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Using UFO graphs to find UFOs: Let's talk.

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#1 wakiki



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Posted 06 August 2011 - 06:20 PM

Post edited with answers to my questions.

I'm wondering if any one who does this alot has some tips and basics to share. I'm experimenting with it and have had some iffy success...I'll itemize all of my tips and questions and bold the answers:

1) Skyrangers detect UFOs while patrolling only, and it runs the scan every 30 minutes. Therefore it's worthwhile to move to a location and patrol for a few seconds at a thirty minute- or hour-mark.

2) Can Skyrangers detect flying UFOs?

3) Sometimes early on the aliens have no activity on the planet. The best way (I think) to see if there is any alien activity on the planet is to use the "Total" graph under "UFO activity in areas." The end of the line gives you the alien's score for that month. If it moves up, there's a UFO somewhere.

4) Okay, so the aliens' score increases. Now, we check the graphs. Country graphs are more specific so check them first. If nothing shows up there, check the area graphs. UFO activity in the Southern Africa region but not in South Africa (the country) means there's a UFO in the Congo area.

5) Okay, so we know vaguely where a UFO is.

Yet it's much easier to find one in France than it is the US or Russia.

Is it worth flying to any country where UFO activity happens, or is it smarter to only pursue UFOs over small countries?
Yes, I think so. Even finding UFOs in Siberia isn't that hard. Where the UFO flew in from (the Pacific, Central Asia, or Europe in the case of Siberia) gives you a clue to where it is. UFOs are harder to find in the Pacific, where they could be doing missions in Hawaii or that far eastern tip of Russia.

6) Do Skyrangers have a higher chance to detect UFOs while patrolling?
Yes. In fact, Skyrangers have a 100% chance to detect UFOs that are in its range while patrolling at the 30-minute and one-hour mark, and they have a 0% chance to detect otherwise. If a UFO showed up near the Skyranger while it wasn't patrolling, this was because a radar found it.

7) What's the radar range of an Interceptor?
The same as a Skyranger. It's often worthwhile to send out Interceptors first even when you don't plan to shoot down the UFO because they are faster, and it doesn't commit your troops as strongly.

8) Is it worth sacking an Interceptor at the start and buying another Skyranger?
I don't think so, but it may be smart to sack one interceptor at the end of January and order a new Skyranger to arrive in February.

9) How often do you check the graphs?
I check the total once every two hours and don't find it tedious.

It might be worth trying a game with no radars allowed, just to get better at ship detection. Has anyone done this?

Edited by wakiki, 29 November 2011 - 02:31 PM.

#2 NKF



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Posted 07 August 2011 - 12:35 AM

It is certainly not a precise or easy method to detect UFOs. Graphs generally give you an indication of where there may be activity, but the UFO that caused it may have already left. Especially early on when there aren't a great deal of UFOs.

That said, because most UFO missions work in waves where one UFO operating in one zone will lead to another one on the same mission to the same zone, graph watching can be useful to help decide where to start placing more detection bases.

Also I find graph watching most useful when you spot spikes in activity in countries near your base but aren't being detected because they are just out of radar range or they're flying past between the 30 minute radar pings. This is when aircraft are sent out to check.

I dug through the wiki for some information and made some notes that I think may answer some of your questions on the aircraft radar:

- aircraft radar can only detect UFOs when stationary
- aircraft on patrol detect UFOs with 100% efficiency (at 30 minute intervals)
- aircraft radar have a distance of 600 nautical miles
- small radars have a distance of 1500 nautical miles (not the 300nm mentioned in the ufopaedia)

Just for the record, you can indeed get by with just 1 interceptor in the early game.


Edited by NKF, 07 August 2011 - 12:41 AM.

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#3 yarrow



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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:47 PM

as with many things in XCOM, it all depends on what suits to ... YOU!

personally, I dont sell interceptors anymore, I prefer intercept power
I you sell interceptor, you just cut yourself interception power to 50%
this is too much for me. ( and got no cash in return <_< )

I admit that at first, the idea looks tempting ( yes, I was tempted too )
but ...
the difference between interceptor and skyranger is not so big
as you may expect, to justify selling your interceptor.

in detection 'almost' none ( detection range is the same )
I wrote 'almost', cause you must also consider fuel capacity
skyranger has greater fuel capacity, which allows to patrol for longer time or farther away
this indirectly influences detection efficiency.

as for cash, maintenance difference is about 5 alien corpses
which is ( more or less ) only one medium scout
and keep in mind, that you have to get those funds ( for new skyranger ) from somewhere
( I intentionally ignored skyranger arrival time )
again ... not enough to me.

I just prefer more scientists/labs/workers or new radar bases in the beginning
new skyranger is very low in my purchase list ( even in the later stages of the game )

returning to graphs
I check them about every ~4 hours ( and yes ... its very tedious :) )
until I detect graph change, than I check them more often and send interceptors to expected areas
and after I have build hyper-wave decoders in my bases
I dont check them anymore ( there is no reason to do so )

to be trully efficient in graph reading/ufo detection
you must familiarize yourself with regional zones
pictures can be found in following ufopaedia article:

please also consider reading both sections of 'See Also' of that article
and perhaps alien missions too ( it wont hurt )

oh ... yes
I didnt try playing with no radars ( to increase difficulty )
I choosed ... ironman runs instead :D :D :D


Edited by yarrow, 08 August 2011 - 12:51 PM.

#4 wakiki



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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:00 PM

I've been trying this in my new Superhuman game and it's not as hard as I thought. I did 5 or 6 recovery missions in January alone and haven't shot down any UFOs. My base is in Armenia (just east of Turkey) so while it's in Europe, most of Europe is not within my small radar. I would have only recovered 1 UFO with my radar. If you are relying on your radar to catch UFOs, your starting base should be in the middle of a continent. That way you will catch the "guaranteed" first month UFOs. But if you are going to be using graphs and Skyrangers to catch them, it's stronger to be at an intersection of regions.

I really like the Middle East start. You can cover southeast Europe, North Africa, and Central Asia with your radars, and you can cover northwest Europe, Siberia, South Africa, and Southeast Asia with your Skyrangers. That's just huge. My second base went in Central America, to cover Brazil and USA. With just two bases, I can respond to almost anything the funding nations need.

In January I had a UFO somewhere in Europe but not in a funding country. I checked Eastern Europe but it wasn't there. I went to Norway; no dice. Aha! There was a small area on the North tip of Africa that is zoned as "Europe." I checked there, but no UFO! Stumped, I went back to Eastern Europe again, when suddenly it hit me: Iceland. I ordered my Skyranger there posthaste and indeed, it detected a landed UFO there! It took off and I tailed it to the UK where it landed. Nighttime mission in Iceland replaced by a daytime mission in the UK -- score!

There are occasionally tiny blips of UFO activity that don't seem to amount to much. USA and Canada had 1pixel of UFO increase and I went to investigate, but it never increased again. I guess a UFO appeared there and vanished without even landing.

I never needed to use two skyrangers. I bought the other in case a landed UFO popped up next to me when I was on the other side of the planet, but that never happened. However, one of the benefits of 2 skyrangers is that you can store so much! I was able to keep 2 rocket tanks around which I wouldn't have space for normally.

Next game I will and sack one interceptor and buy another skyranger just before January ends.

Edited by wakiki, 09 August 2011 - 10:51 PM.

#5 Gustarx



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Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:55 PM

How I use Graphs, ehm, Iv placed some thoughts about it elsewhere on the forum, in the "Do u load, save ofter"-topic. Ehm maybe the uploaded files could give some more info?

Comments at the uploaded file's:

- AFTER file 'UfoGraphs8' and WITH file 'UfoGraphs15-16' the made prt-scrns are synchronized with the detected ufo's
- in those first prtscrns I took the prt-scrn with the mouse-pointer located at the region/area
- in later prtscrns I place the mouse-pointer at the graphs, 'Total'-line
- from time to time I check, compare, the external prt-scrn with the ingame graphs
- its noticeable, even at the start of each new month to see any difference between those graphs, ingame and external made prt-scrn

Comments to find Ufo's:
- I make save/load no returnchechkpoints with the save/load-utility
- from a made chkpoint I do several tests with the time set on a 'Day'
- I proceed only with ufo's detected at full speed, that way I know they haven't done anything else on Earth then being generated by the game and launched into game
- so when I know at day x an Ufo is been detected and it has not its max speed, I go back to the made chkpnt, I launch the Sky or Icpts at an other time, I change the time-sequence/ or units for the/my 'search'- and 'detect'-program for that ufo
- with the external prtscrn-utility I keep track of ALL the launched, generated ufo's, that way I know for certain that I didn't miss a single ufo, even the Very Large Ufo's, those on a base-retailition-mission, which they cant find cuz Iv taken care of all the very small ufo's preceeding, are recorded with my type of gameplay
- at times I sent Sky's and ICPT's for short time for precious measuring. Not far from their base, Icpts patrol for 1 - 6 hours, then refuel, I let Sky's patrol for not more then 18 - 24 hours, or about 60-75 % of their fuel, then reload
- I play at daybase, I mean, I do 'Daychks', I use the transferutility to streamline this, especially transferring some small items between bases with 10, 11 and 12 hrs transfertime are handsome. So I start a transfer at 00.30 then I set the Geoscape time unit a day. In that timeframe any ufo can be detected or any diiference in the graphs can be made noticeable

ehm, furthermore I continously learn how to atune my 'search'- 'detect'-program its never finished I guess, (hope so, ;-) )

#6 keybounce



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Posted 21 August 2011 - 03:04 PM

Flying planes have a zero chance of spotting a UFO? Are you certain? In 1.4?

Maybe I'm crazy, but I really thought I've seen planes spot ufos while flying.

Yea, you can use graphs to spot UFO activity. But a lot of UFO flybys do not generate activity.

From what I've seen, flying to their destination generates no activity. It is only when they slow down and go to low or very low that the graphs start to go up.

If you want to try "no radar", try "only one base in Hawaii". That's pretty close to no radars.