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The PA Report - Chris Roberts’ Star Citizen needs your money to get more money, and promises everyth

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin

imageThe PA Report - Chris Roberts’ Star Citizen needs your money to get more money, and promises everything to get it

Chris Roberts earned much media attention when he announced the details of his upcoming open-world space simulator Star Citizen yesterday, and he wasn’t shy about promising the sun and the moon. The game will feature a solid single-player campaign, as well as a strong multiplayer setting.

Read the full story here

Dog on


  • alphexalphex Registered User regular
    Chris Roberts created the first computer game I fell in love with. (WC1) and then did it again, with such an amazingly sequel in WC2.

    He knows what it takes to make a good game, and I think he has a good grasp on whats possible.

    I'm willing to spend $40 to help him make it happen.

    I'd much prefer it going to him, then EA, who, purchased, then gutted, Origin and the legacy of the amazing games they created in the 90's.

  • TridusTridus Registered User regular
    I'm skeptical that what is being promised can be delivered on *any* budget. This would be one of the most ambitious games every created.

    If he actually can do it I'll be lining up with money to play, but it's hard to know if handing money over now is a good idea or just a fantasy.

  • DaveyDoomsdayDaveyDoomsday Registered User new member
    Thank you for leading me to

  • Paul_czPaul_cz Registered User regular
    It is funny, the game is kinda what Notch once described and game he would like to make, and his 0x10c is supposed to be kind of space simulator too. He could easily finance the whole budget of this game too :p

    I would love to see it made, the trailer videos look stunning. On paper, it does sound like it could be one of the best games ever made. But of course, it depends what kind of talent other than Roberts is behind it.

  • TeirdomeTeirdome Registered User regular
    The part that's toughest for me to believe is in the multiplayer pieces. It's not easy to make a space sim MMO with fun combat for dozens of reasons. Jumpgate Evolution tried and failed, eventually being scrapped and bringing down the developer with it. Black Prophecy takes many shortcuts which lead to the the combat feeling flat. The complexity of his flight model says single player only to me. Even just peer to peer multiplayer will be difficult.

    Your skepticism is certainly well founded, but oh how I want him to succeed wildly.

  • ThreepioThreepio New Westminster, BCRegistered User regular
    Hey Chris Roberts: Here's $125. Go turn it into something... or don't. You made my childhood, it's the least I can do.

  • PaganritesPaganrites Registered User new member
    I'm not sure I agree with this editorial. Roberts, unlike many crowdfunded projects, has a proven track record. What Chris showed at GDC Online was worlds beyond what many developers have to show at this stage of the game. I've thrown my money at Chris Roberts and RSI. I think he will accomplish everything he sets his mind on. It is evident he loves the genre, is a fan himself, and it highly motivated. Lastly, I love his "PC gaming is still the best experience" attitude. That's enough for me.

  • agilemaniaagilemania Registered User regular, the most welcoming site on the internet.

  • ChaosDiscordChaosDiscord Registered User regular
    The physics simulation is _easy_. Like "semester project for a computer science undergraduate" easy. Being in space means you don't have to worry bout gravity, air friction, nor traction. Ships will spend most of their time far enough apart from each other that fast and easy collision checking will work great. Having attached parts of your ship be destroyable, and your motion to be directly controlled by the thrusters is straightforward linked rigid body simulation. You can get off-the-shelf software that will easily handle what's being described here, some of it free. In some ways, the physics are simpler than the years old Stair Dismount.

    Most of your concerns seem valid to me. But what he's promising for physics is actually quite modest and doesn't worry me at all.

  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    The thing that I think this editorial misses is that Chris Roberts isn't really promising much that's *new* to the genre; what he's promising (at this stage, anyway), is a refinement of things that are already extant and proven.

    The most radical things are, most likely, the damage model and user-created ships. Anything else has already been done, somewhere - in Freespace, or Freelancer, or Evochron, or Borderlands, or the X series, etc.

    The difference is that it hasn't been done *recently* and at a AAA scale. Right now, I can fire up Evochron and hop into a friend's game, or invite them into mine, so that they can deliver some fuel to stop my physics-based inifite journey through space. People were running Starlancer / Freelancer servers years ago. Borderlands (on a smaller scale) has the single-vehicle-multiple-gunners aspect down - as do most modern FPSs.

    Yes, he wants to turn the graphics up to 11, but beyond that? It's taking existing ideas, mashing them together, and coming up with something neat in the meshing of proven concepts.

    It's still a tall order, but I don't think it's nearly as tall as this editorial would have us believe.

    Steam: Elvenshae // PSN: Elvenshae // WotC: Elvenshae
    The Disappearance of Inigo Sharpe: Tomas à Dunsanin
  • CrypticSplicerCrypticSplicer Registered User new member
    I don't trust him. Also, best space simulator ever is EV Nova.

    ThreepioGgrecoTheSquirrelKingTychoCelchuuuLiquid Ghost
  • teknoarcanistteknoarcanist Registered User regular
    Zombocom? Holy shit, blast from the past.

  • DusdaDusda is ashamed of this post Registered User regular
    Quixotic? Ben, have you been watching the Newsroom? That word edged it's way into my vocabulary that way.

    But yes, this is a really risky sort of project. I always look at my Kickstarter pledges as money I won't mind missing. It doesn't really bother me that he's just seeding money so a private investor will be more comfortable; I'm involved with a few startups myself, I totally sympathize with him.

  • Gordeaux789Gordeaux789 Registered User regular
    Good article Ben. I think it's kind of shameless the way developers have been cashing in on nostalgia with crowdfunding efforts towards very vaguely defined games like this and the Braithwaite and Hall Old School RPG.

    Robert Boyd of Zeboyd Games said it very well over twitter:

    "Am I the only one who is getting sick of all the "Vague game description but give us money because of our famous old games" kickstarters? ...but as long as you have something famous on your resume, you can just say "I want to make a generic RPG" and boom! $1 million in funding."

    and also

    "It just feels like these developers are selling themselves short. They should be pitching cool new ideas not capitalizing on nostalgia."

    This is the real key here. How about some COOL NEW IDEAS not based on nostalgia. Nobody would give a fuck about this game if the dude didn't work on Wing Commander.

    Anyway, FREESPACE 2 4-LIFE LOL.

  • dayeyesdayeyes Registered User

    Simple physics may be easy in perfect settings, but add in all the elements of a game and it starts to become very complex. Even adding a player controlled object(a ship) would make things more complex. I doubt that the game would use real physics because they wouldn't be fun. So most likely the programmer in question would have to create their own rules while also making it look like "real" physics.

    I've found that real, and fun aren't always the same thing. Finding the balance between them can be very frustrating.

    This is just one complication that making a game brings.

  • DocSteamDocSteam Registered User
    This article sums up my own concerns with Star Citizen--what the pitch really reminds me of is Horizons, a fantasy MMORPG from years back that had a really ambitious list of features pre-launch (underwater cities! Playable flying dragon race! Um...other stuff that sounded really cool!)--but then had to cut and cut and cut in order to get what turned out to be a pretty standard fantasy MMO out the door. Star Citizen sounds cool (although I like my sand box scifi games to allow you to exit your ship, a la Starflight), but it also sounds too good to be true, even with someone with Chris Roberts' pedigree running the show.

  • DreamingDemonDreamingDemon Registered User regular
    There is a difference between implementing a feature, and polishing it so it is FUN. Implementing is 10%... debugging, polishing, and integrating it with the other gameplay is the 90%.

    There are a few comments on how easy item A is, or how feature B has been done before. However, if it was really that easy we wouldn't have so many crappy games. They are not crappy because they tried to do something new; they are crappy because even doing what has been done before is fucking hard! Amazingly, astoundingly, incredibly hard.

    Anyone who thinks they can easily create all the features on Chris' bullet points with 14 million dollars, and make it fun, in only 2 years, has never developed a game before. I'm not saying it is impossible... just that it is incredibly optimistic.

  • Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    Dear Ben,

    I've read your article. I agree with it at large.
    I've still given him money and will tell anyone I know about it and ask them to do so as well.

    Why? Because while this may be a dream it is a dream shared by many of us. Chris is not standing alone in this dream.

    And some dreams...some dreams are worth fighting for!

    Ori Klein on
  • AlzAlz Registered User regular
    He should totally license the engine the guys making Infinity ( were working on. It's not like they'll ever finish their game.

  • DedwrekkaDedwrekka What Would Nyarlathotep Do? Registered User regular
    I believe there's an issue when it comes to the scope of the plan. Particularly in the team department.
    What he's promising means he will likely chew through developers, coders, and QA like they were a tasty cake after launch. Not only do larger companies that already have established themselves in the field and do regular updates have a longer turn around for "real" updates (A bug fix is not an update), but the rate at which they're promised is simply unrealistic unless they intend to do multiple teams after launch and have them switch off. That means more money, and it means that their system of paying for the game is looking slightly more sinister.

    I have no problem with micro-transactions as a way to pay for the future of a game, my problem is that it's looking like cost of even running that kind of game is going to be massive to such a degree that would require a large amount of investment from players. Developers already have proven that they're perfectly capable of exploiting micro-transactions to the detriment of the game.

  • Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    ALZ, what logic is in that? He already has licensed CryEngine3 and been working with it for a whole year.

    Ori Klein on
  • Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    I agree the odds are stacked against this making good on all features.
    But, like a greedy VC, I must dip in the gamble and ask "but, what IF...what IF it does make it through?". I mean, isn't this WHAT WE WANT?

    So, I say, worth the risk to try and reach to the stars. It might be plain stupid...but what a's going to be quite the adventurous journey to go on.

  • FuzzyPuffinFuzzyPuffin Registered User regular
    I don't see how this is any riskier than any normal Kickstarter project. As usual, the same rule applies: don't give any money you wouldn't otherwise be too disappointed to see flushed down the drain.

    The ambitiousness of the project doesn't worry me. For one thing, Roberts has a track record (even if it isn't in the mmo space.) I'm much more inclined to give money to an over-ambitious project than a modest one from an unknown (though I did back FTL!)

    But even if the game turns out to be "nothing more" than a modern Wing Commander without the ambitious multiplayer features, that is *easily* worth $30 to me, and that's why I'm backing it.

  • tautologicotautologico Registered User regular
    @DreamingDemon: people severely underestimate the difficulties of developing sofware. Even if no features are new, their use in a new combination means it's a different thing. Replicating "old" features in new contexts isn't easy to do well. If it were easy, every copycat game that follows after a hugely-successful one would be as good as the original, but we know this does not happen.

  • AndyMAndyM Registered User regular
    Nobody can make a game like the one he describes. It would take like $100 million and several years to even get close. This has all the hallmarks of pie-in-the-sky.

  • adamsorkinadamsorkin Registered User regular
    I'm happy to pay for it; I want to see it, or something like it. Chris Roberts has delivered enough in the past, that I'm confident enough he'll put something in front of me that I'll get $30 or however much worth of enjoyment out of. Will it be everything he's described? Maybe not, but frankly - I'll take it. And I hope developers notice.

  • AlzAlz Registered User regular
    @ORI KLEIN - Because
    a) All of Space would hardly fit into a single map, which most console engines require. This means that Space Citizen will be zone based, not open world and infinite-scale. Infinity makes a seamless transition from Station to Space to Planet Surface. Think the difference between Minecraft and Super Mario.
    b) Infinity was developed as a Space Sim, and has a lot of the physics and features he's already mentioned. A year of customizing CryEngine to do the same thing is wasted time and money.
    c) Infinity has the best looking planetary rendering engine, but is developed by a couple guys in their spare time and will never see the light of day. Which is a shame, because their tech demos are amazing -

  • LintManLintMan Registered User regular
    Great article, Ben. This is exactly what I've been thinking. He's promising all things to all people: It's an MMO! It's private Co-op! It's an awesome offline Single Player game! AAA quality graphics! Weekly or Biweekly updates! Mod support! 3rd party item market!

    And he's going to do it all for one fifth of what a less ambitious AAA game costs.

    I've seen some of the weakest, lamest crap labeled a "single player mode" in past multiplayer-focused games, so I know from hard experience that it's easy for budget-pressed developers to skimp there and still check that box. So I'm guessing that the single player experience will be the first thing to be compromised. And the author of that article at RPS seems to agree, calling the single player "distinctly snippable".

  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    I don't understand the desire for Roberts to show something "a little more real." The livestream already showed that it's playable and that everything he's promised aside from the MMO stuff is already in the game. It showed off the physics, it showed off walking around a ship, it showed off all the fancy details, etc. As for the MMO stuff, he already did large instanced space battles, customizable player purchasable ships, and universe exploration many years ago in Freelancer. So I think he can probably pull that off.

    The guy made Wing Commander! He helped invent the genre! And he's not trying for anything overly ambitious - this game is basically Wing Commander + Freelancer with nice graphics. Lots of other comments on this article have pointed out how many of his goals aren't exactly pie in the sky, and if anyone knows what it takes to make a video game and to make a project on a budget, it's probably a guy who spent his life making video games then producing films.

  • jplayer01jplayer01 Registered User regular
    I couldn't care less if he only offered a fraction of the mentioned features. Who else is going to give us another space combat game? I don't see any on the horizon, at least not any worth caring about. I'm going to support this project because 1) I desperately want another, better Freespace and 2) I want developers to know that there's demand for this kind of game. Seriously.

  • Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    CryEngine3 is hardly a console engine, and Chris already mentioned that the game will function on zone-of-interest style in the same venue not unlike Freelancer/Star Trek Online (mainly to avoid certain technical and design pitfalls and to allow drop-in/out of friends to a combat zone). But the universe itself will be an "open world" to explore.

    CryEngine comes with a highly advanced physics package. And whatever they've done to customizing it to fit their game vision - that year of time and money has already been spent. To pick up a new engine and customize it will take another year...what for? The one they have is already working.
    And there's much more that goes onto customizing an engine to fit your game than just physics.

    These guys have a nice piece of technology. But it does not necessarily fits with Star Citizen's goals (for one thing, planets interaction will be similar to privateer, no intention of descending onto atmosphere and flying around the planet or focusing on the inside of planets as content). Nor is it required.

  • Gooseman Gooseman Registered User
    edited October 2012
    Really? the only space sim to come out in decades, by the father of space sims, and all you can do is bash him? He can have all of my money if I could.

    And for the players who prefer singleplayer, the game in its majority is offline singlepayer with a campaign called Squadron 42, the MMO aspect is just the multiplayer which happens to be persistent and completely free, you only buy stuff if you don't have the time to grind for XP or Creds, you don't get an advantage over free players.

    BTW according to the last tally, we are at $450,000 with just two days passed.

    Gooseman on
  • overdriveGTOoverdriveGTO Registered User regular
    This was a pretty worthless article. No one cares about your opinions on crowd-funding. You offer nothing but opinions and your only sources are regurgitating interviews by other gaming sites. Maybe show some initiative next time and talk to the devs themselves. Then you can skewer them for promising the world.

    Liquid GhostRabidDeathMooseBen KucheraagwPanda LikerOptimusCrime
  • Lightknight77Lightknight77 Registered User regular
    I'd say that a reality check is fully warranted. These are some serious promises that even someone with such an excellent track record would have a lot of trouble with. Assuming that he knows something that we (the royal we of everyone in the gaming industry) don't is naive at best.

    Hopefully this pans out, but realistic expectations should be viewed objectively. Good article pointing it out.

  • wormspeakerwormspeaker Objectively Terrible Registered User regular
    How does that Kool-Aid taste?.
    Look, I love Wing Commander and Privateer as much as the next guy who is actually old enough to have played them when they were new... but the whole shebang feels really hucksterish. He's promising too much, and is still at the mercy of someone else holding the purse strings. Look, sometimes things are better when you aren't trying to throw in the kitchen sink, and the creator doesn't think that they can walk on water. (I'm looking at you George Lucas and John Romero.) The whole reveal tasted too much like Moses coming down from the mountain for me to feel good about it.
    If you're jonesing for a space game where you can explore and fight and trade, try checking out Starfarer ( it's actually got a playable beta and it's pretty damn fun if you ask me.

  • TarranonTarranon Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    @OverdriveGTO Well said brother! Are you looking forward to the Ouya "Development Kit" shipping in three months? I know I am. IANAD ("I Am Not A Developer" [Pronounced "Ayanad"]), I just wanted to have it. Did you hear the new Avengers movie is going to have Ouya support? It's just great to see big budget titles getting behind the future of console gaming!

    Tarranon on
    You could be anywhere
    On the black screen
  • LintManLintMan Registered User regular
    "No one cares about your opinions on crowd-funding. You offer nothing but opinions"

    You do realize that this article is an EDITORIAL, right? And that an "editorial" is an opinion article?

  • XomXom Registered User regular

    In all fairness, the article is probably right that a lot of people don't understand the risk that comes with the pledge that Chris Roberts is asking for. But some of us do. I HAPPILY gave my $30 for a chance that we might see the long-overdue return of the space combat sim.

    No, it probably won't have some of the features he wants, at least not at launch. But Roberts isn't new to this. That doesn't mean he'll succeed, but his observations about the industry seem largely true: this type of game would never come about through normal channels today. Crowdfunding might be the perfect way to SHOW investors that previously untapped demand really does exist.

    There is no genre I miss more, and I desperately want Chris Roberts to give me the reason to buy a joystick again. If I feel that way, someone else must too. Maybe this game, as grand as it seems, has a chance.

    (For the record, I specified a refund was not necessary in my pledge)

  • E-gongaE-gonga Registered User regular
    I remember when I was younger I was at a car boot sale somewhere in Walton. There I beheld something that looked amazing; a videogame console that used the old wheely/paddle control method that promised Pong, Pac-Man and Space Invaders, all built-in. I had no idea what it was - still don't - but I knew I must have it.

    It was about £5 more than I could afford, but the man selling it lowered the price for me. I was so grateful to him. I remember as I was scooping it all up in my trembling hands that he looked at me and said "Listen, it's a little bit old so it might not work. It's up to you if you want to take the risk.' I didn't care. I was too excited. I thanked him again and took it home.

    Of course, it didn't work. Took it home, plugged it in... nothing. I asked my dad to open it up with his screwdriver in case there was something obvious that we could fix. Well, it WAS obvious... inside it was empty. A hallow shell with a bit of sand inside to give it weight.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes you can be so excited about a prospect that you blind yourself to the very real risks that come with it. Ben has made some very well thought out arguements here and you should be giving them your full consideration.

  • WUAWUA Registered User regular
    I can't wait to play Star Citizen on my Ouya with an Oculus Rift while floating on a cloud and being fellated by pixies.

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