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A Great Deal of Hope for the Newly Minted FPS Module

Red Thomas Posted:
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The Equipment

No FPS conversation is serious until you’ve discussed equipment.  Star Citizen’s complex model for ships is carried over into the FPS portion of the game, and Kedhrin was also willing to talk a bit about the equipment and gadgets players will have access to in the game.  The way he describes what they’re doing sounds pretty dang cool, too.

The current plan for the modules is to choose a loadout before you go into combat or have a pre-defined loadout in the case of some modules, sort of like the current implementation of dogfighting.  In fact, the dogfighting module really parallels the route the FPS module is taking in a lot of ways, so you can draw a lot of conclusions from how they’re doing that.  Just as you pick a loadout in the hanger and then enter a simulated combat scene with your ship, you’ll be able to do the same thing with your character.

A sharp eye will tell you a lot about your opponent, what he can do, and whether he has any ammo left.

The loadout you chose is set for that match and can be changed between events, but just like ships, the persistent mode will be no where nearly as controlled or restricted.  Players will have armories on their ships for storing gear and for selecting loadouts in the persistent universe.  Though, that assumes you can make it to the armory and gear up in time.

Remember when we were talking about fighting in zero-gee?  Here’s where it starts becoming important in the persistent universe.  “If you’re in your captain’s chair on your ship, you’re more than likely in no armor, or light armor,” notes Kedhrin.  Because armor is restrictive, you don’t tend to wear it all the time.  Kedhrin goes on to say that if you’re attacked, “You need to get out of your chair, run to the armory, and manually select each weapon you want.”

All gear will be visual on your avatar in the game, as well.  Kedhrin specifically pointed out that gadgets, weapons, grenades, and even clips will be visible, and even targetable by players.  So, I’m not sure about you, but we’re going to be very discriminating on who carries grenades in my crew, and especially specific about who has to stand near them.

Weapons and gear will be selectable via mouse-wheel or by hitting number keys, and with the expanding selection of gear, that’ll be important.  Besides the medical gear already mentioned, Kedhrin tells me that there’ll also be a hologram device for burning up opponents’ limited ammo supply and confusing them.  There’ll also be something like a personal shield generator, turrets, and a mine similar to a modern claymore.  However, something tells me C4-accellerated ball bearings may not be standard issue for ship-board combat.  Added to all of that, there’ll be a selection of several ammo types for each weapon.

What and how much you can carry will be somewhat limited by the type of armor you’re carrying, and then titan armor types come with systems built in.  You may not want to just load up heavy, though.  There’ll be mechanics like breathing built into the game to create some balance between gear and mobility.

The Result

There’s no solid answer yet, but all signs point to a release of the FPS module early next year.  Kedhrin notes that the mechanics of Star Citizen’s FPS module is pretty different from everything else out there, if for no other reason than its close ties to the space sim and persistent world aspects of the game.  That means they’ve had to do a lot of initial design on the backend to support integrations that you wouldn’t see in a typical FPS game, but they’ve worked their way through that and have been making big strides forward.

Like ships, FPS in the finished game will be utilized in several ways from the single player experiences in Squadron 42, to the populated space of the persistent universe.  Also, just like the training sims for ships, players will be able to compete in FPS sims without risk of losing life or, quite literally, limb.  This’ll be important for those who want to play a more mercenary-type role, by giving you a way to demonstrate your prowess via the leader boards.

Complex = Awesome with the FPS module, but what does that mean for future mods?

The selection of ammo types and complex damage modeling hint at some seriously cool mechanics on down the road, as well.  I’m fairly sure there are some great ideas still being worked, but a system like this begs for awesome mods by the community if nothing else.

Which actually brings me to my one red flag.  First, I should point out that I don’t really have any integration concerns.  After spending plenty of time with the Austin office where all the really important stuff happens tying things into the persistent universe and getting to know the folks working that part of the game, I think I have a decent feel for how they’re handling it.  The integration part is constantly in the front of every developer’s mind and I don’t expect to see trouble there.

If there’s a problem, I think it’ll with that initial vision of fans hosting their own servers.  There are some truly enormous systems being built into this game, and as cool as the FPS module is, I can’t imagine anyone being able to host it and all the other modules on a single server.  The complexity also suggests a lot of flexibility, but those of us with programing experience know flexibility is another word for coder’s hell.  The promised engineering books may end up being an engineering library from the look of it, assuming it’s even something that’s still feasible.

Yeah, that bothers me a little.  There’s no doubt that this has moved well beyond the game that I helped to fund a couple years ago.  That’s not to say it’s bad, but rather just different.  Though, while CIG has obviously struggled a bit with those growing pains here and there, I have to say that the FPS module Kedhrin Gonzales speaks about makes it sound like they’re pushing through the problems well enough. 

If nothing else, I now know the FPS module is in the hands of a passionate group of people with the experience to pull off some really great things.  The start they’ve made on it shows passion and creativity matched against skills and experience, which bodes really well for Star Citizen’s next installment.  One more reason why trusty “Vera” and I will be seeing you in the ‘verse!

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Red Thomas

A veteran of the US Army, raging geek, and avid gamer, Red Thomas is that cool uncle all the kids in the family like to spend their summers with. Red lives in San Antonio with his wife where he runs his company and works with the city government to promote geek culture.