Star Citizen 3.5 Hitting All Backers – Ships, Locations, Missions and Female Characters!
Cloud Imperium Games today announced that the latest quarterly content drop of their Star Citizen game is about to hit all backers (this weekend). Included in the release is a large amount of new content, functionality and stability enhancements as well as performance boosts. It’s worth keeping in mind that the Star Citizen release cycle tends to operate on a quarterly cadence but that before a major 3.x release, it goes through a number of pre-testing scenarios on the test servers which are also made available to the community in waves. The test servers see a large number of patch updates within a relatively short period of time and are often very unstable and buggy before being promoted to the live servers once the situation has stabilised somewhat.
Unfortunately, this time round I’ve not had time to try out the test version thus far (thanks Brexit preparations!) but early reports indicate the usual mix of major new functions and major bugs. The feature set is locked now but we’ll see whether the build gets significantly stabilised or reworked before it hits production. The major list of new functionalities includes:
- Playable Female Characters – A longstanding backer request (unsurprisingly!) at last gets implemented in Star Citizen.
- ArcCorp – An entirely urban planet which is basically a corporate city-planet with the new Area 18 landing zone for players to explore and two moons.
- New Flight Model – A much discussed and debated change. Many people have wanted a new flight model to make better use of twin-stick or other 6 degrees of freedom methods of flying.
- New Character Customisations – A significant expansion on feature customisation.
- Updated Face Over IP – Star Citizen’s wacky face tracking and mapping technology gets updated.
- Environmental Bounty Hunting AI – Players with high crime stats will now be pursued by bounty hunters and security forces.
- MISC Reliant ships
- Origin 300 Series ship rework
- New versions of the Anvil Hornet and Ursa Rover
- Two new ship guns and two new FPS guns
- Updated Projectile Manager to reduce CPU utilisation
- Updated Arena Commander (dogfighting arena) and Star Marine (FPS arena) modes
Star Citizen 3.5 - Initial Comment from Chris Roberts
Chris Roberts mentioned what he feels is the biggest feature in the new release however when he said:
For me, the headline feature we’re adding is playable female characters. This has been a long time coming and it’s been a huge undertaking. It involved creating an entirely new “rig” for female characters to make them physiologically distinct from the male characters, something most games don’t try to attempt for player characters. Once we finalized the female character, we had to retrofit our entire universe: ships, animations, clothing, armor and weapons to make sure they all worked with the female character rig as well as the male rig
There are also new missions in game for players to explore but perhaps one of the headline topics which is sure to provoke strong debate across Spectrum (the game’s official forums/chat), reddit and others is the new flight model Star Citizen has implemented. 6 degrees of freedom is an intrinsic part of space flight but there is obviously a huge portion of the community that is looking for WW2 fighters in space. Initial feedback on the new flight model is mixed to say the least. The general feeling I've seen so far (although of course it's still early in the new model's iteration cycle) is that it has raised the skill cap to too high a level for people who are looking for some of the old school WW2 fighters in space style combat, plus decouple modes.
Star Citizen has taken its flight model through several iterations over its existence now with tweaks ranging from small to large but this one definitely feels like a bigger update. In general its fair to say that when the changes are large, community feedback is listened to and it will likely be refined over time. While Star Citizen eschews the often traditional levelling and skill learning mechanics in a lot of games, prefer to let players upskill themselves by playing the game, there is obviously a balance to be struck between making the game interesting and challenging while making sure not to alienate the core base that populate this living, breathing environment. It will be interesting to see how the flight model evolves over time.
Star Citizen - Up Next 3.6
Inevitably with 3.5 hitting general release, we now look to the Star Citizen roadmap to see what kind of goodies we can look forward to in 3.6. Keep in mind that the roadmap is subject to change, but at a high level the plan for the Q2 release includes:
- Updated rest stop space stations
- Ship and NPC AI improvements
- Personal weapon customisations
- Black market economy
- In game ship rentals
- New ships: Kruger P-72 Archimedes, Origin 890 Jump, Banu Defender
See you in the 'verse!