Quick guide to UFO2000 online playing

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Quick guide to UFO2000 online playing

Written for the 0.9.1176 beta version, which is the most played version online. If you have something older, please upgrade! If there's a newer version available, use that and know that this may be a bit outdated, but probably still useful.

This guide is intended for people new to the game. Often when people join the server for the first time they try to play with someone right away, but don't have even a basic team ready and generally don't know what to do. Here are the necessary things to do and to learn before you play online.

Before you play

UFO2000's game mechanic is derived from X-COM. If you have never ever before played X-COM Enemy unknown/UFO defense, Terror from the deep or one of theirs remakes/clones, it's strongly advised, to first get acquainted with the basic principle of the game. One could either use the above mentioned original games (usually won't run under modern operating systems any more), or turn to projects like OpenXcom, an open source clone, which relies on original files, but is available for various platforms. There you can start games against an AI, to get the hang of the game mechanics. You can either run instant battles or start a new campaign (which will introduce you to an even more complicated variety of aspects of X-COM derived games).

If the game mechanics aren't new to you, you already know the most important aspects. You will only need to know a few minor differences between X-COM/TFTD and UFO2000. Everything important you can find below.

Install/compile UFO2000

Download the installer for your windows from http://ufo2000.sourceforge.net/ or have a look at Compiling for Linux (UFO2000) or Compiling for Mac OS X (UFO2000), if you run one of these two operating systems. There are also two videos, showing, how to Install and set up UFO2000 on windows or how to compile and set up UFO2000 on Linux.

Install the original game data

(Note: the installer for the Windows version asks about these things and you may already have set them up from there.)

UFO2000 has only a few maps and sounds by default. The data files from X-COM and TFTD can be used by UFO2000 for unlocking more sounds, units and maps, including the most played maps like City and Port. The original files have to be copied into the folders XCOM and TFTD. The Where to Get the Games page has some information about obtaining the original XCOM and TFTD games, if you are interested in obtaining a legal copy.

You can get even more maps from here: http://area51.xcomufo.com/depot2.htm. This mappack contains some very good maps, even though they're not played very often online.

Settings

By default, UFO2000 comes with its own battlescape-interface, uses 640x480 resolution, and so on. You should have a look in the ufo2000.ini-file. There you can set various things, you can't set up from the game interface, e. g. keyboard-layouts, screen resolution, how the gui shall look, if things shall be upscaled by factor of 2 (good for higher resolutions) or if you prefer original x-com graphics for the game (only available, if you have the files from the original X-COM game).

First (hotseat) game

You should try a game against yourself to get the hang of the interface, and to make a team for online play. You can fool around with weapons, targets, moving, and so on. Start UFO2000 and choose "start hotseat game". There's also a rather detailed video about the gameplay of UFO2000.

Setup

You'll see a list of units on the left, and controls to change the game options. Try to change the map to City by clicking the second row (the map name) in the "MATCH SETTINGS" box (if City doesn't appear in the list, you probably didn't follow the "Install the original game data" step correctly). You can also change some other options there. To leave a certain option window, just click on a free part of the screen. You can place your units somewhere in the green rectangle on the left of the minimap.

In online games the options can be changed by either player.

Make your first team

Equipment and weapon set

You can change the equipment and race or armour of each unit. To do this, CTRL+click the unit name in the list. There are some hotkeys available with useful functions in the unit detail, read about them in the legend on the right. Use the "Ufo2000 Classic Set", which is used online almost exclusively.

Each piece of equipment and each unit or additional armour costs points. In an online game, the players decide on a point limit, most often 7000 points, sometimes 15000 points. You should make at least a team for 7000 points. Don't go mad with power armour and expensive weapons, because that way you'll have to take less units. In a 7k (7000 points max) game, it is desirable to have six units, or at least five. In 15k game, take at least twelve units.

This really depends on the terrain and your choice of tactics. For instance, most players deploy their units on a line and maintain that line during the first rounds. But if you have a smaller team and you're attacking through a specific axis you'll be facing the same amount of troops than your opponent and they'll be better armed and protected. Hobbes 19:44, 24 November 2008 (CST)

Your team can be a mix of humans and aliens of different kind, so choose them accordingly.

By clicking the units statistics in the unit detail (picture of the unit between the hand-slots), you can change its race, name and some of the stats. More powerful races cost more points (see Unit Types (UFO2000)). Stats have a cost too, and they also have a limit on the total -- they're a bit complicated (you may read about them in Unit Stats (UFO2000)). You can tinker with them later and keep them as they are for now. Hint: Ethereals and Sectoids do not have psi capabilities, as this hasn't been implemented, yet!

A team usually needs some cheap scouts (which can use cheap weapons like laser pistols, and should have close to 80 time units and enough energy), assault units (mutons are good, usually with a plasma rifle) and perhaps some support with heavy weapons like XAAS or the rocket launcher. Alien fusion grenades (the most powerful kind (there's also the demolition pack, but it behaves a little differently from grenades -- explained below)) and smoke grenades are also useful things to take.

Don't try too hard to make a perfect team the first time, you'll probably want to change it a lot after just a few games anyway, when you learn some tricks from your opponents.

When you have a team, you can save it with F2 in the unit detail screen, and load it later with F3.

Hint: if you should decide to change the weapon-sets, you can not use the same squad-files, as even if an item looks/behaves the same way in different weaponsets, it's not compatible. So only use items from one weaponset during such a configuration.

Start the match

When you're done equipping and placing your units on the map, press SEND and then START on the left of the map screen. Place some units for the second team and SEND + START on the right to start the game. (In online-multiplayer both sides have to click on SEND, before they can click on START.)

Ingame

You're in the battlescape now. The interface should be familiar from the old XCOM games. If you have absolutely no clue of how to proceed, have look at the Tactical Window (UFO2000). On the right, you see a list of your units and some numbers -- they are your TUs, health, and armour levels for the front, back, left, right and under (for explosions).

You can check how far you can get with your time units by holding CTRL and moving the mouse around. Note that this does not consider your energy, if you're not careful and don't have enough energy for the movement you can get stuck along the way even if you have enough TUs. By holding ALT, you can check the trajectory of your shot to see if there's anything in the way between you and your target, or check the trajectory of a thrown grenade (very useful!).

You can change the size of the chat window on the bottom by pressing SHIFT + Up or Down arrows. You can also turn the overview-map on and off with SHIFT+LEFT resp. SHIFT+RIGHT.

Connecting to online servers

Connecting

For online matches, you obviously will have to connect to an internet UFO2000 server. So in main menu, click on »connect to server«. If you are not sure of how to proceed, look here. First address you should try, is the official UFO2000 server. You can also try one of the backup servers. You will have to choose a nickname and a password. Once you connected to a specific server, it will remember your nickname and password combination.

Passwords

You will not be able to change the password later, so choose it carefully! Also this password is stored in plain text inside your local ufo2000.ini-file. So don't take a password you use for other services. If you forget/loose that password for a certain server, the best thing you can do is to ask the administrator of that server, if he'd be so kind to delete you from the users database. That way, you can again connect, using a different password. Without the right password, you can not use that nick, any more on that server.

The right nick

Tiny detail: Nicks are case sensitive! So »Player« is a different nick, than »player«. Also it is strongly recommended, to use your own nick. Default is »anonymous«. That's OK, if you don't care about stats. Every UFO2000 server saves game results and creates some ranking. With the proper sqlite-query, an admin could set up a stats-page, where players as listet by their nicks. So if you do care about rankings and such things, you should also choose your nick carefully.

Auto login

If you are most certain, to never use another server, you can activate the box next to »Auto-Login«. This means, the game won't ask for credentials or server addresses any more. You can reset that in the ufo2000.ini-file, but not from inside the game.

Auto connect

There's also the possibility, to directly connect to the default server, without first starting at main menu. You will have to start the game with username and password as commandline parameter, e. g.

./ufo2000 CoolPlayer CoolPassword

If your nick or password includes spaces, you will have to surround them by "", e. g.

./ufo2000 "That player nick" "with a password"

Using this method automatically activates #Auto connect. Also when exiting the server lobby, you will immediately end the game, as well.

Waiting for players online

One piece of advice regarding playing online in general: UFO2000 suffered kind of a loss of players during 2010 and 2012. ATM it can be a while, until another player shows up on the server. So don't just look in, find nobody and immediately leave. Wait for at least quarter of an hour, better longer. During waiting on the server, you can always press F10 for windowed-mode (if you play fullscreen) and switch to something else, you want to do. Once somebody connects, you will hear a »beep«-sound. Then you can press F10 again for fullscreen. Hint: F10 won't work in main menu, but everywhere else!

Review

So by now you should:

  • have the original game data installed and maps like 'City' choosable
  • be familiar with the game interface
  • have a reasonable team for 7k point games

This is pretty much it -- now you can play online. There are more good things to know though, and I'll talk about them in the next paragraphs.

Beyond the first game

Game mechanics

Shooting

In principle rather easy. Click the weapon. The game automatically will show you possible actions. If it doesn't show you anything, you probably don't have enough time units left, to do anything with that item. While pointing to target, you can hold the alt-key, to see, where the direct line of fire would be. Weapons will fire where ever you pointed them. There's no warning of obstacles, e. g. »no line of fire«-message. You can define further, where exactly the soldier should aim at, if you hold SHIFT during clicking on the desired target. There are many aspects, that influence the accuracy of a shot. Of course, it's the accuracy of the weapon and the accuracy of the soldier. But also distance and injuries will affect accuracy.

Throwing things

Same as for the shooting part: The game will throw things, where you tell it to. So if there's an obstacle (like the ceiling, when throwing inside a room), you won't get any warning. You better hold ALT-key pressed. When you do, you will see the trajectory of the item to be thrown. There are three colors for this line: red, meaning, there's an obstacle in the way, blue, which is the part, where you can throw, and darker blue, when you point out of the throwing range of the soldier. In the latter case, you will have to place the pointer more closely to your soldier. However, you will not need to point onto the floor or a roof, where the grenade shall land. If you point the soldier to throw somewhere in the air, the item will fly along the trajectory resulting from that. But you can't cheat a bigger throwing range out of this. ;-)

Explosives

Just like in the old XCOM games, you can prime a grenade to 0 and hold on to it for a couple more turns, it won't explode until you throw or drop it (but it will explode as soon as it hits the ground when thrown, so you can't use the "grenade proxy" technique). There's one exception: If you do not throw a grenade, but drop it (meaning, putting it on the floor in inventory-screen), it will not go of instantly, but when you hit the end of turn button.

However, this isn't the case for the powerful demolition pack, it will explode precisely on time and you need to be very careful with it. If you prime one to 0, you need to throw it on the same turn, or it will explode in your hands. If you want to throw on your next turn, prime to 2 (before you get your turn, 2 grenade time units will pass). Practice in hotseat a little before you use demolition packs, it's a bummer to blow up your own guys in a real game.

Destroying walls

In general, all walls and items on the maps are destructable. However, some of them are more resilient, than others. Some walls can be destroyed by punching them with a knife (yeah, really, that works!), others need more firepower to punch a hole in them, like a rocket launcher.

Putting units on roofs

There is a trick to put some of your units on the roof, or higher floors of a building right from the start (even places that are inaccessible from the ground normally). The thing is, if you place your unit on a square that is blocked by something (chair, table, box...), the unit will actually appear on the floor above it. If that is blocked too, he goes even more upwards (if there's no space anywhere upwards, it won't let you place the unit there). So for certain houses, you can remember squares where there are blocking objects all the way until the roof and place your units there. This is a good position for snipers, and flyers can save TUs on the start by not having to fly up so much. Non-flyers can move off the roof at any time without any falling damage or TU penalty. Not all houses have spots like this though and some players may consider this trick unfair.

Getting better

Replays

Don't forget to save a replay after a game -- in the replay you can see the whole battlefield and most importantly your opponent's turns. This way you can learn a lot about other people's teams and strategy to improve yours. Hint: At the moment, replay files can not be interchanged in regard to the operating system, they were recorded on. So you can't open replays recorded under Windows with the Linux version of the game and vice versa.

Issues

Minimap disappeared in battlescape

Usually happens when playing with different map sizes. Press shift+right arrow, then shift+left arrow, it should appear again.

Unit can't move

You have enough time units left, but the unit refuses to walk? This is usually because you're out of energy (the orange bar in the stats) because you were moving too much in the past few turns. But the game will show a special message, when you try to move without energy.

No game sounds

You don't hear sounds, aside from a few (e. g. shots)? In this case you probably haven't got the files from original X-COM installed. Most of the sounds then don't exist at all.

Grenades drop before my own feet

This usually happens, when you try to throw a grenade from inside a house. The ballistic trajectory will let it bounce from the ceiling, so it's falling before your own feet.

Can't choose an alien race

(Only in older versions:) If you have a female human soldier, the game won't let you change her race to an alien, and will always revert to human with no armour. To fix this, make the soldier male and then change, or copy an existing alien unit (ctrl+insert) and paste (shift+insert) it to the unit you want to change

Also it can be the case, that you choose an alien race but the displayed model looks nothing like it. In this case, you probably didn't copy the original files into the appropriate folders. Then you only have standard models of ufo2000.