Home » PLAYER'S HQ 1.13 » JA2 Complete Mods & Sequels » All about modding JA2 » The issue of mod replayability. (How to add replayability and diversity to mods)
light45.png  The issue of mod replayability.[message #339462] Mon, 16 February 2015 17:28 Go to next message

Registered:August 2001
Location: Sydney Australia.
Mod Replayability

I've recently got back into JA a bit by playing Arulco Revisited which is such a great piece of work though with some small limitations.

The creators did generally superb work making it what JA should have always been ..... a small scale partisan led uprising utilizing a large well thought out game world containing interesting maps and more of them especially accurately themed and detailed military bases, towns etc.

Anyway ..... with all the wonderful additions over the years we are still stuck with the same overall theme .... Deidranna and the cutscenes. After that most everything has changed for the better except some obvious stuff like for instance getting enemies out of yellow and red shirts.

What JA really needs is a modular set of dialogues and cutscenes which could stretch for up to 4 different scenarios and it's not all that out of reach but would require a serious voice acting and dialogue scripting effort/

Instead of Deidranna & Elliot there could for instance be a military junta featuring sour faced guys like the General and Conrad from Alma as the main actors but using others would be OK.

Basically what's needed is a set of dialogues for the takeover of at least 5 SAM sites North East - North West - Central - South East - South West.

The takeover of the Prison (Alma)

The takeover of the airport (Drassen)

The takeover of airport (Meduna)

First Helicopter flight.

Also it seems pretty useless having the second useable airport at the capital when it's all over so why not make it possible to have a second airport somewhere in the country where it's of more tactical use.

The takeover of at least 15 towns (can vary in size from 1 - 6 sectors) but here's where the replayability comes in. It's only necessary to mention the town names once or twice in the dialogue so when recordings are being done 4 different names can be used and selected by modders as required.

In those dialogues could be two parts ..... one a sort of press conference where the baddies say their stuff about losing facilities then go behind the scenes to have a conversation and plan strategy as Deidranna does ..... ordering this or that action.

Spanish names for a banana republic themed game.

Russian names for something along the lines of Chechnya, Georgia or the present Ukraine scenarios.

Maybe 2 sets of each should cover a lot. It doesn't have to get real world political but variety is interesting. Just the general theme of a military coup with no really specific names or places.

So if the winning conditions can be altered to taking over all towns and SAM sites plus killing the leader and deputy leader what's then required for a large scale mod is creating a gameworld with the towns arranged in different places.

If it's possible the starting map should be changeable as should the palace map which doesn't necessarily need to be a palace ..... this would add flexibility and variety.

If some sort of grid can be created where SAM sites 1-5, cities 1-15, airport 1-2, prison, Queens Prison where POWs end up can be defined for the purpose of winning conditions my modders plus starting sector where the helicopter sets the party down that would about cover most of it.

What would also help a lot is creating more recruitable players ...... maybe along the lines of Carlos, Dimitri, Ira, Dynamo, Maddog sort of stats for players who like the challenge of doing a lot with modest assets and watching their teams capabilities slowly grow with experience. With the expanded AIM lineup in 1.13 .... many seem over capable especially in marksmanship which removes the fun of building up stats through battle experience.

But that is an awful lot of recording and dialogue writing. Coming across locals of various capabilities willing to join the cause was always one of best features of JA.

For the long tern viability of large scale mods something along those two lines needs to be done. V1.13 has accomplished a great deal from one side with all it's enhancements though it seems to need work on the other so mod creators have the flexibility to plan interesting campaigns which to me is what it's about ..... start small, build up gradually, collect guns, ammo, armour, equipment and plan a strategy aimed at overrunning the country on a newly designed gameworld each time with cutscenes quoting the names of different towns.

I'm sure to have missed something ......
Re: The issue of mod replayability.[message #339534 is a reply to message #339462] Fri, 20 February 2015 11:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:October 2005
Location: Australia
There are some fine ideas here, but many will say voice actors and decent dialogue could perhaps be the hardest resource to find within the community. I know from experience a few people come forward but lose interest very quickly when they realise how many lines they need to write or record, though admittedly NPC's are a lot less work than RPC's or Mercs. I also know on the old board repeated posts were made in the job forums with little response. I also suggested back then that previous voice acting contributors could get a voice acting badge, so lead modders could easily trace or track down these rare contributors.

It would make sense to add new storyline and quest based additions (even generic or modular ones) to 1.13. At the moment there seems a huge divide with players either getting on to 1.13 to feast on more technical upgrades and gun porn but be stuck in Arulco and the Queen or download other (and mostly older) mods for new storylines, characters and quests in most cases, I think maybe Urban Chaos and Deidranna Lives being the exception.

Re: The issue of mod replayability.[message #339640 is a reply to message #339534] Tue, 24 February 2015 06:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message

Registered:August 2001
Location: Sydney Australia.
Hi Hawkeye,

Last time i visited was maybe a year ago and at that time Chris Camfield was about the place with talk of a possible commercial JA game being developed.

In addition to the ideas mentioned above it requires a rework of Fatima in the starting sector ..... she could be given 4 sets of alternate lines in essence introducing 4 different mods. Also there's no problem expanding this by having another NPC in the same sector again with 4 different sets of lines to add substance.

After that it requires a rework of the game intel files to present a different mission.

Yeah the weapon - equipment stuff is great but limited.

If it really was true that a commercial game was being planned it would make a lot of sense to modularize the dialogue - cutscenes part ..... for the developers then modders down the road for the future.

Literally the developers could record 4 games and release the following 3 maybe 6 months apart. It would be a nice earner for little extra effort. JA2 team showed it's credentials for creating great dialogue and voice acting.

It cant cost all that much to assemble a team of scriptwriters and voice actors. Advertise in local or university drama groups.

JA2 already has a lifespan of 15 years ...... properly planned and constructed a modularized version would last a long time particularly if the tilesets were enhanced but even those in default format can go a long was as proved by Beka & Jasmine.

This fiddling away could go even further ..... ask Neyros who managed to create some great enhancements in the form of patches.

1. Fredo the repairman from Grumm turned into a gunsmith. Bring in 4 types of reasonably common weapons, pay X amount (it was set at $750 per weapon) and you pick up modified weapons usually being different caliber or shortened carbine versions of assualt rifles ...... the end product can be defined. It's an interesting way to get unique weapons ..... the local gunsmith.

2. Using the Rocket Rifle fingerprint id feature each weapon becomes the unique possession of the first person to fire it. There are small bonuses accumulating at 50, 100, 150 kills being an improvement in chance to hit, slightly lower AP and a slight increase in reliability all of which add up somewhat by 150 kills but no more after that.

If anyone else fires the gun all bonus reset to 000 and the person who fires it becomes new owner. It proved a good feature making it attractive up to a point to keep old weapons serviceable.

Other things worth changing might be:

Color of soldiers to black pants, green shirt.

Color of treated spectra from red to say grey ..... red looks so ridiculous.

Work over the tilesets to include more signs, light towers, sandbags, furniture, bushes, trees ..... useful stuff.

Fix up the AP values of Russian AK weapons many of which have such high AP they're not worth considering compared to the Colts. If the AP is so high what's the point of even having them even if the pictures are attractive and they have many useful attachments available.

But i think in the long run we are unlikely to see mods of the quality of Arulco Revisited due to the limitations in story and dialogue mechanisms inherent in the present game structure.

Great job pulling apart and re-assembling one side of the game however regretably neglecting the other.

Again if the cut scenes consisted of a television interview by dictator and assistant with maybe occasional guest appearances for each city - SAM site and these could have modular alternate dialogue options mods would theoretically have an infinite life.

Sirtech never thought it out long term ...... if they had they would still be cashing in today for a minimal effort in releasing mods on a regular basis. If a new JA is ever done this is something to think about.

The loyal JA community would do half their work for them.

Re: The issue of mod replayability.[message #339726 is a reply to message #339640] Sat, 28 February 2015 07:38 Go to previous message

Registered:October 2005
Location: Australia
Sounds like a lot of that was a long time ago. And I don't think anyone apart from the new Flashback developers are looking at expanding the original JA commercially.

On the plus side a number of these features have changed since then. Are red shirts even in 1.13 any more? I do agree story lines, quests, even new characters have been neglected unless you play more specific mods that aren't based in Arulco.

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