Even if you don’t intend on playing Star Citizen when it finally comes out, Cloud Imperium Games’ video series Around the Verse provides—in my opinion —a fascinating insight into the development process. It also gives you a glimpse of future features that will land in the massively ambitious multiplayer space sim, and the latest one takes you inside planned changes to the cockpits of the game’s many ships.
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The latest video, above, is the first since the game’s alpha 3.0 version became available for testing. Peering round your craft from first-person should look fairly polished in 3.0, but there’s a lot more to come. Every player action will in future have a corresponding animation: fire a forward gun or squeeze the afterburner and you’ll see your character prod a specific button on the control stick, for example.
The team will also introduce directional damage to cockpits, so if the right flank of your ship is damaged then you’ll see smoke, sparks and air escaping from that side. And while the current damage indicators are simply on/off (i.e. smoke or no smoke), the developers are working on effects that change based on the damage you take. If your ship’s about to blow up, your vision might be completely obscured.
Expect better damage indicators on the pilot’s dashboard, with lots of overhead flashing lights whenever you’re hit. Also incoming are tweaks to ship mechanics so that cockpits roll, sway and jolt dynamically depending on the direction you’re taking fire from.
Lastly, the team will improve the way players react to ship movements. It all ties into the game’s g-force simulation: if you’re blindsided by a hail of bullets you’ll lurch accordingly. Lots of turning will affect your pilot’s breathing rate, too, which you’ll be able to hear via sound effects.
The team says that improving its many cockpits is a “huge ongoing process”, and I still think there’s a few changes that need to be made. The words that pop up over different control elements look, in my opinion, a little amateur (although I understand the need for large, clear writing so that players don’t miss anything).
What do you think of the new video?