This year’s CitizenCon had plenty of new shiny things to reveal for Star Citizen devotees. Among them were the features of Star Citizen alpha 3.3 and a star-studded new cinematic trailer for the single-player Squadron 42.
Alpha 3.3 is due to launch to backers today, bringing several features like the addition of enemy AI during FPS sections in the Stanton system and improvements to object streaming, which is said to bring a 100% improvement to the game’s framerate.
The new alpha build has also included a facial recognition feature that uses your webcam to map your face and animate your in-game avatar in real time, letting your avatar mimic your mouth as you speak and broadcast whatever odd facial expressions you wish to convey.
With the launch of 3.3 also comes a number of new ships that can be bought and flown in the latest test build. These range in price from the $30 Mustang Vindicator fighter to the $725 Aegis Hammerhead heavy attack vessel. For those wondering when you’ll be able to get these ships without cracking into your retirement fund, the devs have said that progress on an in-game economy is being made.
Finally, the latest Squadron 42 trailer has debuted with a suitably vague yet cinematic look at the single-player campaign’s story beats. The trailer also features a number of top-tier acting talent such as Mark Hammill, Gary Oldman, Gillian Anderson and Henry Cavill. That trailer can be seen below.
All things considered, we really could do without the face mapping avatar tech, especially if dropping development of that feature would mean that time is spent releasing the full game. Really, though, that’s more assumption than anything and we’re glad to see that Star Citizen is making some strides forward regardless.
There’s, arguably, a lot of significant developments going on with Star Citizen. Between the Squadron 42 launch and Update 3.0, it’s an apparently busy time for RSI. To that point, the latest newsletter talks about the latest Star Citizen update while also perhaps paving the way for another Squadron 42 delay.
The newsletter confirms that the primary focus of this year’s upcoming CitizenCon will be on Alpha 3.0 “and beyond”, while the planned holiday livestream for December will be focused entirely on Squadron 42, including gameplay and a development roadmap.
Nods to a delay also come by way of references to system developments of Star Citizen’s alpha tying with Squadron 42 and vice-versa. The Subsumption system that drives AI and procedural missions is one such example, along with the Item 2.0 refactor, Player Interaction Mode systems, and tech that drives planets and zones.
In spite of the single-player mode’s possible delay, the team is promising “solar system scale” for Squadron 42 once it’s released. “We have a large team working on Squadron 42 and we’ve been making good progress towards achieving my goal to take the Wing Commander style narrative experience to the next level,” writes Chris Roberts. “I am confident it is going to be worth the wait; a game that can hold its own with any other AAA story game.”
And the beat goes on…though, as ever, one most certainly can (and likely will) argue that RSI is treading new territory in game development and so creating the necessary new game tech is going to take time. As ever, we’ll keep eyes on what happens in the Star Citizen universe, be it regarding alpha or Squadron 42.