Diecast #324: Star Citizen

By Shamus Posted Monday Dec 7, 2020

Filed under: Diecast 66 comments

This is an unusual episode. At an hour and 26 minutes, this is the longest Diecast since October 2016, when Diecast #171 ran for an hour and a half. I can’t be sure, but I also suspect that this is the longest time we’ve ever spent on a single topic, with the Star Citizen discussion running for over an hour. And finally, this is the first time where Paul did most of the talking and I did most of the listening.

This is the most fun I’ve had making a Diecast in years, which is why I let it run so long. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Link (YouTube)

00:00 Google Poly is shutting down.

No, that’s not a typo for Google Play. They also have a Poly. But not for long, since they’re shutting it down.

07:43 Creeper World 4 is out!

Link (YouTube)

09:40 Mindustry Update

12:38 Introversion releasing their failed game prototypes

I really wish more companies did this sort of thing.

14:22 Valve Prototypes

Sometime a decade-ish ago, Vavle set their devs loose to build a bunch of prototypes. Some of the ideas wound up as part of Left 4 Dead and Portal. I can’t remember what this initiative was called, but I remember it was really interesting.

17:57 Mailbag: BioWare Exodus


So, Casey Hudson and Mark Darrah are leaving Bioware (if IGN to be trusted — https://twitter.com/IGN/status/1334605241271136258?s=20 ). Any particular opinion on this development?

Best regards, DeadlyDark

23:22 Star Citizen

Join us as Paul takes us on a fantastic voyage through the universe of Star Citizen and all of the astronomical wonders this game holds. You will see things that no other game has shown us.

Although, maybe there’s a good reason other games haven’t shown us these things. I dunnno.

You might want to watch the YouTube version of the podcast, which has the footage of his adventure.


From The Archives:

66 thoughts on “Diecast #324: Star Citizen

  1. tmtvl says:

    Another entry for the Google Graveyard, eh. Wonder when Stadia’s gonna go.

    1. Will says:

      Just in case anyone wasn’t aware, the Google Graveyard is a real thing that people are keeping track of.

      IMO, the most telling thing about that site is the size of the scrollbar. It just goes on and on and on…

      1. Steve C says:

        Seems like an opportunity for a comedy skit. Like Monty Python style “All the code is sacred!” as all the Google children are abandoned to die in the cold. Or a “What’s Your Project Number?” as a play on “What’s Your Sex Number?” as each developer recounts their past pump-and-dumps. With Kotick trying to list studios.

        “This is my baby! I poured my heart and soul into it!” tosses into trash
        You could have that gif on loop for 10mins with a logo for each of Google’s abandoned projects.

      2. Echo Tango says:

        I think the fact that it’s actually two things, highlights just how much Google kills products off. :|

      3. Olivier FAURE says:

        Yeah but a lot of the projects are, like, one-offs that were obviously prototypes, or rebrandings.

  2. Matt` says:

    Holy moly, there are sequels to Creeper World? Clearly I am very behind on the times, because I just remember the first one as a curious game from way-back-when.

  3. ivan says:

    So, at 40:00, the bit about bugfixes, I was reminded of an old podcast where ppl talked about the latest Rust patch notes of the time.

    ‘Update: Doors will no longer fly away.’

    Bear in mind, though, that this was Rust, a very rough indie game about naked men punching Bears, and at the time in, I think, early Alpha. So, not exactly a comparable game with comparable circumstances, you would think.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Reading heavily between the lines of patch-notes and videos I’ve seen of janky games, this stuff is heavily influenced by starting with a physics engine, then trying to build a game with rules on top of that. Like, you need the well-defined world first, to dictate what to do in the edge-cases of collisions. For example, the ever-present “bug”, where a model can clip “into” a floor or other solid, which is a situation that the physics can’t resolve by itself. (You need to specify what to do if something is “past” or “inside” of something, so the engine knows how to resolve that tick of physics.)

      1. Geebs says:

        You don’t even need a physics engine to have that stuff happen. Since I messed around with writing a 3D renderer a few years back*, I’m astonished whenever I boot a 3D program and the doors don’t immediately fly off.

        (*my personal favourite bug was in my erosion/water simulation, where an issue with sampling the edge of a texture resulted in a flood of biblical proportions sweeping from one side of the map to the other and causing the terrain to completely disappear; the player was left falling into a bottomless pit forever)

  4. Joe says:

    Wow. Paul’s story started out pretty funny, but got more frustrating as time went on. Doesn’t help that I have my own tech issues right now.

    Sounds like the team is fixated on an ultra-simulationist vision in addition to feature creep. If I ever desired to play an MMO, I’d go for Elite Dangerous for my space opera needs. I can’t imagine ever wanting to play SC. I have a big issue with games and such that shamelessly waste my time. Because of that frustration factor, I’m not going to check out the world’s worst LP either.

    However, it gave me a small idea for a story I’m writing. So thanks for that!

    1. Echo Tango says:

      In addition to the ultra-simulation, it seems like they’ve got some artists going rogue, or at least with out any clear direction. The different-windows-size problem in the apartments seemed to indicate that to me anyways. Like, it should be pretty easy to say, “Hey, whatever style you make in the inside-walkable version of the apartment, make sure the outside view we’re going to show in the sister-buildings is roughly similar, so that they all feel like similar buildings made by the same corporation.”

    2. ShivanHunter says:

      I checked out SC during the free fly event a while ago and my experience was much the same. I’m a huge fan of shiny spaceships, so I can certainly respect what they’re trying to do, but SC seems to have devolved into slavish devotion to its own caricature of “realism”.

      This spaceship game about spaceships has hunger and thirst meters. I mean, what?!

      (The “survival mechanics” in this SPACESHIP GAME are actually the worst UX issue I’ve encountered in basically any game. I actually died of dehydration before I figured it out. Full story here for the morbidly curious.)

      I love the idea of SC as a vast sci-fi universe where you can be a space pirate or trader or explorer. So many games come so close to it, too – like Freelancer, which is a bit too old/shallow, or EVE, which is a bit too abstract, or Elite, which is a bit too – I dunno exactly. But SC would be perfect for me, if it would just accept the fact that it’s a game instead of a literal simulated universe.

  5. tmtvl says:

    Also re: Mindustry, from a casual oversight on GitHub there are 295 contributors and it’s made in Java with Arc, a framework made by the Mindustry lead dev.

  6. Echo Tango says:

    Aaaarrrrgggg. The budget for this game could have funded like, at least fifty indie games, with good mechanics, with a bunch of money wasted on failed prototypes. Some of them could have even been spaceship games! ^^;

    1. Echo Tango says:

      So apparently, this game has double the budget of Fallout 4 ($300 vs $120 million), and thirty times the (speculated) budget of No Man’s Sky. Both open-world-ish games, with far more functioning mechanics. This is truly, the internet’s most effective money-pit.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        I really want to see a breakdown of Star Citizen’s funding: is it mostly coming from millions of people buying the $60 spaceship “base game” or have they found an unprecedented-outside-mobile way to fund their game off absolutely insane sums (tens of thousands of dollars for a spaceship that doesn’t even exist yet!) harvested from a few thousand whales?

        1. Kyle Haight says:

          3000 whales at $10k each would only yield $30 million, so to raise what they’ve raised they’d need an order of magnitude increase in either number or size.

          1. Echo Tango says:

            Maybe they’ve got several angel investors who really, really like space-sci-fi games…but don’t want to play any of the other games on the market?

            1. Steve C says:

              Hmm. I wonder if it is actually money laundering.

              Any time there is a business with improbable success and insanely high prices, the smart bet is on money laundering. Like a strip club with $20 beers. Always served in the bottle. What they are doing is buying beer and pouring it down the sink. Then proving with the empties that all that was sold at improbably high prices. Even though the regulars are all bikers and not paying those prices. It is a real business. It is also just a front.

              Star Citizen has the same kind of feel to me. Yes there are employees. Yes the coding work is being done. But really the money is being paid by fake accounts that those same key employees control. With a lot of real people mixed in too of course. Just like the rare person who buys the $20 beer, the real people aren’t actually bankrolling anything. The role of real people isn’t money but to be part of the set dressing of the theater of success.

              That’s one of the ways laundering works. People with illegal cash figure out how to pay themselves with it via the hobby. A biker gang a hobby of looking at sexy naked women. A cyber gang has a hobby of looking at sexy naked polygon spaceships.

              1. Steve C says:

                Thinking about it a bit more, that would make the long indulgent apartment experience make a lot of sense too. If it is a front, the goal is to make it appear legitimate in the most boring way possible. The more boring it is the more it pushes away people who analyze it on the basis of the game’s legitimacy. IE there is only one goal in a front, to get an auditor to shrug and say “looks legit”. If it takes 2 hours of boring buggy play just to inspect the merchandise this business is selling then that pushes away those auditors. The goal isn’t to make a game but plausible deniability.

                It also makes their business plan of selling in game assets make more sense too. If it is subscription or selling the game then that’s harder to falsify. Selling in game assets is like pouring the beer down the sink. You don’t need to prove it was sold to all these different people (like in a subscription) only that it was sold. It also makes the numbers make sense too. $300 million is stupid money for a game budget. But for organized crime that’s nothing.

                Hmm. The next thing I’d want to know is the details about the team making the game. What are the people like? Does the company have normal turn over rates for the industry? Or is it the same super loyal devoted employees from the the start who are determined to see it finished? Do they have the same core group (plus family)? Is there an in-group and an out-group? Depending on how those answers lean, it would cinch it for me.

                Regardless if it legit or not, I think the true goal of Star Citizen is a justification for ~30 people to get payed programmer salaries rather than to produce any product.

                1. GoStu says:

                  I think you’ve got some very solid points.

                  If NotTheMafia Holdings decides to buy some stake in CIG/RSI/whatever the company calls itself today, and then a whole bunch of Real People who totally Believe In This Game make a lot of Big Donations in return for Spaceships That Will Someday Exist then who’s to say anything untoward is going on?

                  Meanwhile, if you’re a developer happily bashing out new starship layouts or cabinet door physics or whatever… well, who cares who owns the whole thing, you’re drawing a salary and you’re in the Land of No Deadlines which must be nice when you’re a developer. Or if you’re Chris Roberts – hey, someone’s funding you to make your dream!

              2. Decius says:

                But they’re spending the money on office rental and programmers, all of whom are not drug dealers on the side.

                The point of money laundering is to pay taxes on it and get it into your own hands.

                1. Steve C says:

                  Yes, the point is pay taxes on it and get it into your own hands. That’s what I’m describing here. The entire point is to pay themselves. IE they are the ones programming. Also there’s a lot more illicit sources of funds than just drugs. Any successful cyber scam is going to need people who know how to program after all.

                  Let’s say a group of programmers get a ransomware scheme going. They don’t just *get* that money. They have to also figure out how to pay themselves. They are obviously going to use the skills they do have rather than ones they don’t to make that happen — programming. A software development studio washes that money into a nice salary. Costs like office rental are nothing when hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line. And if they own the office space then it is just another form of laundering the money as they rent it out to the company.

                  There was a group of successful bank robbers decades ago who stole a vault. They had all this cash they couldn’t explain. So they rented office space and set up a consulting business. Really they just played cards all day. While paying themselves a hefty salary to do nothing. They had plenty of customers on paper. None existed. I remember watching some crime show about it. They got greedy, attracted too much attention and got caught because their ‘business’ couldn’t stand any scrutiny.

                2. BlueHorus says:

                  We’d need to see concrete numbers in order to say yes or no, but I bet a competent money laundry does have some real employees. It adds to the legitimacy, and as long as you’ve got enough money flowing in the right directions, it’d work out…

                  It could well be that there are some employees who know, but don’t care, because they’re drawing a stable paycheck. There could be some that suspect, but don’t want to risk a stable paycheck. And there could be some that know, and are getting a bonus for it…

                  …and so on. Either way, they’re doing work, and getting paid for it, so why complain?

        2. Ninety-Three says:

          It turns out that unsurprisingly, there isn’t much info on the distribution of money paid per backer, but I’ve figured out how to get the next-best thing. Their website lists the game’s total fundraising, updated in real time. If you mash refresh on that, you can see each transaction coming in and while you can’t figure out if it’s a couple whales buying a hundred ships each vs a bunch of people each buying two, that at least gives you a breakdown of which ship costs are funding the game. Tune in next week when I point a scraper at that page and actually gather data on how Star Citizen is doing in 2020.

      2. GoStu says:

        With this budget, they could probably have funded a real spaceship and had a lottery for who gets to ride it first.

  7. Lino says:

    Frustrated Paul is one of my favourite things ever! I really hope you play more, so you can share your suffering next week!

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      Seconded, Paul does a great job presenting Star Citizen’s flaws in an amusing way.

      1. Liessa says:

        Finally finished listening to Paul’s epic rant. It’s a good thing the commuter trains are nearly empty at the moment, or I’d have got some funny looks on the way to work. :D Honestly, Paul needs to do more of these ‘impressions’ videos.

  8. John says:

    Oh my goodness, Paul. That was just beautiful. Amazing. I am so moved right now. Thank you for doing that.

    I’ve heard a lot about Star Citizen over the years from various random internet persons. It’s hard to know what to think. On the one hand, I’ve got the faithful telling me that it’s the greatest thing ever. On the other, I’ve got the skeptics telling me it’s a total scam. I lean towards the skeptics and I’ve made no secret of that, but the fact is that I don’t know any of these people. I don’t have any context for their statements and I don’t know how seriously I can take any of them. Speaking strictly, I don’t really know you either. But thanks to your comments here and your participation in the Diecast I have at least some idea of who you are and what you’re like. I’ve got context for your statements. It makes a big difference.

    Star Citizen is clearly a dream game for both Chris Roberts–you know, that guy–and for the game’s hardcore backers. It’s hard to begrudge them their dream. They want to feel like they’re in space, living their best space-lives with all of their best space-friends. And if their best space-lives happen to be super-ultra-shiny then so much the better, I suppose. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. That’s not really what I want, but the idea of total immersion has some appeal even for me. The problem with Star Citizen, not that Roberts or the hardcore backers would call it one, is that Star Citizen is being designed and produced as a dream rather than a game. If what you want is a dream, that’s fine. If you were hoping for a game though, maybe not so much.

    I am not an expert in game development. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the normal course of game development looks something like the following. Step 1: Get the engine working. Step 2: Whip up some temporary assets. Step 3: Work on the gameplay. Step 4: Finalize the assets. Now of course for all but the smallest teams these tasks can–and should!–be done in parallel to at least some extent, but Star Citizen, for whatever reasons, has focused heavily and publicly on Step 4 from the very beginning. It may be because glossy images inspire the imaginations of backers and potential backers more easily than janky gameplay prototypes. Or, as I fear, it may be because you can only sell access to the prototypes once, whereas you can sell as many glossy images as you like. Either way, Star Citizen’s funding model is probably to blame.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I’m still waiting for the bottom to drop out. Like…how many people are there, eager to spend a lot of money on a janky game, when they could just buy cool-looking sci-fi / space-themed posters to put on their walls, or buy actually functional games?

      1. John says:

        It could be a long wait. I’ve been expecting it for years and it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know why. My suspicion is that the truly devout are basically tithing, or making annual donations, having been convinced by this point that giving money to Roberts is a good unto itself whether or not he ever releases anything. Let’s not forget that these people are, in the year 2020, still all-in on a game whose last publicly announced release date was back in 2016 and which had a history of missing release dates and development goals even before then. How that translates into this being Star Citizen’s best fundraising year to date–allegedly–I don’t know. Given some of Roberts’ frankly very sleazy marketing practices, I don’t fully trust those numbers.

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          Oh man, yeah. They could just be saying that they have hundreds of millions of dollars in order to string along the few people who are paying for VIP passes.

          1. John says:

            I don’t think that they’re necessarily lying. What I should have said is that I think they’re presenting their fundraising efforts in the best possible light rather than in the way that a disinterested third party would.

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              What is the distinction between those things if not lying though? Like the pitch is grounded in a pretty reasonable premise of “we raised $X, which is more than we raised any previous year” which, if true I could totally imagine a disinterested third party using to write the headline “Star Citizen posts best fundraising year ever”. What does your not trusting those numbers mean if not a disagreement about whether people really did buy $X of imaginary spaceships?

              1. John says:

                Maybe there isn’t a difference. But, as a general rule, a sufficiently motivated person or organization can usually find a way to present a set of numbers that is technically correct–and thus not lying–but nevertheless designed to mislead. I confess I haven’t looked at Star Citizen’s specific claims, but I would be very interested to see their specific definitions of “fundraising”, “year”, and “ever”.

      2. GoStu says:

        I don’t know. Of all those people, how many of them aren’t already bought into this long-running mess?

        I’m almost certain they have no intent to ever “release”. If they ever hit a Full Version 1.0, what would they do, sell it for money and abandon their defensive veneer of being ‘in development’ to excuse any jank? Chris Roberts may still believe but I’d swear his staff under him are prepared to indulge or encourage any amount of scope creep or squirrel-chasing to keep it “under development” longer.

        They’ve got money coming in constantly, freedom to pursue whatever the hell they want to develop, and an extremely permissive fanbase prepared to excuse any and all failings. What more could they ask for?

        1. Scerro says:

          Optimally, they’ll have a game that other people will pay for, and microtransactions and cosmetics will keep the game going.

          But I sort of agree, I think they’re gonna string it along for as long as possible. I don’t think there’s a viable end product.

  9. Ancillary says:

    Star Citizen sounds like the Microsoft Bob of computer games.

  10. Sven says:

    As a huge fan of the Wing Commander series, I think I contributed something like $25 (I just checked, it was $37) to the Star Citizen kickstarter. I was primarily interested in the single player component, Squadron 57 or whatever it’s called, which would be more like the Wing Commander games than the online portion, which I wasn’t all that interested in.

    I was very excited to play this game… eight years ago. By now I don’t even really care if Squadron whatever even ever comes out. That $37 has been written off. Chris Roberts can take his hype train and spaceship based funding method (and possible scam) and keep it. I’ve long since stopped caring about this game.

    Come to think of it, the only two kickstarters that I backed back then that actually turned into a game I enjoy are Obduction and Dreamfall Chapters. The other one I was looking forward to one upon a time was SpaceVenture (from the guys who made Space Quest), which still isn’t finished despite being the first kickstarter I ever backed.

    1. WarlockOfOz says:

      Similar position here. I backed Elite and SC on the same day. Elite I played enough to burn out and am now half tempted to get back in, SC is… as we heard in the podcast.

    2. Philadelphus says:

      Yeah, it’s interesting. Back around 2013–2015 or so I backed a few games on Kickstarter, and several of them actually became real, full-fledged, released games that you can buy on Steam and work. (Off the top of my head, I can think of Parkitect, Rain World, Star Traders: Frontiers, RimWorld, and Reassembly.) And while I was all gung-ho for them at the time, and though they sounded like fun (or I wouldn’t have backed them), by the time they released, I just…wasn’t very interested any more, in any of them. I’ve played a few tens of hours of RimWorld over the years, I guess (though even then I don’t have much desire to go back to it), but the rest don’t even crack double-digit-hour play times. I don’t know what it is, whether it’s the let-down of finally being able to play a dream game and realizing it’s not a dream any more, or if my tastes just happen to change on the timescale of a few years between backing a campaign and receiving the finished product, but it’s definitely put me off backing new games. (Though I wouldn’t call them wasted experiences, my brothers quite enjoyed several of the games on the list through Family Share so at least someone got something out of them.)

  11. Liessa says:

    To me the BioWare news just seems like yet another nail in an already rotting coffin. Pretty much all of their team from the early 2000s – the ones who made KotOR, Mass Effect etc. – has already left. They’ve said DA4 will be another ‘live service’ game à la Anthem, which has instantly killed off any possible interest it might have held for me. Like pretty much all the studios EA takes over, BioWare is basically just a brand name now without any of the substance. Sad, but it was already obvious to me in 2014 that things were heading that way, so I’ve long since resigned myself to it.

    1. Thomas says:

      Casey Hudson walked back the ‘live service’ thing a bit. And with Anthem’s flop EA may be feeling a little burned on that front.

      My guess is DA:4 will come out as a very messy hybrid, as a functional single-player RPG and a whole bunch of live service elements bolted on (maybe even a whole post game Marvel’s Avenger’s style)

  12. GoStu says:

    Oh my goodness. I’ve casually followed what Star Citizen is up to for a while because I like the whole ‘galaxy-simulation space game’ thing. I’ve played the shit out of Elite: Dangerous and the comparisons to Star Citizen from fans of either are endless.

    I have never actually paid for or played Star Citizen though, because their funding/payment model gives me the willies. The audacity to ask for hundreds or thousands of dollars of real money upfront to maybe deliver the ship of unknown use in a game whose mechanics are still being hammered out never sat right. What if I’m buying the equivalent of a Pinto? There’s numerous ships of different sizes and functions, what if I buy a mining ship and it turns out that I hate the mining system? For this reason, I stayed FAR away and watched.

    Hearing about the INDULGENT apartment experience at about 49 minutes into this Diecast was just eye-opening. Here is this team hammering away at a game and they’ve built an extensive, in-depth aparment EXPERIENCE. Every drawer, every little piece of your spacepartment was drawn and modeled and assembled… and it doesn’t fucking do anything! There’s no game in this game, there’s just assets.

    People talk about Elite as “you are a spaceship” – because you can’t get out of that chair. Fair enough. You can fly about and upgrade your parts and become a bigger ship, but for the time being it’s 98% You Are A Spaceship, doing Spaceship Things. You acquire more money to spend on more ship or upgrades for a ship, etc.

    No Man’s Sky seems to be “you are a person” who wanders around planets snagging crafting materials. Your ship is a means to get to new planets to find new Stuff, and a repository for Stuff you found. The core gameplay loop is around getting stuff and making stuff with it.

    Star Citizen seems to be “we made a lot of assets” – there’s no game here.

  13. Mr. Wolf says:

    The worst thing about Star Citizen? It makes a liar of Thomas F. Wilson!

  14. RFS-81 says:

    Thanks for taking one for the team, Paul! That was fun!

    It sounds like the devs haven’t even figured out what you do in the game, except feel immersed and give them money.

  15. OldOak says:

    Chris Roberts is controversial.
    I’m glad Shamus didn’t expose any of the Privateer/Wing Commander/Freelancer/FreeSpace symptoms, his ranting would’ve been over 5 times his disappointments in ME/Bioware.
    Honestly, Paul, I don’t even understand why did you commit to invest your time in the vaporware that Star Citizen turned up to be at this time — I clicked the link in the comments, but couldn’t, in all good faith, follow all the steps on the site.

  16. DeadlyDark says:

    I’m going to defend Crysis, a little. I like its gameplay. Its basically a Predator simulator, a very aggressive stealth game that is built around hit and run tactics (especially on Delta) with enough sand (abilities, destruction physics, vehicles) to fool around. I just love that I can shoot chunk of the palm tree and toss that chunk into the enemy to kill him. And it still looks great

    Later Crysis games aren’t as free as the original one, and this is a shame

    1. sheer_falacy says:

      It also had surprisingly good graphics even on weaker systems – for all that it was touted as (and was) a machine killer, you could run it on lower graphics settings and it would still look good.

    2. Geebs says:

      Crysis 1 and Crysis Warhead are legitimately great games. Crysis 2 wasn’t all that good.

      1. beleester says:

        I’ll defend Crysis 2. It’s still gorgeous, has a surprisingly good plot (with some well-known sci-fi authors working on it), and some good action setpieces.

        It does have a very different feel from the original. Crysis 1 was “future soldier” – sure, the suit lets you cloak and jump high and take a few hits, but it’s still mostly a military shooter where you crawl through the mud and hide behind chest-high walls waiting for your health to recharge. Crysis 2 was “walking tank” – your character moves a bit slower and heavier, but when you turn on Armor mode you can pick up a heavy machine gun and just plow through the enemy, and the gameplay is more about using your powers to get through linear combat encounters than running around the jungle sniping dudes.

    3. Dennis says:

      Well, Crysis 1 was good at least up until the aliens show up

  17. Chris says:

    I saw someone compare it to wildcatting . Overal the thing reminds me of games like shenmue and fable. Shenmue in that it tries to simulate EVERYTHING, instead of a shop just being flat textures of shelves, and the shop owner just having a list of goods for you to buy. You instead have to go to a shelf and pick up what you want and take it to a counter. Fable because you can do everything. Only for the dev to realize you cant make a super intricate game like this and simplifying stuff. Except, except that fable had a publisher that wanted a product, star citizen just has acolytes it can milk forever.

    That you have to get some kind of buddy to invite you didnt seem to me like they wanted you to have a Jeeves to talk you through everything. But instead they want a devotee on every person to talk you into joining the cult.

    1. RFS-81 says:

      I doubt that you’ll still read this but thank you for the link, that was a fascinating series!

      I hadn’t heard the term “wildcatting” before, but it’s actually explained in the video after that one. It refers to oil-drilling in areas that are not known to be oil fields, and the people who did that tended to make more money from “investors” than from oil.

  18. James says:

    Wow. The amount of uninformed pontificating about Star Citizen is blowing me away, starting with some frankly ignorant comments made in the podcast.

    Let me get this out of the way first: I’m not a SC fanboy. I don’t own it (or a computer that can run it), I have my doubts about whether it will ever be more than a niche game, and I think crowdfunding software development is a foolish risk.

    But I *am* fascinated by large software development projects, and SC is amazingly transparent, so I keep a close eye on its development.

    So let’s bust some myths.

    1. You don’t have to pay real money for spaceships. You only have to buy the game for (I think) $35. The other ships are available in-game for in-game currency, both to rent and to buy. Concept ships are only available for real money, but that’s because they’re not in-game yet. Some specialty ships may not be available in the game yet, but to my knowledge, the intention is to add them.

    2. The game is intended to be an immersive sim. That’s why there’s all the little touches, like openable cabinets, an apartment, elevators, mass transit, in-game ship show event, multi-minute travel times between planets, etc. Chris Roberts is an alumni of the Origin Software “We Create Worlds” school of game design. You don’t have to like it—as I said, I’m not convinced it will ever be more than a niche game—but that’s what they’re trying to do. Which brings us to:

    3. The game isn’t done yet. It’s *really* an alpha. There’s all kinds of weird placeholders. For example, inventory is eventually planned to be physicalized, where you have to actually take off your helmet and hold it under your arm, or store it in a rack. But now, the placeholder involves looking at your Mobiglass (watch). It’s also very buggy. And some things are just unfinished or crappy, like—surprise surprise—the tutorial. (Which they’ve tried to work around by having community members volunteering to guide new players.) And the problem of finding ship entrances, and the elevators, both of which are scheduled to be improved in this month’s patch.

    4. It’s not a scam. They’re incredibly open about their development and finances. They have full financial reports for past years on their website. Pledges are published on their website. (And analyzed by the community; see this spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tMAP0fg-AKScI3S3VjrDW3OaLO4zgBA1RSYoQOQoNSI/edit#gid=1694467207) They have hundreds of developers, multiple shows weekly about their progress, and release a new patch every quarter. It’s easy to see where the money is going. Which is mostly to:

    5. They are overweighted on art. They have about 70-80 programmers in the whole company. The rest is art, game design, writing, management, etc. They are blocked by major technical hurdles associated with making a seamless MMO. They’re working on it, and I think they’ll get through it, but I also think they have serious technical quality issues and I do think it’s slowing them down. There’s the risk that they won’t be able to pull off their ambitions.

    6. As a business, they’re doing something right. Although people love to sh*t on SC—I presume for the usual reasons people on the Internet love to sh*t on things—funding has increased massively in the past two years. They used to average about $30mm a year. So far this year, they’re over $70mm. Does that mean it’s a good game? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want to play it. But clearly, people are finding something they like.

    I think there are a lot of legitimate reasons to be skeptical of Star Citizen. But the lazy shade throwing we saw in the podcast was just that: lazy. I expected better of this site.

    1. Chris says:

      For a person who isn’t a Star Citizen fan boy, you sure do sound like one. You seem to be spending a lot of time thinking about it, and you sure seem concerned about other people’s perception of it.

      I don’t know who you are or what your intentions are, but I have seen this exact behavior in every single thread critical of Star Citizen that I have come across. Every single one. Whether your intentions are honest or not, your entire argument is a textbook example of concern trolling.

      As you yourself said, there are a LOT of legitimate reasons to be skeptical of Star Citizen. I for one, am not at all convinced it’s not a scam. And you haven’t provided me any compelling reason to believe otherwise.

      Maybe you came up with that list of myth busters yourself, and you’re not just another PR person from RSI. But I have seen this exact behavior far too many times to take anything you have to say seriously.

      1. James says:

        Do you want to refute what I said, or are you happier making unfounded personal attacks?

        1. Chris says:

          There is nothing in your reply worth responding to. All of your points are the same recycled “gotcha” defenses that come up any time someone has something critical to say about Star Citizen.
          The “game” is still in Alpha? Yeah, no shit! It’s been eight years, and it’s still an unplayable mess. They are no closer to producing a finished product than they were 5 years ago. How long are people who payed money expected to wait?
          How is it ethical to be selling “ships” for hundreds or thousands of dollars that don’t even exist yet?
          The fact that they are successfully extracting money from people doesn’t mean that actually progressing towards a finished product.
          Again, I don’t know your intentions. Maybe you are just a curious outsider looking in as you said. However all of your “defenses” listed above are the exact same PR drivel spouted out by RSI, so it’s very difficult to take your opinions seriously.

          1. Chris says:

            Also, calling the criticism in the podcast lazy, is a hollow defense that doesn’t address any of the actual criticism. It sure didn’t sound lazy to me. As a matter of fact, it sounded like it took Paul a good amount of time and effort to get as far into the “game” as he did. The fact that the entire experience is such a chore is not Paul’s fault but the developers.

            1. Paul Spooner says:

              Thanks Chris!
              To respond to the original post, half of these (3, 5, and 6) are not “myths” you picked up from listening to this podcast. One is just outright unverifiable. I’m with Chris on this one: You sound like a shill.
              But sure, let’s address your points one by one.
              1. You don’t have to pay real money for spaceships? I did not know that. It’s certainly not the impression I got.
              2. The game is intended to be an immersive sim? I did not know that. It’s certainly not the impression I got.
              3. The game isn’t done yet? Okay, that I knew all too well before I started on the expedition.
              4. It’s not a scam? Back to the joke, but with the twist that it’s almost impossible for anyone to know if that’s true.
              5. They are overweighted on art? No kidding.
              6. “They used to average about $30mm a year. So far this year, they’re over $70mm. Does that mean it’s a good game? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want to play it. But clearly, people are finding something they like.” Agreed. And like I said multiple times in the show, I don’t begrudge that of either the devs or the players. I am not at all in the target audience, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

              1. GoStu says:

                Being “overweighted on art” is a fun way of saying the project management is incompetent, hiring too many people they don’t need.

  19. Sample_Text says:

    In 2020 , the star citizen mega-fans have ran out of excuses to defend this debacle , Cloud imperium have had so many public FUBAR’s that their credibility as a developer….just doesn’t exist.
    This is why the fans have resorted to saying laughable things like : “Well….uh well, they’re making MILLIONS of dollars and their game isn’t released, so they must be doing something good?” or “The graphics are pretty and that justifies everything” .

    Back in 2015, people were calling Star Citizen “The Best Damn Space Sim EVER” .
    Now in 2020 they’re more like ” Well, you can’t PROOOOVE it’s a complete scam”


  20. Moss says:

    I’m kinda thinking 3D modellers won’t be out of a job if Google trains a neural network to generate models. I’d guess it would just become a tool for modellers to be more productive. Same amount of hours, just twice the amount of models produced.

  21. Jordan says:

    I feel like this Diecast was fully of unnecessary dunking on Crysis. Other than it’s… lackluster story and some graphical/performance stuff that doesn’t really hold up (it was going for ‘photorealism’ rather than a style, but there’s at least a little bit of flair when it comes to the nanosuits and the alien architecture… it is largely a little bland though), it’s really not bad. Perhaps too much of the original Far Cry DNA of ‘getting shot repeatedly by an enemy half a mile away inside a tent’. But there’s absolutely a fun sandbox simulation to be had if your playstyle aligns with the game. It’s definitely not bad, or generic. Dated, sure, and very ‘sandboxy’ in an artifical feeling way by modern standards. But there’s actual fun gameplay to be had. There’s a youtube channel called Rabbit’s Respawn where the guy just posts insane clips and montages of him doing ridiculous acrobatic takedowns of levels/bases in games like Far Cry, Dishonored, etc. He absolutely destroys Crysis, which I think is the mark of the game having both a high skill ceiling and enough flexibility that you *can* break it. Though I think the one conceit may have been disabling the suit power limit.
    Crysis 2 has both a better (though still not particularly great) story, a stronger art direction, and it actually runs well on modern systems… but the gameplay is so much more restricted. Not bad, but different in a way that feels claustrophobic if you’re coming from the back of Crysis 1 or Warhead. There’s a freedom to 1 that doesn’t feel quite matched by any other games. It’s dated now, and uneven in difficulty, but it absolutely delivers on ‘Far Cry but with super powers’.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      I’m a beta-gamer, so I was never permitted to actually play any of the Crysis games. I did watch one of my buddies play a bit once on his rig, but that’s as close as I got. Suffice to say that I don’t have any informed first-hand views on the game itself, just the received culture surrounding it.

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