x rebirth (8)

X Rebirth. What a game. We discussed how terrible it was at great length last year but the development team have been busy trying to sort out the mess.

New patches for the game have been released since launch and today the 1.25 update landed with a load of changes. We could go and test this update in the hope that the game was simply brilliant now but that would probably be too painful for Peter to endure, he battled and fought with the game for too long last year.

Egosoft are trying to make amends and here’s what’s been added in today’s patch (there’s a video below highlighting the changes).

  • New Feature: Player-owned ships and stations can now be renamed.
  • New Feature: Smalltalk reward allowing you to receive trade offer updates for a station remotely.
  • Added logbook entries for refuelling, trade and building.
  • Added call from manager when a station is low on credits.
  • Added ship name when player gets a call requiring a response from a player owned ship.
  • Fixed a cause of occasional crashes when loading savegame.
  • Fixed a cause of occasional crashes during large battles.
  • Fixed several other causes of occasional crashes.
  • Fixed another cause of the game hanging after Alt-Tab.
  • Added prices for small ships so that these can now be sold.
  • Cargo value is now taken into account when selling a ship; you get roughly half it’s value.
  • Fixed price calculations for intermediate wares.
  • Fixed two causes of disappearing ships and one of ships ending up in strange places.
  • Fixed certain station elements being rotated incorrectly after loading a savegame.
  • Fixed problem with random station elements being built and preventing further building.
  • Fixed problem with small ships preventing building.
  • Fixed problem with drones not being able to dock at certain mining ships.
  • Fixed incorrect container amount being dropped from cargo drones.
  • Fixed another issue with cargo collection.
  • Fixed buy offers for more wares than can be stored.
  • Fixed player being able to start multiple boarding operations on the same ship.
  • Fixed abort button for boarding operations.
  • Fixed info and comm options for externally docked ships.
  • Fixed issue with operational range settings resulting in ships looking for trades in the wrong places.
  • Improved station-owned mining ship AI to prevent station from filling with more resources than it wants.
  • Improved shooting logic for NPC ships (more improvements to come).
  • Fixed a problem resulting in inactive patrol ships.
  • Fixed a problem with NPC beam weapons not firing correctly.
  • Fixed tag darts occasionally tagging something other than their intended target.
  • Added inter-system traders to DeVries.
  • Fixed station scan mode remaining active when it shouldn’t.
  • Fixed rare case resulting in missing info points and dock icons.
  • Fixed subordinate count in orders menu.
  • Fixed incorrect trade status in ship menu.
  • Fixed “+” button not working in map menu under certain circumstances.
  • Fixed sold ships and collected drones being displayed as destroyed in the logbook.
  • Added missing descriptions for systems to encyclopedia.
  • Improved rewards after successful smalltalk on platforms, including trade subscriptions.
  • Improved dialog structure to find people on platforms.
  • Fixed missing architect on plot builder ship.
  • Fixed player being sent to a hostile NPC when asking for directions.
  • Fixed ships not in player squad requesting player input when out of fuel.
  • Fixed visual flicker when returning to the cockpit from a platform.
  • Fixed location of visor/glasses on certain NPCs.
  • Fixed missing physics data when loading a savegame.
  • Added graphics settings for SSAO, Glow and Distortion.
  • Fixed incorrect display of certain options in graphics menu.
  • Fixed incorrect resolutions when changing displays in borderless mode. 
  • Improved stability of job system and patch code with modified games. 
  • Added support for catalog files in mods. 
  • Added Korean localisation (text only). 
  • Added Spanish localisation (text only, incomplete but included to enable feedback to translators). 
  • Further optimisations resulting in small performance improvements, particularly on lower-end graphics hardware.

What’s next for the game? Apart from making it actually reasonably playable and adding new features, Egosoft MD Bernd Lehahn has revealed what they are focusing on in the future:

The Near Future 

Now let me list a few projects we are currently working on, and which will be released in some form over the coming months. Note that this is FAR from a complete list. The following are a few examples of the different areas being worked on, and they are vaguely sorted in the order they may be released:

– Support for Steam Workshop integration:  We will soon start releasing a number of tools on Steam to help modders work on X Rebirth. We are also working on full support for the Steam Workshop in order to make it possible for everybody to easily install mods by merely subscribing to them, and by making it easy for mod developers to distribute their work through Steam.

– Map on event monitor: This was already mentioned before. The first step will be to enable the map rendering on the event monitor whenever it currently shows no signal. We will then introduce some configuration options so the player can decide whether to view the map zone map on the monitor or the current text information.

– Improved support for joysticks and other input devices: We are working on improving the input mapping menu and the general support for input devices. There have been numerous individual requests in this area, and we are trying to keep this as flexible as possible so X Rebirth can be configured to make best use of all kinds of input devices.

– Improvements to menus: Improving our menu system is a big task, but some features that we’ve heard requested often could materialize within the next one or two months.  A good example of this is a more powerful text based filtering system for menus akin to the trade menu. After we have added text input menus for renaming your ship, the next step will be to enable this functionality in live menus allowing the player to filter quickly with their keyboard.

– 64bit EXE: Right now X Rebirth only runs on 64bit Windows because of the amount of memory required, but it is still a 32bit executable. We are experimenting with a new 64bit executable that could potentially improve several issues.  Rolling out the 64bit EXE will probably happen as a beta in parallel to the 32bit EXE. Depending on the feedback, we will then gradually move away from a 32bit EXE.

– Providing interaction functionality with NPCs from space to minimize forced landing: I know many people do not like being forced to land on stations for frequently repeated tasks.  The first step to address this will be to have a list of all NPCs on a station available from the station info menu, and to then make some activities possible remotely.  You will still probably need to be in the vicinity of the station – so that drones can take over the transport of acquired goods for example – but you only have to land to play missions and to pick up or deliver people.

– Highway redesign: We’ve heard a lot of criticism on the way the highways behaves, so we are experimenting with radically different gameplay inside the highways. It’s still too early to provide details, but as soon as we have a prototype, we will probably make this available as a beta. How soon this will then be rolled out for public release will then depend on feedback we receive.

X Rebirth had sucg a rocky start that it can only improve in the months ahead. At least Egosoft are persevering to make it a game worthy of the X franchise name.

Have you been playing it recently? What are your thoughts now?

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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