State of The Empire, #9

I’m back!  Sorry about missing a week.. Real life reared it’s head, and reminded me that there just isn’t enough time in a day to do everything.


Lot of varied information out of the CIG camp over the last two weeks, so let’s jump in to what’s been going on.


We started out with a peek at the Asteroid Hangar..or, more accurately, some of the new concept art for it.  You can see a bit of the more vertical design layout that has been talked about:




2014 Awards have already started to come in for Star Citizen.  IGN has called it “One of the Top 25 PC Games to Play in 2014”.


We got a look at Aegis Dynamics (the manufacturer of the Avenger, Retaliator, and Idris) on the 30th.  Including a small blurb about the new Aegis salvage ship, the Surveyor:

Today, the Aegis Surveyor is the company’s best-selling remaining military contract ship. Surveyors are heavy-duty space salvage ships designed for a strong support role. The design isn’t pretty to look at, but it features a variety of rugged specialized tools, all designed for operation in a combat theater: long-range jump drives, launch pods for drones, tractor beams, floodlights and more. Civilian surveyors are also a common site on the frontier, where they are adapted as dedicated salvage ships and explorers. A crew traveling deep space in a Surveyor should be capable of taking home some of whatever mysteries they happen across!

The highlight of these spotlight articles is the background of the company (at least, for me).  Like finding out how Messer’s fall impacted a primarily Military ship building company:

With Messer’s fall, Aegis Dynamics seemed destined to fade away. The once-popular hardware supplier of Ivar Messer’s tyrannical regime — closely associated with the horrors of those years — Aegis was all but consigned to the dustbin of history. Then, a funny thing happened: the civilian world began to adopt Aegis’ military designs for their own purpose. Whether a testament to the increasingly dangerous galaxy or the sheer reliability of Aegis’ weapons of war, the company once fueled by dictatorial government contracts now thrived on the population it once helped oppress.

January closed out, not with a Wingman’s Hangar…but with the premiere episode of “The Next Great StarShip“.
My highlights from this first episode:

  • 200 Entries, from 65 Countries.
  • Judges all seemed impressed with the overall quality of submissions.  They specifically mention how hard it was to trim it down from 200 to 24 to start the show with.
  • TNGSS is educational! We learn that a Grieble is a real thing (sure sounded made up to me!).. it refers to the amount of detailed bits on the surface of models.
  • The one man team entries for this week, seemed to me to be a better quality than the full 3 man teams.  Especially the guy from Fox, Alaska.  His cannon seemed the best of the entries in today’s episode.
  • The 24 entries will be whittled down to 16 over the first 3 episodes.  Judges will pick 5 out of 8 entries each week to move to the next round.  The 16th spot will be a ‘wildcard’ spot, selected by community vote from the teams each week that don’t get selected.
  • Final ship for the contest (as voted on by the Community), will be a Mercenary Gunship.

Since we didn’t get a Wingman’s Hangar, for the last week of January, we also didn’t get a 10 for the Chairman.

February started out with…. Wingman’s Hangar on it’s new day (same time!).  Since TNGSS has moved into the Friday slot, we now get WH on Wednsday, and 10 For the Chairman will be it’s own show, now ‘airing’ on Mondays (starting week of Feb 10th).  I feel like we need to start getting a TV Guide for the CIG shows.

Wingman’s Hangar (Episode 55), is the first episode using a new set:

First up, some commentary on the new set.  I really like the new desk.. it looks very cool!  A downside of the new desk, is that the show feels more ‘formal’ now (like a late night talk show).  The audio for this week’s episode was also a bit off, things sounded echoey and hollow.  I’m hoping this is just because it’s the first time using the new location (they’re clearly not in the same room as the previous ones at the new office)… so, we’ll see how it goes with future episodes.

Highlights from this weeks’ episode:

Summit stuff!   This episode was pretty much all about the development summit that took place in Austin the last week in January.

  •  We got a video segment showing some bits and pieces of various meetings throughout the course of the summit.
  • Chris Roberts talked about his goals for the Summit.  Get all the leads in the same room, cover all the systems, get everyone on the same page.
  • We got a look at the Austin team working on PBR, and they talked about needing to train all the other studios to do it the same way.
  • At the end of the summit, each studio now has ownership of a piece of the overall puzzle.  It’s their responsibility to ensure all the other studios are doing that piece the same way, to the same standard.

After the “Behind the Scenes” video, we got an interview with Ron and Jake (from the Austin team) about… the Summit.  Decent interview, but we didn’t get any additional information that wasn’t covered in the video segment.

Forum Feedback for the week, was more questions about the summit.  (Anyone noticing a trend here?).  It is nice that this week’s episode is ‘themed’, and if that continues going forward, it might allow for more detailed information to come out of WH, rather than just a sprinkling of information on multiple topics.

Q: Roadmap that can be shared (no dates)?
A: All modules being developed in parallel, internal roadmap

Q: Anything new you can talk about that came out of the summit?
A: Nothing new, not really re-inventing the wheel.. more of a deep dive into existing stuff

Q: Most beneficial part of summit?
A: Face-time.. with global studios being able to get the vision together

Q: How do you sort out conflicting thoughts/ideas?
A: Ask CR

Q: Planned release of SQ42.. small parts/big parts?
A: No alpha for SQ42..needs to be polished, current plan is to release SQ42 episodically for backers

Q: How do you keep in touch with so many different teams?
A: Skype/Email/Summits

Q: What kind of stuff did you do for fun while all the teams were together?
A: Inter-discipline dinners/lunchs.. less formal communication around those.. “wrap party” on Friday. (Video of someone karaoking to some reggae)

No 10 for the Chairman segment this week, so that wraps up what we got from WH.

We also broke the $38 Million in funding mark, with the announcement post from Chris coming a bit after Wingman’s Hangar.

$38 Million’s stretch goal, was the Aquatic planet type (based on Community vote):

  • Cano System is home to a G-Type Main Sequence Star that’s almost identical to Earth’s. Of the four planets in the system, only one is inhabited: Carteyna. Located on the edge of habitable zone, Carteyna is a classic waterworld. Fortunately, its planetary axis constantly keeps the northern hemisphere away from the sun, which allowed for the water to freeze into the landmasses used as the initial landing zones in 2587. Multiple attempts have been made to try to convert the thick atmosphere into something breathable, but the process never seemed to stick. In fact, over the years, every time there’s a new technological development in geo-engineering, they test it out here on Carteyna only to yield the same result. Almost fifty years ago, scientists discovered microscopic organisms in the very early phases of life in the depths of the oceans. This caused a massive uproar throughout theUEE at the prospect that they had been attempting to terraform a developing world. Carteyna was immediately placed under the Fair Chance Act. Unfortunately, Humans had been living here for almost over three hundred years and the families that had been here for generations felt that they had earned rights as residents. After years of debate in the political and scientific community, the population was allowed to stay, but only under certain conditions: future terraforming attempts have been outlawed and the Human population has been consolidated to a single arcology to minimize their impact on their environment and the development of whatever species is growing in the deep.

We also got the results of the last round of Community voting on system type (should be the $40 Million stretch goal).  This time, the voting was too close…so, we get both!

  • Kabal System – The discovery of a new system is always an exciting time. Even the most jaded NavJumpers can’t help entertaining the possibilities for scientific understanding or new species or even a new home that could await them on the other side of a new jump point. The discovery of Kabal was certainly something new. By all outward appearances, the system seemed empty. It was only during when a UEE Surveying team began to assess Kabal III, did they find something disturbing; old uninhabited Tevarin cities. How could an entire Tevarin system escape detection all these years? Did the Tevarin that were assimilated into the UEE know about it? How was it kept a secret? The questions multiplied when a detachment of Marines, sent to secure the planet ended up discovering a cache of old Tevarin war machines. Among the rows and rows of weapons, they made an even more disturbing discovery; some of the technology was made in the last ten years…
  • Oretani System – Oretani was just one of many systems that were being discovered during the rapid Expansion era of the 25th century. The surveyors noticed nothing in the system’s six worlds of immediate importance. Only one planet seemed to be a viable candidate for terraforming. The terraforming Corp that won the bid sent a mid-level team (and their families) into the system to start processing when the only jump point into the system collapsed. Scientists scrambled to figure out a solution, but it was the first time an incident like this had occurred. As years stretched into decades, people studied the area around the former jump point, hoping for a sign that it had reopened, but after time they gave up. After all this time, Oretani is only ever debated among select number of historians. Most believe that without support, the initial terraformers probably died out, but no one really knows what to expect on the other side if that jump point ever reopens.

Chris Roberts teased that the $41 Million goal (which will be revealed when we hit $39 Million) will be something that will “help chart the course for the future of Star Citizen in a different way”… which sounds good (he said he’s excited for it too).. but didn’t tease enough to guess what it is.  So, hurry up and throw more money at the game, so we can see what it is!  :P

We also got a peek at some of the updated concept art for the Banu MerchantMan… this piece showing the MM on the ground!




Friday brought us episode two of “The Next Great StarShip“.  Much like episode one, I liked the entries from a single person better than most of the team entries.  Maybe it’s just easier to coordinate when there is only one person.  The guy from St. Petersburg with the ‘bone cannon’ ended up going to the wildcard round, which is a shame, because I liked the originality of that design.  Team TriTri (who made it in on the Judge’s votes) also put together a solid entry.

Final voting 4 teams made it through with unanimous votes, with the 5th team making it in by a 1 vote margin.  The other 3 teams will move to the wildcard round, where the Community will vote one of them into the final 16!

Lastly, Chris Roberts finished up the week, by addressing a forum post complaint, of all things, about CIG not communicating well with us.  It’s a lengthy post, so I’m just going to cover the highlight here:

I’ve backed a good number of other crowd funded projects, including pretty much all the high profile ones and I would challenge anyone to show me one that gives a more steady stream of updates and visual updates than Star Citizen does once the initial crowd funding phase is over. I would say Elite:Dangerous and Limit Theory are probably the best of the ones that I’ve backed as they have monthly updates that include video for LT and in conceptual imagery and occasional video for Elite. Behind this would probably be Broken Age, knocked only because the videos were’t always monthly, but they were probably the most polished. But no one is close to us in terms of video (Over 200!), updates (at least 5-8 a week on RSI), conceptual art (we usually share at least 2-3 images per week and then there’s a whole bunch more for subscribers in the Vault and Jump Point) or interaction with the community.


Chris goes on to address how long even the short fiction segments take to put together, not to mention the video segments.  Read the whole post, it’s got a lot of good information.. and the time commitments involved can be applied to other games as well, if you want to understand why it’s not feasible for non-stop communication from any dev team.


That’s it for this week!  See you next week for another look at the Star Citizen week in review!