X-Com: Ufo Defense speed settings

I’ve never played X-Com before… it was the sort of game that I would have hated in 1992 and now, bizarrely enough, have a strange affinity towards. I keep on eyeing Laser Squad Nemesis, but I think their payment model is a bit screwy for a game I can’t even practice on beforehand. So I downloaded the collector’s edition (runs in Windows) off of Kazaa in the hopes that some skills would carry over when I eventually pay for LSN and downloaded the appropriate fixes from www.ufodefense.com.

Now, it is pretty obvious to me that the game is running too quickly, but having never played it before, I’m not sure exactly how quickly it is running. Does anyone here have any luck playing this game in Windows on a modern machine? What programs and settings are you using to slow it down?

Also, when I get to the tactical combat screen, the music is very faint and overlaid with this really obnoxious oscillating sound. Is that a bug, or the sound of the helicopter?

You definitely need to slow down the game for it to play. When I played it recently I found that, generally, nothing was really a problem except scrolling during battles, which was ridiculously fast.

There are a bunch of programs out there to slow your computer down. For X-com I tried a program called Turbo, which runs a high-priority thread in order to eat the requested percentage of your CPU time. I found X-com worked best when it got 25% of the CPU time; it was nice and playable then. Unfortunately I also suspect Turbo of making my system unstable. :(

Re the music, I never heard anything that sounded like a helicopter, but in general the music was very very soft. I eventually just ignored it.

Ditch the slowdowns for that collectors edition. There’s a better way.

The newest version of xcomutil will allow you to play in XP in full screen mode with sound and with everything running at close to the right speed. There’s a program included there called xcloader, and once you’ve got that installed to your xcom directory, you just start the game with the xcloader and you’re good to go.

Game runs at the right speed for me using this with XP, an athlon 3000+, and a gig of RAM…

Cool! Now I can finish the game without fear of bizzare system crashes. Thanks. :)

There shouldn’t be an oscillating sound (your guys arrive by VTOL airplane, not by helicopter).

Also, you can try LSN before you buy, in two ways: 1) you can have a subscriber send you a challenge; 2) you get three free games against a volunteer newbie trainer when you download the client. Option #1 is limited in that you can only play on three maps and you must play the marines (not sure whether the same applies to option 2). If you want a challenge, just post here at QT3 and I’m sure folks will send you one.

Game runs at the right speed for me using this with XP, an athlon 3000+, and a gig of RAM…

Are you sure about this? I’m seeing absolutely no difference in the speed the game plays after running this… I’ve tried using both Dos and Windows versions, too. Furthermore, the documentation doesn’t seem to list “adjusting the speed” to be a core feature… simply that it adjusts difficulty.

As for the music, just replace the .MID file for combat with something more palatable.

  • Alan


I’ve tried a few utilities, but my big problem is video. I get sliced up video, like bad interlace. The game is running, but the video is mulched.

Dave, I can help you with that: you either need to turn off DirectDraw, or run this file instead of the “UFO Defense.exe” in your XCom directory. That file fixed it for me without having to manually turn on and off DirectDraw.

As for the music problem, it isn’t that I don’t like the music, just that it seems to be overlayed by this staticky “wub wub” sound. I can hear the music very faintly in the background, but the oscillation noise is too annoying to cope with. I’m going to try going to the DOS version and see if that fixes it. And, of course, I still don’t know how much I should slow the computer down to actually see the appropriate speed on the game.

Holy crap! As Alan indicated, that “wub wub” sound is the actual music in this game! GMTACTIC.MID … wow, what a turn-off.

Could anyone tell me if this is just my soundcard, or other people can hear how awful this sounds? In the meantime, I’ve just deleted that file and replaced it with the System Shock theme, which seems techno-ey and appropriate. I had forgot how awesome the music for that game was. Time to reinstall that one as well.

It sounds like a recording of a ceiling fan being played over a set of blown bookcase speakers. I can’t believe I put up with that when I originally played the game. The System Shock theme, though, sounds pretty dated. It’s nowhere near as unlistenable as the XCOM noise, but I can’t imagine listening to that for very long, either.

Funny, that was my choice for replacement music as well.

  • Alan

That Midi website is cool. The Final Doom songs are awesome.

D Evil
D Dead
D Doom2

All good. Some goth bands could learn from this stuff.

Awesome, I’ll give it a try.

If you use the xcloader.com file, it should automatically scale the game speed for you, if you use the Collector’s Edition or “Gold Version” (i. e., the one PCGAMER included for free on a CD ROM a few years ago). I played XCOM on a 486 dx2 66 back in the day, and I can state that the speed of the game in tactical mode is almost a spot on match for what I remember on the 486 back in the day. Outside of tactical mode there are some things that are a bit fast–most notably, the speed at which the arrows spin the earth around in the geoscape view–but that’s fairly minor stuff.

Man I miss that music. Not because it’s good (it’s not) but because it reminds of playing X-Com in my basement at night when I was in high school. Such a good game.

Okay, I was playing my first mission, and already I don’t understand something. I killed all of the aliens on the first mission… but the UFO is still unexplored. There don’t seem to be any doors for it, though, and I’m assuming that until I explore the UFO the mission won’t end. How do I do that?

The doors to the UFO can be hard to spot, but they are distinct from the hull. Just click on a tile behind the door to open it. There’s always a couple of aliens staying inside the UFO… and sometimes just around the corner of the entrance.