The other day, we got a fresh look at Squadron 42, the ambitious single-player spin-off of the perpetually in-development Star Citizen. With the head of Cloud Imperium Games being industry veteran Chris Roberts, it's described as a modern-day reimagining of the classic Wing Commander series, albeit with space exploration and tactical first-person shooting joining the star-studded dogfighting amongst the stars.
It uses the same tech and engine as Star Citizen, now dubbed StarEngine - the long-in-development Squadron 42 is feature-complete and in the "polish phase." Alongside that impressive demo, there was perhaps an even more impressive StarEngine demo showcasing the full potential of what it can do and Star Citizen's incredible scale.
Okay, talking about this game 10+ years after its initial reveal is often met with skepticism - and rightfully so. However, people have been playing an early version of Star Citizen for several years now (and spending big on virtual ships), and the tech we see in this demo is next-level next-level.
The video carries the disclaimer, "Everything you are about to see has been captured in engine as one continuous shot without loading screens." Distances have been compressed "for the sake of brevity" (even though it's a 24-minute video, galaxies are huge), but even so, the visuals here are mind-blowing. The physically based atmospheres look incredible, and you can then land on planets and seamlessly transition to detailed interiors... wow.
It's worth reminding you that "in engine" does not mean "in-game," so this is proof of concept stuff - and really, there's just no way something like this could have been built in three or four years. The engine does incredible stuff regarding streaming detail and data for indoor and outdoor environments; it makes what we see in Starfield look like a game from the 1970s.
Planets and biomes are procedurally generated, too, ala No Man's Sky, but with a focus on realistic visuals and a real-world 1:1 scale. The on-the-ground planet stuff is cool, but the atmospheres and planets from space look amazing. Here's hoping it all becomes playable in Star Citizen sooner rather than later.