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XTC - Writing, Testing and Rambling

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- The Origins

Let us start with the intro.. I was born on a cold winter's night in a log cabin deep in the woods. Erm, no, wait, that's Lincoln. Actually, it all started out back in the days when X-Tended mod for X3:Reunion reached it's seventh iteration - 0.7a. Back then, I got hooked on the mod as a player - I thoroughly enjoyed the increased difficulty, the multitude of ships and the extensive changes to the weaponry.

Fast forward to the summer of this year, when, after unsuccessfully browsing the X3:TC mod list, I noticed that XTC was in the making. It didn't take long for my continued pestering for more info and wild guesses about the setting to be noticed, and I was approached to try out the testing of XTC.

Apparently it went rather well, and in a month or two, I was also asked whether I would like to watch over other testers and do 'some textwork' for the mod. Unreliable sources tell me that I accepted the offer.


-The Writing:

Currently I am one of the fellows dealing with the major text areas in the mod. By now, I've finished a large majority of the sector descriptions for the new map, trying to make them as unique and interesting as possible. Each race will have it's own general theme of descriptions to go along with their history of settlement.

The Split sector descriptions, for example, will focus mainly on a bloody feud between several key families and their race to take over more sectors in the Expansion Region than their counterparts. The Borons, on the other hand, will reveal a much more peaceful, but by no means less interesting history, with discoveries of ancient technology and colonies long founded and lost in the annals of time.
I will admit that at I am a bit of a Sci-Fi buff, so you may just notice some veiled references to some of the books by Asimov, Reynolds and Hamilton... And maybe more!

Then there are the articles for the GNS system - a successor to the extinct BBS that added much flair to previous X games and that we at XTC team felt was sorely missed. The News are written by no less than three people, myself included, and the first ones are already going through a rigorous spell-checking and final lore compatibility adjusting.

There are three major news sources in the expansion region - GalNet News, covering a rather neutral stance of the five Commonwealth races, Terran Morning News, a Terran-based newspaper with harsh opinions as far as the expansion goes, and, of course, Solaran News Network, which are quite isolationist and seclusive in their articles.. A bit xenophobic, perhaps. Naturally, every other race has their own network as well, releasing only those bits of information that have passed the censoring offices and are deemed suitable. The old articles from X3:Reunion will not be making an appearance, as that would look a bit cheap. Instead, we will be making up XTC-exclusive content for the news that will be quite rich in lore and actually reflect relevant occurrences and up-to-date information on the relations among the races. Suffice to say, the Terran Conflict will be more than prominent and thus expressed in the GNS from all sides.

It certainly is a blast to make up articles for all these news outlets, and there were many cases when a fictional event turned out to be more engaging than expected - in such cases, it will be covered by all media outlets, and often each of them will be heavily censored to give out only what is beneficial to their race... Be advised that not everything you will read in the news will be true, and the facts will have to be put together piece by piece, dismissing the individual opinions of the editors and authors. With the GNS Clipboard feature, you can save the articles for later and compare them at your leisure to spot all the finer differences. And there are times when the newspapers will tell outright lies - they may and may not admit it, however..

If you want cold, hard facts on this, expect to see a lot more than 50'000 words of new, unique textual content(and that's not counting other writers) in the mod.


-The Testing:

Suffice to say that every single feature of XTC is/will be tested thoroughly for bugs and balancing issues. Testing itself is not a pleasant task - you can't really play the game itself, as you have to focus on a single thing, and try to break in in so many pieces that it no longer resembles its former self.

The whole thing, once gone gold, will be tested again from scratch for balance finetuning - we are not overly fond of game breaking issues like easy money spinners, light destroyers that have more speed and shields than the largest, reputation exploits in missions and other things that ultimately make the game extremely short and limited..

It is sometimes hard to balance personal life, working on the texts and testing the features - but the end-user will not suffer. We wish to make XTC as streamlined and finished as possible, and very few bugs, if any, should crop out in the first full release. Though I am certain that you guys will find things me and the other testers will have missed and throw them right on top of our heads


In the end, we aim to reflect the feeling that, according to some, was lost in the transition from X2: The Threat to X3: Terran Conflict. The universe of XTC will be a living and breathing thing, operating of and by itself, without any necessity to tie in with the player's combat rank, and the extensive textwork that our team has done will contribute greatly to the background and lore, adding depth and enhancing immersion. These will not be shallow waters - expect to sink or swim in XTC!

Oh, and keep an eye out for some fluffy dice!
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Comments

  1. Locsley's Avatar
    Me like fluff.... Actually I feel X3TC is lacking in fluff that engages the player... oh we not talking about... that's why you are making XTC; yes I see.
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  2. Sam Redstone's Avatar
    I'm excited about this aspect of XTC. I'm one of those players who always read every single BBS entry in X3 Reunion, and I did really miss it in TC. Great idea to put not just one but multiple news agencies in the game!! And the clipboard feature sounds perfect for us detail-oriented data-pack rats. (I actually take screen shots of my message log in TC sometimes so that I can have an archive of important messages... weird but true. Your way sounds much better!) As always, you guys are going above and beyond. This "mod" (i.e. whole new game) is going to blow the doors off of vanilla TC. THANK YOU.
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  3. borgrel's Avatar
    BBS is back??
    it **MUST** include Pandora-2 hints!!!
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