Member Since 24 Jun 2009
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In Topic: Strange things in TFTD

Today, 06:47 AM

View PostNilex, on 29 September 2020 - 05:04 AM, said:

In my just completed colony mission, command module spawned just south of the magic line, completely vacant. Attached save shows my boys closing in from the north but killing that one last Lobbie in the far west ends the mission.
I'm currently doing another abandoned TFTD playthrough but in my old one - 3rd T'leth stage, south section was too completely devoid of alien life. Went hand in hand with forbidden save feature (wtf lol, didn't expect that).

* * *

On another note, doing all this UFO/TFTD things lately somehow sparked desire to try out OCX with FMP/X-Files/Piratez mods. Not only have I avoided practically all kinds of community mods in all games my whole life, but instead of getting saturated and bored of classic XCOM gameplay (doing only that for last 2.5 months), I find myself somehow wanting even more...
But not before wrapping up yet another abandoned playthrough, Apocalypse this time, played and quit all the way back in 1998. I see m9m is pretty active on that forum too. Too bad I only got a couple of alien buildings left to clear so I won't get to use all the juicy info.
So, uh, what is the save file you've attached? Posted Image

In Topic: Strange things in TFTD

23 September 2020 - 08:15 AM

View PostSpace Voyager, on 23 September 2020 - 05:43 AM, said:

? I wasn't aware of this feature... What is it?
I mentioned it further up. Aliens in phase 2 of colonies always seem to spawn in the North, apart from the commanders (who have dedicated spawn points in the command module). I believe it's a result of there being too many spawn points for the engine to correctly roll among all of them - those maps are FAR more complicated than anything from UFO*.

They can move southward as the mission progresses, but generally you're going to find most of them in the North.

(I think this is also why there's the long stretch of nothing in T'leth L2/L3, as the usually-abandoned section is in the South. It's not nearly as striking as the colonies, though, probably because the map isn't 3D.)

*Remember, the Gollops made UFO's engine and all the data was designed around it; TFTD was made by a MicroProse team in a year, and they didn't understand the (shared) engine anywhere near as deeply. This is why they made rookie mistakes like changing the UFOpaedia-displayed values for craft-weapon fire rates without changing the real ones, or removing the limit on how many Engineers you can put on a project without twigging to the fact that the limit was there to mask an underlying engine limit on manufacturing rate. And then there are the various ways TFTD expands on UFO, whether that be more aliens, bigger maps, aliens with carried melee weapons or two-part missions, which often run into hidden engine limits (the obvious stuff they noticed and could kludge, but a lot of the subtler stuff got missed).

In Topic: Strange things in TFTD

23 September 2020 - 03:11 AM

View PostNilex, on 22 September 2020 - 10:42 PM, said:

#7 Unconcious Tasoth in equip screen
Attachment Unconcious Tasoth in equip screen.jpg
Pretty weird when I first saw it, didn't know what to expect when starting the mission. Happened only two times in just over 200 missions. Body was nowhere to be found after I started the mission (regular downed USO type). Dunno what to make of it. Directed by Ridley Scott perhaps?

My guess based on your mention of a downed Alien Sub is that an IBA explosion knocked out the Tasoth and one of your utilities mistakenly gave it to you on the equip screen. Not sure what else could have done it.


#9 Alien Base in the Arctic (many miles from nearest sea, the real reason ice is melting)
Attachment Alien Base in the Arctic.jpg

Yeah, the algorithms aren't very good at keeping things in the water. Alien Subs touching down on land are much worse, since if you attempt to recover them the game crashes.

In Topic: Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

22 September 2020 - 04:58 AM

View PostNilex, on 21 September 2020 - 05:45 PM, said:

I just got two observations. In countless landing attempts against my bases it only ever took 4 PWT hits to destroy any USO (always Dreadnought?) sometimes only 3 hits. Setup is 2 PWTs + Bombardment Shield. With 80% hit rate and easy re-loads it's essentially air tight and successful deterrent, if one let's it come to that of course. I normally obliterate everything except USOs that look like they may land on seabed, for Zrbite. In previous tests though when I rushed through whole months, many attacks came but at the worst the 4th PWT hit always resulted in USO destruction. Is maybe TFTDextender responsible for increased efficiency? It's weird seeing UFOpeadia too being so adamant, talking about a dozen PWTs being air tight.


Well ok, perhaps save-scumming is not considered kosher.

There's your answer. Posted Image

The other half of the equation is that Base Defences are pretty trivial if you plan for them (particularly in UFO, though somewhat less so in TFTD), and they're lucrative both in points and loot while defence facilities get you nothing if they succeed, so going to all the trouble of reloading and the tedium of the "base defences activated" screen every couple of days feels a bit unnecessary.


The other one is more general, about Superhuman. With increased enemy spawns and large units spawning last, don't that further decrease chances of seeing large units on battlefield? Despite them having increased spawns.

Yes. The time I saw Reapers fail to appear entirely was on Superhuman. On lower difficulties it's much less of an issue.

On re-inspection the ships have less large-unit spawns than I thought they did (3 upper/1 lower for cargo ship, 2 upper/7 lower for cruise ship), so in the cargo ship there's a decent chance of Triscenes failing to show due to lack of spawn points (and I saw a case of it when testing this, in fact).

EDIT: I looked at 5 Ports and 5 Islands and got 6-9 large spawns - the island seems to have them guaranteed via the giant Moai/bunker module that's always in the south. So those don't seem like they'd get quenched easily. Basically, my guess of which would have bigger issues with large units was 100% wrong. Sorry.


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

Superhuman isn't actually that much harder than Veteran, and there are other differences than "more aliens" (the aliens have higher stats*, interception's a bit trickier, and the score cutoff for a "bad" month is -300 instead of -700).

*The most important increases are to TU, Firing Accuracy, and MC. Tentaculats go from 114 TU to 146, Lobbies go from 60 accuracy to 87, and the defence stat to be safe from Tasoth mind control at 10 tile range goes from 61 to 75.

In Topic: Reliably arranging Calcinite and Triscene encounters (for research purposes)

21 September 2020 - 06:23 AM

View PostNilex, on 14 September 2020 - 04:33 PM, said:

After Escort leaves or is shoot down another will arrive in a few days,

Technically, the second one is a Cruiser, not an Escort.

By the way, the Escort and Cruiser will land (though the first Battleship won't), so if you want to inspect their crews (to confirm race) you can just assault them while they're touched down and avoid delaying the mission.


Calcinites can also appear on Shipping lanes starting from April with 15% chance per ship (20%*75%) with the added hassle of inspecting the Ship to verify Tasoth+Aquatoid (Mixed Crew) presence and then hoping to find a Calcinite in the depths of the megastructure. Compared with Port/Island 100% chance, once both are set up. Inherit chance of appropriate mission appearing is excluded from global chance because setting then up via re-loads is trivial (advancing couple of hours).

Not quite. Mixed Crew may have a Calcinite, certainly, but there's also the 10% probability of it simply being Aquatoids (who will always have Calcinites). So it's 10% + 20%*75% = 25% per ship site investigated.


Last place where they are found are Base Defense missions. Those must be triggered by attacking USOs with Aquatoid crew hoping to provoke (14% each on Veteran difficulty) "Floating Base Attack", aliens actually finding your base, and then keeping your base sufficiently free of Facility defenses so the attacking USO can land without being destroyed. Process seems too RNG and is sooner likely to happen during normal gameplay rather than trying to set it up (with the constant downside of having your Base exposed, without Facility defense and forcing full completion of every unwanted attack or losing the Base unless you can ward off a Dreadnought with spare undamaged Barracudas). Only mentioning it because it's possible but highly suggest you ignore this approach.

The chance is 4% on Beginner, 8% on Experienced, 12% on Veteran, 20% on Genius, 28% on Superhuman.

I forgot about The Ultimate Threat. Yes, the second topic in the sequence leading to T'leth. Once you research that, the aliens schedule an extra Floating Base Attack every month (2:30 AM on the 1st, like the Escort for Port/Island). I'm not 100% sure of the racial breakdown, but I know it picks from Aquatoid/Gill Man/Lobster Man/Tasoth (i.e. NOT Mixed, so it won't get you Triscenes but can get you Calcinites).

If you're doing an Iron-Man run (no reloading), making Base Defences more likely via these mechanisms is your only real chance to improve the odds (besides the obvious "don't shoot down the Port/Island Attack Battleship"), which is why I mention them. But yes, if you're save-scumming it's pretty trivial to get the correct terror sites and there's no need to go this route.

As an aside... if aliens find your base, subs and defence facilities won't help you very much. The mission logic is rather odd; once the aliens have found your base, they will keep sending Dreadnoughts every few days until one gets through and you get a Base Defence mission, after which they stop. The Dreadnoughts come in at full speed and outrange all your craft, so you're quickly going to run out of undamaged advanced craft to fend them off, and if your defence facilities are less than completely airtight (by which I mean at least 8 shots of P.W.T., and preferably 10) they'll get through eventually. Defensive strategy against Floating Base Attacks is mostly a matter of shooting down the scouts, using M.C. Generators, and/or designing your base for easy missions when the aliens do come calling.


Triscene (with Mixed Crew)
Port/Island follow same due process as with Calcinite, but starting from Jul-Sep (20%, 30% onward), when first Mixed Crew USO start appearing. With at least radar coverage being a reality now, reload to get Escort on 2:30 AM 1st day of month. Shoot it down to verify Tasoth presence. Transmission Resolver can save you the bother of inspection by confirming "Mixed Crew" right away. Let four USO chain run to completion and in the resulting Terror site a couple of Triscenes will form a welcoming committee just for you. One to take home alive the other dead, completing research with just one mission. Bring explosives and Thermal Shoks with you because they are incredibly tough to take down! You were warned.

You'd need to go after the Cruiser, not the Escort, to fully confirm Mixed (Mixed Escort and Tasoth Escort have identical crew loadouts, but the Mixed Cruiser will have 1 Aquatoid). Of course, you could go after the Escort, reload if there's no Tasoths, then check the Cruiser to confirm that it's Mixed rather than Tasoths.


Last are Base Defense missions, provoked by shooting down a Mixed Crew USO (only appear as 4-sub long chain culminating with Post/Island terror). However considering low initial chance, having low to no Facility defenses, and other I mentioned earlier... then comparing with benefits of just letting the USO chain run its course, it's a no-brainer to avoid even considering this.

The particular clincher here is that if you spot a Mixed sub, you've already succeeded - there's (almost certainly) going to be Triscenes at the Port/Island Attack. The reason I mention it for Aquatoids - at least if you're not save-scumming - is that you might see Aquatoids doing e.g. Interdiction or Colony Expansion, which won't give you a Calcinite on its own (no land missions) but does give you an opportunity to provoke them into attacking your base.