This week's episode of Casual Citizen discusses the MISC Starfarer, a refueling and fuel transport ship, in the upcoming first person MMO Star Citizen. Many players are hoping we'll be seeing the Starfarer become hangar ready in the next several weeks. I hope you enjoy. The full show transcript is after the break.
Update: on March 18th ATV Ship Shape did a hangar tour for the Starfarer!
The show is also available on:
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Welcome to another episode of Casual Citizen. An on-going series about the upcoming first person MMO, Star Citizen by Cloud Imperium Games. I’m your host Alysianah from the Mystic Worlds Gaming Blog.
In this week’s episode we’re going to discuss the Starfarer and what we know about the refueling service it’s designed to provide. As this ship is still classified as concept and no formal refueling design document has been published, this information is subject to change even though it comes from RobertsSpaceIndustries.com
Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Before delving into the Starfarer, let’s gather some background on its manufacturer,
Musashi Industrial & Starlight Concern, commonly called MISC.
MISC was formed in 2805. It was a merger between the failing Hato Electronics Corporation and the Musashi Lifestyle Design Unit. The merger capitalized on Hato’s network of large-scale production facilities and Musashi’s design genius.
MISC is based on Saisei in Centauri and maintains its corporate offices there. As a manufacturer, they’re known for the ergonomics of their factories, where spacecraft are robotically assembled with precision. Their central dealership facility resides there and is open to the public. It’s a location worth visiting if you’re in the area.
Centauri was one of the first systems settled during Humanity’s expansion among the stars. It was discovered in 2365 by a dedicated survey ship. Centauri III was quickly offered up at a premium to colonial outfitting groups. The result was Saisei, one of the most beautiful and well-constructed Human worlds in the UEE. Saisei is known for its natural beauty, organic construction and limited population. Fujin City is the landing point for most visitors and boasts a fully automated high volume landing zone. And of course there’s the MISC factory, which is considered a must see.
The majority of MISC’s business comes from the production of their heavy industrial division. MISC-HI is responsible for a range of configurable bulk transport spacecraft that are ubiquitous in UEE space. Their sturdy and modular designs are an industry standard for shipping among human corporations. Four standard hulls are mass produced. They range in size from the efficient Hull A the enormous Hull D.
An unexpected popularity among the Xi’An spawned an unlikely business relationship. It led to MISC becoming the only Human spacecraft corporation to sign a lend lease agreement with the Xi’An. Although the specifics of the arrangement are a tightly guarded secret, it’s rumored that Xi’An technology is used in Freelancer development.
And there are claims suggesting MISC’s next line of spacecraft, will adapt Xi’An thruster technology for use in Human ships.
In recent years, MISC has turned its attention to advancing its two ship lines marked for personal use - the Freelancer and Starfarer. They’ve funneled profit from their corporate revenue to break into this crowded segment, battling against giants such as Roberts Space Industries and Drake Interplanetary.
Our discussion of the Starfarer will be solely on the refueling variant. We’ll save discussion of the Gemini for a future show.
DIRECTLY FROM CIG…
Why the Starfarer?
The Starfarer differs from traditional bulk freighters in one key way: it is a dedicated fuel platform.
The Starfarer is designed not only to load, store and protect fuel stasis units, it is designed to take in spaceborne hydrogen and then refine it for use without landing.
The Starfarer can be used to ferry traditional bulk cargo pods (see diagram) but in such cases the fuel refining equipment would be useless. This equipment is modular and can be swapped out for another mission package for dry operations! END QUOTE
The Starfarer is a niche spacecraft which has become the defacto standard for fuel transport. Its design is the result of an 18-month survey that yielded a 15,000 page study on ship roles and the deficiencies faced by pilots. That insight influenced the core design philosophy for the Starfarer. And led to it being fitted as a dual-role fueling craft, capable of collecting fuel in space and refueling ships in-flight.
The Starfarer’s massive internal fuel tanks are welded directly to the ship’s core superstructure. This makes safer for fuel transport than ships modified to carry out this role. The tanks use external probes and pressure access nodes to provide easy access. In this manner, the ship can scoop hydrogen from a gas giant and just as easily funnel fuel to a nearby ship.
Starfarers can be upgraded to include a basic refinery to allow for processing unrefined fuel themselves. The hydrogen tanks can also be modified to carry liquid food products. Although this modification isn’t popular, you can replace the tanking machinery with a cargo chassis to transport bulk goods.
Even though the Starfarer can be modified for other roles, remember that it’s primarily a dedicated fuel platform. And designed from the ground up to be that. It won’t perform in these other roles, as effectively as a dedicated option.
Although the Starfarer supports multiple crew stations, it can be run as a solo operation. Management of the ship and its resources will take more time and require a lot of running back and forth. But it is possible.
Detailed Design Doc Still Incoming
A detailed design document will be made available as soon as all of the mechanics involved the refueling process have been finalized. That said, here are some aspects which have been more or less “confirmed” based on CIG Q&A responses:
- Eventually, you will be able to store pods of fuel in your hangar.
- There will be refueling missions and NPC pilots can also be serviced by a player run Starfarer.
- The Starfarer’s refinery operates considerably slower than a dedicated refining facility. However, it allows you to refine and utilize fuel you’ve collected while out in space. You will have the option of taking your unrefined fuel to a refinery for processing.
- You’re carrying and processing fuel. Mishaps can happen and it’s mostly bad news if they do. They want refining to be a challenging process where failures and collisions can cause significant ship damage.
- You can refuel ships while flying, similar to aircraft. Doing so, is considerably more difficult and adds an additional element of risk.
- Unlike the larger Hull series of ships, the Starfarer can land planetside even with a full load of cargo.
- Potential owner upgrades include long range scanner and jump drives. You can exchange the fuel tanks for standardized Stor-All containers to haul cargo.
- Fuel will be important in space flight but not a constant worry. You’ll need to monitor your consumption if you quantum often and are traversing lots of jump points. However, it’s not a situation that should leave you completely stranded if you run out. You can use a slower method of travel as a stop-gap, until to reach a refueling option. The plan is for fuel to be a serious support role in Star Citizen. NPCs and players will be manning Starfarers. And player managed Starfarers can supply fuel to NPC managed fuel stations such as Cry Astro.
SHOW NOTES - version to be read on show
As with most of our ship related shows, not much in the way of show notes this week. Since the Starfarer isn’t hangar ready, there aren’t any YouTubers that I can link you to for a video tour. Many players are crossing their fingers that we’ll be seeing the Starfarer in the hangar in 2.3.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. If you have, please considering subscribing to my channel and giving this episode a thumbs up. Be kind and fly safe. This is Alysianah signing off until next time.