Research Popular Sequences and Tips
Research Popular Sequences
Research time is given in total Scientist days and average days needed for one Laboratory (50 Scientists). Two Laboratories (100 Scientists) will take approximately half as long. The listed times are averages: actual research times will take between 0.5 and 1.5 times as long (see Research time: notes for more details).
A -> before an entry signifies the total time required to complete that project. For example, Laser Pistol requires Laser Weapons (50 days) + Laser Pistol (100 days); ->Laser Pistol is 150 days.
Ignoring start-up costs, a full Laboratory of 50 Scientists can be assumed to cost $50K per day to run.
An option which should not be overlooked. Researched extremely quickly, 53% more damaging than than a basic Rifle, one-handed, fastest rate of fire of any weapon (good for scouts), can be manufactured for profit. Good for covering the span before you get Laser Rifles or Heavy Plasmas they remain useful for the entire game. Laser Pistols are an excellent secondary weapon to attach to your belt in case you run out of ammo, forced to drop your main weapon, or want to train reactions.
Laser Weapons 50 1.0 day Laser Pistol 100 2.0 days Total: 150 3.0 days
Respectable damage, high rate of fire and no ammo required. A good alternative to Heavy Plasma for some of your troops.
->Laser Pistol 150 3.0 days Laser Rifle 300 6.0 days Total: 450 9.0 days or Laser Pistol + 6.0 days
Not the best Craft weapon (it has excellent firepower, but is handicapped by limited range), but the most profitable manufacturing item in the game. Completing this research topic also permits you to build Tank/Laser Cannons, which have a much more powerful weapon than Cannon and Rocket tanks, and are effective against several dangerous units, particularly Sectopods.
->Laser Rifle 450 9.0 days Heavy Laser 460 9.2 days Laser Cannon 420 8.4 days Total: 1330 26.6 days or Laser Rifle + 17.6 days
Small Launchers make capturing aliens a snap, and have surprisingly broad tactical use. One stun bomb can knock out several weak aliens at once, and unlike explosives, they are safe to use in confined quarters. Furthermore, stun bombs do not damage equipment, making for potentially higher UFO Recovery Values. Stun bombs are also quite effective against 4-space terror units (Reapers, Cyberdiscs, and Sectopods) as each square takes independent damage from the stun blast.
Small Launcher 550 11.0 days Stun Bomb 180 3.6 days Total: 730 14.6 days
Just about the best weapon in the game. There's a reason why every alien eventually carries one of these.
Heavy Plasma 800 16.0 days Heavy Plasma Clip 400 8.0 days Total: 1200 24.0 days
The best Craft weapon, 100% effective against everything except Battleships.
->Heavy Plasma 1200 24.0 days Plasma Beam 660 13.2 days Total: 1860 37.2 days or Heavy Plasma + 13.2 days
When you absolutely, positively, have to kill every alien in the room. Accept no substitute.
Blaster Launcher 900 18.0 days Blaster Bomb 300 6.0 days Total: 1200 24.0 days
Fusion Ball Launcher
Useful against Battleships when using multiple crafts; use Plasma Beam otherwise.
->Blaster Launcher 1200 24.0 days Fusion Ball Launcher 880 17.6 days Total: 2080 41.6 days or Blaster Launcher + 17.6 days
Fusion Ball Defences
The most compact base defense facility besides the Mind Shield.
Note: Due to a weird programming logic, once aliens have discovered your base, they must launch a ground attack. If the first battleship is blown up by air defenses, they will send another... and another... and another... ad infinitum. While there is no real substitute for a proper base layout strategy, defenses such as the Fusion Ball Defenses are best employed as a temporary measure to delay the invaders while you prepare yourself for the attack.
->Fusion Ball Launcher 2080 41.6 days Fusion Defence 800 16.0 days Total: 2880 57.6 days or Fusion Ball Launcher + 16.0 days
Wearing this, you might actually survive a shot or two. But don't press your luck. The survivability rate is still far better than not wearing any armour as well as smoke filters.
Alien Alloys 400 8.0 days Personal Armor 180 3.6 days Total: 580 11.6 days
You might survive a shot or three.
->Personal Armor 580 11.6 days Elerium-115 450 9.0 days UFO Power Source 450 9.0 days Power Suit 205 4.1 days Total: 1685 33.7 days or Personal Armor + 22.1 days
A shot or three plus much greater visibility and mobility.
->Power Suit 1685 33.7 days UFO Navigation 450 9.0 days Flying Suit 330 6.6 days Total: 2465 49.3 days or Power Suit + 15.6 days
Your first advanced ship. A standard Interceptor armed with Plasma Beams can often do just as well, but the Firestorm offers enhanced acceleration and a high air speed that makes it useful for short air skirmishes. This technology may be most desirable as part of the path to unlock Hovertanks.
Alien Alloys 400 8.0 days Elerium-115 450 9.0 days UFO Power Source 450 9.0 days UFO Navigation 450 9.0 days UFO Construction 450 9.0 days New Fighter Craft 600 12.0 days Total: 2800 56.0 days
->Flying Suit 2465 49.3 days UFO Construction 450 9.0 days New Fighter Craft 600 12.0 days Total: 3515 70.3 days or Flying Suit + 21.0 days
A craft with unique properties. Most commanders use it as a stepping stone for the Avenger.
->Firestorm (via Flying Suit) 3515 70.3 days New Fighter-Transporter 700 14.0 days Total: 4215 84.3 days or Firestorm + 14.0 days
They don't call it the Ultimate Craft for nothing. Two or three Avengers plus a handful of Interceptors can give you complete air superiority over Terra. It also allows you to bring twice the manpower into battle than you could before. What's not to like?
->Lightning 4215 84.3 days Ultimate Craft 900 18.0 days Total: 5115 102.3 days or Lightning + 18.0 days or Flying Suit + 53.0 days
If your base invasion defense strategy involves the use of the defense modules, a Grav Shield is a great space-saving base module that allows each and every one of your defense modules to fire a second salvo.
->Lightning 4215 84.3 days Grav Shield 930 18.6 days Total: 5145 102.9 days or Lightning + 18.6 days
A popular (and expendable) scout. Immune to Psi attacks, like all tanks. It can be built immediately after the completion of Firestorm and Plasma Beam research topics.
->Firestorm 3515 70.3 days ->Plasma Beam 1860 37.2 days Total: 5375 107.5 days
Note: Apparently, v1.0 has a bug where it is immediately available for construction after researching Plasma Beam, Elerium and Alien Alloys. In that case, you don't need the Firestorm topic.
In the field, it's less popular than the Plasma Hovertank due to the expense of its ammunition, which also does less damage than the man-portable Blaster Launcher. For base defense, the free Hovertank/Launcher ammo that is granted to you to protect the base turns this tank into the ultimate expendable defensive unit. It can be built immediately after the completion of the Firestorm and Fusion Ball Launcher research topics.
->Firestorm 3515 70.3 days ->Fusion Ball Launcher 2080 41.6 days Total: 5595 111.9 days
Once you get psionics, the aliens' days are numbered. It's tricky catching a Sectoid Leader or Ethereal, but the sooner you can, the better. With a psi lab you can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Any live psionic alien 192 3.84 days Psionic Laboratory 420 8.4 days Total: 612 12.24 days
->Psionic Laboratory 420 12.24 days Psi-Amp 500 10.0 days Total: 920 22.24 days or Psionic Laboratory + 10.0 days
With a single Mind Shield at each base, the aliens will keep attempting Alien Retaliation missions, but most of them time, they'll zig-zag around, unable to find your base. Shooting down any Retaliation scout you see in addition will ensure that they almost never mount an attack on your base.
->Psionic Laboratory 420 12.24 days Mind Shield 360 7.2 days Total: 780 19.44 days or Psionic Laboratory + 7.2 days
One of the most important technologies of the game. Build one at each base you own and you will be able to see just about every alien craft that enters the Earth's atmosphere as well as identify the UFO type, crew and what mission it is on. Every craft you intercept will please your funding nations, and can be worth millions in salvage value. A Hyper-Wave Decoder is your meal ticket: grab an alien Navigator the first chance you get.
Any live alien Navigator 192 3.86 days Hyper-wave Decoder 670 13.4 days Total: 862 17.26 days
Your final mission. Win it, and you are a savior; lose it, and humanity dies. You have to perform the research in this particular order, so don't forget to research The Martian Solution before you interrogate your first Commander, or else you'll have to capture another one. The same goes for your first Leader -- but if it's a Sectoid, there's a good argument to research it immediately and get the Psionic Laboratory sooner: the research delay to get Alien Origins can add up to set Psi-screening back a month, since the results from the Psionic Laboratory only come at the start of a month. Once you get Psi soldiers, you can capture another Leader without much trouble at all.
In addition to completing these research topics, you must have an Avenger built before you can travel to Cydonia. The Avenger can be researched and built at any time, independent of the Cydonia-specific research topics. None of these topics are useful aside from unlocking Cydonia, so you can save most of it until you're ready to complete the game.
Any live alien 192 3.84 days Alien Origins 300 6.0 days Any live Leader 192 3.84 days The Martian Solution 500 10.0 days Any live Commander 192 3.84 days Cydonia or Bust 600 12.0 days Total: 1976 39.52 days plus ->Avenger 5115 102.3 days Total: 7091 141.82 days
In addition to the above research sequences, there are four useful technologies which have no research "dependencies" and can be studied directly. Medi-kits and Motion Scanners are two of the initially-available research topics (described above). Both enable moderately profitable manufacturing early in the game. The Motion Sensor is a vital tool when superior enemies force you on the defensive. As your troops grow stronger, Med-kits are a force multiplier that help you take the offensive with more confidence. Alien Grenades are a substantial improvement over the standard X-COM grenade, packing almost as much punch as a High Explosive, but far easier to carry and throw. Mind Probes can show alien rank and stats (useful for singling out Leaders and Commanders), although their usefulness is dwarfed by that of the Psi-Amp.
Medi-Kit 210 4.2 days Motion Scanner 180 3.6 days Alien Grenade 200 4.0 days Mind Probe 600 12.0 days
General Research Tips
In principle, doubling the number of scientists means you get the results in half the time. In reality, because of rounding errors, it is better to run several small projects in parallel. The again, small projects may take a long time to complete. Don't be shy of pooling your entire workforce on a single project if you want to get quick results.
Scientists at different bases cannot pool their efforts: if you have two bases work on the same project, it will take as long to complete as if you had only base working on it. If possible, you should build all your laboratories at a single base to allow all your scientists to focus on one project at a time.
You cannot begin researching any alien technology unless you have a sample of it on base. However, once you begin research, you do not need to keep the sample on hand. If you begin every project as soon as it becomes available to you, you can sell off all alien items (including alien corpses) which you do not wish to keep around. You can also transfer aliens to another base's Containment unit after you have begun researching them. You do not need to assign any scientists to a project to begin it: only assign your scientists to whichever project you wish to complete next. So a useful routine is to check for any New Projects in the Research screen immediately after each Battlescape mission. Start any new projects with zero scientists. Once you have done this, you are free to sell any and all loot without any negative effects for your Research. (Note that this would not always be true in Terror From The Deep, where for certain topics at least one instance of certain items must be present in Stores.)
If you build two labs and hire 100 scientists as soon as you can afford it, you can research all the most desirable alien technologies within 7-8 months (by July or August). With three labs and 150 scientists, you can research all the best stuff by June or so. More scientists than this will not appreciably speed your progress.
Aliens: The Minimal Three
You only need to capture three live aliens to unlock the research topics that will allow you complete the game. These three aliens are, in the following order:
- Any random alien
- Any Leader or Commander
- Any Commander
By studying these three aliens, you can unlock the end-game mission Cydonia or Bust.
Aliens: The Optimum Three
The three aliens listed above can be used to unlock all additional alien-dependent technologies by altering the list slightly.
- Hyper-wave Decoder
- Substitute "any random alien" with "any Navigator"
Thus, to unlock all technology that matters, you only need to research:
- Any Navigator
- Sectoid Leader/Commander or Ethereal Leader/Commander
- Any Commander
To win the game, the barest minimum UFO components that you will need to recover are:
The first 12 units of elerium is mandatory as it used to fuel the Avenger. The additional 16 units may be required to build a second UFO Power Source, as the Avenger requires two in its manufacture.
|X-COM: Enemy Unknown/UFO Defense|
|Research:||Basics • Popular Sequences and Tips • Trees • Live Aliens • Technical Details|