Star Citizen - Door-based gameplay - What are you funding?
|the horror, scripted steps...|
to be honest, I think Squadron 42's gonna be all right...
Squadron 42 (the narrative arm of the Star Citizen franchise) is 'what Chris Roberts was always about' iff we track his career through Freelancer, Wing Commander etc. i.e. a series of cutscenes wrapped around a flight dynamic.
That's what Squadron 42 is, and it should do well. If they get the first chapter out. If they get the following two chapters out. Players love to be hand-held through an inter-active product-arc.
The real problem, as I see it, for CIG or Cloud Imperium Games is their so-called sandbox-variation known as The Verse or Persistent Universe. Why? Because the scripted scene, be it getting in a cockpit, be it moving from space to atmosphere, be it having a gun swinging on a player's back... yes, these are all scripted events... come up against the one thing CIG forgot to resolve.
Whenever you allow a programmer to 'move the player through a door' that entity DISAPPEARs from one world and enters another world. That's all these guys know how to do i.e. construct and deconstruct hierarchies. So, when you're walking along and then ENTER somewhere, you're swapping your already-borrowed matrix space for another about-to-be-borrowed matrix space. And they won't be the same. They never are. So if you have any locally swinging elements (like the guns on your back) you'll see them schizophrenically reacting to the swap of location.
When you 'get into a ship' you're only allowed to do so if you 'go through the necessary matrix-swap' i.e. play the ENTER script. But this isn't what true line-of-sight sandbox gaming should be about. I want to call my ship to me. I want to have the ship learn from me. I want to be a FIXED ENTITY within the Verse. I am the controller, not the thing I'm currently linked into, be that chair or ship or gravity zone. This is the major reason I can't Quantum Jump out of atmosphere... I don't exist in space to QJ to it from atmosphere. I'd have to be transitioned, and that takes mathematical time to re-spawn me FROM atmosphere TO space. These are not the same region of the game. They are totally unique areas of game sectioned off by doors.
Ladders don't work, and will never work in Star Citizen because they are state change mechanism not on-the-fly timing devices. You should be able to leap onto and off them and still play location-relevant animations. That's all you do when you're 'locomoting' in-game, playing location-relevant anims. In a sanbox, you need to make ON THE FLY decisions, even up to the point where you're a) 99% into the seat-sitting animation or b) 99% into the ladder-dismounting animation. And it's easy to do, track the position of a player along an anim curve, it's just 'something CIG aren't doing'.
It's the same when you DIE in Star Citizen, you're merely (surgically (genetically)) re-spawned. Now, while this re-spawning is a mainstay of multiplayer shooting games to date, how can it apply to Empire Building where the gameplayers themselves should be trampling all over each other once you're dead, eager to fill your corporate shoes or overtake the organisations you've so keenly built, fashioned, engineered? There appears to be no penalty (in current variant of game) for DEATH i.e. no loss of accrued empire, you just go 'through another door' and re-enter the same game with the same stuff you had before you were re-located.
CIG needs to formulate a way to totally refresh the Star Citizen sandbox from a scripted-features gameplay mechanic to a true data-updating gameplay mechanic. The 'doors' are killing the sandbox.