Skip to main content

Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

The first hour of Star Citizen alpha 3.0 from a player's POV

Landing: planet.

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.

But what we've seen so far has come from developer Cloud Imperium Games. It hasn't been until now we've been able to see Star Citizen alpha 3.0 - effectively the game in Early Access shape - in the hands of a player, and to see uninterrupted footage of what it's like to wake up in the universe and simply play.

Watch on YouTube

The hour-long footage, available in glitzy 4K if your monitor supports it, comes from the Star Citizen test server where alpha build 3.0 currently resides, and to which a new wave of people have just been invited. Remember, we have no guarantees about when 3.0 will eventually go live for all Star Citizen players because issues are still being fixed, but the suspicion is 3.0 may not make this year.

The footage primarily shows planetary landings but there are things like missions to run, baddies to fight, and civilians to find and talk to at outposts and in cities. Not those gigantic Blade Runner-sized cities Star Citizen recently teased - they're for implementation after 3.0. But there are other things than ogling like a tourist to do.

Cloud Imperium will see off 2018 with a Star Citizen holiday livestream in December. It's during this we've been told to expect an update on the accompanying standalone, single-player game Squadron 42.

When Star Citizen will launch in full - whatever that constitutes - is still unknown. However, after alpha 3.0, Cloud Imperium will move to quarterly, publically roadmapped releases to offer a bit more regularity. The hope is the game will reach a beta state next year.