Four years into its $139 million development, Star Citizen switches to Amazon's game engine

midian182

Posts: 5,780   +46
Staff member

Despite already being in development for four years, crowdfunded space sim Star Citizen is switching game engines. Cloud Imperium Games, the title’s developer, announced that it was moving from Crytek’s CryEngine to Amazon’s Lumberyard engine. Both Star Citizen and its single-player mode, Squadron 42, will make the switch.

The news comes less than a week after Crytek revealed it was closing five of its studios as part of major restructuring plans. But it seems the engine switch wasn’t a response to the German company’s announcement – Cloud Imperium Games has been collaborating with Amazon for more than 12 months.

“We’ve been working with Amazon for more than a year, as we have been looking for a technology leader to partner with for the long term future of Star Citizen and Squadron 42,” said studio boss Chris Roberts. “Lumberyard provides groundbreaking technology features for online games. Because we share a common technical vision, it has been a very smooth and easy transition to Lumberyard.”

Lumberyard is based on the architecture of CryEngine, which should make the transition less disruptive. However, the move will doubtlessly add some extra time onto Star Citizen’s seemingly endless development, and that’s unlikely to sit well with backers, many of whom are already running out of patience. But with Crytek’s financial woes seemingly getting worse, Cloud Imperium Games will doubtlessly be relieved by the switch.

Roberts says that as Star Citizen is a massive online game, it will gain numerous benefits from Lumberyard, especially as the engine features integration with Amazon Web Services and support for streaming service Twitch.

The latest Star Citizen update, 2.6 Alpha, will run on Lumberyard. It’s also the first release to feature the ‘Star Marine’ first-person shooter component of the game, and introduces new multiplayer competitive modes, first-person animations, menu systems, and third-person cameras.

Announced in October 2012, Star Citizen has so far raised $139 million, making it the second most successful crowdfunding project of all time. There’s still no indication of when the game will launch.

Permalink to story.

 
Last edited by a moderator:
For those worried that this will add a delay to the game development, here is what Chris Roberts said on the RSI forums:
" We stopped taking new builds from Crytek towards the end of 2015. So did Amazon. Because of this the core of the engine that we use is the same one that Amazon use and the switch was painless (I think it took us a day or so of two engineers on the engine team). What runs Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is our heavily modified version of the engine which we have dubbed StarEngine, just now our foundation is Lumberyard not CryEngine. None of our work was thrown away or modified. We switched the like for like parts of the engine from CryEngine to Lumberyard. "
 

Mr Dude

Posts: 64   +47
For those worried that this will add a delay to the game development, here is what Chris Roberts said on the RSI forums:
" We stopped taking new builds from Crytek towards the end of 2015. So did Amazon. Because of this the core of the engine that we use is the same one that Amazon use and the switch was painless (I think it took us a day or so of two engineers on the engine team). What runs Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is our heavily modified version of the engine which we have dubbed StarEngine, just now our foundation is Lumberyard not CryEngine. None of our work was thrown away or modified. We switched the like for like parts of the engine from CryEngine to Lumberyard. "
Out of genuine curiosity, how do you at the same time have a heavily modified version of an engine and take builds of the base engine into your development? Won't every new build potentially mess up your engine modifications?
 
Out of genuine curiosity, how do you at the same time have a heavily modified version of an engine and take builds of the base engine into your development? Won't every new build potentially mess up your engine modifications?
I guess it depends on how the modifications were done. Taking into consideration that they planned to take new builds of the engine from Crytek every now and then, they probably just added extensions or just used their own functions/files that overwrote the ones from the original engine, thus making the job of updating the base engine much easier.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kotters and Mr Dude

Endarial

Posts: 32   +34
I've been reading quite a bit about the "engine change" on various sites and many of the comments are the same: "This game is just like DNF or Daikatana and will never come out." People are seeing it mentioned that CIG have changed engines, which normal would mean a huge rework of everything to get it to work in the new engine. However, since Lumberyard is basically just Cryengine with a different name and some different networking code, it's not really that big of a change at all.

CIG have heavily modified the Cryengine to suit their needs, however they had still been getting updates from time to time from Crytek, which they'd incorporate into their build. It'll be the same with Lumberyard. They will incorporate the bits they need and that's it.

2.6 is currently running on Lumberyard and if CIG had not made the announcement, no one would have ever known there was a change. In fact, they'd have announced the switch for 2.5, months ago, but the legal paperwork wasn't finished in time.

Is the game taking longer than people want? Yes it is. However, it's not that often that we see a game being built from the very start. On the Kickstarter page, they announced a release date of 2014. However, that was for a game of much smaller scope and more as proof that people are interested in space games. Once the funding started going so well, they decided to change the scope and massively increase it.

Now there will always be backers who will blindly defend any project, be it game or physical product. The same can be said for detractors. That will never change. All I ask is that those who have any interest in space games, give Star Citizen a chance. You don't even need to spend any money. There are regular free fly weeks where you'll have a chance to try the game for free. Take advantage of them to see what the game is about and what the future holds.

I will finish this off by saying that I am a long time backer and I believe that the project will see the light of day. Now, I did begin backing with a different mind set than others. I backed with the idea that it'd take a minimum of 5 years before the game would be finished and I am more than willing to wait until the 7 year mark before I begin to get worried. If the game never does release, I will of course be sad, but I will have enjoyed the ride on the way. I've had lots of chances to witness a game being made and I've made many good friends during that time.

I hope that some day I'll run into some of you in the 'verse.
 

Kunming

Posts: 308   +187
Better off buying Elite:Dangerous.
Except the one small problem of Elite being garbage. The whole deal with Star Citizen, is having a game that's actually ambitious, because if you haven't noticed, established developers aren't too ambitious with anything. They worry about the bottom line and the best way to forecast the bottom line, is to go with what's tried and tested. The CoD or Battlefield series are especially instructive in that way. Thus Elite, while nice graphically, is barely finished. There's so much detail which is missing, both in terms of ships, but also in terms of the universe itself.

SC hasn't been in development that long either really. Not when you consider the fact that they have to create a new IP from scratch and at the same time, break new ground. Without even having an already-established company behind them - they had to build that up.

Of course, there's plenty losers who just want to see the world burn, both here and in other comment sections, so they can sit on their high horse saying "ho ho, look, I knew the game was a bad idea, haaaaha". Which is a pathetic attitude, given that CIGs success, would be a boon for all gamers, as it would really solidify the fact that an indie developer CAN make an AAA game that rivals even the best of EA, Ubisoft and MS. Perhaps then, those aforementioned companies might take game development more seriously, take some actual creative risks and perhaps not, like with Assassins Creed, ship the game with game-breaking bugs, after months of hype and pre-orders.
 

CrisisDog

Posts: 161   +44
They have the same ambitions of "No Man's Sky", which was rushed and failed miserably. So, yes, they appear to be taking their time with developing what was promised. At least that's the way I'm looking at it. And again, this could fail just as miserably. Only time will tell, so hoping for the best...
 

Kunming

Posts: 308   +187
They have the same ambitions of "No Man's Sky", which was rushed and failed miserably. So, yes, they appear to be taking their time with developing what was promised. At least that's the way I'm looking at it. And again, this could fail just as miserably. Only time will tell, so hoping for the best...
No Man's Sky can't be compared to SC. Firstly the talent pool at the companies are completely different, the funding is different, NMS was indeed rushed and over-hyped, while SC's Chris Roberts, isn't willing to release things which don't reach his standards. Not to mention that all through development, people have been able to see SC be built, as well as play increasingly more modules, as they became available. Besides other things such as submitting bug reports and making suggestions for changes - none of that, to my knowledge, has been done with NMS.That's also why it's important that SC succeeds, so that more gaming companies will acknowledge the potentially amazing benefits to opening up their development to the gamers. Instead of just making an announcement a month or two before launch, to create hype and then shipping with tons of bugs and features that people would've told you that they hate, if you had given them a chance to do so.

As I see it, the only thing they have in common, is that they're both space-games, whose goal is to give people a nice experience.
 
  • Like
Reactions: wiyosaya

Puiu

Posts: 3,912   +2,428
Better off buying Elite:Dangerous.
Except the one small problem of Elite being garbage. The whole deal with Star Citizen, is having a game that's actually ambitious, because if you haven't noticed, established developers aren't too ambitious with anything. They worry about the bottom line and the best way to forecast the bottom line, is to go with what's tried and tested. The CoD or Battlefield series are especially instructive in that way. Thus Elite, while nice graphically, is barely finished. There's so much detail which is missing, both in terms of ships, but also in terms of the universe itself.

SC hasn't been in development that long either really. Not when you consider the fact that they have to create a new IP from scratch and at the same time, break new ground. Without even having an already-established company behind them - they had to build that up.

Of course, there's plenty losers who just want to see the world burn, both here and in other comment sections, so they can sit on their high horse saying "ho ho, look, I knew the game was a bad idea, haaaaha". Which is a pathetic attitude, given that CIGs success, would be a boon for all gamers, as it would really solidify the fact that an indie developer CAN make an AAA game that rivals even the best of EA, Ubisoft and MS. Perhaps then, those aforementioned companies might take game development more seriously, take some actual creative risks and perhaps not, like with Assassins Creed, ship the game with game-breaking bugs, after months of hype and pre-orders.
there is big difference between being "ambitious" and doing whatever the hell they are doing. people are not stupid. they are doing more youtube updates than actual game updates. they turned the development of the game into a soup opera and so many years after they started they are still years and years away from delivering a product that can be sold on the market (or even the persistent universe they promised). they will eventually run out of money, this is inevitable.
 
D

davislane1

I will finish this off by saying that I am a long time backer and I believe that the project will see the light of day.
The first five paragraphs gave that away. If this project ever sees the light of day as advertised, I will give you a $25 Steam gift card.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gingerbill
D

davislane1

there is big difference between being "ambitious" and doing whatever the hell they are doing. people are not stupid. they are doing more youtube updates than actual game updates. they turned the development of the game into a soup opera and so many years after they started they are still years and years away from delivering a product that can be sold on the market (or even the persistent universe they promised). they will eventually run out of money, this is inevitable.
Precisely. Expanding a project ad infinitum isn't ambition it is short-sighted and costly.
 

Kotters

Posts: 330   +223
Star Citizen has plenty of **** going on with it that indicate it will eventually fail.

This "engine change" is not one of them. It's literally the same ****.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gingerbill

Kunming

Posts: 308   +187
there is big difference between being "ambitious" and doing whatever the hell they are doing. people are not stupid. they are doing more youtube updates than actual game updates. they turned the development of the game into a soup opera and so many years after they started they are still years and years away from delivering a product that can be sold on the market (or even the persistent universe they promised). they will eventually run out of money, this is inevitable.
Whether or not people are stupid is entirely debatable lol. Half the us still believe the earth is only a couple of years old, Trump got elected, while Hillary still got 3 million votes more and so on lol and perhaps worst of all, people still buy pre-orders from Ubisoft LMAO.

If they weren't doing youtube updates, people would be complaining they weren't getting insights into the game development process, so it cuts both ways lmao. It's pretty "unwinnable" from a dev point of view, since whatever you do, will be critiqued. Oh, so you're showing us the game? "Why aren't you working on it!", oh so you're pushing out updates? "Why aren't you telling us what your plans, visions and opinions are!"

Besides, they've already delivered on parts of the product - so you're already wrong. People like yourself aren't possible to please basically. Pretty much since the start of development, people have been able to interact with the game. First viewing their ships in hangars, then actual dogfighting on maps, then racing, then some exploration modules (social module) and now first person shooting. This is still way more than anyone else and it means people can continuously make the game better, during development, instead of like Ubisoft for instance, at most having a short Beta and then releasing a buggy game. But for people like you, this isn't enough, oddly. So what if they're years away? Do you expect a great game to be made in 5 minutes? If you did or do, then don't back it, simply. In other words, you're simply exaggerating, because you're not patient at all and don't see the bigger picture. That's okay though - people outside of development suffer the same. I think people just don't know how long game development ACTUALLY takes, because everyone has grown up with the notion that you only hear about games when they're at most a year or two away from being finished. But this is why, after releasing games like GTA 4 for example, studios immediately start GTA 5 production, but they probably don't tell you.

It's also NOT inevitable it'll run out of money - please prove this lol or admit that you made it up. CIG has been massively successful with ship and merchandise sales, they have a crack team of developers, have already long since stopped expanding the game in terms of stretchgoals and they make a lot of smart money-saving decisions; they don't have a marketing department for instance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: wiyosaya

Kunming

Posts: 308   +187
Precisely. Expanding a project ad infinitum isn't ambition it is short-sighted and costly.
Ah yeah, they're expanding it ad infinitum, which is why no more stretchgoals were issued when they reached 65 million dollars, like 2-3 years ago:

https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals

And they're nearly at 140 million now. Yeah, I can see how they just can't stop adding features huh, you're so right. /sarcasm. Lmao.

It's always hilarious when people, who seem to know very little about the project, comment on it :D. But hey ho it's nearly New Year and maybe I had too much to drink and misunderstood what your intent was, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
 
  • Like
Reactions: wiyosaya
Only reason for this is to be able to sell directly to amazon and of course this will be another crowd funding request.
 

Fernando GC

Posts: 24   +10
Hmm so what? WoW development was 4 to 5 years (Just VANILLA!!) and almost 100 million dollars. Great games take time to grow and I for one thank Mr. Roberts for not rushing the game just because new generations need instant gratification for everything.
 

Puiu

Posts: 3,912   +2,428
Whether or not people are stupid is entirely debatable lol. Half the us still believe the earth is only a couple of years old, Trump got elected, while Hillary still got 3 million votes more and so on lol and perhaps worst of all, people still buy pre-orders from Ubisoft LMAO.

If they weren't doing youtube updates, people would be complaining they weren't getting insights into the game development process, so it cuts both ways lmao. It's pretty "unwinnable" from a dev point of view, since whatever you do, will be critiqued. Oh, so you're showing us the game? "Why aren't you working on it!", oh so you're pushing out updates? "Why aren't you telling us what your plans, visions and opinions are!"

Besides, they've already delivered on parts of the product - so you're already wrong. People like yourself aren't possible to please basically. Pretty much since the start of development, people have been able to interact with the game. First viewing their ships in hangars, then actual dogfighting on maps, then racing, then some exploration modules (social module) and now first person shooting. This is still way more than anyone else and it means people can continuously make the game better, during development, instead of like Ubisoft for instance, at most having a short Beta and then releasing a buggy game. But for people like you, this isn't enough, oddly. So what if they're years away? Do you expect a great game to be made in 5 minutes? If you did or do, then don't back it, simply. In other words, you're simply exaggerating, because you're not patient at all and don't see the bigger picture. That's okay though - people outside of development suffer the same. I think people just don't know how long game development ACTUALLY takes, because everyone has grown up with the notion that you only hear about games when they're at most a year or two away from being finished. But this is why, after releasing games like GTA 4 for example, studios immediately start GTA 5 production, but they probably don't tell you.

It's also NOT inevitable it'll run out of money - please prove this lol or admit that you made it up. CIG has been massively successful with ship and merchandise sales, they have a crack team of developers, have already long since stopped expanding the game in terms of stretchgoals and they make a lot of smart money-saving decisions; they don't have a marketing department for instance.
All you said is just your xmas wishlist. You even commented about youtube misunderstanding what I said or you just read half of it. They released a collection of mobile-like minigames games and that's it. 5 years of work and they still don't have anything.

"and they make a lot of smart money-saving decisions" --> Trust me when I say that all of my studies, both economics and programming, (and everybody else who actually knows how an IT company is run) will tell you that it's false. They are burning through the money at such a ridiculously high pace that even a small dip in their monthly income will cause the company to go in the red by the millions. At best they need 2 more years of steady "donations", but at the current development pace they will need 3-5 more years. You can do the numbers yourself.

But hey... they at least had 4 conventions where people went to play and celebrate a non-existent game :D

Be my guest, continue being patient for another decade since you like waiting so much. It's your money.

Hmm so what? WoW development was 4 to 5 years (Just VANILLA!!) and almost 100 million dollars. Great games take time to grow and I for one thank Mr. Roberts for not rushing the game just because new generations need instant gratification for everything.
not really the point. what SC is trying to do is build WoW + the next 10 expansions at the same time. nobody is asking them to rush, just to stop playing around
 
Last edited:

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,265   +3,373
Only reason for this is to be able to sell directly to amazon and of course this will be another crowd funding request.
That is what I am thinking - there must be some mutual back-scratching going on with this.
 

Latest posts