I’m Bernd Lehahn, founder and managing director of Egosoft, one of the longest existing independent game development studios in Germany. Since the mid 90s, we’ve been working on the X space game series. Our titles included (among others) X: Beyond the Frontier (1999), X2: The Threat (2003), X3: Reunion (2005) and X Rebirth (2013). Our latest game, [X4: Foundations](https://store.steampowered.com/app/392160/X4_Foundations/), was released in November 2018 and has been updated and enhanced a lot since then.

We've just revealed the next chapter of our latest game X4: Foundations during gamescom and are hard at work to release it towards the end of the year, together with a big 4.0 update.

AMA!

Proof: https://twitter.com/EGOSOFT/status/1297873508270317574📷

UPDATE

Thanks everyone for participating in this AMA tonight. If you aren't a regular yet, please check out our X4: Foundations sub at /r/X4Foundations/ and swing by our official forums at forum.egosoft.com too! Enjoy the rest of gamescom, check out our big sale on Steam and GOG and have fun in space!

Comments: 249 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

zav4213 karma

Will we be able to move HQ between sectors?

Maybe

Would a Terran Start require doing the HQ quest, or would we just receive at the end of the storyline?

There is a special twist to that story. Stay tuned.

Will the sun scale in various solar system sectors, like in DeVries, or maybe in some new way?

Not sure what you mean? Visually or the effect it has on the economy?

Would Terran ships be superior to Commonwealth ships, as it has been in X3?

Balancing is not final yet, but yes Terran ships will definitely stand out. See my other comment about their weapon balancing. We try to avoid making any one race superior in all their ships though of course.

Will the iconic Terran weapons make a return?

Not final yet

Will the Torus be an important part of the DLC?

The Torus is destroyed and as you can see on the cover already, it was not rebuild. But it may still play a little role. Stay tuned.

Will the existing races receive new ships in the near future, as having one XL and L per faction does not seem to be enough?

Probably not as part of CoH because we are too busy. What happens after that is in the fog so far ;)

Will “Unique” ships, such as Hyperion Vanguard “Trinity” be added?

We can rarely afford to make an entirely newly designed ship unique but what we do quite a bit is making unique variations of ships that still stand out significantly from their "normal form". Stay tuned.

X4 is in part about having fun collecting ships, yet you can simply buy all of them.

This is not a question. Well you can not SIMPLY buy them all, first you need the reputation AND the money. But yeah it is not Pokemon GO (MEGA EVOLUTIONS ;)

And my personal favorite:

How are you doing today?

Great, thank you for asking.

apoptosist10 karma

Any thoughts about making hacking more risky? For example, make masstraffic/police come after you sometimes when you try it in your ship (where it might not be called "hacking"). On stations, make some NPCs patrol hackable consoles and drop your rep when you do it near them, at least (can use existing assets for this also). See https://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?f=146&t=418747.

zav428 karma

I was not aware of that thread, will try to read it later.

Making hacking consoles on stations dangerous would be cool, we have discussed this but it was not possible so far. So no promises, but I agree that it would be really cool.

In space, hacking should already be dangerous. If you want it to be MORE dangerous, we can certainly work on that.

If you have an opinion on balancing in general feel free to drop me a mail with your concept (bernd (at) egosoft.com. Of course I can never guarantee that we will be able to put this into practice but it is always helpful to get opinions.

Sirusho9 karma

When are the Boron returning? They remain a favourite amongst X fans.

zav4213 karma

Not just fans, we love them too. It is complicated though because of obvious reasons (living underwater makes them much harder to add then the other races). So sorry we can not comment on this at this point because we just dont know if its doable.

Alith-Ahnar8 karma

As a Player that would love to command (not pilot) Capital Ships from the bridge my question is:

Is Carrier gameplay or general capital ship a system that is worked and iterated on?

Most noticeable focus on ships that have no fixed mounted weapons and subordinate control directly from the cockpit/bridge not the map?

zav427 karma

We iterate on all areas, but the exact feature you request is not on our list (yet). I am making notes though and will bring it up in discussions.

yohane_sg8 karma

Will we be able to move the HQ in 4.0/Cradle?

zav4212 karma

Likely

apoptosist8 karma

Will 4.0 have a death alternative or auto-eject to avoid “game over” and push us to recover from potentially big losses rather than reload?

zav4211 karma

No immediate plans in this direction. We did discuss systems to assist the player in ejecting in a spacesuit together with features to help you get picked up even by ships other than your own. But not a high priority for 4.0

Falcrack5 karma

The escape teleport mod as it exists currently is all that is needed. Unfortunately, using it results in a modded game (ie no ventures)

apoptosist3 karma

Yeah, that's a big loss for many of us that want ventures. :'(

zav4218 karma

OK I will put it on a list of topics to discuss with the team

otas11 karma

There is a venture mod that basically gives you all the venture features without the need for an unmodified game.

https://www.nexusmods.com/x4foundations/mods/244

zav429 karma

CAREFUL... Mods are cool but I suggest you keep your saves backed up so you have a method of going back. We definitely intend to extend the venture gameplay!

Or you just start fresh with a new gamestart! :)

apoptosist7 karma

What are your favorite games to play with family, both single and multi player?

zav4210 karma

I very much love simple action games that I can play with my kids in local coop. This was a lot of WII U stuff, Smash Bros or Mario Cart, but there are now a lot of excellent games like that on Steam and we are almost only playing on PC nowadays. I am looking forward to play Fall Guys ASAP but did not get the time to try it out yet :)

apoptosist7 karma

Have you considered adding limited ways for the player to help a ship from inside without piloting or even turret control (if added)? For example, letting us interact with existing consoles to speed up repair, boost weapons a bit, etc.

zav4212 karma

Yes the idea was discussed but so far not a priority. (I think I can make this answer a macro and paste to quite a lot of answers. Sorry for that, but it is really true that we discuss a LOT of ideas and many of them are exciting... It is just that we have to select and cut down to what is most "bang for the buck" ;)

Kaishiyoku7 karma

How successful is X4: Foundations so far? I heard that it sold pretty well, especially the first DLC Split Vendetta. Are there plans for a X5 or will X4 receive many more updates in the future?

zav4218 karma

Both - There are always plans :)
But the truth is that we are working on CoH now and what happens after that we will see then. Chances for more X4 expansions are very good though, because YES the game is doing EXCELLENT! (/ob: Thanks to all of you for supporting us!!)

Stanley_Gimble7 karma

Have you planned any features that could make being a pirate/outlaw more attractive?

zav4210 karma

Yes the idea was discussed but so far not a priority. (yes this time I actually pasted the answer ;)

But yeah honestly: Piracy is close to my heart and we will look into it again sooner or later.

apoptosist7 karma

Will 4.0 include more occasional stuff to find while walking on platforms/stations (no need to go as far as the last game, but a little more to do there would be nice, and some of us liked the boxes :D)?

zav4210 karma

Interesting opinion. It is funny how every feature that one person hates another person lovers :)

No plans for this right now. Instead we try to make more use of platforms as part of missions instead of the more generic ability to just find random things.

KrotoMax_7 karma

Greetings Bernd! I am once again representing a small Russian community (~1.1k) and sharing their questions with you. Here we go:

  1. ⁠Will we be able to move HQ between sectors?
  2. ⁠Would a Terran Start require doing the HQ quest, or would we just receive at the end of the storyline?
  3. ⁠Will the sun scale in various solar system sectors, like in DeVries, or maybe in some new way?
  4. ⁠Would Terran ships be superior to Commonwealth ships, as it has been in X3?
  5. ⁠Will the iconic Terran weapons make a return?
  6. ⁠Will the Torus be an important part of the DLC?
  7. ⁠Will the existing races receive new ships in the near future, as having one XL and L per faction does not seem to be enough?
  8. ⁠Will “Unique” ships, such as Hyperion Vanguard “Trinity” be added? X4 is in part about having fun collecting ships, yet you can simply buy all of them.

And my personal favorite (again):

• ⁠How are you doing today?

zav429 karma

I have written an answer to this but could somehow not post it here... So it is posted as a standalone reply further down. Sorry for the inconvenience!

zav426 karma

Weird and now I COULD answer

Alith-Ahnar7 karma

Has there been any thoughts about removing or at least flatten the RNG impact to more reliable and satisfying use ship modding and allow the us at a larger scale?

Resulting in more viable diversity in ships.

zav429 karma

Hmm... interesting question. The goal with modding was never to bring ships into entirely new categories or make ships that you consider really bad more "up to speed". OTOH no ship should be so bad that it is a non choice per se, but it is very hard to avoid this entirely and the game grows historically. Modding was more intended to have an area to finetune and optimize a small group of your absolute favorite ships to gain those last few percent.

NotLintong7 karma

What's your favorite ship design in the X universe? (doesn't have to be X4)

zav4210 karma

I really like the new cap ship on the Cradle of Humanity cover. Also the new Terran S ships that I was testing to record the teaser and B-Roll feature are great already even though they are not finished yet.

Before that mostly Split ships. So always the most recent additions I guess... We aim at improving all the time and raising the bar, so that is working for me I guess :)

apoptosist6 karma

Will 4.0 have controllable turrets?

zav429 karma

I guess you mean DIRECTLY controllable, as in: You personally sit down in the turret and fire it first person? We did this back in X2. It is cool but not very high on our list of priorities right now (you will hear that sentence quite often and it is code for: You have to convince us that this is very valuable to you or otherwise it may never happen ;)

MaskaradoBr6 karma

will there be more pub at stations?

zav427 karma

These locations are connected with the illegal activity missions. You have an indirect way of increasing access to them already by finding criminal missions with scanning for signal leaks I believe.

apoptosist5 karma

Can you share any of the interface improvements in 4.0?

zav4211 karma

One area that is currently being worked on is the analysis of player income globally as well as per station. This is in the form of new graphs and better logging of information. No screenshots yet, but in essence the goal is to allow you to see where you are making money, where you are loosing and how much.

apoptosist5 karma

Will we see a 4.0 public beta by October 2020? :)

zav429 karma

Possible, but not very likely. 4.0 is massive and a public beta slows us down a bit. So we rather wait a little longer. But yes of course there will be a public beta.

Sandillion5 karma

How large is the team at Egosoft working on the current X series, and what are the rough ratios of artists, designers, programmers and sound designers?

zav429 karma

Right now we are a team of 19 here near Aachen and at least 7 more working from all over the world (the border between inhouse and external team is very blurry right now anyway, because we are working home office >90% of the time). On top of that there are also some freelance studios supporting us. This number was a bit lower up until two years ago (we really are growing now after the release of X4 a bit), but quite stable before that for the past 10 years.

l_x_fx5 karma

Dear Bernd,

first off let me thank you and the whole Egosoft team for many great years with the X-Series, from X-BtF to X4! Thank you very much for your efforts to create a unique, captivating and very enjoyable game. :-)

I have a few questions for you. Don’t mind me taking full advantage of this great opportunity to ask you anything…

  1. How different will the Terran economy be? Will there be compatible products between the Commonwealth and Terrans (aside from Energy Cells)? What about ship weapon compatibility, now that the whole system of what ship can use what weapon has completely changed?

  2. How advanced is Terran tech compared to the Commonwealth? Last time around it was superior (and I loved it!)

  3. “You cannot give orders to a station” – Would it be hard to allow direct commands to stations (with a limited range of course)? Something like “Factory A transfer N amount of good X to Factory B”, which it will do using its cargo drones. I imagine it would make logistics between stations much easier. Is there a reason – aside from time constraints – for not implementing something like this?

  4. Big economic question: Right now the space economy is all about war, ships and stations (which also mostly serve a military purpose). That’s how you make money, each military good you manufacture can and will generate a profit. What if the economy was split in a civilian and a military branch: the former being the one to generate profits (with good for sustenance, luxury, tech, special resources etc.), the latter being the resource/credit sink? From a realistic point of view, military power almost always derives from economic might, instead of the reverse. Balancing two things that need each other would also give the player something to think on. What are your thoughts on such an approach to the X4 economy?

Thank you very much for doing this AMA and for taking the time to talk to us. It’s very much appreciated.

zav4211 karma

How different will the Terran economy be? Will there be compatible products between the Commonwealth and Terrans (aside from Energy Cells)? What about ship weapon compatibility, now that the whole system of what ship can use what weapon has completely changed?

The Terran economy is "mostly" disconnected but has SOME overlap. Their economy is different from the rest of the X races, similar to earlier X games and also because it makes sense in the historic context.

The balancing of the terran ships and their weapons is by far not done yet but there is a chance that their weapons are not fully compatible with other races. The idea with many of their new ships is that they can dissipate heat better than all other ships (thanks to their larger surface area in cool wings) and their weapons take special advantage of this fact. But this is not set in stone yet, so do not take my word for it.

zav426 karma

Big economic question: Right now the space economy is all about war, ships and stations (which also mostly serve a military purpose). That’s how you make money, each military good you manufacture can and will generate a profit. What if the economy was split in a civilian and a military branch: the former being the one to generate profits (with good for sustenance, luxury, tech, special resources etc.), the latter being the resource/credit sink? From a realistic point of view, military power almost always derives from economic might, instead of the reverse. Balancing two things that need each other would also give the player something to think on. What are your thoughts on such an approach to the X4 economy?

I very much like your goal here (not a fan of war driven economy in real life for sure ;), but just producing goods for another sink is of course a bit more "fake" than the military sink. Our goal with X4 was to really simulate the ENTIRE economy up to the point where the goods end up being destroyed. Just creating luxury goods and then making them be consumed invisibly is not quite as nice. But I see where you are coming from and do not rule it out in some form for the future.

zav426 karma

You cannot give orders to a station” – Would it be hard to allow direct commands to stations (with a limited range of course)? Something like “Factory A transfer N amount of good X to Factory B”, which it will do using its cargo drones. I imagine it would make logistics between stations much easier. Is there a reason – aside from time constraints – for not implementing something like this?

Not really planned. Ware exchange between two stations would kind of violate the idea of the order queue. The orders always result in an order in that objects queue. The station would have to create orders indirectly to its own subordinates. This however normally only happens when you give a manager the freedom to control ships him/herself.

apoptosist5 karma

Have you had luck reducing “pop-in” of asteroids? Could the new fog be used to help avoid that?

zav428 karma

It was not the main goal, but the new volumetric fog means that we will re-design many sectors and that also gives us a chance to look into this. So in short: Possibly.

MaskaradoBr5 karma

will we have more npc on the stations?

zav427 karma

That is not a goal right now. Since our NPCs are persistent and tend to exist (and do things) for a while after you saw them, they are also a bit costly in terms of performance. Not terrible when we talk about a few dozen, but if a large station has hundreds and hundreds it can become a performance problem.

Yamr35 karma

Good afternoon,

Thanks for taking the time to do this again Bernd and Egosoft staff! I have 2 questions. One from my dad and one from me.

1) My dad would like to know if, you all will bring back the Ballistic weapons like Chain Guns? They were awesome on doing hull damage

2) Any chance in the future that we can get the option to change the color of the UI? Like, for example change the cockpit UI from a light Blue to a Green? A good example I can give is from Descent Freespace had Amber, Blue, and Green presets with custom as well.

Thank you for the games Egosoft and looking forward to the many years to come!!

zav428 karma

My day would like to know if, you all will bring back the Ballistic weapons like Chain Guns? They were awesome on doing hull damage

I will forward the suggestion, no promises though.

Any chance in the future that we can get the option to change the color of the UI? Like, for example change the cockpit UI from a light Blue to a Green? A good example I can give is from Descent Freespace had Amber, Blue, and Green presets with custom as well.

that would be tough. The color scheme of the UI is very complex already because there are so many important signal colors and informations connected to it. If we change the entire scheme, it would probably mean that we would have to re-design everything with it.

apoptosist5 karma

Will we get wing/fleet controls from the HUD in 4.0?

zav4210 karma

Improving wing and fleet commands is a high priority in 4.0. There is already a very cool improvement in our internal beta. This includes much improved AI and also UI. Right now I do not see us making this available directly from the cockpit HUD if thats what you mean because most of these commands require some more context (like on the map or at least in the context menu when selecting targets)

apoptosist5 karma

Have you considered promoting *limited* local/couch co-op via gun or turret controls mapped to a controller? For example, support player handles gun or turret controls while main player handles everything else?
This could also be used online via Steam Remote Play and similar. I'm *not* asking for true multiplayer, just limited co-op that might already be doable. :D

zav426 karma

See discussion of player controlling turrets actively above. Yes a nice idea, but for local coop this has the extra cost of rendering two seperate views of the game on the same client. Thats VERY expensive and X4 is still quite cutting edge with its rendering tech.

apoptosist4 karma

Will 4.0 let us add to and tweak the great music without being “modified” (i.e., remove the signature check just for music/ogg files, so we can replace just these files and stay un-"modified")? :)

zav424 karma

IIRC this was already done... I am not 100% sure if this was for 3.30 or afterwards

Hlicat4 karma

Are you able to talk about the Terran factions involved in 4.0? Will it be the USC and Aldrin? Will the ATF feature? Or should we wait for further info in the future?

zav426 karma

They are different from X3TC and X3AP. Yes the Terran military is still powerful but there is a new faction as well. Stay tuned ;)

apoptosist4 karma

Will the DLC have scenic highways or superhighways that fly us very close past and around celestial bodies in the solar system?
Could you please tweak existing pathways (not end points, just the middle path) of existing superhighways so they are more scenic and not just so straight (no new assets needed)?

zav4210 karma

To have relevant visual movement relative to celestial bodies, we are talking superhighways not local highways. Only superhighways reach speeds that make you move on that order of magnitude. Yes the goal with those in X Rebirth was indeed to do as you describe, but it turned out players do not like that an awful lot. While this is nice the first time around, since you can not do much while inside a super highway they feel they should better be as short as possible.
Instead it is better for us to focus on more varied "in sector" bodies (asteroid fields, did I mention volumetric fog etc.) Here you can fly either with travel drive or in highways and enjoy the sights you WANT to enjoy rather than be forced to travel along a fixed path

Alith-Ahnar3 karma

X² had the amazing option to project different camera views and the map on a second screen.
Is a second screen extension at least for the map something that has been considered to implement at some point?

zav429 karma

X2 was a bit dated in rendering quality when it came out. The PCs were very quickly improving and we had some more "leeway" in terms of performance. With the still quite cutting edge X4 graphics we would bring even the most highend PCs down to a crawl right now. So right now not for performance reasons.

MaskaradoBr2 karma

Will it ever land on moons or planets?

zav4210 karma

Very very unlikely to ever happen in an X4 game. No.
Yes would be very cool, but it would open up yet another gigantic can of worms and I much rather concentrate on making X4 the best possible space game FIRST ;)