During CitizenCon 2949, Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games presented its new planet tech and the first look at the new frozen planet, Microtech.
First of all, we take a look at the brand new planet tech simply called v4, as opposed to the v3 tech which is what is implemented in the current version of the alpha.
Instead of relying on a complex set of parameters and overlaying textures, v4 creates the appropriate terrain based on temperature and humidity, which is basically what happens in real life.
Besides the obvious advantages in the workflow, which will allow the development team to design planets much faster than they have done so far, this also creates much smoother and more natural transitions between different biomes.
Of course, there is still room for bespoke designs, but artists are provided with a painting tool with which they can customize a certain area of the planet, and the system will automatically paint the same features on every area that has the same conditions all over the planet.
Another rather impressive advantage is that when you approach a planet or depart, you won’t see textures change and pop in. What you see from orbit is exactly the same terrain you’ll see on the ground.
Below you can see examples of terrain created with v4, and all the current planets will be updated with the new tech with Alpha 3.8 coming in December.
We then get to see the work done on the interior of the Rest Stop space stations, which will also come in 3.8.
A lot of work has been performed to create modular shops and eateries, on top of scenic decks to take a good look outside, which will be particularly impressive for stations located in low orbit around a planet.
We then move on to the planet that will be introduced between 3.8 and 3.9, named Microtech (from the name of the corporation that owns it and governs it). To be more specific, the planet itself, the spaceport, and the exterior of the city of New Babbage will come in 3.8. The interior of the city itself will come in 3.9 in March.
The city itself has been designed around a bay in a frozen sea and is connected to the spaceport via a dynamic maglev transit.
The spaceport is absolutely massive, embedded into the side of a mountain. It includes both hangar and lang vehicle garages, and the development team has put in great efforts to integrate the structures with the frozen biome. Among other things, the gallery below shows some shots of the city and spaceport before and after integrating them with the frozen environment.
The city interior that we’ll be able to visit will be set within domed structures and it’ll include three areas, the Commons, the Plaza, and the Promenade.
The habitation area, called The Nest, will include high tech rooms for players. Those features real windows on the surrounding city, so if a friend flies a starship in front of your window, you’ll see it in real-time.
We also see experiments made with lighting for both the rooms and the transit stations. Incidentally, transit tracks will be exposed, so much that players will be able to land on them. What happens if a maglev train hits you? That wasn’t mentioned.
Speaking of the planet itself, it features six main biomes, frozen mountains, snowy forests, rare warmer fields with green grass and flowers, colorful taiga, bleak polar regions with obsidian formations, and the frozen ocean.
Below we can see the effect of the dynamic day and night lighting and some really gorgrous work done on the environments and props.
Incidentally, if you want to learn more about Microtech, New Babbage, and basically everything there is to know in Star Citizen’s lore, another new thing launched at CitizenCon was the Galactopedia.
It’s a really fantastic in-lore encyclopedia including a massive amount of information for those who want to explore this game’s fascinating and ultra-detailed lore.
Speaking of dynamic lore, in 2020 (which correspond to the year 2950 in the game) we’ll get the election of a new Imperator for the United Empire of Earth, which will involve the players to some extent.
Since an Imperator can run only for a single term (Imperial politics are complicated), it appears that the charismatic Kelos Costigan won’t make it to the full release of the game.
If you want to try Star Citizen, a Free Flight event is going on right now, allowing you to play for free until December 5.
If you want to see more you can check out the impressive gameplay shared yesterday and the second part, showing planet Microtech, the Anvil Carrack, and the Anvil Pisces, and the first wormhole jump to a new system. You can also take a look at the brand new “Theatres of War” Battlefield-like gameplay mode, and at the reveal of the game’s universe simulation tech, Quantum.
Star Citizen is a crowdfunded game, and crowdfunding total has already skyrocketed way past 242 million dollars. More precisely, it’s sitting on $242,693,753. This means that gamers have pledged over half a million dollars in the last day or so, even thanks to the Anniversary Sale that is currently being held.
For the sake of full disclosure, you should keep in mind that the author of this article has been a Star Citizen backer since the original Kickstarter campaign.