After a lot of testing, I figured out how the smoke/chem range works exactly, and why it glitches out sometimes. Once you learn how it works, you'll be able to always tell which soldiers will be covered by smoke and which won't. Here it is.
Here is a video I made that shows the gist of it, but the post below has additional detail. In the video you'll see a smoke grenade where two soldiers were highlighted and didn't get smoked, and another soldier who wasn't highlighted DID get the bonus.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPT6Tng ... e=youtu.be
When aiming a grenade, the visual AOE (area of effect) indicator, a.k.a. the ‘aim bubble’, highlights all units within range of the grenade. In rare situations, a unit standing on the outer edge of the AOE bubble may appear to be highlighted, but it may actually be outside of the AOE, and will not receive the smoke/acid status effects. The reason for this apparent bug is twofold.
1) The bubble has the shape of a hemisphere which appears as a circle on the ground, while the real AOE of the cloud consists of an exact number of square tiles, i.e. no partially covered tiles (examples shown below). As a result, the actual AOE is bounded by the straight edges of the affected tiles. In many cases, especially on maps with cleaner terrains, a dim outline of the covered surface can be seen flashing over the ground.
2) The position of the actual AOE is determined by the choice of the center tile (the tile where the grenade lands). The most important thing to pay attention to is which tile the grenade lands on, and not exactly where it lands within the tile or what the bubble shows. The tile where the grenade lands is the only thing that determines the resulting area of effect. The aim bubble is inaccurate because the mouse cursor (center of the bubble) can be positioned anywhere within the destination tile, and if the cursor is for example very close to one of the corners of the tile, the bubble will “spill over” to external tiles that are not part of the AOE, and it will highlight units that are not in the AOE.
For example, the blue tile pattern below is for a smoke grenade. The radius is 5.6 mobility points (UFOpaedia), which corresponds to 3 straight tiles or 2 diagonal tiles. The red circle represents the inaccurate aim bubble. The center of the bubble (mouse cursor) is positioned near the top right corner of the destination tile. As a result, it will highlight the two units (marked by green X’s) standing outside the actual AOE.
The best way to avoid uncertainty is to count tiles and to make sure that two or more units are close enough to actually fit inside the AOE tiles. Then decide which tile will be the center of the AOE, and just send the smoke/chem grenade to that tile. Ignore the aim bubble. This always works.
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