Star Citizen developer showcases impressive technological progress in new trailer

Daniel Sims

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Forward-looking: After spending over a decade developing Star Citizen and Squadron 42 with over half a billion dollars of crowdfunding money, Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) recently showcased notable signs of progress. The extensive development timeline and substantial budget have given rise to one of the most technologically ambitious game engines ever witnessed, surpassing even other recent space simulation titles.

A new trailer unveiling the "Star Engine" provides a comprehensive overview of the unique technology that powers the online space game Star Citizen and its single-player counterpart, Squadron 42. The trailer highlights the engine's capability to render diverse scenes and characters on an impressive scale.

The half-hour video takes viewers on a flyby tour of various environments across multiple planets and star systems, all rendered in real-time without camera cuts or loading screens. It showcases advanced lighting and physics simulation effects, displaying entire planets from a distance before zooming in to reveal cities, mountains, caves, ships, space stations, and other locations with seamless transitions. The only compromise acknowledged by CIG is that the engine compresses distances between planets to save time.

One of the most significant criticisms of Bethesda's recent space exploration game, Starfield, is its excessive use of loading screens between space, planet surfaces, ships, and other locations. The absence of these transitions is a primary focus of CIG's trailer. While titles like No Man's Sky, Elite Dangerous, and SpaceEngine also aim for seamlessness, the Star Engine takes it to the next level.

Arguably, the trailer's most noteworthy feature demonstrates how the engine allows characters to engage in various activities inside ships, cities, trains, and space stations while other characters simultaneously perform actions in the surrounding universe. Previous trailers suggest that this is possible across vast distances, enabling synchronized multiplayer gameplay at an interplanetary scale.

The gameplay demonstrated by CIG so far doesn't seem fundamentally different from what players have experienced in titles like Starfield, No Man's Sky, and Elite. However, if CIG can successfully release one or both of its projects, it may amalgamate most elements from other space titles and achieve more.

CIG recently announced that Squadron 42 is feature-complete and entering a polishing phase. Despite a decade of development with no apparent finish line, the growth of Star Citizen's crowdfunding budget has significantly accelerated as of late. Last year marked CIG's most successful ever, and the alpha received its largest-ever patch in May 2023.

Although CIG likely has several years to go before shipping a title, the company's projects show no signs of slowing down.

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I've played it and the game engine is pretty remarkable and the server meshing they've done. The persistent entity streaming (which allows any item dropped on ground in world to stay there. permanently. and other players can see it) is a large leap forward in MMO networking. Also completely seamless world (you fly in/out of planet atmospheres.. unlike stafield). and they're real planets... not cookie cutter zones.

However, the rest of the game is ridiculously unpolished. Its very empty world (NPC wise) and still buggy. Still needs another 5-6 years before beta phase.
 
I've played it and the game engine is pretty remarkable and the server meshing they've done. The persistent entity streaming (which allows any item dropped on ground in world to stay there. permanently. and other players can see it) is a large leap forward in MMO networking. Also completely seamless world (you fly in/out of planet atmospheres.. unlike stafield). and they're real planets... not cookie cutter zones.

However, the rest of the game is ridiculously unpolished. Its very empty world (NPC wise) and still buggy. Still needs another 5-6 years before beta phase.
I couldn't agree more. I really wish to see the vision that is Star Citizen come to fruition. I love the idea and many of the game mechanics they've developed are industry firsts. I want it to be the game that it has been advertised as but every year it goes unreleased the more I feel that it will never be that game.
 
It's all good FaTaL, but all this right now is how it is in "development", it has been proven historically time and time again that technological previews like these are usually nowhere near how the real game itself eventually is. and until I run it myself and see it, I will not believe anything they "show", I will only believe it when I see it.
 
I've played it and the game engine is pretty remarkable and the server meshing they've done. The persistent entity streaming (which allows any item dropped on ground in world to stay there. permanently. and other players can see it) is a large leap forward in MMO networking. Also completely seamless world (you fly in/out of planet atmospheres.. unlike stafield). and they're real planets... not cookie cutter zones.

However, the rest of the game is ridiculously unpolished. Its very empty world (NPC wise) and still buggy. Still needs another 5-6 years before beta phase.
The performance is pretty terrible in my experience
 
Do they still use CryEngine? This looks good but no longer impressive compared to Unreal 5.
I am watching Ark Survival Ascended, and light, vegetation look breathtaking.
Again, this looks very good, but it no longer feels like the best graphics.
 
Its very empty world (NPC wise) and still buggy.
More powerful graphics and upscaling should improve that.
I think if they were starting with SC today, it would be much easier than when they began. Gosh, it feels like forever since this game was announced.
 
It's all good FaTaL, but all this right now is how it is in "development", it has been proven historically time and time again that technological previews like these are usually nowhere near how the real game itself eventually is. and until I run it myself and see it, I will not believe anything they "show", I will only believe it when I see it.
So have you tried it out on a free fly weekend?
 
It's all good FaTaL, but all this right now is how it is in "development", it has been proven historically time and time again that technological previews like these are usually nowhere near how the real game itself eventually is. and until I run it myself and see it, I will not believe anything they "show", I will only believe it when I see it.

I am not I understanding your point.

What you see in THAT VIDEO^ is thee version of the game (in Alpha-development 3.21) that you can currently play... (minus a few things like their hair and other upcoming updates this video showcases). Each update brings more Developmental work into the Persistent Universe (ie Star Citizen). These updates are about every 5-8 months, that releases newer and newer developmental stuff, but the finished game itself won't be projected to be released for another 3-4+ years.

Until then, You can pledge to the game and start playing (what you see in that video^) today...! With the understanding that SC is not yet in beta.. and the UI development and continual development means many annoyances and pitfalls and crashes, etc.

Many of the Star Citizens and the Clans/Orgs have considerable money invested in this game, in the thousands, on ships & items... and play every night. There are even in-game Organizations set up just for mining, or salvaging, etc. I would give it another year of Development, before casuals and newb experience is there, but it is by far one of the best MMOs out there right now.


In contrast, Starfield is a mini single-player version of what Star Citizen is, an expanding universe of new Solar system with thousands of players. Starfield will add to the Star Citizen player base because once those people find out about this game, it's all ovr.

 
I am not I understanding your point.

What you see in THAT VIDEO^ is thee version of the game (in Alpha-development 3.21) that you can currently play... (minus a few things like their hair and other upcoming updates this video showcases). Each update brings more Developmental work into the Persistent Universe (ie Star Citizen). These updates are about every 5-8 months, that releases newer and newer developmental stuff, but the finished game itself won't be projected to be released for another 3-4+ years.

Until then, You can pledge to the game and start playing (what you see in that video^) today...! With the understanding that SC is not yet in beta.. and the UI development and continual development means many annoyances and pitfalls and crashes, etc.

Many of the Star Citizens and the Clans/Orgs have considerable money invested in this game, in the thousands, on ships & items... and play every night. There are even in-game Organizations set up just for mining, or salvaging, etc. I would give it another year of Development, before casuals and newb experience is there, but it is by far one of the best MMOs out there right now.


In contrast, Starfield is a mini single-player version of what Star Citizen is, an expanding universe of new Solar system with thousands of players. Starfield will add to the Star Citizen player base because once those people find out about this game, it's all ovr.
Star Citizen might be great on paper but if it's not released as a final product it's irrelevant and just a tech demo.
Starfield for all it's flaws is a finished product that is actually being sold and making money for the developer and publisher, not consuming money for years on end with no clear deadline or goal.

A I've aid earlier. The developer or hardware maker is as good as their latest release. Very few people care what they have cooking in the "labs". Unless it's a finished, released product then all other considerations are secondary.
 
Do they still use CryEngine? This looks good but no longer impressive compared to Unreal 5.
I am watching Ark Survival Ascended, and light, vegetation look breathtaking.
Again, this looks very good, but it no longer feels like the best graphics.
Re-Rebranded CryEngine yes. From what I've seen their engine only has the benefit of scale over UE5, but not fidelity.
 
Star Citizen might be great on paper but if it's not released as a final product it's irrelevant and just a tech demo.
Starfield for all it's flaws is a finished product that is actually being sold and making money for the developer and publisher, not consuming money for years on end with no clear deadline or goal.

A I've aid earlier. The developer or hardware maker is as good as their latest release. Very few people care what they have cooking in the "labs". Unless it's a finished, released product then all other considerations are secondary.
I would suspect where CIG will make majority of their money is licensing their server meshing technology / star engine.... like epic does with unreal engine. No other company has even come close to these type of advancements.

The UI needs alot of work. You can't move any window frames and chat system sucks. Interaction is really annoying (you have to hold a key down to interact with stuff. They should make this function like starfield where you mouse over selectable object and click).
Piloting a ship can be a challenge at first (especially using a mouse + keyboard. alot easier with a controller, which they do support currently).

Its a full out space sim which means game has a ton of complex mechanics. Not suitable for the casual gamer looking to jump into action for an hour. Time it takes to fly out of a spaceport . grav drive to a mission can take a while.

The universe is so big in this game, it feels empty. Chat screen shows theres other people playing, but even in the starting cities, you don't run into many actual people. Also the other annoying thing is when you log out and log back in, you wake up in a bed at your assigned city (assuming this is gonna change).
 
Nothing better than writing a game that can run 120FPS on 1080p on a RTX 3060 TI
Then you will be worth something in the gaming world
 
I would suspect where CIG will make majority of their money is licensing their server meshing technology / star engine.... like epic does with unreal engine. No other company has even come close to these type of advancements.

The UI needs alot of work. You can't move any window frames and chat system sucks. Interaction is really annoying (you have to hold a key down to interact with stuff. They should make this function like starfield where you mouse over selectable object and click).
Piloting a ship can be a challenge at first (especially using a mouse + keyboard. alot easier with a controller, which they do support currently).

Its a full out space sim which means game has a ton of complex mechanics. Not suitable for the casual gamer looking to jump into action for an hour. Time it takes to fly out of a spaceport . grav drive to a mission can take a while.

The universe is so big in this game, it feels empty. Chat screen shows theres other people playing, but even in the starting cities, you don't run into many actual people. Also the other annoying thing is when you log out and log back in, you wake up in a bed at your assigned city (assuming this is gonna change).
I agree. They could license it out and turn it into a money making, not just consuming machine. Tho I doubt how big is the market for large scale space-sim engines.

From what I've heard about CryEngine in the past was the problem with documentation.
Im not very confident that a company who has yet to release their only game (or part of it like Squadron 42 etc) as a finished product can offer a stable engine for third party developers.
Other developers have deadlines. They cant wait around five years for the engine.
 
Hmmm. This is a first. No "Its a scam/fraud" comments. Maybe I've spoken too soon. :laughing:

- There seems to be an actual engine and game with some impressive tech on display.

Is it money well spent? No, I don't think anyone can say that. But its also not vaporware anymore either.
 
Star Citizen might be great on paper but if it's not released as a final product it's irrelevant and just a tech demo.
Starfield for all it's flaws is a finished product that is actually being sold and making money for the developer and publisher,,,
See, maybe I'm a rare one these days but I prefer quality over quantity. Starfield would massively benefit by being in the oven for many more years until it didn't have a load screen every ten seconds and there was something to actually do around the planets.

When a tech demo makes your final product look a bit crap...
not consuming money for years on end with no clear deadline or goal.
You don't think Bethesda consumes money to make games? And no clear deadline I completely agree with, that's the risk you take for pledging money to the game. No clear goal though? I mean, they literally list what they want the game to do right on the website.
But its also not vaporware anymore either.
It's been playable for literally years, I think I joined in 2019 and I was already flying between planets, docking on space stations and landing in cities.
 
Star Citizen might be great on paper but if it's not released as a final product it's irrelevant and just a tech demo.
Starfield for all it's flaws is a finished product that is actually being sold and making money for the developer and publisher, not consuming money for years on end with no clear deadline or goal.

A I've aid earlier. The developer or hardware maker is as good as their latest release. Very few people care what they have cooking in the "labs". Unless it's a finished, released product then all other considerations are secondary.

Nobody is talking about what is on paper....

We are talking about that video and what you can play TODAY, as if u logged in right now. Why do you keep saying it's a tech demo... when Star Citizen is more playable than Starfield and is multiplayer with actual humans and emergent gameplay...

What you see in that Video is the game we play everyday... and 3.21 is their latest release.
 
I'd give this current engine build 2 yrs before they start allover again.
LOL... There is no other engine able to do so for a complex MMO using server meshing tech developed by CIG only. The current heavily modified engine is perfect for the job. In two years, server meshing and all remaining gameplay will have been implemented.
 
I agree. They could license it out and turn it into a money making, not just consuming machine. Tho I doubt how big is the market for large scale space-sim engines.

From what I've heard about CryEngine in the past was the problem with documentation.
Im not very confident that a company who has yet to release their only game (or part of it like Squadron 42 etc) as a finished product can offer a stable engine for third party developers.
Other developers have deadlines. They cant wait around five years for the engine.
If CIG was able, I would assume their server meshing tech is a standalone configuration thats been integrated into CryENGINE Meaning, they could license their server meshing software to any developers and with some tweaks, incorporate it into any game engine they're using.

If thats not the case, the star engine could be used for any type of large scale MMO. Doesn't have to be space sims only.... however a star wars MMO using this could be EPIC! :)
 
If CIG was able, I would assume their server meshing tech is a standalone configuration thats been integrated into CryENGINE Meaning, they could license their server meshing software to any developers and with some tweaks, incorporate it into any game engine they're using.
I don’t think that’s possible, the server meshing part they recently got working relies on things that the game engine has been specifically tailored for, object container streaming and the persistence databases as examples.

Without being able to separate game state from the servers via the replication layer (essentially the server is simply running the simulation) the mesh technology doesn’t do much.

Of course, other developers might be able to update their game engines for these pre-requisites but it has taken CIG years to get these systems working.
 
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