$3 Million - An Update from Chris Roberts
Three million dollars! It’s hard to believe we’re already here, far above our initial objective and well into some of the stretch goals, with still 10 days left in the campaign. It’s all thanks to you, our incredible fans. I am impressed every single day when I see the dedication you have already given this project, spreading the word and building a great and supporting community. It’s going to be a daunting—and rewarding—task for the team to continue to build the game knowing how much this community believes in us. And it’s a task I’m proud to say we’re up to.
Sorry to have been quiet for the past few days. I just got back from Montreal, Canada, which is likely to be one of the locations where we will build Star Citizen, along with Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, California. It may seem inefficient to have the team spread out but I’m actually a big fan of distributed development. The tech prototype was built by a small team spread out between Austin, Frankfurt (Germany), Los Angeles, Montreal, Monterey (Mexico) and San Francisco
The concept is to focus on where the talent is and not try to fit the talent to the location. So a lot of my old Origin and Digital Anvil compatriots will be based in Austin, in LA the focus will be some of the high end conceptual design (leaning heavily on the deep pool of talent from film like Ryan Church and Jim Martin) and some engineering. In Montreal we’re likely to be building some of the backend persistent server infrastructure and web front end. I’ll be spending time in each location and heavily using Skype! The idea is to break the various components of Star Citizen into discrete parts that are the responsibility of focused “tiger” teams – dogfighting, shipboard FPS, planet side buying / selling / chatting / mission acquisition, persistent server backend and so on. This way it keeps the various elements of the project manageable and the responsibility of small, tight teams. It’s always been my experience that small teams tend to be the most effective, so the idea is to utilize the small team concept in such a way that it can scale for a project with the ambition of Star Citizen. Think of it as taking the multi-core / threading approach to development as opposed to the old way of just increasing the speed and size of one big processor.
Enlist your Friends Update
There have been a few updates while I’ve been off working on the development and hiring plan. And a couple of them have caused some discontent amongst you, so I wanted to set the record straight.
The pledge referral program was actually something that was part of the spec of the custom crowd funding plug in we built and was meant to launch day 1. Unfortunately, due to our launch issues it was never deployed and it has taken this long to get up and running.
Before we started the campaign we had talked to Alienware, NVIDIA and Logitech, who were all very excited by what Star Citizen represented for PC gaming and were eager to help out with some free swag to give away with some of the pledge tiers. We thought it would be much more fun, and allow a wider range of the community to participate if everyone had the chance of winning the bad ass Alienware gaming rig, rather than bundling it with some custom $15,000 pledge level. So we thought that tying it to rounding up as many friends to play with you would be a great way, especially as we want to encourage co-op play and building up your squadron (which is another feature we will roll out once vBulletin is active)
We know that a lot of you are concerned that you won’t be credited for everyone you encouraged to join the fight for high end PC gaming and space sims. Don’t worry! We’re building a referral input to the My Account screen on the RSI site that will give you the ability to retroactively specify if someone has referred you, so everyone can get credit even from the very beginning of the campaign.
We hope you like it. It was designed for fun, and to give everyone a chance to win some cool swag (who doesn’t want an Alienware desktop, Oculus Rift or a GTX680?).
I’ve also had a few questions about the contests we’ve run previously. For legal reasons we’re not allowed to identify the winners unless they give us permission… but if you won a signed Wing Commander or an Anvil Gladiator bomber, you have been contacted by our staff, so make sure to check your spam filters in case there’s a surprise stuck out of view!
Ship Concept Art
We know this high on everyone’s list. Both Ryan Church and Jim Martin are working away on this and have been for many weeks. I hope to have the first set, which will be Ryan’s RSI Constellation work, be in a state to share by the start of next week. When you see the work you will understand why it is not something that can be done in a day. All Star Citizen ships are designed to a level of detail, ergonomics and functionality that no one has ever attempted before in a space game. It’s not just about a pretty drawing – if it was I could have shared something weeks ago. It’s about fully designing the interior and exterior, how weapons and missiles are deployed, where the engines and various thrusters are located, how they articulate, where you would sleep, how the P52 fighter launches and re-docks, where you eat your meal and where you shower. The plan is to share a full RSI brochure on each ship, with exterior and interior renderings, not unlike you would see from Boeing or Lockheed Martin in today’s world. I can tell you the work in progress is very cool and I think you will all be excited once you see the first set. But please bear with us all five ships can’t be done in the next two weeks – it is a multi-month process. But that’s part of the fun of backing Star Citizen; you’re going to take the journey with the development team, see work as it happens and be constantly engaged. It’s not just about the initial campaign – we will be updating and sharing during the whole development process.
We’ve just hit $1,000,000 and the Corvette on Kickstarter and $3,000,000 on the main site. I can’t begin to tell you how excited this makes me… but I really want to get to at least $4,000,000 overall as this will allow us to do more sooner, especially on things like the modding tools. It may seem like a stretch but if you look at other Kickstarter’s they all had a huge surge in the last few days. When it comes to game projects, we’re definitely the leader in amount of dollars pledged per backer, thanks to you. Some of the stretch goals can be covered by upgrading, but we need to also get new backers in. I know you’ve all been spreading the word. Keep it up and we can get there!
We’ve already given you a preview of the base Citizen Card and will be sharing the other over the coming days. I also plan to do a few write ups for you – I always get a lot of questions about instancing, so I’m going to try and describe the process in one concise update. There will be some more video from the prototype in the near future… And of course a ship brochure!