Talk:High Explosive

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Blowing Through Interior Walls

How good are (unmodified) High Explosives for blowing through interior walls of alien ships? I see the damage is 110, and that would seem to be enough, compared to other weapons that can blast through interior walls... I'm just wondering if it's a widely used tactic early in the game, prior to better explosives becoming available.

Eric 17:37, 27 July 2006 (PDT)


High Explosives aren't any good for that. 110 normal damage, sure, but against terrain explosives do half damage. 55 isn't even close. I think the Hovertank's Fusion Bomb is enough to poke through inner walls though. --Zombie 08:59, 28 July 2006 (PDT)


HE (object damage 55) can only take out Navigation consoles (damage 50) -- so in effect, there is only one UFO inner wall that it can destroy: the center-western tile of an Abductor's bridge. HWP Fusion can destroy those, flashing walls, and the green computer panel-walls found in a number of places. See Destroying_Terrain#UFO_structures.

--Ethereal Cereal 10:01, 29 July 2006 (PDT)

HE Pack - realistic equivalents, tactics, suggested changes

I use XcomUtil to play with, which I generally like, as it usually either makes things harder, or at least more realistic, or both (the notable exception being the high performance air superiority fighters that have spare luggage space for 6 heavily armed commandos or a small tank). However I'm getting unhappy with the excessive effectiveness of XcomUtil's version of High Explosive and the tactical difference this makes.

It does seem logical that human explosives could perforate an alien hull. After all, every crashed UFO can be (and probably has been) brought down with conventional explosive warheads as found in a cannon shell, or a Stingray or Avalanche missile warhead (realistic 1999 equivalents - Vulcan, Sidewinder/Sparrow, Phoenix). It's feasible that something similar to the warheads of these aircraft weapons could be man-carried and used in the field with some degree of success.

Also, XcomUtil writer Scott Jones had a good point that you shouldn't put an item in a game if it is useless, it spoils the game and reduces the number of options. So it was good to rehabilitate the HE pack and raise its HE damage power to 200 so that it can be effectively used to breach UFO walls. However after playing this tactically for a day or so I have some fairly random observations:

1. Maybe reduce the HE power a bit, so that the probability of breaching the hull is lower. It seems to work nearly every time. One in two or one in three might be better, to put some risk and uncertainty into the operation. Not sure what that would mean for the HE power. 170 or so? Also that would mean Blaster Bomb rounds are still supreme, which they ought to be.

2. A tactic I've been using is to rip a hole next to the UFO door and then drive into the UFO with a tank. It makes prisoner captures much easier as the aliens focus their fire on the tank. Your guys then swarm in with stun rods - especially if multiple breaches allow you to enter on flanks as well. One tank-sized hole and another personnel-sized hole at 90 degrees to it make short work of any resistance. I found it impossible to make 2 simulaneous adjacent breaches, maybe one charge destroys the other before it detonates properly (not unrealistic). So the tanks have to use the front door - they just widen it a bit. But still this is all getting a bit too easy. Part of the problem is that I'm using XcomUtil tanks and I think Scott Jones has made them a bit too tough. He gives them the same hull strength as the hovertanks have (but hovertanks are Alien Alloy-based). HWPs should be light armoured recon vehicles with fire support, not proper main battle tanks vs the aliens.

3. The really dumb and unrealistic usage of HE packs is throwing them to the impact point. Since the pack only weighs twice the weight of a grenade, you can throw it half as far - a strong soldier can easily throw it further than its blast radius. So there is even the need for judging the timer delay to ensure a safe getaway, with the tactical uncertainty that brings. For game balance, and for realism, you should have to place it carefully against the door. It certainly should only work when in direct contact with the wall (I think that is the case actually). As far as 'realistic' equivalents go, a serious demolition pack is not twice the weight of a grenade and can't be thrown. The Realistic Equivalents section lists a 20lb C4 satchel charge. Something only twice as big as a grenade, say a kilo or so, would just be a 'large HE grenade' for blowing up huts and hovels, nothing that would touch alien hulls. I'm thinking something 20lbs or bigger with a shaped charge warhead that must be set in place. At the very least something like 2-3 TOW anti-tank missile warheads lashed together. No way could you throw that, and if you did throw it two or three squares, if it still exploded at all, it definitely would not breach anything - it would just make a big messy bang. Proper placement is essential (and a skill). The radius HE effect of the HE pack should be seen as an unavoidable side effect of an even more powerful directional shaped charge, purposely designed for armour-breaching.

Anyway I would vote for increasing the weight of the HE charge way up, to maybe 12-18. If we could re-engineer the game I would say that throwing the HE pack automatically disarms it. The pack must be armed and placed directly on the breach area. For now I will just play that as a house rule I guess.

In summary - reduce the HE power a bit, increase the weight a lot, pass them around but don't throw them onto the detonation point, and by the way make the XcomUtil tanks a bit less strong. That's some more work for me to do on the game files then!

Or conversely, keep the same weight and ability to throw, but reduce the HE power down to something like a small rocket warhead, 75 or so. So that in effect it the realistic equivalent becomes a 'heavy grenade'.

Spike 15:27, 24 March 2008 (PDT)

In regards to your issues...
1: Explosives always do half their damage rating listed in the UFOpaedia to terrain objects at Ground Zero. If an explosive is set any lower than 200 damage, the chance of breaching a UFO hull immediately drops to 0%.
2: Explosives in UFO Defense do destroy each other, yes(TFTD makes explosives invlunerable). Also, yes the main tanks are too tough, but in the early stages of the game, I always found four soldiers better than one tank.
3: We have no way of determining that 6 weight units are twice as much as 3 weight units; I'd in fact argue against this being true, since a standard human being certainly weighs a LOT more than 7 grenades!(A dead soldier in a Jumpsuit weighs 22 weight units, which is a bit more than 7 grenades. Adding personal armor adds 2 weight units to 24, 8 grenades, and a Power of Flying Suit increases it to 26, a bit less than 9 grenades.) A better way of measuring weight might be encumbrance, or the balance. Grenades and explosives tend to be balanced, whereas humans and larger weapons tend to be heavier in some areas than in others.
Other than that, increasing the weight of the HE pack is a trivial edit which can be done with any Hex Editing program. Open OBDATA.DAT in such and change the 'weight' field to the desired number. (It's the 43rd offset for the item.) If you can't do it yourself, drop me a line in email(there's a link on my talk page) with the changes you want to the normal XComUtil stats, and I'll do it for you and send you the file. Just remember how much a human weighs for comparison! Arrow Quivershaft 16:16, 24 March 2008 (PDT)

A few thoughts of my own. I myself am quite happy the way it is. It doesn't need to be stronger or weaker. It doesn't have to be able to breach UFO walls - that's what makes BBs so special (and what makes spending the elerium worth it - assuming situations where you have to to construct the BBs). As is, the HE packs are still a good bang for the amount of resources you spend on them. But that's just how I see it.

The only reason the HE pack is twice as heavy other grenades is because the other grenades are of weight 3 while the HE pack is weight 6. Effectively doubling its weight and halving the throwing distance. But how much weight it is in realistic terms - now that's where you can argue to you heart's content. The game measures item weight in strength units, not in kg's or pounds.

It's reasonably heavy as it is. A brand new soldier's not going to be lobbing the thing about with ease unless getting one of the higher end starting strength levels. Even then it's not going to be a very far toss.

I also don't think it looks as big as the inventory image depicts it to be. Again, compare the size of bodies. I'm imagining something the size of a small box with a coke tin on its side myself.

There is also a serious flaw with setting charges: messed up experience attribution. Until the object is thrown, the game automatically assumes that unit 0 (if I'm not mistaken, unitpos.dat index numbering) owns the item - i.e. the guy on the equipment pile, or the first HWP on the ship.

So you'll have to either throw the explosive at the ground and pick it up several turns before you set the charge, or throw it at the spot. Alternately, exploit the bug in a short grenade relay before setting the charge to give the experience (if any) to the second to last person in the chain. .

- NKF 22:06, 24 March 2008 (PDT)


Well that gives me plenty to think about. Good point about real weight not being linear with in-game Weight, which does sound more like an 'encumbrance value'. Unfortunately throwing distance is linear with Weight.

Also it's fair to say that regular HE packs can be quite useful as they are, which takes away another argument for changing them. Shame that the results of the explosion can't be random. Oh well.

Thanks for the tip on OBDATA.dat, I will try that. For the improved (damage=200) HE packs; I will probably take the weight up to about 16, so they are hard to throw and similar to a heavy weapon. Given their 100% effectiveness in breaching a UFO hull, I think that's balanced.

Or maybe I'll just go back to plain vanilla HE packs and quit worrying. :)

Spike 10:29, 25 March 2008 (PDT)

I always love to toss HE Packs in through the holes in the roofs of Medium and Large Scouts that I've shot down. I don't even need to go inside; they're all killed that way. Even easier if you have Flying Suits available. Arrow Quivershaft 10:39, 25 March 2008 (PDT)