Star Citizen is a bit like an Instagram account: what you see looks amazing but the reality is hollow. As it stands, at major milestone alpha 3.0, Star Citizen does not convince as a game. But as a picture-postcard-maker - as a demonstration of technology - it's virtually peerless. Standing on top of a canyon on a dusty, windswept planet, looking up at the suns and moons in the sky and knowing you can fly up to them is hair-raisingly cool. Knowing when night comes it's because of the rotations and orbits of those same planets, of those same stars, is an awesome feeling. And even though there might only be a handful of planets to touch down on (for now), they are truly massive, taking probable hours to fly around. It's a simulation of the highest detail and largest proportions.
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In December, been-through-the-mill developer Crytek launched a legal assault against Star Citizen maker Cloud Imperium Games. The beef was apparent misuse of CryEngine according to the General Licence Agreement both parties signed.
But Crytek only selectively quoted the General Licence Agreement rather than provided it in full; or, as Cloud Imperium Games said (via Reddit), "deliberately omitted" and "concealed" it. CIG claimed the GLA said things differently.
For instance, one major point in Crytek's case was the agreed use of CryEngine for one game - Star Citizen - not two: Star Citizen and Squadron 42. Apparently, back when the GLA was signed, the single-player game Squadron 42 was not considered a separate thing.
Two days before Christmas the big Star Citizen update happened. Alpha build 3.0, which we have been waiting more than a year for - and which has been described as bringing the game to an early access state - arrived.
Cloud Imperium also released an hour of gameplay footage taken from the standalone single-player game Squadron 42, a sister product to Star Citizen, and which has no release date.
The headline feature of Star Citizen alpha 3.0 is the ability to fly down and explore unique and expansive planetary surfaces - four to begin with. But alpha build 3.0 also brings a core feature set which makes Star Citizen more closely resemble an actual game than ever before.
The makers of Star Citizen - Cloud Imperium Games and Roberts Space Industries - are being sued by Crytek over misuse of CryEngine.
Star Citizen is now selling virtual plots of land for up to £96.
We've heard a lot about the fabled Star Citizen alpha build 3.0, and we've been shown a lot of spectacular sights from it - spaceships careering down from outer space through atmospheres and onto the surface of planets.
The next big thing in the Star Citizen pipeline are cities the size of planets.
Last year we waited and waited to hear whether Squadron 42, the single-player and standalone Star Citizen story experience with actors like Gary Oldman in, would be released in 2016, until eventually Cloud Imperium said no, it wouldn't be. Then we started waiting and waiting for a 2017 release instead.
The very important 3.0 alpha build of Star Citizen appears to be out, at long last, but isn't available to everybody and probably won't be for a while.
There are two schools of thought on the long, long-in-development Star Citizen. For fans, it is an in-development wonder, a work-in-progress promise of a bright, stellar future. It's a game in which people have already invested significant amounts of money.
But it's that same money that, for others, is a problem. Here is a crowdfunded game - or the foundations of one, at least - which is way behind schedule, which often fails to hit deadlines, and which never seems to quite live up to its promise.
I met up with the Star Citizen figurehead, Chris Roberts, at Gamescom last month for a frank chat on how things were going. Unsurprisingly, he falls in to the first school of thought - and was keen to explain why.
During the annual Star Citizen Gamescom bonanza yesterday, Cloud Imperium Games announced Face Over Internet Protocol - FOIP - chat for the game. It means Star Citizen, via a webcam, will be able to capture your facial movements in real-time and stream them onto a character in the game.
Star Citizen gameplay footage from Gamescom gives us our longest look yet at the long-awaited, and delayed, planetary landings update 3.0.
The release of Star Citizen alpha 3.0 - the big, exciting, 'fly down onto a planet and explore it' release - has been pushed back again. What was once expected at the end of 2016 - then June 2017, then August 2017 - is now expected at the beginning of September.
Star Citizen studio Cloud Imperium Games has spoken out to quell fan fears it is in new financial trouble.
A very early version of Star Marine, the first-person shooter portion of space game Star Citizen, is now available to play.
Star Citizen's first-person shooter segment Star Marine is finally nearly here, due to arrive with alpha update 2.6 on 8th December or thereabouts. And Cloud Imperium Games has released lots of new footage of it.
There's both a Star Marine gameplay preview video and a lengthy demonstration near the end of the two-hour anniversary Star Citizen stream.
The Star Marine videos show the two teams, Marines and Outlaws, fighting over computer terminals on board a space outpost. Guns fire bullets, despite the futuristic setting, sniff, and you aim down sights. Corridors and interiors are dark and dull, but battles outside in space provide more to look at. Nevertheless the action appears to offer little variation, although this is an early iteration and things will improve.
How open is open development? A question Star Citizen has pondered for four years. Things change; targets move, dates are missed - and then fingers point. It's taking too long! You're not telling the truth! But if you can't see the entire picture, why presume otherwise? It's a vicious cycle Chris Roberts and team want to break. The solution? Go a step further: reveal, for the first time, internal development schedules.
Another corker of a Star Citizen gameplay video just aired at the annual CitizenCon bash, and this one has a sort of Mako vehicle, sort of sand people and a sort of giant worm!
Squadron 42, the single-player Star Citizen companion game - the one with all the Hollywood actors - will not be released in 2016. Overlord Chris Roberts confirmed it on stage at CitizenCon 2016 in the wee hours of the morning.
Much is made of the spaceships in Star Citizen, or of the planetary landings, but there's a fair chunk of the game that will play out on foot - shooting included. But currently the game has an odd quirk, or problem depending on how you look at it: head bobbing. The camera is attached the model's eyes and so bobs around an awful lot. But that's going to change.
There aren't many places to go in Star Citizen at the moment so it's a surprise to discover an enormous city just lurking there in the game files - the city of Terra Prime.
Goodness me the live Star Citizen Gamescom presentation is exciting. A planetary landing demonstrated live! Sounds so simple but... watch it. Listen to those cheers as the Freelancer spaceship burns on entry to the planet's atmosphere, and as we see it from the multiple viewpoints of the players inside.
Star Citizen, the ambitious PC space game, has been in development for a long time. Too long, for some.
The Star Citizen Terms of Service have changed and it's now a bit harder to get a refund.
The Terms of Service changed 10th June, reported Kotaku UK, and altered the amount of time you need to wait before you're eligible for a refund.
In the old TOS you could claim a refund if, after 18 months, the "relevant pledge items and/or the game" hadn't been delivered. But in the new TOS you can only claim a refund if "[Roberts Space Industries] has ceased development" of Star Citizen and failed to deliver what you pledged for. One Redditer compared both TOSes side by side.
What is Star Citizen? It's so big now it seems almost incomprehensible. $100m - that's a hell of a budget, let alone raised through crowdfunding. No-one saw it coming, everything ballooned in scope and scale, and no-one seems to know what it is any more.
Star Citizen is free to play this week.
UPDATE 3.20PM GMT: A second video has surfaced that shows Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts flying a spaceship from space down onto a planet.
The unbelievable total keeps growing: Star Citizen has raised more than $100m via crowdfunding. More than 1 million people have spent money on it. The milestone is achieved as the Star Citizen alpha 2.0 build launches, which brings multi-crew ships, large world maps and first-person combat; it is, in the words of the official website "your first taste of Star Citizen's living, breathing world".
To play it you need to buy, or have bought, any Star Citizen "package", which start at $54. That bags you the Star Citizen and Squadron 42 games (Squadron 42 is the adjoining storied, single-player experience), a spaceship to fly in the game, some starting cash and some other bits and bobs. Sky is the limit with the packages, which scale up into thousands of dollars.
But there's concern from some corners as Star Citizen reaches yet another massive crowdfunding milestone. Cliff Harris - the man behind the Democracy, Big Pharma and Gratuitous Space Battles games - wrote a blog post at the weekend triggered by (but about much more than) Star Citizen's $100m accomplishment. The piece talks about needing regulations to protect people from being exploited. Again, he's not just talking about Star Citizen but about unchecked spending in games in general, particularly in free-to-play games that rely on it. More money is being spent on "psychological manipulation" than on making good games, he said, and people are susceptible to these irresistible marketing machines.
There's a single-player story module in Star Citizen called Squadron 42, and it will be brought to life by an incredible list of Hollywood actors. Actors include Gary Oldman, Mark Hamill, Gillian Anderson, Gimli sorry John Rhys Davies, Andy Serkis and Mark Strong. Craig Fairbrass from EastEnders is in there too. Wow! I don't recognise the others but you may.
Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium will this evening unveil the space game's multi-crew feature.
Ahoo, and a lovely warm welcome from Eurogamer's Gamescom team at the end of the first day proper of Europe's biggest gaming show. Chris, Bertie, Ian and Martin delayed their trip to the beer halls of Cologne just long enough to bring you impressions of all they saw out on the show floor, and took a little time to relay the highlights. There's Star Citizen, Scalebound, Fallout and some of that esoteric PC stuff that Chris loves so much. We'll be back tomorrow for another episode, though we'd better be careful - any more and we're in danger of making this podcast thing a habit.
PC space game Star Citizen has been in development for a while now. Some people are worried it's been in development too long. As the scope of the project grows and features are delayed, detractors accuse developer Chris Roberts and his company Cloud Imperium Games of succumbing to the dreaded "feature creep".
The first-person shooter portion of PC space game Star Citizen is called Star Marine.
Star Citizen patch 1.1 is out now and makes big changes to the PC space game.
The changes are so significant that you have to reinstall the entire game client, developer Cloud Imperium Games warned in a post on the RobertsSpaceIndustries.com.
You have to uninstall the game and delete any files that remain afterwards before downloading the new patch.
Star Citizen - the colossal crowdfunded space trading and combat game by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts - could be a 100GB download just for the client, developer Roberts Space Industries has revealed.
There's blowing up space ships, and then there's blowing up Star Citizen's space ships.
Space games Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen will both honour the late Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy via in-game memorials.
Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games has launched Arena Commander 1.0, the latest version of the space game's dogfighting module.
Arena Commander lets players get used to their ships in Free Flight mode, and battle computer-controller ships and other players.
1.0 marks a significant milestone in the development of the game, and adds a lobby system and triples the number of flyable ships in Arena Commander. Every variant of the Aurora, Mustang, 300 and Hornet, and the base models of the Cutlass and the Avenger are now flyable. Previously, many of Star Citizen's virtual space ships, some of which cost hundred of pounds, could only be viewed in player hangars (for more on ships, check out our investigation into Star Citizen's grey market).
In the battle for the hearts and minds of space sim fans, it's easy to imagine Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous going head to head in some galaxy class shootout.
Space trading and combat game Star Citizen also has a first-person shooter portion - and developer Cloud Imperium Games unveiled gameplay of it over the weekend.
At PAX Australia, CIG chief Chris Roberts took to the stage to show off the Star Citizen FPS module, still in development.
The video, below, shows a team of four-players explore a space station before a firefight breaks out against enemy players.
UPDATE 15/10/2014: Cloud Imperium Games has released a higher quality video of the Star Citizen planetside demo.
The new video, below, gives us an idea of how the space game's persistent universe will work in an updated playthrough of the demo first shown off at CitizenCon last weekend.
ORIGINAL STORY 13/10/2014: Cloud Imperium Games chief Chris Roberts has unveiled Star Citizen planetside gameplay for the first time.
"Kane" won't tell me how much he's made as a Star Citizen middleman. Like so many Spaniards affected by the economic crisis, he was recently made redundant, but the bills keep on coming. "These transactions are helping me in these difficult times," he says.
Ongoing sales related to in-development PC space game Star Citizen have pushed revenues through the $55m mark, developer Cloud Imperium Games has revealed.
PC space game Star Citizen has raised over $50m after last week selling new space ships.
Cloud Imperium Games says if it hits $50m in crowdfunding for PC space game Star Citizen, it will create alien languages.
Cloud Imperium Games has released the delayed Arena Commander dogfighting module for PC space game Star Citizen.
Cloud Imperium Games has delayed the release of the dogfighting module of Star Citizen.
The developer of crowd-funded PC space game Star Citizen has issued a response to accusations of sexism within its forum after moderators banned a player who started a thread titled "Female Gamers Group".
Chris Roberts has for the first time shown off Star Citizen's dogfighting.
Facebook bought successful Kickstarter virtual reality headset Oculus Rift for $2bn - will more crowd-funded projects be snapped up by big business?
Space game Star Citizen has raised an astronomical $40m through crowd-funding, developer Chris Roberts has announced. At the time of publication 405,803 people have backed the project.
Space trading and combat game Star Citizen and no-fantasy medieval role-playing game Kingdom Come are world's apart when it comes to genre and setting - but under the hood they will have lots in common.
2014 is upon us, and it promises riches and glory unlike any year before it. With their launches under their belts, the next generation of consoles will, hopefully, show us what they're made of. Virtual reality headsets may make their mark on the mainstream. And with a raft of crowdfunded games due out over the next 12 months, 2014 should tell us whether all that money we pumped into promising projects on Kickstarter was worth it.
Money continues to flood into the coffers of PC exclusive space trading and combat video game Star Citizen: it's now raised an astronomical $35 million.
Space combat and trading game Star Citizen has just crossed the $30 million raised mark.
Chris Roberts has addressed concern that PC space combat and trading game Star Citizen will be "dumbed down" for release on console.
Star Citizen, the PC space combat and trading game that holds the world record for the most amount raised by a crowd-funded project, looks set to melt graphics cards when it's eventually released.
Creator Chris Roberts has said pushing graphics hardware was always part of the plan, but now, with the recent release of a new gameplay video, we see first hand what he meant.
The video, below, shows off a small scale combat situation between two ships weaving in and out of an asteroid field. It's a make-believe commercial for the fictitious Anvil Aerospace Hornet that is, according to Roberts, "100 per cent in-engine" - and displayed in an eye-watering 4K resolution.
UPDATE: Star Citizen has hit the $20 million raised mark - and now first-person combat on select lawless planets will be added to the space game.
The goal was reached on the anniversary of the release of the original Wing Commander, creator Chris Roberts said.
"What this means is that we're expanding the FPS mechanic we've already created for the ship boarding system to apply to more areas of the game," he wrote on the RSI website. "Join an ongoing battle on a contested world, launch an attack on a pirate base, come to the rescue of distant colonists and fend off Vanduul raiders … the possibilities are endless."
Star Citizen begins its long journey towards a full release next Thursday with the launch of the first slice of content to backers of its phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign.
Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts has raised an unthinkable $15 million in his crowdfunding effort to make the space trading and combat sim Star Citizen.
Star Citizen, the crowd funded space trading and combat sim from Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, has passed the $10 million raised mark.
What a year Kickstarter had in 2012. Tim Schafer's Double Fine kicked the crowd-funding website into orbit back in March, raising more than $3 million to make an old-school adventure game.
Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts' upcoming space combat game Star Citizen has just ended its crowdsourcing campaign at $6,224,123, shattering the record of any crowdsourced game before it by roughly 50 per cent.
Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts has released new test footage of space simulation Star Citizen, showing off space ships flying in formation, the cockpit view and a brief dogfight.
Chris Roberts' PC exclusive space sim Star Citizen has smashed its Kickstarter goal with 26 days to go.
Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts has just put up a Kickstarter for his upcoming high-end PC space combat game Star Citizen.
Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts has asked his fans if he should put his new space sim on Kickstarter.
Chris Roberts, creator of cult space sim series Wing Commander, has returned with a new game he hopes will melt your PC.