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Losing the game through finances - currently it suggests you lose if you are over $1 million in debt twice in a row, my tests seems to suggest they dont mention it until you are around -$1 million (not sure of exact figure yet, -$500k was okay though in a few tests). Just over -$1.6 million i got a warning three times out of four, the other time I lost the game (in February, so you dont need two in a row). At -$2.6 I lost 4 times of 8, at -$16 million it was 3/6, -$536 million 2/4. Seems like a boundary condition of a million in debt, then 50/50 you lose each month you are over that.

Checked the boundary, its actually $1,000,001 dollars overdrawn at the start of the new month (after council funding in, maintenance out), and i lost 1 out of 2 on february with that much debt, so presuming still you lose 50% of the time if past the boundary.

Will update the page to reflect this.

--Sfnhltb 12:12, 2 March 2007 (PST)

Amitakartok: I've personally had the number of funding nations reduced to a lone holdout. This means that if you can lose by losing all countries, the only way to do it would be to lose every single nation on the funding council. Arrow Quivershaft 22:49, 18 January 2008 (PST)

Just to elaborate a bit, if you do a little editing in diplom.dat so that all the countries sign a pact at the end of the month, the game doesn't end. Losing all the countries (even if it is possible) isn't one of the ways to end the game. --Zombie 00:16, 19 January 2008 (PST)

Thank you for the response, Zombie; I'll edit that bit out of the main page. On a second note...I don't think the data about scoring is strictly accurate. I think that if you're running a deficit on your money and are below the amount the funding council likes, or have a bad score, it's not two consecutive months. It's simply that you have a 50% chance of being shut down. I say this because in prior games, I've had a poor score in a single month and got shut down at the end of the month. Similarly, I've run bad scores sometimes more than three months in a row and kept getting warnings about POSSIBLY getting shut down, but never actually do. I haven't tested this with money, but any insight into the situation? Arrow Quivershaft 00:21, 19 January 2008 (PST)

Well, I haven't done much editing to see what happens when funds are low. Sfnhltb did some tests on this (see top of this page) and his results seem to indicate a 50% chance your game will end if funds are below $1 million for even one month. So that basically backs up your observations. I would assume it also applies to score as well and there would be a 50% chance of getting shut down every month if your score falls below the skill-modified "bad" score level. --Zombie 00:50, 19 January 2008 (PST)

Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. Currently it says that if you run a bad score for two consecutive months, they make you close up, but as I've noted, that doesn't seem to be the case. You want the honors? Arrow Quivershaft 00:52, 19 January 2008 (PST)

Ok, I just did some testing on score right now and it brought back a flood of old memories. See, I did some tests on this long ago and noticed something strange. With a score of -2062 for one month, the game always starts by giving a warning. If you reload the game, it terminates the project. Reload again and the game gives a warning. Reload again and it terminates. So here is where the 50% chance comes into play. This would indicate the roll isn't random, it's predetermined since the result is structured.
Let's say you get a warning. Instead of loading the game, try aborting and then loading the game. The game only gives warnings now. See? Reloading the game without aborting plays a role in the result. But performing a fresh load always gives a warning and never terminates the project. So, I'll have to say the 50% deal only happens if you save a game and reload, the "true" result is that the game only gives a warning the first month. Confusing, eh? I'll have to test on the second month to see if the 2-month rule really applies. I bet it does. --Zombie 01:35, 19 January 2008 (PST)
Edit: the second bad month I had a score of -1663. Same deal as before. Initially it gives a warning, but if you reload the game without aborting it shuts you down. Therefore the 2-month rule doesn't apply either. Its a bug basically. An exploitable bug to be more specific. See the importance of thorough testing now? :O --Zombie 01:46, 19 January 2008 (PST)

Wow, quite a find! I barely have the knowledge base for hacking and can struggle through it, but yeah, that shows what tests can do. In any case, that's a ridiculously simple bug to be exploiting, considering the amount of time one month of gameplay can take after including all the missions; many people will save and reload at least a time or two unless they've set the whole day aside! This should be added to the Exploits page, then...again, you want the honors? Arrow Quivershaft 03:16, 19 January 2008 (PST)

If I don't get to it, feel free to add away, Arrow. BTW: I just did some more tests, this time with funds. Edited my base to have a ton of Mind/Grav Shields and 250 Scientists/Engineers, then knocked my kitty down to $0. At the start of the next month I would be -$9,968,000 in the hole - enough to be below the $2 million debt level. It works exactly the same way as score, if below the level you just get a warning that month. Reload the game after that and you face automatic termination. Reloading after that and you get the warning again. Of course, if you abort and load the game, you always get the warning first. Not sure if the debt level is -$2 million or -$1 million as Sfnhltb mentioned, so I'll need to run some more tests. Anyway, it's an exploitation plain and simple no matter which way you look at the issue. --Zombie 16:22, 20 January 2008 (PST)

Alien Scoring: details?

I was thinking about how aliens score and I had a bunch of unanswered questions...

  • Does being shot down count as "landed"?
  • Is there a time component for alien landing? Ie: Is it 2 points per instance an O becomes an X on the geoscape, or is it 2 points per 30 mins a ufo has landed? (or per some other unit of time?)
  • For abduction and harvest missions, what counts as "success"?
  • What's the maximum number of successes?
  • Is it only if the ufo flies off to space unmolested?
  • Is it each time it lands/takes off? (Ufos like to hop multiple times on those missions.)
  • Each time it lands, does it harvest multiple times, resulting in 30 x 4= 120 score if lands once but makes off with 4 cows?
  • When does it tick the score? On the act of landing, or the act of taking off, or on a certain time unit?
  • Does it count as success if a ufo is shot down but a squad is never sent in to clean it up? (Crash just expires.)

BTW I assume that a player can view the total alien score by looking at the alien activity graph in the graphs menu. (Someone confirm?)

My gut tells me that a ufo can be "successful" multiple times in a single mission. Plus they continue to score if crashed and that crashing is effectively the same as landing. I base this on my general observations of the graphs rather than real testing. Without some extra ways to score over and above Scoring#Alien Scoring (or a more complex way of using that table) a typical ufo would get 10 points (20 if it was lucky) in my games. It's normally shot down as soon as it slows down enough to be caught, then it's immediately salvaged. The actual result of alien scores is much much higher.

Ufos score quickly while flying, and still continue to gain score after I've shot it down. (They would score slowly at first with a big jump at the end as they left if the opposite were true.) Plus it seems as though they often get a lot of score even if I shoot one down and immediately land to clean it up. 1 point per 30mins + 2 points (per 30mins or not) would be negligible if they weren't getting some mission score on top.


A harvester ship on a harvest mission. It flies over China for 5 hours. Lands for 10 hours. Flies for 6 hours, lands in Japan for 7 hours. Takes off and is immediately shot down by an interceptor waiting for it. The wreckage lasts for 3 days before disappearing. No UFO Crash Recovery mission attempted. How much do the aliens score? I would guess: (5hrs/.5 x 1)+ 30 +(10hrs/.5 x 2) + (6hrs/.5 x1) + 30 + (7hrs/.5 x2) + 30 + (72hrs/.5 x 2) = 10 + 30 + 40 + 12 + 30 + 28 + 30 + 288 = 468 alien score

That seems high, way too high compared to actual. Cutting out the last variable (over half the total) is more reasonable. But I don't have a lot of data on that as I rarely leave a salvaged ufo, and always feel like I messed up if I have to. However I'm still pretty sure that a crashed ufo continues to tick the score. Maybe it goes to per day instead of per 30 mins? I don't know.

Anyone done any testing along these lines?

BTW I'm surprised that there isn't a wiki page for graphs, and alien scoring is barely mentioned across the whole site. It's a very important source of tactical information. I look at the aliens score every 12 hours or so to see if it's changed. If it has changed I can figure out where the aliens are and send in the planes. It effectively gives me world wide radar coverage long before I have HWDs, or even a 2nd base. --Brunpal 11:27, 5 August 2008 (PDT)

Does being shot down count as "landed"? Not only does it not count, the alien score per game-time half-hour (as reported in the graphs, which are completely accurate) for a shot-down UFO is 0.
For abduction and harvest missions, what counts as "success"? Same criterion as any other mission: the UFO disappears from the Geoscape on-schedule. Note that only an Avenger goes fast enough to even consider catching up to a UFO on a escape track, and obviously TerrorShips' normal escape is a terror site.
Ufos score quickly while flying, and still continue to gain score after I've shot it down. Because not all of them are shot down. In particular, the game starts with two UFOs at once, and only one of them is guaranteed to be working in your first bases' region of operations. So if you shoot down one UFO, that ufo is not scoring; the other one is. This gets really ugly if the other one isn't even in Interceptor range (it happens, although Base Nigeria means it doesn't happen a lot.) Things will get much clearer in-game once you have total-coverage hyperwave decoder detection.
However I'm still pretty sure that a crashed ufo continues to tick the score. Maybe it goes to per day instead of per 30 mins? I don't know. Mere confidence in categorical falsity doesn't make it so. Crashed UFOs do not tick up the score at all; furthermore, there is no special score tick for midnight (Skyranger just takes too long to get to a Siberia shootdown from Base Nigeria, so this was easy for me to test in vivo.) --Zaimoni 16:50, 5 August 2008 (CDT)
the game starts with two UFOs at once, and only one of them is guaranteed to be working in your first bases' region of operations. I'm aware of that. I'm not talking about the first day of the game, and I'm not simply forgetting to count one as you suggest. I also have total coverage with HWDs and seen the score behavior I describe above. (I have played xcom more than once in the many years I've had it.) I can also tell when the score has changed and when it has not changed so I know and can account for ufos and can discount undetected bases. (Score can't be flat with an alien base.) In different games I've seen the aliens score quickly in rapid jumps that isn't explained by 1 point per 30mins or 2points per 30mins while landed*. I do know how to read the graphs and I don't only look at total score. I break it down by region. I'm not going to miss another UFO in the same region as my main base with a HWD and 2 interceptors buzzing around looking for it. I'm certainly willing to accept that a crashed ufo is worth 0, but I've seen behavior in the score not explained by the known chart and not explained by undetected activity.
BTW *The 2 points while landed per 30 mins is not listed on Scoring#Alien Scoring.--Brunpal 20:55, 5 August 2008 (PDT)

Test results

I've discovered something while watching the score closely. A battleship on a harvest mission got points soon as the ufo took off. The landed ufo at 18:25 had 60 points in China at ~18:35 it took off and at 18:45 China had 90 points. It quickly flew off the Earth and maybe hit 1 or 2 half hour ticks. It may have scored an extra point or 2 world wide but wasn't able to see any measurable difference in the graph before OR after it left detection. It only landed the once. It got no extra points for landing, but did tick up points at 2 per 30mins while on the ground.

  • Therefore an alien harvest mission counts as success as it takes off. Leaving the geoscape doesn't matter at all for score. Hopefully I'll encounter a harvest mission where an ufo lands multiple times to test if it's the first or last time it takes off, or every time it takes off.--Brunpal 21:19, 6 August 2008 (PDT)
  • I had a single sectoid harvester on a harvest mission. It landed twice. Watching the score closely it scored 30 points each time it took off. If I forced it to take off early by sending a skyranger there and then immediately aborting mission, it still got 30 points as soon as it took off. Therefore a single ufo can succeed at a mission multiple times.Brunpal 19:51, 7 August 2008 (PDT)
  • Single terror ship on a terror mission. It did not land. I ignored it for the total 7 hours it was on Earth. World wide score ticked up a total of 14 points. (1 point per 30mins) It did not get any mission points which is the expected result.--Brunpal 11:36, 18 August 2008 (PDT)
A Terror Ship on a Terror Mission sometimes will not land if you shoot down the scouts before the Terror Ship(which will also read as on a Alien Terror mission). Instead, it will randomly wander around the map for a bit, but since it lacks a city to target, will do nothing, and eventually leave. Since it did not do its job(spit a bunch of aliens into a major population center), this would stand to reason it would not have accomplished its task and thus would not earn "Mission Completed!" points. (For reference, Terror Ships which have a city as a target will steam towards that city at maximum speed.) Arrow Quivershaft 11:41, 18 August 2008 (PDT)
The first TerrorShip (indexing 2/0) need not land even if you do not shoot it down, so it should not get mission points. --Zaimoni 10:08, 19 August 2008 (CDT)
Yup. I'm aware of that ufo behavior being normal. I'm just examining the effects on score. Nothing weird happened that's why I called it an "expected result".--Brunpal 15:03, 28 August 2008 (PDT)
  • Single snakeman large scout on a terror mission. It landed in remote area. I took a save as soon as it landed, and as it took off 6 hours later. Comparing alien.dat values it gained 33 points. Expected value is 24, not 33. (=6hrs/.5 x 2 points). Even if the ufo double counted the start and end blocks as landed and flying at the same time this doesn't account for 9 points. Watching the graph carefully every few seconds there was a jump in score as it took off so that's when it got the extra 9 points. Therefore unexplained increase in alien score has been found.
  • Same Ufo flew for an extra 5 hours and landed 2nd time for 6.5 hours. 46 points tallied in this time. Expected should be 10 points for flying and 26 while landed for 36 total. Something else is interesting about these numbers; If the ufo was landed for the full 11.5 hours instead of flying around looking for a spot to land it would have scored 46 points according to the known 2 points per 30 mins for landed ufos. Assuming I was a little slow on my reactions the first time, aliens scored a bonus 10 points for taking off both times. This is either a flat bonus of 10 points for a tiny terror mission succeeded or perhaps a revaluation of the time it spent flying as 100% landed.--Brunpal 14:52, 28 August 2008 (PDT)

Destroying Larger Craft and Skyranger Being Shot Down

Jasonred: In answer to your comments, this data is taken straight out of the executable. There is no practical way to destroy the larger UFOs. To ground a UFO(crash-land), you need to deal more than 50% of its HP in damage to it. To destroy it, you have to deal 100% or more of its HP in damage. This precludes X-COM from destroying the Supply Ship, the Terror Ship, and the Battleship(outside of glitched or hacked craft weapons). However, it IS possible, albeit incredibly unlikely, for X-COM to destroy the Harvester and Abductor with twin Fusion Ball Launchers. Craft weapons deal between 50% and 100% of their damage listed in the UFOpaedia. The FBL has 100% accuracy...if the first two FBs hit and deal minimum damage(115 each), they would deal 230 damage to the UFO...below the 250 needed to crash it. The next shot, both hit again, and if they do more than 270 damage, the UFO will be vaporized. So while you can destroy up to medium sized UFOs, its very unlikely you'll incinerate anything larger than a Large Scout.

As for shooting down the Skyranger, that can only happen if the game has been edited to allow the Skyranger to mount weapons(XComUtil does this). Then you can send it into battle and let it get shot down to your heart's content. Of course, you lose the same points if it's lost on a ground mission. The reason the Skyranger has "Shot down" points and the large UFOs have "Destroyed" points in the executable has very little to do with how feasible it is and a lot to do with preventing crashes and keeping the data reading code simple. Arrow Quivershaft 20:42, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Hmm... can you destroy those craft by assigning multiple craft armed with Fusion Ball Launchers at them? Assuming that you get simlutaneous hits?
As for the skyranger, it CAN get blown up, quite easily... just set your skyranger to Aggresive Attack... despite not having weapons, it will close in to point blank range, and will soon get shot down. Jasonred

The larger craft? No, because as soon as the UFO goes over 50% damage, it crash-lands. Shooting more guns at it will simply make it crash faster, since the faster you shoot, the faster you get above 50%, but you're still incapable of dealing out more than 460 damage in a single attack, which means you aren't able to breach that rather large gap between 49% damage and 100% damage. As for the Skyranger, in order for it to be able to intercept at all, a craft must have a hardpoint on it(even if no weapons are mounted.) A Skyranger in a default game can't even be sent to intercept a UFO, as it has no hardpoint. XComUtil will give the Skyranger a hardpoint by default, thus allowing it to intercept UFOs and shoot them down and get shot down. Arrow Quivershaft 21:34, 26 February 2009 (CST)

NO, you can always launch a skyranger to intercept a UFO. In fact, you SHOULD often do this, since it's better to start tailing it before it lands, rather than wait for it to land first. I just checked, you can definitely do so. The only problem is that just about any UFO can outrun your skyranger. As for the multiple aircraft, I was hoping that the UFO would start to crash land, and be hit by the Fusion Balls in mid-air. Similiar to how mounting 2 Fusion Ball Launchers instead of 1 will let you destroy a large scout instead of forcing it to crash land? Jasonred Jasonred 22:10, 26 February 2009 (CST)

I must concur that you can indeed "attack" a UFO with an unarmed Skyranger in the plain vanilla non-X-Comutil games. Back in my n00b days, I used to send them out against UFOs to soak up some damage to give the interceptors a fighting chance. They have more hitpoints than the Interceptor. Though since discovering that the fire rate vs. individual interceptor varies independently of the interceptor's range to the UFO (say if you had two engaging a UFO at the same time, one at aggressive firing range will get attacked a lot more frequently than one at cautious range), I'm beginning to wonder if they ever did split their attacks. Oh yeah the Skyranger's also the last ship you want in a dogfight, since it can't really keep up, but still... -NKF 23:15, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Yes... I wonder about this myself. Must check how much damage is received when I attack a battleship with 1 avenger, 2 avengers, 3 avengers, 4 avengers. In theory, 4 avengers kill a battleship in 1/4 the time taken by 1 avenger. Therefore, the battleship should only perform 1/4 TOTAL damage, compared to 1 avenger. Therefore, on average, 4 avengers should receive 1/16 damage EACH. It doesn't seem like that, to me. I suspect that the UFOs get to fire at all your ships at the same time. Cunning evil bastards. Can someone test this out for us? ... yes. Those skyrangers have a LOT of HP. Jasonred 23:35, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Just found this comment - I did indeed to the "1 Avenger, 2 Avenger, 3 Avengers, 4" test. Well sort of. I was seeing how long the Avengers take to get shot down, rather than how long the Avengers take to shoot the UFO down. Here's a link to the stuff.

Talk:UFO Interception#Survival Time of Multiple Attackers

It's not the most rigorous of tests but it's not totally sloppy either. YMMV, as they say. Spike 15:39, 9 August 2009 (EDT)

Stunning Civilians

"Yes Major, I've met some stunning civilians in my time... now where was I? Oh yes. Review of the advisability of the use Stun-type weapons on civilians in a terrorist-type situation, for their own protection, obviously. The fact that it hugely simplifies X-Com's tactical situation during the Op is just an added bonus, don'tcha know?".

It looks like when you stun civilians, you do not get the "Civilian is Saved" bonus, but neither do you get the "Civilian Killed by Aliens" penalty nor the "Civilian killed by X-Com" penalty.

"In conclusion, Major, it seems the Powers-That-Be would really prefer we just let the darned civvies wander about as they please, right in the middle of our Op! Outrageous! How can we be expected to save the world, working under conditions like this. I ask you!"

Spike 15:39, 9 August 2009 (EDT)

Captured aliens

Okay, I'm hereby challenging the "captured alien" points as they're written. In my game I have had five captures so far - a Reaper, a Floater Navigator, two Floater Engineers, and a Sectoid Leader. The Navigator and Engineers were in the same mission, so I don't know what I scored for those, but I scored 0 points for capturing the Reaper and 10 points for capturing the Sectoid Leader. This is in direct contradiction with the point values and explanation given. Magic9mushroom (talk) 03:02, 30 April 2016 (UTC)


I'm wondering if we should make a "Scoring (TFTD)" page. While the basic mechanics are the same, there's a few differences in numbers (among other things, the lose-the-game cutoff differs on high difficulties) and the Artefact Sites have new scoring mechanics.

Any opinions? Magic9mushroom (talk) 03:17, 7 May 2016 (UTC)

I vote to create the page as I think there are enough differences in scoring between the games to warrant it. --Zombie (talk) 03:59, 9 May 2016 (UTC)