Exploring Star Citizen #1: New Babbage, MIC-L1 Shadow Frontier, Lorville (Ubuntu)

Star Citizen is one of those games whose ideas just captures your imagination. The game is still under development, and it is being done in an open fashion, meaning you get to play very early builds as they progress through their incredibly daunting todo list.

Last week I finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet, and purchase the game. There was a holiday special going on, and so I went and got the absolute cheapest and tiniest ship possible. I wasn't even sure if the game would even run on my system, so I wasn't ready to spend more than what you would normally spend on a AAA full-release title for an early access game. Especially with how little time I actually have for playing games these days anyway.

So here I am, with my adorably sized, storage-less ship. I call it Knutje, Dutch for one of those tiny two-winged mosquitoes.

Another specific requirement that made me unsure of how well this game would run on my system, is that I am not using Windows. As you might know from previous blog posts, I have fully switched over to using Ubuntu as my primary OS (from macOS, I haven't used Windows for anything professional in over a decade), and so I wanted to see how well this game would run.

Fortunately for me, I'm not alone in this, and other people have already gone ahead and created installer scripts and optimized wine runners specifically for Linux. If you're in a similar situation, I highly recommend you check out Lutris, and the Linux User Group's helper script.

I was actually surprised by the performance, as it's actually really quite good. It's clear the game is still in alpha, with things like there being almost no graphics settings you can customize, and oddities like lowering the graphical quality setting actually lowering performance, so I left it at "very high," and turned the few other options that are available off (like motion blur), though I am not certain if that made a huge impact.

Framerates vary by region, with it dipping into the twenties or high teens on my system when visiting cities, all the way up to in the mid-fourties when flying. Your mileage may vary as it depends on your hardware of course, but for a game still clearly in an alpha state, optimizations are of course not yet the priority, so I'm just glad it runs at playable framerates.

Oh, and it looks absolutely stunning, too. These few screen grabs I sprinkled throughout this post really don't do it justice, in large part due to the video capture card I'm using being kind of crappy.

What follows is an unedited recording of one of my first forays into the 'verse. I explore several areas –mostly on foot– and mostly just walk around and take in the sights.

This video is close to two hours long, and is more of a "turn it on while you do something else" type deal, but in case I walked by anything that you were interested in in particular, I have added timestamps to the video, so you can use YouTube's chapter navigation thingy, or just click on the timestamps listed out in the video description.


Dave Jansen

Dave Jansen

South Korea