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Independent publisher Cloud Imperium Games has $41 million to make a modern-day simulation of dogfighting in space … and this looks like money well spent so far.

The company is working on Star Citizen, which simulates space-based trade and combat. That means lots of starships, orbiting docks, and dogfights. The game is in development now, and Cloud Imperium finally showed off the game in action during a panel at the Penny Arcade Expo East convention happening this weekend in Boston. The clip has a pilot climbing into a ship, donning a helmet, and blasting off to explore a fleet of ships and the stars.

It looks impressive, and you can see it in action in the video below:


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The developer primarily showed off the combat and flight systems — although the final release will feature a lot more. The game takes place in the Milky Way in the 30th century. Players must survive by earning money using their combat and trading skills while also dealing with the governing United Empire of Earth that oversees much of the galaxy. Players can get benefits with the UEE by becoming citizens, which potentially includes a lower tax rate and easier interspecies trading.

Star Citizen is massively multiplayer. Much of the action will center around gamers interacting with one another, and their actions will impact the dynamic economy.

So far, Cloud Imperium and Star Citizen director Chris Roberts (who is best known for creating games like Wing Commander and Starlancer) has only shown off the flying and combat scenarios. It will also have on-foot explorable ships as well.

Here’s some more video from today’s presentation:

Star Citizen is potentially most notable for its crowdfunding success. It began as a Kickstarter campaign that raised $2.1 million, but it has since gone on to raise more than $40 million through its own website. As the developer raises more money, it promises to deliver on more stretch goals for Star Citizen. Most recently, Roberts reveals his team is adding procedural generation (which will create an algorithm that automatically builds planets and quests) to future versions of the game.

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