X³: Terran Conflict (abbreviated X3TC), is a space trading and combat simulator from German developer Egosoft and is the culmination of their X series of computer games. Described as a stand alone game, based on X³: Reunion, it boasts new plot lines, features and assets. It was first released on October 2008 for the European market and was subsequently made available through Steam and the Mac App Store.
X³: Terran Conflict is a single-player, first-person space simulator where the player navigates his ship across numerous sectors which are connected by jumpgates. The entire game universe holds thousands of persistent stations and ships, building an economy which the player is encouraged to take part in through trading and building. The game is open ended and the player is free to explore and perform various tasks at will, unless a mission instructs otherwise. There are several alien races which the player can interact with, becoming friend or foe. Some races are presented as a constant threat where friendship is not an option. Each race has a military presence across the universe and skirmishes break out without the player's involvement.
The player is capable of acquiring many types of property such as ships and factories. Ships can be piloted by the player or ordered to perform various tasks such as fighting and trading. The number of assets the player can own is limitless. Ships range from small scouts to large capital ships which are used for offense or factory construction.
Combat can range from dogfights between small ships to large fleet battles. There are several classes of weapons available such as beam lasers, energy projectiles, ammo based projectiles, missiles and mines. Each ship is usually capable of holding a wide array of weapons, usually limited by the constructing race and ship size. The player can manually pilot a ship, remotely pilot a ship from a distance or order ships to perform tasks. Ships can be grouped together to form wings, where they attempt to perform a task together without the player needing to order them individually.
Several space installations are available to be built by the player. They can include factories, trading stations, stationary weapon platforms and the player Headquarters. Factories can be built anywhere in space to provide a product to the local economy or for the players use. Wares are transferred between factories by ships with the aim of providing resources needed for production. Basic wares such as minerals, food and energy go though several factories to become advanced products such as weapons, satellites and drones.
Plot and generic free missions are offered and take place in the universe itself, where local events may alter the players experience of the mission. The majority of missions are not restrictive and the player can perform normal activities during the mission and call upon available property to help with the objective.
As the game progresses many more features are made available such as connecting multiple factories to share resources and training marines to board capital ships.
Centuries before the events of X3TC, the Terrans built their own jumpgate technology which accidentally connected to an abandoned network of alien jumpgates. They colonized many uninhabited worlds using robotic spacecraft called Terraformers to make planets suitable for human life. A software error caused the Terraformers to malfunction and they rampaged across the colonies, re-terraforming planets, killing the inhabitants. During the last stand battle in Earth orbit, the Terraformers are drawn back through the jumpgate, which is self-destructed behind them, cutting Earth from the gate network. A small group of humans who lead the Terraformers away continued to become the Argon race and the Terraformers evolved into the Xenon.
The player can play the role of many characters. If an alien is chosen as a character, the player must perform an additional mission to gain access to the Solar System. After the events of X³: Reunion, the Solar System is again connected to the gate network, albeit with different sectors and alien life present. The Terran race are far ahead of the other races technologically, but remain cautious almost to the point of xenophobia. Some Terrans begin to integrate with the commonwealth sectors and a dialogue forms between governments.
During a routine patrol in the Solar System, the player is called to battle in the Neptune system where Xenon are attacking. Using special beacons, they were able to jump deep into the Solar System without use of a jumpgate. During the battle, a small drone steals information from a Terran station and delivers it to an Argon ship in the Pluto sector which uses a jumpdrive to escape the Solar System.
The player is tasked with investigating the odd activity of the Xenon whom appear to be under influence of the unknown character. The Xenon and pirate factions are found to be coordinating attacks to raid ships for valuable resources. New ships begin to appear which resemble the original form of Terraformers, attacking ships of the Boron race. The player aids the delivery of Terraformer wreckage to Terran scientists who deduce that these ships are remakes based on commonwealth technology.
Captain Robert Pearle, an undercover Terran operative has valuable information about the origin of these Terraformer ships but he has been discovered and arrested by Argon forces. The player meets up with fellow Terran agent Patricia Heywood to rescue Pearle from an Argon military sector. When Pearle has recovered, he accompanies the player on a mission to Split space where the Terraformers are rumoured to be built. A makeshift mobile factory is discovered and captured by Terran forces and several Split scientists are captured. Under interrogation, one of the scientists mentions the name, Aldrin.
Aldrin was a colony of the Terrans; established before the Terraformer war. The colonists managed to shut down their jumpgate and safeguard their Terraformers from the software error. Aldrin was presumed lost during the war. A scientist from the original Terraformer project, named Martin Winters, had survived the centuries by cryogenically freezing himself in deep space. He rediscovered the existence of Aldrin and set to work to recreate the Terraformer project using the preserved Terraformers in that sector.
The Terrans launch an offensive by reverse engineering a jump beacon to jump a fleet to Aldrin. They find a Terraformer CPU ship under control of Winters, and the Aldrin people suppressed due to Winters influence on the Terraformers. A fleet of Xenon ships joins the battle against the Terrans, defending Winters. A boarding party successfully takes control of the CPU ship and Winters again makes an escape. The player is tasked with escorting Aldrin dignitaries to the Earth Torus, making the Earth sector open to the player.
Four additional plot lines are available for the player to pursue. Each is fully voiced and unlocks several unique features and assets.
X³: Terran Conflict is a standalone expansion for X³: Reunion, based in the same universe and using the same engine. X³: Reunion had several popular fan made mods, the most popular of which was named The X-Tended Mod. The Mod was created by a team of artists, musicians and modders and added new content and functionality to the game. XTM received attention from Egosoft who interviewed members of the team and hosted the mod for future downloads. X³: Terran Conflict has several assets used by the XTM mod and several members of the XTM team worked closely with Egosoft to develop the game.
Following the announcement of the game, several screenshots and videos were made available, showing gameplay, new features and content. A teaser trailer for X³: Terran Conflict was made available one month after the game was announced. It featured several new ships, stations, weapon systems and graphical effects. Terran ships, which were first seen in X³: Reunion's finale, made an appearance in this trailer.
A series of four informative gameplay videos were slowly released throughout the course of development. They were titled after each of the games main gameplay premises; Trade, Fight, Build and Think. These videos featured a narrative introducing several new features in Terran Conflict. The first video, entitled Build was made available on July 30, 2008. Focusing on station construction and player progression, this video reveals the existence of new stations and ship classes, as well as a new gameplay feature to control large numbers of ships. This video confirms that the player headquarters, which was introduced in X³: Reunion version 2.0, is available in X³: Terran Conflict.
A developer blog was made available, documenting several experiences with the game development by several team members. An XTM and X³: Terran Conflict developer Bobby Wilkinson, known in the X3 community as Syklon, was the first to post, detailing some new aspects of the game.
The game was announced as having gone gold on September 10, 2008. The release was then pushed back twice due to production delays, finally falling on October 17, 2008; two weeks after the initial release date of October 3, 2008.
Some copies of X³: Terran Conflict had become available several days before the release date. The Steam version was activated on the 16th, to coincide with the release of the first update. The release version was 1.0.1. Egosoft later confirmed that a shipping error had caused this.
X³: Terran Conflict Version 2.0 was released in North America on April 7, 2009. X³: Gold, the bundle pack containing X³: Terran Conflict 2.0 and X³: Reunion 2.5 was released on April 9, 2009.
On October 16, 2008, EGOSOFT released the first patch for X³: Terran Conflict. Version 1.2 was available to Steam users as soon as the game was activated whereas several DVD users played with version 1.0.1 for several days before the update was available. The update added a new mission, improved several features and fixed various issues.
On December 4, 2008, EGOSOFT released a second patch, updating the game to version 1.3.
On December 22, 2008, EGOSOFT released a third patch, updating the game to version 1.4.
On January 19, 2009, EGOSOFT announced an open beta for version 2.0 of X³: Terran Conflict, which was available to forum members who have volunteered to be part of the 'Developer Network'. 2.0 contains 'a whole new mission, new stations and new sectors'. It was made available for download 3 April 2009. Due to a packing error, 2.0a was made available shortly after initial release to fix a problem.
On June 10, 2009, EGOSOFT released a sixth patch, updating the game to version 2.1.
On October 14, 2009, EGOSOFT released a seventh patch, updating the game to version 2.5. This patch along with numerous fixes and improvements removed the Tagès copy protection.
On April 27, 2010, EGOSOFT released an eighth patch, updating the game to version 2.6. This patch introduced achievements with the STEAM client. Before release of 2.6, Valve enabled X³: Terran Conflict DVD users to register their game on STEAM so they could also use the achievement system. 2.6 also brought numerous fixes and improvements.
Digital rights management
Until the removal of digital rights management in the 2.5 update, X³: Terran Conflict used Tagès as copy prevention. For the DVD versions of the game, the DVD was required to be in the drive to start the game. For online distribution versions of the game, including Steam, the number of installations was limited to 5 machines. More activations were available by contacting either Egosoft or Steam.
On release, the game received mixed reviews, receiving a 79% on Game Rankings. Criticism included slow frame rate on high settings, a high learning curve, inconvenient controls, lack of multi-player, bad voice acting, and poor story, although the critics mention that the severity of most of the frustrations were noticeably reduced when compared to previous games of the X series. The gaming website ArenaTV.ro has named X³: Terran Conflict as being the greatest space simulation game of all time in the October 20th edition of its Top 5 show.
- NEWS - GOLD! X3: Terran Conflict has gone gold!. Egosoft's Forum (2008-09-10). Retrieved on 2008-09-11
- 'X3: Terran Conflict 2.0 - The Aldrin Missions' Announced for US. WorthPlaying.com (2009-02-17). Retrieved on 2009-02-18
- Purchese, Rob (2008-02-04). "Deep Silver reveals X³: Terran Conflict". EuroGamer (EuroGamer.com). http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=91993. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- NEWS: XTM .7a now available for free download from Egosoft. Egosoft's forum (2007-06-14). Retrieved on 2008-10-17
- First X3TC Teaser Video released. Egosoft's Forum (2008-05-03). Retrieved on 2008-08-03
- X³:TC "Build" Video. Egosoft's forum (2008-07-30). Retrieved on 2008-10-17
- XNews: Preview about X³: Terran Conflict. Egosoft's Forum (2008-08-11). Retrieved on 2008-08-11
- NEWS - GOLD! X³: Terran Conflict has gone gold!. Egosoft's forum (2008-09-10). Retrieved on 2008-09-11
- Egosoft September News Archive showing delay 1. Egosoft (2008-09-18). Retrieved on 2008-10-17
- Egosoft October News Archive showing delay 2. Egosoft (2008-10-02). Retrieved on 2008-10-17
- Terran Conflict Steam Group: Announcement "Welcome to the Terran Conflict!". Steam Community (2008-10-16). Retrieved on 2008-10-27
- Update 1.2 now available for X³: Terran Conflict. Egosoft's Forum (2008-10-16). Retrieved on 2008-10-17
- NEWS: Update 1.3 for Terran Conflict and X-News. Egosoft's Forum (2008-12-04). Retrieved on 2008-12-04
- Public Beta for X3TC 2.0 now available to Level 3 users. Egosoft's Forum (2009-01-19). Retrieved on 2009-01-20
- X³: Terran Conflict - Update 2.0 is here! (UPDATED). Egosoft's Forum (2009-04-02). Retrieved on 2009-04-25
- X³: Terran Conflict 2.1 has arrived!. Egosoft's Forum (2009-06-10). Retrieved on 2009-06-10
- X³: Terran Conflict 2.5 has arrived!. Egosoft's Forum (2009-10-14). Retrieved on 2009-10-19
- X³: Terran Conflict Update 2.6 is here!. Egosoft's Forum (2010-04-27). Retrieved on 2010-04-27
- X³: Terran Conflict Update 2.7 is here!. Egosoft's Forum (2010-06-02). Retrieved on 2010-06-02
- X³: Terran Conflict Hotfix 2.7.1 now Available!. Egosoft's Forum (2010-06-17). Retrieved on 2010-06-19
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