Cloud Imperium and Chris Roberts revealed that Star Citizen’s FPS module – a module that was promised to be released to backers in April – has been delayed due to technical problems and gameplay ‘quality’ issues.
As Roberts claimed, the team responsible for this module is currently working on addressing some network issues that plagued its earlier builds. Due to the game’s massive scope, the team had to ‘drop some of the legacy technology, develop a Generic Instance Manager (GIM) and rewrite both the Matchmaker and (for the larger project) the game Launcher from scratch.’
Going into more details about the GIM, Roberts had this to say:
“This new system will be responsible for all the game servers that make up Star Citizen, and we’ve built it to have far more direct control over the internal state and operation of each game server than was available before. The GIM not only manages Arena Commander and Star Marine instances, but also provides a solid framework for instanced multi-player Hangars as well as the instanced Universe game servers that will form the persistent universe. The GIM allocates and recycles game servers at a much faster rate and in a more reliable way than before, helping to get player sinto the action more quickly and keeping them in their games with less incident. The development of this system, which has been ongoing for some time, has been a group effort involving engineers from around the company. Once it’s integrated, it will not only improve the Star Marine experience but also chart the ‘behind the screens’ course for Star Citizen’s future.”
The second challenge Cloud Imperium faced was the game’s Matchmaking system. The team had to rewrite the game’s Matchmaking system from scratch, taking an entirely different approach to the process that will eliminate long waits during the Match search process.
And the third challenge the team is currently facing is the improvement pf Star Citizen’s backend netcode – called “Phoenix” dynamic environments system.
With regards to its gameplay “quality” issues, Roberts had this to say:
“On the gameplay side, we are dedicated to making sure the game represents what we want for first person action in the Star Citizen world. This is where things are a little less technical and more about the ‘feel’ of the experience. One of the biggest issues on this front is getting the visuals right. If you read our last design post on the FPS, you will remember that one of the ways we want this experience to stand apart is that we aren’t ‘faking’ animations: anything your character does in the first person needs to look correct when viewed in the third person by another player without duplicate ‘fake’ animations that look different to each person. Making this look right is something that’s taking more R&D time than we had anticipated. It’s a challenge that we will meet…but it’s going to require careful work. We’ve tapped the new Frankfurt studio, which is staffed by Crytek veterans who know every in and out of the engine and some key ex-Crytek leads from LA and Austin to help the team in Denver make this work.”