Star Citizen has been in development for more than a decade, during which time it has increased over US$450 million in crowdfunding, and if you’re wondering why you’re still in an alpha state after so much time and money, the latest to update developer Cloud Imperium Games may have a clue.
It all boils down to something called “sheet warping,” which is exactly what it sounds like: making sure the blankets on the beds are precisely messed up, just as they would be in real life. This is important because the “sleep and relaxation in bed” element of 42 Squadronthe singleplayer part of Star Citizen, was recently updated so that NPCs can now find and enter their beds and then sleep until they are scheduled to get up.
“We knew from the start that in order to achieve the fidelity we were hoping for for the Sq42, we would need to do some research and development into sheet deformation,” the AI Content team explained, seemingly expressionlessly. “This work is ongoing and, if successful, will allow the AI to warp its leaves as it enters, exits or sleeps inside them. This is a challenging task and expands the complexity of the feature. For example, what happens to the sheets if the AI needs to get out of bed in an emergency?”
That’s certainly a concern, I think, although to be honest I suspect that in the midst of a crisis like an alien attack or a catastrophic explosion, I wouldn’t be spending much of my time looking to see how believable the NPC dorms are. Based on reactions to the update on Reddit, it appears that some Star Citizen players feel the same way:
🚀 “what the heck this game should have been released years ago and they’re implementing the fucking Sheets DEFORMATION? I finished it lol” – torvi97
🚀 “sheet warping R&D… for a game that is 10 years behind schedule. Is this the ‘fidelity’ players have been waiting for? I’m not sure about the rest of you, but this is a feature I can safely say we could wait for the patch in 2083.” – inconspicuous bastard
🚀 “Is this a joke? No wonder they can’t finish this thing. Useless trait at its extreme.” – Valerian_II
🚀 “How about just TURN ON THE FUCKING GAME DOOR before worrying about how a damn Bed Sheets is going to warp.” – BotdogX
🚀 “I thought Rockstar’s shrinking horse balls were already ridiculous, but this is a whole new level of uselessness.” – Radulno
🚀 “Do sheets with different yarn counts deform consistently or does the physical model need to be able to handle Egyptian cotton separately?” – hooks
🚀 “Well congratulations, you just delayed the game by two weeks” – ryhalt whiskeyreplying to ancillas
🚀 “*Two years – I fixed this for you” – Chemistry_Sorry
Part of the unhappiness seems to stem from the fact that the new bedding system is the first thing listed in the briefing, which some readers may have taken as a sign of its priority. In fact, updates are sorted alphabetically, by team, and AI content comes first. There are many other activities going on: The Animation team, for example, worked on improvements to facial animations for several characters, while the Gameplay Story team updated several scenes in chapter one with new motion capture.
Most of this work, however, appears to have some material impact on the game. Sheet deformation? Not a lot. Immersion is certainly a worthwhile goal, but at some point I feel like it might be the kind of thing you could sacrifice in favor of, you know, some focus.
Even though neither Star Citizen nor Squadron 42 are out yet, Cloud Imperium has started talking about potential. sequels earlier this year. In February, the studio also overhauled its development roadmap – ironically, to avoid “distractions” from unhappy followers.
Thanks, Radar Games.