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Community Spotlight: Star Citizen's ShackFleet

by Ozzie Mejia, Aug 29, 2013 7:00am PDT

Chris Roberts' upcoming space sim Star Citizen has created a lot of excitement, from both eager backers and from our own Shacknews community. Among the most excited community members is ejectorpod, who's actively rallying to organize a task force of capable pilots. His efforts have led to ShackFleet, an organized site for Star Citizen enthusiasts from the Shacknews community. Star Citizen has been a hot topic in Chatty, so I asked ejectorpod what it is about this game has such a far-reaching appeal?

"There's a lot about Star Citizen that appeals to me, but the idea of having a 21st century space sim is the first big draw," ejectorpod answered. "I grew up playing Wing Commander, X-Wing, and combat flight sims and the fact that those games are so few and far-between now is a major disappointment to me, particularly because of the strides developers have made in animation, physics, graphics engines, and gameplay. We have so many different FPS games that people play, but finding a space sim developed by a AAA game developer? Forget about it."

On top of the novelty of a modern space sim, ejectorpod is drawn in by Star Citizen's grand ambition. "Star Citizen is striving to do more than most games even consider," he added. "There's a part of me, and I think most of us who are committed to seeing this game through to 2015, that thinks we could end up with a lot less than we are hoping for and wonder if we'll end up disappointed. But I'm not letting it hold back my excitement or enthusiasm. I have invested a lot less than other people out there, but I know my time commitment is going to rival every other player out there, because the idea of having a game that is literally what every space sim we ever wanted to be is just too great an opportunity to miss out on."

This level of enthusiasm led ejectorpod to lead the effort on creating ShackFleet. The site continued to grow as more information about Star Citizen was released, leading to an increase in community interest. Shacker x4nth3 scooped up the domain name, while a group of volunteers helped develop the site and build it into what it is today--a fleet of 272 Shackers, 409 ships, and multiple open crew member slots.

There's no strict barrier of entry if you're a part of the Shack community. "A lot of the organizational structure is still developing, but right now we don't have any limitations on who can join," ejectorpod explained. "If you're a registered member of Shacknews.com's community, you're welcome. If you're a friend of a Shacker, come aboard. That may change, we'll have to see as things develop."

The three wings of ShackFleet

ShackFleet members can choose to fill one of three available wings, based on the old Shack adage of Lamp, Sand, Lime.

The Lamp wing is for logistical pilots, handling internal transport for crew members without combat ships, refueling, and acquiring goods. "Think of Lamp Squad as supply lines in modern military terms," ejectorpod said. "Without Lamp, we could find ourselves out of fuel, out of ammo, and up to our necks in enemy without any way of defending ourselves."

The Sand wing is the fleet's primary source of revenue outside of combat operations, made up of miners, refiners, and explorers. "Sand Squad will be a mix of folks, because it will be a lot of people who just want to search out the best asteroid to carve up as well folks who simply have a fast ship with a low signature and want to explore the galaxy," ejectorpod explained. "Sand members will be our discoverers, providing intel on new systems and routes through space, as well as sources of revenue for us to exploit."

For those more interested in fighting, the Lime wing will fit their needs. Should ShackFleet decide to act aggressively, the Lime Squad will act as the front line. They'll also act as protection against hostile fleets and as support for Lamp Squad, whenever they need assistance for getting supplies to the front lines.

Star Citizen is a long way from its final release and even ejectorpod acknowledges that interest could occasionally wane, but ShackFleet should help maintain a strong foundation of dedicated pilots. "One of the main reasons we launched ShackFleet.com when we did was to emphasize the strength of our organization so early on, at the same time Roberts was showing off the Hangar Module," he said. "We added more members due to that strategic launch, increasing our share of the pie, so to speak. But, there is going to be a lull between the Hangar Module release this week and the Dogfighting Module late this year -- and that's okay. Our primary goal is simply to build our organization and prepare for the game's release. But a secondary goal is to support the game's development, so whatever we can do to build up interest, answer questions, provide feedback, we're going to do. Because in the end, the more members we have who are early and veteran backers, the more we're doing to help the game."

As Star Citizen's development moves forward, ShackFleet will likewise progress. Upcoming features will include secure forums for members, a History of ShackFleet page that follows the Star Citizen timeline, and a dedicated newsletter.





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