The first release of the Star Citizen Persistent Universe alpha, commonly called the Baby PU (BPU), has been on the Test Universe for several days. During that time, Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) invited waves of backers to participate in stress testing and identifying bugs. Roughly 66K players have been given access. That might sound like a lot but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the 900K pool of players.
For the first couple of days I was glued to Twitch watching the first wave of 1K players experience the BPU. Of course there were tons of issues - they're basically testing an alpha of an alpha. People were crashing every 10 minutes and fighting to get back in and stay connected. This went on hour after hour and patch after patch. But the lucky few weren't deterred. In between the crashes they were witnessing many gaming firsts and not only for the space sim genre. SC is a combination of features never before seen in any MMO to date. With this small but significant leap forward, CIG has proven that their feature set is in fact technologically possible. The hype train has rarely stopped for SC but with the release of the BPU, it's roaring down the track. Since the limited release of the BPU for testing, the crowdfunding for SC has hit a staggering $98 million and counting.
It's hard to explain to anyone who's not passionate about gaming, MMOs and/or space sims why people continue to invest so heavily in this project. For many of us, SC has a dream list of features, combined in a way that no company has ever attempted before. We want it and therefore, we are willing to fund it. No matter what you say in defense of the record breaking cash rolling in, it's really better explained by experiencing it.
A couple of hours ago, I got access to the BPU content to experience it first hand. The atmosphere, graphics, attention to detail, realism and cinematic soundtrack is breathtaking to behold. No one's pictures will do it justice. The way they knit your introductory experience together, it feels like waking up in a future where man has conquered the stars.
It's just another day. You're sleeping in a room you've rented on Crusader's Port Olisar space station. You wake to find that you have new messages. Similar to checking email, you check your Mobiglas to read them and discover that you have several job offers in the area. Time to rise-n-shine. You head down to the station's information center to arrange for your ship to be brought to a landing pad. You stroll to the exit closest to where your ship will be delivered.
While waiting for the airlock to open, you realize you're in the demonstration you saw way back at PAX East. Except you're not watching this time. You're doing it! *Jaw drops*. Out the airlock and up the steps to the landing pads. Haunting music begins to play as you climb the stairs. Other players are rushing by. Ships are arriving and departing.
You see your ship for the first time out in the persistent universe. The Crusader gas giant is near by. You can't help but walk around the platform, taking in all the sights and sounds. When you've had your fill, you board your ship, hop in the Captain's chair and fire up the engines. The computer system comes online and announces that the ship is ready to proceed to the adventure of your choice. Go complete a job from your Mobi, explore, engage in FPS or socialize. The choice is yours to do alone or with friends. And through all of this, there's not a single loading screen. It's a seamless experience with panoramic views and breathtaking details. This is Star Citizen and worth every dollar I've pledged.