What is the current state of Star Citizen? We have exciting news. Alpha 3.19 just left PTU and got accessible for all, and the traditional ‘Invictus Launch Week’ is returning for free testing. Get an overview of the many new features and improvements and what you can expect in the future.
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Star Citizen is a highly complex space simulation with a scope you have never seen before. Role-playing, space combat, mining, shooting, and trade simulation will become one, embedded in next-gen graphics. If that’s not mindblowing… For all newcomers, we recommend watching the latest 3.18 video below:
New Alpha 3.19 is now available for everyone
The developers of Star Citizen are working at full speed and have now served us with a
freshly new Alpha 3.19 on May 1. The latest version left the so-called ‘Persistent Test Universe (PTU)’ and can now be tested by everyone.
Improving Persistent Entity Streaming
The patch expands and stabilizes the new core technology, ‘Persistent Entity Streaming,’ which allows all items to remain in the universe entirely. But besides that, also fresh new content is waiting for you.
General overhaul of the Lorville cityscape
The absolute highlight in 3.19 is the rework of the big city of Lorville. The developers just published a trailer impressively showcasing Lorville Skyline 2.0. We see new skyscrapers with a futuristic look on a planet exploited by the Hurston corporation. The industrial smog and clouds hang low over the city, which look even more impressive thanks to new volumetric rendering technology, improved particle effects, and the lighting mood has also significantly improved.
The no-flight zone has now been lowered, allowing you to fly even closer through the rows of buildings. In addition, new landing pads might bring new missions for you. And the city is huge! But best convince yourself of the beauty this new unique landscape has to offer.
Implementation of New Player Experience
As a newcomer, you’ll might have difficulty finding your way around initially. CIG is already working on a mentoring system here, where experienced players support and introduce you as a newcomer to the sandbox universe.
But to also pick up the less social players, there is now the ‘New Player Experience,’ a text-based tutorial system that explains the world and the essential functions of Star Citizen. This happens via text overlays in the HUD. Initially, this feature is only available in the Orbital Station Baijini Point and Area 18 of the planet ArcCorp and will be expanded later.
The new missions Salvage Contracts are here
In 3.19, you’ll also be able to complete new missions. CIG uses these events to raise the players’ gameplay motivation and to get valuable feedback for improvements. In the so-called ‘Salvage Contracts,’ you must obtain raw materials from shipwrecks at the Lagrange points around Stanton. The mission givers charge a fee for this, but as a contractor, you can keep the salvaged material for resale.
It can happen, however, that players run into you at the wrecks, and your peaceful resource extraction ends in a robbery or blackmail. No NPCs are available for these missions yet, so you can only seek an escort of real players (or find their greed). Speaking of player vs. player:
Ghost Hollow is the new PvP mode
CIG also wants to expand and optimize this gameplay mechanic and offers you the PvP mission ‘Ghost Hollow.’ This quest type lets you fight for control of various terminals. The event is lucrative because big credit payouts await you as the winner if you succeed.
Tractor Beams make the work on the spaceship easier
A new cool feature in 3.19 are the ‘Tractor Beams.’ This brings the game closer to the goal of creator Chris Roberts, who wants to make a real cinematic experience with the title. Giant spaceships will need entire crews, from boarding engineers, navigators, and machinists to doctors.
So it’s about ship components that wear out, break, and must be replaced. These can be installed inside and outside the ship, e.g., in the form of missiles. That’s where tractor beams come in handy. With them, you can de- and attach items and thus effectively replace them.
The Lynx Rover is coming with patch 3.19
CIG also revealed the new Lynx Rover, which should be available in the latest patch. The sister vehicle of the Ursa Rover is a luxury variant and was previously only available with the constellation Phoenix Emerald and the Lynx Rover. The developers want to give the new planetary vehicle a stage for extensive testing in the latest patch.
Ship security zones will finally come
CIG also introduced a new mechanic called ‘Ship trespass.’ A critical feature that got finally implemented into the game. The ship’s interior is now considered an unauthorized zone for all players who do not have permission to enter. You can grant permits through the group system. This allows you to attack and kill unauthorized players without getting crime stats yourself.
Roadmap, Alpha 3.20, and outlook
The 3.19 patch brings some nice improvements to the title, but it also shows that the focus is more on technical optimization and stabilization than new game content this time. For more details, feel free to check out the official patch notes. But don’t worry; CIG has already planned new features in their roadmap, and you can already look forward to patch 3.20 in the 3rd quarter of this year!
Retrieve Consignment missions are planned for 3.20
Look forward to the new ‘Retrieve Consignment’ missions, where you must find and salvage valuable items from wrecks. Also, the ‘MISC Hull C’ finally enters the game in 3.20. The huge trading ship can be fully loaded with over 4600 Standard Cargo Units (short: SCU).
Improved AI behavior & spaceships in further patches
Also, the AI will get better navigation through an improved NavMesh and move dynamically depending on the situation with the help of so-called ‘entity tags.’ Their behavior depends on several factors, such as personality and hazards. This is a crucial point regarding FPS gameplay, NPC interaction, and, ultimately, immersion.
Furthermore, characters and spaceships are being worked on diligently. Environmental and gang outfits are planned, like frontier clothing and desert outfits. After the Lynx Rover, more ground vehicles will follow soon, as well as new or improved spaceships, like the Crusader A1 Spirit or the C1.
Rework of front end and new space Zero-G mechanic
Regarding gameplay, the Arena Commander will soon get a generally new front end to integrate other game modes. Another exciting upcoming feature is the ‘Zero-G push and pull mechanic,’ with which you can hold on to objects and push off again using gravity. Overall, a mechanic that strongly resembles the Ironman suit and should significantly improve gameplay in space and perhaps on planets.
The Gen12 renderer has also been dramatically improved, and the Vulcan API should soon find its way into the game. This makes new features like DLSS, ray tracing, and much more possible. However, it is not entirely clear whether this significant upgrade will be released this year.
Join the next Invictus Launch Week
Do you want to play the game for free and test it extensively? The traditional ‘Invictus Launch Week’ will take place again from May 19 to 30. The event celebrates the founding of the United Empire of Earth fleet (short: UEE), where you can admire and fly the best ships out there. Watch the teaser trailer here:
Are you looking for more interstellar adventures?
A lot is happening in the Star Citizen universe right now, but it will take some time until the full release — time enough to look around and search for more great sci-fi titles.
A similar gameplay experience is offered by the online MMORPG ‘EVE Online.’ Start your next adventure today in the new expansion EVE: Uprising. If you want to combine sci-fi with roguelike and third-person shooter, we can recommend checking our Returnal Review or our article about Star Wars Jedi Survivor.
Will you become a Star Citizen in the next Invictus Launch Week? Which new features are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.