Star Citizens and Feature Creep

So, a bit of a preface for this one, what is Star Citizen actually suppose to contain: All the stretch goals, by way of Roberts Space Industries.

Also, a bunch of information can be gotten outta the Kickstarter, so let’s start out with the intial promises:

Real quick, Star Citizen is:

A rich universe focused on epic space adventure, trading and dogfighting in first person.
Single Player – Offline or Online(Drop in / Drop out co-op play)
Persistent Universe (hosted by US)
Mod-able multiplayer (hosted by YOU)
No Subscriptions
No Pay to Win

That, would be what we would have gotten for the half million US$ Chris Roberts wanted intially, those six things are the very default, the base line.

Are any of these avaliable in the present “Alpha”? Well, no, not at all, there’s only one system, the ships aren’t working at all, trading isn’t in and the universe is about as persistent as a Just Cause 2 multiplayer map.

Now, the mod-able multiplayer, hosted by yourself, have been placed in the backburner until after “launch”, meaning we’ll almost certainly never see it again.

No Subscriptions? Well, you can actually subscribe to CIG, supporting the Community updates or some nonsesnse, and if you believe that my son, then I have a fair few bridges I’d like to sell you.

No Pay to Win? Considering that you can litteraly buy any giant super-ship using actual money right now? Sorry, that’s pretty much Pay to Win, is it time-limited until launch? Sure, Cloud Imperium claims that they’ll stop selling actual ships when it goes live.

But the damage is already done my sweet little redditors, now a bunch of whales will have a massive advantage, in theory.

So yeah, game sure hasn’t reached any of the starting promises, a great sign, after 104,500,000 US$ MORE then actually needed.

Now, using the Six Million US$ goal from the Kickstarter, Star Citizen would improve Privateer with 100 total start systems, full Orhestral Music and Squadron 42, the first Episode at least, 16 missions in total.

Not bad, does any of this exist yet? Two years after it was suppose to? Nope, not even a single one of these items are actually implemented yet.

Now, one does wonder why this is. Until you look at the Stretch Goal at CIG own website, and they conflict with the goal in the Kickstarter. Oh boy.

The Kickstarter required more than six million to get Squardron 42 to 16 missions, CIG’s own website, requires three million for 35 missions.

At 12 million, the HANGARD module get’s Occulus Rift support, the hell? Also a bunch of nonsense about Motion Capture facilities and Sound studioes, which is odd.

Most Game Studioes just rent those, not even that massively expensive anymore, you’d imagine that FAMOUS HOLLYWOOD PRODUCER CHRIS ROBERTS would know that.

At 19 million US$, a monthly series about older games would be up on the RSI website, why? Fuck knows, utterly pointless. The monthly promise was broken four years ago by the way.

Most of the rest of the Goal are either useless ships that exists only as JPGs or stuff Elite:Dangerous already did or stuff no sane human being would even consider useful or sensible.

Joy of joy, eh?

While a substantive part of the promised gameplay is now available, we acknowledge that delivery of some game elements has been delayed due to expansion of Star Citizen’s scope. This expansion is a result of the community’s declared desire to have the initial release version of the game developed to a much greater depth than contemplated originally upon start of the campaign. It is inherent to the nature of crowdfunding that such an adjustment to the project may occur. Ultimately, this will benefit all backers including yourself, since every backer will be receiving a much greater value for his/her pledge, but it may – as in this case – cause an extension of the delivery dates.

Allow me to just quote that chunk of the e-mail CIG has send to all refund requests,not the “substantive” part of the promosed gameplay? Yeah, that’s not going to go anywhere in a sane courtroom.

So yeah, either feature creep killed Star Citizen years ago, or Chris Roberts is building a Hollywood production company infrastructure using crowdfunding, which he’ll then quitely rebuy from the shambles of this failure of a game.

Or just incompetence. Probably the last one.

Star Citizens and refunds.

Cloud Imperium Games (Cloud Imperium Games)

Dec 20, 14:32

Hi there,

Thank you very much for your patience with this ticket.

We have reviewed your account status and regret that we are not able to accommodate your request for a refund since it was received outside of the statutory 14 day period.

Your pledge was made as part of the crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the development of “Star Citizen.” As such you were aware that the funds would be actively applied after receipt for this purpose, not idly maintained in a bank account, and therefore could not be subject to a refund once used. As you may know from the extensive information on our website Robertsspaceindustries.com, Cloud Imperium Games has been working diligently over the past 3 years on the development of the game, and now employs over 260 staff in four studios. 2,538 reports, updates and web shows have been made available during this time, and first modules with limited gameplay were offered as early as in fall of 2013 – by now hundreds of thousands of gameplay hours have been played on our servers. The development of the game is proceeding steadily, and a substantial part of the promised game offering dozens of gameplay hours has been made available to the backers in early release versions (see further detail below).

Pursuant to the terms of your agreement (see Sec. 4 of the Commercial Terms, and Sec. IV.A of the subsequent Terms of Service, as applicable, https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos), your payment was a deposit to be used for the “Game Cost” (as defined therein), and such deposit has since been “earned by CIG and become non-refundable to the extent that it is used for the Game Cost…” You further agreed to “irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any deposit amount that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.” The only exception would be a return of unearned funds remaining in case of an abandonment of the project. If you pledged on Kickstarter, you agreed to these terms when you transferred your pledge account to robertsspaceindustries.com.

These terms are consistent with the specific nature of crowdfunding and the foreseeable use of your pledge – we hope you appreciate that we cannot ask our hard working personnel to return some of their salary nor that it would be appropriate to use current backers’ funds provided for game development as a refund for an earlier and committed pledge.

While a substantive part of the promised gameplay is now available, we acknowledge that delivery of some game elements has been delayed due to expansion of Star Citizen’s scope. This expansion is a result of the community’s declared desire to have the initial release version of the game developed to a much greater depth than contemplated originally upon start of the campaign. It is inherent to the nature of crowdfunding that such an adjustment to the project may occur. Ultimately, this will benefit all backers including yourself, since every backer will be receiving a much greater value for his/her pledge, but it may – as in this case – cause an extension of the delivery dates.

We acknowledge that some individual backers may find the additional wait undesirable. However, as per Sec. VII of the ToS, you did “acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time.”

We’d like to point you to the significant gameplay which is now available; https://robertsspaceindustries.com/feature-list and if you haven’t already, we encourage you to download the installer from this url: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/download and patch up to play the latest version of the game.

Star Citizen is a project for gamers, by gamers. Delays and changes are always unfortunate, but in our case they are also one of the reasons the project is so special. By financing the project using crowd funding, our team is not beholden to a publisher who would insist we ship a game unfinished or broken to meet a particular date. Thanks to continued backing of our community, we have the needed creative freedom over the project, to create a unique game, and we feel the results, such as unparalleled immersion and fidelity, are already speaking for themselves!

We sincerely hope you enjoy the updates both current and future in the Star Citizen ‘Verse.

Thank you.
RSI Customer Service Management

I was wondering when I’d get the copy-paste e-mail, took a fair amount of time to be sure.

Star Citizen and you

Star Citizen, another result of nostalgia, together with that abomination Godus that Peter Molyneux vomited forth upon an unsuspecting world.

Now, I have no clue what the hell Wing Commander is, no earthly clue at all, I didn’t have a PC that could actually run anything as fun as video games back in those days.

The damn graphics card had at best sixteen colours, not entirely sure. It has been many a dark and horrible year since.

Now, do you remember the Ouya, that useless little shit box only the mentally deranged could love? Of course you don’t, it was shut down and its intangible assets were devoured by Razor, who wants to make a go at a mini-console themselves.

The Ouya was a kickstarter success, however, as it managed to rake in millions, promising a “revolution” and that it would “save the games”.

“Beware those who promises revolution, because in their hearts, the seek themselves your exploiter.”

Ouya was a miserable failure, it was released, but the end product was such a pile of garbage, not even Notch wanted to touch it, and that crazy Swede sure does want to touch it all.

Now, another contender is reach peak failure cascade, Star Citizen, the largest crowdfunding success in history, one hundred million US dollars, for a video game, designed and managed by a man, who had massive success with video games.

The last of those, from 1997, to bad it’s 2005, and also to bad that Origin Systems was the company who actually made the damn games, Chris Roberts was the designer, but one man does not make games like that, a company does.
Unless that one man is a complete lunatic genius, which Chris Roberts isn’t.

In between the last Wing Commander, Chris Roberts was the designed on Freelancer, which I actually own, and consider an excellent game, because I picked it up years after it was released, randomly, at some bargin bin, published for reasons unknown by Ubisoft, I think, possible Infogrames, who cares?

I dodged all the hype however, and that’s the important bit, without the hype, the promises and all that insanity, Freelancer’s a pretty good game, definitely a classic, but nothing else.

The storyline was a decent little space opera, nothing spectacular, and it was fun exploring all the cool little corners of the game.

So, what did Roberts do in between? He produced movies, as a producer. Good movies? Not really, Lord of War is pretty awesome, the rest are just ever so much meh.

But he caught the smell of the nostalgia trip we’ve seen in the last few years, ever since the success of Tim Schaefers “LET ME MAKE AN ADVENTURE GAME” campaign.

But Nostalgia is a siren song, just because nostalgia tells you something was cool, doesn’t mean it was, Command & Conquer Red Alert was cool, OpenRA isn’t that much fun to play, is it technically the same game? Yes, yes it is, the same game. Nostalgia just ain’t enough to generate a fun experience.

So, Star Citizen, 100 million US dollars, generated based on Nostalgia, with a man at the helm, who has squandered resources before, when he over-promised Freelancer.

So what is the problem with Star Citizen? Many:

1. Lack of transparency, compared to the only other meaningful point of comparison, Frontier Developments (Elite Dangerous), we know what Frontier spend their money on, who went on inside the company, the whole thing, because Frontier is a publicly traded company, and Cloud Imperium is a personal fiefdom of silence and obscurity.
2. Feature Creep, Chris Roberts recently promised the Star Citizen would contain birds.
3. Cult-like community, you know how bad League of Legends community is? Yeah, Star Citizen’s is waaay worse.
4. Sandi Gardiner.
5. General incompetence, to the point that they can’t do a live-stream properly.
6. Terms of Service fuckery, let’s change the TOS several times! That won’t backfire at all, yayz.
7. The sale of in-game assets to fund development.
8. Broken promises, a lot of broken promises.

So, join me over the next few days, as I go through each point, and mercilessly mock authority!

CHRISROBERTS

Citybuilders and you: Cities Skylines


So, do you remember SimCity 2013? Did you play it? Really, you paid EA any money? Did you enjoy it?

I see, you are not human, you are obviously a Repteliod from the Lesser Megelanic Cloud, nothing sane on this poluted planet made out of failture and sadness could EVER like SimCity 2013, it was a broken mess made out of Marketing and broken dreams. But it’s water under the bridge now, Maxis has died, SimCity 2013 died with it, and a new successsor has arrived from the shadows of Finland.

Cities Skylines by Colossal Order.

And it is good, and I mean it, really, really, really, sodding good.

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It’s SimCity 2013, but it works.

It still uses those agents that SimCity was raving on about for waaaay to long, but only where it makes sense, water and eletricity? Not FUCKING agents, just the logical system of just making sure you have enough of A,B & Z. Nothing special.

Agents are the people who live and work in the city, the various service agents (Police, Fire-service, busses, trains, planes, ships, hearses and ambulances) and that’s it. And you’re little people walking around? They have a home, that’s theirs, they have a workplace, that’s also theirs and they will go to a place of amusement some random crap place.

Unlike SimCity, where the agents would go to the first avaliable house, the first avaliable workplace and not give a shit, if some uneducated yokel from the fucking sticks began working at the Nuclear Power Planet, turns out, Homer Simpson would be a disater for any Nuclear facility outside of cartoons, even in the superbly unrealistic dreamworld of video games, it’s a disaster.

Not in Cities: Skylights, it just doesn’t happen.

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And to add a bit more joy, they developer have realeased an expansion, that added a bunch of cool stuff, plenty of free content patches, active dialogue with their customers and remain a happy little team.

All in all, the best City-Builder since SimCity 4. Well cone random little company.

You can, and you should, get it on Steam, with full workshop support, and 20000 random crap items for you to play with.

Elder Scrolls Online, a big fat cauldron of not very good.


Elder Scrolls Online, who I imagine got greenlight ages ago, when the concept of a “World of Warcraft” killer was still imaginatively relevant, unfortunately, that concept went out the windows somewhere around Star Wars the Old Republic and that useless Conan game. Sadly for Zenimax, Bethesda and people who actually like the Elder Scrolls universe (Spoiler Alert: I love the Elder Scrolls Universe, crazy dwemer lore and all), this game just isn’t that good.

It’s by no means bad, it just isn’t very good, mediocre in so many ways, outright bad in other ways, pretty good in some ways, now, allow me to explain, before you start screaming at the monitor. (Spoiler Alert: No one will actually do that).

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So, let’s start with the classes, of which there are four, Templar (Healer), Dragonknight (Fire), Nightblade (Fuck off) and Sorcerer, pay attention to the last class, which doesn’t have a fancy name at all, this will be explained later on, so don’t worry.

Now, the first three classes usually use meele weapons, so they are up close and personal with the enemies, hitting them with swords, hammers, maces and all the good stuff, but the amount of weapons skills are limited, as your weapon adds five extra active skills you can use, alongside your class skills.

Which sounds cool, until I tell you there are the following categories: Two-handed, One+Shield and Dual Wielding. Is there are tree for daggers? Hahaha, fuck off no. Can you then really sneak around and stab people? Sure, EVERYONE can, not that it matters, the stealth system doesn’t really make any sense anyway.

The other weapons are Bows, Destruction Staff and Healing staffs.

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now, meele is still fun, you’re there hitting shit in the face, no fancy stuff, just up close and personal, you can easily keep up with the “BLOCK NOW” telegrams the enemy sends you, and note here, THE enemy, I haven’t been able to really engage several mobs in any meaningful way, not even as a sorcerer.

So it’s almost always one-on-one, still, meele feels nice and punchy, so that’s always something.

The Archery is pretty good, if unremarkably, and works pretty much as a Magic staff, just much, MUCH better.

Because Magic is absolutely bollocks, and staggeringly so. In pretty much all of Elder Scrolls, I would go buy some spells, or start with a handful, and start vomiting forth fire from the palms of my hands, like some deranged psyker straight out of Warhammer 40k, hurling around fire and death with my clenched fists. Awesome fun in Morrowind with it’s utterly broken magic system, decent in Oblivion and after a bit of PC Master Race modding, awesome power in Skyrim. The one thing in common, staffs where and optional extra, used only sometimes, you where the weapon.

Does the Sorcerer do that in ESO? Nope, you have to use staffs, and they aren’t very good, don’t feel right, and really don’t work in any ranged confrontation. I’d usually just be mudered by angry arsehole running into my face. So fireballs for me.

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So, the classes aren’t very good, what about the quests? Mediocre at best my friends. Standard at worst, horrible at nightmares.

The main quest line is so relentlessly predictable it’s not even funny, excellent voice actors for the “Main” story characters, pretty eh for everyone else.

There are a handful of “dynamic” events, but they are pale shades compared to the mediocre servings from Warlords of Dreanor, and are utterly irredemable compared to Guild Wars Two’s brilliant event systems.

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Adding in a generally ugly game, without the glorious insanity of Morrowing or the vast Scandinavian style of Skyrim, it all just looks like Oblivion, which, let’s be honest, was boring as all fuck to actually look at.

Add in some insane and utterly randon loading times, and you have good times for absolutely nothing sane on this fair world, other than maniacs who like to masturbate to loading screens.

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Which brings us anything but neatly, to the final horror: PvP.

This game has been advertised aimed towards a PvP angle, with it’s massive central battleground, where the three great faction compete for domination, sounds cool doesn’t it? It probably would be, if I had even the faintest idea where the fuck I had to go, or do, and when I finally randomly stumbled upon a Keep under siege, I was murdered within seconds, WITH NO WAY TO GET BACK TO THE FIGHT.

I cannot even understand that, I respawn a full keep further back, so far away from the frontlines, that by the time I would reach the keep on foot (Horses are either expensive monsters or stuff you buy from the in-game store), the battle would be over, who the fuck things that’s a good idea?

The PvP map was enourmous anyway, way to large for the limited players present, a map that size would need to have several thousands of players, to work even just a little.

A little while after my quick demise, I found myself, randomly again because the map was goddamn useless as an indicator of action, in a keep under siege, well, I say siege, two enemy players where attacking the main gate.

Guess what? They could kill all of use so quickly it wasn’t funny, not even a little, I did notice that one of them used the “Former Empress” title, which I belive is pretty much the End Game PvP title.

So yeah, that was fun.

A small story here people, I, like many, played World of Warcraft in vanilla, and I, fool that I was, levelled a Dwarf Paladin, all the way to level 60, and guess what? I got fucking tired of being ganked TEN years ago, and fuck that shit, it’s not fun for anyone, other then deranged little fuckers with power fantasies.

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In Conclustion: Buy Guild Wars 2 instead, more content, more fun, more everything, this MMO will die at some point, and nothing will be lost.

This game should never have been, and probably will fade away at some point.

Maxis has died a disgraceful death.

Maxis is dead.

The old developer behind the SimCity franchise, Spore and the Sims, is no more. It has ceased to be. It has gone and joined Westwood and Bullfrog in Light entertainment heaven.

But, before you let the floods of tears overwhelm your own sanity, to remember just one thing.

Maxis died years ago, all that we wave goodbye to today, was a shallow sad little shell, all the talent and wonder that produced the great games of yesterday, have long gone away.

Will Wirght, creator of Simcity, Simcity 2000, Simcity 3000 and Spore, have gone of to do fuck knows what, nothing game related at least.

The last thing released by Maxis, was Simcity 4, one of the best Citybuilders EVER released, after that, all that Maxis have done is more versions of the Sims, esssentially copying itself every two years or so.

And most of the Sims’s activities was tranfered into another studio entirely years ago, as for Simcity 2013?

Wasn’t made by Maxis, it was made by EA, and their diabolical marketing and financial department. Nothing about Simcity 2013 is worth anything.

So worry not my brothers, Maxis died years ago, today, we simply dump the rotting corpse into a shallow grave, where it should have been dumped years ago.

Luck Cities Skylines looks good, eh?

Train Fever, tries to be Transport Tycoon.

Train Fever is a Transport Tycoon clone, a good old fashioned economic tycoon simulator. Good, as it’s always nice to see these kind of games, they are getting fairly rare these days. Old, because the core economic game, is utterly imcomprehensible to any human form of thought.

I’m not kidding, oh on the surface, this game is fairly straightforward, buy trucks, trams, busses and (theoretically) trains, transport crap from A to B to C etc… Build roads, railroads, busstops, trainstations, bridges ad all that which is best in life.

Sounds fairly straightforward, eh? Well it isn’t, it really, really isn’t.

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In Transport Tycoon, all stations have a chatchment area, in which they’ll pick up cargo and passengers, of there are any around, and if any lines are able to tranport them. If there aren’t any of those two, nothing happens.

In Train Fever, stations present an opertunity for passengers/cargo to get to their destination, and they will base their go/no go decision on travel time. How do you predict travel time? You can’t, you really can’t, not unless you’re some deranged purestrain hyper-sperging autism machine, who will joyfully calculated the time, based on virtual feedback, experimentation and the very quantum uncertaincy of the goddamn universe. Seriously, you’d have to be utterly mental to figure it out, no sane human being could ever do so.

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So making money can be incredibly obtuse, for passengers, not for cargo, oh no, cargo is a piece of cake. It’ll simply take the fastest route to the nearest reciving destination, and it’ll either trickle towards the avaliable destinations (Steel Mills, Saw mills and refineries) or take your MUCH faster trucks, so that’s not really an issue. However, the generic goods that the factories vomit forth? Now that one’s nice and obtuse as hell. The maximum amount of generic goods factories can produce, and thus also the amount of unprocessed goods they’ll recieve, is determined by the amount of goods the nearby cities will recieve, meaning that the optimal solution for industrial profit, is a processing site, surrounded by three or more cities, all who’ll recieve plenty of goods, now that’ll generate a solid profit.

So, that’s Truck Fever for you, plenty of fun with trucks.

As for busses and trams? Utterly unpredicatable and not even remotely straightforward, due to the travel time issue, sometimes they’ll trickle in some form of profit, but their use is almost entirely used for feeding train stations. As it should be, very realistic.

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And here we arrive, at the elephant in the room, the terror, the dread, the trains.

And they are ever so fucked, not intially of couse, in the early start of 1850, people don’t really have cars, so you’re trains? They are the only real choice, no way in hell are anyone going InterCity without your gleaming trains. And this state of joy last to somewhere around 1950, when the car arrive, as in the real world. And I guess I now know how the railroad tycoons of the era must have felt when Fords fucking Model T came along and ruined everything.

The early days are the good days, cheap trains, cheap to run, no other choice, plenty of money.

And here’s the best part, unless you somehow manage to REALLY slash the travel times, people will just take their goddamn fucking cars, like a bunch of Americans, the only remote success I had with trains, where dirt cheap railbuses, and a shitton of them, but even that, doesn’t really cut in the long run. Even tried an EXTREME long distance route straight across the map, still no success.

It becomes virtually impossible to make any money from trains, after the cars fuck everything up, cargo’s doing just fine, as they don’t spawn cars at any time, but trains? Nope, ain’t gonna happen.

Unless the devs tweak the amount of passengers, or the ticket fees or the maintainence costs of the damn trains, it’ll remain incredibly hard to actually make any money of trains after 1950, which is kinda bad, with a name like Train Fever.

Graphically, it looks okay, not terrible well optimized.

If the economy was a lot less obtuse and better balanced, this game would be recommendable, unfortunately, it isn’t recommnedable at all at present.