compass atop a bowl of roasted coffee beans set inside gold laurels Tomasius Space

Ex dubium scientia. From doubt [comes] knowledge.

Star Citizen

Port-lit, metallic, Star Citizen Logo comprising a single cruciform star encapsulated by a wreath and set between the words STAR and CITIZEN

Star Systems
In-system view of a O-Type Main Sequence Star

Space Trials
Shuttle Class space ship

Cutter Class space ship

ASW Frigate Class space ship

Endurance Cutter Class space ship

Heavy Ordinance Endurance Cutter Class space ship

Life in Overlap

Technical Requirements
Starboard-lit, metallic, Star Citizen Logo comprising a single cruciform star encapsulated by a wreath and set betewen the words STAR and CITIZEN

Due Diligence

What is an RPG?
It all began with pen and paper

Gaming Concepts
USB Iconography

Gaming Psychology
Neural network node showing connective reinforcement

Star Citizen: A Wonder of the 21st Century, in progress


The following is a video produced by Tomasius Space, which I think paints a fairly detailed picture some of the things players can do in Star Citizen right now:

The video shows:

  1. The city of Lorville as seen on the commute from the L19 habs to Teasa Spaceport
  2. A difficult ascent; taking a large, heavy warship up through atmosphere and into orbit
  3. Various modes of space travel to a distant moon; named, Aberdeen
  4. The positioning of the warship near a target of opportunity and traversal of the decks while under fire
  5. Some buggy turret action (the lead pip wasn't working quite as intended) with some pauses while the guns cool down
  6. A return to the bridge, acceptance of a new ECN Mission and closing on maneuvers to exit Aberdeen space

This is to demonstrate actual gameplay, courtesy of Mercurio Morat, which was only possible as a result of many major features which have been implemented and sufficiently integrated with one-another during the course of development. It's not perfect. There are missing features and there are bugs as this, after all, is a live test environment in the alpha phase of develpment and not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination. In short, Star Citizen hosts a real, functioning multiplayer test environment with its share of problems and some pretty amazing features and gameplay opportunities.

It needs to be stated, from the outset, that Star Citizen is not yet a finished product and, in fact, is not yet a complete prototype. While involvement at this stage does have its share of fun, the focus of opening a Persistent Universe to backers is to identify as many bugs as possible on the fly. When it comes to bug hunting, Star Citizen does not disappoint and can even be quite frustrating at times. However, this is not the finished state of the game and bugs which are identified by the backers are, for the most part, hunted down and exterminated in surprisingly short order.

This said, there are always risks involved when investing in any project under development. If you're looking to back the project with more than casual expenditure, it's probably worth taking a deeper dive into the information available concerning the viability of the Star Citizen project. There is elbow grease involved; a lot of reading and a good deal more fact-checking. However, it's well worth the peace of mind if you're planning to spend more than you would for a big night out on the town.

What is Star Citizen intended to become?

Star Citizen is intended to be an MMO RPG in the Futurist style of the Fantasy genre. This is set in a first person world where:

That's my narrow view of whats been achieved to date. The big features under development include:

Once again, this is just a narrow view of the gameplay I happen to be looking forward to seeing. All this has been specified in the context of deep and realistic physics-based gameplay on different scales and offering a diverse range of in-game activity set in a significant space-faring civilisation spanning roughly 100 star systems. It's not just dogfighting that's on the table. There are large ship manoeuvres, crew command and management, fleet coordination, mining+fuel refining, exploration+research, surveying and charting, salvage, scouting, investigation, bounty hunting, pirating, smuggling, freight, economic trade, information trade, etc. This game also has first person combat, both on platforms with gravity (such as operational space stations and in bunkers on planets and moons) and zero-G first person combat which is a totally different experience. First person combat will also extend to ship boarding and defense. Combat isn't the only broad gameplay system which needs to be considered in a game like this. There's also flight which, in Star Citizen takes place in six degrees of freedom (6DoF) and can be particularly satisfying with dual joysticks, pedals and TrackIR. Although longitudinally coupled flight is the simplified default, space flight is quite different from atmospheric flight due to the lack of gravity and fluid drag. This has a lot of scope to make things very interesting.

Taken together as a set of game mechanics and gameplay options accessible to players from all walks of life, this makes Star Citizen truly innovative. No other game even approaches this breadth of gameplay and the Persistent Universe, consistently, keeps getting better as new features and mechanics are added and debugged with the help of community-based testing and reporting. And for those considering spending more than just what is required for a starter package, this is what you are paying for; not the ship you get - which you will be able to acquire through gameplay, irrespective, once the game is released. When you back beyond the fundamental license to play Star Citizen, you are paying for the priviledge of contributing to a project which future generations will look back on as a wonder of the computing world. Personally, knowing that I've have a hand in something like this is a very special source of pride for me.

Can Star Citizen be delivered as intended?

The success of a project is measured by its progress and, as the videos show, the Star Citizen project is well on its way. Development of this project is implementing new features on a quarterly basis, about 75% of the bugs get nailed with each release, and the project finance is steady and stable. It's well worth looking at the facts to assess the project's viability and get some peace of mind from detailed pre-backing due diligence, before putting more than casual money on the table.

Signing up and Pledging for a ship … or several

It is very important to understand two things before spending any money on Star Citizen:

  1. Star Citizen is still in development and you will not be playing with the finished product for some time. The point of participation, at this time, is to find, identify and report bugs or unintended game behaviour and, from one alpha version to the next, there is always something that impacts on the quality of gameplay. Such is the nature of alpha testing.
  2. Star Citizen is not P2W and there are no super-ships specified or intended for the game (in spite of the in-lore hype). When the game is released it will be possible to acquire most of the ships, through gameplay, and ships do not need to be purchased once you have a Star Citizen game package.

As it was pointed out, at the release of alpha PU version 2.0:

There’s no perfect ship – only the perfect ship for you.

So, bear in mind, you don't have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for the "best" ship when this depends heavily on how and where you fly and what you prefer to do. In fact, it is intended that when Star Citizen is released, ships will be available, in-game, through game-play. In line with this policy, ships will only be available for purchase outside the game, up until the time the game is released; at which point all ship sales outside the game will be discontinued. This is because the purpose of selling ships outside the game is to allow and encourage participants to choose the level of backing they'd prefer to contribute towards the game's development. If you're looking for something rare or hard to get, be patient, save your Schillings, and watch the official ship sales. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a super-ship, put your money back in your pocket: You don't want to buy into this game. You want to go home and rethink your life.

If you just want to get into the Persistent Universe, and experience it for yourself, there are two steps you'll need to follow:

  1. Enlist today! Open a Star Citizen account. For what it's worth; making sure that the referral code STAR-LBCY-C93V is included in the correct field, when you sign up, will score you an additional 5000 UEC ... for whatever that is worth. At the time of writing, a 5000 UEC chit costs us$5.oo or can be earned with about 10-15 minutes of gameplay and is worth enough to buy you a sidearm, either a pistol or a rifle or such little things that don't ship with a ship.
  2. Pledge for a game package in order to get access to the Star Citizen Persistent Universe (seen in the videos above).

If the ship you want is available, but not as part of a game package, you can still get a basic starter package then pledge for an upgrade from any ship (preferably one you already have) to the ship you want. Please be aware that not all items on the upgrade schedule are ships. Some, like the Anvil Ballista are ground vehicles and won't get you off Port Olisar - so it's always worth reading the ship description to make sure that you are pledging for something you actually want to use, in-game.

Choosing the Ship with the best fit for you

There is not only a wide variety of ships, but the flight characteristics of each ship vary significantly (which is one of the most interesting and immersive aspects of the game, in my opinion). This is because Star Citizen is specified for serious depth in all activities and mechanics, not just combat. Even mining is slated to take on a significantly greater depth of gameplay via the introduction of remote sensing and engineering challenges related to finding and extracting ore from asteroids. Ultimately, there is no best ship, only the best ship for what you prefer to do. So, the most prudent thing to do, when looking to acquire the ship best suited to you, is to pay attention to the sort of things you really like doing, in-game, and focus your atttention on finding the ship with a qualitative concept description hbest suited to what you prefer to do, when you login to Star Citizen. Beware of quantitative specifications which sound promising because these change frequently and usually the changes revolve around better fitting handling and firepower capabilities to the qualitative role described in the ship concept.

So I cannot emphasise enough; when looking for a ship, start with what you want to do and how you want to do it.

  1. Do you prefer to operate alone or with friends?
  2. Do you want crew by your side as you journey through the 'verse?
  3. Do you want a simple, maneuverable ship or something larger, sturdier and requiring more forethought to fly?
  4. Do you want to base yourself out of a station, city or someone-else's ship or do you want to base yourself out of your own ship?
  5. Are you looking to specialise in just one thing or occosionally branch out to seize other opportunities as they arise?
  6. Do you like to surround yourself with things of beauty or do you feel more comfortable not having to worry about ruining that priceless mahogany panelling?
  7. Do you want more jump point options (there are more than likely some systems where capital ships simply can't go) or a more independent base of operations?
  8. Do you like to get out of your ship and make your way on foot in new places or do you prefer to keep all that mud at a distance?
  9. Do you like to engage in ship to ship combat or do you get satisfaction from successfully planning to avoid combat encounters?
  10. Do you like people enough to have complete strangers taipsing their way on and off your ship or do you prefer to limit your contact with people to those closest to you?
  11. Do you enjoy prospecting until you survey a big strike, then bring home some treasure?
  12. Do you enjoy peering over the ridgeline to see what's in the next valley?
  13. Do you enjoy buying low and taking your stock somewhere you can sell high?
  14. Do you enjoy scheduling the most efficient route for pickup and delivery of mulitiple parcels?
  15. Do you enjoy fixing things and helping others?
  16. Do you enjoy differential diagnosis and helping others?
  17. Do you gain satisfaction from ferreting out hidden things?
  18. Do you enjoy the process of devising and executing a defensive strategy through the deployment of a defensive perimeter?
  19. Do you enjoy building things?
  20. Do you enjoy the process of anticipating the movements of a hidden enemy and leaving a little surprise in his path?
  21. Do you enjoy the idea of walking the decks of your own ship, in flight?

All of these little questions have more to do with whether a ship fits what you want to do, than any number of numerical analyses. Ignore the numbers and focus on the words. What is the ship intended to do? How is she intended to fulfil her role? How comprehensively does this fit what you want to do?

Loss being what it is, ships are insured; not magically respawned when destroyed. As part of the in-game economics of Star Citizen, players will, eventually, pay in-game insurance premiums on their ships so that, in the event of the ship's loss, it can be replaced without having to be repurchased. How good a deal this is, is another question. Certainly, some players run enough ships to start their own in-game insurance company and if in-game insurance margins are anything like they are in the real world, running your own fleet insurance would be cheaper than outsourcing it to another company. If, on the other hand, the rates are incredibly good, then that will make many of us happy too. Of course, if you get a ship or package that is bundled with lifetime insurance, the lifetime premium is bundled with the cost of purchase; which translates to one less thing to worry about in-game. This is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on the style of gameplay you prefer. Suffice to say, lifetime insurance is one of those things which some players consider important. It is also one of the benefits originally restricted to early backers and concept sales. If lifetime insurance is important to you, you can always purchase a small concept package when one comes up as a concept sale, then upgrade the package to the ship you want when that ship becomes available. All items in the original package, except the ship, will remain present in the upgrade; including your lifetime insurance.

Above all, don't let others impose their idea of the best ship on you. You're not the same person and you'll probably want to do different things in-game. Let what you want to do, in-game, be your guide to the best ship for you.

compass atop a bowl of roasted coffee beans set inside gold laurels
Sunday, ISO: 2024-July-21, 20:10 hours, UTC.