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?ironman? (and Another Noob Question)


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#1 Domenoth

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 08:40 PM

Hey guys, this is my first post, I got "the itch" again recently and thought I'd pull out my old copies of X-Com. I bought the originals of UFO and Apoc and the CE of all three back in the day, but couldn't get them to work in XP (until I googled X-Com in XP and found your community here :D )

I've been perusing all the posts. And one thing has really caught my interest. I was wondering exactly what the most widely accepted view of the term Ironman is. Have you guys actually been able to beat the game without "re"-loading EVER? If so, I'm AMAZED! That's really awesome. If I get a nightime terror site in my first month I'm screwed (bye bye Skyranger...)!

I've never even come close to beating the game without reloading at least some (a lot, more likely). If you guys have, I'm in awe OMG . And if you guys have, I have something new to shoot for.

This leads me to my next question. I read about XCOMUTILS here and I noticed that it said that the difficulties were broken in all versions of UFO and TFTD. Does that mean that everyone posting about winning Superhuman has XCOMUTILS installed too? I don't want to get an unfair advantage, but I'm willing to use changes that make "pointless" things useful (like the Utils say the heavy laser was,which I agree with). I don't think I'd use things like the more defensible base, even though they are laid out pretty badly ;) .

Well, thanks in advance for any replies :) .

Domenoth

#2 Warface

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 11:27 PM

I've been perusing all the posts. And one thing has really caught my interest. I was wondering exactly what the most widely accepted view of the term Ironman is. Have you guys actually been able to beat the game without "re"-loading EVER? If so, I'm AMAZED! That's really awesome. If I get a nightime terror site in my first month I'm screwed (bye bye Skyranger...)!


Most of us went through a lot of reloading early on until we felt like we were just cheating to keep soldiers alive.

We dust off (evac) if we don't think we can handle a mission. I haven't done this in a long while but the option is always on the table. Some terror sites in the beginning game, or Ethereals against a non-psionic crew, are examples. Just visiting a terror site for one turn can soften the hit to your score in that area. The wise pursue psionics (at least the lab, to defend against them) long before encountering Ethereals, as do the not-so-wise who actually listen to the wise. That or we develop crazy counter-psionic tactics such as field screening for resistance and anti-psionic soldiers . Losing entire landing crews and even bases are not uncommon events from which most of us pick up and keep playing. I haven't lost a mission in a while. *crosses fingers*

I've never even come close to beating the game without reloading at least some (a lot, more likely). If you guys have, I'm in awe OMG . And if you guys have, I have something new to shoot for.


Certain conditions may warrant a reload, but none of these involve retrying a move on the same map. Some will save before actually landing so they can reload the map completely and thus not have precognition of enemy locations. This is still an out, a loophole that allows a player to reload if even one agent dies. This sort of disqualifies it as "Iron Man" but I did it once or twice in the process of "weaning" away from reloading.

A good reason to reload is if a base gets invaded and it has a bunch of redundant gear in storage that bumps your desired loadout down the list. Your soldiers should have access to launcher ammo, medkits, smoke grenades, and psi-amps, for example, rather than just the 10 leftover pistols with 4 clips, 6 heavy plasma, and 60 of the 123 heavy plasma clips you had there. So you reload and transfer some of that booty over to another base. A good rule of thumb is that firearms, lasers, and plasma will get listed first, and any excess should be transfered. And keep a few of each of whatever you need. If you haven't done this and you get invaded, reload and do it.

Also, when days jump by sometimes it logs a ship and a terror site simultaneously, which means you get the site and the ship disappears before you can go after it (or even know it was there). If you reload and run by hours you may catch the ship in the sky and be able to intercept it (provided you have plasma to shoot it down). This is a good reason to reload in my opinion, as a couple of hours should be plenty of time to scramble an interception. If you have an Avenger with Plasma Cannons, and you see a terror site, reload and run by the hour to see if you can catch the ship.

There are numerous bugs and exploits in X-Com. Avoiding these is a whole other challenge in itself, especially in Superhuman Ironman. This is where a few of us are now. Beyond that, other people even limit themselves to only human weapons, only grenades, etc.

This leads me to my next question. I read about XCOMUTILS here and I noticed that it said that the difficulties were broken in all versions of UFO and TFTD. Does that mean that everyone posting about winning Superhuman has XCOMUTILS installed too? I don't want to get an unfair advantage, but I'm willing to use changes that make "pointless" things useful (like the Utils say the heavy laser was,which I agree with). I don't think I'd use things like the more defensible base, even though they are laid out pretty badly ;) .

Well, thanks in advance for any replies :) .

Domenoth


The alternate base layout is a reasonable and balanced mod that creates a choke point at the lift. If you are wise you will construct your other bases in the same fashion; you will regret not doing so when you are outflanked by Cyberdiscs while half your forces are mind controlled or panicked. Not to mention chrysalids. Trust us when we say this is NOT laid out badly. We would have built our bases this way if we had the choice; the alternate (not "improved"...that one is a cheat) base is no different than the normal one except in the layout.

Xcomutil can make the game easier, harder, or just different. I don't like the idea of cheating an item just because I think it's "pointless" (which by the way the heavy laser isn't) so I don't use "improved" anything. No cheating night into day or anything of the sort. I use xcomutil for two or three things: Rearranging the starting base, adding stat strings to troop names to separate the wheat from the chaff, and occasionally disabling psionics altogether for a pure battle game. (Psionics can become far too powerful on the X-Com side.) Anything other than that, such as "improved" tanks, lasers, or whatever, is cheating. I don't even use the modified craft, which exist by default with xcomutil.

My advice would be to just dive into the iron man concept. Wean yourself if you need to, but instead of saving just consider being more cautious, preemptive, and cohesive with your unit. Some of us are wishing now that the battlescape didn't have a save function because it's too much of a temptation... however it's easy enough to just forget to, and useful if you need to shut X-Com down. Go ahead and save before you land, and try to win the mission. If you fail, you can reload with a different map of the same terrain and alien type... or you can look at your finances and consider buying a new Skyranger and more rookies and gearing them up for the next risk. Alternatively you can dust off and lose less points than you would have had you ignored the site.

I hate losing soldiers. I have devised all sorts of strategies for reducing casualties. NKF and Zombie are also full of all kinds of game mechanics info, way more than me. That is another topic however.

Edited by Warface, 27 August 2007 - 11:35 PM.


#3 NKF

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 11:54 PM

There are many interpretations of what Ironman should be, but the general rule is that you must not use save/reload to recover a soldier or gain an unfair advantage over the enemy. You can freely save at any time - in fact it's recommended that you make frequent saves if only to avoid losing your progress due to unexpected crashes. Just don't use it to cheat.

I take the softer option of only saving before entering a mission so that if I do decide to reload I must do the whole mission all over again on a new map. Doing this every so often is fine. For example if you get blaster bombed at the end of the first turn, that's not really fair so you should be given a chance to retry the mission.

However if you do it just because your favourite soldier keeps getting killed, then that's not quite in the spirit of an ironman game. You have to accept your losses or else you cannot move on.

More hardcore players just keep playing regardless of how bad things go. If you feel you're up to it, give it a try.

One good thing about Ironman games is that you start to be more careful with your moves and learn to use everything more effectively. You also start to rely more on soldiers who've only had a few missions worth of experience rather than sticking to super-soldiers all the time. You'll eventually train up few super soldiers, but only if you manage to keep them alive long enough.

---

X-ComUtil is a must for the Dos version's difficulty bug. It's not needed in the CE, but the graphics loader that's packaged with it is useful if you've got graphical problems. I don't like to use any of the enhancements outside of just general funning around or for making the game harder. For a serious game, the plain vanilla weapons can rock if you make them.

- NKF

Edited by NKF, 28 August 2007 - 01:46 PM.

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#4 NRN_R_Sumo1

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Posted 28 August 2007 - 10:34 AM

I noticed you mentioned Apoc in your post.
Good taste imo, real time kicks the crap out of turn-based ^.^

Ive barely played a few missions in the first two games as the first one I got was Apocalypse back in 1999 or 2000.. o.o
and downloading the torrents didnt let me get the other two working for very long, but Im not complaining really, Im a guy with a low attention span xD!

In Apoc you can do some rather amazing things, most of which you dont even think about trying, such as using your Mutant to divert fire while diving him to the ground mind stunning the cultist with the rocket launcher. o:

I personally only use rookies for my missions, fresh off the assembly line. [:

it helps you get better at commanding your units, so that when later on in game you start losing your higher level agents, its not a huge deal, as you have the ability to use rookies as effectively if not more [:

not everyone has the editors, but most of us have them for atleast bug testing purposes, while some of us have modified the weapons to be more realistic feeling.

I enjoy the vanilla weapons myself, but I cant say I dont use the editors at all [;

Welcome to the forums and enjoy your stay.
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#5 Domenoth

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 12:00 AM

I've been perusing all the posts. And one thing has really caught my interest. I was wondering exactly what the most widely accepted view of the term Ironman is. Have you guys actually been able to beat the game without "re"-loading EVER? If so, I'm AMAZED! That's really awesome. If I get a nightime terror site in my first month I'm screwed (bye bye Skyranger...)!


Most of us went through a lot of reloading early on until we felt like we were just cheating to keep soldiers alive.

We dust off (evac) if we don't think we can handle a mission. I haven't done this in a long while but the option is always on the table.


Yeah, I tried to set myself up for an "evac" like I read some of the other guys do the night before I posted. I was showing a buddy of mine the game from the beginning, I did the first two missions in a row with only one soldier lost each. I said, "All right, you're taking the next mission." Of course it was a nighttime terror site :) . He was too scared to play, so I took over leaving a sergeant cowering in the back of the skyranger with a pistol and my motioon scanner. It was down to one last alien who killed all but one of the people I had outside without me ever seeing him. I was trying to get my last guy over to that side of the map, when my sergeant got sniped from far enough outside of the Skyranger, that I never saw him. I came around a corner, took the two last shots in my clip, missed both. Ran back around behind the corner, and prayed..................bye bye skyranger.

Just visiting a terror site for one turn can soften the hit to your score in that area.


That is REALLY usefull information! I always thought I was d'ed if I do, d'ed if I don't.



...I'm willing to use changes that make "pointless" things useful...

... I don't think I'd use things like the more defensible base, even though they are laid out pretty badly ;) .

...Trust us when we say this is NOT laid out badly...


Yeah I blew it on this one :) I meant the ORIGINAL base sucks. You have to worry about all directions. I would never build a new base like the starting one.

As for fixing pointless things, it's been a long time since I played, I just remember not being very impressed with the heavy lasers I sent on missions. If I remember right, they never saw any real action because they were so far behind everyone else who just had a rifle. That was probably just my bad playing style from years gone by :) . I haven't made up my mind yet. I've got two installs in dosbox, a utils and a 1.4 patched. I'm playing both just a little so I can compare the differences. I'll check the stats in both games here when I get far enough.

SIDENOTE: What do you guys think about the crew turned to face out the skyranger's windows on landing? From a realism standpoint, it makes sense to me, why would everyone face the front and run out blind straight into a cyberdisk two squares from the side? To tell you the truth, I don't even remember knowing the skyranger HAD windows. It's sides never looked like windows to me so all my guys faced front and ran out one after the other OMFG .


X-ComUtil is a must for the Dos version's difficulty bug. It's not needed in the CE...


Awesome, thanks for the tips and the info. I didn't try the fodder patch because I got dosbox to work and I thought it wouldn't fix the difficulty bug anyway. I think I'll tend towards the CE versions then, just since there won't even be any temptations.

One other thing about the utils vs vanilla...there is no vanilla way to rearange the order of your soldiers so your higher ranks can be in back? Like I said, it's been awhile, they're just in some random order that can only change if they die or you recruit newbies. There isn't some command that I'm missing...


I noticed you mentioned Apoc in your post.
Good taste imo, real time kicks the crap out of turn-based ^.^


The only bad things I can say about Apoc are it was over too quickly and there wasn't an Apoc 2... ;) .

Anyway, I really appreciate your answers and advice. I've always loved these games, I never got very far on the 386 I played it on in the beginning (the "Hidden Movements" on large missions took ages ;) but there was some amazing suspense watching the bullets crawl across the screen at a snails pace, "Is it going to hit me, is it going to hit me...") But the instant I cracked the manual, before my dad figured out how to install and configure our first cd-rom drive that I bought UFO for as my first non-floppy game, I always knew it had potential. It's nice to find out something I love and thought was nearly forgotten still has a strong, active following.

Thanks guys,
Domenoth

Edited by Domenoth, 29 August 2007 - 12:27 AM.


#6 NKF

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 12:59 AM

With the original base, I think it was meant to start off very badly constructed so you had to work towards redesigning a better base as you play. It's practically designed to let aliens come in from all angles. Rearranging the base is just part of the fun. Although if you want a challenge, knock out the first base completely and sell and sack everything. Then use an editor to give you a bit of extra cash. Not too much, just enough to set up a new base, arm it with a Skyranger and troops. Then see how you can go on from there.

---

The bit with the soldiers turned in the Skyranger isn't really a big improvement, it just saves you a few clicks. You can easily turn one soldier on each side to get a look of what's around you. Note that you can't truly see what's out there, but it does reveal the terrain.

---

Ordering of soldiers in the Skyranger or any other craft is based of the order of troops on your list. The skyranger's has the most predictable placement, as the ordering goes:

1 2
3 4
5 6
7 8
9 10
11 12
13 14

Or thereabouts. The Avenger has a few extras along the side and the Lightning has a radically different setup. However, all of the spots are numbered and soldiers will fill the spots depending on what order they appear in the roster.

Say you have:

Alex Chukarin (Skyranger)
Gennadi Sumasenko
Adam Keller (Skyranger)
Helga Esser (Skyranger)
Klink Schultz
Werner Iwahara (Skyranger)
etc,

Those on the Skyranger will fill the following slots:

1: Alex
2: Adam
3: Helga
4: Werner

So if you wanted Adam to be on the equipment pile, take Alex off the roster and allocate someone further down the roster to fill up the rear.

Tanks fill blocks of 4 slots from the front. So if we have a cannon HWP on board, Alex will start at slot 5, Adam at 6 and so on.

Some day I'm going to hav to write an ordering utility. Just wish my Visual Studio .Net debugger was set up properly.

- NKF
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#7 NRN_R_Sumo1

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 01:18 AM

QUOTE(NRN_R_Sumo1 @ Aug 28 2007, 09:34 AM)
I noticed you mentioned Apoc in your post.
Good taste imo, real time kicks the crap out of turn-based ^.^


The only bad things I can say about Apoc are it was over too quickly and there wasn't an Apoc 2... .


Well, blame money. ;)
some of us are working on things to further to develope the game peice by piece manually xD
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#8 Warface

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 04:28 PM

Of course it was a nighttime terror site :) .

It was down to one last alien who killed all but one of the people I had outside without me ever seeing him. I was trying to get my last guy over to that side of the map, when my sergeant got sniped from far enough outside of the Skyranger, that I never saw him.


Proper use of flares and fires can turn night into day on any mission. Incendiary rounds (AC-I is my preference, as you have your choice of targeted or spread) are worth keeping on the ship for both illumination and anti-psionic tactics (they don't hurt you in any armor). As the flames spread they destroy terrain and keep the place lit for a while. A tree makes a decent torch. You can then toss around a few flares to fill in the gaps as you move. Just watch out for the bugs with fire and smoke -- any incendiary round causes anyone on fire to take more damage, anywhere on the map, and anyone in smoke to take stun damage. This bug can be exploited (often unintentionally) to BBQ aliens, just watch the stun damage if you don't have powered armor (the stun damage isn't bugged for aliens though :|).

I just remember not being very impressed with the heavy lasers I sent on missions. If I remember right, they never saw any real action because they were so far behind everyone else who just had a rifle. That was probably just my bad playing style from years gone by :) .


Maybe not bad style, but jumping to plasma first does make the HL less interesting. Shoot for the laser tank early in the game: Laser weapons -> pistol -> Rifle -> Heavy -> Cannon -> Tank. This gives you a highly effective HWP that can be mass produced with only money as a resource, and the laser cannon is your best profit item (that's all it's good for). You will get the heavy laser early on as a bonus, and can start sniping with it while your scientists turn to medkits, armor, alien weapons, clips, and ship parts. The usefulness of HL is an ongoing debate; many people just ignore them. The laser rifle and HP are certainly better infantry weapons, but the HL and tank have the special function of overcoming Sectopod armor by way of its vulnerability to lasers.

Anyway, I really appreciate your answers and advice. I've always loved these games, I never got very far on the 386 I played it on in the beginning (the "Hidden Movements" on large missions took ages ;) but there was some amazing suspense watching the bullets crawl across the screen at a snails pace, "Is it going to hit me, is it going to hit me...") But the instant I cracked the manual, before my dad figured out how to install and configure our first cd-rom drive that I bought UFO for as my first non-floppy game, I always knew it had potential. It's nice to find out something I love and thought was nearly forgotten still has a strong, active following.

Thanks guys,
Domenoth


Oh he11 yeah. It was all platforms for me until I found this game. A friend of mine told me about X-Com in '97 and I was already sold. Here I am 10 years later posting advice on it, and meanwhile trying to decide how I'm going to play my next game (mainly with regard to psionics).

In addition to the strats & tips found on this site, I also recommend the wiki-like UFOpaedia. NKF, Zombie, myself and others have posted in-depth strats and mechanics breakdowns.