Star Citizen 3.2 Hits Early Testing – Mining Mechanics Added
Star Citizen keeps ticking along with its new quarterly release cadence. For those who missed out on this, Cloud Imperium Games announced that it would be changing things up in an effort to get into a more regular release cycle last year and so far things are looking better in terms of them keeping to a schedule. They also published an approximate roadmap of features to be added and the rough quarters that they are expected to release in. While much vaunted features such as the Network Bind Culling expected to significantly improve game frame rate performance have been pushed from the Q2 2018 3.2 release to Q3, other functions have made it in which do move things on from the Q1 release.
Currently in the Early Testing Servers (as opposed to the main servers aimed at greater stability), we’re up to patch h on Star Citizen 3.2 and the feature list is a reasonably decent one which for the first time moves things beyond the standard trading, missions and combat mechanics which have been in game for a while now. The main feature list breaks down as follows:
- Party members can be added from the contact list of the MobiGlas, main menu or direct interaction with a player.
- Augmented Reality markers appear for all party members.
- All party members now have access to each other’s ships.
- A party chat channel is now on the contact app of the MobiGlas.
- Quantum linking for joint party travel between distant destinations.
- Orbital Quantum Travel.
- Anvil Hurricane ship.
- Vanduul Blade ship.
- Aegis Eclipse ship.
- Origin 600i Explorer variant ship
- Mining Prospecting
- Mining Scanning
- Mining Fracturing
- Mining Ore Extraction
- Ore Trading
- FPS leaning
In addition to the above, a number of other additions/polish/bug fixes of course made it in to the release including a rework of the Aegis Avenger ships, remote turret camera views and controls, a number of FPS weapons and effects such as recoil as well as over 100 other minor fixes, improvements and balance changes.
Mining of course is the big change in Star Citizen 3.2 and I’m happy to say it’s not nearly as grindy or boring as I was anticipating (press F to mine, mining complete!) The overall mechanic does involve prospecting scanning to zero in on locations, scanning to identify minerals and rock integrity etc, fracture laser intensity levels and optimal levels and mineral extraction itself. I’ll need to spend some more time with it to determine just how refined a system it is and I’m sure given that this is the first iteration, there will be further tweaks to the system but I’m happy to report that on first impression the mechanic seems fun.
The build itself seems quite stable and in a few hours of general playing around I experienced no major bugs. Performance does seem to have been improved on other versions if my initial time in the release is anything to go by but it’s quite possible I was in a new instance with relatively few other players which can occur and mean that performance is great. Usually though the session slows down as other players join. That may be happening less as this is still the early test servers with a limited number of players given access at this stage but it’s unclear.
Star Citizen – Up Next
This is what Cloud Imperium Games refers to as the PTU for early testing as opposed to the main PU servers. For me the environment as mentioned above was very stable but there are a number of areas which CIG is looking for feedback on with the early testing with mining of course being a large focus, along with the new ships they’ve put into game and orbital quantum travel, quantum linking and the grouping system among others.
Once they feel they’ve ironed out the main issues, this release will be thrown open to the wider backer base on the PU servers while the build typically gets further stabilised before we enter a lull and look to the 3rd quarter 3.3 release.
Current plans for 3.3 include:
- Hurston (new planet)
- Lorville Landing Zone (location on Hurston)
- Moons of Hurston
- Repair ship mechanics and repair bots
- Fuel harvesting
- Salvage game mechanics
- AI improvements (FPS and Flight)
- Tumbril Cyclone Variants (ground vehicles)
- RSI Constellation Phoenix (ship)
- Aegis Hammerhead (ship)
- Consolidated Outland Mustang ship variants
- Multiple performance boosters including object container streaming, network entity streaming, network bind culling and more.
Keep it tuned here for more updates as they come.