, other than the current iteration of lies, and misdirection. It's all too confused, and confusing to the poor player wondering where, or what, his shiny new game-purchase is going.

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