Strange things in X-COM


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#41 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 31 October 2004 - 11:02 PM

Hmm... Logical, but interesting...

I played a mission last night. Yep, I actually fired up my '98 box and played a round or two for the first time in an age!  :P

Anyways, a sectoid manned large scout, the door of which was visible from the SkyRanger. After a quick wipe up around the LZ, I sent the tank over to quard the door, my troops using it as cover in their own approach (as an alien was popping in and out of the door, taking pot shots).

The troops made it to the side of the UFO, standing where the aliens couldn't see them, as opposed to right in front of the door (because I knew that was dangerous in this case).

Then, during the alien's turn, the tank finally reaction fired. Boom!

The troops would have seen it thusly. One second, they're standing there, the next a rocket goess off a couple of meters away from them. The impact was so close that the tank took damage, and one of the soldiers ended up standing in smoke. Both soldiers were unharmed, thanks to the hull of the craft.

Anyway, with that alien down, they ran up to the door and went through. Engine chamber intact, one sectoid engineer in sight, two sectoid corpses?

Shot the engineer, game over. Five sectoids killed, five corpses recovered, says the debriefing screen.

So, as it turns out, the rocket missed killing my soldiers by a millimeter or so, killed the rogue sectoid going through the door - and two OTHER sectoids, who just so happened to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time! Quite a fluke shot.  :(
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#42 Zombie

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 05:49 AM

Zombie, on Oct 6 2004, 12:16 AM, said:

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?
Oops! I spoke too soon! Just today, I visited a Sectoid Terror Ship which I had shot down. Since I was using the PlayStation version of X-COM, I figured that it would be the same old grind once I mind-controlled the Sectoids one-by-one.

Boy, was I wrong. Low and behold, one Sectoid soldier had his Heavy Plasma gun stacked on the Heavy Plasma Clip on the right leg slot! Nothing was in his hands. The Heavy Plasma gun was so large that it actually looked like the lower part was on the ground!

I nearly passed out because I never saw this happen in the 9 years I've played X-COM. It's little things like this that keep my interest in the game alive and well. Just when you thought you saw it all, the game pulls something like this and surprises the heck out of you! Amazing.  :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!

#43 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 06:06 AM

I've been fiddling with the data files, and I found something of vague interest. Aliens don't actually load clips into their guns.

The clips get placed in their weapons when they drop them (for instance, when the alien dies). I guess the same might happen when you mind control them, perhaps?

Which makes me wonder what happens if you remove all the ammo from an alien, and leave them with just the gun... I guess they might just keep on shooting.
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#44 Zombie

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 07:01 AM

I just tested this out right now....

I made a Sectoid Soldier unload his Heavy Plasma. I then took away the clip that was in the weapon, and also the alien grenade on his leg. That left the Sectoid with a Heavy Plasma (unloaded) in his hands and a clip on his leg. Now I waited until the Sectoid was back to alien status. What happened? When it was the aliens turn, he loaded the weapon and shot my soldier!

I also removed the grenade and the 2 clips from the alien leaving him with only a Heavy Plasma gun. What happened? Absolutely nothing. The Sectoid soldier just stood there looking silly.

For the final test, I let the Sectoid keep his unloaded Heavy Plasma, and a clip on his leg. Now I waited until the Sectoid was back under alien control. I had my soldier shoot the Sectoid and then check whether his gun was loaded on the ground. Result: Clip and gun were separate from each other.

Are you sure about this Bomb Bloke? According to my tests, you are wrong on every count. Or is the very act of mind controlling the Sectoid changing the results?  :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!

#45 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 02:22 AM

I'll detail where I got this info from...

I checked through NKF's notes that he posted for hatfarm concerning the obpos.dat file of a savegame. Then I wrote a program that scanned this file, and outputted every item, where it was, and what it was loaded into.

Had to mess around a bit to get it to work (the notes weren't exact  :P ), but eventually I got it to go.

All X-Com units carried a gun, a clip, and one clip loaded into said gun.

All aliens carried a gun, a grenade, and two clips - neither of which were loaded into their gun. Their Heavy Plasmas were empty.

Any alien corpses (ie dead aliens) had a corpse item, a gun, a grenade, a clip, and a clip loaded into said gun.

Which gives me the impression that the game only loads the alien's guns if it thinks someone is going to LOOK at said guns.

Now, given that aliens can shoot you on your first turn, the guns are unloaded at that point, and your tests, it would seem they can fire so long as they are carrying ammo (as opposed to so long as it is in a gun). I also doubt they would bother to remove the ammo from their guns if it happens to be in there.

Can units load their weapons during the enemie's turn?

Is my memory foggy, or do I remember something about dead aliens yeilding full clips regardless of how many shots they fired? Does the same hold true if they fire loaded guns?

Perhaps a time unit test is in order. It takes a while to load a gun. It may be possible, with a mind probe, and some fodder test subjects, to see if the alien loads it's weapon.
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#46 NKF

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 03:34 AM

Corpses with items in them... I think they're pointing to a copy of an earlier existing clip.

Aliens do indeed know how to load weapons during their turn. It's the same mechanism that allows them to load small launchers/blaster bombs (which are effectively 1-shot ammo clips).

- NKF
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#47 Zombie

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 05:18 AM

Bomb Bloke, on Nov 10 2004, 08:22 PM, said:

Which gives me the impression that the game only loads the alien's guns if it thinks someone is going to LOOK at said guns.
So wait a minute, you think the aliens' weapons are actually clip-free when you enter a game? How is the game going to know you are thinking of looking at the aliens inventory? That's like saying your automobile has no fuel, but when it senses you are going to look at the fuel gauge, it throws some in there to move the needle! Seems a little counter-intuitive to me!  :P

Maybe it looks for Psi-Amps on board your transport ship to determine whether to load an aliens weapon or not. Then again, what says you are actually going to equip your troops with the Psi-Amps? Who says that your troops will even use the Psi-Amps during combat? Hell, half the time I can't answer this, so how is the computer going to read my mind?  :(

I have used Mind Control techniques for a long time to combat the aliens. Every time I mind-controlled aliens on the first round of a mission, their weapons are loaded.

----------

Ok, your other question is: "Can units load their weapons during the enemie's turn?
"
Look at my previous post, I mentioned this right at the top:

Quote

Zombie Posted on Nov 10 2004, 01:01 AM
I made a Sectoid Soldier unload his Heavy Plasma. I then took away the clip that was in the weapon, and also the alien grenade on his leg. That left the Sectoid with a Heavy Plasma (unloaded) in his hands and a clip on his leg. Now I waited until the Sectoid was back to alien status. What happened? When it was the aliens turn, he loaded the weapon and shot my soldier!

Like NKF mentioned in his post, aliens will reload 1 shot weapons like the Blaster Launcher and Small Launcher. Anyhow, why would the aliens carry spare clips/bombs along with them if they couldn't reload the weapon with the extras? They are not just for show, or to add weight. They serve a purpose. If the aliens run out of ammo in their gun, they always carry more on their leg! You ever see the same alien shooting off Stun Bombs or Blaster Bombs? I always do. Aliens know how to reload a weapon, and more importantly, they will reload if they run out!  :(

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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 11 November 2004 - 06:01 AM

Yes, I know they can load guns. I didn't say during their turn, I during the enemies turn! THEIR enemies turn! That is, YOUR turn. I admit it was a weird way of phrasing it.

If they can't, then I tell you now, I'm sure those guys can fire without loading their weapons!

How does the game know you're going to look at their inventory? Well, if you take psychic control of a unit, for example, or kill it. The items then become available for examination.

Even though the programmers did not intend you to look at the inventory, you can see the ammo amount in an alien weapon.

Tonight I will perform some tests, and see what's what.

All I know is, if you start a game and save it, then the alien guns are unloaded. Either that, or alien weapon objects are not treated the same as X-Com weapon objects... Though I highely doubt that.

Was I correct about aliens always dropping full clips?
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#49 Zombie

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 07:59 AM

Bomb Bloke, on Nov 11 2004, 12:01 AM, said:

All I know is, if you start a game and save it, then the alien guns are unloaded. Either that, or alien weapon objects are not treated the same as X-Com weapon objects... Though I highely doubt that.
Yeah, that was a strange way of wording the question. But I understand you now Bomb Bloke.

What happens when you initially start a mission? X-COM's turn is ALWAYS first, followed by the aliens turn. If you save your game right away, it's X-COM's turn, so the game didn't really get to the aliens yet. Maybe, just maybe, the game initializes the aliens equipment after X-COM's turn ends. Therefore, all their equipment is pre-assigned, but not set up. Try this: save the game after the aliens first turn is over. Then check to see if their weapons are loaded. I'll wager to bet they are! :P

I'm still having a hard time believing that the aliens weapons are unloaded initially. See, they can reaction fire during X-COM's first round as normal. If you MC them you will also see a clip in the weapon. The clip always seems to be loaded in the aliens gun. Maybe the act of looking at the aliens inventory automatically invokes the alien to have his equipment initialized. Who knows.

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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 12 November 2004 - 01:21 AM

Ok, I ran some tests, and found out that it was just a problem with my code.  :P

As it turns out, alien equipment is initialized by the game as being in their inventories. X-Com equipment, if loaded into another item, starts off as being carried by NO ONE. That is to say, if you changed the info that said a clip was in a gun, the clip would magically appear on the ground back in the craft. (I think).

Due to the order of my IF...THEN statements, X-Com equipment displayed correctly, but alien equipment did not.

In other news, you may remember that mission info logging program I was talking about a while back? Given a week or two, it should be up and running. Catch is, it won't work with CE. Ah well.
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We love Tammy! :)

#51 NKF

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 04:02 AM

You know, I really should start programming again. It has been so long. The last thing I remember I tried to do was to teach myself windows programming (Win API).

Anyway: It might work with the CE and XComutil, as through some trickery with the executables, Xcomutil ends up running the game via a batch file again. Worth a look.

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

#52 Zombie

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 05:40 AM

So alien weapons are loaded at the start of a game, right? Makes sense because they can shoot in the first round, and when I MC'd an alien his weapon was loaded. Its interesting that the game considers X-COM clips as belonging to nobody when you modify the guns contents. Where would the clip go if it wouldn't be in the gun? Probably on the ground with the soldier standing on top of it. I doubt it would go in the extra-equipment-tile on a landing craft (unless the soldier is standing on this tile of course).

I would be interested to use that logging program if it would run under CE. I'd hate to go out and buy another copy of X-COM just to use it. As it is, I already have two versions! Like NKF said though: you might be able to make it work with CE. I'll keep my fingers crossed! :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!

#53 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 12:40 AM

If XComutil can do it, I suppose I just might be able to as well! I'll have to check it out!  :P

Speaking of which, I tried the email address on that site. It didn't work.

At the moment, my language of choice is Java. The only problem with that is folks need to install the VM to run my software, but it's worth while having that installed anyways, so it's no problem really.

Alien clips are located in alien inventories, and are loaded into their weapons.

X-Com clips (which are loaded into your guns, as opposed to unloaded clips) are located on the ground, in the pile where all the unused equipment ends up when you start the map.

Unloading the clip puts it in your inventory, so it doesn't really affect gameplay.
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#54 NKF

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 03:54 AM

Bomb Bloke, speaking of object coordinaets:

The odd thing about the equipment that you bring with you is that it all virtually exists on the equipment pile at the start.

Well, no, that's not quite the way to put it. The object coordinates default to the equipment pile. That sounds better.  Even when the objects are on your soldiers. (However, once you drop them and then pick them up again, I'm sure they'll remember the last coordinates they were at).

I guess, since the item is on the soldier, the game ignores the object coordinates until the item is dropped onto the ground or thrown, as until that point, it needn't bother with the x, y, z coordinates (it should, but thinking about it, updating each and every object coordinate per game frame would've probably slowed down the game a lot back on ye olde 80386 processors - hence why they're cutting a few corners).

Oddly enough, this explains why loading a grenade into a gun  causes an explosion on the equipment pile. That's because the game's using the coordinates as the origin of the explosion. As the game needs a coordinate to place the explosion, that's where it occurs. I suppose if the object were to be dropped and then reloaded into the gun, once the number of turns have met the detonator's condition, it'll go poof where it was last dropped. But that's just me randomly making a guess.

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

#55 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 04:54 AM

I noticed those observations in your notes, NKF.

I don't really see any reason for them to update the position of an item as a unit moves. I mean, sure it makes grenades go off in odd locations, but you can only cause that to happen by editing the game.

Or is there a more legit way to get grenades inside your weapons...?
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#56 NKF

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 05:30 AM

Well, no, except by data corruption, which we know is the source of all that is wrong and hilarious in X-Com. :P

- 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 15 November 2004 - 06:32 AM

Don't talk to me about data corruption. This game, whenever it saves, writes over the old files, so you get all sorts of annoying bits of data all over the place. Makes the things a trail to read.
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#58 NKF

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 06:45 AM

I'm wondering if that can be used to your advantage. I mean, create a dummy file with nothing but a certain value up to the same amount of bytes as the file you want to check, and let the game fill in the blanks, if you will.

This might help eliminate entries that aren't used. (Will have to check between the AI and player controlled units, as, for example, AI controlled units don't use the experience stats and in craft.dat, a number of fields used by your ships are used in different ways by UFOs).

That's just wishful thinking at work.  

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

#59 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 11:04 PM

One idea I came across for hunting through the unitref file was to take one soldier in soldier.dat and duplicate it so my entire garrison was the same. Haven't tried that yet.

Concerning XcomUtil:

When you install it, and run the setup, it takes the one executable used in CE, and generates two new ones out of it. Tactical.exe, and geoscape.exe. After that, it seem to ignores the original executable, and uses these two new files to play the game much in the same way the DOS version worked.

Which means I can log the CE version, so long as XcomUtil is installed.

Much to my annoyance, despite my chosing 'no' to every option it presented, it's gone and redrawn my avenger craft map (and maybe others, for all I know).
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#60 Zombie

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 11:27 PM

Bomb Bloke: In a previous post you mentioned that folks would need to install "VM" in order to run your logging program. My question is: what is "VM"? Where can I find it, etc. :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!




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