Wish List (TFTD)

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Suggestions for fixes or improvements that would be nice to have for X-COM: Terror From The Deep (TFTD). Since TFTD shares its game engine with X-COM: Enemy Unknown (EU), there are many problems that are common to both games. Please make any shared/common wishes under the EU Wish List (link at the bottom of this page).


Fixes

Geoscape

  • Research Tree bugs
  • The really annoying "Cannot intercept over land" message that pops up continually (more than once a second) during some pursuits along coastlines.
  • Coelacanth\Gauss reload issues. Tifi 16:31, 16 December 2009 (EST)
  • The interception routes seem really broken in TFTD, usually taking a longer path than I can do by manually creating waypoints. (This might exist in EU, too, but not be as noticeable because of the geography.)
    • Use Great Circle Routes
Travel toward the target on the shortest Great Circle, rather than always travelling along lines of latitude first (like they are some kind of main bus route!).
  • Use Predictive Interception
For a moving target, don't head towards where it is now, head towards where it's going to be when you get there.
  • Show Degree Headings
The game only ever reports alien headings as North, South, East, West, but clearly alien craft move in other directions than just these four, and clearly XCOM detection equipment is capable of resolving these finer-grained headings, since the crafts' tracks are shown correctly in the Geoscope. As a first step towards predictive interceptions, it would be great to display the alien craft's heading in degrees, eg 135 degrees for South-East. Maybe rounded to the nearest 5 or 10 degrees.
  • Interception Craft vs Touched Down Alien Craft
If an alien craft is touched down and an XCOM interception craft (not touched down) is at the same X/Y position, if the alien craft begins to move, immediately open the Interception window at minimum range (8km/nm), presumably with the alien attempting to get away / break off. Currently the Interception window only happens if the XCom craft is faster, which is dumb, even if the alien craft could accelerate instantly to its maximum speed. For TFTD, only open the window if the alien craft is touched down at a depth that the XCOM craft can reach.
  • Retaliate for Colony Assault.
See this discussion Talk:Alien_Retaliation#Retaliation_Triggers. Colony raids are a good way for the alien to lose badly, so it would be a good balancing move to create severe consequences for raiding. It is at least as sensible as retaliation for USO Assaults.

Battlescape

  • Underwater-only weapons reaction-firing on land
  • Bio-Drone melee attack has no effect. This is a serious flaw in the Bio-Drone, as it always uses this attack when Aquanauts are adjacent.
  • Bugs with MC at the end of one stage of a multi-stage mission. (Does this also affect EU, e.g. the 2-stage Cydonia mission?)
  • Permit aliens to use carried melee weapons. (This is a game engine bug that applies to EU as well, but is moot since EU aliens don't have carried melee weapons.) This fix could inadvertently make the game easier, as aliens would use Sonic Pulsers (their default option since they can't use melee weapons) less often. So it is essential to ensure the AI chooses sensibly between drills and Pulsers.
  • Make ship terror missions less annoying, especially the passenger ship. Aliens hide in labyrinthine structures and every single spot needs to be revisited if a single alien is left out, otherwise the mission is failed. Often over 100 turns are needed to win, as aquanauts quickly run out of energy and finding the last cowardly tasoth is a pain.
The Extender allows the player to limit these missions to the first stage.
    • The above also applies to other missions, namely the 2nd stages of alien colony assaults and artifact sites, but both can, fortunately, be won without killing all the aliens.
The Extender allows you to reduce the size of the stage of the alien base.
Specific suggestion as to how to do this please? For example, reveal last 1-2 alien positions after XX turns, or (EU style), force all aliens to go on the offensive after XX turns (probably not as this is too easy). Spike
Easiest method would be to edit the map modules ("lock" some doors) and route node tables to remove the hidey holes. Heck, just messing with the nodes might be enough to do it - for example, at least one actually allows for large units to spawn in a tiny cabin where they can't move at all. Assuming you find it, you've then got to deal with reaction fire from a critter that will always have maximum TUs on your turn... Stupid Xarquids... Bomb Bloke
In my view, the problems lies in the fact that the last terrified alien simply picks a hiding spot and remains there until you find it. Aliens should be more active, more aggressive. It's not a matter of game balance or difficulty, but playability. mingos
Good point, there are at least 2 cases: aliens with failed morale, and aliens stuck in the map. For aliens with failed morale, the game should just end with them as prisoners (if they have no built in weapons and no chance of regaining morale). But for aliens stuck in the map by walls or waypoints or whatever, as Bomb Bloke said above, more measures are called for. Spike 20:42, 12 December 2009 (EST)
I'm not sure it has anything to do with morale. After a few turns they'd've recovered from any "frights" they had (assuming they didn't drop their guns, but seeing as it's often Tentaculats which go "missing" I doubt that has much affect on matters). I think the route nodes just send them on one way trips into certain out-of-the-way areas. The aggression stat (unitref(44 / 2C)) might actually be the way to go - the theory is that pumping this higher makes a creature more likely to leave cover and attack your agents head on. By default most aliens already have it "maxed out", but for all I know the value can be cranked higher then the observed cap of 2. - Bomb Bloke 00:59, 13 December 2009 (EST)
Same happens to me with other races too. Bio Drones and Tasoths seem to do the same quite often. While Tasoths are probably shaken up and disarmed, entaculats and Bio Drones have their weapons inbuilt, plus, they rarely panic. Not long ago I saw a Bio Drone fire from cover each turn, then hide again, and after I started looking for it, it simply picked a hiding spot and stayed there for ~20 turns until I found it and zapped it. The funny thing was that it was the beginning of the mission and there were only 2 or 3 aliens killed so far. mingos
OK the aggression stat sounds a good option for all this hidey behaviour. A 100 turns to finish a game is incredibly frustrating. In EU, you could Seb76's UFO Extender to make the remaining aliens visible. With TFTD, you have the option of using the xcomutil dis command to get the coordinates of the remaining aliens. There might also be an xcomutil command to make all units visible. And if all else fails you can use the xcomutil win command to kill the last aliens off. Spike 09:31, 13 December 2009 (EST)
  • Only use the minimum strength needed to throw an object to its destination Aquanaut strength overflow often prevents highly skilled soldiers from throwing items, as they become strong enough to arc an object above the highest battlescape level (and 'out of bounds') thus generating a 'Cannot Throw Here' message. Tifi 16:29, 16 December 2009 (EST)
I think there might be 2 issues here involved: first one is the fact that when the stats overcome their limit they are reset to 0 by the game; second is that due to height limits the game will not allow for objects to be thrown at some distances because the throwing arc would go over the height limit. Hobbes 12:01, 17 December 2009 (EST)
  • Synchronized attacks. Like the waypoint setting for launchers, several aquanauts could target different enemies, and all of them would shoot at the same time. It would not be possible to follow all the trajectories on screen simultaneously, so it should probably focus on one target at a time, or show each shot individually. This would give beginners a chance against e.g. Bio-Drone.
  • All Units Can "Fly" In Water. It's very illogical that most units are stuck on the seabed in underwater missions. Please provide the option to set all units (X-Com and alien) to have "flying" (i.e. swimming) ability when underwater. This is unlikely to cause an outbreak of 3D combat, since there is no cover except at seabed level, so anyone swimming excessively or incautiously is going to get shot. It might disadvantage the aliens if their tactical map waypoints are all set on the surface. But as some of them can "fly", there is hopefully a mechanism to deal with that in the code already. For me it will just solve the frustration of being unable to swim over small obstacles or swim up a level, and being stuck or tactically limited for no sensible reason. Mag-Ion Armour remains useful as an important step in Sub Research and (if using the Everything Works on Land mod) for land use. Spike 11:36, 9 September 2012 (EDT). This requires setting UNITREF.DAT byte 0x78 bit 2 for the unit (e.g. for all units on both sides). Or the in-memory equivalent of UNITREF.DAT. Spike 10:19, 5 October 2012 (EDT)
  • Aliens Pick Up Weapons. Related to Improved Alien AI. This makes the game tougher as stunned / panicked bipedal-type aliens are no longer permanently disarmed. This now seems to be possible due to research by Volutar. See Talk:OBDATA.DAT#Field_0x2D. A fix for this would be a very helpful rebalancing of both games that eliminates one of the aliens' weak spots. The existing (but unused) routine looks pretty smart and not immediately exploitable to ambush aliens using weapons as traps.
I noticed the UFO Extender source code has a 'get' keyword under the OBDATA.DAT directive that populates this field 0x2D. Is that working? Spike 21:03, 16 October 2012 (EDT)
It should be. I haven't tested it out but it should work like any other OBDATA change, in theory. As long as the code in the AI routine handles this byte, it should work. I believe someone mentioned under the Geoscape.exe page that the AI routine ignores any value under 5.-Tycho 00:58, 25 October 2012 (EDT)
  • Allow use of Melee Attacks and Psi/MC Ability on Mind Controlled Creatures. Hook the right and left weapon menus on mind controlled aliens to add in actions for their built in melee attacks (if they have them) and built in Psi/MC attacks (if they have Psi/MC Skill). Ideally add these actions
  • Fun, not Funky, Fire. An alternative option for incendiaries/phosphorous damage processing: Do process the so called 'impact' damage of an incendiary on every shot, not just at the end of the turn. But only apply it to those in the area of affect of this specific shell burst, not to all units who are standing in smoke or fire anywhere on the map. This will please fans of incendiaries/phosphorous. It's probably a balancing, rather than unbalancing, change in the relative strengths of the ammo types. Makes incendiaries/phosphorous useful for more than just illumination or desperation. Gives some use to the research topics that advise use of incendiaries/phosphorous, and the damage modifiers aliens have been assigned.

New Features

  • Airborne Interception - what's the point of flying subs without air to-air weapons anyway?(Avalanches anyone?) Surely it's better to 'splash' the USO before it makes it to the safety of water?
  • Alternatively, get rid of the pretense that subs can fly. How does sonar track a USO over land, anyway?
Both sonar and radar use the same principle (radio or sound waves being emitted and reflected back to a receiver) so it isn't unconceivable to have equipment that can use both detection methods. Hobbes 22:35, 12 December 2009 (EST)
Hmm. Steam engines and internal combustion engines are pretty similar too but you rarely see both on the same vehicle! The sensors in TFTD are called sonars, not sonar/radar combinations. I would be quite happy if the names were just changed from Sonar to Sonar/Radar or to Sensor, that would be fine. It is possible to use something very similar to passive sonar to track bearings to aircraft, similar things were used in WWII before the development of radar. Without triangulation, it would be very difficult to get the actual range to the target, and almost impossible to get the target's heading and speed. It is very normal for modern subs and surface ships to have both sonar and radar, but they are totally separate systems aboard the vessel, with different capabilities. I would be fine if the name was changed to Sensor or Sonar/Radar, and the UFOPaedia description changed to say that it used both technologies. Mainly I just object to the flying subs not being able to intercept over land. You can see why though, since it would pose the question of why there were no land USO recovery missions. But you could just take the same approach as EU. Just as UFOs disintegrate if shot down over water, USOs could disintegrate if shot down over land. Or even better, the land/sea game below, allowing land recovery vs USOs and underwater recovery vs UFOs. Spike 09:22, 13 December 2009 (EST)
UFOs didn't disintegrate in water - it was just the Elerium (and presumably the crew!). After the aliens were beaten, X-COM's new job essentially boiled down to finding those drowned ships and scavenging whatever was left. - Bomb Bloke 21:09, 13 December 2009 (EST)
Game-wise, they did disintegrate. The whole story about SORESO and elerium recovery was made up later in order to give a meaning to the subsequent games. mingos
  • Bind equipment set to Aquanaut, so not to pick it every single time.
This can be done using XcomUtil or TFTDextender.
  • Add mortar (acting both on land and underwater).
A mortar would be very advantageous to X-Com, since a lot of the tactical difficulty in the map is aliens hiding behind obstacles to direct fire. This is what grenades and Pulsers are for of course. An indirect fire weapon seems kind of 'realistic' but I'm not sure helping X-Com kill aliens is good for the game balance. Spike 09:22, 13 December 2009 (EST)
  • Add Ion weapons (They have Ion Beam Accelerators, right?). So why not make them smaller, more compact, and fire faster (if not weaker) shots?
From the description of Gauss weapons, they sound similar to an Ion weapon of some kind. But yes in general maybe the discovery of IBAs could help the humans develop some weapon and not just armour/mobility technology. But then, the aliens don't seem to have a weapon based on Ions. Though some of the creatures (BioDrone, Xarquid) do have particle-type weapons. Maybe X-COM could design a new weapon based on these principles. Does the game really need new weapons though? Spike 09:22, 13 December 2009 (EST)
  • Allow aquanauts to see through the view ports of their subs (at least the Triton has several black openings which I presume to be view ports). Don't know if this is possible, engine-wise, but would be highly useful as you would be able to take in your surroundings without having to expose your troops to enemy fire by opening the door. --Safe-Keeper 12:02, 30 May 2010 (EDT)
Possibly this can already be done using XcomUtil, check it out. Spike 13:59, 6 June 2010 (EDT)
  • 3D water movement: allow Aquanauts in any armour type (including "none") to move up or down in water. Almost as if they were suspended in some kind of buoyant fluid... This would probably also need to be applied to SWS units and to all aliens. The flags exist in the game files. One question would be whether alien AI would properly take advantage of the vertical movement. If not, it could be unbalancing. Unarmoured Aquanauts would still probably want to keep low to avoid being easy targets. But at least the option would exist. Mag-Ion Armour would then need some compensating factor, such as an increased movement rate under water. Or it could just be left as is, a slightly more powerful type of armour that opens up Sub Construction.
  • Combined land/sea game, with subs and aircraft, USOs and UFOs, Aquanauts and Soldiers, land and sea bases. Now that would be cool!
    • A slightly less dramatic change: on any land mission, automatically swap Dart Guns, Jet Harpoons, HydroJet Cannons and Torpedo Launchers for (respectively) Pistols, Rifles, AutoCannon and Rocket Launchers "from stores" (including their ammo of course). Purchase price of the weapons would be doubled (or just add the cost of the XCOM-EU equivalent) to reflect this versatility.
Essentially the game would switch icons and elements of OBJECT.DAT for a land mission. Could also switch Grenade types perhaps? But it's best to keep some underwater weapons (eg Gas Cannon), especially for land missions where there is some water present. Conceivably, in recognition of the progress made by X-COM, and the increasing threat, the authorities might even make available some of the scarce (?) stocks of laser weapons, to exchange for Gauss weapons during land missions. (But this is not really necessary, as Gauss weapons are quite adequate on land.) Working plasma weapons of course have long since vanished due to lack of Elerium. (Although by the same argument, 1st Alien War-era Personal Armour should be issued to any unarmoured troops on land missions. Maybe it takes 200% damage from Sonic weapons.)
  • Variant on this - allow 1st Alien War equipment to be purchased or leased by X-COM, for a quite high price, to be used on land missions only. Mainly laser weapons and armour. Spike 09:22, 13 December 2009 (EST)
The direction that this suggestion is heading seems to point to merge the systems of both games. One idea to do so could be that both types of modules (Sonar and Radar) could be built at X-COM bases. Each of them would only detect USOs/UFOs either underwater or airborne. That would represent a strain on X-COM resources since the player would have to choose which ones to build at each base. Just having one type of system at a base would limit detection and tracking, which would also add another challenge.
Concerning Subs intercepting USOs over land another interesting change could be that the subs' armaments could also be of limited use while on air, just like the ground battles. Torpedo weapons would be impossible to use on the air (Ajax, DUP and PWT) which would limit the weapons to Gas and Gauss Cannons. Based on the criteria of the ground weapons the Sonic Oscillator could also be used but I'd drop the power of it to 50 so that the TFTD Battleships (equivalent to Terror Ships) could have also a change to strike back at X-COM craft. Another possibility would be prevent the Oscillator from being used on air (the logic would that the sound waves dissipate as the range goes higher) which would present another challenge to the player since he/she would have to make choices concerning how to equip the subs, since it would only be possible to hit airborne USOs with Gas and Gauss Cannons. Hobbes 13:09, 13 December 2009 (EST)
I like these ideas. I wonder if we should split off a different section or page on combined land/sea EU/TFTD? It would make an awesome game. If a game company was working on a remake of X-COM, it would be great to make an EU/TFTD hybrid from the start. It would be reminiscent of the UFO TV series that was probably one of the inspirations for X-COM.
In the realm of possibility for player mods might be a game that combines sea and land bases on the same geoscape map, with USOs and UFOs flying around, crash sites on land or underwater depending on the location of the crash, and land (EU) or sea (TFTD) loadouts depending on the crash location. Terror sites and other land sites would probably use EU loadouts? MC and Psi would need to be merged into the same phenomenon, probably. That wouldn't be too hard since under the skin it's the same thing. This could be as simple as calling the EU battlescape for land missions and the TFTD battlescape for undersea missions. Of course the Geoscape changes would be trickier. Only one political map could be used at one time. But possibly you could play first with an EU geoscape, EU political map, and EU victory conditions, and then play again with TFTD geoscape/map/victory conditions. The only difference in the geoscape .exe would be to permit bases and interceptions over sea (in EU) and land (in TFTD). Opening the base screen of a land base in TFTD might requiring calling a patched module from EU, and vice versa. Tech research would need to follow the geoscape (EU or TFTD), unless a way was found to combine the research trees of both games. But I doubt that is possible in a player mod because there is only room for one set of technologies in things like the object table. So basically researching lasers would give you gauss, and vice versa, across the board. Researching each EU technology would give its TFTD equivalent and vice versa. This would be OK I think. Spike 18:22, 13 December 2009 (EST)
I was thinking more of the TFTD plotline rather than EU's when making this suggestion. USO's don't appear on EU nor could their appearance be explained by the plotline. But the opposite would fit TFTD rather nicely. TFTD's political map could be expanded to land and additional cities would have to be placed. Terror attacks on inland cities would be different than the Port attacks on costal cities. Alien land colonies could also be a possibility but plot like they wouldn't make much sense (unless the aliens were preparing to flood the colonies areas. Hobbes 18:53, 13 December 2009 (EST)
I did actually make a start towards such a game, but sorta lost interest due to the usual lack of testers and the limitations the TFTD engine enforces. If/when I get around to resuming work on it I'll probably be restarting under the UFO engine instead. - Bomb Bloke 21:09, 13 December 2009 (EST)
IIRC the UFO engine has even more limitations than the TFTD one. I've read the post and although a full merger of both games sounds better, why not stick to making TFTD the way I described above? Hobbes 10:39, 14 December 2009 (EST)
Granted, TFTD allows for larger maps, has native support for things like underwater palettes, lets you open doors without going through them, plus a few other minor features. But other then that? Certain weapons/HWPs don't work in certain missions, nor do your flying suits. USOs have a habit of going "airbourne" (even when over a valid geoscape polygon!), preventing you from intercepting them, and seldom fly over "land" even if you have bases there. The tech tree has more constraints slapped on it then I care to count, and running the CE version of the game with a split executable makes it crash all the time.
Sure, most - if not all - of this stuff could be dealt with by messing with the executable, but with my current skills ("basic understanding of how machine code is read with no practical knowledge of opcodes at all") it's easier for me to just do it in UFO using external code (executable hacks can only realistically be applied to one version of the game anyway). Ditto for the concepts you described. Heck, even porting TFTD's plot to UFO's engine wouldn't be much of a challenge in comparison; other then the drills, cruise ships and artifact sites it'd be fairly straightforward to do, because everything else is the same thing under a different name!
On the other hand, if anyone ever comes out with a suitably hacked TFTD executable, I'd be happy to help provide whatever else was needed to make a playable game out of it. - Bomb Bloke 19:39, 14 December 2009 (EST)
Fair enough :) Hobbes 20:17, 14 December 2009 (EST)
  • Make Gauss useful?
Explain? Gauss weapons are pretty useful. A big improvement on the starting weapons. Make them "more" useful? The XComUtil variant of Heavy Gauss is more useful, it packs quite a punch. Specific proposals please? Spike 09:22, 13 December 2009 (EST)
I agree. Gauss weapons are useful against most aliens, at least on an easy difficulty level. My aquanauts all use Gauss Rifles and the shots needed to down aliens are:
Alien           Gauss Rifle hits
Aquatoid        1
Gill Man        1-2
Tasoth          3-5
Lobster Man     ~10
Deep One        1
Calcinite       2
Xarquid         4-6
Hallucinoid     2-4
Tentaculat      2-3
Bio-Drone       2-4
Triscene        immune
As you can see, Gauss Rifles are useful and quite powerful. Plus, they offer autofire. The only pain in the butt are Lobster Men, which are near immune, and Triscenes which appear to be totally immune. But these are resistant to pretty much anything anyway, save for grenades in case of Triscenes, and drills in case of Lobster Men. So, uh... what's wrong with Gauss? mingos
Agreed - well demonstrated. Hmm, maybe the point is to make Craft Gauss weapons (Gauss Cannons) more useful? Spike 18:22, 13 December 2009 (EST)
I certainly would not disagree in any particular way that gauss weapons are, in fact, pretty useful early on. Research is very quick up to the rifle, and they are a massive improvement over any starting weapons (well, other than the ultra bad-assery that is the gas cannon). But there's not really much reason to continue carrying them once you have all the sonic weapons researched. On Superhuman the numbers are more like:
Alien           Gauss Rifle hits
Aquatoid        1
Gill Man        1-2
Tasoth          5-8
Lobster Man     20-100
Deep One        1
Calcinite       2-3
Xarquid         30-40
Hallucinoid     7-9
Tentaculat      3-8
Bio-Drone       5-9
Triscene        immune
Making it quite impractical for killing anything beyond Gillmen. (I took the liberty to fill in your Xarquid number for completeness, using Beginner level armor, hope you don't mind!)
I don't think there is any doubt that the Heavy Gauss and Craft Gauss Cannon are completely useless. I think the Heavy Gauss would be practical just with a damage boost up to say 120. What does XComUtil do? I wouldn't even know what to recommend for the craft weapon. I'd say all the craft weapons are extremely poorly balanced and would need to be completely reworked to make anything other than DUP and Oscillator worthwhile (I like the very good information/thoughts on this same issue for EU on Spike's Page).
Now, every single alien takes equal or greater damage from sonic than from gauss. Not only is this sort of unnecessary, since sonic weapons do more damage already, it's kind of flavorless. I would like to see one or two of the terror units have their sonic damage bumped way down and gauss up. Like the Hallucinoid (currently 80 GA / 100 SO) or Bio-Drone (70 GA / 90 SO) to, say, 120 GA / 60 SO. That would just be my personal solution to the original generic 'Make Gauss useful?' --Jewcifer 12:04, 21 March 2012 (EDT)
In my mind, Gauss shouldn't really be a different damage type - almost any definition of a Gauss weapon is a coilgun or railgun. I would love it if the Gauss weapons were something like really powerful (100+, 150+?) AP guns. Maybe ridiculously powerful but they can only be used in Aimed mode. And of course some aliens are resistant to AP damage anyway. If we're going all-out on the wishful thinking, how about making them piercing (i.e. they carry on going through until they hit land or go off the map)? No idea how you would code that, mind.K.o.R 18:19, 27 January 2013 (EST)

Other Changes to the research tree

Thanks to TFTDextender, Coelacanth/Gauss is no more dependent on the alien-based sub technology, and this is fully correct, bravo! I would like to call your attention to another strange research tree dependency. I mean you can start with working on Bombardment Shield only after finishing with The Latest Flying Sub. It makes the shield completely useless. Namely: it is not enough to finish with New Fighter Transporter, next you must examine Lobster Man Commander. Assuming that you have already investigated The Ultimate Threat, when you finish with that beast, you will get two new topics: T'leth the Alien's City, and The Latest Flying Sub. Let's assume you will investigate the sub first. When finished, you may start constructing Leviathan. In the same time you can work on T'leth. In practice, when Leviathan is ready, you will also finish with T'leth. In this very moment you can float to T'leth and finish the game, even not having started the Bombardment Shield topic. So, where is the use of Bombardment Shield?

But assume that despite of all you very much want to see how it looks and how it works. So, OK, after having investigated Leviathan, you can start the Bombardment Shield topic. In the same time you can construct the sub. It is very likely that you will have Leviathan at your disposal when you finish with investigating Bombardment Shield. Now you can start investigating T'leth, and constructing the facility. But this is a little problem - the constructing of Bombardment Shield needs 38 days! It means that even in this scenario you will be ready to go to T'leth before you have even constructed the facility! And if you really wanted to see how it works, you would have to wait a month or even longer, until a hostile sub appears at your gates. What for should you wait if you are ready to go to the heart of the aliens' empire, and finish with them? Such a game when there is no more to investigate is just boring.

Hence my proposal to make Bombardment Shield to be similar to Grav Shield in UFO:EU. If the topic depended on New Fighter Transporter as a prerequisite instead of The Latest Flying Sub, you would have some use of this facility. It could be ready to work even before having any Leviathan constructed. And you would have a chance to see it working.

My personal opinion is that the dependency of Bombardment Shield on The Latest Flying Sub is another mistake of TFTD programmers. So, it is a bug, and such a change of the research tree would not be a mod but a patch rather.

Sherlock 05:56, 14 January 2013 (EST)

A proposal for another alternate research tree

Alien technology is based on Zrbite and Aqua Plastics. When you investigate a product of alien technology, you will be able to reproduce it in your workshops. How is it possible without having an idea on materials of which they are constructed?

Both UFO:EU and TFTD research trees basically ignore the need of knowledge on alien materials. It is quite logical as long as you just use alien weapon - but it becomes really strange when you produce the weapon. How to work with a material when you do not know its features?

My first question - would be possible to separate of using an object and reproducing it? If yes, it is all right to obtain e.g. a sonic pulser, next to examine it, and when finished, to use it. But not to produce it, until you learn on zrbite. The basic idea is that only after finishing your zrbite investigation, you should have possibility to construct your own sonic pulsers.

The first possibility is that it could be done by a very simple metod. When you get a crystal of zrbite or a sample of aqua plastics, it could be just artefacts unless you have them investigated. Then you will be able to use e.g. sonic weapons (after having them investigated) - but as you would not see zrbite and aqua plastics as such, you would not make any use of them, including making sonic weapons by your own.

The other idea is that nothing can be understood if we have not obtained knowledge on alien materials which are needed to produce the investigated object. It means to make them real prerequisites for investigations. Now Disruptor Ammo needs Zrbite for producing, and it needs the Zrbite topic finished as its prerequisite as well. I mean to make Zrbite a prerequisite also for all three clips for sonic weapons, Thermal Shok Bomb, Sonic Pulser, Vibro Blade (and both thermic lances), Ion-Beam Accelerators, Ion Armour (and Magnetic IA), M.C. Reader (and M.C. Disruptor) - as they all need Zrbite when produced. And also to make Aqua Plastics a prerequisite for all three sonic weapons, Thermal Shok Launcher, Disruptor Pulse Launcher (and P.W.T. Cannon), Ion-Beam Accelerators, Magnetic Navigation, M.C. Reader (and M.C. Disruptor) - as they all need Aqua Plastics when produced.

I have tested such a modification of the research tree just by stopping any investigations of objects from the two lists above until Zrbite and (Deep One Corpse +) Aqua Plastics topics are finished. In my opinion it does not unbalance the game except it gives another argument for using Gauss technology first than sonic. Namely, under this condition it is enough to finish just three topics: Gauss Technology, Gauss Pistol and Gauss Pistol Clip, in order to have a little more effective weapon at one's disposal. But if you want to use sonic instead, you must obtain a dead Deep One on a mission, plus some samples of Zrbite (and Aqua Plastics - in fact there is not such a condition), and you need to have researched five topics altogether: Deep One Corpse, Aqua Plastics, Sonic Pistol, Zrbite, Pistol Power Clip.

It would be a modification of the game as nothing similar is implemented in either UFO:EU or TFTD (except the need of knowing Zrbite in order to start investigation of Disruptor Ammo).

Sherlock 07:16, 14 January 2013 (EST)

The research tree - Yet another bug?

Now you do not have to have some objects in your stores in order to examine (?) it. It looks like your engineers are so genius that they can guess how those objects look like, not even having a single look on them. Your invented copy appears to be just like the genuine alien object. Is this scenario logical at all? I think it is not, and it is just another bug which should be removed. The only problem (?) is, however, that this bug (?) makes the game easier. So, patching it would make the game harder.

Namely, I think that 4 objects: Aqua Plastics, Vibro Blade, Thermic Lance and Heavy Thermic Lance should be present in stores to start examination on them, naturally when other conditions are fulfilled. So, for example, you will still have to examine Deep One Corpse, but it will not give you a way to inventing Aqua Plastics. First you will have to get them, and keep them in your stores. And only them, after finishing Deep One Corpse, you will be able to start examining (not: inventing!) Aqua Plastics.

And the same with the finished Calcinite Corpse topic and a stored Vibro Blade, the finished Vibro Blade and Gill Man Corpse topics and a stored Thermic Lance, and also the finished Thermic Lance topic and a stored Heavy Thermic lance.

Sherlock 07:27, 14 January 2013 (EST)

The Calcinite Dilemma

The need of researching both Deep One Corpse and a live Deep One has been named the Deep One Dilemma. Personally, I cannot see a problem in there, and I really cannot understand the other players. I have played TFTD many times, and I have never any least problems with obtaining both corpse and a live specimen of this creature. In a result, I do not understand why it can harm anyone. But you can buy Thermal Tazers at the very beginning of your campaign. They are cheap and easy to use. Deep Ones always appear several times in early missions. They are not too dangerous, and you can enough safely freeze one. And even more, if you use human weapons like darts, you have a high chance to get one live without any freezing.

So, what is the source of this dilemma? You know you need this creature. You have enough numerous possibilities to hunt for it. You have weapons which are suitable for this. So, where is the problem? If you do not want to capture a Deep One, and you prefer just shooting and kill'em'all-ing instead of playing, do not complain then that you have no progress in your research. Just keep shooting... I do not believe that killing aliens is the only objective of the game. It is OK that there is a possibility to eliminate the need of Deep One to research Ion Armour - but it is nothing but a cheat. I do not like it, and I will not use it. Just like adding money or making my aquanauts superhumans.

But Calcinites and the need of the body of the creature for starting with examinating melee weapons is a completely different problem. As I said, I have played the game many times. And I have never spotted a single calcinite during first months of the game, and telling the truth, I have whole campaignes without any single creature of this kind. I believe there is an error in the game which prevents from appearing aquatoids on terror missions.

And hence my question: is it possible for TFTDextender to control which alien race starts an alien mission in the game? It would be the solution of the calcinite problem I would like much. Instead of manipulating with the research tree, it would be enough to forse some mission types from the same beginning. If aquatoid + calcinite missions, as well as gill men + deep ones mission were still present during all the game, nobody could also complain that he/she cannot capture a live deep one. And it would give a better chance for getting melee weapons earlier (without hacking, cheating and changing the research tree).

Sherlock 07:50, 14 January 2013 (EST)

And yet another reason for forcing some alien mission types

In TFTD some terror races are seen mainly or exclusively on lands while other under the sea. Let's assume a Battleship is heading to an island, a port, or a human ship, in order to start a terror. Save the game, and shoot it down (if you can...). Go to a mission. And what will you see? If it was a aquatoid mission (very rarely!), you will fight with Hallucinoids. If it were Gill Men aboard, you will have unpleasurement with Xarquids (btw. does it mean Xark = Shark + Squid?). Break your game, and load it from the save. Let the sub land, and go for the terror mission. Now you will see Calcinites with Aquatoids, or Deep Ones with Gill Men.

How is it possible? The same sub, the same alien squad. And different results! It would be pretty easy to understand if there were not aquatic creatures on land missions: they were aboard on the Battleship but they did not get off. The sub floated back with them, leaving the main race and their land pets on the land, terrorizing people. But if it was so, you should spot both land and aquatic races when having the sub shot down. And it would be really great if it was so.

In UFO:EU mutons are associated with silacoids and celatids in the same time. When you spot one terror race, there is a very big chance to spot the other as well. In TFTD things go otherwise. Both Bio-Drones and Triscenes are associated with Tasoths on land missions, but they probably never happen side-by-side. Contrary to Mutons, Tasoths have either Bio-Drones or Triscenes, never both on the same mission.

Both games have the same engine, so it should not be a problem to force it to generate more various alien squads. First, I mean both Bio-Drones and Triscenes together on the same terror mission with their masters - Tasoths. Telling the truth, I have seen Triscenes once, maybe twice, in all my TFTD campaignes. Tasoths rarely make land missions, so to see a Triscene is like to see a USO in the real world. It seems it really needs a correction, and TFTDextender would be an appropriate candidate for it. So, my first proposal is to change Tasoths + Bio-Drones and Tasoth + Triscenes missions into Tasoth + Bio-Drones + Triscenes missions (by analogy to Mutons + Celatids + Silacoids in UFO: EU).

And another proposal. In order to make the game fiction a little more plausible, I think all races should appear in underwater missions. There are several arguments for that. The first is discussed above. If a landed sub provides e.g. Aquatoids + Calcinites on a terror mission, they should also be present in the sub when it has been shot. So, I would see:

  1. Aquatoids + Calcinites + Hallucinoids,
  2. Gill Men + Deep Ones + Xarquids,
  3. Lobster Men + Bio-Drones + Tentaculats,
  4. Tasoths + Bio-Drones + Triscenes (see above) + Tentaculats

on undersea missions, at least when a battleship is downed (a terror mission is cancelled by XCom).

The other argument is to make some alien races available throughout the whole campaign (for those who forget to capture such or another creature). Note that UFO: EU does not have such stupid limitations like disappearing some races during the game. Managing alien mission types, as well as the content of the alien squad on the mission, would be a great solution of this problem.

Yet another argument is that some races do not like to make terror missions at all. If any alien creature could be spotted under the sea, it would eliminate the problem of meeting some types (like Calcinites, and especially Triscenes).

The game does not prevent land races on underwater missions completely. Namely, sometimes Deep Ones are seen under the sea (probably only with a mixed crew missions). So, there is not a base objection to place land terror races under water.

And the final argument. The main alien races are undersea creatures. They do not like land, except terror missions (and Xcom bases assaults). So, ALL their pets (= terror races) should be able to live under water as well. Can you imagine a thinking fish who looks after a cat as his/her pet?

And this is not all. Tentaculats and Xarquids do not look like able to live on the land, and during first missions they are not spotted on the land indeed. Unfortunately, the game does not prevent them from being seen on land mission completely. Namely, in further stages of the campaign, so called Mixed Crews appears. In fact they are Tasoths (1st type) or Lobster Men (2nd type) plus Aquatoids missions, with their own pets, with Gill Men pets instead of Aquatoids pets possible as well (hence Tasoths + Aquatoids + Triscenes + Calcinites is a possible (?) terror mission, as well as Tasoths + Aquatoids + Triscenes + Deep Ones should be possible).

Unfortunately, in the real game, Xarquids can accompany Tasoths and Aquatoids mixed crew on the land. It looks like a game error when these undersea creatures levitate in a port, really. Or in an XCom base. I think Xarquids, as obviously sea creatures, should be eliminated from all land missions, and replaced by Deep Ones.

And for a similar unknown reason Tentaculats somehow appear sometimes in Xcom bases during an alien mixed crew assault. It is so rare phenomenon that removing this possibility would do severe unbalancing to the game, I think.

So, my requests are 1) to place both Bio-Drones and Triscenes in Tasoth missions, 2) to place all land races (Calcinites, Deep Ones, Bio-Drones, and Triscenes) on underwater missions, together with underwater races, 3) to eliminate underwater races (Xarquids and Tentaculats) from any land missions (Hallucinoids are eliminated now, so they are OK in this point).

Sherlock 08:55, 14 January 2013 (EST)

More various missions

I have found a "diary" of a TFTD campaign. It has never been finished even if all researches have already been made. The last record is Alien Sub-273, and the time is August 2041. I have tried to down as many subs as possible, and to have as many missions as I could (naturally with all touched-down subs as well).

During that campaign triscenes did not appear even once (and the are in the Ufopedia only because of medics). Calcinites were seen only twice, as part of the crew of a downed dreadnought which was Sub-209, and on an island terror (Terror-10 mission) between Sub-237 and Sub-238. Any mixed crew was never spot, during 1,5 year of the campaign! Heavy Cruiser was first seen as Sub-137, and was seen four times more (so, 5 Subs of the total number of 273, were Heavy Cruisers. Hunter was seen 9 times, so it was also very rare. There were only 11 terror missions altogether (at 273 recorded subs!), and 13 alien base assaults, including 2 alien activities missions, and 11 colonies. My bases were attacked only twice (!).

So, some alien races, some alien vessels, and some alien mission types are extremely rare in campaigns. Not always results as as described. I did see mixed crew subs but not in that campaign. I remember a campaign with no calcinites at all, and with no Hunters at all.

And I think that what people say on alien revenge is false. When you down an alien sub with a certain mission, it can stop their further activity in that mission. But if you let the aliens make their activity, they continue their mission. People write that harming aliens cause their response, and larger and larger subs are sent by them to that mission. I have stated that it is quite the way round - if you do not harm aliens, they send larger and larger subs. Last 4 subs in the described campaign were with the same mission. They were uso type 1, 2, 3, and 5 (Hunter) - only the last one was downed by me.

Conclusion: the game neeeds some patching. It would be really nice if TFTDextender could control alien missions, forcing the game to more variety of alien races, subs, and to more terror missions (as they are a perfect source of some races). Apearing of some main alien races, including mixed crew types, is also not as it should be. The tables in the article Alien Appearance Ratios (TFTD) do NOT describe the real game behaviour. How is it possible not to appear any mixed crew for 18 months of the game's time? They SHOULD appear at 20-30% rate. But they CAN appear with 0% rate!

Sherlock 09:22, 14 January 2013 (EST)

See Also

Wish List (Enemy Unknown)