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I'm just another nobody from the butt end of nowhere. Can't really say anything about myself, other than the fact that I like X-COM.

Well, obviously.

Anyway, I started out with the original game, even completed it a bunch of times but never at high difficulty. Did some TFTD too, but never completed it. Apocalypse doesn't really attract my attention... probably should watch a Let's Play of it. Might get into Interceptor at some point. Also completed UFO Aftermath a few times and cut my teeth on EU2012 too.

My philosophy regarding soldiers: try to keep losses at the minimum, but don't sweat it. I used to be a savescummer back in the day, but my level of tolerance towards losing troops went up together with my age. Losing one or two rookie is OK, 60% of the squad isn't.

In non-XCOM related matters, I'm a major fan of mecha anime, especially Gundam and Evangelion. Has an ongoing Evangelion fanfic too, in which there's eventually going to be an X-COM equivalent organization. And I don't mean the "govt-funded secret organization" kind of X-COM; I mean the "self-finance, dabble in technology no one else does and blow the shit out of everything with maximum prejudice" kind of X-COM with a sci-fi knight order flavor.

What I would put into X-COM

  • Heavy laser and heavy plasma aimed fire has sniper accuracy when crouching, due to a jury-rigged bipod stabilizer.
  • Heavy plasma has no autofire to prevent spamming.
  • High explosive can destroy inner UFO walls. After researching Elerium and alien grenade, option to research and manufacture Elerium charge that is very heavy but can blow a hole into outer UFO walls and is more cost-efficient than blaster bombs.
  • Aliens keep using smaller guns. Specifically:
    • Soldiers use rifles.
    • Engineers use stunners.
    • Navigators and Medics use pistols.
    • Leaders use heavy plasmas.
    • Commanders use blasters.
  • The flying suit has very low armor in the back due to the Elerium reactor. If the soldier takes a lethal hit there, the reactor explodes with the force of an alien grenade. Doesn't happen to mag. ion armor.
  • Avengers have three weapon slots.
  • Explosions destroy corpses but non-corpse items have a random chance of surviving the detonation and merely being thrown away from the epicenter. Also, items are destroyed and explosives are set off by incendiary damage.
  • Incendiary damage stacks depending on how long the target stands on fire (i.e. standing in fire for three turns does six times the damage). This makes fire a real hazard to non-immune units.
  • Power suits, flying suits, Cyberdiscs and Sectopods are immune to incendiary damage. Mutons, Silacoids, Snakemen, Chryssalids and personal armor'd soldiers take reduced incendiary damage; Sectoids, Zombies, Celatids, civilians and unarmored soldiers take normal incendiary damage; Ethereals, Floaters and Reapers take extra incendiary damage.
  • Ability to rename crafts.

Granted, some of these is impossible in the game's engine. But I can still dream...

Modding goodness

Having used Extender for a while now, I'm now tempted to start tinkering with the game. What I have in mind so far:

  • Research tree altered to require more input from aliens.
    • All offensive weapons except the Small Launcher require an alien soldier to be interrogated while the item in question is in storage in order to become available for research. The Small Launcher requires an alien medic instead, while the Mind Probe needs a psychic Sectoid plus Sectoid autopsy. Plasma ammunition, blaster bombs and grenades require Elerium to be researched as well. If an item is not in storage before an alien soldier is interrogated, it won't be unlocked; nab the item and interrogate another soldier.
    • Personal Armor requires Muton autopsy, similar to how Vahlen studies a Berserker for armor research credit in EU2012. Power Suit requires Sectopod autopsy to figure out the powered movement assist systems. Flying Suit requires UFO Construction for the theory and Floater autopsy to figure out how the aliens miniaturized the tech.
    • Engineer interrogation is required to research UFO power sources. Navigator interrogation is required to research UFO navigation, which in turn unlocks the Hyperwave Decoder. UFO Construction, aside from unlocking the Firestorm, also unlocks the Grav Shield and is one of the prerequisites for the Flying Suit.
    • Alloy research is required to unlock the Laser Cannon due to terrestrial materials not being able to withstand the power output.
    • Researching the Mind Probe and dissecting a dead Ethereal unlocks the Mind Shield and the Psi Lab, but not the Psi Amp. For that, you need to interrogate a live Ethereal too.
    • Hovertanks require Cyberdisc autopsy instead of UFO Construction.
    • Endgame research starts out by interrogating at least one specimen of all alien species, which unlocks Alien Origins. Research that and interrogate a navigator, you unlock The Martian Solution. Research that and interrogate an Ethereal Commander (not any commander like before, only an Ethereal will do now) and you unlock Cydonia or Bust, which is now a prerequisite for the Avenger.
  • Some screwing around with stuff.
    • Swapped the damage values between the Blaster Launcher and the Fusion Ball Hovertank, as well as between the Large Rocket and the Rocket Tank. This is on the basis that the tank chassis allows bigger weapon calibers than what humans can carry.
      • The Rocket Tank also gets Blaster Bomb-type precision guidance due to the bigger rocket having more room for warhead guidance electronics.
    • Swapped the accuracy values between laser weapons and their plasma equivalents. Not to make the game easier by making Mutons not being able to hit shit with their heavy plasmas, but to make the player choose: accuracy or firepower? The very reason why plasma weapons aren't usable in reality is because the atmosphere gets in the way, which laser beams don't suffer as much from due to being weightless.
    • Corpses now have the same explosion resistance as they had when they were still alive.
    • UFO power sources violently explode when shot. And I mean violently.
    • UFO top speeds swapped around. Now size and speed are inversely proportional, making the game considerably harder due to the fact that the only UFOs you can catch up to at the beginning are also the ones you will not have the teeth to take on at that time. So:
    • Battleship is the slowest; a Skyranger can just barely catch up to it.
    • Next is the terror ship; you need an Interceptor for this one.
    • Small scout, Interceptor can catch it but just barely.
    • Supply ship, you now need at least a Lightning.
    • Harvester, very slightly faster than the supply ship.
    • Abductor, can barely outrun a Lightning but not the Firestorm.
    • Large Scout, definitely need a Firestorm now.
    • Medium Scout, Firestorm can still catch it but really has to work for its money.
  • And some cosmetic changes to ENGLISH.DAT too.
    • All instances of armour changed to armor.
    • All instances of defence changed to defense.
    • Craft descriptions in the Ufopaedia are no longer all-caps. What's the deal with that, anyway?
    • Alien autopsy results in the Ufopaedia rewritten to say what the alien in question is actually vulnerable to.
    • Tank/Cannon -> Tank
    • Tank/Rocket Launcher -> Rocket Tank
    • Tank/Laser - > Laser Tank
    • Hovertank/Plasma -> Plasma Hovertank
    • Hovertank/Fusion -> Detonator Hovertank
    • Fusion Ball Launcher -> Fusion Detonator
    • Fusion Ball -> Fusion Detonator Warhead
    • Missile Defence -> Missile Silo
    • Laser Defence -> Laser Turret
    • Plasma Defence -> Plasma Turret
    • Fusion Defence -> Fusion Detonator Silo

How I usually play

  • Back in the day, I used to rely on Council funding only. As in, I didn't (usually) manufacture for profit and usually finished the game with two combat bases and one research base. I still sold stuff when stores were full and never kept anything before lasers. Did use exploits however, but only those with smaller effects like the zero amount manufacturing bug.
    • Since I got acquainted with UFOextender however, I usually leave a dedicated manufacturing base of fifty engineers producing laser cannons in auto-sell mode indefinitely. Which tends to leave me with more cash than I know what to do with.
  • Usual troop composition is broken down to fireteams. Each fireteam has three squaddie riflemen and one sergeant.
    • Riflemen loadout: rifle/laser rifle/plasma rifle with two extra mags where applicable, one grenade, one electroflare.
    • Sergeant loadout: autocannon (with HE)/heavy laser/heavy plasma with two extra mags where applicable (for the autocannon, one HE mag and one AP mag), one alien grenade, one rocket launcher with a single small rocket.
  • In a Skyranger carrying a single tank, two fireteams leave two additional slots which are filled by a medic and a colonel.
    • Medic loadout: pistol/laser pistol/plasma pistol, medkit, motion sensor, smoke grenade.
    • Colonel loadout: rifle/laser rifle/plasma rifle, rocket launcher (with large rockets) or blaster bomb.
    • The colonel, depending on the mission, either provides artillery support (rocket from above or blaster bomb from the 'ranger) or takes the high ground to snipe with a plasma rifle. In the latter case, also IDs potential targets of capture with a mind probe.
    • Tank-wise, my usual progress is rocket - laser - plasma.
  • Craft rules:
    • Standard base loadout is one Interceptor, one Firestorm and one Skyranger.
      • The Interceptor (Avalanche + laser) handles scouts, abductors and harvesters in order to maximize interception rate without wasting Elerium on small fry.
      • The Firestorm (dual plasma cannons) only sorties against supply ships and terror ships.
      • The main base and ONLY the main base switches the Skyranger to a Lightning as soon as it's available. By that point, the guys there can usually handle things without tank support.
      • Only one Avenger is built, with a max limit of two sorties: one base assault (as "rehearsal") and the final mission.

UFO Aftermath

I don't think I have to introduce this one. Many people say it's crap when it's not. It's just vastly different from X-COM.



  • Base mechanics. You can decide the location of your initial base: central US, Europe or Asia. There are no base management or anything like that, bases come in three flavors: military base that handles interceptions, engineering base that handles development and production-related stuff and research base that handles scientific stuff. Later on you get a fourth type, anti-biomass; more on that later. Base types can be freely switched out to each other, this takes 24 hours.
  • Expansion is done like this: Earth is divided into territories. For every mission you do in a territory, your presence in that territory as well as all adjacent territories increases. Once your presence is high enough, you get the location of a military base in the area; capturing that base (or further increasing your presence) will turn the territory over to you. Adjacency isn't required, you can expand on the other side of the globe as long as you have enough presence.
  • Like I said, there's no base management. As long as you have one research base, you can do research. Same with engineering bases. Neither requires resources or anything, but most stuff requires you to capture alien tech; for example, capturing a single UFO of any type nets you almost all UFO-related requirements (e.g. engine, hull, etc.).
  • You lose only if you lose all your bases.
  • You cannot even detect UFOs until you develop UFO Detection. It's available right from the start but since most missions are against transgenants, you don't need this until your troops are sufficiently equipped.
  • Interception requires a military base. When you give the order, a flight of three fighters take off from the nearest base and attacks the UFO which also has a fighter cover of three. If the entire flight is shot down, the base will take 24 hours to rebuild them during which it can't perform interceptions. You can develop stronger armor, weapons, engines, etc. for your planes once you capture a UFO. You only really need to intercept Battleships and Planters, these can screw you over big-time. Bases should be taken out before they deploy or you'll have to do a ground mission to dispose of it. The rest pose no threat.
  • Late-game, Planter-type UFOs will fly around the globe. If one of these lands, that spot will start to grow Biomass, a gray-brown carpet that spreads across nearby land at an alarming rate. If the growth reaches one of your bases, you instantly lose that base. The only way to combat it is to do a mission on the Biomass to get a sample of it then research that sample and finally develop Biomass Repulsors. The fourth base type will be unlocked and it's sole function is to radiate a psionic signal; Biomass can't grow in range of the base and if it's already there by the time the base comes online, it will dissolve. Some transgenants only appear in Biomass terrain.


  • First and foremost: battles go in REAL-TIME. You can pause, slow down or speed up time. While this might cause much grumbling among X-COM enthusiasts, let me rebuke you: combat is still really hard. And unlike X-COM, you CAN pull off stuff like I did on one base assault where a single level 12 soldier armed with a Neostead shotgun, a medkit and bio armor played a deadly hide-and-seek with nine Reticulans, taking them all down and clearing out the entire base all by himself! He had a plasma rifle as well but didn't need to use it as I used cover to its maximum advantage. Result: no casualties and the soldier leveling up. He spent the next few days in the infirmary, but still. And this was a base assault where all aliens were toting late-game guns including one with a collapsible plasma cannon (took him out just before he could deploy it; he still completed the unpack animation, then packed it up again, then collapsed dead).
  • You can only bring seven soldiers with you. At first, you can sortie only from the military base your chopper is currently at; later, developing in-base teleports allow you to sortie from the military base nearest to your target. You get a steady supply of recruits that are available globally, in all your bases.
  • Development is done like this: doing stuff on the battlefield earns your troops XP. Once the soldier levels up, you can increase one of his/her primary attributes which in turn increases their abilities. The attributes are: Strength, Agility, Dexterity, Willpower, Intelligence and Perception. Abilities are: Marksmanship (sniper rifles and heavy machine guns), Rifles (assault rifles), Handguns (pistols and submachine guns), Launchers (rocket launchers), Throwing (grenades and grenade launchers), Psi Power, Hit Points, Speed (base movement speed), Dodge (decreases enemy accuracy), Observation (increases sight range), Stealth (walking and crouching increases probability of staying unnoticed), Aliens (increases damage), Medical (increases medkit efficiency) and Capacity (increases amount of stuff soldier can carry before slowing down). You can also give the soldier training in the base to increase four of his abilities by one full level, but each ability can only be increased once this way. A soldier can do as many regimens as you want so cross-training is possible. Each training session takes 36 hours during which the soldier is unavailable for duty.
  • Enemies generally come in two flavors. Transgenants are mutated Earth life forms; most of them have guns, acid spit or psionics. Reticulans are basically Sectoids in Muton armor. They are VERY tough and wield very strong energy weapons.
  • Equipment can be selected while in the base. At first, a very wide range of terrestrial weapons is available, from pistols to submachineguns to assault rifles to sniper rifles to various other equipment like frag/incendiary/acid/smoke nades. Only Berettas and pump-action shotguns have an infinite supply, the rest must be scavenged from captured bases. Unlike X-COM, better terrestrial guns remain useful through the entire game. Especially sniper rifles (longest range in the whole game) and grenade launchers (think heavy cannon with an autocannon's ammo capacity and magazines the physical size of a Rifle clip). Shotguns are useful inside bases and UFOs; even the weakest one does 80 damage (for comparison, the highest one does 500), and one of them even has burst-fire that does a good 2200 points of damage point-blank.
  • Armor comes in two flavors: human and hybrid. Human armors are salvaged from bases the same way as guns and come in seven flavors: clothing (almost no damage but good against warp weapons), light armor, combat armor, heavy armor (disables running and crouching but enables some of the best guns), improved light armor (researched), improved combat armor (researched), improved heavy armor (researched). Researched armors have higher laser and plasma resistance. Hybrid armor is reverse-engineered Reticulan armor and comes in four flavors: basic, sun armor (yellow energy shield, more resistant against kinetic weapons), sky armor (blue energy shield, more resistant against energy weapons) and bio armor (green energy shield, best armor in the whole game). There are helmets available as well (light, combat, psychic, and their improved versions) to further increase damage resistance but heavy and hybrid armor can't wear helmets.
  • Aliens generally wield energy weapons. These are good but not THAT good. Humans can reverse-engineer these and build their own versions. Most alien energy weapons use the same ammo (energy or power cells, latter give twice as much shots), same with human versions and their own ammo. Warp and psychic weapons have an internal energy supply and can't be reloaded on the field.
    • When I said reverse-engineer, I didn't mean "build the same gun". No alien gear can be manufactured, only salvaged. Human laser rifles are better than the alien version simply because of the ample ammo (two engineering bases can manufacture a 20-cell batch in 16 hours). Some have no equivalents in the other: the aliens have the plasma gun which is basically a plasma grenade launcher. Humans take this and make a plasma rifle and a plasma shotgun; the former does good damage but has a low ammo capacity while the latter has abysmally short range but insta-kills everything it hits with a single shot.
  • Damage types:
    • Soft. Inflicted by hollow-point rounds and shotgun shells. Very good against unarmored targets.
    • Universal. Inflicted by rifle rounds. Pretty good against transgenants.
    • Hard. Inflicted by high-caliber and armor-piercing rounds. Good against armored goons.
    • Burn. Inflicted by fire and acid. Transgenants like these.
    • Laser. Self-explanatory. Laser pistols and rifles have very nice accuracy but lower damage than conventional guns.
    • Plasma. Self-explanatory. Most plasma weapons do high damage.
    • Warp. Does TONS of damage to armored targets and doesn't require line-of-sight but can't be reloaded on the field.
    • Psychic. This is limited to three effects: damage things with advanced nervous systems, paralyze target and control target. Each of them is caused by a separate weapon and are comparatively rare (except paralyze which is possessed by multiple transgenants). Requires line-of-sight, surprisingly.
    • Heal. Yes, medkits have their own damage type. Some armors decrease healing efficiency against the wearer.
  • Most enemies drop unconscious when their health is low and count as captured if you win the mission; kamikazes and a few others cannot be stunned. Soldiers can be healed back up with a medkit but they can still be targeted while out cold. No matter how high you heal their health back up, they will spend the next few days in the infirmary.
  • Guns can be fired single-shot or burst-fire. Some heavy weapons (see below) don't even have single-shot.
  • No HWPs but there's a reason: late-game, collapsible heavy weapons are available. Specifically, double-barreled machine gun (best damn gun in the whole game, hands down), quad-barreled machine gun, Gatling cannon (think Terminator here), deployable rocket launcher, deployable railgun (the shotgun version, exhausts its 900 ammo supply in less than ten seconds), warp resonator (think a hitscan Blaster Launcher that works through walls and has no splash damage), warp demolition device (for dozering terrain obstacles but works against enemies too). Most of them need to be deployed to fire but they have brutal firepower and can insta-kill everything they're pointed at in less than a second. Drawback: to equip one of these, you need to put on Heavy Armor which makes you unable to run; put on the gun's weight and your soldier is going at a walking pace with a REALLY big gun. Think Terminator here, people. Some of the better versions can't be reloaded on the field.
  • Mission types:
    • Extermination. Kill or incap everything that moves.
    • Recon. Spot one specimen of every enemy type present on the map.
    • Destruction. Go to the target area and destroy the stuff there using explosives.
    • Recovery. If you lose an interception and the UFO gets away, one of your shot down pilots will survive. Go to his location and get him out alive.
    • Capture. Incapacitate and recover any transgenant on the map. It doesn't matter which; as long as one is alive at the end of the mission, you win.
    • UFO Recovery. Two stage mission: first stage is to find the UFO and step on the green rectangle in front of it with all your troops. Second stage is to kill or incap everyone inside the UFO. Warning: the UFO is VERY cramped. Auto-fire and shotgun use highly recommended. If you leave someone behind in the first stage, you get them back once you win the second stage.
    • Base capture. Two stage mission: first stage is to find the base entrance and step on the green rectangle with all your troops. Second stage is to kill or incap every transgenant in the base.
    • Base defense. Simple: kill every Reticulan in the base. Very hard, my usual tactic is to equip everyone with grenade launchers, go to a dead end and spam the corner with HE death if a Reticulan sticks its grey head through.
  • Missions come this way: once it pops up on the Geoscape, it will stay there for a few days. If you don't take it by that time or select the mission and choose Delegate, terrestrial forces will do it for you. Base capture or -defense missions can't be delegated but if you ignore them, they will still be solved. Story-critical missions can't be delegated and won't disappear until you do them.