Strange things in TFTD


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#1 Nilex

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:57 PM

View PostZombie, on 05 October 2004 - 05:48 AM, said:

In all the years I have played X-COM, there have been many strange things I witnessed. I am positive that everyone has saw something that made you shake you head in disbelief also. An event so abnormal or out of the ordinary that you have to take a second glance to make sure what you saw. So, what bewildered you?
Not long ago I've returned to finish my ancient playthrough started in 2006 (I'm a savegame hoarder what can I say) and been taking screenshots of interesting situations as they came, when recently I saw Zombie's Strange things in X-COM topic. Thought to rectify a great injustice by creating one for TFTD and start off with some peculiarities I witnessed. Feel invited to join and contribute with your own.

Here are some screenies that made the cut:
#1 Spot the Alien (over the last 14 years my aliens developed some nasty skin camo)
Spot the Alien.jpg
#2 Landed on broken wing wreckage (nothing similar ever happened to me before)
Broken wing  wreckage.jpg
#3 Lobbie welcoming committee (1 is a pain in itself but 3...)
Lobbie welcoming committee_1.jpg
#4 Aftermath of #3 (damn little Cruise ship at that, on Veteran I think)
Lobbie welcoming committee_2.jpg
#5 Rasta Man alien base (guess the country is leaking)
Rasta Man alien base - on soil.jpg
#6 Only one access lift in #5 (full 14 aquanaut Triton, 6x6 base, 1st I seen this)
EDIT: Welp, there was a 2nd lift on the other side of the map, but game clumping all 14 into just one is pretty neat still!
Rasta Man base - single access lift.jpg

PS
Excuse the image quality. Forum uploader gutted them to 25% original quality for some reason even though I adhered to size limits.
For fun I included saves of #5 & #6 too (only ones not overwritten yet).

Attached Files



#2 Nilex

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Posted 13 August 2020 - 09:15 PM

Btw, I've long wondered what is the longest UFO/TFTD game ever played (by in-game date). I'm aware there's little point or merit going off for much longer than necessary (after Cydonia / T'leth become reachable) but I cannot help but wonder... My hope is this community can at least partially quench my thirst for that piece of info (Google could't).
My last UFO playthrough completed in 1st half of 2000 if I'm not mistaken, only because I wanted to max out all 8 bases and have experienced 80 TU soldiers in all of them (try not to lol).

And the thing that started it all was this famous old Civ 2 reddit post. I ask you people - do we have an UFO/TFTD equivalent?

#3 magic9mushroom

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 04:56 AM

#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.

#4 Nilex

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 08:41 PM

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.

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.

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.
Zonal mission info is very interesting. Also read it before (might be last night actually lol). Your info rip too I presume. Pretty darn cool! If only there was a way to truly prevent alien base construction rather than just delay the inevitable. Kingston one was relatively easy to uncover, previous one in Antarctic was all manual labor using alien activity graphs and single Triton (defo could use another).

Yeah screens got axed down into Mariana Trench, here's #1 Spot the Alien in all it's glory. Thanks for stopping by!

#5 magic9mushroom

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 10:18 AM

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).

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

#6 Nilex

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 06:14 PM

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!

View Postmagic9mushroom, on 15 August 2020 - 10:18 AM, said:

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.
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.

#7 magic9mushroom

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Posted 16 August 2020 - 06:55 AM

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.)

Quote

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.

#8 Nilex

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 10:42 PM

When doing 8th Alien Colony I finally adapted and started using 2nd stage spawn error to my advantage simply by exploring only 3 northern-most rows. Cannot even begin to explain how much less headaches I got from then on. It's a feature as far I am concerned! Hope it remains like that in OpenXcom next time I get around to TFTD.

As I'm doing last couple of T'leth levels it's time to show last few oddities from my travels:
#7 Unconcious Tasoth in equip screen
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?
#8 11 simultaneous crash sites (result of Colony Expansion and Alien Infiltration posses, bottom ones are actually 3 X)
11 simultaneous crash sites.jpg
#9 Alien Base in the Arctic (many miles from nearest sea, the real reason ice is melting)
Alien Base in the Arctic.jpg
#10 Two Alien Bases off Scandinavia
Two Alien Bases off Scandinavia.jpg
Sugar for last. #9 was their 12th base, but I never discovered 11th (nor was I aware of it). Not until I took a look at the "graphs" (after long time not looking) did I, horrified, realize my mistake. Scandinavia is set to seize funding but I'm about to destroy L'leth 12 hours before they dare to do so. Lol, just saw #8 again and made the connection... It sure was a rough month.

#9 magic9mushroom

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 03:11 AM

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.

Quote

#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.

#10 Space Voyager

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 05:43 AM

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

When doing 8th Alien Colony I finally adapted and started using 2nd stage spawn error to my advantage simply by exploring only 3 northern-most rows. Cannot even begin to explain how much less headaches I got from then on. It's a feature as far I am concerned! Hope it remains like that in OpenXcom next time I get around to TFTD.

? I wasn't aware of this feature... What is it?

#11 magic9mushroom

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 08:15 AM

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).

#12 Space Voyager

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Posted 23 September 2020 - 08:25 AM

View Postmagic9mushroom, on 23 September 2020 - 08:15 AM, said:

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 (which the engine was built for).

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.)
Crap, I did read that back up, found it interesting - and forgot all about it. Life after 40. Posted Image  Hmmm, never seen this awesome smiley. Kudos to Zombie!

#13 Nilex

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Posted 29 September 2020 - 05:04 AM

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.

Attached Files



#14 magic9mushroom

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 06:47 AM

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

#15 Nilex

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Posted 30 September 2020 - 09:19 PM

Hm, you don't see the attachment or is something wrong with the the save itself? Looks normal on my end.

#16 magic9mushroom

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 02:00 AM

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.

#17 Nilex

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 04:45 PM

View Postmagic9mushroom, on 23 September 2020 - 08:15 AM, said:

...always seem to spawn in the North, apart from the commanders (who have dedicated spawn points in the command module)...
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!

#18 magic9mushroom

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 02:05 AM

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).

#19 Nilex

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 01:46 AM

Starting to hate this game, what a mess lol. For now I'll finish the bugger with Sherlock's stuff but I'll never play vanilla again. Ever. One large hurdle stopping me before was giving up on original AI by playing with OpenXcom but it finally dawned on me OG AI sucks beyond repair. Just gonna make a note to my future self to prepare for possible gameplay shocks in OXC when game's internal systems start behaving as intended.

Here is another gem:
#11 Impossible Xarquid (revealed via XcomUtil using "vis" parametar)
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.
Attached File  GAME_6.zip   30.04K   4 downloads

Also interesting fact: in both playthroughs and around 20 ships done, not one was of the "cargo" type (only recently I became aware it even existed). From what I've gathered it's the easier type. Of course it is.

#20 magic9mushroom

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 02:57 AM

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.)




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