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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [03.18.03]
Developer: Egosoft
Publisher: TBA

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HCW: The game sounds incredibly freeform and open ended; so much so that it might be too much for the player to handle in some situations. Can you tell us a bit more about the included AI Scripts that are designed to aid in this?  How difficult will it be for the player to design custom AI scripts?

Egosoft: The built-in scripts are enough for any player to create a thriving empire. If the player decides that they want a fleet of ships and/or factories then they will acquire these over time. For example, I may have gained enough credits to purchase a factory of some description together with cargo ships and fighters. I could, just with a few menu selections, have them going off in different directions, seeking out the required resources with the fighters as protection.

Then off I go to adventure once more, in a different direction. I can check on my station remotely, transfer funds from its profits and alter the settings if I wish. I’ll be warned of any offensive actions against it, but I can just leave it if I choose and it’ll become just another factory in space, except I get the profits!

I could follow a similar route with a more profitable, many even illegal venture, in another part of the Universe. Stay close and monitor it until I have got the ships and protection sufficient and then move on again.

We expect the advanced programmable scripts to only appeal to those players who wish to dabble at this depth. You could create a script that instead of the built-in one, that goes to a certain sector looking for goods, you could tell it to travel many sectors, only buy at this price, only buy when there is this quantity and so on. Return home when a condition is met; send your fleet to clear out a number of sectors. You have the ability to check on the in-game variables and act accordingly.

I think most players will download scripts from our servers created by others. I know I will! We are thinking of having a competition to see who can create the best scripts in the different categories, but more of that another time.

HCW: What made you decide to give the upcoming demo benchmark capability?  Most benchmarks are derived from games that contain some sort of terrain.

Egosoft: We had a benchmark demo with X-Beyond the Frontier and this proved very popular, particularly in parts of Europe. We always thought that it was useful to have a benchmark outside of the usual categories and with X² we will do the same.

So, that’s the (very) long and short of it from Egosoft.  They certainly paint X2 as a deep game, involving some strategic elements as well as the typical tactical space combat and upgrades.  Whether or not the game itself lives up to these claims will have to wait until the game is released, but we’re certainly looking forward to finding out if X2 – The Threat is all that everyone says it will be.  Egosoft’s will soon release a rolling demo of the X2 game and engine, complete with benchmarking capability which will not only give us a taste of the game, but how well it will run on some of the video cards out there.  Here’s hoping it comes soon!