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Messages - Empiro

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The X-Com Files / Re: Turn 1/Game strategy for XCF
« on: December 01, 2023, 07:14:47 am »
With Position Markers, I wonder if it doesn't make sense to now throw one of those out on the first turn. It would give close enemies something else to shoot, and it could help you plan out your next turn (if it survives).

The X-Com Files / Re: Chump desperately needs help :P
« on: November 21, 2023, 02:11:45 am »
I'll just add one tidbit here. If you use smoke extensively *), it is often useful to have a scout drone with you, because it can see through smoke (with 50% thermal vision). The big benefit of this is that you don't need to get out from the cover of smoke and get spotted (and after that, grenaded or sniped by the snipers). So using smoke but leaving it and getting spotted may be rather risky. The worst case scenario here would be that the snipers throw grenades at your 'scout agent' that returned to the cover of the smoke, but the same grenades also would kill those agents that never left the smoke. Another alternative is using dogs and try to find the enemies within the smoke using their sniffing (sensor).

*) I say this because it may be easier to do without in most missions in the early game, by going for the cults at night and throwing out flares. That way you don't cripple your own vision (or need dogs or drones), yet can still see the enemies.

I prefer dogs for seeing through smoke because a) they can run and move a lot more squares per turn b) can bite enemies that get close and c) can easily get more of them (always a risk of an AI unit getting shot and then permanently destroyed by a grenade)

I like night missions a lot too, but one source of frustration is that it can be hard to tell if a square is illuminated or not, and a mistake there can be deadly. Is there any good ways (extra info keys, views, etc.) to tell if a square is lit up or not?

While all of these are important, I'd suggest also going for the Bio Lab as soon as possible (and Intelligence center, once it becomes viable later on). Being able to get 5 or 10 additional scientists (i.e. double or triple your research capacity) speeds up your research and all the others a LOT. Struggling by with 5 scientists for a long time slows your progress. While logistics is a big priority, I think trying to get Bio Lab faster makes more sense than, for example, obtaining better protection (that won't probably save you all the time anyway).

Intel labs usually come first in my games -- I haven't found too much of a need for better medical equipment early on, and you want to research all 4 cults quickly anyway.

The X-Com Files / Re: Chump desperately needs help :P
« on: November 20, 2023, 10:09:24 am »
Oh. Well, I've completely borked my playthrough xD.

Oh! I remembered more questions that I had...

With Smoke Grenades, where do I throw them, in relation to enemy forces?

Generally, throw them where your troops are, or between your troops and the enemy (closer to you). Avoid throwing at the enemy. The main reason is that smoke grenades essentially add squares to vision range. If it covers your soldiers, then you have really good control over who you can and can't see (by moving into or out of the smoke), and each square of smoke you move through means an enemy has to move through several squares. The general strategy is to deploy the smoke, walk out and spot an enemy, shoot them directly (if you can risk the reaction fire), or walk back and shoot them blindly (or with another soldier).

However, many animals and aliens have some sort of thermal vision and/or PSI vision. Those can partially or completely negate any benefits of smoke. If you have their combat stats, you can check for those abilities in the Info screen. Note that your own dogs also have thermal vision, so use this to your advantage!

Another important note is that if you hit any enemies on your turn (or their turn) with a shot (or direct hit from a grenade launcher), you're automatically "known" to the enemy until the end of their turn. Many enemies in this game can shoot you if they "know" about you, so smoke may be way less effective if you've hit anyone on your turn. Red Dawn has many enemies like this, so if you want to use smoke grenades, make sure you can either find hard cover or throw grenades instead.

Are handcuffs worth using?
Occasionally. Some enemies tend to recover stun damage much faster than normal. Some are just that important and I don't want to have to deal with them.

Did I build a 2nd base too early?

Rather than a time, I look at money. I usually try to build a second base when I have about 2 million dollars. That's about how much to get a new base up and running (Hanger + Stores + Quarters + Gym + construction cost). I also try to start saving for the Intelligence Center so that I can immediately increase my research capacity.

I almost obsessively that bad? Does kneeling provide any benefit other than accuracy?

It makes you slightly harder to hit too. In some cases (kneeling behind your car, for example), it can block line-of-sight.

As I've gotten better at the game, I definitely find myself kneeling a bit less. It's usually better to keep your mobility and move out of sight behind a solid wall, or into dense smoke. I'll kneel if there's not much else I can do, or if I need to make an important shot and have the TUs to spare. However, keep in mind that kneeling can mess up line-of-sight, so I try not to do that unless I'm sure that it won't mess things up.

Well, wrt the promotion II timing, I guess a question is "What's a typical/par-for-the-course" timeframe? I'm trying to gauge just how much I botched my playthrough  :o

I usually try to get that around September or October of 1997 if I can. However, there's a luck component that's out of your control -- you need to get a researchable Cool Alien Gadget (usually a Psi Clone) and the 2nd tier of cultists from all 4 cults. One recent game, I did not get a single EXALT Safehouse until December, even though I had researched EXALT either in Jan or Feb. In a different game, it took me a very long time to find a Psi Clone. The main advantage of having Promotion 2 early is that you can get access to Armored Vests, which makes a huge difference in casualty rates.

It's not too big of a deal if you get to it early 1998, because before then, it's hard to have enough money to build a lab and hire 25 scientists. You won't be at risk of falling behind in research as long as you make sure to save up money to get the lab as soon as its unlocked.

Sorry for all my chump/newb questions...

No problem. I like answering these, because often the discussion leads to me getting better too.

Start of game, I would say the most important research are: Logistics (Van), Kevlar Vests (basic protection for cult missions), and Promotion 1 (smoke grenades). After that, try to get Dogs (helps a ton with undercover missions which are money makers), followed by the Helicopter to get 6 Soldiers out on missions. Better weapons can usually wait a bit, since you'll likely loot plenty of rifles that you can immediately use. However, the Hunting Rifle is pretty darn good.

The X-Com Files / Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« on: November 17, 2023, 12:39:32 am »
The rule that you want to keep staff expenses about in-line with funding is a good one, but I can't imagine supporting so many bases by 1999. I would say that once you have some experience with the game and have a good general idea about the key research topics, you don't necessarily need a huge number of scientists. Much of the research is for weapons and gear you'll never bother using, or UFOPedia entries that are only for points.

The X-Com Files / Re: [submod]X-Com X-Files Resound Mod
« on: November 14, 2023, 11:35:53 pm »
I don't know if anyone is still maintaining the mod, but one bug I've noticed is that for the BlackOps Spy Pistol, most of the time, the sound is that of a silenced pistol, but once in a while, the sound is a super loud magnum or other large pistol. A minor issue, but it's surprisingly distracting.

The X-Com Files / Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« on: November 14, 2023, 09:09:20 pm »
One mod I'd recommend is the one that lowers enemy TUs on the first turn. A bit of a cheat, but it removes the frustration of having so many enemies essentially spawn camping you.

Other than that, if you have a tactic that works, then use it. There's no such thing as cheesy when the game is out to punish you at that difficulty. Really understanding how enemy AI works is also crucial (how they can spot you and use scout-sniper, when they throw grenades, how many TUs they tend to reserve, etc.).

Strategically, I agree that getting the best start is necessary to avoid falling behind. The early game is a combination of doing the right research to unlock the better (money-making) missions, ramping up research at the right time (too late and you're behind, too early and you can't afford the scientists), and getting the right equipment (mostly protection early on, then getting the BlackOps weapons).

In my latest playthrough, I think I've also identified a key strategy for the early-mid game:

- Try to unlock the Syndicate Missions early on. This is done through Red Dawn and Durathread Origins topics
- The early Syndicate Missions are reasonably easy (a modest number of guards with BlackOps weapons and Armored Vests, so bring grenades)
- What you really want is the Syndicate Warehouse. Don't advance past that part (I think Syndicate Experiments and similar research will move past it). Each Syndicate Warehouse (only a handful of guards) can get you a bunch of the Syndicate Crates. There are a number of nice guns you can get from that (Smart Rifle, etc.), but the gun you really want is the BlackOps Smartgun. If you have that, then you're basically set for half the game. I'm pretty sure you can get the gun without Promotion 3, but no matter what, you can easily source the ammo because it uses normal BlackOps Assault LMG ammo (which you just need the Machine Guns license for)

The X-Com Files / Re: Tone it down a bit?
« on: November 14, 2023, 08:32:10 pm »
I agree the tech tree is really complex, so make sure you're using the middle click to see what the research leads to and what requirements there are. Also use the research browser to see if the guys you're capturing have any more topics. A lot of the Dossiers are just backstory / points, but some of them do lead to unique missions or research options.

In the early game, you generally need only 1 guy of each tier to advance to the next stage.

I wouldn't tweak the mission spawn numbers however. It's fine to skip missions, but if you don't get the missions you need to spawn, it's very easy to get stuck in research.

One thing I don't understand is how/why you have 5 bases but you're still sending out vans. It sounds like you might not be doing the right research that unlocks faster/better transports.

The X-Com Files / Re: Promotion II
« on: November 09, 2023, 04:17:49 am »
Right, but it's okay in the case of bases and HQs because eliminating any one of the 4 unlocks the cult part of Promotion 3. Promotion 3 also has multiple paths for the other requirements, so that's typically not a problem either.

Promotion 2 is where the frustration can set in. It's such an important milestone because you're quite limited before and it opens up so many new options. However, you must obtain all 4 cult safehouses and find a researchable Cool Alien Gadget.

It's very easy to be left waiting on one of the 4 for months on end. Likewise, it's very possible that you don't get a psiclone from an Exalt safehouse, and you're stuck with a bunch of other gadgets that are technically on the list, but can't be researched until you get the promotion in the first place.

The X-Com Files / Promotion II
« on: October 27, 2023, 11:54:00 pm »
One thing I'd like to see improved is the progression to Promotion II. I think Promotion II is when X-Com Files really kicks off, but it's highly dependent on luck / randomness. In both my last 2 games, I basically stalled out before getting Promotion II, and almost ran out of things to research. It feels like the Cult Network and the Cool Alien gadget requirements are the most problematic requirements.

In my current game, I literally had 0 EXALT Safehouse missions until December, even though I got EXALT researched in January or February (lots of boring cult apprehension missions for EXALT though). I'm not sure what's the best way to fix this, but perhaps guaranteeing Safehouse missions after a certain month could help.

In a different game, I couldn't for the life of me fulfill Cool Alien Gadget until around the same time. I think Cool Alien Gadget is particularly kind of problematic. I get the intent -- you get something cool in your stores, and you want to hire a chief researcher to study all this cool stuff. However, the requirements for researching almost all of the items in the list either directly or indirectly depends on having the Lab, which requires having the researcher in the first place. 95% of the time you end up researching a PsiClone, which is closely related to the EXALT Safehouse requirement, and the item itself is hardly that cool.

I thought it's the case that in the latest OXCE versions, it's possible to check your base stores for specific items? Perhaps it's possible to check your base stores for a "cool item" (excluding PsiClones, as they're not that cool), and from that, generate an event that gives you the "Cool Alien Gadget" tech, kind of like how you have the character intros at the beginning of the game? The "hire researcher" task could be made more expensive to compensate for not having to research the item itself.

Yes, I saw that mod, but it looks like it hasn't been updated in quite a while. From the comments, if you try to use it now, it leads to very uneven escalation (where some of the events gets slowed, but not others). The save game editing is pretty straightforward, not too onerous (since you only need to do it for some months), and is much less likely to break things.

So one thing Meridian suggested is editing the saved game and changing the following variable:

monthsPassed: X

This variable gets changed and checked at the start of the month, I believe (when all missions and events get generated). So if you decrease this at the start of some months, you can slow down the escalation by as much or as little as you like.

The X-Com Files / Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« on: October 27, 2023, 10:04:48 pm »
you have to embrace the idea of acceptable losses; a certain number of agents are going to get shot every mission. you need to lean into training and augmentations to bring up the average quality of your units so that you can quickly slot in replacements when your away team takes casualties. it's okay to lose 6 agents a month if you can generate 10 more replacements in that time. ultimately almost every unit is replaceable, albeit some more difficult than others (ex. high base reactions/psi).

Without saving/reloading, it's probably not possible to suffer no deaths. There's just too much random chance involved -- things dynamite being thrown from outside visual range, grenade launchers, random shots from across the map (because you hit someone so they can "see" you) that strikes your side armor even if you're facing them, etc.

In X-Com Files, it's not too hard to max out reactions at least -- you can rack them up on easy strange creature and zombie missions. Keeping high PSI agents in the back is usually good enough to keep them alive.

One thing I would definitely like to see fixed though, is the implementation of the scout-sniper. I know it will require engine changes, but it's aggravating how hitting any enemy automatically makes you visible, and on Red Dawn missions causes you to get lit the f- up even if your sniper is half way across the map in the dark. To compensate, it would be nice if enemies were a bit smarter -- i.e. they would throw a flare in your direction if they got shot from the dark. I think overall it would increase the challenge without making things feel cheesy or unfair.

The X-Com Files / Re: Scoped Rifle usability
« on: October 27, 2023, 09:47:56 pm »
Right -- so that's why I suggested that the scoped hunting rifle could distinguish itself perhaps by having reduced penalties from no-sight.

From a gameplay balancing perspective, it would work well to justify using the rifle on occasion. From story perspective, the question would remain about why you couldn't add the scope to any of the other sniper rifles.

The X-Com Files / Re: Scoped Rifle usability
« on: October 27, 2023, 10:46:29 am »
For a manufactured weapon that requires advanced optics, I definitely agree that it seems out of place and weak.

There's really nothing advanced about putting a scope on a hunting rifle. Maybe it could have reduced penalties for no-sight due to the actual advanced optics on board. It would make it a nice gun for actual sniping when you don't have guys with 100+ accuracy for the ^2 rifles.

Released Mods / Re: [TFTD] [Expansion] TWoTS+ Release (v.2.58)
« on: October 06, 2023, 09:03:22 pm »
I was just playing this with I think the latest OXCE and TWoS, and when I killed Calcinites (first form), the Protoform seem to all spawn with full TUs, often times reaction-firing immediately after the shot that killed the original form. I was watching Yeti play from a few years ago, and I don't think Celatids did that. Is this new and intended behavior?

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