Star Citizen ship assets cost upwards of $35,000 each

Friday, 28th June 2013 04:17 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Why do the ships in Star Citizen look so good? Because each one cost at least $35,000 to make, that’s how.

“It can be anywhere from $35,000 to $150,000,” Roberts told Joystiq of the cost of developing a single ship.

That cost includes the time used to make the model as well as to model realistic functions; it includes a number of moving parts and animated dashboards.

Each ship has a “wrapper” of up to 70 million polygons for the largest ships. Cloud Imperium Games claims a fighter will be made from about 300,000 polygons, ten times more than the 30,000 it estimates are used in a typical triple-A game’s vehicle models.

You can see an example of the expense paying off in a recent in-engine trailer.

Star Citizen has amassed over $10 million in crowdfunding and had broken records. It’s probably going to need it. The full article through the link above contains further discussion of the costs of developing the ambitious space sim sandbox.

Star Citizen is expected on PC in 2014.



  1. Bloobat

    Even with that high a level of detail those figures sound a little ridiculous…

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Samoan Spider

    @1 Think of it this way, in a UE3 game the poly budget for a model is up to 1.5 million but that’s all you’re seeing on screen. If we’re talking about a capital ship in SC, you may not see the high poly model until you’re really close, by which time you’re only seeing a portion of the model, so the on-screen budget may stay at a much more reasonable count. Put this way, you’ll never see all 70 million at once.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. TheBlackHole

    This guy is taking everyone’s money and spanking it on anything and everything he can.

    At what point does a space sim need an entire mocap studio, for example.

    This is exactly the reason I don’t like kickstarter overpayments. All it does is allow developers to lose sight of the scale and scope they had planned for and envisaged.

    If you needed more money for the project, ask for that amount to begin with…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Keivz

    What a waste. I think they need better artists–the game looks meh despite the high poly budget.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. TheWulf

    I really like the concept behind Star Citizen and it’s absolutely fantastic to see this much money being thrown into a space game. Yet I still can’t help but feel disappointed because space games continue to feel antiquated to me. Let’s face it, by the time we actually make it to space, we’re not going to look like the people in these games do.

    We’re going to have pilots multiple biomechanical limbs, some possibly replacing their legs with hovering devices for greater mobility. We’re going to have uplifted animals connecting with ships via Extremis-like neural links. All pilots will be doing that, and the point there is that they become the ship. I see future ships having limbs to that end, in all honesty. I could see the purpose of a ship having limbs in space.

    It just feels like Sci-Fi hasn’t really advanced much since the ’60s, because designers are afraid that if they push the envelope too much, it’ll become so unfamiliar to the genre unsavvy that it’ll alienate them. So I’m still waiting for someone to design a space game for me. This really isn’t it.

    See, someone designed a fantasy game for me. That was Larian’s Dragon Commander (bless you, Larian) and in many ways it actually deals with a lot of the issues I have with not pushing the fantasy envelop. Dragon Commander crams the fantasy envelope. It even has magic-based augmentations. There’s very little I could think to add to Dragon Commander to actually improve it, so in some ways, Dragon Commander is actually way more advanced and a better sci-fi than this is.

    Whilst that might sound strange, once you examine both games and really have a good think about it, you’ll understand why that’s true. Often, sci-fi and fantasy tend to be mired in old tropes so they don’t alienate people. Where your fantasy is about princesses, castles, and evil undead hordes, and your sci-fi is about humans in old-fashioned looking spacecraft. And it’s just boring to me.

    I’m still waiting for that game where you play an uplifted, augmented bear pilot flying his liquid-transforming, sassy AI-assisted spacecraft over a neural link. I want to play that game.

    It’s like seeing delicious food you know you can’t eat.

    Except it’s brainfood.

    I must honestly make the brainspaces of other people look boring by comparison. Though I wish rampant creativity in lieu of familiarity were more common.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. unacomn

    This is generally what happens when content creation isn’t outsourced to a third world country really low salaries.

    I’m not joking, that’s what most studios do. Think Trion made all those models in Rift? Pff.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. ApplePieChart

    So, they’re actually building ships, right? Like physical ships for 150k?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Joe-Bold

    I had to register here to reply to several comments.

    @TheWulf, I really suggest you read through the stuff found on the RSI Website – Allot of your suggestions are already in the fiction, and therefore in the game design.

    For example, If you damage your character, either through ejecting after dog-fighting and then get hit by something, or during CQC you get a limb “shot off” respectively heavily damaged, you will be able to repair the damage through replacing the limb with a artificial one. Battle scars will show on your character, even after combat, to show, where ever you show your char in public, that you are combat-proven.
    If your char dies a new one will take it’s place in the universe. Which can be the spouse of your previous char, wife, husband, you name it. achievements and “swag” you had with your char will partially carry over to this new char, but you will have a penalty – means you will loose something (since I do not exactly remember what the complete repercussions of the death of you char will be I’m not going into too much details here). So there is also no cloning like in EVE Online.

    There will also be alien worlds somewhere in the future updates (some even with release) that you will be able to land on. Also the Systems you will be able to visit in game will have vastly different environments.

    Just read through all that fiction already published on the website. You will be satisfied. :)

    @ApplePieChart, developing an actual physical Space ship costs several Million. So no, they are not building real ones. But, what many peaople underestimate is the fact, that it is not one person who is creating an asset in a game. In this case it will be quite a bunch off people having their hands on one space ship to get it in the game -Something around 6 – 10 people (of which are Designers, Artists, Programmers, Testers and so on). So these development costs are sounding quite real to me.

    @Keivz, this game to be considered in a pre-aplha state. If you do not know what that means, just don’t give unqualified responses. nothing you see there is in a finished condition and will get several revisions until the game finally gets released to the overall public. I would like to see what your skills are that you think you have the rights to talk so bluntly and disrespectful over these very talented Artists working on that game.

    I personally would wish Cloud Imperium Games would really only release material of the development to the backers themselves not not that kind of openly (though still allot of stuff is not published an only visible for subscribers). The way it is handled right now just lures all those people and trolls out who just don’t know what they are talking about.

    #8 2 years ago

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