Yes, there is a way to improve the legendary campaign of X-com without changing too much of the original experience. It works as an enchantment rather than an actual conversion, a bit like what the community patch 1.3 have done for Jagged Alliance 2. Now, I’m not saying my changes/mods, or the main mod itself is on the same level as that patch, but it’s based on the same principles. So, welcome to my take on the ultimate X-com experience!
Let’s start from the beginning. First off, you need to own the games. You probably do if you are reading this, but if you don’t, you can buy them either on Steam or on Gog. I recommend getting both X-com UFO Defense and Terror from the Deep.
When those games have been installed, it’s time to install OpenXcom. Actually, you will be using a fork – OpenXcom Extended to be exact. It works exactly like OpenXcom, but it has added features and fixes. Download it from here. I recommend getting the 64-bit installer for ease of use. Install it, and follow the instructions.
Now when that is done, it’s time to install the main mod for this experience: Final Mod Pack.
Downoad and place the mod here:
C:\ … Documents \ OpenXcom \ mods
As of writing this article, FMP is on version 2.9 (newer versions should work), so this is the version I will be using. This mod expands the original campaign with new aliens, tons of new weapons, new research, and new armor while keeping the game thematically the same. The fight against the aliens will last longer, give you more alternatives in weapons, and overall increase the challenge. It’s an awesome collection of mods for X-com, but it’s not without its faults. For example, the commendation system is not complete and contains placeholder graphics. This is where one of my fixes comes in. It’s not actually my fix per se, but I have compiled the fix as a mod for easier use. Credit goes to the user cevaralien from the OpenXcom forum. Another issue with FMP is that some of the ufopaedia art are extremely non-immersive, as it being joke pictures or anime stuff. To fix this, I made a small mod that replaces these pictures with something that fits the theme much better.
And last, but perhaps the most important part – the sound. FMP unmodded use basic X-com sound effects with some minor additions, and while not horrible they are not that great. To remedy this, I made my own sound mod for a lot of weapons like rifles, shotguns, grenades, etc.
Land mine explosion:
The sound mod also fixes some animations playing too fast, like for example the flamethrower, and mini-guns.
There is a small problem, though. Over half the sound for the Ultimate Experience, like improved alien screams, plasma fire, and other stuff made for the geoscape is not made by me, but comes from the mod HQSounds by Daedalus. I would have no problem recommending, linking, and telling you to download it from the OpenXcom mod portal, but the version that you can download from there doesn’t work with the latest version of FMP unless you modify it. So I decided to include the modified version in my mod pack for the ultimate X-com experience. This pack contains my two mods, the fix from the forums, and a workable version of HQSounds. Credit goes of course to the creators – thanks cevaralien & Daedalus!
Download the mod pack here:
After you have downloaded the file, place them in the same spot as the main mod:
C:\ … Documents \ OpenXcom \ mods
Now, it’s time to start up OpenXcom Extended and activate all the mods. Go to the mod tab, and activate the mods so it looks like this:
As you might have noticed there are two extra mods activated in the picture – UFOextender: Psionic Line Of Fire, and Aliens Pick Up Weapons. These mods are included in the OpenXcom package, and as part of the ultimate X-com experience, they should be activated. Having psionic require line of sight makes it a bit easier at parts, but I think it’s worth the reduced challenge because it removes the exploit/ez-mode of having your PSI-soldier mind-controlling aliens from the safety of the ship. The other mod has the aliens pick up weapons after waking up from being unconscious, making knocked-out aliens still a threat.
Now, that the mods have been activated, we are coming in on the final stretch. We just have a few more settings to go through before the Ultimate War can commence. Down below you will find options that I highly recommend for a much more immersive experience.
- Retain interrogated aliens (you get to keep the corpse of the interrogated alien)
- Field promotions (only the agents on a mission get promoted)
- UFO Extender accuracy (accuracy drops of after distance)
- Inventory Stats (show stats when you equip your men)
- Explosion Height  (explosions explode in 3D, instead of a flat surface)
- Auto-end battle (ends the battle when the last alien have been killed)
- Smooth Bullet Camera (has the camera follow the bullet)
- Disable auto-equip (disables the auto-equip function)
- Alien weapon self-destruction (alien weapons self-destruct unless the alien is captured/stunned, increases the challenge by a lot)
- Allow psi-capture (allows for capture through mindcontrol)
- Allow psi-Strength Improvement (has psi users increase their stats by using psi skills)
- Suppress panic messages for aliens (removes knowledge of panicking aliens, unless you have direct visual)
- Alien bleeding (aliens can now get deadly wounds and bleed out)
- Wounded defend  (lowered from 100% health to 70, so lightly wounded can join the defense)
- Play Briefing music longer (plays music during certain scenes longer)
And now we are done and ready to play. After trying out many mods and settings, I find this setup the absolute best – The Ultimate X-com experience! I’m a bit biased of course since I worked on some of these mods, but I find other mods either stray too far from the initial concept or just seem too bloated and autistic for me. FMP finds a perfect balance in my opinion, and with a couple of extra mods to help it along, it makes for an excellent time in the trenches!
Good luck commander.
2 thoughts on “The Ultimate X-com Experience”
As someone who doesn’t like JA2 1.13, this doesn’t strike me as a 1.13-esque mod. Maybe 15 years ago back when it was bugfixes and some additional content but the bloated festering corpse it has become with all sorts of partially integrated content with no regards to how all the pieces fit together is it’s own thing. That said, this mod collection looks pretty good.
Yeah, you got a point. 1.13 right now is a bloated mess. I was thinking back in the day when it just added extra weapons, better bag-system, etc. And glad you liked it.