Wing Commander Creator Raises $6 Million For Star Citizen

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I was really pessimistic about this, and up until last week I didn't even think they'd reach 5 million. Guess who's happy to be proven wrong. And then guess who's going to be sad if the game doesn't deliver.

Kahani:

Eleima:
What really amazes me is that this project broker Project Eternity's record. I didn't think that there would be such a demand for this kind of game, for space sims. I'm glad to be proven wrong.

I'm amazed that everyone seems to be so amazed about this. Space sims were hugely popular, and then suddenly everyone stopped making them for no apparent reason. Maybe they weren't as profitable as some genres, but there weren't really any high-profile flops that put developers off and suggested the market had gone, they just stopped. So it's hardly surprising that a lot of people actually want one when someone decides they're going to make one.

What I do find quite odd is why they seem to be thought of as a PC exclusive genre. Console controls suck horribly for FPS, yet they've become the big player in consoles and much less of a player on PCs. Space sims and flying games are best with a joystick-type controller, and consoles usually already have two sticks on a controller, while PCs often won't have one at all unless it's a leftover from old games. So you have a very popular genre (see Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG, etc.) perfectly set up to be played on the most popular gaming systems, yet everyone completely ignores them and just makes the occasional PC exclusive every decade or so.

I can think of several reasons.

Creating games for the PC is a much easier affair than it is for consoles.

Space sims can get very resource intensive. I doubt something as, by now, old as X3 would be possible to run (and when I say run, I mean run at a respectable pace and quality) on a console without cutbacks, same with EVE. Once you get a couple of capital ships in there, squadrons of fighters, missiles and all, it's bye-bye console hardware. And with what Chris is talking about doing with the game? Forget about it. Consoles wouldn't be able to run a quarter of it.

I think it's also a matter of demographics. I seriously don't think the audience by and large is interested in an actual space sim as opposed to the thoughtless and shallow instant-gratification games they're used to. And before anyone gets offended, no, I'm not talking about you. I'm also not saying it's wrong to enjoy shallow games. But you can't sit up there denying that that's who a lot of the most profitable console games get made for and how they end up.

I can sit there and deny anything i want. it doesn't mean that i am right, but who are you to tell me what i can and can't do?

Knocker:
I can sit there and deny anything i want. it doesn't mean that i am right, but who are you to tell me what i can and can't do?

I am the one. Creator of the heavens and the Earth. Alpha and omega. Knockers, I'm God.

Dexter111:
I was definitely interested in this a lot, but ultimately decided not pledge because of the blatant Pay2Win system that wasn't properly detailed.

[snip]

I see what you are saying, and I had a similar concern as well (not just with the pay model, but other details that were vague). However, I believe the reason it wasn't fully detailed is because the game is still very early in development and they wanted to leave some wiggle room for final balance and testing.

Also, if you're worried about the multiplayer being unfair, they are still promising an extensive single player campaign as well. And IMO, my $30 investment will be more than worth it if even the single player is fun...if the multiplayer ends up being good too, that's just a bonus.

Ultimately I looked at it more as a statement to the gaming industry about what gamers really want rather than only funding this single game. If a $6M up-front investment for a PC exclusive doesn't turn a few heads, I will be shocked.

Hammeroj:

Knocker:
I can sit there and deny anything i want. it doesn't mean that i am right, but who are you to tell me what i can and can't do?

I am the one. Creator of the heavens and the Earth. Alpha and omega. Knockers, I'm God.

You're funny. But not the type of funny we are looking for. We are looking for funny "haha". You're more like funny "uhoh".

Knocker:
You're funny. But not the type of funny we are looking for. We are looking for funny "haha". You're more like funny "uhoh".

As in insane? Okay.

Good thing the only thing you could latch on to was figure of speech.

Dexter111:
I was definitely interested in this a lot, but ultimately decided not pledge because of the blatant Pay2Win system that wasn't properly detailed.
Despite them stating that it is "not Pay2Win", among the Info on their page it was detailed that you can buy "Galactic Credits" for real money and he then later stated separately that you can buy ships for Galactic Credits, and even a hypothetic exchange rate of 1000 Credits = $1

image

Chris Roberts is not saying you will be able to buy Credits for Cash, He is simply trying to show us what the ships would BE worth in real life cash.

I hope this clears up your confusion.

Hammeroj:
I was really pessimistic about this, and up until last week I didn't even think they'd reach 5 million. Guess who's happy to be proven wrong. And then guess who's going to be sad if the game doesn't deliver.

Kahani:

Eleima:
What really amazes me is that this project broker Project Eternity's record. I didn't think that there would be such a demand for this kind of game, for space sims. I'm glad to be proven wrong.

I'm amazed that everyone seems to be so amazed about this. Space sims were hugely popular, and then suddenly everyone stopped making them for no apparent reason. Maybe they weren't as profitable as some genres, but there weren't really any high-profile flops that put developers off and suggested the market had gone, they just stopped. So it's hardly surprising that a lot of people actually want one when someone decides they're going to make one.

What I do find quite odd is why they seem to be thought of as a PC exclusive genre. Console controls suck horribly for FPS, yet they've become the big player in consoles and much less of a player on PCs. Space sims and flying games are best with a joystick-type controller, and consoles usually already have two sticks on a controller, while PCs often won't have one at all unless it's a leftover from old games. So you have a very popular genre (see Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG, etc.) perfectly set up to be played on the most popular gaming systems, yet everyone completely ignores them and just makes the occasional PC exclusive every decade or so.

I can think of several reasons.

Creating games for the PC is a much easier affair than it is for consoles.

Space sims can get very resource intensive. I doubt something as, by now, old as X3 would be possible to run (and when I say run, I mean run at a respectable pace and quality) on a console without cutbacks, same with EVE. Once you get a couple of capital ships in there, squadrons of fighters, missiles and all, it's bye-bye console hardware. And with what Chris is talking about doing with the game? Forget about it. Consoles wouldn't be able to run a quarter of it.

I think it's also a matter of demographics. I seriously don't think the audience by and large is interested in an actual space sim as opposed to the thoughtless and shallow instant-gratification games they're used to. And before anyone gets offended, no, I'm not talking about you. I'm also not saying it's wrong to enjoy shallow games. But you can't sit up there denying that that's who a lot of the most profitable console games get made for and how they end up.

Actually I would say that space sims would require less than most FPS's do for system resources. Space is just a backdrop with items placed within it, no ground to render or control. Space stations and capital ships are like buildings and trees in a FPS. So at the most it'd be on par. It's not being done on console because the funding style that Star Citizen went for isn't compatible for console (due to MS and Sony rules), not because the hardware can't handle it.

RicoADF:

Hammeroj:
I was really pessimistic about this, and up until last week I didn't even think they'd reach 5 million. Guess who's happy to be proven wrong. And then guess who's going to be sad if the game doesn't deliver.

Kahani:

I'm amazed that everyone seems to be so amazed about this. Space sims were hugely popular, and then suddenly everyone stopped making them for no apparent reason. Maybe they weren't as profitable as some genres, but there weren't really any high-profile flops that put developers off and suggested the market had gone, they just stopped. So it's hardly surprising that a lot of people actually want one when someone decides they're going to make one.

What I do find quite odd is why they seem to be thought of as a PC exclusive genre. Console controls suck horribly for FPS, yet they've become the big player in consoles and much less of a player on PCs. Space sims and flying games are best with a joystick-type controller, and consoles usually already have two sticks on a controller, while PCs often won't have one at all unless it's a leftover from old games. So you have a very popular genre (see Star Wars, Star Trek, BSG, etc.) perfectly set up to be played on the most popular gaming systems, yet everyone completely ignores them and just makes the occasional PC exclusive every decade or so.

I can think of several reasons.

Creating games for the PC is a much easier affair than it is for consoles.

Space sims can get very resource intensive. I doubt something as, by now, old as X3 would be possible to run (and when I say run, I mean run at a respectable pace and quality) on a console without cutbacks, same with EVE. Once you get a couple of capital ships in there, squadrons of fighters, missiles and all, it's bye-bye console hardware. And with what Chris is talking about doing with the game? Forget about it. Consoles wouldn't be able to run a quarter of it.

I think it's also a matter of demographics. I seriously don't think the audience by and large is interested in an actual space sim as opposed to the thoughtless and shallow instant-gratification games they're used to. And before anyone gets offended, no, I'm not talking about you. I'm also not saying it's wrong to enjoy shallow games. But you can't sit up there denying that that's who a lot of the most profitable console games get made for and how they end up.

Actually I would say that space sims would require less than most FPS's do for system resources. Space is just a backdrop with items placed within it, no ground to render or control. Space stations and capital ships are like buildings and trees in a FPS. So at the most it'd be on par. It's not being done on console because the funding style that Star Citizen went for isn't compatible for console (due to MS and Sony rules), not because the hardware can't handle it.

They wouldn't able to handle the scale he's going for. One capital ship up close, in it's current 'seamless within the world' form wouldn't fit in the console's memory for example, this team isn't willing to compromise their vision just to fit the game onto the kind hardware that really shouldn't be around any more for AAA gaming. That should be applauded. No-one needs to be playing the same kind of games for decades because some people are attached to a blinking box of 2004 technology. We deserve more, every gamer. Especially those that don't realise it, they're the ones that need it the most to show them how naive they were being!

If it's any consolation, by the time this comes out, the 360 and PS3 should be replaced by their successors anyway so you may see some innovation their with developers being able to push a bit further. Maybe. A tentetive maybe, because they'll still be lumbered with IBM or low end AMD CPU's (due to the cost a good x86 CPU), thus taking a massive smack to the shins in terms of how much extra they can do in terms of interaction ect.

Hammeroj:
Creating games for the PC is a much easier affair than it is for consoles.

And yet many developers produce games exclusively for consoles, with the ease of making console games often being one of the main reasons cited - a single (or at most two or three), unchanging platform with well defined capabilities and limits can be much easier to work with than the almost infinite combinations of hardware and software that PCs can have.

Space sims can get very resource intensive. I doubt something as, by now, old as X3 would be possible to run (and when I say run, I mean run at a respectable pace and quality) on a console without cutbacks, same with EVE. Once you get a couple of capital ships in there, squadrons of fighters, missiles and all, it's bye-bye console hardware. And with what Chris is talking about doing with the game? Forget about it. Consoles wouldn't be able to run a quarter of it.

There's no doubt that consoles would be unable to run the game Roberts' plans on making, but that's very different from claiming that space sims in general are necessarily resource intensive. In fact, given that most of the world is made up of empty space, it's entirely possible that space sims could be expected to have significantly fewer objects to render than a game constantly showing an animated 3D world as background. And there's no reason for a spaceship fight to have any more actors in it than fantasy one.

On top of all that, just look at the actual games. Not counting the X series, the last real space sim was probably Freelancer. Compare how that looks with how something like Halo, released two years earlier, looks. You're not going to be able to make cutting edge games like Star Citizen or Crysis for console (see the recent article about the problems Crysis 3 has, for example), but making space sims on a par with most games would certainly have been possible over the last decade or two.

I think it's also a matter of demographics. I seriously don't think the audience by and large is interested in an actual space sim as opposed to the thoughtless and shallow instant-gratification games they're used to. And before anyone gets offended, no, I'm not talking about you. I'm also not saying it's wrong to enjoy shallow games. But you can't sit up there denying that that's who a lot of the most profitable console games get made for and how they end up.

As I already said, they may well be less profitable than some other genres. So what? Paradox seem to do just fine releasing far slower and more complex games than space sims. Civilisation hasn't exactly done badly recently. XCOM. Journey. Amnesia. Dear Esther. There are plenty of very successful games, across all platforms, that are not simply shallow and thoughtless. Just because the most profitable ones, as is always the case, appeal to the lowest common denominator, that does not mean that is all anyone should ever do. Importantly, it clearly isn't what they actually do. Which is exactly why I find it odd that this one specific genre was essentially abandoned. It may not be able to challenge the latest Call of Battlefield games for customer numbers, but the audience never went anywhere.

Kahani:

Hammeroj:
Creating games for the PC is a much easier affair than it is for consoles.

And yet many developers produce games exclusively for consoles, with the ease of making console games often being one of the main reasons cited - a single (or at most two or three), unchanging platform with well defined capabilities and limits can be much easier to work with than the almost infinite combinations of hardware and software that PCs can have.

Edit: A little more direct comment on the first sentence. Many developers are full of shit, straight up, and will lie and exaggerate unflinchingly.

Creating games on consoles is harder for indie devs because they have to jump through a lot of hoops in licensing and all that.

Creating games on consoles is harder if you're trying to build anything big and/or graphically intensive. Never mind the licensing and approvals and stuff, you have to jump through a ton of technical hoops, an insane amount of work has to go into optimization, downscaling and straight-up cutbacks when you're dealing with either high-end graphics (in the loosest sense of the word) or a large scale.

If you are doing neither of these, sure, it's easier. Other than that, fuck no. At the very least not since 2007 or 8.

"Infinite combinations of hardware and software" can only conceivably be a problem if you try to optimize in very specific ways and squeeze the very best performance out of specific cards/drivers/etc, or in cases of rare incompatibility. If what you're talking about was even remotely the problem as you're trying to make it, indie devs wouldn't simply be able to develop effectively for the PC without going through vast amounts of setups, never mind older games that were made in a time where people literally had no idea where our hardware would evolve over the next however many years.

Space sims can get very resource intensive. I doubt something as, by now, old as X3 would be possible to run (and when I say run, I mean run at a respectable pace and quality) on a console without cutbacks, same with EVE. Once you get a couple of capital ships in there, squadrons of fighters, missiles and all, it's bye-bye console hardware. And with what Chris is talking about doing with the game? Forget about it. Consoles wouldn't be able to run a quarter of it.

There's no doubt that consoles would be unable to run the game Roberts' plans on making, but that's very different from claiming that space sims in general are necessarily resource intensive. In fact, given that most of the world is made up of empty space, it's entirely possible that space sims could be expected to have significantly fewer objects to render than a game constantly showing an animated 3D world as background. And there's no reason for a spaceship fight to have any more actors in it than fantasy one.

On top of all that, just look at the actual games. Not counting the X series, the last real space sim was probably Freelancer. Compare how that looks with how something like Halo, released two years earlier, looks. You're not going to be able to make cutting edge games like Star Citizen or Crysis for console (see the recent article about the problems Crysis 3 has, for example), but making space sims on a par with most games would certainly have been possible over the last decade or two.

That depends entirely on what you call "space sims in general". There's a reason I use specific examples, and that's because specific examples help me illustrate the point. There's almost literally a progression in resource intensiveness that goes hand-in-hand with player progression. The bigger a ship you get, the more ships you get in your squad, the more and bigger your enemies get, the harder it becomes on the machine. Things like simulating dozens and dozens of AI ships/trade routes through multiple systems simultaneously is, I would submit, next to impossible on its face, but then you get to the fights and the obscene amounts of projectiles used in them (Rockets? Forget about it) and you're done, son. Your console burned your house down.

I have zero doubts that it would be possible to create a small scale space game on consoles. That's why I said, for instance, X can't be ported to consoles without cutbacks. I'm not interested in watered down experiences, whether it comes at the expense of simulating the universe, having numerous huge ships, having shitloads of AI in the same area, shitloads of projectiles, graphics worth a crap, or anything else.

I think it's also a matter of demographics. I seriously don't think the audience by and large is interested in an actual space sim as opposed to the thoughtless and shallow instant-gratification games they're used to. And before anyone gets offended, no, I'm not talking about you. I'm also not saying it's wrong to enjoy shallow games. But you can't sit up there denying that that's who a lot of the most profitable console games get made for and how they end up.

As I already said, they may well be less profitable than some other genres. So what? Paradox seem to do just fine releasing far slower and more complex games than space sims. Civilisation hasn't exactly done badly recently. XCOM. Journey. Amnesia. Dear Esther. There are plenty of very successful games, across all platforms, that are not simply shallow and thoughtless. Just because the most profitable ones, as is always the case, appeal to the lowest common denominator, that does not mean that is all anyone should ever do. Importantly, it clearly isn't what they actually do. Which is exactly why I find it odd that this one specific genre was essentially abandoned. It may not be able to challenge the latest Call of Battlefield games for customer numbers, but the audience never went anywhere.

I don't know how much games like Amnesia, Journey or Dear Esther help you illustrate your point, and I don't want to get bogged down in a rant about XCom or Civilization. The consoles are an overwhelmingly more concentrated pool of shallow entertainment, beyond that, think what you will. It was not much more than a guess. Exciting space games can be made, but maybe "space sim" associates with "boring and slow" in developers' eyes. Maybe they don't think their audiences can be titillated by something that involves trading or something.

Doogan:

Dexter111:
I was definitely interested in this a lot, but ultimately decided not pledge because of the blatant Pay2Win system that wasn't properly detailed.
Despite them stating that it is "not Pay2Win", among the Info on their page it was detailed that you can buy "Galactic Credits" for real money and he then later stated separately that you can buy ships for Galactic Credits, and even a hypothetic exchange rate of 1000 Credits = $1

image

Chris Roberts is not saying you will be able to buy Credits for Cash, He is simply trying to show us what the ships would BE worth in real life cash.

I hope this clears up your confusion.

I'm not "confused" at all, it says exactly that on the Star Citizen website under "What's your revenue model?": http://www.robertsspaceindustries.com/star-citizen/

Not a subscription but not free-to-play; rather a hybrid of these two business models. Much like ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2, you will purchase the PC game and pay no recurring subscription charges. Your purchase of the game will allow you to play in the universe for free, forever! The game will offer a variety of virtual items for purchase with in-game credits allowing you to spend money on items that offer more ways to express yourself, provide convenience, and customize your experience. But the cardinal rule regarding "in-game purchases" is: Players who spend money purchasing in-game credits will have no advantage over players who spend time!

As for Pay2Win, how is it not? If there are ships priced at what is ~$150-250+ there would obviously have to be an in-game alternative to getting them worth that effort, which unfortunately usually boils down to weeks, if not months of grind (which can in turn be skipped by simply buying something with real money) = P2W? Presumably if there's an actual way to trade real currency for InGame currency you could buy everything else too, but nobody knows the finer details (likely not even the developers themselves in a finalized state at this point).

What I found problematic about this proposition is exactly that noone would know what will come out at the end. In all the other cases it's usually just the finished game in whatever state it is (may it be good or bad) and any additional physical goodies.
In this case I doubt that everything has been pre-planned and pre-revealed the way it'll come out (or for that matter that he can keep all his promises) and the campaign pretty much banked on selling "virtual goods" of one kind or another. Even the decision on which part (Squadron 42/Star Citizen) to concentrate the most was posed as a $5 increase in pledge instead of a normal Poll and there was encouragement to do it multiple times: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cig/star-citizen/posts/344359
There was apparently only the one running prototype involving a big carrier running for now and A LOT of things can change till release, especially if you consider outside investors that put 2-3x the money of the crowdfunding effort into the project having their say and wanting a return on their investment.

If it'd be done with a full set of features displayed like this: http://www.swtor.com/free/features everyone could decide for themselves, at this point it's largely speculation how it'll turn out though since nobody has played the game and even the design isn't finalized. I didn't want to put any of my money into what might turn out to be a very exploitative system.

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