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Messages - homunculus

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User modifications / Re: Lazy HUD v2
« on: February 21, 2023, 02:57:48 pm »
I don't know, maybe I will reorganize this stuff.

A lot of it is psychology and would rather belong in the offtopic section. Maybe I will reorganize this stuff some time in the future, but no promises.

You liked the scripting, you wrote?
What about LUA, to my knowledge at least, although being very old, is being accepted by the most religious informatics gurus. Like in JavaScript you can create new dialects, in Lua you can create new ... I don't know, my experience with LUA is more than zero but limited ... if I understand correctly, new languages.

So, there is some non-zero level of initiative that I could develop my Lazy HUD again some day because of the LUA, no promises.

If you understand correctly, we have different priorities, as far as I understand. You want minimalism, I want less clicks.

I have nothing against minimalism, for example:
Pressing Esc twice also changes music.
Pressing Esc once opens the menu. So, the menu button is also kind of unnecessary. Both could be just in the tooltip of the end turn button.

Design / Re: storyline question: Why is phalanx a secret organization?
« on: February 20, 2023, 01:32:32 am »
I think I solved the problem.

1. Why aliens start slow?
The first version of XVI did not work as expected and needed more development. The aliens are gathering samples and only fighting as much as necessary.

2. Why is PHALANX secret?
PHALANX is considered illegal and is supported by international secret organisations of conspiracy theorists. If you use the 2D geoscape the Flat Earth theorists might also like you.

3. Bonus1: Why is the game turn based?
It is because of the first failed XVI attempt by the aliens. Has the game being turn based ever been explained before?

4. Bonus2: Why are the soldiers untrained (without the catastrophic war where all trained soldiers died, that is)?
Because they are not soldiers but conspiracy theorists.

5. Bonus3: Could kids learn some real political geography?
Yes, because the financing organisations and countries would not be the same thing.

Nurse: Good morning, gentlemen, here's your coffee and medication.
Cdr. Navarre: Good morning, thank you.
Dr. Connor: Good morning.
(Nurse leaves)

Cdr. Navarre: I noticed an interesting file on the psychiatrist's table yesterday, and took a peek when she was busy with the coffee I spilled. It was about a syndrome that makes people absent-minded in a fight except one fighter. The rest are as if in a stupor, only able to execute a basic predetermined response. It is called SA-GM, the Single Actor and Grid Movement Syndrome.

Dr. Connor: That must be the result of too much smartphones, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise. You know the youth nowadays.

Cdr. Navarre: Those affected include trained military people, it is not limited to some feeble smartphone enthusiasts.

Dr. Connor: Does it mean that war has become boring? Could be a good thing.

Cdr. Navarre: On the contrary. It amplifies interesting tactical coincidences. Remember the game X-COM?

Dr. Connor: Jagged Alliance was better.

Cdr. Navarre: This is not happening in a game but in real life. It started small and was kept secret by the militaries, but now it is everywhere. Do you have any ideas what could cause such a thing?

Dr. Connor: You mean, only one fighter is conscious at a time, as if the fight was controlled by a malfunctioning hive mind? Perhaps the possibility of alien influence should be investigated. What is the Government doing?

Cdr. Navarre: It appears all the Governments would consider such an investigation illegal, on grounds of spreading conspiracy theories.

Dr. Connor: You are the military engineer, can you figure out a way to get out of this institution? There is a lab in the old bunker. If it is indeed aliens, we should get some soldiers and finances. Even from conspiracy theorists, if we cannot get real soldiers. And we might need to hide and trade on the black market.

Discussion / Re: Long time no see, game impressions
« on: February 18, 2023, 06:35:12 am »
Oh, someone I remember is still here!

I tried that RF thing again.
Soldier A shot for 12 TU. Then soldier B shot for 12 TU. Then soldier A shot again for 12 TU and got reaction fire from the alien.

So, when Shakiki and Din ran in front of the aliens and escaped a desperate situation, the aliens probably just didn't have time units reserved for reaction fire.

And another time, when they captured an alien that way with stun rods, that alien also probably didn't have RF active.

So, what Shakiki and Din did was actually awkward and cute and is not the way RF works.

User modifications / Re: Lazy HUD v2
« on: February 18, 2023, 05:48:14 am »
Yes, someone who is using Windows could have told you years ago.
Feedback can be kind of important that way.

For example, I found that it is possible that the HUD only shows 4 first soldiers in the soldier selection (finished the battle by only selecting soldiers on screen, no real drama). This happened in a battle where one of my soldiers got stunned and recovered. I do not remember if the stunned soldier was the 5-th soldier, he could have been. That is a rare occasion, a developer of a HUD might not get into this situation while playtesting, so people should let him know.


And different opinions are always welcome. I do not understand why some people see differences as conflict. Maybe I am an autist or something?
In my case, opinions and criticisms might be good ideas, might help me to generate better ideas, or just help me to put my own opinion into context / perspective.
I felt like I was making a HUD that will be inferior to what it could have been with proper criticism and comments, and that was uninspiring. Also, I would learn less.

For example, I separated the buttons for clarity, but actually I liked it much more when you put them close together (less visual clutter).

If I had thought of not drawing the button borders at all, I most probably would have done different kind of icons and made all the buttons like you did with the settings and end turn button. I mean, at the moment the shape of reaction fire button is a square like every other button and you would need to look at the icon. But with no border and background the visible shape would have been a shield (the icon), and perhaps would have been easier to find without looking too much that way. So the player would look more at the battle and less at the buttons.

While trying H-Hour's HUD (Default HUD in 2.6-dev) I found it made sense to put the stun bar on top of the health bar (like reserved time units is on time units bar).

Maybe it would be better to show the full view of the selected soldier, perhaps at the left of the selected soldier details box (like at the left in 2.6-dev Default HUD, but smaller) and it could also double as a crouch / stand button. This way there would be no big portrait, but the special crouch button would also become unnecessary.

Just the heart would have been a much better icon for body wounds than trying to draw a body with a tiny heart in it, I feel a bit ridiculous for doing it the way I did. It looks like a bag with some fastener on it. Someone could have told me in the comments.


And, also, as I experienced this week (trying out my own HUD and yours) that while I was scripting the HUD I was paying attention to what works as intended, but not really understanding what is the most convenient way to do things. This time I had a gameplay goal. I remembered I wanted to try specializing one base on workshops and another base on labs, but never did so back then. So, I was playing rather than playtesting.

I noticed that I never used the mouse wheel to change the fire mode and I never even looked at the fire mode text in the weapon box, I always chose the fire mode by clicking in the list that pops up at mouse-over. If you (and other people) also use the fire mode selection the same way, you could make (or, if you are not playing any more--you could have made) this button even smaller. Also, in my own HUD, I should have separated the fire modes in the fire mode list more clearly (H-Hour did something like this in his HUD).

I should have set reaction fire active when reaction fire mode is selected, like you did in your HUD. Obviously, that is what the user wants to do most of the time.

I should have made the containers that have nothing in them (like an empty left hand container) not pop up at mouse-over. Or, if that is not possible, perhaps I should have made them always visible. Sometimes I wanted to select a soldier at the edge of the screen, just to find out that the previously invisible empty off-hand container pops up on top of it.

I should have made a button in the fire modes list that would let the user shoot even if there are not enough time units because some are reserved for reaction fire (probably with exclamation mark icon). So the user could cancel the reaction fire and shoot without going back and forth between fire modes and the reaction fire button.


In your HUD, I would have liked to look at fire mode list even if there were not enough TU to shoot, though. Also, I saw you only updated fire modes at mouse over, but not at soldier select. Was there some complication?

Up and down arrows on keyboard did not change level in 2.6-dev. They do work in Default HUD, perhaps it could be copy-paste from there.

I could not get the transparent-background stat and inventory windows to work. In 2.6-dev the result was stats and inventory window like in Default HUD but somehow without the wounds data (so wounds are only visible in the selected soldier box).

Is there a convenient way to reserve time units for using headgear?


I cannot remember any other comments right now.
In what state is the lazy hud version 2 at the moment? Are you still playing / changing it?
Or maybe some day some archaeologist finds this game and this mod and the comments might have a potential to be useful.

User modifications / Re: Lazy HUD v2
« on: February 12, 2023, 11:26:15 pm »
Well, a long time has passed, and the author is probably not reading it.
And the last development of the game seems to be from 2014.
But there seem to be people still playing the game.

When I tried this mod, first it crashed the game at loading screen. That was on Windows 10.
But I did not give up.
I got it to work by removing the unnecessary files named 'Optional files' in Norby's post.
That is, those files:
The pics/hud- folder contain images for the default hud without
the thick border decorations. To enable it copy the content also
and remove the "-" sign from the "hud-" folder, so rename to "hud".
This is the way to clear the borders around inventory and physical
stats windows in LazyHUD due to affect both HUDs.

The previous subverisons of hud_lazy2.ufo are named to .ufo-xx,
these are here just for historical reasons but do nothing.
Then it worked very well in both 2.5 and 2.6-dev.

There are two main criticisms that I have.

First, in my opinion it is impolite to put text on top of the face of a portrait. I understand there was the problem to be solved with the floor container (and I think your placement is better), and probably some struggle with the script, and the face and text problem was secondary at that moment.
Perhaps it would be better to make some space for the portrait at the left amd put the text to the right of the portrait.

Second, it is way better to put the mod in user data folder as described here:,8830.msg68466.html#msg68466
Of course, I changed that, and anyone else can also copy the files there.
But the mod worked both ways, and worked rather well.

It raised some other minor questions like:
Is anyone really using the 'reserve time units for crouch' feature?

Maybe I will continue this feedback post some day, maybe not.
At least now it is posted that you might need to remove the unnecessary files to make the mod work.
And it is quite a good and fully functional convenience mod for the battlescape.

User modifications / Re: how to apply a mod (Win 7)
« on: February 12, 2023, 08:02:47 pm »
Maybe for some people this +set fs_gamedir seems confusing, and they might use some background info to feel more confident about what they are doing.

I am not a C programmer, nor a Windows programmer or expert. I have just been using some Windows, UNIX and Linux for some time, including some programming. However, I hope an explanation by a casual user might be easier to understand by other casual users.

Ancient History
Once upon a time there were no smartphones, not even mobile phones, and 10 kilobytes hard drive (compared to 10 terabytes nowadays) was a luxury.

Commands on computers had a limit of 6 letters. Same for variable names and function names in, say, Fortran77 (a programming language).

So, you want a command SetEnvironmentVariable? You abbreviate it to setenv.
MakeDirectory? mkdir (Folders were called directories back then).
ChangeDirectory? chdir.
BasicInputOutputSystem? bios.

Sometimes things can get funny, like I myself have invented function names like simsym and symsum because they were the most meaningful abbreviations (SimulateSymmetry, and SumOfSimulatedSymmetry).

I mean, the abbreviations were created with best intentions of being easy to understand, but with 6 letters you can only do so much.

Later, when this 6 letter limit was not necessary, people still understood that ch means change, mk means make and dir means directory.
It is like nowadays Application is called App even without the 6 letters limit and everybody should understand what it means (not Apparition).

Command Prompt
People are talking about command prompt or command line interface or cmd. Back then, the little command prompt window was your whole screen that you had. But the monitors were not that small? It is because the resolution was lower.

So, in this command line interface you would navigate (by using chdir) to the folder (directory) where ufo.exe is.
.exe means ufo.exe is an executable, or in other words, a program that you can run.
You wouldn't need to type ufo.exe to run it just ufo is enough.

So, congratulations, you have managed to run ufo from command line.

Command Line Parameters
Those +set fs_gamedir things are command line parameters. When ufo.exe runs, the program also knows what those command line parameters are.
set (most likely) means set like in English.
fs (most likely) means file system.
gamedir (most likely) means game directory.

Additional Game Directory
If you run ufo.exe (without command line parameters), you can mod the game by putting files and folders in the directory where ufo.exe is, and if those folders and files have the same directory structure as in the source code of the game, they get used instead of the corresponding originals.

But putting mods in that directory is a bit invasive.

So, when you run ufo.exe for the first time, it also creates another directory, on Windows 10 it would be
C:\Users\<your user name>\AppData\Roaming\UFOAI\2.6-dev
(note that AppData is a hidden folder, you need to set 'show hidden folders' to see it)
(and you need to have run the game at least once to have the UFOAI\2.6-dev folder created at all)

This directory is (most likely) also treated as the game directory where ufo.exe is.
Also, you have folder 'base' there where the game stores your configurations and save files.

A Folder for a Mod in User Data Directory
The directory
C:\Users\<your user name>\AppData\Roaming\UFOAI\2.6-dev
is (most likely) called the user data directory.

You can create a folder 'mods' in that directory, next to the 'base', and tell ufo.exe to treat the directory 'mods' as an additional game directory by starting ufo.exe from command line as
ufo +set fs_gamedir mods
(there is no need to get confused if someone writes '.\ufo +set fs_gamedir mods', the dot just means current directory and can be omitted, same goes for the full path if you are already in the directory where ufo.exe is)

Organizing Mods
But what if you want to try one mod today and another mod tomorrow, meaning, you want several mods?
Then you might create a subfolder of the folder 'mods' for each mod.
Like, you might create 'mods\lazy_hud_v2' and 'mods\lazy_hud' and 'mods\radar_mod' and put the mods in their own folders.
And now, when you want to play ufo with a mod, say, lazy hud version 2, you open the command line interface and navigate to the folder where ufo.exe is and type
ufo +set fs_gamedir mods\lazy_hud_v2
I have not tried this, but most likely you could run two mods at the same time by passing multiple game directories as command line parameters like this:
ufo +set fs_gamedir mods\lazy_hud_v2 mods\radar_mod

Creating a Batch File
Navigating to the ufo.exe folder in Command Prompt and typing all those command line parameters can be tedious.

You can create a plain text file (extension .txt) where you write
ufo +set fs_gamedir mods\lazy_hud_v2
and you save it not with the extension '.txt' but with extension '.bat' (say, lazy2.bat).
Then you can move the batch file to the folder where ufo.exe is (Windows will ask for admin password).

.bat means batch, like a batch of commands. You could put multiple commands in a batch file, and if you run the batch file (same way you run an executable) all those commands get executed.

Now you could navigate to the folder where ufo.exe and lazy2.bat are and type
and you have executed the command in the .bat file which is
ufo +set fs_gamedir mods\lazy_hud_v2

Creating a Shortcut to the Batch File
You can skip the command line altogether.

Just like .exe can be run by double-click, a .bat can also be run by double-click.
If you want to edit the .bat file you choose Edit from right mouse button menu (Open will just run the commands in the .bat).

And you can create a shortcut of the batch file and place it on your desktop.
Then you can run
ufo +set fs_gamedir mods\lazy_hud_v2
in the directory where ufo.exe is by double-clicking the shortcut on your desktop.

You can also change the icon of the shortcut by opening Properties (in right mouse click menu on the shortcut) and pressing 'Change Icon...' button in the 'Shortcut' tab. Then you can navigate to UFOAI-2.6-dev folder and choose ufo.exe file as the "icon".

Now you should have a nice looking clickable shortcut on your desktop.

Please put your mods in a separate folder in AppData rather than in the folder where ufo.exe is.
Like, say,
C:\Users\<your user name>\AppData\Roaming\UFOAI\2.6-dev\mods\lazy_hud_v2
and run the modded game as
ufo +set fs_gamedir mods\lazy_hud_v2

Now, after writing all of this, I am wondering if I clarified things or if I made it even more confusing.

Discussion / Long time no see, game impressions
« on: February 09, 2023, 01:52:32 pm »
So, after about 12 years, I tried the game again for a few days because I found some mod that I absolutely had to try (

The gameplay has improved quite a bit, I very much liked the smoke grenades changes (stun) and the new reaction fire and bleeding.
Didn't like the new soldier models. Why did they need to be replaced? Was there a copyright problem?

I even have two stories.

Story 1.
So, my two riflemen (Shakiki and Din) had to cross an open field in front of aliens pointing rifles at them.

Din: We have to run all that way to that cover, we will surely die!
Shakiki: I have an idea. I take two steps and stop. Then you take two steps and stop. Then I again. Then you again. See?
Din: Curse your ideas, do you want us to also look stupid when we die?
Shakiki: Just lets try it. If we die I won't tell anybody. I promise.
Din: ...

(I mean, I really do like the new reaction fire. The player has to deliberately exploit it to break it. Without such tricks it works rather well. It could actually be perfect reaction fire for the Shevaar to give them some reptilian character).

Story 2.
A Fighter UFO started to chase my Saracen. I fled with the Saracen, but noticed the UFO is turning to strange directions in response. Saracen is faster than Fighter UFO, so I figured out it thought the shortest path was around The Earth.

When Saracen stopped because the movement order ended, the UFO started to move towards the Saracen again. But when I ordered the Saracen to stop, the UFO continued to move in whatever direction it was moving.

So we met up at a convenient location above a desert along with my two Stilettos from the other base.

Later, a Harvester was chasing me back and forth over a SAM site, trying to catch me around The Earth.

(I mean, the aliens are not stupid, they just have a different perspective. For them, compared to The Universe, The Earth is very small. Like children chasing each other around a tree, when one of them changes direction, they bump into each other)

And a bonus question (I do not guarantee that I read the answer if it takes more than a few days).
Is the graphics style of UFO:AI heavily influenced by Descent Freespace or is Descent Freespace just an example of what was generally fashionable at that time?

Discussion / Re: 2.5 sucks completely
« on: June 22, 2013, 11:54:52 am »
Similar to this post in another thread (just a random post that I remember having seen recently, I don't know the general opinion):
Usually, my problem with larger map is not civilians as much as having to play hide and seek for half an hour if not longer[...]
The one greatest turn-off for me has been the size of maps.

I remember once upon a time there were people in the forum (not me, BTW) who wanted large maps where you would have to travel miles before you meet the aliens, but when people saw them the posts about tedious missions appeared (I don't mean the period when there were too many missions, I mean before that time).

I wouldn't mind a large map now and then, even if just to remind the players of what large maps are like, but I would suggest to try to increase the ratio of smaller and more compact maps in future map-making.

Also, sometimes I feel that the soldier models might be too small for the environment and could be drawn larger in the square they stand on, and that might increase the maps being perceived as large, but that's another topic entirely.

User modifications / Re: [MOD] Easy Radar Rangefinder
« on: June 09, 2013, 01:21:29 pm »
It seems my own UFO:AI is even older, it says:
UFO: Alien Invasion 2.5-dev IA-32 Sep  5 2012 Win32 DEBUG

I put the radarmod.pk3 in UFOAI-2.5-dev\base
and then started ufo.exe in UFOAI-2.5-dev

and the result was the same, no geoscape, etc.

Discussion / Re: 2.5 sucks completely
« on: June 07, 2013, 02:30:39 pm »
As for getting shot in the face when peeking around a corner, I don't see why that shouldn't happen every now and then.
whatever. it's not like I was laying out plans for some shortly upcoming feature.
Oh, well, that seems to miss the point entirely. I meant your soldiers (or the aliens) shouldn't be able to run so long in the enemy reaction fire area. Which should be at least half-way similar to what you seem to be suggesting.
That, and first shot of a burst happening even sooner.

Discussion / Re: 2.5 sucks completely
« on: June 07, 2013, 11:39:37 am »
Not "instant reaction fire" per se but a parallel function, that would likely cost more tu's or come with some other complication.
I don't understand what would be the difference. The aliens would still blast you into cinders as soon as you look around the corner.
currently the tu cost of firing a weapon is said to include 1) assuming firing position/raising the weapon, 2) aiming and finally 3) taking the shot.
That assumes UFO:AI is a computer game. It is not, it is a real world battle between humans and aliens ::)

The last TU cost is missing:

4) recovering from recoil.

Therefore the shot should happen sooner than the total time units cost.

Discussion / Re: 2.5 sucks completely
« on: June 06, 2013, 10:15:02 am »
For anyone who wants reaction fire to happen instantly, would you like the aliens doing the same to you?
As soon as you stick your nose around the corner into the alien's field of vision, you would get blasted by the most time unit intensive firemode of heavy particle beam.

It took some time but at last I remembered the main problem with firing: the burst firemode. In this case it would be more realistic if the first shots of the burst were fired sooner. Like a sequence of single shots (uh, I just tried to model in my head the burst accuracy decrease with sequential shots dependent on the soldier's skill of handling recoil, but I guess that would be too radical change).

Discussion / Re: 2.5 sucks completely
« on: June 04, 2013, 08:46:58 am »
Assuming that reaction fire is not supposed to be the primary means of killing aliens, but an emergency measure to try to save your poorly placed soldiers, I see nothing wrong with the reaction fire as long as it works according to this spec.
If X-COM reaction fire didn't work like that, then I think UFO:AI reaction fire is better.

The only thing that I would debate (your opinion may differ, of course) is that the shots should be fired half-way through the time units needed for the shot. This is because after pulling the trigger and firing the shot there should be some time for recovery.

Along the same lines (of firing half-way), it is possible to do something that has a similar effect to sneaking up to an alien.
It is estimating where the alien has moved far enough not to have time units to shoot when it has line of sight to your soldier.
Then next turn you walk around the alien (to the alien's side or behind) and kill it with a knife.
If the shot was fired half-way through the time units, it would be more difficult to walk around the alien.
Killing aliens with a knife is a bit fun, though.

Discussion / Re: 2.5 sucks completely
« on: June 01, 2013, 10:59:12 pm »
I remember having fired bursts with less ammo than needed to fire all shots, and it just fires less shots.
Someone might confirm it again, if there need to be absolutely certain.

(excellent thread title, by the way, very relaxing ;D)

User modifications / Re: [MOD] Easy Radar Rangefinder
« on: June 01, 2013, 10:55:09 pm »
so, it is for 2.4, then?
i still have 2.4, perhaps i should try it there, no difference for base placements, i guess.

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