Step 1: Find and sign up for the Star Citizen PTU (Public Test Universe)
A very small amount of setup and account prep is required to make your account ready for use on the PTU in Star Citizen 3.18.1 and future test versions of the game. For this, simply go to www.robertsspaceindustries.com and access your ‘Account’ section in the top right hand corner. Log in with your regular account info.
Go to Settings and in the left column, scroll down until you see “Public Test Universe.” This will only be clickable when there is a live and open test of the PTU available or if your account has been selected for a particular test. The current test of 3.18.1 is available to “all backers” which means anyone who has a pledge or game package for Star Citizen.
Click “Copy account to PTU” to begin the process of copying your account over to the test servers for use.
This process is automated and in a few minutes, you should get a confirmation email when the process is complete and you can continue. Do NOT repeatedly hit ‘Copy account to PTU’ it might just take some time to complete the process.
Step 2: Review the confirmation email and note your specific PTU login
If you don’t see the email in your inbox, be sure to check your junk or spam folders and if you use a third-party program like Microsoft Outlook, try checking the platform or login for your email provider (like Gmail or your internet provider login).
The confirmation email will include important links for participating in and communicating with the PTU test community. You’ll want to take a minute and login on the PTU version of the site. This site looks like an incomplete, in-progress version of the live Star Citizen site and it’s not supposed to be complete. The only important part here is the PTU forum section under Spectrum, where you can submit feedback and interact with other testers.
This site uses the NEW test login credentials sent in your confirmation email from the PTU. When there are testing focuses and comms for PTU users, they will show in the Spectrum area here, otherwise patch notes and testing focuses can usually be found on the live Spectrum boards.
*NOTE: At the time of writing the boards aren’t enabled yet for this test wave
BONUS TIP: Record your LIVE settings, controls and key binds for Star Citizen
Before you begin the PTU1 client download, log into your LIVE client and save/export your best game key binds.
Where to find your Star Citizen key binds (by default):
[Your Local Disk – eg. C:, D: etc]>Program Files>Roberts Space Industries>[LIVE OR PTU]>USER>Client>0>Controls>Mappings
Once you do log in to the PTU server, you will need to completely redo all your game controls, settings and key binds. Make sure you save and export your Star Citizen key binds and settings to make this transition easier. I’ll have a new video and highlight available for this later in the week.
Step 3: Launch the RSI launcher and download the PTU client
In older, outdated videos you might see steps that walk you through a bunch of other requirements to find and download the PTU client, this is now all handled within the RSI launcher and is much easier.
Log into the RSI launcher with your usual LIVE account credentials. On the left side of the launcher, click the LIVE option, which should now display a dropdown menu and give you the option for “1PTU.” Select this option and you will see the “UPDATE” button. Begin downloading and updating the game client for the PTU – this will take some time depending on your download speeds and server demand.
Step 4: Launch and access the PTU and getting into the test server
At the Star Citizen game screen, tab out and copy your key binds into your user folder. Find the ones you exported in your LIVE folder using the path in the ‘BONUS TIP’ section above. Copy the key bind files, then go to the PTU version of the location (same path as above but swap LIVE for PTU) and copy them in the PTU location.
Tab back into the game and continue.
Step 5: Import key binds and settings to enjoy testing the new patch release for 3.18.1
You’ll need to create your character and select your home starting city to ‘lock-in’ your PTU character. Note that your friends list and contacts will be unavailable until you do.
Once you’re back in the PTU client, go through your settings and check them against your live settings and import your key binds in the game menu:
Options>Keybindings>Advanced Controls Customization>Control Profiles
Make sure you select the right controls on the dropdown menu for Keyboard/Mouse or Joystick, Gamepad etc and then map the right files to the right inputs.
Most importantly expect problems. Opting into the test server community, you have to know what you are getting into – a test for a test for a game that is in Alpha. There will be bugs, it can be frustrating and none of your progress will carry over into LIVE.
That said, it is an exciting time to see new improvements, mechanics and systems coming down the pipe for LIVE and, more importantly, an opportunity to actively assist in and influence the development of our game.
If you or someone you know is completely new to Star Citizen, please check out or recommend my Star Citizen Beginner’s Guide 2023 From a True Beginner.
Fly safe commanders!