Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 19, 2012.

Update #21

Multiplayer, Single Player and Instancing

Hi everyone!

I get a lot of questions about how the whole persistent universe works and what I mean when I talk about battle instances.

I’ve given some answers but as it keeps coming up, I thought it would be good to give all of you a longer description in how this all works and fits together.

One of my goals with Star Citizen was to create a huge open world that you could adventure in solo, with your friends, mingling with NPCs and other real people.

Freelancer was built to have up to 128 players in multiplayer, but as a few of you know that was more a theoretical maximum than something that was really practical, especially back in 2003. When I started building Freelancer, partly inspired by the work done on Ultima Online (which was in development when I was still at Origin), the fun I was having playing multiplayer games like Command & Conquer and Diablo I had wanted to bring the Privateer experience into the bold new world of multiplayer. My original vision for Freelancer was to first release a single player game and then follow it up with massively multiplayer version with a dynamic economy and a world that reacted and adapted to the players actions.

I didn’t get a chance to deliver this vision and ultimately while Freelancer was a good game, it fell short of what I was aiming for.

With Star Citizen I was determined to combine what I wanted to achieve with Freelancer, with the personal experience that I think both Wing Commander and Privateer were so strong with.

But me being me, I wanted to combine things I like about the promise of a MMO, but avoid the aspects that I’m not so keen on like splintered player groups, griefing and grinding. I also was really impressed with how Demon’s Souls merged the single player experience with the multiplayer side.

All of this helped form my thinking on how Star Citizen is going to balance the difficult balancing act between multiplayer and single player.

All multiplayer games – whether they are a persistent world massively multiplayer game (MMO) like World of Warcraft or just an online multiplayer game like Battlefield 3 – have a limit to the number of players that can be active in anyone area or level. This number is usually inversely proportional to the amount of data that needs to go between the client and the server. For a game with complex physics and a fully destructible terrain, like Battlefield 3 the number of players that can active in an instance is less than a game with less real time fidelity like WoW, or Eve on Line. But in all cases there are always more players than any one server instance can handle. For a persistent multiplayer world like WoW the solution is to split up the player base into more manageable groups called “shards”, which are a permanent instance of the universe that look after a certain amount of players.

One thing I don’t like about most MMO structures is the fragmentation of the player base between these “shards”. If you had joined much later than a friend of yours, there may not be room on his world instance anymore and you have to join another parallel one and so cannot play together. This is one of the nice things about the Eve Online design – everyone plays in the same universe.

In Star Citizen there is going to be one persistent universe server that everyone exists on. So you will never be separated from your friends, and if you want you’ll be able to join up and adventure together, you can. Due to the fidelity of the dogfighting and physics simulation we can’t however handle thousands of players in the same area of space. Even if you had enough internet bandwidth to handle the data going back and forth and a super computer for the server there’s no PC, even with quad SLI that could render that many spaceships with Star Citizen’s fidelity.

So the “magic” of Star Citizen’s multiplayer design is how we combine a persistent universe with a more traditional (and easier to implement) temporary multiplayer “battle” instance.

The way it works is that the persistent universe server, which we’re calling the Galaxy Server, keeps track of all players’ assets, group relationships and locations inside the Star Citizen universe. As the Galaxy server isn’t handling any realtime action it can handle our complete player base, which right now would be about 45,000 players, but is designed to be able to scale to millions if need be. The other key thing the Galaxy Server does is dynamically place players based on their location, skill level, alignment and player versus player (PvP) preference into battle instances. Think of a “battle” instance like a Battlefield 3 multiplayer session or a World of Tanks Battle with the key difference that the selection of players is done transparently and is “in fiction”.

An illustration of how this would work is like this –

I start out planet side on New Pittsburg. I decide to buy a few tonnes of steel to fly to the shipyards of Terra. I’m currently in the hands of the galaxy server that communicates with my client and handles my purchases and interactions on the planet as these are not real time in the manner that the space action is. We render these in the manner of Freelancer, as detailed 3D environments where we see a third person view of our character in a location and we can click on Non Player Characters (NPCs) or terminals to buy / sell, upgrade your ship, get gossip, hear about a mission and so on. You’ll also be able to interact with other players via a chat interface. We haven’t fully worked out the player avatar handling planet side but the bar or private clubs will be where you can meet / chat to other players. Besides populating the bar with NPCs, the game will also populate the bar with other players. If there are more players planet side than there are slots of avatars in the bar the ones visible to you will be based off your friends list and then it will be based on relevance to you – a player looking for a wingman, one from a similar group, or maybe someone that you’ve been given a mission to find or hunt down. You will also be able to see the full list of players in the room if there are more players than there are slots. Default would be a drop down list for this, but as I hate anything that breaks the immersion, we’ll probably come up with a better in fiction way of seeing the list of players – maybe you tell the bartender who you’re looking for, maybe you can look at the door list for the bar.

Having bought my cargo I launch into space. If there are players already in orbit there will be an orbit instance already created. If it’s not full then I will be placed into that. If it is full then a new one will be dynamically created. All orbit (and battle) instances reserve slots for friends and persons of interest (POI), which can be NPCs or other players, so if you’ve launched and there are multiple orbit instances and you have friends already in orbit you should be placed into that instance. This is also the dynamic that will be applied if you want to follow another player – you can “tag” them as a POI and then the game will do its best to place you in the same instance as your POI. For instance if you tagged someone planet side and they launch your PDA with its future version of Siri will notify you that your POI is leaving, giving you a window to launch into space too.

Once in orbit I can pull up my Navigation computer and set a course for my destination. If its several systems away like Terra, the nav computer will chart a course through the relevant jump points. You will be able to adjust this like on Google maps, so if you click a different jump point on the system map it will then re-route you on the shortest path to your destination with that jump point as the first “jump”

Once I’ve plotted my nav course I would then engage auto-pilot and head towards my first “way” point on the path to my destination (a jump point, an interim space feature, like an asteroid belt and so on). At this point I’ve been handed back to the Galaxy Server, which is determining whether I will encounter a hostile, someone that has tagged me as a POI, or a predetermined encounter on the way, or if I’m going to run across ongoing battle instance that is relevant to me (some members of the instance are aligned against or with me). These encounters could be with an NPC or a live player(s) and are sorted on skill level and also – which is important to all of you that like a more single player experience and don’t want to deal with griefers – based on your player versus player (PvP) preference. So if you’ve set your game settings to be low PvP and you’re in a relatively safe area, you’ll likely have an NPC (PvE) encounter as opposed to a PvP one. Of course your ranking and any reputation you earn won’t be the same with a PvE encounter versus a PvP. My hope for this dynamic is that it will allow people to first play Star Citizen in a safer more single player open world style, but as they grow in confidence and want to test their mettle against other real players they can take the training wheels off and get into battles with real players. There will also be areas of the universe that no matter what your PvP setting is, will be PvP. These will be systems that are on the fringes of the policed galaxy and will be notorious for pirate and other illegal activity. They will also be the most lucrative areas – if you can survive.

Now if you’re flying with your friends, who you can link to via the game POI “tagging” system, they will be with you when you’re pulled into a battle instance, whether it is against NPCs, real players or a combination of both.

Once the Galaxy Server has determined that you will have an encounter based on the above criteria it either dynamically creates a battle instance, or puts you in one if one already exists at the encounter point, and that instance has room for new players. To exit this instance you either have to resolve the hostilities by defeating who’s targeting you, negotiating an exit or just outrunning them. Once in an instance you can put out a distress call to your friends. There are two ways people on your friends list (or squadron as we’re going to call it) can help. We save slots in all instances for friends to warp in to fight. To do this they need to be in the same system. If they are they can autopilot in to your rescue and will be dropped into the instance. If they’re not in the star system, if they can get to your system before the battle is over then they can join (but will only be able to join once they’ve reached your system). The second way for your friends to help out is by “dropping in” on your ship. This only works if it’s a multi person vehicle like the RSI Constellation. In this scenario they don’t need to be in your system, they just will drop in inside your ship and will be able to move around in first person, climbing into a turret to man it, or jumping in you P52 to fly it in combat while you fly the main ship (or they could fly your main ship and you pilot the fighter)

Once the hostilities or the event (sometimes you could be pulled into an instance because you came across a derelict ship or space station and we want to give the player a chance to explore) that triggered the drop out of auto-pilot has been resolved, you can hit auto-pilot again, get handed back to the Galaxy Server and go about your way on the nav course you’ve plotted.

You will always drop out at jump points and planets, where you will need to either make a jump to another system or land.

This process is continued until you reach your final destination, which in my example would be Terra, where I would use my comm system to negotiate a landing slot, which would take me down to the planet’s surface via an in-engine cinematic. Once planet side I’ll be able to sell my cargo, replenish my supplies and look for new opportunities via the third person planet side interface.

The advantage of this system is that is allows you to tailor your experience towards your preference – solo, co-op or full PvP. It also doesn’t partition you into different, parallel versions of the Star Citizen universe as everyone is kept on the persistent server. Because our battle or orbit / space instances are temporary, you’re never stuck

with one group over the long term and due to our heavy emphasis on friends and co-op, there will always be room for your friends to join you on your adventure; whether it’s against other players or NPCs.

The same instance system underpins the single player Squadron 42. If you’re playing off-line, your computer will be acting as the server and client, there will be no opportunities for friends to join and everyone will be an NPC. But if you play Squadron 42 through the Galaxy Server, even though your missions and space areas are pre-determined (you don’t get to pick where in the galaxy you are flying if you’re in the military) we will allow your friends to drop in / drop out to take over NPC wingmen and if you want extra skill ranking you can allow other players to drop in and take over enemy ace characters. This system is pretty similar to the Demon’s Souls setup where people could drop in as a Blue Phantom to help you kill a boss monster or fight off another invading player, or you could drop in as a Black Phantom to someone else’s world and try and kill them for XP and other gamerewards.

The key to all this is to allow player choice – you want to play alone you can, want your friends to join you in co-op we allow that and if you want to be challenged by other real players you can do that. The special part is that it can all happen in the same holistic universe.

I hope this helps in terms of understanding how we’re balancing the aspects of multiplayer as well as making the game fun.

Comments

    1. Missing_small

      Creator Jeremy Jones on November 16, 2012

      LOL I am reading the comments and I can see all the "carebears" crying about this game catering to the griefers. Just relax and be patient.

      It looks like Roberts has done his research and really knows the pros and cons of various games like EVE online and other MMOs. This is what you should take away from this article.

      In fact EVE online is a great test bed for Roberts to look at and make sure to avoid some of the major flaws but still maintain EVE's greatest assets (Massive player driven economy and open game world on a single shard) I for one am really looking forward to this game after reading this article.

    2. Main-thumb-3217424-200-4dxj9jngyleou3jshrofaxh7wq9eptxl_2_.small

      Creator Wesha on November 15, 2012

      Re: players being mean, kill stealing, whatever.

      How about detecting players who do not play friendly, and corralling them to a separate server where they will only meet other @$$holes?

    3. Missing_small

      Creator JOCool72 on November 14, 2012

      Thanks for the update CR there was a lot of good information in here. The only thing that I get hung up on with this system is the part were you can "tag" a person of interest (POI). I understand it in concept but I do still worry that the functionality is abused because of the flexibility it gives someone. Say for example, a high level PVP skilled type player would never normally join my battle instance because I have selected that I prefer PVE (or less PVP) and am lower level and not very skilled at flying. We do happen to share the same Galaxy Server space at some bar looking for work where he tags me and just quietly follows. Then when we get into space he follows me into the battle instance and then has the ability to call in all his other high level PVP skilled type players because there is buffer for friends and suddenly I'm am being ganked, even if it were a somewhat safer/patrolled zone because they can move in so quickly.

      The idea of tagging I think just makes it far easier to grief someone because it takes out all the earlier balancing mechanics you tried to implement in the first place.

      Some may argue that the above scenario is somewhat realistic, I mean we see it in movies all the time. But then if we want realism and immersion then how can introduce some sort of arbitrary or digital tagging system. My suggestion to this (and sorry if its already been discussed because I haven't read all the comments) is if you are tagged by a player character you have a chance of discovering that, i.e. they have to get to a close proximity and depending on something (I know this game doesn't have stats) maybe "feel" them putting a homing beacon on you. Which you can play many different was to protect yourself.

    4. Missing_small

      Creator Robin Hiltner on November 13, 2012

      "You will always drop out at jump points and planets, where you will need to either make a jump to another system or land".

      Really? Please! This was the one most annoying things in Freelancer!
      It´s called autopilot and it can´t fly curves?
      Well, how about an on-the-fly autopilot adjustment for dropping out at the next jump point? It would give the possibility to land/dock the ship if needed, otherwise it´ll just continue all the way to it´s destination.

      I never saw Han Solo dropping out of hyperspace for making a course change.
      (On the other hand, if the RSI ships hyperdrive is more stable than his, I might put up with manually reactivating the autopilot)

    5. Missing_small

      Creator Grammarye on November 13, 2012

      I was really pleased to read this update, but there's a lot more detail I'd like to know about. Player death needs to be discussed, as well as how much of a real economy and mechanisms for that will exist (and how much player-driven economy the game will have). Economies don't tend to flourish without relative safety to back it up.

      I think my chief concern in reading this update was it skirts close to trying to emulate Eve Online, and as a veteran of that game, I think I can safely say we don't need another one. It's already a niche game attracting a certain type of player. I really don't want another game to degenerate into gate camping kill mail posting nonsense. I've both flown with and shot at pirates, and alas, there aren't many real pirates out there. Most people just want 20 friends to kill a helpless target. If Star Citizen can promote real piracy and ransoming, requiring some actual skill, all the better, but frankly if it's just an excuse for immature ganking, I would rather turn the so-called PvP off entirely. If it can promote the concept of people saying at the end 'good fight', because it was actually a worthwhile exercise shooting at each other, then it's of interest.

      Here's hoping my cynicism is unfounded, and the PvP options in the game are both fun and entirely optional, giving a good balance to all players of all walks of life.

    6. Missing_small

      Creator Shane on November 12, 2012

      This seems like it is going to be another debate between carebears and cyberbullies. I agree with what other posters have said: cyberbullies are *not* the elite. I want the game to offer strong PVE challenges. At the same time, offer the Pirates the same thing – strong PVE freighters that they can pillage and make a decent living off of. It works like this: If a PC character is flying a freighter through a dangerous neighborhood then they *will* get attacked. The PvP setting doesn’t control whether you are attacked … just whether that attack will be PC or NPC.

    7. Madbunny_sm.small

      Creator Fluffy Fiend of the Obsidian Order on November 12, 2012

      I'm liking everything I read in this update. By far the best update so far in my opinion. I was worried about some of the mmo aspects like PVP or the ability to play solo if you want, and it sounds like they've got some great mechanics planned to deal with these issues.

      My excitement for this game just skyrocketed. Time to up my pledge in the hopes it'll get done sooner...

    8. Missing_small

      Creator Deffiz on November 12, 2012

      All this talk about the Freelancer (game) FORCES me to comment on the ONE UNFORGIVABLE SIN Freelancer was guilty of: UNSKIPPABLE CUTSCENES. Yes, I'd like more than 3 end-game ships, the story was far too linear, and 3 secs worth of cutscene between systems doesn't sound that bad, but when you play the game for hours at a time, 3 secs per system is the final straw on top of all the "story-critical" cutscenes.
      Please, please, please: may any and all cutscenes be skippable and if there are lots of short cutscenes, let there be a setting for skipping them "en masse" - I'd rather look at a loading screen where I know my computer is working full-time on getting me forward.

    9. Bth_radio_beacon.small

      Creator Dave Maddaluno on November 12, 2012

      As far as the multi-user aspect of the bars and meeting areas of the planets, why not take a cue from Hiro Protagonist & the Red Sun? Make the other avatars "ghosts" -- ie: semi-transparent, and can't collide with other users. Just make the "important" players/NPCs fully rendered.

      That should ease up on the character rendering a bit, no?
      Just a thought.

    10. Image.small

      Creator Mark Smith on November 12, 2012

      A note for your developers, in case you haven't seen this:

      CCP has implemented a feature in EVE that makes it possible for 1500+ people to be in a fight in one solar system: time dilation. In essence they slow down the main game loop if it's taking longer than one second for ticks (their server "ticks" every second for game purposes), so they try to maintain the ticks at one-per-effective-second.

      The net result of this to the player is that everything is slower. If TiDi is at 50%, then your 8 second rate of fire is now 16 seconds. But that's true for everybody -- ships move slower, turn slower, warp slower, everything.

      The boon is that the server actually has enough time to process physics and data for thousands of players so that they each can successfully participate in the combat. Before TiDi, the servers would hit a certain threshold and then the behavior was unpredictable -- usually half the players (the ones who came in later) would never load the solar system, and the first half may or may not even be able to fire. Everybody is hitting refresh furiously (in essence) and sending MORE commands, exacerbating the problem...

      Something like TiDi could allow Star Citizen to increase the capacity of any particular shard. Better a slow but reliable experience than one that is at normal speed but crashes or drops clients constantly.

      At any rate, I look forward to the game. It sounds great.

    11. 11294.small

      Creator Dustin Carpenter on November 12, 2012

      Finally got a chance to read this, and wow, this sounds amazing. I know that no system trying to balance all of these issues is going to be perfect, but this sounds like it has a really good chance of being as close as one can get.

    12. Babyface.small

      Creator Marcel Schoen on November 12, 2012

      Funny... while Chris outlines how he intends to avoid griefing, some people already start doing it in this comments section... :-)

      People, give them a chance to get the game out, and then judge it on what it actually is. Can't you be happy with the mere fact that a game of this scale will (a) provide online multiplayer at all, (b) even with a persistent world and (c) allow for some custom tailored gaming style?

    13. Missing_small

      Creator Mark on November 12, 2012

      @Garry Denney

      At no point did chris say you are forced to PVP, you are put into an instance when you get within range of the other guys if you actually cross paths even. If you do its a seamless process to you, you would be flying along and just come across a guy, from which you could escape. Nowhere did chris say that the battle instance is going to fly you TO an enemy by itself or force you to do anything.

      Infact he gave the option of a slider to tweak the amount of PVP, meaning you'd still have battle instances just PVE mostly.

      What is griefing about that?

    14. Arnoidrite.small

      Creator ☜☆RSF☆☞ on November 12, 2012

      I think this sounds pretty good.

    15. Missing_small

      Creator Mark on November 12, 2012

      Could people please just actually fully read the update and actually understand it before moaning about X Y and Z. You'll probably find its answered or at least inferred with logic/common sense. Fed up of moaning with no valid reason due to the answer actually being present in the update. Constructive criticism people, if you have better ideas share them along with why its better!

    16. Avatar.small

      Creator Gary Denney on November 12, 2012

      Sigh...

      I hope I'm wrong. But from the sound of this update, I don't think I am.

    17. Avatar.small

      Creator Gary Denney on November 12, 2012

      Mirved: Or a variety of other games that are able to be interactive without catering to griefers. I was hoping this was going to be one of those, but it sounds more like it'll be EVE II. I hope I

    18. Missing_small

      Creator Mirved on November 12, 2012

      I think its stupid anyway to think that PVP with others can only result in "griefing". If you where playing PVE and NPC pirates would attack you then somehow it would'nt be griefing? If you dont want to play with other people then dont play the online game.

      Its stupid for a living galaxy where you have real infleunce in the markets and economy to have a no risk from other players option.

    19. Missing_small

      Creator Mirved on November 12, 2012

      Gary Denney: there is a game for you where you only get challanged by the game. Its called Offline single player or your own private server.

    20. Avatar.small

      Creator Gary Denney on November 12, 2012

      Aaron: Indeed I read it. Did you? It speaks of making sure that the best rewards are only available if you do PVP. It even speaks of going from PVE to PVP as "taking off the training wheels". Seems a pretty clear statement that they aren't planning on making the PVE portion of the game particularly challenging, instead leaving other players to provide that challenge instead. Which leaves those of us that have no interest in dealing with griefers out in the cold.

      I don't want a game that has no challenges. I want a game where the challenges come from the game, rather than from other players. Not being interested in dealing with griefers doesn't mean I want an easy game. It just means that I don't have any interest in dealing with griefers.

    21. Missing_small

      Creator Sendokami on November 12, 2012

      @Soon
      Thats why I said it should be harder to pirate in a lawed zone, have police flying around ready to jump to any distress signals. But just flat out not being allowed to attack others in an area of space does not sit well with me and cracks the immersion. Have deterrents to make it harder but do not flat out not let us.

      And as for the slider it just needs to be cleared up, I will not assume anything I want them to tell us how it will work so we can provide feed back on it. If it works the way to described it vs the way I described it it still presents problems. Dedicated traders for corporations or clans can still have it set to low to protect their goods from pirates. The system I described that raises the PvP level based on the value of goods would work well to stop this. and if you are worried about new players if they are carrying expensive cargo without knowing what they are doing or where they need to go to sell it then they deserve to be attacked by pirates. New players will most likely not be moving valuable cargo and would be protected but dedicated traders who are trying to abuse the system would not.

    22. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Shane Cunningham on November 12, 2012

      Sounds pretty go to me. Hope it works well in practice.

    23. Frenship_small.small

      Creator Lucian Fitzgerald on November 11, 2012

      I just answered my own question. Shouldn't have TL;DR'd. You can play completely single player of Co-op as well as MMO style it seems.

      This looks pretty rad.

    24. Frenship_small.small

      Creator Lucian Fitzgerald on November 11, 2012

      Will there be single-player open world or will it be an MMO? I want an experience that is completely PvE. Either that or I don't want to be bothered by anyone that isn't on my friends list. Is that possible, or is this going to be an MMO?

    25. Jamie.small

      Creator Corrodias on November 11, 2012

      To clarify, that's aimed at Gary. The update talks about PvE encounters, PvP balancing, and an explicit intent to avoid griefing. If the system does not achieve those goals at first despite being designed that way, it will be altered to do so.

    26. Jamie.small

      Creator Corrodias on November 11, 2012

      Did you... even read this update?

    27. Avatar.small

      Creator Gary Denney on November 11, 2012

      Disappointing update. Sounds like they are planning on keeping with the lazy "PVP is the only danger" idea, leaving people who prefer to be challenged by PVE out in the cold. Because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who is interested in risking challenging areas of space, while also having no interest in that challenge coming from other players.

      At least they have made their intent to cater to the griefers very clear, so that those of us that are uninterested in that can make an informed decision as to how much (if any) we're willing to invest in such a game. Too bad, it looked like it could have been an awesome game.

    28. Missing_small

      Creator Alexander G Carroll on November 11, 2012

      @Aaron Ritter
      Simply setting your PVP preference high does not guarantee that you will see such events, according to this article.
      "...puts you in one if one already exists at the encounter point, and that instance has room for new players."
      Unless we assume that the "room" available in each instance is quite large, the likelyhood of you seeing such an event, even with PVP set, may not be very great (particularly in busy areas). You used the words, "unless they are so full", which I take to mean that you believe that the room available will be large enough to accommodate everyone nearby most of the time. I hope you're right - if you are, that would alleviate my fears. The way this article reads, however, makes it sound like this type of filtering will be commonplace.

    29. Jamie.small

      Creator Corrodias on November 11, 2012

      @ Jason Gillman
      I do not see how those two goals are incompatible. Bonuses for cooperation are entirely irrelevant to a one-on-one PvP situation.

      @ Alexander G Carroll
      If you want to see PvP encounters, then tell the game that you want to see them, and you will, unless they're so full that they can't accommodate you. Indeed you are NOT "only ever shown those events that involve your friends", according to this update.

    30. Missing_small

      Creator Jason Gillman on November 11, 2012

      Please ignore everything Ben Thomson says. If my superior armed mining ship wants that asteroid, I should be able to blow up your ship to get it. Carebear design needs to die.

    31. Mrminecraft001.small

      Creator Steviedoors on November 11, 2012

      Genius. The amount of detail put into designing this system is extremely promising. Sounds a lot better than most MMOs.

    32. Blackmage.small

      Creator Ben Thomson on November 11, 2012

      Please, please follow the trend in having the systems in place to make people WANT to play with others. Back with EQ etc, the term "kill stealing" came about. The modern game needs to do away with this by giving you bonuses for assisting other people. Games like Rift and Guild Wars 2 has got most of this in place but even so there is still room for improvement. Allow resources to be mined / collected by everyone. Allow loot to be dropped for everyone etc. Have the regions of space scale in rewards / difficulty the more people are present. You want the community to be open and inclusive - you want to reward the casual passerby when they stop to assist a random stranger against pirates. The modern game has evolved beyond the isolationist qualities of their predecessors.

    33. Missing_small

      Creator Alexander G Carroll on November 11, 2012

      I must be reading this differently. This sounds to me like a TERRIBLE idea - talk about destroying immersion!
      What this means is that you will never see most of what is going on in the universe - only those things that the server decides you "should" see. If there is a battle raging around you, but it doesn't involve anyone you know, and you're not set to PVP, you will see nothing. If you're only ever shown those events that involve your friends / POIs, the dynamic nature of sharing the gamespace with other players is greatly diminished. If someone right near me is getting waylaid by a gang of PVP pirates, I want to know about it, even if I don't know them. Maybe I'll help them out! Or not. But either way, seeing what's going on around you is an important part of making the game world feel alive.
      This sounds like it's still in the conceptual planning stage, and not really well thought-out, so I hope that as they start working out the details, this approach will be changed drastically, or scrapped altogether.

    34. Missing_small

      Creator giant_snark on November 11, 2012

      @Michbert Yeah, tweaking the risk/reward issues of the PvP slider will be an important part of the game balancing. But since Chris wants so many various roles (including piracy) to be viable, I trust that he'll tweak that balance until it works. What we don't want is everyone gaming the PvP slider to gain advantages, rather than just using it (and their choice of where to go) to tailor their gameplay experience.

    35. Missing_small

      Creator Justin on November 11, 2012

      I Just had a NERDGASIM...lol

    36. Valve%20avatar%20-%20e.small

      Creator Peter de Castro on November 11, 2012

      Man, you actually have me genuinely excited about multiplayer. I generally avoid PvP and even online coop unless I'm playing solely with people I know, but this sounds fantastic, like a perfect mix of all that I loved about Freelancer and some of the most intriguing bits (to me) of Eve.

      I really hope you can pull all this off...it certainly sounds like you're capable and have a solid plan!

    37. Yiya100n.small

      Creator Michbert on November 11, 2012

      @Watchdog
      That's exactly what I understood as well. Obviously, the challenge will be to balance it.

      If the NPC ships you will normally encounter are easier to defeat than other Players, than choosing PvE over PvP would just be rational for a trader.

      So given that thought one could easily encourage traders (or players in general) to choose PvP, if on makes the PvE encounters usally harder. But of course that would lead to frustrate beginners who just prefer PvE, also it is highly likely that experienced players would find ways to exploit the AI behavior of NPCs to make these battles easier. Therefore it would make sense to not only base the difficulties of these PvE encounters on the distance from the safer systems but also some how on your "implicit skill". So if you can easily deal with all the PvE encounters for a longer time, the system will increase their difficulty, eventually push you to choose PvP over PvE to be more profitable. (Of course there should be reasonable upper bounds for people still preferring PvE for other reasons, and if there are no players around you would probably still have to deal with the NPCs)

      I must say I really like the idea of having this mixed system, that still allows a single player to change his gameplay experience in on or the other direction and also allows the developer easier to balance things, because it ultimately could encourage people to (gradually) join the multiplayer PvP experience without the feeling of having no other choice (other than not playing (or ever leaving safe space) of course)

      Naturally PvP will be more random and therefore involves more risk, while PvE will be more predictable. Some people like things to be more predictable, but probably won't complain if they would have it a bit (predictably) harder. Most of us though are probably going to try out high PvP settings if it promises to be more rewarding.

      While this system might work perfectly for random encounters, I am also wondering about how it could work for semi-random encounters. Imagine you are in some planet's orbit and by chance you meet someone, who defeated you some time ago and you want to have your revanche. Since you can't attack him there for no reason (without being caught by the local authorities) you may decide to follow him or her to maybe get your chance in less secured space. How will the system handle this case? Obviously it wouldn't be cool if he could instantly change his settings to PvE to avoid being attacked, so there must be some restriction to changing the setting. Also there is a problem with immersion, how would one prevent you following a player and attack him in less secure space if his settings are on PvE? Just preventing you from getting in a battle instance with him would be lame. One solution could be of course that you can't track people in outer space so it would look to you that he isn't there although technically being close by, though not being able to see what's going on around you would be rather limiting.
      I guess this is not an easy to solve game design problem...

    38. Img_20110407_111732.small

      Creator Jason Hsu on November 11, 2012

      "You will always drop out at jump points and planets, where you will need to either make a jump to another system or land."

      So it sounds to me like basically these events will happen as random instances between jump points, and the movement between jump points is handled like a loading screen rather than a Freelancer-style fast travel system. I hope that's not the case. One of the great things about Freelancer was the feeling you could possibly do a lot of travel without loading screens.

    39. Missing_small

      Creator Niels Christian Selchau-Mark on November 11, 2012

      Raised: $3,260,874 - please submit the $3,250,000 update :-)

    40. Missing_small

      Creator giant_snark on November 11, 2012

      @Starkillr Chris didn't say anything at all about turning PvP off completely. Read the update again if you think you'll have this ability.

    41. Missing_small

      Creator giant_snark on November 11, 2012

      @Tyler I don't think so. That would destroy the possibility of legitimate PvP bounty hunting, which is one of the best anti-"griefer" mechanisms in the game.

    42. Missing_small

      Creator David Hackett on November 11, 2012

      How will player death be handled? You can't just lose everything (your ship, your player, your crew, your weapons and modifications) every time you get unlucky and happen to lose a battle, or for that matter if your player gets killed while being boarded or boarding.

    43. 621220_10152211410880005_1416264481_o_(1).small

      Creator Evistarator ~Persultassent Mens Sana~ on November 11, 2012

      @Watchdog

      I believe your correct yes

    44. Untitled-1.small

      Creator Vice Admiral Francis on November 11, 2012

      ''Eve on Line''

      I lol'd

    45. Avatar.small

      Creator Watchdog on November 11, 2012

      As far as I understand it, I won't be able to avoid the encounters at all, the slider will only allow me to adjust the chance of being placed in the same instance with players or NPC's.

      This means my trade run from planet A to planet B won't be 100% safe no matters where I put the slider, I just may express my preference - PC or NPC ships. The Galaxy server decides whether I meet a derelict alien station, a fellow trader (maybe going the same way) or a bunch of pirates.

      The lower the security in a system, the higher the chance of a potentially hostile encounter and the higher the chance of that hostile encounter being other PC ships and the lower the influence of the PvP slider.

      Do I understand it correctly?

    46. Missing_small

      Creator Tyler on November 11, 2012

      Probably implied, but not specified directly: Must be able to *deny* a POI tag being placed on you or else the griefers will just use this capability to track targets and thank CIGC for making their harassment easier.

    47. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Luke Keppler on November 11, 2012

      What I heard:

      blah blah blah Ultima Online blah blah blah blah Demon's Souls blah blah co-op blah blah

    48. Babyface.small

      Creator Marcel Schoen on November 11, 2012

      I'm glad you're also allowing for more single-player centered gaming. The one thing that put me sometimes off in Demon's Souls was to get invaded when I was waiting for help to defeat a boss... I just happen to be a very helpful and cooperative person (I play games like Uncharted online always in coop only); in PvP, when I keep losing, I get frustrated, and when I keep smashing my opponents, I actually pity them. But I usually don't enjoy it. It's just not for me, so what I'm reading here is great news. Especially since there are still pure PvP areas available for all those notorious cutthroats out there...

    49. Main-thumb-3217424-200-4dxj9jngyleou3jshrofaxh7wq9eptxl_2_.small

      Creator Wesha on November 11, 2012

      1) Could you please allow seamless switch between Squadron 42 Offline and Squadron 42 Online modes? (clearly, NOT mid-battle, of course)
      2) If there's no slots for a POI at the bar, the bartender could tell you to go look for your POI in another bar (come on, IRL bars have limited seating too).

34,397
Backers
$2,134,374
pledged of $500,000 goal
0
seconds to go
  • Pledge $5 or more
    You selected

    2699 backers

    THE KICKSTARTER: The Electro Skin Hull Enhancement for existing Roberts Space Industries ship owners. Can switch hull appearance at a flick of a switch. Includes special skin to show that you've backed twice.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $10 or more
    You selected

    163 backers

    CIVILIAN: Be part of the creation of the game. Every pledger reinforces that Space Sims are not dead and nor are PC Gamers!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $30 or more
    You selected

    5000 backers All gone!

    SCOUT: A digital copy of the finished game for your PC with your RSI Aurora spaceship ready to fly + 1,000 Galatic Credits + Exclusive access to the Beta + White Citizens Card (physical reward)

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $30 or more
    You selected

    5002 backers All gone!

    DIGITAL SCOUT: A digital copy of the finished game for your PC with your RSI Aurora spaceship ready to fly + 1,000 Galatic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha + Beta (digital tier, no physical rewards)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $35 or more
    You selected

    3000 backers All gone!

    DIGITAL SCOUT: A digital copy of the finished game for your PC with your RSI Aurora spaceship ready to fly + 1,000 Galatic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha + Beta (digital tier, no physical rewards)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $37 or more
    You selected

    4966 backers Limited (34 left of 5000)

    DIGITAL SCOUT: A digital copy of the finished game for your PC with your RSI Aurora spaceship ready to fly + 1,000 Galatic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha + Beta (digital tier, no physical rewards)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $40 or more
    You selected

    2010 backers

    MERCENARY: A digital copy of the finished game for your PC with your RSI Aurora spaceship ready to fly + 1,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + White Citizen's Card (physical reward)

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $60 or more
    You selected

    3541 backers

    BOUNTY HUNTER: A digital copy of the finished game for your PC with your Origin 300i spaceship ready to fly + 2,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + Digital copy of game soundtrack + Digital copy of the map for the game universe + Digital 42-page Star Citizens manual + Green Citizen's Card (Physical reward)

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $60 or more
    You selected

    2278 backers

    DIGITAL BOUNTY HUNTER: A digital copy of the finished game for your PC with your Origin 300i spaceship ready to fly + 2,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + Digital copy of game soundtrack + Digital copy of the map for the game universe + Digital 42-page Star Citizens manual (digital tier, no physical rewards)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $60 or more
    You selected

    627 backers

    DOUBLE DIGITAL SCOUT: Two digital copies of the finished game and two of everything from the 'Digital Scout' tier. Share with a friend!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $110 or more
    You selected

    220 backers

    Title: PIRATE: A digital copy of the finished game for your PC with your Drake Cutlass spaceship ready to fly + 2,000 Galactic Credits + Tractor Beam + Docking Collar + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + Digital copy of game soundtrack + Digital copy of the map for the game universe + Digital 42-page Star Citizens manual (digital tier, no physical rewards)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $110 or more
    You selected

    259 backers

    DIGITAL FREELANCER: The finished game for your PC with your MISC Freelancer ready to fly (High-end ship focused more for trade and exploration) + 5,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + digital copy of game soundtrack + full color digital map of the game universe + digital copy of Engineering Manual for modders

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $110 or more
    You selected

    164 backers

    DIGITAL COLONEL: The finished game for your PC with your Anvil Aerospace Hornet ready to fly (High-end ship focused towards dogfighting/combat) + 5,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + digital copy of game soundtrack + full color digital map of the game universe + digital copy of Squadron 42 manual

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $120 or more
    You selected

    82 backers

    QUAD DIGITAL SCOUT: Four digital copies of the finished game and four of everything from the 'Digital Scout' tier. Share with your friends!

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $125 or more
    You selected

    1041 backers

    COLONEL: The finished game for your PC with your Anvil Aerospace Hornet ready to fly (High-end ship focused towards dogfighting/combat) + 5,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + Spaceship shaped USB stick with the game and all digital elements + CD of game soundtrack + Fold-up glossy full color map of the game universe + Hardcover copy of Star Citizen manual + Bronze Citizens Card

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $125 or more
    You selected

    1453 backers

    FREELANCER: The finished game for your PC with your MISC Freelancer ready to fly (High-end ship focused more for trade and exploration) + 5,000 Galatic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + Spaceship shaped USB stick with the game and all digital elements + CD of game soundtrack + Fold-up glossy full color map of the game universe + Hardcover copy of Star Citizen manual + Bronze Citizens Card

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $250 or more
    You selected

    1509 backers

    REAR ADMIRAL: Finished game for your PC with your top-of-the-line RSI Constellation spaceship ready to fly + 10,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + Spaceship shaped USB stick with the game and all digital elements + CD of game soundtrack + Fold-up glossy full color map of the game universe + Set of 5 Ship blueprints + 3-inch physical model of your in-game ship + Hardcover copy of 'The Making of Star Citizen' including loads of behind the scenes images and info, prelim concept art, development stories + Silver Citizens Card

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $500 or more
    You selected

    115 backers Limited (885 left of 1000)

    VICE ADMIRAL: Finished game for your PC with your top-of-the-line RSI Constellation spaceship ready to fly + 15,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + Spaceship shaped USB stick with the game and all digital elements + CD of game soundtrack + Fold-up glossy full color map of the game universe + Set of 5 Ship blueprints + 4-inch physical model of your in-game ship + Hardcover copy of 'The Making of Star Citizen' including loads of behind the scenes images and info, prelim concept art, development stories + Gold Citizens Card

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    22 backers Limited (28 left of 50)

    HIGH ADMIRAL: Finished game for your PC with your top-of-the-line RSI Constellation spaceship ready to fly + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + 20,000 Galactic Credits + Spaceship shaped USB stick with the game and all digital elements + CD of game soundtrack + Fold-up glossy full color map of the game universe + Set of 5 Ship blueprints + 6-inch physical model of your in-game ship + Hardcover copy of 'The Making of Star Citizen' including loads of behind the scenes images and info, prelim concept art, development stories + 30min video conference with Chris Roberts to ask him all the questions you like + Platinum Citizens Card

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $2,500 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    GRAND ADMIRAL: Finished game for your PC with all five pledge ships ready to fly + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + 20,000 Galactic Credits + Spaceship shaped USB stick with the game and all digital elements + CD of game soundtrack + Fold-up glossy full color map of the game universe + Set of 5 Ship blueprints + 6-inch physical model of your in-game ship + Hardcover copy of 'The Making of Star Citizen' including loads of behind the scenes images and info, prelim concept art, development stories + Hardback bound 42-page Engineering Manual for Modders+ Hardback bound 42-page Squadron 42 Manual + 60min video conference with Chris Roberts to ask him all the questions you like + Platinum Citizens Card

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $5,000 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (19 left of 20)

    SPACE MARSHALL: The finished game for your PC with your top of the line RSI Constellation spaceship ready to fly + 20,000 Galactic Credits + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + Spaceship shaped USB stick of game and all digital elements + CD of game soundtrack + Fold up glossy full color map of the game universe + Set of 5 Ship Blueprints + 8-inch painted model of your in-game ship + Hardcover copy of 'The Making of Star Citizen' including loads of behind the scenes images and info, prelim concept art, development stories + Spend half a day with Chris Roberts and get into the details of the development + Black Citizens Card

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $10,000 or more
    You selected

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    Title: WING COMMANDER: The finished game for your PC with your top of the line RSI Constellation spaceship ready to fly + 20,000 Galactic Credits + Custom skin for your RSI Constellation Spaceship + Name your spaceship (after you if you want!) + Exclusive access to the Alpha and Beta + 1 Million Mile High Club Ownership - Invite your guests to your private club in the game + Spaceship shaped USB stick of game and all digital elements + CD of game soundtrack + Fold up glossy full color map of the game universe + Set of 5 Ship Blueprints + 10-inch painted model of your in-game ship + Hardcover copy of 'The Making of Star Citizen' including loads of behind the scenes images and info, prelim concept art, development stories + Hang for a day with Chris Roberts and key peeps on the dev team + Titanium Citizens Card

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (32 days)