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Messages - zee_ra

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Released Mods / Re: [TFTD] [Expansion] TWoTS+ Release (v.2.50)
« on: August 28, 2022, 08:04:29 am »
two in a row

What constitutes bad economy?  Is this a negative balance, a negative total income (including sales), or a negative funding balance (that is, total funding minus total expenses)?

If you have ever played vanilla x-com you are probably aware that infiltrations can not be prevented - only delayed.

As far as I recall, it has been distinctly possible to prevent the infiltration from succeeding in the original game by managing to destroy the alien base in the country being infiltrated in a timely manner.

As it stands right now this is also the case in XCF, as infiltration mission are set up to be not interruptable (though it is quite easy to change this). This is compounded by the recent removal of alien embassy missions, meaning you can not get countries to rejoin the project.

I have seen that the alien embassies are getting constructed at the time the infiltration battleships arrive.  Even if the battleships are shot down, and the embassy is destroyed the same day, the infiltration appears to succeed.

Suggestions / Re: Pact Recovery through base destruction.
« on: August 28, 2022, 07:53:55 am »
There is also a different issue here.  What is the exact semantics involved in signing the pact in the first place?  Assuming that I have a total control over skies, how could I prevent that from happening?

Released Mods / Re: [WEAPON] Minigun 1.8b
« on: August 26, 2022, 03:08:19 am »
This is my very first project for Open X-Com: a simple weapon mod in the vein of Ryskeliini's works.

It adds a minigun, a human weapon that has a shocking 20 bullet autoshot. While this number may seem totally off the scale, the weapon isn't really overpowered, as the bullets are weak and rather inaccurate; plus the entire thing is heavy and cumbersome as hell. Still, it is fun to mow down trees with hail of ammo, so I hope at least some of you will like it. Also contains a big ammo pack.

Please allow me to inquire, how were you able to encode the ability to display the projectile firing animation quickly by a scatter laser?  So far, the items_XCOMFILES.rul only contains a definition for STR_SCATTER_LASER that looks too generic.  That is, it looks like a definition for an ordinary machine gun.

The X-Com Files / Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« on: August 25, 2022, 03:19:49 am »
The Tormentor can be repurposed to fit the profile. It's not as if there's a great amount of lore behind its placement in the tech tree. And since both the Firestorm and the Sentinel have gotten a fair amount of criticism, I'd rather have one of them take the role of 'ultimate UFO-based interceptor' and move Tormentor to a different spot.

Perhaps there'd be a need for a proto-Firestorm to take the latter's place in the research tree as the first and most primitive UFO-based craft.

UFOs and air combat in general could use a moderate redesign to make more use of OXCE capabilities, so it'd be more varied and more dangerous. Piratez has a lot more interesting stuff than what we've got here. Doubt anything of the sort is going to happen soon, though.

How are Piratez different?  What do you have in mind w.r.t. the redesign?  The combat is already not entirely trivial, with piloting skill playing a major role.

The X-Com Files / Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« on: August 25, 2022, 02:37:03 am »
Choke damage. Stuff like nooses and Knockout grenades. Maybe try drowning them in smoke, too. Not good, but at least gives you a fighting chance.

Never thought about using a noose on that creature; if you could play test, could you please post a result.

In general, the use of gas grenades allows to down them en-masse.  Of course, with laser miniguns and heavy sonic cannons they're as good as dead always.  But, early doom weapon against lobstermen, both wild and civilized (civilly enslaved to the Cthulhu aka Dagon himself), is the gas grenade.

Nobody really throws HE packs in real life. It's needlessly dangerous and we have weapons to do that for us.

Agreed.  However, such solution is a response to external limitations on the available ordnance.  Such tactics becomes indispensable on the early mansion missions, and the early downed ufo missions.

In-game, enemies used to throw dynamite at me from off-screen all the time. I put a stop to this, of course, but we're discussing the mod as it is, not as I'd make it.
A lot of tactical combat occurs in the sub-300 meter range. 100 meters is MOUT territory, or terrain so claustrophobic you really need to do something about it. Neither's where you want to fight if you have a choice. Russians learned that the hard way recently.

I think, 300 meters range has been a justification for the reduction of calibers in main rifles.  The 100 meter range has been a justification for the 12.7 mm munitions.

Even then, 30 meters is nothing on even 100-meter rifle ranges (which is not a general rule of combat, even urban combat).

I think, something in that ballpark is a part of a military physical training standard.  The grenades are deemed effective at such ranges, and such ranges are deemed relevant in actual combat.

The Whisper/Blackout/9x39 etc family are niche cartridges for niche weapons. Nobody issues these on a general basis. And even the one organisation that does/did (Russian special forces) had a lot of bad things to say about the AS VAL/Vintorez when they actually needed to do battle with it. It had more to do with the shoddy construction and sights, though.

Both SOCOM in US and various Russian SF had come up with their own 12.7 mm / 0.5 in cartridges in the last years.  The 9mm, in such retrospective, had been more of an interim experiment.

In any case, individual firearms are really not particularly important in modern heavy-duty combat. They're essentially military pacifiers, issued so that troops won't feel bad about being 'unarmed'. ;D Well, that and to bully civilians/irregulars.
Killing spotters makes them spot the killer. :(

I would disagree with the statement that the individual firearms are irrelevant.  However, it is the case that most of damage is done by much heavier ordnance and machinery.

I find that there's not enough room to place a smoke cloud between myself and the enemy on mansion maps. Being in the smoke is a lot less effective than having smoke farther out.

Being in the smoke on mansion missions protects the sodiers from the spotters from the upper floors.

Most of fire at that point should be coming from your mortars, rockets, and miniguns.  In case of very early assaults, it should come from your dynamite packages (once again, those are a makeshift solution) and grenades, at least until the main assault group makes it inside the mansion, and could use auto-fire efficiently.

The miniguns operating from a smoke cloud are remarkably effective.  The ones operating on the edge of a smoke cloud (with walking in-and-out tactics) are fantastically effective.

The smoke cloud in general should be pretty large to be efficient, maybe the full diameter of a single smoke grenade.

I'm not saying smoke is entirely useless, it still reduces vision and imposes aim penalties. But IMO the heavy lifting is done by mortars actually killing enemies. And panicking others in the process.
Sure, but if you're save-scumming (and I have nothing against that, I'm a pathological save-scummer myself), then it's the power of reloading that's mitigating the grenades, not any tactics on your part. I tend to get at least one 'bad' grenade per mission when there's more than one dude around chucking them.

The rest is true and spot-on.

I allow an enemy grenade to explode, if it leads to no casualties on my end.

The smoke buys a few turns to fire heavier ordnance.  Usually, it suffices to kill a couple of initial waves (which die as a genuine mortar fodder), and to eliminate most dangerous enemy positions before the rifles could start working on the rest.  The rifles could be used on aimed shots from inside smoke, and they could also be used by walking out of a smoke, shooting, and then either walking back inside the smoke, or exploding another smoke grenade to create more cover at the new position.

I did try a tactics when the half of a mansion is completely destroyed by the mortars.  Not bad, but bombarding the initial onslaught, and getting the assault team inside for close quarters encounter works just as well, and preserves more trophies.

Without smoke, the enemy in general is able to fire too many shots your way.  Note that the smoke also decreases enemy accuracy.

The X-Com Files / Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« on: August 25, 2022, 02:12:34 am »
AKA grenades are OP, as usual. :)
I haven't found this to be all that good since you're hitting the alien from the front and thus getting hit with all or most of the dodge penalty. Melee hit chances are already a roulette a lot of the time.

I play with CQB using TU, so that might colour my perception somewhat.

What is the setting value you're using for "CQB using TU"?  I assumed, the reaction is always TU based.

What you need to do is to have 4 soldiers guarding the door, since an alien could usually make a step out the door.

What weapons are you using against the alien?  I usually use either psi blades (acquired from the White Tower as trophies) or stun gear.  Those work pretty well.

In general, the alien trapped in a corridor, is unable to shoot accurately, and has a decent chance of missing on any of your troops, provided he even manages to fire a shot.  The suicidal grenades from aliens are a much greater danger.

The X-Com Files / Re: Sonic munitions disassembly for Zrbite.
« on: August 25, 2022, 02:07:11 am »
No worries, it's often a matter of eyeballing and correcting later.

As for "what testing", I mean sitting down and playing eventually. :P

I could do some play testing, when the changes are merged.

I actually have been having a difficulty with getting debian packages for Open X-Com.  Is there a way I could install the game in a standalone directory, without reliance on the third-party bundles?  Currently, I use a third-party bundle, which makes nighly version testing very challenging.

I also find the earlier uses of a laser to be very plausible, while much less relevant later, due to advent of gauss cannon.

Now, Elerium could be a power source for a laser.  However, it might also be powered by an isotope reactor of some sort.  It's plausible that such technology would be allowed for very limited uses globally, while not commonly used in other settings.  The laser could be a fusion laser, and in that case Elerium fits nicely into the scientific justification for how it could operate.  Each shot is a chemical capsule with fusion fuel.  The nuclear fusion reaction is initiated by the Elerium.  A small quantity of the latter should suffice.  Maybe, 15 units only per cannon?

Alternatively, the fusion reaction could be initiated by the chemical lasers, and some radio frequency devices.  The chemical lasers at the NIF are more than sufficient to create a fusion reaction.

So, it certainly makes sense to have a laser beam design that does not require alien materials.  Its power source may be both fissible nuclear fuel and nuclear fusion fuel.  I suppose, the only extra addition that such justification calls for is for a special purchasable ammo for the laser cannon, which should be maybe 10 times or more expensive than that for a gauss cannon, per single shot.  Or maybe not, and it could cost the same, since the isotope fuel in general is not so expensive, and the same applies to common fusion fuel.

The X-Com Files / Re: Minor changes
« on: August 25, 2022, 01:37:21 am »
Almost all missions in XCF have more than 3 4 levels... Usually 10.

There are a few exceptions, but that seems to be in general a fact.  There's certainly no combinatorial limitations on the capability of AI to plan its moves due to the increased volume.

Yes, I agree with your observations - if large, open maps were more common, it would be less of a "special agent" game, and more of a regular battle. A battle where pistols and shotguns have a marginal role, and artillery is the main source of DPS.

I am mostly trying to either keep maps only as big as required, or at least open.

In my experience, the style of battle is determined by the setting in which it occurs, and not the map size.  On open maps, e.g. the ones with free-standing buildings, even with a smaller land size, the rockets and artillery are an essential source of damage, certainly so until the advent of really heavy armours (juggernaut+).  The use of dynamite on early mansion missions is essentially a substitute for the mortars.  Otherwise, there's a risk of incurring casualties, at the common 1:6 manpower ratio in favour of enemy.  The usefulness of rockets is preserved in large indoor spaces, like bases or the white tower.  The shrapnel rockets are more than adequate for most such settings.  The Tt shrapnel rockets are a nice trophy upgrade.  The mortars are essential in pre-juggertaun storms of battleships and terror ships.

When a battle moves inside the buildings, the machineguns and machine pistols play a more important role.  I do find that a minigun works much better than even the BlackOps mag MP indoors.  Still, the swords and grenades are an easy substitute for firearms in such settings, especially the psi blades.  In fact, trophy White Tower ordnance is in general in sufficient quantity to supply the indoor assault teams.

What is really missing in the gameplay, is the access to early guided rockets.  I think, there should be an option to field an early HE guided rocket (requiring either tritanium or aqua plastics), an early guided gas rocket (requiring either tritanium or aqua plastics), and slightly later, guided sonic rocket (damage about 180, with zrbite and aqua plastic requirements).  I could write the config specs, but I'm not sure about producing the right graphics for those.  Also, unguided gas rocket would be a good development, with the advent of gas grenades.  Finally, a 200+ (say, 220 or 250, due to its larger size) damage guided blaster rocket would be nice to have, and it should be the only one to require elerium (just 1 unit, since it should be enough to initiate fusion reaction) (note that the alien versions could require more elerium to produce, due to the fact that aliens must have a much more ample supply of that substance, and could afford to sacrifice its quantity for compactness).  A stun rocket, from a stun bomb, would be nice to have.

I think that one glaring omission from the game is the longer-range plasma sniper rifle.

The X-Com Files / The use of mount points in the original game.
« on: August 25, 2022, 01:29:02 am »
As far as I recall, it had been possible to use any weapon in any mount point in vanilla.

I think that a better approach would be to in general allow to use as much weapon types in any given mount point as is reasonable.  In particular, some mount points may admit missiles, while others not.  In general, all mount points should admit beams and cannons.  Some mount points may admit only light missiles, but not the heavy ones.  However, all mount points that admin light missiles should also admit the heavy ones.

I think, such approach would be most consistent with both the spirit of the original, and also with the sanity and reasonble-ness considerations.


Then again, I don't exactly mind the idea of having an earlier laser weapon. I just don't really understand it yet.

The early laser weapons are somewhat redundant in terms of game experience.  In my play-through, I was able to supplement with trophy alien laser rifles and cannons when absolutely necessary (think fighting a sectopod or an MiB armored troopers), or desired (think using a laser rifle by a newbie, especially on a more challenging mission, like mansion or a hybrid embassy, or even cave alien bases).  In general, it is still possible to eschew the use of laser weapons until the advent of turbolasers, since an option to use BlackOps gear along with tritanium munitions, and the application of rocket launcher along with automated mortar, provide enough firepower to deal with all challenges that come at the time.  In general, it is not impossible to take on even an alien battleship with mortars, rockets, BlackOps miniguns and sniper rifles (all with Tt munitions).

On crafts, the laser weapons are useful, but they're more of an alternative to a tritanium cannon, until the gauss cannon becomes available.  With the advent of the gauss cannon, frankly, there's no need to have any other armament on a craft.  I experimented with making a Pike more powerful (by making a larger magazine and reducing a reload time on aggressive); a result was that despite that power, it's still more plausible to have dual gauss cannons with 1 accelerator on 4 Thundestrom crafts per base.  The 4 Thunderstorms with dual gauss plus accelerator plus top notch pilot are more than sufficient to down two battleships in a single sortie.  I actually did down four alien battleships at one point with such configuration, but I had to manage carefully which craft takes damage first in that situation.

All in all, the laser weaponry, until the turbo-lasers, really is much more of a very nice lore element than anything else.

The X-Com Files / Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« on: August 25, 2022, 12:28:15 am »
At least according to "canon" lore (i.e. ufopedia), Elerium generates gravity waves "and other forms of energy" when bombarded with "certain particles" (whatever those are), with a conversion efficiency of 99%.

Zrbite, in contrast, only generates energy - but it's energy density it 10x that of "a nuclear unit" (at least that's my take regarding "[...]will generate more power than a nuclear unit of 10 times the size").

Zrbite itself is not used as a propulsion source, it is simply used for energy generation, while Elerium - inside of the UFO power source - is used to actually propel a craft via gravity manipulation.

According to lore, USOs/ion beam accelrators do not manipulate gravity at all, they work by propelling water (or any fluid, probably, given that they seem to work just fine in air).

I am not entirely sure what the writers meant by "displacement" (does the engine "teleport" the water?), but to me this sounds more like some form of electrohydrodynamic drive (which would fit in with the "ion"-motive). Which, as you mind find, will not work all that well in space because space generally doesn't have all that much fluid in it to propel yourself with. And it probably would work worse in air than it would underwater.

Overall I don't think Zrbite has any actual advantages for air- or spacecraft, given that gravity manipulation means you can build reactionless drives and other funny stuff, something I'd argue is not at all what ion-beam accelerators do - they are based on far more "ordinary" principles if that can be said.

I think it would be a mistake to conflate Elerium and Zrbite and substitute one for the other in advanced craft, especially if they are - according to lore - space capable. Gravity manipulation (i.e. anti-gravity) would be hands down superior to any other form of propulsion, and Elerium is the only way to achieve that (outside of Ethereals and other PSI-shennanigans).

"Elerium" or element 115 has a somewhat rich history in regards to it's purported properties in "real world" ufology lore (gravity manipulation etc.) - not that the actual element 115 has any of those properties (it doesn't even have cool name). Is there any sci-fi/conspiracy/etc analog to Zrbite? The closest I can think of is "Orichalcum", which - at least in "Indiana Jones and Fate of Atlantis" - has been given high-energy properties. But that's Orichalcum, not "Zrbite".

Thank you for sharing this.

The essential distinction that I'm making between the types of crafts is that there are those that propel matter (hot gas, basically) to achieve motion, and there are those that utilize gravity manipulation effects to achieve propulsion.  The former ones (that propel matter) are along the lines of the subs, even flying subs in TFTD, which used ion-beam accelerators.  Cf. the article on the ion-beam accelerators at the  Note that their basic physical effect is the generation of water jets by displacing 100 their volume per second.  In principle, it is conceivable that the substance being displaced could be gas, and the ion-beam accelerators could be operating as the highly advanced jet engine, where gas needs not burn even.  The role of Zrbite in those units is specifically as a catalyst.

Considering the capability of Zrbite to also be a power source proper, it's not inconceivable to see it being a source of power for the unit that confers additional acceleration to the gas, after it had gone through the ion-beam accelerators.

There are good reasons why atmospheric air is a good component of a propulsion -- the jet engines are much more energy-efficient than rockets.

The crafts like AVENGER, LIGHTNING, and FIRESTORM operate on a different principle -- the manipulation of gravitic fields -- and need special properties of elerium for propulsion.

The Zrbite is a much more terrestrial element in that regard, and it uses the resources of the planet (water or air) to achieve the propulsion.

When thinking about the "displacement" in the description of the ion-beam accelerator, I'm thinking about its ability to confer acceleration to the matter.  Since it's an ion-beam, I assume that water is most likely turned into ionized gas.  (The colder version, of water being somehow "charged" becomes too much of a sci-fi stretch to me; but then again, why not consider that, if only for the sci-fi sake?).

Also, an good point of the tactics and strategy in this game is maximizing the use of terrestrial technology to match and even outmatch the alien technological edge.  The atmospheric flight is an innate feature of a terrestrial civilization, and when pushed to its limits, becomes competitive to the technology that the stellar civilization had brought with it, when played upon the terrestrial realm.  The terrestrial technologies have no to limited use in space (though, not really in the near space), and certainly in the stellar realm.  However, they excel particularly in their own realm.

Now, the Zrbite, being a much more terrestrial material, has one very distinct advantage.  It is accessible, in contrast to Elerium.  Zrbite has some justification in the realm of advanced fission concepts.  It is a much more near sci-fi, the 2096 perhaps, rather than the star-trek, and even post-star-trek era.  The Zrbite, therefore, is a viable fuel, being not cheap, but accessible, and by the time it becomes purchasable, certainly affordable (yet still not exactly cheap).

The Elerium is a stellar dream.  It is suitable for very few, very special crafts.  It could not be a mainstay of military, certainly not in the realm of propulsion.  It is the inaccessible dream, of which only shards could be had.  The Zrbite on the other hand, is a highly advanced material, a component of an advanced terrestrial industry.  It is a more chthonic and more real dream and an alien, oceanic, chthonic nightmare made to serve the x-com.

The Zrbite cannot compete with Elerium in the domain of maximum, ultimate performance.  Yet, it is certainly good enough, and could enable some very highly advanced designs and capabilities.  The Elerium is the stuff of olympic champions.  The Zrbite is the stuff of actual over-achievers.

Once again, the Zrbite enables not the long-range space crafts.  It enables excellent terrestrial (and perhaps even lunar, but that's a topic for another debate) fighter and interceptor designs.

Consider the following specs.  The most advanced terrestrial hybrid craft is TORMENTOR.
Code: [Select]
    category: STR_CRAFT
    space: 40
    time: 28000
    cost: 2500000
      STR_ELERIUM_115: 200
      STR_ZRBITE: 200
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7590
In principle, the requirements for Elerium are less tied to the lore of the craft than those of Zrbite.  However, I think it makes sense to add for the sake of good game setting, and they are also justifiable as being a part of some special and highly compact power sources.  Maybe Elerium serves as a source of radiation (high-energy gamma and neutron perhaps) to initiate the controlled fusion reaction in the fusion power cells, which are in turn used to power some stages of the jet acceleration process.  In fact, the Zrbite may itself be an element whose fission is initiated by some high-energy radiation.  I think, there are some notions of using 1-10 GeV neutron streams to initiate fission in a wider range of nuclear fuels, and enable advanced reactor designs.  So, the idea of combining unique properties of Elerium to generate high-energy particles to initiate the energy production in Zrbite, all in a very compact package, is actually pretty sound.

As a footnote.  Considering the use of Zrbite in sonic weapons.  We may assume, those uses are associated with a less efficient breakdown of Zrbite in such weapons.  The Elerium enables much higher energy efficiency.  Something along those lines.

The basic terrestrial jet engine (not yet the ion-beam accelerator) craft:
Code: [Select]
    category: STR_CRAFT
    space: 33
    time: 12000
    cost: 1700000
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7530

I left the design of Dropship as a more conservatively TFTD one, but then again, it might as well be modified to require Elerium too.  I wonder, if the Dropship should rely on a combination of aqua plastics and tritanium, just like the Tormentor is.  Perhaps not, given their different operational domain.
Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_DROPSHIP
    category: STR_CRAFT
    space: 45
    time: 7000
    cost: 1200000
      STR_ZRBITE: 200
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7610

The crafts that rely on gravitic field control are kept intact.
Code: [Select]
  - name: STR_AVENGER
    category: STR_CRAFT
    space: 45
    time: 34000
    cost: 4500000
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7700

Code: [Select]
    category: STR_CRAFT
    space: 34
    time: 18000
    cost: 1500000
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7650

Code: [Select]
    category: STR_CRAFT
    space: 30
    time: 14000
    cost: 1200000
    requiresBaseFunc: [WORKS]
    listOrder: 7680

I would appreciate the feedback on the use of Alien Electronics vs the Optronic Parts.  With the former (the alien electronics) being an irreplaceable resource, while with sectopod corpses providing a good supply of it, the situation looks rather interesting.

The UFO navigation blocks provide an ample supply of optronic parts.  So ample, that I increased the requirements for those in certain weapons from 1 and 2 to 8 and 20, and for hyperwave decoder to 40.

The X-Com Files / Re: Consideration for Zrbite use in crafts.
« on: August 24, 2022, 07:48:29 am »
Hmm, it's a complex problem. I'll think it over during my upcoming holidays.

The reasoning is as follows.  Both Zrbite and E-115 could serve as a fuel and a catalyst.  In case of turbo-laser rifles, we see the latter usage of E-115.  Now, for propulsion, we have crafts that rely on gravitational waves -- a property of E-115 -- and on acceleration of matter -- something that Zrbite enables in ion-beam accelerator devices.  I think, it stands to reason that the latter type of craft (the ones relying on matter acceleration, which covers all atmospheric airplanes, and near space starships) should be able to take advantage of ion-beam acceleration technology.  The E-115 might as well serve as a power system catalyst powering these systems, and would be an ultimate case of hybrid technology.

The E-115 could be a requirement for constructing advanced matter-acceleration vessel.  The Zrbite might also be considered (in addition to E-115, so that advanced craft would e.g. require both Zrbite and E-115 investment for its construction).  However, E-115 needs not be its fuel, just like it is not required for turbo-laser rifles.  The Zrbite usage as a fuel could be justified by its role in the ion-beam acceleration designs.  I think, it should be understood, that it needs to be consumed to enable ion-beam accelerators to operate at the peak levels, while it might suffice as a catalyst for ion-beam accelerator operations at lower levels.  There's a difference in the energy levels required to achieve a speed of 4000 and of 7500.

It makes sense to see E-115 being consumable for the generation of gravity fields, but not so much for its use in the generation energy, whence its special properties could be utilized as having it as a catalyst in the fusion and fission designs (just as an example, to explain its usage in larger power plants).

The X-Com Files / Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« on: August 24, 2022, 07:41:00 am »
The mansion comment was in response to So apparently you did find some use for them. Or changed your mind since. :)

I don't find many opportunities to actually snipe around mansions, the map is kinda cramped for that. Indirect-fire explosive ordnance is much better. And if the opposition includes lots of snipers, your smoke is quite a bit less useful than it used to be. Although 16 troops help mitigate all of this a lot. Still, Sorcerers or Enforcers blindly shooting/throwing grenades at your position is a lot of pain.

My opinion of vanilla-style grenades and explosives is that they are cheat mode. Try throwing a pack of C4 the same distance you're usually able to hit with a rifle (a few hundred meters, at least). :P

Grenades could be thrown 30 meters easily.  The explosive packs are much more difficult to handle, but in-game, they're severely range limited as well.  The explosive packs should in general be swapped for propelled ordnance when that becomes available -- rockets and mortars -- as mentioned in the discussion above.

A lot of tactical combat occurs below 100 meter range.  Hence, the development of subsonic munitions around caliber of 0.5 inches with heavy bullets and high stopping power on both sides of the Atlantic.

It usually takes about 8 smoke grenades to create a good smoke cover.  Also, on mansion missions, the initial barrage with HE / mortars is essential to clean out any close enemy spotters.  The enemy grenades are usually not very accurate and effective, and in the worst case the turn should really be replayed with a slightly different final disposition.

Smoke provides for an opportunity to fire explosives for a 3-4 turns.  In that time, you should be able to move your storm troopers inside the mansion through a broken wall.

Sniping is more pertinent on all other types of missions, including even the alien embassies and colonies.

A good combination of sniping and HE pack usage occurs at the time the Dagon Main Temple is stormed, if you choose to take on that cult first to gain promotion level 3.

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