Star Citizen: How Procedural Generation Is Helping Developers Achieve The Impossible

Star, Citizen, Star Citizen, Developers, Gamescom Live, Alpha 3.0
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On August 19, Star Citizen, a pc-exclusive crowd-funded game, showed a 53 minute long gameplay video at Gamescom. Star Citizen is one of the most anticipated games of all times and has a multitude of reasons for that.

First of all, it's the universe in which it is built. Star Citizen was one of the very first games to use procedural generation on such a large scale (No Man’s Sky came later). Ever since its announcement in 2012 and gaining huge popularity due to the structure and pc-exclusivity, it gathered over a $100 million in crowdfunding, far exceeding its goal of $6.2 million.

Star, Citizen, Star Citizen, Developers, Gamescom Live, Alpha 3.0Source: Expertreviews

So what exactly is this technology? What does it generate? Well in a game engine, this technique allows for creation of new objects, textures on the fly, as you move forward according to a particular algorithm, or formula. This helps developers save time and memory and create a huge and diverse world.

Star, Citizen, Star Citizen, Developers, Gamescom Live, Alpha 3.0Source: Kotaku

Arguably, the first big example of this is No Man’s Sky, despite the game’s other faults, it created a universe with 18 quintillion planets (just count the zeroes, or better yet, Google it). In Star Citizen, they did not use technology on such a large scale but combined it with hand-crafted visuals to make an immersive and seamless environment..

Star, Citizen, Star Citizen, Developers, Gamescom Live, Alpha 3.0Source: Gamersnexus

See the horizon? You can explore every inch of what you can see, which can take months (in case you just have no life outside games). The developers at Cloud Imperium Games have used the money to a good cause and despite all the delays, the wait seems to be worth it. In the latest demo, they showed two players landing on a planet, exploring it, taking on a mission, and going to another corner using hyperdrive. If that’s not cool enough, what is?

Star, Citizen, Star Citizen, Developers, Gamescom Live, Alpha 3.0Source: Thelonegamers

Not just games, even movies are beginning to extensively use this technology in animation, to give an impression of a huge surroundings. Though it could be argued that interactive storytelling is much more effective than simply watching something on the big screen.

Star, Citizen, Star Citizen, Developers, Gamescom Live, Alpha 3.0Source: Gamersnexus

Will Star Citizen live up to its expectations? Or will it succumb to its own ambitions? We will have to wait another year for the answers but one thing is clear, Star Citizen has just showed us how beautiful something meant for entertainment can be; A world to lose yourself into.

Title image: Starcitizen.wikia

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