Star Citizen Alpha 3.36

It has been a while since I've given Star Citizen a bigger glance. My previous post about it was on alpha version 2.4 and that was in June 2016. It wasn't a very long post then, just about that 2.4 was still pretty broken and not worth a purchase unless you are one of those people who want to see how broken massive games can be when they are under construction. And here we are now, November 2018 and the alpha version 3.36. What has changed?

As you might guess, the game itself is still very buggy and very much under construction, but during my testing of 3.36 Star Citizen actually feels for the first time like a game that is actually going somewhere. For the first time, it feels like it has more going for it than just insanely detailed, lived down sci-fi scenery, as now it now delivers some of the promised, yet long wai forted functionality. It now starts to have a feeling of the world Chris Roberts visioned of so long time ago when he at first Kickstarted this monstrosity of a project.

Trying to find a spot to land on in Lorville.

In the previous versions, you could take part in combat, in space and in space stations, fly races, go to spaceport Olisar and do some missions there. But now for the first time, you can fly to another planet, choose a city and land there. There's this moment, where you enter the atmosphere and the ship rushes through it, then you pop down and you see the cityscape ahead of you. You contact the landing officials and request a permission and then try to find your allocated space.

The city is called Lorville. It is a huge place, where different parts of it are connected with bullet trains. There are stores there and bars, obviously. It did make me smirk when I noticed that the whisky glass I got from the bartender had some sort of liquid physics going on. It wasn't perfect, but I don't think I've ever seen that before. I guess 200 million dollars gives ample time to tinker with all kinds of things.

The stores are manned with people, some of which you can talk with. The one man I found had relatively good facial animation going on, which gives some indication of how the tech they've been perfecting with the yet another long-awaited project, Squadron 42, is coming along.

There's still plenty of glitches around. 

It's not all problem free though. The user interface is still downright terrible. When you want to interact with things, you have to press down F-key and hover your mouse to the choice you want to make. It is a gimmicky, unintuitive concept Cloud Imperium should change as soon as possible.

Another problem seems to be around waiting. When I at first travelled to Lorville, I put on my spool drives and waited 5 or so minutes for the ship to make the distance between port Olisar and the plane Hurston the city of Lorville is located at. After that, the landing took some time as well.

When I got to the station from the hangars, I had to stay put and wait for a train to come to the station as I wanted to see more than just the spaceport. And as I was walking around the city, I noticed myself getting lost, so making my way back to the spaceport took some time as well. And I managed to die during the process as well as glitch myself outside the regular bounds of the playable area.

And when I finally managed to arrive back to the spaceport, I noticed I had no idea where my ship was parked, as I couldn't find those handy computers anywhere you can use at port Olisar to fetch your ship to some hangar. So, after checking a couple of hangars in a hope I'd find my ship, I took that as a sign to stop playing.

Some characters are already pretty nicely animated. He looks very good in those moving pictures.

So, yeah. Star Citizen has come a long way since the previous version I looked at. While I have tried to check out the previous versions as well, the game has always been so broken for me, that I wasn't really able to play it. Now, the stability seems to be pretty good and the framerates, albeit not stellar, have improved quite a bit. The network lag still seems to be a quite a massive issue, but it seems to be getting better.

Should you buy it then?

No, I don't think so. While Star Citizen has improved quite a bit and the ambitions have begun to take some genuine form, it still is an alpha state game, where a lot of things are bound to change. As far I can see, they are just getting to a place, where the stability is improving and there seems to be more content coming in, but it still isn't there yet as far playability and fun go. It is pretty to ogle at, but not yet extremely fun to play.

From the looks of it, Cloud Imperium is starting to have their stuff together, so who knows, maybe in two years there actually is a fun game here. At least they have enough money to try.

This isn't a place I should be able to get to. I glitched to a roof of a building through a faulty elevator.