X-Universe News

Issue 42 - February 2011

This Issue

  english flag English Version http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/201102_1_44News.html  
  german flag Deutsche Version http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/201102_1_49News.html  
  Italian Flag Versione Italiana http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/201102_1_39News.html  
  french flag Version Française http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/201102_1_33News.html  
spanish flag Versión en Español http://www.egosoft.com/x/xnews/201102_1_34News.html
Introduction A Few Words from the Editor...
X3: Terran Conflict Update 3.1 is Available!
Transcend 2 Beyond the X-Universe
X-Tended - Terran Conflict Into the Unknown
A Day in the Life of... Alex Preuss - EGOSOFT Art Director
Forum Signatures Licensed to Kill
Modding and Scripting A Few Words from Bernd
Credits & Contacts: The Uninteresting Bit at the End

This Newsletter has been optimised for 800x600 viewing.



A Few Words from the Editor...


Welcome to the 42nd edition of the X-Universe News. Welcome also to 2011 and what promises to be another momentous year for EGOSOFT as momentum gathers in the development of the project known as TNBT (The Next Big Thing). We're not quite ready to shout, or even whisper, about it just yet but as soon as we are, you guys will certainly be among the first to know. In the meantime X3: Terran Conflict gets perhaps its final bug-splat in the guise of Update 3.1. As it's over two years now since the release of the game, the attention of many gamers may turn to modifications to extend the game's playability. There are some great add-ons, plug-ins and scripts which can enhance the original game, but some modders like to go that extra mile and 'redesign' the whole game. In this first edition of 2011 we'll be taking a look at a couple of those large-scale community mods, Transcend 2 and the recently-released X-tended - Terran Conflict, both of which require completely new game installations and feature totally new universes. If you like your interviews, then this edition is jam-packed with interrogation of some of the guys involved in the mods, so you can get a better idea of what's involved. Continuing the 'Day in the Life of...' feature, we also take a look at how EGOSOFT Art Director, Alex Preuss, fills an average working day. Also in this issue, we'll be taking a quick look at how one forum user's artwork could help you to show off your in-game persona. Since we've dedicated a big chunk of this edition to mods, it's perhaps fitting that Bernd Lehahn, EGOSOFT Managing Director, concludes it with a few words to the community about his and the company's position on the promotion and hosting of mods and scripts.


Happy Reading!



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X3: Terran Conflict

Update 3.1 is Available!


With most of the EGOSOFT team now working full steam ahead on The Next Big Thing, there has been little time to attend to the little niggles that still exist in X3: Terran Conflict. It's very pleasing then that an opportunity has arisen for what is perhaps a final update for the game. There are no major features to speak of but a number of text, mission and other bugs have been squished in addition to a couple of fixes for the Balance of Power missions released with Update 3.0. It has taken a little while to get round to this due to other priorities but we appreciate your patience and hope you'll find the update a useful one.


 - Fixed occasional freeze issue in the Balance of Power mission

 - Fixed case where the Balance of Power achievement may not unlock

 - Some minor mission fixes

 - Fixed some map issues (for new games only)

 - Several text fixes

 - Fixed blank messages when object names are coloured by mods

 - Fixed several passenger transport missions which could break in some circumstances

 - Added Cargo Lifesupport System to Boron Angel


X3: Terran Conflict Update 3.1 can be found in our Download area.



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Transcend 2 Mod

Beyond the X-Universe


One of the key aims of the X-Universe News is to bring you the very latest news on what's going on in the wider X Community. The Transcend 2 mod, however, has been out in the wild for over a year now and it's probably a good idea, as it has received some major improvements, to bring it to your attention, if it isn't already keeping you awake at night.


The mod is the second in the Transcend series of mods and draws on the modding, scripting and Misson Directing skills of some of the community's most talented members. In a completely new universe, the mod continues the X mantra of TRADE FIGHT BUILD THINK. There are many new ships, new gamestarts, new missions and much more. As a so-called Major Mod, it's one of those projects which requires a totally fresh start, something which some players are looking for over two years since the release of X3: TC. In order to understand more about how this project came about and what it has tried to achieve, I posed some questions to its lead developers, Observe and Stu Austin.



Toastie - It's been released for over a year now...


1 - What was the initial inspiration behind the mod?


Observe - With Mission Director for X3-Reunion, I recognized the potential for creating a mod that was much more than simply a collection of new ships. Using models I had created for XFP mod, I embarked on designing a mod based on a “story” starting in the Terran sectors. So the “initial inspiration” was born out of the powerful capabilities of Mission Director.


2 - How well do you think it has met your initial goals?


Observe - Our goal was to make the Transcend story come “alive” in X3. I believe we have been successful in doing that.


3 - Has user feedback resulted in any significant changes?


Stu Austin - The user feedback has been very well received and changes were made with the feedback.

Observe - Development of a community mod largely depends on the players so we measure our success and make changes based on user feedback.


Toastie - As with many mods, it's a team effort...


1 - How difficult was it to find the right people with the right skills to do the job?


Observe - Finding “multi-talented” people is not easy. For example, there are people who can create 3D models, but who are unable to get their models into the game. There are scripters who cannot work with Mission Director. One of the reasons we’ve been able to release in record time is because each member of our team has been able apply themselves in a variety of areas depending on need.


2 - Was there a shortage of skills in any particular area that might perhaps be filled by aspiring modders/scripters?


Observe - X3 offers a huge variety of modding opportunities. For example, with Transcend we require skills in such diverse areas as: audio, video, scripting, Mission Director, software development, Galaxy map, the various T files, modeling, texturing, documentation, project management, user support and many others.


3 - Do you have any particular message for the team of people involved, now that 'Transcend 2' has matured and grown in the past year?


Stu Austin - I would very much like to thank Observe for including me since the conception of the Transcend series, for asking me to be a part of it and for giving me the chance to participate in the modding community. Also thanks to those who have helped directly or indirectly: DannyD, TheDante, Killerog, Crip67, Realspace, Ketraar, Cycrow, Xenon_Slayer and others to numerous to mention; as well as the fans for their support.

Observe - Stu Austin has persisted tirelessly and with good spirit throughout the long, sometimes very tedious process of bringing Transcend to fruition. In addition to those Stu mentioned, no such list is complete without thanks to Doubleshadow for his wonderful modding tools and also to Egosoft for their intelligent and consistent support of the modding community.



Toastie - It's set in a totally new galaxy...


1 - Although the established X races are there, there's a very different sector-naming system. What was the inspiration for that?


Observe - One of the first things I did for Transcend 2 was create an entirely new galaxy map. As you know, this involves a huge amount of very detailed effort. I didn’t want to spend too much time in the early stages coming up with approximately 200 sector names, so I used a random Latin star-name generator. I intended to eventually take time to name the sectors differently, but there were always higher priorities – so the original names still remain.


2 - With nearly 200 sectors to come up with, how difficult was it to give each its own uniqueness and character?


Stu Austin - It was very challenging making the map come alive after Observe designed the "roadmap" of the galaxy and trying to give each sector a unique look.

Observe - Challenging is right! Stu and I spent many hours editing and re-editing the contents of each sector. One of the first things was to determine race distribution in the galaxy. Based on that, we then needed to establish connections for optimum trading, challenging exploration and visual appearance. Creating an X-Universe galaxy map is almost like creating an entire living organism. Everything has to fit and flow together in symbiosis.


3 - What were your primary considerations when designing the galaxy map?


Stu Austin - After Observe designed the layout of the map, one of the considerations was to make it a separate look and feel from the standard X3 map since Transcend II was to be set in a completely different galaxy.

Observe - One of the primary considerations was achieving a functioning trading system consistent with the sector layout and race distribution. This involved creating custom Jobs and JobWings so the galaxy would be “alive” with AI ships. Factories, Shipyards, Docks etc all needed strategic placement.


Toastie - The mod includes a number of new missions...


1 - How do these differ from the stock missions of the 'vanilla' game?


Stu Austin - With the stock missions of the vanilla game, you basically had to start from scratch and build your way up. What’s very unique about Transcend II is right from the get go, your goal is to find and take command of an existing Lost Fleet. You will receive rewards as you go along and it will allow you to start building up your fleet and spread your wings with it.

Observe - Some of the new missions are related to the overall plot, and others are designed to enhance the overall “feel” of the new galaxy. Many of the vanilla missions exist in Transcend because they are perfectly compatible with the new galaxy.


2 - How useful has the Mission Director been in making these possible?


Stu Austin - With the Mission Director, it made it very possible to create a mod with character. With both Observe and me doing it together, it was great learning from him. The possibilities with the Mission Director are endless. With the Mission Director, more missions can be created as the mod progresses.

Observe - We jumped on MD as soon as it became available for X3-Reunion, and have been using it effectively ever since. Without MD, the plot and missions presented in Transcend would not be feasible. In addition, there are many powerful things you can do with MD that don’t really qualify as “missions”. For example, in Transcend 2 we have a hollow asteroid with a special jump-gate inside sealed by an exterior door with three colored spheres above it. The door will open if you fire your laser at those spheres in a specific sequence. All of that, including the jump-gate inside, is controlled by Mission Director.


3 - Do the missions form any sort of plot, or is the mod just a sandbox?


Stu Austin - I think it does form a plot. In the game-start Lost in Space, you have to find the Lost Fleet which got separated from you as they went through the wormhole from the X3 Galaxy. As you progress through the plot, you are asked to help stop Invasions in the Transcend II galaxy and at the same time are progressing towards finding the Lost Fleet. At the end, you have a nice Fleet, your own sector and the HQ along with the blueprints of the OSR ships. With the Fleet, you will have a job on your hands protecting the universe, especially with the “Mech Queen” on the prowl.

Observe - A big part of the attraction of Transcend 2 for experienced players is that as well as having a quest, it offers a fresh new galaxy “sandbox” to roam around in.



Toastie - There are many new ships too, with some interesting designs...


1 - How many modelers were involved in the design of the new ships?


Observe - I designed most of the ships and other models used in the mod to serve as “characters” in the overall Transcend story. Crip67 donated some Terran ships, and Killerog provided some nice formidable Pirate vessels.


2 - Were some of the ships designed with the mod's goals in mind or did they already exist before the mod?


Observe - Some of the models I created for XFP (Xperiment Fusion Project) mod, carried over into Transcend.


3 - If you had to choose a favorite ship model, which would it be?


Stu Austin - My favorite ship is the Frigate. Flying it makes me feel like nothing can touch me.

Observe - It’s hard for me to say because each model represents some kind of research into modding the game. For example, the second ship I put into the game soon after I became interested in modding X3 was the “Mobile Fortress”. That ship began as an investigation into the X3 docking mechanism. Then there is the “Hailstorm Destroyer” which served as a platform for exploring different types of custom turrets. So my favorite models are related to the technical challenges involved with their design. As such, I might lean toward the Hailstorm Destroyer because of its very unique “wheel turret” design.


My thanks to Observe and Stu Austin for taking time out during the holiday season to answer my questions. Click here for more information about Transcend 2.



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X-Tended - Terran Conflict Mod

Into the Unknown


EGOSOFT is very pleased to share with the X3: Terran Conflict gaming community news that the X-Tended - Terran Conflict (XTC) mod has been released. After a lengthy development phase this modification, which uses the Terran Conflict game engine and is set in an entirely new universe of nearly two hundred sectors sees its official public unveiling. This massive mod features a completely new ship and weapon balance, numerous gameplay enhancements, streamlined asset management, many new weapons, wares, missiles, ships and missions. There is also a completely new map and a setting that is faithful to the official lore laid out by the books and games. The scope of this development marks it out as being one of the most extensive mods created for an X-series game.


The mod's team leader, Aragon Speed, said of its release, "The X-Tended Team would like to thank the community for their patience during the long development time of X-Tended - Terran Conflict. We hope you all agree with us that the wait was worth it. I hope that Bernd [Lehahn], Helge [Kautz] and the rest of the EGOSOFT development team like the direction we decided to take with XTC and that we carry on the X name in a manner that matches the tradition started by EGOSOFT in X-BTF. Of course our development of X-Tended does not stop here; the mod will continue to evolve and grow over time until we can create something truly memorable for the last game in the X series."



I interrupted Aragon Speed's post-Christmas reverie with a few questions about the project. Here's what he had to say:



With a large-scale mod like this how difficult was it to build a totally new universe while trying to remain faithful to the existing lore?


Aragon Speed

We took the decision to not to expand the existing universe because of the risk of over-stretching the game’s engine to the point where the mod would be unplayable. Instead we decided to create a new universe, but unfortunately this left us with the problem of making it at least plausible rather than "Here's a new universe just because we wanted to make one, it has absolutely nothing to do with the old one, so deal with it!". We could have just created a new universe and the community would probably have liked it, but we felt that would be cheap and we also wanted it to fit into a possible branch of the X lore.


To cut a long story short, Aldrin was chosen as the point of connection between the commonwealth sectors that everyone knew and the new sectors we have in XTC. As an area that was from before the Terraformer wars, Aldrin must have originally had connections to the old gate network that Earth had built during that time period and thus wouldn't the races be interested in opening those connections up again?


As the X-Tended team have always liked to push the boundaries of the game's engine, this lead to the idea of having a universe that was actually expanding around the player while they were playing the game to simulate the fact that this was a new area of space that the races were exploring and expanding into. A simple idea, but it's the simple ones that can quickly turn into more work than anyone expects.


Working out station placement so the economy is stable is a huge problem. Creating an economy that works not only in the short term, but also over the long term, is no easy task when all the sectors are available from the start of the game. To create one that is stable when you have a universe that is dynamically changing all around you while you are playing... well let's just say this is a whole different level of difficulty. So to answer your original question, not easy at all.




In a universe so new and different there is still so much that is familiar; in your view what is the most jaw-dropping or eye-popping in-game feature?


Aragon Speed

Man, I hate this sort of question, there is never a definitive answer as it depends on your point of view. As a developer I have to say the answer is fairly easy, it would be the massive amount of work that went into re-balancing the game. Between the economy, weapons, missiles and ships, that really is an eye-popping amount of work to both do and to test. From a player's point of view the answer is less easy. I would have to say the most 'WOW!' thing the mod as a whole has is the way the game now feels.


Combat is probably the most immediately-noticeable change for the player. It's no longer easy as the ships have now had balancing done on them to not only fit into much tighter class definitions (M5, M4, M3 etc.). They have also been tweaked to make them more effective in the hands of the AI. The new weapons and how they are placed on ships have also been changed as we now use custom-built equipment lists that will adapt to the new difficulty settings we have added. Easier settings will fit less powerful weapons, while harder settings will equip more powerful ones and/or place nasty surprises on the ships for the player (anyone in an M5/M4 who has run across a PBE rear turret on a fighter will know exactly what I mean).


We also expanded the tools available to the trader and streamlined the interface as much as possible so anything we have added feels like it was a part of the original game rather than a tacked-on after-thought that was added just because it was needed. The amount of script work going on behind the scenes to make everything look and feel right is not inconsiderable either. The music was carefully chosen for each sector, and the amount of music work we chucked away just because it didn't fit the feel of the mod, the race, or the sector, has probably given the sound team more stress than joy for the most part. Even the background textures for the sectors were chosen or created to help convey a specific feeling for the sector they were placed in. The sector descriptions and the Galactic News Service both add an extra level of immersion for the player and actually give the new universe a depth that is perceptible.



What is the appeal of playing X-Tended – Terran Conflict to a player who is still enjoying their Terran Conflict game?


Aragon Speed

The challenge. The type of person who plays a game like Terran Conflict is in it for the long haul. They are not after a quick five-minute fix of something fun (that's what the Wii is for). They invest a large amount of time into the game. Nothing quite compares to dragging your sorry butt up from nothing to become ruler of the universe. XTC makes this process more rewarding for the player. Gaining your first M6, for example, now actually feels like a well-earned achievement. I am filled with respect for EGOSOFT for continuing on with a type of game that is currently out of fashion in the larger gaming community, for not bowing to the whim of the masses and for creating games that have a depth and long-term appeal that most modern games severely lack. However, I think most people would agree with me when I say that Terran Conflict was pushed towards the mainstream a little too much, and thus lost some of its appeal due to the rewards being far too easily gained to cater to the more casual gamer. You lost that sense of achievement the earlier games in the series gave you and became bored with playing much quicker as a result. XTC aims to add the challenge and sense of achievement back into the game.




With which ship(s) in the mod are you most pleased?


Aragon Speed

All of them? OK, I'm not going to get away with that answer, am I? Of the new ships we have added ourselves, I have to say I love the new Boron M2+. It looks great, plus I like the little internal tunnel you can fly an M5 through - a nice little feature I don't think anyone has found yet. A very close second has to be the new USC ships. Our modelling team have done a great job of making them look like USC ships while at the same time being totally different from the stock game’s generic kit-bash models.


My favourite ship-related feature, however, is not a new model, it is the way we have improved all the capital ships in the game by making them act more like capital ships. Attack an M1 and it will not only fire back at you like they did in a vanilla game, it will also give you a face full of fighters to deal with as it will launch its ships to help defend itself. If fighters are destroyed it will order new ones from its race’s wharf, and these will actually fly from the wharf to the M1. Damaged fighters are repaired by the M1 when they dock and, depending on their pilot aggression, will bug out and fly back to the M1 for repairs, then launch again when they are ready. If you actually destroy a capital ship, then the crew will try to escape in escape pods before the whole ship blows. Overall, capital ships feel a little bit more 'real' than they did before.



The planned plot-lines didn’t make version 1, so what action can we expect in that regard in future updates?


Aragon Speed

I don't want to give away too much information here however I can say that there are multiple new plots planned. One involves the cold war between Aldrin and the Terrans, another involves the Xenon, and a third involves the Kha'ak. We have ideas for other plots as well, but they are just that at the moment, ideas. We won't begin work on those until the current three are done and out to the public, otherwise we will become snowed under with work and the player will be kept waiting longer than is needed.



If you had to name one feature in X-Tended – Terran Conflict that you feel players may find annoying, what would it be?


Aragon Speed

Probably the larger sector sizes, they are massive compared to Terran Conflict's. They can range from about seventy kilometres to one-hundred-and-twenty kilometres between gates and take a long time to cross. From a lore perspective, in the original universe the Teladi had moved the gates in sectors closer together to allow trade to be more efficient, but this is a new area of space and the Teladi haven't been able to drag gates around yet. From a game-play point of view, we wanted to return to the feeling you had way back in the original X – Beyond the Frontier game. It took time to cross sectors. You actually had the feeling of being lost in a very small ship in a very large universe.


We have tried to make XTC less player-centric and make the universe feel like it exists on its own and not for the player’s convenience. This is also reflected in another potentially annoying (at first) feature - targets in missions can and will be attacked by race police and military if they are an enemy of that race or a known criminal, resulting in the mission target being destroyed before the player can even reach it - annoying mainly because the player will be trying to compare XTC to the vanilla experience. As I mentioned before, the universe no longer revolves around the player and the player will have to work harder to make his mark on it.


You can view a trailer video of this new modification by clicking here and read more about the project by clicking here.


The mod itself can be downloaded from the EGOSOFT website.



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A Day in the Life of...

Alex Preuss, EGOSOFT Art Director


Hi, folks. My name is Alexander Preuss and I am the Art Director and Lead Artist here at Egosoft. I live in Aachen not far from Egosoft headquarters and I have been employed here for about 10 years but not for the whole time, for personal reasons, but that’s another story.


I would like to tell you a bit more about me. What I like, for example, is good movies, my Wacom graphic tablet, my XBOX, swimming and other sports, having a beer after work and I love my wife and my budgies. What I don't like are people who are arrogant, ignorant, frustrated with their whole life or just simply stupid.


So what about my work? I love my job. And it’s great if you have the chance to do things in your job which you also like to do in your free time. So I would like to show you what a typical day in my life looks like and I hope you enjoy it.



8:00 AM

Monday morning at 8:00 AM the horrible sound of my wife’s Nokia mobile phone burns into my head and I don't look forward to leaving my cosy little bed but after a short time we are finally ready to get up. The daily fight for the bathroom is on and unfortunately my wife wins every time.


8:30 AM

Coffee time. I am still not 100 per cent awake but I try to help my body a bit with an injection of pure black and damn hot coffee before I even can think about going to work.


8:40 AM

Having a shower and brushing my teeth... the usual stuff you do every morning.


9:00 AM

Clothes... check!

Mobile Phone... check!

Keys... check!

Head... check! ;)



9:10 AM

Now follows the horrible task of driving the race circuit to work with all the little harassments like radar [speed] controls, red traffic lights, not-awake drivers and so on. But during the last few years I’ve earned enough XP to find the quickest and fastest way to the office.


9:30 AM

I arrive at the office and look for a parking space, which is actually a very hard task. You have only two choices here - either park in front of the office and pay 5 Euros if you forget to adjust your parking disk, which unfortunately happens very often, or make the neighbourhood angry when parking in a small street near the office, which actually makes for more fun. :) But today I choose the more convenient option and park my car in front of the office.


9:35 AM

Hello everyone!


9:40 AM

After some brief socialisation with all the available colleagues and starting my PC there is always a few minutes left to get another cup of coffee. After logging in I first check all my new mails. It takes a few minutes to get through all of them and if there something related to the Art Department, I give a quick reply if possible. This goes then out to the rest of the team and also to Peter [Kullgard], our project manager and to Bernd the owner of the company. Meanwhile I’ve started up all the programs I need to work, such as 3DS Max, Photoshop and some other tiny tools that make an artist’s life easier.


9:50 AM

I have a short meeting with the Art Department to look at the progress of things and to give some feedback and advice if needed. Now finally I can start working on the stuff I left before the weekend but after only a few minutes I get the first interruption - some work must be re-scheduled in the project plan, so I have to sit down with the rest of the Art Department to re-plan some things for the next days and weeks.


10:30 AM

Back at my desk and starting to work… followed from the next interruption for today - one of the programmers has a few questions about one of the art assets which unfortunately causes a problem, so I take the time to answer him, to look at the file, and to find out how to fix the problem. Not as easy as I thought this time. I need some help from another programmer to fix the problem. Thereafter everything works fine and I can continue my work.


11:30 AM

My stomach starts to bellow and what now follows is one of Egosoft’s greatest traditions. Everyday sometimes earlier, sometimes later, there are a few employees here that group together and have a walk to one of the greatest and most mysterious places on Earth: the NETTO discount supermarket. Here you get everything from frozen hamburgers and microwave chips to t-shirts and jogging clothes. I get my lunch and a few bottles of Coke and water for those who were too lazy to join us. And on the way back to the office I have the chance to reset my parking disk.


11:40 AM

During lunch break there is some time to check out what’s happening in the rest of the world.


11:59 AM

I lock the door of the Art Department to have some privacy and to not be disturbed for the next few hours.


3:00 PM

Meeting time. Every Monday we have a short meeting of the whole team and everyone has a chance to explain what he did last week and what is planned for the coming days.


3:25 PM

Thereafter follows a short social break-out next to our billiard table, talking about programming stuff and also art assets. Everything works hand-in-hand here and if someone has a cool idea about a new feature or to improve the graphic quality it is always good to discuss this in a larger group so the chance of possible bugs can be minimized.


6:20 PM

Almost done with my stuff for today and it’s nearly beer o'clock. :)


6:30 PM

Done! I pack my things together, shut down my PC and say goodbye to the rest of the team. Then standing in front of my car, I remember very quickly that I forgot something… damn it! I got a 5 Euro parking ticket for not resetting my parking disk! :)


7:00 PM

The ride home always takes a bit longer due to all the beer o'clock traffic and with getting home comes the horrible task of finding a parking space. Living within the city has a lot of pros and cons, the biggest con is that it is almost impossible to find a parking space after 18:00. One ticket was enough for today so I decide to park a bit further away this time and have a nice walk home.


7:15 PM

Home sweet home. The first thing to do is to check if everything is fine with all my budgies and cockatiels - I have 9 of them. My wife, Alex, is still at work so...there is enough time for me to prepare the evening dinner... and to have a nice cold glass of beer, Becks to be more precise. ;)


7:45 PM

Dinner is ready and I already started my home PC to check my private stuff and I also dress in something more comfortable.


8:15 PM

My wife is finally back from work. Now follows the hugging, kissing and 'how was your day?' stuff . We have our dinner in front of the TV, watching the evening news and the Simpsons. Thereafter we move over to our little hobby-room and start to do what we like. No… not that. ;)


9:00 PM

Mirco, an old friend of ours, comes for a visit. I start our projector and we sit down to watch a movie, this time it is Inception. I quickly prepare some last-minute snacks and some drinks for the flick.


11:30 PM

My wife is tired and goes to bed. Mirco stays a bit longer and we decide to have a short match on Halo Reach.


1:00 AM

Mirco leaves and I just sit in front of my PC with a glass of wine and let the rest of the evening pass very smoothly.


1:30 AM

That's it. Good night, everyone!


Well if you would like to learn a bit more about me, I would like to invite you to visit my private homepage www.abalakin.de. Here you can find out what I do in the rest of my free time.



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Forum Signatures

Licensed to Kill


The EGOSOFT forums now have well over 360,000 registered users, many thousands of which have attached signatures. There is an astounding range of creative and artistic signatures, which tell us something about the users in question. Some signatures are not X-related, but many thousands are and attempt to show the individual's passion for a certain aspect of the X gaming franchise. One forum user, Freya Nocturne (formerly chobit-389), has come up with a clever way for users to share their in-game persona with fellow forum users. As you're aware, in the X series of games, so-called 'Police Licences' allow the player to receive bounty payments for destroying pirates or enemy ships. Freya Nocturne has brought this licence concept to the forum signature using his artwork and your in-game info.


You can choose a licence according to your favourite race or faction and append badges to show your current trade and fight rank. On the main licence you can add your name, date of issue, the classes of ship you fly, your 'home' sector, a 'photo' and a signature. The design and layout of the licences has already undergone an update for 2011. Here's Freya Nocturne's forum signature as an example:


Licence Image


The creation of your own personal licence will require the use of a reasonably good image-editing program but once complete, you will be able to show off your own X persona to fellow forum members. You can find out more about how to do this by clicking on the licence above.



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Modding and Scripting

A Few Words from Bernd


Since some people from the modding and scripting community have recently asked us about our policy towards modding and what we do to support it, I would like to state a few things:


EGOSOFT has always encouraged modding. Over the years some modders have contacted me personally and asked for help in all kinds of areas. Sometimes it was legal advice, sometimes technical support, sometimes we were asked to help distribution and promotion. I and others in the company have always tried to help where we could. I am really sorry that some modders feel that we have treated some of you differently from others. That is definitely not our intention.


What our intention definitely is, is to:

 - promote your mods to the community through all means that make sense for the mod and that you want (mention in X-News, mention on the website frontpage, facebook or twitter etc.)

 - help in hosting your mod if traffic volume allows (and traffic volume allows for quite a lot these days)

 - provide technical support where time allows (answering questions and providing documentation and tools)


If some people have made more use of this than others, then it's because some people get in touch with me and others here at the office more actively. If I don't know about the release of your mod, then I can't support it.


So for the future: Please let ME personally know where we can help you. Tell me about your projects, tell me what we can do to support them! To this end, please email me at bernd @ egosoft.com!


Bernd Lehahn

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Credits & Contact

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


EGOSOFT info@egosoft.com



Michael Baumgardt


Issue Editor




Alex Preuss


With Thanks To

Bernd Lehahn


Translation and Proofreading

Xgerman - DE

Garga Potter - IT

XFrench - FR

SBlade - ES


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