Strange things in X-COM


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#1 Zombie

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 05:48 AM

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?

I'll get you started. Once, I visited a landed Floater Battleship which was on a base building exercise in the US. When I got there, Floaters were everywhere. Since my soldiers had Psi, I used it on every alien spotted. When I went through the aliens belongings, I was in for a real shock. SIX Floaters had Blaster Launchers!!! The Commander had one, 2 Engineers had one and 3 Leaders had one. That's 6 Blaster Launchers and 24 Blaster Bombs! The maximum number of Blaster Launchers I ever witnessed up to that point was 4. Needless to say, I was glad I had Psi-capable soldiers along, because otherwise my troops would be toast!  :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!

#2 Hobbes

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 04:46 PM

Zombie, on Oct 5 2004, 05:48 AM, said:

Floaters had Blaster Launchers!!! The Commander had one, 2 Engineers had one and 3 Leaders had one. That's 6 Blaster Launchers and 24 Blaster Bombs! The maximum number of Blaster Launchers I ever witnessed up to that point was 4. Needless to say, I was glad I had Psi-capable soldiers along, because otherwise my troops would be toast!  :(
Floaters usually make a good job on killing themselves with blaster launchers too  :P

#3 FullAuto

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 05:28 PM

Once saw a Chrysalid attack a zombie.  That raised an eyebrow.

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#4 Zombie

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 07:46 PM

A Chryssalid attacking a Zombie?!? That is a good one!  :P

Here are some strange things about stacking. Aliens will always carry a weapon in their Right Hand slot. On their Right Leg, the alien will normally carry a spare clip and a grenade stacked on top of the clip. Nothing really new here.

1) I once saw a Sectoid Medic carrying a loaded Small Launcher plus 3 extra Stun Bombs on its right leg. Usually they only carry 2 extra Stun Bombs!
2) I saw a Sectoid Leader carrying a Heavy Plasma. After mind controlling him, I checked his leg. He had the normal spare clip and grenade, and in addition, a second grenade!
3) Or a Floater Engineer with a Plasma Rifle in his right hand, a spare clip on his right leg, plus a Mind Probe stacked on the clip!!!
4) Or even a Floater Navigator with a Plasma Pistol, a spare clip on the right leg, plus a Mind Probe stacked on the clip!

In the Playstation version of X-COM, aliens always carry the Mind Probe in their Left Hand. Strange why the computer version stacks it on the leg. As a side note, I once gave a Sectoid only a Mind Probe and then observed it during the aliens turn. I could account for all the movement it made, so it never used the probe. (I checked over multiple turns to verify this). I also gave it a gun in addition to the probe. It never used the Mind Probe when it had a gun either. So what is the point of an alien carrying a Mind Probe if it doesn't use it?  :(

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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!

#5 FullAuto

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 08:10 PM

The whole inventory system is weird.  Alien corpses turning up in the skranger ("we brought the mascot, boys"), 'unloading' corpses and getting clips ("wonder where he hid this, sarge?"), stacking items on top of each other, finding alien technology that you haven't researched on your squad etc etc.

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#6 Zombie

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 06:16 AM

I think I figured out why an alien may carry an extra grenade, clip or Stun Bomb. In two words: Skill Level. That's right, on Beginner an alien seems to carry less stuff than on Superhuman. I just realized this because I recently started playing on Superhuman. :(

But how the heck is a 2x2 item like a Mind Probe able to be stacked in a 2x1 area of the body like a shoulder or leg? Most likely, the Mind Probe is not stacked on the entire 2x1 area, but rather on the 1x1 spot where the grenade and clip(s) reside! Same thing goes for the Blaster Bomb. It is normally a 1x2 item but it is still found stacked in the 1x1 area on the right leg. I wonder if a 2x3 item (like any Heavy weapon or corpse) can be stacked in the right leg slot of an alien. I have never seen this happen, but what would prevent the game from doing it?

It is also strange why the game gives the aliens a Mind Probe if they never use it. I watched and listened for the tell-tale sound the Mind Probe makes during the aliens round, but nothing happened. In all likelihood, the game equips the aliens with Mind Probes not to use, but rather, to be recovered by X-COM troops after the battle has ended.  :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!

#7 NKF

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 11:09 AM

It's the same with the vibroblades in TFTD. Though the aliens get them, they cannot use them - except if they've got a natural hand-to-hand attack, which kind of throws you off a bit.

Well, that leg slot on all units is slot 0, i.e. the first slot on the unit. Since the programmers obviously never wanted the player to access the alien's inventory, they just make all equipment default to slot 0 - hence why everything gets stacked there. It's not supposed to make sense because the player's not supposed to know about it.

But as resourceful players, we tend to discover things we're not meant to. :P

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#8 Zombie

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 07:00 PM

This recently happened to me while playing X-COM on the Playstation. I was running time by 5 second increments in the Geoscape screen to get to the end of the hour. The clock stopped at 1:59:55 because I went into the BASES menu to check out progress on a research project. After exiting the BASES menu and returning to the Geoscape menu, something strange happened. The clock momentarily read 1:60:00, then flipped over to 2:00:00!!!

Maybe that was the proverbial leap-second!
X-COM has leap-years, so why not leap-seconds too? Just kidding! :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!

#9 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 02:26 AM

Perhaps the Mind-Probe being in the hand in the PS version was changed on the basis of accuracy. Does it affect their aim?

The weirdest thing I ever saw:

In a base defense mission, I told one of my rookies to autofire. He fired one shot, TURNED to his left and fired the second shot, then resumed his original facing before firing the third. None of the shots hit the target.
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#10 Zombie

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 06:32 AM

Having a Mind Probe in an alien's hand does affect the Firing Accuracy of the gun in the other hand. I really doubt that the PlayStation purposefully makes things easier for the player by reducing the Firing Accuracy of the alien. I suspect that the PlayStation just cannot stack the 2x2 probe on the 1x1 slot on the right leg. Probably a limitation of such, not a glitch.

Here is something odd that happened to me while testing out research labs and alien containment facilities. First, if you have a lab and scientists at 2 of your bases, and also a specific item to research there, you can actually research that item at both of your bases at the same time! It's called decentralized research, and has been documented for quite some time by various sources. Just something interesting.

The second thing is the alien containment module. Say you have one of these facilities at two of your bases. Say that one alien containment is brimming with useless aliens, while the other is empty. How do you get rid of the alien containment module that is full? You cannot click on the structure because a screen comes up saying "Facility in use". I found a way around this problem. Simply transfer those aliens to your second base with an empty module, but before they arrive click on the structure. Since it is theoretically "not in use" until an alien is there, you can remove the structure. When the aliens are supposed to "arrive", they never show up. Problem solved! Now you can remove the alien containment at the first base, or leave it empty until you get aliens which you want!  :P

I can hear the bases discussion about the aliens now:
Base1: "Heh, did you get that load of aliens we sent a while back"?
Base2: "What aliens? How many did you send"?
Base1: "We sent you the whole lot. Every last alien we had. You guys didn't get them"?
Base2: "No!!! What method of shipping did you use"?
Base1: "We sent them overnight via protected courier".
Base2: "Darn things must have got lost in transit"!  :(

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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!

#11 Strong Bob

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 07:45 AM

Why don't you just sell them?
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#12 NKF

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 11:09 AM

Because you can't sell live aliens. Corpses - yep, easy.

I wonder if shelling the containment module in a base attack until it's collapsed (1) will erase all the aliens in containment for that base? It definitely won't do it for staff, ships and equipment - as the corresponding modules for each of these merely sets the upper limit you can hire or purchase at any given time. But who knows how the game would handle the aliens in containment. (Oh, engineers and scientists stop working if their workplaces are destroyed, but they'll stay on)

Zombie: Yes, a probe would reduce firing accuracy, but only if the gun is a two handed weapon.

I commonly get them in combination with plasma pistols early in the game, so it's not much of a point, really. Come to think of it, the probe gets rarer and rarer as the game progresses on the harder difficulty levels. Always got it on beginner.

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(1) - Just so I don't confuse anyone, when I say 'collapse' I don't mean it literally collapses in the game. But if you damage a module too much (which includes blowing up the scenery widgets and furniture on the upper level) it will vanish when you end the base defence and go back to the Geoscape.
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#13 Zeno

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 11:29 AM

Strange things:

I ran a mission once or thrice where the first alien turn was a blaster bomb or alien grenade into the skyranger.  

One time this happened, all of my soldiers died except one, who was merely "almost dead" and unconscious.

Then, XCOM Turn 2 started.  There were no soldiers to select, and nothing I could do.  I saved the game for future testing, and clicked "Abort" to see if I could retreat with my unconscious soldier.

I was able to withdraw from the battle!  0 aliens killed.  9 XCOM casualties, and 1 tank lost!

Here's where things get interesting...  I "withdrew from battle," but the transport was lost with the big -200 penalty!  Also, the wounded soldier magically ended up back at his home base...
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#14 Neorapsta

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 07:35 PM

One I had was a wierd reaction fire scenario containing 3 guys, 1st guy at the back saw the sectoid fired, his shot missed hitting a 2nd marine, which kicked him off, firing and missing as well, hitting a 3rd guy who managed to hit the alien killing it in 1 hit.

Maybe some kind of wierd 'Hey, its your turn...no it isn't I did it last week its Bob's turn this time...'

#15 Zombie

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 07:59 PM

NKF: I'm not sure what would happen if you shell out an alien containment module. It's an interesting idea. Something I'll have to check in the near future. By the way, are all base modules susceptible to destruction by heavy shelling with Blaster Bombs? Or are some immune to the effects? I think the Access Lift is one structure that is immune, and possibly the Hangar - though I never really tried to gut one out before. It takes a lot of bombs to gut that size of structure!  :P

For computer users, it doesn't matter what Plasma weapon the Mind Probe is paired with. Since it always gets stacked on the spare clip on the leg, the alien will never get the Firing Accuracy reduction unless the alien runs out of ammo for his weapon. Then the alien has to physically move the Mind Probe somewhere, reload the Plasma weapon with the clip that was under the probe, and possibly re-stack the probe back on the leg. I highly doubt that the probe ever resides in the left hand of an alien for any length of time.

I have seen Mind Probes paired with every type of Plasma Weapon there is. Plasma Pistols are a common weapon to pair with a probe, and even aliens with Plasma Rifles get one. A Heavy Plasma paired with a probe is not a rare event, it also happens with some regularity, though not as much as the Pistol. This could be attributed to the rarity of Plasma Pistols as the game wears on.

As for difficulty level vs finding a Mind Probe, all I can say is difficulty level may play a small part, but not huge. The biggest part is how far into the game you are. Mind Probes rarely show up after May 1999. They usually will be found in the earlier months (January 1999 - April 1999). If you do not visit many crash/landing/terror sites during these months, then the Mind Probe may seem more rare than it is. By the end of May 1999 I usually recover anywhere from 20 to 30 Mind Probes on Beginner. For Superhuman, it looks to be around the same area, roughly 20 for the max. :(

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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!

#16 NKF

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 08:34 PM

Well, the aliens don't even need to shuffle equipment about to reload a weapon. In fact, they'll just take what they need and use it right away.

I have this vague suspicion that a mind control soldier who was ordered by the AI to arm a grenade and throw it ended up with his weapon being stuck in his leg slot on the next turn when I got him back. I think I saw this, but I cannot confirm it. But it wouldn't surprise me in the least.

---

As for destruction of a base module:

From memory, the radar modules cannot be destroyed. The hangars cannot be destroyed in this way either. The lift definitely cannot be destroyed. The rest are fair game.

However, these indestructible modules can be destroyed if they are collapsed in the domino effect resulting from a base module connecting them to the lift being destroyed. I mean, say there a general stores module connects a couple of hangars to the access lift. If the stores get destroyed, the hangars get destroyed too. (This doesn't destroy the planes, by the way. It just stops you from buying and transferring (and I think building) more planes until you can make more space for them)

To destroy a module, the destruction has to be pretty severe. It's a bad indication if the upper level has been wiped out and the natural lighting in the module has gone completely. Nothing repeated shelling with the blaster bombs won't be able to handle.

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#17 Zombie

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 09:55 PM

So, you mean to tell me that the alien has automatic access to any items in its inventory on the leg, even though a 2x2 Mind Probe is stacked on top, "blocking" access to the stuff below? I cannot directly access a grenade or clip on the aliens leg in the soldier screen because the probe is on top of everything else. (This is a true "stack" in programming jargon: Last In, First Out or LIFO.) The probe is the last thing stacked, so it has to be the first thing removed. Maybe the alien AI does have direct access to everything on the leg "stack". (If this is the case, then the correct programming structure is probably a pointer going to a cell in a 1-dimentional array or list). It just seems strange that the programmers used two different data structures just to access leg inventory, depending on the "user"!  :P

----------

Just today, I was trying to visit any kind of site. It didn't matter to me what it was: Terror, Landing, Crash, Alien Base. All I wanted to do was check the timer for grenades in a mission. I ended up going an entire month with only 2 UFO's being spotted. I went after the small one with my Interceptor but it out-ran me, and I left the large one alone (Terror Ship heading for South America). I never completed any research projects, and that Terror Site never formed either.

At the end of the month progress report, I received a score of exactly 3 points! My rating was "GOOD", having lost only $44,000 in funding. When I went into the funding screen, it showed a change of 0 for everybody and -$44,000 for Brazil, the area where that Terror Ship was headed!

So those two ships I saw could have scored a minimum of 2 points for the aliens or a maximum of 6 points assuming they both landed once. What this means is X-COM needed to score at least 5 points, and a maximum of 9 points just for attempting to engage that small UFO with a fighter. NKF mentioned something like this happened to him a while back also. I guess that X-COM gets points just for attempting to shoot down a UFO!  :(

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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!

#18 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 01:56 AM

You get points for shooting craft down, I know that. Maybe you get points just for X-Com activity in areas - what if you just randomly fly your craft around the map, do you get points for that?

Concerning alien inventory -

The inventory of a unit would most likely be made up in an array, which is filled with each item the unit carries. These items would be noted with their respective positions in the inventory.

When you use the inventory, the computer would check the array, to see what should go where. It then renders the items in the order it finds them, in their respective positions, and takes note as to what's in each spot.

When you move items, the game does a check to make sure the item can go in a specific position. This check would involve whether or not the item fits in a given spot, whether other items are already there, and if you have enough TUs to actually do it. If all is well, you ge to move the kit.

In the case of the aliens, it's a given that whatever the alien is carrying, will fit in the inventory. Given this, and the fact that the player can't see the inventory, the easiest way to store the equipment is to just dump it all in the same place. The AI doesn't need to know where it's equipment is stored, all it needs to know is whether it has it. The only inventory spots which matter are the hand(s) and the storage spot, which just so happens to be the leg.

To summarise, aliens don't use the inventory system, you do. As a result, alien inventories don't translate well into X-Com inventories.

'Scuse my rambling.
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#19 Zombie

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 05:24 AM

Bomb Bloke, on Oct 9 2004, 08:56 PM, said:

You get points for shooting craft down, I know that. Maybe you get points just for X-Com activity in areas - what if you just randomly fly your craft around the map, do you get points for that?
I just checked whether you get points for randomly flying around an area. Just as I suspected, you do not. This makes sense, because theoretically all you would need to do to is fly your crafts around alot to negate the aliens points. That's not how this game works.  :(

Getting points for X-COM was historically thought to be gained by grounding/destroying UFO's, visiting landed/grounded UFO's, assaulting alien bases and/or completing research projects. This seems to still hold up. I just tried a few ways out:

1) I thought that maybe just the act of following a UFO around without engaging it would give X-COM some activity points. Result: It does not.

2) Then I thought that engaging a UFO and being unable to get off a shot would net activity points. Result: It also does not.

3) Maybe getting a shot off but missing the UFO would give X-COM points. Result: Nope.

4) How about having a shot connect with a UFO. This surely gives you activity points, right? Result: Wrong again.

Seems like everything I tried short of Grounding or Destroying that UFO would show up as 0 activity. Now, I am not sure if the end-of-the-month score report takes these encounters into consideration when figuring out your score. It's possible, but then again, it's also likely that the end of month report gives some semi-random bonus scores just for the heck of it like NKF suggested. At this point in time, how those small end-of-month scores are calculated is anyone's best guess!  :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!

#20 Zombie

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 05:26 AM

Today I decided I wanted to play an X-COM base defense mission. Nothing new here, because I usually want a change in scenery. It took about 3 months, but I was somehow able to lure a Sectoid Battleship to land at my base. Be darned, I forgot to check what weapons were in the stores. Oh, well! I had to use the Heavy Cannon, Auto Cannon, and 2 Rocket Launchers to start out with because of the 80 item limit. Things got better when I was able to scavenge Plasma weapons from the alien corpses.

When I was down to one alien remaining (Cyberdisc), I saved my game. Just for giggles, I decided to see what would happen to my score by aborting. Here is what the end of mission report said:
Base is lost

ITEM                       QUANTITY         SCORE
Aliens Killed:                14             187
XCOM Craft Lost:               1               0
TOTAL:                                       187
Rating: OK

What? X-COM Craft Lost !?! And only one? I have 3 craft at this base! And what is up with the score of 0 for craft lost? Now, I know that when a X-COM base defense is initiated, the craft are supposedly sent airborne to aid your troops when fighting.  The three craft at my base is a Skyranger, an Interceptor and an Avenger. My guess is that the craft lost is either the Avenger or the Skyranger. I am leaning towards the Avenger at the moment. Can anyone offer an explanation on which craft the game is talking about here?  :P

Hmmm... I also thought that X-COM got some sort of penalty when you lose a base to the aliens. Guess it's not like an alien base mission where if you destroy the command center you get 500 extra points. Be glad that this penalty is not included in a base defense mission!

Still, It's nice to know that you can come out with a positive score after losing your base to the aliens. See my score above? A rating of 'OK' and a total score of 187. Not bad!  :(
Then again, it can't be good either. The base is gone!  :(

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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!




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