Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)


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#1 Nilex

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Posted 14 September 2020 - 04:33 PM

Having returned to TFTD after a long while and getting to December of my first year I still haven't encountered either of the two elusive aliens. I desperately seek to fill my ufopedia completely and finally get a chance to use Heavy Termic Lances by opening that research tree with a dead Calcinite. Only recently have I figured how to force encounters reliably. Also, having Heavy Lances early trivializes dealing with Lobsters in 2nd stage Alien Colonies, and in general.

Here I break down the process using information scattered around UFOpaedia, this forum and from magic9mushroom's posts down bellow. Hopefully shedding enough light so people ending up here via search engine years from now find it useful.

Both alien types appear predominately in Terror missions and ONLY on land. One exception is Base Defense, but I'll get to that. First let's deal with what Terror mission is. There are 4 types and which one it will be is determined at the start of a new month so save your game just before that so you can reload later.
  • Port. Always occur during early-game (months 1-3), with chances dropping to 40% during months 4-5, and then to 20% onward. Mission appears typically near the end of the month, by allowing alien USO to land in a port city, usually outside your radar coverage.
  • Island. Exactly the same as Port but USO decides to land on an island instead. It shares everything with Port (same chances, USOs, alien crew, date), only the Battlescape geography is different. With this one being more straight-forward (open but hilly area with far less buildings).
  • Shipping Lane. Added to terror mission poll starting in months 4-5 with 60% chance and dropping to 30% onward. Mission is scripted to occur in exactly 1:00 AM on the 1st day of month, without physical alien sub.
  • Artefact Site. Added to poll in month 6 onward with a high 50% chance (until after you destroy or ignore 12th Artefact Site). It also shares trigger with Shipping lane (1:00 AM on the 1st day). Even though this type of Terror mission is irrelevant because it never yields Calcinite or Triscene (not considered "land"), it halves the chance for other three missions to appear - practically until the end. Saving grace is by the time it starts interfering with mission poll you will have large radar coverage (ideally using Transmission Resolvers) so reacting by reloading the game will be instantaneous compared to radar-less early game.
So what does "land" mean exactly? For the purposes of easy Calcinite and Triscene encounter "land" primarily applies to Port/Island terror sites, followed by Shipping lanes, and lastly Base Defense (not true "Terror" mission, only for player's psyche). So let's explain how to set them up properly:

Calcinite (with Aquatoid)
Port/Island will always start with a small alien "Escort" USO spawning exactly at 2:30 AM on the 1st day of month and only if 3 or 4 did not already occur (1:00 AM on same day). This is also a sure-fire way to know if such terror mission is in progress outside of radar coverage (always Jan-Mar, and later by absence of 3 or 4). However this 1st USO (in a chain of four) is not what starts the Terror mission, only the 4th does that if allowed. After Escort leaves or is shoot down a Cruiser will arrive in a few days, followed by a large Battleship few days after that, and finally a 4th USO (2nd Battleship) which flies seemingly randomly for several hours before landing to initiate a Terror site. Shooting down last one will also prevent Terror site, which you may want to do if you already researched the resulting alien. Shooting down any or all previous USO in the chain only delays the following one, by several days, possibly pushing the final Battleship appearance in the next month with an interesting consequence of having two Terror missions in a single month.
The important part is to ensure that the first Escort is occupied by Aquatoids (20% chance in Feb-Jun, 10% Jul-Sep, 20% onward)! Resulting in final Battleship also having them with addition of the elusive Calcinites. With Transmission Resolvers and radar coverage this is a trivial check ("Alien Surface Attacks") so re-load in case it's not. Without TR simply shoot down 2:30 AM small USO to verify Aquatoid presence. Outside of radar coverage not much you can do but hope, try to get more radars by late Feb/Mar because Jan Post/Island terror will be occupied by Gill Man anyways (useful for very early live Deep One).

Calcinites can also appear on Shipping lanes starting from April with 25% chance per ship (10%+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).

Last place where they are found are Base Defense missions. Those must be triggered by attacking USOs with Aquatoid crew hoping to provoke (12% each on Veteran, varies by 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. Researching "The Ultimate Threat" schedules a sigle Floating Base Attack at the beginning of a month, slightly increasing the chance. Even so, 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.

Triscene (with Mixed Crew)
Port/Island follow same due process as Calcinite (with an additional step if you don't have Transmission Resolvers), 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. TR can save you the bother of inspection by confirming "Mixed Crew" right away. If you don't have it you will need to shoot down the Cruiser too to verify a single Aquatoid among Tasoths (even a dead corpse will suffice). This is the soonest you can verify Mixed Crew without TR, making re-loads more cumbersome. Consider Shipping Lane path in that case! 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.

Next are Shipping lanes starting from April too, same as Calcinites, and sooner than Port/Island. The chance of it being Mixed Crew (20%) is the same but Triscenes have largely increased spawn chance across the Ship, bringing the overall probability of about 1 Triscene per Ship. Due to weird logic how game determines spawn points inside the Ship it could increase that number or even decrease it. The annoying part is having to do manual inspection every time this particular Terror site appears to discern between full blown Tasoth race terrorizing the Ship or a Mixed Crew which consists mainly of Tasoths (both with 20% chance but only the latter may spawn Triscenes). Presence of Aquatoid or a Xarquid/Calcinite will assure Mixed Crew so keep on sailing. That said, unless in a hurry to finish ufopedia and have TR facilities, I suggest you take natural path and use this mission to research Bio Drones or Deep Ones (if you missed them early).

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.

* * *

There you have it. Might be common knowledge to some veterans here but to me, who first played TFDT in the '90s and thought I knew everything, this was a revelation (among many other weird intricate things, lol) even after spending considerable time on UFOpaedia. Biggest hurdle was realization Island/Port terror wasn't part of common Shipping/Artefact script that could be accessed via simple reloads. When nothing happened at 1:00 AM I just concluded my game bugged out (not a far fetched idea if you know what I mean) and went with Artefact after many fruitless reloads. Somehow I decided to go out of my way and check what these "Alien Surface Attacks" were all about. A month long alien USO chain duration where nothing spectacular is happening certainly didn't help.

Now I know, and so do you. Can finally put my completionist soul to rest. My greetings to any future Aquanaut passing by.

Edited by Nilex, 21 September 2020 - 05:07 PM.


#2 sp1ke

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 11:32 AM

Great summary!

I don't remember having too much trouble getting Triscene attacks and if I remember they were more common in the city terror attacks. We're talking about the 4-square dinosaur animal things right - it's been a while?. They were always could for HC-IN and AC-IN practice (despite the IN bug).

Calcinites were a right pain in the baseplate. I found them hard to spot and hard to distinguish from similar aliens. Most common on island and port missions, yes. Many times my tech tree would be held back many months because I'd failed to snag one at the opportune moment. Apart from missing them altogether, the two main gotchas I were getting a live one when you needed a corpse (or vice versa?) and blowing up the (priceless!) corpse with careless use of explosives. My teams tended to go for a policy of "contain the terror, save the planet, shame about the civilians" on terror missions and go in blazing away with HC-HE, AC-HE and grenades.

Two of the rarest beasts are Hallucinoids and Xarquids. Mostly found on the outside deep sea level of alien base raids iirc. When I was researching the articles for those creatures I had a couple of "natural" save files which were like gold dust. You can't really do definitive research using synthetic save files that you've edited to include the subject creatures. As you clearly do appreciate!

It's great that people are still working to improve this wiki.
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#3 Nilex

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 06:38 PM

Yeah you got it, those dinos are Triscenes. Incredibly tough. I remember encountering Xarquid early in the playthrough, when I had mere Jet Harpoons, and it took two full clips to take down. So in expectance of Lobsters I rushed for Sonic stuff and managed to equip Pistols before encountering one. It was super tough but doable. Now lobsters are tough throughout, taking 2-3 Heavy Sonic hits, but Triscenes are another level with being able to survive full Heavy Sonic clip to the face (more if they turn damaged armor parts away from the shooter) and still laugh at you. To make them even more intimidating they got PWT canon (high-end sub weapon) graphic on sides of their back. It's honestly the first time I ever saw this enemy in TFTD, lol.

It's funny but I also thought I needed a live Calcinite... but corpse is the one that opens Vibro Blade research. Thankfully there were so many on my terror site few met their maker right there on the Island.

Hallucinoids and Xarquids become rarer as game goes on - especially when capturing live ones. This is because larger USOs with Aquatoids and Gillman respectively show up rarer. And they need to be large for maps to accommodate 2x2 enemy spawn points (or something like that). All unconscious 1st stage Colony (which are surprisingly more common) aliens automatically become corpses in 2nd stage so live Hallucinoids are impossible loot from a Colony. Similar with Xarquids and Gillman invaded Shipping lanes (also 2-stage). Couldn't even get a live Hallucinoid from 2nd stage Artefact site either. Would it surprise you I still haven't researched either of the two as live specimens as of Jan 2041? I'm currently on a mission trying to do that... Might not be possible however as I've read somewhere both are categorized as "mechs" and end up as corpses no matter what. At worst I'll have to get ufopedia entry outta Aqua Medic (didn't do it sooner in fear I'd get a Calcinite and possibly break Vibro research - ah the joys of avoiding minefields in buggy old games).

Thanks for stopping by, nice to see there is still life in this ghost town! I kinda hope someone someday puts the info in the all-knowledgeable UFOpaedia. Me, I quickly got a bad headache thinking about best way to go about it (not even kidding, I very rarely do it but chugged Ibuprofen like it was vitamin last night). Until then search engines do a remarkably good job at returning right information, providing the question is right, so I have no fears about someone missing these two bad boys.

#4 NKF

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 04:53 AM

Ah, the age old tried and true art of save scumming. It is certainly a good way to force the encounters for sure.

Feel free to add this to the ufopaedia wiki if you want. Perhaps as its own guide. The wiki lives and dies by user contributions, so you are perfectly welcome to add anything you want. Us oldtimer wiki editors may seem intimidating, but we mean well. Posted Image
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#5 magic9mushroom

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 09:06 AM

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).

#6 magic9mushroom

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 12:24 PM

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.

Quote

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).

Quote

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.

#7 Nilex

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 05:50 PM

Thanks for taking the time making detailed corrections but before editing OP I'll need some more clarifications.
  • Mixed Crew USOs with Lobsters are impossible then? That means every (most?) Mixed Crew terror sites with have Calcinite or Triscene, or both. (unless extremely bad spawn luck?, or Shipping lane confusion in 3. & 4.)
  • Appropriate race who drags Calcines to base assault is what? Aquatoids only? With Calcinites appearing always or sometimes? Reliability is crucial but I'll edit in possibles too.
  • You said in Triscenes only Bio Drones accompany Tasoths in Shipping lanes. Have you found Triscenes there since then? Am I missing something, surely there can't be Mixed Crew on Shipping lanes (because no USO).
  • Calcinite on Mixed Crew USO - that means Tasoths+Aquatoids with 50% chance Calcinite, right? But then you add Shipping lane variant increases that chance to 75%. It's confusing at to me it implies Mixed Crew do in fact happen on Ships and that they do count both as land & underwater regarding supporting alien spawns.
Scanning open Port/Island areas for Calcinite/Triscene presence is far more straight forward and quicker than inspecting every compartment of a ship, especially with couple of hovering Displacers. Don't you agree? Unless 2x2 units spawn exclusively around starting open area I reckon.

Yeah I think shooting down 1st battleship (3rd USO in Mixed Crew chain) only delays the 2nd one, not completely forfeiting eventual Terror site. In my 3 tests, shooting down 1st always made 2nd spill into following month, but at that time I still hadn't known about spillage being a thing and assumed the chain got broken when it didn't appear by the end of the month. Looks like there's gonna be a 4th test although I kinda already believe you.

#8 magic9mushroom

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 04:36 AM

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).

#9 Nilex

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Posted 18 September 2020 - 06:08 PM

You clearly know much more than I do, but let's try keeping it simple so I don't get lost. If I got it right:
  • Yes. Yes for Port/Island terror, inspection required for Shipping lanes (low overall chance, high effort, more under 3.).
  • Provoking Mixed Crew USO to attack your base may yield both Calcinite and/or Triscene. Low overall chance and only possible from July onward.
  • So Mixed Crew do occur on Shipping lanes! 75% chance then applies to Triscene as well I presume. But multiplying with low chance of MC occurring in the first place (75% * 20%) and considerable effort needed to inspect the ship throws reliability outta window. Most annoying part seems to be discerning between Tasoth or MC alien composition. Only possible from July onward too or sooner? Or it simply uses July-Sep table even if it happens in Feb? Earliest possible Mixed Crew? Because no visible USO involved (happens outta thin air).
  • Covered in 3.
My battleship test confirmed shooting down 1st one only delayed 2nd, by roughly four days. I believe this applies even to two Escorts that appear earlier. So letting first three ships unharmed may significantly speed up appearance of the fourth one which initiates Port/Island terror. Likely reason I've seen widely different dates of such terror sites on various Let's Play videos.

#10 magic9mushroom

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 02:11 AM

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.

#11 Nilex

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 06:01 PM

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?
  • Aha so getting Aquatoids to attack your base ensures Calcinite encounter as well (behaves as Aquatoid Port/Island terror in terms of alien crew)?
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.
3b. April regarding Ships yes, ups. Mixed Crew on land (Calc/Tris source) is what I think of every time I say MC so yeah. For Triscenes it's April at earliest.

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!

#12 magic9mushroom

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Posted 19 September 2020 - 10:53 PM

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).

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

#13 Nilex

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 12:25 AM

Okay, sharpened my scaplels and performed open-brain surgery on the OP. Hope the patient lives. Geez what a day.
If you spot a mistake please don't shy away of letting me know.

#14 magic9mushroom

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 06:23 AM

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

#15 Nilex

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Posted 21 September 2020 - 05:45 PM

Nothing gets past you, good catches. Updated OP.

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.

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

#16 magic9mushroom

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Posted 22 September 2020 - 04:58 AM

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.




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