compass atop a bowl of roasted coffee beans set inside gold laurels Tomasius Space

Ex dubium scientia. From doubt [comes] knowledge.

Star Citizen

Port-lit, metallic, Star Citizen Logo comprising a single cruciform star encapsulated by a wreath and set between the words STAR and CITIZEN

Star Systems
In-system view of a O-Type Main Sequence Star

Space Trials
Shuttle Class space ship

Cutter Class space ship

ASW Frigate Class space ship

Endurance Cutter Class space ship

Heavy Ordinance Endurance Cutter Class space ship

Life in Overlap

Technical Requirements
Starboard-lit, metallic, Star Citizen Logo comprising a single cruciform star encapsulated by a wreath and set betewen the words STAR and CITIZEN

Due Diligence

What is an RPG?
It all began with pen and paper

Gaming Concepts
USB Iconography

Gaming Psychology
Neural network node showing connective reinforcement

Star Citizen: Technical Requirements and Recommendations


Necessary Bandwidth

One of the great unanswered questions about MMOs concerns bandwidth. Based on mixed session results, logged ISO:2016-Oct-26 from 09:59-10:33 hours UTC in Star Citizen Live PU version 2.5.0;

This is, actually, quite a shallow bandwidth footprint which is dwarfed by the little Windows Defender updates for which Windows Update uploads system information at around 100 kb/s and downloads the update, itself, at between 450 kb/s and up to 2.35 mb/s. I describe this as a shallow footprint because this can lead to a significant bandwith drain over a number of days if left running continuously (around to 4.8 gB per day) - which can add up a rude surprise in your service bill or the inconvenience of a suddenly throttled service - if your service provider is operating in the Dark Ages and still imposes bandwidth caps. So, it's best to close the client immediately after exiting the game if bandwidth caps are applied to your internet service.

Minimum Technical Requirements for a Playable Star Citizen Session

Following the implementation of client-side OCS, the the Star Citizen PU (currently version 3.6) pulls 45 FPS (frames per second), plus or minus five frames on the following system: an i7-4790 + GTX-960 + 32Gb 2400MHz RAM (compared with around 20 FPS prior to the implementation of Client-side OCS.

I'd also recommend, as a minimum, at least one joystick. It doesn't have to be expensive. The Thrustmaster T.16000M is more than enough for my liking. That said, these system specifications might seem a little low for Star Citizen and they are. The key to making such low specifications work so effectively with Star Citizen was two-fold:

  1. House-train Windows so that it's not constantly disrupting full-screen program use (such as gaming) with background activities such as indexing the hard discs, sendng telemetry, etc.
  2. Separate Windows caching to the page file from application access to the hard disk by installing a small hard disc which is used solely for the page file. To this end, you'll need to configure Windows paging so that it can only access this disk.
  3. Set a large page file - at least four times larger than available memory. This will delay the impact of memory leaks

Without these two modifications, you'll be seeing your frame rate drop, regularly, to around 20 FPS with the hardware specified above. While this frame rate is still playable in Star Citizen (thanks to some preservation of average latency across frame rate drops), it is not ideal. FOr some gamers, this new may come as a surprise because, for example, any frame rate below 40 FPS would be unplayable in Fallout or the Elder Scrolls (due to Gamebryo frame-rates somehow getting exaggerated during benchmarking in addition to the problem of exponentially increased latency as the frame rate drops). Nevertheless, movies run quite smoothly at 20 FPS principally because they lack these issues which are native to the dynamic rendering environment serviced by 3D rendering engines.

Something to be said in CryTek's favour is that in CryEngine-based games, the minimum smooth frame rate generally sits on around 20 FPS (this figure is closer to 60 FPS in Gamebryo-based games) with minimum playable framerate at around 15 FPS (closer to 45 FPS in Gamebryo-based games). Lower frame rates tend to be more prone to benchmark exaggeration. Closer to 12 FPS in CryEngine or 36 FPS in Gamebryo the actual framerate is slow enough to manually count, with a stopwatch, and comes up at around 3 FPS. This is something to be wary of when rendering is stuttering. So, I think that if your computer is pulling 60 FPS, most of the time (even in combat), in a game as demanding as Fallout 4, the odds are that it'll pull 20-25 FPS in Star Citizen. It's safe to say that, in both cases, we are talking about the same rendering speed and hardware demand.

Techncial Recommendations for a More Compelling Star Citizen Experience

I've currently got some interesting peripherals which I've been testing, on and off, with Star Citizen. I've also made some targetted upgrades to the dedicated test system:

On this hardware, the frame rate is so smooth there's no point running a frame counter. There are occasions when the frame rate does drop, visibly, but this tends to be in the pre-LIVE test environment due to server issues.


I'm running a smaller swap SSD as a coal-mine canary to warn me of when I need to start thinking of pulling application data off the OS-Application SSD. It also serves the function of dividing windows caching and application execution into separate M.2 channels while the Data Storage Hard Disk has the video capture being fed to it.

Mouse & Keyboard

I use a throwaway keyboard because they don't make them like they used to so the cheaper the better. I use a trackball as a pointing device because only a trackball allows continuous pointer motion input. It's worth getting one of those and learning to use it, if you haven't already. It's a good idea to learn on a lighter trackball such as the Logitech Trackman Marble Mouse because the ball is smaller, lighter and less likely to burn out your carpal tunnels if you're not used to manipulating one of these.

Simulation Controls

In case you're wondering what happend to the all the old gear, when I upgraded, that was used to build a second computer which is on my left (so when you see my point of view get stuck to port, that means I'm doing someing on the other computer - probably on Spectrum). This allows me to access chat outside the test environment. I run a pair of joysticks with attitude control on the left and translational control on the right. The two joystick sliders control mining laser intensity (left) and speed limiter scale (right). I have left pedal set as absolute to reverse thrust, right pedal set as absolute to forward thrust and the rudder control (a relative yoke built into the pedal system) is set to absolute acceleration limit. I set an absolute scale to a relative control so that the controls release point is at 50% instead of 0% or 100%. This allows me to run my ships at around 50% power unless I really need to alter it. It's great for controling heat, fuel consumption as well as wear & tear issues. It's important to point out that, for me, having these controls set up this way makes a huge difference to my connection to the Star Citizen universe as wall as offering a vastly more efficient interface than the conventional configurations variously found in modern aircraft. More importantly, I run my simulation controls natively to reduce control latency - which can be very high when cheapskate peripheral developers insist on highing only C or VB coders for drivers which should be written in Assembler.

View Controls

The Logitech c922 Pro can't provide a sufficiently detailed image for Star Citizen's FOIP to calibrate reliably - unless I shine a spotlight directly in my face, stop wearing my prescription lenses, and give up my beard. Not going to happen! However, my character gets very grumpy and scowls and snarls alot without some input from the camera so, instead of turning it off, I point the camera at the pine plank which I used as a keyboard shelf and my character is much more contented as a consequence. Because of the calibration issuse, I find FOIP hit and miss at best for face tracking as well as being a little slow. The Tobii Eyetracker 4c is very fast, but not designed to run natively with Star Citizen and, so, it is necessary to run a third party platform (FaceTrackNoIR) in order to get it working. This introduces latency and other, possibly related, issues like view oscillation. So I don't use the eyetracker at the present time. However, it is worth noting that the eyetracker uses the same infrared frequency as other gear and reflections from the eyetracker illumination can cause some unanticipated glitches. I used to use the ProClip with TrackIR 5.0 but the cable and having yet another piece of junk attached to my head doesn't do it any favours. I've, since, moved up to the reflector clip attached to a hat which is much more comfortable and a whole lot less fragile. With the unified headtracking integration introduced to Star Citizen in PU 3.6, TrackIR 5.0 is functioning flawlessly. It is fast in response, stays well centred and recentres nicely when toggled. I really like to be looking around as I fly because this is exactly what I am doing when operating any piece of moving machinery in order to remain situationally aware and not get blind-sided by something on a collision course. So having a working head tracking system has revolutionised my experience of Star Citizen - to the point that if I forget to switch it on before I start, I find myself wondering how I ever played without it! I think it's worth finishing on a flight-focussed clip which shows the function and utility of a working head tracking device in Star Citizen:

compass atop a bowl of roasted coffee beans set inside gold laurels
Thursday, ISO: 2019-September-19, 18:55 hours, UTC.