Star Citizen Arena Commander Release Date Announced

Ladies and gentlemen, the Star Citizen Arena Commander release date has been announced!

The much anticipated Arena Commander, also known as the Dog Fighting Module or DFM for short, will allow small groups of players to compete head-to-head in three game modes:  Battle Royale, Squadron Battle, and Capture the Core.  For players that aren’t interested in PvP or perhaps want to get used to the game mechanics before engaging other players, a Free Flight mode and Vanduul Swarm single-player game mode will be available upon the Arena Commander’s launch.

Only three ships will be available during the initial stages of the Arena Commander release.  The RSI Aurora, Origin 300i, and Anvil Hornet.  Pledges that do not have one of those ships will be loaned a Hornet until a ship that the player in question pledged for becomes available in Arena Commander.

In the Arena Commander Weekly Report released last night, Chris Roberts tells us that the long-awaited release date is very near and gives us a firm date.  In fact, he gives us a break down of what is going to be happening between now and then to hopefully quell some of the questions such as, “Why is it taking so long?”  The timeline he provided gives the eager-to-fly-and-shoot-internet-spaceships community a very transparent view of how the Star Citizen Dogfighting Module (DFM) is being produced in the final stages and released.

TLDR:  May 29th

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to shoot internet spaceships on that day!  The multiplayer access is being rolled out over the course of the week after the release.  It is going to be released by citizen number – earlier pledges will get access sooner.  How to find your Citizen Number.

Regardless of citizen number, however, Chris Roberts has made it his personal goal to see that all players will have access to the Free Flight and Vanduul Swarm single-player game modes on May 29th.

The timeline from the article:

  • May 17th: our IT groups will be updating our global internal server infrastructure. A lot of the internal tools we use for game development (checking in builds, storing assets, etc.) are in dire need of downtime and update; we’ve been running them in the red zone so we can have 24 hour round-the-world development on Arena Commander. During this downtime we will also be switching over to a much more flexible and advanced architecture for our content management system Perforce. We will be upgrading to using Perforce Streams which will allow much quicker and more flexible movement between code branches for our development team. This prepares us for the added complexity of launching and supporting a live multiplayer service like Arena Commander. Saturday’s update will allow us to push the final Arena Commander update out to the world with much more confidence (corrupted data from these servers was a major issue at the PAX East reveal!)
  • May 18th: with the new servers in place, we will split off the “Arena Commander Release” branch of Star Citizen. This will separate the Arena Commander you play from the rest of the game that is being developed by other teams. So data checked in by teams around the world that doesn’t have anything to do with dogfighting (such as FPS weapons, planetside maps or future ship assets) won’t cause additional bugs for the team to worry about.
  • May 19th: The QA team will begin their final troubleshooting session with the new Arena Commander Release branch. They will go through the entire game and catalog all the current bugs they can find – ships not spawning in the correct place, physics not functioning correctly, disconnects during battle and so on. This will help to generate our final “Must Fix” list for release. It is important to remember though that our internal QA team cannot find everything and it is very likely that we will not fix everything prior to release. We are releasing playable code to the community much, much earlier than you normally would in AAA game development. Because of this it will not be as polished as a final game would be so we are going to need a lot of support from all of you to help us in bug finding and gameplay feedback!
  • May 23rd: The official cross-studio playtesting of the Arena Commander Release begins. This represents a “pencils down” phase where, unless you are working on an authorized must fix issue the team is expected to QA the game as much as possible. After this point, only a limited number of “designated driver” team leads will be able to check in any changes to the game itself.
  • May 27th: By this point, we hope to have the egregious, game breaking issues resolved but there will still be plenty of known and unknown issues. This is also our deadline for making sure the launcher is hardened for the deluge of users and the first set of necessary servers for the release have been spun up. After this point all check in privileges will be revoked and will only be returned on an as needed basis by senior Production staff and myself.
  • May 28th: The release candidate build of the game will be compiled. If all goes as planned, this is the version of Arena Commander you will be playing! The team at Turbulent will begin switching over the website to the version that will make Arena Commander available to backers. I will personally ‘sign off’ Arena Commander as ready for the community on the evening of the 28th. To be clear, we fully expect that there will be bugs remaining, potentially some bad ones. That said, our primary focus is getting a version out to the community to help us find all the issues and work together to improve Arena Commander.
  • May 29th: This morning, the web team will spin up additional authentication and web servers in the in anticipation of high traffic during the release. The engineering team will begin “warming” caches on cloud servers around the world, making sure the release candidate game is ready and waiting for users. By the end of the day, we will update the website making the game available, and the first public release of Arena Commander (which we’re calling v0.8) will be live to the world for testing!

It has certainly been an interesting ride.  While the initial projection for Arena Commander’s release was December 2013, multiple delays and unforeseen hurdles pushed the release back by several months.  We were first told that the release date would be late April or early May.  Then Chris Roberts said “The second week of May”.  Now we have a pretty firm date with a pre-release work-up schedule.

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