My Weekend Tryst with Star Citizen

By Seijin8Seijin8, on 18 Mar 2015 11:38
Last updated at 18 Mar 2015 16:46

My Weekend Tryst with Star Citizen

(Or: WTF is BDSSE?)

Intro and Background

I'm a mil-sim junkie. If it has guns and tanks and grenades and battleships, I probably like it. Silent Hunter, Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear, Falcon 4, these were the games that I glued myself to for more hours than I can recall. I'm also a sci-fi game fan. X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, Sins of a Solar Empire, Mass Effect all spoke to me on various levels and became favorites for a long time. The first PC I bought with my own money had X-Wing and DOOM installed within hours of purchase.

It is fair to say that Star Citizen was always going to be right up my alley, and I admit to a natural bias.

I backed Star Citizen during its original Kickstarter campaign in October-November 2012. By the time I'd heard of it, there was no doubt the game would reach its goal, so I backed knowing it would receive a fair opportunity to exist. I pledged $30, ogled the trailer, and went my merry way.

As time went on, it became known as the most successful crowdfunded game ever, and my email would occassionally receive word of hitting a new milestone: $10 million, $16 million, $35 million…1

Much of the videogaming community seemed to think each stretch goal further reduced the possibility of Star Citizen ever being created. Scope bloat with a tide of money behind it; The perfect recipe for vaporware. Alongside these generally negative comments — and equally concerning — were backers investing huge sums of money into the game.

Though I was interested in seeing what Star Citizen could become, I knew that throwing lots of my limited disposable income into such a questionable venture was not for me.

Contented with my $30 pledge, I would wait.

About a year passed, and the first downloadable thingie showed up. I skipped it for a time, but on a lazy Sunday afternoon opted to grab the (then) 6GB "Hangar Module".

After a painfully long download and install process, my avatar appeared without ceremony inside a giant hangar, and in the middle sat a flattened, angular ship called an Aurora MR — my ship.

Briefly investigating the hangar and various gizmos within, I climbed inside the Aurora and looked around. It had a though-and-through airlock, a pilot seat and a small cubby/bed around the size and shape of a casket. My avatar briefly lay down upon the bed and I was impressed with the first-person appearance of everything within. Slightly buggy, and stuttered movement here and there, but overall okay.

I climbed around the side of the pilot chair and plopped down into it. Nothing much happened.

At this stage, there wasn't anything else to do, so I left the hangar module and mentally checked out from Star Citizen for a while.

The Present

Last week, a video was released called the "Retaliator Pre-Flight" and… it was fucking amazing. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Star Citizen was very real to me. This was the game I bought into, dammit! Oh sure, its just a camera moving through a largely static ship, but the combination of design, graphics, music, and overall feel were tuned to attract a particular sort of gamer. My kind of gamer. Me.

The video showed that the themes, textures, palette, and overall design philosophies had matured into something less retro 90s space sim from the trailer into something and much more current, gritty and real.

Excitedly, I bopped onto Star Citizen's website to poke around and see what had been happening. I'd heard (peripherally) that Arena Commander had been released, which allowed for some limited dogfighting, but beyond that, I knew little about the game's present state.

I typically eschew unfinished games, and even wait a few weeks after initial release of highly anticipated games for the bugs to get worked out. I'm not a developer's first choice of beta tester by any stretch.

After downloading the new client — now at 21GB — I went through the very long loading screens to get into the hangar once again, which hadn't changed much at all.

Random assortments of gizmos, a new fish tank with a couple of lonely fish in it, and my Aurora MR, sitting there on the pad, dwarfed within the cavernous multistoried hangar.

I walked over to the ship, saw that it hadn't changed much… really nothing had.

A bit disappointed, I sat in the flight chair, and was presented the Arena Commander menu. Flipping through options, I found "Free Flight", "Racing", and "Vanduul Swarm". Not being really engaged in this, I just used "Free Flight", waited a couple of minutes for it to load2, and then flew around an asteroid field with massive laser-shooting satellites all around3. After flying a bit in one direction, a voice notified me that I was exiting the simulation area, and so I turned and flew around the asteroids in a different direction for a bit before exiting. The flight model felt good and fairly polished.4

I hopped onto the site while waiting and found that there were many ships available for purchase, with some packages5 around $30 and $40, and others rising into the $100+ range. Standalone ships and upgrades/extras were also present with widely varying costs. The least expensive standalone ships were $20, others were… more. Much more.

Wondering how deep the rabbit hole went, I checked the complete package page and found this for the utterly reasonable6 pricetag of $15,000.

Backing away slowly, I went to the more mentally sound sections and found that I could switch my flying lunchbox of an Aurora for a "Mustang Alpha" for free. Since I wasn't too enthused with the Aurora, this seemed a good deal.

Transaction complete, I went back into the hangar7 and saw a more interesting (to me) craft. Getting into a hatch at the bottom and climbing a ladder through a small airlock, I saw that it was even more cramped than the Aurora. Just the hatch/airlock and a pilot chair (though this one at least swiveled around).

Getting into the chair8, I sat down, spun around and my avatar went through a pre-flight ritual (the first-person animation triggered several buttons with no obvious effect). The view was much better from this cockpit. With nearly no visual obstructions the dogfighting enthusiast in me thought this was a big step up.

Going back into "free flight", I tooled around on a different map9 and avoided smashing into asteroids for a bit. I liked the flight dynamics of this craft far better, so I decided to see about the racing.

I'm not normally a racing fan, but I thought — absent a proper tutorial or practice range — this would give me a chance to learn how the Mustang would perform.

A remedial lesson in air-to-air combat in "realistic" flight simulators: the aircraft itself is an aiming device. Success in battle often revolves around placing that aiming device aggressively into correct alignment against another similarly maneuvering craft. Often, you have a scant second to do this before the opportunity passes, and this is only more so in a space-based sim with Newtonian physics at play. Making the most of this means knowing the optimal flight envelope and characteristics of a craft, and being able to manage the contrary demands of speed and unpredictable maneuver (to avoid being killed) with aiming stability (to kill the other guy), and optimal flight envelope (to be able to chase and maneuver more, as well as move to the next target when this one is finished).

An excellent way to learn the specific demands of your craft is racing10. It is less about scoring a good lap time and more about being able to maneuver around obstacles and maintain precise shooting alignment during rapid turns.

Still, a good lap time isn't a bad thing.

It should be noted that I usually look at the racing portion as a chore. The courses in X-Wing and its sister games were something I did to appease my inner OCDemon, and not because I particularly enjoyed them.


Star Citizen was no chore.

I hadn't had that much fun with a racing game since F-Zero on the Super Nintendo.11

Slashing to and fro between airborne buildings, dodging adverts12 and sky bridges, slicing the nose past rooftop foliage at 200 m/s13 in high, thin atmosphere, I felt the game's underlying physics at work. In some envelopes, the Mustang was agile beyond measure, but it was… finicky… and certain movement patterns would cause issues.

This is to be expected: Star Citizen's ship dynamics use real physical force, and maneuvering is achieved by swinging a series of thrusters around the ship to accelerate in a new direction. The Mustang Alpha has two main engines (static and positioned at the rear of the craft)14 and eight thrusters positioned around the vehicle to apply force as needed. Each articulates (with a slight but perceptible delay between rotation and generation of force) and has limited traversal patterns. This combination means that there will be angles and movement events at which the craft performs… strangely. And it did. Hard pitching with a slight roll and rapid acceleration (via booster/afterburner) could induce roll oversteering as much as 45°. Cutting a lot of lateral Gs without a roll also tended to generate the same erratic behavior.15

That's not a bad thing, folks. That is what gives a vehicle personality, and it is knowing and learning traits like that which makes someone a pilot of X, as opposed to just a pilot.

Related anecdote: some of the original test pilots of the F-22 Raptor reported that it flew exactly like the simulator. The engineers of course thought this was great news. The pilots were pretty "meh" about it. The aircraft might be a fantastic piece of machinery, but it lacked flight personality. It wasn't fun. There was no nuance to discover; the relationship between pilot and aircraft had no character.

With the racing game, I discovered two things: Star Citizen's flight system was fun, and I was happily learning to be a Mustang pilot.16

When I finally exited the game, it wasn't to fly another craft, it was to go back onto the site and see what upgrades were available for the Mustang.

There were lots.

I had already grabbed a Mustang Beta by this point — it had a really well detailed crew space in the rear in lieu of the Alpha's small cargo capacity. It was a $10 upgrade to the Mustang Alpha.

This week (starting March 14, 2015) was a "free flight" week with all of the Arena Commander ready craft available to fly, so it was a golden opportunity to try out everything the game presently had to offer.

I found that the significantly increased speed of the Mustang racers (Omega and Gamma) was right up my alley for the racing circuit17

With little delay, I was right back into the game with my shiny Mustang Omega18. After a couple hours trying to master the initial racing circuit, I decided that my flight skills were up to snuff for attempting dogfighting.

Already knowing my proclivities for chassis, I entered the Vanduul Swarm with a Mustang Delta19, and went at it.

Its a damn good thing I learned racing first.


The dogfighting simulation features a series of waves of Vanduul20 fighters, with each wave slightly larger and/or skilled than the last. You have two AI wingmates of decent survivability, but poor killing capability. Every 3rd wave is an "elite wave" with a single named enemy ace and a generally tougher band of escorts. The aces have particular flying habits that give me great hope for keeping AI in the game relevant and interesting.

The AI right now is… decent. Not great, but workable for a basic flight sim environment. The cluttered asteroids in the area make good shelter against weapon fire, and can be used to break sensor locks. The enemy craft seem to have an understanding of this, and are generally good about not merging with asteroids.21

The Mustang's downside is fragility. Having played the dogfighting with multiple craft, I can easily say that it is the least survivable of the "combat role" craft when under direct fire. It needs to be evasive to win in this environment. The Mustang Delta lacks the speed of the racers (obviously), but has a much enhanced weapon suite. It's got a nasty bite, but little endurance. Agile, but not especially fast compared to other ships. I'd like to see the speed increased, but even if this is never done, I'll still fly one.22

To give a basic breakdown of the fighting/flying mechanism: In addition to traditional flight mechanics (naval aeroplane flight), there is a "decoupled" flight system where the craft maintains speed and becomes a rapidly gyroing turret, using its thrusters for evasive strafing movements. I admit to being a complete novice at this, but I have no doubt that the ability to rapidly swap between coupled/decoupled flight — and showing skill with each — will be among the major dividing lines between pilots who survive and those who become a painted stripe on the side of someone else's nose cone.23

Because the craft often have wide separations between nose position and movement vector24 there are a number of targeting assist systems on the heads-up display to inform the pilot where their shots will land on the currectly selected target.2526

A series of trailing boxes and a trajectory line swings behind your fixed aimpoint to show where your shots — if fired right now — will intersect with the enemy's flight path. This is not the snaking trail of modern flight sims' gun HUD (different weapon systems' time of flight would create an absolute mess of neon spaghetti). Instead, a single straight line trails behind with a series of rectangles, diamonds, circles, etc indicating where a given type of weapon on your craft will impact. The shapes will present colors based on range27 and the system's hit confidence28. Pilots may adjust their loadouts to keep these hit-boxes concentrated for maximal alpha strikes, or may choose to differentiate weapon systems for a variety of engagement ranges, saving a hard-hitting ballistic weapon for special moments.

(To better illustrate: This image shows the line and red circle and box trailing the central target pip, which represents absolute nose position. The red circle is the rocket aimpoint and the small square is one of the guns. The second gun is not displaying a box because it is not yet in range. The bluriness at the edges is a visual display of G-forces upon the pilot. This image shows a great deal more G-forces at work.)

In addition to the trailing indicator is a small circle that shows your craft's true line of direction. This separates from the central aimpoint when turning and may swing itself back over (or not) if your flight controls are set up to do so.

About flight/aim controls: There appears to be great advantage at present to using a mouse as opposed to a joystick. Several of the guns in the game are "gimballed" and can slew their aimpoint around, and using a mouse for such tactics is apparently far more precise than traditional joystick use at the moment.

While a lot of people on the community boards want something done to close the gap (aim assist for fixed weapons, enhanced steering for joystick control, etc) and the devs have already made a recent change to adjust for this (gimballed weapons are now less powerful), I think the devs should be applauded for making mouse controls so damn good that flying a true 6DOF flight sim with a mouse is better than purpose-built flight controls.

Personally, I played a bit with the mouse, but didn't find it to be to my liking29. I've had no real troubles with the joystick and prefer traditional flight controls. If that means I can use bigger guns relative to the more accurate mousers, I'm okay with that trade. Until I have more time in with decoupled flight and PvP, I won't be able to say where any balance point actually lies, and since the two are a matter of preference, I doubt a "balance" is achievable that will please everyone in the long run.

The mouse is likely to remain the best overall control mechanism because it is perfect for interfacing with a computer in a stable, comfortable environment. Since you aren't actually experiencing G-forces and a rattling, rapidly shifting frame of reference, the mouse's inherent problems in this environment would never be noticed. The joystick and throttle — meaty instruments that can be slammed around or finessed equally — evolved for situations that the PC gamer will not experience, even if their avatar does. I'm okay with using those tools for my own enjoyment; I don't feel the need to arbitrarily punish others who choose not to do so.

(There are already a number of enhancements/adjustments for joystick users, including axis-independent sensitivity and deadzones available in the options menu. So long as flight inputs are smoothly delivered, it needs go no farther. Anything more would be dangerously close to cheating and risks dulling the character of each craft.)

In addition to the coupled/decoupled flight regimes, there are two30 additional flight control modifications that can be used. The first is "G Safe", which disallows movements that would place harmful levels of force on the pilot, and can be toggled on or off, and "Comstab" for command stability, which eases throttle power automatically on hard off-axis maneuvers to retain a more "aeronautical" flight movement and avoid sending the craft careening wildly away from nose position (also toggleable). The default system (Coupled/Comstab/GSafe) flies similarly to aircraft and traditional flight sims (though with a significantly pronounced angle of attack and no sense of stalling), while the opposite (Decoupled) is a far more Newtonian system like Babylon 5's Starfury on crack.31

One final note on weaponry: Missiles have been a point of concern and right now seem useless. I say that as someone who has them shot at me regularly. I've been hit maybe 20% of the time, and that is without using countermeasures. I've seen videos of the prior missile system and they looked to be almost invariably fatal to their targets. Clearly there is more need for balance there, but since the "incoming missile" indicator can be hard to hear, I'm temporarily content not to explode without notice.

An interesting aspect of the game is that your infrared and electromagnetic outputs are plainly visible and can be monitored by a pair of scales in your cockpit HUD. These show your susceptibility to lock-on and tracking by missile type and scanners. A third characteristic is CS (cross-section) which is how stealthy your craft is in general. Contrary to traditional flight sims, IR guided missiles cannot be evaded by maneuvering since all space maneuvers require thrust, which produces IR emissions. The best way to avoid IR missiles is to freeze your flight input and dump flares — a curious and wild twist in the usual missile defense scenario.

(A related discussion of sensor systems and stealth gameplay is found here and is quite interesting.)

Reassessing the Game

During the regular loading screens, I would bop around on the forums and visit over two years of videos I'd never seen. The game's progress has been visually slow but mechanically impressive. I can see how we are nearing the turning point from "quietly adding things" to "get ready for blast-off", the point where Star Citizen's changes are going to be rapid and obvious. The first-person shooting module is due out soon (2-3 weeks), the social module soon afterward32, and this summer will see the larger multi-crewed ships added to Arena Commander, and available for dogfighting.

This last one is a major point of concern for me. The use of turret-mounted weaponry on large aircraft (the nearest real-world analog for what Star Citizen is doing here) has traditionally been done on large platforms that are maintaining heading and speed. It is a very different thing on craft that are slewing around wildly trying to avoid and return fire. Such weapon systems appeared and then disappeared on smaller craft over the course of World Wars I and II partly because a turret gunner on a dogfighting craft could rarely hit a damn thing, and partly because G-forces are not equal for the crewmen.33

While the G-forces are (presumably) not a big concern for Star Citizen, turret tracking versus craft maneuvering is. If I am piloting a Constellation Andromeda (turret on top and bottom), it is fairly easy for me to roll the ship to keep the enemy craft on the pitch line, giving the top gunner the most stable shot that I can while still being in an evasive/maneuver flight envelope. With some back-and-forth communication between a pilot and one gunner, that could definitely work.

However… I wouldn't want to be the bottom/ventral gunner under those conditions, with my wordview rarely ever seeing this single enemy target. Likely the only view that I have is whipping around madly to the tune of something I cannot perceive or predict.34

If we add more enemies, the pilot's job as defender of the craft starts to conflict with the gunner's needs for a stable frame of reference. The game can be set up to automatically track reference points for turret gunners, but I am not sure what such a dynamic plane of action will do to gunner's situational awarness (already bad as it is). If the pilot keeps the platform stable… then that is boring to fly.

As the ship sizes get larger, this ceases being an issue (frigates aren't that maneuverable, so the $1000+ Idris investors have little to be concerned with there), but in the $150 to $600 ship range, there could be trouble.

It will be an interesting problem to see the devs work out. I anticipate a lot of investors who've sprung multiple hundreds of dollars for craft that have this problem to be less than thrilled (at least initially).

Perhaps the solution will be to leave the craft on point-to-point autopilot (just collision avoidance) and have all hands man the guns? I'm interested to see how it is handled.

The High Price of Internet Spaceships

(If the reader is unfamiliar with the economics of exchanging real currency for access to virtual spaceships, this video may help. Note that the video ends without resolution on Star Citizen's buying system, and in that sense, maybe this section of the article can serve as a loose sequel to the video.)

On the subject of ship costs: I get it. Crazy as it seems, I get it.

This is a perfect storm of rational and emotional desire colliding with imagination, escapism and damn good marketing.

The process for Star Citizen's current ship purchasing works like this: A new ship reaches "concept" stage where art assets and simple models are available for people to gaze upon and think about and imagine how utterly totally awesome that ship would be to use, to live in, to have.

The purpose of the concept sale is that the developers are ready to start creating this ship, and the early ship purchases35 are meant to fund creation of the vessel, taking it from concept to full design. People who invest feel that they are taking ownership of the project and will have their thoughts and concerns listened to throughout the development process.36 Chris Roberts has said that these initial concept sales are the fuel to hire the contractors needed to make it happen, and understandably, larger ships need more assets and people, and so they cost. A lot.

Backers are often excited about the product on offer — wildly so. It is infectious, and the envy sets in rapidly. John is getting the Orion Mining Ship, and maybe I wanna be a miner, too. Who knows, maybe this game37 will actually make mining fun, and not a grind at all.38 I should get one! Cha-ching, $325.

A small bit of rational thinking pops through the social conditioning to alleviate the mental/financial damage with a half-hearted And if I don't want to do mining, I can always sell it in-game or on the gray market…

How many in-game credits would it sell for? Nobody knows. How long would you have to work to obtain that much money in game? Nobody knows. Will anybody want it on the gray market? Apparently, yes. And possibly at a dramatic profit. An Idris-M that initially cost $1000 can be sold for around $4000.

(Suddenly the guy who spent $1K on his spaceship seems like a financial genius.)39

So, I get the people paying for the concept sales. They get a reduced cost (usually 10-25% cheaper than the craft will be to purchase later on), input on the design decisions40, and can always resell on the gray market should they decide it isn't for them or if they need cash.41

The guy buying on the gray market? I honestly have no clue about that person. Seems that they'd be able to place that same money into buying a few concept ships and simply sell them later to buy their dream ship in-game. Or maybe not.42

Once a ship is out of concept, and deemed "hangar ready" there will be another sale at an elevated price. Now the youtube videos of the "haves" are shown to the "have-nots". Cha-ching. That money pays for ongoing refinement of the model through however many iterations it takes to make it the greatest thing ever, each cycle generating renewed frenzy of purchases. The Aegis Retaliator video displays its second major incarnation, and a sale will likely start on it next week. If it is a limited sale, those will sell out super-fast. (Gray marketeers will be very happy indeed.)

By the time a ship is available for regular use in Arena Commander, it may not be available for purchase on the site. Cloud Imperium says this is to limit the types/styles of ships in game to avoid having the whole place look like a Lexus dealership with nobody using the smaller/lower-end ships. They want to avoid oversaturating the early game with uber ship designs. Given the character of their flight model, I doubt this is a real concern, though I must scowl since the fighter version of the Mustang (Delta) was a fucking limited release and finished two months before I knew I was a 'Stang pilot. Dammit.

Hopefully it will be on sale this weekend. I'll snap that bad boy up in a heartbeat. At about $65… the cost of a full AAA video game that I can play right now, not at some indeterminate point in the future…

And so… I get it.434445

A Note on the First-Person Module

Soon to be released as Star Marine46, the FPS module will have 8v8 PVP at initial launch in a space station environment similar to Counterstrike. A second map is zero-G arena combat based none-too-subtly on the movie Ender's Game.

A lot of people online have commented that the FPS module was a step too far and a sign that Star Citizen would suffer scope bloat to the degree that it might collapse in upon itself. I have to scratch my head at this, and for a number of reasons.

To begin with, regardless of whether or not you intend to actually play the FPS side of things, the game has always been conceived as an immersive first-person experience. Maybe the early tech demos led people to think all the folks walking around were just cutscenes like the older flight sims, but when I backed the game in its initial Kickstarter run, I knew full well that they were aiming for the ability to walk around in a first-person environment outside the ships, and in some cases, within them.

I didn't think that the idea of boarding teams would matter much outside of special circumstances, but now it is clear that the first-person side of the game will be at least as robust as the flight systems.

Commenters frequently equate Star Citizen not to a 'flight sim", but a "Han Solo simulator", and I think that hits the nail on the head. Some of the available professions in the game include bounty hunters, information runners and smugglers. Though each of these undoubtedly has a space sim component, much of the gameplay for these roles will take place face-to-face, on foot, in the seedy places of the galaxy.

Exploration too will ultimately resolve to a boots-on-the-ground (or deck plating) event. Upon finding a derelict ship in an asteroid belt in the middle of nowhere, you will need to explore it. Sure, you can fly up to the windows and shine a searchlight in to see if anyone is around, but upon finding it (apparently) empty, you'll need to go inside.

What if it is occupied? Probably gunplay, thats what.

As for stretching the game too thin, Star Citizen uses the CryEngine… from Crysis. An FPS. If anything, adding sophisticated vehicle behaviors was the challenge. FPS is what the engine was built for. Also, with CryTek's troubles, a lot of the original devs behind the engine were looking for jobs. Chris Roberts hired many of them to work out of CIG's Frankfurt Studio.

The people who built the original engine Star Citizen is made on — who also made Crysis — are on board for this.

Of the things I am worried about with Star Citizen the "bloat" caused by the FPS module isn't among them.

Parting Shots

Star Citizen is a thing. Not vaporware. The pieces exist and are coming together.

This is all quite separate from proclaiming that "it will be a good game". It may not be.

That it will likely exist is separate from saying each element will perform well alongside the others. They may not. The integration between FPS and flight sim may turn out to be awkward and unsophisticated for a myriad of technical reasons. It may never come together right, and leave people with two separate interfaces that simply don't connect as they should.

I have some doubts about latency with the size and depth of what they are trying to accomplish.

I have some doubts about the multicrew systems and how "fun" those will actually be.

I have some doubts about the economy of the game on launch with so many ridiculously expensive ships out there to buy. If the economic model turns out to be closer to an F2P game — with better vessels too expensive to realistically purchase with in-game money — a lot of people are going to go ballistic. If, on the other hand, it turns out that larger ships really are attainable without a lifetime of grinding… a lot of people are going to go ballistic.

I'm concerned that — as beautiful as the Aegis Retaliator is on the outside — the internals are a complete mess. Tons of wasted space, few crew amenities47, and a lot of system placements that make little sense. It deviated from its concept art, and not in a good way. All the more concerning because according to Chris Roberts, the Retaliator is to be the basis for the modular internal designs of other ships48 that will be redesigned49 to be closer to the standard the Retaliator sets.

Will CIG listen to the backers/fans currently complaining on the forums in threads like this one? I don't know. Given that some of the suggestions made in the linked thread are from people with practical military experience in these things, it would be a shame to ignore such free expert consultation.

Is there cause for hope? Sure. The initial character animations displayed when early dev builds of the FPS were shown turned off a lot of players. Despite the fact that much work had already been done, Chris Roberts brought in military experts and redid all the animations and fighting models. Looking at the new muscular-skeletal characters and their posture with weapon handling, it makes me seriously giddy. Not only have they done a FAR better job with the animations, but the handling is more lifelike than many AAA games, being realistically balanced and paced.

What thing made me gasp with delight? A single small animation of one character dragging another away from the fight50, exactly the way it is actually done. A very simple thing, but telling. The characters in the game matter enough for there to be systems and animations based on protecting them from further harm, even when they no longer matter to the battle.5152

I hope they show the same attention to the concerns about the Retaliator internals. Because damn if that ship isn't sexy as hell on the outside.

And if they don't change the internals, will it spell the doom of the entire project? Of course not. But it would be disappointing.


So what is "BDSSE"?

The goal of Star Citizen:


(And here's the T-Shirt, lest we forget the marketing.)

A tall order, to be sure, but the little bits I've gotten my hands on53 are impressive in their attention to detail and base functionality. We're still a year away from the unveiling of the "Persistent Universe" that will be the promised land for this game, and there is a lot to do between here and there.

I sincerely hope they manage it.

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