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I've been having a few issues getting going and I was wondering if anybody had any tips for me. I generally:

  1. Try to get a new power generator / satellite uplink up asap
  2. Research nano-vests to keep my team alive and get their experience up
  3. Get the officer training place up and running to increase my squad size

My main problem is not being able to keep the panic low enough due to lack of satellite coverage.

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I kind of find nano-vest useless, as they occupy equipment slot. The guy likely to get shot is an Assault with an Arc Thrower, yet he cannot have Nano-vest. –  vartec Oct 17 '12 at 16:02
    
I see what you're saying but I've found that it has saved my bacon quite a few times. –  boz Oct 17 '12 at 16:35
    
YMMV, depends on your game style. Early in the game you're only facing enemies that have 3 health by default, so they get killed with single standard grenade. Which you also can't equip if you have nano-vest. –  vartec Oct 17 '12 at 19:32
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The first thing you should do is, as you yourself point out, build satellites. The next one is to make workshops, and get as many engineers as possible (prefer missions where the reward is engineers above anything else), so that you can manufacture more satellites. This is really the only thing worth focusing in the first month. And keep in mind that if you slip too much on the high panic/low income slide, you won't be able to get back. Other momentary slips (like crappy interceptors = can't intercept all UFO's, crappy squad = can't finish difficult missions) you can recover when they hit you, but the panic/income is a one way street. That's why I think you should proritize satellites and workshops at the start (and really, for the better part of the game)

Other stuff like weapons, squad, interceptors, even research are good enough with their star-up allocations for the first month:

  • the squad is ok, their default weapons and equipment are fine. Maybe research S.C.O.P.E. and build one or two for your snipers, it gives you +10% accuracy and it's cheap enough to research & build. Other than that, investing in to fancier weapons/equipment in the first month will not bring any actual bonuses, and you will suffer from lack of satellites if you do that, and that equals lack of money and increased panic

  • the interceptors are really ok: they are tough enough to handle first-month UFOs. Maybe you can spread out a bit and add more interceptors once you raise a satellite over a previously unmonitored continent so that you can shoot down UFOs over there as well, but for the very first month you shouldn't buy more than 2 extra interceptors

  • research is fine, you'll dig into that later, once you have established a steady income. And, as with interceptors, investing a lot into research in the very first month can't really bring you much benefit.

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Thanks for that, I will give it a go. How important is it to get the squid size up quickly? –  boz Oct 17 '12 at 15:12
    
Also where do you suggest starting? –  Shykin Oct 17 '12 at 15:34
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Squad size, also, not that crucial inthe first month. IMHO it's more important to get the Officer's Training school first (if not on normal difficulty, when it's already there) and first get the iron will and squaddie upgrades, so that all the soldiers you get from now on will have improved will and start at squaddie level. –  Shivan Dragon Oct 18 '12 at 6:29
    
Europe (cheaper worksshops & labs) or Africa (more income) are good. –  Shivan Dragon Oct 18 '12 at 6:30
    
Personnally I went with Southern American for the instant interogatory and autopsy. It leaves a lot more time for other projects to be researched and you get research credit so that further research are done faster. Hope it helps. –  user37613 Nov 28 '12 at 21:26
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