X-Universe News

X-Mas Issue 24 - December 2006

 English Version http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/200612_44News.html
 German Version http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/200612_49News.html
 Russian Version http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/200612_07News.html
Editor's Note: An introduction...
Here it is!: The waiting is over - X³ Reunion 2.0 'The Bala Gi Research Missions' is now available
Here it is again!?: Why is there a different version for download?
The Christmas Present: A new version of the famous Bonus Package for download
Behind the Scenes: An interview with Miedon and Iveco
Egosoft FAQs: This edition's Egosoft FAQ - Who is Egosoft?
Credits & Contact:: The bit that nobody reads anyway!

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Editor's Note

An introduction...


Welcome to this festive edition of X-News


First of all, before everyone at Egosoft goes into winter hibernation, please accept our apologies for the distinct lack of X-News to accompany the release of X³: 2.0. Unless youíve been hiding somewhere, you may be aware that Egosoft has completed work on the update that was announced a few months ago. Egosoft hopes that its loyal fans have been pleasantly surprised by what is hoped is more than the average patch to their outstanding game, X³ Reunion. The team has managed to add new features and items to it to improve the gameplay and raise the immersion for all the fans out there, still enjoying X³ Reunion. Some who have already completed (or dare we say given up on) the game might just be tempted to start again to check out what's changed and what's new, especially now that there's no need to dig out their DVDs or CDs.


So what is actually new to it? What is all the fuss about? Why could the eager members of the community not wait any longer and almost went nuts with excitement? What is this free bonus update for X³: Reunion called 'X³: 2.0 Bala Gi research missions' and does it keep its promises? We hope to answer these questions for those of you who havenít yet taken the plunge.


For those among you confused by the simultaneous release of the update and the additional patch, we have all the information you need. Why is there another patch at all? Do you need it even if you have the 2.0 Update on DVD already? How and when must it be installed? Be no longer afraid or confused - we have all the details.


In addition to the release of the Bala Gi Missions, the festive season sees the release of an update to the popular Bonus Pack. In this release much of this bonus content is brought up-to-date with version 2.0.


As you may have noticed, there are many new members of the constantly-increasing DevNet. While everyone contributes as much as he or she can; there are others doing even more. We got the chance to interview two of them, who don't just participate in the DevNet, they do what many of us would like to do - they work for Egosoft. We took the opportunity to learn some more about them and what it means to really work for a software development company and not just playing their game.


Also there is another Egosoft FAQ, the latest instalment of the informative series about Egosoft and who they are and what they do.


We hope you are enjoying or will enjoy the Bala Gi Missions and all of the new features that accompany them. All the staff at Egosoft would like to thank you all for supporting its work and wish each of you a very happy holiday and a prosperous 2007.




Here it is!

The waiting is over - X³ Reunion 2.0 'The Bala Gi Research Missions' is now available.


The 'Bala Gi Research Missions' are a series of new and exciting missions set in the X-Universe introduced into the game in this final update for X³ Reunion. Once the player has met the requirements for this new story to start, he or she will receive an offer from Bala Gi Research Inc. Some of the veteran X-players may recognise the name from XT, in which this Boron had a role in the famous Perseus Mission plot.


Bala Gi Research Inc.


During the new story the player can get his hands on some of the new ship types and as a final reward his own player headquarters. These missions are not linked to the main X³ story, they are offered in plot games - during, after and even before playing the plot - as well as in non-plot games. It is not even necessary to start a new game, you can use your preferred savegame and play from there.


But there is more to this update than just a set of new missions and some new objects. There are new features and a whole load of fixes of minor issues from previous versions.


The new features include:

  • Bala Gi Research missions, enabling access to Player Headquarters station and new ships (Paranid Hyperion, Argon Eclipse, Split Chimera and Paranid Medusa) through a set of exciting missions.
  • Player Headquarters.
  • Two new sectors have been added: Senatorís Badlands (Yaki) and Elysium of Light (Goner).
  • Four new missions for the BBS boards have been added (hint: living a Pirateís life just got more interesting).
  • A new class of ship has been introduced: the prototype M7. In terms of offensive and defensive capabilities a ship of this class is situated between M6 class corvettes and M2 class Destroyers. The Paranid Hyperion is currently the only ship of that class.
  • The Xenon have also upgraded their arsenal to counter the new ships designed by Bala Gi Research Inc. Keep an eye out for the sinister Xenon LX.
  • The new Software Signature Scrambler is available at Pirate BBS boards. This device can mask the System Override Software from Police scans.
  • A new weapon can now be found hidden in several sectors: the Concussion Impulse Generator. This weapon can be used to force enemy ships off course and disrupt their attacks. Many M3 class vessels as well as capital ships can be equipped with this weapon.




There are some other general improvements too:

  • The tractor beam can now be used to tow player-owned ships or ships with no shields even through gates.
  • Mouse cursor toggle behaviour has been changed: cursor will now return to the setting it was at before you docked at a station. If you manually disable the cursor while docked it will remain disabled until you re-activate it or dock again.
  • nput menus are no longer restricted with regard to their supported character set. This means special characters like ü, ä, ö and also Cyrillic letters can now be used for names.
  • Ships and stations now have a Self-Destruct option. Once activated you have 10 seconds to leave the ship or station before it detonates.
  • The shockwave of missile impacts now influences ships within the detonation radius.
  • The minimum zoom distance for external views has been reduced.
  • Yaki ships now use their ship variants.
  • You no longer need to have your CD/DVD in the drive to play X3.




The most important issues fixed are:

  • All known problems relating to ship turrets not firing have been fixed.
  • Several minor issues relating to corrupted ship models have been fixed.
  • Missiles should no longer be rendered black.
  • Changed Friend/Foe settings for captured ships are now properly reflected by the HUD.
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes caused rocks to disappear in loaded savegames, making mobile mining impossible.
  • The auction for the sector Avarice has been re-balanced and will restart for those who missed their chance to claim that sector.
  • There were numerous text and spelling errors that have been corrected.
  • A number of smaller issues relating to the UI, Equipment, Sound and Missions have been fixed.


Savegame compatibility is maintained form all previous versions, though if you are using the X3 Bonus Package you should make sure to upgrade it to the latest version as well, due to possible conflicts with outdated scripts.


The Update is now available and can be downloaded directly from Egosoft. You can also use a BitTorrent client Steam users should receive the update via Steam automatically. It is recommended to let Steam update your game instead of downloading the update manually. For those who have not purchased X³ Reunion yet, the game will be re-launched in several countries and can now even be purchased in a single DVD version in North America.


We wish to thank all the people and fans who participated in the development of the game and this update, and hope you enjoy playing it now as much as we enjoyed working with you. Thanks for all your efforts, input and patience!



Here it is again!?

Why is there a different version for download ?


Now, after the announcement, after all the excitement, after all these detailed features described and calling it the "final update 2.0" - if you go to the download page, you cannot even find this 2.0 patch. What does that mean?


You are right, there is actually no update 2.0. The simple reason is localisations. While the update was ready and burned onto the DVDs for the publisher, which wanted to re-launch the game, the translators were still busy translating the new texts added by the update to the game. So this new version mainly contains just the translated texts. But the beta testers didn't give up and gave the developers a hard time, still reporting minor issues. So Egosoft, having to release an updated version for the texts anyway, used the chance to fix the last remaining issues and to even add another BBS mission to the game.


What does this mean for the owners of the newly-released DVDs, which contains the 2.0 update? It is highly recommended that players using 2.0 download and install the version 2.0.02, as it fixes some more minor issues and allows access to the BBS mission that was added. All other players can just download the 2.0.02 version as it will update your game and add all the listed features and fixes for the 2.0 patch.


Egosoft offers its Polish and Italian fans a sincere apology, as unfortunate problems with the localisation teams meant that this work has not been completed. These texts will be added to the patch as soon as they are available and you will be informed separately in the respective forums on our site.



The Christmas Present

X³ Reunion - Bonus Package 3.1.05


The X3 Reunion 2.0 Update has been available for more than 5 weeks now and all those great new features came with new tasks and of course a slightly bigger workload. There's no doubt that the most spectacular addition was the player-owned HQ, which offers 8 times more storage capacity than the huge Argon Mammoth station transporter. With that vast amount of cargo space at your disposal, you'll have to plan carefully, so that AI traders don't take up all the space. That's were the Dock Ware Manager comes in - this cool piece of software lets the player assign a certain amount of storage space, to which all the Commercial Agent and Commodity Logistics pilots are restricted.


The 2.0 update comes with several new ships to complement our fleets. To aid you in managing your fleets, the Fleet Support Ship Software provides you with some easy but very effective commands, covering nearly every aspect.


Your enemies also got a boost as well and are now a much greater threat than ever before. To find and explore enemy sectors, Teladi scientists have developed some exploration software to remotely probe those areas without risking your pilots' lives. Secure sectors are, however, still explored by manned vessels.


The following items are in this Pack:
Commercial Agent
Commodity Logistics Software MK1
Commodity Logistics Software MK2
Dock Ware Manager
Explorer Software
Fleet Support Ship Software
Manual Trade Commands
Missile Defense Mosquito
Remote Transporter Device
Station Manager


General information about the X³ Bonus Pack and the individual upgrades is in the discussion topic for this article.


We wish you much fun with the new Bonus Package. And thanks to all the scripters, the testers and the script signing team.



Behind the Scenes

An interview with Miedon and Iveco


Our community has grown beyond 200,000 members already, and the DevNet has grown along with it. There were lots of fans volunteering and helping in the development process of this update. Each one helping in whichever way possible; some were beta testing, some do text work while others translate and some even code.


Some do even more. We had the chance to interview two new members of DevNet and the Egosoft team, who had a huge impact on the update that you have been reading about. So if you are able to contain your excitement or if you just have nothing else to do while you are waiting for the download to finish, let's have a look at those two programmers and their work!




X-News: Hi Iveco and Miedon, if you have some time, we would like to interrogate you for our next issue of the X-Universe News about your part in the development process of X³ 2.0. So who are you and how did you come to work for Egosoft?


Miedon: Hi, I am Sascha Meuser and I am 20 years old. I come from a small town called Tetz near the Egosoft HQ. Why Egosoft is a good question :-). I am a great fan of the X-Series and it was always a dream of mine to work in game development, so I thought Egosoft was a possible way of turning my dream into reality. Now I am a trainee here. Iveco and I are studying on the same course: "computer specialist in application development".


Iveco: Hello, I am Dirk Groben, also 20 years old and I come from a city called Stolberg. Since I was a very small child, my dream was always to work for a company which produces computer games. I didnít know the X-Series before but this was no reason for me not to apply to Egosoft. I was amazed when I saw that Egosoft has existed for 18 years and I saw the games that Egosoft had already released. It is very hard to stay afloat in this line of business but Egosoft has managed it and I am proud to be here now.


X-News: What is it like working for the company that all our fans would like to work for and getting to know all the secrets first?


Miedon: It is great working here. It is a very good feeling seeing all the new things first, but it is very hard to keep silent about all the great changes. The environment here is normally relaxed, but shortly before deadlines we all have to work under great pressure and huge stress. But overall the working atmosphere here is awesome and the whole team here have been very friendly and helpful right from the start.


Iveco: I am very proud to work for Egosoft, it is a lot of fun! Right from the start the whole team was very pleasant and obliging. It's fascinating to see how the whole team works together and can create something even bigger when all pieces are put together. It's even more exciting because you seem to live in this creation process, and you see all the small teams working independently: the physics, 2D design, 3D graphics, graphical user interface, etc. Everyone is able to improve the games by making his own suggestions, not just by the regular meetings. Overall the working atmosphere is just great.


X-News: What was your exact job in the process of developing the "Bala Gi Research Missions"?


Miedon: We were assigned to create a mission to unlock the new ships and the HQ. So we started by writing a concept for the mission and the preliminary text. After that, we programmed the mission, tested it, fixed bugs and provided support to the testers. It was very impressive to see such intense cooperation between the community and the developers. With the help of all this communication we were able to incorporate ideas proposed by fans into our missions. We put a lot of hard work into programming the missions and we hope that the players see that and like the missions as much as we do.


Iveco: It was the first big project in which we had to take full responsibility. We had a lot of freedom in the creation process, so the success of these missions would be in our hands. We started with a detailed flow chart as a concept, and after that we had to think about the background story. Later, we created text templates for the official story-writers. Finally, we began to program this set of missions. This was also good training for us in project management, because we divided the whole project into smaller pieces so that we could both work at full capacity at the same time.


X-News: What was the biggest problem you encountered and how did you solve it?


Both: The biggest problem was learning a proprietary language to add new content such as missions as easily as possible. The language is called KC, which is similar to C, and has been used throughout the X-Series. It would have been difficult to put all of our ideas into practice for the BG missions without any prior knowledge of KC.

We had to learn the language first before we could start programming the missions. The good thing was that there was documentation available, in which we could find almost everything we needed to know about the language. We did our best to make an interesting set of missions for the gamers. With the help of the other team members, such as BurnIt!, Klaus (our KC expert) and the community we think we created some quite presentable missions.


X-News: What do you like most about the update and have you had a chance to actually play it at all?


Miedon: My favorite innovation is the HQ, I think. It is a very impressive station and the functionality is great. The facility to reverse-engineer ships and build them yourself is a really cool feature.


Iveco: I prefer the new, unique M7 class ship. It is very powerful and can even dock two other fighter ships. It is smooth to fly and I think the community will also like that ship very much, because it oozes both coolness and power.


X-News: What do you think the fans will like the most out of all the new features and improvements?


Miedon: I certainly hope that they like our mission most, but all the new features are brilliant. I think that the new features will make it worth revisiting the X-Universe, even for experienced players. They open up a lot of new possibilities, which will be fun if a player really gets involved.


Iveco: In my opinion the fans will love the new content, which enhances the gameplay of X3, like the HQ and the new M7 class, and of course our new missions. But a lot of things that don't directly affect the new content also got fixed. Hopefully everyone will find something they like in the update.


X-News: And one last question, which you know we have to ask! ;) Can you tell us anything at all about future plans for the X-series? What will the next project be?


Miedon: Well there are lots of exciting developments going on right now - several major changes are planned in areas such as ...


(suddenly BurnIt! bursts in)

BurnIt!: STOP. Donít answer anything that might breach your NDA!


Miedon: (whispers) Oh ... Ok


Iveco: Phew, just in time...


BurnIt!: So what was the question then?


X-News: What are the plans for the future of the X-series - will there be another project based in the X-universe?


BurnIt!: Of course there will be, but it is too early to say anything specific about it. There are many big changes planned, and we are currently at the stage of finalising the concepts and sorting out all the ideas. We listened very carefully to our fans about what they liked and did not like about X3. Though there will be much more than that - for example we're re-creating the whole way that players interact with the game to make it all more streamlined and intuitive and we're also putting a lot of effort into a completely new AI to make the game experience even more interesting. Sorry, but we can't reveal any more than that at this stage.


X-News: Thanks for answering our questions. Is there anything else you want to say to our fans?


Iveco: There is one more thing left to say and I think Miedon will join me on this one. I wanted to use this opportunity to thank our community and especially our beta testers for their time and the excellent job they did in testing the 2.0 update.


Miedon: Yes, I can only agree with that. Thanks to the beta testers for the huge amount of time they spent helping us polish the new features. The whole community is brilliant and we hope we can count on their support and encouragement in the future.


X-News: Thanks Miedon, Iveco and BurnIt! for your time in answering our questions. And even more so for all the effort you put into our beloved X games.



Egosoft FAQs

This edition's Egosoft FAQ - Who is Egosoft?


If you've been following this new series about Egosoft in our newsletters, you may have read already that Egosoft was founded in 1988 in Germany by Bernd Lehahn. In 1990 Egosoft became a real company aiming to produce gaming software, at first only for Amiga but later on for PC too. You can find a full gamography in the last issue of X-News.


In 1998 Egosoft developed a new game, for PC only this time. It was not intentional but it eventually became their biggest and most well-known project. The game was X - Beyond the Frontier, a space trading simulation game based on earlier games such as Elite and Privateer, though it offered many new features and stunning graphics for its time. It became the first part of the X-series we all know and love today. The final goal of the development of this series was and still is a persistent online multiplayer game based on the X-universe. This game is still a good way ahead, but every new part adds to this final goal.


Currently Egosoft employs 13 staff in three different countries. The majority of them work at Egosoft headquarters in Würselen near Aachen in Germany. Three employees from other countries work from their homes and work remotely over the internet. Of course those guys aren't isolated because they maintain constant communications with HQ via the internet and visit the office for meetings on a regular basis. During these meetings new ideas and concepts are discussed, goals and plans are set. Included in the number of people working at Egosoft HQ are trainees or interns like the two we have interviewed in this issue. So after all those years in business Egosoft is still a rather small company.


But there is something special about Egosoft, which is perhaps different to most other companies in the business - the DevNet. Egosoft, through its website, encourages its very active and discerning community to participate in the development and improvement of their games by joining the so-called DevNet (Developers' Network). We had a closer look at it already in a prior issue. Currently there are about 470 members form all over the globe, and many of them actively contribute to the game in whichever way possible. Tasks undertaken by volunteer developers from DevNet include translation, programming, testing, text creation, forum moderation, making suggestions and giving feedback on features. People from many different walks of life, with different social and cultural backgrounds work together, speaking the same language, sharing the same obsession - the X games. So as you see, what makes Egosoft so special, besides the astounding games, is the very substantial role that the fans, players and community members play in every aspect of Egosoft's development processes. Egosoft is very grateful to all those who sacrifice their sleep and social lives to assist in the development of X games.



Credits & Contact

The 'move along' nothing to see here bit!


If you would like to get in contact with us, then feel free. E-mail: X-Universe-News@egosoft.com


EGOSOFT info@egosoft.com


Editors in Chief

Michael "Terrabyte" Madden - Great Britain

Michael Baumgardt - Germany


Issue Editor

Dorian Krause






With Thanks To

Bernd Lehahn


Translation and Proofreading

Confucio - IT

Barron - DE

blueshadow - DE

Player. - RU

Toastie - RU

V2200 - RU


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