Issue 37 - June 2009
|Versión en Español
|A Few Words from the Editor...
|X3: Terran Conflict 2.1 Update
|A Community Mission and Much More!
|Paper, Scissors, X
|Xperimental Shuttle Now in Paper
|X3TC UPLINK Competitions
|Stats Mean Prizes!
|Building Factory Complexes in TC
|YouTube TC Channel
|Metalvenom Showcases TC Beauty
|X Gets Regular Radio Slot
|Credits & Contacts:
|The Uninteresting Bit at the End
This Newsletter has been optimised for 800x600 viewing.
A Few Words from the Editor...
Welcome to Edition 37 of the X-Universe News! In this edition we officially welcome you to X3: Terran Conflict 2.1 Update. This Update will feature a new community mission - more on that later. We introduce those of you not already familiar with X-Origami to the latest work of Ciprian. With the UPLINK facility gaining popularity, we have taken the step of introducing a regular competition with some nice prizes to be won. We'll also be looking into the complex issue of planning and building factory complexes.
A Community Mission and Much More!
X3: Terran Conflict 2.1 is now available! In this update we see the addition of a community-developed mission, written by Ketraar. This mission is called Treasure Hunt and will have you chasing your tail around the X-Universe looking for the next clue to lead you to what is arguably the ultimate prize. Speaking to Ketraar regarding the development of the mission, he said, "The Mission Director is a great tool and as an X-veteran, I wanted to bring a little nostalgia to TC through a mission. With Xenon_Slayer on hand to provide some guidance on the trickier parts of the mission's development, the process of making it was both educational and fun and I hope that gamers will find it as fun to play."
Also featured in this update is a much-awaited performance upgrade, which streamlines graphics rendering to produce better frame-rates and a generally smoother gameplay. This patch will also bring further improvements to Tractor Beam towing, the Universe Trader, a number of scripts and the 'mine minerals' command. For those of you who like to keep things ticking along while you do other things, this update also brings a new 'run in background' option, so you can chat to friends or surf the Egosoft forums while your factories churn out wares! If you're using this option, you may want to park your ship somewhere safe before you alt-tab out of the game - you could end up in an asteroid or 400km from the sector's centre! The update also adds a number of new Mission Director variables and attributes, in addition to a couple of script commands. There will also be more info available about marines in menus, as well as more ship information available in shipyard and HQ menus.
As well as adding in new content and features, we've also fixed some of those annoying little bugs. Some graphical and turret configuration issues have been fixed. The patrol and defend sector commands have also been fixed. Additionally the rear turret compatibility of the Springblossom has been reverted to its pre-2.0 configuration.
Once more the testing of this update has been extended to our Devnet Level 3 friends, so special thanks go to them and to the regular beta testers and volunteer developers for making 2.1 the update it is. We at Egosoft sincerely hope you enjoy the improvements, fixes and features it brings.
Xperimental Shuttle Now in Paper
Last Summer we featured the paper model of an Argon Buster prepared and constructed by Ciprian (aka the4ce). By popular demand he has prepared the legendary X-Shuttle that propelled Kyle Brennan into the X-Universe.
You can now download the files required (the model pieces are in PDF format) from EGOSOFT's servers and have a go at recreating a piece of X history!
Stats Mean Prizes!
Now that you have had a chance to get used to the fact that you can save your game stats and upload them to the Egosoft servers and then see the results of your exploits both in league tables and in your personal profile, we think it's time to ratchet up the competition slightly - with a competition!
On a regular basis we will invite you to upload your stats to a special UPLINK area, so that our panel of judges can determine if you have met the victory conditions for that round of the competition. The criteria for each round could be anything from "the most stations destroyed" and "the most jumpdrive energy used" to "the most sectors found" during the competition period. We will tell you, of course, what the gameplay and victory conditions will be and also what prize you'll be playing for.
You will be given a gamestart to use (so you can assume you'll have to start a new clean game) and a goal to reach by the stated deadline. Important note: members of EGOSOFT staff will not be permitted to enter this competition and entries with the **MODIFIED** tag will not be permitted to enter (or if entered, will not be judged).
Building Factory Complexes in TC
The ability to join two or more stations together to form a factory complex was introduced in X3: Reunion and since then it has become an important aspect of many players' X-gaming. From a simple two-station 'plex to a so-called gigaplex, there are very few limitations on the scale of complex one can create. We're going to take a look at complexes and what they're all about for the benefit of those players, who haven't yet tried complex building or for whom it just seems like too much hassle. We're not going to go into too much detail here, because members of our community have already created some excellent guides.
In basic terms though, how do complexes work? You can link just about any two or more stations together using Complex Construction Kits (CCK) that can be bought from shipyards. There are some stations you can't join to a complex - a trading station, equipment dock or Player HQ, for example. The process of linking the first two stations together using CCKs creates a complex hub, which becomes the focal point for the stations' docking and station management functions.
Why do I need a complex? A time may come when you need to build a complex to get a regular and reliable source of a particular ware. Missile production complexes are quite popular for those who like to board and capture ships with M7M class ships. If you plan to play the Hub plot in TC, you'll need to build some fairly substantial complexes in order to acquire the volume of resources that the plot requires. Some players have complexes that produce everything there is to produce, thus reducing their reliance on the regular economy. The right complex in the right place can be a huge money-spinner. Put a spacefuel or spaceweed complex in a place where there's a demand and there's no law enforcement around to get in your way and you can earn a small fortune.
How important is size? That depends entirely on the volume of product that you need to generate. The bigger the complex, however, the more messy the complex could potentially become. This is where the art of complex building comes into play. It's very simple to keep adding stations to a complex to increase capacity, but if it's not done tidily, you could end up with a big clump of interstellar spaghetti (see Image 1, below left) with stations bumping into each other and it becoming more and more difficult to add more stations. There are a number of ways of getting around this issue. If you are playing or are willing to play a **modified** game, then there are scripts and mods available to make building and maintaining complexes much easier:
If you are playing the 'vanilla' game, it takes a little more work and practice to produce a pretty-looking complex. Some complex builders like to make them as compact as possible (see Image 2, above right), while the more artistic builders like to produce eye-candy complexes like the beautiful one at the top of the article. Whichever approach you take to your own complex building, the key to the complex's success is prior planning. Decide what you need to produce, which resources are needed to produce the product and what other resources you may need to get from elsewhere (this may also determine your complex's location). To determine which stations you will need and which size (there are S, M, L and XL sized stations to choose from) you may want to use one of the few "complex calculators" that are available (this one or this one, for example). The layout of your complex is really up to you to decide on, but the types of station you're adding to the complex will play an important part in how you lay it out. Similarly important to the layout is how the tubing, that the CCKs employ, joins stations together; getting this bit right can avoid the spaghetti effect mentioned earlier. A great guide to getting this bit right is available here.
One of the best ways to get into complex building is to just experiment until you find your own particular method and style. One of the key things to remember during complex construction is to save regularly. If you incorrectly place or join a station, you can simply reload and try again. From a complex-building point of view, one of the glorious things about X3 is that in the game's sandbox, you have all the time you need to hone and perfect this "art" although you may need quite a few million Credits too! There are many guides and forum threads dedicated to this complex topic (groan - ed.) far more than can be listed here and there are hundreds of community members, who will be pleased to help and advise you. Good luck and happy building!
Metalvenom Showcases TC Beauty
With enthusiasm and passion undented after narrowly missing out on the top prize in Egosoft's X3:TC Video Competition, featured in the X-News in Autumn/Winter 2008, Metalvenom has continued in his quest to showcase the outstanding and breathtaking graphics that X3: Terran Conflict has to offer. With creative juices flowing, Metalvenom has created some truly awesome video clips, which he recently posted on the popular video site, YouTube. Watching these clips in HD quality with volume turned up really is awe-inspiring. An individual, commenting on one of the clips, explained how a friend came in, thinking that the video was a promotional trailer and wondered what the gameplay would be like. He was amazed to learn he was actually watching the gameplay! Those who spend a lot of time playing Terran Conflict sometimes take the "background vistas" a little too much for granted in the quest to complete missions or expand empires. Conversely I'm sure many occasionally get completely sidetracked from the current task while they gorp at the eye candy TC offers. Now on YouTube there is a growing repository of quality videos to amaze and entertain. You may need to cover your keyboard, if it's not drool-resistant!
Metalvenom, using the YouTube moniker "X3TC Channel", has posted a very useful tutorial on there, which I'm sure will be of great help to all the budding X movie makers out there. You can read more about it by clicking here and view it directly by clicking on the image below.
I asked Metalvenom about the particular challenges that making such videos present and how satisfying the end product is. He replied, "To start filming in X3TC whilst trying to get a film look and quality feel about it takes some planning and well-placed positioning. You have to think of the scene you're looking to film and see how you can go about doing it using the X3TC engine - this includes the ships you want within the shot and where you want them. That usually means completely clearing sectors and start spawning stations and ships where you need them.
"Strafing is my main technique for many of my shots; this allows me to move past ships whilst panning the camera to where I want. So now I have to hold the [Video Enhancement Goggles'] zoom button plus the strafe key and pan the nose of the ship while adjusting speeds trying to get the perfect shot. The X3 engine is very rich in detail and really does have a film quality look to it, which makes it perfect for creating your very own epic space movies. I really can't see any other space game engine bringing that type of quality to a machinima maker like myself.
"The scenes I shoot really come to life in the editing process. After all the effort I put into placing ships and stations and getting the shots I want, it's really great to see them come together in this stage and that's when you get a great sense of accomplishment. I have recently started rendering all my movies in High Definition, as I feel that's the only way to truly bring out the awesome detail X3TC has to offer.
"I suppose the greatest feeling is the response I get from people who have viewed my movies. That really does make the hours of filming and editing really worth it and makes you want to get straight back into the game and start filming more. Creating X3 movies is never a chore for me and I always enjoy myself throughout the whole process and receiving such great feedback from the X3 community and others is such a good feeling but all this filming and editing does take my time away from actually playing the game as it should be played though, which is not good!"
You can see a great fusion of some of his finest work in one of his latest pieces, entitled "X3TC: Unofficial Trailer HD", which is officially very impressive indeed, by clicking here.
X Gets Regular Radio Slot
In a regular radio slot called 'In Game' focussing on popular PC game titles, Radio Darmstadt in Germany is dedicating two 2-hour slots twice a month over a six month period to the X series. This coverage is also streamed live on the internet and there will be live video streaming of the games being played. In their first X instalment Egosoft Director, Bernd Lehahn, was interviewed. Next on the station's hitlist is renowned X author, Helge Kautz.
If you know German and are just interested in this story, you can find out more here.
The Uninteresting Bit at the End
If you would like to get in contact with us, then feel free. E-mail: X-Universe-News@egosoft.com
With Thanks To
Translation and Proofreading
Alex Vanderbilt - DE
Ogerboss - DE
Garga-Potter - IT
Xfrench - FR
Sblade - ES
If you don't want to receive the X-Universe News any more by email, then you can change your profile on the website, just log in, go to your Profile and uncheck 'Subscribe to X-Universe News (newsletter)' - Edit Your Profile