the program is installed by default in the X:\Program Files\Ergosoft folder (X is what ever drive you choose - I have all games on a seperate drive from my OS).
During the Install there is an Ergosoft Folder created in your My Documents folder (the actual path varies depending on your OS, but it is always in My Documents) in this folder there will be sub folders for X3 and under that there will be a Save Game Folder and a Screen shot folder, if you also install Terran Conflict the installer creates antoher folder inside this Ergosoft folder called X3 Terran Conflict, which contais sub folders for Saves and Screen shots. These folders will hold all saves, screen shots and various other settings such as your controller configurations. The game itself is installed as I mentioned above in the Program Files folder and you can copy that folder and all of it's contents anywhere you like and it will run just fine, but regardless of where you have the actual game running from the Saves and screen shots are always stored in the folder in your My Docs that is hard coded in the X3.exe file and can't be altered so that is why you have to watch when running more than one version or mod.
This one is king of tricky to explain, the "Fake Patch" method is just a workaround to install various things to the game, mainly larger mods that require pretty complicated installation, if you look at the folder structure once you install you will see it is kind of like FSX lots of sub folders and files, in the main folder there will be a set of numbered files with the extensions .CAT and .DAT, these are the official patches released by Ergosoft, (I think with Ver 2.7 the files went from 1-10). Now the "workaround part" - most mods can be installed one of two ways, the installer they provide which just unzips everything into the right folders and places the new .CAT and .DAT files into the Mod folder - this is the normal way to install a mod and if you are only installing one it is the easiest. Once you do the unzip bit, start the game and on the launcher screen you will see the Select a Mod button is now active, just click it and highlight the mod name that is in there and click OK, then you are good to go fire it up and go kick some butt. Now if you happen to find more than one compatible mod you want to run in the same game this will not work the launcher will only allow one mod at a time, soooo we use the fake patch - I posted a good tutorial earlier it should be on page 4 of this section. The short story on using a fake patch is you use those two files from the Mod folder and either copy them to the main or move them (I copy just so I can keep track) once they are in your main game folder change the name to the next number in line for the patches so if you see files numbered 01.cat and 01.dat thru 10.cat and 10.dat you would name the two you just placed there 11.cat & 11.dat, simple right... the only thing to watch for is, if you ever patch your game these files will be overwritten by the patch installer so you have to rename them before patching to move them up the food chain.And, "fake patches". I still have no idea why this name is given to some updates rather than calling them scripts or mods, or how to go about installing them. But I assume that, since a real patch is applied by running an installer outside the game (when it isn't running), the same might be true for a fake patch. Yes ?OK I have not tried Comabt Mod for XTM or Vanilla, but I love the Xtended Mod... "MASSIVE COOL MAN".
Finally, a question about Cmod 2, based on the download details in the Egosoft forum. It says -
Combat Mod 2 v 1.10 for XTM For Xtended
Combat Mod 2 v 1.09 for TXU For Vanilla
I grabbed all that, and finally found the XTM mod, but does TXU actually mean anything in the context of "vanilla" ? If there's a TXU "mod" I couldn't find it, or am I taking things too literally here ?
Thanks again for all that great input (input, input, need more input ...)
Oh TXU is not a mod that is the Xtended community abbreviation, they have their own message board and a large modding group, you can find the link off of the main Ergosoft page I go there quite a bit, they can be abrupt if you ask dumb questions that have been answered hundreds of times before so search before you ask, but if you read through their forums there is a lot of great stuff there.
You are kind of jumping around a bit so here is a real quick and dirty timeline history so you know what fit swith what. You ordered the Gold version so you will get X3 Reunion and X3 Terran Conflict they are seperate games and will create their own folders, the first thing to keep in mind is the mods for each are generally not compatible, Reunion Mods will not work in Terran Conflict, and vice-versa, however many of the scripts will (always check but a great deal work in both versions if there is an update it will generally be posted in the same thread).
OK back to the Timeline, X3 Reunion is the earlier version and I recommend you give that a go first, I strongly recommend you get some extended stick time in it without mods - a few scripts are good but stay aways from the mods until you understand the game flow and have explored the races and sectors. For X3R (short for Reunion) there are a number of Mods XTM was the first real huge one (XTM is short for Xtended Mod), this thing was huge and actually is the basis for Terran Conflict. XTM introduced the Terran RAce and Sectors and a wide range of new ships, if you start with this you will miss some of the important things you need to learn from the original plot as they are changed by the mod, so start Vanilla.
I did start a thread on the various Mods it's back there somewhere, but there are just too many and I got side tracked, the other one I played a lot for X3R was New Horizens, very cool but a long learning curve as it changed the trading structure.
OK next comes Terran Conflict, a wide selection of Mods for this one, GT182 loves AMS and I am with him there, I also love the new Transcend II mod it is awsome, the only thing I say is again start with the Vanilla and get through a few plot missions, explore and get to knwo the flow of the game, then add a Mod and have at it.
Once you have the game installed and patched up let me know I can give you some good links to the mods and scripts I like and some tips I have collected for them, none of it will make any sense at this point but once you jave been in the cockpit for a few hours it will make things real interesting.