Author Topic: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?  (Read 3894 times)

Offline tris85

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Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« on: November 14, 2023, 12:17:46 pm »
First of all I really need to say how much I love this mod! Such an awesome work - so much fun - so much appreciation! A friend and I are ... at least trying to ... play it on superhuman ironman. Sure, it is super hard - but that's what it's supposed to be. We do like competitions  ;) Played all of the old stuff again and again on highest difficulty without allowing ourselfes to save / reload. We started this mod some times again until we said: OK, now we've got it - and brought it quite far I guess. We're just allowing ourselfes to check new mission types for the "idea" (just take 2-3 turns, copy back, than we go "live").

But at our current state it feels like we're maybe too late in the tech-tree (what I can't believe) or the game concept just ... is a bit lagging.

First of all we're facing many UFOs we don't have ANY chance to intercept with our helis and one Arrow. We just wait for them to land, start the mission and almost every time immediatelly take of, since our poor weapons too have NO chance against thoes ... one eyed dudes (don't get their name right now). It feels a bit desperate ... but yeah, aliens are attacking the earth! We will get better weapons, it might be desperate in the beginning ... so ... cool for me. Just not having any chance to intercept them is a bit hard (meaning too hard  ::) )

Second problem are the Hybrid bases. Protected by UFOs we first need to trigger and flee. Still OK for me. But my main point of criticism is the base mission than. We are starting in the middle of many strongly armed soldiers. There is no chance AT ALL to even leave the starting point. Everywhere way too many opponents right next to us with full TU just waiting for a reaction shot. And even attacking them the next turn is suicide. We need our TUs for reaction shot. So the best is to just stay on the walls in the lading room, skipping turn by turn hoping every opponent gets killed by reaction not being able to shoot our soldiers. It actually works most of the time. But that really doesn't feel like gaming any more. Am I mistaken here? Are we maybe doing something completely wrong? If we were starting a bit offside we could capture rooms and have a nice fight with the Hybrids. But right now it just feels like a messy game design (so sorry for saying that!  :-X). And I really don't see any chance in leaving the room. Like ... totally no chance  :'(
« Last Edit: November 14, 2023, 12:20:18 pm by tris85 »

Offline krautbernd

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2023, 12:33:59 pm »
The mod is not balanced (if it is balanced at all) with SH in mind, much less if you don't know exactely how things work.

 If you run into a wall while playing it don't go blaming the wall. Default difficulty is set to veteran for a reason. Just accept that it's not going to work out and chose a lower one that's playable and enjoyable for you and your friend.

I really don't know where this "trend" of playing everything on the super highest difficulty comes from, let alone why people are surprised by games or mods actually being difficult if not impossible to beat if they choose set difficulty.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2023, 12:37:40 pm by krautbernd »

Offline Yankes

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2023, 12:38:48 pm »
"Beware, pain ahead!"

Ignore warning.

"Why I am in pain??"

:>

Offline psavola

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2023, 01:55:42 pm »
I've played with XCF with SH IM a number of times (close to the end game, though not bothered to complete it). It is doable, if you take the time to learn the right tactics and strategy (like how to ramp up your research and how to focus it, and what equipment is useful in the midst of hundreds of pieces of junk equipment). If you don't bother to learn the right tactics, the workings of spotter/sniper game mechanics, etc., it will be a disaster. It can be doable especially if you allow yourself cheating by restarting the mission.

Regarding hybrid bases, with SH (and even veteran I think) you should definitely not exit the base landing areas and go out to explore. Depending on terrain it is usually OK to drop out and shoot or throw out high-explosives, though. You'll not end the turn by leaving an agent downstairs. In difficult spots, you may need to rely on staying upstairs and relying on reaction shots / reaction barking for a few turns. So, for at least 10 turns or so, do that and you've killed off anyone that could come wandering nearby.

Hybrid bases are actually one of the easiest missions at least when you have decent equipment (at least BO auto-sniper/sniper) and some armors (Tritanium vest or better, possibly cyber armor at that point). There will be MUCH more difficult missions in the pipeline, for example, Syndicate HQ.

Based on the questions you ask I think you're going to have a very rough time going forward. Maybe after learning a bit more you should restart to get a better start.

Regarding intercepting. You don't need to do any intercepting before 1999. By that time you should have at least researched RAVEN and THUNDERSTORM, even if you haven't wanted to use the alloys to build one. If you don't, you're way behind the curve. It sounds like you're research is lagging badly. Remember, you'll need to have multiple bases with science labs, intel, and bio labs (35 researchers each) within a year or so, and improved labs on multiple bases before 1999. So, your goal should be at least 150-200 scientists within 18 or 24 months.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2023, 02:59:51 pm by psavola »

Offline Chuckebaby

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2023, 02:39:45 pm »
got any smoke ? Smoke it up. Playing Iron man I used smoke like it was going out of style.
A craft with some cover also helps for the hybrid keep missions. Those dudes are throw happy and 1/2 of them are using Black Ops weapons.

I admire your passion though. I don't think i'd ever attempt superhuman ironman for xcf unless I had a text editor open in another window  ;D

Offline tris85

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2023, 04:53:31 pm »
Don't get me wrong! I'm not blaming this mod to be too hard! I love too hard! In my opinion base fights just feel a bit ... misconceived.

Never the less ... yeah, we're probably a bit late in research. But still I guess as fast as we could be! We got 7 bases around the globe and with every monthly income our income increased so far. Never the less by the mid of '99 we're only researching with 80 scientists. Couldn't afford more until now. Money is really a hard limiting factor! But I like it! Feels pretty competitive. But yeah, no Raven / Thunderstorm in sight.

We sure needed to spend some money on soldiers. Could have had (even) less losses and more research. But all in all I guess we're not that far behind. Ok ... So bases ARE just reaction barking / shooting for 10 turns ... Thats how it is I guess.

Offline psavola

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2023, 05:15:57 pm »
Never the less by the mid of '99 we're only researching with 80 scientists. Couldn't afford more until now. Money is really a hard limiting factor! But I like it! Feels pretty competitive. But yeah, no Raven / Thunderstorm in sight.

I don't think there is ANY way to succeed with those resources. You will need to think what you could have done differently in order to be able to invest much more on scientists and also much earlier. As said, by mid-1999 you could have up to 350 scientists (with very little to research anymore, if you don't get to advanced labs), but at the very least you should have something like 200. Now you're lagging behind at least a year, maybe more, behind in the research and cannot progress. Because progressing also involves a significant number of interrogation, you're stumped because you don't have throughput for basic research, let alone interrogation.

In the beginning you need to focus on building up additional research capacity fast, so that you don't limp along with 5 or 10 scientists for a year or longer. For a large part of the first year, you can focus on expanding and saving to improve the first base (for example, the science lab once it is available), and gradually build more bases with science lab and/or other facilities.

There are also certain missions that you can keep on churning to get money. For example, you don't want to destroy the Tasoth Factory until you've sufficient funds. For example, Undersea City and Tasoth Factory both give you about 10M each in selling all the useless components they provide.

Offline Empiro

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #7 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)

Offline Stone Lake

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2023, 05:54:29 am »
I don't get it. You have dogs. They are not exactly the kind of unit you have to fawn over and keep them safe. I'd spearhead the assault with 8+ expendable dogs and then pick up from there with competent troops. Eat the hybrid, then cover the "hanging" dog with smoke. Move dogs through the smoke to keep visibility and reactions low. Dogs with pockets can have activated smoke inside (or explosive, if you're into FUN tactics). Overall, most aliens have surprisingly hard time countering plain dog rush.
If you choose to turtle, that's on you. But yeah, it is a really effective strat.

You're clearly lagging in tech, but not that much. If you had psi/tanks to bait the fire, the hybrid bases would be a breeze. Also with some luck you could have looted power suits from mibs/underwater captures.
I had ravens/thunderstorms up in the air around May 99 in my completed IM/SH run, so your campaign doesn't seem to be too far off.

Even with bad, promo II-ish tech 99% encounters are still winnable, even against sectopods. But you have to pick right tools for the job (and probably sacrifice some troops to win).
« Last Edit: November 15, 2023, 11:15:36 am by Stone Lake »

Offline tris85

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2023, 10:51:10 am »
350 scientists?! In the early game? Are you serious?!  :o One of the prior games was abandoned due to too heavy research: Nothing left to research and way too expensive salaries! We ran out of soldiers / equipement. So we decided to do a bit less research and have more soldiers training. Imho our balance right now is quite good (even if there could be a bit more research, yeah!). By the way: we got many alien technologies right now that can't be researched - whats their dependency? E.g. sonar pistols, plasma weapons etc..

But yeah, many dogs it is! Haven't seen the forest because of the trees! We're playing in a mode where we are counting losses and the one with more losses has to pay lunch the next day. So losses always were quite unacceptable. But we need to get maaaany negligible dogs (that don't count for our lunch  ;) ) clearing the first floor so our good troups can come down safely, spread smoke and so on. And the income of a base surely covers the dogs costs! Thank you so much for that great idea!

Offline psavola

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2023, 04:28:22 pm »
350 scientists?! In the early game? Are you serious?!  :o One of the prior games was abandoned due to too heavy research: Nothing left to research and way too expensive salaries! We ran out of soldiers / equipement. So we decided to do a bit less research and have more soldiers training. Imho our balance right now is quite good (even if there could be a bit more research, yeah!).

How you ramp up the research is a delicate balance. As a rule of thumb you should be able to cover the monthly salaries with your current council funding. Building facilities, purchasing equipment and enrolling workers may be something you will need to use other finances as well (except in the very early game, where - except for a few lucky streaks - council funding is net positive).

1999 is already midgame. By the end of 1998 you should have probably about 5-7 bases, with at least a science lab in each (25 researchers), possibly other labs (5-10 more researchers). So let's say this is totalling about 120-180. Sometime in the early 1999, you will hopefully have enough tritanium to start building improved labs, to get deeper research opportunities and further researchers.

Quote
By the way: we got many alien technologies right now that can't be researched - whats their dependency? E.g. sonar pistols, plasma weapons etc..

Use the tech-tree viewer or xcf.trigramreactor.net. There is very little chance to succeed unless you do your research, pun intended.

You should sell off all the plasma equipment you get until about mid-1999. This will give dozens of millions of money, and all of it is less thans useless to you until the advanced labs are in the pipeline (and by that time, you have obtained much more of them in any case). There are also a lot of other alien components you could sell off if you're short on cash. This is a hint of one of the sources fo your financial problems.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2023, 06:45:03 am by psavola »

Offline Empiro

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #11 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.

Offline psavola

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2023, 07:05:37 am »
The thing about research, especially interrogation, is that there are a LOT of regular getOneFree and protected topics. It makes sense to research all of those by interrogating the enemies where research is the cheapest, so that you don't waste the more valuable and more expensive enemies to these topics (and instead get more valuable information out of them). (You cannot rely on getting enough Secret Files, etc. to get these easily.) Compared to vanilla, how you progress in the research tree also depends a lot on RNG on which subsequent topics opens up.

For specific example, before going down the MIB path, you should clear all the protected and other available topics first (because MIBs are very expensive compared to the the others in the same timeframe). And before starting interrogating alien leaders, engineers and navigators, you've hopefully learned all the topics you can get from the hybrids, because you want every topic you get from leaders, engineers and navigators to progress the tech tree so that you can get access to better techs earlier. (Hybrids are also much cheaper than the MIBs.)

But it is certainly true are a huge number of research topics (non-interrogation) that don't progress the game, open further opportunities and are rather useless. You can and should definitely deprioritize these anyway (after playing once or twice, you learn them). But based on my experience, there is still a LOT that you must go through, and combined with all the enemy interrogation you need to do, I can't see how you could keep up even with, say, 100 scientists by the end of 1998. Or at the least you're handicapping yourself by not progressing as quickly as you could if you had made different choices on how much you put into research.

In contrast, in my current SH IM game, I had something like 250-300 in 1999 and over 400 scientists by the end of 1999. That was certainly a bit of overkill, because in the second half of the year, I only had a couple of topics left and I had already exhausted all the junk as well. But at that point I had nothing else to do with the money in any case, so why not. At least every new thing that pops up (in this case the topics opened up after advanced labs such as plasmas) were straightforward and did not need to compete with other dozens of more important research topics (for example, a space-capable transport).
« Last Edit: November 17, 2023, 07:17:59 am by psavola »

Offline tris85

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2023, 02:18:55 pm »
Sorry but I can't imagine how this should work in an SU IM game. 300 scientists cost 13.500.000$ per month! No chance you earn this in SU in the beginning of 1999. And that's just the scientists cost! You need bases, planes, agents, engineers ... I'm not quite sure if this works without playing a totally perfect game (by saving / loading).

And sure you could sell equipement etc. pp. (what I surely does; I just keep one of every plasma etc. for future research) but you cannot make around 20 Mios / month in an SU game at the end of 1998. Or at least ... it's just beyond my imagination  ;D

Offline psavola

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Re: Ok so ... How is superhuman to be played?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2023, 03:46:44 pm »
In my SH IM current game, in January 2000 the council income is 58M and maintenance 37M. I just reloaded my previous SH IM game (which I didn't bother to continue beyond that point), in June 1999 the council income was 27M and maintenance 26M. In another veteran IM game in December 1999, income was 45M and maintenance 30M.

I guess I could try to look up some earlier saves (that I posted here, to report some bugs etc.) but I don't think it's worth it. I'd say earning 15-20M a month in the beginning of 1999 should not be all that difficult. So it's more a matter of how you spend the money.

By the end of 1998, you don't even need more than, say, 50-80 engineers, because there aren't all that many things you really need to manufacture that would take a lot of time. You can play the whole game with just one workshop. Agents are not all that expensive, and you should not need hundreds of them. If they get killed in every mission, you are doing something wrong. Playing 'good' ironman is characterized by adopting playstyles where you don't get killed all the time, rather than tanking all the losses that come at you.