Author Topic: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!  (Read 40502 times)

Offline Juku121

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1776
  • We're all mad here.
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #90 on: May 07, 2023, 10:26:13 am »
I had Osiron Hacienda mission. All the Osiron guys are snipers but none of them are spotters.
The Osiron head honchos are spotters. Guess it's more of a flavour thing, what with them being a criminal organisation and not an army.

Now, another topic that might be relevant to this thread. Any more general strategies on which base facilities are most essential and in which bases?
A lab at the main base because of all the crap that tends to accumulate there. A workshop at any strike base, so you can replenish ammo/other perishables without too much micro. Somewhere to put all the captures and loot.

This strategy seems  superior (by reducing the salary and other expenses as well as micromanagement) to trying to build independent strong agent teams in each base...
Sanity is supposed to combat this somewhat.

You'll also have a hard time reaching time-critical missions that way, like landed UFOs (most notably, doing all of them during a base construction mission) or terror sites. Faster transports alleviate this to a degree, but rarely there just too many missions to do with one craft.

...those don't even have intel/bio labs yet, but science lab is more cost-efficient...
Bio labs and intel centers (or an HQ) are requirements for certain types of research. You can of course specialise your research bases, but IMO lab space is at a premium so I want to build all of the labs anyway.

...how much manufacturing capacity will actually fit in the main base or should these be built elsewhere.
I usually have 1-2 workshops in the main base and several manufacturing bases. But I also make 100 of everything, or so. :-[

I suppose 2-3 workshops will cover reasonable manufcturing for a while, and one-two big workshops afterwards.

And another general question would be what facilities could be skipped in the main and other bases. I'm considering that, if necessary, the prison(s) and animal pens
...
skipped rat farm completely.
Yah, the rats are a gimmick. Bats are another, but IMO better version of this.

Having one main prison (+intel research facilities) and a single backup somewhere in case you don't notice the overflow seems reasonable. I have an entire base in Antarctica filled with alien containment tanks, though. Because I'm a secret alien-fighting organisation, and that's mandatory. :D

Offline psavola

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 698
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #91 on: May 14, 2023, 11:17:27 pm »
Getting back experiences with spotter/sniper and additionally on dealing with manors. In my VET/IM game, I just killed off four manors that I had postponed dealing with in Sep 98. These went without any human casualties and were easier than I had anticipated; I think they were the middle sized ones. In all the missions, I was only thrown an incendiary grenade once (and that may have been due to being lax with smoke).

I dealt with those on daylight. Deploy lots of smoke at least 10 squares each direction around the landing area. The key tactic is, for the first 5-10 turns or so, not shooting anyone  who is a spotter so that you don't get shot back or grenaded by all the snipers. Instead, use dogs and preferably scout drones to figure out where the enemies are and then each turn throw a lot of grenades (a worse alternative is an agent with a motion scanner). You can also use sniper rifles (about 70-90% hit score w/ BO sniper, auto-sniper or tactical sniper rifle even if the agent can't see the target) against those enemies which are not spotters.

After most snipers are flushed out and/or panicking for some time, you may need to go into a sweep mode or find a better location from where to scout the enemies.

Two black lotus manors were actually the easiest, because you can shoot the BL followers, warriors and assassins. You'll just have to spot the assassins with preferably drones (2-3). BL also have fewer grenades or grenade launchers. One mission was already over in 10 turns or so. Exalt and Dagon both took a bit longer because almost all troops are spotters and therefore you have to play it safe. (You can always shoot the maids.)

TLDR: cheese the mod by attacking the spotters with grenades, not with guns.

BTW. I was a bit disappointed that the manors did not have loot to any significant degree.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2023, 06:11:45 am by psavola »

Offline Enoch

  • Squaddie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #92 on: May 15, 2023, 02:27:26 am »
A couple of newbie questions, since this is my first real playthrough of both this mod and the original X-Com.

- Between Alien Bases and Alien Colonies, which ones are meant to be the toughest? How do they compare to Hybrid Embassies?
I'm currently in mid-2000, and I can fill a Skyranger with competent, 100+ accuracy agents with a few transformations each, outfitted with Cyber Armor, X-Com made laser rifles, alien laser cannons and the like. I have no psionics or similar tricks.
Would attempting to clear a Colony or a Base be appropriate at this stage? Or am I way off?

- I saw that version 2.9 was just released. This might be a very obvious question, but can I simply update OXCE and XCF and then copy my save files over to carry on my playthrough?

Offline Stone Lake

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #93 on: May 15, 2023, 05:52:06 am »
Yep, if you can quickly clear out the manor it pretty much goes like that. If not, reinforcements can rein or your parade. Also, hiding on first turn isn't always trivial.
Quote
BTW. I was a bit disappointed that the manors did not have loot to any significant degree.
Agreed.

Offline Solarius Scorch

  • Global Moderator
  • Commander
  • ***
  • Posts: 11577
  • WE MUST DISSENT
    • View Profile
    • Nocturmal Productions modding studio website
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #94 on: May 15, 2023, 10:36:36 am »
BTW. I was a bit disappointed that the manors did not have loot to any significant degree.

Manors are supposed to be painful, not profitable. Their emergence means that the player failed to stop them from popping up. To put it bluntly, if they were profitable, it would encourage the player to play badly.

Having said that, the XP is all yours. ;)

- Between Alien Bases and Alien Colonies, which ones are meant to be the toughest? How do they compare to Hybrid Embassies?

Colonies are bigger than standard bases.
Comparing to Hybrid Embassies is not easy, because they're completely different (other than they are both underground and have similar maps).

I'm currently in mid-2000, and I can fill a Skyranger with competent, 100+ accuracy agents with a few transformations each, outfitted with Cyber Armor, X-Com made laser rifles, alien laser cannons and the like. I have no psionics or similar tricks.
Would attempting to clear a Colony or a Base be appropriate at this stage? Or am I way off?

It's hard to say for sure, buit I think it's a good place to give it a try.

- I saw that version 2.9 was just released. This might be a very obvious question, but can I simply update OXCE and XCF and then copy my save files over to carry on my playthrough?

Yes, there would be no issues.

Offline Juku121

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1776
  • We're all mad here.
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #95 on: May 15, 2023, 11:10:14 pm »
- Between Alien Bases and Alien Colonies, which ones are meant to be the toughest? How do they compare to Hybrid Embassies?
I'd say Hybrids are somewhat easier, excepting those effin' turrets. But it depends on which alien race you're up against, as always.

Offline psavola

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 698
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #96 on: May 17, 2023, 07:36:54 pm »
I'd like to invite veterans to suggest a few general strategic tips on the following (early)mid-game topics (when the invasion is looming and soon to start).

There seem to be a number of tier-2 weapons, for example mass drivers, gauss, sonic, various kinds of laser, later plasma. It would be useful to hear thoughts on which ones are actually useful and which ones less so. There seem to be various tradeoffs -  for example,
- gauss looks promising but is so heavy that a normal agent can't really use it much
- most of the weapons require (at this point) rarish materials to manufacture them or the clips,
- even most lasers apparently now require batteries so they are not a free lunch either
- enhanced human-based kinetic weapons, especially the ones that include stat bonuses to power (e.g. snipers) may still be very viable.

As another point, in vanilla games, after getting PSI evaluation you would trash the agents which have low values. In some mods, transformations could be used for example, to proof the agents against PSI. There seem to be upcoming transformations which do some things. How much is alien PSI going to be an issue? Should low-PST agents be redirected to cannon fodder (and at least cease training them) or are there solutions looming? How much PST and PSK do you really need and which agents should you eventually transform to, for example, spartanism? In early-ish game agents already with less than 30 PST are not eligible for martial arts training, Will there be some other options to keep low-PST agents worth keeping and gaining more experience? The bottom line from early-midgame strategic point of view is: are low-PSI agents going to remain viable somehow  or should they be delegated to the most dangerous tasks to eventually get rid of them?

And finally, what are the key things you should have when the invasion begins (e.g. radars? interceptors, are the early missiles sufficient? etc.)

« Last Edit: May 17, 2023, 07:46:11 pm by psavola »

Offline Juku121

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1776
  • We're all mad here.
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #97 on: May 17, 2023, 09:33:33 pm »
There seem to be a number of tier-2 weapons, for example mass drivers, gauss, sonic, various kinds of laser, later plasma. It would be useful to hear thoughts on which ones are actually useful and which ones less so.
Mass drivers and gauss weapons have terrible ergonomics and no armour penetration beyond damage. Also heavy as hell. I don't really like them as they are. Less damage and more armour piercing would be better, IMO.

Lasers have pretty good ergonomics, work against more armours than firearms, and are quite accurate. Turbolasers also don't need ammo and have a good variety of different types. These are your immediate upgrade to guns, even if you have to loot ammo from the MiB.

Plasma is good as always. :) But nowhere near the end-all be-all weapon the Heavy Plasma was in the OG. There are quite a few cases when plasma is not the optimal choice.

Sonics can go underwater and the guns with special ammo are interesting. I wish sonic was its own damage type, especially since aquatic enemies tend to be resistant to concussive damage. The guns themselves suffer from the same ergonomics issues that plague the mass drivers.

Pulse guns with chem ammo are awesome.

As another point, in vanilla games, after getting PSI evaluation you would trash the agents which have low values.
Same thing here, but due to enormous enemy variety, poor PSI agents are more viable throughout the game. Whether you want to go through the micro of separating and deploying them as B or C teams... Moreover, commendations and the time spent qualifying for and getting transformations means replacing a PSI-weak veteran is not without its costs.

IMO, enemy psi is much less prevalent, but when it does hit it hits as hard as ever. So you need a psi-proofed team, but not necessarily a psi-proofed organisation.

... and which agents should you eventually transform to, for example, spartanism?
No clue, haven't played with those yet. Probably no hard and fast rule, as with other soldier type transformations. Although the stat boosts do look like you'd want every non-psion to become a Spartan. ???

The bottom line from early-midgame strategic point of view is: are low-PSI agents going to remain viable somehow  or should they be delegated to the most dangerous tasks to eventually get rid of them?
I'd say veterans should remain viable even against most late-game enemies. Whether they're competitive vs a well-built and screened agent, probably not.

And finally, what are the key things you should have when the invasion begins (e.g. radars? interceptors, are the early missiles sufficient? etc.)
IMO, the biggest thing you need is a fast and spacious transport. Skyraider at the minimum, ideally Kitsune. Radars and more bases to put them in (3-4 at least) second, global coverage is not all that reliable. Interceptors aren't going to be very useful against all but the smallest UFOs for a while. You need Thunderstorms to actually get some air game. Early interceptors are more of a cult containment measure.

Weapons and armour sufficient to take out higher-tier manors and cult HQs. Anti-alien performance won't really be critical for quite a while.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2023, 11:15:34 pm by Juku121 »

Offline Stone Lake

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #98 on: May 18, 2023, 03:54:52 pm »
Quote
There seem to be a number of tier-2 weapons, for example mass drivers, gauss, sonic, various kinds of laser, later plasma. It would be useful to hear thoughts on which ones are actually useful and which ones less so.
Mass drivers are poor-man (in black)'s gauss, lacking auto-fire and having less damage. They also weigh a little less. Yet, MD, gauss and lasers kinda all useful, all found relatively at the same time,  and I'm not sure one can't do other's jobs.

Still, lasers feel like universal cure so that's what I usually go with. They're lightweight, accurate, have decent damage, usually good against robots, and limited ammo is not really an issue if you ration it properly. Gauss cannon works wonders on crafts though.

Sonic weapons can be found earlier, around 98. No auto, meh accuracy, damage falloff with range, but GOOD damage, thus good in close combat. In particular, sonic shotgun is small (1x2 in size) and powerful - best breaching sidearm. Also, sonics are handy underwater.

Plasma is still plasma, but there are some endgame targets resistant to it, so it needs to be mixed with something like lasers.
TLDR, commonly you can get through the game with just common firearms and lasers, maybe sonics for underwater missions.
Quote
How much is alien PSI going to be an issue?
In my experience, none whatsoever. I had my dogs/rats controlled by sectoids, though. Also there is one or two late game missions with strong alien psionics. Can't say they need psi-proof team.

PStrength, PSkill, bravery, and current morale is used to defend against psi-attacks. So agents with low PStrength 30-60, but maxed PSkill (50) & Bravery (100 + commendations, 120-170) can reliably withstand 95% psi-attacks in the game even on superhuman. I deployed troops with less 30 PStrength veterans against Ethereals without issue, but not that many times, so can't really vouch for it.

But still, it makes sense to recruit rookies with 80+ PStrength. Offensive psionics should only be 80-100 PStrength hybrids. Humans psionics are usable, but meh even at 100 PST until late game (olympianism).
There is rare mission in the game that allows you to raise PStrength by 7.
Quote
which agents should you eventually transform to, for example, spartanism
Olympianism is for human psionics, and proteanism is for meaty assaults. Both not strictly necessary. Both mess with psi-def, boosting it a little in case of the latter.
Kyberos is currently standard transformation. It raises stat caps for firing, health, reactions, etc., by about 20.
Spartans seems to be in the works now. It offers 40 TUs to boot in addition to 20~ish bonuses around, and no PSI resistance issues. I guess it'll be new meta but we'll see, I'm not sure these bonuses are applied as-is.
Quote
And finally, what are the key things you should have when the invasion begins (e.g. radars? interceptors, are the early missiles sufficient? etc.)
1-2 large radars per base, and 4-6 bases is enough to detect most UFOs. Early, you can just tail UFOs with your transport until they land, like good old times. But there are some hunter-killer UFOs that pretend being docile... Ravens\Thunderstorms (with Heavy Stingrays) are first adult interceptors, and should be used in squads of 2-3. Migs\Interceptors can be ignored.

In battlescape, at minimum, dogs and smoke can beat most early aliens without much losses.
Tactical grenade launchers, lasers / blops snipers help clearing outside of UFOs.
Throwing axes are good to one-shot both soft and hard targets like hybrid drones or medium-armored MIBs. EMP grenades and mines are good to have against robots/heavy mibs/tanks/sectopods.

Armor is also not really necessary for beating early aliens, but raises comfort quite a bit. Plasma rifle one-shot kills of 70hp agents are unlikely even against personal armor (or trit vest if taken strictly upfront). Cyber armor is slightly better and offers decent overall protection. Power/flying suit is only trumped by Shock in plasma def. Assault/Stormtrooper trades some defence for mobility and kicking butts in melee. Also, assault moves very well underwater, and stormtrooper sees very well underwater. But you usually complete underwater before both...
Magma power armor is bad against plasma, but good against kinetic. Which is kinda sad, because it's earned through beating reptoids with kinetic...
« Last Edit: May 19, 2023, 08:19:39 am by Stone Lake »

Offline Enoch

  • Squaddie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #99 on: May 18, 2023, 09:36:56 pm »
Colonies are bigger than standard bases.
Comparing to Hybrid Embassies is not easy, because they're completely different (other than they are both underground and have similar maps).
It's hard to say for sure, buit I think it's a good place to give it a try.

I'd say Hybrids are somewhat easier, excepting those effin' turrets. But it depends on which alien race you're up against, as always.

Hey, thanks for your answers. I ended up trying an Alien Base, it went very well. I would agree that Hybrid bases are easier, although those chem weapons can be tricky to deal with. And yes, those turrets are unforgiving.

I have another question, I understand it's more OpenXcom related but I'm hoping you can help: when "sprinting" with your agents (as per the alternate movement method available in the advanced options), is it normal for them not to stop when spotting an enemy?
If not, it seems that when I press Ctrl (I use left Ctrl, it's more ergonomic for me), the game also registers it as Shift, making my units not stop when in line of fire of an enemy. Is there a keybinds file I can edit to change either of these bindings?

Offline Solarius Scorch

  • Global Moderator
  • Commander
  • ***
  • Posts: 11577
  • WE MUST DISSENT
    • View Profile
    • Nocturmal Productions modding studio website
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #100 on: May 18, 2023, 10:08:01 pm »
R-click stops your unit's movement. Just be quick.

Offline psavola

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 698
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #101 on: May 19, 2023, 10:36:32 am »
Mass drivers are poor-man (in black)'s gauss, lacking auto-fire and having less damage. They also weigh a little less. Yet, MD, gauss and lasers kinda all useful, all found relatively at the same time,  and I'm not sure one can't do other's jobs.

Still, lasers feel like universal cure so that's what I usually go with. They're lightweight, accurate, have decent damage, usually good against robots, and limited ammo is not really an issue if you ration it properly. Gauss cannon works wonders on crafts though.

Sonic weapons can be found earlier, around 98. No auto, meh accuracy, damage falloff with range, but GOOD damage, thus good in close combat. In particular, sonic shotgun is small (1x2 in size) and powerful - best breaching sidearm. Also, sonics are handy underwater.

Plasma is still plasma, but there are some endgame targets resistant to it, so it needs to be mixed with something like lasers.
TLDR, commonly you can get through the game with just common firearms and lasers, maybe sonics for underwater missions.In my experience, none whatsoever.

Thanks for this and other general tips. What you write about sonic shotgun is very interesting, especially now that I was just now offered a chance to either return the tech for 5M or develop it myself. I'd be tempted to take the money and put it into another good use, but I'm hesitant if it's also the best short range weapon [and can be worn as a sidearm to boot] - what would be the best alternatives if you decline the human-sonic path?

Early, you can just tail UFOs with your transport until they land, like good old times. But there are some hunter-killer UFOs that pretend being docile... Ravens\Thunderstorms (with Heavy Stingrays) are first adult interceptors, and should be used in squads of 2-3. Migs\Interceptors can be ignored.

Is the reason for using multiple interceptors at the same time to protect against hunter-killers (are some special missiles or weapons needed for this? *), to produce enough damage output (can you take down even smaller ones with just one) or something else? At least in the early game, both raven and thunderstorm incur about 1M monthly rent so I suppose you need to be careful how many you deploy until your economy has improved (as well as not having enough alloys to produce before taking down a couple of alien ships anyway).

*) For example, in TWoTS superhuman there is only one early-midgame weapon (out of a dozen) where the projectiles travel quick enough to kill a hunter-killer before it destroys you (and you need at least two of these at all times to stand a chance), and that one is almost useless otherwise. But in this mod at least thunderstorms are likely faster than the alien ships so the choice of weaponry might not necessarily be such an issue.

Offline Stone Lake

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: The OpenXcom Files: Tips and Tricks!
« Reply #102 on: May 19, 2023, 12:10:43 pm »
Quote
I'd be tempted to take the money and put it into another good use, but I'm hesitant if it's also the best short range weapon [and can be worn as a sidearm to boot] - what would be the best alternatives if you decline the human-sonic path?
Well, sonics require much research time so are not without tradeoffs. For underwater alternative, you'd have alien sonics. Sonic shotty needs alien sonics to be researched. For best short range weapon it has to compete with melee, so that's what I'd go for as land alternative. Also throwing axes - big, quick burst of damage at moderate distance. Although it consumes a lot of inventory space, and needs some stats to use.
If you're against enemy with paper-thin armor like sectoids, you can use smart shotty that is 1x2 in size, and double shot has good chance to one-double-shot them. But that's about all it's good for. Plasma scatter is also 1x2, but comes way later.

Quote
Is the reason for using multiple interceptors at the same time to protect against hunter-killers (are some special missiles or weapons needed for this? *), to produce enough damage output (can you take down even smaller ones with just one) or something else? At least in the early game, both raven and thunderstorm incur about 1M monthly rent so I suppose you need to be careful how many you deploy until your economy has improved (as well as not having enough alloys to produce before taking down a couple of alien ships anyway).
All of the above. You usually get to Ravens/Thunderstorms at 99. At 99, UFOs/hybrid embassies quickly disperse any money problems forever, due to loot selling for so much more.

It makes sense to convoy your transport with interceptors. It's not that uncommon to fly by undetected manor/embassy, guards of which will fry your transport. Also, alien hunter-killers can accidentally appear near your transport on the way, and goodbye.

Thunderstorms are fast and can stay out of range for most UFOs. Buyable missiles from them don't have much total damage yield. Maybe manufacturable missiles are better, but they require more logistics and clickety-clack. Ravens are a bit slower, and way more fragile, thus require better pilots. However, their cannons can produce a lot of damage yield, and require even less micromanagement. And gauss cannons are just deadly.

There are some people that skip Ravens altogether, and some skip Thunderstorms. Both are not very good against HKs in singles, but I haven't compared that in depth. I don't think there's special weapons against HKs, you roll with what you have. Also, past promo 3 you can get unique Starfighter, which is fairly good against most UFOs.

Some of the hunter-killers can only be reliably destroyed in packs of top interceptors. Having multiple available interceptors is a must for more global cover/reduce possible downtime if some of them gets destroyed, so why not also fight in packs? Also, packs grant more EXP for pilots if they're not capped, as each pilot that fired a shot in dogfight has a chance to earn ACC/REA/BRA. But again, you may need best pilots with 100+ REA against some particularly aggressive UFOs.