February 26, 2014 — Egosoft is pleased to announce the availability of patch 1.25 for X Rebirth, along with a preview of several projects to be released in the near term. This update is comprised of two sections. Section one is a quick overview of the progress of the last couple of patches, and an explanation of their main features. Section two gives a quick outlook on what is currently being worked on, and what can be expected over the next few months.
1. Patch 1.24 and 1.25
As always you can find the detailed changelog here. I have also prepared a short video explaining some of the changes to gamplay. Namely the new target locking and the trade agent, including the change to how smalltalk achievements work.
– Smalltalk used to unlock a random reward if you managed to convince an NPC on a platform that you had something interesting to say about a topic. With 1.25, the smalltalk mini-game still works the same way, but rather than getting a random reward, the NPC will now offer the player a choice. For example, if the NPC is a dealer of some kind, you can ask him to give you a discount, or you can ask him if he knows a qualified NPC for a certain job, and he will tell you where to find the best one in your vicinity. For example, the next time the player needs a good pilot, locating the best pilot on a station will be much easier.
– Another new feature is the ability to hire agents on stations which will make sure that you are always kept up to date on all trade offers from that station. This feature can be combined with the trade computer extension to minimize the need to collect trade offers on stations manually. There is also a new feature that allows the player to see all trade offers per station from the station’s info menu.
– The target locking update introduces a secondary method of setting a target object which is very similar to the targeting functionality seen in the X3 games. You can now press Shift F to get a lock on the object closest to your crosshair, or Shift E to get a lock on the nearest enemy by distance. Once this targeting mode is activated, the player can press page up and page down to cycle through more objects of the same category in clockwise/counter-clockwise order (or in the case of enemies: closer/farther-away targets). The other methods of dealing with target locks still work in parallel, but before the event monitor can show environment objects again, the player must first release the last explicit target object – by clicking in empty space, for example.
2. 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.
Again: There are many other things we are working on. We will continue to add features and of course fix bugs. Please stay tuned!
– Bernd Lehahn, Managing Director, Egosoft