Some "short and simple" tips to start me off. .


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#41 NickAragua

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Posted 30 September 2004 - 07:54 PM

Wasn't this a "short and simple tips" thread to start with? :P

#42 NKF

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Posted 30 September 2004 - 09:23 PM

Just sidetracking a bit. The end result will be a short and simple tip, like:

Mutons can take X damage from AP, Y damage from Laser, etc. :P

- NKF
NKF, narrow minded fuddy duddy who refuses to let go of the past and will not accept anything newer than 1979.

#43 Zombie

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 01:57 AM

Ok, I understand what you are doing now, NKF.

Just to clarify armor ratings first:
Armor on the more advanced levels (Experienced, Veteran, Genius and Superhuman) are exactly double the armor on Beginner.

Alright, I get the reason why Health is at 200. (I did some preliminary tests with some of your soldiers in your Chryssalid test game with grenades).
----------
One question though: Say a unit takes normal damage (100% of listed UFOPaedia damage). To what extent does armor play a role? If you are assuming that it skews the results, shouldn't we also check damage incurred with, and without armor to be sure? To be more exact: is the specific armor of an alien resistant to that type of weapon, or is the body itself resistant? Get what I am trying to say here? If armor plays no role, than you are indeed correct by stripping it off the alien for a comparison test.

I have a couple of questions about your damage equation:
Damage = (Weapon damage * damage modifier) - Armor

First, the term Armor in your equation. When you shoot a soldier who has armor, his armor rating does not always drop down to zero, and then any extra damage subtracted from health. Sometimes the soldier might have 80% of his armor left and still get killed because health reached 0. Are soldiers armor and alien armor identical? Or does the full brunt of the power "eat" through all the aliens armor first, and then the rest goes to health?

Why not rename "Weapon damage" to "Weapon power", and "damage modifier" to "unit susceptibility". Isn't this more descriptive and less confusing than an equation with the word "damage" appearing 3 times? I find it easier to understand this way, but to each his own I guess.  :(

My offer still stands NKF. Once you get things hashed out on how to proceed, and formulate a plan of attack, I'll be more than happy to give you a hand testing things out. I am just as interested in the results as you are (and maybe more)!  :P

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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!

#44 Stun Grenade

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 07:53 AM

maybe we should make a "calculations" thread?
"The Stun Grenade can be used to stun targets within a small area for a brief time. Larger Aliens may need weakening before they can be stunned."

#45 NKF

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Posted 01 October 2004 - 09:09 AM

I think there was one. But that has been lost in time. :P

The names in my formula can be changed with whatever you want. The words I use are just the first thing that come to mind when I'm trying to remember the formula. Not the best choice of words, I admit. :(

As for armour = the 'armour' displayed in the stats for all units in the game (and I mean everyone) is just simple damage reduction. That's it. Nothing fancy there.

Say my bullet ends up doing 20 damage, the target takes normal damage, and the section I'm hitting (front plates, say) has 15 armour. Before the 20 damage is subtracted from the unit's health, the 15 points are first subtracted off of the damage.

If the armour is able to make the damage 0 or negative, no damage is done and that's that. But if damage is done, then the game just subtracts the remainder of the damage off the target's health. Also, the game gets to damage the armour plate as well (not to mention inflict some critical wounds and stun damage). Not sure how this is calculated. But this would be for another experiment and another time.

And no, the unit's modifiers don't have any effect on the armour. Only the ... okay the weapon power.

Been trying to set up a scenario, but excuses keep piling up and I'm constantly getting sidetracked today. Spent the morning trying to understand parts of the ufopaedia and research files (was wanting to have a shortcut and get all the tech I need right away). Then I suddenly decided to watch my Slayers DVD collection, even that got aborted and I ended up fiddling with the connector plugs at the back of the TV set to see if I could rearrange them somewhat. I'm going to at least find a suitable map and get all the test gear in place before the night is through. I can fiddle around with the game pieces in the morning.

- NKF

edit: Right, before bed, got the battlefield set up. Now just need to erase the alien weapons, duplicate the player's weapons 7 more times, 'plant' the aliens in one spot, and see if a simple sprite change is all I need to get the damage modifiers. I know a simple sprite change is enough to allow a zombie to hatch a chryssalid and a cyberdisc to detonate on death.

But here's an interesting observation I made. The male and female civilians are different sprites! So why the heck didn't the programmers just toss in a random number of male and female sprites together in a terror mission? Instead we getting mono-gendered rural villages. A bit perplexing, don't you think?
NKF, narrow minded fuddy duddy who refuses to let go of the past and will not accept anything newer than 1979.

#46 Zombie

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 07:25 AM

So if the game decides that the unit will be hit/hurt, the damage first gets subtracted from the armor, and any remaining damage is taken off the health stat. Just indulge me here for a second. I am almost 100% sure that sometimes the bullet (or whatever) does partial damage to the armor plates as well as health. Let's use your example. Bullet does 20 damage and the armor is 15. I know I've seen where the bullet reduces the armor to say 13, and manages to reduce health too, even though part of the armor (2 points) is still intact. Am I crazy, or does this happen?  :P

You don't have to rush things NKF. Just take your time and get the scenario set up properly. The damage modifier question has been around for 10 years, it can wait a little longer to be answered.

That is strange why the civilians at a Terror Site are all one sex. I noticed that while doing my 2000 reload fiasco. Like you said, since there are 2 different sprites, it should be easy for the game to mix things up a little bit. Strange!  :(

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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!

#47 NKF

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Posted 02 October 2004 - 09:13 AM

Well, let me see if I can explain in another example:

Let's say an alien fires a heavy plasma at power armour trooper. The game crunches some numbers and ends up dealing 120 damage. The X-Com target is hit in the front plates. Power armour offers 100 front protection.

Therefore the final damage done is = 120 - 100 = 20

So, the 20 points are then subtracted from the target's health. Also, because damage was done, the game then decides to:

1. Add stun damage - No idea how this works.
2. Cause critical wounds- usually a number between 0 and 3.
3. Deteriorate the armour by a few points. Not sure how this is calculated either.
4. Reduce the unit's morale - again no idea. But bravery is obviously a factor.

(Amazing how much work the game has to do to execute a single attack. Most other games just reduce hitpoints and that's that)

Basically, armour completely stops so much damage, and the armour level stays constant until damaged by a successful attack. If it completely absorbs the attack, it stays the same.

If it was damaged after every attack that it completely blocks, with a bit of persistence, even a standard pistol would be enough to kill a superhuman sectopod! Personally, I wouldn't mind that at all, but that's not the point. :P

But yes, say if you have a weapon that only barely breaches a unit's armour level. This will still reduce the armour somewhat. So after every attack that is able to get through, it gets easier and easier to hurt the unit with that weapon. One good example is in TFTD. Lobstermen take half damage from HE, and superhuman lobstermen have something like 12 under-armour. A gas cannon with HE shells that do 65 damage will only be able to do between -12 to 20(well, 20.5) points of damage per shot (compare - the sonic pistol does between -24 to 16 damage to the same lobsterman from any direction. Only it does 80/2 sonic damage against 24 armour).  

As for how much damage is done to your armour: I do not know if this is subtracted from the final damage level or whether it's a simple dice roll (like 1d4 - 1, which looks like what's done for critical wounds). I have no way of testing for sure because of the one thing that makes this game what it is. The random number generator.


- NKF

Update: Well, it seems just changing the unit's sprites, while it does introduce several unique properties to the unit, is still a cosmetic change when it comes to the damage-type modifiers. Seemed a bit odd when I was using a soldier disguised as a sectopod quarter and all the weapon types were doing the same amount of damage as the lasers.  (I set all my test weapons to 50 damage a heavy cannon, laser pistol, heavy plasma and stun rod. That should cover all the major weapon groups I'd imagine!)

As I have absolutely no idea where these resistance modifiers are stored at this moment in time, I'm going to have to cut and paste aliens from existing games. That's going to be a real problem as I don't have too many games with Mutons or Ethereals.

It also seems that the game crashes every time I have a soldier with an armed weapon staring at the lone sectoid test subject (will add more via cut and past later). I'd forcibly removed its weapons by editing it out completely from the data files. It almost seems like it's crashing when the game's trying to determine an opportuntiy. I might be able to  fix this by editing in an empty gun for it (and for every other one I end up cloning).
NKF, narrow minded fuddy duddy who refuses to let go of the past and will not accept anything newer than 1979.

#48 Zombie

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 07:04 AM

Thanks, NKF, for describing armor to me. I understand it fully now! All I can say is: "Strange"! It's odd how X-COM handles armor.

Morale vs. damage:

I did some trials this past August on the effect of morale against inflicted damage. Nothing major, just around 200 reloads or so. According to my results (with bravery being a constant) the amount of morale that gets deducted is directly related to the amount of health lost. For instance:
Morale Drop               Health Lost Range
      0           0,  1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9, 
      1          10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
      2          20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
      3          30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39
      4          40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49
      5          50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59
      6          60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69
      7          70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79
So let's say you lose anwhere from 10 to 19 health points. That equals a reduction in a units morale of 1 point. And so on and so forth. Interesting fact: Fatal Wounds do not affect morale loss, only a reduction in health does.
When I get X-COM up and running again I will continue these tests more vigorously. Hopefully I can get some games with Mutons and Ethereals for you NKF!  :P

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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!

#49 Zombie

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 05:22 AM

Returning to the Terror Site discussion for a bit...

I wanted to find out if the -1000 points for ignoring a Terror Site is applied in addition to the penalty for aborting the the Site. Got to the 30th of January 1999 and saved the game (no Terror Sites yet). I wrote down my score up to that point which was roughly +750 points.

Now I sped time forward until a Terror Site started. After the site disappeared I checked my score again which was -250 points. Then I reloaded the game and waited until the Terror mission showed up again. This time I visited the Terror Site and aborted as soon as I got there. Since there were 16 civilians there the end-of-mission report said -480 points. When I returned to the Geoscape screen, I checked my score again. It was roughly +250 points.

So by ignoring the Terror Site, my score got pushed into the negatives, and when I visited the Terror Site and aborted with 16 civilians killed by the aliens, my score stayed in the positive range. The -1000 points are not added to the -480 points for aborting. Therefore, it is very important to at least visit every Terror Site you find. If things look tough, abort. You will actually cut your points lost by more than half (-520 points) just by visiting!  :P

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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!

#50 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 02:35 AM

:( : We've reached the terror site, sir.
:) : Ok, we'll take a quick looksie outside.

*units hop out of the craft, and take a look around*

*people are seen running around in terror as the aliens chase them*

:( : Seen enough, sir?
:P : Yeah, just wanted to stretch my legs before the trip home. Let's go.

Anyways, yet more on terror sites!

Apperently this OSG thing you all go on about (yes, I know what it stands for  ;) ) says terror sites stay on the map for a certain amount of time.

Now, in my observations, they only dissapear at dawn, and of course stay around so long as you've got them targetted.

Nothing new there, but I came up with this experiment. What if you were to observe a terror site. Half an hour or so before dawn reached it, target it with a craft. Once dawn passes over the site, tell the craft to return to base. Does the terror site stick around until next dawn, or does it leave the map before hand?

If it turns out that you can keep the site on the map in this way, and it only dissapears at dawn, does the same thing go for other mission sites? That is to say, do they ALL leave the map at a certain time, such as dawn? I haven't observed them in the same way as I watch terror sites, because crash sites stick around for days (terror sites don't) and landed craft leave at any time.

If missions only clear at a certain time of day, then perhaps they can be kept around indefinetly, not by always having a craft target them, but by having a craft target them at those certain times!

I'd test it myself, but I have other things to do...  :(  Sorry...  :(
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#51 Zombie

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 05:44 AM

Though your description is funny Bomb Bloke, it is also accurate! If you don't like the look of things at a Terror Site and decide to dust-off, you actually get at least 520 points back than if you left the Site alone. Depending on the civilian situation, you might even get all 1000 points back!  :(

I just tested your theory on Terror Sites Bomb Bloke. Started a new game and ran time forward until a Terror Site was detected. Now I saved the game, then ran time forward some more until it disappeared. The time that this particular Terror Site stayed on the map was exactly 9 hours. It started at 16:00:00 (middle of the night for Novosibirsk) and ended the next day at 1:00:00 (or about 2 hours after sun rise).

Since I knew when the Terror Site would disappear, I just sent my Skyranger out so it would arrive around 3:00:00 (or 2 hours after the Site would normally disappear). Then I watched what happened. Two hours after my Skyranger returned to base, the Terror Site went away. This proved my suspicion that a Terror Site will only stay on the map for however long it was supposed to be there, but not including time it was targeted by a craft.

So, in this instance, the Site would normally disappear at 1:00:00. I just targeted the Terror Site with my craft at 0:59:00 and watched if the site would go away 1 minute after the craft headed home. Sure enough, roughly a minute after the Skyranger turned around, the Site disappeared. Dusk or dawn, it doesn't matter. If a Terror Site is only slated to be active for 9 hours, it will disappear after this time is up (neglecting the time spent being targeted).  :P

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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!

#52 NKF

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Posted 09 October 2004 - 08:06 AM

I think I said something similar in an earlier post. The funding countries would look at you less severely if you actually made your soldiers make the effort to get out of bed, go to the site, and then decide whether or not to run away rather than to just not go at all. It's the effort that counts! :P

And now to step back a bit:

While fiddling with the save game I'm putting together to test the damage modifiers (1), I noticed a most insidious use for incendiary rounds.

Something's always bugged me about incendiary rounds. I always asked myself, why is it that when I shot this person then shot another person with incendiary rounds, it's the first person to get hit that dies first? Now I know why.

Every unit standing in a fire patch will receive the effects of any incendiary round fired on that turn. That's what I said. Any incendiary rounds that you fire during the turn will damage EVERY unit standing in a fire patch. So if you had ten units standing in fire, a continuous barrage of incendiary rounds at a nearby wall will kill them all!

I just tested it. I set fire to some ground. Then on the next turn, I had four soldiers just temporarily stand in the fire. Then I had a bunch of soldiers with incendiary weapons open fire randomly at bits of scenery.

What was the result? Every single soldier standing on a burning tile got hurt (some even got set on fire)! But the rest of the soldiers who were standing outside of the flames got away unscathed (yes, even if the IC-rounds just popped without setting fire to anything since the fire/smoke table's full, those that were standing in fire still got hurt!).

Well, that's another interesting weapon 'feature' to be added to my arsenal of fighting techniques. Heh, only this time it's a sure-hit attack. You only need to get the target into a patch of flames, and you can then easily wipe it out without even shooting anywhere near it.

I feel a little wretched whenever I find these strange things in the game. But that's just the programmer in me at work.

- NKF

(1) I got a superhuman sectopod now thanks to one of Hobbes test save games for his new terror site maps. I gave up on that buggy sectoid and decided to copy and paste something else in. Thought I'd start off with one of the tougher buggers.

It's rather amazing, but a laser of 50 damage actually punched through armour of 130 (for some reason, I kept hitting the sides)! This must mean the modifier for lasers is even greater than I imagined - will find out for sure once I strip off the armour! Or maybe armour rolls are not fixed and are random numbers...but hey, that's an experiment for another time.
NKF, narrow minded fuddy duddy who refuses to let go of the past and will not accept anything newer than 1979.

#53 Zombie

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Posted 09 October 2004 - 09:51 PM

*cheering is heard in the distance*
*cheering and applause gets louder*
*the crowd starts chanting*
*  N - K - F,  N - K -F  ,  N - K - F!  *

*Zombie pats NKF on his back*

Good boy, NKF! Another mystery solved. I often wondered the same thing why fire would kill someone nowhere near where the Incendiary rounds are going off.

This past summer, I was doing some testing with fire on unarmored soldiers. I had them all standing in a patch of fire and recording the health drop for each one, as well as if the guy caught fire. By gathering this data I hoped to show how much health could be lost by an average soldier, and how many rounds he/she could survive standing in flames.

Fire doesn't last forever, so I had to "replenish" the supply after 3 or so rounds. What I noticed was this: when I shot off those extra Incendiary rounds, the units that were in fire got an extra drop of health loss, way beyond what was the average drop for the rest of the group not in fire. Somehow, I never put two-and-two together like you did to resolve the answer! It seems simple enough to me now, but while I was doing the tests I was totally confused. Thanks for clearing that mystery up!  :P

----------

Let's see, a damage of at least 130 for a weapon that only does 50 points... That comes to roughly 2.6, or 260% more damage from lasers. The OSG says 1.5 times, or 150% more! That's like 110% more damage than it's supposed to deal! If lasers actually deal 260% damage to Sectopods, then you'll need to modify the weapon damage down a bit. Like maybe 25 points of damage to be on the safe side. However, if you are going to crank the Sectopod's health up to 200, a weapon damage of 50 should still be low enough without blasting past the 200 cap!  :(

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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!

#54 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 01:41 AM

Are there any critical hits rolls that could furthar raise the damage of the laser?
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#55 Zombie

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:56 AM

That is what we hope to find out. By doing these tests, we are trying to establish what the resistance of an alien is to each weapon type. If the OSG's numbers do not match our final results, then the "Damage Modifiers Against Various Forms of Protection" (Table 8-7, pg 230 in the OSG) is wrong.

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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!

#56 NKF

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Posted 20 October 2004 - 05:09 AM

At long last:

http://www.geocities.../testgames.html

I've started off with the sectopods. As I'm working on large units now, I might as well get all the large enemy unit done and over with before moving on to the smaller units.

I'm going to need a superhuman Reaper, Cyberdisc (I won't be able to do much about the self destruct mechanism, by the way) and ... um, I think that's it.

The obdata change now sets weapon damage to 50, and sets snapshot speed to 1% for all the test weapons. Did this so that you could fire shot after shot without having to end the turn (don't forget to make a backup of your original obdata.dat!). Also increased ammo quantity to 100 per clip in the battlescape.

- NKF
NKF, narrow minded fuddy duddy who refuses to let go of the past and will not accept anything newer than 1979.

#57 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 20 October 2004 - 05:22 AM

And here was me thinking you'd published all your notes!  :P
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#58 Zombie

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Posted 20 October 2004 - 05:25 AM

Thanks NKF! I downloaded your Sectopod saved game and related files and will start work on it tomorrow!  :P

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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!

#59 Stewart

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 03:33 AM

Stun Grenade, on Sep 21 2004, 01:50 AM, said:

These holidays I'm going to get back into X-COM and for once, try and finish UFO. When I played it last, I always got slaughted, and some times I didn't even set foot on ground...

I know people have released guides and walkthoughs but I know how to play this game, I just need some tips!

Like for example, posistioning troups, how to find the aliens, base locations, etc.

Help much appreciated people!

~SG
In Xcom if you havent lost then you're winning.  Xcom is won and lost in Geoscape not Battlescape.  The 7 basic tips if you're rusty:

1 ) Xcom is paid to shoot down UFOs . . . shoot down UFOs
2 ) Dual avalnche, Read ( 1 ) again
3 ) build basic radar bases around the world (expand them later) to get eyes around the world.  Read ( 1 ) again.
4 ) Don't build-up your individual bases too quickly you need the money
5 ) Only go nutz with engineers once you have laser cannons NOT UNTIL THEN.
6 ) 14 guys with autocannon, 2HE, 1AP as long as one comes home you defeat the aliens.  Do not worry if the score isnt too bad, read ( 1 ) again.
7 ) Terror missions, 2 interceptors read ( 1 and 2 ) again.  If they get through let the aliens have their fun.

That will hold you until you remember how to play.
We put our first base in Hawaii.  For a while it was great; we'd lie on the beach all day drinking Tom Collins and admiring polynesian women.  But then the aliens showed up and basically everything went south after that.

#60 Bomb Bloke

Bomb Bloke

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Posted 02 December 2004 - 04:26 AM

Er, I cannot agree with allowing unhindered terror missions.  :P
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