‘Star Citizen’: Changing Game Engines; Alpha 2.6 Out Now

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When it comes to simulation games, none are more ambitious than what Cloud Imperium’s Game Star Citizen is trying to accomplish. The successor to the Wing Commander series, Star Citizen is a space simulation game that consists of mining, exploration, trading and first-person shooting components. The game exists in a massively multiplayer persistent universe where players can customize private servers. The game, to this point, has never had a publicly announced release date but parts of the game have been slowly rolled out since 2013 which gives players a feel for the game’s gameplay and vision.

The first piece of Star Citizen to release was named the Hangar Module. This piece allowed players to explore their ships from a first-person perspective. Further updates allowed players to upgrade the ship and invite other players over to see their ship.

The second piece of Star Citizen to release was named Arena Commander. This module allowed players to test the space combat in the game against other players or the computer. Given the Wing Commander heritage, it is no surprise that Star Citizen features highly detailed flight mechanics that let the player feel the weight of their ship and force the player to adjust accordingly. Further updates to this module included racing and a cooperative mode.

The most recent piece of Star Citizen to release arrived on Dec. 23, 2016. Released in the Alpha 2.6 update, Star Marine is the first-person combat component of the game. The module comes with two available game modes. Elimination, which is a free-for-all style deathmatch where the player with the highest kill score wins. Last Stand is a team-based mode where Marines and Outlaws face off with one another to gain control of four computer access terminals to earn points through four rounds. The developers wanted the first-person shooting combat to have a very realistic feel so different weapon stances and stamina have been added to reflect that.

A game with this vision definitely needs a powerful game engine to support all of its ambition and Star Citizen has made a move that will likely provide the stability they need to see the vision through. The team of Star Citizen recently announced that they would be abandoning Crytek’s CryEngine in favor for Amazon’s Lumberjack game engine. Chris Roberts, studio head of Roberts Space Industries, had this to say regarding the change: “We’ve been working with Amazon for more than a year, as we have been looking for a technology leader to partner with for the long-term future of Star Citizen and Squadron 42. Lumberyard provides groundbreaking technology features for online games. Because we share a common technical vision, it has been a very smooth and easy transition to Lumberyard,” according to Polygon.

Fans shouldn’t be too concerned with the transition, however, because Amazon’s Lumberjack is an extension of the CryEngine and, with the two engines being nearly identical, the developers should be able to stay on track and continue to develop the game as they see fit. As proof, the new Alpha 2.6 is currently running on the new engine so it is already seeing action.

Stay tuned for more news on Star Citizen.

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