Get a frist impression of all the improvements and EGOSOFT's vision for the future of X4: Foundations with the public beta for the 4.0 patch starting today!

The 4.00 update is, without a doubt, the biggest free update so far to EGOSOFT's space simulation X4: Foundations. This major update, which will be available to all owners of the game when it is released in the first quarter of 2021, enhances X4: Foundations in numerous ways, including completely new gameplay features and extensive technical improvements.

For the full change log for the 4.00 beta update please visit the official forums.

Volumetric Fog

The 4.00 update to X4: Foundations will see the introduction of several wide-ranging visual improvements, first and foremost volumetric fog. For those of you with an interest in the technical side of things: most implementations of fog in games are calculated on the surface of an object by the shader used to render that surface; volumetric fog, however, is calculated at intervals in the empty space in front of the camera, independently of any surface.

In practice, this means that you will notice soft fog layers in X4's universe, inviting you to come closer and check them out. Volumetric fog also changes the way the game interacts with light, and how this technical improvement changes player sense of space in the X4 universe.

X4 Volumetric fog

Improved Fleet Control

If you've ever commanded huge fleets through the X4: Foundations universe, then there's a good chance that you'll be excited about the following news: a considerable amount of time in improving fleet combat has been invested for the 4.00 update. This includes improved steering behavior and several important AI script changes.

There are a number of different elements to this feature, and EGOSOFT didn't want to spoil all of them at once, but it has been revealed that players will be given an overview of a new order called "Coordinate Attack". This tactical order is given to the fleet admiral when engaging a target fleet in battle. The admiral can subsequently give movement, escort and attack orders to all the subordinate ship groups, to coordinate positioning, formations and attacks against the enemy fleet. Once all the subordinate groups reach their positions, the new "Sync Point" feature is triggered. The admiral then moves on, to give orders to the groups of ships to attack specific targets.

This new Sync Point system allows the AI to synchronize orders to ships, but also gives you the freedom to manually trigger the release signal yourself, or let it be released automatically.

While a fleet battle is taking place, the groups of ships will dynamically receive new attack orders and will switch targets if the group configuration changes. This is especially useful once you have seen how the battle is progressing, and allows you to reconfigure your attacks with different group configurations.

Once you've had a look at this new feature and are feeling experimental, you can edit several of the order parameters. For example:

  • "Fleet aggressiveness" defines how aggressively the fleet should behave, as well as affecting the initial positioning of all ships and individual formation attacks.
  • "Weak targets first" determines whether to prioritize closer, weaker targets, or go for the larger, stronger ones.
  • "Ignore rally points" allows all ships to ignore Sync Points.

X4 fleet controls

This is just the first of several public beta updates for 4.00 which will lead up to the final release version of 4.00 in Q1 2021. These updates will introduce additional fixes and new features, including the Terraforming gameplay that was mentioned during the gamescom 2020 live-stream.

How do I take part in the Public Beta?

Every player who owns X4: Foundations has the opportunity to download the new 4.00 beta version. In order to ensure that beta participants are aware of the risks and rules involved, all interested players are asked to visit the official forums where they will find both the rules and disclaimers, as well as practical instructions for participating in the beta.

X4: Cradle of Humanity - The next chapter of X4 awaits you in the new year!

As announced at the beginning of October, the final release of the 4.00 update and the new X4: Cradle of Humanity expansion, has been postponed to the first quarter of 2021.

X4: Cradle of Humanity is the second expansion for X4: Foundations and will bring the X series back to Earth. It significantly expands the game universe with new sectors and welcomes two Terran factions along with their economy, ships, weapons and stations. New game-starts bring players closer to the identity and political stance of the Terran factions and offer alternative perspectives on events in the history of X4: Foundations.