Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

cd6f2 Star Citizen Starfarer Landing 4 Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

Greetings Citizens,

cd6f2 Star Citizen Port Olisar 2 Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 is now live! This major update to Star Citizen’s persistent universe is now available in your launcher. Alpha 2.4 introduces the first iteration of in-game persistence and shopping, as well as major changes to the controls, updates to the ship roster (including making the massive Starfarer flyable in-game), bug fixes, balance updates and more! In short, this is our biggest and most important update since Star Citizen Alpha 2.0.

You can read all about the new systems below, and find a complete list of changes in the 2.4 Patch Notes here.

Ship Updates

Starfarers Take Flight!

f4cca Star Citizen Starfarer Gemini 1 Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

Star Citizen Alpha 2.4.0 welcomes the Stafarers to the skies! Not only has the base Starfarer become flight-ready, but the Gemini variant is being introduced as well and will be hangar and flight-ready too! These massive tankers have multiple decks and crew support for seven people, making it our largest flyable ship in-game so far.

If you missed out on your chance to pick up either the Base Starfarer or the Gemini variant, both are now on sale! These ships will be available on the pledge store through 6/20.

You can read more about the Starfarer in our original post here!

Hangar Ready Reliant!

f4cca Star Citizen Reliant2 Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

In addition to the Starfarer duo, Alpha 2.4.0 introduces the MISC Reliant to the hangar!

With a larger cargo hold than the Aurora ES or the Mustang Alpha, the Reliant is a natural choice for anyone engaging in short-haul shipping. And that cargo space also means there’s plenty of internal room to expand, allowing the placement of medical systems, weapons racks and more. Ultimately, though, the Reliant is no transport: it’s a sleek and maneuverable utility ship more than capable of holding its own in combat!

You can read more about the Reliant in our original post here!

Remember: we are offering these pledge ships to help fund Star Citizen’s development. The goal is to make additional ships available that give players a different experience rather than a particular advantage when the persistent universe launches. Ship types sold during limited sales will be available to earn in the finished game.

Amon & Reese Pyroburst

f4cca Star Citizen Shot Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

This patch also brings another potential deadly weapon to your arsenal! Going forward, we want to put more emphasis on creating mechanically interesting ship weapons, rather than extra multiples of classics like the laser/ballistic cannons.

We are excited to introduce you to the Amon & Reese Pyroburst. The Pyroburst is a size 3 plasma scattergun, firing 8 proximity detonating plasma rounds per shot. This bad boy is great for a defensive loadout on a turret or a boom and zoom loadout on a fighter.

You can pick up the Pyroburst on the Voyager Direct Store here!

Persistence

94134 Star Citizen Characters Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

That’s right, you read that correctly. Our Persistent Universe is finally persistent! The backend functionality has been completed and there are several things that you do in the game that will carry over between sessions. Many of these are detailed below, but include things like purchased items in shops, Alpha UEC balance, and hostility level.

Adding persistence is a huge milestone and a crucial addition to the game that will affect nearly every aspect of Star Citizen, and this is only the beginning! A ton of back-end work was completed in order to make this possible and we are looking forward to the updates to come as we continue to expand and flesh out this core foundation of the game!

Alpha UEC

94134 Star Citizen Shopping 2 Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

With this release we are implementing a brand new currency, called “Alpha UEC”. This currency exists purely as a test currency and is designed to test out economy balance, item pricing, mission rewards, and more. We’ll monitor the activity of the initial wave of Alpha UEC and improve and iterate on the features mentioned. At any point this currency, and anything purchased with it, can be wiped so that a clean slate can be instituted and we can begin a new cycle of testing. (Anything purchased with real UEC on the Voyager Direct site will still be available and will persist as it previously did.)

As well as rewards, you will now also be charged for services at Cry-Astro. This is an initial implementation so some services are “all or nothing” in that, for instance, you cannot repair specific items on your ship – you have to repair the whole thing.

Shopping

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It’s time for a Shopping Spree! With 2.4.0. we finally release the first iteration of purchasable items in shops. We have a few different shops open for business with more to follow soon after. They offer a variety of merchandise that can be purchased with our brand new currency Alpha UEC. For this iteration, you can also use this interface to equip an item you’ve already purchased. Proper storage and inventory solutions will come at a later date.

Casaba Outlet

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Casaba Outlet can be found at Area18 as well as Port Olisar and sells a variety of shirts, jackets, pants, hats and shoes. Each individual piece of clothing can be interacted with and purchased. Looking at an item in AR Mode displays the price, manufacturer, product description, and two Use Verbs: “Try On” and “Purchase”. “Try On” allows you to view how the item would look before making a purchase. Selecting “Purchase” will take the player to the purchase summary screen. The price of the item is listed, as well as a product description, the amount of credits the player has available, a button to confirm the purchase is present and a large “X” at the top right to cancel the purchase and close the window. Selecting “Purchase” will deduct the price from the player’s AUEC balance and equip the item on the player. Once the item has been purchased, you can come back to the shop to re-equip the item at any time with the “Equip” option.

Cubby Blast

Cubby Blast can be found on Area18 and sells weapons, ammo, medpacks, armor, and flight suits. The interface for interacting with items in Cubby Blast is very similar to Trying and Purchasing clothing at Casaba Outlet. For weapons, you can “Inspect” instead of “Try On.” The main difference here being when inspecting weapons, it will stay in 1P camera so you can get a feel for the item in your hands. In addition to weapons, there is also a variety of Armor Sets and several new RSI Flight Suits. (Treated in the same manner as clothing when it comes to the Use Verbs.)

Live Fire Weapons

Live Fire Weapons is the resident personal weapon vendor on Port Olisar in the space above Crusader. It too sells weapons, ammo, and medpacks. The interface for interacting with items in Live Fire Weapons is the same as Cubby Blast.

Garrity Defense

Garrity Defense is where you can go to purchase body armor and some of our brand new RSI flight suits. It is located on Port Olisar as well. The interface for interacting with items in Garrity Defense is the same as Casaba Outlet. Helmets and armor are packaged together into a single purchase.

Clothing Lockers

60aff Star Citizen Locker1 Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!Leaving the station without a proper space suit equipped will result in death.

You now have two outfits you can switch between – a set of clothing you can wear indoors and your flightsuit. You will wake at Olisar wearing your indoor clothing. If you plan to head out into space you will have to change into your flightsuit or risk explosive decompression in the airlock. You can change your outfit in two locations – in your bedroom with a new wardrobe, or at the valet units beside every airlock.

You will find a wardrobe in your bedroom which will switch your clothes between civilian and spacesuit.

Missions and Rewards

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Crusader Security has noticed that its currently unmanned security post is regularly subject to trespass, theft and systems tampering. They are now contracting out the facility’s security to those they have noticed doing lawful work.

You should be rewarded for missions by the amount shown in the mobiGlas beneath the objectives for the mission.
Some mission reward bonuses such as the PI mission awarding a bonus the next time you go to Olisar if you complete the mission in the “good” way. And the security guard mission rewards bonuses for every trespasser you kill at Kareah.

You can now earn UEC by scavenging whisky and cigars. You will find these around Yela and also dotted around some of the ICC probe asteroid missions. There is a cheeky noodle based decay box in there too.

LiveWorks AR

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With 2.4.0. we have released a new app in the mobiGlas that enables Port Modification Mode. This mode causes “Item Ports” to appear in the Hangars that you can use to customize your hangars in ways not able to previously. There are 2 different types of Item Ports currently: Ports that hold ships and Ports that hold flair objects. Clicking on an Item Port will bring up a list of available items via the player mobiGlas app. This list contains the following: the name of the currently placed item (none if the port is empty), a list of items the player possesses that can be placed at this port, the “Remove” button to take the currently placed item off the Item Port and place it back in the inventory, and the “Cancel” button to exit the item list without making any changes. The player can access the item list by selecting an Item Port, or by selecting the Modification App button from the front page of mobiGlas, however this method only allows you to place items if you selected an Item Port first.

Ships and Customization

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As mentioned above, ships can be placed on an item port just like flair, as long as the port is a ship spawner. These Item Ports can be found on the landing pads in each Hangar; interacting with one of these will bring up a list of ships the player owns (as well as other vehicles, such as the Greycat). In addition, once a ship has been placed in the Hangar it will have Item Ports on it for the weapon hardpoints, shields, thrusters, etc. These components can be swapped out and customized (as long as the player has components that fit in their place). It works in exactly the same way as placing flair; once you interact with an Item Port a list of items that can fit in that port will be displayed. This will allow players to change weapon loadouts, swap out missiles or ammo, and change shields among other things.

Hangar Selection

With this release we have transitioned the hangar configuration functionality from the website to the Main Menu. In the main menu (accessed by pressing escape on your keyboard, and clicking “Options”) you can select which hangar you’d like to load. For this release we’ve restricted the hangars to one stock bay each. In the future you’ll be able to use the Port Modification app to expand your hangar and add new bays.

Control Changes

6a9e5 Star Citizen Reliant 3 Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

As Star Citizen has expanded, moving on from its early days as a Flight only space sim to bring in On Foot and EVA modes, the game’s control scheme has become more and more esoteric and disjointed – the intention then, with a redesign of the game’s default control mappings, was to re-evaluate the placement of the most important actions while also unifying them across all modes as much as possible.

Giving important actions more intuitive placement on each device was an obvious requirement – and this was what we tackled first – bringing MobiGlas for example, with its ever increasing usability, right to the fore. From then, we needed to delve into the unification. So how then do you start to bring things together across all 3 modes (Flight, On Foot and EVA)? For this we identified two very important factors to inform the design.

Firstly, we looked for commonalities between the three different modes of gameplay – this resulted in us viewing EVA as a possible cipher. EVA is the in-game bridge between On Foot and Flight – so we looked to see if it could also bridge the controls as well. From here the unification work was guided using the question of “When the player runs and jumps off a platform – should the jump button continue to push the player up?”. We said “yes” and developed on from there.

Secondly, we felt that the old mappings weren’t the best at utilising 6DOF, so we wanted to see if there was a way to improve in this area at the same time. Improving the ease in which a player could move between the 6DOF actions as well as making it possible for the player to layer these movements together (without too much trouble) were the key points we identified to improve 6DOF gameplay.

Before moving on to show what has been unified, let’s first dig down a little into what it actually means to unify the controls. As we worked through the unification process, we realised there were two different types of unification to consider: Global and Contextual. Breaking these two ideas down should hopefully explain our approach in more detail.

Global unification covers both the consistent placement of actions that exist in all modes – for example, previously, changing the camera view on gamepad was different for Flight and On Foot modes – and also the grouping of actions sensibly for the device across all modes – here the example is making all the keys used in movement always be the same in all modes.

Contextual unification carries this idea further getting sensible matching keys for similar actions that exist in the different modes. The best example here (that also demonstrates how much Global and Contextual overlap) is sprint from (On Foot) matching up with boost (Flight); two different actions that make perfect sense to go together and create a unified “go faster” movement key.
Expanding this idea further still, we have the grouping of keys in the same mode contextually. The example here being Free Look on [ Z ] and Look Behind on left [ ALT ] + [ Z ]. These actions were considered related because they activate different ways of viewing the game.
And also – carrying unification on to the very extremes – we wanted to explore the potential for keeping these contextual actions grouped between devices – so that when we paired actions together on the keyboard mapping we would consider, could they also be paired on the gamepad?

Clearly then, this was always going to be a complicated process – but one that if we could get right would help remove some of the control boundaries SC had created over the past year. Moving on then, lets outline the unification achieved.

Global Unification

These actions are consistent across all modes (per device):
• Movement
• Pause & MobiGlas
• Contacts, Chat and 2D UI Cursor
• Interact / Use
• Cycle Camera View
• Freelook / Orbit Cam
• Modifiers

Contextual Unification

The tables below show which actions have been paired up between each device.

Keyboard:

On Foot / EVA Flight
Move Forwards / Backwards Throttle Up / Down
Strafe Left Right Strafe Left / Right
Aim Up / Down Pitch Up / Down
Aim Left / Right Yaw Left / Right
Lean Left / Right Roll Left / Right
Jump, Strafe Up Strafe Up
Crouch, Strafe Down Strafe Down
Primary Attack Weapon Group 1
Weapon Stance / Walk IFCS mode shift
Reload Reticle Focus
Sprint Boost / Afterburner
Use Item Launch Countermeasure
Cycle Item Cycle Countermeasure
Melee Missile Lock / Fire
Force respawn Self-destruct
Change Fire Mode Decoupled Mode Toggle
EVA Brake Spacebrake

Gamepad:

On Foot / EVA Flight
Move Forwards / Backwards Throttle Up / Down
Aim Up / Down Pitch Up / Down
Aim Left / Right Yaw Left / Right
Weapon Stance / Walk IFCS mode shift
Select Firearms Targeting
Sprint Boost / Afterburner
Change Fire Mode Automatic Landing
Primary Attack Weapon Group 1
Use Item Launch Countermeasure
Force respawn Self-destruct

As you can see by the tables, it was a lot easier to do the contextual unification with the keyboard than the Gamepad (due to its obvious limitations for a game as complex as SC). In fact, the Gamepad’s problems were essentially this fundamental clash between the unification we wanted and the potential detriment to player usability. And, as our revisionary design process went on, there were plenty of times where it felt like we were punishing QA with our unified schemes…

In the end then, compromises were made on the Gamepad. As mentioned earlier, on the keyboard we made sure that Freelook and Look Behind were on the same key – Look Behind being the modified version of the same key – as we felt like it made contextual sense to do so. However, it was determined that the Decouple Toggle was a more important action than the Look Behind – so we made the Decouple Toggle the modified version of Freelook instead (activated with the combined press of [ LB ] + [ R3 ]). The thumbstick clicks being better placement for important actions due to the player not needing to relax the sticks during a dogfight.

Another example of this on the gamepad was the choice to make Roll the primary action on the [ LS ] X-axis instead of Strafe Left / Right – which would have matched with on foot and EVA. The decision ultimately was that Roll was more useful in Flight – relegating Strafe Left / Right to the modified version of the [ LS ] X-axis.

As for the keyboard, while it clearly had more real-estate to play with, there were still limitations to find ways around. For us, the importance of not having to move the keyboard hand away from the movement keys was pivotal. And it was this that the keyboard placement was built around; what do we need to fit around WASD to make SC easier to play?

We believe the new Keyboard and Mouse layout makes it easier for the player to potentially strafe up/down, strafe left/right, roll left/right, yaw left/right, pitch up/down, fire weapons, fire countermeasures, boost and more simultaneously… without shifting the keyboard hand position. A big factor in this improvement was to bring in [ SPACEBAR ] and left [ CTRL ] as the strafe up and down keys – so that the thumb and pinkie fingers could be used as part of the movement controls.

Obviously, allowing the pinkie and thumb to come into play in this manner was done to match things up with the on foot and EVA modes, but there was more to it than that in the end. Selecting these keys, freed up some more keys near to WASD for other actions – allowing us to rethink which pivotal controls should be within easy reach.

Clearing other actions off of the [ F ] key has allowed us to pin this key down as a contextual “interact” action. This means that in all situations the player can think of the [ F ] key as the only way of initiating or activating – clearing up another problem we had with our old USE key being used to strafe down. Also, in the long term, we’re going to need to lean on this key even heavier as we expand upon the player interactions via the Inner Thought system.

We then chose to utilise the [ R ] key for the reticule focus action – meaning the closet targeting action was the one that allowed the player to lock onto the thing they were looking at. Hopefully simplifying things on that front too.

These changes did pose one fairly complicated issue; what to do with spacebrake? Since we had opted to move it off of the space key for the strafe up action. I think it’s interesting to walk through the problems this created, and the controversial way in which we looked to fix it that we ended up dropping.

The functions of spacebrake are first to slow the ship throttle to 0 and then second to return to the starting throttle when released. Trouble was, double tapping [ S ] would set the throttle to 0 as well, so the only thing spacebrake was adding that was unique was the return to previous speed functionality. After considering this, we wondered if it was not better to place the action behind a modifier to free up space for other actions. However, when we tried putting it behind the modifier on [ X ], the feedback was overwhelmingly negative – due to how often the key is used by SC players. Here’s the feedback from our QA:

“This is such an awkward and counter-intuitive key combination to press, for something that a player would expect to be able to do instantly and in the heat of combat maneuvers. It discourages the use of space brake. And it is much more difficult to press in intense situations such as maneuvering and combat.”

Community feedback also confirmed this strong dislike! So we were left with no option but to look at installing the action back as a non-modified key press. The problem now of course, was that we didn’t have a place for it. Thus, another round of key juggling was needed. This actually resulted in the moving of the freelook key to [ Z ] and the landing mode back it its original place on [ N ].

I think it’s also worth addressing our decision to put the Gamepad throttle on the on the [ LS ] too. While some might point to this as an example of the unification going too far, we think that would be overlooking the benefits of the unification and of having an analog control of the throttle. Using the relative analog control on the [ LS ] means we have more granularity over the control of the throttle. As it was, the gamepad used a digital throttle the same as the keyboard – which we felt was not really making the best use of the anaolg controls at our disposal. Some have likened this new setup to be like a “mini HOTAS” which we are pleased with.

Leaving [ CAPSLOCK ] empty was, at first, something we didn’t think would be possible – giving up a key so close to the movement actions. We wanted [ CAPSLOCK ] to be free since SC is a game, that as it grows, will rely more and more on in-game communication. We really wanted to avoid the frustration of the “accidental shout” if it was possible.

Those that peaked ahead to the mappings might have spotted the Tab key being empty – this was done with a view to new control features coming soon. We definitely didn’t want to get stuck without a place for something we’ve deemed to be so important to S42…

Hopefully then this report has helped to explain just how much work has gone into this controls revision process as well as highlighting the improvements we’ve made to make the controls in SC unified for 2.4.0.
However, if you’re really reluctant to change then we’ve still got you covered with our new legacy mapping profiles. So as part of this redesign we made sure to include the old control schemes as loadable profiles – we’ve created layout_gamepad_Legacy and layout_keyboard_legacy mappings that can be loaded in in the Advanced Controls Customisation menu or by using the command pp_rebindkeys in the console. Just press [ ` ] and then type in pp_rebindkeys layout_keyboard_legacy or pp_rebindkeys layout_gamepad_legacy to revert back.

Keys Star Citizen Alpha 2.4 Available!

NEW CONTROL LAYOUT

Throughout the course of Star Citizen’s development, we have made lots of changes to our control scheme. In this, 2.4 provides another major revision to our controls. To help, we’ve put together this handy PDF file that Citizens can use to help with the adjustment.

Download the 2.4 Control Scheme

PTU Testing

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We want to thank all of the incredible PTU testers for their patience and dedication in helping us get 2.4 out the door! We are very proud to have such a supportive community and could not have done it without them!

Since 2.4.0 was pushed to PTU, 492 Evocati accounts (our NDA test group) logged in 26,502 times over eight builds, providing 1,401 bug reports of various severity levels.

In total during 2.4.0 testing, where PTU 1st Wave and all Subscribers were added, 8,582 accounts logged in 185,009 times over the twenty builds of 2.4.0 on PTU, adding 3,086 bug reports… and 65 accounts logged into all 20 builds!!

This has become an instrumental component to testing a build before it goes to Live. We’ll be adding to our Evocati and PTU ranks later this summer, and the best way to get involved is by helping contribute to existing bug reports on the Issue Council, or adding new reports if one doesn’t exist!”

See you in the ‘verse!

RSI Comm-Link