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#1 Morwynd

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 07:22 PM

Hi all... first post here. Thanks so much for these forums, I have played this game to death in the past (right from '94.. on a 386 20Mhz with no sound. "Hidden movement" phase could take whole minutes!) but have learned so much I never knew from this place.

When I started playing this game again recently, I wanted to go for a "perfect game", one where I gain absolute dominance of the planet, total coverage by well defended bases, laugh in the face of multi-battleship assaults, pick and choose where and when I want to fight with uber elite squads, and have no worries about money (WITHOUT needing to necessarily fund myself from raiding, except Elerium of course).

That's basically my definition of "winning" X-Com. Screw Cydonia and making the game end. ;)

My biggest question is, long-term, am I doomed to eventually have all the funding nations (except Russia, which is apparently immune) withdraw, no matter what I do?

The reason I ask, is because I had a kickass game going, with EVERY nation not only on board, but also with all of them increasing funding every single month as well. I have six intercept bases ringing the globe, all with hyperwave, 3 with assault teams (Europe, USA, East Asia). I have multiple Avengers and many Interceptors all with dual Plasma, a really crack team of soldiers at my main base, and getting started on Psi. My perfect game is within reach.

Then comes April... and CHINA LEAVES NO MATTER WHAT I DO!!! GAH!!!

I have replayed this entire damn month so many times, it doesn't matter. China increased their funding in March like everyone else, but at the end of April they withdraw, no matter what.

I mean, I have an assault base IN CHINA, with Hyperwave, two Avengers and an Interceptor... and I have support from Australia, Europe, and Africa. Anything that so much as blinks in the eastern hemisphere gets blown out of the sky instantly.

Always around the 16th, I get an Infiltration fleet, of a few smaller ships followed by two battleships, and then an alien base seems to appear spontaneously. I've tried assaulting both battleships on the ground, I've blown them out of the sky, including with both over the ocean before they even reach China, and I patrol like a mad-man with save-and-reload whoring, and stomp the alien base the second it shows up.

NOTHING WORKS!!! ARGH! This frustration is essentially what drove me to seek out the collective wisdom of other X-Com players on the net, and why I am here.

Is this simply inevitable? There's absolutely nothing I can do to prevent this? Does this mean ALL the nations (except Russia) will eventually follow suit, in a long enough game? Would playing on Beginner make a difference? (I'm currently playing Experienced)

One other question... I have the Windows CE Gold version. It plays too fast (still playable, but annoying at times), is there a good way to slow it down? Is it worth trying to hunt down the DOS version and get it running in DOSBox? (I don't really care about Blaster Bombs not being able to go straight vertical in CE.. they're powerful enough as it is) Are save games between the two compatible? (Ie, if if start a game in CE, can I transfer it to DOS later on?)

Thanks in advance for any replies. :)

Edited by Morwynd, 08 January 2008 - 07:24 PM.


#2 NKF

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 01:48 AM

I can't really help with the funding nation issue - the game appears to force it in you to create a false sense of urgency. The game appears to predetermine if a country will withdraw or otherwise every month. The infiltration fleets that you see are there just to put on a bit of a show.

---

You can still aim for your perfect game without the funding nations, with bases worldwide and a fleet of ships that can turn battleships into mincemeat and a team of soldiers that are so good that they can wipe the UFO crews out with absolutely anything they can get their hands on.

Money comes easily later on through regular spring cleaning, even if you don't resort to farming supply ships or alien bases. In fact, it's easy to hit the point where you end up with more money than you'll ever need to spend, and it'll just keep rising. By then the earnings you get from the funding nations seems hardly relevant.

---

The Dos version and dosbox seems to be the preferred method for the speed issues and for many other reasons. The CE version works very well if you can get it running and it's at a speed that still allows it to be played. I'd recommend having both options available to you.

CE and Dos versions have identical data files, so savegames are transferable between the two.

I'm just waiting for the time when a Windows environment emulator comes out so that you can run vintage Windows games on the newer faster computers and beefier operating systems (Windows included). So many great Windows games that I own no longer run on modern PCs - it's frustrating.

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#3 Morwynd

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 05:34 AM

Thanks for the reply, kinda what I figured from reading other posts, but I've also seen a few people claim to still have all funding nations going even after several years of gameplay. I guess they are just fluking it out?

I'm not too worried about the money aspect... I start mass producing LC's as soon as possible to fund my expansion. It's more the principle of the thing... the world is going to seem a lonely and hostile place with all the countries signed up with the aliens. :( Kinda sours the whole global domination vibe a bit... but oh well... c'est la vie.

Maybe I'll try to hunt down the DOS version after all then... nice to know I can transfer my savegames over, thanks.

#4 Crafty

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 12:21 PM

You still use interceptors? I usually have one avenger and two firestorms per base, it's plenty, and no rent.

Edited by Crafty, 16 July 2008 - 03:30 PM.


#5 Morwynd

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 03:07 PM

Here's my newly minted rationale:

The GOVERNMENTS of the world have become corrupt, selling out their citizens to the alien menace despite X-Com's best efforts. In the face of declining international funding, X-Com has been forced to expand its mandate, taking it upon itself to acquire funding by any and all means necessary, for the very survival of mankind.

In many cases, this involves black-hat, illicit "Swordfish-style" operations, often working with resistance groups (who are well supplied with truck mountable laser cannons at reasonable rates) in various countries to "appropriate" monies from the very governments who have so callously turned their back on humanity. This extra, "off the books" money can then be used to manufacture items for free in a limited fashion. ;)

#6 Grogs

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 09:34 PM

I recently had a similar occurrence in my ongoing Superhuman game. I had bases in Europe, SE Asia, Antarctica, and the Central U.S., all with hyperwave decoders. In early June, an alien fleet came to the United States on an 'Alien Infiltration' mission. There were five ships total, a large scout, terror ship, supply ship, and 2 battleships. I shot down the three smaller ships and assaulted the battleships after they had landed (I pretty much always leave battleships alone until they land unless it's an emergency). After taking the two battleships, I turned my crews around and recovered the 3 downed ships. But despite the fact that I stopped all five of the ships on the 'Alien Infiltration' mission -- and I know there were only 5 because of the HWD -- the US still pulled out at the end of June.

The thing is that I decided losing the US wasn't so bad. I was currently getting $1.25 Million / month from the U.S. I pulled about $4 Million from each battleship and perhaps $4 Million from the 3 ships I shot down, and that's not even counting the ~500 units of Elerium and the stack of blaster launchers that I *didn't* sell. So even though taking out the UFO's didn't stop the US from leaving, it more than made up for the financial loss by bringing in nearly 10 times what the US was paying me. And instead of having the money doled out in bits every month, I had it immediately. Also, in part due to these mission, I ended up scoring ~10K points for the month of June and my overall budget still increased slightly (+77k) even with the US pulling out.

Late game, I think the funding nations become pretty unimportant. You'll have crack teams that can easily assault battleships/supply ships/harvesters and bring in several million $ at a crack. Most of the rented ships will be replaced with the ones you own, most of your bases will be pretty well 'built out', so you won't be spending lots of money at once on modules. You'll be done researching, so you can fire those 1-200 scientists. And you'll probably have at least 1, and perhaps several bases full of engineers netting ~$10 Million / month building laser cannons.

#7 Zombie

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 12:28 AM

Morwynd - I believe that the game determines at the end/start of a month whether a country will sign a pact (info found in diplom.dat). You can try to shoot down the ships and visit all the sites, but your efforts will probably fail as your success is predetermined. BTW: if you see the main infiltration fleet arrive, it's already too late. I tested this out with a few ships having unlimited fuel patrol over a country slated to turn. Just before the main UFO group arrives, the alien base becomes visible. So there isn't a way to stop the base from being built either. OMG

While funding is fairly important at the start of the game, it slowly starts to lose it's appeal due to a number of factors. The primary factor is, of course, the sale of alien artifacts. If you are pulling in a few million from the sale of alien items every mission or two, that really takes the shine off funding. When the Hyperwave Decoder is available, it allows you to visit more and more sites increasing your funds as well. Another reason is the sale of manufactured items. A few months into the game and your engineers may be sitting idle because your scientists take more time to research certain projects. Putting those engineers to work manufacturing items for profit can infuse cash into the kitty on a regular basis. I should also mention the Plasma Cannon as a runner-up. This ship weapon can knock a UFO out of the sky which may not have landed normally and if you combine that with an Elerium fueled hybrid aircraft the results are impressive. Total control of the skies = total control of your funds. :)

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#8 stewart

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 09:36 AM

Fact one: I can personal vouch that Russian is solid. Having humilated both Napoleon and Hitler I recon a few bugs does nothing to phase these people; they will not turn.

Fact two: Nations "cap out" at 8 Million dollars

Fact three: If you are special (like me) your game of Xcom has funding nations COME BACK, allbeit sporatically.

Fact four: 2 6-facility factories producing laser cannons around the clock will give 25 Mega bucks a month and that's net not gross. So don't keep russia happy; who cares, just keep your score high, which leads to . . . .

Fact Five: My secret strategy, (Zombie figured it out too, although if you compare us newton, libnitz, and calculus: Im newton he's libnitz, sorry calculus history humor -if its posible) anyway . .

Alien bases = good, once you have your bases and airfleet built leave oh say a couple three dozen alien bases scattered about the globe. This has been my secret to consistant 5 digit scores month after month. And by the way I've never been shy in saying I more-or-less ignore terror missions. Let the street gangs handle the Chryssalids (like in Hobbes book :) )

Once you "get into a rythm", with funding nations leaving and coming back you national funding will remain constant at around 20 Million per month.
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#9 Morwynd

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 02:53 PM

Morwynd - I believe that the game determines at the end/start of a month whether a country will sign a pact (info found in diplom.dat). You can try to shoot down the ships and visit all the sites, but your efforts will probably fail as your success is predetermined.

A thought occurs...

If this is indeed determined with some random factor at the start of the month, it should be possible to save just before the end of the month, and then reload if someone leaves. Should be reasonably quick to test at the start, if the month is "good" before playing it through fully, by fast-forwarding through the month without doing any missions, just shooting down UFOs of interest.

This also raises another question... does the converse apply? As in, does a country turn ONLY when that flag is set at the start of the month? Ie, are the Infiltration missions purely for show, or can you also lose a country by allowing them through, in addition to the predetermined start-of-month flag?

Perhaps the Infiltration missions affect the chance of the "inevitability flag" being flipped, but the flag can also flip by itself randomly?

#10 Zombie

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 01:05 AM

You bring up some good ideas, Morwynd. I do not know the answer to them though as I haven't had the aliens send an infiltration fleet yet. Just some minor editing but changing the 2nd byte in diplom.dat (satisfication rating) to 0 (sign a pact/stop funding) and the country stops funding but remains on your side. Editing the 16th byte makes the country sign a pact at the start of the next month (always). I'm not sure when the flag is set though. If it is set during the infiltration mission, you may be able to thwart the attempt somehow. If it is set at the start of the next month (meaning the country will turn at the end of the next) you are probably screwed.

In all my years playing with the PSX and CE versions, I have never had countries returning after they have signed a pact. I believe this only happens in the DOS version of the game. All nations do not cap out at 8 million dollars, stewart. The actual cap for each country is between 2M-10M and can be found here. :)

- Zombie
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A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!


#11 stewart

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 06:58 PM

factoid based on my special version of Xcom. Our good friend the bear, remained my only country and they stayed solid at 8M, month after month. However I know personally how thorough you are about these things so I will bow to you expertise.
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#12 Zombie

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:07 AM

You are correct about the bear capping at 8 million. It matches the data files. :)

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A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!


#13 Morwynd

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 06:37 PM

Alrighty, some results to report on this front:

Saving at the end of the previous month and reloading does not work to prevent countries signing a pact. :( The Infiltration fleet still shows up on cue and the country flips, even if reloading from the previous month.

Ergo, whether a country will flip is not determined randomly at the end of the previous month, like other diplomacy changes are. I wonder if some sort of schedule for countries' inevitable falls, is being setup at the beginning of the game and stored somewhere else? However, if it is truly predetermined from the start of the game and not calculated according to some algorithm from month to month, one also wonders why Russia never falls?

Thus, it seems clear that countries are predestined to sign pacts eventually, no matter what you do including reloading from the previous month.

Unless, of course, you want to mess with DIPLOM.DAT in your save game folder. ;)

Editing the 16th byte makes the country sign a pact at the start of the next month (always). I'm not sure when the flag is set though. If it is set during the infiltration mission, you may be able to thwart the attempt somehow.


It's actually the 30th byte for the country record in diplom.dat that controls this. This byte appears to flip to a 01 the instant the second Infiltration Battleship shows up. I am happy to report that changing it back to 00 results in the country continuing to fund you and not signing a pact at the end of the month. :banger: :beer:

I intend to do this in my current game and see how it goes. What will be interesting to see, is whether the country tries to flip again the next (and presumably every) month afterwards... in other words, does each country have an "expiry date" which results in unstoppable Infiltration fleets showing up?

#14 Zombie

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 10:22 PM

Editing the 16th byte makes the country sign a pact at the start of the next month (always). I'm not sure when the flag is set though. If it is set during the infiltration mission, you may be able to thwart the attempt somehow.


It's actually the 30th byte for the country record in diplom.dat that controls this. This byte appears to flip to a 01 the instant the second Infiltration Battleship shows up. I am happy to report that changing it back to 00 results in the country continuing to fund you and not signing a pact at the end of the month. :banger: :beer:

We are both correct. The 16th byte (with two "words" being a byte in this instance) equates to offset 32. And if you start numbering at 1 instead of 0 the offset translates to 30. ^_^

I'm starting to think this all has to do something with MISSIONS.DAT. If the aliens have an infiltration mission "alive" in missions.dat, it appears never to truly end. I'll quote zaimoni here:

after this, the mission does not end, but starts again with ufo 0 again.

This would indicate that the first time an infiltration mission is scheduled to show up, the country turns, and the mission starts again with a different country on the list. So if a country which is being slated for infiltration in missions.dat is edited to 0 in diplom.dat to prevent it from turning, it might stop the country from turning at the end of the month, but it might get put back on the list later. Also, the time-scale for infiltration missions is in the neighborhood of something like 60 days, so you would need to go 2 months back in time to reload and even then you will not be able to stop it simply by reloading. You would need to shoot down the small fry and perhaps even the bigger craft to stop the mission. (Pure conjecture at this point). Basically, if I'm reading zaimoni's results correctly, once infiltration missions start, they continue once every two months or so until they all turn (except for Russia for some reason). :P

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Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!


#15 Morwynd

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 04:31 AM

The 16th byte (with two "words" being a byte in this instance) equates to offset 32. And if you start numbering at 1 instead of 0 the offset translates to 30.

Gotcha. You've got the terms flipped around though; a byte is 8 bits, the word length in this case is 2 bytes or 16 bits, so it would be the 16th word in the record if we're starting counting at 1. :)

Basically, if I'm reading zaimoni's results correctly, once infiltration missions start, they continue once every two months or so until they all turn (except for Russia for some reason). :P

That certainly sounds consistent with what I remember... it always seems like you fend them off at first, but then the next month they come back in force and you lose the country.

Well I'll just have to see what pattern I get when flipping the flag back as needed. :)

I still seem to recall reading on a thread here some guy claiming to still have all the countries after 4 years... I wonder how that's possible?

#16 zaimoni

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 10:00 AM

I'm starting to think this all has to do something with MISSIONS.DAT. If the aliens have an infiltration mission "alive" in missions.dat, it appears never to truly end. I'll quote zaimoni here:

after this, the mission does not end, but starts again with ufo 0 again.

You're actually quoting the prior maintainer of that page, as I haven't personally verified that yet. However, that almost certainly is true. (It would be hard to end up with only Infiltration/Terror/Retaliation missions otherwise as is commonly reported. The "used up information" in ACTS.DAT has no documented reset conditions.)

I think this may be a bug related to the Harvester UFO numbering. That's next on my verification list, as it appears that ufo-c and ufo-sub-c are transposed. I suspect the actual implementation is an off-by-one error, which may have also damaged the "mission connectivity" for Infiltration missions. [Note that my testing game was "on hold" for about two months thanks to work loading, but it is alive now. I'll get there eventually.]

Edited by zaimoni, 21 January 2008 - 10:01 AM.


#17 stewart

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 06:14 PM

All nations do not cap out at 8 million dollars, stewart. The actual cap for each country is between 2M-10M and can be found here. :)

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You are correct about the bear capping at 8 million. It matches the data files. :)

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#18 Zombie

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Posted 02 February 2008 - 01:35 AM

Russia's max funding cap is 8 million dollars - it can not go above this. The other countries have max caps which may be different from Russia for example:

Country		  Funding Cap
USA				  10
Russia				8
UK					7
France				8
Germany			   9
Italy				 6
Spain				 5
China				 7
Japan				10
India				 5
Brazil				4
Australia			 5
Nigeria			   2
South Africa		  3
Egypt				 2
Canada				4
An interesting note is that even though Canada tends to fund the least right off the bat, it can surpass 3 other countries if you manage to keep it happy. ;)

- Zombie
The Mr. Grognard of X-COM

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!


#19 stewart

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Posted 04 February 2008 - 05:39 PM

Canada funds the least. SEE the game IS accurate. ROFL

What am I saying! I live in Canada's capital city. OMG
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#20 Bonkers1982

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 07:58 AM

I once wondered if I could keep all nations, Well you can almost!

In my Game (Veteran) Currently in Nov 1999, I have 3 alien bases and possible 1 in Brazil (base not set up yet) maybe more. My style has followed shooting down everything that moves (missed a few battleships due to reapirs) and generally raiding supply ships.

My current Funding I lost :

India
Brazil
South Africa

I played a month just to see what would happen without any activity from me.

I then Lost the united states -3.5M

But ive had the previous 3 return paying 1.2M together.

I belive I have the original Dos version ( no patches) and Xcomutil installed with only basic options diffaculty fix and even changed back to original maps.)

So it looks like its possible.

Update : Was playing normally and still lost USA funding following month, Its now 1st Feb 2000, and I have USA back albiet at 1.2M My score for last month was 10k, had 8 alien bases got rid of 5.

So they do come back!

Edited by Bonkers1982, 16 March 2008 - 01:47 PM.


#21 NKF

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 10:45 PM

What version of the game are you using? That is to say, is it a version prior to the 1.4 update?

I know nations do came back on some earlier versions of the game, but stopped doing so with the 1.4 update (and beyond).

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#22 Bonkers1982

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 11:48 AM

v1.0

#23 Conrad Gray

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 05:36 PM

I've seen all of Europe withdraw, one by one, over the last few months in my current game. I've been kind of slipshod so far (I'm new at this game), but a patrol detected an alien base in Spain on the 29th of this month, and I hastily sent in a successful mission that destroyed the threat. Yet Spain is still gone for good as a funder. Bleh.

I would really like in future installments that they have it so the nations' behavior depends more on how you play, and is more "story-like." I would like it if certain nations can "undefect" back to X-COM if you manage to make a particularly successful victory in there. Or perhaps you can strike back and punish defecting nations somehow. And it would be cool if you had to fight off their country's air force when you try to intercept UFO's over their airspace, or had to fight their soldiers in addition to aliens when you undertake missions in their territory.

#24 pablumatic

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 10:40 AM

I registered here just to look at this particular question.

I pretty much figured before reading this thread that the game has some countries withdraw without prompting from an alien infiltration mission.

I wanted to see how long I could defend the planet. Right now I'm up to July 2000. I've got six bases strategically placed to cover all areas of the globe. Each with two or three Avengers. The only missions I play are supply ship raids for elerium-115. Everything else gets shot down. The end of each month usually nets me a score in the 9,000 range with an "excellent" rating. But even doing this I have lost five nations without a single successful alien infiltration mission taking place.

There was also a single terror mission somehow slipping past my hyper-wave decoder net, but that was the only other anomaly I've noticed.

#25 Zombie

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 10:20 PM

Hyperwave Decoders aren't exactly perfect in their detection sweeps. IIRC, they only perform a sweep every 30 minutes of game-time. So if a UFO happens to enter the atmosphere near it's intended landing site, it may actually start a mission without your HWD detecting it. ;)

I've done some long-term studies on surviving countries and Russia seems to be the lone-holdout. Let me know what happens in your game! :D

- Zombie
The Mr. Grognard of X-COM

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!