At CitizenCon yesterday, Chris Roberts took to the stage to demonstrate Star Citizen's procedurally generated planets, explaining that it's not just numbers doing all the work.
According to one of the man's presentation slides, Robert Space Industries now has a completely new terrain system implemented, which "seamlessly supports spherical terrain at a planetary scale." The tech allows for unrestricted view distance, and the algorithms are complemented by the missions which RSI has crafted manually. In other words, it won't all be random: think of the procedural generation as a backdrop.
"It's absolutely artist driven," Roberts said. "We're using the procedural techniques to author planets on a global scale very quickly, but to give it a real sense of character. There are quite a few other games using procedural tech to do planets, and those achievements are impressive and cool, but I want to be able to say: I want to build this planet that looks like Hoth. I want to build this planet that looks like Tatooine."
As evidenced below, starting at 2:10, the demo showcases how a crafted mission will work in conjunction with the game's procedural systems. It starts with a planetary landing, followed by some on-foot exploration (demonstrating both first-person and third-person gameplay). Finding a distress beacon 3 kilometres away, the character jumps into a Rover and burns across the arid landscape for a while.
Some screenshots can be found below:
Star Citizen's single player campaign was recently delayed. Though the game has no release date yet, it is slated to release for Windows and Linux.