Star Citizen 3.0 Alpha Release – Part 1

Having backed Star Citizen and its single player campaign game Squadron 42 since 2013 I have closely followed its progress of development. technology expansions and evolutions into new areas and even listen to the doom mongers it will fail, never be released.

Well, being a developer and having IT career of over 30 years in numerous other roles including testing I appreciate the scale of what is trying to be achieved.  For most gamers this is just a space game, but this is no ordinary space game.  Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) are trying to simulate everything from the fuel lines in the ships, the ship infrastructure, ship systems including a realistic AFC (automated flight control) similar to the computer systems in a Typhoon fighter.  Even the planets in a solar system are being procedurally drawn in real time (mathematical algorithm to draw planets) with topography, atmosphere and cityscapes like bladerunners cities with interactive space ports for trade and illegal trade like bounty hunting. The procedural generation of gas giants, nebulas of gas clouds and all lighting.

Star Citizen is not a game yet, its a first iteration of 70% the subgame systems being integrated into a first true persistent universe release.  Also bare in mind the parallel development by the the same devs (appx 300) on Squadron 42 single player campaign story driven game using the same tech. Quality takes time and I rather the quality over 7-10 years than the facade in 3 years we’ve seen recently from larger developers.

Star Citizen 3.0 Alpha has been released to all backers on 24th Dec 2017 to the Live servers under 3.0 patch 695052.  Yes, with known remaining bugs from PTU (public test universe) testers discovered and not yet fixed in order to honour the new strategic direction of a release every quarter, the next due in March 2018.  Even with the remaining bugs, releasing now opens up all backers to test the alpha in a live state over the christmas/holiday period and provide further data and statistics back to CIG for review and further investigation.  My expectations was for a fluctuating performance due to the first release merging a lot of the promised systems and with the expanded live players base but a chance to enjoy the best Star Citizen experience to date.  I wasn’t wrong and it’s been fun, frustrating and incredibly addictive as hell.
(UPD 27/12 – Chris Roberts explains the performance issues they have discovered thanks to PTU and working on to improve 3.0 in early 2018.)

I installed the new live launcher which provides the new delta patching (just new changes) and waited for it to install SC 3.0 Live Alpha (appx. 11.6gb).  After around 20 minutes I launched and waited for the main menu to appear (below).

Squadron 42 - Star Citizen Screenshot 2017.12.08 -

After selecting Universe and Best region (US, EU or AUS auto detected) I let the game load up while the background atmospheric music begins to play.  At one point I felt the game had hung as your left at a black screen which varies in time, this can be anything from 1-2 minutes.  You are then presented with yourself laying in a bed in my stay over cubicle at Port Orislar in the Crusader system. A press of the space key and a wonderful animation of me rolling up and out of the bed into standing in my small cubicle room.  As I walk forward with the usual WSAD key configuration the door panel highlights for my interaction, pressing F to interact the door slides open to reveal the main corridor out and onward to a stairway down a level to the post main area with a cargo trading desk (seen below), armoury, defense clothing, casual clothing shop and ship components at Dumpers Depo.

Squadron 42 - Star Citizen Screenshot 2017.12.30 -

The cargo trading desk NPC and others now have the first implementation of subsumpsion as described in Chris Roberts, April 2017 Chairmans Road Ahead Letter, “…the debut of Subsumption’s Mission System which provides a scalable and flexible system that is tightly integrated with our new AI systems, allowing us to generate challenging encounters and scenarios on the fly as well as creating a structure for multipart and narrative missions longer term”.  The interactable conversations animations some of the most real I have seen in a game.  Think all those little noisence we human make when we move or interact which makes us human,  The view out of the ports window grabs me as ships are landing and taking off from the port in my first real excitement to see other players going about their business at the space port.

Squadron 42 - Star Citizen Screenshot 2017.12.30 -

I head into the Defense armour store and proceed to try on a various flight suits with the the deep burgundy one catching my eye.  Now I need to add some armour and decided to select different pieces of armour from each of the available armoured suits to see if I can mix and match, I smile seeing that I can. I open the mobiglass (f1) and equip my chosen flight and armour pieces.  Leaving the store and heading directly over to the Weapons store for a gun or two, spare munitions and medpacs before traversing out into the verse.  The clever technology implementation for layering of clothing fitting over your character as a real person would allows for clothing to have connection points.  When wearing armour its really attached to the undersuit, then when adding your weapons and support gear it’s really attached to the hooks on the armour.  The benefit is when you walk and move in the game the clothing, armour and weapons all move with the realtime physics – impressive!

Next I head over to the main Ship Retrieval Console terminals to select and retrieve one of my ships.  The console can only retrieve ships currently docked and stored at the port the consoles exist.  In my case the RSI A325 is still docked and stored at Grim Hex so I can’t retrieve it here at Port Olisar.  I see other ships listed I don’t own due to me renting them from the Electronic Store with REC earned in Arena Commander or Star Marine. In 3.0, I have the rentals of a Gladius, Hornet, P52-Merlin in addition to the ships I own as part of my pledges.  I select a Gladius which I am then informed on the landing pad which it is being delivered.  I head off into the verse and try to set my destination for Grim Hex space port which is where I at first struggle a little to set a direct jump to Grim Hex.  I need to first travel to the main celestial body planet, in this case Yela.  So, I set Yela as my destination and proceeded to head out through the airlock to landing pad where the Gladius sat in is incredible detail and wonderful lighting from the star.  The new interaction system provide the option to enter and be seat, or just enter the ship or just open the cockpit giving more freedom and options when out in space near derelicts.  I enter my new ship, powered up flight ready status and made a clean vertical take off.  I proceeded to raise my landing gear (N) as else it creates drag in flight (found out by not doing this due to forgot and wondered why sluggish flight) as you would expect and then lined up my HUD for my Yela destination way marker and hit (B) to start quantum travel. Damn the QT visual effect always makes me smile as you begin and enter, which is best observed in free camera mode (F4) and while pressing Z and moving your mouse to pan around during travel.

SC 3.0-694913 PTU Gladius Quantum Travel Entry.png

Once I arrived at Yela, I set my next destination for Grim Hex space port in the middle of an asteroid belt which is held in place my giant metal infrastructure rods going out to other giant asteroids.  As I came within 500m I opened my mobiglass communications and requested a landing pad from the simulated ATC (air traffic control) sub-system.  However, the ATC didn’t allocate me a pad (known bug) and after a few tries it resolves and there it is, landing pad 03 lights up and a vertical beam to let me know which pad I have been allocated to land at.  I slowly manuevure my ship and jump to external camera to a near perfect VTOL landing.

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After a wander around Grim Hex I decided to head off to Dalamar and try a planetary landing.  So I decided to spawn my RSI A325 fighter which I left here last time I played and leave the Gladius here at Grim Hex.

Squadron 42 - Star Citizen Screenshot 2017.12.30 -

I headed out to the landing pad to meet my RSI A325 ship and decide to go try a visit to Levski on Dalamar, the furthest Quantum Travel distance from Port Olisar and 50% to go from Grim Hex, but more on that in the next part of this post…


ESO Addons in use 2017 Part 2

This is part 2 of my 2017 addon series for ESO, if not read the part first head on over to part 1 for the best addon manager Minion and my minimalist UI addons.

Awesome Guild Store

Download  Highly Recommended

Is a much improved version of the Guild Store and provides a much simple UI to search for items, store favorites searches and links into Master Merchant addon (see below)


Master Merchant

Download  Highly Recommended

Providing a tool which will track your sell and buy prices overtime.  In addition its can scan the auction houses your member of for all prices of current items available.  This can be very useful to see the going rate for an item allow you to ensure you’re not overpricing the item to much or providing you the option to undercut the competition.



Download  Highly Recommended

Once installed it can be accessed by the small CraftStore icon below you levels bar but will also popup corresponding recipe list to craft at Cooking Fires and Enchanting benches (see below)


Presenting details of your known researched traits, known styles and access to recipe crafting lists for Cooking and Enchanting.Screenshot_20170511_131312 - Copy.png

Screenshot_20170511_131346.png Screenshot_20170511_131338.png

Shissu’s LUA Memory Manager

Download  Highly Recommended

Is a great tool which will auto-manage the amount of memory required for the list of addons your using.  This is key to stop seeing those annoying LAU memory errors during your game play.


Download  Recommended

Adds missing features of Reply and Forward to the ESO mail box system.

Inventory Grid View

Download  Optional

Provides a nice addition to the inventory view where you can toggle between a listview and gridview.


Download  Optional

Provides an improved UI feature to use the FREE travel option to a friend.  Goto provides a list of all guild members in an area/zone and thus you can locate a FREE portal to jump to instead of just knowing player names and having to type manually.

Crafting Preview

Download  Optional

Is a wonderful tool to add, manage a

Screenshot_20170511_120733.png Screenshot_20170511_120848.png Screenshot_20170511_120743.png

Shissu’s Suite Manager

Download  Optional

Provide a nice set of extra slash commands to simplify the use of guild invites, reloadui, and more.


ESO Addons in use 2017 Part 1

As mentioned in my last post I have had to review latest Addons from my old 2016 to maintain a feature rich game time.  I first wanted a minimalist UI while running around and then when jumping into specific skills or options further enhanced UI should kick in (eg. better crafting).  Due to having settled on 23 Addons I couldn’t live without this post will be split into 3 parts as I want to cover each add-on, why I use it and how to configure it for best use.  I will provide links for each and highlight each as recommended or optional.

Minion Addon Manager

Download  Highly Recommended

Is a wonderful tool to add, manage and keep all your addons up to date as well as a feature backup the addons you have in use.


LUI Extended

Download  Recommended

Reason: Provides a clean minimalist replacing for the default unit frames for self, group, raid and targets plus much improved buffs & debuffs icons and timers.

Configure: Press Esc->Settings-Addon->LUI-Unitframes.
Ensure to enable the unlock UI then press Esc to be able to move around the unit windows to your liking.  Got back into settings and then turn off the Unlock so they stay in place.

Self_LUIFrames.png  SelfBuffDebuff_LUIFrames.png

Voran’s Mini Map

Download  Recommend

Reason: Provides a much needed mini map with clock (or hidden) which supports other Addons like SkyShards and HarvestMap which also show those Addons icons.

Configure: Press Esc->Settings-Addon->Vorans Mini Map.
Ensure to enable the unlock UI then press Esc to be able to move around the unit


Ravalox QuestTracker

Download  Recommend

Reason: Provides a a much improved quest tracker which has the default functionality plus expands and shrinks automatically and provides tool tips of objectives on mouse.



Download  Recommend

Reason: Provides a world and mini map icon of the SkyShards locations and whether you have already learnt it.


Download  Recommend

Reason: Provides a world and mini map icon for the LoreBook locations and whether you have already read them it.

Advanced Filter

Download  Recommend

Reason: Provides a much needed enhancement to the inventory allow for simple filtering by weapons, apparel (then light, medium, heavy), potions, consumables and much more.

Wykkyd Toolbar

Download  Recommend

Reason: Provides a much needed quick status bar for many useful and customisable items of information. Information such as current bag space, stable and research timer cool downs, clock, fps, ping, money and much more neatly centered at the top.



Download  Recommend

Reason: Automatically prompts to sell all junk items when interacting with an NPC merchant.


Download  Recommend

Reason: Provides what some may call a cheat, but for someone with little game time it highlights where on the world and mini-map resources (ore, plants, chests, etc) are located.  Best feature is 3d map pins in the world whilst running around and due to the amount this could smoother your screen or world and mini maps. Use the the range filter to limit to only so many feet of what’s displayed.  Also access to filters via main skills, character, etc tool bar (icon on far right)

Note: Only your picked, mined or open chest are remembered unless you merge your data with the main site and then you have access to all known locations.  So it’s your choice to exploit all known or just what you have discovered to date.



The rest of my addons will be in Part 2 and 3

  • Goto
  • Inventory Grid View
  • MailR
  • Awesome Guild Store
  • Master Merchant
  • ESO Master Recipe List
  • Shissu’s LUA Memory Manager
  • Shissu’s Suite Manager
  • CraftStore
  • Crafting Preview

Back to ESO (Elder Scrolls Online)

I first bought Elder Scrolls Online: One Tamriel edition back in Q1 2016 thanks to my friend Elda providing some insights into the game and being a FREE week of play.  I waded on through the story and slowly became use to the play and combat style of the game reach a reasonable level 27 Sorceror.  This slower pace for me was mainly due to the games quite different in some areas like selling on an auction house, where you actually have to join a guild which is more dedicated to selling and putting up stored in the main towns.  Or the limited combat bar which only allows 5 main spells to use per weapon and equip only 2 weapons, which you must switch between to access all spells.


Due to the levels of depth in the story, skills, crafting, delves, sky rings further depth of having passive in so many different areas you can choose to unlock or not.  A complex crafting system which feels like more genuine crafting, which again you can choose to bolster with extra skills points being assigned.

Well after just under a year of not playing ESO I now back ready to reach max level and start earning champion points.  In addition completing the story and all DLC the game has to offer.  One of the first areas I had to resolve was replacing the old addons which I had used to improve my gameplay experience last year.  After reinstall Minion a brilliant addon maintainer and a few recommendation my my friend Elda, plus watching a fair few YT videos I had a good selection of what I was after.  The resulting UI is shown in the screen below and provide lots of minimal goodness.


For now I will just name the addons which make the normal minimal screen state seen in the screenshot and I find the most clean.  I have at least another 10-12 addons which enhance the mapp, locations, guild, merchant, addon memory manager, etc.  I will do a later post on all my recommend ESO addons.

  • LUI Extended
    • Providing clean health, mana, stamina bars for self, target, groups, raids and fully customisable.
  • Harvest Map
    • Shows map pins and in game 3d pins of resource locations.
  • Quest Map
    • Add quest giver markers to mini map and map
  • Quest Tracker
    • Provide the right had quest list with active quest marked plus tooltip hover of objectives.
  • SkyShards
    • Adds skyshard location on mini map and map
  • Votan’s Mini Map
    • The mini map you see in bottom right with many configurable options.
  • Wykkyd Toolbar
    • The tool bar of key information like stable researching cooldown, bag space, gold, time, area, and much more to customise.

Black Desert Online -Trial Day 4

On Day 4 I decided to focusing how to progress to my first mount of a Donkey. As I mentioned in my day 2 post, mounts in BDO require training to gain speed, turn rate, braking speed and acceleration.

First mount required, so off I went to buy a donkey, which turns in to another lesson learnt (more on this later).  I headed to Olvia and the stablemaster there to purchase a nice little grey donkey for a mere 5000 silver.  On doing so, your prompted for his/her name,  Jacko is his name, short for JackAss 🙂  I then popped to the local warehouse and found I can use the donkeys own inventory to transport some of my goods, so I filled his bags ready for transport to Velia. Now let get this little chap moving and earning his levels of training.


As you can see BDO has more beautiful little nuances, such as because Jacko is carrying items the donkey now has bags and nice blanket on his rear. I just love siting back with a cuppa and putting the game in photo mode and watching its beauty as I travel, snapping photos (I guess they are VR selfies really).  My Journey to Velia was over and I had already nearly reach Jacko to lvl 2.  I noticed Jacko’s, yellow bar, his Stamina was now 20% depleted, so after a little reading up I needed to feed him to keep his stamina replenished else he wont be able to travel, similar to keeping workers stamina up with beer.  Carrots is what I needed (cheapest for now, but other options exist which I can also cook, when I work out how 🙂 )

More main quest mini bosses to destroy en-route, with my faithful friend Elda.  Which led us to decide we need to introduce the world of BDO the GGGs guild.  Thanks to Elda, she had it sorted and invite came through ready for our first GGGs exploit of beating down my next co-op quest Here Comes the Goblin Chief! mini-boss, gaining me some much needed inventory expansion.


House needed and workers need feeding, so next up was to check on my workers, one in Olvia gathering grapes and one in Velia gathering chicken meat plus bonus of eggs.  Clicking the pickaxe icon I am present with a list of their status, seems they are all worked out and how now stamina left. Looks like its time to make some beer via cooking, time for some googling and nice guide from Dulfy my faithful go to site for GW2.  Reading the guide, first need my first house of residence to allow me to then purchase and place my cooking station.  Then I need potatoes, water, sugar and leavening (yeast) to make my beer. So I purchase my first house for 1 contribution point and few thousand silver, next off to the chef in at the inn to purchase the cooking station and ingredients.


Now we have our house, cooking station and ingredients, we need to place the cooking station ready for use.


Station placed, time to get my chef on and make some beer for my tired old workers.  Pop the water, sugar, leavening and potatoes in the pot… click cook … viola .. we have beer.  Rinse and repeat until used the potatoes I have and we have 6 beers for my merry worker men.  Re-clicking the workers pickaxe icon, I just need to click  Recover on each worker and select how many beers to provide them.  Their we go, all refreshed and ready to work.  I leaving Olvia worker on grapes and re-assign Velia worker to farm potatoes making sure I have resources to make more beer later.

Time to move on to greener pastures as my last quest is leading me to new town of Heidl which is even busier and has a greater feel of life in a living breathing world. Welcome!


I slowly progress with my faithful Jacko increasing his training levels further and leading me to meeting the towns first npc, the stablemaster.  This is more of an interesting meet, as he has knowledge on horse taming, yes, the ability to capture and train your very own horses.  But… no time now as it 1:27am and time for bed… I leave exploration of Heidl until tomorrow, Day 5. Night all 🙂




MMOs, a journey to Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online


I’ve been a long time MMOs player since a good friend Faithless got me into the beta of World of Warcraft back in 2004. I was hooked into a world of make believe, fantasy, magic and a new world of questing to improve my power.  Like most, for me its the fun of increasing your characters ability to survive and take down mobs with powerful spells of magic.  The unlocking of new spells, effects and graphical wonders to be awed at.  For me a good looking game makes it a more believable world, with graphical fidelity which takes on nuances of small details makes those worlds believable and absorbing into the lore. Minor details such as shadow, light, trees moving, affecting the light and shadows, spells impacting the landscape create a sense of realism.  As the years have moved on the graphical fidelity of all games including the vast worlds of MMOs has greatly increased.  For me I lost my Warcraft guild and fun after 6 years of playing, sadly it became a grind, no improvements to the graphics quality of the game, what was once a great, enjoyable game was lost.  So for me, my journey began to try find a new game and guild, which captured what I wanted…

I tried a number of of F2P (Free to Play) titles such as Aion, great graphics fidelity, lacking lore, some new ideas like gliding on thermals instead of mounts, but it lacked focus, lore depth and sadly no guild to enjoy with. I finally thought I found the game for me, Rift by Trion. I followed its development and managed to get myself on the alpha and the beta but on US servers only (no EU at that time).  I met like minded individuals through the alpha, beta together we began to feel like I found the game, the graphic fidelity, the lore, like minded people to be in a guild with, was his the moment I found my missing mojo in an MMO?  For approximately 9 months I played the game post launch with my new guild and even became one of the founding guild officers.  Sadly, playing on US time made arranging raids, runs, just general fun nights difficult for me.  Other UK based players decided to leave the guild and create a new on EU servers and the US members split and created new guilds.  This was the end of my new game and fun.  The search continued again…

Next up was Wildstar, followed the development blogs and podcasts, loved the more light hearted play style of humor elements (in fact some hilarious moments, like the voice over every time you level with funny quips) , graphically a beautiful game and some great new mechanics such as the attack telegraphs, dodge rolling.  Played the game with my buddy Faithless all the way to top level, but then… nothing there was nothing to do.  No exploring options, no puzzles, not even raids as we had to have at least 5 friend to do a raid and sadly we hadn’t met any Guild which we felt fitted us.  Another game fun ended only 2-3 months into…


So, I moved in to Xbox gaming until I could find something new… during this time I met up with long term (12yr plus) Xbox players I weekly played with and went to beers festivals (which was good social fun).  During this time frame, I met a new friend  IanJ, we talked an he mentioned he got into his first MMO, Guild Wars 2 and was playing with a great bunch of UK like minded, similar aged individuals called Good Guys Gaming or GGGs for short.

Part 2 will go into the outcome of finally finding what I was after and how this led me to another new title with the same great new friends of the GGGs…