A Grey Of Light: UFO: The Two Sides Beta

He's just sleeping. It's okay.

That looks familiar, you may think. And you’ll think right. It’s UFO: The Two Sides which is a freeware fan-remake of X-COM/UFO which has just entered the open Beta stage. And having a few quick missions, it’s an impressively complete thing. The big change is that when it’s complete, you’ll be able to play the aliens rather than the humans. At the moment, it’s more conceptual – you select aliens, but there’s no Human AI (Which you could take as a particularly sharp piece of commentary on humanity’s nature, if you wished) though you can play the two-player with one person as aliens and one person as humans. Apart from the usual Beta issues (i.e. It’s a Beta) the main problem is that there’s no sound and some missing graphics… unless you run an extractor which takes them from your legitimate copy of X-COM and puts them in the game. In other words, promising stuff and totally playable even now. There’s been a few small editions since the beta went up, so I’ll direct you at the blog where you should download from the latest post. And here’s some footage…

Thanks to Casimir’s Blake for the heads up on this.


  1. poop says:

    the transitions in that video are amazing

  2. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Man! I was looking forward to this but I was expecting it to be an FPS.

    Going to offload my rage all over the Internet now.

  3. Bahumat says:

    Pardon the profanity, but: FUCK YES.

    Now, all they have to do to tick off the last checkbox of my happiness list, is assure me they’ve fixed the bug that limited how much terrain could be on fire/smokefilled.

    (I was always a fan of the President of Madagascar strategies in XCom. BURN. EVERYTHING.)

  4. Demon Beaver says:

    I tried getting into XCOM after reading about it so much, but a mix of compatibility problems (with Dos-Box), and an unintuitive interface put me off… I’ll wait for this to go gold, and then play the hell out of it!

    I just hope those chaps won’t get sued…

    • Poltergeist says:

      Just like you, I recently tried to get into X-COM UFO Defense, and succeeded! I am absolutely loving this game! (I’m in the fourth month now.) This is doubly amazing because I usually never play strategy games, but this is more than just a strategy game! Moving your squad from cover to cover, afraid of what could be in that barren shack or around the next corner is just very thrilling and yes, immersive. It also helps that it reminds me of the Fallout games, which I love too.
      Your compability problems should be fixed by the UFO Extender mod, which also removes some apparently dumb stuff for beginners and adds nicer music (among other things). Download with instructions here: link to ufopaedia.org
      This makes the game run from a shortcut and not off Steam, too!

  5. Flakfizer says:

    Agree @Hodge

    Where is my beloved 50’s FBI FPS?

  6. michal says:


    There is some confusion is this article. There won’t be possibility to play as aliens in single matches. Could you please correct that?

    Basically, ufo: tts gives you such modes:

    Single player, whole campaign as:
    – X-com – already possible, not finished
    – Aliens – in future versions (X-com ai is not ready)

    Multi-player, also whole campaign. One person plays as aliens, second as x-com. Also already possible and also not finished.

  7. stahlwerk says:

    “Play as either human och alien”

    shouldn’t that be “Play as either human eller alien”? ;-)

    Great stuff, anyway.

  8. Coldwave says:

    I’ll give it a try but to be honest I think UFO is perfect as it is.
    Even monstrous interface is a part of what made UFO great.
    Every single small change, hell even bigger resolution somehow makes it less UFO for me.

  9. Riaktion says:

    Could this be the gateway into X-com I have been hoping for?

    Having not played the original when it came out, I don’t have any nostalgia for it, and now find the interface in particular difficult to play with.

    Looks like this may have tidied things up! Huzzah!

  10. Rohit says:

    Love the high resolution on my 1080p HDTV, but is it just me, or do sectoids have a lot more accuracy and TU’s?

  11. Casimir's Blake says:

    Kieron, you do us proud. Thanks for posting this! It’s rough around the edges, and I dearly wish I had more time to play this still deeply compelling and initially intimidating strategy monster, but one thing’s for certain: it’s still as fucking excellent today as it was 14 years ago. Hell yes!

  12. Mischa says:

    “Human AI”… Isn’t that just “I”? :-)

  13. Nyst says:

    I never got why I couldn’t give my soldiers binoculars. Further vision at the cost of peripheral vision, and it would take up an itemslot, costing you TU’s to draw your holstered weapon.

    But then I don’t balance gameplay for a living.

    All in all this looks pretty exciting! I’ll probably give this a go once the beta is a few more months along.
    I’m especially interested in seeing how the world map will handle when zoomed in.

  14. Spice_Weasel says:

    Hmm… perhaps that ought to have been Terran AI. Semantics aside, this is an exciting little project. About the alien campaign,does anyone know if they are planning to set it up so the xenos player must research their own techs, or will the progression be based on the X-com player’s behavior as in the original?

  15. OJ287 says:

    I’d pay a lot of money for an improved X-COM. I cant stop playing for the first dozen hours then it grinds me down and I end up quitting.

    – X-COM countries start dropping like flies and there’s nothing I can do to stop it or win them back.
    – I’m faced with having to do 4 Battleships, 2 Alien Bases and a terror mission back to back in one foching in-game day.

    Xenonauts had better be good.

    • Bret says:

      Wait. Two alien bases in one day?

      You do know you can leave some missions alone until later, right?

      And others can be ignored entirely. Costs points, but research and splashing UFOs makes up for it, generally.

      Makes the endgame easier to deal with.

  16. ilurker says:

    While I am exceptionally excited to see a true remake rather than a spiritual succesor, buried in the FAQ is a rather lengthy list of rebalancing that appears to have some far reaching implications on how the game works, which makes me leary. X-Com had some sort of arcane magic imbued in its gameplay which, frankly, shouldn’t be tampered with too much. I appreciate X-Com-like games and enjoy playing them, but sometimes a remake should just be a remake, not a retooling.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      You can just dig out DOSBox to play the original. I know what you are suggesting, but a re-tooling may be desirable if it were to ease some of the more impossible/difficult/rare-unwinnable situations.

    • ilurker says:

      I know it is possible to play X-Com via DosBox (it’s what I do in the age of computers with glowing fans), but it’d be nice to see an interface that’s modern and to not need to adjust CPU cycles up or down based on what screen I’m on to get consistent results. The nicer graphics don’t hurt, either.

      While I can’t fault someone who’s putting in so much of their own time for wishing to make the game more approachable or balanced, I wish they had taken an approach similar to the fan-made tools which rework the game and allowed people to adjust to their preferences as opposed to forcing through some incredibly dynamic altering decisions like providing entirely new stats and abilities, which, while they may be interesting and even (possibly) an improvement, may not be X-Com.

  17. SupSuper says:

    Retooling is probably inevitable since it’s a multiplayer remake so they need to rework a lot to make both sides balanced and still fun to play, as opposed to the original’s singleplayer slaughterhouse.

    • Wisq says:

      Have you seen the two-player original X-COM matches, done using XcomUtil’s ability to switch sides mid mission? “GuavaMoment” did a long series of these, both in X-COM and in TFTD.

      Short story: The game is plenty balanced as is, so long as you a) crank up the difficulty, b) fix the difficulty bug (fixed by XcomUtil), and c) have a real human playing the aliens.

  18. UncleSmoothie says:

    I love the way he’s handled the map borders – much more compelling than the original X-Com’s abrupt lines of blackness.

    So it IS possible to play through the traditional human campaign in single-player at this point?

  19. eyeLIVER says:

    No problem. Swearing is big and clever.

    May *I* say

    Motherfucking Bastard Damn Hell Ass Shit Cunt Buggering yes.

    If you’re easily offended, piss off.

  20. PW says:

    The higher difficulty levels on x-com were obscenely difficult, start a game on the easiest setting and you will find it a lot more forgiving. I have never known anyone to complete a game on ‘superhuman’

  21. Berious says:

    Not bad, but I think it’d work better as an FPS

  22. SupSuper says:

    The TFTD game was a slaughterhouse, and that only covers the Battlescape.

    • Wisq says:

      Again, GuavaMoment has done some great PvP TFTD matches, and humans lost as often as they won. That also doesn’t include all the times they had to make strategic retreats with only a few soldiers alive but some alien tech or corpses captured.

      X-COM and TFTD are both balanced, statistically, at the highest difficulty levels. The only reason it’s a cakewalk is that the AI really isn’t all that great.

  23. Damse says:

    Now that is just ignorant!