Space game takes flight

Robin Shin, Reporter
November 15, 2012
Filed under Features

When Chris Roberts first developed “Wing Commander” in 1990, the overall product wasn’t what he had in mind. His goal and dream was technologically out of reach. Until now.

Roberts is returning to the game development world with his new “Star Citizen” after a long break since the release of his film “Wing Commander” in 1999.

“Star Citizen” is a game that will be developed on a budget of millions.  As of Nov. 11, it has raised up to $3 million through private investments and funding platform such as Kickstarter.

“We’re going to do an alpha,” stated Roberts, “and it will be dogfighting, just a multiplayer, in 12 months time.”

Roberts plans the release of alpha to be only open for those who have first invested and paid for a slot during its funding phase. As for the full game, it is estimated to be released within the time range of two years.

The slots you can buy before the release of the alpha are different pledges. The pledges range from the price of $10 to $10,000, and will reserve different types of ships depending on the amount you have funded toward the game. Funding the maximum will get you to reserve your own galaxy.

The price difference of each pledge wasn’t an idea that Roberts thought of from the start.

“Normally you don’t get any difference in the game,” stated Roberts. “But we sort of decided that, wow, it would be kind of fun that if you’re going to spend more money, we’ll give you like a little bigger parts of the ships.”

He also stated that a bigger ship doesn’t mean your ship will be stronger, but it will just have more capacity and will need bigger engines along with more effects.  The smaller ships will be much more friendly for those who want to fly with their friends through the many galaxies that will exist in the game.

The age range for the game is currently predicted to be from twelve and up and even to those who are in the ages of thirty and forty due to their teenage years being the time when “Wing Commander” first came out.

Roberts stated that there would be two different levels of servers: persistent and battle.  Persistent server is where the future millions of Star Citizens will be living on and have the ability to keep track of where they are within the game and what ships and how much credit they have.

The game was birthed from the ideas of the galaxy in which “Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica” takes place: vast space.  Roberts mainly stated that the development of Star Citizen would be based off of his previous work of “Wing Commander.” Commander’s look was based off the battle that took place in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, except in space and within spaceships.

The ships won’t only allow you to dogfight, which is where two or more fighter spaceships duel in order to destroy the opponents ships, but will give you the ability to become a trader, space pirate, bounty hunter, or even more choices where anyone can be of a class they find interest in.

The game is currently planned to be available only through PC.  When asked if it will be released for Linux or Mac, Roberts stated that they have yet to find an engine, which will support the two systems. Roberts stated that they don’t see it being released for the current day consoles due to the lack of online features.  It is kept in mind that when the consoles are able to expand their online features with their future consoles, there may be a possibility of “Star Citizen” being available.

When speaking about the development of the game idea, Roberts stated that he wanted to develop a game where he could become a hero and not watch someone else become a hero like you would while watching “Star Wars.”

“You’re watching someone else be the hero and save the world,” stated Roberts. “That’s fun when you are watching a movie, but I always wanted the idea of you actually doing it yourself.

“I didn’t want to watch Luke Skywalker save the galaxy, I wanted to do what he was doing.”

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