It's only available to a select few (thousand) on the public test universe for now, but the deployment of Star Citizen's Alpha 2.0 has set certain sectors of the 'Verse buzzing -- and for good reason.
It's not the only major inclusion, but the main reason for players going mental is the inclusion of parts of Star Citizen's long-awaited persistent universe. In the test email that was sent out to those granted access, Cloud Imperium Games says that the initial rollout of the persistent universe will support up to 40 players, although only 16 controllable player ships.
"[The update] also includes our new Avenger variants, the first iteration on FPS, Multicrew technology, interior physics grid, quantum travel, IFCS, EVA, missions, and so much more. As we want to stress test the new content, we’ve disabled Arena Commander and ArcCorp for the time being," the email, which has been reposted online, says.
Chris Roberts posted over the weekend that the studio is working "around the clock and over the weekend" to make Alpha 2.0 available to all backers. "This release really is a landmark in Star Citizen and video games history as we’re now pioneering technology that’s never been undertaken to this scale before and it’s all thanks to the belief in the backers who helped fund the team to make the dream a reality," he added.
Alpha 2.0 also introduces the start of a brand new flight model, which introduces a precision mode that reduces your maximum velocity to give pilots better control around asteroids, take off, landing and so forth. SCM Mode, cruise mode, quantum travel a 3rd order motion control system have been added too, and if you want to get nerdy and stare at graphs that look like they were pulled out of a 4 unit maths textbook then you can do so here.
If you'd prefer to digest some of the changes in a video format, the video below shows off some of the features that are now available in Alpha 2.0. It's a little slow and it's not as flashy as a list of bullet points, but it offers a good compare and contrast with how fleshed out Star Citizen is becoming already.
Star Citizen's funding currently sits just shy of US$96 million, with the team having raised US$4,237,201 in October and more money in the last week than the four previous combined. It only seems a matter of time before Chris Roberts' grand vision finally soars past US$100 million.