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A few years ago, I handed primary control of XcomUtil to David Jones (bladefirelight@gmail.com), who has no relation to me other than being a devoted XCOM fan and friend.  On 09 JUL 2010, I became a contract employee at BioWare, working on Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Since XCOM is owned by a different game manufacturer, I can no longer be involved in XcomUtil.  Do not worry, you are in good hands with David.

What is XcomUtil?

XcomUtil is a game enhancer. It is not really an editor and it is certainly not a cheat program. The original purpose of XcomUtil was to make the game more difficult, because there was a bug in the original game that forced all games to the Beginner difficulty level, regardless of what level you chose.

Today, XcomUtil not only fixes the Difficulty Bug and several others, but it enables you to use all five ships to carry troops, it can randomly redesign the alien ships before each battle, and it can allow you to pick your terrain and the type of alien ship before each battle. The image on the right is an OS/2 screen capture of the new XCOM Interceptor. It holds up to 6 soldiers, with the possibility of one tank.

The latest version allows you to merge the terrains from both XCOM and TFTD so that the terrains from either game are available in both games.

The original XcomUtil was a command line utility with a confusing set of options. Today, the XCUSETUP batch file prompts you for the most popular features and provides defaults for everything. The average user can just keep pressing enter and probably get what he or she wants. You can safely run XCUSETUP again and again to change the features whenever you like. The RUNXCOM batch file is used in both games to control the many runtime features of XcomUtil, such as new human ships, random terrains, and random ship generation.

XcomUtil supports all known versions of X-COM:UFO Defense and X-COM:Terror from the Deep (sometimes called TFTD or XCOM2) by MicroProse. It also supports all foreign versions of these games, including UFO:Enemy Unknown, the original European version of XCOM. ApocUtil modifies XCOM:Apocalypse (sometimes called XCOM3), which was also written by Mythos Games and distributed by MicroProse.

The versions of XCOM and TFTD in XCOM CE and the various Classic Games CDs found in game magazines have been rewritten for Windows in such a way that many of the best features of XcomUtil could no longer be supported. Thanks to a patch provided by Silas Dunsmore, XcomUtil once more provides full support for the Windows versions of XCOM, starting with version 8.3. However, only partial support for the Windows version of TFTD is possible. RUNXCOM.BAT and some of the features it supports, such as the logging of combat results, are impossible until an equivalent patch is found. Other features have been made to work, but not as smoothly as they have been in the past. For example, randomly generated alien ships will still be possible, but you will have to manually request that new ships be generated. Use of the new human ships, like the Barracuda, can still be supported, but only by running a batch file from another session when the game describes the battle that is about to be fought.

XcomUtil always allows you to view and modify your enemies and their equipment, dynamically change your money, score, or level of difficulty, and even switch sides with the enemy to allow two-player battles.

ApocUtil allows you to view and modify game features such as the damage tables, number of enemies, and even the research tree. It randomizes the effects of each weapon on each alien to make XCOM:Apocalypse more difficult and more interesting.

Use these programs at your own risk, only after making backups of the directories containing the files they modify. I am not liable for any damages they may cause. You may freely distribute these ZIP files only if they are not modified and no money is charged for their distribution. However, to allow me to easily update XcomUtil and ApocUtil, you should link to this page rather than allow downloading of the files from your own pages.

XcomUtil has always been a DOS program because XCOM has always been a DOS program and XcomUtil must be able to run everywhere that XCOM runs. Therefore, XcomUtil and ApocUtil run equally well under true DOS or in a DOS window.

  • View the current XcomUtil documentation
  • Download XcomUtil 9.60 with documentation (197K)

  • New features and fixes in the version 9.60 include:

    • The before and after parameters have been added to RunXcom.bat to reload the game from just before or after the last battle.
    • New versions of the Farm and Desert terrains. THIS REQUIRES JAVA 1.4 OR BETTER
    • XcomUtTE, a new Terrain Editor for add-on developers. This Java program can merge and compress existing terrains.
    • An XcuSetup option to have XcomUtil generate all of the battlefields.
    • A fix for a bug in the crew placement algorithm.
    • Version 0.91 of f0dder's loader.
    • Support for the UFO package from abandonia.com.

  • New features and fixes in version 9.50 include:

    • New alternate base which simply rearranges the default base for improved defense.
    • The power of the High Explosive has been increased to enable it to blast holes in the outsides of UFOs.
    • Fix for a bug in the EQL flag in command line mode.
    • Improved XcuSetup and RunXcom to eliminate problems when XcomUtil is installed before going to combat for the first time.
    • Minor improvements to the SDUMP and ERRLVL commands.

  • New features and fixes in versions 9.4x include:

    • Circumvention for a bug in RunXcom when using the DosBoxCvs emulator.
    • Translated Ufopedia entries for the New Laser feature on the Spanish version of XCOM.
    • Support for two previously unknown DOS versions of XCOM, including a Spanish version.
    • Fix for a bug in RunXcom that went into a loop if the game is terminated before the first tactical combat since the game itself was installed.
    • XcuSetup now identifies another release of TFTD for Windows which uses different file names.
    • XcuSetup no longer hangs on WinXP and no longer needs to be run twice on Windows.
    • Research help from captives added to TFTD.
    • The CombineClips algorithm now works whenever you win a combat, even between two-part missions.
    • Numerous SDUMP and XDUMP enhancements for add-on developers.

  • New features and fixes in recent versions include:

    • TFTD for Windows split into two parts to allow it to be fully supported.
    • AutoCombat support for both XCOM and TFTD.
    • Full integration of f0dder's bugfix loaders into XcomUtil to eliminate audio and video problems in the XCOM Collector's Edition.

      For more information about the loaders, see the README.TXT file or visit http://f0dder.has.it or http://f0dder.cjb.net.

    • Recovery of MIAs when you win a battle.
    • Functions of RunXcom and RunXcomW merged, XcomWinR eliminated.
    • Minor SDUMP and XDUMP.BAT improvements to reduce the size of dumps.
    • Extra hook file added to RunXcom(W) to help add-on developers.
    • Minor bug fixes for Hybrid games.
    • A bug fix that corrects the amount of help received from captured aliens.
    • An option to have captured aliens speed up research.
    • An option to display messages about AutoCombat and research after combat.
    • NameStats now have both permanent and temporary parts.
    • A minor Win2K compatibility bug was fixed.
    • Clips will no longer be combined between the parts of multi-part battles.
    • The TFTD demo can now be used to create a partial Hybrid game.
    • Automatic Combat Resolution to fight those battles that are just too easy or to play entire games without turn-based combat.
    • An option to use a different set of laser and plasma weapons.
    • New UFOpedia entries translated into both French and German.
    • It fixes the Partial Clips bug which discarded all partial clips instead of attempting to combine them.
    • It records the equipment carried by each soldier at the end of each combat and attempts to re-equip each soldier with the same equipment at the start of the next battle.
    • It has new hooks that make it easier to support add-on packages written by other developers.

  • If you have problem running with the Windows version of TFTD, you can download XcomUtil 9.20 (165K).

  • If you encounter problems installing over any previous version of XcomUtil, just erase all of the *.XCF files and run XcuSetup again.

For all of the features of XcomUtil to work, you need to install your game completely to your hard disk from your CD. This is already done by the Windows versions of XCOM and TFTD. For the DOS version of TFTD, this is as easy as switching to the HARDDISK directory on your CD and entering INSTALL. For the original XCOM CD, you need to execute the following steps from the DOS command line:

  • XCOPY x:*.* y:\XCOM /S
  • INSTALL y:\XCOM
  • CDSETUP y:

where x: is your CD and y: is the drive on which you wish to install XCOM. When this is done, XcomUtil can be installed by unzipping XCOMUTnn.ZIP into your XCOM directory and running XCUSETUP. Now you can run XCOM/UFO or TFTD by entering RUNXCOM.

If you bought XCOM and TFTD in the Conquer the Universe package from MicroProse, you should have no problems, since they only install to your hard disk.

If you have trouble running XCOM or TFTD under Win95 with sound, you should try selecting Restart in MS-DOS Mode from the Shutdown menu. When you do this, you may have to load a mouse driver from another source. I got mine from the diskette that came with one of my replacement mice. If you still have trouble, make a backup copy of AUTOEXEC.BAT, then edit the file to remove the lines marked as "Created by Windows. Do not modify them." By removing these lines, I was able to get even XCOM 1.0 to run in MS-DOS mode. After doing this, Win95 will still ask you every time you reboot if you still want to run in MS-DOS mode, so no harm will be done to the system. If you have any doubt about this, just restore AUTOEXEC.BAT from the backup you made.


Known Bugs in XcomUtil

No version of XcomUtil is ever perfect. The following is a list of errors in the current version. Any major bug will immediately force a new release.

XcomUtil can not properly identify a version of XCOM that I have never seen. When this happens, the results are unpredictable. Please report any such problems to me immediately, I will attempt to provide a new version of XcomUtil as soon as possible.

The Base of Origin for an attack is not always correctly determined. If this is incorrect, you need to explicitly specify it for flags like EQP. This bug has existed since version 4.2 and no fix is expected unless I make a major breakthrough in my decoding of the data files.

Aliens replaced with the RPL flag retain their original flying ability. I could not figure out how to correct this, but it has little effect.

The current ship may be reported as a Skyranger or Triton when no ships at all are present. This is a very minor bug that allows me to report ships even when terrains are replaced.

If you reload a prompted battle using the Small Scout or Survey Ship, the ship itself will be corrupted since I could not tell that I needed to restore the ship files.

The information about casualties in the log file is not always correct. This will be corrected in the next version, if possible.


XCOM Scenario Suggestions

If you find XCOM just too easy, even after using XcomUtil to increase the difficulty, let me suggest a few scenarios that you can play. You use these scenarios by forcing yourself to follow the rules described. If any soldier violates the rules of the scenario, even accidentally, he must immediately be sacked. If you play by these rules, you may discover tactics that you never knew existed.

Not all of these scenarios can be won in the normal way by destroying the brain on Mars. In those cases, I suggest that you eliminate all known alien bases after your game has reached a steady state. I have played entire games of each of these scenarios, except where noted, and have tried to list them by increasing difficulty.

Xenophobe

You have a morbid fear of all aliens and all alien technology. You never try to capture or interrogate any aliens and you sell all alien artifacts immediately. You can not win this scenario in the normal sense, since you can never go to Mars. You simply play it until you don't want to play it any more. I stopped playing at the end of the year 2000, after I had eliminated all 17 alien bases in 25 attempts. I had already made nearly $1 billion by having 255 engineers build and sell laser cannons at all 8 of my bases.

Bean Counter

This scenario takes its name from the beaurocratic "bean counters" who drive us crazy with their constant cost cutting measures. You are not allowed to destroy anything, since that wastes profits. You are not allowed to shoot down any UFOs, since that destroys valuable artifacts that can be sold. You can not use any explosives or any weapon that uses a clip or ammunition, since those would have to be replaced. You are only allowed to use reusable items, like lasers, flares, stun rods, and psi-amps.

Explosive

You must limit yourself to only explosive weapons. This scenario forces you to learn tactics that protect you from your own weapons. It was rather frustrating at times, because you were constantly destroying things that you wanted to keep. It is virtually the opposite of the Bean Counter scenario. I stopped playing this game shortly after I researched Stun Launchers, since I already knew I could beat the Neo-Pacifist scenario.

Photophobe

You can not tolerate sunlight and must not fight any battle in full daylight. If you land at a battle and an aura of light is visible around your soldiers, you must leave immediately. This scenario is very interesting and teaches you how to fight at night. It is much harder to win, but it can still be won because it is dark on Mars.

Technophobe

You have a morbid fear of all technology. You must sack all of your scientists and engineers at the start of the game. You must sell all alien artifacts immediately. If you can not buy the item, you can not use it.

This scenario forces you to learn how to use conventional weapons against the aliens. You can not win this scenario in the normal sense, since you can never go to Mars. You simply play it until you don't want to play it any more. I stopped after about one game year, having destroyed all of the alien bases on the planet.

Neo-Pacifist

You are a Pacifist and can not directly take the life of any living thing, even an alien. You can not shoot down any UFO, because aliens might be killed. You can not use any weapon that can kill an alien, even via reaction fire. Aliens who die during interrogation or because of lack of space in the alien containment facility are someone else's problem, so your conscience is clear.

The only lethal weapons that you can use are grenades, but you must still give the aliens a chance to escape. In this way, the alien causes its own death. For example, an alien next to an armed explosive with a long fuse can save it self by moving away, while an alien next to an armed Proximity Grenade can save itself by not moving away.

Even with these restrictions, the game can still be won by mind controlling an alien on Mars and having him stand next to an armed Proximity Grenade which was placed next to the master brain. Once this is ready, you release your control and wait for the alien to move, ending the game.

This scenario was very hard in the early stages, with very heavy casualties until the Stun Launcher was researched. This was my favorite scenario, because the logic was so perverse and because of the new tactics I learned.

Single-Base Hawaiian

Games where you only have one base are not that different from normal games, unless that base is located in Hawaii. This scenario is very difficult and requires a different strategy. The challenge is that you have almost no radar coverage over any significant land mass. You must keep Skyrangers constantly on patrol over areas that are likely to have alien activity. Since combat is rare, you can not afford to skip any battles. This scenario teaches you how to use the graphs to gather information about areas in which you have no radar.

No Skyrangers

This scenario takes away your large, long range troop carrier, the Skyranger. Ideally, you should also eliminate the Lightning and the Avenger (except for the assault on Mars). This is quite difficult because you do not have enough men to allow for mistakes and the short range of your ships forces you to miss some terror sites. This requires at least version 6.0 of XcomUtil.

Shootdown

This scenario is an even harder variation of the No Skyrangers scenario. It not only takes away your large, long range troop carrier, but it also demands that you shoot down every ship you assault. This is extremely difficult, because you almost never capture any Elerium from ships that have been shot down. The lack of Elerium forces you to attack UFOs with Interceptors armed with Laser Cannons to minimize the damage, but this maximizes your chances of losing the Interceptors. This requires at least version 6.0 of XcomUtil.


XCOM Add-ons

The following packages represent the work of others. Although I have used all of these packages and will try to answer questions about them, I claim no responsibility for the contents of any of these packages or for any problems you may encounter using them, except as noted below. As with XcomUtil itself, use them only at your own risk.

The developers of these add-ons used a variety of techiniques to enhance the game. However, almost all of them were developed independently and do not peacefully co-exist with each other. This is further complicated by the fact that some of the packages were developed to work with XcomUtil 6.2 and are no longer compatible with newer versions of XcomUtil. For this reason, XcomUtil 8.5 and 8.6 added new interfaces that try to resolve these problems.

Replacement of entire files, rather than simply patching them, is the main reason for incompatibilty. I plan to address this issue in future versions of XcomUtil.

I will try to explain the compatibility issues involved with each package listed below. This section will be expanded as I find and test more XCOM and TFTD add-on packages.

Map Pack #1 and Xc1Ships

Robert Di Fiore holds the honor of releasing the first XcomUtil compatible map pack in May of 1997. His .ZIP file contained 14 new UFO maps, two Skyranger maps and one Interceptor map. However, it was not compatible with later versions of XcomUtil and was created at a time before we understood how to make the aliens move properly about the ships. As a result, I am in the process of breaking it up into two packages, the human ships and the alien ships.

You can now download updated versions of his human ships in the new Xc1Ships package. I intend for Xc1Ships to grow over time as I design more new human ships and receive new human ship designs from other developers. The current package, which was updated on 17 JUN 2001, contains two new Skyrangers and one new Interceptor.

To install this package, you must first install XcomUtil 8.6 or higher, unzip this package into the same directory as XcomUtil, then run Xc1Ships to select the ships you want to use. You must not run Xc1Ships.bat when the game is running or you will get file sharing errors.

Robert is now working on a new version of MapPack1 which will contain more maps and improved alien behavior that is also fully compatible with XcomUtil 8.6+ and XCOM for Windows.

Luchian Deurell's XCOM and TFTD

Luchian Deurell has been designing maps for both XCOM and TFTD for longer than almost anyone other than Marco Kaiser. His work represents much more than simply a map pack, since he even modifies the graphics files and the English text files. Both he and his friend Sam Jeffreys, who worked on the installation of Luchian's packages and contributed 3 maps (one for XCOM and two for TFTD), have extensively tested and tuned each of these maps to near perfection.

Because of the many changes they have made, this package is not compatible with most other map packages or packages that rewrite the UFOpedia. However, the install files are robust enough to install and uninstall any of the new features.

You can go to Luchian's web pages to download my revised versions of his NewShips and NewSubs packages that are now fully compatible with XcomUtil 8.5+ and the Windows versions of XCOM and TFTD.

Remi Spaans' Partial Conversion for XCOM/UFO

Remi Spaans has a wonderful web site devoted to all things X-COM. Included on his Files page is a partial conversion of X-COM in which he replaces most of the weapons and weapon graphics in such a way that it seems like you have a new research tree. I found it a real joy to play with this add-on. This package is incompatible with packages that replace the object data and UFOpedia. This package is fully compatible with XcomUtil 8.5+ and XCOM for Windows.

Martin Ptacek's XCOMSHEL

Martin Ptacek of the Czech Republic has created something that many of you have been requesting for years, a windowed shell for XcomUtil. The program supports most of the common functions of XcomUtil in either true DOS or a DOS window. His first version was released in January of 1998, but the newest versions are in English.


Other XCOM Editors

The following packages represent the work of others. Although I have used all of these packages and will try to answer questions about them, I claim no responsibility for the contents of any of these packages or for any problems you may encounter using them, except as noted below. As with XcomUtil itself, use them only at your own risk.

DaiShiva's MapView

Ben Ratzlaff has written a great new map editor for XCOM and TFTD. I couldn't have written XcomUtTE without it.

Utilities by ClarkWehyr Enterprises

Robert Clark has written a free suite of comprehensive editors for both XCOM and TFTD. This is the best editor I have seen for these games.

Utilities by Marco Kaiser

In May of 1995, Marco Kaiser released MAPEDI10.EXE, a ship and terrain editor, with UFOEDI12.EXE, a soldier and base editor. Both were designed for use with UFO: Enemy Unknown, but I have tested that MAPEDI10.EXE works with all versions of XCOM and TFTD on MAPS directories with no more than 250 files. For TFTD, you have to move your files to another MAPS directory to edit them. UFOEDI12.EXE definitely will not work for TFTD due to changes in the data files.

Included in the package are new Medium and Large Scouts, new Desert terrain, and a new Alien Base layout. Do not be concerned by the door that cannot be opened on the lower level of the new Medium Scout. Using the XcomUtil VIS flag reveals that a UFO Power Source fills that tiny room, so you are not missing anything.

Much of the documentation for the map editor is in German, but it can be figured out with a little experimentation. If I can contact Marco via an interpreter, I will change this link to his own page or to any newer version he might provide me. Until that time, I hope you enjoy his package. Thank you, Marco, for a fine complement to XcomUtil. Without his package, none of the other map packs would ever have been written.

Marco's other major contribution was PCK_VIEW.EXE, the only program I know that can view, import, and export the graphics in XCOM and TFTD. PCK_VIEW must be run from the same directory as XCOM or TFTD.

XeD, the X-COM: Apocalypse Editor

  • Download XeD from FilePlanet.


How XcomUtil was Written

This web page describes how I approached writing XcomUtil and describes one of the tools I have written to help me, SDUMP.

Two-Player XCOM Challenge Board

This web page promotes two-player XCOM via E-mail. It assumes that each player saves his game at the end of his move, uses the SWP flag of XcomUtil to switch sides, then sends the saved game files to his opponent via E-mail. This is the first attempt to exploit this feature that I added in version 2.1. I wish them the best of luck.

Official Patches for XCOM and TFTD

The following links will download official patches directly from MicroProse:
  • XCOM version 1.4

    This patch primarily fixes sound problems and removes the copy protection. If you do not have sound problems, you probably will not want to apply this patch, because the original sounds are better. The XcomUtil FIX flag will disable the copy protection for those who want the old sounds, but hate copy protection.

  • TFTD version 2.0

    This patch fixes a large number of bugs, some of which were already fixed by early versions of XcomUtil. It primarily fixes catastrophic bugs in the research tree.

  • GEOSCAPE.EXE for TFTD

    This is a replacement for the GEOSCAPE.EXE file in the UFOEXE directory which makes further changes to the research tree and appears to do better selection of underwater terrain. XcomUtil identifies this version as TFTD Beta, since it has no official designation.


Slowdown Utilities

Mo'Slo is the recommended utility to slow down old games if they run too fast on new machines.

The Devisraad XCOM Page recommends AT-SLOW, which can be downloaded from there.


Links to other XCOM Web Pages


Strategy Guides

I never use strategy guides, because discovery is one of the best parts of the game. However, if you like to use them, order them using these links and help pay for this web page. Two excellent strategy guides, written by Kasey Chang (ksc1@aol.com), are available right here on the web. The XCOM guide was just updated in January, 2002. You can download both guides from GameFAQs.com.

Laser Squad: Nemesis

This is the next game in the Laser Squad series by the Gollop brothers, the designers of the original XCOM. Download a free copy of the game from LaserSquadNemesis.com.


Go to the Scott T Jones Homepage.
View the ZUGS High Level Design.
View the ISC Robot design document.
This page was last updated on 09 JUL 2010.

Author

Scott T Jones<Scott@ScottTJones.com>


XcomUtil and ApocUtil are and always will be free for a number of reasons. First and foremost, my employer will not allow me to sell software, even as shareware. Second, it avoids complications with Mythos and MicroProse, the developers and distributors of X-COM. Finally, by not demanding money, I do not feel obligated to add features that I do not want to implement.

However, the distribution of XcomUtil and ApocUtil is not free. Since 1995, I have paid for web space to distribute my free programs. If you feel that you have derived sufficent benefit from my web pages, you can send a donation of $5 to help defray my web costs to Scott T Jones, 13027 Scofield Farms Drive, Austin, TX 78727, or just use PayPal.

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

I do not promise that you will receive any special privileges for sending money, since that might imply that my software was sold to you. All I can promise is that you have helped someone who has helped you and that you will encourage the development of similar web pages in the future.

The following is a list of the people who have contributed to this page, in the order that their contributions were received. Those marked with an asterisk (*) contributed more than the suggested $5. Not all of them sent me E-mail addresses, so this is the best way that I can acknowledge their contributions.

Scott O Nichols*, John Holt, Michael Sterrett*, Brad Bernstein, Paul Thomasson, Jonas Lundin, Nai-Chi Lee, Nicholas John, Frank T Fairfax III*, Roger A Harrington, Glenn Ironhat, Jorge Diaz*, Andrew L'Amoureux, Aaron Lambert, Mike Berdos*, Mark Creaghe*, Patrick Lundrigan, Kevin Niccum, Craig Tsuchiya, Ron Giampa*, Stephen Callahan, Daniel Blakemore, David McCarty, Warren A Smith Jr*, Thomas Keeler, Mannon Martin*,Bob Elliott*,Thomas Kubli*,Micah Gibson,Michael Birch,James Cobb, Bill Huffman*,Jerry Sellards*,Russell Bungay*.

To all of you, I say "Thank You". The fact that there are people who care enough about XcomUtil to support this page is the reason that I continue to work on XcomUtil today. I can only hope that future versions justify your investment.


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