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X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo

A rolling demo for X3: Terran Conflict is now available, offering a look at the latest installment in EGOSOFT's space combat series. This should not be confused with a playable demo, as a rolling demo is non-interactive, offering the chance to see what the game looks like using the actual game engine. As such this rolling demo can also benchmark your system to show how it can handle running the game. The 422 MB download is available on AtomicGamer, ComputerGames.ro, FanGaming, FileFront, Gamer's Hell, and Strategy Informer. X3: Terran Conflict was released a couple of weeks ago, and can be purchased through Steam.

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17. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 15:40 Creston
 
Oh one thing, I would recommend securing a boxed version, Steam already showed us how slow they can be to get the patches up, it took them like 4 days to update a 1 meg patch, imagine when a big patch comes out and they decide to wait a week or two to distribute it

Yeah that was a bit of a fuckup. Though I just unpacked the manual patch and manually updated my Steam version, worked just fine. I think that was Deep Silver screwing over the Steam customers, as they are very unhappy with Ego putting the game on Steam. (no money for them. Fuckwits.)

Creston
 
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16. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 15:38 Creston
 
For example, pull a particular ship up in the Encyclopedia (one of the wonderful new features in X3:TC), and you should be able to pull up a list of your ships of the same model, view each shipyard that sells the ship on the universe and sector map, etc.

But that's a level of detail that people don't really want. My ship properties screen is already two pages long, I REALLY don't want it to become four. If I really need to find out where a ship is sold, I'll look it up in the argonopedia (which is now ingame and is an absolute blessing.)

So while I see that that would be an improvement to the UI, I think most (vocal, ie the guys that hang out on the forums) players wouldn't want to see that...

Creston
 
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15. Re: Performance Nov 5, 2008, 15:29 Creston
 
Okay, I ran it at 2xFSAA 4xAF because the graphics card stress test really choked down on 4xFSAA.

Here's my results :

--------------------------
X3 - Terran Conflict
--------------------------
Game Version: 1.2.0.0

Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2 (2600.xpsp_sp2_gdr.080814-1233)
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Graphics Card Info: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT [512 MB] Driver: 6.14.0011.7519
CPU Info: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40GHz (4 CPUs)
Usable System Memory: 3582 MB


Video Settings During Benchmark:
Screen Resolution: 1680 x 1050 * [32], fullscreen
Using Shader Profile: 3.0
Antialias Mode: 2x
Anisotropic Mode: 4x

Graphics & Shader Settings:
Texture Quality: high
Shader Quality: high
High Quality Bumpmaps: enabled
Environment Mapping: enabled
Glow Filter: enabled
Ship Color Variations: enabled
More Dynamic Lights: enabled
Used Vertexsize: 40 bytes

Framerates
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Scene "Trade" 34.8 average fps 12.0 minimum fps 78.0 maximum fps
Scene "Fight" 62.7 average fps 27.0 minimum fps 117.0 maximum fps
Scene "Build" 49.8 average fps 26.0 minimum fps 68.0 maximum fps
Scene "Think" 21.8 average fps 14.0 minimum fps 35.0 maximum fps

Overall average framerate: 42.3 fps


I can point out EXACTLY what causes the slowdown in the first scene, it's those fucking PPC bolts. They've been killing performance since X2, and yet Ego won't change / fix them. Argh

Btw Quboid, I've seen some reports from people on the tech support forum that have very low performance for their rigs, and they all have an X260-280. I think there may be a driver issue at play there... Your card is 2 - 3 times as powerful as mine, and mine laughs at pretty much everything the game throws at it.


Creston

This comment was edited on Nov 5, 2008, 15:31.
 
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14. Re: Performance Nov 5, 2008, 15:25 Quboid
 
Please do, it would be very good to see how performance differs. What processor and OS are you using?  
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13. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 15:24 Quboid
 
Fair enough. I don't know enough to do any designing naturally. I do hope TC has improved things, but I'd rather stuck now in that I don't trust them and they haven't yet given me a suitable opportunity to see - i.e. some way to play it. I might buy it, I do admire Egosoft and their vision, but I really want to try it first.  
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12. Re: Performance Nov 5, 2008, 15:20 Creston
 
If it's CPU limited on a rolling demo, how is it going to handle economic stuff, control monitoring, clipping, busier scenes, etc?

The game IS CPU limited, sadly. They took the Reunion engine, and build around that, and it was single core. So your dual core doesn't really do much.

On my system the game runs fine at 1680x1050, everything max, 4xfsaa 8xaf, though some sectors with 9 million asteroids run a bit slower than usual.
After the 1.2.1 hotfix, combat is smooth too, though the engine has an annoying tendency to have to reload everything for every sector - like weapons fire and missile sounds etc. So if you hear a sound for the first time in a busy battle, it'll freeze for 2 seconds or so. It doesn't happen often, but just enough to be really irritating.

I'll run the demo, see what it does.

Creston
 
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11. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 15:19 D4rkKnight
 
The UI is pretty good now, I hated Reunion because the windows are so small and it seems you have to go through 3-4 menus to get to something that should be accessible in one.

This is rarely the case in X:TC, but when managing individual ships it can still be tedious. There are already hotkey scripts to fix this problem and give you instant fleet management like it should have, but be aware that you will need to download them.

The encyclopedia is a nice touch, which should have been in all the previous X games. Now I don't have to scour the forums to compare products in the game.

Oh one thing, I would recommend securing a boxed version, Steam already showed us how slow they can be to get the patches up, it took them like 4 days to update a 1 meg patch, imagine when a big patch comes out and they decide to wait a week or two to distribute it

This comment was edited on Nov 5, 2008, 15:23.
 
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10. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 15:16 Creston
 
Football Manager has many, many options and by using hyper-link style links in text (e.g. any time a player, team, etc is mentioned, you can click on the mention and go to that entity's detail page), context sensitive controls and familiar concepts like this, they are mostly logical and clear.

Putting hyperlinks in combat menus would be a bit offputting, no? TC does have context sensitive controls, if you mean by those what I think you mean.

During all this, I was getting shot and eventually destroyed because I never did find out how to use the menus while the game is paused, despite this being trivial in virtually every other game.

That's fair enough. The game assumes that your setup issues are taken care of before you actually start playing. Some games allow you to do this kind of setup while in the tutorial mission. It's a small issue, but okay.

The idea that a game needs things like more than 2 buttons to be deep is exactly what I have had a problem with.

I bet if you can design a UI for X that retains all of its functionality but can be done with a grand total of two buttons and not use 973 deep layers of submenus, Egosoft would hire you on the spot.

But fair enough, at least you give some examples. Most people bitch about the UI "sucking", but never bother to explain what they like or don't like about it. I find the UI to be simple as anything, and it took me maybe... 3 hours or so to learn when playing X2. You need to memorize a few shortcuts (in TC you actually don't, since EVERY option is mouse clickable and shown in an onscreen, context sensitive menu), but once you are in the menus, they all do what you expect them to do.

Check your best buys locator, see that energy cells sell for 12 credits at SPP alpha. Scroll down to that heading and click T for target. Even though you are in a menu, it will target that SPP. Go into your ship menu and click on the ship's command console, then select "dock at". It will open the sector the ship is in.

Target a station in your current sector, then tell a ship 14 sectors away that you want it to dock at your target. It will do so, flying the shortest route through 14 sectors to get there.

It all WORKS perfectly. There are just a ton of options, so you have to take some time to learn those options a little. Nobody learned how to control an FPS perfectly by mouse in 10 minutes either, right?

And with regards to the micromanagement aspect, I've never really understood this problem. You can play X simply with your one ship, doing missions, mining, following plot etc, and never have to worry a single second about what a fab on the other side of the universe is doing. If you WANT to build a huge empire, you can. And if you do, you're going to have to manage it. You can't expect 200 fabs to just build and make you money and never require any intervention. What'd be the point of building them?

And even so, in TC there are a TON of included softwares/commands that will automate most things for you if you so desire. You no longer have to assign different freighter ships to buy and sell goods. One ship can do that now. In its command console (which is accessed by doing the extremely complex command of "hit C" while in your property screen - accessed by hitting R- ) you can specify whether you want it to use a jump drive, by switching the "Use Jump Drive" option to Yes or No. You can specify how many sectors away it can look by specifying the number in the "Amount of Sectors to Travel" option.

Multiple ships can now be assigned to Wings, and you can command the wing as one, rather than having to assign each ship individually (admittedly a HUGE bitch in X3-R). There are software/commands for carriers, for fleets, for explorers, for traders, shit, for just about anything. I've played... 60+ hours, and I have several softwares that I haven't even used yet, and wouldn't even know what they do. They can automate SOMETHING, though.

I think if you turned every automation function on, you wouldn't have to do anything yourself anymore once you've set it up. Maybe decide when to save.

But, to each their own. I understand how previous X iterations have turned people off. TC is much better, but *shrug* it's their loss if they won't play it.

Creston
 
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9. Performance Nov 5, 2008, 14:27 Quboid
 
This rolling demo gives really disappointing performance. I have a C2D 3.3Ghz and a shop-clocked Geforce 260. I get effectively identical performance at 1280x740, lowest settings, and 1920x1200, highest settings, AA and AF. Should I be getting 20-25FPS at the busiest points on this system? Is there anything I can do?

If it's CPU limited on a rolling demo, how is it going to handle economic stuff, control monitoring, clipping, busier scenes, etc?
 
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8. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 12:28 Ecthelion
 
During all this, I was getting shot and eventually destroyed because I never did find out how to use the menus while the game is paused, despite this being trivial in virtually every other game.
You can't. The player already has an enormous advantage over the AI - something like this would make it even easier. However, you can dock at a station and use the menus there while safe from enemy fire.

I agree with Creston about the interface, but I still think there is room for improvement. For veterans of X3:R, the interface is a breeze, but I can see how it would turn off new players. I hope for the next game they're able to make the interface more straightforward. I would love to see an interface where each object had a menu with every possible screen you could see that object in. For example, pull a particular ship up in the Encyclopedia (one of the wonderful new features in X3:TC), and you should be able to pull up a list of your ships of the same model, view each shipyard that sells the ship on the universe and sector map, etc. You can do those things now, but you have to close the Encyclopedia and open the property menu or universe (or sector) map and go hunting for what the Encyclopedia should have had links to.

The interface for a game like this will always have a certain level of complexity, but it could be more flexible and user-friendly.

This comment was edited on Nov 5, 2008, 12:49.
 
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7. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 12:05 Quboid
 
A complicated game doesn't need a complicated interface. Football Manager has many, many options and by using hyper-link style links in text (e.g. any time a player, team, etc is mentioned, you can click on the mention and go to that entity's detail page), context sensitive controls and familiar concepts like this, they are mostly logical and clear. In fact I think the entire game can be played just using 1 mouse button never mind 2, although I wouldn't recommend it!

A complicated game may need a lot of options, but they can be presented in a better way. For example, I tried playing X3's combat tutorial, but my joystick wasn't set up. There's no options before entering the combat zone to set them or even check the axis as arranged as they should be. Once in, nothing responds in (to me) a logical manner, nothing does what I expected. Escape loaded what seemed to be a combined menu of "real" tasks (saving, options, quit) and "game" tasks (map, ship info). It's strange to see those together but OK, that's minor. But then I also had trouble getting the mouse to move because it was in the wrong mode. Once in the options, things were laid out in a haphazard way and not very well explained. During all this, I was getting shot and eventually destroyed because I never did find out how to use the menus while the game is paused, despite this being trivial in virtually every other game.

The comparison to VI is good. It's a powerful editor, but there's no inherit logic or precedent for "Escape, colon, q, !" exiting the editor without saving. Visual Studio, for all it's flaws, you can sit just about anyone down in front of it and they can figure out how to quit without saving.

The idea that a game needs things like more than 2 buttons to be deep is exactly what I have had a problem with.
 
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6. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 11:44 Aero
 
I've always been just a hair away from fully getting into the X games. I buy them all (though not TC yet), and I do put in a good deal of time, but after a certain point frustration begins to set in.

It wouldn't take much to push me over the edge, and I'm hoping TC does just that. It's just the interface, really, that frustrates me because of all of the micro-managing you have to do. This is all part of the game of course, but when it gets to the point where if I take a break to smoke a cigarette or get something to drink and when I come back I'm in a menu that's nested several times over and I've lost my train of thought, things begin to get a little frustrating. It's pretty powerful once you get comfortable with it, sort of like using a command line or something like vi, but it would be a lot more enjoyable for me if it were more user friendly.

When it comes to playing though, you really don't need to get too involved with the more complicated management aspect of the game. It is very full featured and polished on many levels so just flying around and fighting or exploring the universe without having to lead large fleets around and manage factory output can be very enjoyable and there are plenty of things to do. Besides, there are so few space sims/shooters of any type that X is definitely worth playing if you enjoy these things.
 
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5. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 11:38 Creston
 
it is EASILY the best of the X series. Hotfix 1.2.1 fixed the massive performance problem that hit after several days of play (which their mongrel beta testers again didn't find. Why they even bother with these clowns is beyond me), and it's rock stable for me otherwise.

There are still some outstanding bugs in missions and I actually just ran into a bug where the Paranid stay hostile to me no matter what I do, which prevents me from moving on in a particular mission. Sigh. I guess I should have thought that start through a bit more. (ie, don't start as a hated pirate, and then expect to do plot missions...)

Other than that, it's great. The new UI is fine, in my opinion, but it seems that no matter what Egosoft does, people will always bitch and moan about their UI. What do people actually want? The game has a ton of options. Those options will SOMEHOW have to be triggered. I guess they need to program a memory implant interface that can do everything people want without ever having to press a single key.

Complicated game = complicated options. I fail to see how you can get around that. Everything is now context driven AND mouse clickable. I suppose they just need to dumb their game down like every other developer, because more than 2 buttons = BAD!!!!



Creston
 
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4. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 11:36 7.62WorldOrder
 
Are you kidding me? A non-playable demo? I've been considering buying this but after the last two games I'm not forking over the money until I can verify that they've fixed the retarded design decisions they've made in the past regarding the game's interface. I guess if they're too lazy to put together a playable demo they're too lazy to get another sale.  
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3. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 11:28 Quboid
 
It's a series I feel I could really get in to, but I've bought 3 editions (although only X2 at full price) and always felt a bit let down. The interface, including mouse control, always bothered me and really got badly in the way. The basic idea is great, I love open games and the setting seems to be quite well realised, although not perfect by any means.

I've spent too much to just buy this game based on hype and a few reviews, but I haven't given up hope.
 
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2. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 09:59 Ecthelion
 
I'm really enjoying it, although I use the "classic" interface for fighting (which is what I'm doing most of the time). I'm not using a joystick, so it's just mouse and keyboard in combat. I like the new interface when I'm not fighting, but I prefer the mouse combat of X3:R, which is what I get when I switch to the classic interface in X3:TC.

What do you mean about spending too much on X for too little... were you disappointed in past X games? To be honest, if you didn't like X3 Reunion, you may not like X3:TC either. It builds on Reunion more than it is its own game. A lot of things were changed (almost all of them for the better), but at its core it's very similar to X3:R.

Regardless of your opinion of the X series though, I would encourage you to buy it if you consider yourself a space sim fan. The genre is all but dead, so it needs all the support it can get before it blinks out entirely.
 
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1. Re: X3: Terran Conflict Rolling Demo Nov 5, 2008, 09:41 Quboid
 
How is the user interface? Anyone played it?

I'd really like to see a playable demo or free weekend, I've spent too much on X for too little.
 
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