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-   -   X3: Reunion… finally. (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2072)

Jabberwocky June 21st, 2007 16:46

X3: Reunion… finally.
 
Okay this thread is pretty much for dte, since I know he's an X universe fan.

Why did I name the topic X3: Reunion… finally? Because it's the first X game that is actually designed logically enough for me to have the patience to play. About a year or two ago I tried out X2 shortly after playing Freelancer. Now I think Freelancer is a bit too simple, mind you, and I loved Independence War and it's ridiculously hard sequel, so I'm not stranger to punishing Space sims. But X2 just seemed ridiculous! It was mostly the interface layout that I couldn't handle. It's one thing to challenge a player with his flying skills, but I cry "Not fair!" when you don't even properly show him how to fly… the end result was that I returned the game for a refund, and had to do some fancing talking to do that.

So despite great reservation I went ahead and purchased X3, mostly because there hasn't been anything out there in the genre that I could play OTHER than X3 in a while. And hey, I figured at a $20 price tag, I could afford to gamble.

It would appear this gamble has paid off! X3 has definitely been improved over its predecessor. The menus are definitely more accessible, although I will say they are still quite a bit more complicated than most games. This is not a game for a casual gamer, and for what it's worth, I think they intended it to be that way. This can be a good thing. I feel that once I get a hang of the interface, it will be more rewarding than the simple arcade game that Freelancer was.

The thing that's hanging me up with the controls is that just about every single button on the keyboard has 2 or 3 different functions. The functions are activated depending on what menu you are currently in. I'm nowhere close to memorizing them yet.

I have learned what some buttons do and use them often, such as the handy-dandy auto pilot. The auto pilot button is context sensitive. That means that if I have a station targeted and press 'u', my ship will auto-dock with the station. If I have a jump gate targeted and press 'u', my ship will auto-guide itself through the gate. If I have a ship targeted and press 'u', my ship will follow the other. Now you can't beat that with a stick, I don't care who you are!!

Incedentally I have started playing this game twice. The first time was right after I bought it, and the following details are why I shelved it — One thing I notice that the game suffers from (or shines in - depending on how you look at it) is the lack of guidance. For instance, on the second mission I'm asked to go to "Farnham's Legend" to do something. For an experienced 'X' player that might have been simple. My problem is that I had no idea what Farnham's Legend is. Is it a ship? A station? A sector? My in-game universe map only lists the sector that I have visited, which up to this point was a whopping 3. :( There were no instructions whatsoever accompanying this mission as to where or what Farnham's Legend was, so theorectically a player might have to fly through 50+ sectors before stumbling onto the right one. With every sector possessing jump gates that branch off in four different directions, the chances of me picking the right combo from my current location was slim to none. I got about two sectors out in all directions, and not finding it, simply gave up. I shelved the game, thinking "X3: the game they almost got right, but still didn't." Now I'm all for exploring, but I also like story, and I can't devote the time it takes to explore 50 sectors without a definite goal. Even in complex RPG's you are usually given a map of all the major cities.

Anyway, last week I decided to go online to see if I could figure out where "Farnham's Legend" is. What I found was a thriving, vibrant community of devoted X fans. "Wow," I thought, "there must be something cool about this game. Indeed there is, now that I've downloaded a comprehensive sector map, and a host of other goodies. Check this fan made map out: http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=179689
Hopefully I direct linked it. If I did, download it, and then promptly crap your pants it is so cool.

Anyways, in the meantime I also learned how to decipher the HUD, as I downloaded the user manual to the game, which, believe it or not, didn't even come with a hard copy.

So my first night of playing (round two) I completed the first mission again. It's a simple patrol of three sectors, in which you get a taste of combat. X3 feels tremendously more real in the flight department than, say, X2, which made combat equal to the futility of chasing a fly with a swatter.

One of the biggest single improvements that I see is the voice acting. It's certainly not OSCAR material, but it is infinitely better than the acting of X2. In fact, some of the bantar between the patrol pilots is quite entertaining. This great leap forward is tempered with extremely repetitive character faces - I think I saw the same guy three times last night in the form of three different characters.

Anyhow… I didn't intend for this thread to become a lengthy review of the game, there's plenty of reviews out there, but oh well too late now. Like I said, this thread is for dte, since he commented that his rig isn't up to the specs of the game - I guess he wants to live vicariously through my X3 experiences! ;)

My advice to you, dte, is to get a rig that will handle it, because if you already were an X fan, this game will surely rock your world!

I'll be back later to comment on the graphics and trading…

dteowner June 21st, 2007 19:12

Thanks, Jabberwocky. Looking forward to future installments.

Jabberwocky June 21st, 2007 20:05

I'm at work now so I have to be quick, but incedentally, do you know much about the background history of the X Universe? I'm a little sketchy on the whole relationship between Goners and Argons. Apparently Goners are humans that got trapped in X universe? They look the same as Argons? Do I have it all wrong?

I just don't know what's going on… it seems X3 is an immediate sequel to X2, right after some big battle in which Julian's best friend dies or something. And apparently Julian doesn't care much for his father, as he is in a coma and yet Julian doesn't want to see him. And when I started the game, Julian (your character) is listed as a human… which is still confusing me since you are in Argonian space, but yet you aren't a Goner…. Can you shed some light dte? Thanks…

Squeek June 21st, 2007 21:50

I played Freelancer too and was looking forward to X2 for quite a while. But I decided against it after I visited its forums and saw all the posts complaining about its bugginess. And it was designed for Nvidia, apparently. I had ATI at the time. That was enough, so I passed on it.

Folks eventually spoke very highly of X2, so I guess EGOSOFT must have kept working on it. That's cool. They had a lot of loyal fans, and they deserved it.

I'm glad to hear X3 is in much better shape. I liked the series prior to X2. I'll probably get it after its been out a while longer (and patched up a little more, just in case).

Jabberwocky June 21st, 2007 22:58

Squeek. Do you mean waiting on X2 or X3? Because X3 has been out for over a year. And I think X2 is about as patched up as it's gonna get, as it is 2 - 3 years old. :S If you want to play them I don't think there's a need for anymore waiting… course it's up to you.

Squeek June 21st, 2007 23:16

Has X3 really been out that long already? Then you're right! I'd better get moving!

Jabberwocky June 21st, 2007 23:45

I don't know the dates exaclty, but the version I bought was a special edition called the Bala'Gi reasearch missions. it basically was the original game plus added content and all of the patches up to that point, for the low price of $19.95. The date on the box was 2006, so yeah… I think it's a safe bet that the original game has been out for over a year now.

They have also patched the game another once or twice since then, so you can go on-line and get them like I did.

If you are willing to devote the effort (the game requires lots of that) then I would get it. $20 is a bargain if anything just for the sheer volume of content you get to mess with - the X Universe is ginormous! ;) Have fun!

Corwin June 22nd, 2007 10:12

X2, was actually the first review I ever wrote back at the Dot. Not sure if the old X2 forum is still there; it had a heap of great resources and help threads.

Prime Junta June 22nd, 2007 10:23

I enjoyed X2 a lot; built a small trading/manufacturing empire for myself before finishing the game in one of those smallest-size capships. I have X3, but never got further than the beginning with it; it just felt more like work than play.

MudsAnimalFriend June 22nd, 2007 12:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jabberwocky (Post 33014)
I'm a little sketchy on the whole relationship between Goners and Argons. Apparently Goners are humans that got trapped in X universe? They look the same as Argons? Do I have it all wrong?

And when I started the game, Julian (your character) is listed as a human… which is still confusing me since you are in Argonian space, but yet you aren't a Goner….

In the X-universe humanity colonised the galaxy with the aid of a robotic teraforming fleet. The fleet achieved sentience and rebelled against mankind becoming the Xenons; during the resulting war a group of humans led the Xenon fleet through a jump gate collapsing it behind them. This event trapped the humans and Xenon in the portion of the universe where the X games take place. The Argon are the descendents of those humans, the Goners are an Argon religious sect that regard the lost and largely forgotten Earth as sacred.

The first game starts when Kyle Brennan, an Earth fleet test pilot, becomes trapped in the same region of the galaxy as the Argon due to a malfunction in his experimental ship’s jump-drive. At this point Brennan’s ship is the only one in the universe with a jump drive (albeit a broken one), interstellar travel is otherwise limited to jump gates, which themselves are the remains of ancient alien technology. None of the extant x-universe species can create jump gates. Later in the series the Goners are able to replicate short-range jump drives by reverse engineering the engine from Brennan’s ship.

Ultimately Kyle unites the fractious alien species to save the universe from the Xenon, yada-yada, usual stuff. X2 take place a couple of decades after these events. Julian Brennan is Kyle’s son; so he’s half Earthling half Argon. The Kha’ak replace the Xenons as the main bad guys and Kyle, together with his plucky band of clichés, is instrumental in destroying a Kha’ak fleet.

Jabberwocky June 22nd, 2007 16:23

An infinite amount of thank you's MudsFriend… Now I know what's going on. Although one thing I'm still not clear on… You say Julian is half-human half-Argonian, but you said that the Argonians were the descendants of humans trapped in X-world? So wouldn't that mean there is no biological difference? Only a name change?… Not a big deal, just wondering.

Thanks again!

MudsAnimalFriend June 22nd, 2007 18:01

Sorry, I just confused the issue (and myself) with that half-half statement. Julian is human; Argons are human. His mother was born in Argon space (I assume) and his father is from Earth.

bjon045 June 23rd, 2007 09:08

The problem with X3 is the endgame is almost unplayable. When you get to really large battles the game runs at about 1-2 FPS, sometimes even lower.

I was running it on an X4200 with X1950pro and 2 gig of ddr2-800 on the lowest detail setting so no way on earth should it slow down that much. I think it is related to one of the weapons on some of the big capital ships (maybe flak cannon) that once you get like 100 or so of them being fired at the same time the game just can't handle it.

Jabberwocky June 23rd, 2007 20:40

Thanks for the heads up, maybe by the time I get that far they will have corrected the issue. Everything's been running smooth for me so far, but then again I haven't gotten into heavy combat yet.

JDR13 June 25th, 2007 05:23

X3 for $4.90 at GoGamer right now.

http://www.gogamer.com/

Prime Junta June 25th, 2007 23:05

I got interested and reinstalled it, only to discover that my force feedback joystick still has no centering force on it, with (apparently) no known workarounds. Back to the bookshelf it goes…

Jabberwocky June 26th, 2007 06:57

That bites PJ, sorry. My joystick doesn't have force feedback at all, so it doesn't matter. Isn't there a way you can disable the feedback altogether from your joystick software or window gaming controllers access?

Anyway, I should actually be PLAYING the game right now instead of typing about it, but just wanted to continue with the adventures I've covered so far. Well, that is to say, what I've done so far has been anything but adventurous. I've attempted to become the next trading mogul and have discovered that it's fair bit more complicated than the average game.

Firstly, I have to get in my trading vessel, a Mercury freighter, which I was automatically outfitted with when I started the game on 'easy.' The normal and more difficult levels do not give you a transport ship from the get-go. Since I'm new to X3 I decided to be kind to myself. Navigating around the menus can be a hassle, but I'm really starting to get the hang of it. I switched from my Buster to the Mercury and promptly set out to find riches and glory, or at least a good deal on some Beefsteak Cahoonas.

Before you can say "Jazura!" which incedentally is a time period in X-game language, not a sneeze, I discovered an abandoned cargo pod in the sector I was traversing. At least I assumed it was abandoned, but just in case I made sure know one was looking when I approached it ;) My computer could not identify the object, and so I did exactly the opposite of what any smart pilot would do… I opened my cargo bay doors and scooped up the U.nidentified F.loating O.bject. Much to my glee, the object was not a proximity mine, and I didn't blow up.

Lo and behold, the first station I dock at (an equipment dock) happens to list my UFO as being worth 87,000 credits. Needless to say, I couldn't off-load it fast enough!! Now armed with a heavy back-pocket, I set off in search of a good buying deal. I thought I found it in a bay full of Cloth Rimes. I was wrong. By the time I sold them all I ended up loosing 20,000 credits on the deal. The reason is because, sort of like the real-world, X3 adjusts the prices as you by and sell. In other words, in the real world you can buy 1 item for 5.00. But if you buy 20 items you can get them for 3.00 each… X3 uses a formula similar, in which the more units you sell to someone the cheaper each unit becomes. I ended up catching it in the butt on this one.

After sigining off here, tonight I'm going to give trading one more attempt, but to be honest, this aspect of the game feels more like work than fun. I mean, if I put this much effort into buying and selling in the real-world, I'd be telling Donald Trump what to do.

Yes, combat is definintely my forte. I think I'm going to become a pirate hunter and capture ships and sell them to make my fortune. Maybe I will eventually earn enough to build a factory that manufactures ships. Apparantly that can be done in the game, and is next on my list to try.

Oh, a note about the graphics…. I have been called a "graphics whore" in another thread, and I don't resent it a bit. This game is a graphical work of art. The scenery is unbelievable. Well, maybe just the opposite actually - it is the most believable (true to real life) graphics of outer space I've ever seen in a game. No other space sim (that I've seen) even comes close to matching the splendor of X3. I love the design of the ships, and how their surfaces have a nice sheen to them. After all, why not? It's not like they will get rusty in outer space! My only complaint is that there is no view of the cockpit. It's as if your pilot is just floating in space out in front of the ship. This has been remedied somewhat by an unofficial mod another X-fan has developed. It puts visible cockpit controls onto the screen, varying for each ship. The graphics and designs he has made aren't quite up to par with the rest of the game, but to me it still feels more immersive to have the cockpits there.

Well, I'm off to get rid of these Meatsteak Cahoonas and then it's time for a little "shoot'em up, shoot'em up, pow POW!" ;)

Corwin June 26th, 2007 07:08

The key in X2 to economic success, was to buy in one sector, and sell in a different one!! There was software available to assist you in finding the best prices. Check it out!!

bjon045 June 26th, 2007 07:32

You don't actually have to be in your mercury to trade with it. During the first 10 hours or so of your game the economy will be set to "easy mode" as their won't be many rival trading vessels and it should be easy to find stations that have close to full supply of product (means the cheapest buying price) and then sell it at a station which has none of that component(they will buy for maximum price) in the same sector or the sector next to it.

Some examples of this is the solar power plants in the Ore Belt sector (south of home of light) - you can buy ecells (price at 14 credits) and sell them to the Ore mines in the same sector for maximum price. At the same time once those ore mines are full of ore you can buy the ore and sell it in the sectors to the east and west which are full of weapons factories. Easy money.

Once you have some decent capital you will want to trade items that are more profitable like silicon wafers and eventually weapons and other ship components.

Prime Junta June 26th, 2007 09:46

@Jabberwocky — it appears I can't do anything about the stick. I found some third-party utilities and hacks that have worked for some people to restore centering force (RTC.exe, Pinnacle) but they don't appear to work in 64-bit.

What really annoys me is that the stick works fine for X2, and absolutely fantastically in IL2 Sturmovik. Beats me why Egosoft hasn't managed to restore the functionality for X3; I doubt it would be a huge deal.

But oh well, I'm off on vacation for a month day after tomorrow, away from my gaming rig, so there's not much I could do in X3 right now anyway. Back to Fallout…


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