User talk:Captain Foo

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After reading some of your notes, I thought I'd offer some advice.

Week 2 Notes:

- As you've noticed that you don't have to be stationed at a base to use other base facilities, remember that you can do the same with vehicles too. Once you've built a manufacturing base that specializes in cranking out tons of goodies, just send your ships there whenever they need to stock up.

(tip: for this base, ignore storage capacity and just build one Gen. stores - you won't be buying anything, just moving stuff directly off/on ships and out of the workshop), use this base as a dump for excess goodies (brought in manually by your own ships - or have your dropship that's returning from a mission site land at the storage/manufacturing base rather than its originating base).

Do the same with your hangar/repair bay as well. Only build one in the entire city and seal it off with defense modules. When ships get damaged, park them at the base with the hangar and then have them return home once fixed. This really helps in assisting base defense layout planning. I mean, with only one access point (in most bases), there's no reason not to build a forest of plasma and disrupter defense modules around the lift.

Week 3 Notes:

- Guards also have a technology/score roll-out schedule like the aliens. They're generally a little slower than the aliens, but a few players (well, one that I know of at least) have reported them getting the tech a lot earlier if they are infiltrated - well before the aliens. Take that with a grain of salt until it's verified.

- Lab tips:

Don't go overboard with your labs! Only build at most two of each respective lab types at your research base (ideally your main assault base). Once you get access to the larger variety, all 20 staff members for the two small labs will give you a full team to fill up a large lab, but first you need space to build the labs as each is 2x2 in size. To reduce the clutter at your main base, I suggest moving your workshop facility to another base. Your repair bay is also a good facility to relocate if you centralize the bulk of your combat aircraft at another base. Also keep your living quarters and stores to the barest minimum.

If you decide to make your bio lab or quantum physics lab at a different base from the base where you station your troop transport: Whenever you capture something new, have your ship park at the research base before heading home so that it deposits the equipment or captured aliens directly into the research base. This is REALLY helpful later if Transtellar throw a fit and stops providing transport services to you. You can get on without them - it just means a bit of extra micromanaging.

Two or three bases should give you plenty of space to contain all your functions and make the bases extremely defendable. Luckily, unlike UFO and TFTD, there's no need to build more bases as intercept outposts, since parking in Mega Primus is free everywhere and there's a reasonably large limit to the number of ships you can store at a base.

To get the large bio-lab, go for the multiworm life cycle. That is, multiworm egg, chryssalis, hyperworm, multiworm and their respective corpses. The large quantum physics lab becomes available... heh, memory fails. I know the large workshop becomes available once you can start building the Dimension Probe (which I recommend skipping - more on that in a bit). Just research everything that you can and it'll become available.

Equipping large squads:

There's a quick way to equip lots of agents at the same time by extending the selection of agents that you are equipping.

Select the inventory of one of the units. Then ctrl+click all the agent icons on the right panel that you want to equip (Yes! It's the same as selecting multiple vehicles in the cityscape). This will highlight their icons. Start to equip your visible agent. All the selected units will mimic what you're doing and equip everything in the same slot. Note, if some slots are already filled, they will not equip the item you want to place there. If you remove any items, anything that's stored in that slot will be removed. Say the slot you designated to carry a stun grenade was filled with an ammo clip on one of the agents. Place an item there, then remove it. This will clear the slot for all agents in the selection.

Note that you must have the same amount of items in storage as the number of agents you have selected to be able to select an item from storage!

I recommend making a common equipment setup that everyone uses. For example: Everyone carries two stun grenades in the left pocket and two AP grenades in the right, a medikit on the right leg and a smoke grenade on the right shoulder lapel slot. This way you can select EVERYONE and rearm them all at once. Then go into you respective smaller sub-groups and arm them accordingly with their unique setup.

Equipment suggestions:

Might I recommend berserker androids with swords? Simply amazing. It's an acquired taste and needs some strategy in addition to blindly charging towards the aliens (or walking to attack at the same time if there are nearby targets), but simply amazing. Then again, try this after you're comfortable playing the game on Superhuman.

Dual Autocannons rock. I recommend sticking to AP rounds almost exclusively as they are the most damaging non-explosive ranged weapon you can buy plus they won't rip up large sections of carpet compared to HE. Keep at least one HE and INC round on your belts though, as a sudden burst of HE to wipe out a mob of hyperworms (or shoot the floor to blast off a brainsucker that's on your head when you're isolated from the rest of the team) or you might suddenly need to force a tight mob of anthropods to flee in panic from fire (forced AI reaction - even on your troops). It's good to have options.


Hoverbikes last a fair while. Do watch out for any Bombers though (They're green). They eat hoverbikes for breakfast with their multibomb, a weapon that appears to be designed to wipe out hoverbike swarms. But DO invest in some Hawk squadrons (or Hawk + Hoverbike squadrons). You'll need the heavier firepower, and they're also the only ship that'll mount the medium disrupters until you can build the Explorer, Retaliator or Annihilator. You'll need a minimum of medium disrupters to shoot down the capital ships as their hulls are too tough for most weapons. Consider selling your Valkyrie to finance your first Hawk if cash is tight.

Ever try using the default hoverbike minigun? It's an amazing weapon if you give it a go. Not that good against really tough enemies like the Fast Attack Ship, but since you get so many hoverbikes, you might as well use the default ammo up. it's accurate and has a high rate of fire, but the individual bullets won't hurt your surroundings so much, but can still put the hurt on UFOs.

By the way, I tend to get through the game with a good portion of my hoverbikes armed with Bolter lasers, even when fighting tougher UFOs. A mix of janitor, prophet and Lineage Plasma cannons for say half the squad works quite well. Also you don't have to go after EVERY enemy ship, so concentrate your firepower on the ships that matter (aka the dropships and any of the escorts (such as Fast Attack Ships) that you have not yet captured at least once)

By the way, speaking of inter-dimensional aircraft: Save your workshop hours and skip building the Dimension Probe after you've researched it. Proceed onto the Bio Trans, which you get right after the Dim. Probe. Also, when scouting the alien dimension for the first time, retreat immediately the moment you switch to the alien dimension. The first visit is merely to open up research into your first target in the alien dimension, and only a brief glance is required.

When leaving UFOs alone, to keep the infiltration low: Pause a lot and keep an eye on the dropship in the fleet. When I say dropship, I mean the ship that'll drop aliens into a building. Ships like the Fast Attack Ships tend to just link up with the dropship and escort them around the city. Those can be left alone or avoided. While you're watching the various dropships, the moment something is beamed down (be sure it's white, and not blue sparkles), tag the building (I like to send a road vehicle - since it's slow and won't get shot at by the aliens - it's just to mark the building). Then send your troop transport there immediately (well, wait for the UFOs to clear out of the way). Do the same for all two or three dropships. Mark each building (however you see fit). Once your troop carrier arrives at the site, investigate the area right away. After you've cleared the site, keep the building marked and proceed immediately to the next site. Repeat until all major sites have been cleared. For the rest of the day, watch your graphs every hour or half hour and refresh the top-ten infiltration level charts. If you see any sharp rise in activity, go back to the cityscape view, hit the organizations tab, select the organization that you want to investigate and then tab to the overhead map view. Look for highlighted buildings that are close to the earlier dropsites. Send your troop carrier to the building and investigate. The enemy numbers will generally be quite reduced, but don't let your guard down and be prepared for sudden hordes (got overrun by spitters at one time - rather embarrassing!). Once cleared, keep watching your graphs and repeat the process until the graphs start to drop off. When done, you're all clear for the rest of the day, and if you keep this up all the time you'll never lose any of the companies to normal alien infiltration. That doesn't count companies getting taken over via a micronoid rain attack or if they get grumpy at you due to your poor performance in their buildings (when offered bribes, they'll say the aliens are their 'friends' even if they dislike the aliens. So don't pay any heed to that expression).

-NKF 00:24, 1 September 2008 (PDT)

Ah excellent. Thanks for the feedback. It's definitely given me a lot of interesting ideas. Ctrl-clicking to equip troops! That's very helpful. I've been going nuts with the labs because at the beginning it seems that there is a ton of biological stuff to research, but no physics stuff. Then, during the middle of week two you get swamped with physics projects as you begin to capture UFOs. --Captain Foo 11:45, 1 September 2008 (PDT)


Anyway, as far as the bases go, how many do you typically build and what's your approach to building labs and workshops?

Perhaps the best setup is two small labs, and then the large biology labs in your main base, if space permits, and then a separate base for two small and two large physics labs. Throw in an engineering base and that makes three bases which is reasonably cheap. Maybe a fourth base (provided there is money and time to build it) for more workshops to build stuff for money would be helpful if you don't intend to cheat by stun raiding.

Don't worry too much about trying to race through all the research topics. The topics are fairly finite, and there'll be plenty of downtime periods in the bio lab, so one large version of each lab should do unless you're trying to catch up with alien tech if you advanced it too much.

As for bases, I generally end up with about three main bases. I like to use the smaller layouts as they are easy to set up for defence, but do mean I have to spread my functions out over several bases. I tend to avoid the slum maps, even though they have tons of space. Not so much for the space, but for the fact that slum buildings collapse really easily, while warehouses are sturdier.

On the superhuman map I like to get the starting base that's like a S on its side. The grav-lift's in the middle, so I try to get the repair bay shifted to the right side of the base and everything else on the left. (I just keep restarting until the repair bay's on the right). I end up reorganizing the base so that most of the facilities are along the left side, and to make room to accommodate the two large labs.

Since this base is rather limited in size, I try to make do with less general stores, and use small squads so that I don't need so many quarters.

The second base (well, perhaps not strictly in this order) I buy to move my repair bay out. I like the layouts that's shaped like an 8 or a V. The 8's awesome (both versions - one's lumpier along one edge) as the grav-lift is in the centre, and you can split the whole base in half by putting a belt of defence modules along the center strip or along the long corridors. With the repair bay all the way at one end of the base and nothing much else, the enemies will end up spread out and become easy pickings for the defence modules as they make their way to populated side. The Y shaped one is very good too. It's small, but very easy to split into two sections with a defence module block around the grav-lift.

With the repair bay removed from the main base, I end up with one less entry point into the most important base in the city. Actually, these two shapes are great for decentralizing either of the labs too if you wanted The C shaped layout is great for this too.

My third base is to shift my workshop out. I like to use the + shaped layout for this. It's great because it consist of 5 2x2 areas, 4 of which can be used for large facilities. I place one gen. stores, one or two quarters and a med-bay along one the eastern arm or central area. If I've still only got small workshops, I'll plug that in the middle. The area around the grav-lift (the western arm) gets a mass of defence modules. Once I can build the large workshop, I build two and decommission the old workshop. This layout's also good if you want a dedicated facility to house both the bio and quantum lab if you wanted. I mainly like it for my manufacturing plant.

By now my main base will have been streamlined a bit and the number of facilities cut down. Actually there'll be lots of empty corridors (less areas for friendlies like the scientists to spawn).

Any other bases I buy afterwards tend to be for the kicks, or perhaps squad organization. Money permitting!

Keep in mind that except for the concept of splitting bases in half and using most of the smaller base/warehouse layouts, most of what I've mentioned above isn't something I strictly follow. It's just how things tend to turn out.

Hope that gives some ideas.

- NKF 00:12, 2 September 2008 (PDT)

Hmm, that was pretty interesting. Maybe it's time to start a separate article on bases layout. :)

I'm curious what your build order looks like, though perhaps it is more like a set of rough guidelines. It seems like defense is the number one priority with all the bases though, rather than organizing everything perfectly.

If I'm following you, I guess there won't be much at the third base except for a workshop, defense modules and perhaps one general stores.

Do the first and second bases both have mixed bio and physics labs then? It seems like the first base has a slight advantage in researching bio as it has it's alien containment prebuilt. It also seems like a good place to centrally house all your troops as it already has a hospital and training facility for them.

Also, what is the reason for moving the repair bay to the second base? Is the second base more defensible than the first one for some reason?

There are some interesting base layouts at the X-com UFO forums here, I wonder if they look anything like your bases. I get the impression that the OP may have too many security stations, but then again, maybe a extra layer of security stations is helpful in Superhuman mode.

  • Also it seems that playing the game at high difficulty levels becomes a matter of going slow and keeping the amount of points you have low, and perhaps not making too many enemies, rather than rushing up the tech tree. --Captain Foo 19:43, 3 September 2008 (PDT)

Defense is a definite priority, but it's not such a priority that you have to reorganize right away. You haven't made that many enemies yet, after all, so you do have a bit of time to set this all up. Yes on the workshop base. It's whole purpose is to churn out stuff, so it's pretty simplistic.

For me, the first base is always my primary assault base, and bio lab. As you've noted it's got all the necessary facilities (I might reshuffle them about though when I'm rearranging the base for defense). I try to jam in the quantum lab as well since my trooper carrier defaults to returning to this base, so any new technology scavenged off the field will show up ready for research right away. Of course, depending on which base you choose to start with, it might not always be possible to do this.

If I do have to move the quantum lab elsewhere, a bit of extra micromanagement will be needed. (Note, though I don't like having separate labs of the same type at different bases - you can start projects in one, stop progress and continue it at the other. I think it's possible to use this to start Large Lab Only projects and then continue them in the small lab across town. That's not the most efficient way to do it, of course!)

The reason for moving the repair bay out is two-pronged. The first, it's an access point. One less access point into the most important base in the city (or let's put it this way: The most cluttered base in the city) means it can be defended easier, as they'll have to go through the access lift. The other reason is to make more space available. Either empty corridors or so that I can have a large quantum lab in addition to the large bio lab (mainly for small base layouts). Plus any repairs needed on my ships can be done by just having them park at the repair base until they're fixed.

Having looked at the S shaped layout again - I realize that there's plenty of space in there for a Large Bio and Quantum Lab and a repair bay to coexist, if perhaps at the cost of having one of the labs flush against the access lift.

As for that thread on XCOMUFO: The more security stations, the merrier! But, I think that the OP should shift the repair bay to the left-most edge of the base, as the layout ends up dividing the occupied areas of the base into two, splitting all your forces in two. That's how I recommend setting up this base at least. But there could be various reasons for it.

In superhuman, you do get more points. So taking it easy on the point gathering at the start of the game does help you catch up with the technology until you reach tech that you are comfortable with. Once you reach that (shields, shields, shields!), you can go all out and race up the tech tree until you get the personal teleporters, which tend to take a longer time to get on easier levels. Unfortunately you do tend to forget about the other difficulty levels once you get used to Superhuman.

By the way, re: friendly fire. Setting one ship in each group of four to a different elevation is actually a good idea. Ends up with a vertical (or I suppose totem pole) formation when they fly together, but that's not bad as they won't get in each others' way. Works best with groups of 4, obviously.

-NKF 23:05, 3 September 2008 (PDT)