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Author Topic: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)  (Read 4439 times)

Offline Fomka

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Hello! I was inspired by tarkalak's Ironmanish X-Com Files Mod playthrough and decided to publish some notes and screenshots about my own play through that mod.

The main goal is to see how many years I will strand as the Commander of X-COM on the hardest setting. The nearest goal is to achieve Promotion III ingame as fast as I can. I want to see for myself how cults work after their boost in 2.3 version (2.3: Rise of The Cultists).

The settings and handicaps
I'm playing on Superman difficulty, in Ironman mode (no manual saves), with some handicaps. The mod version is 2.4.

Firstly, I will apply neither for Machine Guns License nor for Explosives License. I imagine that X-Com enemies in the Council would use the possession of such licenses as a strong foundation to achieve a closure of the project: "Look, this task force should be clandestine, but with that licenses it can stash explosives and will surely make too much noise in every corner of the globe"
Any machineguns and explosives acquired without license will be OK to use. We will distract any checking committee visiting our bases' stores with something.

Secondly, I want to nerf down awards for injuries: nullify bonuses awarded for being Battle-scared or Patient from all agents. It can be surely done via save fiddling. I will give more disadvantages for higher level of that medals, starting from the 3rd bronze pin level. Explanation? I just don't like the approach when someone was heavily injured, spent 20 days in clinic and then is able to run and shoot as usual (with even increased Health). Real fatal wounds are more serious than that.

Thirdly, I will use only the following Transformations: Bio-Enhancement, Combat Pilot and Martial Arts Training, Gun Kata, Eat the Cake. Do not like the idea of transhumanization (Install TNI) or zombiefication (Protean Revival), even for just cause.

The start
It is the 22nd of May 1997. I have 2 bases with 3 hangars each. There are 20 agents and 4 dogs, 5 scientists and 1 engineer. Church of Dagon Network is being researched. I'm ready to research two of four recruitments needed for Promotion II. See the attached savefile. The play will start later.

What do you think about all that? Does anyone know how to nerf bonuses from Patient commendation automatically?

Offline Vakrug

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Can you, please, tell us about your experience with this mod?
And what about Dagonization?
Nullifying bonuses from being injured by hand looks nightmarish.
Good luck.

Offline Fomka

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2022, 02:02:38 am »
Can you, please, tell us about your experience with this mod?
With pleasure. I never finished the mod, in spite of playing with it since version 1.2, started on March, 2020. The mod is just huge. The latest and the greatest attempt began on November 2020 on Veteran difficulty and is still fresh despite of mod upgrades from 1.6d to 2.4.

Its maximum progress is "all the globe is covered with Hyper-wave decoders at 8 bases, 10 Thunderstorms are nullifying all medium-sized UFOs, 160 agents clad in Assault suits and Cyber Armor can travel in 7 Skymarshalls and the first Firestorm has been constructed, the pinnacle of technology that would have been soon be obsolete through efforts of 100 scientists and 200 engineers". I have some alien commanders captured there and one Ethereal Leader too (this being just has reluctantly explained plasma micro-particle acceleration thingy).

I've also picked up a later game save published at the mod's forum and successfully completed Lunar colony main part, using a lot of Multi-Blaster Launchers (always wanted to obliterate something at a large scale since X-COM 1). So, in short, I'm experienced with X-Com Files, I presume.

Quote from: Vakrug
And what about Dagonization?
Will never utilize it, it is inhuman!

Quote from: Vakrug
Nullifying bonuses from being injured by hand looks nightmarish.
Good luck.
Thanks!


So, the playthrough begins
Good luck immediately shined upon my agents during the first and easy mission: X-COM van with top5 agents and two dogs against apprehension of four supporters of Dagon somewhere in Africa. I didn't cover one corner and a cultist on the 1st enemy's turn was able to step in and shoot Dylan Morris right into the back of his head with a shotgun from about 3-5 tiles. Luckily Dylan survived (thanks to kevlar vest on his chest and to the game mechanics that allows vests to protect heads) but was left with 14 hp and 7(!) fatal wounds.

"Evacuate!" was my first thought, but then some cultist-biting and agent-patching was done and small map size allowed to finish the mission positively.

This case turned out to be not so bad. The patcher Roman even got +10 Bravery (the headwound was a nightmare but he made it, he told us later). Dylan became a recognized Battle-scarred Patient for the first time (HP+1, Stun recovery+1 and 26 days in hospital) and he is very angry and personal against Dagonites now. Teammates call him BeanHead though, jokingly claiming that the cultist's shotgun was loaded with you know what.

Another one case of good luck happened immediately after that. The second mission has spawned right near another van that was send from China to patrol deserts of Australia. And it is what I'm attempting to resolve right now - a first Alien Party of this game.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2022, 02:27:27 am by Fomka »

Offline Vakrug

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2022, 06:12:08 pm »
"all the globe is covered with Hyper-wave decoders at 8 bases, 10 Thunderstorms are nullifying all medium-sized UFOs, 160 agents clad in Assault suits and Cyber Armor can travel in 7 Skymarshalls and the first Firestorm has been constructed, the pinnacle of technology that would have been soon be obsolete through efforts of 100 scientists and 200 engineers".
Yeah, this is when you declare yourself a winner and get slightly annoyed that game does not recognize that...

I forgot to ask, do you think that machine guns and explosives are overpowered and that is why you will not buy them? I heard earlier, that every problem in XCOM can be solved with sufficient amount of explosives, but I personally don't understand how. If you use C4 like a normal grenade often, then your agents will blow up also often, I think. Especially if you prime them in advance.

Offline Fomka

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2022, 10:23:19 pm »
I forgot to ask, do you think that machine guns and explosives are overpowered and that is why you will not buy them?

I feel that X-COM Files are balanced and have no ultimate weapons, taking into account game progress. I avoid the research of MGs and EXPs because of their high research cost. The wish is to finish the game sooner and therefore I forbid myself researches that can be omitted.

Aside from the research I use MGs and EXPs (taken from cultists) without hesitation. EXPs more than MGs, the latter are somewhat unconvincing (didn't try HMG, though).

C4 (High Explosive) friendly fire is somehow uncommon to me.

As for every problem in XCOM that can be solved with sufficient amount of explosives — it was the case for the original, but it doesn't work this way in X-COM Files. Even Blaster Launcher, the Thermo-Nuclear weapon of mass destruction on battlescape, can't take out some enemies out in one-two strikes. I talk about Sectopods and Ethereals.

Offline Fomka

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2022, 06:14:55 am »
The second mission has spawned right near another van that was send from China to patrol deserts of Australia. And it is what I'm attempting to resolve right now - a first Alien Party of this game.
The two bored agents and two dogs are happy to investigate that "small hunting party composed of aliens". Anything sounds better than "spend another tenday in a middle of some desert, camping in a van". The squad arrives at the destination during nighttime and waits till day – something tells the commander that it is better to approach anything alien with the Sun shining from above.

Three Aliens are in sight, one holds a grenade, another two hold some rifles. No negotiations! They look hostile and there are no witnesses in vicinity (aside from some invisible birds that are heard singing at this desert scene).

The distance is moderate (15-25 tiles), so the shotgun will be inefficient. All Aliens are from one side of the van. The tactics is chosen: shoot one of the riflealien with the rifle and the pistols and hide beside the van from the another, watch out for the grenadier (flashbang it if needed), use the dogs as a bait. Let's go!

Turn 1
Aimed shot from hunting rifle while standing with 82% - HIT! No reaction, the south RifleAlien bleeds.
Flashbang with 49% - The Grenadier is dazed!

The dazed Grenadier strikes back twice and kills both dogs with two indirect hits! :o
It seems that the creature is holding a multi-load grenade launcher, not a single grenade.

Turn 2
Tactics update: shoot the bleeder and hide, be ready to evacuate (if the van can move with its front right wheel torn out by one of the explosions).

Hunting rifle with 82% - HIT! The south Alien is down. :D
Flashbang with 49% from the maximum distance - The Grenadier is dazed again!
The north alien is not seen.

The dazed grenadier is not dazed enough and kills both agents with a well-placed grenade  :-[
Those grenades are so strong! Even another wheel was torn out.

Outcome
The case is not closed, the whole squad was eliminated, but the outcome of minus 80 points is better, than the penalty of minus 150 for that mission to be ignored.

Rest is peace, agent Miles Ortiz from USA, agent Annar Eyjolfsson from Iceland, London and Kesha. Scavengers will someday bring your bodies for honorary funeral (and maybe tow the rest of the van for recycling) out of that strange desert with singing birds and hunting Aliens (oh, maybe they hunt for the rare birds?).

Financial time
For the current time being the squad is replaced for $135000: two rookies, two dogs, weapons and equipment, but no van.

Greetings to another scandinavian – Yngvar Ingimarsson. And to presumably Spanish girl Carmen Suarez.

It is good that only nine days are left till the monthly income. The budget will barely allow only one such replacement – $145164 are left.

The game is going on
Another mission pops up on the 23rd of May...

Offline Fomka

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2022, 04:08:14 pm »

Speaking of my wish
to nerf down awards for injuries

and unclever way to do it by hand

Nullifying bonuses from being injured by hand looks nightmarish.

I've developed a simple submodification for X-Com Files:

Battle Scars That Hurt.

Offline Fomka

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2022, 05:34:28 pm »
Another mission pops up on the 23rd of May...
China base responds at that Strange Life Form.

Meanwhile at the midnight of 24th of May my team of 5 scientists have discovered the 1st cult network, the Church of Dagon Network, after some Disciple of Dagon's interrogation . Another three networks and I will be able to recruit the Military Envoy. With that Military Envoy Recruitment at hand I'll have only the Chief Researcher Recruitment locked. What will be the first to unlock for research: the recruitment of the Chief Researcher (need to research that Werecat shipped in with one of Land Surveys) or the Military Envoy's?

Hmm, but who is that 5 scientists? Ah, they are me plus that quartet of people that introduced themselves on my first day as the Commander: Quartermaster, Chief Accountant, Intelligence Officer, Chief Medical Officer.

Point all scientists to work on Chief Engineer Recruitment. This way I will have Workshop unlocked for research earlier which is useful - the facility takes long time to build, must start its construction early.

OK, the Strange Life Form begins. 4 agents (Inga Bang, Matias Heino, Jim Jun, Marie Mass) against some spikeboars at distance no less than 25 tiles. Two hunting rifles vs spikes. Humanity has an advantage!

Turn 1
Two attempts to hit the nearest spikeboar with aimed shots from the rifles: 92% = miss (damned vegetation), 91% = hit. The creature on its turn responds with an aimed shot, hit one of the agents but the latter's armor negates the spike.

Turns 2-6
Two riflemen vs three spikeboars; two more agents are scouting (maximum 15% to-hit with their Glocks, will not waste ammo). Keep the distance and go in pairs: in case of injury from spike uninjured agent will help.
Turn 2. Two hits from the rifles. No hits by the creatures.
Turn 3. One hit from the rifles. No hits by the creatures.
Turn 4. One hit from the rifles. No hits by the creatures.
Turn 5. One HIT from the rifles. No hits by the creatures.
Turn 6. One spikeboar dies of fatal wounds. Riflemen reloads. One spikeboar HITs Marie Maes twice, she now has only 8 hp out of 39 left and has 3 fatal torso wounds!

Turn 7
Tactics update: scouts to fall back and patch the injures. The two riflemen continue to perform aimed shots on a one spikeboar, the one near the fresh corpse amongst the creatures.
Riflemen: hit + HIT. The southern spikeboar bleeds.
Scouts: retreat to the van, 1 heal action with a first aid kit.
Spikeboars: the bleeder advances, another one goes back a little (flanking move?).

Turn 8
Riflemen: HIT to death, miss another target.
Scouts: 2 heals with a medipack, the wounded has 13 hp out of 39 now.
Spikeboar goes back and forth, slightly increasing the distance.

Turn 9
Riflemen see the target at the distance of ~30 tiles.
2 HITs from the rifles. The boar missed.

Turn 10
Let's hide and wait for the boar to bleed out! 2 HITs is a serious injury, it'll be quick.

Turn 30
Still hiding... Either it wasn't the last spikeboar and its death from bleed out doesn't mean end of this case or it was the last but regenerating creature. Either way the map must be explored.
The advancing team has found the third spikeboar's corpse. So there is another one live spikeboar somewhere!

Turn 34
Have found the last creature! Crawling near the corner which is opposite to the van's.
One Rifleman hits for 0 damage. The spikeboar misses and a another rifleman misses too with his reaction shot.

Turn 35
Two riflemen each spend their last bullet: HIT, hit!
The last standing boar bleeds but hits Jim Jun the Rifleman! He has 2 fatal wounds and 17 hp left (out of 40).
Retreat & heal, hide & wait!

Turn 40
Still hiding...

Turn 46
Bug hunt mode activates: the spikeboar is truly the last and is now visible on the minimap. No-no, the rifles are empty, so the team will not go searching. Waiting for bleedout.

Turn 51
The spikeboar collapses at last. The case is closed without losses and with the first living spikeboar to research!

Oops, there is no space for the creature inside the only animal cages facility that I have on another base. I can't order right away to free some space, have to sell the spikeboar for $36k and manage it all with manual save edit.

Financial Time
Sold one of two kept zombies for $18000 to free up space.
Have $198966. Must subtract $36000 (and end with for $162966) for miracleously adding spikeboar to Europe base's stores via save edit.

Must develop a habit to empty animal cages before going to resolve "strange creature" missions.

Offline Vakrug

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2022, 06:19:06 pm »
Turn 10
Let's hide and wait for the boar to bleed out! 2 HITs is a serious injury, it'll be quick.

Turn 30
I am sorry, but I am unsubscribing from this playthrough. This tactics is unacceptable. And if you are playing with handicaps, this waiting should be number one in the forbidden list.

Offline Fomka

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2022, 06:56:07 am »
I am sorry, but I am unsubscribing from this playthrough. This tactics is unacceptable. And if you are playing with handicaps, this waiting should be number one in the forbidden list.
As you wish. In my opinion the waiting is a valid option.

PS. In the first place it is not forbidden by three handicaps described in the first post. Secondly, the waiting is acceptable since I want to save agent lives and have no time restrictions (no aura, no civilians).

But can you please share your vision on tactics that are acceptable to you?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2022, 07:17:34 am by Fomka »

Offline Vakrug

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2022, 08:00:01 pm »
But can you please share your vision on tactics that are acceptable to you?
My main point is: do not abuse poor AI. In X-COM like games that means do not wait (too long) until AI will do something suicidal and unrealistic.

Offline tarkalak

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2022, 10:53:17 am »
Hello! I was inspired by tarkalak's Ironmanish X-Com Files Mod playthrough and decided to publish some notes and screenshots about my own play through that mod.

Hey, I am inspiring people. :D

I will read this one with interest.

My main point is: do not abuse poor AI. In X-COM like games that means do not wait (too long) until AI will do something suicidal and unrealistic.

One thing that I miss from the original game AI is the aliens who are simply staying in ambush instead of rushing out.

Offline Yankes

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2022, 12:18:37 pm »
btw if bleeding out enemies is too easy there is way to prevent it, you could add script that will have 10% chance to heal one wound per turn.
This mean one wound on average will do 10 damage, 2 wound will do 30 damage, 3 will do 60 damage etc..

This could even have interesting game play consequences, medkits become less critical but you will pay for it by lot longer hospital time after battle.
Not mention that will be small chance that bleed do not stop and unit will die :)

Offline tarkalak

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2022, 07:54:49 pm »
btw if bleeding out enemies is too easy there is way to prevent it, you could add script that will have 10% chance to heal one wound per turn.
This mean one wound on average will do 10 damage, 2 wound will do 30 damage, 3 will do 60 damage etc..

This could even have interesting game play consequences, medkits become less critical but you will pay for it by lot longer hospital time after battle.
Not mention that will be small chance that bleed do not stop and unit will die :)

Couldn't you make it run only on enemies?

They are the ones who have no access to medkits.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: X-Com Files Mod The Hardest by Fomka (Superman, Ironman, Handicaps)
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2022, 08:20:19 pm »
Better yet, can they get access to medkits? :D