The delays and issues for Cloud Imperium and Chris Roberts seem to be pilling on these last few weeks. Chris Roberts has been busy working on motion capture for the Squadron 42 single player portion of Star Citizen and it sounds like it’s going well, but it’s not good news for backers who were looking forward to the FPS module. This latest update details some issues:
“The tl;dr is that we feel the current build doesn’t feel like it lives up to the standards we’ve want to achieve with Star Citizen. There are several issues that will need additional time in order to deliver the first iteration of the gameplay we want you to experience. The challenges facing the FPS launch are a mix of technical blockers and gameplay issues. The most significant technical hurdle faced today is the networking backend. After attempting to work with the legacy code, we decided that we needed to drop some of the legacy technology. That meant developing what we’re calling a Generic Instance Manager (GIM) and rewriting both the Matchmaker and (for the larger project) the game Launcher from scratch. Those efforts are all going well, but they’ve all taken additional time for our engineers.”
Reading through the longer explanation on why there have been so many issues with the FPS module is extremely frustrating. It sounds like there’s been a lot of rewriting of code and rebuilding what has already been implemented for other aspects of the game. Legacy code headaches are something any EVE player is well aware of, and the frustrations with using a highly customized and potentially jumbled solution to a dev problem hopefully won’t lead to more issues in the future. Game development isn’t easy but Cloud Imperium isn’t exactly short of cash.
So far $84 million has been pumped in by backers and 15% of the team has been working on the FPS module which equates to ~13 million on the FPS module alone if you take a rough estimate just based on the numbers.
Although the development on the FPS module has “stalled”, Roberts has stressed that other elements of the game such as Squadron 42 and the persistent universe have not been too affected by the technical problems and that resources have been ploughed into the FPS module because “it was the next public release”.
Now that the FPS module is off the table for the time being, they’re looking at releasing a new 1.2 build of the game with the FPS module disabled to show off some of the changes and additions that have been made to the game over the past few months. Here’s hoping that the tremendous amount of goodwill backers have for the project is massively damaged by the reactions to these delays.
It would seem that backers should instead use this as an opportunity to close their wallets and put some public pressure on Cloud Imperium to deliver on their promises before they throw more money at them. Star Citizen is likely to encounter more issues like this in the future due to the ambitious nature of the game, but a balancing act between public opinion and development progress will be crucial to continue the financial flow from backers. So hopefully this event serves as as lesson for Cloud Imperium on how to do that.