Edition 49 - December 2012

Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.

X Rebirth

Postponement of the X Rebirth release date

As many of you have already noticed, we've now had to push the release date for X Rebirth into 2013. Believe me, we would have loved to release the game earlier, but it's just not ready for prime-time yet.

We are very excited about X Rebirth; it's beautiful, it's big and everything in it is new. But it turns out that you don't simply reinvent space games overnight! ;)

We have now been working for more than five years on this huge project, and right now everything is finally clicking together. Everybody on the team is looking forward immensely to the release, but we can't yet give you an exact date. We can only beg our fans to please be patient for a little while longer. - Bernd

X Rebirth community questions answered by Bernd

If you don't ask, you'll never know

After answering questions about X Rebirth in the forums and the big Gamescom interview featuring lots of community questions already, Bernd took some time again to answer some more questions about X Rebirth that were asked by users in the forums:

How does upgrading the ships work?
The player's ship is a special case; it can be reconstructed and upgraded by experts in different ways. Stations and bigger ships however can be upgraded based on construction plans, which function in a similar way to a tech tree; in some cases it may be linear sequence of upgrades, while in others it can be a tree with many alternatives.

Will there be a limit as to the amount of modules you can build on a station or carrier ship?
There is always a limit. As mentioned before, this limit depends on the actual construction plan.

We know a little about Virtual Reality and remote control of drones, that's great I'm on-board with that, but how do I control a fleet of ships in the new world of Rebirth?
Indirectly. Controlling a capital ship happens by commanding it. In a large battle this happens mostly by planning your battle ahead of time and then focussing on smaller tasks like disabling a critical weapon system while the large ships execute the job you planned for them.

Will we be able to run a hardcore economical game?
In X Rebirth it is very common to trade with capital ships. This is in fact one of the main reasons why we wanted to re-invent the way capital ships are controlled. So trading with large capital traders and whole fleets is very easy and happens while you can play anything you want in parallel.

To what extent are new, currently unknown station types planned to give the player additional new options?
Actually, almost all stations will be new in X Rebirth. This starts with the completely new economic system; only a few wares and resources from previous games are still around. As every station module can be equipped with a wide array of turrets, shields and many other elements, there is a much bigger difference between the combat ability of stations, which you may not always be able to see right away, and the ability to add different manufacturing and production modules means a greater variety as in the old complex building system.

Where do we stand with big complexes, will we be able to build the whole complex from just expanding one station or won't there be anything like that?
When you start building a station you decide for a specific plan. The plan of that station can allow you many alternatives, but it always starts with a single core station. Over time you make decisions how to expand the complex and you play missions to help building it bigger and stronger. You have a lot more freedom and a lot more decisions and building a complex is a much slower process than it was in previous games. But even though it can take a long time to create a huge complex, it never gets boring, because you have so many things to do and you never have to wait for anything because most things can happen while you play at the opposite side of the universe.

Will there be a Stock Exchange, as in Albion Prelude?
First of all, we try to reduce features that a very complicated and need a lot of menus to ones that are easy to use. During that process we deliberately omit things too.
Although I'm a big fan of the Stock Exchange in X3: Albion Prelude, there won't be something like that in X Rebirth, when it will be released. However, that doesn't mean that we might not find a solution for that later, for example in an extension. The interface would be different then, though.

Will it be possible to incorporate the environment into the fights?
Enabling fights in complex 3D environments was one of our most important goals. The new gigantic stations, which are much more detailed than those of the past, can serve as exciting settings for fights.

Will it be possible to play as a pirate?
Absolutely. Especially in this area there are big differences to the previous X-games. The reputation of the player towards a certain faction depends less on what he did, but rather on what he was caught at. ;-)

Putting this in other words, smugglers for example are much harder to identify in the game now. Whether the player sides with one party or has more than one iron in the fire is, apart from some exceptions in the plot, totally up to him. The freedom of being able to decide on my own what my relations to others are and which parts of the game I'm more interested in, is from my point of view one of the key points of the X-series.

Do capital ships use the same highways as smaller crafts?
No. Highways are reserved for ship only up to a maximum size. Larger ships use jump drives that require fuel.

How will scanners work in the new game? Will it be the same as X3 where everything within range is picked up or will there be items that could block your scanners?
In X Rebirth there is a big difference between being in scanner range for a quick ID and being REALLY scanned deeply. There are several levels of scanning. Your true identification for example is something that requires a deeper scan. If you attack a station or shoot down a small transport vessel near a station, the law enforcement of that station may immediately start to hunt you, but they do not know exactly who you are (YET). Hiding in the right place, for long enough can help you not being punished for your evil deeds ;) This works vice versa for your own map system too. You can see whats going on around your stations and ships, but you may not know all the details unless you scan for them.

What about endgame content?
The same as in all X games before. When the plot ends, what happens next is entirely up to you. You can if you want, set your own master plan to make big changes to the universe and eliminate an entire faction if you like, or you continue building up your empire peacefully. You can continue playing missions, or you continue exploring the more remote areas of the huge universe. We do not decide this for you, we only want to provide the universe, and leave these questions to you.

Was the gamepad support removed?
Removed? Quite the contrary. We attach great importance to the ability to also play the game entirely with a gamepad. As you might have read already, we want to update the current X3 games with the same functionality as well. Since the interface for the X3 games is much more complex, it's not possible to make gamepad control quite as smooth as in X Rebirth, but nevertheless it should be possible to fully control all aspects of your game with one.

I'm a big fan of the new Steam "Big Picture" mode, which tries to bring gaming PCs to the living room and I want that our games work optimally there as well. In this thread we're currently looking for feedback and testers to help us to create an optimal controller profile for X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude.

Vote on X Rebirth concept art

The choice is yours

As X Rebirth will feature a whole host of new objects, we wanted to give you the chance to help us choose how some of these components will look. Head over to our EGOSOFT Facebook Page to vote in the poll to decide the appearance of the Plasma Pumps Production Unit.

The Plasma Pumps Production Unit produces high grade Plasma Pumps, which are used in the manufacture of many advanced products such as ships, missiles and station components.

As Omicron Lyrae faced a future cut off from the Argon Federation, the decision was made to look back to plasma technology for the cluster's high-energy power requirements, an area previously dominated by Fusion and Matter/Anti-Matter technology.

While a step backwards technologically, the use of plasma for the region’s core energy needs was lauded as an essential step towards a cheap and sustainable future in Omicron Lyrae; something the technology powerhouse Jonferco still vehemently opposes. - Owen Lake

X Rebirth Music from Alexei Zakharov

The stars are alive with the sound of music

In contrast to the real word, space in the X-games is far from silent. We hear engines, weapons, explosions and throughout it all, music. The in-game music sets the atmosphere for the current situation and accompanies us through the whole game. During the development of the series, several musicians have composed music for the X-games. One of the most famous is Alexei Zakharov, who has been composing music for the X games since X2: The Threat. I had the chance to interview him about his work of composing music for the X-Games, and especially for X Rebirth.

Hi Alexei, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions.

For those of our readers, who don’t know you yet, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about your background?
Hi there! Hehe, it's always a complicated task for me to talk about myself. It's much easier to express everything in music than to compose several simple sentences describing myself, but I'll try. I've worked in the music industry for more than 14 years. It might surprise you, but I don't have any musical education and have taught myself everything I know; from the musical basics of harmony and audio engineering to deep knowledge of sound physics. I've taught some student groups in local audio engineering school, teaching them how sound synthesis and audio processing works. Through all my musical years I have worked in different kinds of genres, but most of all my heart belongs to trance and new age music, even if I'm listening to metal music a lot. There are so many artists who have had influences on me that I can't even choose. I can only say that I'm trying to stick to a strong melody all the time, that's the most important part of the music for me. Besides working for Egosoft, I had several side projects, mostly electronic music. I have about 10 releases on progressive trance and chill-out labels.

How did you come to work for Egosoft?
I was always a fan of the X series and wrote a track that I sent to Ego. They replied very positively on my work and everything started to roll… That was so long ago.

What does your usual day working at X Rebirth look like?
Hmm, hard to tell because there are no "usual" days. I'm not just a musician for X Rebirth, I'm also making the whole sound design. Working on soundtrack and sound effects are totally different jobs. While music composing is more creative – sound design is very time consuming and painstaking. You do testing, testing and testing all the time. When I'm writing a music track, I can imagine how it will work in the game, but it will never do the same for sound effects. You can make a great sounding sample, but it may sound totally wrong in the game. So currently a "usual" day will be like this: I make a sound, wow – it's great! Put it in the game – wow that is so bad... Make another sound – hmm, nice. Launch the game – blah… awful. Two hours after – finally, I made something that fits the game, but it's still not perfect! (I have some problems with perfectionism.) And that is only me! There is a whole team to test the sound after me. After a while I have some feedback gathered and fixing the sounds to what I have been told. On top of that, keep in mind, that this is musically and sound wise, the most complex X-Universe game so far, you will understand how much material I'm dealing with daily.

How does composing one music track for a specific sector work?
I think I've already answered your question partly. I'm playing the game and imagining what kind of music would work here and there, what kind of mood this sector will elicit. Sometimes our designers suggest something, but regarding SFX design, I'm mostly working with our visual effects designer Simon. He tells me how he wants each sound effect to be and sets me free to be as creative as possible within the framework of what he has in mind. Perfect team, haha!

What music can people expect to hear in X Rebirth?
Oh, that is a difficult question. How I hear it – it's a mix of the good aspects from previous parts: tranquil melodies and spacy soundscapes. And even something more, some are really spooky! But you will hear everything yourself when the game is released. ;)

For a preview of the atmosphere of the X Rebirth universe, Alexei has compiled a litte audio sample incorporating several different themes from the game.

I heard that you visited the Egosoft HQ last June to work on sound effects. What can you tell us about that?
Yes, that was a great experience. As you may know, Egosoft is a rather small team, so I was introduced to everyone and was warmly accepted. It's a very kind and creative atmosphere inside the team, quite inspiring. The crew is a nice mix of great specialists and talented people that not only knows what they are doing, but loves it with all their heart. I was introduced to local cultural features and architectural beauties by our boss, Bernd, and to local pubs by my neighbour, Owen. (He is responsible for the game's missions).

Many people like one music track in the games more than another. Do you also have a favorite X-music title, be it in previous X-games or even in X Rebirth?
Not really. You'll never know what track exactly would be accepted better by your audience. Sometimes you put all effort and emotionality into a track and it goes unnoticed, while another track will capture everyone.

Are there any differences between the sound effects of previous X-games and the ones in X Rebirth?
Sure! Everything is different. ;)

If you like to know more about Alexei and his work visit his website at http://zakharovmusic.com/ and https://soundcloud.com/alexeizakharov for his latest works. - X2-Illuminatus

New retail versions of X3AP and X3TC

Opening up the east

Egosoft is very pleased to announce the release of two new retail versions containing X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude.

With the X3 Terran War pack long-term partner and Russian publisher Noviy Disk is extending their portfolio of X games. This package contains X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude with full Russian voice and text localisations providing Russian players the best gaming experience.

The Russian X3 Terran War Pack requires an activation on Steam. If you already own X3TC and X3AP on Steam, then you will be pleased to hear that in addition to the text files with the latest updates for both, also Russian voice support was added to Steam.

Those of you, who are familiar with the X lore, know the big influence of Japanese and how it was brought to the stars and to the X-Universe. Finally, now also the X-Universe is brought to Japan. The Japanese publisher Zoo Corporation just released the X3 Terran War Pack+. This package does not only include X3: Albion Prelude and X3: Terran Conflict with full Japanese text localisations, but also the English versions of X3: Reunion, X2: The Threat, X-Tension and X: Beyond the Frontier. In addition to this great package, publisher Zoo Corporation also set up an official website for the X3 Terran War Pack+ that will surely help introducing Japanese players to the X-games.

The Japanese X3 Terran War Pack+ also requires an activiation on Steam.

Please note that there is currently a problem that makes it impossible to register the X3 Terran War Pack+ with a Steam account that already has the X-games assigned to. Right now, the only solution is to set up a second Steam account and register the X3 Terran War Pack+ with that. We do not like this situation either and are currently trying to find a way around it. - X2-Illuminatus

Language support of the X3-Games

How many languages do you speak?

The year 2012 has seen several updates for X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude; some were smaller, some were bigger; bugs were fixed and new features were added. Amongst those new features were, thanks to our hard working translators, the addition of several new text localizations adding support for different languages. These include the finalized Czech, Polish and Spanish texts for X3TC as well as the complete Polish and Spanish texts for X3AP. Asian languages also made their premiere in the X-Games with the new Chinese translations added last summer, and also Japanese translation and release of X3TC and X3AP by the Japanese Publisher, Zoo Corporation, add to the list of the new grounds that X is breaking.

All together X3TC and X3AP now support 12 languages, allowing more players than ever to enjoy the X-games in their native language. We hope that these new languages will bring even more people to visit the X-Universe and we like to extend a warm welcome to those that have found their way into the X-Universe this year already. - X2-Illuminatus

New X3AP update in the works

There are never enough plots

While the year 2012 comes to an end, the work on the next X3: Albion Prelude update for 2013 has already started. However, while Egosoft is busy working on X Rebirth, the community developers of the AP Community Project have taken over the job of developing the plot for the upcoming X3AP update 3.0. While most of the plot is still top secret, I was able to get an exclusive preview from one of our X-Universe correspondents instead. She was actually supposed to report about an upcoming Split wedding, but as it seems there are some other developments she wants to inform us about.

(The names of people and places have been changed to ensure the security of our reporter.)

This is Judith Jerigan for Argon news reporting from the huge Split wedding in sector Family Rhy. Today General Chi t'Ktt, one of the most famous and honourable generals of the Split family Rhy, is marrying. Marrying whom, you may ask. That is exactly the question I'm currently trying to answer.

General Chi t'Ktt is a very well-respected Split. He fought in the Operation Final Fury against the Khaak, defended the Split sectors against the Xenon and is one of the driving characters behind the recent build-up of family Rhy’s military. That is also why alongside numerous prominent Split, delegations of the other races and corporations (excluding the Borons of course) have made their way to this important event. Unsurprisingly General Chi t’ Ktt’s wedding is not only well secured, but also provides the best Split entertainment that money can buy: Ghok fights, a grandiose buffet providing the best Chelt delicacies and roulette, whose prizes include live Space flies are only a few examples. But all of these Split joys cannot conceal the fact that something is wrong here.

The corporations are becoming more powerful every day, could they have something to do with the bride's absence?

While I'm certainly not an expert on Split marriages, the ceremony should have begun hours ago, but the Split bride is seemingly nowhere to be found. While most of the guests are happily distracted by the offered entertainment, it seems I’m not the only one who has noticed the absence of the bride. Agents from Strong Arms just left the general’s rooms and entered their ships – probably to look for her. Shortly afterwards, members of the Jonferson Space Dynamics Division (JSDD) delegation went to the hangar deck.

What has the Split bride to do with JSDD's engine research?

It is not only the bride's current whereabouts that nobody seems to know, but neither the invitation cards nor the guests I have interviewed know her name. Even following my usual information channels, I wasn’t able to get any real information. Interestingly however was that wherever I looked and whoever I asked, JSDD agents were not far away. It seems that JSDD also has a great interest in finding the bride.

This was Judith Jerigan with an exlusive article for Argon News. We will keep you up to date about the further developments in this case.

The X3: Albion Prelude Update 3.0 is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2013. - X2-Illuminatus

Mission Director Video Tutorials by Ketraar

Bring your own stories into the game

The upcoming X3AP 3.0 Plot is, just as all plots of X3: Albion Prelude and X3: Terran Conflict, written with the in-game Mission Director. The Mission Director (MD) is one of the two powerful scripting engines of the X3 games and is used to write all kind of missions, be it generic or plot. Since the introduction of the Mission Director to the community with X3: Reunion version 2.5, it has always been a tough tool to utilize; limited documentation and an xml-based coding style different to other scripting and programming languages made it difficult for people to get into this kind of scripting. This is also why you only find a few people that are familiar with the Mission Director in the Scripts and Modding Forums.

One of these few is Community member Ketraar, who is known for his useful Mission Director scripts and who was also involved in the creation of several different community plots that have made their way into X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude. To help people making their first steps with the Mission Director, Ketraar decided to make his own series of Mission Director tutorials. However, instead of writing long texts, he made videos to explain the basics of coding within the MD. Starting with information about the general setup you need for coding, in the first four tutorials he covers naming conventions, cue structures and information about the creation and usage of actors and conversations. These and hopefully even more tutorials will surely help you to get into Mission Director coding and to bring your own stories and missions into the X-Universe. - X2-Illuminatus

New external Script Editor by mr.bear

Bring your own scripts into the game

Since X2: The Threat, the MSCI script engine has been a big part of the game and paired with the Script Editor allow you to write and edit scripts in the game. While the simple input method of the in-game Script Editor provides a great interface for novices, experienced scripters, especially those with experience in other script and programming languages, often prefer the ability of writing scripts outside of the game. Unfortunately, due to the structure of the script files this is not possible with normal text or xml editors.

For a long time the so-called Exscriptor by forum user Whimsy was the only external script editor available. With it you can write scripts outside of the game and type the commands rather than just selecting them. It also comes with a number of additional functions (like Preprocessor macros and a script comparator that highlights the differences between two scripts) which help you work on your scripts. Now a second user has taken on the effort of developing another external script Editor.

The X-Studio Script Editor by forum user mr.bear is a new external script editor. Starting with a completely new interface incorporating experiences and suggestions from Exscriptor users, mr.bear has developed a tool that is useful for both beginners and experienced scripters.
Similar to Exscriptor, the X Studio Script Editor not only mimics the functionality of the in-game Script Editor and makes scripting outside of the game possible, but also contains a wide range of additional features that will help to make writing scripts easier for you. Amongst these features are the possibility to create projects and to work on several different scripts at once, a script compiler making you aware of possible errors while you write your scripts, a 'find & replace function' allowing you to replace every instance of a given variable in moments, and many more. Especially useful for script beginners is the function to display, search for and explain available MSCI commands.

With this excellent new tool, we look forward to the superb innovations the community will surely produce. - X2-Illuminatus
Official Website
follow on Twitter
Facebook page
watch on YouTube

Copyright © 2012 Egosoft GmbH, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Egosoft GmbH
Heidestr. 4
52146 Würselen

Please feel free to contact us in your own language by e-mailing x-universe-news@egosoft.com

To learn more about the X-Universe News and who is involved in its creation, please see our FAQ article.