Ethereals...


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#41 Zombie

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 03:07 AM

Whoa, I hate to be a necromancer here, but bumpity-bump. :)

I was watching some X-COM YouTube videos by falkor95 the other day. (I love his british "color commentary" while his partner in crime named "Matthew" runs the controls. It's too bad the background music is so high, I would have liked it 100% more with just the commentary). Anyhow, he was on a horrific terror mission with Ethereals and Sectopods and the squad was mainly equipped with Plasma Rifles. The result wasn't good because the Plasma Rifle bolts didn't seem to phase these creatures.

Well, I ran some numbers on this just to see what is up. A Sectopod has the following stats:

Experienced-Superhuman
Front Armor:	  145
Left/Right Armor: 130
Rear Armor:	   100
Under Armor:	   90

Beginner
Front Armor:	   72
Left/Right Armor:  65
Rear Armor:		50
Under Armor:	   45
A Plasma Rifle has a listed damage of 80 (range: 0 - 160). However, the Sectopod is 80% susceptible to plasma damage and hence the range is lowered to 0 - 128. Comparing the max damage to the Sectopods armor we can clearly see that the Plasma Rifle is 100% ineffective against the front and side plates. Gee, no wonder he had so many problems. Even if you managed to circle around and shoot at the rear plates, you have a 22% chance of breaching the armor. To put it another way, 78% of all attempts will do 0 damage if shot up the arse. Not good. :)

On beginner, the odds are a bit better.
Front: 43% breach
Side: 49% breach
Rear: 60% breach

Still, even these odds are nothing to sneeze at.

Now let's look at the Laser Rifle. It has a listed damage of 60 and its range is 0 - 120. That's 20 points less than the Plasma Rifle. However, Sectopods are 150% susceptible to laser damage. Its range is now boosted to 0 - 180 (52 points more damage than the Plasma Rifle). This increase is enough to do damage against a superhuman Sectopod's front plates.
Front: 19% breach
Side: 28% breach
Rear: 49% breach

I'd much rather be toting the Laser Rifle when going up against Sectopods. It's cheaper to manufacture, easier to come by and doesn't chew up ammo either.

The break-even point between the Plasma Rifle and an equivalent Laser is 43 (for a Sectopod). That makes the lowly Laser Pistol the Plasma Rifles equal (at least in terms of damage). By the way, the Laser Rifle is approximately equal to the Heavy Plasma against the Sectopod. (It's a little bit less, but right in the range).
So as you can clearly see, Lasers (any type) are better than Plasma against Sectopods. :)

- Zombie

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#42 NKF

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 07:46 AM

I've always felt the act of unholy necromancy on long dead threads is okay if you bring something new (and possibly exciting) to it and not just chuck in a one-liner that has no relevance to what's being discussed.

By the way, there was a laser vs. plasma thread going on somewhere that could use this neat little tidbit. :)

The weakness of the plasma rifle against superhuman sectopods was something I noticed when I was testing one of Hobbes's earlier new warehouse maps a couple of years back. A very good excuse to not rely solely on one type of weapon (well, unless you're using heavy plasmas).

Oh, and for those who've read what Zombie's just mentioned, and are confused because you've seen how easily the sectopods are able to kill their own kind, there's a jolly good reason for this. Their weapon is a laser weapon that fires projectiles disguised as plasma bolts. It just looks like they're shooting plasma beams, the actual damage dealt is laser damage.

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#43 Knan

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 07:10 PM

About those videos. I just noticed that the playstation sound effects are a bit different from the good old pc version - or is it just my ears deceiving me?

Is there a way of transplanting them into the pc version, perhaps? Would certainly freshen the experience :)

#44 Zombie

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:41 PM

Nope your ears are working fine, some sounds are different. I suppose adding these sounds to the computer version is possible. But finding them is the other problem. :)

Just some more calculated equivalents to the Plasma Rifle against the Sectopod. Armor piercing ammo would need to dish out an average damage of 64. Nothing in the game comes close except for the Tank/Cannon's shell which does 60. Stun (non-explosive) would also need to be 64. The Stun Rod pumps out 65 so we'll call it the PR's equivalent. Still, it has the same limitation on Superhuman Sectopods: it cannot breach the front or side plates. :)

- Zombie

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#45 Knan

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 12:47 AM

View PostZombie, on 19th December 2006, 12:41am, said:

Nope your ears are working fine, some sounds are different. I suppose adding these sounds to the computer version is possible. But finding them is the other problem. :)

Hmm, good point. PSX cdroms are in a strange undocumented format, I see.

Another reason to test the amiga version, I guess. Perhaps there are different sounds there :)

#46 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 06:39 AM

In my experience, ripping files off Playstation discs is as simple as sticking one in a computer, opening Windows Explorer, and taking the files you want...  :)
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#47 Zombie

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 07:13 AM

True, but in the Collector's edition there are 3 files in the sound folder which contain sounds on the battlescape and geoscape. On my PSX disc there are 4 files (at least I think they are the sound files in question). Actually, it would be 8 files since each file has a dat file as well as the Security Catalog file. Not only that, but it appears that the sounds are probably at a much higher sampling rate than the CE. That would probably require some tweaking. Wish Quantifier was around - he would know exactly what is going on and if it's even possible to transfer them properly. :)

- Zombie

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JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#48 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 01:05 PM

According to the Wiki, CE doesn't care what the sample rate is, so long as it can find a valid WAVE header in the file.

Can't guarentee that the format of the files is the same, though. The extra sound file is probably used by the movies.

Could you provide a directory listing of the disc? This DOS command might come in handy:

"Long live the pipe" said:

dir > c:\UFO_PSX.txt

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You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me :P
We love Tammy! :)

#49 Zombie

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 03:58 PM

Thanks! Here it is:
08/23/1995  05:07 AM		12,009,472 2CYDON_7.STR
08/22/1995  11:07 AM			   504 FLIC.CAT
08/22/1995  11:07 AM		 3,385,344 FLIC.DAT
08/23/1995  03:58 AM		   583,680 GEOSCAPE.EXE
08/22/1995  11:06 AM			   560 GEOSEQ.CAT
08/22/1995  11:06 AM		   354,304 GEOSEQ.DAT
08/23/1995  05:17 AM		16,547,840 GWIN_7.STR
08/23/1995  05:10 AM		11,173,888 LGMGMN_7.STR
08/23/1995  05:08 AM		11,173,888 LGMWLD_7.STR
08/23/1995  05:18 AM		 4,079,616 MABRT_7.STR
08/23/1995  05:17 AM		 4,079,616 MABTG_7.STR
08/23/1995  05:19 AM		 4,784,128 MLOSE_7.STR
08/22/1995  12:53 PM			 4,096 SLUS_001.41
08/28/1995  12:33 AM				70 SYSTEM.CNF
08/22/1995  11:06 AM			 1,624 TACSEQ.CAT
08/22/1995  11:06 AM		   641,024 TACSEQ.DAT
08/23/1995  04:06 AM		   509,952 TACTICAL.EXE
08/23/1995  05:14 AM		17,170,432 USINT_7.STR
08/23/1995  05:05 AM		 3,588,096 WMISS_7.STR
08/22/1995  11:04 AM			24,108 XCOM.CAT
08/22/1995  11:04 AM		13,522,944 XCOM.DAT
			  21 File(s)	103,635,186 bytes
The 4, urm, 8 files I'm talking about is FLIC.CAT/BAT, GEOSEQ.CAT/DAT, TACSEQ.CAT/DAT and XCOM.CAT/DAT. The str files are (I believe) the movie clips.

- Zombie

My X-COM Patch Kit For UFO Defense | Emergency XCOM Meeting spoof on YouTube




JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#50 Danial

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 12:49 AM

STR is indeed a Playstation video file. Micah has the converted AVI versions of each over at xcomufo.com.

#51 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 02:49 AM

Check out this page for a list of PlayStation tools. XAEX looks the most promising, even if it does seem to be DOS based.
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You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me :P
We love Tammy! :)

#52 Zombie

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 03:57 AM

Funny you should mention that page, I visited there a few days back as I wanted to listen to the organ music from one of my PSX hockey games. I tried the xaex program but it didn't work then and it doesn't work now. The readme file is in Japanese so that doesn't help either. My command line looks like this:

C:\~xaex01>xaex D:\flic.dat C:\flic

And when I run it, it simply complains "Media not insert". Well, of course it is inserted! Jeez, it's in the drive and properly seated, what more do you want? I tried copying the dat files to my HD and extracting from there, but the program wants the sound file to come from the D: drive. Lovely program indeed. I'll try running it through DosBox to see if that has any effect. :)

Edit: Ah ha! DosBox says that MSCDEX is not installed. That's the problem. I found a site here which talks about it. I'll probably need to download that, but I really hate when I have to mess with my autoexec.bat or config.sys files. :)

Edit again: my config.sys and autoexec.bat files are empty. I'm not computer saavy enough to rebuild them from scratch and can't find my CD-ROM device driver location name so getting this to work is basically a dead-end. I'll have to leave grabbing these sounds to someone else with more experience. Sorry.

- Zombie

My X-COM Patch Kit For UFO Defense | Emergency XCOM Meeting spoof on YouTube




JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#53 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:31 AM

Attached is a file that should be of some use. Extract it, load up DosBox, and run the batch file. No need to deal with autoexec.bat/config.sys this way.

I don't think that it'll work with DosBox, though. You're better off trying it through VMWare or something, because DosBox simply mounts drives and lets the host operating system deal with the driver side of things. But hey, ya never know.

Attached Files


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You're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me :P
We love Tammy! :)

#54 Stygian

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 05:15 PM

Dropped in on an Ethereal Terror Site the other day with my non-psi team and had more trouble with the Sectopods than the Ethereals by far.  My Laser-Rifle equipped squad--over the course of four rounds--hit one Sectopod with -- I'm not making this up -- 16 to 18 laser blasts before it finally went down.  The random number generator must have been rolling some low damage for my units.  I'm starting to be a big believer in the Blaster Bomb approach to Terror Sites--(my BB troup was continously panic/mind control attacked and would not get off of Blaster Launcher and pile of BBs, so I could not get an unaffected unit to grab the Launcher and go to town...)  Oh well.

#55 Zombie

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 08:27 PM

Sectopods are tough creatures to kill even with the Laser Rifle. On Experienced-Superhuman 81% of shots taken against a Sectopods front armor will not do anything. To put this another way, 1 out of every 5 shots will do damage. Out of 18 total, 3 should have connected and penetrated armor. Of those shots which do connect, each can do anywhere from 1 to 35 points of damage and the average would be around 18. A Sectopod has 96 for health so dividing by 18 we have an average of 5. So you actually did really good with 18 shots taken. :)

As for the Blaster Bomb approach at Terror Sites, I agree - but only to a point. You are pretty safe in nuking the outside to smithereens in the first couple rounds without killing too many civilians. But if you wait too long this advantage evaporates as the civilians start to come out of the buildings to "investigate". It also works well on aliens with Psi powers as you might be able to reduce morale enough to cause widespread panic with a couple well-placed shots. Just make sure your guy handling the Blaster Launcher has some decent Psi skills and a higher-than-average bravery rating. This should make it somewhat difficult for the aliens to be successful in a panic/mind control attack. :)

- Zombie

My X-COM Patch Kit For UFO Defense | Emergency XCOM Meeting spoof on YouTube




JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#56 NickAragua

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 09:43 PM

View PostZombie, on 20th December 2006, 3:27pm, said:

As for the Blaster Bomb approach at Terror Sites, I agree - but only to a point. You are pretty safe in nuking the outside to smithereens in the first couple rounds without killing too many civilians. But if you wait too long this advantage evaporates as the civilians start to come out of the buildings to "investigate".

Of course, I don't think I've ever let the presence of a civilian or twenty near a sectopod stop me from nuking it anyway - yeah, I take a hit of 50 or 100 points per civilian, but unless I'm trying to play some sort of "save civilians" challenge, I could care less. On the harder difficulty levels, there are enough UFO recoveries/etc to compensate for the loss of a few hundred points of civilians...




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