With the release of 3.4.0 on the horizon, Star Citizen is starting to shape up to be an actual game even though it’s still only in the alpha. The 3.4.0 release will feature Constantine Hurston and another mission giver. The 3.4.0 release will include a ton of other quality of life features, including improved comms, better turrets, and more ships.
During this week’s Around The Verse episode Chris Roberts talked a lot about Squadron 42, revealing that the new roadmap outlines how the team plans to tackle a lot of the issues standing in the way of the development of the single-player campaign, which includes building out the rest of the core tech, such as shaders, refined animation systems, and gameplay mechanics such as vaulting, as well as improving the overall vehicular features and functionality such as the scanning system, the HUD, and additional weapons and item interaction.
There may be a lot of sharing of tech between the developers working on Star Citizen and the team working on Squadron 42, but there are also a lot of exclusive subsets that are designed from the bottom up for Squadron 42, which is why it’s taking a lot longer to complete than some gamers would have hoped for. This includes features like the Titan, the new elite level flight mechanics, and certain cinematic post-processing effects.
According to the roadmap, Squadron 42 won’t enter into the alpha optimization phase until the first quarter of 2020. They don’t expect a final alpha pass and beta to start until the second quarter of 2020. This is because a lot of the tech had to be built from the ground up and properly optimized for a solid single-player experience where they’re targeting 60fps.
Roberts explained that the biggest R&D obstruction on the design front was the object container streaming, and now that that’s finished for the persistent universe it’s no longer an issue for Squadron 42.
The next big hurdle in the R&D area is the AI, both for the persistent universe and for Squadron 42. Roberts mentions that they’re currently looking for AI programmers to help tackle some of the AI development in order to improve the overall behavior of the enemy units both on the ground and for space flight.
They are actually looking to hire in some gameplay designers, specifically AI designers, to work on finishing up those features if they can’t rearrange some of the current staff to help aid in fixing the AI. In fact there are 94 openings right now over on the Cloud Imperium Games jobs posting page.
So just to recap: the biggest hurdles facing both Star Citizen and Squadron 42 (apart from optimization) is the AI. Squadron 42 is also expected to enter into alpha testing in 2020. So it’s still just over a year out from release.
For more info on the development of both Star Citizen and Squadron 42, be sure to check out the official website.