After years of development and criticism, Star Citizen is starting to shape up. During Gamescom Roberts Space Industries showcased the games’ 3.0 alpha build. The alpha gameplay was thoroughly impressive.

The showcase began already showing off features that other space exploration games sorely lack such as the ability to have other players as part of your crew. Not just NPC’s, but actual flesh and blood players who can assume different roles on your ship. In this showcase it was quite simple—a pilot and a co-pilot. Roberts Space Industries promised with their massively successful crowdfunding campaign that complete player crewed ships were coming, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Star Citizen's seamless transition from orbit to planet's surface.
Star Citizen’s planets are just as breathtaking as the game’s rendition of space. Allowing you to land anywhere you wish.

Along with showcasing player crews, the presentation quickly transitioned to showing off the star system at large. This star system is complete with large rocky planets, moons, and a wealth of space stations. After quickly traveling to the planet, the pilot entered the atmosphere allowing in a seamless transition. Most noteworthy of mention is the fact that absolutely no loading screens are ever present, allowing for a truly immersive experience.

Up until Gamescom, criticism surrounding Star Citizen was due to the deliberate pace of development. Myself included, most fans were upset at how little progress had seemed to be made with each update, but now we’ve been given actual ground-breaking gameplay that looks to be better than what other simulation games have to offer.

A summary of all the additional content Alpha 3.0 brings, giving players a living, breathing star system.
A summary of all the additional content Alpha 3.0 brings, giving players a living, breathing star system.

The mission was for the player to recover a black box from a ship that was thought to have been destroyed in lawless space. After leaving the base on the surface of the planet, the two players immediately took off in search of the broken vessel which was orbiting a nearby moon of the planet they had just departed from.

After a brief battle with two pirate vessels, there was a further showcase of the player crewed mechanics. One player manned a turret located atop the ship while the other maintained piloting duties. They successfully closed in on the remains of the ship they were after.

The first-person shooter elements were then showcased as one player exited the ship and proceeded with an EVA (Extravehicular Activity) showcase, floating over to an entrance to the ship that was heavily damaged.

Once again, none of this requires a loading screen. Every transition is seamless and the team over at Roberts Space Industries is rightfully proud of it. After finding the black box and accomplishing the mission, the player receives a video message from the NPC character he took the mission from.

The NPC’s themselves are impressive, showing personality along with their superb voice acting. The character then indirectly suggests the player could theoretically ‘liberate’ any stolen cargo from the pirates locate at their base on a nearby moon.

They conclude the showcase by attacking the pirate base, using both ground and air assault methods. Instead of fighting A.I., they fought actual players in their two-man siege of the moon base which demonstrated combat from multiple perspectives.

Star Citizen is finally starting to show the signs of living up to the hype it caused when it debuted and was subsequently crowd-funded. There is undoubtedly still plenty of work to do, but the future is bright.

More news is sure to come from Roberts Space Industries regarding Alpha 3.0 in the future. I will be keeping up with this build and all future builds. Be sure to check Gamer Professionals for all things Star Citizen in the future.

 

  • Domaldel

    Hum, most fans?
    As far as I’m aware most fans have been happy with the development, there’s a few exceptions among people who don’t follow the game all that much, but for the most part the critique has been coming from outside the community.

    Regarding the 3.0 alpha build it’s expected at the end of the year.
    We’re currently at 2.4.7 and we expect to reach 2.5 later this week.
    After that there’s 2.6 and then 3.0 (with possible minor patches in between)

    I honestly won’t recommend playing the game before 3.0 for most people due to performance issues that simply won’t be fixed before 3.0.

    • Bjørn Sandåker

      Yeah, most fans have been satisfied with all the development info we get to see and read regularily. But we can’t say that without being called names (I’m sure some will come in and do that in this thread too). It’s a loud vocal minority with “critics” that has lead the whine choir. Mostly people who haven’t followed the project very closely and are unfamiliar with what game development contains of challenges.

      In addition, Chris Roberts has taken an unusual (to most gamers) path by building out the base/framework of features before adding game contents. Most games launch with a limited amount of contents, often tailor made to be out before xmas so shareholders and investors can get some money back, and then lots of (paid) DLC’s arrive later. After a few years the game looks perhaps more complete. Elite: Dangerous (ED) is one good example. When it launched it was a working game and had a basic set of features, but things like co-op (Wings release) and planetary landings (Horizons release) were added later. ED still don’t have multicrew features or inside rendering of ships, to name a couple of things that’ll arrive later.

      Building the game up from features, before adding content, is a more sound approach when you step back and think about it for a moment. What is content if the game is boring to play? Is it fun to visit trillions of planets with nothing to do there? Are mouse menus a good way to buy and sell goods? It has been clear since Star Citizen’s original campaign in Oct. 2012 that things would be different in Star Citizen. Most backers understood that and it’s also why people like me backed the game development. I’m not interested in playing another shallow game with little or no features, cartoon-ish graphics and mouse menus.

      The media and its journalists have been less understanding. In fact, many have jumped on the whine choir and even given Derek Smart and his goons credit from time to time … It’s done irreparable damage to Star Citizen’s reputation and resulted in many potential players abandoning the idea of ever buying the game. It’s a shame, really, because they’ve concluded false “facts” from people who don’t understand game development and how a revolutionary new game must be. They just want and expect another warmed up game like they’re used to playing. We, who have followed the Star Citizen project from the start have known this was not the way this game would go, so why haven’t online media and the average gamer understood that? It’s very strange. And, as I said, irrepairable damage has been done.

  • Pon Teyuen

    This article gives the impression you don’t follow the game very closely as you seem to not realize (or at least the writing leaves the impression of such) that you can already multi-crew a ship in this manner in the current build. You give the impression it’s a newly developed feature. Same with the EVA and FPS elements.

    The npc interactions, planet landings, ground vehicle combat, “grabby hands”, vid missions and full system are indeed new. As of now the system is restricted to the local space around the Crusader planet and moon.

    You state your intent to begin following the 3.0 build onwards. That will be late this year. My personal suggestion is you begin following from the imminent 2.5 release onward so you have some comparison basis when that releases for your articles. Also there is a relatively significant — but nowhere near as earthshattering — 2.6 release scheduled between.