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Star Citizen Development Discussion (Is Derek Smart Right?)

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Sabrewings

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2015
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How true is this?
I addressed that chart here:

That's why that pie chart shown earlier selectively picks facts to fit a particular viewpoint. It also over states how long they've had dedicated teams. They didn't even really get started until early spring 2013 and even then it was a pretty small team. They only reached their current size about 18 months ago.
Something to add is that it discounts any work they've done to the engine side (which is the majority of their work). They're also working on SQ42. That chart only picks on content facts when the majority of their work is engine development. The ships are as far along as they are because they have most of the technology down that they need to at least model and implement them in a flight ready way.

They have been doing some content to keep the Alpha sandbox going. Most of the content they've been working on hasn't been shown. And more will come online as the engine matures since they've ironed out their content creation tools and pipelines.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
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I addressed that chart here:



Something to add is that it discounts any work they've done to the engine side (which is the majority of their work). They're also working on SQ42. That chart only picks on content facts when the majority of their work is engine development. The ships are as far along as they are because they have most of the technology down that they need to at least model and implement them in a flight ready way.

They have been doing some content to keep the Alpha sandbox going. Most of the content they've been working on hasn't been shown. And more will come online as the engine matures since they've ironed out their content creation tools and pipelines.
Dont lie. The kickstarter was 10/12 and they had worked on it before that even.
 

Sabrewings

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2015
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Dont lie. The kickstarter was 10/12 and they had worked on it before that even.
They had worked on a demo reel cinematic by less than a dozen people for the Kickstarter. True software development didn't start until a few months into 2013 when they opened their first studio.

Their current levels of employment weren't until spring of 2014 when they opened up the Frankfurt office and we're filling out the UK office.

This is from their official "how we got here" video. Have facts otherwise?
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
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From what I've read on the forum you've linked to, there's a huge question on what they've actually done with LY. There's quite a few people that seem to think those "2 engineers" have done so far is just update screens with the LY logos. No clue how true that is, but as I've said before, until they get a list of what they've dumped from the OG Crytek for LY I can't tell if I should care.. honestly until there is a actual reason to care, I'm going with what Parry said, there's more interesting things to talk about.

One thing I can and will never take away is CR and crew's ability to make a shit-ton (tech term ;) ) out of very little but promises. It's a skill that shouldn't be dismissed, nor should he be shamed for having it.. not following through and screwing up due dates however..

One thing that I did pull from the Smart Blog (which, man that guy must be paid by the word) is this image.


How true is this? I don't touch Alpha's as a general rule as I either get cranky by the lack of progress of them or I get burned out on the game before it's released. I did notice today that I got spun around a bit on what's being worked on when/where. (it could be the pain killers as I'm post surgery) I This pic (again, please correct where I'm wrong) is hte heart of the game, you'd think more resources would be put into it. At the very least, a more solid timetable on them would be presented. I could be making something out of nothing, I freely admit, but this game has more money than almost any (I'm really hard pressed to think or find a game that has more money put into it) game before it, so the idea we're this far out with this little to show for it does make me scratch my head. I'm also confused how they'll finish all this unless they've banked most of that money. It really doesn't appear (with the exception of ships.. which is what they keep hocking to make money, so I get why they continue to work on those) the rest of these tasks are going to be minor.
I agree with pretty much all that as I too don't see how they can possibly finish anything near what was promised. But as I'm totally on the outside, and most of the investors (who presumably are following much more closely) seem reasonably content, I personally don't see it as much of an issue. Assuming that Roberts is totally inept and crashes and burns way before completing the game, the level of crowdfunding interest and the work that has supposedly been done, while not particularly impressive to me, might well lead another company to step in and purchase the IP. So if Roberts fails spectacularly, there still might be a game coming out of it, just nothing (more) for him. It's probably also worth remembering that others such as Elon Musk had no apparent path to success in some ventures and yet succeeded, sometimes spectacularly.

Good luck with the recovery.

They had worked on a demo reel cinematic by less than a dozen people for the Kickstarter. True software development didn't start until a few months into 2013 when they opened their first studio.

Their current levels of employment weren't until spring of 2014 when they opened up the Frankfurt office and we're filling out the UK office.

This is from their official "how we got here" video. Have facts otherwise?
That seems reasonable for a project of this scope. Two years of basically planning how to raise money, two years of essentially pre-production, and three to five years of massive, hardcore programming. Maybe more considering that nothing remotely like this in scope has ever been tried. Only for most such projects, studios have income streams (other than government tax breaks and subsidies) to fund that period. Their continued fund-raising doesn't fill me with confidence since they don't seem able to continue the massive, hardcore programming for the time it would seem to take without eventually raising truly ludicrous sums of money. Creating one hundred unique systems for instance, even of the greatly constricted size now planned, which are actually worth playing is not something that can be accomplished quickly or cheaply. Unless they resort to some sort of extremely generic procedurally generated terrain, just generating one system from AU-scale to FPS-scale is going to take a year or two even with hundreds working on it.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
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They had worked on a demo reel cinematic by less than a dozen people for the Kickstarter. True software development didn't start until a few months into 2013 when they opened their first studio.

Their current levels of employment weren't until spring of 2014 when they opened up the Frankfurt office and we're filling out the UK office.

This is from their official "how we got here" video. Have facts otherwise?
so all other projects are measured by all parts of the development progress except this one? Must be nice.
 
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Sabrewings

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2015
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so all other projects are measured by all parts of the development progress except this one? Must be nice.
I don't consider developing a promo reel for a marketing campaign development for any game project.
 

Skel

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
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I addressed that chart here:



Something to add is that it discounts any work they've done to the engine side (which is the majority of their work). They're also working on SQ42. That chart only picks on content facts when the majority of their work is engine development. The ships are as far along as they are because they have most of the technology down that they need to at least model and implement them in a flight ready way.

They have been doing some content to keep the Alpha sandbox going. Most of the content they've been working on hasn't been shown. And more will come online as the engine matures since they've ironed out their content creation tools and pipelines.
I thought that chart was updated from the other one. I admit I didn't go back and look though.. my apologies for the miss. Shouldn't most of the SQ42 be more of a shell on top of the main multi not-MMO part of the game? If anything it seems they should be able to take the non-MMO part and just put the cut scenes and missions on top of it. Freely admit I don't know how they're going about it, but it just doesn't seem that SQ42 would that massive of a drain of cash and resources.

I agree with pretty much all that as I too don't see how they can possibly finish anything near what was promised. But as I'm totally on the outside, and most of the investors (who presumably are following much more closely) seem reasonably content, I personally don't see it as much of an issue. Assuming that Roberts is totally inept and crashes and burns way before completing the game, the level of crowdfunding interest and the work that has supposedly been done, while not particularly impressive to me, might well lead another company to step in and purchase the IP. So if Roberts fails spectacularly, there still might be a game coming out of it, just nothing (more) for him. It's probably also worth remembering that others such as Elon Musk had no apparent path to success in some ventures and yet succeeded, sometimes spectacularly.

Good luck with the recovery.


That seems reasonable for a project of this scope. Two years of basically planning how to raise money, two years of essentially pre-production, and three to five years of massive, hardcore programming. Maybe more considering that nothing remotely like this in scope has ever been tried. Only for most such projects, studios have income streams (other than government tax breaks and subsidies) to fund that period. Their continued fund-raising doesn't fill me with confidence since they don't seem able to continue the massive, hardcore programming for the time it would seem to take without eventually raising truly ludicrous sums of money. Creating one hundred unique systems for instance, even of the greatly constricted size now planned, which are actually worth playing is not something that can be accomplished quickly or cheaply. Unless they resort to some sort of extremely generic procedurally generated terrain, just generating one system from AU-scale to FPS-scale is going to take a year or two even with hundreds working on it.
I'd be more understanding of them if they said that kind of timeline was the plan. Instead there were always promises about it being just around the corner.. which is still happening.
 

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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so all other projects are measured by all parts of the development progress except this one? Must be nice.
There is a difference of "development progress" and the dates you continue to use. Its pretty hard to actually "develop" when you don't have a studio built yet, and everyone getting into this should have known that a studio needed to be built before actual work would start. This wasn't an existing development studio that simply said, "hey we want to use this team of 50-100 people that we have here to start making a game". This was one person with just 3-5 other people (in their homes without a centralized workspace) that asked to be funded to so they could build a studio and hire people to create the game (and they didn't even get their funding for about a month after the kickstarter ended (kickstarter will usually release 1-2 days afterwards, then Amazon payments sits on it for 2 weeks, and finally 5-7 more business days after that the money clears into your account, so effectively 1 month)).
 

Sabrewings

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2015
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Shouldn't most of the SQ42 be more of a shell on top of the main multi not-MMO part of the game? If anything it seems they should be able to take the non-MMO part and just put the cut scenes and missions on top of it. Freely admit I don't know how they're going about it, but it just doesn't seem that SQ42 would that massive of a drain of cash and resources.
It's not quite that easy. There's lots of shared tech between the two that's still in work (AI, FPS mechanics). Also, most of the content being used by SQ42 has been kept back to maintain the secrecy of the story line (alien ships, stations, locations, some friendly ships, etc). Most of their UK and Germany offices work exclusively on tasks that move SQ42 forward, which currently accounts for 60%+ of their work force, depending on the exact nature of the work. A lot of things for SQ42 will carry back into SC, but none of it is included in that chart.

That chart mostly references content and not tech, and it doesn't include anything done for SQ42. We know a lot has been done for SQ42 due to the leak from last year and things we've been teased on the official community videos. That's why I feel it is cherry-picking stats that in a way that, while true, fits a narrative. It also doesn't count time spent on creating their content creation tools that significantly speeds up their work in the future. Such as creating entire planets in a couple hours that still have an artist's direction instead of the several days spent to make the small moons in the current explorable area. With the content creation ability they showed off at Citizencon, entire systems would take under a week.

Meanwhile, I like a laugh in the morning and I found this funny and a nice showcase of things they've been working on.

https://gfycat.com/NecessaryTiredBeaver
 
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rivethead

Platinum Member
Jan 16, 2005
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Worthington

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Eh, not sure you can really count them as two games as pretty much all the assets, back engine coding, etc apply to both branches (SC and SQ42). Really the only thing 42 has that SC doesn't is more scripted missions and cinematics.
 

Skel

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
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It's not quite that easy. There's lots of shared tech between the two that's still in work (AI, FPS mechanics). Also, most of the content being used by SQ42 has been kept back to maintain the secrecy of the story line (alien ships, stations, locations, some friendly ships, etc). Most of their UK and Germany offices work exclusively on tasks that move SQ42 forward, which currently accounts for 60%+ of their work force, depending on the exact nature of the work. A lot of things for SQ42 will carry back into SC, but none of it is included in that chart.

That chart mostly references content and not tech, and it doesn't include anything done for SQ42. We know a lot has been done for SQ42 due to the leak from last year and things we've been teased on the official community videos. That's why I feel it is cherry-picking stats that in a way that, while true, fits a narrative. It also doesn't count time spent on creating their content creation tools that significantly speeds up their work in the future. Such as creating entire planets in a couple hours that still have an artist's direction instead of the several days spent to make the small moons in the current explorable area. With the content creation ability they showed off at Citizencon, entire systems would take under a week.

Meanwhile, I like a laugh in the morning and I found this funny and a nice showcase of things they've been working on.

https://gfycat.com/NecessaryTiredBeaver
That's an extremely fair point on the chart. It's not taking engine work and whatnot into account... but (and it's a big but) I don't see how/why they'd hold back a lot of stuff just for SQ42. I get them holding back a station that special because of SQ42, but not all stations (could be I'm misunderstanding) and all the locations. They could easily create a whole different universe for SQ42 that has them moving things around, rather than not allow some things to be used at all.

That wiki is incorrect (shocking, I know). CIG are making TWO video games, not one. Yet Wiki is showing all $140 million attributed to Star Citizen (nothing for SQ42...which probably has used up more of the funding). As I often tell my 11 year old.....don't believe everything you see on the internet.
This is one of the reasons that splitting off SQ42 into it's own thing is screwing with the timelines and funding. It's odd that if I was just buying in, I have to pay another $25 to add SQ42 to my gaming experience. I find it most odd as it's less than the not-an-MMO part of the game, though I guess I have to start treating them like two games the more people talk about the split. If I just bought the not-an-MMO part and didn't add the $25 I'd be getting really screwed over. I'd be having to wait until they finished a game I had no interest in nor paid to support before I could get the game they sold me (even if you want to play with words and call it a 'pledge' it's still selling me a game..). They are really milking the hell out of people with this move.
 

Sabrewings

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Jun 27, 2015
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That's an extremely fair point on the chart. It's not taking engine work and whatnot into account... but (and it's a big but) I don't see how/why they'd hold back a lot of stuff just for SQ42. I get them holding back a station that special because of SQ42, but not all stations (could be I'm misunderstanding) and all the locations. They could easily create a whole different universe for SQ42 that has them moving things around, rather than not allow some things to be used at all.
CR's position is that he wants as much as possible to be a surprise. That's why we haven't seen much of the Vanduul, we haven't seen much of the Idris/Javelin/Bengal, we haven't seen the system SQ42 is taking place in. We haven't seen the cities they've created.

The only reason we know most of this exists is a huge leak last year that was full of GBs of assets that hadn't been shown to the public which was SQ42 related. At that point in time things were still incomplete, but the amount of work that was already done really shocked the community because we hadn't been told anything. The recent release of what a few Vanduul ships look like, the updated Vanduul themselves, and the completed Idris/Javelin/Bengal cap ships is the most we've really been shown of what will be in SQ42, officially. They did show some mocap work being performed as well.

This is one of the reasons that splitting off SQ42 into it's own thing is screwing with the timelines and funding. It's odd that if I was just buying in, I have to pay another $25 to add SQ42 to my gaming experience. I find it most odd as it's less than the not-an-MMO part of the game, though I guess I have to start treating them like two games the more people talk about the split. If I just bought the not-an-MMO part and didn't add the $25 I'd be getting really screwed over. I'd be having to wait until they finished a game I had no interest in nor paid to support before I could get the game they sold me (even if you want to play with words and call it a 'pledge' it's still selling me a game..). They are really milking the hell out of people with this move.
The plan was always for SQ42 to be released as its own product as the time grew near for it to hit retail. Before Feb 2016, everyone who bought SC got SQ42 for the same price. They warned the community the split was coming for months. Even as it is right now, it's still a deal. When everything is said and done both SQ42 and SC will be $60 retail products. SQ42 is supposed to have 30+ chapters with 40+ hours of single player story line gameplay in the spirit of the old Wing Commander games.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
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Eh, not sure you can really count them as two games as pretty much all the assets, back engine coding, etc apply to both branches (SC and SQ42). Really the only thing 42 has that SC doesn't is more scripted missions and cinematics.
in one post they mention that the code base is shared and all is good and in the other post they say you cant count the 140 million as one game because they are different.

These people are so deep in their cognitive dissonance that they contradict themselves on the same page of this thread.
 
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Sabrewings

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Eh, not sure you can really count them as two games as pretty much all the assets, back engine coding, etc apply to both branches (SC and SQ42). Really the only thing 42 has that SC doesn't is more scripted missions and cinematics.
in one post they mention that the code base is shared and all is good and in the other post they say you cant count the 140 million as one game because they are different.

These people are so deep in their cognitive dissonance that they contradict themselves on the same page of this thread.
I don't deny they're one big project. I take issue with charts that use the total income and time spent (claiming more than is fair, IMO) as exorbitant for work completed when a lot of the completed work is not public and suspiciously glossing over that fact.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
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I don't deny they're one big project. I take issue with charts that use the total income and time spent (claiming more than is fair, IMO) as exorbitant for work completed when a lot of the completed work is not public and suspiciously glossing over that fact.
A lot of the work completed on all of these projects is not public.
 

rivethead

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Jan 16, 2005
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Eh, not sure you can really count them as two games as pretty much all the assets, back engine coding, etc apply to both branches (SC and SQ42). Really the only thing 42 has that SC doesn't is more scripted missions and cinematics.
True. But CIG clearly count them as two separate products. Officially starting 2/15/2016 when they split them into two separate products.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,415
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True. But CIG clearly count them as two separate products. Officially starting 2/15/2016 when they split them into two separate products.
that was because they were trying to make a deadline to squeeze more money out of people right then. Buy now or else you will pay more. Be prepared for them to unify and try to sell it again with shooty mc mediocre spacey man. Although the farther we get the less people there are to actually buy the game. If you look at total sales of the "game" vs other games you will see there is little room for new buyers. After the release they will need to monetize via golden ammo or whatever the current players.
 
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rivethead

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that was because they were trying to make a deadline to squeeze more money out of people right then. Buy now or else you will pay more. Be prepared for them to unify and try to sell it again with shooty mc mediocre spacey man. Although the farther we get the less people there are to actually buy the game. If you look at total sales of the "game" vs other games you will see there is little room for new buyers. After the release they will need to monetize via golden ammo or whatever the current players.
Well......for once we somewhat agree on something! They were definitely using a marketing tactic to raise more revenue. But it wasn't done quietly or quickly. Over a year earlier they were on record telling anyone who would listen that the games would split into two products and sold separately. I don't have any problems with that.

And I also agree with you (and have said before in the other thread).....space sims are a niche product and I think CIG has mostly saturated that market. The people who believe that CIG will get a large influx of cash from the release/sale of SQ42 are going to be disappointed. Most people interested in SQ42 have already purchased that product. The MMO, Star Citizen, might have a little more head room since it's an MMO....
 

werepossum

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Jul 10, 2006
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TIL star citizen cost more to develop than GTA V

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

but GTA V is done.
In fairness, the scope is incredibly different given the sheer scale. Nothing like this has ever been attempted. An Earth-sized planet's surface is about 6,000 times that of the GTA V world, and Roberts is promising one hundred systems. Assuming that every system has at least one planet (otherwise it's just a star) and that they average only a paltry two planets each, then the promised real estate is 1,200,000 times that of GTA V. And that doesn't include asteroids, space stations, spacecraft, etc. Nor does it include the starship mechanics, or the near-hundred ships themselves.

SNIP
I'd be more understanding of them if they said that kind of timeline was the plan. Instead there were always promises about it being just around the corner.. which is still happening.
Agreed, but I suspect that huskystafford's graphic explains that. Had Roberts said give me a billion dollars and twelve years and I'll build you this wondrous thing, he'd likely have raised zero. Doesn't make it honest, but assuming they do release something worth playing and anywhere near the promised scale, I suspect that even those investors who demanded refunds will admit it's worth the deceit.

There is a difference of "development progress" and the dates you continue to use. Its pretty hard to actually "develop" when you don't have a studio built yet, and everyone getting into this should have known that a studio needed to be built before actual work would start. This wasn't an existing development studio that simply said, "hey we want to use this team of 50-100 people that we have here to start making a game". This was one person with just 3-5 other people (in their homes without a centralized workspace) that asked to be funded to so they could build a studio and hire people to create the game (and they didn't even get their funding for about a month after the kickstarter ended (kickstarter will usually release 1-2 days afterwards, then Amazon payments sits on it for 2 weeks, and finally 5-7 more business days after that the money clears into your account, so effectively 1 month)).
I think that's reasonable. Real development can only take place after a sizeable team is assembled, organized, equipped and briefed. Even if Roberts had documented exactly what he wanted and pre-organized it into teams, just conveying that would take a few months, and there will always be things that didn't work out as he planned or unforeseen opportunities to do something better. I suspect anything done before 2014 was for marketing only and not used in the actual game except to convey some sense of direction.

Interesting:
Roberts almost launched the crowdfunding campaign for "Star Citizen" a year earlier but opted instead to raise seed capital from friends (and spend some of his own money) to build a prototype of the game so he'd have more to show potential backers. Because he had sunk so much cash into making that prototype, he was left with a budget of only $10,000 for the game's website, an insufficient amount to build a premium site with a crowdfunding engine.
Okay, that doesn't exactly fit the presented image of the independently wealthy visionary with no need to financially draw from this project.

It's not quite that easy. There's lots of shared tech between the two that's still in work (AI, FPS mechanics). Also, most of the content being used by SQ42 has been kept back to maintain the secrecy of the story line (alien ships, stations, locations, some friendly ships, etc). Most of their UK and Germany offices work exclusively on tasks that move SQ42 forward, which currently accounts for 60%+ of their work force, depending on the exact nature of the work. A lot of things for SQ42 will carry back into SC, but none of it is included in that chart.

That chart mostly references content and not tech, and it doesn't include anything done for SQ42. We know a lot has been done for SQ42 due to the leak from last year and things we've been teased on the official community videos. That's why I feel it is cherry-picking stats that in a way that, while true, fits a narrative. It also doesn't count time spent on creating their content creation tools that significantly speeds up their work in the future. Such as creating entire planets in a couple hours that still have an artist's direction instead of the several days spent to make the small moons in the current explorable area. With the content creation ability they showed off at Citizencon, entire systems would take under a week.

Meanwhile, I like a laugh in the morning and I found this funny and a nice showcase of things they've been working on.

https://gfycat.com/NecessaryTiredBeaver
Color me unconvinced. I do not believe that any content creation tools can create an entire system in a week and have it be anything more than generic, unplayable crap.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,876
460
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that was because they were trying to make a deadline to squeeze more money out of people right then. Buy now or else you will pay more. Be prepared for them to unify and try to sell it again with shooty mc mediocre spacey man. Although the farther we get the less people there are to actually buy the game. If you look at total sales of the "game" vs other games you will see there is little room for new buyers. After the release they will need to monetize via golden ammo or whatever the current players.
I dunno. I've never bought a space sim of any kind, but if Roberts delivers anywhere near the scope he's promising, and the FPS combat is good, and the reviews are good and graphics look good, then I'd drop a hundred on it in a heart beat.

I was not impressed by the bit that Sabrewings just linked. But at some point . . . To borrow from Stalin, quantity has a quality all its own. If there were truly a hundred unique systems of that graphics & physics quality, then that is something I'd want to explore - and own.
 

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