Some People Live Under Bridges
There has long been a small but ongoing undercurrent of Star Citizen criticism in some corners of the internet, mostly consisting of (IMO, baseless) accusations of "vaporware", "scam", etc. Apparently, in at least one case (Derek Smart) they have gotten so bad recently that Chris Roberts felt the need to publicly reply. Prior to this, I had never even heard of Derek Smart, but it didn't take me much research to find out that the guy is basically a professional troll. Apparently, once upon a time he had developed a couple games, that many people panned as unfinished and pretty bad in general. So, unable to achieve success on his own, he has apparently turned to latching onto more successful projects in a sad attempt at keeping his own name relevant. And seeing as how I had never heard of him prior to this drama, I suppose successful troll is successful. Although I really can't get my head around why anyone would set out to make that sort of name for themselves.
Now certainly I am a huge fan of Star Citizen and Chris Roberts, but that does not mean I am drinking the kool aid. In fact, quite the contrary. I have only backed to the tune of $45, which was (at the time) the least expensive package granting alpha access. Furthermore, I was initially very skeptical of the whole thing. But when I looked into what they were actually working on, and got a sense of Chris Roberts' dream and vision, that was when I started to become excited about the project. I found a great video a while back that pretty nicely sums up my views on the matter:
I loove dose wipers, man! :D
And just like Brigant says, they show it off. So I would invite anyone who may be skeptical to take a trip over to Roberts Space Industries, and just look at the wealth of information they provide. See how open and transparent they have been about the entire development process (no other developer has done anything close to this level of transparency, ever, to my knowledge), and then form your own opinion. Personally, I really fail to see how anyone who goes there and takes a look at what is going on can make accusations of "vaporware" much less "scam." Unless they are just outright trolling, but we all know there's none of that on the internet, amirite?! (/sarcasm)
Additionally, I would also remind everyone that major AAA titles are usually several years in development, and that you don't even hear about them until they are nearing completion. And so, given this time scale, Star Citizen is not really running behind schedule at all. Especially when you consider that they had to spool up as a brand new studio from essentially zero, to say nothing of the very ambitious scope, scale, and high level of detail in the game they are making. Have there been delays? Sure there have. But those of us who believe and have backed this project have done so because we trust in Chris Roberts and Co. to deliver. And because we are tired of unfinished, crappy games being pushed out by Christmas, or whatever holiday, because publishers are more interested in making a cash grab than in making a great game.
As an aside, I have formed my own opinion on Chris Roberts' motivations as a publisher. Becoming a middle aged person now myself, and achieving some success in life, there comes a point where you don't really "need" any more money. Chris apparently has done pretty well for himself from the sale of Origin and other titles and studios back in the day, and then putting those proceeds into other investments. I just don't see him being motivated by money. There comes a point in all of our lives where we ask ourselves "what are we doing here?" or "what is our purpose?" and to me, this project is Chris Roberts' magnum opus. And I just don't think younger people in the wider gaming community (or in some sections of gaming "journalism") understand this. It is my opinion that younger people have only ever known being disappointed by publishers, with over promised and under delivered games, followed only by being fleeced at every opportunity with DLC. Younger people may not remember how great and innovative games used to be, and how much video game you used to get for your money with only the initial purchase. In addition to that group, I suppose there will always be a small number of nasty, bitter people who have never accomplished anything in life, and have nothing better to do than to try and tear down the success of others. Now this is all purely speculation on my part, but I suspect this may be where some of the vitriol and baseless accusations toward Star Citizen come from.
But enough of that negativity, lets get on to more exciting recent developments! :)
Exciting CitizenCon Presentation
The true believers amongst us gathered in TeamSpeak last Saturday afternoon to watch live the CitizenCon presentation that Chris Roberts and team made. They showed off where they are currently at in development, gave a teaser cutscene from the upcoming Squadron 42 game (where they showed off some of the star studded cast), as well as some other neat things. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just let the video presentation speak for itself. I will only say that I was not disappointed.
In the beginning of this presentation, Sandy (Chris' wife, a fact now made more public by Derek Smart's trolling) also gives a heartfelt thank you to the community for the outpouring of support they have received (just go here and note which thread has 2000+ comments, instead of the usual 100-200). For those who haven't been following the drama (and I don't blame you) Derek Smart went after Sandy, which I'm sure was at least partly responsible for Chris' immediate and impassioned response. Anyway, other than that bit of background info, I will let the video speak for itself:
One Miiiiilllllllion Backers!
Part of the outpouring of support for Star Citizen came in the form of people buying additional ships, as well as getting their friends involved in the game. Shortly after CitizenCon, the Star Citizen community reached it's one millionth backer, prompting the first Letter From the Chairman in quite some time. As you can see from the funding goals page, the project (as of this writing) currently consists of 1,016,029 backers, and they have raised $93,067,881. Which makes Star Citizen not only the largest and most successful crowd funded video game to date, but the largest crowd funding project of any kind, period. And by quite a large margin.
To commemorate this occasion, and to reward everyone who has (and continues to) support this project, Chris Roberts has eliminated "Alpha Access" and the $5 module passes.
Originally posted by Chris Roberts
Why I've Started Playing Arena Commander Now
Up until now, I have been taking a "cautiously optimistic" view of Star Citizen development. Yes I check in over there every few days and read the articles, but I have not let myself get too excited. I like the direction this is all going, and I'm not in a rush. I figure, when the game is out, it will be out, and it looks like it will be a great game. And from speaking to many of you, I know there are a lot of others out there who share this view. So I haven't been flying in Arena Commander too much, even though I am quite bad at flying and could certainly use the practice. lol
Spoiler alert: If you have not already done so, please stop reading now, and first watch the above video of the CitizenCom live stream. :)
However after watching the CitizenCon live stream, and putting it together with all the development posts I have been following, and reading a little in between the lines, I get the sense that we are getting very close to having some really cool things released that we can actually play - with our friends! It seems that the ragdolls and other character animations they have been working so hard on to get right for Star Marine (the FPS module) have really been causing a holdup and a delay in the release of that module (and therefore, also all the other modules where they are also used, which is basically the entire game). Simultaneously, it seems to me at least that all the other modules outside of that have been progressing along just fine. So much in fact, that I believe they are going to skip the FPS module release as a separate thing and just go ahead and release what they are now calling Arena Commander 2.0 / the Large World Map which will have the full experience of getting into your ship with your crew/friends, including multi crew ships, and escort fighters, and traveling around, doing missions, including space station and EVA stuff, as shown in the CitizenCon demonstration.
And so, given that it seems this release will be in the not too distant future, I finally feel the time is right for me to start honing my skills at dogfighting in Arena Commander. I would like to be a useful part of the team, and I figure the more roles I am proficient in employing, the better it will be for our group. A couple other factors weigh into this as well. The Rental Equipment (REC) system has been out for a while, but I didn't see any real reason to start earning it until now. Also, CIG have given us a free flight code from CitizenCon that will allow you to use any of the flyable ships in Arena Commander (whether you own them, or another ship, or are a backer already, or not)! And you can use these ships in online, ranked matches (Spectrum Matches, in SC parlance) and earn REC with them! Woohoo!
And so, for those of you out there like me who may only have starter ships (I have the Aurora), this gives us an opportunity to try out other ships, as well as using some of the better purpose built fighters to kill more enemies faster, and therefore earn more REC. We have until October 25th to use these other ships, so my plan is to bank as much REC as I can between now and then, just in case I need to rent a nice fighter or some other equipment in order to do a mission together with you guys when AC 2.0 comes out.
So, I plan on playing a lot more Arena commander over the next week or so. :) And any of you out there who share this viewpoint are invited to join me. :) Several of us got into Arena Commander the other night, we had a lot of fun, and earned some decent REC. I'm sure we will be doing so again on other nights. Just look for us in the TeeamSpeak channel, or idle in there yourself if you feel like doing some Star Citizen dogfighting. Mostly we have been doing Co-op Vanduul Swarm, which allows up to 4 of us to fly together against increasing waves of Vanduul. So don't worry if you are not an ace pilot, some of us are but many are not (yet). It's a very low risk environment to hone your flying skills, while earning some REC.
I look forward to having some of you guys as my wingmen! I'm HanSolo1 in game, send me a friend request by pressing L from your hangar in game. Who wants to be my Chewy and Luke? :D