User talk:Zaimoni

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"Welcome to Base Aleph-NULL in Nigeria. We managed to get the Prince of Darkness off of the base planning committee, so Aleph-NULL is a real base. Base Continuum near Tokyo has just started construction.

And ETA for the first pair of UFOs is 14:30 sharp."

The redeeming feature of putting the first base in Nigeria's nearly antipodal to Hawaii. Very good scummy Interceptor coverage for a single base. [Holes: Half of Australia, the entire Pacific Ocean, parts of Siberia and North America.] The second base completes scummy Interceptor coverage for all land masses of interest.

It's not like there shouldn't be an automatic alarm that goes off when UFO reports start coming in.

Zaimoni -- 9:11AM, 18 July 2006 (CDT)

Exercising The AI

UFO Flight Patterns

Encumbrance (Apocalypse)

Sketching Executing Aliens Efficiently

File:Zaimoni Strength vs. Throwing

Known Bugs (Apocalypse)

Zaimoni's Apocalypse Checklists

TU Threshold tables (Apocalypse)

Zaimoni's XCOM1 Editor

Blind Spots From First Principles

Things to remember to do at some point (when work schedule not haywire)

  • probability of MC plane graph (not sure whether to do this manually, or write C++ programs to automate)
  • suite of Python game editing scripts; basically, cover holes in ClarkWehyr and XcomUtil editors. Curses module doesn't exist in Windows port; looks like it targets ncurses, which has not been ported to either Windows or DOS.
    • Base layout: automatically handle radar detection from radars
    • Battlescape saves: help out the AI (turn 1 alien facing, ROUTES.DAT fixups), probably will have to integrate with XcomUtil. Need to research LOS more carefully first.
    • Advanced two-player hotseat (individual visibility support, allow aliens to fire alien weapons, working explosives).

Zaimoni -- 6:29PM, 19 Sept 2006 (CDT)

Some working notes on advanced swap

  • XcomUtil's default visibility hack is workable for the alien side (they're there first). Backup and restore SEEMAP.DAT to handle human visibility. [Done]
  • Need two backups for MISDATA.DAT: human and alien. Alien has all alien tech enabled. [Done.]
  • WGLOB.DAT probably can be automatically fixed when going from alien turn to human turn (backup when alien turn starts, then parse for changes and invert). [Done]
    • May want to do something about turn counters.
  • Autoclosing doors can be dealt with (it appears that whatever closes them in-game is silent). While it would be nice to parse the MCD files, a lookup table of indices by terrain type will work. [Done.]
  • UNITREF.DAT experience counters cannot be automatically fixed for XCOM (they are not incremented in alien turn mode). Theoretically, they should be patched for alien units "just in case" (We have other reasons for backing up UNITREF.DAT).
  • One of the StrategyCore posts mentioned that hacking a Stun Rod into a Chryssalid enabled the native melee attack. Need to check whether this gives the native attack speed (14 TU?)...if so, can automate this directly (leaving only grenades to deal with).
  • Grenades, Alien Grenades, and melee aliens can be enabled as follows (to automate, need an environment that can inject mouse events into XCOM)
    • "anchor" the shooting aliens using various current/recovery energy hack
    • end the turn, then quit.
    • backpatch energy/TU/facing-related values into non-melee aliens
    • or we could just do the lazy thing and directly emulate the exploding grenade.
  • If replacing XcomUtil's SWP function outright:
    • be sure not to repair damaged armor.
    • Fatal wounds can be handled properly ("wraith" problem is from not updating the UNITPOS.DAT entry). Remember to force the health of dead units to 0 to prevent the resurrection bug post-battle.

Note that my local copy of XcomUtil is patched to use COPY /Y ... rather than COPY ...; this prevents waiting for an interactive prompt in a batchfile. [Default behavior doesn't work right in Win2000.] I got this from some thread in the xcomufo forums.

The simpler parts will be implemented in Python.

Zaimoni -- 11:50PM, 16 April 2007 (CDT)

Testing plans: Doomed to Decline Prices in Apocalypse

...because they don't go up even when completely bought out. Results go into the corresponding XCOMUFO thread, I just don't want to forget what I'm doing.

I got suspicious while experimenting with Sunday Inventory Management. Nothing with a base price of 30 or less went up when I bought them out...a 0% rate of return on the fiat money I parked in them. The following didn't go up

  • vehicle autocannon ammunition (stayed at 5)
  • Lawpistol clips (stayed at 10)
  • M4000 ammunication (stayed at 20)
  • AP autocannon clips (stayed at 30)

Note that more expensive items (e.g., autocannon explosive clips) did twang upwards.

Zaimoni -- 14:58, 27 Jul 2007 (CDT)

Finally completed week 2. Vehicle autocannon ammunition and Lawpistol clips will be tested next; both prices did go down as expected, by 1.

  • Ahem...need to be more careful; lawpistol clips were not testable after all. Worse, I had an attack of perfectionism: it turns out that firing biochemists also fires soldiers.... Restart game, and contemplate command-line utility.

Zaimoni -- 10:13, 05 Aug 2007 (CDT)

Bungled a real-time game strategically (may restart), but did get in some testing.

  • Buying out an item that costs 30, does not cause a price increase. Doing the same for 40, does. Results were consistent for more extreme prices (in both directions). [Ended up doing a doctrine change, so restart. Two LAW pistols as backup for a personal autocannon works very nicely in RT. Too bad there's very little ammunition for LAW pistols.]
  • I was able to make smoke grenades go down from 30 to 29 by selling all of them. Likewise, 2100+ vehicle autocannon rounds appears to be a reliable way to drop the price from 5 to 4. Now, if these are truly irrecoverable....

Zaimoni -- 19:51, 14 Sep 2007 (CDT)

Tactical notes, Apocalypse

  • I use framestepping at 50% speed in hairy situations for real-time. This makes it possible to actually run from primed grenades, and occasionally dodge rockets and long-range fire.
  • 10 out of projects near the end of week 2, temporarily. (Stalled by needing an advanced biochemistry lab, really should consider a new base the instant an advanced biochemistry lab is constructable).
  • Jumping into empty space costs 0 TUs for non-flying units. Real-time is not so user-friendly. On the other hand, picking up objects appears to be free in real-time (but picking up live grenades doesn't stop them from detonating).
  • It is unclear whether the martial art of dodging incorrectly aimed large rockets is a skill, or supernatural. On the other hand, kneeling may be a somewhat reliable way of assuring that it takes two large rockets to die rather than one.
  • Real-time visibility updates appear to be closely related to full-second updates. Units with low reactions take more frames to see the same alien.
  • Turn-based TU calculation for shots: aimed is per reference. INT(aimed/2) to get snap shot TUs. INT(aimed/4) to get autofire TUs. Yes, this means an aimed shot of 7TUs will grant an autoshot of 1 TU. An important special case for the M-4000, moderately useful for the LAW pistol.
  • Early-game note: hovercars are much easier to hit than hoverbikes. Get over the ego trip and put the small Rendors on hoverbikes, at least until vehicle shields are researched.
  • Stun raids do not trigger promotions, even if soldiers involved would otherwise qualify.
  • Tired of dwarf maps when raiding the Cult of Sirius? There's a breakpoint at 20 X-COM Agents. 19 Agents or less gets you a 2x2 map just like 12 Agents, 20 Agents gets you a 3x2 map. This makes a disproportionate difference in how many Psiclones can be recovered. (Lower bound not verified, possibility of yet larger maps not verified.)
This seems to be the case with traditional semi-random maps like the cult temples or maybe the Recyclotorium. Fixed maps, which are frequent in this game, aren't affected. But to make things interesting, later in the game there may even be a massive alien drop that will generate a two fixed map mission (aka two slum maps or fixed apartment maps side by side for example). Alien population could be a factor. -NKF 22:39, 13 January 2009 (CST)
Actually, total population is a factor. I probably should do a proper save-scum screening; I just ran across a case where 20 Agents + 9 CoS resulted in a 2x2 map, so it seems that the threshold is actually 30. Also, the map randomization varies by at least one of corporation or building type (stun-raiding Marsec's Arms One starts at 1x3, not 2x2). -- Zaimoni 10:52, 17 Jan 2009 (CST)
  • Turn-based abuse: wall-running. Not all diagonal jumps that start can be completed; those that don't end up being a free move. SE/SW jumps thoroughly obstructed by a north wall end up being E/W moves. NE/SE jumps thoroughly obstructed by a W wall end up being N/S moves. Note that the reverse (NE/NW and north wall, NW/SW and west wall) are not obstructed at all.
  • Testing in hotseat mode suggests brainsuckers have problems with "unusual relative heights" in turn-based mode. (They have no need for attack controls; if they have at least 18MP and are no more than L1/Manhattan distance 1 they will athletically jump onto humans and hybrids. They do not jump onto androids.) In particular, launching from a 45° grade from below onto an agent kneeling on level ground is harmless to the agent. Not only that, the brainsucker will jump repeatedly until it has less than 18 MP.
  • Some early-game kits
    • base: Megapol armor, medikit, 2 frag grenades, 2 stun grenades. Deduct up to two grenades to reach a speed breakpoint. Note that real-time speeds are a multiple of 8 (they index how many 80ths of a square are covered when running in one frame); you'll look a bit faster in real-time than in turn-based. Haven't made up my mind what to use Marsec armor for.
    • Rifleman: Marsec machine gun. Two spare clips.
    • Disruptorman: light disruptor rather than machine gun.
    • Autocannon: need STR 50 to qualify. Start with one AP clip loaded, 1 spare AP clip, and 1 explosive clip. The RT version ideally is equipped with two identical pistols and 2 spare clips for those pistols. Start with LAW pistols, upgrade to plasma pistols when available.
    • LAWgunner: Real-time kit. A rifleman that both cannot be faster by losing grenades from his kit, and is not slowed by two LAW pistols with eight spare clips. The fastest average rate-of-fire kit in the early game. The analogous kit with plasma pistols would have four spare clips.

Zaimoni -- 22:06, 13 Jan 2009 (CDT)

Medium Scout Ambushing


So, the thought of directly covering the exit of a medium scout doesn't sound too good, for whatever reason. How about piling up on the side walls and getting some reaction shots that way?


XX /     \XX
RX |     |XR
 x |     |R
   |     |

Oh, wait...those obnoxious fake walls are causing problems. x cannot fire on the alien at o, but o not only can fire at the agent at x but actually prefers x to the agent at R that can return fire.