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X2 the Threat - beginner tips?


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#1 Matt Diamond

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 02:53 PM

I've recently started playing X2 The Threat, and although I was initially concerned by its reputation for instability, I've found it to be completely stable on my particular hardware and with the latest patch. (G5 dual 2GHz, 2 gig RAM, OS X 10.4.x, Radeon x800 256M VRAM.)

I'm enjoying it quite a lot, but it's a monster of a game to pick up. And there are details that you are left to discover that really should have been covered in the manual or in-game. So I'd appreciate a few tips for a beginner.

1. Upgrades. Some of the ship upgrades are called things like "Trading Software MK1". There are no specifics given in the game or the manual, just that they "add new commands to the ship command console." Eventually I could learn what they add through trial and error, but is there a list somewhere? Or does anyone have a recommendation which ship software upgrades are most useful? Or should I leave them alone until I've upgraded other things like engines, shields, and weapons?

2. The game doesn't tell you what price you bought your cargo at, as far as I can tell. Am I right? You are totally responsible for tracking your profits and losses, as well as the market prices you encounter?

3. Right now I'm hauling freight myself to try and earn a few bucks but at some point I'd like to tell my transport ship to start trading automatically within a certain area while I explore with my scout. I think this is a matter of upgrades again. What specifically do I need to do to enable my transport to trade on its own? Or do I need my own factory first?

4. As far as the plot goes, I have a question. It's not much of a spoiler but I'll put it at the very end of this message to make it easier to skip over.


I haven't played all the tutorials through yet, so maybe some of my questions would have been answered there. Feel free to point this out.

After a few days of playing I read the manual more closely and "discovered" the keyboard shortcut S, C, 1, 1 that docks with whatever station is targetted, even if you aren't in comm range yet. Whew, what a relief! Tips like that are also welcome.


Okay, below is my vaguely worded question about the plot from early in the game. Mild spoiler alert!




[MILD, DELIBERATELY VAGUE SPOILER ALERT! , EARLY GAME]

I've gone to a certain place as directed and been told that [name omitted] is missing. My character volunteers to go on a certain mission, as does my very annoying pilot friend. Then the party breaks up and I'm left alone again. Noone tells me where to fly to even though it's a location they all know, and my buddy who volunteered to help me simply flies away. Am I missing something? Or is the game simply setting me loose to make my fortune and eventually stumble on the location for the next part of the story as I explore the galaxy?

[END OF MILD SPOILER]

I think this can be easily answered without giving anything away...
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#2 Dark_Archon

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:19 PM

The best starting up advice is to build a Solar power plant in Kindgom End, which is the system the farthest to the north. If you use the Boron freighter to sell energy cells, it will make you a fortune. Paranid Prime is another good place to set up a Solar power plant. Lucky Planets isn't bad either.

I also found a real high yield silicone asteroid in Ore Belt that did well. The one problem is it is a very active sector, and freighters tend to disappear unless you have something there for defense.



I remember that part, but can't quite remember where you need to go. It might be Antigone Memorial. I haven't played the game much since the most recent patch. I didn't really feel like starting over then, but I think I'm going to start a new game.
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#3 Huntn

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:20 PM

I was going to make a wise crack and say "hang on to your sanity", but you say it's stable? I might find such a game worth a shot if I thought it would play decently, but the vibes were so bad a while back.

-Hunt'n

#4 benj

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 04:39 PM

Wow an X2 thread, been a while. The way I started rakeing in the big bucks, after VP fixed the game of course, was to build a solar plant in Kingdom's End. It took a fair amount of those mundane jobs to build up the creds but an SPP is the easiest way to start. I then bought 2 ships to buy and sell on their own while I was doing my own thing. This is where you need to buy the trading software, the 2version equips the ship with the auto buy feature so it just flys around and finds the cheapest factory to buy what you told it to and the 1version tells the ship to go find the best selling price for whatever it's selling. You do need to own a factory to do all this. If you set the home base of you're buy/sell ships as the factory their buying and selling for, the creds are automatically deducted or added from the creds you transfer to you're factory. You can actually set the factory to deposit the profit it makes into your account automatically so you don't have to fly there to get your credits.
It took me a couple hours of going back and forth on my own, doing runs, which got old after a while, but once you have a few ships to do your dirty work the money just flows in. After a while just buy another SPP and assign two more ships to it and go from there. I think I bought a crystal fab as my 3rd factory. Like I said though, at the start you're looking at a couple of hours of flying yourself from factory to factory, trying to gain enough creds to buy that first factory.
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#5 Quicksilver

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 05:08 PM

View PostMatt Diamond, on April 18th 2006, 03:53 PM, said:

[MILD, DELIBERATELY VAGUE SPOILER ALERT! , EARLY GAME]

I've gone to a certain place as directed and been told that [name omitted] is missing. My character volunteers to go on a certain mission, as does my very annoying pilot friend. Then the party breaks up and I'm left alone again. Noone tells me where to fly to even though it's a location they all know, and my buddy who volunteered to help me simply flies away. Am I missing something? Or is the game simply setting me loose to make my fortune and eventually stumble on the location for the next part of the story as I explore the galaxy?

[END OF MILD SPOILER]

After playing with X2 for such a long time, I can't believe that I can't remember every single detail, but I'll give it my best shot . . .

Are you talking about the mission that occurs after you meet a certain religious figure in the system, "Cloudbase South West"?  If so, I believe that you're supposed to follow Brett to the system called "Brennan's Triumph" (located three jumps east and one south from "Home of Light," but the route isn't direct), where you'll do some crazy stuff.  At that point, Brett wanders off again at your command, and you're supposed to meet up with him and chat with him in Antigone Memorial.  

Does that answer your question?
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#6 Matt Diamond

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:44 PM

Good replies, thanks.

Obviously I'm a long way from buying a solar power plant but that's a good goal.

It sounds like I don't need to get the MK1/MK2 software upgrades until I want my transport to buy/sell autonomously, and I won't do that until I get my own factory. So instead I'll just upgrade my engines and shields to speed up my manual trading. Then maybe get that upgrade that finds the best prices in a given system.

Quicksilver, that does answer my mission question. But I didn't follow Brett or see where he went. I went back to Home of Light and started trading some more. Maybe Brett is still waiting for me at Cloudbase South West? Guess I'll go check.

If I keep following the mission is there be a natural time to work on my trading empire later on? Or can I just leave off the mission any time I feel like?

Thanks all!
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#7 No One

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:57 PM

I spent the early game mining ore and silicon for the most part. The Vulture (I think that's what it's called) can take a mining cannon in the rear turret, so it's a cheap way to start mining. Eventually I just worked my way up to building solar power plants.

Also, did any of you have to do anything special after the last patch to get the crashing to stop? I reinstalled it and started fresh games, but it seems my saves become corrupt and keep crashing at the same point.

#8 Quicksilver

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:43 PM

The biggest flaw (other people may see this as a good thing) of X2 in my opinion is the exorbitant pricing scheme because it takes a really long time to earn enough money to be able to get in on combat and set up a profitable business that works by itself.

Matt, you can wait as long as you like to continue with the story, but I recommend sticking with it until it reaches the end (the game doesn't end--you're free to do whatever you're like), because it really teaches you everything you need to know and you'll get a few expensive items along the way.  Obviously, you'll have to take time out to earn new stuff--otherwise, the end of the storyline will be absolutely impossible, but use your own judgement.

Here are a few tips:

1.  Upgrade that M5 Discoverer that you begin the game with to it's maximum speed, and take all of the fares that you can get (don't bother with cargo).  Those guys who ask you to stick around for a few minutes can really help you earn a lot of money, but you'll eventually have to drop them because the time they give you to make it to your destination gets shorter and shorter.  If you fail a mission in mid-flight, don't land--just reload your game and abort the mission.  A quick tip to make time pass:  land, hit escape, and dock.  Undock, but don't leave the station (and don't move either).  Engage SETA at 10x.  As long as you don't touch the controls, you can just sit there and time will fly by, which really comes in handy when you have another ship doing the heavy lifting for you.

2.  Your intermediate goal should be to finish the scripted story, and to do that, you'll need some serious firepower and shielding.  The ship that you're looking for is the M3 Nova, completely tricked out with twin Beta HEPTs, 3x25MW shields (very hard to find . . . ask me for help), etc.  As you've probably figured out, each M-class is exponentially more powerful than the one before it (although I'd stay away from M2s and M1s--they're too slow to be any fun).  The M3 Nova in good hands can take down dozens of M4s and M5s and even a few M3s with nary a scratch.

However, a fully loaded Nova costs a TON of money, and earning that money is a huge headache. Definitely buy an Argon Mercury (upgrade its speed to full) and remotely control it with the proper computer upgrades to haul freight while you run around taking passengers to their destinations.  While it might set you back in the story by a few hours, I suppose you could also buy an Ore Mine and use that as a base of operations for your Mercury--regardless, it's going to take you a while to scrape together enough money for a Nova.  

A word of warning about the Nova:  until you at least have 6-7MW of shielding, you're not going to be able to pick fights with ships in order to capture them (or their cargo).  Keep earning money until you have at least a hundred and fifty thousand credits more than the cost of the Nova if you want to use it right away.
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#9 Matt Diamond

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 05:02 AM

Marvelous info; thanks!

I just found out that I'll be pretty busy with something for the next month unfortunately, so this game will be on the back-burner soon. But rest assured all this information will be put to good use eventually...

Quote

Also, did any of you have to do anything special after the last patch to get the crashing to stop?
Not having seen the crashing personally, I can't help. :-( But maybe post your system specs and OS version? Also, at what point does it start crashing? I believe the patch I installed was the one linked from Freeverse's website.
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#10 Quicksilver

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 09:40 AM

If you experienced crashing before, it was most likely because of Apple's faulty OpenAL implementation (what else is new).  I believe we got another OpenAL update when 10.4.5 or 10.4.6 was released, so that may be the reason why Matt isn't having stability issues.
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#11 Dark_Archon

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 01:32 PM

I just started a new game without the storyline, and I'm enjoying just making money and building an empire. My SPP in Kingdom End is already turning a profit while I attempt to capture pirate ships. My next plan is to get my standings up in Paranid space so I can place another SPP in Paranid Prime. I might put one in Lucky Planets first which is another good position. Reservoir of Tranquility is another good spot.


This could be considered a little bit of an exploit, but what I did in my last game was set up a Crystal Fab and SPP in Red Light. I put the price of crystals all the way up, and the AI kept buying them to bring to the trading station which sells them for less than I was selling them for, so I was making a profit there, then using the crystals for my Solar Power Plant. This takes a bit of capital to get started but really makes a lot of money.

Edit: It does seem a lot more stable. I still have problems with the game starting to slow down after a while.
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#12 No One

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 01:49 PM

View PostQuicksilver, on April 19th 2006, 08:40 AM, said:

If you experienced crashing before, it was most likely because of Apple's faulty OpenAL implementation (what else is new).  I believe we got another OpenAL update when 10.4.5 or 10.4.6 was released, so that may be the reason why Matt isn't having stability issues.

Ooh! I wasn't aware that was updated. The last time I played I was still using 10.4.4. I'll have to try it out again.

Oh yeah. I remember in another thread someone recommended selling the shields that are on that transport you get during a mission. That really gives a lot of starting cash to buy a new ship with. Very handy.

#13 Huntn

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 05:21 PM

Is anyone running X2 on 10.3 with good results?
-Hunt'n

#14 Quicksilver

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 07:53 PM

View PostHuntn, on April 19th 2006, 06:21 PM, said:

Is anyone running X2 on 10.3 with good results?
-Hunt'n

I seriously doubt it.  The version of OpenAL on Panther messes up X2 like no other.
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#15 Matt Diamond

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 05:11 AM

I wonder, would it be possible to replace the OpenAL framework used by the game with a later version? I know people had great success with that with the Unreal Tournament games. And I can see the OpenAL framework in the X2 bundle...

On the other hand, if it was that easy they'd probably release a patch. And the issues might very well be in other parts of the OS that OpenAL calls, which would explain why it seems to work better in Tiger.

Might be worth looking in Virtual Programming's forums. I went there to have a quick look but they require registration just to read the posts. :-/
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#16 No One

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 01:05 AM

I have a question about setting up my stations. I have three solar power plants right now. Two of them seem to always be in need of crystals, so they spend a lot of time waiting for crystals to come in. Is it cost effective to build a silicon mine and a crystal fab in the system that has my solar power plant? The part that has me most worried is the silicon mine. Can I just drop one anywhere and it will produce silicon?

By the way, so far I've had no crashes. Seems 10.4.6 did the trick. Very happy about that.

#17 Quicksilver

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 01:12 AM

View PostNo One, on April 29th 2006, 02:05 AM, said:

The part that has me most worried is the silicon mine. Can I just drop one anywhere and it will produce silicon?

You have to install it on an asteroid, I believe.  The higher the mineral content of the 'roid, the faster your mine will produce silicon, so if you're trying to maximize profit, buy a mineral scanner before you buy the mine.
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#18 No One

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 01:14 AM

View PostQuicksilver, on April 29th 2006, 12:12 AM, said:

You have to install it on an asteroid, I believe.  The higher the mineral content of the 'roid, the faster your mine will produce silicon, so if you're trying to maximize profit, buy a mineral scanner before you buy the mine.

Would it be better to just build my own crystal fab and use an already existing (not my own) silicon mine?

#19 Huntn

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 03:54 PM

X3 is coming out so I decided to give X2 another shot. And using 10.4 I actually got through the tutorials in one piece with only one crash! I'm starting to play the scenario. I'm being driven nuts trying to figure out how to zoom the map. Can it be that hard? Manual is missing and I don't remember how much help it really was.  I'm playing on a powerbook and some of the keys are a little funky in that I have to remember to press the fn key for things the f keys and such.

My impression is that if you get lost, the game is not going to give you much in the way of help. Anyone know of any good walk throughs? I did peruse the tips in this thread. Thanks!