As promised earlier this week, today Cloud Imperium Games finally released the latest major update for Star Citizen, Alpha 3.18.
The update has been defined as the biggest released for the growing space game since 3.0 in December 2017. It comes with many new features like the first iteration of the salvaging gameplay look, an overhaul of the cargo system, more rivers, sand caves, and much more.
We're also getting relevant new technology including Persistent Entity Streaming, which will let objects remain in the universe independent of players that may have placed, abandoned, or simply lost them.
This is a very unique and definitely innovative technology for online games, and it'll be interesting to see which effects it'll have on Star Citizen's gameplay environment. Basically, if you drop a coffee cup or abandon your ship somewhere in the vast Stanton System, someone who visits the same location will find what you have left. This is especially interesting seen in combination with salvaging.
The implementation of this large update has taken a longer time compared to many of its predecessors, but it's finally here. Below you can read a summary of the major beats while the full patch notes are available here.
- Persistent Entity Streaming - Technology: Universe-Wide Persistence
- Dawn of Salvage - Gameplay: Hull Scraping
- Drake Vulture - Vehicle: Specialist Salvage Ship
- Soft Death - Gameplay: Vehicle Immobility
- RSI Scorpius Antares - Vehicle: EMP-Equipped Heavy Fighter
- Cargo System Refactor - Feature: Cargo Mechanic Rework
- Gen12 Graphics Renderer - Technology: Next-Gen Update to the Graphics Engine
- Natural Wonders - Locations: Sand Caves & Rivers
- Secrets of Daymar - Location: 600i & Mercury Settlement
- Kareah Reactivation - Location: Update to Security Post Kareah Space Station
- All New Missions - Gameplay: New Missions in Orison and Klescher
- High Speed Thrills - Locations: New Racetracks
We also get a few trailers released with the update focusing on the update as a whole, the Drake Vulture, and the RSI Scorpius.
In the meanwhile, Star Citizen's growing crowdfunding campaign continues to progress and the game has just hit $553 million ($553,001,907 at the moment of this writing) pledged from backers.
The number of registered users has also recently passed 4.4 million and it's now at 4,433,923, albeit not all of them are paying since many register accounts to access the popular free fly events that provide a chance to test the game without pledging any money. According to the latest information that creative director Chris Roberts himself shared in October 2022, 1.7 million players are actually paying customers. Of course, that number is a few months old, so it could be higher now.
Star Citizen recently ended its best year ever in terms of crowdfunding, with a whopping $113 million pledged in 2022, marking a 31% increase over 2021. The tally has been consistently increasing year-on-year since 2018.
Full disclosure: the author of this post has backed Star Citizen all the way back when its crowdfunding was first launched in September 2012.