Impressions

Updated 20 Apr 2015



I noticed a lot of people visiting the Downloads page -- and bypassing the Home page! I update the Home Page also, just FYI. Anyway, I'd like to get your impressions on Arulco Vacations and realize this blog isn't the best way to communicate in that manner . . . so here's a page just for comments on your impressions of how Arulco Vacations plays. This page is also a place for you to share ideas, criticisms, playthroughs and comments of any kind. So . . . it's all yours, yo! Let me know what you think.

If you feel more comfortable on Facebook, there is an Arulco Vacations Facebook page also. As well, and even better, I am usually hanging around The Bear's Pit, so if you see me there don't hesitate to drop a line at the new Arulco Vacations topic forum.


55 comments:

  1. Flying home tonight so over the next couple of days I'll put some thoughts on paper.
    Would you prefer it here, on the Facebook page or The Pit?

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    1. It doesn't matter to me where -- whichever is easiest for you. I'll be happy just to get some feedback!

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  2. Expect some in about fourteen hours.

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  3. Ed it's great.
    I started with just one IMP to get the hang of it and to see if my installation etc was done properly.
    Quite a tough fight but coming out with an M14 and a silenced HiCap made a huge difference.

    I love the look of the maps though after playing the other version they feel a little small and I'm wondering how that will go later with larger forces and the use of taking snipers.
    I still can't figure some things out, like Cleaning Kits etc and I'm still working my head around load out styles and customization of LBE but that's my issue not yours.
    I've been playing it as much as I can the last two days and am really excited about it.

    Sorry for the brevity of this but i don't find it easy to type long messages on a phone screen.



    Zulu63

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  4. I'm glad you like it! New stuff coming in v1.03 that (I think) makes it even better.

    The maps, while the same size as before, now have more stuff in them. That works to change the tempo and tactics of the battle, for sure. Snipers are still extremely important as there are still long lines of sight in places. Remember that your characters cannot see across the map even if nothing is in the way. At best -- high noon, no terrain blocking, no sight limitations -- they can see 30 tiles away. That's half the map in the best of circumstances. So, yeah, if there's nothing on the map, it's not raining, it's high noon, and your sniper is in the exact center . . . then the sniper would be able to see the entire map. But otherwise, even in the best circumstances, your LOS is limited to less than the whole map. Now, in places like Drassen D13 which has 30 buildings in it . . . what happens is you set up your sniper at one end of a main street, and when the enemy pops their heads out from an alley . . . it's all over for them, yo. Never even see it coming.

    The situation also now highlights SMGs more. You can bunch a lot of enemy up in an alley with suppression fire, and while the SMGs and sniper are holding them in the alley you can sneak over with a grenadier down a back alley to lob a couple grenades into the pack from the rear. Send another SMG or 2-pistol gunfighter with him to clean up the mess.

    OK, it's not that easy . . . :-) but you get the idea. Tactics have changed, and the roles of your Mercs have changed in importance, but I think it makes urban & close-quarter combat more like urban & close-quarter combat.

    For wide open spaces there will always be the desert. Plains maps have gotten a bit less open -- with more tall grass -- but then a freshly mowed plains is not usually what you'll find out in the countryside of the Central American Caribbean. I could be wrong, though -- as I've never actually been there. :-)

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  5. Oh, I think the Sméagol Mod uses bigger Maps.
    Which are actually pretty painful until you get used to it but then good.

    With the larger Maps I'd have a stealthy spotter and his only job was to stay hidden and have Enemy in view so the Sniper could shoot at them even though they were not seen by him/her.
    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the detail on your Maps and the ability to run or sneak from cover to cover is truly fantastic.

    As you point out, it also makes SMG's much more of an option which is truly great.
    And, I think it'll make it easier for my Covert Ops blokes to get into position and then cut loose.
    Which I am truly looking forward to,


    Zuly

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  6. Oh, silly, old tired brain of mine made a serious miscalculation there -- these maps are not 60x60, they are one hundred sixty by one hundred sixty -- 160x160! So, no, the characters cannot ever see the entire map, nor even half of it even in the regular size maps used in Arulco Vacations. But, yes, I believe Smeagol's AIMNAS mod uses the Big Maps Project which enlarges the sectors to 250x250 tiles. I haven't played on them yet . . .

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  7. Been playing as much as I can and I've started a new game bringing all five of my IMPs on at once.
    Revised my opinion slightly.
    Really enjoying the combo of "smaller" maps, more coverage, and the fact that I seem to be hitting a lot less than other games I've played.
    Still trying to get used to/figure out how to optimize the LBE system but I don't think it'll take too much longer.
    I like the $3 cost for the IMPs, it's almost (in a role-playing sense) like they're the original team and the fee is airport duty or something lol.

    I'm having a lot of fun with this Ed.
    I don't think I mentioned this before but it plays a lot faster too. I mean the characters move faster and there is less waiting on load times.

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    1. I am glad you like it. I think you'll love v1.03 . . . coming soon!

      The faster part: the characters are faster because I fiddled with the settings. I have a 10 year old laptop I'm using and it needs a little help. I forgot to slow them down for people with newer equipment so I'm glad they don't move too fast. Let me know if they are too fast. As for loading times: that may be because I have been cleaning up the XML files as I tweak them. In some of the files there were a unattached and/or missing tags, so that under-the-hood fix should make the game a tiny bit more stable.

      The hitting score . . . I did not tweak the Chance To Hit variables in v1.02, but am in v1.03 -- just a very little to make Marksmanship more of an influence. I think what you're experiencing is the effect of the detailed terrain -- on my maps the terrain is no longer as flat and open as a table top. That demonstrates the depth of the original program.

      $3 for an IMP :-) it's a vacation, yo! Seriously, in the future (not v1.03) I will tweak the entire economic framework. There are some very gamey (i.e. PacMan) penalties and perks in the economic system that just don't sit right with me. In v1.03 I'm running up against that hard because I have enhanced and enlarged the loadouts of all the recruitable characters -- giving them what I think they would take on such a mission. In the vanilla economic system that makes their gear very, very expensive. On the other hand it changes the beginning game to be more in your favour -- but then, the massive counter-attacks have changed the beginning game a lot in the other direction so I consider it an equalizer. As well, the modders of v1.13 have eliminated a lot of programmed cheats (for the player and the enemy) so they levelled the playing field and there's no need for gamey situations like limiting everybody to pistols in the beginning.

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  8. Haha.
    I bought my little laptop/notebook just over three years ago when I was broke and homeless but I needed it to stay in contact with my kids.
    So it's NEVER been very fast!

    Will the newer Tweaks be uploadable over an existing game?

    I try not to cheat but it's sometimes handy, especially when I'm prepping a game to play with the kids.
    Gotta admit, I've sometimes just done it for myself too but I prefer to play a game through sans cheats first time.

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  9. I try not to cheat also, but sometime ya gotta in order to save yourself the hassle of starting a new game. Speaking of which, no, v1.03 will break the v1.02 savegame. It might work, but work wonky until finally just not wanting to work at all. There have been too many changes, especially the additions to the Items.XML the game will not like. I really should up the version number to 1.1 to indicate that, but I want to leave some room for future tweaks 'cause v2.0 will be incorporating a new release of v1.13. Then I can have two separate versions that use two separate versions of v1.13 and there won't be (too much) confusion. All v1.xx will use the stable release of v1.13, and all v2.xx will use a specific unstable release of v1.13

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  10. v1.03 will probably be in another 7-8 days . . .

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  11. I THINK I understand all that
    I'll probably stick to this one then.
    Unless there's a way to boost my IMPs stats.
    Too much work otherwise.

    Speaking of which, I'm flirting with the idea of trying to make a character for AIM.
    When I get some time and I'm not using it playing I might give it a go.

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    1. v1.13 is the Bear's Pit mod of JA2 which I am building off of. The stable version of v1.13 has been extensively played over the years and has very few issues (problems). The modders of v1.13 keep adding new and powerful features -- those releases are called unstable because the new features are not extensively playtested before release and may cause issues. When a bug is found then a new unstable version is released that fixes it. Usually you'll have to start a new game. Stable versions are few and far between because it is a lot of work, oftimes highly repetitive and boring, to playtest every angle of a feature to make sure it works right in all circumstances.

      Making a character for A.I.M. isn't that hard except for the voice and graphics files. You can, of course, re-use voice and graphic files already in-game, but then your character isn't truly unique. If you are interested in doing some voice-acting I might be able to hook you up with another modding team I am working with that is doing another version of JA2.

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  12. Sure.
    I can do that!

    I'll stick with your current version I think then.
    Otherwise I'll just end up chasing all the shiny and never finishing a game.

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    1. I think you'll really, really want v1.03 of Av . . . I do! I'm working on it as fast as I can!

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  13. Lol.
    I bloody know I will.
    But I sort of wish you'd go slower so I can finish this one first Ed.

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    1. Once v1.03 is done then I will slow down. I have to prepare to get moving to another part of the country in real life. That's one reason I'm working hard on this now.

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  14. Hey Ed.
    I've just taken Drassen airport and there's no Pablo.
    I thought I may have killed him by stray fire so I went back to a previous save but he's not there.

    Also, my Sniper has a Spas-12 for back up (he's a Hunter).
    I've fired about twenty shots through it and it's gone from 100% to 87%.
    Is that normal?
    He has three pouches for 12g on his webbing. One of them is Molle and holds 2 lots of 7 shells.
    The other one is beige/tan and holds one lot of 7 shells.
    When I auto load from the tan pouch it only reloads 2 of the 7 shells.
    Is that supposed to happen that way?

    Great game mate. Loving it.


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    1. If you shot Pablo by mistake, his replacement Sal will turn up in a day or so.

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    2. I haven't tweaked any of the weapons so . . . looking at the SPAS-12 stats in ITEMS.XML it doesn't look like it should decrease that fast -- but I'll look in the connected XMLs to see if there's another modifier that affects shotguns.

      The reload is normal because it takes more time to load than the few seconds (5, is it?) of a combat turn. You'll find that weapons that are reloaded 1 shell or cartridge at a time take varying amounts of time, and each time you do it might give variable results because of other factors. The game engine is very deep and takes into consideration lots of different variables for each action.

      Pablo doesn't stay in the Shipments hangar in Arulco Vacations. He has an office in the back of the new A.C.A. building inside the airport. There's a door to his office inside the building, and a back door which exits out the back of the building. He is centered in his office but he will walk around. He also has a trash dump outside the fence behind his office through the gap in the fence. He could be over there. He also could be anywhere else inside that A.C.A. building, and anywhere within a radius of that building equal to the distance from his office to the Shipments hangar. He's free-roaming over a limited area. Another reason to get annoyed with him ;-)

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    3. I haven't tweaked those pouches either -- the beige-tan one is the bandolier, right? That would explain it as in the bandolier each shell is held individually so you are choosing and loading one at a time. In the other pouch . . . I guess you can grab a handful all at once :-) I haven't found the relevant modifiers in the files yet. As I said, the game is deep, and everything is connected to everything else which sometimes means searching through a few XML files to get the entire picture.

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    4. Checking the stats for the SPAS-12k, and nothing is amiss in the files. What happened is probably you came across a run of bad luck -- there's a base 10% chance of damage happening (which seems to be the average baseline. Random number generators are notorious for generating a streak of numbers in the same small range. You might have hit upon such a streak at the low end of the scale. IOW, bad luck.

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  15. Oh don't look for it!

    It actually makes sense to have them like that.
    I used to own a Spas-12. Hunted pigs with it.

    The different pouches and reload style makes sense though I have plenty of APs left to keep reloading. But it does take longer withe the NAS Shotgun Bandolier than with the 3.11 Shotgun Ammo Pouch.
    I quite like the AP cost for Inventory manipulation and having different pouches with different ease of access will make finding more 3.11's a sweet and exciting thing rather than just being a non event.

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    1. Well . . . seems something is definitely amiss somewhere . . . sigh. I haven't had any problem with B13 or the MapEditor until today. It might be my computer finally dying . . . I hope not. But it might be something about that specific map. I'll continue troubleshooting . . .

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    2. Pablo turned up.
      I couldn't find him so I used Gabbi and when that didn't seem to work I just gave up.
      Took the rest of Drassen, went back to the airport and there he was.

      Just had an awesome battle in D14.
      Came into 20 Enemy and they would have slaughtered me so I Tactically withdrew and cam up from E14 into the Eastern side.
      Gage had an FR-F2.
      Reece an FN Fal.
      Declan an SA vz58 (he's a Spy so he's got low Mrk)
      Belle a Diemaco C7A2.
      Dad an FN Fal Carbine.
      Holing up on the Eastern side they had to come over the narrow southern side and cross the water.
      With Gage visualling them with his 10x scope and never missing a shot the others hit most times to.
      Even on Burst fire because the Enemy was defiladed and bunched.
      I took a few hits but nothing serious and I went up a few points in Medical.
      Got flanked from the island but it was only one bloke and he went down fast.
      The LOOT I got! Oh man.

      Now it's back to Drassen to ReOrg and do my Cas&Ammo.

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    3. Sounds like a great battle! Very cool, yo!

      There is something wrong with that B13 map, however. I had a devil of a time with it all day. It must have gotten corrupted somehow regarding Waldo. Suffice it to say I finally got it fixed, and the new map is available on the Downloads page. If you have any other strange things happen on that map then install the new one. First, just to be safe, clean out the sector of all loot -- sell it or move it. You can put it all back after you install the new map.

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  16. I'd love to see this built in AFS, and since I noted a lot of stat/item changes as you went, I hope you checked into the Stock Data overhaul, I know it had a lot of improvements as well.

    on your map loot, are you using random items? From what I have been reading the random item functions are the way to go for 'future' proofing and I'd love to see this mod stay around awhile.

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  17. I tried to use the random item XML controls, but it wasn't working as I wanted. Now, that could have been, and probably was, my fault. I do plan on releasing the maps as an add-on to any mod -- and to do that I will have to go through and clean them up. I'll work on the random item stuff and see if I can get it working for the next map. If so, then I'll probably go back and re-do them all to include it.

    I did some research into a number of different mods as far as items go. I didn't decide to throw caution to the wind and freely mod Items.XML or the NCTH system until the end of the process. I am concerned about compatibility and incorporating important fixes other people have done -- so seriously looking into SDO is something I will do, but haven't yet.

    There was so much I wanted to do that I had to restrict myself a bit so I could get v1.03 out and ready for prime time. Now that it is out, and I am happy with it as far as it goes -- it is time to look into how to further improve it. Both of your suggestions are good ones that are definitely going on my To-Do List. Thank you!

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  18. Ive talked a bit about it on the facebook page, but id love to see some of the revisited maps incorporated into this. some of the army bases and towns )expanded or new) keep up the excellent work!

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    1. Yes, there are many similarities in overall design intent between Arulco Revisited and Arulco Vacations. Though the design ideas are in some ways similar, there are some real differences, as well. AR seeks to more densely populate the entirety of the country, while AV seeks to more densely populate the towns and 'jungle-ize" the country. AR created new military bases, AV expanded existing military locations (SAM sites) into bases. I wish AR was still being modded -- it is good to have different interpretations. I do really like his island idea, however . . . and an island may certainly be in AV's future.

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  19. This amount ot features is insane. Thank you. It uis only game I play. There is a problem with MOVE ITEMS. Did it in San Mona. Now i see imported stuff into sector but it is greyed oud and doesn't show its location on minimap. Can,t even sell to locals. Have to wait longer?

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    1. I'm glad you like it! Even more are coming for v1.07! The bug you've run into is a v1.13 bug they are still working on. You can read about it here: http://thepit.ja-galaxy-forum.com/index.php?t=msg&th=22017&goto=333810&#msg_333810

      Basically, it can happen when using the MoveItem shortcut -- so it is best to move items manually for now.

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  20. Hey man, I am really happy that I found this. Seems like an excelent mod and I am gonna try it now! ..after couple of years :) I`ll be back once finished.

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    1. Enjoy! I'm working hard on v1.07 so maybe it'll be released by the time you come back! :)

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  21. Hey Ed, only found out about your mod a few days ago and waited patiently for the new release to try it.

    I've played about 3 hrs since yesterday, currently sitting in Drassen and waiting for reinforcements. Incredible work and attention to detail, well done!

    One or two minor bugs I've noted:

    M1 .30 cal and the 7,65 French ammo clips are not emptied automatically in the strategic screen. When I empty the gun manually, the ammo disappears into thin air.

    Secondly, for the homeboys and homegirls from the Aeropuerto group, instead of dialogue I get "Quote 11" etc. Maybe an issue with my install? Either way, the mod is running very smoothly and I'm looking forward to getting my head around all the new items tonight!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you like it! Unfortunately I've been having a problem with some ammunition - though this is the first time the French ammo has gone funky. And I thought I had fixed the .30 cal.. Have you downloaded Patch 2?

      Not all civilian factions have speech text files yet -- no problem there with your install. That is one of the things I will be doing now, and releasing as a Patch.

      Enjoy!

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    2. It was actually the 7,62x54R ammo that did it. Have not yet downloaded the patch but will do.

      Thanks again for the dedication - both yours and that of the other modders!

      I can tell that Arulco Vacations will take over my life =D

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  22. As a matter of fact, playing your Mod actually took over a good part of last week. JA2 now has to be played quite differently, and that is a refreshing change. My last game crashed 14 days in, fighting Bloodcats near Arulco's western shore.

    The one thing that does bug me (and yes, you have explained your motives) is that the quintuplets don't sell food. Like none. What do you think, couldn't they at least all have a basic stock of ... bread... or stew or the like? I've also noted that in some fridges the food is fresh (Cambria bottom right sector) while it goes bad regardless of whether I "uncover" it or not in others.

    I enjoy playing with food system on and would love it if you found a way to make it work in JA:AV.

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    1. I'm glad you're enjoying it -- that's strange about the quintuplets not having food to sell because they should have food. I don't play with the food system on but I tried to make AV food-friendly for those that do. Unfortunately, the food in the fridges starts to go bad once you enter the sector. I put all the food in manually at 100% freshness -- it was tedious, but otherwise it would be worthless. It would be nice if the code allowed fridges to keep food fresh . . . I don't know why food in one sector stays good, while in others it goes bad. Do the canned goods go bad also (look under sinks and in the wooden lockers)?

      Oh! Did you change the game setting to put Food System on? If off, then the quintuplets would not have food.

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  23. I start the game with the Food System box ticked. Anyway, my guys rely on canned food and MRE now, that's good enough. Though they will probably eat at restaurants for a straight month after this assignment ;)

    One quick question: How do I get Elroy to disguise as a soldier? No clothes combination works, he doesn't get the "spy hat" icon.

    Also, I've noticed that the game crashes in 2 sectors, namely I8 and H13 upon trying to open the sector inventory. Has anybody else experienced this? I can usually open the inventory just after a fight but it crashes after having opened all crates and lockers.

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    1. For Elroy: you have to take the clothes off an enemy (use a knife on the corpse). I've never tried it myself . . . yet, but will to see if it works.

      I'll check those sectors tomorrow -- it's after 2am here now. Check this message on the Bears Pit Forum: http://thepit.ja-galaxy-forum.com/index.php?t=msg&th=22831&goto=347196&#msg_347196

      It links to a fixed Items.xml which might solve your problem while I sleep. :-)

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    2. >One quick question: How do I get Elroy to disguise as a soldier? No clothes combination works, he doesn't get the "spy hat" icon.

      If you are using Ja2+AI.exe, you need to press Ctrl+dot and select "Disguise" in the menu. IF soldier has colors which army uses (admins, regulars or elites) and his clothes are not damaged, he will disguise as soldier (and will always auto disguise later if he drops spy status when uncovered by enemy).

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  24. Thanks for your reply.

    I'm running JA2+AI r236 but don't get that menu option. Militia restock and Militia inspection are there but bottom 2 buttons are unused. How do I unlock it?

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    1. I can't post an image here in the comments, but you should see a menu that has 8 buttons, the bottom four are Militia inspection, Militia restock, unused, unused. The top 4 are Fill canteens, Disguise, Clean guns (Merc), Clean guns (Team).

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  25. Mine has "Bad Vest" on top right... Don't even know what that does. The rest is as normal.

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    1. >Mine has "Bad Vest" on top right
      This means that vest was damaged by hit (has holes and blood on it), so you cannot disguise as spy until you replace it with good vest.

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  26. I'm in awe. Thanks for the rapid response. Now I get immediate feedback if my disguise will hold. Fabulous!

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  27. Hello. Thanks for such great mod. I really enjoy playing it. I think you forgot attach sniper suppressor for Coltcanada C7CT. and mistype accuracy to 740. at version 1.08

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    1. Oops! Will fix for next Update! Thanks!

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    2. Is it possible to play this mod in windows 10.? my old cpu give up on me.

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    3. AV is a mod of 1.13, so if you get 1.13 running then AV will run. There are some extra steps you have to take to get Windows 10 to run the game. Those steps are detailed at the Bears pit here: http://thepit.ja-galaxy-forum.com/index.php?t=msg&th=23364&goto=349616&#msg_349616

      AV uses Sevenfm's Experimental EXE, the latest one at this time can be located here: http://thepit.ja-galaxy-forum.com/index.php?t=msg&th=21864&goto=350676&#msg_350676 I believe Sevenfm has incorporated The Bob's fix for Windows 10, but I am not sure as I run Win7 and haven't kept up on the Win10 issues. If you have any problem with Sevenfm's EXE let me know. The latest 1.13 EXE, which has The Bob's fix, will not run on AV as AV is based on the 1.13r7609 EXE. However, Sevenfm has been incorporating all the current 1.13 fixes into his EXE, so all should be good.

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    4. Thank you. I do as you said, its work like a charm, not stuttering/slow. Enemy more aggressive and smartass. Clock freeze on enemy turn but its ok (play for 40+ minutes), bearable and not new to me. Hope i can complete this playthrough, never finished it in all version/mod.

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