For a strategy-tactical game, UFO:afterlight has a rich story, both of the characters and of the world.
The information on this page are the backgrounds, and can be read in the game's library. Actual game story unfolds as you contact different aliens and can be read from the faction page (with major spoilers).
- 50 years ago, the human population on the Earth was almost eradicated in so called Mutant war against invading aliens. In the end, the ceasefire was signed by the leaders of struggling people - Council of the Earth. Part of the remaining humankind were moved from their home planet to rebuilt Reticulan spaceship on the Earth orbit - Laputa.
- The rest of the survivors was sent to Mars, where they built the home base with the help of Reticulans. The most of the people - more than 10 thousand people - were put into cryogenic sleep, to wait until the small group of scientists and technicians prepare the conditions for proper living.
- The years passed. The research on Mars terraformation was slowly advancing. Mars colony was in regular contact with Council of the Earth, but the disagreement between them were growing. The people from Laputa could not understand the problems of the colony and their commands caused more trouble than benefit. The quarrels accelerated when the material similar to fossil fuel were found on Mars, and when the remnants of ancient civilization were uncovered. Few months after the communication was ceased the story of Afterlight begins.
- The people on Mars adapted the original time counting from the Earth to the characteristics of the other planet. There is 24 hours and 39 minutes and 35 seconds in a day. There is still 12 months in a year, but each month has 28 days, only February has 27 days. People still counts the years as on the Earth (with 4 standing for 2004, when the colony was founded), but because orbit of Mars around the Sun takes twice as long as the Earth’s, the years come in pairs - winter year and summer year.
- Humans were banished to Mars from their home planet - the Earth. They are not adapted to Mars’ environment and cannot survive outdoors without a spacesuit.
- There were no soldiers on Mars before the first robot attack. After this, those crew members with no other qualifications underwent military training. They are now skilled at handling basic weapons and have tactical knowledge.
- Technicians play a major role in production of equipment and construction of both buildings in the home base and stations all over the planet. They are supported by all kinds of automatons.
- Scientists look for ways of applying our knowledge in practice and perform theoretical research to aid the further development of our colony. Powerful computers assist them in this endeavor.
New factions will also surface one by one. For in-game plot, please read the factions in order.
By terraform Mars surface, the planet environment was changed from reddish ground into forest green. Water starts flowing into pool, and when terraform advanced enough, they will form lakes and seas to flood areas. This has consequences. The threshold is 40, 75, 80. Beyond 80% has consequence related to final mission.
These are natural game events that happen with or without player's actions
Lost Contact with Earth
- ~2 days after game start. (53-04-23 04:45)
Robots Attack Aqueduct
- 2.4 days after game start. (53-04-23 16:45)
Back to Excavation Site
- ~4 days after game start. (53-04-25 07:30)
- After mission First Hyperspace Gate, or on 53-05-04 at 00:30.
- It's semi-automatic. If player does the mission successfully, it happen right after that. If player ignore it, this event happen at the date. Because this mission flag is right beside Home Base icon, it's pretty hard to miss it, but there's a few reports of gamers did so.
Contact with Laputa
- Built Satellite, an accessory to base building, and ~24.3 days after game start. (53-05-17 14:30)
- While it's dependant on building satellite, the way the game flow, it's inevitable to build it by then. Unless a gamer really forcefully, intentionally, NOT build it
Expedition Faction Arrives
- 48.7 days after game start (53-06-13 22:45). If sites are not occupied by human faction, it's in peace. If sites are occupied by humans, alien attack those sites (counter expedition landing mission) and be at War status.
Martians Faction Arrives
- ~60.8 days after game start (53-06-26 02:30). If sites are not occupied by human faction, it's in peace. If sites are occupied by humans, alien attack those sites (counter martian arrival mission) and be at War status.
Home Base Under Attack
- ~73 days after game start (53-07-10 07:00). Beastmen attack. This battle map is fixed, not dependant on how you build your home base at all.
- 540 days after game started, if player can not conquer all the factions, the game ends in failure.