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#183692 Zombie's Ultimate X-COM Collection

Posted by magic9mushroom on 13 October 2020 - 09:37 AM in Support

I do have to ask, Zombie; with all the stuff you know and have and some of it not publicised (like the annotated source code of TFTD), have you thought through what happens to safeguard it if you were to die? This sort of thing has a nasty tendency to slip between the cracks, since relatives won't have your passwords to get into things and frequently won't even know that they're supposed to be looking, never mind what for.

Very morbid, I know, but I just want to be sure we don't lose some of this stuff.

#183228 Let's Play X-Com: Terror from the Deep

Posted by magic9mushroom on 20 September 2020 - 07:01 AM in Terror from the Deep

Would anyone be interested in me doing an LP of a Superhuman run with Council Funding Only? I've beaten Superhuman before; it's tough but I know the basic traps (early intercepts are playing with fire, make sure to get a dead and live Deep One in January, carry Tazers on every unknown mission until you get Sonics, get Displacers before June and use them as Tentaculat bait). But Council Funding Only is a step beyond anything I've done.

I'd be doing CFO via hacking PURCHASE.DAT to zero sell price for manufacturables and recoverables; manually destroying items or building a billion General Stores is just tedious.

#180345 Feedback on StrategyCore

Posted by magic9mushroom on 15 May 2020 - 09:09 AM in Your Views

I can't post new threads. It says there's a problem with the database ("driver error") and that an admin may need to fix it.

#180629 Feedback on StrategyCore

Posted by magic9mushroom on 29 May 2020 - 10:46 AM in Your Views

Hooray, I can post threads again!

#177798 "Tentaculat Trap"

Posted by magic9mushroom on 17 December 2019 - 10:07 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNickAragua, on 17 May 2004 - 02:24 AM, said:

Yeah, there's this one room in the second stage of the artefact sites - it's got a central elevator which leads up to the "double-ring" device. And, on the second level are little alcoves, each of them potentially holding a tentaculat. So, of course, what happend the first time I saw one of these rooms, I didn't think twice about sending in a pair of guys through one entrance -

"Hey, look, a tentaculat", the dudes shoot it down. I click end turn, and then the next turn, I see a pair of those guys come out of little alcoves and zombie my guys.

Over the years, I haven't had any particular luck with those rooms in any case, and I usually wind up losing one or two guys going in there. So, I was curious what people do to beat the "Tentaculat Trap"...
Send the Displacer in first, wait for all the Tentaculats to mob it, circle the room to finish off any that didn't take the bait, THEN send the soldiers in.

View PostNKF, on 11 September 2005 - 12:27 PM, said:

I haven't got TFTD or a reference image handy at the moment, but is there a clear line from the ground level up to the synonium device? Because if there is, I imagine destroying it would be simply a matter of arming a gas cannon with HE shells, stepping out, blasting the ceiling, then proceeding with a mad dash towards the exits.

Oh, DPLs are always the easier solution, but the gas cannon's the cheaper solution.


View PostFullAuto, on 11 September 2005 - 04:11 PM, said:

Sadly not, the device is behind a pair of doors.  Easily sorted with DPLs obviously, or, alternatively, if you're extra cautious:
Prime a grenade and get on the lift.  Go up a level.  Drop grenade, go down a level.  Grenade will detonate, taking out the doors.  Prime another grenade, go back up, toss that inside, go back down.  Grenade blows, destroying the device.
The ceiling of the main chamber (where the massive ambush happens) is indeed the floor under the Synomium, so shooting up from ground floor will indeed get the Synomium (due to the bug where explosives fired into a ceiling phase through it). I'm not 100% sure the Gas Cannon does enough damage to pop the Synomium, though.

#183459 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 01 October 2020 - 02:00 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 30 September 2020 - 09:19 PM, said:

Hm, you don't see the attachment or is something wrong with the the save itself? Looks normal on my end.
I can see it, but I haven't downloaded it because it's not clear from your post what the save is there to demonstrate.

#183279 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 23 September 2020 - 08:15 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostSpace Voyager, on 23 September 2020 - 05:43 AM, said:

? I wasn't aware of this feature... What is it?
I mentioned it further up. Aliens in phase 2 of colonies always seem to spawn in the North, apart from the commanders (who have dedicated spawn points in the command module). I believe it's a result of there being too many spawn points for the engine to correctly roll among all of them - those maps are FAR more complicated than anything from UFO*.

They can move southward as the mission progresses, but generally you're going to find most of them in the North.

(I think this is also why there's the long stretch of nothing in T'leth L2/L3, as the usually-abandoned section is in the South. It's not nearly as striking as the colonies, though, probably because the map isn't 3D.)

*Remember, the Gollops made UFO's engine and all the data was designed around it; TFTD was made by a MicroProse team in a year, and they didn't understand the (shared) engine anywhere near as deeply. This is why they made rookie mistakes like changing the UFOpaedia-displayed values for craft-weapon fire rates without changing the real ones, or removing the limit on how many Engineers you can put on a project without twigging to the fact that the limit was there to mask an underlying engine limit on manufacturing rate. And then there are the various ways TFTD expands on UFO, whether that be more aliens, bigger maps, aliens with carried melee weapons or two-part missions, which often run into hidden engine limits (the obvious stuff they noticed and could kludge, but a lot of the subtler stuff got missed).

#183436 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 30 September 2020 - 06:47 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 29 September 2020 - 05:04 AM, said:

In my just completed colony mission, command module spawned just south of the magic line, completely vacant. Attached save shows my boys closing in from the north but killing that one last Lobbie in the far west ends the mission.
I'm currently doing another abandoned TFTD playthrough but in my old one - 3rd T'leth stage, south section was too completely devoid of alien life. Went hand in hand with forbidden save feature (wtf lol, didn't expect that).

* * *

On another note, doing all this UFO/TFTD things lately somehow sparked desire to try out OCX with FMP/X-Files/Piratez mods. Not only have I avoided practically all kinds of community mods in all games my whole life, but instead of getting saturated and bored of classic XCOM gameplay (doing only that for last 2.5 months), I find myself somehow wanting even more...
But not before wrapping up yet another abandoned playthrough, Apocalypse this time, played and quit all the way back in 1998. I see m9m is pretty active on that forum too. Too bad I only got a couple of alien buildings left to clear so I won't get to use all the juicy info.
So, uh, what is the save file you've attached? Posted Image

#183490 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 02 October 2020 - 02:05 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 01 October 2020 - 04:45 PM, said:

Save shows module has been empty for the entire mission. Either its south placement overruled spawn rules or Sherlock's changes I've been using affected it indirectly, or a mix of both. Either way I ain't complaining - one less room to worry about!

Okay, maybe I wasn't clear enough.

1) The commander spawns avoid the "only first ~50 spawns used" issue (because it's "first ~50 spawns" of the ones considered, and if there are appropriate spawns it doesn't consider inappropriate ones) if they exist. They are still subject to the "spawn points gone missing" issue, and if they're not there the commanders will go to generic alien spawn points which have the "only first ~50" issue.

2) Sherlock's route mod dramatically worsens the "spawn points gone missing" issue, because it adds a whole bunch of waypoints which clog up ROUTES.DAT (I don't think he knew about this issue when writing it).

#182353 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 16 August 2020 - 06:55 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 15 August 2020 - 06:14 PM, said:

Yep found the lift too. Glad no one got dumped there in isolation! Btw thanks for playing around with the save. Certainly didn't expect anything more than a courteous glance at most, if that. It's cool seeing a classic getting quality attention decades after release. Being a small part of it makes it that much more enjoyable. Of course my gratitude extends towards mentioned contributors as well. It's hard to imagine playing UFO/TFTD without consulting wiki nowadays.

About waypoints & spawn nodes: I've applied Sherlock' route fixes, meant to be used on top of Zombie's fixes available in the files sections, before starting playing. They may very well be the source of oddities. I've put my faith in it solely going off author's meticulous documentation of changes and reasoning behind them. He may have missed something hehe. If you hadn't said anything I wouldn't have known any better so I plan sticking with it for the time being.
In fact I've had two consecutive Fleet Supply Cruiser (or was it Hunter?) missions where both times all aliens were well outside the sub, sparing me the effort of going in full SWAT mode. If only this happened on Dreadnought too... Don't recall it happening before so I want to believe those route/spawn fixes are to thank!

Did a bit of testing with my own (clean) copy. The issue with ROUTES.DAT overflowing and not getting all the points it should seems to be there in vanilla, although the fix may have worsened it (I only got 2-3 modules left out, not 11) - this is the one connected to a lift being unavailable. The issue with the aliens all being in the North is definitely there in vanilla (as I said, I first noticed it myself, and I don't use utilities).

(EDIT: although it could well have extended the issue - normally only an issue in the interior of bases - to Alien Sub maps, since it ups the amount of spawn points there.)


Damn dude, thanks so much for this! I might even finish this playthrough before 2020 runs its course (or scheduled comets hits, whichever comes first). No more endless salvage runs unless Zrbite shortage or getting some Rookies beefed up.

Yeah, most people go to interception-only once they've got everything they need and are just spinning the wheels researching/building/psi-screening for the endgame. Can't completely lock down the globe in TFTD the way you can in UFO (ship terror sites and artefact sites are unavoidable), but you can certainly skip the dozens of Cruisers and Fleet Supply Cruisers.

#182313 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 14 August 2020 - 04:56 AM in Terror from the Deep

#2 NKF's put in Known Bugs, as the game doesn't check properly whether the Triton is there before putting the wing there.

#5 I'm not surprised by; I've seen a sub touch down on land in the Caribbean myself (if you attempt to recover it, your game crashes).

I think #6 might be two access lifts but all your guys being rolled as in one of them (probably the one closer to the top-left of the map). Will download the save when I have some time.

WRT second post: there are a few interesting things that happen if you keep going long enough:

- the game actually keeps track of how many artefact sites have been generated, and after the twelfth one (probably some time in 2042) there won't be any more (because Alien Origins mentions twelve of them).

- the game will run out of zone/act combinations in June 2042, so after that you'll only get Alien Surface Attacks, Floating Base Attack and Colony Supply Missions. For UFO it's April 2001, because ACTS.DAT is different and there are a couple less acts.

EDIT: the images don't look low-quality to me, at least once I click on them.

#183689 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 13 October 2020 - 07:17 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNKF, on 09 October 2020 - 04:08 AM, said:

I forget, but can you have two unitpos objects point to the same unitref entry? In more normal language, you would have to physical unconscious bodies pointing to the same set of unit stats? So if you were to detonate one in a remote location, the other would die with it.

This would not happen normally.
Um, it does happen normally. Large units have 1 UNITREF entry and 4 UNITPOS entries.

If it is TFTDextender, it's probably an intended feature rather than a mistake; unconscious units from the first stage getting converted into corpses is a known bug in TFTD and Tycho could well have fixed it.

#182342 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 15 August 2020 - 10:18 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 14 August 2020 - 08:41 PM, said:

Hey man, I highly appreciate your UFOpedia contributions - practically my 2nd home. Super insightful hidden details you've managed to dig up. Of particular interest became "Alien Appearance Ratios" as I'm trying to unlock Vibro Blades research tree (dubiously requiring rarest specimens in the game, if they ever appear). Figured saving just before the month ends and reloading till surface Terror mission featuring an elusive Calcinite generates on the 1st next month @ 1:00 AM. Will make dealing with base Lobbies more bearable.
Not quite the rarest - that's Triscenes - but definitely less common than we'd like. That was why I gave up on my "no psi" rule on my Superhuman run; it was just getting tedious fighting Lobbie after Lobbie with no drills (I didn't want to do a colony without them).


I may have jumped the gun regarding #6. Prolly 2 lifts as you say. I'll get around to it in few hours and check (thought every atom in my body dreads of 2nd base stages in TFTD so I make up other activities just to delay the nightmare). Pretty neat they were dumped all in one place tho, near the corner no less, making line sweep easier to organize. I still believe it's rare having never encountered it before.
Fairly rare, yes. I'm not sure quite how rare, though; I've noticed before (as well as in this save, via hacking everything visible) that aliens in that second part tend to be clustered toward the "start" of the map (North and to a lesser degree West), and that might apply to your soldiers as well (there is another lift, but it's toward the South of the map).

It probably has something to do with the extreme size and complexity of the colony maps; ROUTES.DAT (the set of waypoints on the map, which are also used as spawn points) is huge in those missions because they're 60x60x4 with three levels of connections (e.g. 249 records in your save; Cydonia II only typically has ~160), and some of it might be bigger than the .exe is designed to handle.

EDIT: Yeah, there's definitely something wrong with the waypoints/spawn points. Those 249 waypoints aren't even all the ones there are supposed to be - a decent chunk of them are straight-up missing. Specifically, the last 11 modules (the bottom two rows apart from a large module poking in, and the last module on the fourth row) don't have any waypoints set (this includes the second lift, which is why none of your soldiers spawned there).

On top of that, not all the waypoints seem to have been considered for use; aside from the commanders, which are correctly inside the command centre, all the aliens are in the top row (plus the bottom bits of the large module in the top row; ROUTES.DAT treats large modules as one piece for ordering purposes). I think it might be that too many waypoints are set as spawn points, so the routine only rolls among the first N valid ones (N ~= 50); that would make sense of the commanders being in the right spot, as the spawn points there are the only valid ones for them.

Yet another example of the TFTD team having no idea what they were doing.


I knew of 12 Atry sites (cleared 2 thus far) and loving how easily manageable they are compared to bases. Devs prolly threw us a bone with that one. Thought about doing all 12, for completionist sake, but don't think I have it in me. Maybe if they coded complete USO destruction like in UFO. Shooting USO over land gives reduced rewards while skipping tactical or something along that line. Having to practically fight every battle makes reaching 2042 too tedious for my liking.
You can still destroy alien submarines in TFTD, although destroying Escorts and Cruisers is pretty hard.

Shooting down UFOs or alien subs and then simply not recovering them has the same results as shooting down a UFO over water - you get points for the shootdown, but no mission.


Zonal mission info is very interesting. Also read it before (might be last night actually lol). Your info rip too I presume.
Nah, that wasn't mine. NKF, Zombie and Hobbes found most of the guts of UFO and TFTD before I ever came on the scene, and half the stuff I've added has been from bugging them about it. I've tested a few things and done a couple of code digs, but they were mostly pretty minor.

#183274 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 23 September 2020 - 03:11 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 22 September 2020 - 10:42 PM, said:

#7 Unconcious Tasoth in equip screen
Attachment Unconcious Tasoth in equip screen.jpg
Pretty weird when I first saw it, didn't know what to expect when starting the mission. Happened only two times in just over 200 missions. Body was nowhere to be found after I started the mission (regular downed USO type). Dunno what to make of it. Directed by Ridley Scott perhaps?

My guess based on your mention of a downed Alien Sub is that an IBA explosion knocked out the Tasoth and one of your utilities mistakenly gave it to you on the equip screen. Not sure what else could have done it.


#9 Alien Base in the Arctic (many miles from nearest sea, the real reason ice is melting)
Attachment Alien Base in the Arctic.jpg

Yeah, the algorithms aren't very good at keeping things in the water. Alien Subs touching down on land are much worse, since if you attempt to recover them the game crashes.

#183625 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 09 October 2020 - 03:08 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 05 October 2020 - 04:57 PM, said:

Captured Triscene from 1st ship stage transferred over to 2nd stage, resulting in 2 live ones. Only I expected dead+live combo. Always thought all 1st stage (of any kind) captures convert to corpses by the end.
This could be TFTDextender; not sure.

#183522 Strange things in TFTD

Posted by magic9mushroom on 05 October 2020 - 02:57 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 05 October 2020 - 01:46 AM, said:

#11 Impossible Xarquid (revealed via XcomUtil using "vis" parametar)
Attachment Impossible Xarquid.jpg
Spent probably 90 minutes searching him before giving up and re-learning how to use XCU again to reveal map. Took 5 installs with different setup each time before program stopped complaining about not wanting to execute reveal command. Writing this I see X-Com Hack, which I've been using all along, has the same damn feature. FML. Fingers crossed that salvaged alien grenades (only explosives on the map) will be able to tear down that wall.
I just use hex-editing. UNITREF and UNITPOS are pretty easy to read and modify with the UFOpaedia articles as a guide; this particular one is just a matter of scrolling down to the aliens and flipping the "is unit visible" flag.

(With hex-editing it's also pretty simple to move a unit, because location of units and items is stored as where-is-this-thing rather than what-is-here.)

#183227 Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

Posted by magic9mushroom on 19 September 2020 - 10:53 PM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 19 September 2020 - 06:01 PM, said:

Nearly there, just a few more. Starting to sound like inspector Columbo...
Just means every Mixed Crew terror is worth exploring for Calcinite / Triscene because so called "Type II" with Lobsters only happen in T'leth, which is too late to be relevant for our topic. It spares the player from reloads if downed MC USO/terror site houses Lobsters because that can't happen?

Basically. Of course, in the case of a Shipping Route terror site you don't know it's Mixed until you actually go there in any case, so you're still looking for evidence that it is Mixed and not, say, Gill Men or Tasoths (the race).


Aha so getting Aquatoids to attack your base ensures Calcinite encounter as well (behaves as Aquatoid Port/Island terror in terms of alien crew)?

Port, Island and Shipping Route all use a Battleship crew (Shipping Route has two of them). Base Defences use a Dreadnought crew. The key points are that a) Base Defences include terrorists, b) Base Defences count as on land, so they'll be the land terrorists.


3a. By "some maps" you mean MC Shipping lane map has multiple variations regarding large unit spawns? Dictated by where regular terrorist units get placed before "being converted" to Triscene if that makes sense. Bottom line is it reduces overall Triscene spawn chances, correct? If you can remember, tell me how many Triscenes on average have you encountered on Shipping lanes (with exclusively MC crew). If 2 or more per Ship, that's pretty good even for Superhuman.

No, it figures out what it wants to place before figuring out which spawn points to use. The issue is that Triscenes are spawning pretty late in the order (after all the Tasoths and Aquatoids) and the first two X-Com games are in general not very good at having enough large-unit spawn points and keeping them available for large units (rather than something else taking them first - small units are allowed to take the spawn points of large units, and large units are usually spawned last).

I'm thinking more about the randomly-assembled Port/Island maps here than about the ship maps. I've seen a Superhuman Floater terror site in UFO have zero Reapers because there weren't any large-unit spawn points left by the time it had spawned all the Floaters. I haven't seen this happen to Triscenes in TFTD (there are cases of e.g. 2 Triscenes instead of 6 due to this issue, but that's not zero), but I wouldn't be surprised if it did on occasion.


Excuse me if it appears I drag this on forever... I just hope to collect and dump all the needed info to the OP and edit the fker once and for all. So it awaits my return in 15-20 years when I'll probably play TFTD again, lol. Assuming the server still breathes (and me for that matter). Any stranglers happening to pass by and making use of it is just a cool bonus. I commend your contribution and patience!

It's fine.

#183129 Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

Posted by magic9mushroom on 16 September 2020 - 12:24 PM in Terror from the Deep

Missed a couple of things.

View PostNilex, on 14 September 2020 - 04:33 PM, said:

So what does "land" mean exactly? For the purposes of easy Calcinite and Triscene encounters "land" exclusively applies to Port and Island terror sites! Shipping lane is too unreliable in terms of spawning them (and too cumbersome to test your luck and patience), and 2nd stage Artefact has its own alien pool. In fact Shipping lane missions were tested by community and never spawned a single Triscene.

Wrong. I've seen Triscenes on Ship Rescue Missions myself. (Indeed, this is literally the only place I happen to have seen them; they are rare, after all.)

Also, there's actually just as much or more hassle going for a Port/Island as there is for a Ship Rescue Mission, as either way you have to go to a battle to confirm the race and reload if it's wrong.


Calcinite (USO with Aquatoids)
We are aiming for 2. Island (or Port) terror. First ensure 3 & 4 do not occur; then at 2:30 AM on the 1st of month a Small Escort sub will appear with "Alien Surface Attacks" mission (you should have Transmission Resolver by now). It MUST be occupied with Aquatoids (if you don't have TR - simply shoot down any small USO appearing at 1:00 AM until you verify it carries Aquatoids)!

Mixed Crew can also have a Calcinite (AFAICT it's a 50% chance per map of Calcinite or Xarquid, so a Ship Rescue Mission has a 75% chance total).


After a while, in the 2nd half of the month, a Large Battleship with the same crew and mission will appear (paying attention is the hardest part) and it is IMPORTANT TO NOT SHOOT THIS ONE DOWN. Let it do its thing and fly away safely.

Uh, what? Shooting the flyby Battleship down doesn't stop the terror site. Only the second Battleship has to be allowed to land.

#183123 Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

Posted by magic9mushroom on 16 September 2020 - 09:06 AM in Terror from the Deep

Mixed Crew is always Tasoths + Aquatoid. Lobbie "Mixed Crew" is the T'leth crew and is not encountered before that.

The times of determination are: 0:00 1st of month (decides between 1. Port/Island, 2. Ship, 3. Artefact), and either just before or during the final Battleship run (Port vs. Island is determined by where the Battleship lands - that said, some zones only have Ports or only have Islands).

Terror sites aren't the only way to get those, by the by - provoking the appropriate race into assaulting your base will also do the trick (mostly useful for Calcinites, as Mixed Crew don't perform non-terror missions anyway). You can also get the Triscene UFOpaedia entries by researching Medics (also the only way to get the live Xarquid and Hallucinoid entries, as they're uncapturable).

#183248 Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

Posted by magic9mushroom on 22 September 2020 - 04:58 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 21 September 2020 - 05:45 PM, said:

I just got two observations. In countless landing attempts against my bases it only ever took 4 PWT hits to destroy any USO (always Dreadnought?) sometimes only 3 hits. Setup is 2 PWTs + Bombardment Shield. With 80% hit rate and easy re-loads it's essentially air tight and successful deterrent, if one let's it come to that of course. I normally obliterate everything except USOs that look like they may land on seabed, for Zrbite. In previous tests though when I rushed through whole months, many attacks came but at the worst the 4th PWT hit always resulted in USO destruction. Is maybe TFTDextender responsible for increased efficiency? It's weird seeing UFOpeadia too being so adamant, talking about a dozen PWTs being air tight.


Well ok, perhaps save-scumming is not considered kosher.

There's your answer. Posted Image

The other half of the equation is that Base Defences are pretty trivial if you plan for them (particularly in UFO, though somewhat less so in TFTD), and they're lucrative both in points and loot while defence facilities get you nothing if they succeed, so going to all the trouble of reloading and the tedium of the "base defences activated" screen every couple of days feels a bit unnecessary.


The other one is more general, about Superhuman. With increased enemy spawns and large units spawning last, don't that further decrease chances of seeing large units on battlefield? Despite them having increased spawns.

Yes. The time I saw Reapers fail to appear entirely was on Superhuman. On lower difficulties it's much less of an issue.

On re-inspection the ships have less large-unit spawns than I thought they did (3 upper/1 lower for cargo ship, 2 upper/7 lower for cruise ship), so in the cargo ship there's a decent chance of Triscenes failing to show due to lack of spawn points (and I saw a case of it when testing this, in fact).

EDIT: I looked at 5 Ports and 5 Islands and got 6-9 large spawns - the island seems to have them guaranteed via the giant Moai/bunker module that's always in the south. So those don't seem like they'd get quenched easily. Basically, my guess of which would have bigger issues with large units was 100% wrong. Sorry.


Not that I intend ever playing on SH (hate cheap higher difficulty achieved via ever more bullet-sponges)

Superhuman isn't actually that much harder than Veteran, and there are other differences than "more aliens" (the aliens have higher stats*, interception's a bit trickier, and the score cutoff for a "bad" month is -300 instead of -700).

*The most important increases are to TU, Firing Accuracy, and MC. Tentaculats go from 114 TU to 146, Lobbies go from 60 accuracy to 87, and the defence stat to be safe from Tasoth mind control at 10 tile range goes from 61 to 75.

#183180 Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

Posted by magic9mushroom on 18 September 2020 - 04:36 AM in Terror from the Deep

There are 6 races. In the game's ordering, 0 is Aquatoids, 1 is Gill Men, 2 is Lobster Men, 3 is Tasoths, 4 is Mixed, 5 is the T'leth special crew.

There's a table which, given the race and the generic crew loadout, generates the ranks.

For Aquatoids, Soldiers become Aquatoid Soldiers, Squad Leaders become Aquatoid Squad Leaders, Technicians become Aquatoid Technicians, Medics become Aquatoid Medics, Navigators become Aquatoid Navigators, Commanders become Aquatoid Commanders, and Terrorists 1/Terrorists 2 become Hallucinoids. On land (terror sites and base defences), the Hallucinoids are replaced by Calcinites.

For Gill Men, Soldiers/Squad Leaders become Gill Man Soldiers, Technicians/Medics become Gill Man Squad Leaders, Navigators become Gill Man Technicians, Commanders become Gill Man Commanders, and Terrorists 1/Terrorists 2 become Xarquid. On land, the Xarquid are replaced by Deep Ones.

For Lobster Men, Soldiers become Lobster Man Soldiers, Squad Leaders/Medics become Lobster Man Technicians, Technicians become Lobster Man Squad Leaders, Navigators become Lobster Man Navigators, Commanders become Lobster Man Commanders, and Terrorists 1/Terrorists 2 become Tentaculats. On land, the Tentaculats are replaced by Bio-Drones.

For Tasoths, Soldiers/Medics become Tasoth Soldiers, Squad Leaders/Technicians/Navigators/Commanders become Tasoth Squad Leaders, and Terrorists 1/Terrorists 2 become Tentaculats. On land, the Tentaculats are replaced by Bio-Drones.

For Mixed crew, Soldiers become Tasoth Soldiers, Squad Leaders become Tasoth Squad Leaders, Technicians become Aquatoid Soldiers, Medics become Aquatoid Squad Leaders, Navigators/Commanders become Hallucinoids, and Terrorists 1/Terrorists 2 become Tentaculats. On land, there's a special routine that means the Tentaculats are replaced by a random mixture of Bio-Drones and Triscenes, and the Hallucinoids are replaced by a random mixture of Calcinites and Xarquid.

For T'leth special crew, Soldiers become Lobster Man Soldiers, Squad Leaders become Lobster Man Squad Leaders, Technicians become Aquatoid Soldiers, Medics become Tentaculats, Navigators become Xarquid, Commanders become Deep Ones, Terrorists 1 become Tentaculats and Terrorists 2 become Hallucinoids. This race is never encountered on land under normal circumstances.

Alien Subs can be crewed by Aquatoids, Gill Men, Lobster Men, Tasoths, or Mixed crew. Ditto for Ship Rescue Missions. Artefact Sites are always Mixed crew (both levels). Colonies are always Mixed crew on the top and Lobster Men on the bottom. T'leth is Aquatoids for the first part and the T'leth special crew for the other parts.

The reason I say there's a 75% chance on a Mixed crew Ship Rescue Mission of obtaining a Calcinite is because the crew for each part is the Battleship crew, which has 1 Navigator and no Commanders. Ergo, in each part the Navigator can become either a Xarquid or a Calcinite, and it appears to be independent for each part - so that's a 75% chance that one of the two will roll Calcinite.

What I said in that thread about Triscenes is that the race "Tasoth" doesn't bring Triscenes. The race "Mixed" brings Triscenes (on land) and brings Tasoths the unit, but that's a completely different thing in the game code.

An aside on Terror in TFTD: each month when brewing up the Alien Surface Attacks mission, the game rolls on a table to check what type. For January-March, it's 100% "normal" Terror, (i.e. a bunch of subs leading up to a Port or Island Attack, which can be prevented by shooting down the Battleship). For April-May, it's 40% "normal" and 60% Shipping Route (i.e. a Terror Site just appears out of nowhere at 1 AM on the 1st, which is a Ship Rescue Mission). For June onward, it's 20% "normal", 30% Shipping Route and 50% Artefact (i.e. an Artefact Site appears out of nowhere at 1 AM on the 1st, which is an Alien Contact Site Mission).

"Normal" Terror uses the Alien Surface Attacks ratios for the current month to determine race. Shipping Routes use the Alien Surface Attacks ratios for July-September regardless of the current month (10% Aquatoid, 30% Gill Man, 20% Lobster Man, 20% Tasoth, 20% Mixed). Artefacts are always Mixed crew.

An aside on Mixed crew: the designers pretty clearly intended them to only do Alien Surface Attacks (of various kinds) and the top layer of Colonies, but due to the "retaliation for sub shootdown is the same race as the shot down sub" rule, it's possible to get them to perform a Floating Base Attack. This requires a Mixed crew sub, of course, which can only occur from a "normal" Terror mission in July or later (as it uses the ratios for the current month, and before July Mixed isn't in the table).

#183215 Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

Posted by magic9mushroom on 19 September 2020 - 02:11 AM in Terror from the Deep

Not sure what #1 is talking about.

#2: Yes. It has to be Port/Island (20%) and Mixed Crew (20 or 30%), and then you've got to provoke a retaliation for shootdown (4% per shootdown on Beginner, 12% on Veteran, 28% on Superhuman) with three or four attempts. Then they have to find your base. And the Port/Island terror site would give you Triscenes and possibly a Calcinite anyway. This trick is more important with Aquatoids, as Aquatoids do ordinary missions (which won't give you Calcinites) but by provoking an attack you'll get them.

(As a side note, my first try at TFTD Superhuman ended in failure because I shot down the Aquatoid Survey Ship on the first day, it triggered a Floating Base Attack, and then the Dreadnought came in while my Triton was out and the couple of soldiers I had left got slaughtered. Provoking base defences should only be done if you can win them. Posted Image)

#3a: It's much more than 50% per map for Triscenes, because Triscenes come from the Terrorist rank and there are 2-6/4-8/6-10 terrorists per Battleship crew (depending on difficulty), and those are all independent-ish. A bigger issue with Triscenes is lack of large unit spawn points in some maps.

#3b: Shipping Route terror sites can occur from April onward, so this is indeed a possible "early" Tasoth or Mixed crew. Technically, these are not the earliest possible Mixed crew - that would be a colony in Feb if a colony happens to get built in Feb - but they're certainly earlier than Tasoth or Mixed subs appearing (which starts in July) and they're the earliest possible Triscenes.

Shooting down subs delays the next sub in that mission, yes (in technical terms, it adds a certain amount to the countdown timer). Assaulting touched-down subs, AFAIK, does not.

#183235 Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

Posted by magic9mushroom on 21 September 2020 - 06:23 AM in Terror from the Deep

View PostNilex, on 14 September 2020 - 04:33 PM, said:

After Escort leaves or is shoot down another will arrive in a few days,

Technically, the second one is a Cruiser, not an Escort.

By the way, the Escort and Cruiser will land (though the first Battleship won't), so if you want to inspect their crews (to confirm race) you can just assault them while they're touched down and avoid delaying the mission.


Calcinites can also appear on Shipping lanes starting from April with 15% chance per ship (20%*75%) with the added hassle of inspecting the Ship to verify Tasoth+Aquatoid (Mixed Crew) presence and then hoping to find a Calcinite in the depths of the megastructure. Compared with Port/Island 100% chance, once both are set up. Inherit chance of appropriate mission appearing is excluded from global chance because setting then up via re-loads is trivial (advancing couple of hours).

Not quite. Mixed Crew may have a Calcinite, certainly, but there's also the 10% probability of it simply being Aquatoids (who will always have Calcinites). So it's 10% + 20%*75% = 25% per ship site investigated.


Last place where they are found are Base Defense missions. Those must be triggered by attacking USOs with Aquatoid crew hoping to provoke (14% each on Veteran difficulty) "Floating Base Attack", aliens actually finding your base, and then keeping your base sufficiently free of Facility defenses so the attacking USO can land without being destroyed. Process seems too RNG and is sooner likely to happen during normal gameplay rather than trying to set it up (with the constant downside of having your Base exposed, without Facility defense and forcing full completion of every unwanted attack or losing the Base unless you can ward off a Dreadnought with spare undamaged Barracudas). Only mentioning it because it's possible but highly suggest you ignore this approach.

The chance is 4% on Beginner, 8% on Experienced, 12% on Veteran, 20% on Genius, 28% on Superhuman.

I forgot about The Ultimate Threat. Yes, the second topic in the sequence leading to T'leth. Once you research that, the aliens schedule an extra Floating Base Attack every month (2:30 AM on the 1st, like the Escort for Port/Island). I'm not 100% sure of the racial breakdown, but I know it picks from Aquatoid/Gill Man/Lobster Man/Tasoth (i.e. NOT Mixed, so it won't get you Triscenes but can get you Calcinites).

If you're doing an Iron-Man run (no reloading), making Base Defences more likely via these mechanisms is your only real chance to improve the odds (besides the obvious "don't shoot down the Port/Island Attack Battleship"), which is why I mention them. But yes, if you're save-scumming it's pretty trivial to get the correct terror sites and there's no need to go this route.

As an aside... if aliens find your base, subs and defence facilities won't help you very much. The mission logic is rather odd; once the aliens have found your base, they will keep sending Dreadnoughts every few days until one gets through and you get a Base Defence mission, after which they stop. The Dreadnoughts come in at full speed and outrange all your craft, so you're quickly going to run out of undamaged advanced craft to fend them off, and if your defence facilities are less than completely airtight (by which I mean at least 8 shots of P.W.T., and preferably 10) they'll get through eventually. Defensive strategy against Floating Base Attacks is mostly a matter of shooting down the scouts, using M.C. Generators, and/or designing your base for easy missions when the aliens do come calling.


Triscene (with Mixed Crew)
Port/Island follow same due process as with Calcinite, but starting from Jul-Sep (20%, 30% onward), when first Mixed Crew USO start appearing. With at least radar coverage being a reality now, reload to get Escort on 2:30 AM 1st day of month. Shoot it down to verify Tasoth presence. Transmission Resolver can save you the bother of inspection by confirming "Mixed Crew" right away. Let four USO chain run to completion and in the resulting Terror site a couple of Triscenes will form a welcoming committee just for you. One to take home alive the other dead, completing research with just one mission. Bring explosives and Thermal Shoks with you because they are incredibly tough to take down! You were warned.

You'd need to go after the Cruiser, not the Escort, to fully confirm Mixed (Mixed Escort and Tasoth Escort have identical crew loadouts, but the Mixed Cruiser will have 1 Aquatoid). Of course, you could go after the Escort, reload if there's no Tasoths, then check the Cruiser to confirm that it's Mixed rather than Tasoths.


Last are Base Defense missions, provoked by shooting down a Mixed Crew USO (only appear as 4-sub long chain culminating with Post/Island terror). However considering low initial chance, having low to no Facility defenses, and other I mentioned earlier... then comparing with benefits of just letting the USO chain run its course, it's a no-brainer to avoid even considering this.

The particular clincher here is that if you spot a Mixed sub, you've already succeeded - there's (almost certainly) going to be Triscenes at the Port/Island Attack. The reason I mention it for Aquatoids - at least if you're not save-scumming - is that you might see Aquatoids doing e.g. Interdiction or Colony Expansion, which won't give you a Calcinite on its own (no land missions) but does give you an opportunity to provoke them into attacking your base.

#179206 How does the game determine where to send Alien Terror missions?

Posted by magic9mushroom on 18 March 2020 - 09:32 AM in Enemy Unknown

Does somebody know what the weights are for TFTD? I know the zones which don't get Alien Surface Attacks are different (it's Antarctic/Arctic only, of the zones in ZONAL.DAT).

#179372 Are we totally screwed?

Posted by magic9mushroom on 26 March 2020 - 07:03 AM in The firing range - politics and religion

 Thorondor, on 22 August 2019 - 06:29 PM, said:

Even then, this too speaks poorly of the rest of us, seeing as majorities among us, in the supposedly developed world, had the questionable judgement of placing those who are now in the seats of power up there, choosing the very fates our children will have to endure.

Some of that is due to democratic backsliding. I wouldn't say all of it; Tony Abbott ran on a platform of undoing a carbon tax, so that one's on the Aussie public. But in a lot of the modern West, democracy is choosing which head of the hydra eats your leg; in the US, for instance, there are only two major parties (no hope of starting a challenger because of spoilers) and both are bought out by roughly the same interests on most issues, so unless an issue is one of the few on which the parties choose to distance themselves, the public has no power to decide it.