Star Citizen's alpha 3.0 was scheduled to release during the summer, but the studios working on the project had to delay the game due to a number of hiccups in development that caused it to get hit with delays. Here's how long you'll have to wait before getting your hands on it.
The news comes courtesy of a development report over on the official RSI website. The report offers an extremely detailed breakdown of where each component and module is in the development cycle for alpha 3.0. After testing, bug-fixing, and a few other issues being addressed, alpha 3.0 is now expected to release between September 4th and September 8th next month.
So, why the delay? Well, the post goes through an extremely lengthy explanation of where each of the teams are on the development of Star Citizen. Cloud Imperium Games have studios spanning the globe working on the project. Some of the biggest hurdles included finding a solution for planetary procedural generation, which was surprisingly finished just before summer got underway, and implementing the Mission Giver module.
Hence, the biggest hold-up in the development cycle was the Mission Giver element. This revolves around players journeying throughout the procedurally generated universe and taking on missions from various NPCs. The Mission Giver module will basically work as the foundation for all the basic quests in Star Citizen, not unlike quest-giver setups in other games. The big difference is that the quest givers in Star Citizen are unlike the ones found in games like Final Fantasy or The Elder Scrolls because they have dynamic animations, reactions, and have to work with a holographic GUI that players can also activate from their wrist.
There are a lot of complex mechanisms working under the hood in Star Citizen that help make it what it is. For instance, the pick up and carry function is what allows players to pick up objects in real-time and carry them around places. This ties into the game's cargo transportation mechanic, where players can pick up objects, load them onto cargo beds and then put them into their ship. This all ties into the item 2.0 mechanic that CIG has been working on, which rests at the heart of many of the space sim's functionality.
For instance, the item 2.0 and pick up and carry mechanic also ties into the instanced item caching for storing items on player ships, including storing ships inside other ships. So, why is this significant? Well, in Star Citizen it's actually possible to steal another player's ship and fly it into your own ship. Or you can steal a vehicle and load it into your cargo bay and fly off. This ties into the item 2.0's legal and physical ownership properties, so players can physically own some items within the game world even if they don't legally own it. Hence, you could pull off some Grand Theft Auto by stealing another player's ship and going on a galactic space chase in an attempt to offload it somewhere.
Stealing items and becoming a smuggler comes with huge risks, though. Star Citizen features a morality/criminality system not unlike the Elder Scrolls games, so the more crimes you commit the more wanted you become throughout the galaxy.
All of these technical nuances have required additional bug testing and quality assurance certification before being rolled out to the public, so alpha 3.0 has been pushed back to September, which means Star Citizen's highly anticipated update won't be available before CIG and RSI take the game to GamesCom later this month.