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

Update #31

Unlocked: Cathcart System

Good work... looks like the news about the Constellation has propelled us to the next unlock in record time. Next up at $3.75M is an all-new ship... so check back soon!

Cathcart System

Ownership: Lawless (Pirate)
Planets: 0
Planetary Rotation: n/a
Import: Refuse
Export: Salvage
Crime Status: High
Black Market: Weapons
UEE Strategic Value: Purple

Cathcart is widely recognized as a 'pirate system,' and its reputation in the UEE expends little treasure trying to downplay. At heart, Cathcart is a galactic junkyard with no natural planets and no particular redeeming qualities. It's been humanity's prime dumping ground for radioactive debris, failed starship hulls and out-of-date space technology for generations. The only enforced rule: leave the route between jump-points clear at all time.

The inhabitants of Cathcart have constructed makeshift environments by lashing together wrecked ships, orbital platforms and anything else that can be re-pressurized. It's an interesting environment that has spawned a truly unique subculture... but the huge population of pirates, smugglers, mercenaries and outright killers means that anthropologists won't be documenting it any time soon.

Cathcart's largest "world" is called Spider, a sprawling mass of abandoned UEE warships spiraling in ever-increasing mated tendrils around an ancient colony ship's massive hull. Visitors are encouraged to keep their suits on during their stay, as the shoddy construction of the inhabited areas often gives out. Still, it's a great place to pick up a bargain if you aren't picky about what century your ship upgrades came from.

Next, at $3.8 million: "Known to the Xi’An as a ProductionSystem: every planet has been classified as a work zone."


Update #30

Asteroid Bases Unlocked!

Congratulations, Kickstarter, your dedication has unlocked an additional base type in Star Citizen: the hidden smuggler's asteroid. (Technically, we're still about $500 short... but it's not your fault that Amazon is down, so we've decided to release this goal anyway.)

The asteroid bases will take on two forms: the first is active smugglers bases with trading and the seediest bars in the galaxy offering some of the most dangerous--and lucrative--missions outside the law. The second is secret supply depots that you can discover, raid and contest yourself. Their locations won't be on any map, their location the stuff of legend and hearsay. You'll learn about them through hearsay at seedy mining bars or tireless exploratory scanning of asteroid bases or even by outfitting your ship o stealthily follow successful smugglers. There you' may find anything from a thriving smuggler community, an intergalactic bazar trading black market goods at great prices… or an abandoned cache of weapons and upgrades thought hidden in deep space by their previous owners. And once discovered, the abandoned worldlets could make for an excellent hidden squadron base… as long as no one reveals their location or follows you home! 

At the $1.5 million level you're going to unlock two additional flyable ship types which won't be available through the main site's progression. Origin M50 interceptor and the Drake Interplanetary Caterpillar armored transport (for salvage and... piracy.) We'll provide specifications for the M50 at $1.375M and the Caterpillar at $1.5M. Meanwhile, at the main site we're getting close to $3.7 million and another star system and then a new ship at $3.75M. Your contributions through Kickstarter will work towards both goals!


Update #29

Ellis System & Thursday Updates

$3.6 million, and the systems are unlocking faster than ever! You'll get another one at $3.7M and then a new ship added to the game at $3.75M. Keep up the pledges!

Ellis System

Ownership: UEE (corporate)

Planets: 13

Planetary Rotation: Ellis IV (200 SED), Ellis IX (8,922 SED)

Import: Mechanical Goods, Luxury

Export: Fuel

Crime Status: Medium (Gambling)

Black Market: None

UEE Strategic Value: Purple

Description: Ellis is most famously home of the Murray Cup, the jewel in in-system star racing's triple crown. The Ellis route runs through the densely packed inner worlds, through the twin asteroid belts and stops at one of Ellis VIII's Lagrange points. A series of thousands of orbital monitoring buoys has been deployed throughout the system to monitor and broadcast race progress. During the off-season, aspiring racers and engine customization fans are allowed to run the track themselves for a small fee.

Ellis IV (Seahorse) is an entirely ordinary green-band planet save for an unusually high gravity for a settled world: over twice Earth standard. As such, Ellisians tend to be stocky and muscular and the planet's fauna takes on a variety of interesting shapes (the best example being the aptly named flatcats.) Seahorse boasts a shining A+3 colonization rating from UEE Colonization Command.

Ellis IX (Walleye) is a gas giant which has been patterned for use as a refueling world. Large freighters and warships form visually impressive queues to take on much needed fuel, and a service industry has formed for long-haul transport crews making layovers in the system during the lengthy Earth-Pinecone run. Nearby refineries dot the planet's skyline and cheaply convert the raw fuel for mass export.

Next, at $3.7 million: "Pirate System. Galactic Junkyard. One sun, there for light and a massive garbage disposal. "

Citizens Card

Here's the gold "Vice Admiral" Citizens Card, which you can get by pledging $500 or more to the project. How cool would it be to have one of these in your wallet?

Full Size

Account Issues

Thanks to your incredible patience we believe we have every known "backup" account linked. If you're still having trouble with an account or an upgrade not showing in your My Account area, please contact Sandi and she will sort everything out!

Facebook

And again thanks to your support after our last post, we've crossed the "10,000 likes" barrier with the Facebook page. So... mission control says: go for 15,000!


Update #28

Meet Dave Haddock

Today you're going to meet the man behind much of Star Citizen's fictional world and the author of the fan-favorite Time Capsule and Spectrum Dispatch posts, Dave Haddock! We've asked him to answer a few introductory questions:

What do you do for Cloud Imperium?

So far I've helped work out the history for the game universe which ultimately made its way into the Time Capsules. After Chris unveiled the demo at GDC in October, I switched over to the Spectrum Dispatches and started writing the Cal Mason, Kid Crimson, and the News Dispatch stories.

Is this your first game project? What else have you worked on?

This is my first game project as a writer. When I first moved to LA I got a job as a QA Localization Tester at Activision where I worked on Call of Duty: United Offensive, True Crime, and the Doom 3 expansion. Since it was a night-shift job, I was able to start interning for Ascendant Pictures during the day.

What are your inspirations in creating the Star Citizen world?

There are quite a few. When Chris and I first began discussing the universe of Star Citizen, there was a lot of talk about taking elements from Ancient Rome so I went back to reread old textbooks about that period as well as talks about the classics (Star Wars, Star Trek, Ringworld, Foundation, etc.) I've always been a fan of Joss Whedon so naturally I rewatched Firefly a bunch which hardly counts as 'work.' With Cassandra's Tears, I went to the Mystery and Imagination Bookshop in Glendale and picked up old copies of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy anthology magazines to try and capture that style used in the 1950's Flash Gordon-esque type of story. While Kid Crimson was naturally more of a Dashiell Hammett flavor. But I've actually drawn the most inspiration from music. Generally when I start writing something, I'll try to collate any songs that put my head in that world or capture a scene or emotion. So my Star Citizen playlist is a variety of songs from all sorts of genres, from John Murphy's score for Sunshine to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' Social Network score to Massive Attack to a Sharon Van Etten song. Anything that sparks the brain to the material.

Are you a gamer? If so, what are you playing now?

I grew up as a gamer. My family always seemed to have the 'other systems' though. We didn't have Atari, we had Intellivision. We didn't have a Commodore 64, we got an Epson Equity II PC. So until PC really caught on, we never really had the popular games in the house. I kept playing games through high school but fell off a bit after college as I was broke and couldn't afford the systems. Over the past couple years, I started playing again but have definitely slowed down. Recently, I've been watching my roommate work his way through Skyrim which has been fun. Mass Effect 2 was the last game I played through. That was only a couple months ago so I jumped on that bandwagon relatively late.

What are you most looking forward to seeing in the finished game?

There's a story-point that I won't mention that I'm really looking forward to, mostly because I'm curious to see how the players react to it. But as far as ones I can discuss, while I would love to see sprawling space combat, I keep coming back to a personal moment. I'd love to be on the drift out alone through a nebula. I'd love to just bask in the beauty and stillness. I think if we can capture that feeling of awe, that would be something.


Update #27

$3.5 Million Unlock!

$3.5 million - now that's an accomplishment! We're now firmly the second most successful video game crowd funding project… can we reach the $4.2 million needed to take the top spot? I think so! The $3.5 million level scores three major unlocks: the 45th star system (Orion), cockpit customization (bobble heads, dinosaurs and more!) and the ship-to-ship boarding mechanic!

What's next? The additional star system every $100k has been such a success that we're continuing it to $4 million… so you have a chance to unlock five more systems (and the final system is, we promise, a big deal!) There will be an additional ship (plus description) unlocked at $3.75 million. Then the $4 million goal is a big one! Hitting it will add free professional mod tools for players, monthly development team webcasts. Squadron 42 will get a richer storyline and more branching missions and Star Citizen will add another ship (to be revealed!) and ten additional systems (for a total of 50.) We'll also expand the boarding mechanic, outlined below. So let's get there before this campaign ends: the team wants to add these elements as much as you want to see them!

And be sure to check back in the very near future for the first pieces of pledge ship art; we're making the final preparations now!

Orion System

Full Size

Ownership: Abandoned

Planets: 8

Planetary Rotation (Orion III): 466 days

Imports: None

Exports: None

UEE Strategic Value Rank: Red

Description: The colony on Orion III (Armitage) began life in a celebrated fashion; it was the end goal of Project Farstar, a UEE initiative aimed at expanding mankind's reach by establishing increasingly distant colonies. To this day it remains the single farthest human world ever colonized. Earth's most distant colony evolved peacefully for six years... until the first attack.

Armitage was, it would later be established, an occasional Vanduul feeding world. Passing clans had marked the planet as a source of fresh livestock and would occasionally return for slaughter. The violent first contact incident occured in the system and it was followed almost immediately by raids against the colony. It isn't clear whether the Vanduul were angered by the human presence in "their" system or if they were simply eager for new victims… but raids began immediately and only increased in frequency and ferocity. Within six months, Orion had been raided fifteen times; casualties among the colonists were atrocious.

The UEE was faced with a difficult decision: deploying the Navy to such a distant star would have been difficult and expensive without an established supply chain. Ultimately, Orion was abandoned as a formal human colony, with refugees abandoning their homes and possessions for a long transport ride back to the Empire.

Today, Orion III is a destroyed world. Shattered human settlements and the remains of occasional Vanduul encampments remain on the surface, but it has been largely depopulated and defoliated. The planet's surface, once largely inhabitable plains, is now pockmarked with impact craters and antimatter bombardment scorching.

There are few reasons to visit Orion today; the system is still in the distant reaches of space and offers no export... thrill seekers and anyone hoping to test their mettle against the Vanduul only.

Next, at $3.6 million: "Gas giant, used as a refueling planet. Floating settlements. Home of the Murray Cup, a high-speed racing competition."

Boarding Information

As promised, we'd like to share the internal concept for ship-to-ship docking and boarding concept. Please note that this is the very early pitch--some details may change as we balance the game and build out/expand the mechanic!

Boarding Mechanics

The goal is to develop a system where player-to-player boarding is an occasional reward rather than something that becomes the focus of the game; we’re not building Grand Theft Starship. As such, we need a high cost of entry: players must dedicate both significant resources and skill to be able to put themselves in a position to board in the first place.

There are two major limitations on docking: 1) the target ship must be COMPLETELY disabled before it can be boarder and 2) docking requires the attacking player to dedicate credits and slots to several gate technologies, including a docking collar and a tractor beam.

Disabling a target ship is a much more difficult task than it was in Wing Commander, where leech weapons would simply wear down the target. In Star Citizen, the player needs to knock down the enemy ships’ shields and then (without causing a hull breach) pick off the individual thrusters. This is the skill barrier: if you can’t shoot well enough to take apart a ship piece by piece then you can’t board an enemy ship.

Tractor Beams are a dangerous technology. They take up a standard gun slot and are designed for collecting material significantly less massive than their host ship (escaped pilots, cargo pallets, bobbleheads, etc.) As such, there’s a constant danger of overloading when using them to dock, especially with cheaper models. Additionally, they require that the target ship be ABSOLUTELY DISABLED – firing a tractor beam at a ship that still has functional thrusters will overload it and severely damage the attacker.

A docking collar is needed to attach ships together. As with tractor beams, different levels are available which will allow connections to different sizes of ships; boarding something large like a carrier is much easier than something your own size, like a Constellation (disabling another Constellation's thrusters will require a crack shot, to say the least, and a much more accurate collar.) If the game hits the $4 million mark, collarless external ship combat will be added with pilots in pressure suits wearing EMUs able to battle it out in space; explosive charges would be used to open the targeted ship's airlock.

The standard VDU will not identify whether or not a ship is completely disabled; it will have a gut feel/skill element to it. Higher software upgrades will provide more in-depth scans of a target that will give you a better assurance that no maneuvering remains in place… for a price.

Also note that docking mechanics do NOT apply to ships with a single crewman or certain smaller bombers; the general rule is that if there’s not room to walk around then only the salvage mechanic can apply to it. You need a crewed ship to board in the first place and you can only board crewed ships which are larger than your own (in crew size.)

Combat

Once a ship has successfully tractored in a target vessel, it will dock at a pre-determined location on the hull (ie, you will always dock at one of the same doors on the Constellation.) There will be a 30-second period where the attacking player cuts open the target’s door. The defender can use that time to set up to fire back. Think an interactive recreation of the opening scene of Star Wars, with the Rebels nervously waiting to defend the corvette from Stormtroopers.

Players will have access to a variety of upgrades to help/hinder boarding operations. Armored space suits, hand scanners, explosives, more powerful (or functionally different) weapons and so on will be available to players on both sides of the equations.

Defending players will have upgrade options that can help put the battle in their favor: a self destruct process, a dead man’s switch, automated miniguns they can position in the cockpit and so on. It’s going to be a challenge to get onboard a targeted ship successfully, one that you’ll need to work with your friends to accomplish.

Finally, the cost to recover a boarded ship will ultimately be high. Since you’ve disabled and otherwise crippled it in battle (and cut into the hull to board) you must conduct repairs in deep space if you wish to keep the hull rather than simply looting it… during which the ship is in danger of being boarded by a third party. Boarding parties should plan to carry an advance repair bot with them or to suffer the difficulty of flying in a depressurized cockpit (limited life support time, less responsive controls.) Finally, only one ship can be flown at once: you will need to work with a partner if you wish to keep a boarded ship and your own craft.

$4.0 million Level Additions

  • Melee & Heavy Weapons
  • Zero-gravity Simulation
  • Suit HUD Options
  • Increased Customization
  • Outside-the-ship combat (magnetic boots on a hull; think Moonraker)

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