The upcoming massively multiplayer space game “Star Citizen” launched its Alpha 3.3 update on Wednesday bringing with it a number of new additions, including the anticipated “face and voice over internet protocol” that maps a player’s facial expressions over their in-game avatar.
The new feature was co-developed with Faceware Technologies and works via a player’s webcam. It’s available to all players in the “Star Citizen” persistent test universe.
“Star Citizen” also got a big technological upgrade today via Object Container Streaming, a processing tool that controls how much of its massive game world is loaded by a player’s CPU. The tech is important because it allows for the rapid creation of future content and locations, developer Cloud Imperium Games said.
“I’m so proud of the work the team has done to deliver Object Container Streaming and Face over IP to all our backers. They are both massive technical milestones and major pieces of backbone tech for ‘Star Citizen’ and ‘Squadron 42’ that we’ve been working on for well over a year. Object Container Streaming testing results have been great, and we’ve seen a marked increase in client average frame rates and memory use, with some players even seeing frame rates in the triple digits,” said Cloud Imperium Games CEO and project director Chris Roberts.
The Alpha 3.3 Update also adds 10 new and reworked vehicles to the game, along with several weapons and armor sets. They include:
- One ‘straight to flyable’ ship – the Anvil Valkyrie, a dropship that allows players to easily deploy ground troops or vehicles across large distances. This ship marks one of the first times “Star Citizen” players can obtain and fly a ship immediately after its announcement.
- The Aegis Hammerhead, a capital support ship with numerous manned turrets for extra firepower when you want to pack a punch with a party.
- A complete rework of all four variants of the Consolidated Outland Mustang, giving one of “Star Citizen’s” iconic “starter ships” distinct versions for light freighting, recon, racing, and dogfighting.
- The RSI Constellation Phoenix, a luxury touring variant of the popular exploration vehicle, outfitted with such creature comforts as a hot tub and player piano.
- Four variants of the Tumbril Cyclone that expand this ground vehicle’s use to anti-aircraft, reconnaissance, racing, and military.
- One new gun, the Kastak Arms Karna, a powerful assault rifle with charged shot capabilities for extra firepower.
- Two new ship weapons from Hurston Dynamics that give players even more dogfighting firepower.