Guard Frequency Episode 233 | CitizenCon 2018 Review & State of the Game

Cits and Civs, Captains and Commanders, you’re tuned to episode 233 of Guard Frequency — the best damn space sim podcast ever! This episode was recorded on October 12th 2018 and released for streaming and download on Tuesday, October 16th 2018 at

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In this week’s flight deck we bring you all the headlines from simulated space including the latest news from: Star Citizen… and nothing else. Literally, we’re doing that and going straight to feedback.

Lace up your booties, campers, it’s time to head out to the Flight Deck.

Community Question

Immersion vs. Fun? Where are you on the segment?

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Thanks to Ronald Jenkees for his permission to use his music in our show. Visit for more of his work! Enjoy the show!






9 responses to “Guard Frequency Episode 233 | CitizenCon 2018 Review & State of the Game”

  1. L-Wook Avatar

    Great show guys, I enjoyed your analysis of Cit Con (as sober and in-hyped as it was).
    I want Star Citizen to be immersive and paced, I want to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment (as self loathing as it may be)
    I think tonight I should finally sign up for patreon, honestly I’ve been free loading for years and if I can figure where the link is I’ll get with the program (as mutually destructive as this relationship will become)

  2. Virtual Captain Avatar

    19:00 – “I’m not disappointed 61% undelivered”

    This is how CIG walks all over their fanbase. Any chance I can get a copy of that excel file?

  3. seannewboy Avatar

    Loved the show everyone, great job.

    I love the SQ 42 trailer,very cool.

    Facebook voice? really?

    I want Immersive, and works, if i get both of those i will find a way to have fun.

  4. Jirou Avatar

    The redeemer is a gunship. The valkyrie is a troop transport aka drop ship. They serve different perposes. A gunship is like the hind basically a slow moving weapons platform. And the valkyrie is like a Sikorsky has weapons but it’s mainly a body mover. Also the redeemer holds 6 and the valkyrie holds 20. Do the math

  5. H Alan Avatar
    H Alan

    Tony, Getting past train entrance obstruction, clipping is allowed. Immersion brings real life issues into the game, like running out of fuel, needing food or using the shower. Geoff, fun 500 years in the future allows me to waste as many buttheads as I find without ever running out of bullets. So I’m definitely in the fun side over immersion. Brian, nice costume. To all, good rollup.

  6. Bobo Cronkite Avatar
    Bobo Cronkite

    Good evening.

    This is Bobo Cronkite, once again reporting to you from the future.

    Judging by communiques received from your timeline it now appears undeniable that this reporter is stranded within a different albeit similar timeline. So similar, it fairly rhymes. Which reminds me of a particular warm summer evening, driving with my best gal Betsy, when we heard for the very first time the breathtaking harmonies of I Get Around by the Beach Boys. {sigh}

    I am relieved to report that I have found a kindred spirit within this timeline. @1stVerseProbs has taken this reporter in and by his technical wizardry stabilized my ability to ‘phone home.’ Alas, even mighty Ben cannot recreate the necessary machinery to transport me home. I must breach the CIG inner sanctum and recover what was so cruelly taken from me. This is my quest.

    We hear the White Knights of the Wing Table at their nightly patrols. Their shrill cries of “UEC for sale! Answer the call! Come out and prove your allegiance!” We dare not answer. Not yet.

    And that’s the way it is. I’m Bobo Cronkite, good night.


  7. Le Bot Avatar
    Le Bot

    FROM: BoboCo Morningstar Picayune – Hashtag Clarification Bot
    TO: “Tony” ℅ Guard Frequency Response

    SIR: Apologies for the entirely unnecessary parsimoniousness contained within our field agent’s most recent hashtag submission.

    #df(TonyIsRight,time)>0 should have read #AsTimePassesTonyIsBecomingMoreAndMoreRight (where time is measured in discrete constant units whose first derivative is positively signed and second derivative is zero, duh).

    Please note that a letter has been placed in Mr. Clown’s personnel file.


    Le Bot

  8. rentaspoon Avatar

    Fun is always immersive, immersive isn’t always fun.

    It’s not positive or negative just numbers? Tony you ignorant slut the numbers you are using are positive durrrr.

    Where are the animals in Elite? Where are the humans, never seen them only ships and projected avatars stuck in pilot seats, in fact I reckon we are AI in thargoid Chris Roberts best damn space sim, we are the 90% after all.

    Also loved the guys in consolidated outlands, good actors and funny as anything.

    When it comes to the UEC, my thoughts are the poor mission give outs lets CIG see what people do in game when the money isn’t the reason to play them, people play what they enjoy rather than grind for cash, on the other side PTU with ridiculous amounts of money then gets them stats on what people buy because they are popular and then adjust prices to the economics, not saying i’m right just seems logical to me.

  9. Ken from Chicago Avatar
    Ken from Chicago

    First, I really enjoyed last week’s episode. It was like a revival of #GuardFrequency of old. It was great hearing the team at full force, discussing and analyzing #StarCitizen in general and this year’s #CitizenCon in particular. However, in large part based on an email, there was raised some questions, issues, some, if you will, #CitizenConcerns. (Thank you, I’ll be here all week.) I’d like to address those.

    [NOTE: I have included a TLDR version:]

    Now, unless this is a really slow news week for spacesim, I’m going to assume no way you’re going to read all of this in the show, so I’ll make these easier for Justin. Sure, some call him “The Shank” other call him a “handmade knife”. All I know is we call him “The Chiv” so I’ll make it easier for him to put together my feedback in a TLDR version that addresses two issues:

    1) Simple question: Did Tony want more travelling in the CitizenCon demo this year – or less? Either or is find but you can’t complain about the lack of time flying in space and then complain about the time flying in the planet. You can’t complain about time traveling on the trains and then complain that they should have spent more time traveling through the city to show that it was more explorable. Technically you can argue about contradictory things but undermines both complaints and gives the mistaken appearance of trolling STAR CITIZEN. I know that’s not what Tony meant, that’s why I’m asking: More or less traveling?
    2) The mission demo was misunderstood. It was not merely a demonstration of how a mission would work in STAR CITIZEN, it was serving multiple purposes.
    a. When competing spacesims brag about having millions of worlds, STAR CITIZEN launching with a hundred, although I think last I heard they scaled it back to maybe a dozen or two, it sounds weak, but CIG was showing the sheer size of their worlds. There was plenty of room to have as many missions and adventures as some games where the average world you can’t even land on or is devoid of life and resources. The size of Lorville and Hurston allows hundreds if not thousands of players to see each other in their “sky” (unlike some game were you see no more than one player, you, in your sky).
    b. You can cooperate and help each other or maybe you might race to beat them to the reward or actively attack each other to oppose your progress, which the other starship (a cutlass?) did in blowing up your ship. That required you to get help. It SHOWED the value of teaming up even on a seemingly simple “fetch” quest.
    c. It showed new features currently in game, a breathable atmosphere, wind, fire, blowing leaves, waving plants, platform-style game mechanics in the game. Keyword, “new” features, not the same old space flight feature.
    d. Lastly, the length of time to travel to places SHOW the value of upgrading the engines to boost the SPEED of your ship. The value of boosting armor and weapons are transparent but the value of boosting sampling increasing the thrust on a ship. In CITY OF HEROES, we were offered Travel Powers as a way of increasing our speed and also aid us in avoiding hostile mobs that might be between us and our mission destination. It also showed the value of using a Cyclone or Nox to travel to your location. Those are smaller and easier to hide in trees from hostile NPCs and hostile players flying above.

    Lastly, Tony is right. We criticize because we care. We point out the strengths so people will keep doing that and point out the flaws so people we fix those. We do this in further support of the idea that is GUARD FREQUENCY’s unofficial slogan: “I love the game we’re making.”

    [Here endeth the abbreviated feedback. Below is the extended deep cut or what I like to call “20 For The Podcast”, to address each of the questions and issues raised last week by the emailer, Tony and the immortal one, Geoff:]

    1) I agree with you all, this year’s CitizenCon presentations was one of, if not, the best of the six that #CIG has made.
    a. Bonus: Kinshadow’s awesome cosplay.
    b. Bonus #2: Avoiding major flubs in the presentation. Not glitches, those happen in live tech demos but blunders in what’s said (e.g., Samsung’s infamous Broadway presentation of the GS4 or Microsoft’s E3 presentation of the X-Box One). Those kinds of unforced errors really hurt the reputation of the presenter and is part of why more Americans fear public speaking over death.
    c. Bonus #3: Tony & Brian were right, it focused on the state of the game currently (or would be by that evening) instead of an aspirational future.

    2) It’s not negative or positive but just the facts and figures?
    a. Henry nailed the flaw in that idea: The focus. WHICH facts and figures are focused on, which are left out? That’s why in legal cases, lawyers present witnesses or experts to explain the context of an audio, video, report, etc. Context is key.
    b. Yes, a third of the stretch goals are have been delivered after six years. What about the other two-thirds? What’s the better alternative? How many other games have come close to delivering or even trying to deliver what Star Citizen has? What other video game let’s your character wake up at home, walk out to a spaceship, fly it into space, dock inside ANOTHER spaceship, get out, walk around the second spaceship as it flies off into space to another world—seamlessly with not cuts or loading screens—and do so while being able to see scores of other players, unlike some (mostly) single-player games where you see no man in your sky? (That one’s for you, Geoff.)

    3) Two goals canceled?
    a. Geoff & Brian nailed it. ATV, RTV & Calling All Devs replaced Wingman’s Hangar & Townhall.

    4) After six years, we don’t know if Star Citizen’s development is speeding up slowing down?
    a. Actually we do. The major modules were released about a year apart, Hangar (2013), Arena Commander aka Alpha 1.0 (2014), Crusader aka mini-PTU aka Alpha 2.0 (2015), Star Marine aka FPS (2016), Alpha 3.0 (2017).
    b. The major slowdown previously was deciding what the specs should be and what tools were needed and having those finally settled on with Alpha 3.0 as their foundation, they have rapidly sped up the pace. Now they are on a quarterly release cycle. OCS was the big update after 3.0 and is out in only 10 months. They just released the Valkyrie, a ship that went from concept to flight using the tools and elements and Anvil “style” as Lego blocks instead of having to design from scratch.

    5) The mission demoed was a repeat of last year’s mission?
    a. The scale and detail was far greater this year. It took as long to complete, travelling in a major city, flying outside said city to the designated areas all on one planet as it took to fly to two worlds last year. Imagine the complaints if CIG also repeated flying to other worlds that had been previously shown.

    6) Mission design was terrible? It took forever to fly there. If your ship is blown up, you’re stuck. It needed someone else to show up to help. They needed a dev cheat to teleport after the death because the audience was not going sit there for another 12 minutes to fly back after your character’s death.
    a. Brian touched on the answer. The mission was designed as more of a demonstration of new features in the game – keyword, “new”. It took “forever” to fly to show the enormous size of the city and the planet the city was on. It took as long to travel on the train as it did to walk to Miles Eckhart last year. Ergo, there is a lot of room for missions to be placed in and around one city and around one planet. So while some space game have millions of procedurally generated worlds vs the scores of planets Star Citizen will launch with, the size and density of each planet allows them to have as much if not more adventures than the competition.
    b. What about being stuck from your ship blowing up? Counter-question: What level of difficulty was this mission? Beginner? Medium? Advanced? End-game? We don’t know. We do know that a simple fetch quest was shown to have greater complexity and danger than one might have expected. And if there is a danger of your ship blowing up, it SHOWS the value of teaming up, having a “wing mate” stay with the ship or in another ship guarding yours while you off on an away mission.
    c. By the way, the death was caused by the player dying doing platform jumping in a SPACESIM. Not from being shot in space, or being shot by some foe, living or NPC or walking on a mine, but merely jumping and falling, several times, without monitoring your health—in a spacesim.

    7) Where was the space flight in said spacesim?
    a. Brian, Geoff and Henry all nailed it. Been there. Done that. Keyword “new”. Space flight is not new. There were no significantly new features to flight in-game, except atmospheric effects, ergo the focus on flying in an atmosphere. Plus, some folks are complaining about repeating previous presentations. Space flight hasn’t changed, no need to show it—again.

    8) They didn’t show more exploration of the city, Lorville, why not?
    a. Because they barely got it into 3.3 patch. They were initially going to delay it to 3.3.5 but worked their butts off get it finished. So, sorry, they didn’t have a more polished demo of it. Also, you wanted MORE travel time wandering the city? Which is it? Was there too much travelling in the demo or not enough?

    9) Why wasn’t OCS shown using space flight?
    a. How do you show OCS using space flight that’s different from previous demonstrations of space flight? Yes, the frames per second on this laptop connected to the internet gets the same quality of video as CIG servers showed in previous years. At best it’d look the same. OCS is something better shown by you and I using our home PCs versus what CIG would show.

    10) Redundant dropship disrupts their pre-existing workflow of ship development?
    a. So you’re upset the Valkyrie didn’t take longer to make? This was Brian’s point about they have new tools that speed up development. Also they made redundant dropship to give players a choice. There’s more than one fighter, cargo ship, mining ship, capital ship. So if you don’t like your ship looking like it has two giant staplers attached to it, you have alternatives. Sorry, Redeemer, nothing personal.

    11) Why are some early ships not in development while new ones have been released?
    a. Legions of us Carrack fans have asked and asked and asked the very same question. Brian nailed the answer: Squadron 42 is prioritized. Ships for it are being worked on first.

    12) There was no animal life on Hurston in the demo?
    a. There was almost no Hurston in the demo. They barely got it into 3.3. They added plant life, fire and wind. They weren’t able to include animals—like they showed last year.

    13) How do you stop griefers from blocking train travel, train cops?
    a. We saw how. They explicitly showed if you stopped and stood around in the wrong area at the train station, one of the guards responded telling you to “Move along.” Geoff was right. The guards could easily be programmed to be more aggressive—like when players were blockading some spaceport a few months ago and CIG decided to program a response to that in-game.

    14) Was the risk of your ship being blown up unannounced?
    a. Now it has been. Now players were shown the value in teaming up and the potential danger of being solo—in other worlds, the danger of going off on your lonesome in deep space without backup. Meanwhile it also encourages players to call for help for a group of noble individuals who have banded together to form an organization dedicated to SEARCH AND RESCUE. These people might even set up a particular radio channel that they will monitor in case you have an emergency, perhaps your ship has blown up or “merely” your port side thruster has blown up, or you think you are being followed, or perhaps you’re just a kid and your parent has turned green, I mean like literally green. These folk know someone out there in the deep black is keeping an ear open to be able to offer help.

    15) Ships are too cheap???
    a. Okay, Tony, you got me. I’ve never heard anyone, evangelist, believer, skeptic, cynic, troll or even just neutral onlooker, not even CIG members themselves complain that the ships are “too cheap”. In the past 3-4 years, NO ONE has ever complained that STAR CITIZEN needs to charge MORE for spaceships. I will respectfully agree to disagree with you on that one.

    16) How do hangars and habitats work?
    a. Geoff raised an interesting question. We’ve seen peeks as to how they could work. Port Olisar shows you waking up in a room that could easily be a habitat then walking out to the dock to get on your spaceship but that dock could easily be your hangar. The same goes for those tiny rest stops on moons where you go inside, order your ship and go back outside to see it at a landing pad. Those could be your habitat and hangar. In Lorville they showed the new Mustang in a huge hangar. They could easily put habitats and hangars around cities and have you walk or take a train to and from them – because there is plenty of room.

    17) Where are the procedural cities?
    a. Brian answered this one, ArcCorp. But it was also Lorville. It just wasn’t a planetwide city like ArcCorp is.

    18) Corporations and organizations?
    a. Brian answered this one. I’m not much into guilds. Too much guild drama. Also, I like to adventure at my own pace. If want to explore an area I don’t want to feel rushed or miss some quest text if I can avoid it, at least the first time through an area. So I might end avoiding more dangerous areas of space or hiring an NPC guard or player to watch my ship.

    19) Server meshing is release?
    a. That one puzzled me. “Release” as in “launch” or “release to beta” (and later to launch)? Either way, I disagree with it. Personally, I think a “release” or even going from alpha to beta is when STAR CITIZEN gets working jump points and jump travel to go from one star system to another. It’s been years since they’ve talked about jump points and the game mechanic of flying through one. That I would argue is the last major component needed before launching the game–since female avatars should have been one of the first components, not a six-year wait for them. I’m hoping they launch with at least two star systems so we will be able to jump from one to the other and practice our jump point navigation.

    20) Why not release and iterate 4 years ago?
    a. Um, Henry, refresh my memory, but WHO complained that ELITE DANGEROUS launched with a simple system scanner, a “honk” if you will, but after several years have iterated on the mechanic to something more detailed? Anyone, anyone? Bueller?

    Lastly, we are drill instructors. Once again, #TonyIsRight. We critique because we care. We give constructive criticism because we want things to be their best, be it an awesome spacesim game or an awesome spacesim podcast. You started this podcast because you were enthusiastic fans of STAR CITIZEN. In the years that enthusiasm has been “tested” and wavered but like Louis Gossett Jr as the gunnery sergeant drill instructor in AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMEN, you’re “cruel” to be kind (in the right measure). Criticism is often seen destructive even though it can be constructive. People forget that criticism also includes praise, pointing out the strengths, what’s done well, so people keep doing that. By pointing out the flaws in a game, you help the developers to see the flaws so they can fix them to make the game better. That’s all in furtherance with a belief that I agree with and that I think is GUARD FREQUENCY’s unofficial slogan:

    “I like the game that we’re making.”

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