1) It's a pun on my interest in fantasy novels and fungi. I don't use, sell or possess hallucinogenic drugs (though I do think they should be legalised).
2) I tend to be a WikiDragon. Don't be surprised if you wake up one day and the "Recent changes" list is all me.
Comma indicates same run. Semicolon separates runs. All are without exploits, except Research Rollover (which is hard to avoid).
UFO: Enemy Unknown: Superhuman, Iron Man, no Psi-Amps, June 1 Cydonia.
Terror from the Deep: Superhuman, Iron Man.
X-Com: Apocalypse: Superhuman, Iron Man, no Toxigun, no infiltration graph.
I'm not sure whether this deserves its own page, so I'm putting it here.
There's a little trick I discovered to obtain huge amounts of money and points and fair amounts of Elerium in UFO (it should also work in TFTD but Leviathans and Bombardment Shields are much harder to obtain). You will need: 1 or more Avengers, Plasma Beams, Fusion Ball Defences, Grav Shield, Hyper-Wave Decoder.
How to execute:
1) Intercept lots of UFOs. You were doing that anyway, right?
2) When scouts start appearing with the mission (obtained via Hyper-Wave Decoder) of "Alien Retaliation", leave them alone.
3) Build six or more Fusion Ball Defences and a Grav Shield. Don't build a Mind Shield at the base that you're using for this trick.
4) When Battleships start appearing, shoot them down and recover them with Avengers.
5) Enjoy your points (likely just shy of 1000), money (2 million or more), and Elerium (around 50)!
The reason I call this a "trick" is that it's a way to generate artificially high UFO numbers in order to give you something to shoot at. Alien Retaliation missions that have found your base will not ever end until a Base Defence mission is forced - they will not end on Battleship interception and they will not end if the Battleship is destroyed by your base defences. Here, the Battleships will be turned into confetti by your defences even if they are not intercepted (12 shots of Fusion Balls vs. 3 required to kill it gives 0.0009% odds of making it through - less than 1 in 100,000 will survive), so you're guaranteed a constant and plentiful supply (this is necessary because Avengers are usually damaged by fighting Battleships and as such all of them might still be damaged when a new Battleship appears). It's probably a good idea to keep a lot of Avengers in the base if you want to keep this up for a while, since a single Avenger will be in repairs for almost a month after destroying a Battleship (remember to transfer the crews to undamaged ones).
I find this to be a valid alternative to waylaying Supply Ships for Elerium (allowing the prompt destruction of the associated bases). By the time you have Avengers and Fusion Ball Defences, money and points are largely irrelevant, though it can still be fun to see five-digit scores at the end of a month.
- Good trick. It highlights the fact that Retaliation mission logic is dumb and inflexible, which is a design flaw. Also that Battleships are too weak (I made some suggestions on my Talk page for making them tougher )
- Would you add this to the Exploits section do you think? Spike 20:25, 11 February 2012 (EST)
- It's a much more minor exploit than most of the ones on that page. Supply Ship piracy is just as exploitative, it's just better known. Where would it go, anyway? Magic9mushroom 01:53, 12 February 2012 (EST)
My UFO Masterplan
Figured I might as well post it. Feel free to criticise.
Initial base goes in Europe (Czechoslovakia). I immediately build a second in the USA (around North Dakota). Layout of the second base (and all later bases) follows:
(The Living Quarters obviously have to wait for the General Stores to complete.)
Note a few things about this design:
1) The key facilities for an interception base (hangar, radar, general stores) are all available to construct immediately, with no delay.
2) This base design supports perfect base defence - a single choke point between alien spawns and X-Com spawns, and all firefights in indestructible modules - though it may not, at first, appear so. See, the Base Disjoint Bug blocks the Hangar/Large Radar, Large Radar/Access Lift, and Access Lift/General Stores doors, so the only route the aliens can take is through the door between the Hangar and Living Quarters.
3) A design like this has fewer squares left empty than a normal base supporting perfect defence. When fully decked-out, it looks something like this:
Note that only 4 squares are left empty, but there's still a single choke point. You can't do that for 2 hangars without using the BDB (a similar design has only 2 squares left empty for a single hangar, but then you risk the aliens overflowing their spawn points).
Initial base gets overhauled with a second hangar up top replacing the two at the bottom and living quarters moved out of where it is. I also immediately build Alien Containment and a Large Radar there. Initial Skyranger load is 10 soldiers, one tank, using the weapons you start with (preference for those with autofire). Interceptors are immediately upgraded to twin Avalanche loadouts. Build laser weapons as they're researched.
I transfer one Interceptor to my US base as soon as the hangars and large radar complete. As soon as I get a significant cash injection I build a third base in SE Asia (central China) with the same starting layout and a third Interceptor. After that cash goes into setting up a two-lab or three-lab research station so I can start crunching through the tech tree. Then three more bases in Africa, South America and Australia.
Final layout of the starting base looks something like this:
Since it's best to use a single research base, and the starting base already has a lab, that's kinda a no-brainer. Note the six Psi-Labs, placed so that they can be constructed simultaneously once researched - this is to expedite psi-screening, which is usually the limiting factor in how fast you can get to Cydonia.
My research order is something along these lines:
(Alien Navigator) ->Hyper-Wave Decoder
(Sectoid Leader) ->Psionic Laboratory
UFO Power Source
Heavy Plasma Clip
New Fighter Craft
(Alien Leader) ->The Martian Solution
(Alien Commander) ->Cydonia or Bust
Filling out the rest of the UFOpaedia entries
* These are skipped if/when I manage to nab both required aliens with Stun Rods. () Obviously aliens can't be researched until they're captured, so these may be delayed.
Note the extreme beeline for Hyper-Wave Decoders and Psi-Labs. Hyper Wave Decoders are absolute gold. Psi-Labs have to be gotten as soon as possible thanks to the long lead time from their discovery to actually getting Psi.
TFTD weapon effectiveness calculations
I figured some were in order. Uses the Alien Stats and Damage Modifiers tables to calculate average damage of each weapon to each sort of alien after damage modifiers and armour. If/when I manage to finish this and turn it into something readable I'll stick it up on the wiki proper. You could do this for UFO:EU but the Heavy Plasma's so obviously dominant that there's little need. The accuracies given will be for a soldier with 70 Firing Accuracy and no bonuses or penalties; I choose this value — the maximum rookie value — rather than the simpler-to-calculate 100 because of the special cases of the Torpedo Launcher, Sonic Cannon and Thermal Shok Launcher - these weapons are most effective in Aimed mode and their 100%+ accuracy in that mode would be wasted for a 100 FA soldier, underselling the weapons.
Note that these "averages" take into account that damage values of "less than 0" after armour aren't actually any worse than 0 and that damage values greater than an alien's HP have no additional effect. Hence, a Gauss Rifle's average damage to a Triscene is 0 (because it cannot penetrate the armour) and a Sonic Cannon's average damage to an Aquatoid Soldier is 30 (because an Aquatoid Soldier will always be instagibbed by a Sonic Cannon hit, and it only has 30 health). I'm calculating the damage cap per shot; this gives a slight bias in favour of powerful, autofire weapons since they can't re-aim between shots in a burst, but this is really only a significant issue when dealing with Aquatoids and Gillmen and their land terror units since the Gauss Rifle isn't realistically likely to drop much else in one burst.
All values assume Superhuman difficulty and a direct hit to the front (front or under armour depending on weapon type). 95% of TU are assumed to be capable of being used per turn (facing considerations). Some values are marked "n/a". This is because one of three factors render this value useless:
- This alien is a land-only terror unit, and this weapon cannot be fired on land
- This weapon is a melee weapon, and you are attempting to use it at range
- This weapon is a thrown or guided weapon, and you are attempting to use it in close combat (since I'm assuming 100% accuracy for such weapons this will be identical to the "ranged" figures)
I will be assuming fired explosives that miss miss fully, and that thrown explosives and the DPL always hit dead-on, to avoid a bazillion cases. In practice, of course, thrown weapons will not work against enemies at extreme range or enemies that are not on the ground, and may miss (though since they are all explosives, some damage will likely still occur). It is also somewhat dangerous to use explosive weapons in close combat.
This has been mainspaced at Weapon Effectiveness (TFTD), where I have added 2-hit, 3-hit and 4-hit kill chances.
- DONE - Bio-Drones and Tentaculats have greatly asymmetric armour distributions, understating the effect of non-HE weapons against them when their front armour is considered (the Dart Gun can damage Bio-Drones from behind, and the Jet Harpoon can damage Tentaculats from behind, for instance). There's some effect on the Triscene as well. Otherwise, most aliens have similar armour (within 6 points) on front, side and rear. I'll probably do a second lot of calcs for those two terrorists hit from behind.
- PARTIALLY DONE - I haven't done the exact calculations for average damage and 1-hit kill chance for large units hit by powerful area-effect weapons yet. This is because the four rolls stop being independent when a kill is possible (whether roll #1 rolls 45 or 46 may or may not matter depending on whether the other three add up to 45 already being a kill). I plan to do them before I put this on the main wiki.
- Yes, I'm aware that firing, reloading, and refiring a Torpedo Launcher requires over 95% of TU. The reason I said you could fire the Torpedo Launcher twice in close combat is because, when accuracy is no concern, you can dual-wield them (hardly more insane than firing Torpedo Launchers at point-blank in the first place).
Analysis of data
- I was already a fan of the GC-HE, but this has impressed me even more. It achieves damage way out of line with its supposed power. It does this because a) almost every TFTD alien has a giant weak spot in their Under Armour, b) HE gets a better set of damage modifiers than Gauss or even AP. It actually outdamages the Gauss Rifle against Lobster Men, Tasoths, Calcinites, Hallucinoids, Xarquid, Triscenes and (from the front) Tentaculats - and that impressive list is after accounting for the Gauss Rifle firing thrice as fast.
- A large part of the reason I did this was to settle the old Gauss Rifle vs. Sonic Pistol argument. So, with these numbers, I can say that the Gauss Rifle is better against Aquatoids, Gillmen, and Deep Ones, and worse vs. everything else (except Triscenes, which are immune to both weapons). So the Gauss Rifle will certainly help you in the first month (when, not-so-coincidentally, those three aliens are the only aliens you'll encounter), but if you can handle that first month Skipping Gauss Weapons starts looking like a pretty decent idea.
- You'll note that the Sonic weapons cluster pretty close to each other at range against basically everything. What this means is that they're pretty well balanced against each other in terms of damage-per-unit-time; which ones to hand out depends more on other factors (the Sonic Pistol's finer granulation allowing scouts to shoot more, one-handed grip, and better point-blank firepower vs. the Sonic Cannon's ongoing recoverable ammo, less off-target damage reducing friendly fire, and increased 1-hit kill rate reducing reaction fire, with the Blasta Rifle somewhere in-between).
- The Heavy Gauss is better than the Gauss Rifle against precisely two enemies (Lobster Men and Xarquid) and tied with it against one (Triscenes, which are immune to both). Given that the GC-HE easily outclasses both against those three enemies, I think we can call the Heavy Gauss useless.
- Yes, throwing three pre-armed Sonic Pulsers at something in the same turn is going to kill it very, very dead. But 1) that's several turns of preparation, and the "carried grenades don't explode" behaviour that allows that preparation to be done at mission start is widely considered an exploit; 2) you don't have nearly enough Zrbite or item limit to make this a routine tactic.
- As far as drills go, the Heavy Thermic Lance is the best against Calcinites, Hallucinoids, Triscenes and the front armour of Tentaculats, the Thermic Lance is the best against Xarquid, and the Vibro Blade is best against everything else. Most aliens have enough armour that the HTL "should" do the most damage, but the Vibro Blade has better granularity so it doesn't waste as much damage on overkill. The Thermic Lance is usually in-between the Vibro Blade and HTL (one way or the other) rather than being the worst as might naïvely be expected.
Firing Accuracy breakpoints
Most of the time, Firing Accuracy is just something you generically want more of. But 100% accuracy gives a guarantee, which is particularly important in some situations (and obviously, more accuracy ceases to improve that mode of that weapon after that). I'm just going to write down all the breakpoints in Firing Accuracy where a particular weapon in a particular firing mode becomes 100%.
Remember that the starting range for Firing Accuracy is 40-70 and the cap range is 120-125.
|76||Rocket Launcher||Aimed, kneeling|
|97||Heavy Cannon||Aimed, kneeling|
|102||Plasma Rifle||Snap, kneeling|
|103||Plasma Pistol||Aimed, kneeling|
|104||Heavy Laser||Aimed, kneeling|
|116||Heavy Plasma||Snap, kneeling|
|117||Plasma Rifle||Snap, standing|
|118||Plasma Pistol||Aimed, standing|
|120||Heavy Laser||Aimed, standing|
|73||Thermal Shok Launcher||Aimed, kneeling|
|76||Sonic Cannon||Aimed, kneeling|
|84||Thermal Shok Launcher||Aimed, standing|
|100||Gauss Rifle||Aimed, standing|
|103||Sonic Pistol||Aimed, kneeling|
|116||Sonic-Blasta Rifle||Snap, kneeling|
|118||Sonic Pistol||Aimed, standing|
Thermal Shok Launcher
UFO optimal firing modes
This is a list of the optimal firing modes for every weapon in UFO, where optimal is defined as "most shots on-target (per 100% Firing Accuracy) achievable with 78/80 TU". There's little point doing one for TFTD, as mixtures of modes are never optimal under that definition (and only in one case with all 80 TU - the Sonic-Blasta Rifle).
|Weapon||Combination||Shots on-target||TU||Turns sustainable (+ Rounds left over)|
|Pistol||5 Snap||3.00||70||2 (+2)|
|Rifle||2 Auto + 1 Snap||2.70||76||2 (+6)|
|Heavy Cannon||3 Snap||1.80||78||2|
|Auto-Cannon||2 Auto||1.92||64||2 (+2)|
|Rocket Launcher||1 Aimed||1.15||60||1|
|Laser Pistol||3 Auto + 1 Snap||2.92||76||indefinite|
|Laser Rifle||2 Auto + 1 Snap||3.41||74||indefinite|
|Heavy Laser||3 Snap||1.50||78||indefinite|
|Plasma Pistol||3 Auto||4.50||72||2 (+8)|
|Plasma Rifle||1 Auto + 2 Snap||3.37||76||5 (+3)|
|Heavy Plasma||2 Auto||3.00||56||5 (+5)|
|"||1 Auto + 2 Snap||3.00||76||7|
|Small Launcher||1 Aimed||1.10||60||1|
|2 Small Launchers||Snap + Drop + Pick Up + Snap||1.30||74||1|
Didn't quite make it
- 79 TU: Small Launcher Snap+Reload+Snap (1.30)
- 80 TU: Pistol 4 Snap+1 Aimed (3.18), Laser Pistol 4 Auto (3.36), Plasma Rifle 2 Auto+1 Snap (4.16), Heavy Plasma 2 Auto+1 Snap (3.75)
- Impossible with 80 max TU, but possible with 81 max TU: Laser Rifle 3 Auto (4.14)
- I started this when I realised the Plasma Pistol would probably get the highest. Still inferior to the other plasma weapons due to damage.
- Note how the Laser Rifle significantly exceeds all other non-alien weapons. That's at least as important as the damage to its legendary utility.
On Interception in UFO (and to some extent TFTD)
I've seen a lot of talk about the correct craft weapons to use in UFO and TFTD, and while at least for UFO I agree with the conclusion that a lot of people reach (Avalanches only until Plasma Beams, then Plasma Beams only), I think the reasoning usually given is flawed, and that the conclusion doesn't apply to TFTD. I usually see people immediately talking about the range issues on specific UFOs (particularly the Large Scout/Cruiser); really, this isn't the right way to think about it. The real questions worth asking are these:
- What UFOs do I want to use craft weapons against?
- What weapons do I want to use against those UFOs?
See, the elephant in the room when talking about interception is that the majority of UFOs land, and there's little point wasting missiles on a craft that will land (not to mention the lost Elerium), unless it's part of a flotilla and therefore you wouldn't be able to get to them in time to perform a UFO Ground Assault. So, which UFOs don't land (recoverably), and what are the likely flotillas?
- Small Scouts never land unless they're on an Alien Base mission.
- Alien Abduction: there's a flotilla of two Abductors at the very end.
- Alien Infiltration: there's a flotilla of one Large Scout, one Terror Ship, one Supply Ship, and two Battleships at the end. Moreover, as the completion of this mission has effects beyond score (that is, you lose a funding country), you probably want to delay these as much as possible.
- Alien Base: there's a flotilla of one Large Scout, two Supply Ships and a Battleship at the end.
- Alien Terror: the first Terror Ship doesn't land. The second Terror Ship does, but as a Terror Site, which means you can't recover the UFO.
- Alien Retaliation: Nothing lands, except the base-attack Battleship, and that's a Base Defence so you can't recover it.
The flotillas don't show up very often, and certainly don't show up early (there's only one non-Terror alien mission per month, and the first one is hardcoded to be Sectoid Alien Research in the area of your first base; additionally, Abduction and Infiltration are very long missions that usually run over into the next month, or even the month after that if it's Infiltration and you're systematically crashing every UFO). The bread and butter of UFO interception is Small Scouts and Terror Ships on Alien Terror, plus the occasional Retaliation and Infiltration.
- You want to use the Avalanche on Small Scouts. Some people say you should use the Stingray (or even the Cannon) to have a chance of crashing them rather than destroying them; I'm guessing the majority of these people haven't actually tried it. The Small Scout has a flee time of 200, which is a mere 80-280 frames on Superhuman. 60% of the time you won't close to Stingray range before it runs, another 20% or so (total ~80%) it will run while the missile's in flight, and then more than half the time you actually hit the Stingray destroys it anyway. Your choices, really, are blowing them to bits with Avalanches or doing nothing, and blowing them to bits gets you 100 points (which is more than you get from shootdown + crash recovery, too, since there's a grand total of one alien and the UFO only contains 1 Alien Alloy). Advanced craft can bring the Small Scout down with Cannons, but by that point you're not hurting for money and there's a significant opportunity cost. The only time you should actually faff around with cannons on an Avenger is if you haven't managed to get a Sectoid Leader and it's rolling around to July (when Ethereals start to show up); the chance to get an Ethereal capture is the only thing from a Small Scout recovery that's remotely worth the effort to get one.
- You want to use dual Avalanches on Terror Ships. This is pretty self-explanatory; using anything else (before Plasma Beams) will get your Interceptors blown out of the sky. Speaking of Plasma Beams, this is the only truly-compelling reason to get them, since you need two Interceptors with Avalanches and that can be tricky (the only other reason to get Plasma Beams before advanced craft is to shoot down Supply Ships, but there aren't a lot of those and they always land). Indeed, Plasma Beams do have a downside in that they risk destroying Medium and Large Scouts (which, unlike in the case of Small Scouts, really is a waste).
- Anything will work against the Medium and Large Scouts on Retaliation missions. You can't really do anything about the Battleships until you get advanced craft.
The other argument I often see for Avalanches, the one about outranging Large Scouts, is a load of horseshit. A Large Scout is only going to get a couple of shots off against an Interceptor with Stingrays. That's not enough to destroy it, or even to send it to repairs for more than a day or two. Who cares?
And the thing to note about those two arguments for Avalanche missiles in UFO is that neither of them apply to D.U.P. Head torpedoes in TFTD. The TFTD Battleship matches the D.U.P. Head's range, removing it from the list of useful interceptions. And Survey Ships are both more lucrative and easier to crash than the UFO Small Scout, as they cannot run from a Barracuda and Ajaxes have a much lower likelihood to one-hit kill. So I think Ajaxes might actually be the best initial loadout in TFTD; sure, you'll get shot by Cruisers, but not enough to matter. The Sonic Oscillator is also not quite as big a deal in TFTD, as once April rolls around the aliens will mostly be doing scripted terror sites (shipping lane and artefact) which don't have a Battleship to shoot down; the ability to shoot down Large subs is still helpful, though.
Just something to consider.
Kill tables through armour (UFO/TFTD)
I'm just going to post some tables indicating the cost (including materials) of a soldier in various armour getting killed and the likelihood that it happens with various weapons. I'm assuming front armour for ballistic weapons, under armour for direct-hit explosives and side armour for edges of blast patterns, and assuming a 35-health soldier (slightly above rookie average; one or two combats would push the average up to here). I will count dying at the end of turn from fatal wounds as a kill, since there is no possibility of a Medi-Kit being applied during the alien turn.
|Armour||Cost||Plasma Pistol||Plasma Rifle||Heavy Plasma||Alien Grenade
|Personal Armour||$88,000 + 800h||21.0%||48.4%||64.1%||80.2%||0%||100%||69.2%|
|Power Suit||$139,500 + 1000h||0%||17.4%||42.4%||47.2%||immune||100%||25.3%|
|Flying Suit||$210,500 + 1400h||immune||11.2%||38.1%||36.3%||immune||98.5%||14.3%|
|Sonic Cannon||Sonic Pulser
|Plastic Aqua Armour||$88,000 + 800h||21.0%||40.6%||70.2%||89.3%||9.3%||100%||65.0%|
|Ion Armour||$139,500 + 1000h||immune||immune||9.2%||58.4%||0%||97.5%||21.8%|
|Magnetic Ion Armour||$210,500 + 1400h||immune||immune||0.8%||47.9%||immune||91.5%||9.2%|
- UFO: Personal Armour is not worth building. Power/Flying Suits are rather dubious, and poor against Heavy Plasma in particular. The Flying Suit's definitely worth building for your snipers, though, and in a mission with Chryssalids handing them out to everyone has obvious benefits. Otherwise, not too useful.
- TFTD: Plastic Aqua Armour is of varying effectiveness depending on what the aliens are packing; it's great against Sonic Pistols and pretty good against Sonic-Blasta Rifles, but poor against Sonic Cannons and only somewhat effective against Sonic Pulsers (cuts down the number of kills, but a direct hit is still nearly-always fatal). Ion and Magnetic Ion Armours are simply fantastic, turning 100%-kill shots into 0%. In Magnetic Ion Armour, you only really have to worry about direct hits from Sonic Pulsers and DPLs - and since you can fly, it's a mite hard to hit you with the former. Armour in TFTD is far, far more effective than in UFO, thanks to the narrower damage ranges and its significant damage resistances, and issuing top-of-the-line armour to all troops is a high priority. Indeed, armour levels the field against non-DPL Lobster Men; your guns don't work on them, but theirs don't work on you either, allowing you to close to mêlée range.
List of organisations in Apocalypse by importance
This is a list of the various organisations in X-Com: Apocalypse. I've sorted them into categories by how important their services are (and therefore how hard you should try to avoid making them hostile), as well as the timeframe in which they're important. Order within the categories is simply the game ordering; they're not ranked.
Getting one of these organisations infiltrated or irrecoverably hostile makes the game extremely difficult.
- Government - Okay, this is kind of the obvious one. If you render the Government hostile and don't fix it by the end of the week, your funding goes away and that's terrible. However, this is incredibly unlikely to happen unless you actively raid or bomb government buildings, as the Government not only starts out friendly to you, but also hates the aliens (improving your relations every time you kill aliens) and is strongly resistant to infiltration.
- Becomes irrelevant: When you research Cloaking Fields. The revenue from selling those is so enormous that the government funding becomes redundant. You can live without their funding quite a while earlier, but you'll probably lose air superiority for a while due to how incredibly cash-hungry the air game is.
- Megapol - Slightly less obvious than the Government, there are three main reasons you don't want to make an enemy of Megapol:
- First, and least important, Megapol is very aggressive and will perform both raids and air attacks on a regular basis. However, the raids, while second only to Osiron in strength, still aren't enough to get past Security Stations, and the air attacks are performed by Police Hovercars - which don't have any weapons capable of damaging most buildings.
- Second, Megapol Police Cars patrol the city (unless Megapol's balance is negative) and they will scramble Police Hovercars to attack any illegal flyers (which includes your aircraft, if Megapol hates you). This is a distraction you do not need when fighting UFOs. Bankrupting Megapol can allow you to avoid this (the only effect of bankruptcy that I know of), but is rather difficult due to Megapol's enormous budget.
- Third, and the reason Megapol's in "Crucial": Megapol manufactures nearly all the good tactical equipment. Lawpistols and Plasma Guns are the best of the bought equipment, the Auto-Cannon is pretty decent, and Stun Grapples and Stun Grenades are the only way to stun aliens unless you go into psionics. Megapol Armour is also the cheapest in the game, and generally more effective than Marsec Armour at least as far as protection goes (exception for explosives, but most alien explosives are so powerful that you're still dead anyway). They also make a few bits of aircraft equipment, but those aren't particularly necessary.
- On the plus side, like the Government, it's rather difficult to piss off Megapol... unless they get infiltrated. Don't let them get infiltrated.
- Becomes irrelevant: Once you have access to the Devastator Cannon and/or Toxigun, plus Disruptor Armour, Megapol becomes much less useful. Stun Grenades are still nice, but not absolutely necessary. The Police Hovercar issue becomes mostly irrelevant once you have 3+ shielded Retaliators in the sky, as at that point the air game is basically over. Still moderately annoying, but no longer crucial.
- Marsec - Marsec is the only source of armed vehicles (General Metro makes the Blazer Turbo Bike, but it's unarmed). As such, if Marsec is hostile you cannot replenish craft losses or expand your fleet and will swiftly lose the air war. Hostile Marsec is possibly even worse than hostile Megapol or Government, and it can happen much more easily as well (as they don't inherently like you or hate the aliens).
- Becomes irrelevant: When you have the UFO prereqs for the Explorer (Transporter and Destroyer). The Explorer is enough to shoot down UFOs, and the Bio-Trans can transport troops. Note that I said the prereqs, not actually having the Explorer deployed. You can afford to be knocked out of the air war for a week or two, as long as you have the means to get back into it eventually.
You can live without these, but it will hurt.
- Transtellar - Provides transport services for agents, technical personnel and goods. The only reason this isn't in "Crucial" is because new hires can use the People Tubes (and ultratime prevents them from getting stuck), and because you can do an end run around Transtellar for sellable equipment via selling at one base and buying at another. Still, if Transtellar's hostile you won't be able to move already-hired scientists and engineers from one base to another, nor unresearched alien artifacts; you'll have to be very careful about where you drop mission loot and which base you hire at.
- Unfortunately, you're probably going to have to learn to live without Transtellar, since they start friendly to the aliens (and own a huge amount of very fragile infrastructure) and will as such nearly always go hostile on higher difficulties.
- Becomes irrelevant: Never.
- S.E.L.F. - Provides androids. Androids have much higher Health than untrained humans (which substantially reduces the chance of critical wounds), and can't be brainsucked or mind-controlled. You don't absolutely need them, though.
- Note that S.E.L.F. doesn't just need to be non-hostile, but on the positive side of neutral for you to be able to recruit androids. On the plus side, they (logically enough) cannot be infiltrated.
- Becomes irrelevant: Disruptor Shields reduce your casualty rate to very low levels. This means humans will survive to surpass androids. The immunity to subversion is still quite useful, though.
These organisations do provide services to X-Com, but they can be played around without much difficulty.
- Superdynamics - Provides aircraft engines, fuel, and the Cargo Module. They're only "Useful", rather than "Important", because all aircraft come with pre-installed engines and you start with enough fuel to last the entire game. You do lose out on the SD Special, though, which means that any further Hawks you buy won't be at their best in combat.
- Becomes irrelevant: When you unlock the Explorer, since that has a built-in engine. The Bio-Trans has free Cargo Modules, too.
- General Metro - Provides road engines (which aren't much use) and the Passenger Module (which is quite useful, albeit only in small quantities).
- Becomes irrelevant: When you have enough Passenger Modules for your Bio-Trans. You shouldn't ever lose it unless things have gone really sideways, so there's no need for more.
- Solmine - Sells only one item, Elerium. Elerium fuels the Lineage Plasma Cannon, which is the best craft weapon before Medium Disruptors. However, Elerium is commonly found as loot from raids, so you can work around a hostile Solmine quite easily (missile launchers are also quite decent alternatives).
- Becomes irrelevant: When you get Retaliators (which can mount Medium Disruptors in all three slots) or anytime prior as long as you're willing to go on frequent raids.
- Nanotech - Nanotech's on the cusp of being "Important", because the Medi-Kit they sell is actually rather good. However, critical wounds aren't all that common in Apocalypse, it's fairly rare to actually lose a Medi-Kit, and a wounded soldier can be saved by evacuating them, so you can make do without them.
- Becomes irrelevant: Never.
- Mutant Alliance - The Mutant Alliance provides Sectoid hybrids for recruitment. Hybrids are the only agents that can use psionics effectively, and even make better soldiers than humans after enough training (as they have the same physical stat caps, but can also become nearly immune to psionics). The problems are that psionics just aren't very good against aliens and that hybrids take a huge amount of training to reach their potential.
- Like S.E.L.F., the Mutant Alliance needs to actually like you, rather than just not be hostile, to provide their services.
- Becomes irrelevant: Never. The second Alien Dimension mission, however, will switch the Mutant Alliance to Allied, so if that's imminent you probably don't want to bother paying them off.
These organisations either don't provide anything, or provide only things that are largely irrelevant. Hostilities with these only have the usual consequence of occasional base raids (and air attacks, if they're a gang or have been infiltrated). Some of them are allied to more important organisations, though, so you might want to avoid gratuitous damage to those.
- Cult of Sirius - Useless. Also moot, since unless the Aliens accidentally level their temple with an Overspawn they'll always be hostile.
- Cyberweb - Weapons Control systems don't let you lead targets, so they're useless. The Missile Evasion Matrix doesn't seem to work. Allied with S.E.L.F., though.
- Sensovision - Useless.
- Lifetree - Useless.
- Nutrivend - Useless.
- Evonet - Useless.
- Sanctuary Clinic - Useless. Allied with Nanotech, though.
- Energen - Useless.
- Synthemesh - Useless. They appear to repair your buildings even if hostile.
- Gravball League - Useless. There's a rumour that they increase the number of humans for hire, but I think that's an urban legend.
- Psyke - Produces Psiclone. However, you never need to buy Psiclone, only sell it, and you can do that even when the manufacturer's hostile.
- Diablo - Produces the Incendiary Grenade, but the Auto-Cannon and Minilauncher are better at that anyway. Does perform frequent and large raids, but with Security Stations that's just more free money.
- Osiron - Useless. They launch huge raids, but that's about it.
- Extropians - Useless. Allied with Marsec and Solmine, though.
- Technocrats - Useless.
Calcinite appearance chance
You might wonder why I'm making a table listing the chance of a Calcinite appearing in TFTD. Well, there are a few aliens that are important to encounter in TFTD - here's a list of why they're important and where you can guarantee encountering them:
- Deep One corpse for Aqua Plastics and live capture for Ion Armour (guaranteed at first Terror Site, since it's always Gill Men)
- Lobster Man Commander live capture for T'Leth, the Alien's City (guaranteed in Alien Colonies)
- Tasoth live capture for M.C. Disruptor (guaranteed in Alien Colonies)
- Gill Man corpse for Thermic Lance (guaranteed at first Terror Site)
- Calcinite corpse for Vibroblade (guaranteed... nowhere)
That's right, Calcinites are the one important alien that isn't guaranteed to show up. What's worse, they're rare. Calcinites only appear on Aquatoid and Mixed Crew missions above water (i.e. Port/Island/Ship terror attacks and Base Defences). On my playthrough of TFTD on Superhuman, the damned things never appeared once in the entire game, until eventually I gave in, abandoned my "no psi" rule and used M.C. Disruptors to hit a colony and win. So, here's a table of how likely the terror mission for the month is to have Calcinites (this doesn't take into account retaliation, 'tis true, but early on an Aquatoid Base Defence is insanely hard and later on it can be difficult to provoke one). There's also a cumulative chance that, by the end of the month, you will have encountered Calcinites at some point. I'll only go up to May 2041, because things get complicated to calculate after that (there's a possibility that the aliens will run out of Artefact Sites).
That's right: while you've got an even chance to get drills by May, there's a one-in-five chance of no drills by September (when alien loadouts finalise, and DPL Lobster Men become way too common) and a one-in-ten chance of having to wait for the new year. RNG, ho!
Accuracy in Apocalypse
You may have been rather perplexed by the total lack of hard numbers on accuracy in Apoc. Unlike other games, there's just a highly-inexact accuracy bar. Well, fear not. I'm going to explain what's going on, as best I've been able to figure out (from this code dig - a big thankyou to Skin36 and OpenApoc - and from my own substantial in-game testing).
Let's start with the accuracy formula that Apocalypse uses. There are quite a few terms, so buckle up.
- Agent inaccuracy term
- Start with the agent's inaccuracy (the value in the data files, 100-displayed accuracy).
- Multiply by 1.4 if both the agent's hands are full and either of the wielded items is over 2x2.
- Movement modes (in real-time; I haven't exhaustively tested TB, but I know it's different):
- If running, crawling, or run-flying, you cannot fire, so it doesn't matter what your accuracy is.
- If walking, multiply by 1.25.
- If standing, multiply by 0.8.
- If kneeling, multiply by 0.64 (0.8*0.8).
- If prone, multiply by 0.48 (0.6*0.8).
- If walk-flying, multiply by 1.4375 (1.25*1.15).
- If stand-flying, kneel-flying or prone-flying, multiply by 0.92 (0.8*1.15).
- If crawl-flying, multiply by... I'm not even sure. I know it's lower (better) than walking, but higher (worse) than stand-flying. My guess based on the numbers in that dump is either 1.15 (1*1.15, or 1.25*0.8*1.15) or 1.0925 (0.95*1.15), but in-game testing doesn't have the precision to tell them apart.
- Shooting modes:
- If aimed, multiply by 0.5.
- If snap, multiply by 1.
- If auto, multiply by 2.
- Weapon inaccuracy term
- Weapon's inaccuracy (100-displayed accuracy) divided by 2.
- Lost health term
- 100*(lost health/current health). Note that this gets absurdly large if your agent is on very low health.
- Critical wound term
- For X-COM Agents and most enemies, this is 150 if the arm with the weapon is wounded and 0 otherwise. (I don't think a bodypart can have multiple wounds.)
- Some aliens don't have separate bodyparts; for those, this is 100*wounds.
- Berserk term
- This is 200 if berserk and 0 otherwise.
- Cloaking term
- If the target is cloaked (has a Personal Cloaking Field in hand), this is 2000/(distance + 3). Otherwise, it's 0.
- Summation of terms
- Add up (agent inaccuracy)^2 + (weapon inaccuracy)^2 + (health term)^2 + (wound term)^2 + (berserk term)^2 + (cloaking term)^2.
- Take the square root, and round down. This is the final inaccuracy rating of the shot.
- 98+ inaccuracy corresponds to a completely-empty "accuracy bar"; a hypothetical 0 inaccuracy would correspond to a completely-full "accuracy bar".
So a shot with 40 inaccuracy is 60% accurate?
There is no hit/miss test in Apocalypse. The inaccuracy rating is converted directly into the shot spread - a higher inaccuracy rating means a bigger spread. The actual chance to hit is determined by how much of that spread ends up hitting the target - this is going to vary dramatically depending on the target's cross-section, the distance to the target, and the presence or absence of cover obscuring parts of the target.
(The high complexity of figuring this out, even neglecting cover, is presumably why Apocalypse is so cagey about giving you numbers.)
I am not sure of the precise details of how the spread is generated, but I think that, for large inaccuracies and small targets, halving the inaccuracy should give you 4x the hit rate (as the spread will be half as wide and contain 1/4 the area). This doesn't hold if you're already hitting most of the time, however - obviously, your actual chance to hit can't go above 100%.
Consequences of this
There are a few results here that bear mentioning.
- All the modifiers from movement, dual-wielding and shot mode only affect the agent inaccuracy term. This means that if the agent inaccuracy term is negligible (i.e., your agent has very high Accuracy), these become much less important. Let's do a worked example, with an Accuracy 20 and Accuracy 90 soldier both firing a Megapol Auto Cannon (accuracy 40), and assuming no special circumstances (full health, no cloaking or berserk).
- If the Accuracy 20 soldier is single-wielding, in aimed mode, and is prone, his inaccuracy is sqrt((80*0.48*0.5)^2 + 30^2) = 35.
- If the Accuracy 20 soldier is dual-wielding, in auto mode, and is walking, his inaccuracy is sqrt((80*1.4*1.25*2)^2 + 30^2) = 281.
- If the Accuracy 90 soldier is single-wielding, in aimed mode, and is prone, his inaccuracy is sqrt((10*0.48*0.5)^2 + 30^2) = 30.
- If the Accuracy 90 soldier is dual-wielding, in auto mode, and is walking, his inaccuracy is sqrt((10*1.4*1.25*2)^2 + 30^2) = 46.
- The Accuracy 20 soldier is going to be shooting all over the place if he doesn't pay attention to these modifiers, so much so that firing 8x as fast will still result in less hits. The Accuracy 90 soldier might hit half as often (at long range), but that's still 4x as many hits, and he gets more mobility to boot. This is a very nice emergent effect from the formula - well-trained soldiers can pull off cool stunts that rookies can't.
- In real-time mode, you should pretty much always dual-wield unless you can't afford (or can't get) the extra gun. Dual-wielding two-handed weapons in aimed mode ultimately gives a 0.7x modifier to agent inaccuracy (1.4*0.5), but single-wielding in snap mode - at the same rate of fire - gives a 1x modifier (i.e. strictly worse). Likewise, dual-wielding two-handed weapons in snap mode gives a 1.4x modifier, but single-wielding in auto mode gives 2x. However, because you get the two-handed penalty if either of your weapons is two-handed, you should generally give agents either two two-handed weapons or two one-handed weapons (not one of each).
- Because there's always a shot spread, anything you can do to cut down your cross-section (kneeling, crawling/prone, cover) will directly reduce how often you get hit. Since the first two also increase your own accuracy, they're critically important in a firefight and you should basically always be doing one of them unless you're moving or you need the elevated shooting position (to shoot over cover). The advantages of kneeling over prone are that a kneeling soldier can turn freely (a prone soldier has to get up to turn - not good in close quarters!) and that a kneeling soldier takes up less space (e.g. in a firing line) - but prone is better on the numbers in a long-range slugfest in open terrain (e.g. the upper floor of a Procreation Park, some Corporate HQ maps, much of the Alien Dimension)