Star Citizen Hits $49 Million, Still Needs Crowdfunding Support

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Star Citizen Hits $49 Million, Still Needs Crowdfunding Support

Star Citizen Screen 06

Star Citizen is just shy of $50 million, but needs additional funds to "sustain this level of development".

Star Citizen is the world's most successful crowdfunding project, and promises to be an incredibly engaging space simulation to boot. But with a crowdfunding model that shows no sign of slowing down, the question of exactly how much money the project needs is a common one. Upon reaching the $49 million mark, Chris Roberts addressed the issue by stating that crowdfunding is essential to Star Citizen's continued development.

"We've had a lot of questions about why we still need to continue crowd funding," Roberts writes. "The answer is that that money is letting Star Citizen tackle longer term features and content sooner than we normally would. To sustain this level of development, we need to keep bringing in additional funds."

To Roberts' credit, Star Citizen's production values are incredibly expensive, reaching as high as $150,000 per ship. On the other hand, Star Citizen has already seen delays despite its crowdfunding model, and continued timeliness is far from guaranteed.

Regardless, Roberts' plan is to scale Star Citizen's development team based on crowdfunding, assigning resources to key areas as necessary. "If we need more artists to produce additional ships, we'd like to be able to hire them," he explains. "Or if we need more engineers to get a head start on some longer term technical issue before it blocks other parts of development, we want that option! It's the new players hearing about Star Citizen and Arena Commander for the first time and jumping in as well as sales like the M50 that enable us to continue to chase our shared dream of the BDSSE to the highest fidelity. So thank you for your support."

On that note, Roberts announced that instead of offering new in-game stretch goals, Star Citizen will give donors control over its production schedule. Leading up to the $51 million mark, backers are able to vote on upcoming features that would be given top priority. The current list of features is as follows:

  • Orgs Drop 2 - Divisions, jobs and the 3D Organizations browser.
  • Orgs Drop 3 - Private forums for each Star Citizen Organization.
  • Galactapedia - Your guide to the Star Citizen universe which ties directly into Star Citizen's persistent universe.
  • Web Scoreboards - Want to see your Arena Commander history on the website, or find out how you stack up against other Citizens?
  • Known Universe Map - An interactive map of Star Citizen's known universe which will expand along with the game.

As of writing, the Known Universe Map is currently in the lead with 54% of the vote.

Source: Roberts Space Industries

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Every time I see a story about Star Citizens crowd funding scheme the song "money for nothing" pops into my head and I google it and enjoy a few minutes listening to a good song. So good job star citizen.

For a game launched by a kickstarter originally asking for $500,000... What in the fuck.

I'm still looking forward to the hypothetical game that may one day exist, but damn if this isn't the worst case of scope creep and 'make it up as we go' project management I've ever seen.

It's funny really, the more money this game gets the less hope I seem to have of it ending up as anything more than pretty.

If you have not played the Arena Commander module then I could understand why you would ask why they are taking so much money. The point is they could have been done already. They keep adding more on to the game before it comes out. They are not doing what Elite Dangerous did and just put the Alpha and Beta games out before they add all the content in. The final game is supposed to be HUGE. The irony is that the more money invested the longer the game takes.......

At this point I would be surprised if this turned out to be anything else than a complete disappointment. Just based on the fact that they seem to be expanding the game instead of finishing it.

If more money equals faster development then what is Valve doing with Half-life 3, giving them a penny a day? All jokes aside it's amazing what this has become, the more money you give them the more they want to add, the more they want to add the more money they need so it's an endless cycle. At what point will the developer feel that it's enough and any other stuff they want to add can be dlc or expansion packs? Funny this is making me pro-DLC but it seems it's the only way to get it released within our lifetimes.

I'm convinced that at some point they'll release a statement that will simply be "STOP GIVING US MONEY, WE'VE GOT TOO MUCH" along with a notice that each copy of the game now comes with a stack of dollar bills.

It sounds like they seriously don't know how to manage their time and organize their development schedule. Usually you want the base game done; have the core experience hashed out as soon as possible with the fiddly extras done later (to put it in very simple terms) that way if there is a sudden need to release its not like to lose any of that core experience. From what I've seen they've still to finish the persistent world which is meant to be the main feature in which the ships will interact... cause MMO.

This just screams of poor design process, plain and simple.

Really? These people need MORE Money?

The game originally started as a $500,000 Kickstarter.

Now they need MORE MONEY? How about this, how about they stop wasting money on stupid Web Connectivity features and stupid social media nonsense and focus on... gee I dunno.... THE GAME

50 Mil.... Yeah i'm already starting to hate this game.

Seeing as how they already dedicated 150k per in game ship model, they need to hire new modelers. It shouldn't cost that much for a game to render an asset.

Plus what the hell happened to the last update? Where things were going so well they SKIPPED A DEVELOPMENT MODULE?!

What is wrong with people. When things are going good, you push forward, not apply the fucking brakes. If everyone did that, the Indy 500 would last 20 years.

"Oooops, i'm in first, better stop and calm down"

EDIT: Apparently I'm wrong and games cost money. Who knew?

Slash2x:
If you have not played the Arena Commander module then I could understand why you would ask why they are taking so much money. The point is they could have been done already. They keep adding more on to the game before it comes out. They are not doing what Elite Dangerous did and just put the Alpha and Beta games out before they add all the content in. The final game is supposed to be HUGE. The irony is that the more money invested the longer the game takes.......

And that's the problem. It's great from a "hey, that should make for a good game" perspective, but ass backwards from a practical project management standpoint. You set your goals, you complete them, then you expand.

Continually expanding a project without ever completing any one thing is quite often the number one thing people will advise you not do do. It takes longer, it costs more, and you lose the ability to intelligently plan, hence taking forever and costing a fuckton of money.

From my POV this ongoing crowdfunding campaign is simply sketchy.
If I recall it right CR estimated something between 30 and 40 million to realize everything he envision for SC. Now we are close to 50 million and it is still going and of course every penny still counts towards... something...
This is a PC only game and a space sim on top of that so sales probably wouldn't be that great.
My random guess of the day is that the money collected with crowdfunding greatly surpasses the potential income by regular sales in a normal business model. This thing has become very profitable before it even launched.

Arena Commander for me was a rather sobering experience. Lucky for me with a digital scout pack I'm only in with the lowest pledge that includes a full release version. So if it crashes and burns I won't be to heart broken.

Kyr Knightbane:
Really? These people need MORE Money?

The game originally started as a $500,000 Kickstarter.

Now they need MORE MONEY? How about this, how about they stop wasting money on stupid Web Connectivity features and stupid social media nonsense and focus on... gee I dunno.... THE GAME

50 Mil.... Yeah i'm already starting to hate this game.

Seeing as how they already dedicated 150k per in game ship model, they need to hire new modelers. It shouldn't cost that much for a game to render an asset.

Plus what the hell happened to the last update? Where things were going so well they SKIPPED A DEVELOPMENT MODULE?!

What is wrong with people. When things are going good, you push forward, not apply the fucking brakes. If everyone did that, the Indy 500 would last 20 years.

"Oooops, i'm in first, better stop and calm down"

Actually it started as a two million crowdfunder outside of kickstarter to prove to investors having another 10 to 15 millions ready that there is a willing audience.

For the stuff they originally wanted in the game over time they needed all in all about 22 millions. With what they got now they did lots of things (for example established their own mocap studio) and expanded the scope which also requires a bit more time.

And also, have you any idea how detailed and elaborate each individual ship is? My personal profession is automotive engineering, I have an inkling on what development of an actual car costs. Taking away obvious stuff from that real design process since the ships are not real and all but at the same time knowing how elaborate the ships in SC are 150k sound about right to me.

I'm assuming that the company coke buckets have run dry again, and need to be refilled.

Seriously, at some point they have to competent enough to say "Enough is enough" and stick with a single vision. At this point the game is going to risk spiraling out of control and turning into a mess.

If we give you more money, do promise not to throw it at more stuff your game honestly does not need right now. Seriously, finish up development with everything you have now and release then use profit from sales to fund everything you want to throw in for good measure.

No more feature creep, okay?

Wake me up from cryogenic sleep when the game is released, is seen by all as the biggest masterpiece and actually made money from being released other than simply begging for more cash because at this point the game is just piling on more and more promises that still have yet to be fully realised.

Then again if it flops it will be probably the biggest lesson to the games industry as a whole and this time it won't be from the likes of EA, MS or SOny let alone Nintendo, probably a lesson that's needed anyway.

Dammit, Escapist, I was going to have a Surprise $50M Funded thread, but you've gone and ruined it. >:(

That said,

Fanghawk:
On that note, Roberts announced that instead of offering new in-game stretch goals, Star Citizen will give donors control over its production schedule. Leading up to the $51 million mark, backers are able to vote on upcoming features that would be given top priority.

FINALLY! THE INCREASINGLY TERRIFYING SCOPE-CREEP COMES TO AN END. I guess he realized that he was never going to top "Actual learnable language developed by linguists for the three main alien races".

EDIT: More people demanding they stop feature creep? Under the OP that freaking says that they are, and how?

Reading the OP: For chumps.

Jadak:
For a game launched by a kickstarter originally asking for $500,000... What in the fuck.

Kyr Knightbane:
Really? These people need MORE Money?
The game originally started as a $500,000 Kickstarter.

I wish people would stop with that figure. They didn't start on Kickstarter; they had a $2,000,000 minimum funding campaign on their own site.
Kickstarter's popularity was very high around that time though, so users suggested they put the project on there, in addition to their own campaign, for the added exposure. They chose a "low enough" amount that it was "easy enough" to reach and it brought attention both to the project as a whole and their main site. The Kickstarter ended at $2mil and their site campaign "ended" at $6mil.

So long as it keeps ALL publishers far the fuck away from this game, I care not. Let them make their own game, no need to complain about them funding themselves when PEOPLE WANT THIS GAME TO HAPPEN. Let it go folks, let the devs dev, and let us all enjoy a good space sim in a couple years.

jpoon:
So long as it keeps ALL publishers far the fuck away from this game, I care not. Let them make their own game, no need to complain about them funding themselves when PEOPLE WANT THIS GAME TO HAPPEN. Let it go folks, let the devs dev, and let us all enjoy a good space sim in a couple years.

Or it wont be good, because feature creep causes incredibly poor design quality. If they kept at it, its eventually gonna lose support, and if this games development crashes, then that is plain it for kickstarter models. They'll be dead. Completely dead.

Kyr Knightbane:
Really? These people need MORE Money?

The game originally started as a $500,000 Kickstarter.

Now they need MORE MONEY? How about this, how about they stop wasting money on stupid Web Connectivity features and stupid social media nonsense and focus on... gee I dunno.... THE GAME

50 Mil.... Yeah i'm already starting to hate this game.

Seeing as how they already dedicated 150k per in game ship model, they need to hire new modelers. It shouldn't cost that much for a game to render an asset.

Plus what the hell happened to the last update? Where things were going so well they SKIPPED A DEVELOPMENT MODULE?!

What is wrong with people. When things are going good, you push forward, not apply the fucking brakes. If everyone did that, the Indy 500 would last 20 years.

"Oooops, i'm in first, better stop and calm down"

The last update was last week, with patch 12.5 which fixed many problems with the multilayer for Arena Commander, and a much larger patch/update in the works for around Gamescom. And its not 150k per each model, that's the average for a game complete ship. A 1000 meter ship like the Bengal Carrier takes a lot more work than the fighters. And its not like they are asking for money, they have had polls about stretch goals and even having the dollar total available to see.

Science should find a way of converting pessimism into fuel. Because then I could power my own bloody Bengal carrier.

But hey! Something is unexpectedly and massively successful! An' I got new wheels on me ol' Ban'wagon!

In the end they wont sell a single copy because everyone who wants the game has allready pledged and will receive their copy when the game finaly launches...

In short they allready saturated most possible customer sales... so there wont be any real "profit" to speak off since they burned it all in development.

Atleast thats my guess with how crazy this whole scenario is.

Jadak:
For a game launched by a kickstarter originally asking for $500,000... What in the fuck.

This is the problem I have with crowd funding, if they are running out of funds after getting exponentially more than they asked for how would they have made the game for half a million dollars? While the extra money is being spent on production and polishing and expanding the content what would the $500k game have been like?

It was either going to be rubbish from being developed on a shoe string budget or they would never have been able to finish it, like the way that Yoghurt casting game (or whatever it was) collapsed because they ran out of cash.

It seems some of the kickstarters are purposefully underquoting the cost of development to attract more investors as they might think "hey thats not much it should reach that", its a risky strategy and I think we will see a lot more bungled kickstarters because of it.

Rainbow_Dashtruction:

jpoon:
So long as it keeps ALL publishers far the fuck away from this game, I care not. Let them make their own game, no need to complain about them funding themselves when PEOPLE WANT THIS GAME TO HAPPEN. Let it go folks, let the devs dev, and let us all enjoy a good space sim in a couple years.

Or it wont be good, because feature creep causes incredibly poor design quality. If they kept at it, its eventually gonna lose support, and if this games development crashes, then that is plain it for kickstarter models. They'll be dead. Completely dead.

I don't believe this is the only chance for kickstarter at all, don't kid yourself. There have already been a lot of very successful kickstarters, take Divinity for example. This is just one game so don't act like it would be the end of kickstarter, at the very worst it would be the end of one...single...game.

They've already stopped adding new features to the game, and they have expanded their company to handle it. If Chris has done his work right (and I personally have faith in the guy) there will be enough money and man-power to develop everything and produce something great.

Too many people have the patience of a 10 year old it seems.
Patience...

A man matching Roberts profile was later seen with a fake beard and trench coat, boarding a plane to the Bahamas with an overstuffed suitcase with bills poking out under his arm....

It sounds legit to me. As funding for a project increases, so does the workload and scope of the game, there's nothing mysterious or greedy about that. Anyone who's seen their videos know that this is a labor of love that the people want to do the right way.
From there on out, you either trust that they can do it or you don't.

Also, keep in mind that the amount of money spent doesn't magically make it a better game or some sort of miracle. I would expect the same thing of the title, regardless of whether they had 2 million or 500 million dollars to get it done, the difference being the level of fidelity and attention to small detail.
I get the feeling that people are expecting the saviour of games incarnate, but that's a terrible and naive way to think about it.

Facts:
1. It's a spacesim. You'll be piloting various ships designed for combat or trade.
2. There will be a single player campaign.
3. They aim to make a true MMU (massively multiplayer universe) that's persistent and modifiable with a player driven economy.

That means that at best, we might get a multiplayer game with emergent gameplay (that isn't EVE Online) and get to witness gaming history of epic proportions, which requires player effort more than development if they're smart about it.
At worst, we'll still get a spacesim that gives you the option of private servers that allow you to use user generated modded content, which is still pretty damn terrific.

Is the money managed in a mature and sensible way? Questionable at best, people with a vision tend not to have the greatest concerns for these "minor" details.
The way I see it, the only way to make sure that this somewhat succeeds, is to throw more money at it.

The worst thing that can happen, is sites that try to spin a negative on this in order to get more hits. If there was any actual negative implications or consequences, then by all means, it should be reported, but the article above just gives you speculation.
If I sound defensive, it's because I'm smelling clickbait rather than cogent journalism and it spreads pessimism, to the detriment of all of us.

Gamefront (the linked article) ask some great questions in regards to the delays and the strain that the bigger scope of the game puts on the developers, but there's a bit too much doom and gloom that's fueled by pure speculation.
The fact is that this is a huge unknown and that scares people. We've never seen a kickstarter of these proportions, we don't know if Cloud Imperium Games can be trusted with handling the money and when we'll have an actual product in our hands. We also don't have evidence of any negative consequences.

All I can say, is that this project needs more articles that speculate on what gaming can be, rather than the limitations we impose on it. It shouldn't be wide-eyed naive upbeat pieces or hypefests, just intelligent articles that spark the imagination and encourage discussion.

I hope this wouldn't be another duke nukem forever.

Needing $150,000 for an in game ship is dubious at best, you can get a whole house or even a whole city in game that doesn't require that much money. I think whoever actually believe it cost that much for an in game ship is just gullible and if they DO actually requires that much then they are doing a very very inefficient job and are wasting your money.

If I was the developers of this game I would spend every day in fear of this game releasing, as if it is anything other than a fucking masterpiece of epic proportions...they will all be facing hordes of angry disappointed backers....

Karadalis:
In the end they wont sell a single copy because everyone who wants the game has allready pledged and will receive their copy when the game finaly launches...

In short they allready saturated most possible customer sales... so there wont be any real "profit" to speak off since they burned it all in development.

Atleast thats my guess with how crazy this whole scenario is.

Nope. I, and many, many other people, aren't showing them a dime (they don't need it at this point) until the game is out and has good buzz.

J Tyran:
This is the problem I have with crowd funding, if they are running out of funds after getting exponentially more than they asked for how would they have made the game for half a million dollars? While the extra money is being spent on production and polishing and expanding the content what would the $500k game have been like?

It was originally going to be $18M or so. The Kickstarter and external crowdfunding campaign's original goal was $2M, to attract investors.

There was even a big celebration when they hit $22M in funding, if I remember right, because the game was "Officially Completely Indie". Everything up to that point had been accounted for in the original budget.

They've only 2.5xd their budget, not 100xd it. So what are they planning to do now that they weren't planning before? Making feature-complete, learnable alien languages, that's what.

I hope its good. But I have a nagging feeling this will be mediocre at best.

I'm a Vice Admiral. My opinion on the matter might be slightly biased.

lacktheknack:

Nope. I, and many, many other people, aren't showing them a dime (they don't need it at this point) until the game is out and has good buzz.

They allready wont get 50 million in sales.. how much more market can there be left for such a niche game project?

We are talking about a PC only title after all that is also a space fighter simulator.. its not exactly the next GTA despite its aparrant high quality. So the entire fratboy demographic wont touch it.

So i doubt that there is a big profit left to be made by this game.

Specially the 150k dollars for a ship design is complete bogus, we are talking designing the outside and maybe a few rooms for inside the ship, a virtual ship not something real, in a 3D program. After ship number 1 a lot of details, textures and other assets will be reused in other designs. Lets do some quick calculations as many dont seem to even think about such a number as 150k.

If you hire a full time 3d artist , their salary is 60,000 US dollar a year and that is already on the high side. That means 1 ship in SC will have had 2.5 years of 1 person's time to draw. 2 and a half years ! Which of course is just not true. Even a lazy artist with a complex design would be done in 3 months with a minimum of supervision, making the design of the first ship to cost 15k dollars, not a tenfold of that..

The second ship would take a lot shorter because of being able to reuse elements of the fist one.

Roberts needs those bogus high numbers to justify even more money to his fans, nothing else there is no truth behind it.

Bke:
It sounds like they seriously don't know how to manage their time and organize their development schedule. Usually you want the base game done; have the core experience hashed out as soon as possible with the fiddly extras done later (to put it in very simple terms) that way if there is a sudden need to release its not like to lose any of that core experience. From what I've seen they've still to finish the persistent world which is meant to be the main feature in which the ships will interact... cause MMO.

This just screams of poor design process, plain and simple.

when your making oneoff game - yes. whne your making MMO the best thing you can do is make your core able to take massive changes without brekaing. it may not seem important now, but 5 years down the lifecycle you will hit a deadwall that you coded in 5 years ago before thinking something is possible that you want to implement now. having "fiddly extras" done at launch however expands the possibilities for later change significantly.

MercyMike:

If you hire a full time 3d artist , their salary is 60,000 US dollar a year and that is already on the high side. That means 1 ship in SC will have had 2.5 years of 1 person's time to draw. 2 and a half years ! Which of course is just not true. Even a lazy artist with a complex design would be done in 3 months with a minimum of supervision, making the design of the first ship to cost 15k dollars, not a tenfold of that..

The second ship would take a lot shorter because of being able to reuse elements of the fist one.

thats not how it works. you hire artists to do ships, as in, you pay them per ship. and how much they ask depends on polycount. supposedly, the poly count in this game is through the roof.

and yeah, you dont know space games if you think reusing ship assets is a thing.

Not that im saying they arent making thing up, just that your calculating it wrong to begin with.

Karadalis:

We are talking about a PC only title after all that is also a space fighter simulator.. its not exactly the next GTA despite its aparrant high quality. So the entire fratboy demographic wont touch it.

So i doubt that there is a big profit left to be made by this game.

so released on most profitable platform, where the space fighter userbase mainly resides. they know which market to pick, the question is only how big is that market.

Strazdas:

thats not how it works. you hire artists to do ships, as in, you pay them per ship. and how much they ask depends on polycount. supposedly, the poly count in this game is through the roof.

and yeah, you dont know space games if you think reusing ship assets is a thing.

Not that im saying they arent making thing up, just that your calculating it wrong to begin with.

Polygon count can be easily upped to impressive numbers by any 3d package without actually adding workload, to make curves smoother for example. And like in any game, space games too , assets are reused. Think about things like textures, external weapons, little ship details, windows, tailgates, exhausts. After designing a few ship you will end up with a nice part bin that makes building each next ship less and less time intensive.

Ok so they don't use full time hired designers but pay per project, that will reduce the costs even more because you can fish in a larger pool and save on things like medical plans, pensions plans and so on. My calculations might be wrong but they are a lot closer to the truth than the 150,000 dollars per ship quote from Roberts.

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