Following several weeks on the Public Test Universe (PTU), the next major update for Cloud Imperium Game' Star Citizen has now gone live. Alpha 3.3.0 is a major milestone update to the game, as it implements the first pass of the Object Container Streaming (OCS) technology, delivering some major performance improvements, among other features.
OCS essentially allows the game engine to only load necessary parts of the Star Citizen universe to the players' PC memory, streaming in ships and locations when required. Now, thanks to not having the entire game overloading memory, frame rates have gone up significantly across the board.
The Face Over IP feature that lets players mirror their own facial expressions onto their character via a webcam is also a part of the update.
As always, new ships and reworks are included as well. The massive Hammerhead capital support ship and the Anvil Valkyrie troop transport are now in the game. A rework of the Mustang ship line, the RSI Constellation Phoenix luxury variant, as well as Tumbril Cyclone variants that range from anti-air to racing, have arrived too.
Another major change is that players can now buy ships with in-game currency without needing to shell out of their actual pockets. The offer is only available to certain ships and the inventory can reset whenever a new update comes out, but it serves as the first step towards how the game will function once it's released.
There are also dozens of other new features and improvements such as a new mission giver, asteroid mining, new weapons, as well as changes related to AI, gameplay systems, and locations. All this and bug fixes are detailed on the official changelog over here.
The next major Alpha update slated to hit the game is 3.3.5, and game director Chris Roberts himself said in a recent developer video that it will be available in PTU testing soon. If all goes to plan, 3.3.5 will bring along the Hurston planet and its moons, as well as the Lorville Landing Zone that was shown off in the CitizenCon 2018 presentation.
The crowd-funded space simulator is currently about to break the $200 million mark on its funding tracker, with the recent CitizenCon reveals bumping it up by managing to bring in over a million dollars in less than a week.
Those who are interested in jumping into the multiplayer portion of Star Citizen can do so by purchasing a $45 package, while opting for a $65 package will also grant access to the upcoming Squadron 42 campaign, further supporting development at the same time.