X3:TC:Translation of the German Interview with PCG Hardware (Update 21.07.08)NEW INFO

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X3:TC:Translation of the German Interview with PCG Hardware (Update 21.07.08)NEW INFO

Post by Stingads_Gsöchts » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 01:51

Hi. I tried to translate the interview. I gave my best but it's late and my English got rusty over the years. Besides that there is lot's of techno-blah-blah in this interview which is not always easy to translate. You find the update below.
Here is the original:

http://www.pcgameshardware.de/aid,65142 ... 422&page=1

And here is the translation. It's not a literal translation and I bet it's hard to read for a native English speaker hehehe.

"PCGH: Content-wise you open a whole new chapter with terran conflict. What about the technology? Have you overhauled the engine and added new features? Are there any changes based on community feedback?

Bernd: X3TC uses the X3 engine but upgrades it with new features. Of course many of the new ships use different new shaders. One of the new technical features besides others are „Occlusion maps“. If you look at a screenshot of the terran stations you can best see the „distribution“ of light based on the occlusion maps. Another improvement is the raised count of per pixel light sources when using SM3 cards. Especially asteroids profit from this imrovement. Objects now have an extra decallayer that is blended into the diffusemap. This breaks up the tiling of the texture sets and objects look more unique.

PCGH: A very detailed look was allways a „brand „of the X series. Were you able to further increase the level of detail ? Asking differently, can Terran Conflict offer graphical titbits that were not possible with with the engine of X3 or the hardware at that time (SM2 cards)?

Bernd: Absolutely. X3TC raises the bar once again but this time we have tried not to go that far to the edge of what is possible with todays Hardware as we did with X3R so that we are able to keep the framerate up on middleclass systems. Through optimising the engine we are able to raise the detail of objects. The Best example for this are the terran stations wich have to be very detailed due to their gigantic size.

PCGH: When X3R came out it had very high demands on hardware. Now even middleclass systems should be able to run it fine. Have you / did you have to optimized the Engine nevertheless?

Bernd: Because of the „upgrade“ on meshes and shader we had to do so, yes. But if you turn texture resolution and shader quality from high to medium it should run fine on middleclass systems.

PCGH: ATI/AMD and Nvidia are pushing their multi gpu solutions at the moment (SLI, Crossfire, cards with 2gpu's). Have you optimized your engine for this technology? Will there be a notable increase in performance in X3TC?

Bernd: Visual quality of X3TC profits very much from antialiasing. On a PC with up to date graphics hardware (even midrange) I would at all events turn on 4*AA and rather turn down the resolution if necessary. GPUs with more cores are useful for this of course.

PCGH:Our Benchmarks with X3R indicate that the engine seems to profit from dual core CPUs. Is this still the case in the newest version of the X3 engine ? Are there processes running in different threads? (I could not find a translation for „Skalieren“, however, PCGH asks if the game profits from more than 2 cores).

Bernd: dualcore CPUs are in any case useful for X3TC. Optimized drivers alone already provide an almost symetrical distribution of the main thread and a second thread in many situations (note: maybe environments?) typically for X3. Aditionally the engine uses extra threads for duties like video and audio streaming. Especially decoding of videostreams for advertising panels can bring a little performance increase. So, even when the main work will most propably lie on the first two cores, even the other cores of a quad core CPU will have some work to do.

PCGH: Did you generally have to rework the thechnological basis to be able to use multicore CPUs? What do you think about it, will it be a must for future projects?

Bernd: Programming for multiple CPUs of course is a MUST for the future. We don't talk of the actual 2 or 4 cores here. Game engines will have to be optimzed for „very many“ threads.

PCGH: Have you ever thought of including DX10 into the engine to take advantage of the VISTA API respectively of the SM4?

Bernd: Because atm most of our users still use WinXP and because most features DX10 offers we can think of for X3TC can also be done with DX9 (although sometimes with a little more work) . From a technical point of view a DX10 version is an exciting option.

PCGH: As a developer, how do you think of DX10. Is it a technology you will have to use sooner or later. Is it an important step for the development of games?

Bernd: At the moment its difficult to say if DX10 will become a topic for us or if we skip it.

PCGH: How difficult is it to make a current technology like the X3 engine fit for the newest hardware? How extensively are new developments tested?

Bernd: In general it is more difficult to make a game playable on older Hardware. An Up to date graphics card normally does not pose a problem. The user can turn up the details and enjoy the best graphics. At the moment the problem rather lies in the memoryusage , especially with high details. Using Graphic cards with 1GB of memory we slowly reach the dimension where the ressources in the system memory of a 32bit EXE become narrow. (A 32bit EXE running on a 64 bit OS can still only adress some 2GB of memory). Therefore it is important to use at least 2 to 4 GB RAM with such a card.

PCGH: Have the system requirements increased significally? What Hardware do you recommend for a resolution of 1280*1024 with full details and no FSAA/AF and for 1600*1200 or higher with 4*FSAA/16:1AF?

Bernd: Sorry, I have to correct your question ;) . I recommend URGENTLY that a user who wants to play with 1280*1024 without FSAA rather turns down the resoluition and uses 2*AA. That simply looks better.(Actually, why use a 4:3 resolution? We play 16:9 almost exclusively or 16:10)?

Generally I can say that the game will run on medium settings on all midrange Graphics cards down to the Gf6000 series. Starting with a Gf 8000series card I would under any circumstances activate 2* or better 4* AA. Like I already said. It's important that the system memory matches the graphics card. Too often I see systems with 1GB RAM and a killer graphics card. That's nonsense. The ressources loaded into the graphics card are generally mirrowed in the system memory. A 512MB graphics card should at least have 2GB of system memory on it's side. Although with a 32bit Windows 4 GB of system RAM are only limitedly useful, it is still recommendable regarding the actual prices. Besides that X3TC, of course, runs stable on WINXP 64bit or Vista64bit systems too. (It can however only use up to 2 GB because the game is a 32bit EXE). The newest graphics cards (we just got a 4850 ) then can start with 1920*1280 with 4*AA or higher). On such systems the limiting factor is the CPU.

The minimum CPU is a P4 with 3 ghz or a dual core with 2,4 ghz. It's with all of our games: the more the better. You can do almost everything in our universe, but to do so you need power. :)

PCGH: Will there be A benchmark?
Bern: Yes, there will be a rolling demo you can use as a benchmark"

I'll get a beer now. :D

UPDATE: ----------------------------------------------------------------

There is a short preview of X3TC on PCGames.de. I don't have time to translate the article but I will give you a short overview:

* the focus of the development lies in improving the plot and contents.

* there will be boarding crews in X3TC. If they survive they gain experience. Depending on the experience of the soldiers they will be able to board smaller or biger ships. Their value also increases with their experience.

* X3TC will be easier to access for new players.

* It will be easier to get capital ships than in X3R. (it won't take as long as in X3R)

* The story will be divided in a main and several side plots.

* there will be a "questlog". You can accept multiple missions.
* In X3TC you will pay a visit to earth.

*You will be able to build your own jumpgates and put them wherever you like within over 150 sectors.
{CBJ - I'm afraid this appears to be a slight misunderstanding on the part of the author of the article. There is some exciting new functionality involving jumpgates, but it's not quite as described.}
Edit by Stingads_Gsöchts: It seems that part of the preview has been deleted by PCGames.de. The caption of the picture with the jumpgate is no more in the original article.

http://www.pcgames.de/aid,651711/Vorsch ... imulation/
Last edited by Stingads_Gsöchts on Mon, 21. Jul 08, 16:39, edited 8 times in total.

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Post by Nyax » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 03:20

Nice work on the translation.

Quite impressive though how egosoft manage to hold an entire interview about X3TC and yet reveal NOTHING of the game besides 'We've tweaked the graphics and added some new effects' :)

They should be in politics :)

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Post by Sandalpocalypse » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 05:44

Thank tons! You did a pretty good job.

Might have to upgrade my chip though..heh.

Hooray for rolling demo ;)

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Post by Gothsheep » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 06:59

Stingads, you're my new hero. Please accept this flower as a token of my thanks.


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Re: X3:Terran Conflict: Translation of the German Interview with PCgames Hardware

Post by Carlo the Curious » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 08:41

Stingads_Gsöchts wrote:And here is the translation. It's not a literal translation and I bet it's hard to read for a native English speaker hehehe.
Much better than Babelfish! Thanks.

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Post by Sandalpocalypse » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 08:44

I'm intrigued by these massive Terran space stations. The Terrans seem to opted for a lot fewer stations, but a lot larger ones. I wonder if this is a dry run for the next X game.

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Post by Al » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 09:36

great translation. Thanks :)
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Post by Mithril Prime » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 09:57

The terrans don't have the massive resources that the X3 universe has. It would make sense that they would make use of the materials that had to create larger spaces to work with, thus resulting in a reduced need for further stations.

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Post by Paranoid66 » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 10:03

Thanks from me also. :D

I was very curious about that interview.

Guess a little more bling for those with the power - I’m glad it sounds sensible not overly OTT.

Yes bigger Terran stations is interesting I wonder will those manufacture multiple products - seems like a good way to go. Further consolidation of the complex idea without all that spaghetti like the already existent npc weapon forges, but pure speculation on my part.
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Post by Syndrome » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 10:31

Thanks a heap for this mate. It's great. :wink:

Although I do agree with Nyax somewhat. Not much gameplay info but a heap of chatter about system reqs and the like - which is still pretty good. :)

I hope my Q6600 with 4gb of DDR2 and an 620 8800GTS can cope at least medium high settings.

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Post by Gothsheep » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 10:32

It did seem like the interviewer was more curious about the process of developing on modern hardware, then he was about the game itself.

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Post by Demotruk » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 12:42

Thanks for the translation. Now I need to buy some more RAM...

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Post by Vitez » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 14:56

Demotruk wrote:Thanks for the translation. Now I need to buy some more RAM...
I need to buy a new PC :doh:
I thought Ego will keep the requirements low...3GHz CPU...thats what I've got. Oh well..guess I know where my money will go in the summer :shock:
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Post by mad_axeman » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 15:29

Thank you very much for taking the time to translate all this. It's much appreciated.

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Post by Al » Mon, 21. Jul 08, 15:44

More info :)

I like the idea of being able to build gates but wonder whether you will get any control over them i.e. to block an invasion by shutting it down?
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