Alpha Patch 3.0.0 has been released to all Star Citizen backers. This update contains one of our largest feature sets to date – including the three moons of Crusader, a new mission system, improved shopping and cargo mechanics, and increased our server player count from twenty-four to fifty players. Alpha 3.0.0 is also the first implementation of a lot system changes that go on in the background. For example, with commodity trading, we’re testing out the very first iteration of the dynamic economy that will control the marketplace of the universe.
With our new procedural planet tech, there was a strong need to make sure that we efficiently update all the entities and components in our game world (their number increased significantly compared to 2.6.3). We therefore implemented a new update scheduler that allows us to efficiently batch update them per type and update strategy (range based, manual, always, conditionally). As this puts more strain onto our job system, we further refined its core to allow for even lower latency scheduling and supported even more CPU cores.
In short, it’s a big update that lays the foundation for larger developments down the road.
Apart from the improvements already made, there’s still a lot of work that has to be done to get the performance up to where we want it to be, but this will take a bit more time. Object Container Streaming and Entity streaming are major aspects to reduce memory footprint and further scale the game world for many star systems in a seamless way. There will also be a concentrated effort into better scaling of existing game systems with increased player count and world complexity (entity count). We’ve been investigating range based culling of entity updates which will provide significant gains, but still needs additional work to properly integrate into all game systems.
With the release of 3.0.0, the Persistent Universe is now shifting to a quarter-based release schedule. This approach means that after each live delivery we can return to the main development branch and pick up all the changes and optimizations that have been worked on in the background and ready them for our next live release. 3.0 has been about completely revamping systems and gameplay as well as adding new content. We will now go back into our development branch, which we need to do for our Q1 release in March and will pick up the latest code and concentrate on optimizing performance, using our new gameplay and systems to the fullest, as well as continuing with the balance and polish of the PU.
Your feedback and engagement is what makes Star Citizen special, so drop into the ’verse, grab your ship and explore the vastness of 3.0.0.