I felt this was too good to disappear, my apologies Gorf for your effort post being archived on the internet.
Original Post here!
Alright gents, this is a bloody long Effort Post that remains, despite considerable time spent, incomplete. But I figured it would be worth putting some of the key Star Marine dates into a single hyperlinked timeline. Forgive me in advance for minor errors. I know most of this isn't news to the Regulars here; my hope is to enlighten the casual visitors, particularly those who are skeptical of our skepticism. I may be overestimating the power of deductive reasoning here.
If so, damn you hopelessly irrational nerds!
Okay, here we go!
PAX AUSTRALIA - November 5th, 2014
Chris Roberts debuts promising footage of the upcoming FPS shooter component of Star Citizen to a rapturous audience. Later in the presentation, he introduces Illfonic, the contractor developing the game.
STAR CITIZEN PAX EAST PRESENTATION - March 6th, 2015
Chris Roberts shows improvements made in the last quarter to the FPS component. He explains that the FPS will release in "3 weeks time", as soon as they finish transition animations and finish modeling trickier elements like Zero-G combat. He then states that CIG's goal is to have "the best playable soldiers on the simulated battlefield".
Not long thereafter, he introduces the in-game fiction name of their combat module, "Star Marine", apparently unaware that the trademark has already been registered by another party for use in video game and film properties.
INTERVIEW WITH REDBULL.COM - June 4th, 2015
In an interview with RedBull.com, Chris Roberts says of his FPS ambitions that "Star Citizen has to be as good or better than anything out there." He later speaks of his plans to add a procedural system for destructible environments, to improve upon Battlefield 4's scripted events.
POLYGON, OTHERS REPORTS "STAR MARINE" MAY BE DELAYED INDEFINITELY- June 30th, 2015
Seizing on either ill-chosen or confessional disclosures in the latest "Letter from the Chairman", Polygon reports:
"Chris Roberts' Star Citizen, the spiritual successor to the Wing Commander series and unprecedented crowdfunding success, has encountered serious technical and gameplay issues that will indefinitely delay one of the game's key modules, a first-person shooter called Star Marine."
These rumors generate consider alarm in the fanbase.
BEN LESNICK POSTS "SOME THOUGHTS ON CONCERNS!" IN THE RSI FORUMS - July 2015
Seeking to dispel the alarm of backers, and to take shots at those promulgating them, Ben Lesnick writes a lengthy missive at RSI. It opens with an update on the status of Star Marine:
"What is happening? The weekly updates from the team will give you a better idea, but the short story is that Star Marine was not ready for launch when we had hoped (and planned.) We spent several weeks expecting that resolving a then-current crop of blockers would allow a PTU publish. When this didn't happen, we conducted a full review of the module lead by our top technical folks from around the company. What they determined was what you read in Chris' letter two weeks ago: we need to rebuild several ‘boring' backend pieces and we need to fix serious animation issues before there would be any benefit to a release.
It would not be my place to give you a timetable, but with the number of people I'm seeing who genuinely believe that we somehow now aren't doing the FPS module I will say that we are talking about a delay of weeks and not months/years/decades."
GUIDE TO STAR MARINE - July 2015
This is a well-made, fan-generated overview of the game from July of 2015. Note that there is no speculation here; the fan has simply condensed material (video, lore, weapons, interfaces and gameplay info) that had been previously disseminated by CIG since they debuted FPS gameplay at PAX Australia in November of 2014.
Game Modes & Maps
The Firestorm: Microwave Cannon (Don't mind this; it never existed!)
DEREK SMART PUBLISHES "INTERSTELLAR CITIZENS"- July 6th, 2015
Game Developer Derek Smart offers his first lengthy critique of Star Citizen. It is notable for a variety of reasons, including the fact that he writes over 4000 words (not kidding) of preamble before finally addressing his concerns with Star Citizen and commenting on the rumored setbacks with Star Marine.
Derek Smart posted:
"The RSI devs have all the same insurmountable problems that I have encountered over two decades of chasing this whale, and which have not only led to their delays, but also the recent announcement that the first person module was on hold came as no surprise to me.
I have it on good authority that it's not even on hold, but that they're probably not going to finish it both because it won't work within the current framework and it wasn't in the original design as spec'ed, since it has ballooned to what it is today. So naturally, it's the first thing to go, or put on indefinite hold while they figure things out.
Remember: the game, first and foremost, is a space combat game, not a first person combat game.
At least you will still have your hangar (which is completely and 100 percent detached from the game framework, by the way), in which you can still walk around in first person mode to look at your ships. And Arena Commander.
Why wasn't I surprised that they've started cutting things out, starting with this? Well, because after spending over two decades making a game like this, you pretty much know what to expect.
Right from the start in 2012 when they said that they were using CryEngine3 as their baseline, I was skeptical. But if they kept the scope, and scene sizes manageable, I felt that it was totally doable.
Once the feature creep and increased scope started to unfold, I knew they were in trouble."
In response to the chaos caused by his first strike, the over decade long love/hate cycle between Derek Smart and Goons sees the first flowers of Spring bloom.
GAMESCOM 2015 - August 7th, 2015
One month after that fan video was released, Chris Roberts shows a live, multiplayer playthrough of illfonic's "Star Marine". In an attempt to rebut rumors that Star Marine had been cancelled, Chris Roberts states:
Later in the presentation, Chris Roberts states that Star Marine v1: The Battle for Gold Horizon will be available at the end of September 2015.
Chris Roberts posted:
"Just to show you basically its not cancelled, that its in development, it exists... We're hoping to have that to you guys before CitizenCon."
This was the last build of Illfonic's now-scrapped game that they showed at a Citizen event. Janky though the player animations were, it appeared to have more weapons (including grenades and an electric shotgun) that have since vanished.
(It is mildly interesting to note that CIG has left their low-res Gamescom presentation on Youtube as their master-- but they deleted their Twitch master. A note on the Youtube account promises, "In cased you missed it LIVE on Twitch, here's the entire, uncut, raw Gamescom Presentation. May take a little longer for the 1080p version to process with YouTube, but we wanted to get this to you as soon as we could. Thanks to everyone for making this possible!")
CITIZENCON - October 10, 2015
Curiously, there was a much-derided hype teaser for Star Marine right before CitizenCon 2015. The chilly reception of fans (and open mockery of critics) prompted CIG to table discussion of "Star Marine" at the show.
STAR MARINE STATUS UPDATE - October 17th, 2015
After weeks of openly frustrated progress reports by Jason Hutchins, the last entry in CIG's ongoing series of Star Marine updates appears on the RSI site. It is here that an early conflation of "Star Marine" with the PTU Alpha begins, though it's worth noting that even at this date, "Star Marine" was still being referred to as a module akin to "Arena Commander".
"Meanwhile, work on Star Marine proper continues. Some of the deeper features are taking a back seat this week we roll out the basic movement and gunplay that will be available to all players on the Crusader map. This allows us to focus our attention on making the time players are outside their ships a good experience. What's not included in Star Citizen Alpha 2.0? Game systems such as the score screen and Star Marine lobby UI, as well as some gameplay engineering and design work that is needed for Headquarters game mode. Have no fear, though, for Star Marine will return and your appetite for first person combat will be whetted by the action on Bravo station in the Crusader map. We will continue developing features and gameplay modes that are ultimately for use within Star Citizen, and we will continue to use Arena Commander and the Star Marine modes as a test bed for them. For now, and into the future, the FPS experience will be an integral part of Star Citizen Alpha, and we can't be more happy about that!"
10 FOR THE PRODUCERS - November 23, 2015
"Just stick to the script, Jason"
In an interview with Jason Hutchins (don't forget the name), he describes Star Marine as "a test bed for new features, new game types, new mission objectives and maps" and later, a means to roll out "new enemy AI behavior for certain monsters or other NPCS out there". The point, he notes, is to allow upcoming FPS gameplay additions to be tested in the module before they are added into the game proper (the PTU).
Jake Ross adds, "And Star Marine is also used like 'Arena Commander' is used, like a simulation to practice your dogfighting skills. This is a simulator to practice your first person shooter skills."
10 FOR THE CHAIRMAN - January 25, 2016
Aside from discussion by Jason Hutchins in 10 FOR THE PRODUCERS, and despite ample opportunities available during both CIG's Anniversary and Holiday Livestreams, little attention was paid to "Star Marine" in the months of November and December.
Chris Roberts finally addresses the elephant in the room during his first "10 for the Chairman" interview of the year.
Chris Roberts posted:
"So yes it is still in the pipeline. I do actually kind of like to say something because I sort of get annoyed sometimes when I see this pop up in comments like “Oh Star Marine is cancelled or Where's Star Marine!?” Star Marine was just a game mode for people to play the FPS elements of Star Citizen until we could combine everything together: Flying, walking around, shooting, doing all the rest of the stuff, all together, that is what is in 2.0, that's what it's 2.1.
With SC Alpha 2.0 onwards, you have basically what we were planning to do from Star Citizen and from the very very beginning. If you could back and look at the original pitch we didn't say “Hey we're doing Star Marine,” We said we will have FPS and Board, well you have FPS and you have boarding right now and so what's really happening is there will not be features that will only be for Star Marine outside a sort of competition match and scoring that isn't going to be in the game and so we're actually rolling out the FPS features.
So 2.2 will have some more features on the FPS side and 2.3 will have some more and so on until we sort of what we consider the basic functionality. 2.2 has cover and some other things in it and we'll obviously have future, there's things like vaulting and sliding and different kind of stances that we have and there's a lot more weapons that we have and they're all getting rolled out and honing it and you guys are going to be able to play it in 2.2 and 2.3 and 2.4
When we've got that basic set together we will sort of turn on the map for Star Marine because all Star Marine is, is a game mode. Basically allows you to play a game, have two teams, have some points and so you can just sort of have a Arena Commander style match, but for FPS. That's useful for you to hone your FPS skills without sort of being in the mini PU and risking some other stuff, but you already have FPS in the game so it's not like FPS got cancelled or anything like that.
It's definitely in and Star Marine was originally our idea of how to get people to play the FPS before we could put everything together, but since that obviously took longer than we expected to get FPS to the level that we are comfortable with. By the time we got it to the level we said ”Okay you guys can play this.” Well we already had all the other things combined with the Large World and the 64-bit coordinates and the zone system so that was it. So there you are, we will have Gold Horizon, we will have Star Marine, but that will come online once all the basic FPS features are out in and live in the mini PU."
In the span of only a few minutes, Chris Roberts introduces a revisionist fiction that completely contradicts literally hundreds of public statements made by him and other members of CIG and Illfonic over the course of the last year. There will be no Star Marine module, and there need not be one, as the features formerly promised are now available in the PTU. Deal with it.
(As an aside, it's worth noting how this eerily parallels his wife's recent act of historical revisionism. After going to pains to deny that she was the wife of the founder of the world's most successful crowdfunding campaign, after demanding employees do the same, she acknowledges a once unspeakable fact and declares it as widely known. That the two most powerful figures in the organization both easily engage in public acts of brazen dishonesty should, for a fair-minded individual, be cause for alarm. Yet for many believers, hope springs eternal, even in the face of outright lies.)
DEREK SMART REPORTS THAT CIG PRODUCER JASON HUTCHINS HAS RESIGNED - January 26th.
If Jason Hutchins has truly left CIG, I don't take any joy in it. He seems like one of the good guys and had a thankless role. Frankly, it seems like most all the roles are thankless when all successes are claimed the work of the Roberts, and all failures declared someone else's fault.
This is the end of my incomplete timeline. Sorry for the wall of words. I hope to redeem myself with this video I've been working on forever. Two weeks.