‘Star Citizen’ Opens Universe to Players

What do you think about when you hear the word space? I think about exploration, eventual human colonization of solar systems and new technologies to expand our reach to more stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.

What I just described are ever-increasing realities that we as a species may eventually witness in the future, but they won’t be here soon enough.

The good news is, I have a game that might slake your space wanderlust.

“Star Citizen” is a crowd-funded (meaning people who donate are paying for the development) game currently being developed by Cloud Imperium Games and, the European equal, Foundry 42.

There are so many great things “Star Citizen” has to offer that there isn’t a good place to start.

Plus, describing this game in only a few sentences would be a great disgrace to it and everyone working on it.

Admiral Bishop’s speech

“Star Citizen” is a tremendous multiplayer experience takes place in the year 2947 in our home galaxy, the Milky Way.

Even with the technologies to terraform and colonize planets, and the ability to travel great distances of space in hardly any time at all, there is a great deal of unrest. United Empire of Earth is ignoring frequent attacks by the nomadic Vanduul. That is until Admiral Bishop played by Gary Oldman gives an epic speech to the Senate about going to war with the Vanduul after the attack on the planet Vega II.

The speech is at the start of the single-player campaign of “Star Citizen” called “Squadron 42.”

The single player campaign is, however, an article for another time, but I wanted to bring it up for a reason. That reason being that the speech given by Admiral Bishop shows the amount of care and detail being put into the game. My favorite moment is when the admiral talks about what the war with the Vanduul will cost humanity: “It will cost us. In resources, in credits and lives.”

Why I love these words above everything else in the speech is because of the delivery.

When Admiral Bishop says credits, he takes a slight pause and a barely noticeable quiver forms on his lips before he says “and lives.” That slight quiver shows that Admiral Bishop is a more believable character than most anyone in movies, TV and especially other video games which have given a morale-boosting speech. That slight quiver shows fear. Fear of that which must be done and knowing it will not be easy or without sacrifice. I cannot express how much that little detail shows this game will be quality.

Entirely explorable universe

The playable universe of “Star Citizen” will be enormous. I am talking 400-star systems by the 3.0 release, and that is just for starters.

There will be so many different places that are entirely explorable, from planets and black holes to nebulas and stars. Maybe even a few derelict spaceships to loot or takeover.

And when I say entirely explorable, I mean every grain of dirt on a planet is observable. You can travel to different worlds and move across their surfaces: going into caves, fighting off wildlife and, if it would please you, build an outpost or base there to act as a staging ground for operations of your choosing.

Along with all these things to find and explore, there are almost as many ways to play.

FLICKR | PHOTO COURTESY
‘Star Citizen’ is a crowdfunded game currently in development that allows players to explore the many depths of the galaxy as whatever character they want.

Characters and roles

Have you ever wanted to become a vigilante that looks out for those who can’t fight back? Do you see yourself as a merchant ferrying goods to stations and people in need? What about running from the law as a rogue or pirate, taking what you want when you want?

Well, you can.

“Star Citizen” allows for many choices in how you want to play the game and you can change anytime you want.

When the game is fully released, my goal is to become a gun for hire. I have a plan to have a standard fee, and I get to keep anything I find during a mission, including ships, unless there is an unusual circumstance involved. Maybe I could even get a crew and eventually form a mercenary fleet. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

Weapons and armor

As beautiful as the galaxy is, it is not without many dangers. That is when you are going to need some tools for self-defense against other players and random computer-controlled events.

Picture this scenario: You have been attacked by pirates while you were in-between jump points. They have knocked out your shields and your engines. Both can be repaired, but not quickly enough to escape.

As pirates go, however, they are greedy and want not just your cargo and loot aboard the ship, but they are looking to board and take control of the vessel itself.

The leader of the group says, “If you surrender you will be dropped off at the nearest station and you will not be harmed.”

You are feeling a little arrogant that day, and you reply, “Over my dead body,” while you finish loading, and cocking, a Devastator-12 shotgun and donning a combat suit.

Visibly a little shaken the pirate leader says, “As you wish.”

Having a firearm and some good armor will be essential when traversing the stars. There will be a large assortment to choose from in the future. From the LR-620 railgun to the P4SC submachine gun, you can almost guarantee you will be able to back up your rebellious words.

In addition to the weapons you will need to fight off enemies, you will also need a set of armor to protect you from damage.

The most durable suit in the playable game right now is the Achilles heavy armor, which can take quite a beating before it gives way.

The fighting and traveling on foot will occur in this game when doing missions or getting a closer look at planets, but the primary mode of transportation is the starships you will be able to pilot.

Currently, there are 72 different individual ships, and if you include the variants of each ship type, there are 106 ships that are planned for “Star Citizen,” but more may be already in the works.

Not all of them are pilotable in this still early stage of the game’s development, but there are plenty to play around with for the time being.

Each ship is different, and these differences will affect how you play the game. Some ships like the Aurora, Zeus and the large Constellation are meant more as exploration ships rather than being used in a fight. All of them have weapons, but they are not as good in a battle as an actual frontline starfighter, frigate or capital ship.

Now, let’s say you do want your Constellation to be able to slug it out with a dedicated warship. Have no fear, if you can gather enough credits, you can turn your ship of science into a retrofitted death machine by upgrading armor, weapons systems, power plants, the artificial intelligence, shield generators and so much more.

The Science behind the game

“Star Citizen” portrays physics in space very well.

There are many factors you must worry about when piloting a ship or even just walking around in a space suit. Ships and space suits have thrusters that you will need to slow you down and turn. You must worry about how fast you are going, and you will have to worry about what direction your last thrust propelled you in.

While playing the 2.63 version, I have crashed into my fair share of asteroids and stations just because I forgot about where I was accelerating before I changed vectors.

If you can master the physics of the game, you have a real chance at beating even the most trying of circumstances.

The last thing I would like to mention about this game is that to play, you must first buy a game package from the RSI Star Citizen Game Packages page.

There, you can find whatever ship you want to start out with using real-world money. You may be thinking that for a game this large, there will be microtransactions filling up an entire astronomical unit of space.

Nope. Unless you are interested in gaining more game packages before the game is released, there will be no way to use real currency in the game.

Everything anybody owns will have been because they worked hard for it. This lack of microtransactions will keep the playing field equal for everyone.

This is a game as large as life, quite possibly larger. You can be whoever, and you can do whatever you want while battling and exploring the galaxy. I hope that one day, each of you will have an interest in the stars and becoming a Star Citizen.

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