Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Arena Commander has launched


Yes after a very long development cycle the much anticipated Arena Commander from Cloud Imperium Games or Star Citizen has arrived, albeit in a very basic alpha form.  It's currently running on version 0.8 and as you can imagine with a very early alpha build, things aren't the smoothest out there.  That isn't to say is not playable in fact far from it.  The basic modes available currently allow you to play on two maps, fly at least three different ships and fight the AI in the "Vanduul Swarm" mode.

The maps are very impressive but this isn't surprising given Cryengines ability to produce rather pretty visuals.  Both maps have some identifying feature that makes it unique.  The first is a world being terraformed with numerous orbital stations firing down onto the world with massive beams of energy that act as a hazard to pilots.  The second map is formed around a dying solar system as it's star slowly nova's.  The hazard in this map is the large number of asteroids in the sector.

The shooting and flying mechanics feel functional although I assume they will tightened up as time goes on with future patches making the ships feel more weightless and giving that sense of being in deep space.  Visually the ships and environments look great and the way ships lose pieces as they take damage is dangerously distracting in a good way.  You will strafe a Vanduul fighter and watch it's shields fall and parts drift off the craft as you pummel the hull.  It looks really cool and actually effects the ships capability as the fight rages on.

Obviously the current build isn't the most stable and it's a bit of a memory hog at the moment so expect to suffer memory leaks and some crashes with extended play sessions.  The system is clearly there at the moment to play once or twice before doing a reboot to flush the memory.  Still as a very basic demonstration of Star Citizens future combat and flight mechanics it works.  I will be interested to see where they take Arena Commander in the coming months and how elements such as multiplayer competitive and cooperative work.

Finally I would also like to point to this title and say that people can stop with the cries of "it's a scam" since if it was, it would be the most complex scam in history, so much so that the crew from Hustle would tell you to try something a little easier like tricking a millionaire into thinking he has a long lost son.  Tomorrow I will have some gameplay footage to post here of me fighting some Vanduul in my basic Aurora with some great kills, near misses and eventually a collision that changes everything.

Thanks for reading and have a good week folks.

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