As part of CIG’s transparency measures for backers, they regularly update the Star Citizen production schedule. This schedule is supposed to give backers an idea of where they are during each milestone. For the past few weeks, backers have noticed that aspects of the 3.0 schedule have been slipping each week.
This 3.0 milestone is the update backers have been waiting for since last year but it has slowly been slipping further into 2017. The update was scheduled for release at the end of June which then slipped further into August.
We have to assume they will rustle something up for Gamescom just to keep fans happy. While these special event demonstrations are always impressive, there’s little change to the actual game and they simply fuel the hype machine. The 3.0 update has been teased by CIG since August last year where it was unveiled at Gamescom.
This latest Star Citizen production schedule included the following notes:
This week, we entered the optimization, polish and bug fixing phase for the 3.0 feature set. As there have been so many features and content implemented, we’ve encountered some stability issues that we want to address before going to a wider test audience. The ongoing work on the new Patcher system (that will save you from having to completely re-download each build) and some new bugs with CopyBuild3 (our internal version of the patcher) have also slowed us down. Because of this we have pushed back the Evocati and subsequent date ranges to reflect the additional time needed to get Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 ready for prime time.
In an attempt to address and concerns about these further delays, the following post was made today.
There’s been quite a bit of healthy discussion about our recent Production Schedule update, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts and comments:
Our Production Schedule updates that you see are right out of the same software that our production team uses. No edits, no censors, no marketing spin.
- We’ve created this as a service to you to keep you informed of what we are working on, with the goal of providing estimated date ranges.
- As with all estimates, they can change. When venturing off into uncharted territory, one does not always see or know all of the challenges ahead of them; they are often complete unknowns until they present themselves along the way.
- We’ve pushed far past the technological boundaries that were previously considered impossible to build the foundation of the Star Citizen universe. Working on 3.0 has certainly introduced variables and challenges that we could never have anticipated, and these just do not always cater to a tidy date on a calendar.
- As gamers, we are conditioned to consider all dates as static points in time that we can wrap our heads around and plan for in advance. The nature of this project does not neatly fit into that mold due to the complexity of what we’re building, and with what we learn about what’s possible and needed along the way. These date ranges are dynamic according to the challenges presented to us at that time, and we actively maintain that to keep you up to date.
- The scope of 3.0 is not insignificant, as Chris discussed in https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link//15842-Letter-From-The-Chairman-The-Road-Ahead. It introduces a level of tech and infrastructure that’s an order of magnitude larger and more complex than all of our previous versions combined. There are thousands of new assets, millions of entities to manage, new UI, new features, multiple new backend services, etc. all being introduced in 3.0.
- Integrating all of this has revealed to be MUCH more of a bug fixing project than anticipated, which obviously reshapes those estimates and changes those dates. Hammering in a level of polish that we’ve not aimed for before requires an additional adjustment of dates.
- There’s certainly no malice behind it, and anyone who makes that claim is providing an uninformed opinion. Ask any project manager or developer who worked on sophisticated software or has been involved on a complex project with lots of dependencies and moving parts. They’ll gladly share how challenging a task of estimates can be.
- The heroic efforts of those creating and maintaining the Production Schedule should be commended. They represent our efforts to keep up with this complex and ever evolving ecosystem, and work tirelessly to keep you up to date through regular sweat and tears (and I think I saw blood once). It’s its own massive behemoth of a project, and they do it each week for you.
It’s just not in our DNA to hold updates and content back. We simply don’t do that. When it’s ready for primetime, it’s out the door for you to enjoy.
It’s also important to consider that what 3.0 meant a year ago is a shadow of what 3.0 means today. Back then, Planetary Tech would have offered a fraction of the freedom that it does in 3.0, and most of the numerous infrastructure updates going into it now did not exist. [WL: Edited previous sentence for clarity] Roughly speaking, the approach was that we’d be able to deliver four roughly built, predetermined, pre-scripted, landing zones. The reality is that those would have been rather limited, and ultimately, somewhat of a variation of what Area 18 ArcCorp is today in terms of features and functionality.
Today, 3.0 is about delivering an entirely explorable solar system with the backend services to make it dynamic. It’s about giving us the city and planet building tools to create for you the rest of the universe in an intelligent, scalable, efficient, and compelling manner. It’s about the first step in giving you the tools to create player outposts and communities. It’s about the streaming tech to allow you to take off from one moon, fly across the system, and land on an entirely different moon, the driving a freaking sweet buggy out of the back of your ship to race around the entire planet… all without a loading screen. It’s about giving you the ability to buy what’s on the web inside kiosks. It’s about usable turret gameplay, and Items 2.0 so you can customize your own ship with new components. It’s about picking objects and cargo so you can haul commodities across space as a trader and merchant. It’s about gutting a singleplayer engine to support thousands of players. It’s about infrastructure that we needed to develop because there are no off-the-shelf solutions for building an immersive experience like no other.
And that’s just part of what’s in 3.0!
The entire company is working feverishly to get you 3.0. Our goal is to provide you with the most amazing gaming experience ever. We’ve learned that we can deliver something better than the original 3.0, something bigger, something pretty groundbreaking, something magnificent.
That doesn’t always keep to a schedule, but we think it’s ok to take the time to do it right.
Happy Sunday everyone,
Will “Soulcrusher” Leverett
CIG will be pushing hard to get Star Citizen 3.0 ready for around Gamescom and we would not be surprised if their plan is to push it out in the weeks following the event which starts at the end of August. CIG would then use Gamescom again to showcase the 3.0 update and possible future features, and if fans are lucky, some Squadron 42.
Star Citizen’s development has been a tale of continual schedule slippages. Where is Squadron 42? Little of that has been shown and it’s long overdue. Star Citizen is an ambitious project that suffered from feature creep during the early funding process which has, unfortunately, lead to a bigger project, continual delays, and unrealistic milestones.