News Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 and forward

Discussion in 'Community Content' started by Krzysztov, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. Krzysztov

    Krzysztov Recruit

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    Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 launched this past week and as with many games of this magnitude it didn’t have its lack of issues. After a long year of slow updates. This made some early adopters worried but that time has shown the fruition of labor in this update.

    On Dec. 20, 2016 news broke that Crytek, the makers of the game Crysis and known for it’s vivid graphics and physics engine CryEngine, which Star Citizen client was built upon was shutting down doors of five of its studios.

    Many Star Citizen early adopters and addicts worried what this meant for the heavily developed and invested universe. Star Citizen said the closure wouldn’t affect the game and on Christmas Eve with a fix for 2.6, the famed Chairman of RSI, Chris Roberts finally broke the silence.

    “There is one other big announcement we would like to make with the release of 2.6. We are now basing Star Citizen and our custom technology development on Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine. Since the beginning of the project, we’ve had to make a huge number of changes to the CryENGINE code and tech to enable us to deliver Star Citizen. While the original CryENGINE had great strengths in many areas like rendering and cinematics the needs of our game were well beyond what came ‘out of the box’. So we have, over time, changed significant parts of the engine for our technology, such that only a baseline of the original engine truly remains. In the future we will continue to make significant changes to AI, Animation and Network code and systems.

    When Amazon announced Lumberyard back in February 2016, we were immediately interested. While based on the same baseline technology as Star Citizen, Lumberyard is specifically designed for online games, utilizing the power of Amazon’s AWS Cloud Services and their Twitch streaming platform. Amazon’s focus aligns perfectly to ours as we’ve been making significant engineering investments into next generation online networking and cloud based servers. Making the transition to Lumberyard and AWS has been very easy and has not delayed any of our work, as broadly, the technology switch was a ‘like-for-like’ change, which is now complete.

    As an added benefit Amazon AWS data centers are spread around the world from North America to South America, Europe to China to Asia Pacific, which will allow us to better support the many backers across the globe as we scale up Star Citizen.

    Finally, Amazon has made Lumberyard freely available for anyone building their own game. That means that technically-inclined members of the community can have a better view 'under the hood' of our game than ever before. It's also a great path for anyone interested in game development professionally; I fully anticipate that in the coming year we will be hiring programmers who have taught themselves using Amazon's Lumberyard resources!

    As we move forwards, we are confident you will see great benefits from our partnership. Amazon will bring new features to Lumberyard to assist in creating online persistent games, adding great support for their products like Twitch (which we use extensively) and of course investing heavily in engine research and development for years to come. We could not find a more stable and reliable engine partner than Amazon, so with this partnership we are sure we have secured the future development and continuing technical innovation for Star Citizen.

    With that I would like encourage everyone to download and play Alpha 2.6. It is a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing you in the ‘verse!

    Happy Holidays!

    -- Chris Roberts”


    Finally after the patch was released, alleviating the major issues. With new menus to navigate and a cleaner interface with plenty of room for things to be added, players who had the dreaded crash into their Hangers, Electronic Access or the Universe could finally sink their teeth into the new engine and new game play mode Space Marines.

    After playing the game, especially the new Space Marine, there is no notice of a change. The graphics on some surfaces aren’t exactly the same, such as an Anvil Aerospace’s FC-Hornet’s NA-160F Turret are a little smoother but such small nuances are very minor when you consider they have taken three plus years of work from one engine to another.

    Arena Commander seems to not have been affected by the upgrade outside the addition of dropped powerups, an argument for another time. Piloting a Mustang Alpha SC Starter, 325a and a newly released Hornet F7C Wildfire seemed to be almost identicalto the F7A Ghost it was upgraded from.

    Space Marine is a solid FPS and with future access to further personalize your fighter like Arena Commander, the game will pull in fans of multiple genres, a strength in the MMO business.

    As for the move to Lumberyard, the move is gigantic. Amazon’s Web Services is Amazon’s largest profiting division. Many websites already take advantage of AWS, including Netflix, Adobe and even Reddit.

    Lumberjack is Amazon’s push into gaming. For a large scale MMO that Star Citizen is suggested to become, it allows for a tightly knit client and server side development. Many developers have to use front end engines such as CryEngine while licensing or developing their own backend. Lumberjack unifies the process while having Amazon engineers to help with critical problems. These two things help with the scale that Star Citizen is aimed to become.

    The move helped with something else many early adopters had concerns about and that was scalability. Hopefully this allows RSI to rollback the game to run on lower end machines, something that has held back other games client side and server side to push the engines they are using to full potential or even upgrade at all without amputating a portion of their player base. Many people forget for some players, simply buying a newer machine isn’t as easy for the casual player, something that has helped consoles maintain a strong hold of their market.

    This is also a large endeavor for Amazon. Nothing has been stated about financials with the transfer but taking a major title such as Star Citizen shows they plan on delivering. Maybe this will allow RSI to refocus 100% on pushing the game forward, repositioning to to the next step of evolution of MMO’s all while Amazon pushes Lumberjack to possibly be the next Unreal Engine or CryEngine.

    Now to get a Sabre Comet.

    \\Krzysztov\GPturismo
     
  2. Krzysztov

    Krzysztov Recruit

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    Starter Mustang Alpha
    [​IMG]

    New Launch Screen
    [​IMG]

    New Menu Screen
    [​IMG]

    New F7C-Hornet Wildfire
    [​IMG]

    Arena Commander
    [​IMG]

    New Space Marines
    [​IMG]

    Arch: The Killjoys is the gaming division of my studio Norsewerke.
     
    #2 Krzysztov, Dec 28, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  3. Krzysztov

    Krzysztov Recruit

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    ###part1of2###

    Star Citizen Alpha 2.6 launched this past week and as with many games of this magnitude it didn’t have its lack of issues. After a long year of slow updates that made some early adopters worried but that time has shown the fruition of labor in this update.


    On Dec. 20, 2016 news broke that Crytek, the makers of the game Crysis and known for it’s vivid graphics and physics engine CryEngine, which Star Citizen client was built upon was shutting down doors of five of its studios.


    Many Star Citizen early adopters and addicts worried what this meant for the heavily developed and invested universe. Star Citizen said the closure wouldn’t affect the game and on Christmas Eve with a fix for 2.6, the famed Chairman of RSI, Chris Roberts finally broke the silence.


    “There is one other big announcement we would like to make with the release of 2.6. We are now basing Star Citizen and our custom technology development on Amazon’s Lumberyard Engine. Since the beginning of the project, we’ve had to make a huge number of changes to the CryENGINE code and tech to enable us to deliver Star Citizen. While the original CryENGINE had great strengths in many areas like rendering and cinematics the needs of our game were well beyond what came ‘out of the box’. So we have, over time, changed significant parts of the engine for our technology, such that only a baseline of the original engine truly remains. In the future we will continue to make significant changes to AI, Animation and Network code and systems.

    When Amazon announced Lumberyard back in February 2016, we were immediately interested. While based on the same baseline technology as Star Citizen, Lumberyard is specifically designed for online games, utilizing the power of Amazon’s AWS Cloud Services and their Twitch streaming platform. Amazon’s focus aligns perfectly to ours as we’ve been making significant engineering investments into next generation online networking and cloud based servers. Making the transition to Lumberyard and AWS has been very easy and has not delayed any of our work, as broadly, the technology switch was a ‘like-for-like’ change, which is now complete.

    As an added benefit Amazon AWS data centers are spread around the world from North America to South America, Europe to China to Asia Pacific, which will allow us to better support the many backers across the globe as we scale up Star Citizen.

    Finally, Amazon has made Lumberyard freely available for anyone building their own game. That means that technically-inclined members of the community can have a better view 'under the hood' of our game than ever before. It's also a great path for anyone interested in game development professionally; I fully anticipate that in the coming year we will be hiring programmers who have taught themselves using Amazon's Lumberyard resources!

    As we move forwards, we are confident you will see great benefits from our partnership. Amazon will bring new features to Lumberyard to assist in creating online persistent games, adding great support for their products like Twitch (which we use extensively) and of course investing heavily in engine research and development for years to come. We could not find a more stable and reliable engine partner than Amazon, so with this partnership we are sure we have secured the future development and continuing technical innovation for Star Citizen.

    With that I would like encourage everyone to download and play Alpha 2.6. It is a lot of fun and I look forward to seeing you in the ‘verse!

    Happy Holidays!

    -- Chris Roberts” - http://bit.ly/2irHC1m

    ###continued###
     
  4. Krzysztov

    Krzysztov Recruit

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    ###part2of2###

    Finally after the patch was released, alleviating the major issues. With new menus to navigate and a cleaner interface with plenty of room for things to be added, players who had the dreaded crash into their Hangers, Electronic Access or the Universe could finally sink their teeth into the new engine and new gameplay mode Space Marines.


    After playing the game, especially the new Space Marine, there is no notice of a change. The graphics on some surfaces aren’t exactly the same, such as an Anvil Aerospace’s FC-Hornet’s NA-160F Turret are a little smoother but such small nuances are very minor when you consider they moved from two different versions of StarEngine, one built upon CryEngine and the new based on Lumberyard. http://bit.ly/2i8RXlc


    Arena Commander seems to not have been affected by the upgrade outside the addition of dropped powerups, an argument for another time. Piloting a Mustang Alpha SC Starter, 325a and a newly released Hornet F7C Wildfire seemed to be almost identical outside of a F7A Ghost instead of the Wildfire.


    Space Marine is a solid FPS and with future access to further personalize your fighter like Arena Commander, the game sure will be interesting.


    As for the move to Lumberyard, the move is gigantic in a development sense. Amazon’s Web Services, Amazon’s largest profiting division, is host to websites including Netflix, Adobe and REDDIT and utilized by game developers such as Ubisoft, Naughty Dog and Sega.


    Lumberyard is Amazon’s push into gaming. For a large scale MMO that Star Citizen is suggested to become, it allows for a tightly knit client and server side development. Many developers have to use front end engines such as CryEngine while licensing or developing their own backend. Amazon’s Game Dev Services unifies the process while having Amazon engineers to help with critical problems. These two things help with the scale that Star Citizen is aimed, projected and desired to become.

    The move helped with something many early adopters had concerns about which is scalability. The move allowed RSI to rollback the game to run on lower end machines, something that has held back other games client side and server side to push their engines to full potential or even upgrade at all without amputating a portion of their player base. Many people forget for some players, simply buying a newer machine isn’t as easy, especially for the casual player, something that has helped consoles maintain a strong hold of their market.


    This is also a large endeavor for Amazon. Nothing has been stated about financials with the transfer but taking a major title such as Star Citizen shows they plan on delivering. Maybe this will allow RSI to refocus 100% on pushing the game forward, repositioning to to the next step of evolution of MMO’s all while Amazon pushes Lumberyard to possibly be the next Unreal Engine or CryEngine while not having their engine developer stagger while it tries to keep it’s doors open.

    Lumberyard’s front end is base on CryEngine 3.8. The purchase happened back in late 2015 and early 2016. Many changes happened to the engine though. Tech Guru’s can understand with a comparison of Unix System V to BSD or Linux, where a system is totally rebuilt. The difference here is instead of a small community building the newer technology, Amazon put heavy resources into the change. Amazon pulled many licensed elements like the UI engine Scaleform and developed a new system specifically for Lumberyard. The next major change was something that shocked the industry. Amazon made Lumberyard opensource and free available here: http://amzn.to/1PiVDcz

    There are two server side elements which both are designed to work with Lumberyard. Amazon’s AWS ( http://amzn.to/2iiqTjK ) for constant server side needs, such as maintaining Star Citizens ‘Verse, and GameLift ( http://amzn.to/2if97eQ ) which is a session on demand service.


    This doesn’t mean there isn’t worries among the player base. Roberts posted on the forums on Christmas to ease concerns.

    “Lumberyard for those interested…

    Lumberyard and StarEngine are both forks from exactly the SAME build of CryEngine.

    We stopped taking new builds from Crytek towards the end of 2015. So did Amazon. Because of this the core of the engine that we use is the same one that Amazon use and the switch was painless (I think it took us a day or so of two engineers on the engine team). What runs Star Citizen and Squadron 42 is our heavily modified version of the engine which we have dubbed StarEngine, just now our foundation is Lumberyard not CryEngine. None of our work was thrown away or modified. We switched the like for like parts of the engine from CryEngine to Lumberyard. All of our bespoke work from 64 bit precision, new rendering and planet tech, Item / Entity 2.0, Local Physics Grids, Zone System, Object Containers and so on were unaffected and remain unique to Star Citizen.

    Going forward we will utilize the features of Lumberyard that make sense for Star Citizen. We made this choice as Amazon's and our focus is aligned in building massively online games that utilize the power of cloud computing to deliver a richer online experience than would be possible with an old fashioned single server architecture (which is what CryNetwork is).

    Looking at Crytek's roadmap and Amazon's we determined that Amazon was investing in the areas we were most interested in. They are a massive company that is making serious investments into Lumberyard and AWS to support next generation online gaming. Crytek doesn't have the resources to compete with this level of investment and have never been focused on the network or online aspects of the engine in the way we or Amazon are. Because of this combined with the fact we weren't taking new builds of CryEngine we decided that Amazon would be the best partner going forward for the future of Star Citizen.

    Finally there was no ulterior motive in the timing of the announcement. The deal wasn't fully finalized until after the release of 2.5 and we agreed with Amazon to announce the switch and partnership upon the release of 2.6, which would be the first release on Lumberyard and AWS. If you have been checking out our schedule updates you would know that we originally had hoped to release 2.6 at the beginning of December, not Friday the 23rd!

    I hope this clears up some of the speculation I have seen. We are very excited to be partnered with Amazon and feel this move is a big win for Star Citizen and by extension everyone that has backed the project.

    p.s. I wont be replying to this as it is Christmas and I am meant to be enjoying a bit of time off with my family (and playing some games - you may see me pop into a Star Marine or AC match or two!)

    p.p.s Happy Holidays All!” - http://bit.ly/2i8RXlc


    The future is positive for Star Citizen, allowing a universe to the scale Robert’s has always dreamed and not rely on procedural generation such as No Man Sky, Diablo or Warframe, and have static systems, something AWS was designed for.

    Right now there is a special deal on Alpha Game Packages for $35USD which is $10USD less than standard price. Unfortunately they are no longer adding their first stand alone story package, Squadron 42 to be added to new package purchases for $15, so you have to spend $45 to add it or purchase it on it's own.

    For more details on packages, dev information and news, visit Star Citizen's webpage at https://robertsspaceindustries.com/

    See you in the ‘Verse!

    Krzysztov

    ###end###
     
  5. Lucidream

    Lucidream Recruit

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    Great write up! Looking forward to more content like this!
     

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