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Author: mattn (talk, contrib)


We have a manual available that gives more information on everything from installing to playing UFO: Alien Invasion.


  • Hiring soldiers
    • More candidates become available at the end of each month. Scroll through the list using the mousewheel. More candidates are supplied if you use an easier difficulty level. More candidates are supplied if you are doing well and keeping your funding bodies happy.
  • Saving from within the battlescape...
    • not allowed. This is because saving after killing an alien and loading after losing a soldier is not in the spirit of the game. It takes the fear away: and you should be afraid. [1]
  • building a new base
    • You can find "Create installation" button on the sidebar (GeoScape).
  • Why can't I use the medium alien armour?
    • Alien armour is only for aliens! At version 2.2.x, the best armour useable by PHALANX is the nanocomposite. There will be more armour available when more dev work is done (need more 3D artists). See Equipment/Armour.
  • Is there an easy way to compare weapons, and learn more about them?
    • See weapon tables. Includes link to table with list of skills for different skills/firemodes.

Gameplay for veterans

Notes for veterans of UFO: Enemy Unknown (also known as Ufo Defense or just X-COM)

  • Where are the proximity mines?
    • Not implemented yet (at version 2.3.x). [2] They will be implemented for sure.
  • Why can't I destroy all the terrain like in X-COM?
    • The 3D engine that is used to make UFO:AI (a modified Quake2 engine) does not support fully destructable terrain. There are plans to add some destructible items (furniture, barrels...), but even that will be a lot of work (mapping, models, particle-effects etc.) See also [3] and [4] for more details. Please do not post on the forum asking for fully destructible buildings. This has been discussed to death. If, however, you are are a coding genius and can implement this within the quake 2 based engine, and leave it running fast...
  • The time units (TU) for reaction fire (RF) makes no sense
    • The RF system mimicks most of the RF-features of X-COM. You can reserve TUs in your round which will not be used up but can be used for RF in the enemy turn.
      There is now an advanced system in place to reserve various things (e.g. the RF reservation as mentioned already or stuff that can be suede in the same round such as crouch/stand-up). There are still some rough edges (i.e. not all of this is usable yet) but time will help us iron them out.


  • Nobody can connect to my server - what am I doing wrong?
    • Make sure, that you have opened the game port in your router
  • The server doesn't show up in the serverlist - what can I do?
    • Again make sure, that the game port is opened in your router configuration - also make sure, that the cvar sv_public has a value of 1. This can also be done in the multiplayer menu. Activate the public option in the menu when you create the server.
    • more networking tips in the Multiplayer article.
  • Is there a mapcycle available?
    • Yes, there is a mapcycle available. Just have a look in the UFO:AI installation base/ directory. There is a mapcycle.txt with comments inside.
  • Versions
    • The players (clients) and server must use the same version of UFO:AI.
  • Maps
    • A checksum is calculated to ensure that all players (clients) are using the same version of the map. Maps compiled on different systems may have slightly different checksums (due to differences in floating point operations). So, for multiplayer, stick to installers (from [5] for example) or mappacks (from [6]).

Compiling Maps

(If you just use an installer, do not worry about this.)

  • Does it take a long time?
    • Yes, but if you use one of the make files in the repository then only the maps that need updating will be compiled.
  • Can maps compiled for one OS or system be used on another?
  • It says "Could not load image pk3 (/base/0pics.pk3)", does that matter?
    • No, it will load images from the normal filesystem, instead of from the archive file.


  • How can I turn the soldier's direction without moving him?
    • Position the 3D cursor on the terrain in the desired direction, then press RMB Template-RMB.png Right MouseButton or use Ctrl. See also the Keymap. See also Key Bindings
  • What console?
    • The more you mess with UFO:AI, the more likely it is you will hear references to the console. If you hit Shift ESC then the console should come up. Press ESC to return to the normal GUI. There are many console commands. The console is logged in a text file from the time you start UFO to when you quit. This is overwritten the next time you run it. See the General item below to find the path.
  • What is a CVAR?
    • Console variable [7]. For example to set your nickname in for multiplayer you can go to the console and type "/name iamthegodofhellfire" or whatever. There are many other CVARs which can be set.

Common bugs

There is a file called BUGS distributed with all UFO:AI packages listing major known bugs for this release. Please read it to avoid unneccesary bug reports :)

Check our tracker [8] and the forum [9] for a complete list of known bugs.

Really common ones are listed here to save you time. If you have found something new then tell the team about it (see Bugs).

  • Broken savegames
    • Savegames generally do not work between versions. If you are compiling trunk look out for the giveaway commit messages.
  • Estimates of hit probability are distinctly fishy
    • Hit probability estimates are not great when your target has partial cover. The true calculation is done by the server (even in single player mode)
  • Non-English characters in Windows' User profile
    • If the User's folder contains Non-English (Non-Latin?, Non-ASCII?) characters the game will stop responding upon trying to enter a mission. A possible workaround is to create a new profile.


  • Where can I find the savegames, screenshots, config.cfg and ufoconsole.log?
    • This depends on your OS:
      • Linux: /home/<username>/.ufoai/<version>/
      • Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\UFOAI\<version>\
      • Windows Vista: \Users\<username>\appData\Roaming\UFOAI\<version>\
      • Windows 7: \Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\UFOAI\<version>\base\
        • In Windows 7 the \AppData folder is hidden by default.
      • Windows98 - german version: \windows\Anwendungsdaten\ufoai\<version>\
      • MacOSX: /Users/<username>/.ufoai/<version>/ (prior to 2.3)
      • MacOSX: /Users/<username>/Documents/UFOAI-<version>/ (>= 2.3)
    • Screenshots are in those directories in ./base/screenshots/, savegames are in ./base/save/
  • Game seems to be untranslated (missing texts). What did I miss?
    • This may be due to a missing translation - generate a new one on your own and send it to us - see translating article (also see available translations)...
    • ...or the system can't find the locale (the installed language file). You can use the cvar s_language to set your language (see base/i18n for valid languages) or you can copy the base/i18n/en directory to e.g. the language prefix you need.
      • Linux users must have the locale installed they are trying to use in the game. You can try to set another locale via the environment variable LANG. Start ufo with LANG=en; ./ufo
  • Under which licence is this game released?
    • GPL and Creative Commons (mainly we can modify, adapt, build upon, and use commercially)
  • When will the game be ready?
    • When it's done. No seriously, there will never be a fixed release date (for any given version), when the game is ripe enough to make a new release it'll be done.
  • Where are the scripts (*.ufo), maps, models, ...? (also what is a *.pk3?)
    • if you used an installer look in UFOAI-<version>/base/*.pk3.
    • you can copy the *.pk3 somewhere (so the game still works!), rename them zip and unpack.
    • on windows you can just use 7zip, which works it out for itself.
    • *.ufo scripts contain a lot of useful information. [[10]]
    • all the same information is also available to anyone from the subversion repository. [[11]]
  • How to make screenshots ingame?
    The default keybinding for ingame screenshots is F12
    It's defined in the keys.cfg file like this:
    bind F12 "screenshot"
    Screenshots are saved in a directory called ./base/screenshots/. This directory is located inside your UFO:AI settings directory (depends on the operation system you use). See also Manual/FAQ#General.