I posted this to the RSI forums: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/spectrum/community/SC/forum/7/thread/localized-physical-inventory-system-impact. I am also posting here to gather comments from Imperium members.
According to the road map (as updated 21 Sep 2018), with Alpha 3.6.0 in Q2 of 2019 will come a localized physical inventory system. I’ve not seen any solid information on this, but from the name I deduce that we will no longer be able to access a global inventory through our Mobiglas Equipment Manager. In other words, Equipment Manager will no longer access everything we own, only those items which are in proximity to us. If my deduction is correct, this is a great improvement; the current global inventory access is convenient but not at all realistic. But it also raises a concern: after this is implemented, where can we store personal gear where we can access it while performing missions or simply traveling the ‘verse? And where can we store items that we purchase?
In certain situations it may be advisable to not wear armor or openly carry weapons (for example, if a mission requires us to make contact with an informant in a high-class restaurant and we wish to remain discreet and inconspicuous). We will need someplace to store it. Same with weapons, additional ammunition, expendables like medical supplies and grenades, mission items (i.e. “deliver the sealed suitcase to Dunraven in the Chairman’s Lounge at the Diamond Sands Resort on Green in the Ellis system”), and purchased items. The answer which immediately comes to mind is, we can store such things in our ship. But there’s a problem with this.
According to the Ship Matrix, there are 60 ships with 0 cargo space. These range from the various "motorcycle" types (X1, Nox, Dragonfly) and smaller wheeled vehicles through most snub fighters and fighters, to medium ships like the Vanguard Warden, Redeemer, and Prowler, and even the Retaliator which is a Large ship! None of these has space to store so much as a small suitcase, although to be fair the Retaliator does have a weapons rack. The lack of even the most limited storage will severely limit the usefulness of many ships.
In the real world, almost every vehicle has some storage space. Most motorcycles can be equipped with saddle bags. The smallest sports car has at least a tiny trunk and a glove box. This is because most people need space to store things. Of what use is a vehicle if it can’t even fit a small bag of groceries?
I understand that we'll be able to place items in any unoccupied space, even if it's not designated as cargo space. So, I could just throw some items on the floor inside the 350r and try not to trip over them. But that doesn't help with ships like the X1, Nox, Dragonfly, 85X, and others which have no such space. For example, the 350r has 0 cargo space. That makes it useful for only one role, which is racing. Yes, I know that's its main role, but in the real world even race cars have extra space, even if it's not utilized during a race. Seats, which are usually removed, may be re-installed to give "joy rides" to those who are not racing professionals. And souped-up "muscle cars" have been used for many decades to impress the opposite sex, and to quickly transport illicit goods (bootlegging) and small packages (the Transporter series of films). So, what if I want to use the 350r for something other than racing? As it stands, I really can't.
I'm not asking for a ship like the 350r to be useful as a freight hauler, but it needs enough space to store a small amount of personal gear of the types previously mentioned. I plan to use mine as a "space sports car" to travel quickly from place to place, in style.
Let's look at another example, the X1. I seem to recall some mention that a rider couldn't use this vehicle while carrying a long weapon (rifle, shotgun, etc.), not even if the weapon is in the default Star Citizen "stored" location on the character's back. Yet there's no place to store a weapon on the vehicle. Am I supposed to leave my primary weapons behind while riding to a remote location and rely only on a sidearm at my destination?
Yet another example is the 85X, which is otherwise a very nice “space luxury coup”. It has two side-by-side seats, something I'd love to see in the 300-series; that would allow me to bring a single passenger along for the ride, perhaps the type of stunningly beautiful passenger typically associated with such luxury vehicles. But I digress. Back to the 85X. If I'm cruising the city, seeing the sights while dressed to the nines, where can I store my flight suit and helmet? What if I must travel outside the atmosphere, back to my 890 Jump or elsewhere? Must I do without a helmet HUD during this entire journey? Without protection from the harsh vacuum of space, in case of a hull breach? Be unable to exit my 85X except in a pressurized bay? C'mon, give me at least enough space for a change of clothes!
I understand that modeling even a small saddlebag or trunk is not practical for ships that have already been designed. But is it not possible to assume that there are small storage compartments present which aren't modeled? And to give every ship at least a 0.5 SCU of "assumed" space, accessible through Mobiglas Equipment Manager when adjacent to the ship?