Star Citizen’s Star Marine Status Update Shows Great Progress Being Made


Star Marine has become quite the sore spot for backers and fans of Star Citizen over the past few months. When it was announced that the release date target wasn't going to be met, the internet was ablaze with doubt about the future of the entire project even. Their latest update, however, gives a very clear explanation as to the path that they're on towards completion.

Development for Star Marine is still going quite strong, looking to deliver a great experience despite some minor and major setbacks.

Cloud Imperium Games has been very candid and communicative about the challenges associated with their vision and have instituted a weekly update post on the progress of Star Marine to help allay any fears fans might have. The message is clear, it will be released, eventually.

These updates are part of their policy of open development that might be a first of its kind. The lines of communication between the developer and backers is far more open than in past environments. They essentially tell us everything, including the delays and unexpected difficulties they might face. Like it or not, at least they're giving us specific reasons for anything that might come up, that's a far cry from some developers in the past.

This past week the focus has been on multiple things it seems, from improving the fluidity of animations to nailing down some of the last issues with the net code. HUD enhancements and overall character models are also receiving some great updates.

Specifically it seems that the ADS system is proving difficult to implement in the way that they want. That and work is being done to refine all the minute details like recoil, reloading and movement animations. The idea is to have it all look very smooth and natural looking.

Net code, those naughty two words that absolutely needed to be addressed is certainly a priority in Star Marine. To that end it's been heavily optimized at this point, and seems to be working well in internal tests. According to Chris Roberts less packets need to be sent to properly track player movements. Thus predicting your movement should also be much better too. How this will translate with larger areas and more players from across the verse is unknown. Theoretically it should provide a substantial increase in efficiency and performance.

Along with providing us with a very forthright log of what they're improving, Chris Robert's and his developers are also listing all of the major challenges they face that prevent Star Marine from being the base game that they want to deliver at least as a beta for backers.

If anything, it seems that they are keeping good on their promise of delivering a more complete experience than Arena Commander was when it's module launched. They're very serious about the quality of these modules, despite being early access to some very early work, they don't want it to be too broken when you take the flight stick. The same holds true for Star Marine. Hopefully we'll get more good news at or after Gamescom regarding the venerable Star Marine.

Gameplay Challenges

  • Destructible items randomly teleport around the level, need a long-term solution for this.
  • Netcode has improved, but it we still see instances of jerky movement from jukes, on stairs, jumping, and stocked weapon animations. Work on this is ongoing.
  • Working on tracer offsets when strafing.
  • Gadget deploy in the world is inconsistent. When you are placing a mine, you really want to be sure of its location.
  • There are issues with the implementation of the Item Port system, as the way items are attached to a space ship are different than when they are attached to a player character.

Animation Challenges

  • Will need to re-target all animations on the new rig.
  • Started working on crouch stops, this is ongoing.
  • Updates to unarmed and Pistol melee animations have not started yet.
  • Stocked weapons need clean up and balancing.
  • Injured locomotion animations not finished, multiple states need clarification.
  • EVA style animations for ZeroG not able to be cleaned up and used until we get the new rig.

UI Challenges

  • We are continuing a re-work of certainly Gold Horizon assets so we can use it as a building block for future releases.
  • The team is reviewing 1st person hit reaction HUD mockups, iterating on the look with Chris and the team in the UK. As mentioned previously, this is a big team effort requiring audio, animation, VFX, and HUD UI to make it look and feel just right.