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X Rebirth Progress report - Updated 2014-05-20
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Bernd
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PostPosted: Thu, 21. Nov 13, 16:04    Post subject: X Rebirth Progress report - Updated 2014-05-20 Reply with quote Print

Hello,

today I want to give an update on our latest progress and an overview of what we are going to work on in the near future. I am sorry that I can not reply to every complaint and report.

Immediate work:

Priority #1: Fixing crashes
Right now we are still getting a lot of crash reports. We believe that we already have fixed the most common ones with the updates 1.13 to 1.15 but there are still crashes that are caused by the game code and it goes without saying that fixing these has the highest priority.

Priority #1: Improving performance
We are at work on a number of problems that cause the performance to drop to unusually low framerates. Some of these are very specific to certain situations only, while others slow the game down on specific configurations of hardware. Right now we are looking at where we can make fast improvements that will help as many people as possible achieve a better framerate and then we will work our way down to the more specific cases. Just to give you an idea of how crazy the measurements sometimes are: I have seen a very busy zone of the game today on a laptop with Intel HD4000 acceleration (an onboard integrated 3D accelerator which is not really inside the min specs of our game) achieving 10 fps at minimum graphics settings. This is not much of course, but I was surprised that it did run at all on that machine. At the same time I saw a YouTube video where somebody demonstrated performance problems in a very similar zone and also with minimum settings, achieving almost the same FPS, but this time running on a high-end PC with GT780 card. Clearly we have to focus on improving our performance on higher end machines. Another example of performance problems are machines with multiple GPUs, like laptops that have an integrated GPU and a second faster one. In some cases X Rebirth lists only the integrated GPU on these machines and this makes the game run extremely slow. One possible fix for one type of driver was already added to 1.15, but we continue to investigate this problem too.

Priority #1: Fixing gameplay showstoppers
There are unfortunately several areas of the game where gameplay features are not working as intended. In some situations these even block the plot (which makes an already bad bug a total showstopper bug for us). I am just listing them here because it is beyond the scope of this posting to explain trigger conditions and exceptions as well. But let me just say that not all bugs affect all customers and many can be worked around even if they happen. But please do not take this the wrong way, this is not an excuse: We are aware that bugs of this category are always very fustrating to everybody affected by them and you should not be forced to search for a workaround online to play our game. We are really sorry for problems of this nature.
- Trade ships that stop reacting to orders (this is not one bug but a number of special cases that all lead to the same result)
- Problems with repairing ships including a very common case where certain transporter ships that cannot be repaired after they were captured (small "non capital" ships with modular engines where you cannot place an engineer to do emergency repairs)

Priority #2: Adding small but important features that are requested by many of you

- Adding support to delete the order queue of ships (partially done already)
- Improving joystick configuration
- Adding fixed target mode (t/e from X3) as alternative to soft targets.
- Fixing character animation errors (work in progress)
- Giving you a choice of NPCs with good known skills after "winning" a smalltalk (so the reward is no longer random)
- Crates on platforms will be re-balanced
- Improve readability of menus
- Improve how NPCs are labeled to make it clearer who does what
- Improve the "asking for people" conversation
- Adding a logbook menu
- Autosave support (work in progress)
- Improve feedback when NPC can not be hired (e.g. ship is full / NPC is busy)
- Adding some crucial commands to captain and pilot conversations
- Ship trader does not clearly show if he is busy - shipyard busy output
- Showing minimap (gravidar) on event monitor instead of "no signal"
- Option to modify FOV (limited to a small range at first, maybe more freedom later)
- Unbinding a key to nothing
- Fix bug that sometimes you see negative cargo amounts

There are a lot more requests for this list and I will update it ASAP. Some people on the team are already working on #2 priority things.

Priority #3

AFTER all of the above are done (and these lists are probably not complete), we want to start discussing with you which bigger features we should work on first. You may know some of the candidates which had been mentioned in interviews before the release, like turning your head in the cockpit, external camera views, improved map features etc. We have a long list of things that we would like to add, but we want to listen to you and let you decide about the priorities. Before it makes any sense to discuss this in any more detail however, we have to fix all of the above.

I will post an update next week in this thread and inform you about our progress. In the meantime I can only thank you all and repeat my apology to everybody who does not yet have a good experience in the game.

-Bernd



Last edited by Bernd on Tue, 7. Jan 14, 19:39; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu, 28. Nov 13, 15:43    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Update November 28th:

Since the last posting we have released two more updates 1.16 and 1.17. These two mostly focussed on improving stability and fixed a couple of bugs related to the non working trade offers. See release notes for details:
http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=347278


Trade bugs

It turned out that the issues many of you are seeing with trade ships not working correctly is not one bug but a whole series of connected problems. After resolving the first issue with 1.17, more problems became apparent. This is the reason we are now testing the next patch 1.18 a lot longer than the other patches. We can not afford a very indepth test at this time, because too many of you are waiting for this fix, but things are looking good and chances are that this update will be available before the weekend.

I do not want to give silly excuses here. Of course you deserve a bug free game, but you may ask why these trade problems were not uncovered during testing: We had a group of testers dedicated to testing our economy over a long period of time. These guys used a special version of the game which allowed them to run the entire economy at a higher speed. It seems that most of these problems we now see did not happen with this time acceleration. Meanwhile these problems also do not happen early on in the game or if you (like most testers do) have to restart the game frequently.

Other features coming up next

• Fixed several causes of crashes in-game and when loading savegames.
• Fixed a specific problem resulting in periodic slow-downs.
• Improved general performance (first small improvement only, more to come).
• Fixed several problems with ship/drone docking/undocking behaviour.
• Fixed problem with player drone formations.
• Fixed several small localisation issues.
• Improved skill levels for new NPCs.
• Improved readability of entries in interaction menus.
• Improved GPU listing on laptops with multiple GPUs (still some driver-related issues on certain hardware).


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PostPosted: Fri, 29. Nov 13, 17:21    Post subject: Public Beta testing of X Rebirth updates and patches Reply with quote Print

Public Beta testing of X Rebirth updates and patches

In order to test updates and patches for X Rebirth more thoroughly, we have decided to open up our Beta testing to anyone who wants to get involved. If you would like to help us test our forthcoming patches (and don't mind backing up your savegames in case things don't go according to plan!) then please head over to our new X Rebirth - Patch Public Beta forum, where you will find details on how to join the Beta program and report any problems you find.

In the short term, until the Christmas break, we plan to operate a roughly weekly patch cycle, with patches being made available for public Beta testing towards the end of the week, and the full release following early the next week if all goes well. As we move away from urgent bug-fixing and on to improving performance, fixing gameplay issues and adding new features, the length of this cycle will of course increase, with more time being allowed between the Beta and full release.

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PostPosted: Fri, 6. Dec 13, 02:00    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Update December 5th:

While 1.18 has been released to the public earlier this week (you can see the details about it here), we are currently preparing the public test of 1.19. Our aim is to have this in public test during the weekend or early next week and then hopefully release 1.19 later next week.

I explained in my first posting in this thread, that our second priority (after stability) is performance improvements. 1.19 will have a couple of bug fixes that can potentially bring very significant performance improvements.

One of these fixes is not a general performance improvement that will make the game run faster for everybody, but if you were affected by this bug, it can increase performance by several hundred percent.

I did set up a pretty extreme high end PC to test performance problems with specific systems and could reproduce a slowdown in the start zone of the open gamestart from 44+fps down to 10fps and less, just by saving and loading a few times in the right order.

Other things that will be in 1.19 include more crash fixes, new bug fixes related to trading and ship equipping / upgrading and dealing with drones, some bugfixes for generic missions as well as some AI improvements for player owned ships.

We also rebalanced the platforms and docks in several ways. This will affect the skills of NPCs you talk to as well as the content of crates on platforms.
Another balancing change affects repairing ships and stations.

A few functions that we did not provide in the public version so far, but which are useful for video capturing, like turning off the cockpit and UI, will now be available for mapping but will not be mapped in the default profile (yet), because they come with some problems. So please do not mistake the ability to turn off the cockpit or UI as a proper way to play the game (this is reserved for a later feature update). It is meant to help you capture videos with the also newly added video capturing mode.

Last but not least there were also (again) a few improvements to input mappings. Some of our most recent work on this front however, like the ability to set an explicit target with the keyboard (old X3 t / e keys) still need a bit more time for more internal testing.

-Bernd

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PostPosted: Thu, 12. Dec 13, 21:39    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

X Rebirth 1.19 was release on December 9th and contained a lot of fixes and improvements.Now we are working on 1.20 which will be in beta over the weekend and hopefully released early next week, and also 1.21 which will go into beta over the christmas holiday.

Target selection buttons
1.20 will introduce two new keys to set the target to the ship or enemy nearest to the cursor and two more keys to then cycle through a list of similar objects (i.e ships or enemies). This feature will be extended a little further with the 1.21 beta a few days later by also adding keys to select the closest ship or enemy. So this second pair of keys will also be setting your target to an enemy behind you if it is closer than objects in front of you. This works together with mouse and joystick controls, but can not be mapped to controller buttons at this moment. We recommend using the auto selection of a soft target for gamepad mode, but will also allow these new keys on gamepads if you have enough free buttons.

Performance
Both 1.20 and 1.21 will bring a couple of performance improvements. Some are a bit more risky and need more testing and are therefore in 1.21. The optimizations in 1.20 will get you the biggest benefit if rendering shadows is turned off.

and more...
As always both updates will also bring a lot of small fixes. The list of details will be posted when the version goes live.

-Bernd

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PostPosted: Fri, 13. Dec 13, 16:04    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

UPDATE: Patch 1.20 will unfortunately not yet contain the planned target selection buttons. During our final tests we found a few issues with the new feature. Since we want to deliver the feature for you in a state which is as stable as possible, we decided to hold it back a bit further until we are sure to have it in a state which we are OK to release it in.

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PostPosted: Tue, 7. Jan 14, 19:38    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

Update January 7th 2014 : Happy new year everybody. After a little holiday, egosoft is now back to work on patches. Shortly before the holiday we had released 1.21 and a beta of 1.22. Today version 1.22 now went public. Details about the exact content of these updates can be found in this thread as usual.

Right now we are preparing 1.23 for a beta. The main focus with that patch will be on fixing different reasons for stations (including especially shipyards) sometimes stoping production. In the case of shipyards this means that you may not be able to repair or buy ships from them. Most of the time this is caused by the station not having enough resources, but there are multiple reasons why this happens.

Other features that we are working on are additional target buttons to more closely mimic the old X3 "t" button as well as a logbook. Both are already being tested but it is not clear yet which patch these will go into.

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PostPosted: Wed, 26. Feb 14, 12:48    Post subject: Patch 1.25 announcement Reply with quote Print

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 gameplay. Namely the new target locking and the trade agent, including the change to how smalltalk achievements work.


X Rebirth - Patch 1.25 New features explained

- 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 case of enemies: closer/farther-away target). 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

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PostPosted: Tue, 20. May 14, 15:45    Post subject: Reply with quote Print

With the launch of X Rebirth 2.0 - Secret Service Missions we have added a lot of new features which are all explained in this document:
http://www.egosoft.com/games/x_rebirth/features/2.0/XR_2.0_Manual.pdf

Together with the new plot chain, which offers all players membership in the Argon Federation secret service, X Rebirth 2.0 brings a host of new features and improvements including:

  • New playership modifications allowing for different cockpit configurations for special purposes.
  • Two new configurable radar modes for the event monitor
  • An autopilot for your playership
  • Several new commands for ships in your squad, permitting much finer control over their actions.
  • A massive overhaul of the game's balancing, as well as the introduction of three difficulty levels, and achievements for the new difficulty level "hard"
  • Multiple new gamestarts in different areas of the universe specially tailored for traders, builders or fighters
  • A set of beautiful new capital ships which are especially useful for trading in Omicron Lyrae
  • An overhauled visual look and feel resulting from improved shaders and soft shadows
  • Lots of UI and menu improvements
  • Ability to deal remotely with lots of NPCs without the need to land on stations
  • Redesigned highway gameplay
  • Better support for joysticks
  • Many more improvements.


Please have a look at the PDF document linked above.

-Bernd


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