October 26th 2017
We’ve saved probably the hottest topic for the final post of this series of The Shipyard articles: Variants. Over the last 9 days we’ve covered a huge range of topics and designs all dealing with the New Ship Matrix to help inform everyone on how the internal designs are aligned with the new forward facing content and hope you all have found these useful and interesting. If it has not been done by the time this post goes live, the full update to the Ship Matrix should be available very soon for everyone to view and you’ll find that pretty much every single one of the ships listed previously has had some level of adjustment. A couple of the ships have had significant adjustments as what they were initially announced no longer fits in with other ships in that area or were equipped with items that no longer offer the best option for doing their intended role.
During the course of Star Citizens production we’ve made available a wide range of ships but not every single one is a completely unique ship, often they share hull or internal parts and have been termed variants or other monikers and over time the definition has gotten a little loose and now its time to tighten it up.
“A Variant is a ship that has a modified hull from its parent ship, with either physical geometry differences and/or hardpoint changes.”
The key part of this is the hardpoint changes between variants, for example Origin the 300 series are variants as not only are there geometry changes but also hardpoint changes in terms of weapon amounts, sizes and thruster quantities. When talking about geometry changes simply changing the “skin” or paint does not constitute a physical change and this will be talked about further below.
“A module is an item attached to a ship, generally containing an entire room that can be swapped in and out. The modular item itself can contain additional or alternative hardpoints.”
A ship that contains a Module that can be swapped out does not by itself merit being called a Variant unless it also meets the criteria of the variant as defined above. Even if the Module contains hardpoints that changes between them it does not count towards the main ships variant criteria. A good example of this is the Aegis Retaliator which has two Modules and has been previously available as both a Bomber and Base options. The Base option simply has nothing equipped to those Module hardpoints and can be flown as is although naturally has no functionality beyond being flyable and having 5 turrets. The Bomber version comes pre-equipped with two Torpedo Bay Modules which give the ability to store and launch up to 6 Size 9 Torpedoes.
One of the more confusing and often queried systems was the Battlefield Upgrade Kit or “BUK” that was announced alongside the Vanguard and its variants. The BUK system was theoretically designed to make it easy to swap between the 3 versions but for a variety of reasons wasn’t clearly explained and understood and as such we’ve simplified it:
For each BUK owned this will be converted into a combo pack of the relevant Module (to fit the center room) and the relevant items (nose, turret etc) to go with that system.
No more BUK’s will be offered going forward, only these combo packs.
The Vanguard Sentinel and Harbinger are variants of the Vanguard warden as they contain exterior geometry differences, alongside different hardpoints.
The Vanguard Hoplite is a variant of the Vanguard Warden and does not have a Module hardpoint inside to take any of the other three items, it can still mount the nose and turret items from other vanguards however.
To give some examples of what is possible with these changes you can take your Vanguard Warden, remove the centre room module and provided you have the Sentinel and Harbinger combo packs, be able to attach the Harbingers centre room module and Sentinels nose and turret items. Externally this would still look like the Warden (as the geometry and skin remains the Warden) with the same Ordnance hardpoint sizes and quantities, but packing the Rocket Pod turrets of the Sentinel and internally would have the torpedo launcher of the Harbinger.
Another area of confusion was the Masters of Flight series we announced with the launch of 2.6, these were offered as variants but due to the above definition no longer fall into that case, with the exception of the F7C Wildfire which as it has hardpoint changes is a variant. Any package offered where it is purely item exchanges and skin or paint changes are now referred to as “Special Editions”
Physical geometry difference and/or hardpoint changes = Variant
Completely exchangeable section = Module
Visual difference/item alternatives = Special Edition
With this, we bring our 10-part Shipyard series on the New Ship Matrix to a close. We hope you’ve found this series of articles an informative update on the current state of Star Citizen’s overall ship design.
As with all other aspects of Star Citizen’s development, work will continue from this point onward. Existing systems will continue to iterate, new systems will come online, and future updates to the information shared here will be made through our variety of communications channels, be they segments on Around the Verse, posts on Spectrum, or possibly even additional Shipyard followups.
Star Citizen will continue to develop, and as it has in the past, will do so with your feedback. In the Shipyard subforum section on Spectrum, you will find 10 different threads on each of the subjects from this series. We encourage you to post your questions, share your concerns, and explore the possibilities this new information, and these new game systems, bring to mind. We’ll do our best to follow up with answers there, and use the thoughts shared to inform our decisions going forward. We hope you’re as excited about this ‘Verse we’re building as we are.
We’ll see you in it.
A: The majority of these changes to variants/special editions will not be going live with 3.0 as we are working out the finer details on them as ships such as the Mustang/300 are undergoing reworks and may change during their production.