Star Citizen Developer Wants to Reinvent the FPS

Roberts Space Industries details their plan for making combat on-foot as deep as its dog fights.

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Star Citizen, that ludicrously successful crowd-funded project, isn't just a space flight simulator. The developer, Roberts Space Industries is also creating a first-person shooter to accompany the space combat segments. In a new developer blog post, the team outlined some of its key changes to the FPS formula to improve "realism."

Standard FPS games, the post says only have two combat stances. One holds the player avatar's gun near the shoulder at all times while the other simulates careful aiming down the sights of the gun. Roberts says this isn't realistic and instead proposes a three stance system to improve balance.

The HUD in lowered stance.
The HUD in lowered stance.

With the new system, players will have to manage a gun in a lowered position, in a ready position, and in an "aim down sights" position. The addition of a third stance allows for a clearer distinction between players that have a gun ready to fire at a moment's notice (as they are in the typical first-person shooter), and those that have their gun at ease to making moving around an area easier. This more accurately simulates real combat stances and will force players to be much slower and more careful when engaging in combat. That sounds complicated, but Roberts says that most of this system will be handled automatically.

"Sprinting or using contextual navigation initiates the Lowered stance," the post says. "Moving slowly and deliberately keeps your weapon in the Ready stance. When in the Lowered stance (entered by sprinting or using contextual navigation), pressing the Fire button will bring you back into the Ready stance. When in the Ready stance, pressing the Aim button brings you into the Aim Down Sight stance. Releasing the held button returns the weapon to the Ready stance."

The HUD while looking through the sights.
The HUD while looking through the sights.

Roberts is also adding a new system for breathing and stamina to help reinforce a system of stat trade-offs between different kinds of weapons and armor. Heavier gear will drain players of stamina more, causing them to breath more heavily which, in turn, makes their aim more erratic. Players, much like real soldiers, will have to be careful so that they don't end up tiring their avatars. For the best aim, they'll also need to fire at the tops and bottoms of breaths to ensure that the chest isn't moving when they're shooting.

Roberts says that this will provide more balance and a refocused approach to shooting in games. "This is intended to slow the pace of combat, so that it feels more tactical and reinforces our intention that survival takes consideration, rather than random firing."

These features will be included along with the introduction of the FPS module code-named "Star Marine." There is no concrete date for Star Marine.

In any case, Star Citizen has raised more than $77 million, making it by far the most successful crowdfunding project of any kind to-date.

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