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Dos X-com Difficulty Bug Solution - Quick And Easy


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#1 Bullet-Tooth Tony

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 01:44 AM

Greetings to everyone.
Choosing a version of X-Com 1 to play is a nightmare. It's a choice of several sets of bugs, and you have to decide, which set you can bear and which you can't. Even if you've solved OS/hardware compatibility issues of the DOS version (with DosBox for instance) you're left with some bugs, including critical Difficulty bug, which makes you unable to play skill levels other than Beginner.
There's a program that fixes it - the XcomUtil, but alas - by default along with bugfixes it makes changes to some game properties, without asking whether you want it or not.
When you run XcomUtil's setup file (XcuSetup.bat) it shows theese messages:
Patch Applied:  Ship statistics set from XCOMUTIL.CFG
Patch Applied:  Difficulty levels enabled
Patch Applied:  Area data set from XCOMUTIL.CFG
Patch Applied:  Disjoint bases fixed and new maps added
(last line shows up only if the patch hasn't been made before). And then continues to ask for game enhancement options.
Quite a few times I've seen on the forums a question, if there's any way to apply only difficulty patch, without changing craft or something else. Many people (including myself) want to play the game with original balance. UFOPaedia.org XComUtil page offers to run the xcusetup and then use a different editor to reverse the unwanted changes in .exe files. Seems complicated and it's hard to be sure than you've made all the changes right.
Yesterday I studied the XcuSetup.bat file and found a quick and easy solution to difficulty/base disjoint bugs without any other changes to the game.
That's the line in the XcuSetup.bat that is responsible for the patch (approximately in the middle of the file):
xcomutil ufoexe shp:cfg map:cfg wrt XcuSetup
If you remove "shp:cfg map:cfg" and make it look like this:
xcomutil ufoexe wrt XcuSetup
...the executed batch file will display the following:
Patch Applied:  Difficulty levels enabled
Patch Applied:  Disjoint bases fixed and new maps added
and continues to questions...
That's what we wanted! Difficulty and base disjoint bugs fixed, and no more forced changes made. For other optional changes just answer "n" to all questions.
If you don't want those "new maps added" - just clear the \maps subdirectory and fill it with the files from backup game copy (always make backup copies before applying any patches). That'll get the base disjoint bug back (I think so - haven't tested it yet). But you can now play Veteran or Superhuman, or whatever skill level you want.
You can also leave the batch file alone and run xcomutil ufoexe wrt XcuSetup in a command line from the game directory - that works just as well.
Solution summary:
To fix the Difficulty and Base Disjoint bugs and keep all the rest original features do the following:
1) Make a backup copy of the installed game;
2) Download XcomUtil archive from xcomutil.scotttjones.com and extract the archive to game directory;
3.a) If you want only bugfixes and nothing else go to the game directory, type in the command line xcomutil ufoexe wrt XcuSetup and run it;
3.b) If you want to view XcomUtil additional improvement options and probably enable some of them, open XcuSetup.bat with a text editor and find the line:
xcomutil ufoexe shp:cfg map:cfg wrt XcuSetup
change it to:
xcomutil ufoexe wrt XcuSetup
and run the XcuSetup.bat;
4) If you don't want base dijoint fixed and new maps added, clear the \maps subdirectory and copy all original files from \maps directory of your backup.
That's it. I tested it with 1.4 DOS X-Com:Ufo defense. Difficulty bug is fixed for sure (on Beginner difficulty Large Scout can't have 12 aliens). Not sure about base disjoint bug - haven't been attacked yet.
And one more thing:
Can I or someone else (with appropriate rights) update the UFOPaedia.org XComUtil page to add this solution? There's only a complicated solution that involves an editor offered there.
P.S. I don't mind some other people testing it and posting results. If someone else uses this method and finds that it's not working properly, or can confirm that it does work, please post here.
Important note: XcomUtil command line flags are case-sensitive. Make sure you type "X" and "S" in "XcuSetup" in upper case, other letters in lower. Otherwise the utility doesn't work.

Edited by Bullet-Tooth Tony, 06 September 2006 - 01:00 AM.


#2 grommet

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 07:29 PM

That should work perfectly, but I wanted to point out that rather than remove the craft changes entirely, you could also tweak them via editing the XcomUtil.cfg file. See, in addition to enabling the Interceptor and Firestorm to carry troops and equipment, XcomUtil fixes a possible bug in crew positioning in the Avenger/Leviathan that can cause one or more of your soldiers/tanks to get 'stuck' and unable to move. XcomUtil also changes the default initial facing of your troops to look out the windows of their transport (Yes, Xcom crafts have windows, you just never knew it because your dumb troopers never bothered to use them!!) This gives you a MUCH better view of the landing zone than the narrow "cone" of vision out the back that the default placement provides, BEFORE you step out of the craft! (You can, of course, simply turn and face your guys out the sides/front manually during your first turn, but that wastes TUs, and I simply think XcomUtil's setup makes far more sense...)

So, to prevent any changes to your crafts themselves, open the XcomUtil.cfg file in an editor, and find the "XCOMShips" (no quotes) header (about a third into the file), and change whats there with this:
Stats
 760	  2  1500   150	0   14	3
3200	 8	30   800	1   12	0
5400	10	60  1200	2   26	4
2100	 3  1000   100	2	0	0
4200	 9	20   500	2	0	0
/Stats
Weapons
  30	70	70	15	 6	 6
  60	80   100	20	 3	 7
  10	25	10	 2   200	 8
  65   100   230	25	 2	 9
  21	35	70	 4	 0	 0
  52	50   140	 6	 0	 0
/Weapons
[Note:While you didn't mention it as one of the things that gets changed without asking the user, XcomUtil changes the Craft Laser Cannon stats (more range/less damage), which is why I included the stuff under Weapons...if you like that change, only make the changes listed under Stats]

You could also delete the Interceptor.../Interceptor block, the Firestorm.../Firestorm block, and the second Crew.../Crew block from the Lightning (the one that lists 28 positions...leave the one that lists 12) from the first part of the file where it lists crew positions.

This way, XcomUtil can still fix a possible bug and can give you an improved setup, without changing anything else about the crafts...

Grommet

#3 Bullet-Tooth Tony

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:34 PM

Yes, I knew about windows in aircraft, and look into them in the beginning of the mission.
Well, I am one of those who don't want any changes that make the life easier with the only exception of obvious programming errors. Ever tiny little bit easier. Though I do agree, that some changes of XcomUtil do make more sense. But when I've done no-reload Superhuman, I may probably think about having fun with improved Lasers, craft, new maps, etc.
As for craft/weapon stats in xcom.cfg, yes, I've been researching if I could change them so craft/weapons remain the same. But I've thought that running a simple command is easier than changing values in cfg file. Though, I didn't know about Avenger placement bug (didn't even encounter it in the game).
Thanks for posting alternative method, anyway.

#4 meude

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Posted 24 August 2006 - 11:46 AM

hi, id like to know if this difficulty level setting bug is present in the "X-COM Collection" (1999 Europe) release.
thanks

#5 Bullet-Tooth Tony

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 12:55 AM

In Collector's Edition the difficulty bug is fixed by default.
However, there are quite a few brand new bugs in it.
Disappearing clips, Blaster bombs not flying vertically, and some more. Also you'll need to find a way to slow your computer down unless you've got a really old one (like Pentium 200Mhz).
Just consider it too.
For myself, I've decided that X-Com under DOSbox is the most comfortable way for me to play, since there's no speed problem and Difficulty is easily patched, and I didn't encounter any more really annoying bugs.

#6 Gargantou

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 02:29 PM

Sorry for reviving an old thread, just started with X-Com 1 DOS with 1.4 and found this thread, and got a bit confused by grommets post, should I copy that text into XcomUtil.cfg if I want the UNMODDED ship and shipweapon stats?

Basically what I want is X-Com 1.4 DOS with base disjoint bug fixed and difficulty bug fixed, along with soldiers being organized and facing windows when I start a mission.

Edited by Gargantou, 20 December 2007 - 04:44 PM.




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