Talk:TFTD Strategy Guide

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General Comments

Thanks to everyone for their feedback on this comments page. When I get time I will try to update the main page with all the useful info. Or, anyone else, feel free to edit the main article. Cheers, Spike 14:26, 13 January 2011 (EST)

Starting Base Location

For a base location I would say that the mid Atlantic or Pacific might be better. Remember you are covering the oceans, not the land masses. M52nickerson 12:00, 28 September 2010 (EDT)

Thanks for the help on this, I'm really not sure what the right approach is. My thinking around the Med was that you want to be as close as possible to as many Zones as you can, because it's the Zones (countries) who control your funding. The same argument as would be used in picking an Enemy Unknown starting base location. So my objective in picking a location is not so much to maximise the sea area covered, but to maximise the number of Zones protected. I did try a couple of times placing my first base in the mid Atlantic, and not much happened. But maybe that was bad luck. Spike 16:08, 28 September 2010 (EDT)
I tend to place them close to the money. First usually goes in the Caribbean somewhere, the second somewhere near Japan, the third in the Mediterranean.
At some point I usually build a dedicated manufacturing base, a smilar science base, and sometimes a storage base too.4th Cuirassier 09:53, 11 January 2011 (EST)
I've redone a bit of the Funding page regarding the average starting values. The main problem with the US is that you really need 2 bases to cover it, 1 on the NW Pacific, the other on the Caribbean/Atlantic. The best places for starting bases seem to be the Indian and the South China Sea (SE of the Philippines). Hobbes 20:51, 11 January 2011 (EST)

My strategy involves the assumption that eventually I'll have 2 bases in the Atlantic, 3 in the Pacific, and 1 in the Indian (with Transmission Resolvers, there won't be many areas missed). Of those, the most profitable seem to be the West Pacific (hits E Asia and helps a bit with Australia) and the North Atlantic (US and Europe). Magic9mushroom 03:17, 6 February 2012 (EST)

Scientists or Extra Base?

I've pretty much decided in favour of Scientists, but for the record, here are both sides of the argument:

The quick-start procedure outlined in the article should give you about $1.7M of spare cash, $2.1M if you use an improved starting base layout or don't care about changing the standard layout.

The main two options for this money are:

  • Hire additional scientists. Probably the best strategy.
  • Build an additional base during the first month (wherever the Graphs show alien activity, or wherever there is Funding to be protected)

Adding a new base early can help you increase your intercept rate, which can give a big advantage to loot and research. It can also help to avoid negative score penalties that can place you in grave difficulty.

Ultimately, scientists win the game, by developing the technologies that will first resist, and then defeat, the alien menace. The faster you can acquire these technologies, the quicker the balance of power moves in your favour, and the more likely you are to survive and succeed.

For that reason, additional scientists is probably the best option.

On balance, it's probably better to build a second base from the proceeds of mission loot, rather than your starting cash. Apart from anything else, building a base can be done more or less any time of the month without major impact, whereas hiring scientists really should be done at the start of the month.

I am getting the impression that on the harder levels, more bases - but token ones with just surveillance - may be the way to go.
A base that consists of a hyperwave decoder, living quarters, stores, and an airlock, with a garrison of rookies, would presumably be unassailable because your guys would block out all the spawning spaces. 4th Cuirassier 09:56, 11 January 2011 (EST)
What good does it your cause if you can see the usos roaming around - if they are not in interception range the extra base just eats money. Scientists on the other hand enable you to raise your ability to deal with the threat. First better weapons to improve battlefield survivability then better detection, more better weapons and MC, better armor and better subs and finally the victory sequence. After you got your science built up you might start constructing your manufacturing base(air lock + storage + (sub pen), later living quarters,then storage, storage,storage,living quarters+workshop,... ) if the cash from the missions permits during January. Later start building a MC screening base. And much later interception bases around the globe. 3-4 bases are usually enough to provide all the storage, research and manufacturing space you need to play comfortably. Using 8 bases gives you more control and ease to respond to threats. It is possible to do with just one base. Furthermore I think I read somewhere that your base attracts uso activity to some degree (at least during Jan) which somewhat counters your need to raise the coverage. If you don't run too low on cash you won't be bothered by an early month or two without much activity. Just switch to manufacturing for profit (in your manufacturing base if set up already) and research happily away. Time works in your favor since you should have enough stuff from the first two assaults to keep your research team happy for a while and you only get stronger through research. --Tauon 16:14, 11 January 2011 (EST)
Well, one rational use for remote bases is interception of subs that land on the sea bed and hang about near those bases. If you send a Barracuda from (eg) the Gulf of Mexico to intercept a sub in (eg) the Sea of Japan, and the sub touches down while the B is en route, all the latter can do, when it arrives, is loiter until the sub takes off again. Usually it runs out of fuel before that happens. So you send a Triton instead, and you get an extra interception. 4th Cuirassier 13:27, 14 January 2011 (EST)
Listening outposts are very cheap and quite valuable in helping you coordinate your current and future operations. Of course, for these it's actually cheaper to use just an airlock and a sonar, and nothing else. Lose the base? 0 points for both sides are generated. Sell a sonic cannon or two and up goes the replacement in a month. Easily upgraded into intercept outposts which can then be expanded to other functions as necessary.
I know it's better to have some useful facility like labs or workshops - but those are functions that your first base already provides, and don't really need to be duplicated at all the other bases. Minimal facilities like the listening outpost broadens your net a bit and don't really cost a lot (money sorts itself out in time what with the deluge of sonic cannons!). And if it's in the same regional zone as one of your other bases, it adds an extra target for retaliation teams to pick from. -NKF 23:55, 11 January 2011 (EST)
If there aren't enough space on the Air-Lock/Sub Pens then the aliens will appear on other modules (cargo, etc.). That makes the whole thing even more dangerous since you won't have the advantage of the choke points. Hobbes 20:52, 11 January 2011 (EST)
Zombie's patented insta-win base defense setup by using up all the spawn nodes. Since your soldiers take precedence, they'll use up alien slots if there aren't enough X-COM slots to accommodate them. If you have enough soldiers to use up every single slot, you instantly win the mission after the first turn. You even get to keep all the weapons, which are still generated even if their owners aren't. -NKF 23:48, 11 January 2011 (EST)

I pick Extra Base, though if you're a beginner Scientists would be better. It boils down to money - an extra base will give you more money through additional interceptions and thus pay itself back, while barring manufacturing scientists will not - as such, extra bases and then scientists > scientists and then extra bases in overall speed. The exception is if you need better tech to win missions - then Scientists are better, since you don't get your loot unless you win. Magic9mushroom 03:22, 6 February 2012 (EST)

Alternative Start

Hi everyone, firstly, thanks for making such a comprehensive guide, there's a lot of work gone into this.

Just thought I'd share the tactics I employ when first starting (wasn't sure where to put this as it could conceivably fit into any section). As the limiting factor for expansion (whether building more bases/hiring more goons) is money, I usually try to have a steady stream of income first.

Firstly, instead of researching the PDS, I research Gauss Tech. The goal here is to get the Gauss Cannon (the craft weapon) which has the largest difference between manufacturing cost and sale value of any item in the game ($182,000 per uni manufactured, $211,000 sold for a total of $29,000 profit). You don't need to research the clip for each weapon until you get to the Heavy Gauss - researching the Heavy Gauss Clip unlocks the cannon.

I buy as many scientists as possible at the outset and sell the hydrojet cannon and torpedo launcher.

I do this to the detriment of researching anything else, even sonic weapons. I sell most of the stuff I get from downed subs and early terror missions (plenty of time for that later), so that I have at least $182,000 to build at least one Cannon. The 10 initial techs are set to work building Gauss cannons as soon as they become available and the profits are used to construct a second manufacturing base (2 x living quarters, 2 x general stores, 2 x workshops). The money eventually snowballs, so that when you have 100 techs manufacturing full time, you can produce and ungodly amount of cash.

This far outstrips anything the government funding can ever give you and gives you a bucket load of cash that you can then channel into a horde of scientists which can catch you up on your research in no time. Also, presto, you're pretty much set for money for the rest of the game.

This might not be so effective with the new patch as you don't need a lobsterman navigator for Magnetic Navigation tech. The option to research this earlier (and thereby get a transmission resolver) might now make this obsolete, but I'm testing it.

--Jezequel 19:15, 17 August 2012 (EDT)

Sub Interception

There is one difference in the Geoscape that really sets TFTD apart from UFO. I'm always able to happily get away with arming fleets of interceptors with Plasma beams and they were the bulk of my air defenses in UFO, but with the introduction of the otherwise utterly annoying sub 'depth' in TFTD, your Barracudas are going to be stumped frequently by enemy subs ducking down to depths that the Barracudas can't reach.

This makes Mantas and Hammerheads a nice mid-game topic to put emphasis on. Luckily, the sub construction topic is a byproduct of two of the most important technologies anyway, the Transmission Resolver and Mag Ion Armor. Probably be worth mentioning that you should keep a sample of the store item. -NKF 01:55, 29 September 2010 (EDT)

Great point, I will amend the suggestion to reflect that. In general TFTD is just much more challenging, I'm really getting in to it for that reason. Spike 09:20, 29 September 2010 (EDT)
I've never found the depth of enemy subs to be much of a problem. They almost always come up to a "shallow" depth at some point. If anything the speed of the USO's is the main reason to build a Manta or Hammerhead. I still just wait until I can build a couple of Leviathans. M52nickerson 20:21, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
It's a combination of the speed and depth that doubles the difficulty. If you do eventually catch up with the sub but it just happens to be at a deep depth, your Barracuda may just run out of fuel before the alien sub returns to shallow waters. It's not so bad if the Barracuda's home base is just nearby, but on those long cross-continent chases, it really does get frustrating. But I guess it does make the Manta useful, whereas in UFO you could easily skip the Firestorm in favour of using interceptors and Avengers. -NKF 06:14, 12 October 2010 (EDT)
Using only Barracudas seems to make it impossible to shoot down the Supply Ships since they will be out of reach due to their depth. But then you might want to wait for them to land instead of shooting them down. But if you are a bit tired of all those missions, then you'll need a Manta if you want to deal with the Supply Ships by shooting them. Hobbes 20:54, 11 January 2011 (EST)

Downing Very Small USOs

Instead of arming both Barracudas with DUPs in the beginning one might want to keep one armed with dual AJAX since a DUP hit destroys the smallest Subs. This is a real waste of easily earned early income and research material. Against anything up to Heavy Cruisers a single DUP armed Barracuda is sufficient and attacking anything larger is a gamble. Of course this messes up the picket ship strategy...--Tauon 18:13, 10 October 2010 (EDT)

Yes that's a good suggestion. It's worth considering it costs $600K/month to rent that Barracuda just to tackle Very Small USO Survey Ships though. But in the first month or two I think it's a good idea. As soon as I get a second base, I transfer the 2nd Barracuda there, and from that point on it makes sense to arm with dual DUP I think. Have you tested this with dual Ajax though? From the data tables on this website, I would expect dual Ajax automatically kills a Survey Ship (damage limit 60), since 2 Ajax = 60 to 120 total damage. If you've seen Survey Ships survive attack by dual Ajax regularly, that has some implications for how sub combat works. Anyway I'll have to try that, and also Ajax + Gas Cannon, which would be pretty much guaranteed to crash a Survey Ship rather than destroy it. Thanks! Spike 19:56, 10 October 2010 (EDT)
It worked for me in the majority of tiny uso intercepts. However I recall a case were it was destroyed. I guess one would have to go dual gas canon to be completely on the safe side. The single Ajax fires twice before one gets in gas canon range. However dual Ajax is usable against Cruisers(the craft which one will encounter most) as well and Gas Canon leaves the craft too open for return fire for my taste.--Tauon 09:53, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
So just to be clear, you routinely use dual Ajax against Very Small USOs (Survey Ships, containing one alien), and only rarely do they get destroyed? If so that's very interesting, because it suggests that the processing of whether the USO is crashed or destroyed occurs between the impact of the two torpedoes, even though appear to 'the naked eye' to be simultaneous impacts. Either that, or the damage values for Ajax or wrong, or the damage process is misunderstood. On the current understanding, it should be 50%-100% of base damage (60) per Ajax torpedo (average 75% = 45 damage). The threshold for crashing should be 50% of the Survey Ship's defence strength, 60 x 50% = 30. The threshold for being destroyed should be 100% of the Survey Ship's defence strength, 60 x 100% = 60. So even if two Ajax both did minimum damage, 2 x 60 x 50% = 60, they would always or very nearly always destroy the Survey Ship. So this is curious. On the other hand if you were using the 1 Ajax + 1 Gas Cannon combo to consistently crash Survey Ships, that's more understandable. Spike 11:40, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
Yes, I routinely use dual Ajax to deal with the Survey ships(1 alien, 1IBA,1MagNav,8AP). I do use the patch to switch the hulls in battlescape. I just run a small empirical test(new game,superhuman,prepare the Baracudas: 1 dual Ajax, 1Ajax&1GC, build large sonar) to see if I remembered right. Fast forward until I get the very small contact. Save. Intercept with Baracuda 1(dual Ajax). See what happens. Reload. Again. Out of the 10 times I went before I got bored. I downed it 10 times. 6 or 7 times with the first salvo The rest with the second. Then I repeated the cycle with Baracuda 2. I can confirm that usually one 1 Ajax hit is sufficient to down the Survey ship. Due to the inaccuracy one often needs to fire 2 or more. 2 Ajax are fired in aggressive attack mode before the GC gets to play. I managed to destroy the uso 1 time out of the 10 tries(3 Ajax and 1 GC shell fired).--Tauon 14:29, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
Well that is very strange. Thanks for doing those tests. At accuracy 70%, you would expect that 49% of dual Ajax salvoes would score 2 hits. For salvoes that hit at least once, in 70% of those salvoes there would be 2 hits. And as noted above, 2 Ajax hits should always destroy the Survey Ship. Yet your empirical data are nothing like that. You see destruction in only 10% of sorties using dual Ajax. This suggests either the listed damage for Ajax is wrong, or the listed damage capacity for Survey Ship is wrong. Or, worse, our understanding of the mechanics is wrong. Largely it's just assumed they are the same as Enemy Unknown air combat mechanics - maybe they are not. I think it's time we had a code dig to confirm what the USOPaedia says about USO stats and weapon stats. Spike 17:24, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
I couldn't find a Survey Ship I could catch but I did find a BattleShip that took 20 AJAX fired to bring it down. That matches ok to 20 x 60 x 70% = 840 damage vs 1400 x 50% = 700+ damage to crash a BattleShip. Maybe the damage capacity of the Survey Ship has been increased, to make it easier to crash it? Spike 18:12, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
Well, I run a more extensive test this morning using a different survey ship. There is some funny stuff happening.

Setup: dosversion 2.1,survey ship -escort battlescape hull swap patch, dye grenade patch; Baracuda armed with dual Ajax intercepts survey ship(very small contact, I checked it had only 1 occupant by retrieving it twice); number of intercepts:100

salvo 1 destroyeddownedhitmissedmissedmissedmissed
salvo 2 --destroyeddestroyeddownedhitmissed
salvo 3 -----destroyeddowned
# occurences270221617

If I calculate the expectation values for these events using the naive model they do not match up well. Not to mention that it should be impossible to hit the survey ship using dual Ajax without downing it. I would guess that there is some small deviation from the given Ajax damage value possible. And the game does not seem to check the second projectile if it got over the downing threshold with the first. Btw the 110 damage of the DUP seem to destroy it as expected. Since this value is close to the 100 destruction capacity I wonder if the deviation if it exists can be large enough to allow the rare downing of a survey ship with a single DUP.


Very interesting data. I've thought hard about how to fit this data. Superficially, the data above actually looks like only 1 Ajax missile launcher is being used. I don't think this is true. I think I can make most of the data fit, with a few slightly changed assumptions about craft combat mechanics.

  1. Salvos of the same missile type share the same "to-hit" roll. Both hit or both miss. This would predict a pattern of 30% miss on Salvo 1, 9% (of total) miss on Salvo 2, 0-1% (of total) miss on Salvo 3. This is a fairly close match for your data, especially if you take the initial 26% miss on Salvo 1 as a starting point and apply the same rules. We can be very sure this is true, because if the to-hit rolls were independent, we would see one or more hits in nearer to 91% of salvos, rather than around 70% of salvos - as was observed empirically in this data.
  2. As suspected, combat processing stops immediately whenever a 'crashed' or 'destroyed' condition occurs. For Ajax vs Survey Ship, this means the 2nd missile hit is irrelevant in 29/30 cases, because the USO is downed or destroyed 29/30 by the 1st missile. This is what makes this data look so similar to firing a single missile rather than dual missiles: the effect of the 2nd missile is masked in 29/30 cases.
  3. It's unclear whether damage is rolled seperately for each missile hit (gaussian), or if the same roll is used (linear). Because of the 'masking' effect, it's very hard to tell. Either scenario is compatible with the results seen vs larger USOs, because you have enough hits that it averages out before the craft is downed or destroyed.

The above explains the frequency of the typical case, "Ajax crashes Survey Ship", pretty well. On 70% of salvoes there is a hit (I believe it's always two hits in fact). The first hit is processed, and the Survey Ship is downed in 28/30 cases (out of 70%, ~= 65.33%), destroyed in 1/30 cases (~= 2.33%), hit but survives in 1/30 cases (~= 2.33%). The second hit is irrelevant in 29/30 cases (96.66%), as the USO is already downed or destroyed. If the first salvo missed entirely (30%), or the USO survived (1 in 30 of the other 70%), additional salvos proceed on the same basis.

So in 1 salvo in 30 the USO is destroyed, and in 1 salvo in 30 the USO is hit but keeps running. These are the outlying cases that are harder to explain.

The masking effect explains why the damage distribution appears linear (1 x d30), rather than gaussian (2 x d30). The damage is never, or almost never, cumulative, because only 1 time in 30 does processing proceed to the 2nd missile hit.

A key question is where the algorithm's exact boundaries lie. Are the 50% and 100% thresholds, for "crashed" and "destroyed", compared using "greater than" or "greater than or equal to"? Is integer rounding used, or integer truncation, or no rounding?

There are various ways of explaining the "destroyed" frequency. The observed "destroyed" frequency matches the scenario for a single launcher. This is simply because of the "masking" effect again. So, as noted above, the "destroyed" frequency is basically what would be predicted by a linear damage distribution of 1 missile hit.

The hard thing to explain is the "hit but survived" frequency. This also acts very much as it would for a single missile launcher. The problem is, regardless of whether damage distribution is gaussian (2 independent rolls) or linear (same roll used twice), it doesn't matter: the craft should always be destroyed by the second hit, since (we believe) the cumulative total can't be less than 60.

The only explanation I can see for the "hit but survived" frequency of 1 in 30 per salvo is the following

  1. there is some kind of "critical fail" rule at the low end of the range, something involving integer rounding or truncation, so that the frequency of it occuring is about 1 in (integer range of possible damage); eg 1 in 30 (or maybe 1 in 31) for a weapon with base damage = 60.
  2. distribution of damage on both missile hits is linear, i.e. the same roll is used for both hits, so they both suffer the "critical fail" at the same time
  3. a "critical fail" reduces the damage to consistently and significantly less than 25% of weapon base damage, most likely to zero
  4. alternatively, the "critical fail" or other low-end-integer result causes processing of the second missile hit to be aborted.

I don't really like the "critical fail" supposition because it creates an extra hypothesis to explain an anomaly. But without "critical fail" and a shared damage roll for both missile hits, I can't explain why the "hit but survived" rate is linear, and so closely matches the expected rate for a single missile launcher.

A good test for the "critical fail" hypothesis would be to use a weapon with a more powerful base damage, such as a DUP (110 vs 60). If "critical fail" is correct, there should be a similarly consistent, higher than expected, "hit but survived" rate, possibly 1 in 55 rather than 1 in 30, but not varying noticeably whether you have dual DUP or single DUP.

It would also be interesting to test single AJAX, and see if the "destroyed" and "hit but survived" rates change. For single missile launcher tests you want a Cannon as your second weapon, and use Cautious mode so you hold off outside cannon range.

A large number of tests with dual DUPs (55-110 damage each, 165 salvo average) vs an Escort or Cruiser (300 damage capacity) should be able to determine if the damage function of two weapons is linear or gaussian. Basically, 2nd salvo kills will be much more common if the distribution is linear, much less common if the distribution is gaussian.

The weirdness of the Survey Ship vs Ajax situation comes almost entirely from the fact that the Ajax base damage is exactly matched to the Survey Ship damage capacity, ie. both 60. But it's precisely because it's such a special case that it's able to shine light into the hidden game mechanics. It's a bit like a stroboscope or a spectrograph. A very useful experiment. Spike 16:55, 12 October 2010 (EDT)

Have the AJAX's true accuracy and damage been confirmed in the single case? It would seem prudent to do so before making hypotheses about the double case. On the original question of using AJAXs instead of DUP Heads... in the early game it is difficult to distinguish between the Escort and Cruiser, and you do not want to fight a Cruiser with AJAXs. Using one DUP Head to deal with Cruisers negates the whole point of using an AJAX (because the DUP Head will blow up Survey Ships), and you stand a higher chance of a Cruiser or Escort outrunning you before you can shoot it down due to the higher DPS and range of DUP Heads. It should also be noted that destroying a Survey Ship gives more points than shooting it down, even counting the recovery. Hence I think that dual-DUP is the best loadout until you get Sonic Oscillators (which should be as soon as possible). Magic9mushroom 03:39, 6 February 2012 (EST)
Using the knowledge that accuracy is reduced by the Very Small size of the Survey Ship (specifically, to 80% of normal, or 56% for the Ajax), that a salvo processes sequentially and that 50% damage exactly doesn't equal a downing (it's >50% to down, and exactly 100% to destroy), here's the expected probabilities from one salvo of Ajax against a Survey Ship:
1) At least one hit, downed. Probability (1-0.44*0.44)*29/31 = 75.44%.
2) At least one hit, destroyed (either by a hit that kills outright, or two hits the first of which fails to down it). Probability (1-0.44*0.44)*1/31 + 0.56*0.56*1/31 = 3.61%.
3) Exactly one hit, not downed (which means it can no longer be downed, since it's on 30 HP and will be destroyed by another shot). Probability 2*0.44*0.56*1/31 = 1.59%.
4) Both miss, try again next salvo with the same probabilities as this time. Probability 0.56*0.56 = 19.36%.
These don't seem too far off the table above, and 100 trials isn't a lot so a deviation of a few isn't impossible. A test with more wouldn't hurt, though. Magic9mushroom (talk) 07:40, 27 February 2020 (UTC)

Secondary base

I usually make my second base the manufacturing base.

Yes I agree that it makes sense to make the 2nd base a manufacturing base.Spike 12:27, 11 October 2010 (EDT)

If memory serves me right I usually start with an Sub-Pen(low cost, takes a long time to build), a large sonar(improved detection) and a Store(space where one can store stuff away in case of an attack on the main base) like this.

Base-TFTD-subpen1.gif Base-TFTD-subpen2.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-subpen3.gif Base-TFTD-subpen4.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-airlock.gif Base-TFTD-large sonar.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif

Normally one would add the living quarters south of the store next to be able to garrison the base. However if I recall right there is a chance for aliens spawning in the living quarters module - which would compromise your main defence line to be. So I usually add 2-3 more stores before I put down the living quarter. I use stores because these build fastest and a good defensive layout is unfortunately slow to develop. However it will take a few month before one has pillaged and sold enough stuff to hire a large bunch of technicians. Not to mention researched the stuff to build. Setting up the 100-150 scientists in the main base needed to research stuff at reasonable pace takes priority. And even on superhuman difficulty the aliens usually don't bother my second base before I got a garrison by mid to end February. Once the living quarter finishes I add a MC lab or two to help with the screening. Transmission resolver is next in the building queue. So this is the intermediate design.

Base-TFTD-subpen1.gif Base-TFTD-subpen2.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-subpen3.gif Base-TFTD-subpen4.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-airlock.gif Base-TFTD-large sonar.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-mclab.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif
Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-quarters.gif Base-TFTD-transmission.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif

Next add one more sub-pen living quarters and workshops as money permits, on one more store and replace the outdated sonar with a MC generator to reduce the number of base defences. The following final layout is not optimized for build time - I leave this as an exercise to the reader.

Base-TFTD-subpen1.gif Base-TFTD-subpen2.gif Base-TFTD-subpen1.gif Base-TFTD-subpen2.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-workshop.gif
Base-TFTD-subpen3.gif Base-TFTD-subpen4.gif Base-TFTD-subpen3.gif Base-TFTD-subpen4.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-stores.gif
Base-TFTD-airlock.gif Base-TFTD-mcgenerator.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-quarters.gif Base-TFTD-workshop.gif
Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-quarters.gif Base-TFTD-workshop.gif Base-TFTD-quarters.gif Base-TFTD-workshop.gif
Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-water.gif Base-TFTD-mclab.gif Base-TFTD-workshop.gif Base-TFTD-quarters.gif Base-TFTD-workshop.gif
Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-stores.gif Base-TFTD-quarters.gif Base-TFTD-transmission.gif Base-TFTD-quarters.gif Base-TFTD-workshop.gif

This layout allows to crank out those new subs fast or make tons of money. There is enough workspace for large projects and plenty of storage for the defence displacers and supplies. Only one should be needed. In any further base I build 3 sub-pens and add 3-4 pwt defences, a bombardment shield and more storage(the zrbite keeps piling up) and more mc labs for faster screening.

Excellent designs, I'd never got past the letter E shaped configuration or the spiral sperm configuration, so these are very helpful.
Is it feasible to build a base with no hangar and "defend" it with unarmed rookies who block all the spawning spaces? 4th Cuirassier 10:03, 11 January 2011 (EST)

Rushing MC

MC is undoubtedly the most powerful tactical advance - so powerful that some consider it cheating - at least if one uses MC chains.A highly skilled MC squad usually eliminates all combat casualties if used properly and allows the safe training of any soldier, maximizes loot(less unwanted destruction) and together with drills/tasers no ammunition is needed to safely kill large numbers of enemies. An it greatly helps during terror missions, night missions(alien scouts) and against lobsterman. Once the high MC strength soldiers(80+) have been identified by the lab it usually just takes just 1-2 month with lots of intercepts to max out the the MC skill(as far as combat is concerned). This enables them to control any alien on a whim. Secondary stats are increased as well while training. So in order to win easily one would want it as early as possible. Lets see how fast it is possible. Usually you will manage to obtain a reader in January. By the start of February the alien containment should store a live terrorist. This could result in an active lab by end of February. Spend the rest of February researching other stuff. In March research the MC reader. If you have run into tasoth by then you are lucky. If not but you know where a colony is located you are also fine. Just send a bunch of rookies to grab one (bring tasers(or TSL if you got them), flares and something to deal with tentaculats) and get the hell out of it as soon as you got it. If half the rookies die its still a win. Then research the tasoth and disruptor and you are ready to roll in April. If one is lacking a live terrorist for unlocking the MC lab - a live tentaculat provided by a base will do(Fire from your dropship at all other alies until one gets close enough to rush & stun it with tasers - pickup and throw/walk it into the dropship). Theoretically there should also be a reader somewhere but I don't know which aliens usually carries it.--Tauon 16:28, 11 October 2010 (EDT)

If you rush MC in this way don't you trigger the tech tree bug by researching a live alien too early? 4th Cuirassier 10:05, 11 January 2011 (EST)

As long as you have a MC reader in storage when you finish the research of the MC lab there is no problem and one usually captures one rather early. According to the bug avoidance guide it should be fixed in the 2.1 patch. --Tauon 15:32, 11 January 2011 (EST)

The problem isn't the M.C. Reader bug. The problem is that to get the M.C. Lab that early you have to research a Deep One before you have the other prereqs for Ion Armour, and that once you've researched one Deep One you won't be able to capture any more of them (the game thinks you have nothing more to learn from them and will avoid putting them in containment to "save space"). The obvious way around this is to simply capture two Deep Ones at the first terror site, since you can still research already-captured aliens. Magic9mushroom (talk) 02:59, 19 April 2020 (UTC)

Battlescape tactics discussion

Battlefield Illumination

Chemical flare vs Incendiary ammunition during night missions: In UFO it is really easy to get along with setting half a battlescape on fire for lighting using incendiary ammunition. This has the additional benefit of dealing fire damage to aliens. However in TftD most battles are underwater where the tiles contain hardly any combustible stuff and the lighting is off the turn after firing making this method of lighting rather cumbersome. I usually find it more practical to pack 4-6 chemical flares and reuse them by picking them up and throwing them again. If two are used in alternation one can can cover one direction pretty well.

Why not just buy 20 or so flares? They cost and weigh basically nothing. That way you don't have to worry about re-use so much. Magic9mushroom 03:43, 6 February 2012 (EST)
I'd buy 20, but taking 20 or so flares into combat does use up a big chunk of your item limit if your weapon setup consist of lots of low-ammo weapons. It's made worse if you also get into the habit of arming each aquanaut with a medikit! A good system where a few flares are used efficiently is generally more than sufficient. Of course, you can also go the best of both worlds and just bring enough to arm each aquanaut with one and recycle as you go along. NKF 05:12, 6 February 2012 (EST)
Well, this comes back to the whole Gauss vs. Sonic thing. If you're using Gauss Rifles, you need at least 2 reloads on long missions and your item limit gets eaten alive. With a Sonic Pistol you only need 1, and you often won't even need that if you brought a drill. It also depends on the rest of your loadout - using Coelacanths or Displacers cuts down on item use significantly, and you need them anyway on any mission with Tentaculats.
If you take a Triton with 1 Displacer, and use Sonic weaponry, each soldier can have a Sonic weapon (Pistol or Cannon), two clips, a Vibroblade, a Medi-Kit, two electroflares, and still have room for a Sonic Pulser. Magic9mushroom 05:26, 6 February 2012 (EST)

Sniper tactics

I usually support my swipe teams(consisting of a front squad(lightly armed expendable spotters) and a rear team (heavily armed shooters)) by 1-3 snipers which take care of anything which survives the shooter fire. With the advent of magnetic armor I usually set one up on top of the triton until I find a better location(large hill, top of building, tower ...).

Initial facility built

I would consider building an additional lab right away - its construction takes 26 days and you might want to raise the scientist number to 75 by begin of February if you can afford it. 100 during February as soon as you can afford them and after accommodation has been provided. This is possible if you delay the sub pen relocation (400k) until the first uso assault. This should enable you to get the crucial techs sooner.

Initial research

I'm don't think that the PDS is the best initial choice. The economic benefit is not that large. Lets have a looks at the numbers: It costs 180 scientist days to research. The 10 initial scientists reduce this by 30 before the 15 newly hired ones join them. The remaining 150 keep 25 scientists about 6 days busy. So you would expect the research to be finished around the 10th. That leaves the 10 techies with 20 days to make money. 20*10*24=4800 T hours. Since it takes 220 T hours to produce one unit about 22 get produced. These yield (45,600-34,000)*22=255,200 profit. Thats about 1 IBA or 2 Sonic weapons or 17 pulsers. It can buy 4-5 scientists. And the tactical benefit is negligible. Lets say we start the gauss sequence right away- with (50+100+60) we get an operational gauss pistol 1-3 days after the estimated completion day of the PDS. And since we can start producing it as soon as the pistol research finishes (Jan 9th) we can field gauss pistols by about Jan 15th maybe a bit earlier. That helps on the battlefield until we finish with the sonic research and have collected enough ammunition to make using the pistol practical. And it can also be manufactured for a small profit. After this we have 4 paths we could follow(I assume that we got a mission in the meantime): -continue to gauss rifle(300+150) -start sonic pistol(600+400) -start mag nav for trans resolver(450+670) -start sonic pulser(200)

Of course if one gets a uso on Jan 1st it might be tempting to switch right away. Although a gillman escort night mission(superhuman) at a that time can be challenging but beneficial(~1M extra cash).

The reason for the PDS is that it's better than Medi-Kits if you're planning to skip Gauss, and it's quite possible to get your hands on a Sonic weapon before it finishes. If you're not planning to skip Gauss, then sure, Gauss should be researched ASAP, but the whole point of initial-researching the PDS is to skip Gauss. Me, I find that GC-HE plus Thermal Taser is often enough for those first few Alien Subs. (I also go for a second base before heavy investment in scientists, so I can't get the Gauss Rifle Clip researched early enough to have full deployment for the first terror wave anyway.)
Also, signing your contributions would be appreciated, whoever you are. Magic9mushroom 03:53, 6 February 2012 (EST)
I'm more inclined to agree with the OP in this section. The only advantage the PDS has over either the pistol or the Medi-Kit is ~$10/hr more if you are manufacturing it solely for profit. Tactical benefit there is no question. If you're HE-happy like the strategy guide is suggesting (which I'm definitely all for!), I'd almost certainly go for the Medi-Kit instead. Low-accuracy rookies like to leave themselves and their friends with a few fatal wounds, and saving just one aquanaut life would take almost 4000 engineer-hours (~16 days with the starting 10) to make up for money-wise with the PDS approach. Of course, I guess it depends heavily on play style in battles. If you aren't liberal with HE rounds Medi-Kits might actually be even more useless than a PDS, as no one is going to survive a hit from a sonic weapon without armor.
Personally, I don't see 'skipping gauss weapons' as a binary proposition. I typicaly go for the pistol as the first research, and then don't go back to gauss until I have nothing better to do than head towards the craft cannon, if I even ever do. The reason I go gauss pistol first is you can get it on average 30 scientist days before the PDS, which will probably translate to 1-2 actual days earlier, meaning you can put your engineers to work earlier. For each day earlier you are manufacturing pistols you get almost $10,000, which translates to 4-9 days that the gauss pistol is actually economically superior to the PDS. And I do find them quite useful for the poor rookies who have to breach sub doors, as if an alien is facing you such that you can't run up and taze, the pistol gives you a much better chance of survival, again any saved aquanaut eating another ~16 days off of the hypothetical benefits of the PDS.
Of course, this is an entirely subjective strategy guide, and I'm just throwing my equally subjective 2 cents out there.
--Jewcifer 17:31, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
I'm quite convinced by these economic arguments. I had not considered the economic cost of casualties and fatalities that could be avoided either by Medi-Kits, or better short range weapons (Gauss Pistol). Nor the fact that earlier Gauss Pistol production is worth $10K/day during the few extra days you can be producing it. I still think, over the long term, the PDS being about 20% more profitable is very important, especially once you get a lot more engineers working. In the short term however I see the arguments in favour of Medi-Kit or Gauss. Spike 07:16, 21 September 2012 (EDT)

Initial weapon purchase

I usually keep 2-4 harpoon rifles for uso close quarter assaults until I get gauss or sonic. A close quarter autoshot is usually more effective then a single GC AP shot. Which means fewer GC on the buy list. For the first 1-2 month one wants to keep one craft armed with dual Ajay thus only 1 DUP launcher needs to be purchased.

Thing is, at long range the GC-HE is clearly better due to the higher effective accuracy and therefore damage, and at point-blank the Thermal Taser is better. The window for the inaccurate and slow Harpoon auto-shot is only about from the close-range limit of GC-HE (about 6 squares) to the 1-2 at which you can charge with a Taser. Magic9mushroom 04:04, 6 February 2012 (EST)

Really helpful page

Well done folks.

I played TFTD to the point of lunacy in '95 to '96 and only stopped when my PC became incompatible. I successfully played through to the end first time and somehow dodged all the bugs. Never managed to do that since. Just downloaded it from Steam and it's addictive again.

Pleased to see I arrived at the same ideas re base layout. Mine are usually shaped like a letter E or like a sperm, i.e. one pen for building subs and everything else strung out in a single spiral line. I once had an exhausting firefight on a ship followed by a terror raid. I sent the wounded to my Hawaii base to recuperate. They were then attacked, and those who'd recovered from wounds had only legacy weapons to fight with. Nonetheless the easily-defended spiral layout saved them.

I'm interested in the economic analysis. I usually churn out medikits because they require nil resources and generate nice money from right away. I hadn't noticed the PDS was that good.

I have some suggestions for the battlefield tactics section. When an alien is stunned or wounded, I usually send a guy to stand over him, who unloads and throws his weapon away. This ensures that if the alien revives he is harmless.

Well I would check the rank of the wounded, stunned alien - if it is not needed for research and I got Medikits I would wake it and shoot it for extra exp. If it is too dangerous (Lobster, tentaculat, Bio-drone) I would plant a grenade or shoot the ground with HE in order to ensure the sleeping beauty won't wake behind your lines. If research critical try to make sure it is in a region with smoke(not sure if it works, try droping a dye grenade). If there is a lot of loot on the ground there might be occasions where it is simpler/faster to move the alien instead of the loot. --Tauon 14:40, 11 January 2011 (EST)

When I get MC over an alien I always have him shoot any nearby aliens and then throw his weapon away. If I have groups under MC then I have them all stand at one end of the battlescape while my guys form a firing squad at the other. I then "execute" them with long range fire, which is a safe way to improve combat stats.

Having an alien throw its weapon away is fine but unless you are really hard pressed or the situation calls for it always let your soldiers do the shooting and killing - no wasting of valuable exp. Also when you are so good at MC that you can move the aliens at will have them throw their guns away and move them next to your soldiers to ensure a hit next turn. If you are really into exp training use weak weapons to ensure you you get more hits in before your target dies autofire with gauss pistol/dart gun on lobsters works fine. MC again if still alive and and you are done shooting for the turn. Make sure that they are dead and if not use a medikit to wake them to finish the job. Make sure that the side with the highest remaining armor points is targeted to get most out of your target.
An exception to the above are hostiles with built in long range weapons(Deep one,Bio drone,Xarquid,Triscene) which can not be fired upon without fear of reaction fire normally. Finish those from outside their sight range.
And unfortunately the AI does not seem to be able to have Aliens pick up weapons from the ground. So once they are gone they are gone for good. But unless stunned and woken up you can never sure if there is not a pulser left. --Tauon 09:37, 11 January 2011 (EST)
Thanks for details. Yes if time permits I usually disarm the buggers altogether, including guys on my own side whom I've had to stun. Those guys I leave with their grenades - I don't think I've ever seen an MC-controlled aquanaut use one.4th Cuirassier 10:10, 11 January 2011 (EST)
As long as the grenade is on the MC controlled aquanaut it will use it(Had entire reserves in my Triton killed by MC controlled guys) and pull out any other usable item which the AI can handle as well, I think it will even load any gun if suitable ammo is on the guy. If you want MC susceptible guys to contribute to the fight arm them with a Thermal Taser or later on a drill - the AI can't handle those. Or give it a MC reader or an unloaded DPL launcher(standing over the ammo enables loading and firing it on the same turn).--Tauon 14:40, 11 January 2011 (EST)

DPLs are best fired on a mortar type of trajectory as this minimises the number of turns you need to make and normally means you can plant the missile in the middle of a target group. I also use DPLs to make holes in the sides of alien bases which I then "rinse" by firing more DPL rounds through the hole.

If confronted with an alien base early in the game when your weapons are rubbish, one option is a raid rather than an assault. That is, you go in the top level and get all the guys onto the lift, then quit the game. You thus get to the next level even if the aliens aren't all dead. From there you do the same underground. In this way you can destroy the control centre without having to kill every one of 50-odd aliens (which is usually impossible with jet harpoons anyway). 4th Cuirassier 09:10, 10 January 2011 (EST)

Why would one want to do that - it does not hurt that much to keep the alien base around - the negative score is not that large and there is no time limit for dealing with it. If it is close to your base it allows you to assault the supply ships which is more then enough to tilt the balance in your favor. And it attracts more usos which you can assault and retrieve to fuel your war effort (Exp- and cash-wise). Furthermore you won't need to capture a lobster commander that early.Heck it is usually much easier to wait for a lobsterman dreadnaught and get all the lobster captives you need(1 navigator, 1 commander) from there or from a lobster assault on your base.Only if the lobsters fail to show up and you have already researched everything else I would go looking for them over there. If you are desperate for cash just clear the first level and bag everything you can grab before retreating and repeating if necessary. The only reason which could make me assault a alien base early(before I feel ready) is a grab and run mission for a certain research item or a personal rule where I have to assault and destroy a base as soon as it shows up. --Tauon 14:40, 11 January 2011 (EST)
AIUI the longer an alien base is allowed to hang around unmolested, the likelier the country or countries in the area are to secede and join the aliens.4th Cuirassier 13:32, 14 January 2011 (EST)
The reason that happens is because each base generates 5 area activity points a day. That's a total of 150 - 155 points every month, or 140-145 in February. If the alien area activity points are greater than the X-Com activity points by the end of the month, then the nearby funding groups are displeased and may withdraw funding. This often happens if the colony is ignored. If you compensate for this and keep the X-Com activity points higher, the countries stay happy. This is often accomplished by successfully capturing every month at least one of the colony supply cruisers that dock with the base. -NKF 13:58, 14 January 2011 (EST)
Aha, thank you. I was wondering how that worked. How on earth did people dig up this level of detail? 4th Cuirassier 09:19, 17 January 2011 (EST)
There's actually no need to toss weapons away if the alien has been stunned. Unlike Apocalypse where equipment stays on an unconscious alien until it is physically 'picked up' in the inventory screen, all equipment is automatically dropped to the ground the moment a unit is stunned in UFO and TFTD. Therefore as long as they were knocked down, then they will wake up unarmed. Except lobstermen, which I must say are quite dangerous to stand over or pick up! -NKF 23:26, 10 January 2011 (EST)
I usually toss them away to be sure the alien, if it wakes up, can't simply pick up its gun and rejoin the fight. I tend to assume it would do this if its gun were still there but I've never been able to test this.
Also I usually unload any unused magazines, as they're lost otherwise.
The version I'm playing seems to have the difficulty level bug fixed. I wonder if we should say something somewhere about what difference the difficulty level makes. I haven't noticed any difficulty in combat between easy and the hard level I'm now playing on. I have noticed that I detect many fewer USOs - they practically have to fly right overhead to be picked up. When I pursue them they almost always escape. They don't hang around on the seabed for very long and terror raiders don't hang around either. Countries seem much quicker to reduce funding and one defeat - such as not reaching a terror site - basically loses you the campaign. This is a subjective list based on comparing my current game to the last time I played, which must have been in about 2002 judging by my posts to Usenet.4th Cuirassier 06:04, 11 January 2011 (EST)

Names etc

I tag each aquanaut's name with which batch of recruits he was part of. All aquanauts recruited before the first mission are batch 1. It is unusual for more than 1 or 2 of these to survive to the end of the game.

The list of names that I am currently drawing on is as follows:

Adam Bomm, Adam Zappel, Al Beano, Andy Freese, Art Major, Barry Cade, Beau Tye, Ben Dover, Biff Wellington, Bill Board, Chris P. Bacon, Cliff Topp, Cory Ander, Craven Moorehead, Dan D. Lyons, Dan Druff, Dan Saul Knight, Dick Burns, Dick Hertz, Don Key, Doug Graves, Doug Hole, Doug Witherspoon, Duane Pipe, Dusty Rhodes, Earl Lee Riser, Easton West, Evan Keel, Gene Poole, Gerry Bilder, Ginger Rayell, Herb Alti, Howie Doohan, Hugh Jass, Hugh Jorgan, Ivor Nereckschun, Jack Gough, Jack Haas, Jack Hammer, Jack Knoff, Jed Dye, Jerry Atrick, Jim Shorts, Joe Kerr, Justin Case, Justin Casey-Howells, Kerry Siehn, Kent C. Strait, Lance Boyle, Lee King, Les Hassall, Lou Pole, Luke Warm, Mark de Cards, Manny Kinn, Marshall Law, Matt Tress, Mike Hunt, Mike Raffone, Mike Rotch, Nat Sass, Neil Down, Nick O’Time, Noah Lott, Oliver Suddon, Otto Graf, Owen Bigg, Owen Cash, Page Turner, Parker Carr, Pat Hiscock, Pete Moss, Phil Bowles, Phil Graves, Phil Updegrave, Pierce Deere, Piers Dorgan, Ray Gunn, Rayner Schein, Rich Feller, Rick O'Shea, Rick Shaw, Robin Banks, Rocky Rhodes, Rocky Shaw, Russell Paper, Rusty Steele, Sawyer B. Hind, Sandy Beech, Seymour Bush, Sonny Day, Stan Still, Tad Pohl, Tim Burr, Tommy Gunn, Tommy Hawk, Warren Peace, Willie Stroker, Ziggy Retpaper.

4th Cuirassier 10:15, 11 January 2011 (EST)

Why should I replace one impractical set of names with another. My recruits get their names erased and replaced by one letter coding the base, a serial number(three digits should do) followed by a string of letters coding their expertise in critical stats. When the time comes I add a number at the end showing their MC strength. Sometimes I add plus and minus signs to note good recruits and candidates for sacking/sacrifice, MC weaklings also get a note in their name. A typical name would be A 003 TbRfH 85+ or C 096 C -- or F 001 TBRFH -MC. For the coding letters a use a system similar to that in the FAQ/walkthrough.--Tauon 14:58, 11 January 2011 (EST)

Setting the difficulty level

I've added the above section at the top as I have now finally acquired a patched version of the game in which the higher difficulty levels are playable.

I think I have summarised the implications of high / low difficulty but if not please correct, anybody. 4th Cuirassier 09:47, 17 January 2011 (EST)

I think not the effectiveness of the weapons is changed but the aliens simply have more health on higher settings. That results in the observed results.

--Tauon 13:31, 17 January 2011 (EST)

That may very well be correct, as it would also result in the buggers being harder to kill. Over to you if you wish to correct it.4th Cuirassier 13:52, 17 January 2011 (EST)
I seem to recall that the revert-to-beginner bug was only a UFO bug? TFTD never had this, though some players used to complain that it felt like it always reverted to superhuman. I don't think that was that case, but I can't blame them for thinking that way!
UFO's Difficulty Levels page might of some assistance, as TFTD shares a number of its predecessor's traits. Just be mindful that the TFTD Superhuman level multiplier is 6 instead of a 4. The bit about how difficulty alters the severity of what counts as a 'bad' monthly rating backs up the point about it being much harder to keep the countries pleased on higher levels.
Alien Stats (TFTD) shows how difficulty affects the stats. One difference from UFO is how the armour scales up with difficulty. In UFO it just got halved on beginner and was normal the rest of the time. So in addition to more health, they get a bit more damage reduction.
There was one other change that difficulty might have, but I can't back it up with anything to prove it is or isn't. Frequency of smaller enemy subs breaking off from combat feels higher on the harder levels. -NKF 06:26, 18 January 2011 (EST)
Great info which I hadn't found. Maybe we should just link to that. In summary it seems that enemy troops shoot more accurately, as well as being harder to kill. I've noticed smaller subs being harder to intercept too.4th Cuirassier 09:49, 18 January 2011 (EST)

Battlescape collateral damage

Discussing UFO with a mate back in '94, he reckoned that when fighting battles it was inadvisable to blow the bejasus out of the landscape because this made you unpopular with the country you did it in.

Having played the game a lot since then I don't think this is true. The mission score says nothing about points deductions for shooting up the neighborhood. When defending your bases, although it's never happened, I gather that if you do excessive damage to a module it gets deleted from the base map. Are points also deducted in the end of mission summary when this happens? Or is losing a base module its own penalty?4th Cuirassier 13:57, 26 January 2011 (EST)

Collateral damage is only a problem in X-COM Apocalypse, in UFO and TFTD you can destroy terrain as much as you want.
For bases, the only loss is the use of the facility - and every other facility that was dependent on that facility to connect them to the access lift/airlock. There are no monetary penalties or loss in area activity points for it.
Oddly enough, the contents of any of the destroyed facilities will remain intact. So you could get into situations where you have a couple dozen staff with no beds, three ships sharing one hangar or pen, no stores but still having tons of equipment on hand, etc. Aliens in containment will also remain. Research or manufacture projects that were live at the time will have their progress halted. -NKF 00:36, 27 January 2011 (EST)

Downing USOs over land

Is there any advantage to doing this, assuming you don't need any techs or kit? ISTR that you lose points if you down a submarine and don't retrieve it, but is that "lose" in the sense of "don't gain", or is there an actual game penalty? - meaning it would then be worth ensuring those's no USO wreck you could have retrieved but didn't? 4th Cuirassier 15:53, 26 January 2011 (EST)

Wrecks have no penalty for letting them vanish over time. You have the initial shoot-down score (doubled if the ship was vapourised). Abandoning the wreck just means you forgo whatever you can can normally earn - or lose - from the mission.
Also TFTD won't let you shoot down enemy subs over land. However I think are a few tricky joins in the map polygons where you can shoot down ships over land. -NKF 00:46, 27 January 2011 (EST)
Thanks for info, you're right - I am probably thinking of U:EU, where you could shoot UFOs down into the sea, including when you didn't want to. 4th Cuirassier 08:18, 28 January 2011 (EST)

Guide Update

Recently replayed the game and found this guide to be generally great!

I would like to recommend my own addition, which has been a key in finishing the game both leisurely—an achievement in a game like XCOM:TFTD—and systematically (read: more than once). I have ceremoniously dubbed it ALIEN SUPPLY WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION PROGRAM—which probably means another name is necessary.

Key concepts:

  • Raiding intact touchdown Fleet Supply Cruisers on an Alien Colony is one of the most lucrative forms of early, high-volume, steady and relatively safe income in the game
  • Each successful raid nets you around $4-5M (depending if you keep/sell Zrbite and Sonic weaponry). By comparison, total funding from ALL countries/corporations averages around $8M per month in the beginning if performance rating is 'Excellent'. Given colony supply missions happen 2-4 times per month (per colony), you could more than triple your monthly income ...
  • Raids are easy to perform since crews consist of weak Gillmen and only one of them carries a DPL. They become trivial once you're MC-strong.
  • The same concepts above apply for Score, which in turn affects your funding, and your ability to abort Ship Rescue Missions with impunity (!). Three birds, one stone.
  • Blends with strategy-oriented research: you don't have to divert efforts into Gauss weaponry for Gauss Cannon manufacture profiteering (which, however, is the highest-profit, lowest-risk source of money in the game)

This strategy can be capitalized by doing the following:

  • Research Magnetic Navigation → Transmission Resolver ASAP: ideally wait for USOs to touchdown to maximize chances of finding an intact MagNav module
  • Sell all Sonic weaponry from your usual missions. They will be your main source of income in the early game.
  • Use funds to set up a web of 6-7 bases with TR installations all around the globe maximizing ocean coverage while minimizing overlap. Prioritize areas that had high alien activity during the previous/current month, since it is likely an Alien Colony was set up in these zones.
  • The next step is the key and consists in watching out for Alien Subs performing "Alien Colony Expansion" missions, AND LETTING THEM SUCCEED. DO NOT INTERFERE. This will allow aliens to set up Alien Colonies successfully, which is good given our agenda
  • As soon as an Alien Colony is spotted, buy a Triton, Aquanauts, SWS (if it's your thing) and equipment in the nearest base. You may then rename this base to "ALIEN RAIDERZ". Or not
  • Send out your fully-equipped Triton to patrol the Alien Colony once you spot a Fleet Supply Cruiser sub about to conduct a "Colony Supply Mission": you have a very small window of time (~4 hours) before the ship lifts off after touching down on a colony

What to do with all the obscene amounts of money? My recommendation, in order of preference:

  1. Set up a dedicated MC Strength scanning base: build nothing but MC-Labs and Living Quarters, scan your Aquanauts and cycle your personnel every month. For this you will need double the living quarters space than MC scanning slots you have (1x LQ per 2.5x MCL you have). Synergizes admirably well this strategy since this type of facility requires substantial financial investment and nets you a vast MC strong army of Aquanauts which will proceed to hone out their skills in a safe environment (puny Gillmen) during further raids
  2. Buy more technicians, Workshops and Living Quarters: more armor, weapons, gadgets and ships
  3. Buy even more scientists, Laboratories and Living Quarters: even more research (assuming you already had at least 100 scientists round the clock—you did have them, didn't you?).

If you feel bad about letting aliens having their way and making lots of humans feel confused and sore the next day, think about this:

  • You're exponentially increasing your income and thus speeding up your progress, which in the long term means shorter overall alien presence on Earth
  • There's a black market with an unlimited demand for Gillmen corpses, alien cloning vats, Sonic weaponry, and MC gizmos (hey, you're just the supplier)
  • Governments and corporations themselves can—and will—eventually ally themselves with aliens: take consolation in knowing your moral compass is not as bad as other humans'
  • Taking down Large Alien Submarines is very difficult in the early stages of the game: your Barracudas will very probably RIP at the cost of severing a steady source of income
  • Wiping out an Alien Colony is a masochistic endeavor without a strong MC squad; which means they'd probably be up and running for a long time regardless
  • You needed the Zrbite anyway. —1eyedking (talk) 21:27, 25 February 2020 (UTC)

Few things:
1) Colony Supply Missions aren't necessarily Gill Men. You apparently happened to have all colonies in your game(s) get built by Gill Men (and the race that builds the colony resupplies it). Gill Men are the most likely race to build colonies, but not by much and they're significantly under half of the total. Let me tell you, going after Lobster Man Fleet Supply Cruisers without drills or MC gets old really fast.
2) On Superhuman difficulty, there are two Medics on a Fleet Supply Cruiser (Medics are the rank that get DPLs), not one.
3) Yes, Fleet Supply Cruisers become trivial once you have M.C. Disruptors and trained soldiers behind them, but so does literally everything else. Using MCed aliens to scout for more aliens to MC breaks the game in half because the aliens can't get at your actual soldiers.
4) Farming isn't really necessary since past April/May you have all the money you could want. Three labs + four workshops + nine M.C. Labs is enough to do everything you actually need, which is a total of about 15 million per month. Council + ordinary missions will get you significantly more than that; money troubles only really show up when you're expanding.
5) It is impossible to stop Alien Infiltration and Alien Colony Expansion missions. All you can do is delay them, and delaying them can both get you more money (you can't typically Alien Submarine Assault the entire fleet at the end, so shooting down a couple saves you money) and hold on to a funding nation a month longer in the case of Infiltration (getting you more money). Also, shooting down Alien Submarines has a high chance of triggering Floating Base Attack missions which, of course, mean more money when you shoot them down and recover them.
6) Uh, who has Zrbite issues in TFTD? I usually end up getting so much of the stuff it clogs my stores and I have to sell it. Cruisers are the single most common Alien Sub in the game, and every single one gets you 50 Zrbite whether you shot it down or not. A dozen Sonic Oscillators, 30 suits of Magnetic Ion Armour and 5 Displacers/Sonic is on the order of 800 Zrbite, and even that many is likely surplus to requirements. Magic9mushroom (talk) 10:08, 26 February 2020 (UTC)
Valid points overall, I think. However, if a player isn't running into financial trouble in the early months then he or she is just nibbing instead of going for the bite: one should constantly be expanding (ie., building bases all across the globe, constructing facilities, farming recruits), and constant expansion inevitably drains your treasury. Furthermore, Gauss Cannon manufacturing requires you to research the lame Gauss weapons which divert time from more equalizing techs. Also I double-checked and believe it is Technicians who carry DPLs, so yes, you encounter 1-2 DPLs per raid and this is actually for all difficulties. —1eyedking (talk) 08:29, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
It's definitely Medics; I just double-checked the executable and the singular DPL entry on ship type 0c (Fleet Supply Cruiser) is the "late" loadout of rank 03 (Medic). Note that since only Aquatoids actually have Medics, this will be a different rank for any other race (Squad Leader for Gill Men and Tasoths, Technician for Lobster Men, and theoretically Aquatoid Squad Leader for Mixed Crew but Mixed Crew don't run Fleet Supply Cruisers) - but only the ones which are "supposed" to be Medics can have DPLs.
Gauss isn't too bad. It's not like it's entirely a waste since it is the most efficient Aquatoid-slayer in the game and very close behind the Sonic Pistol against Gill Men, and the Gauss Rifle is quicker to research than the Sonic Pistol so it frees your scientists up for other stuff (armour/M.C./Transmission Resolver) a tad earlier (at the cost of, of course, having to come back to Sonics later). I certainly wouldn't go for the Gauss Cannon early, but it's really a matter of taste whether you grab Gauss Rifles at the start.
Yes, Transmission Resolvers are definitely the workhorse that gets things moving in a hurry, and they're absolutely a priority. But Fleet Supply Cruiser piracy (as opposed to just recovering All The Subs) isn't a thing until quite a ways in (March at the absolute earliest), and you don't exactly have to do anything to make a colony appear (as I said, colony placement cannot be prevented, so the only thing determining whether a colony is/is not placed is whether the alien mission roll comes down on Colony Expansion/Infiltration) so that's just one more kind of sub activity you have to attack (and really, quite minor compared to everything *else* the aliens are doing; the mission setting up a colony will generally have about as much loot as a couple of months of colony piracy).
One thing definitely worth noting about Transmission Resolvers (and base locations in general) is the two "sweet spots" in the northeastern Atlantic and northwestern Pacific. The three highest-activity seas are the North Atlantic, North Sea and Mediterranean (which can all be covered by a single base off the coast of Morocco), and the next two highest are the South China Sea and Sea of Japan (which can both be covered, along with a decent chunk of the enormous South Pacific zone, by a base about halfway between Japan and New Guinea). Those two will get about 65% of all alien activity on the globe, so getting those down ASAP is key (I'd probably finish setting up labs and researching Transmission Resolvers before I finished the network, though). Magic9mushroom (talk) 12:16, 28 February 2020 (UTC)
Weird thing about Medics. So for Gill Men, you could be getting 2 or 4 DPLs depending on difficulty (the latter applying only to Superhuman).
What you said about base placement is interesting. Do we have percentages of the probabilities for seas activity each month? —1eyedking (talk) 21:30, 15 March 2020 (UTC)
No, it's still 1 for non-Superhuman or 2 for Superhuman. As I said, only the aliens that were "supposed" to be Medics can carry DPLs. There are two types of Gill Man Squad Leaders - those that are assigned in place of Technicians and those that are assigned in place of Medics (the Squad Leaders become Gill Man Soldiers, and the Navigators become Gill Man Technicians) - and only those that are assigned in place of Medics can have DPLs on a Fleet Supply Cruiser. Rank replacement is done after weapon loadouts are calculated.
And yes, alien activity distribution is controlled by ZONAL.DAT (or in the case of Alien Surface Attacks, a permanent table in the executable that looks like the starting state of ZONAL.DAT with a couple of zones deleted due to lack of targets; for UFO it's Arctic/Antarctic/Pacific that are deleted, but I'm not sure whether it's the corresponding zones (South Atlantic/North Pacific/Arctic) deleted in TFTD). Magic9mushroom (talk) 09:36, 17 March 2020 (UTC)
It's Arctic and Antarctic that don't get hit by Alien Surface Attacks in TFTD (the Falkland Islands are in the Antarctic zone, but they can only get hit as part of a South Atlantic Alien Surface Attacks mission; there are a couple of other ports/islands where this happens). Dunno what the weightings are; probably the initial state of ZONAL.DAT but I can't be sure. Magic9mushroom (talk) 08:42, 18 March 2020 (UTC)
On a preliminary second playthrough, I can confirm the Colony milking strategy is still the best for easily(-er) beating the game on Superhuman, provided the guide's points are followed as well. I tried going for mass Gauss Cannon production but overhead maintenance costs completely drown any chance at profiting short term, because any investment towards workshops must be carefully planned ahead so that both facilities are finished *and* engineers purchased at the beginning of each month, which can translate to as much as 32 days of paralyzed capital. Maybe if someone else could try it out and help me confirm as it being a better/easier economic alternative to Gauss Cannon mass production? If confirmed, I think it would make a nice addition to this already excellent guide. —1eyedking (talk) 09:58, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
My issue with adding "colony milking" to a strategy guide is that it isn't something you need to specifically be aware of or can deliberately do in any real sense.
1) You have no control over whether colonies are built. If the RNG says the aliens build a colony, they build a colony and you can't stop it. Otherwise, they don't. You can delay a colony, but assaulting the touched-down subs doesn't cause a delay so you don't have to actually "leave the mission alone" (I do tend to intercept one or two of the subs in the flotilla at the end, but that's specifically because I wouldn't be able to assault all of them otherwise, so that doesn't lose money either).
2) You have control over whether colonies stick around, certainly, but taking them out isn't a grave mistake either. If you can actually win a colony, then you're ready to assault T'Leth, and the colony is likely the last piece of the puzzle to unlock it. Moreover, taking out a colony by killing all aliens is incredibly profitable in itself; it's about 12 million, whereas each Fleet Supply Cruiser is about 6 million. That's frontloading a month's worth of piracy (IIRC it's 6% per day for a supply mission, which makes 2 a month) - and given that colonies can't appear before March and you typically run out of stuff to buy around April-May, that's actually a great deal.
3) What do you need to do to recover the Fleet Supply Cruisers, assuming you're not ready to take out the colony? Research Transmission Resolvers and spread a bunch of them around the globe. Get the Hammerhead for fast response and turnaround. But those are good ideas anyway, as part of your larger economic strategy of "loot All The Aliens". That's what I mean by colony milking not really being separable from that larger strategy.
I agree that deliberately building Workshops to build Gauss Cannons is suboptimal, which is why I've never advocated it (if I wasn't clear enough about that, I apologise). What I'm saying is that "find the randomly-generated aliens so you can loot them" is the alpha and the omega of making money, and "colony milking" is just an arbitrary label for one particular subset of lootable randomly-generated aliens. Magic9mushroom (talk) 13:33, 18 April 2020 (UTC)