CSN Interviews Ben Lesnick and the Star Citizen Community Team - 2014-12-10


(Citizen Star News) - by Citizen Ed - 2014-12-10 - The Citizen Star and The Base team up to give you a rather epic two hour interview with Ben Lesnick, James Pugh and Will Lewis.

Discussions cover stretch goals, Idris hangar capacity, Modularity, Javelin, ACBucks (Arena Commander in game cash), the M50 "limited" status, Making Star Citizen more accessible for new folks, Multi-Crew Solo & Teams, Operation Pitchfork, Astrophysics, Squadron 42, Account Hacks, Avatar Creation (& tech partnership with Warhorse), the Kr'Thak, Dec 19th Livestream, and... Nerf wars!


(Note: This article owes a significant debt to Redditor /u/Nehkara's initial summary on /r/starcitizen. -Ed.)

  • Gladiator is currently (was at the time) size M taking up a whole bay in the hangar, which is surprising since it's not bigger than the biggest of the single seat fighters, which are S. Ben said he'd look into it. (Was news to them at the time. Now fixed.)

  • Ben affirmed that he thought the Gladiator would fit into the Idris pretty well.

  • Idris now carries 4 * Hornets (or at least for "S" sized ships), no ships in storage any more. (Was previously 2 active hornets and 1 in "storage")

  • Javelin hangar capacity is one Redeemer exclusive-or those other ships.

  • Maybe loaner Cutlass for people that own multi-crew ships, come AC v1.0.
  • There will be stretch goals in the future, including backer awards, but it won't be every million. Instead every mil we'll have "insights" into the dev process and the state of the game. Like we saw with the Multi-Crew feature in the last letter.

  • In a discussion about attracting new pilots... Revamp of the front page, new Star Citizen trailer, and revamp of "about" page coming. Store will highlight "starter packages"

  • They want to do the cheap Aurora sale again. Hopefully spreading the sale over time a bit.

  • First cheap Aurora sale: 1000 went to brand new users, 4000 went to existing users. 30% of those sold to existing users have now been gifted to new users. CIG expects many of the others will be gifted over Christmas. So is being counted as a success even if there is clearly room for improvement.

  • CIG was very happy with how the "free week" of AC at DragonCon worked. Will do this again, possibly over Christmas. PAX AUS was possibly too short.

  • With the choice of allowing large ships to be somewhat solo flyable, they wanted to "allow players to fail themselves" rather than artificially limiting them. No artificial limits, just increasingly higher levels of difficulty. Strongly support solo players as well but also encourage team play.

  • Citizen journalists are still in the plans; will interact with the Galactapedia. Discussed player based media companies, but that hadn't previously been considered.

  • CIG will adhere to the "spirit" of the Avenger. All ships will change from original stats as the game progresses. Class 5 weapons just turned out a bit too big to fit.

  • Balance pass coming (M50, Hornet and Aurora adjustments).

  • 300i Convergence bug is on the list of things to be fixed.

  • NPC Hireling/Wingman Limits... 10/2 limit is still a good guess, but it is going to take some time to figure out the playbalance and what server/tech will support. Also confirmed that NPCs still can run missions for you. (At least FedEx type.) NPC capability and balance also discussed. 

  • Both long term and short term plots will be present in the PU, and it will develop over time depending on how the players focus on things.

  • CIG is preparing for Operation Pitchfork. They love the project and some work is being done to figure out how it make it work.

  • Will is talking about how great Operation Pitchfork is as a tool for new players to get into the game.

  • Races will have prizes. (ACBucks) Some discussion of sponsorships. Support "Racing for Pinks")

  • (In response to Nekara's question:) A lot of work is going into "making space more interesting". Two astrophysicists work for CIG, although in other capacities (one at Moon Collider, one at Behavior), starting to run things past them. Writing staff is also paying close attention to science news. (As is @CZenStar on Twitter.)

  • Not all star systems have Jump Points, they are naturally occurring. Influenced by gravity wells. If a star goes super nova, there may be a very big shift in all the jump points. There are many systems in the UEE space that aren't visited since there is no jump point to them.

  • CIG wants to stay away from the tired "ancient space race that made everything" story.

  • Empire News Network is a "bumper" they've shot for future episodes of ATV. 
  • "Fingers crossed" on future physical models. Said the Constellation model was great practice. Not sure about the idea of Star Citizen Chess Set as suggested.

  • Mobiglas may be a system that people can write apps for. "Mini-games" possibly open to community developed contributions.
  • Star Citizen's plan beyond the first 10 years? Just keep going. Can do a lot of other stories (read: singleplayer campaigns) within the universe.

  • Linux is still planned but not really being worked on at CIG, depending on CryTek for that. Would love to do Mac as well.
  • Making great progress on 64-bit floating point for large maps.

  • Freelancer will be in AC V2.0.

  • Not ready to announce inter-org conflict systems, other than to say there will be one.

  • Ship rental system with ACBucks, not sure if you can buy ships in AC.

  • Wulf sent CIG Santa Monica nerf guns (specifically the Community team)
  • Joystick Survey discussion (not a lot of news on that but interesting)
  • Banu not heavily involved in SQ42 Chapter 1, but may be featured later
  • Squadron 42 script has not been significantly reduced from the original finished script (which came in way over the requested length, ~1000 pages). Will be bigger, more involved, and longer than originally planned (Wing Commander type campaign). Some discussion of named "talent" like in Wing Commander days, but no news there, accept that Ben has kept in contact with WC actress Ginger Lynn over the years. Does expect to involve backers in Voice acting down the line.
  • Political situation within the 'verse will be fluid over time. (example: UEE may become weakened, players may be able to "rebel" to some extent. At least for a time.)
  • Grey Market Javelins discussed. Grey Market in general. How it's impossible to keep the grey market entirely. Will fix any cart exploits.
  • Javelin is account bound. Selling accounts is against the EULA, but "something you would rarely catch"
  • 90% of account hacks are local (friends or family members messing with people), or false (sometimes fraud, people trying to take back a "sold account" which they usually catch).
  • Will instance limits be based on player count or npc or ship count? A - Player count. It's the network overhead that really does it. The other things are not considered significant at this time.
  • Ben: "I think the Origin 85X can equip a jump drive."
  • No significant changes yet to the 890 JUMP, but they have looked at the suggestions in the forums and we may see some of that in the final design. A single 300 series ship may fit in the long run. But right now the 890 Jump is not being worked on, waiting to be assigned to a team in the pipeline.
  • Considering allowing small scout on board Carrack to have a jump drive (As suggested to Ben by Nikki "Batgirl" D'angelo and I had the same Idea. -Ed.), but no final decision made at this point. Would solve the issue of the Carrack being too large for some wormholes.
  • Org HQs on planetside community suggestion. Considering doing that. There is a building in Goss II that really needs a Citizen Star News logo on it.
  • MISC Endeavor, not a lot of plans for it right now. But it is a ship that captured people's imagination. Ben considers it to be like the hospital ship in Pearl Harbor.
  • MISC Hull C expected to be very modular. Concept is in progress and expected to be delivered "in the not too distant future". MISC Hulls A-C are based in concept on General Products hulls, Larry Niven's Known Space. A big (potentially clear and/or cylindrical) hull that you place modules in. Could possibly use the Carrack modules... maybe. The modules could potentially act as containers, container ships.
  • Better you treat NPCs, the better they perform. You will be able to interact with them with the conversation system being developed for SQ42.
  • Some pre-orders for new physical merchandise will go up during the December 19th livestream.
  • Sharing of tech is underway with Warhorse Studios. Avatar customization will be far more detailed than originally concieved. There will be randomizers to help shortcut for people that aren't interested in messing with that for too long.
  • Space horses not a priority (Sorry, Browncoats)
  • FPS and Planetside modules are tracking to be released very close to each other... to the point where they are unsure which will launch first.
  • The Kr'Thak are still in the plans for the game.
  • Some discussion of the Tevarin, James' favorite aliens. Live among us in the UEE. Some even Citizens.
  • Will, Ben, and James talking about how much they love working at CIG and working together. Mentioned that they worked 24 hours straight recently and had fun.
  • A nerf war erupts at CIG Santa Monica... and the interview ends as chaos ensues...

See Also

Reddit Discussion

Also mentioned prominently:

Video that helped me decide to pledge, and James called out as one his favorite community contributions.