Star Citizen: Caves on Moons and Planets
In Star Citizen we currently only explore the surface of moons and planets. This will change with caves, as developer CIG announced.
In this article you will learn
- How caves are supposed to enhance the gameplay in Star Citizen
- How the caves are developed
- Whether Squadron 42 will have cave systems, too
Millions of square kilometers in a single game world: No other current game offers as much space as Star Citizen in its alpha phase. The MMO is still far away from a commercial release, but the expansion of the universe is in full swing.
In a recent episode of the video show Around the Verse there was some insight into the work on a feature that is not yet on the Star Citizen roadmap: Cave systems on moons and planets. What do we know about it?
- 1 Star Citizen: Caves and Explorer-Gameplay
- 2 What kind of caves will Star Citizen have?
- 3 How are caves built in Star Citizen?
- 4 Will there be passages in caves that are difficult to access?
- 5 Where can I find caves in Star Citizen?
- 6 How can I store or even sell the position data of a cave location?
- 7 When will caves be integrated into Star Citizen’s Persistent Universe?
- 8 Will we also be exploring caves in Squadron 42?
Star Citizen: Caves and Explorer-Gameplay
For passionate explorers, caves are of course a most welcome addition to gameplay. The gigantic dimensions of the moons and planets are also perfect for cave systems.
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Different types of content can be found in caves. If you are a miner, you can find resource depots. Especially rich resources may require special flying skills, because the Prospector has to maneuver inside the cave. You may also be able to mine resources manually later, using tools such as the Pyro Tool.
NPCs could also settle in caves and set up camps there. They may be hostile, but there may also be special merchants among them. And of course there are lots of aliens, animals and other creatures that can be placed in such caves. With the new player status system, survival horror gameplay will be possible in no time at all.
What kind of caves will Star Citizen have?
- Star Citizen is said to have different cave systems: Small caves that can only be entered on foot, huge cave systems that can be driven or flown into by vehicles or even space ships, or simply deep craters in which we are allowed to land.
How are caves built in Star Citizen?
- For the Star Citizen caves, developers use the same procedural system that was used for the development of the Truck Stops.
The basic technical development of cave systems is not new. As a basis, the developers at Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) use the procedural generation of the layout that was already used for the truck stops.
The developers generate hundreds of cave layouts before choosing a handful that will be further expanded. This includes, among other things, areas reserved for design where either changing content can appear (such as resource deposits) or fixed, non-changing content such as NPC camps.
Cave Content that has not been designed for a specific cave can be automatically filled with previously created design elements. Around these areas you will find the paths on which you can explore a cave.
Will there be passages in caves that are difficult to access?
- Among other things, climbing passages are planned, but also flooded parts of caves through which we have to dive.
Cave systems in Star Citizen can have multiple paths. Not all of them are freely accessible, some may be blocked. This will prevent further exploration by vehicle, for example. Then we have to get out of the vehicle and climb or crawl through narrow tunnel passages. We may also have to dive through flooded passages.
Where can I find caves in Star Citizen?
- Caves are said to be distinguished from the surroundings of a moon or planet by strange geological structures. We may also find caves in large asteroids.
Currently there are no caves in Star Citizen Alpha 3.4. Later there will be caves and sinkholes everywhere on planets and moons.
Eventually they will be found in procedurally generated asteroids (created completely randomly). But it is also possible that special, non-procedural asteroids (similar to the asteroid in the ring of Yela where Big Benny Henge is located) contain unique cave systems.
How can I store or even sell the position data of a cave location?
- The locations of caves will probably be identified via the scanning mechanics and can then be stored.
Exploration is planned as a real profession in Star Citizen. Using special spaceships (such as the Carrack, which is scheduled for Update 3.8), players extract position data from jump points, stations and other points of interest in the universe. This could also include caves.
The player should be able to store these positions. The first implementation of this feature is planned for Star Citizen Update 3.8 this year. There is no reason to believe that storing positions for caves should not work.
We can also sell position data later. How data trading will look exactly has not yet been revealed.
When will caves be integrated into Star Citizen’s Persistent Universe?
- The developers emphasize that the presentation of the caves in Star Citizen is currently a very early version. Based on the development of the Truck Stops we assume an implementation into Star Citizen Alpha in the first half of next year (2020).
Will we also be exploring caves in Squadron 42?
A new complete revision of Squadron 42, as was apparently started in 2016 / 2017, is unlikely to happen a second time. The schedule is far too tight and the patience of supporters not infinite. We have a Squadron 42 roadmap now and apart from “regular” shifts, significant delays due to completely new features would probably be hard to explain.
But cave systems are not a big challenge and could easily be added to moons or planets in Squadron 42. Although all 28 chapters of the single-player campaign are in the Whitebox phase, it’s likely that changes are still being made. It’s also possible that cave systems already exist in Squadron 42, but have been created entirely by hand.
So maybe the basis for caves has already been laid within Squadron 42 and the Star Citizen developers are now working this foundation into the modular and procedural generation for the persistent universe. So it wouldn’t surprise us if we would be allowed to explore cave systems in Squadron 42 as well.