Well Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a letter from the chairman himself, would it? Star Citizen's mastermind Chris Roberts took to the Roberts Space Industries site on Christmas eve to pen a letter of thanks, and a sit rep for the game itself as it progresses through alpha stages.
Star Citizen is a nailed-on addition to the best PC space games when it releases.
Roberts thanked backers for what's been an incredible 2015 in Star Citizen's short but storied history. Over a million backers brought the game's total budget up to $102 million.
"For making all of this possible," says Roberts, "I can only say: thank you. With this funding we are now building a game that can compete with any AAA publisher backed game out there. No corporate suits deciding what franchise to milk or license.
"I promised a long time ago that the funds that we raise prior to what we consider the commercial release of Star Citizen would go towards additional development. Because of all of your support we can build this game bigger and better than anyone thought possible a few years ago."
Roberts also discusses the latest alpha build 2.1, which adds two new ships: the Freelancer and the Sabre. The really big step forward lately though has been 2.0, in which the FPS, on-foot element of Star Citizen begins to knit with the piloting. Moving forward through 2016 though, Roberts explains, the dev team will be moving away from feature-focused updates and towards a monthly release cadence:
"We have many features in development separate to the release stream, says Roberts, "and the idea is that we assess which features are ready for prime time a few weeks out from the release and then greenlight them for inclusion in that month’s release.
"We would then have a good PTU test, make sure the features really are ready for primetime, fixing up the issues we see and in the case of a feature needing more work, we would pull it out of the release. Physicalized EVA is an example of this. After testing in PTU we felt we needed to do some more work in order to polish it for better usability in certain circumstances."
You can read the full letter over at Roberts Space Industries. It's enormous.