For those of us who plan to concentrate on activities that don’t revolve around pew-pew-boom-boom you’re dead, the Persistent Universe (PU) holds the key to the content we’re waiting to see. It’s in the PU that all the elements of game play come alive – especially non-combat opportunities and professions.
More than Pew-Pew
Thus far, CIG has released content for testing purposes via disconnected modules. The hangar module lets you see your ships, drool over them, access their interiors and reconfigure their loud outs. Arena Commander allows us to fly the ships that are available to test flight mechanics and experiment with different weapons, ammunition and shields. The recently released Social Module introduced ArcCorp is the first planet side landing zone. Albeit it being a very small piece of what will be accessible once the area is completed, it's an introduction to the mechanics that will eventually be available. Shop interactions will be added, in addition to more emotes and other elements that are purely social in nature. And recently they talked about including player resurrection support in the Medbay.
Finally, there’s the long awaited Star Marine, which will serve as your appetizer of FPS combat. Each of these modules is separate and you encounter loading screens moving from one to the other. With the exception of the Social Module, it’s all about putting your dukes up - combat.
What we’ve yet to see are the non-combat oriented ships. Of course every ship will be armed and equipped to protect itself to some degree, these ships are not designed for sustained combat. With only AC available as a module for ship activities there’s been no real point to exposing these ships to testing. That and they’re not ready yet. But beyond that, the content these specialized ships require isn’t sitting in AC. Non-combat activities need a different environment for testing. They need a slice of the Persistent Universe Alpha, dubbed Baby PU.
What is the Baby PU?
The Baby PU is going to be based on what is called a large world map – a size that represents an actual system in SC. Within that environment CIG will begin adding the content needed for non-combat professions and hence, start rolling out the associated ships as they become flight ready.
For example, when the initial pass of work for the mining profession and the first ship capable of mining is flight ready, players will be able to test the mechanics and the associated ship(s) by actually mining asteroids in the BPU. Once the raw materials are collected and processed, you can deliver them to a space station or planet side NPC for payment and pick up other orders/missions. In this model, the ship features, career mechanics, missions/quests, NPCs/A.I. and aspects of the economy, etc., can all be tested in unison. And more importantly, can be tried in the same context in which they will be delivered in the released game.
While miners are off doing that, players with salvage ships will be searching for derelict ships to test the salvage career mechanics. Others will be exploring. People will be off hacking, doing EWAR or chasing monetarily valuable information that can be traded. Players will get hurt, rescued, patched up and shat back out into the black to rinse and repeat.
Slowly, little by little, features will be introduced. More ships will come online, profession mechanics will become available for testing and we will begin to see the dawning of what will be available in the final release of the product we’re waiting for – Star Citizen. The BPU is where the once separate modules are connected into a seamless gaming experience. First on a small scale – Stanton as the test system. Eventually other systems will be released. Before you know it we'll be seeing a microcosm of the Star Citizen MMO experience. Please remember that this is alpha and there are likely to be wipes along the way.
In before tear stained drama posts about character wipes from people who’ve never participated in a MMO alpha or beta before. *smile*