User talk:Danial

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This is a place for me to explain each of my theories on the conversion of UFO:EU, a 2D isometric game, into the 3D realm. Each of the ideas explained here have been discussed in forums previously, but no conclusions were ever resolved, so I'll use this page for my own opinions. Discussion is welcome...



One of the more commonly disputed ideas is how tall X-COM units would be in real-life. As a start, I'll list the in-game heights:

Silacoid   10
Celatid    12
Cyberdisc  15
Sectoid    16
Snakeman   18
Zombie     18
Ethereal   20
Floater    21
Muton      21
Chryssalid 21
Reaper     23
Sectopod   23
Ceiling    24

Note that some floating units are effectively taller.

Now, the basis for my theory on unit heights is a standard house ceiling. The normal* height of a ceiling is 8ft, which in metric** is about 2.40m. Staight away you can see the similarity of 2.4 to 24 - a simple divider of 10. If you then use this to work out the height of, say, a Zombie, it would make it 1.8m, or 6ft. To me, this makes sense seeing as the Zombies are made of poisoned men, and an average man height is generally stated as 6ft.

The observant of you might have noticed that I left X-COM and civilians out of that list. I did this for a good reason. Here are their listed heights:

Tank     12
Civilian 21
Soldier  22

As you can see, if a ceiling is 2.4m high, this would make an X-COM soldier 2.2m tall! At first I couldn't understand these numbers, until one day it dawned on me that Aliens can't kneel in the game. This means that they can't gain the FA +15% kneeling modifier. So, it's my belief that to compensate the Aliens for this lack of ability, the makers simply made the humans taller, making them bigger targets, and hence, easier to hit. If you scale them down to 18, it makes the civilians 1.72cm tall and the tanks 98cm tall. Both of these results seem acceptable to me.

So in summary, if you want to convert the in-game heights to real-life:

Metric Meters = (Unit Height)/10
Imperial Feet = (Unit Height)/3

For Humans, divide again by 1.22 (22/18).

*Obviously ceilings can be any height the builder wants to make them, but 8ft is the standard.

**The makers were British.

Tile Size

It is generally assumed that 1 tile in-game is equal to 1m. I believe this is way too small. The only known fact is that in actual geometric terms, a tile, with a hypotenuse of 32px, can be derived to be 22.6px wide. In a thread on XCTC (now StrategyCore) several concepts were discussed:

  • 1m: The assumed 1m tile would lead to a wall height of 1.22m, or 4ft, which is simply rediculous.
  • 1.4m: Roughly derived from the animation walk-cycle, I don't believe this is a suitable reference.
  • 1.6m: Based off Line of Fire Templates.
  • 2.26m: Based off my div/10 formula above.

I believe that 2.26m is the best alternative, but I suppose it's all up to personal opinion as to which you adopt.

User Commentary

2.26m seems way, way too high a value for me. 2.4m sounds about right for the height of a tile, but with this sort of width doors would be nearly squares. Great big ones at that.

Each tile is made up of 12, 16x16 Line of Fire Templates, stacked one on top of the other. Assuming they're double stacked to create a 16x16x24 object (which makes sense given the maximum unit height of 23), the div/10 formula suggests that a tile is 1.6 meters square.

On the other hand, that result can easily be skewed up or down by assuming that one "height" value is not of the same real-world-measurement as one "width" value. The two don't have to be equal. The programmers likely stuck to multiples of eight for processing ease as opposed to realism, so mathematics applied to known game values probably won't always produce realistic measurements.

My personal hunch is that a tile is a meter wide and the isometric view just makes things look shorter then they really are. - Bomb Bloke 02:04, 5 November 2007 (PST)

I've always assumed a meter/yard squares. 8ft/2m40 sounds about right for height. Julian Gollop, the lead creator, is British, and our ceilings are indeed usually 8ft. Doors are 30 inches, 36 inches (3ft/1 yard) if you include the surround. Last Hussar 00:18 9 March 2011 (GMT)


As everyone knows (or should know), TUs equate to speed. This lead to to calculate the walking speeds of each unit in the game. I based my calculations off averages. An average X-COM Soldier has 65 TUs and the average human walking speed is 5 km/h, so if you multiply TUs by 5/65 (or 1/13), you get:

Unit                TUs   Speed
----                ---   -----
Chryssalid        110-124 8-10 km/h
Celatid            70-82  5-6 km/h
X-COM              50-80  4-6 km/h
Ethereal           68-79  5-6 km/h
Cyberdisc          62-72  5-6 km/h
Reaper             62-72  5-6 km/h
Sectopod           62-72  5-6 km/h
Floater Commander  60-70  5-5 km/h
Muton              56-65  4-5 km/h
Floater Leader     55-64  4-5 km/h
Sectoid            54-63  4-5 km/h
Snakeman Commander 45-63  3-5 km/h
Floater            50-58  4-4 km/h
Silacoid           40-47  3-4 km/h
Snakeman           40-47  3-4 km/h
Zombie             40-47  3-4 km/h

If you want running and sprinting speeds, just multiply by 3/13 or 5/13 respectively.

For those who like formulas:

Walking Speed = (Base TUs)/13
Running Speed = (Base TUs)*3/13
Sprinting Speed = (Base TUs)*5/13

Turn Length

This is probably the most controversial aspect of the game. To work out how long a turn actually is, two important things need to be known - Tile Size and Speed!

I'll use a Soldier with 80 TUs for my example, and a hypothetical 2m tile size.

We know that 80 TUs will allow the Soldier to cover 20 tiles per turn, which makes 40m in this case.

Based on my calculations above a Soldier of 80 TUs can move at 6km/h, or more precisely, 1.71m/s.

So, 40m at 1.71m/s = 23.4s

Results with varying tile sizes:

1.0m = 11.7s
1.4m = 16.4s
2.0m = 23.4s
2.3m = 26.5s

User Commentary

This assumes that X-Com soldiers walk around the battlefield (which it looks like from their animations.) However seeing as how they tend to run out of breath (energy) after 3-4 turns of continuous moving (and we have established that to be at most 2 minutes), it is much more likely they move in sprints. This gives us 8.5 m/s for a 80TU soldier, and 4.7 seconds per turn (let's make that 5 seconds, since this is all ballpark measurements). This is also explains why they can only fire 2-3 short bursts on any given turn. --A1s 21:13, 18 January 2011 (EST)

If, as I suspect, a square is a Yard (call it a meter for ease) that makes your example soldier speed 20m/5 sec. This is a speed of 14.4kmh- just shy of 9mph. This isn't a bad speed for a soldier; while olympic sprinters could make 50m in 5 seconds our men are not olympic sprinters, plus they have all their kit. If you've ever run in webbing you know the feeling of it bouncing around you, while your boots slow you down anyway. Additionally soldiers don't have the luxury of a 'tunnel vision' sprint, and have to be aware of surroundins. 5 seconds seems right, and you've done a lot of good work here, but I think you've over estimated the horizontal. I think we can explain away the speed of shooting with an assumption that single shots represent a number of single shots or bursts, where as auto is the flipping the selector to 'Full', and what we see is a representation of a number of bullets per 'streak'.Last Hussar 00:18 9 March 2011 (GMT)

You've done your homework here.

I think, in the end, there's one thing that will make or break any 3D version of X-com: a really bitchin' Heavy Plasma model.--Papa Legba 20:26, 19 December 2005 (PST)

   Made :) WurmD (talk) 18:03, 11 October 2014 (EDT)