Today, during CitizenCon 2949, Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games talked about the “Quantum” technology, which is basically a universe simulator.
First of all, the developers talked about the issues that Quantum is designed to solve.
We learn that creating missions the way it has been done so far is time consuming and quite static.
It also doesn’t involve any context to customize the mission to the current sutuation, negatively impacting diversity and immersion.
Current economic nodes (shops, refineries, and so forth) also lack context, with production and consumptions basically faked.
NPC regulation is an element needed to improve the situation, with NPCs taking on missions or transporting goods when the players aren’t and perorming similar tasks.
In a typical solar system you need a ton of those economic nodes, and currently those take a lot of work to set up to make them feel like they’re systemic even though they aren’t.
The developers introduced a concept named “Probability Volume.” An area of space is set to have a certain amount of pirates, freighters, security, asteroids, and derelict ships.
Those exist only in probability until a player actually traverses that area of space. When that happens, the system rolls on those contents so that appropriate missions will be generated. They can even interact with each other so you can see things like pirates attacking freighters.
The system also allows for bespoke content created by developers to be triggered when appropriate and to be integrated seamlessly with the rest.
The system is then tweaked so that there are interesting interactions between the different elements. For instance you can find pirates that have already disabled and boarded a cargo and you need to hurry and save them if you want to.
Unfortunately even Probability Volumes are static, the probability of pirates, freighters, security and more won’t change on its own.
That’s why the developers want a dynamic logical universe with economic need dictating demand for goods and services, with NPCs performing tasks dynamically, and it also needs to be auto-balancing.
That is why they invented Quantum, which is being revealed today. You can watch what it can do in the video below. Watching dots move around a map has never been so interesting.
Star Citizen is a crowdfunded project and the crowdfunding total for the game has recently passed 241 million dollars, and it’s sitting at $241,560,762 at the moment of this writing.
2,424,030 accounts have been registered for the game so far, but this number is likely to increase with the free fly event that is starting tomorrow, letting everyone check out the current build of the game.
If you want to see more you can check out the impressive gameplay shared earlier today showing Microtech, the Anvil Carrack, and the Pisces. You can also check out the reveal of the band new “Theaters of War” gameplay mode.
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.