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I am pretty early into the game and got one of the council missions for rescuing a VIP. While escorting him back to the ship, an Alien appeared out of nowhere and took position in Overwatch mode with no cover between the Alien and the VIP. I wasn't sure whether the VIP was in firing range of the alien, took a chance to move him to better cover and got shot down.

While in this case, the Alien wasn't too far away from the VIP, it was far enough that I was debating that he might be out of range. Is there any way to check the range or other in-game cues to go by to determine the range of the Alien?

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There isn't any "out of range" re weapons. They get less accurate with range, but if the aliens can see you, they can shoot you. And generally if you can see them, they can see you. Whether they have LoS to a specific unit is another matter, but quite hard to tell. –  Simon W Dec 28 '12 at 23:24
    
@SimonWaldman Unfortunately, the game does not single out "you" and shows an alien even if another soldier, who is not afraid to take a bullet, sees it. Also, there is an "out of range", it just happens to have same range as sight :) –  Orc JMR Dec 29 '12 at 9:56
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Overwatch reacts to anything moving in the unit's line of sight.

Alien sight range is the same as yours. If you can see them, they can see you (unless you have elevation).

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No, there is no explicit indication of whether a specific alien can hit a specific target.

Range of most weapons is equal to sight radius, which is somewhere between 17 and 18 grid cells.

  • If the alien and the target are somewhat aligned to grid lines, you can count cells.
  • If the angle is funny, you can try to measure sight radius - say, save the game and try to remove other soldiers who see the same area.
  • If a target in question can shoot and has a normal weapon (not a sniper rifle) you can check - if you can hit the alien, it can hit you.

My personal favorite way of dealing with such situations - put myself into shoes of a scared human on a battlefield, take a wild guess and make a run for it! :-)

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