Star Citizen social module released to public

2015-08-31

Star Citizen’s Social Module has been fully released to the public in the game’s version 1.2 patch today. Previously released to the public test universe, the update adds the multiplayer planet surface environment of “Arccorp’s Area 18 landing zone” (accessible via the hangar elevators), emotes, chat, the augmented reality “mobiGlas” system, new character gear loadouts, and smoother animations. It currently supports up to 24 other players at a time.

Seven areas are available to explore in ArcCorp in this patch, while five more are not yet accessible.

A walkthrough of the Social Module courtesy of friend-of-the-site Scott Manley.

In the announcement post, Persistent Universe Director Tony Zurovec describes the main purposes of the the Social Module, calling it “the first basic component of the Persistent Universe to come online.” He says that it should “allow people to get a sense as to what some of the various cities you’ll be able to visit will look like”, and to also allow people to socialize in more personal “real-time discussions.” Secondly he says it serves to test “fundamental technologies,” including the networking back-end, the “Generic Instance Manager,” and the “low-latency network functionality,” improvement of which has enabled the increased player count from 15 to 25. There have also been improvements to interpolation and prediction of player movement, to smooth out animations. The third reason is that it is “the basic foundation upon which new pieces of the Persistent Universe will be periodically unveiled.”

The rest of the post lays out the future of the Persistent Universe part of the game. We are told that “the Persistent Universe will be moving to a more frequent release schedule”, but that releases will be less about presenting gameplay representative of the final product and more about testing features, to minimize the development time spent on preparing the releases. Apparently Star Marine work branched off from the main Star Citizen codebase, and needs to be reintegrated.

Once that reintegration is complete, the next major milestone for the Persistent Universe is the “persistence” part, which will involve “communicating with the web platform so that purchased items are converted into actual game items,” “integration with a new global entity ID system that will allow the seamless transition of items from one server to another,” enabling “objects to retain state,” “shared hangars,” and eventually heading “out as a group into space.” Private lounges, additional emotes, private conversations, ignoring other users, and a maximum player count of at least forty have also been mentioned, though the “persistence” update may be split into two releases.

After persistence there’s a shopping update planned, and then a “subsumption” update, which will include the environment of the Nyx asteroid the hangars are based on, accepting missions planetside as a group, then completing them in space. Other milestone features include “intelligent NPCs going about their business”, the full solar system navigation map, and access to “any part of the current system,” which includes “cities on three other Stanton planets: Hurston, Microtech, and Crusader.”

Preview of the Nyx Asteroid Landing Zone

In addition to these updates, a developer posted on the forums that the Community Hub is about to drop. Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) has called the hub a place ”where you’ll be able to keep up with the whole Community at a glance” and said that it “aims to bring you players new ways to contribute to the project and stay in touch with the team.” A poster on the forums describes it as “a place where all the Star Citizen content by the community will stay. It’s a way to unify the streams, videos, screenshots, mods, etc. And also there will be an improved way to report bugs and see the progress of the fix (fix in progress; reviewing bug; testing; etc).”

At the time of publishing, Star Citizen has raised over 88.2 million USD.

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Ramon Rakow.

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