X-Universe News

Issue 14 - July 2004

 English Version http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/200407_44News.html
 German Version http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/200407_49News.html
 Russian Version http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/200407_07News.html
Editor's Note: Dusting the cobwebs off the mailserver
Patch Me Up: Our Main Story: The Next Update - Information Here
Breaking News: We Interrupt this Newsletter
Live Reports From HQ: Invasion at Egosoft's Office
Interviews With...: Greg Kingston Interrogates Script and Mod Makers
Credits & Contact: The Uninteresting Bit!

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Editor's Note

Dusting the cobwebs off the mailserver


From the dark depths of the Egosoft mail server comes this brand spanking new copy of X-News; number 14 no less.


You may have noticed a few changes here and there. Well this is because we have given the newsletter a brand new look for a brand new time. Although the look has changed, the standard of news that we bring you will not.


We have many details about the newly released 1.4 Update. Believe me, you are going to love it. So make sure you read that.

X² and DeepSilver have been nominated for THE GOLDEN JOYSTICK AWARDS 2004 so be sure to check out the "Breaking News" section.

We have some news too about other versions of X² in other languages, and their release status.

People interested in the game and its future incarnations also invaded the Egosoft HQ recently in the first X-Con of 2004! We have some thoughts on that later on.


This is now starting to become longer than an article, so I will stop there, allow you sit back, relax, and let you read on with X-News XIV.


Jon Handby

Patch Me Up

The Next Update - Information Here


The long awaited 1.4 Update has been released, and we are going to tell you what major things have been changed in it.


The most controversial change is that TP ships will never be the same again.

Although the class of cargo they can transport has been reduced from XL to L for all TP’s, all TS class ships are getting upgrades in the area of speed and cargo space.


"Your Trade Dock"
You can now buy some new stations at shipyards. Trade and Equipment Docks can now be player owned and operated. Use at your own will, and decide what they can buy and sell using a familiar interface.



"Artificial Life"
It has been mentioned that something called the AL engine has been added; this is a very cool feature that brings more life to the universe. You will see Passenger ships transporting people between stations, task forces sent out to clear any hostiles, and there are patrol ships defending sectors like never before.

"Xenon Invasion"
There will also be a new mission available to you in some sectors. Do you have the capability to destroy a Xenon Invasion? Can you work along side the normal sector defences? If so then this is for you...



"Capturable Khaak"
For advanced players, the next major change allows you to capture and pilot Khaak Ships! These strange ships from an alien race, could not be piloted until now unless you used a mod.


There are also several fixes to the previous update:


  • Collision avoidance improved along with AI in general
  • Some joystick throttles causing the cockpit to judder
  • Various BBS missions updated, specifically no more negative rewards
  • Player-owned ships will not leave their homebase jump range radius any longer
  • And many more fixes...


There are also more additions to help manage your empire more closely, including more filters in the ‘property owned’ menu.


  • Optional hull/shields indicator
  • Optional additional ship activity details
  • Filtering by ship type
  • Filtering by action
  • Filtering by status (e.g. under attack)
  • Filtering by homebase setting


This update will also allow for the future addition of the Universe Trader, a new improvement on the popular Sector Trader Upgrade, which, like many other Scripts, will be available shortly.


Well that's all for now. 

If you wish to discuss this news then feel free to post in the forums. http://forum.egosoft.com/


Jon Handby and Greg Kingston

Breaking News

We Interrupt this Newsletter


We were about to make the final preparations when we received this latest news:


X² - The Threat has been nominated for Best PC Game and Best Overall Game of 2004! I am sure you will join us in congratulating everyone involved.


To add to this, the publisher Deep Silver has also been nominated for Best Publisher!


A massive thanks to everyone who contributes to this game and its communities.




Please click the link to vote and have your say in who the winners will be! http://www.computerandvideogames.com/front_joysticks/


Please note that more than one vote and all your votes will automatically be discounted.


Michael Baumgardt


X-Gold is coming back!


For all X-Fans in the UK out there we have some good news. If you were unable to get hold of a copy of X-Gold when it was originally released 3 years ago, you will soon be able to buy a new copy of the two in one pack towards the end of the month. THQ are re-releasing X-Gold in budget form.


Jon Handby


EGOSOFT Home Shopping News


French, Italian and Polish versions of X² were recently released, however they will not be purchasable from the Egosoft shop.

The Russian version has also been released within the past week.


X²: The Threat, has dropped in price at the Egosoft Shop, so if you haven’t bought a copy yet, it could be very worth looking at the Egosoft shop.


Jon Handby

Live Reports From HQ

Invasion at Egosoft's Office


Not so long ago was the German X-Convention at the Egosoft Office. I didn’t go but a few people have sent me some interesting notes about their experience. We don’t want to say too much, but here are a few interesting parts.




When I opened the door my first reaction was: Wow! What a crowd in such a small place, they are going to feed all of them?

My second thought was: How do I know who everybody is?

Then I saw all this duct tape with names on them on the clothes of the people.

Before I wrote my own name I made a round trough the building and looked at all the nametags of the people. My main goal was to meet the people that I have met on the chat and talk to them, and off course met the Egosoft crew.

The first one I met was Helgek. He could not be missed. When I found them I saw some other also standing there.

I talked about X² and the future of X². But also about some stuff in X² that was not perfect yet and discussed how we could change it. Sorry guys and girls, NDA, I cannot tell more.


Then I heard they started the next information session. So I moved myself into the crowd and I found the duck tape again. So I wrote my name down and stuck it on my clothes.

After 5 minutes it was clear for me, It would take me too much energy to understand every word they said.

So I went back and talked with Steel who just arrived. It was fun to speak with him.




During the meeting itself (the second one after the X-Con in November 2001) I met many old friends but also some new people I never had met before in real life. I only knew their names from the forum and the chatrooms. At the X-Con several events took place simultaneously in most cases. While you could listen to the basics of a topic in one room, the professionals came to the point in another room. Amateurs like me better avoided the hard brainwork of the professional script editor or 3dsmax courses. That's why I predominantly visited the easier discussions. At least I was able to understand what people talked about there ;). In between you could take part in the trumps contest or test your knowledge about the details of the X universe in the Ferd Harling quiz. Helge Kautz read out some chapters of his new German novel 'Nopileos', and the attendant crowd was really impressed.

From morning to the night the Egosoft crew never got tired of supplying us with food, and as soon as one of the many dishes was almost empty, they brought new ones. You just couldn't miss it out. Although there was quite much to see and to hear during the meeting, there still was enough time to talk shop with old and new friends, so that everyone was well informed at the end. Finally the EGO crew met the challenge to answer all the topics they were asked in a question time and told us about new features that are planned and about the future of the X series itself.



And no, this isn’t a game of “Where’s Wally?", this really is the group photo of the event. I feel sorry for the neighbours and whoever did the catering.



Jon Handby and Interviewees

Interviews With...

Greg Kingston Interrogates Script and Mod Makers


As we all know, for some time now the scripting facility has been available in the game.  I must confess, whilst I don't have any real knowledge in this area, it is certainly very interesting as it can open up a whole new dimension on the game.  For those who haven't experienced it yet, scripting basically opens up the game completely, with new commands possible, new ship behaviour, all manner of things to make the game truly individual.


What was clear of course is that nobody else in the community outside of the beta testers and developers had a clue either.  However, in a very short space of time, interest grew and with that came some fantastic user modifications and compliments to the game.  Believe me, the people doing this have experienced more CTDs than you can possibly imagine, bringing you some excellent changes to the game.


You have already seen what one the volunteer developers have been doing with Apoch's Interview http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=50020. And now we have been lucky enough to get some of their stories and comments here:





My name is Larry Ted McBride. Friends call me Ted and on the Egosoft forums I am know as Kailric.  I am but a humble carpenter and computer gamer from Alabama, USA, who has come to enjoy the hobby of scripting in the X² universe.

I first came across a copy of X: Beyond the Frontier at a computer software store and after reading the back of the box to learn what it was about and also seeing the reasonable price I had to get it. I have always been a fan of space sims, Privateer being my favourite, and after playing X, I was instantly hooked and have been a fan ever sense. I am so grateful for the hard work the Dev's at Egosoft have put into the X series, as it is wonderful entertainment. And even more grateful for the customisation that has been included with X².

After becoming addicted to X²'s unique play and grand scale, I like all true fans, began to wonder and dream about what improvements could be made to the game that would add to the atmosphere and fun that is X². To me, combat was one of the areas I felt needed improved the most. And after the official release of the access to the script editor I began to investigate just what could be improved and how much power the Dev's had given us. To my joy, I discovered lots of improvements could be made and the Dev's had given us a superb tool to work with. With lots of help from fans on the forums, namely Dr.Xavia (moggy2) at Xai Corp, I began work on what we now call the Xai Corp Advanced AI Project. It is a major overhaul of the AI for both the player owned ships and the enemy AI ships. In working on these scripts making the AI more challenging by using real to life tactics has been my goal. That is, while scripting I think, "what would a real person do" and use those thoughts to drive the creation of each script. To that end, enemy ships will now perform advanced defence moves, effectively defend themselves against missiles, fire while tailing their victims, and have a slightly better load out to name only some of the many improvements that have be made thus far. And as for player owned ships, they can now be equipped with new software that will effectively teach them to do battle in space. As they survive these battles they will improve in combat intelligence, gain rank and also gain special skills similar to those of the new enemy AI.  There are several extra features that come packed with the new AI that also adds to the atmosphere of the game.

Right now the Advanced AI Project is still in its beginning stages even as good as it may seem to some. All bugs, when found, will be fixed and more improvements to how the AI acts and thinks in battle will be made. New skills and abilities will also be added and the user interface more streamlined and easier to read. With the next major update I hope to add the ability to "hire" real pilots to fly player owned ships. These pilots will have their very own unique skill sets, wages, attitude, and bonuses in combat. They to will also gain skill, rank, and abilities. Some may even be more of the freelancer type with their own ships and goals. I also plan to work on projects that will add to the new Artificial Life Engine (AL) system that will be added in the next official update. And as always all user feed back is appreciated and any improvements or ideas you may have is most welcome. One last thanks to the Dev's and a thanks to all the fans who have helped with this project.





How did I find X²? In Early 2000 I was looking for a modern Elite type game and came up with X-BTF. It looked like just what I was looking for so I bought it. This community has been stuck with me ever since.


One of the key things for me, when writing scripts, is that they fit in the existing Universe. I've been flying round the X-Universe for several years now, I think I've got a pretty good idea of what makes it tick. I'm just trying to expand on what's already there. I'm not interested in making it more like a Star Trek Universe or a Freelancer Universe.

The other key thing for me is that I'm still playing the game while I'm writing, even when X² isn't running. Xai Corporation is an Argon Company, in competition with other software developers in the X-Universe, so the scripts need to be as polished and professional looking as possible when released. Typically it's another week before after I've think I've got it working, to when I think it's fit to release. One of the downsides to this maybe that these scripts don't get the coverage of other scripts on the forums simply because there are very few bugs to moan about.

When I'm writing, I don't just work on one project until it's finished. I work on what I need to advance in my game, so I've normally got several project fragments on the go at any one time. For example, when working on Auto mining I needed some way to get my mining fleet quickly from the Ore Belt to Sizewell, so I started Jumpdrive Commands. Then I needed some way of quickly equipping the entire fleet and fuelling them for the jump, so I started Fleet Support Ship.

At the moment I've got a few interesting things growing in my game. Probably the first one to emerge will be a suite of remote trading commands, ranging from manual commands like "go buy this" to being able to set up a trade convoy between two sectors. That's developed a lot from the initial idea of simply trading convoys. I had to start from scratch on the trading aspect because every other trading script buys first then looks for somewhere to sell. For a convoy, you already know where you're selling so you need to buy something that you'll be able to sell when you get there.


If you haven't visited yet, have a look in the Scripts & Modding Forum http://forum.egosoft.com/viewforum.php?f=25 where these guys and many others ply their wares.  I think we all agree they deserve a huge clap on the back for the efforts that they have put into X².


Do you want a spot in the next X-News?  Done something great that the community should know about?  PM "The_Abyss" on the forums, and we'll try to get it into the next issue.  Once again, a huge thanks to those who contributed to this newsletter, and more so for the contributions they have made to X².


Greg Kingston and Interviewees

Credits & Contact

The Uninteresting 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


Editor in Chief’s

Darren Astles - Great Britain

Michael Baumgardt - Deutschland


Issue Editor

Jonathan Handby



Greg "Abyss" Kingston


Translation and Proofreading



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