Why the Star Citizen Demo at Gamescom had to happen the way it did

Star Citizen GlaiveThere has been quite a bit of critique towards Star Citizen lately. Some of that even swapped over into the mainstream tech news here in Germany.
On the other hand I have been told by quite a few people that they read gaming news and they no idea about some of the new features of the game.
Especially the Gamescom multi crew demo was something a lot of people were unaware of.

Whats actually wrong with Star Citizen?

I know that the German gaming Press does a decent job of covering Star Citizen.
Unfortunately it seems that this is not really the case with the international gaming press(though PR is also one of the areas where CIG could do a better Job).

As such there is a perception problem where many of the backers are simply not aware of the progress CIG makes.

Due to this state of things I believe that I should do my part in spreading some information of the game.
Star Citizen is often accused of being Vaporware.
And honestly I can honestly see how people can get that impression if they are not following the project closely or if they are not familiar with Software development.

Is there a point to all the bashing?

As you might know one of Star Citizens loudest Critiques is a Game developer himself. He should know better, but I suspect he is mostly trolling to get publicity for his projects.
He usually mentions his games as positive example. I did not play his games, but every test I read stated, that his current early access game is a steaming pile of crap.
On top of that his usual response to bug reports is accusing people of trolling.
So maybe he should not be taken as seriously be the press as he is now.

But let’s look his argument anyway. He claims that CIG can’t possibly deliver the game they are promising.

And he may be right. The scope of Star Citizen is extremely ambitious and they promised some things that have never been done before.
… Things that have never been because they are very difficult to do and there are easier ways to get similar results.

Every backer should know that from the start. We helped to finance the development of the game, we did not actually buy a finished product (although its arguable if buying a game gets you a finished product these days).
CIGs part of the deal is that they have to use the money they get to actually create the game. As backers we are not investors in the game entitles to financial reports and shares of the company or any such thing as some seem to believe.
And CIG fulfills that deal and they do so in a relatively transparent manner.

Which brings us to the next point, the claim that Star Citizen is Vaporware.
Well this is bullshit right out of the gate. They have a playable part of the game for a while now and it is quite fun to play.
They recently released the Social Module, which expands this playable part.

Turns out they already did it

While the hangar module is certainly a nice appetizer, all fans are waiting for the main game and its promise of the seamless persistent universe to play in.
And the good news is, that it is more than just a concept at this point.

In fact it was shown at gamescom. Admittedly in an allebit smaller scale way.

The multi crew demo showed several developers playing the game live on stage. Traveling in a huge seamless solar system, capturing a ship by spacewalking over to the new ship, battling each other in multi crew ships.
This is an incredible achievement that shows that they can actually fulfill the promises they made to all their backers. Because they have the key technologies in place now.
Of cause there is still a lot of work to be done. It will still take a few years till the main release is delivered, but now we do have a prove of concept.
And with all the people calling Star Citizen Vaporware this achievement is of enormous importance.
If you have not watched the demo, do so now.

As you might have noticed, they encountered an issue during the first playthrough at the gamescom fan event.
Quite a few people called it unprofessional and said that they should have done some impressive in engine trailers instead (just like all the other big publishers).
But honestly this would have been much less impressive. In a trailer it is very easy to cover up non functional systems by scripting and editing.
I think they had to do their demo this way. It proved that the game the promise is not only possible, but that it’s core does exist already.

As for the “bug” that caused them to repeat the demo, that was actually game mechanics at work. If anything at all it proves that they actually played the game instead of some tightly scripted sequence.

Why can’t we play it yet

The fact that they have a work build does not necessarily mean, that it is a stable build or one that doesn’t have severe bugs. And I would wager that performance is not exactly great on most machines out there.
In essence, if they release what they have right now, you would likely get a barely playable game and a shitstorm would ensue.

In short it will still be quite a while before we can play Star Citizen. But the game is well on it’s way and some of the key technical challenges seem to have been solved.
When I saw the demo it was awe inspiring to the point where I said ‘so maybe they can do it’.
I hope that you will come to the same conclusion.

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