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What is XcomUtil?

XcomUtil is an utility written by Scott T. Jones to enhance both UFO Defense and Terror From The Deep. It works with either both the DOS or the CE (Windows) version of each game. Quoting from Scott T. Jones' page: "XcomUtil is a game enhancer. It is not really an editor and it is certainly not a cheat program. The original purpose of XcomUtil was to make the game more difficult, because there was a bug in the original game that forced all games to the Beginner difficulty level, regardless of what level you chose."

Scott T. Jones worked on this software for years. On Jan 23 2007 he announced that he had passed development of XComUtil to BladeFireLight since his work prevented him from developing it anymore. The latest stable version (9.7) can be downloaded from www.bladefirelight.com/xcomutil/xcomutil-downlaod/ or sites.google.com/site/bladefirelight/ or here.

XcomUtil's features

Most features are optional, others are not. Using XcuSetup you can change what features you want to use at any time: This list includes items added in 9.7.

Fixed features:

  • Fixes the difficulty bug mentioned above.
  • Removes copy protection for UFO.
  • Recovers MIA soldiers if you win combat (units under mind control when the last alien dies)
  • Sets the soldiers to face different directions at the start inside the craft, giving better initial visibility.
  • Changes the placement of the troops inside the Avenger, Lightning, Hammerhead and Leviathan.
  • The 2 last features can be modified by changes to the files in XcomUtil\cfg (but be sure of knowing what you are doing)

Optional features:

  • Allows for hybrid games, where UFO's maps can be played on TFTD and vice-versa.
  • Allows to add statstrings and rank in soldier's names, for a quick overview of their abilities.
  • Saves soldiers equipment configuration (see also Inventory Stacking Bug).
  • Allows you to control the order of which troops will exit the craft first/last.
  • Has an option for a enhanced set of the original weapons (Dye Grenade rebalancing only available in 9.7, for earlier use Dye Grenade Fix).
  • Has an option to make the manufacture and use of laser and plasma weapons more difficult.
  • Has an option to make research more difficult by making it highly dependent on capturing aliens.
  • Has an option to fix TFTD research bugs.
  • Has an option to restore old pre-1.4 Enemy Unknown sounds (9.7 only, for earlier use the Voices Patch).
  • Allows to play only Day Missions or only Night Missions.
  • Allows to choose the light level, terrain and UFO/USO before each tactical mission.
  • Allows for world terrain and UFO/USO floorplans/shapes randomization.
  • Permits players/modders to use new terrains and other features.
  • Adds an AutoCombat feature to automatically resolve a combat.
  • Option to fix research tree bugs in TFTD thanks to integration of Blade's Research Bug Fixer (9.7 only, for earlier use an earlier version of the fixer, hack the fixer included in 9.7 into earlier versions of XComUtil by downloading a copy of 9.7 and finding it's ResFix.exe inside the \bin folder, copying the exe to the location of xcomutil and adding it to the xcuhook4.bat; compatibility not guaranteed, or use the old fashioned TRTBAG).
  • Offers a fix for the Base Disjoint Bug (was non-optional in 9.6 and earlier, see But I Don't Want Some Features).
  • Allows for all 5 X-COM ships to carry troops (was non-optional in 9.6 and earlier, see But I Don't Want Some Features).
  • Allows for Skyranger/Triton to carry one Craft Armaments (was non-optional in 9.6 and earlier, see But I Don't Want Some Features).
  • Option to fix a number of bugs in maps, terrain and routes (9.7 only, for earlier use UFO Combo Patch and TFTD USO Routes Fix + Interception Screen Fix).
  • Includes Vista/Windows 7 Blank Screen Fix.

Command line features:

  • Allows to change the aliens and their weapons during tactical missions.
  • Allows for changing difficulty levels on a saved game.

For a complete list see the XcomUtil.txt file included with the program.

How to use XcomUtil

Warning: this indications are merely for a quick use/explanation of some of its features. For full documentation read the XcomUtil.txt file included with the program. It is always recommended to make a backup copy of the game to restore it to its original configuration.

First, you will need to download XcomUtil from Blade FireLight's site and install it to your UFO/TFTD folder. If you want to change your options or skiped the setup during install, run XcuSetup and choose the options you want (there's an explaining list below). For more advanced options you will need to use the xcomutil command (instructions on that below). Finally, to load the game with XcomUtil fully working you will need to use the RunXcom command (or run XcomUtil\SteamSetup to configure Steam).

The XcuSetup configuration program

Before you can use XcomUtil first run the XcuSetup program (this will run during install). There is a number of optional command-line arguments to XcuSetup.

XCUSETUP [uninstall] | [hybrid path] [debug] [options file] [skip] [nobackup]
  • "uninstall" : This options is used by itself and restores all backup files and removes any temp, config files or other files created by XCUSETUP and XcomUtil.
  • hybrid path : If you give it the path to the directory of TFTD (or the path to XCOM, if you are install XComUtil for TFTD), XcuSetup will import all the terrain from the other game. This makes it possible to play hybrid games which combine units and terrain from both games. This only needs to be done once.
  • "debug" : This option turns on logging of what options chooses and the file copy results to a log file. It also displays a list of all options chosen before applying the changes.
  • options file : This is a bath to a .BAT file overriding the defaults and skipping the questions. Each time XcuSetup is ran it creates XcomUtil\lastOp.bat file. This can be renamed and customized for this. DO NOT MODIFY XcomUtil\LastOp.bat directly, always copy to a new file.
  • "skip" : This options skips the continue prompts. Used with an options files this allows for silent install. (except on beta versions)
  • "nobackup" : This option will skip the backup IF a backup has already been made. If you have added any map packs or new terrain files you should not use this.

XcuSetup will then prompt you to choose a number of options:

  • Do you want to Split the EXE? - The Windows version of XCOM and TFTD don't have separate executable (EXE) files for GEOSCAPE and TACTICAL. Choosing NO will disable most of XcuSetup's options.
  • Run Patch Program? - If playing X-Com CE on Vista or Win7 You will need this patch to fix the blank screen on startup.
  • Do you want to enable f0dder's loader? - This is in case you are having video problems with the Windows edition.
  • Do you want to enable the use of UFO Extender? - Seb67 has created a loader for Windows UFO to enhance the game.
  • Do you want to apply the fixes? - A number of fan made fixes to data files can be applied. Either all together or individually selected.
  • Do you want to enable Fighter Transports? - This adds space into the two xcom fighter ships to carry a small number of men.
  • Do you want to add one Hard Point to the Triton/Skyranger? - This adds 1 gun mount to either the Skyranger or the Triton
  • Do you want to use the defensive starting base? - The starting base will have a different configuration better suited for defense
  • Do you want to use the improved starting base? - The starting base will have the scientists and engineers will be increased to 50 each. It will also upgrade the Small Radar to a Large Radar (or their TFTD equivalents) and build an Alien Containment
  • Do you want fix the Disjointed base bug? - This solves the disjointed base bug by removing the adjoining walls in various maps. This will result in some hallways ending in solid rock. The disjointed base bug is where the walls between base modules on the bottom row and left column are not correctly removed.
  • Do you want to use the improved tank armor? -The HWP will have the same stats as the Hovertanks, if Yes is chosen. It also works for Coelacanths/Displacers in TFTD.
  • -Do you want to use Improved Pistol/DartGun? - gives auto-fire
  • Do you want to use Improved Heavy Laser? - Improve the accuracy of the Heavy Laser.
  • Do you want to use Improved High Explosive/Magna-Pack Explosive? - damage increased (200) to the point that they can blow open UFOs' outer walls
  • Do you want to use Improved Gauss Weapons? - Double the clip size of Gauss Rifle and Heavy Gauss, plus increase the damage of the Heavy Gauss from 75 to 80.
  • Do you want to Remove Gauss Weapon Clips? - Remove the need for clips from Gauss weapons, and increase the damage of the Heavy Gauss from 75 to 80.
  • Increase the damage of the Dye Grenade? - This makes it more useful for cover with out waiting 3 turns for the cloud to get big enough.
  • Do you want to use the alternate laser Tech? - Lasers now require Elerium to be built (and Alloys for Heavy Lasers), plus it is not possible to build Plasma beam weapons (with the exception of the aircraft Plasma Cannon, which takes much longer to build, and clips for hand weapons). This alters Manufacturing Profitability significantly - Laser Cannon and Plasma Cannon are no longer a cash cow to be milked. This makes the strategic and economic game much more challenging.
  • Do you want XcomUtil to attempt to fix TFTD Research Bugs? - This options attempts checks for an fixes issues in the TFTD Research after each combat. Research of MC Reader, Sub Construction and Aquaplastics are made available if they should be.
  • Do you want to get research help from captured aliens? - This will greatly increase the research times for all technologies, and you will need to capture aliens to speed up your research and get your technology progression back to anywhere near what you are used to. It would be better stated as "Do you want research to depend largely on capturing aliens?". This is a great feature for those who want the game to be much more challenging both strategically and tactically.
  • Do you want to see XcomUtil messages after combat? - This enables the display of messages between the tactical and world views to report AutoCombat results and any research help acquired by capturing aliens.
  • Do you want stat strings added to the names of your troops? - To help distinguish them in combat, on equipment screens, and Base screens. Other suboptions will appear if you choose Yes. It is possible to auto-equip your troops, based on their stat strings or other labels.
  • Do you want rank indicators added to the names of your troops? - This adds :a through :f after the name, to be used as a rank indicator, where a=rookie/seaman, b=squaddie/able-seaman, etc. This was chosen over traditional rank abbreviations both to save space and to create unique indicators.
  • Do you want their number of kills added to the names of your troops? - This adds the number of kills after the rank indicator at the end of the name of your soldier.
  • Do you want your troops automatically sorted before combat? - Places the rookies and high reaction soldiers at first to disembark the craft. (Or set up your own, custom sort order.)
  • Do you want to automatically re-equip your troops before combat? - Saves the equipment for each soldier at the end of each mission and reequips them on their next mission.
  • Do you want to eliminate mind control? - Completely removes Psionics/Molecular Control from the game. Neither Aliens nor X-COM have access to it. When not using Xcomutil.bat X-COM units can still use psionics/M.C.
  • Do you want automatic screening for Psi ability? - Optional to always displays all soldiers Psi ability or Just after Psi/MC lab is resaerched.
  • Do you want to fight all battles in daylight/darkness? - what it says: makes the game easier/harder.

(skipping 2 options - dealt with below)

  • Do you want to use the XcomUtil BFG? - XcomUtil can generate the battlefield instead of letting the game do it.
  • Do you want to be prompted before every ship attack? - this lets you set the terrain, ship, and type of alien ship before each battle.
  • Do you want the world map terrain to be randomized? - This option is only avalible if you dont use BFG. This can make the world map look very weird, but it evenly distributes the occurrences of the various terrains without making them totally random.
  • Do you want to use Random Alien Craft Floor Plans? - XcomUtil can randomize the floor plan on alien craft. Options for randomizing floor plans include randomizing once during setup, or if using the BFG before every combat. Using Random shapes or filling in the dead spaces with small rooms to create rectangle exterior shapes.

The XcomUtil command

In addition to XcuSetup and RunXcom. Another way to use XcomUtil is by running the xcomutil command to change a saved game. This command allow for specific modifications to the files (XcuSetup makes nearly all general modifications), especially to games saved while on tactical. If you are going to edit the game through this command remember to make backup files of your saved game directories before using it. You should also read XComUtil's manual (XcomUtil\XcomUstil.txt) concerning each flag, otherwise you might end up your saved games.

How to use the command

The syntax for the command is :

XCOMUTIL path [flags] [WRT]

path Where your game is located. If xcomutil is on the same folder then you will simply have to specify which saved game you want to be changed

[flags] These are the specific commands. More on those below.

[WRT] To make changes permanent you will need to put WRT at the end, otherwise XcomUtil will simulate only the effects (which is great to practice).

An example of a command would be:

XCOMUTIL GAME_1 DXC WRT - This would eliminate all extra clips carried by the aliens on the first saved game.

Flags affecting tactical missions

These flags will change only elements of a saved tactical game. There are other flags that affect also Geoscape, although most of those changes can be made already with XcuSetup. For more information on the flags consult the XcomUtil.txt file.

  • DXC - This flag deletes all of the extra plasma clips carried by the aliens to make more room for extra aliens.
  • S2B - Changes stun launchers (SL) to blaster launchers (BL). Other similar flags include B2S (changes BLs to SLs); W2H which changes alien pistols and rifles to heavy plasmas; W2R changes alien weapons to rifles; W2P changes alien weapons to pistols.
  • CHG:old:new - This will change objects carried by the aliens from old to new. As an example it is possible to change plasma weapons to lasers or any other object on the inventory.
  • DEL:name - Deletes all objects carried by the aliens of the name type.
  • RPL:oldrace:newrace:oldrank:newrank - Allows to replace aliens and to change their ranks.
  • typ:# - This will add new alien units, if there is space for them. The possible flags are SEC, FLO, SNA, MUT, ETH, CEL, SIL, CHR, CIV or ALL. It is not possible to add large aliens.
  • VIS - Makes the entire battlefield visible, including the aliens.
  • WIN - Kills all alien units at the end of your turn.
  • ARM - Equips all unarmed aliens with a Heavy Plasma
  • SWP - Allows you to switch sides with the aliens (Warning: this flag can be very dangerous do your game, read the instructions to further details).

Flags affecting Geoscape

These flags make changes into a game saved on Geoscape. The changes aren't permanent and some of them can be used to cheat.

  • ACT:n - Sets the X-COM activity on each area to n.
  • MSK - Reveals the Psi level of Soldiers/Aquanauts.
  • TEC:xyz - Allows for unresearched technologies to be used/built. XYZ can be HUMAN, HYBRID or ALL
  • MNY:n - Sets the money to n.
  • FND:n - Sets the funding for each country to n times $1000.

Flags affecting the game executable

These flags make permanent changes to the game.

  • TNK - Adds improved HWP/SWS, with the stats of the Hovertanks/Displacers.
  • FLY - Allows Celatids, Silacoids, Engineers and Tentaculats to fly.
  • PSI - Gives Psi abilities to all alien Leaders/Commanders. Doesn't work with TFTD.
  • BAS - Uses the improved base.

How To Start The Game Using XComUtil - RunXCom.bat

After you have changed the game using XcuSetUp or/and xcomutil you must use the RunXCom.bat command. If you are running the CE version on XP then you may need to install fodder's patch using XcuSetup. If you had already chosen No on that simply run XcuSetup again. For more information on this read the XcomUtil manual where the proper procedure for installing CE is explained.

If your playing X-Com through STEAM. The Installer will give you an option to change STEAM to ruse RunXcom to start the game, or run XcuSetup to change options. If you chose "NO" to configureing STEAM, or you ran "Validate Game Cashe" in STEAM then use XcomUtil\SteamSetup.bat to enable the XcomUtil STEAM menu.

But I Don't Want Some Features

This section is for XcomUtil 9.6. Version 9.7 adds more choice as to what changes are made.

Tested on: DOS Ver v1.4

As much as XcomUtil being a game enchancer, some aspects of the program cannot be easily disabled. Once installed via Xcusetup.bat, some features are implemented that may not be welcome (even if you answered 'No' to all questions). Such as, the soldier carrying capacity of the Interceptor and the Firestorm. If you were not wanting these additions, or any other, but want the Difficulty Bug squashed, you must use a different editor (for example: Khor Chin Heong's XCOM2 MultiEditor v0.2) to change values within the geoscape.exe back to originals. As much as this is a pain, it only needs to be done once if you keep a backup of the edited and corrected geoscape.exe.

How To:

Run Xcusetup.bat, when you are asked your first question, just close the program as you would any other windows program. Windows will come up with a message: "Cannot close this program normally, are you sure you want to end this program?" (or something similiar to that wording). Once closed, run XCOM2 MultiEditor. (NOTE: this editor works for Xcom1, even though its written for Xcom2 in mind) and change values to what they are originally. Look inside "Sub Editor" within the editor and change "Craft Weapons" to 0 for the Triton. Once you have edited the values back to originals, save it. Cut geoscape.exe from the currnt game install and move it to a new installation of Xcom1. Just overwrite geoscape.exe with your patched and edited file. Keep it somewhere else as a backup, just in case.

Original Ships: Remove SHP:CFG from Xcusetup.bat, before running the first time. (There is another flag that can be removed to bypass the base disjoint bug fix, but if that doesn't run then Xcomutil acts like Xcusetup.bat was never run at all.) BladeFireLight's XcomUtil Undo also allows you restore the default ships but optionally allows you to keep certain alternate ones if you want.

Making use of the Base Disjoint Bug - restoring the original base map files:

XCUSetup forces a fix on the base map files when it is run, without prompting you if you want to do this or not. It effectively knocks out all the walls that would otherwise be sealed off when placed along the left and lower most edges of the base map grid.

While most players are content with the crude looking base maps and the complete unrestricted access to and from the various modules, some players may already know how the base disjoint bug works and will want to make use of the sealed off walls to control the flow of alien movement. If this sounds like you, read on.

To restore the old maps, you must make a backup of the xbase*.map files stored in the MAPS\ directory. You can also do this to the ubase*.map files to keep the alien base maps intact as well. Or if you can get access to these files on your installation CD, or a second copy of the game, you can take copies directly from there when you want to restore them.

Run xcusetup as per normal, then overwrite the map files with the backup copies.

You can also hack support for this into XcomUtil Undo (see Original Ships) by adding the following under :nosrvy in xcuundo.bat:

::::: Restore X-COM Bases
echo Do you want to restore the X-COM bases (Y)
echo (remove the disjoint fix)
sdump * getresp yYnN y
if errorlevel 3 goto noxbase
copy maps\xbase_**.xcu maps\xbase_**.map >nul
copy maps\xbases**.xcu maps\xbases**.map >nul

::::: Restore Alien Bases
echo Do you want to restore the Alien bases (Y)
echo (remove the disjoint fix)
sdump * getresp yYnN y
if errorlevel 3 goto noabase
copy maps\ubase_**.xcu maps\ubase_**.map >nul
copy maps\a_base**.xcu maps\a_base**.map >nul

XcomUtil + UFO Extender

This section will explain how to use XcomUtil with Enemy Unknown Extended after having downloaded the game via Steam (or getting the game legally from other source). Please understand that this will take some effort unless you have a certain skillset, you should probably read this page and the Enemy Unknown Extended and google the issue for several hours (or days) before attempting. Particularly the music modification and attempting to use TFTD maps in X-Com via XcomUtil may prove difficult. Keep in mind that the UFO Extender, used in Enemy Unknown Extended, cannot be run in DOSbox (but from a Window's command prompt), and there are also options to run via Windows or via Steam.

Resources while this section is flushed out: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1358365&page=2

Advanced Statstrings

Statstrings allow to rename your soldiers. For example, "Anton Miller /wMr" would be a weak squaddie of excellent firing accuracy (marksmanship) and decent reactions. However, like almost everything in XcomUtil, this is fully configurable. Custom sets of statstring definitions can be found here.

Primitive Hotseat Multiplayer

Although not an advertised feature, it is possible to have a primitive hotseat multiplayer game with a friend. It requires a game editor or very late game save to unlock the alien weapons (otherwise aliens wont be able to use their own weapons when it's their turn) and usage of XcomUtil's swp wrt command to switch between controlled sides when it's one another's turn. A video tutorial is available here. This can be made easier with the batch file found here. The script can be further enhanced with BB's Toolkit due to it's alien inventory screens: edit the script and add the command BBReset.exe beneath the first echo ------ >>xcomutil.log, then add the command BBReset.exe randomparameter beneath the second echo ------ >>xcomutil.log and lastly add BBReset.exe beneath :end.

Troubleshooting FAQ

I have UFO/TFTD CE. How can I use f0dder's patch and XComUtil?

XComUtil's package includes f0dder's patch. To install it, run XcuSetup and choose Yes on the f0dder's patch query.

I have chosen No before and now XcuSetup doesn't show the option again (9.6 only)

Delete the XCom4Win.xcf file from the UFO/TFTD folder. It will now show up again on XcuSetup.

Is it possible to incorporate alien components (alien food, alien surgery, etc.) into XcomUtil/cfg/xcomutil.rm(x,t) for use in random maps?

If you know the corrent HEX values then you can add any terrain tile. Items Listed in XcomUtil.txt are just the short list.

I am using version 9.60, but it locks up when entering combat

Find the file RunXComW.bat and open it with Notepad. Use the search function to locate every line that starts with the term xcopy, then add /y as a third parameter. For example:

xcopy xcubef missdat >nul


xcopy xcubef missdat /y >nul

Save the edited batch and you'll have no further problems.

XcomUtil 9.7 does not have this issue.

The latest version of BB's Toolkit doesn't work on 9.6

Add BBReset.exe to xcuhook0.bat (create it if it doesn't exist) as a new line and add BBReset.exe randomparameter to xcuhook1.bat (again create it if it doesn't exist) as a new line.

Note that compatibility is still not guaranteed.

I have chosen L under Psionics Screening; Do you want to Always screen or just after the Psionics Lab is researched [A,L]? But it doesn’t work!

“Ver 9.7 Beta Build 442” You have to rename the file labscrn.xcf in XcomUtil\flags to autoscrn.xcf

See Also

XcomUtil Manufacturing Profitability

Game Editors

Making the Game Harder