Anatomy of a troubled Star Citizen release

Last week, Star Citizen's developers opened the flood gates and let in new players to the Arena Commander module's dogfighting multiplayer, a decision that led to "an unacceptable amount" of problems, Chris Roberts wrote on the game's official blog.

Patch 12.4 for the pre-alpha version available to backers introduced "lag and occurrence of rubber-banding (the effect when ships seem to ‘jump back' in space)," and by Monday the developers were working to find out what caused the problems.

"We've already implemented a number of fixes which we believe will improve the multiplayer experience in 12.5," Roberts wrote, "and we're continuing investigating several other possibilities that we hope will improve the experience. Was one of these items the ‘magic bullet' that fixes the multiplayer experience? Our tests are promising, but we won't know for sure until we've patched Arena Commander and seen how it impacts players around the world. We know it can be frustrating not to see a ‘one button' fix, but kind of extended process is necessary to preparing for the future launch of the Persistent Universe. Expect to see an improvement in 12.5, and greater improvements as we continue our work!"

Roberts also said that the developers Cloud Imperium updated their server software to better understand the number of players in the game concurrently.

"Knowing more specifically how many players are in the game in a given interval will be a valuable tool for investigating how the server behaves where changes are introduced in the future," he wrote. "Next, QA will use this tool to test 12.3 compared to 12.4 to try and discover where the performance changes were introduced."

For more on the dogfighting module, which launched last month for the Windows PC game, be sure to read our impressions of its public demo at PAX East 2014 and watch the video below.


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