Cloud Imperium has announced that Star Citizen Alpha 3.8 – New Frontiers is now available to all backers. According to the team, Alpha 3.8 is a massive update to the Star Citizen Universe with additions spanning technology, progression and content.
Alpha 3.8 also debuts the first iteration of “Server-side Object Container Streaming” (SOCS) technology that automatically divides the game universe into “Object Containers” that the game’s servers load based on player activity, rather than loading the entire massive universe. SOCS will not only improve performance on the server by dynamically loading only what the server needs at that given moment. Moreover, they will enable the game to contain and present exponentially more content to players as it is only updating what it needs to.
Alpha 3.8 also adds the icy planet microTech, multiple missions designed for cooperative group play and more. On the content side, 3.8 literally pulls no punches, with the addition of melee combat to Star Citizen. Players can equip melee weapons and use their fists for stealth takedowns, or engage in melee combat using multiple attacks, dodges and blocks. Players can also enjoy a plethora of new missions, including several designed specifically for player groups.
Finally, Alpha 3.8 adds tremendous detail and visual fidelity to every planet and moon in Star Citizen via new Procedural Planet Technology, called Planet Tech v4, and also adds weather effects like snow, sand and wind storms that aren’t just for show, but affect atmospheric flight. With the new Procedural Planet tech, Star Citizen developers were able to revise and output all planetary bodies in just two months – work that previously took two full years.
Chris Roberts, CEO at Cloud Imperium, said:
“I couldn’t imagine a better way to close out the year for Star Citizen than by adding both major technology like Server-side Object Container Streaming, our new procedural planet technology: Planet Tech v4, as well as new gameplay and features like melee combat and content such as the ice-planet of microTech. While we have a lot of additional features and content in the pipeline I’m incredibly excited about what our players can experience in Star Citizen today.”
Here are the main key features of Star Citizen Alpha 3.8:
- Procedural Planet Tech Update (Planet Tech v4) – new planetary improvements: improved tools, workflows, planet surface blending, objects scattering and transitions, generation driven by climate data.
- Planetary Weather Effects – alongside procedural planet tech, Alpha 3.8 introduces weather to the Star Citizen Universe. Players will notice new weather effects like wind, snow and sand storms that not only affect the environments of Star Citizen, but also have considerable affects on how ships fly in-atmosphere.
- Server-side Object Container Streaming – this technology, mentioned above, divides the universe of the game into a series of separate containers, which dynamically load in based on the position and needs of the players. Instead of loading in the entire universe for a player, only the parts they can immediately interact with or view are streamed in. As a result, Star Citizen consumes less computing power to represent the wider universe, leading to a dramatic increase in performance.
- New Missions: a bevy of new missions have been added to Star Citizen in 3.8, with a few designed specifically around group play and new mechanics, including:
- Rescue Hijacked 890 Jump – intended for up to four players, this mission asks players to secure the airspace around a hijacked 890 Jump, before they EVA through the open hangar. Players must battle their way through the luxury ship to locate and disable two hacking tools, all whilst clearing the ship of its hijackers to complete the mission.
- Multi-crew Mining Missions – with the new ARGO MOLE ship and multiple new mining lasers, players can group up with friends to mine, sell and profit. There are new specialized mining lasers and various new mineable rocks with varying statistics – some rocks may be easier to mine than others, some may be specialized or require a certain specific mining head.
New Locations: an entirely new planet makes its debut, introducing new environments to explore.
- microTech Planet – Alpha 3.8 sees the design, creation, and implementation of the frozen planet, microTech. microTech’s landing zone, New Babbage, and its moons, will debut in Alpha 3.9.
- Rest Stops – these are space stations throughout the Star Citizen universe generated via procedural tech, increasing the variety, look and feel of these orbital rest stops.
- Multiple Spawn Locations – players can now choose from multiple spawn locations across the ‘Verse, with orbital space stations above every major landing zone, allowing players to spawn at stations above Hurston, ArcCorp and microTech.
New Gameplay Features:
- Melee Combat – with the fleshed-out melee combat system, Star Citizen players can put down their guns and resort to fisticuffs, stealth takedowns and use melee weapons to clear out enemies. Melee combat includes multiple player-controlled attacks, blocks and takedowns, introducing a robust new combat system for Star Citizen players.
- Law System: Fines – when Star Citizen players break the law, they will incur a crime stat, and either have to pay fines or hack their way to a cleared name, all while avoiding or taking out AI security forces.
- Annunciator Panels – panels of lights shown in ships to give players fast, relevant information about ship systems. These Annunciator panels alert players to power failures, approaching missiles, quantum mishaps and other potential hazards or risks.
- Ship Impounding – players who illegally land and have their ship despawned will now find it impounded at that location either until a timer is met or a fine is paid at the ASOP terminal.
New Ships & Weapons:
- ARGO MOLE – a multi-crew mining ship, the MOLE features three mining lasers that must be operated independently for maximum efficiency.
- Apocalypse Arms Animus Missile Launcher – once target lock is achieved, the Animus launcher rapidly fires multiple missiles from its barrels, making it ideal for crippling smaller ships and for use as a ground-to-air or ground-to-ground anti-vehicle weapon.
- Behring P6-LR Ballistic Sniper Rifle – this ballistic sniper rifle more than makes up for its slow rate of fire with a high powered 8mm round that’s effective from long range. Featuring a scope with variable zoom modes and a barrel composed of a proprietary high-strength alloy, the P6-LR is designed to deliver when needed most.
- Multiple Mining Heads – to complement the addition of the ARGO MOLE, players can now purchase and upgrade a variety of in-game mining heads that allow for players to choose how they approach the mining process. Different mining heads will possess different stats: some will transfer power faster but induce a lot more instability into the rock, while others will make mining more stable but slow down transfer. Some mining lasers will reduce the resistance levels of the rocks, making them ideal for cooperative gameplay, or will be incredibly powerful but come at a steep in-game currency price.