Talk:Weapons (TFTD)

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What Happened to First Alien War Weapons ?

Is there any reasonable excuse why we can't use good old Heavy Plasma, or any weapon from First Alien War, on land combat? L-Zwei 23:44, 25 July 2006 (PDT)

I have been wondering that myself. Let's see: X-Com operatives are required to prepare for undersea combat, regardless the original destination of their transport. A commander may decide to send a midair Triton undersea, and as soon as the doors are opened, any non water proof equipment inside would be damaged. That's also the reason why soldiers take their diver suits on land. It's not that good of an excuse, but it's something. --Trotsky 01:50, 26 July 2006 (PDT)

If you could use the Plasmas, then why not the craft engines? My bet is the Elerium mines weren't set up at that point, meaning there was nothing to power these devices with.

- Bomb Bloke 02:56, 26 July 2006 (PDT)

The official story goes thus: sea water aggressively corrodes Elerium (and by extension anything made from alien alloy), and plasma weapons EXPLODE when fired underwater, as some unlucky scientists found out. Microprose released a couple short stories before the launch of TFTD to explain the backstory that closed the gap between the two episodes, and the technological issues were briefly hinted at --KJK::Hyperion 15:14, 17 April 2007 (PDT)

The economy argument seems more plausible. Once the war was finished, there would be no reason not to sell recovered Elerium for use as power source, especially since X-Com was disbanded shortly after.--Trotsky 11:05, 26 July 2006 (PDT)

Plus Elerium was consumed by research on interstellar travel.

As a side note, the Gauss weapons aren't as bad as many say. For example, people also say lasers are bad, although a Laser Rifle can kill a Muton in one hit. Why people doesn't like it? Because there are better weapons (plasma). Same with Gauss: people use Sonic instead because of the higher damage. I personally prefer the Gauss's accuracy and one-shot-one-kill technique. Plus if you get in close range and miss a snapshot, you will be killed by reaction fire. However, a point-blank Gauss auto is too strong to survive and too fast to counter.

On the other hand, Gauss weapons are a bit more... realistic. Small pistols which fire a sonic wave with sniper-level accuracy over the map? Come on... Plus you can distinguish yourself from the aliens by not using mainstay alien equipment :D--amitakartok 15:00, 11 November 2008 (CST)

Fluff stories released by Microprose indicate that the Funding Nations basically divvied up X-COM 16 ways after the war, including all resources, and wasted most of it(including Elerium, to the point that they sent X-COM down to UFOs that crashed in the ocean to try and find more. This is when they learned that both Elerium is rendered inert by sea water, and Alien Alloys DISSOLVE in it.)
As for Gauss/Sonic, well, I've had a Tasoth kill a trooper with reaction after soaking up 3 Auto shots from a Pistol. I understand the difference though, and it is a issue of personal choice. Whether you get more shots in a small time frame or less shots but more power. Of course, there is something that offers both power and speed...and it's immensely satisfying sometimes to just run up to the aliens and fight them with power tools! (Idly, a Muton with 125 HP cannot be 1-shotted by a Laser Rifle, since LR damage maxes out at 120.) Arrow Quivershaft 18:33, 11 November 2008 (CST)

Lobstermen. First time I ever met one, I emptied all of my gauss and harpoons into it and got royally slaughtered. Much fun. Gauss weapons are near useless against them - and perhaps the main reason why you must have sonic or power tool support by the time you meet them.
By the way, players are split down two camps with regards to the weapons in UFO. There's the ever present Laser Rifle vs. Heavy Plasma debate that always flares up from time to time. Both weapons are jolly good in their own respect (I'm in the arm-laser-rifle-on-Skyranger-but-pick-up-HPs-in-Combat-when-necessary camp) so there's no loss of love for the laser weapons.
TFTD's gauss weapons lost a lot of favour with their ammo requirements. I don't mind that at all - I adore the gauss pistol and its massive (and cheap) 20 round clip. However their (the Gauss weapons in general) loss in effectiveness against enemies with lots of external armour (large units) and the lobstermen do hurt them quite a bit. Absolutely essential weapons to get at the start of the game though unless you stick to the Gas Cannon - which is awesome but you've got to be careful with the ammo levels.
I've always been intrigued by the idea of alien alloys melting in salt water. How fast though? I keep getting these funny mental images of soldiers in Power Suits being air dropped into salt water, and then having them trudge up onto a desert island with their suits melting away to expose their jumpsuit underneath. Recently added the image of water squirting out of the cracks. - NKF 22:56, 11 November 2008 (CST)
It's not quite that fast, but the fluff from Microprose indicates that in the time period of "over a year" in the seawater(so 12-23 months), the navigation consoles of a Large Scout have melted into "silvery goo", as well as eaten away enough of the hull for craft to flood. They found some inert and ruined Elerium in a Plasma Rifle; the power source was gone(ejected before impact, according to the story). So while the scenario you gave isn't exactly accurate, it would happen over time. Enough to seriously degrade a Power Suit over a period of months, if not weeks. If the Power Source leaked, the whole suit would stop functioning in short order as well. And to boot, there isn't any Elerium left to power the things anyways. (Although we must not forget the simply out-of-game reason for all of this: X-COM 2 would be way the hell too easy if you could use Plasma weapons and Flying Suits off the bat). Arrow Quivershaft 23:15, 11 November 2008 (CST)

Favourite Weapon Mix

OK, what's your favourite weapon mix and progression in TFTD? Here's mine (based on limited play):

Starting Weapons

  • Stock up on HydroJet Cannon (HJCs) and Gas Cannon (GCs), enough for every Aquanaut (15 or so of each).
  • Get a healthy supply of regular grenades, and some explosives and disturbance mines. This is just to tide you over until you research Sonic Pulsers.
  • As soon as the extra Gas Cannons arrive, sell all the Dart Guns and Jet Harpoons. The only reason not to sell these right away is in case you have an early land mission (unlikely).
  • Sell Dye Grenades right away, they are rubbish.
  • Don't bother with flares. HJC-IC clips create light multiple times, at greater range and less TUs, for the same space/item limit.
  • For water missions, equip mostly HJCs, with some GCs as heavy weapons. Carry mostly AP for the HJCs, an even mix of HE and AP for GCs.
  • For land missions, carry all GCs and mostly AP rounds - designated heavy weapons units should chamber HE and carry both types.
  • GCs with AP are your "tank-busters". Even on an underwater mission, carry more GCs if you expect tough (armoured) opposition. If you are not sure what to expect, bring enough spare GCs to switch up to half of your Aquanauts to GCs.
  • Regular grenades are most useful for attacks where you can't get a line of sight, which is a common situation in many TFTD terrain types. Due to the weak power of the regular grenade, against targets in the open, an HE round fired from a GC or HJC is usually more efficient.
  • I'm not convinced the Torpedo Launcher is worth bringing in any quantity. Its warhead is not sufficiently stronger than GC-HE to make it worth while. I would carry 2 at most in a sub. Even less useful once you have Sonic Pulsers - obsolete in fact.


  • If the absolute priority was winning battles, I would research the Sonic Pulser first, as the quickest way to equalise firepower with the enemy. It will make short work of targets that you would struggle to kill even with Heavy Gauss, so it's a great leap forward. However, relying on Pulsers does not leave much booty left on the battlefield, so it can hurt your finances. Nor is it a terribly safe tactic for rescuing civilians!
  • So for economic reasons I prefer to start down the Gauss route asap. This provides a steady stream of finesseful weapons of steadily increasing power. It also sets you up for profitable manufacture.
  • Nonetheless by the time Tasoths start showing up you will need (well OK, I need) Sonic guns to deal with them without incurring heavy losses.
  • Or Thermal Shok Launchers, which are quicker to research and have other advantages. Maybe a better choice. (I believe these also help with Lobstermen, though I've never got far enough to see one. )
  • Particle Sensors can also be a good re-equaliser if you are often outgunned and on the defensive (as I always seem to be). Plus they are a good profit making item. So, a good early research choice.
  • Medi-Kits and Armour - Nah, just encourages your Aquanauts to be careless. Who wants to live forever anyway? ;)

OK that's my mix, what's yours? Spike 13:16, 12 November 2008 (CST)

Complete Weapon Rebalancing?

I'm sure it's obvious to many that the TFTD weapons aren't exactly balanced. Some weapons serve no purpose at all, while others are overpowered almost to the point of being broken. Especially annoying is the rounded numbers used in every stat for the weapon.

A friend suggested doing a mod(either by a single hex-edited weapons file which could be manually pasted in, which I could make myself, or an actual automated program, which someone else would have to make) where the weapons were rebalanced a bit. So I'm just opening up the discussion for people to voice opinions on. Would anyone be interested? What ideas do you have? Arrow Quivershaft 18:15, 19 December 2008 (CST)

I don't mind how some of the plain vanilla weapons are balanced too much. Some of them are actually quite good.
As for the broken weapons like the dart gun. If it were rebalanced - perhaps something closer to the UFO pistol, then all will be right again in the world. The jet harpoon only really needs more ammo.
Another weapon that needs some attention is the magna pack explosive. In UFO there wasn't an ultimate grenade. Instead, you had a choice between the heavier High Explosive for more firepower, or the alien grenades that were lighter and dealt mid-weight damage. In TFTD, Sonic pulsers are THE grenade, and you will probably never use the Magna Packs except when you're on a tight budget. Perhaps the Magna-Pack could be revitalized by setting it to 150 damage and weigh it down by 9 units. (that's 3 weight units per 50HE).
The Sonic Blasta rifle could do with some changes. It only excels at being average and doesn't really stand out. One way to balance the cannon and rifle at the same time would be to simply swap the accuracy levels round. The sonic cannon is overpowered, but you only get so many shots and it takes forever to fire. Making them a bit less accurate would even things up. If damage levels do need to be changed, don't forget to factor in the increased armor levels of the TFTD suits. -NKF 18:46, 19 December 2008 (CST)

Perhaps one way to make the Sonic Blasta Rifle stand out is to give it something no other Sonic weapon has: Auto fire. In order to balance, it'd have to be very expensive in TUs(possibly 70-80%) or have poor accuracy(maybe a combo of both), but it would make it stand out in the field. (I'd considered dropping the damage down, but that means the aliens can't use it effectively, which is bad.) ;) Arrow Quivershaft 19:14, 19 December 2008 (CST)

Proposed weapon infobox

{{Infobox open}}
{{Infobox module/weapon
| weapon =
| height = 
| width = 
| weight =
| grip =
| damagethreshold =
| weaponimage = 
| acc_auto = 
| acc_snap = 
| acc_aim = 
| fcost_auto = 
| fcost_snap = 
| fcost_aim = 
| saleprice = 
| research =
| acquisition =
{{Infobox module/ammo
| weapon = 
| ammo = 
| weight =
| height = 
| width = 
| damagethreshold =
| ammoimage = 
| damage = 
| capacity = 
| saleprice = 
| research =
| acquisition =
{{Infobox close}}
{| align="center" style="background-color:lightGray;" cellspacing="0" border="1"
{{Infobox module/keyfeatures
| features =
| pros =
| cons =

acquisition filled by an empty or:
replace the parenthetical words with appropriate values.
{{Manufacturing|88000|820|4|1 Aqua Plastics}}

Madned 16:43, 28 December 2010 (EST)

I'm thinking that the pro/con box should probably be left separate from the stat-box and be used simply as a quick summary for the descriptive text - either before or after. Partly to simplify the stat box. -NKF 17:34, 28 December 2010 (EST)
samples of two styles Sonic-Blasta Rifle: key-feature section leading description, Gauss Pistol integrated in infobox. Madned 00:56, 29 December 2010 (EST)
Dunno what resolutions you guys are running, but at 1024x768 the box is a bit overbearing. Other then that it looks quite good to me; but perhaps if it were to span across the page horizontally, and be positioned under the "flavour" text at the top of the page? Dunno. -  Bomb Bloke (Talk/Contribs) 06:35, 29 December 2010 (EST)
I'm also using 1024x768, but the page area on my browser window's is actually smaller than that since I have the bookmark panel open, and everything is running together very tightly. Perhaps all that needs to be done is replace the bulleted list with the table where they currently reside. It would give more flexibility with the spacing of the contents and the cells. -NKF 09:02, 29 December 2010 (EST)
1280x1024 here. I suspect the color scheme could use some work too. lemme rig up a lateral variant. Sonic Pistol, another thought is to drop the infobox below the official blurb so they don't knock heads so much. Madned 19:21, 29 December 2010 (EST)
I looked at it using 1280x800 and 1280x1024. I must say I definitely prefere the sidebox variants(Gauss Pistol, Sonic Rifle in that order) - it looks more organized that way. And it is what is used in the english wikipedia to present a general overview and numbers(e.g. for military engagements or similar topics). --Tauon 05:57, 30 December 2010 (EST)

The wide version looks good, and the borderless key feature box does look spiffy. What about right-aligning the feature box off to the side of the descriptive blurb?

As for the colour scheme for the stat box, perhaps you could trial using the same scheme as nav-box. It's lighter and easier on the eyes. The navbox uses the stdTable and stdTable Sub_Heading templates for its formatting. -NKF 19:49, 29 December 2010 (EST)

altered the formatting so the box is skinnier. uses one less column and 4 more rows. also changed Sonic-Blasta Rifle layout, popped the pedia ref above sections and dropped the infobox inside the section. skinny form doesn't look as good for the sonic pistol variant though.Madned 14:39, 30 December 2010 (EST)
I'm very much liking the blasta rifle page at the moment. -  Bomb Bloke (Talk/Contribs) 17:13, 30 December 2010 (EST)
I agree. The Sonic-Blasta Rifle's layout looks friendlier even on my smaller browser area. Easier to quickly scan the stats too.
Sorry to be a pain, but I had this niggling feeling there were a couple more useful stats that were missing. Purchase price, weapon grip and the item destruction threshold. That last one's a mouthful, basically 'item armor' or how much HE damage is needed to destroy it. Not really a major stat for UFO, but is present. TFTD makes heavy use of it. -NKF 17:26, 30 December 2010 (EST)
Usually better to get the parameters captured earlier than later. modifying existing template entries across many pages is a bit of a pain. another thought is to split off the ammo into it's own section and redirect inquiries about the ammo item there. also converted templates to use an acquisition parameter, intended to be used with template:Purchasing or template:Manufacturing. an example of purchasing can be seen on Jet Harpoon. Madned 19:31, 30 December 2010 (EST)

If you don't mind, I'll try fiddling with the colour scheme a little. -NKF 04:47, 31 December 2010 (EST)

I've used lighter subheadings and whitened the background and it doesn't look too bad. All I haven't done is alter the colour for the title bars, which should be separate from the stats. Two ways we could go about this. Have a light gray that is darker than the subheadings, or colour code them to match the game. Will have to think over that. -NKF 05:20, 31 December 2010 (EST)
looks good. i probably mind (in some poorly mannered part of my psyche), but i'll get over it, it's a wiki! :P Madned 13:56, 31 December 2010 (EST)
I was pondering the complexities of how this can be adapted for the other items types with minimal changes (there are several solutions), but my mind wandered to another thing I was wondering about. So far the infobox seems to encapsulate everything just nicely, but it's done in the open/close template format. Would it be easier just to keep it as a single template or is there a plan for whatever is to be sandwiched between the open/close templates? -NKF 02:36, 2 January 2011 (EST)
primary reason to open-close is if you plan on putting multiple adapted templates inside. ie: weapon-ammo-key features. float formatting doesn't interact nicely if you have multiple tables with float properties. it'll just stack em laterally, which generally defeats the purpose of floating/infoboxing in the first place. so open-close lets you put together a single table from components as needed. putting the table tags inside a template just ensures that it remains consistent and can be edited across all calls by updating the open template. close is just there for consistency. you could just replace it with a wikitable close tag, but that would make debugging more difficult b/c you're switching from a template call to a wikitable tag.
in the absence of combination there's very limited reasons to continue the practice. in fact it's generally going to be advantageous to just pack each template with complete table formatting, simplifying usage.
the other option you seem to be considering is to have all the formatting in one template so you'd feed empty ammo capacity info for example if you have a weapon like lasers which don't for instance have ammo. workable, but looks better if the blank stuff doesn't appear, which in turn will probably require parser functions (#ifeq etc to operate smoothly). this can be sidestepped with the same sort of solution as the manufactured-purchased section, but that tends to reintroduce the nested templating issue.
the most obvious disadvantage of the open-close format is that the templates that get called together have to have been designed to work together or you end up with odd column formatting.
in the absence of a complete formatting design, open-close offers minimal editing work for pretty good flexibility. once the formatting is locked down it may be advantageous to optimize them away. Madned 22:40, 2 January 2011 (EST)

I just wanted to get better clarity on it. I was thinking about it in terms of the component templates, which do stand on their own. I don't know about creating one sole template to do all the work, but a small selection of sub templates with logical groupings may do the trick.

We could structure it like this:

{{Infobox open}}
{{Infobox module/itemcommon
| item =
| height =
| width = 
| weight = 
| damagethreshold = 
| image = 
| saleprice = 
| research = 
{{Infobox module/action
| action = 
| cost = 
| effect = 
{{Infobox module/ammo2
| damage = 
| capacity = 
{{Infobox module/firing
| grip =
| acc_auto = 
| acc_snap = 
| acc_aim = 
| fcost_auto = 
| fcost_snap = 
| fcost_aim = 
{{Infobox module/manufacture|(cost)|(tech hours)| (workspace) | (materials) }}
{{Infobox module/purchase|(cost)}}
{{Infobox close}}

The first template is to present all the properties common to all items. The Ammo infobox I think is a very good example where almost all of these common properties are covered. (We may need to add "store space")

The next is to present the properties unique to the item. In other words: firing and usage costs. Weapons would have an accuracy/cost box. Tools would have an action/cost box that covers between 1 - 3 possible actions, with each action manually specified by the user. Items that don't use either can just leave this blank. The Blaster/Disrupter Pulse Launcher are the odd one out, needing both.

Manufacture/Purchase templates - as you have done.

I think that should just about cover every possible item type in the game with minimal effort. A bit of parsing could be used to exclude a few field rows that aren't used like ammo count and item damage. -NKF 03:14, 3 January 2011 (EST)

concept demo Medi-Kit (TFTD) Madned 15:07, 3 January 2011 (EST)
Looking better every day! -NKF 14:43, 4 January 2011 (EST)

Real Manufacturing Costs

Sorry to come to the party late, but as you are going through the weapon listings, do you think you could add the real cost of manufactured weapons, SWSs, craft weapons, and ammo? These can be computed approximately from 3 columns in the Manufactured items table in Buying/Selling/Transferring_(TFTD)#Table using the following formula:

Real Manufacturing Cost = Sale Price - ($Profit/Hr x Engineer Hours)

(Be sure to keep the sign of the $Profit - negative profit implies to a higher cost, positive profit implies a lower cost).

Or if it's easier I can send you the original spreadsheet (if I didn't upload it here already). The real manufacturing costs include the costs of the labour and materials inputs, and they paint quite a different picture of the relative usefulness of the weapons. Spike 17:08, 21 January 2011 (EST)

The listed calculation values seems a bit high I used the calculation on Thermal Shok Launcher page. worked the calculation, see the logic and put it in the documentation for the template: profitcalc (may need to rename it later). Also I'm considering switching to a simple 2 cell table and accepting a values for both cells, usu. label and value. Madned 18:11, 2 February 2011 (EST)
Isn't the cost of a weapon the sale value, less the opportunity cost of the components, less also the opportunity cost of the engineer hours - based on the most profitable thing they could have been making instead?
I.e. if I want to build a Mag Ion armour I need something like 16 Xrbites and 10 Aqua Plastic.
The production cost of the suit is the cash upfront, plus what I could have sold the materials for anyway without making a suit. The cost of the engineer hours is not their hourly rate, but rather, whatever they could have been earning by making Sonic Oscillators, Particle Displacement Doodads, or whatever piece of kit is your most profitable line at the time.
Basically, when you make something that's not your most profitable item, there's a cost involved.
The net value is then listed sale price, less the above. I have a feeling this would give subtly different answers to those we have now. This is only because it embeds opportunity cost into the item's production cost, rather than leaving you to work it out manually by comparing specific items with (eg) the Sonic Oscillator. 4th Cuirassier 06:03, 4 February 2011 (EST)

Profit in that table is a measure of what 1 engineer hour is worth for producing that one item, and just that item. Take the difference between item's total cost to build and its sale price, then divide by the number of engineer hours needed to make it. Rent, salaries and other items aren't factored in at this stage.

Just hazarding an opinion here, but I feel that we're in danger of moving from simply presenting the factual data (both visible and hidden) about the weapon if we start mixing in derived data like profit. It's not volatile information as such, but it's still something that would be better suited to a table in a separate profit analysis section (in the page content - with a lot of the data moving to the side table, we're starting to get thin on page content!) or on a separate page that covers all objects and goes into greater detail. Just something to consider. -NKF 08:34, 4 February 2011 (EST)

Yes that's a fair point NKF. First of all I'm not totally confident in my numbers and I should 'show my work' by uploading the original spreadsheet, which I can't find. I don't think that the calculated total direct costs are that controversial, but I agree it starts to get into subjective territory. My numbers deliberately don't include opportunity cost, they are only the total of all direct and indirect costs. The problem with opportunity cost, or one of the problems, is that it's a kind of circular argument. You can't calculate the opportunity cost until you know the most profitable item. So my table is a starting point for opportunity cost. But I don't think it's that cut and dried. Not everyone wants to be bothered cranking Gauss Cannon out all the time. And actually there are higher opportunity costs - more valuable things to produce - that are hard to quantify. There are things you need to manufacture to survive, and to win, that aren't commercially viable - but what price do you put on the survival of XCom and the human race? So I think the opportunity cost argument is a very subjective area. The total direct+indirect costs is not a grey area, and printing the "face value" costs of manufactured items, without giving any qualification, gives a very misleading impression of the actual economics of the game. I think that at least, the nominal costs and the real direct+indirect costs, should be presented side by side. The table I linked to does not do this in a very helpful way because it's focused on describing hourly rates of profit, rather than per unit cost. So I will try to find the original data. Spike 14:35, 4 February 2011 (EST)
Well, it's not a huge point, I just thought it was interesting. Eg, the profit per hour from making Gauss Cannon, based on sales price less cost divided by tech hours, is $97. So let's take that $97 per hour to be an opportunity cost of production, i.e. it's what you could have been making. If you make Particle Disturbance Sensors instead, they cost $34,000 plus 220 tech hours @ $97 each. This is a gross cost of $55,340. They sell for $45,600, so each PDS you make costs you $9,740 compared to making Gauss Cannon instead.
In effect, a table on this basis would always show the best item as being worth 0, with other items worth progressively less. I would need to go through it, and see if the resulting sequence is any different to the one we already have. The main reason it would be interesting is in the early and mid-game, where you would be comparing what you're making with what you could be making at the moment. The latter would change, as you develop techs, and might to some extent be a driver of what techs you make and when.
Clearly, this takes no account of the value obtained from developing and building things that stop troopers getting killed. I'm assuming you'd do that first. What I was interested in, to some extent, was managing the path to victory efficiently, notably at the points in the game when you're short of scientists and gear, and you want to figure out what to research and build, in what order.
I have just attacked T'Leth in July on Superhuman without researching any Gauss weapons, and having skipped the Sonic Blasta and Oscillator. I only researched the drills because I was waiting for the engineers to finish building a Leviathan, and the scientists (per Spike's advice I had 100 of them) were paid for and had nothing else to do. I'm now wondering how quickly it is possible in the game calendar to get to T'Leth, given that you need only attack one dreadnought and one base to get the necessary two Lobsterman Commanders. A big part of the answer is money, I suspect. 4th Cuirassier 07:02, 7 February 2011 (EST)
should probably avoid the subjective info if possible at least if it's being presented as factual. the real manufacturing costs seem to be $ manufacturing cost + engineer time cost + materials cost. I think neglecting housing costs is ok, you may be getting it in effect free for building housing for other purposes, in any event the cost function for that is jagged (housing batches cost, but once constructed it's paid capacity). inclusion of workshop space up for debate, again jagged function. if the profit/hr calc is essentially (sale price-RMC)/(engineer hours) then i think it'll work fine.
using opportunity costs adds another layer of calculation and putting it in the infoboxes removes the time context. in part opportunity cost is a function of research. Madned 22:10, 8 February 2011 (EST)