Star Citizen Engine Switch; Alpha Released for Backers

Cloud Imperium announces the release of Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 for all backers of the upcoming online space game. They celebrate the news with an updated Production Schedule Report to help us understand the game's current state of development. The announcement also has a detail that impacts that development, as it includes news that they've pulled a Duke Nukem by switching engines, sort of. Star Citizen began using Crytek's CryENGINE, but is now using Amazon's Lumberyard engine. The good news is that Lumberyard is actually based on CryENGINE, with additional support for online games using Amazon's AWS cloud. The game is already overdue based on their initial announcements, and the project has drawn fire from skeptics who think it is an endless crowdfunding scheme, and this news does not include any outlook on when the game be released or hit the beta stage. This project was split into two games almost a year ago, and the most recent word on the offline Squadron 42 half is that a first episode for backers is due next year. Here's more on the alpha release and the engine switch:
I am happy to announce we have just released Alpha 2.6 of Star Citizen to all backers!

With Alpha 2.6 you can now enjoy: Star Marine, featuring a host of new FPS features; big improvements to Arena Commander; further improvements to characters and their animations; new locations and missions to try; 47 flyable ships, including 8 new ships (Herald, Hoplite, Caterpillar, 85X, Wildfire, Renegade, Valiant and Comet)!

I hope you will spend many hours enjoying all the content we’ve put into this build and meeting new friends and enemies in our expanding universe! To find out more about what it took on the development side to get the patch ready for release make sure to check out the retrospective included in the final Alpha 2.6 schedule report.

There is one other big announcement we would like to make with the release of 2.6. We are now basing Star Citizen and our custom technology development on Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine. Since the beginning of the project, we’ve had to make a huge number of changes to the CryENGINE code and tech to enable us to deliver Star Citizen. While the original CryENGINE had great strengths in many areas like rendering and cinematics the needs of our game were well beyond what came ‘out of the box’. So we have, over time, changed significant parts of the engine for our technology, such that only a baseline of the original engine truly remains. In the future we will continue to make significant changes to AI, Animation and Network code and systems.

When Amazon announced Lumberyard back in February 2016, we were immediately interested. While based on the same baseline technology as Star Citizen, Lumberyard is specifically designed for online games, utilizing the power of Amazon’s AWS Cloud Services and their Twitch streaming platform. Amazon’s focus aligns perfectly to ours as we’ve been making significant engineering investments into next generation online networking and cloud based servers. Making the transition to Lumberyard and AWS has been very easy and has not delayed any of our work, as broadly, the technology switch was a ‘like-for-like’ change, which is now complete.

As an added benefit Amazon AWS data centers are spread around the world from North America to South America, Europe to China to Asia Pacific, which will allow us to better support the many backers across the globe as we scale up Star Citizen.

Finally, Amazon has made Lumberyard freely available for anyone building their own game. That means that technically-inclined members of the community can have a better view 'under the hood' of our game than ever before. It's also a great path for anyone interested in game development professionally; I fully anticipate that in the coming year we will be hiring programmers who have taught themselves using Amazon's Lumberyard resources!

As we move forwards, we are confident you will see great benefits from our partnership. Amazon will bring new features to Lumberyard to assist in creating online persistent games, adding great support for their products like Twitch (which we use extensively) and of course investing heavily in engine research and development for years to come. We could not find a more stable and reliable engine partner than Amazon, so with this partnership we are sure we have secured the future development and continuing technical innovation for Star Citizen.

With that I would like encourage everyone to download and play Alpha 2.6. It is a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing you in the ‘verse!
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Re: Star Citizen Engine Switch; Alpha Released for Backers
Dec 24, 2016, 20:25
Re: Star Citizen Engine Switch; Alpha Released for Backers Dec 24, 2016, 20:25
Dec 24, 2016, 20:25
Alrighty just played some Star Marine and here's some impressions:

- The game runs in DirectX 11 mode
- There are no detailed graphics options but only presets
- I played with 'very high' at 2560x1440 resolution
- My GPU is a GTX 1080 (1950MHz), 16GB RAM and a i7-4790K at default clocks
- My ping was ~130ms from EU (thus came across the typical lag and ghosting issues)
- The game ran at 50fps to 80fps on average most of the time
- It consumed ~4500 to nearly 5000MB of VRAM
- It does look quite pretty on very high, animations are still a mixed bag tho
- Sounds are broken (very muffled and it's obvious that there is no spatial/surround sound of any kind yet)
- It feels very much like a spit&glue alpha release
- Changing key bindings does not seem to work or they don't stick
- It is also very annoying that the default key bindings deviate from standard FPS bindings (e.g. 'TAB' does not bring up the scoreboard but the scoreboard is bound to 'F1') or scrolling the mousewheel did not switch to the next weapon for me
- Some key bindings do not seem to work at all, e.g. 'Enter' for chat did nothing for me. I could not chat at all.
- There are no loadout descriptions yet so picking equipment is kind of pointless since you do not even know what the advantages or disadvantages of the (very sparse) available items are... in fact the whole loadout screen does not make any fucking sense at all at this point
- When a MP match ends you get dropped all the way back to the main menu instead of being able to just continue with the next round

Overall, this is quite disappointing for 4+ years of development and let's not forget that Star Marine was originally promised to be released in early 2015.
There are a myriad of similar FPS games out there which are in a much better state than this half-assed garbage. It offers nothing special so far and annoys the user with the absence of standard FPS features or even a fully customizable control scheme.
It does have potential to at least match other standard FPS games in a few patches. It's not a lost cause beyond hope. It'll get there but there is nothing special setting this apart from any other FPS on the market.

This comment was edited on Dec 24, 2016, 20:36.
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