Chris Roberts, the chairman of Roberts Space Industries and the man leading the creative direction for development at Cloud Imperium Games, has given gamers an idea of what to expect from alpha 3.0 for the upcoming Star Citizen build due out this summer.
Alpha 3.0 introduces the new planetary tech that will allow players to scour, explore, land on and adventure through procedurally generated planets. It's one of the first games of this size and scale to allow for this kind of interaction, which has usually been limited to indie titles like No Man's Sky, Planet Nomads or Space Engineers. Of course, in those other titles there are certain limitations that each game has that allow for them to make procedural planet generation and exploration possible.
In Star Citizen the worlds are large, dynamic and take full advantage of the day/night cycles afforded to the real-time dynamic light modules baked into Star Citizen's graphics design. This means that when you land on planets you'll be able to see them and experience them as if they were a real-time place just like in any other first or third-person open-world adventure game such as GTA V or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
The planetary feature will be part of the Mega Map technology that will allow for players to seamlessly transition from one mode to the next without any hiccups. This is all being stuffed into the Star Citizen persistent universe.
The complete version of 3.0 is scheduled to launch at the end of June and will feature three moons to land on, and will introduce new weapons like the railgun and the plasma shotgun into the fold.
A number of animations have also been fixed up and modified to accommodate the new weapons, the new fatigue system that sees players getting tired from exhaustion, making it difficult to climb things, vault objects and aim. You will need to keep your player-character's stamina up, otherwise nearly every aspect of their performance, whether in combat or performing other tasks, will suffer.
Dynamic FOV will be implemented, along with dynamic HUD scaling; no matter how you modify the FOV, you'll always be able to see properly. In a way, I feel like this may have also been added for a possible future implementation of VR support.
Alpha 3.0 will also include a lot of backend updates to improve the tools that CIG are using to expand the Star Citizen universe, such as the solar system editor. The game will flesh out an entire solar system, complete with space stations, a sun, various planets to visit, and lots of other objects in between.
Developers reportedly had to bring in a new environment team to work on all the new locations they're implementing, along with finishing up the modular habitat toolset, which will allow them to populate planets and moons with locations that players can visit and move around in when they're outside of the ship.
You can check out the super lengthy roadmap for Star Citizen for alpha 3.0 and beyond by visiting the official RSI website.