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Post by DrBullwinkle » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 17:44

Perhaps the decision about whether or not to require a new start depends on the content?

Ketraar, you are the Producer/Director of this project. Do you have a concept in mind for what direction you want to take it?

Would it be helpful to set a time limit and request proposals for the plot itself?

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Post by dillpickle » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 17:46

DrBullwinkle wrote:Speaking of plots...

Since AP is, essentially, an improved version of TC, it would make sense to always have the rich TC plots available. Dillpickle has already done the work to port the TC plots, so it would be smart for this project to use Terran Conflict plots for Albion Prelude as the starting point for this add-on.

That way compatibility with the TC plots would be built-in to this project. The combined project would be richer than either mod by itself.

In fact, merging in other existing plots would enhance the overall project (as long as they are compatible). (Yes, I am looking at you, eldyranx3. :) )

From the player point of view, if he must start a new game, then he should have the maximum number of plots to choose from. It would enhance the player's game and reduce compatibility problems simultaneously.
  • (If we take this approach of merging existing good stuff, then IEX might be a candidate, as well.)
I think this project is about adding new content - not repackaging old plots that a lot of people have played countless times...

Tutorials, I'm generally averse to as they have limited scope - kind of a one time play through...

... However, if it was done through a game start plot type scenario where you're given tasks to do that would aid a first time player, but also not be leading the player by the hand so it has replay value could work.

You could have the 'flight instructor' available for assistance if the player got stuck.
If it builds up a few 'starter assets' through the course -> M3, Sector trader, small bio factory or something then I could see it having replayability (made up word, I know... :P )
Killjaeden wrote:-I don't think you can cripple player sensors in the way you think of
If you use a sector that's not on the galaxy map then you can pretty much everything is disabled - jump drive won't work, autopilot doesn't work - asteroids and ships can be flagged as hidden so they don't show up on the sector map - you can also set ships to be hidden/unhidden at a certain range to mimic reduced sensors.

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Post by X2-Illuminatus » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 17:54

I cannot say that I'm a big fan of a new start as plot requirement either. Many people like to play their games for several weeks, month or even years and then it's not that great to restart again. The same applies to others, like me, who only rarely play X3AP. I think that X3AP version 2.5.1 provides a good basis for different plot ideas, which don't need a new start of the game.

I'm also not a fan of integrating other scripts and mods into this project. Imho, this limits our possibilites and makes it harder for users with existing scripts/mods to use ours. However, what could be done in regards to other scripts and mods is to watch out for compatibility issues from the beginning and to make it easier for users and script / mod authors to adjust this mod to work with theirs, where it's possible.
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Post by DrBullwinkle » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 18:14

dillpickle wrote:I think this project is about adding new content - not repackaging old plots that a lot of people have played countless times...
Of course. I am not suggesting otherwise.

If we take the route of "no new start required", then existing content is a moot point. And it is always better to not require a new start as long as it is possible to add the desired content without it.

However, if we do require a new start (which Ketraar's Latin idea -- and new ship -- requires), then I am suggesting that we should combine as much of the most popular content as possible. It is annoying that TC Plots for AP is partially incompatible with IEX, for example.

I am suggesting that we consider doing the relatively small amount of work to give the player as many content choices as possible.

After all, there are new players every week.



@X2-Illuminatus: Actually, I think it is the other way around regarding compatibility (IF a new start is required). If we improve compatibility between popular plots and graphical content, then we reduce the compatibility task for everyone (including other modders).

(Obviously, if we do not require a new start, then we should not combine other content).

For example, it recently became apparent that several popular plots/mods change x3_universe (IEX, TCAP, LoCo). Why make the player worry about merging the file when we have most of the relevant developers contributing to this thread?

Put yourself in the shoes of a new player. He wants to play the game, with the maximum content and the minimum hassle possible. AP should have had the TC plots from the beginning -- presumably they were skipped for lack of resources. Well, now is perhaps a good time to put them back in.

I'm just suggesting that we should work together, rather than adding to the existing chaos.
.

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Post by dillpickle » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 18:28

The thing I would suggest using from my TC plots for AP is some of the bug fixes - leftover mission ships being cleared properly - the billboard under the docking clamp on the Argon Stock Exchange - M6's un-docking from super shipyards/eqd's without exploding (Kiljaeden's fix he let me use...:) ) etc...

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Post by Killjaeden » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 18:34

I'm also not a fan of integrating other scripts and mods into this project.
Yes i agree on that, everyone has own preferences, so merging "good stuff" isn't a good idea because everyone has a different view an what is "good". There are plenty of merge mods if one desires so. Including Bugfixes like dillpickle said is something different, making such things available for a wider audience (if we get it signed) would be good.
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Post by dillpickle » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 19:22

Killjaeden wrote:to throw some ideas in here:
-'Deepspace' exploration by utilising the Unfocused Jumpdrive technology
-a start as khaak or xenon gamestart that lets you play in a different way then usual + plot. Fresh wind :) I can elaborate on the khaak idea if somebody wishes because i had such a project a while ago - died because of lacking people - still have assets for it.
Just spotted this...

I'd be game for doing a plot based around deep exploration for the Kha'ak via UFJD, whether it's done as part of this project or just another mod... I even started playing around with some ideas a while back.

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Post by Killjaeden » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 19:35

I even started playing around with some ideas a while back.
If you can provide more details, we could use it - nobody really talked about the story that should be told so far, only what it should contain ^^
However, if we do require a new start (which Ketraar's Latin idea -- and new ship -- requires) [...]I'm just suggesting that we should work together, rather than adding to the existing chaos.
The ship doesn't require a new start, it could be obtained in any way. Only the latin idea does.

Working together has nothing to do with trying to do the splits to make all available mods compatible or include them. If somebody wants to make a mergemod thats nice, but i don't see the necessity to do that for this project.
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Post by thraxorion » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 20:41

Hello all.

I can contribute to the plot and writing side of things, although it seems there are already most likely more than enough capable hands in that regard. I can also provide basic translation into French and Italian - that is to say I can provide a wooden and uninspiring translation with my basic vocabulary in these languages which could then be passed on to a native speaker or more seasoned student of said languages to re-write for proper dramatic effect.

Also, to throw in my two cents regarding a game restart, the matter of tutorials, and the general direction of this whole project:

There are already all manner of guides written for this game to aid the horrified new player. This game is a Frankenstein's monster that has been disassembled and reassembled by its creators and fans countless times, which is why the next installment of the series is intended to be so different in its execution. It also seems to me that if someone is not industrious enough to use google and do a bit of experimentation on their own that their interest in the game is unlikely to survive to the point where they would actually find and implement anything assembled by the existing player base, however well intended. Additionally, I think this content should focus more on the interests of the seasoned player, seeing as newcomers are far from bereft of things to do with their time in-game.

Moving on, it is for the very reason that most of us have an established end-game level personal empire that it would be advantageous to require a restart! A narrative meant to induce a feeling of urgency whatsoever will not stand up well if someone can simply jump in a massive fleet and deliver incalculable spankings to every and all opposing entities every step on the way to unquestionable victory. A possible compromise between the two would be for the player to be taken out of their element for one reason or another such as (if the development side of the project can accomplish this - I have no idea what can or cannot be done by you guys) being sucked into a "sub universe" such as a subdivision of the gate network or other area held together by others means of FTL transportation devised by a new race or yet another lost colony of humans where existing assets are inaccessible (at least initially.)

Also, how close to canon are we going to hold ourselves? The more heretical we are regrding the existing lore, the more room we have for invention, obviously.

I have a few notions that have struck me for possible situations we could depict. For instance, we could reintroduce the Kha'ak to AP by depicting a seperate population's current struggles with them. They could have their own ships and technology, FTL transportation method or portion of the gate network. This obviously gapes a huge hole in the X universe for creativity and new ships and weapons technology. Perhaps the player could be part of a race being driven to the edge of extinction by the Kha'ak, participating in some of the final battles of an already hopeless struggle for survival eventually leading to escape with a handful of refugees into the existing X universe. A branching story path could revolve around how this displaced population can eek out an existence among the existing races, by what means, and at what cost. The implications regarding the current political climate are obvious, particularly if the Kha'ak's reappearance is linked to these outsiders who may have some sexy technology to share (thus influencing the existing war.)

I have more ideas, but I'm really just throwing things at the wall. Any and all things I spew forth may be picked apart, reconfigured, thrown away or otherwise abused as is necessary and expedient, particularly by the poor souls who would have to actually make such things happen. I'm just an imaginative individual with exceptional language skills, afterall.

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Post by Ketraar » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 21:18

DrBullwinkle wrote:Ketraar, you are the Producer/Director of this project. Do you have a concept in mind for what direction you want to take it?
Even though I took the task of coordinating things I much rather not have a "special" role in regards of direction or decision making. For me the majority rules, even if its less practical. I will try and give insight and opinion on all suggestions as we go. But for most part we should try and find common grounds.

I do have a few ideas and as other post I too adjust mine to include those. There are some things I feel strong about and some I can live with either way. I will try to demonstrate which are which and encourage everyone else to do the same.

1. New start vs. "patching" (patching just means its put over current running save game)
  • A new start allows for more freedom in story telling, opposed to have to fit the plot in existing story. Specially in AP where there are opposing lines between starts. A new start would allow to completely ignore the existing stances, thus more freedom. Also several changes to the game files can only be made for new start, specially things related to map, even though some things can be made to work by using the MD, still some limitations there.
    - I do like freedom a lot.
  • A new start needs to be appealing to convince players to start anew, this requires some great content.
    I do agree with this, but I also like a good challenge and think it can be made if we want to.
    -
  • Patching also means that story needs to be added on top of existing save, several things, like tutorial, are a bit futile for endgame players. Also the rather strict differences between the two major starts are to be taken into account, which again means less freedom.
    - I have no objections to this, as its also a feasible options
2. External content
  • AP has a set time-line after TC and even though it would mean more content, it would require some deep changes to AP (specially the map) to make them work, hence why dillpickle's mod is not compatible with IEX. IF we would include such plots it would not make it compatible, much to the contrary, it would make AP incompatible, given a lot of changes had to be made. Also would require a new start.
    - I am not very keen on such thing, specially since most TC plots are dull imo.
  • As for compatibility, yes we should try to keep things compatible and make it easier for everyone else, BUT and thats a big but, it should NOT be prime guideline and have us cut content for it.
    - In my opinion this may be true for some mods but not some others. For example, I can see that we could try to keep compatibility for CP mods, or other smaller ones that add to what we are doing, but the bigger ones that have a all sorts of things to take into consideration are just to big imo to keep track of everything that might be incompatible.
Global thoughts
  • I'm much more inclined for a new start as it gives much more freedom. And I think we can provide enough content to make it worth. Creating a start that puts the player further along the story at the beginning, plus a good story and some additional content should make the player want to try that. Guess that will much depend on what we can provide and I'm confident we can. :-)
    So far I like the new sector idea including some of the tutorial aspects, I can see how that can work quite good. I also have a concept for the off-world alien start that I shall post soon (maybe later tonight) that should give inspiration for a good story. Also been trying to see if there is a way to influence or even stop the war, but so far no luck, but not giving up just yet and will get back on that later on.

    Also not keen on bringing the Kha'ak back, only scenario I'd see this work would be in a new gamestart that plays a story line prior to AP, like an AP Prelude :roll: That would not be a total crazy idea and again would make for more possibilities. Maybe worth a thought or two.
Ok thats enough typing for now, your turn. :-)

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Post by DrBullwinkle » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 21:48

dillpickle wrote:I'd be game for doing a plot based around deep exploration for the Kha'ak via UFJD
Nice. :thumb_up:


Killjaeden wrote:make all available mods compatible or include them. If somebody wants to make a mergemod


That's a significant distortion of my suggestion, KJ. I am not suggesting a merge mod -- I am suggesting that we should not intentionally try to make this project incompatible with other plots, if possible.

The fact that other modders have ignored compatibility in the past (leading to the current chaos) is not a good reason for us to do the same.



thraxorion wrote:A narrative meant to induce a feeling of urgency whatsoever will not stand up well if someone can simply jump in a massive fleet and deliver incalculable spankings to every and all opposing entities every step on the way to unquestionable victory.


Fantastic point!

And, yes, it is possible to take the player to a place where they cannot bring their entire fleet. Aldrin, in TC, was like that until late in the game. The player could jump there in a personal ship, but AI ships could not. If you really want to be strict about it, then it would be possible to restrict the player to a non-carrier ship (or, at least, "not an Aran"). :)

This is a powerful idea. It allows Ketraar's in medias res idea without necessitating a fresh start.


Ketraar wrote:As for compatibility, yes we should try to keep things compatible and make it easier for everyone else, BUT and thats a big but, it should NOT be prime guideline and have us cut content for it.
- In my opinion this may be true for some mods but not some others. For example, I can see that we could try to keep compatibility for CP mods


What are CP mods? But, yes, that's what I have been trying to say. Make an effort to maintain compatibility, as long as it does not interfere with the goals of the project.

If I understand correctly, the reason that IEX and TC Plots for AP are not compatible is not the map. I think that they both use the same map that you used in RSM. The incompatibility comes from both modders changing x3_universe without considering the impact on other mods. (Did I get that right?)

I'm just suggesting that we do not have to repeat errors of the past. We can do better.


Ketraar wrote:most TC plots are dull imo


Good point. However, Balance of Power and ATF Outpost are two of the best plots so far (for TC/AP). If we could preserve those two, then I could happily forfeit the rest. (The final battle in Operation Final Fury was pretty good, too.)

.

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Post by thraxorion » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 21:54

Also not keen on bringing the Kha'ak back, only scenario I'd see this work would be in a new gamestart that plays a story line prior to AP, like an AP Prelude That would not be a total crazy idea and again would make for more possibilities. Maybe worth a thought or two.
Lore wise, are the Kha'ak supposed to be extinct, or simply effectively "purged" from known space at this time? I seem to remember something about them being from outside the gate network in the first place, which would allow for them to reappear without the need for any time-based excuses, right?

I only favor the Kha'ak as potential antagonists because they are already assembled, currently absent (besides finding their easter egg leftovers, of course), and, well - I have a soft spot in my heart for civilization eating eusocial super-organisms. There, I said it. My personal prejudices are exposed.

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Post by eldyranx3 » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 22:35

As a storyteller, I -was- curious to know why the Kha'ak seemed to 'die' in AP. Retreat is one thing. Leaving ship husks around is another. While I'd love to answer that question, it's hard to come up with additional content that adds to the Khaak mystery without breaking canon down the line. If we introduce a new 'colony' as it were, we risk stopping on possible plot points in X:R.

If we can be assured from L5 that this would not cause a lore conflict, UFJD exploration could be interesting. I'd still recommend coming across inert, unsalvageable Khaak capitals. Depending on how the music track sounds, it could add a bit of tragedy / sympathy for the faceless hive.

It is established lore that the Xenon threat is largely contained, although I am not as excited by a purge of X023 for some reason. The Xenon evolution story line has also been done before by 'A New Home'.

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Post by X2-Illuminatus » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 22:44

I can see the appeal of a new start and the possibilities it offers. Nevertheless, I think that the current universe of version 2.5.1, after all plots have been played, provides enough room for interesting stories.
In this universe, there is the war, which draws not only Argon, Terran and Boron into it, but also influences the other commonwealth races and pirates: Will the Paranids really watch, how the Argons and Terrans fight to death and not do anything in between? (now would be a good chance to weaken or even overrun Argon sectors!) Will the Split let the Borons move their fleets to the Argon/Boron to Terran front line without doing anything? (the time of diplomacy is over, now's the time to take back what's ours!) Will the Teladi answer the call of their nature and will try to make as much profit as possible or will they decide for one of the sides only? The Commonwealth military is busy with their fight against themself and the Terrans, now the time for the Duke has come to bring chaos to the universe. No transport ship will be safe, no race patrol strong enough, no space ship will escape, when the Duke's plans come true.

On the other hand, what happened to the competition of the Corporations?
X3AP announcement wrote:Corporations Compete for Control of the Future
With the war as a backdrop, corporations are vying for power and are driving the X Universe in a new direction. A technological breakthrough will soon allow massive accelerators, forming highways in space and allowing the economy to expand on an unprecedented scale. Highways, a key feature of X Rebirth, are not yet ready, but you can see them being built and participate in the power struggles around the construction of much larger self sustaining economies.
What has happened to the construction of the highways? Who took control over the project? How do the other corporations react to it? They surely also want their piece of the cake. And then wouldn't it be a great, if the player with all his assets can not only work for corporations, but also compete with them?

Another idea that I like and that was already suggested by Killjaeden, is some kind of deep space exploration utilizing the UFJD. Since the UFJD was introduced with X3TC, it was never really explained, what the UFJD actually is? What the Aran is? Why you can find it in the UFJD sector? Or why there are also lots of Xenon ships in this sector? Combined with the last question and its possible answer could be some plot or mission(s) around the Xenon, which always have been just a general threat, but never really acted dangerously. The UFJD sector also provides a good place to seperate the player from the rest of his assets, in fact every sector in X3AP would be suitable as long as it contains neither a jumpgate nor a jump beacon.

As for assets, Lc4Hunter (a German 3D-Modeller) provided several ship and station models for download here (I think, there's also an English topic, but it doesn't contain all of the models.) At the bottom of the first post, there are also two new Xenon ships and three new stations (a solar power plant, a mine and a shipyard) that could be used.

What I also would like to see are more missions, where the player has to think for himself without other persons or the mission guidance system telling him, what to do. Given that players are nowadays used to the guidance system, this would also be the place, where some kind of Tutorial could be implemented.

Edit: corrected two typos.
Last edited by X2-Illuminatus on Sun, 7. Oct 12, 11:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by DrBullwinkle » Sat, 6. Oct 12, 22:57

X2-Illuminatus wrote:What I also would like to see are more missions, where the player has to think for himself without other persons or the mission guidance system telling him, what to do.
Could you expand on this?

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