Over on the Roberts Space Industries website, the schedule report has been updated to give a streamlined idea of what to expect from Star Citizen throughout 2018.
The first major update will be alpha 3.1, which is set to go live in March. According to the report, the development teams are now focused on getting out patches according to dates rather than waiting on features…
“Now that Alpha 3.0 is out, we wanted to give you all an update on our plans for this coming year. As we discussed before the holidays, we now have a delivery schedule based on dates rather than features.
“We plan on delivering new builds once a quarter, starting with our first drop at the end of March. After that, we aim to deliver again at the end of June, September, and December of this year. “
Some people mocked this decision to focus on major quarterly updates, stating that this would mean that they would only hit alpha 3.4 by the end of 2018. In reality, they mention in the schedule report that features will be implemented according to the quarterly updates as they’re being finished. So this could mean that they could make several build leaps depending on what they implement, or it could be micro-updates, like 3.1.2. It all depends on what they get finished and how long it takes them to do so.
As for the actual release of 3.1… don’t expect much. It’s mostly an under-the-hood update designed to improve the frame-rate issues and optimization tasks that players have been requesting to be fixed since 3.0 originally launched. This will improve basic gameplay systems, such as UI, ship handling, system traversal, and economic balancing. AI improvements and spaceflight will be modified, along with space combat.
So what’s to be expected in the next release in June? According to the schedule report, you can expect emergent mission creation, salvaging, in-game ship repair, and improved AI support…
“For our end-of-June release, we plan to implement the initial tier 0 versions of mining, salvaging, mobile refueling, and repair into the game, as well as give the player the ability to create their own missions like hiring mercs, transport, or refueling missions. On the AI side, we plan to improve both ship and FPS AI for both missions as well as general activity on space and planetary bases.”
The object container streaming is set to go live in September, which will focus on memory optimizations so that they can lay the groundwork for land claims, and expansion of the star systems.
Now that the hard part is out of the way (viz., the procedural galaxy generation) they can focus more on content expansion. So we’ll see if they can stick to the schedule and get the content up and out in a timely enough manner for each of the major quarterly releases.
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