Cartography

Updated 11 October 2015

NOTE! Additions to this page are on hold until I re-design the page.

This page has not yet been fully updated to reflect changes in v1.06 in Arulco Vacations


Arulco Strategic Map
NOTE! For v1.04 I revisited all the maps I made and updated a few of them extensively. My internet connection is not reliable at this time, but when it is I will post updates to those maps here on this page.

The maps in JA2 leave a lot to be desired. Yes, they are functional, and work well in-game, but they can be boring. I've tried to jazz them up some, and add interesting terrain to manoeuvre in as well as appreciate for it's artistic value. I'm using the native JA2 v1.13-r7435-b7609 tileset. That means these maps should be mostly compatible with any mod that uses the 160x160 maps and tilesets compatible with the 2014 stable release of v1.13. I have added a few items on-map that only appear in Arulco Vacations. That is a compatibility problem if using them for other mods, but it became necessary to fully implement other aspects of Arulco Vacations into the maps for truly immersive game play. When the Big Maps Project is done . . . well, this might all become moot, but then again this is for a game that was made last century, so what's to worry?



In sports there is such a thing as "home field advantage". In war, it's the same. Terrain is a major factor in any battle, and the side that uses the terrain to their best advantage is likely to win. That is why maps are important in Arulco Vacations. There is a world of difference between fighting a battle on a sparsely vegetated flatland, and fighting the same battle in a jungle. I am trying for the jungle here. I am trying to keep the same general layout as the original JA2 maps even when I heavily tweak them. There are several map sets available from other people which completely change the character of the maps, if that's what you want. I am also trying to convey a sense that people actually live here, and are not just spawned out of thin air for you to shoot at.

Most of the maps in Arulco Vacations start with the native JA2 v1.13 maps, but there will be some maps tweaked from other mods. Some of the maps I've made are constructed off the Guerrilla Warfare Set maps by Romualdas Arm (2003 map versions), and the Arulco Revisted maps. I will mention what map set I started with for each map. I like the GW Maps, but the equipment of the Arulcan Army is detailed on-map -- which is one of my other tweaks. He also went a totally different way with the maps than I did. Which is interesting because the stated purpose of the GW Maps was to make the terrain like a real Central American country -- which is the same guiding purpose I have. It goes to show that JA2 is versatile enough for the same idea to be executed in totally different ways.

Example Central American Caribbean Terrain

Any map I use from any mod set is first 'sanitized' completely. I want the inhabitants of the maps to be open for utilization of the picklists I made -- which also makes them open for the default picklists or whatever picklists your mod is using. For example, the GW maps were made for the Wildfire expansion mod (Wildfire 3.0 for Jagged Alliance 2 v1.06) -- so I have to make sure there's no Wildfire-specific stuff on-map, in-map or under-map (like land mines). As well, the GW Maps are themselves a bit repetitive -- meaning they look like game maps with repetitive blocks of the same tile. I'm trying for a more realistic view . . . and yes, I know I'll never get there with this tileset, but I can make the maps more diverse and interesting.

I have specified some minor equipment for the Army on some of the maps -- things such as handcuffs for Admin troops, and some LBE & ILBE gear for the others. Civilians are detailed as well with everyday stuff, Kingpin's faction is completely detailed including weaponry, and the homes all have stuff in them that you would normally find there. I'm an old Fantasy Role Play guy so I am used to there being stuff to find everywhere you look. You can use your burglar-type Mercs to steal First Aid & Tool Kits, and other items in the middle of the night while the civilians are sleeping, or just bust in any time and take what you want -- if that's your preference. After all, you got bigger guns than they do, and the game doesn't penalize you for such aggressive, criminal behaviour . . . yet.

I've been making maps today (01/26/15) . . . here's a few screen shots, click to enlarge:

Arulco Vacations Map C9 - No Longer In-Game, see below

Arulco Vacations Map C9 - No Longer In-Game, see below

Aruclo Vacations Map C9 - No Longer In-Game, see below
I put 3 ruined buildings on Map C9 . . . it always irked me that the in-game Strategic Map of Arulco noted 3 buildings here, but there were none. I guess that's where Demoville was (in the demo version of the game), and I may yet put it back there. Anyway . . . it's now the site of one of the atrocities during the first year of the Queen's reign. I had quite a nice fire-fight in all my traipses through there while playtesting different aspects of this Tweak.

Next . . .

This one isn't built off of the Guerrilla Warfare map, but was influenced by it -- the non-water bits, that is. It doesn't look similar to the GW or JA2 map anymore. That is a good thing (tm), as both the other maps were boring in their own way. New water features and small dam ruins with junk truck -- a local hangout for the delinquents. This map is close to Drassen and the airport, and you'll probably chase the Queen's Army up this way in the beginning -- I did in three straight plays, which led me to make this map more interesting. It was very boring as it had no distinctive features at all. What was just a flat field to fight on (A12) now has some interesting features -- take a look:

















Arulco Vacations Map A12

Arulco Vacations Map A12

Arulco Vacations Map A12
Three more snaps for right now, one of the Guerilla Warfare maps edited beyond recognition: the cow pasture, the farmhouse, and the yard behind the farmhouse in Map B6. I used the GW map because it had the fields outside the pasture more to my liking. Still, I had to heavily edit it, and add my own features such as paths and reasons to use the paths. In the end, it was actually more work using the GW map than if I had used the vanilla map:

Arulco Vacations Map B6

Arulco Vacations Map B6

Arulco Vacations Map B6

Ok, it's a new day (01/27/15), and a new map to show. This is Map B7 -- a very plain Plains map. There's not much to do with a Plains map with these tilesets, which makes them dreary. However, I had a couple ideas for this one: a small creek and a mass grave with some bones showing above-ground. I have an idea for a toxic waste dump also, but did not want to clutter this map up. That will be for another drab map.

Without further ado, the creek in Map B7 (the 3 snaps only show half the map):

Arulco Vacations Map B7

Arulco Vacations Map B7

Arulco Vacations Map B7

It's only a small water feature, a small creek. There's a dearth of small water features in the vanilla maps so I'll probably be adding a few. On the other hand, there's some ridiculous maps that are almost all water -- which would be cool if we had a boat in-game to use . . . and water adventures . . . but we don't. A game map that's largely inaccessible to gaming is just inexcusable.

Anyways . . .

I was surprised at how well the creek turned out considering the tileset has but one tile for shallow water and one tile for deep water. In game, however, there does seem to be an additional depth level. The character will walk ankle deep, then knee deep, then swim. Most of this creek is ankle deep, and there's no swimming involved.

I've got a few maps I'm working on, but I'm also thinking of ways to do the volcano caldera. The game maps have no terrain elevations so height has to be fudged. The vanilla map of the crater basically walled off most of the map from gameplay, and put a lot of evergreen trees on the forbidden part. That just has to be corrected. These battle maps are supposed to be only a small part of the larger strategic sector that it represents, so an entire representation of the crater is not necessary, and indeed is out of the question of scale. But how to do it? Hmm. I'm thinking on it.

OK, here's a few more snapshots. This is Map A11, just east of Omerta. I've turned the farm into some good bottomland with a creek . . . what with all the rain Arulco gets, and how flat it is, there's gotta be some mud, right? Here's 4 shots of it, but that still doesn't cover the whole map. I am thinking of tweaking a bit more to the farmhouse so it's not in these snapshots.

Arulco Vacations Map A11
Arulco Vacations Map A11
Arulco Vacations Map A11

Arulco Vacations Map A11

I moved that truck away from the barn wall so you can get in behind it.

New maps! This time it's an important map! My first city map, actually 2 maps -- Chitzena Ruins and Chitzena Mine (above ground). The Ruins map started out its life in the Arulco Revisited mod created by Jasmine and Beka. They did a fantastic job of creating the Chitzena tourist facilities, and that part of the map (w/swimming pool) was not modified very much by me. However, the rest of the map was heavily modified and is not recognizable as the original. I had my own ideas about the ruins, but the final product is not anything like I first imagined. The terrible scarcity of map tiles for the ruins themselves led me to revise, revise, revise.

<MAJOR SPOILER ALERT>
One thing: while making this map I also made another major Tweak to the game -- I created a terrorist cell. Formerly, all the terrorists in the game that Carmen Dancio, International Bounty Hunter, asks you help him eliminate were to be found singly. I found that it was way too easy a fight in each circumstance. After all, one terrorist against a squad of mercenaries . . . that's not an interesting fight. So I decided that they found each other and banded together for mutual defense. All of them except one will be found in Chitzena -- which is in the middle of nowhere now that there's hardly any tourist trade in Arulco, and the prize attraction is in Balime. It's a perfect place for the terrorists to hide out. I got that idea from the Guerilla Warfare Map -- the author had expanded the possible random places the terrorists would show up to include Chitzena. In Arulco Vacations it is no longer random. Which means a few things -- no more randomness as to where the terrorists are, more reason to go to Chitzena, and a much better firefight happens because the terrorists will defend each other . . . well . . . almost all of them will. It just goes to show you can't trust these guys completely even if you're on the same side. It also livens up a dead town a little bit. Also, there's more stuff on-map . . . making the game a little more immersive by fleshing out the inhabitants with ordinary, everyday stuff (which you can always easily delete in the Inventory Screen if you think it "clutters up the map with junk"). I always thought it was an unreasonable pain to have to search far and wide for ordinary items that could really be found very easily in any town -- like a rag (Molotov Cocktail), some gauze pads (1st Aid Kit) or some common civilian clothes (Covert Ops).

OK, enough of that, here's the snapshots:

Arulco Vacations Map A2 - Chitzena
Arulco Vacations Map A2 - Chitzena
Arulco Vacations Map A2 - Chitzena
Arulco Vacations Map B2 - Chitzena
Arulco Vacations Map B2 - Chitzena
(the missing wall section in the public bath & toilet (above) has been fixed in the download)
(There were no toilets or bathtubs in Chitzena before this!!!)
Arulco Vacations Map B2 - Chitzena
Another day, another map. This time it's Map B9, the sector just south of western Omerta. It is built off the vanilla 1.13 Map. I added an Arulcan Department of Transportation work shed (when there was a D.O.T., that is), rusted junk truck, trash heap, road block, small water features (wetlands), a more tangled woods, and generally more of all the basic terrain features for this tileset. Take a look:

Arulco Vacations Map B9
Arulco Vacations Map B9
Arulco Vacations Map B9
Another day, another map. Wait! I said that yesterday . . . so I guess that's a yestersay.

This time it is Map B12, the sector just west of the Drassen airport. It has a working farm on it that has two large cornfields, as well as a wheat field, garage, barn, pasture (or fallow field), and a farmhouse. By now you know that unplayable sections of maps irk me, and in the basic B12 map the two cornfields were completely off-limits to play. Now, I lived in central Illinois for a bit when I worked for Judges Guild, Inc. in the early 1980's. That was a great time, and I miss all the great people I worked with! I hope they have been well all these years.

Back to the present: so living in central Illinois I got to see lots of real cornfields . . . and none of them were un-enterable. You probably would run afoul of the farmer if you ran around in them, but you could run around in them if your heart desired and you were willing to dodge a little birdshot or rocksalt. Well, now you can run around in the B12 cornfields and dodge rifle bullets and hand grenades -- and I hope the wheat field is more appealing to the eyes, as well. I also tweaked the rest of the map to look more like a working farm, and gave the farmer a couple, small orchards (imagine fruit trees), gave him a toilet and bathtub (!) and filled his sheds with some common farm items. Have fun! Here's some snapshots:

Arulco Vacations Map B12
Arulco Vacations Map B12
Arulco Vacations Map B12
Arulco Vacations Map B12

OK! Here is the map for B13, the Drassen Airport. I started with the Arulco Revisted map because I liked the new layout. But then I went hog wild adding, changing, moving, tweaking, and overall re-designing. First, I took away all the trees from inside the airport, and also all the trees close to the main perimeter and entrances. In my experience, which admittedly is not very extensive regarding airports except for hanging around outside small, local ones (like this one), there are no trees or bushes inside the fence, except for maybe a few flowers and small bushes up against an office building.

I also moved the radar and air control building a little further away from the runway so the plane had room to move. That opened up the main runway area. It also crowded the entrances a bit, especially since I enlarged several buildings to make more room for all the troops that are stationed there. I closed in the dumpster area a bit, and added a second one close to Waldo's area . . . and tossed an old junk plane over to the side of his quonset hut. But what I really like are the changes I did to the map entry points -- trash heaps, abandoned building, junk car, water features, and more such things I have found in real life just outside small, local airports. About half of the stuff outside the fences are hidden by the treetops, but you get the idea. I think I like this map a lot, so here's 5 snapshots of it!

Arulco Vacations Map B13 - Drassen
Arulco Vacations Map B13 - Drassen
Arulco Vacations Map B13 - Drassen
Arulco Vacations Map B13 - Drassen
While there's no more cover inside the airport, except for the buildings, there is now plenty of cover outside! Just watch out for those barrels Pablo tossed outside the fence on the trash heaps!

Oops! I broke Pablo . . . well, actually, he wasn't on the map to begin with because in Arulco Revisted he is in Estoni . . . and I forgot about where Bobby Ray's shipments would go . . . and since I didn't know how to move the shipments at that time (but do now) I went ahead and made a Shipments building on the site of the old, vanilla one. It even has a sign that reads "Shipments"! Pablo, as you can see in the following screenshot, has his own office now in the corner of the new A.C.A. building. He's got a back door and a front door so getting to him is easy. He'll walk around a bit, but he won't stray far (he even goes out to his trash heap!). While I was fixing the map I also tweaked it a bit more . . . added a bathroom, got rid of the exercise equipment and made the room into an office, and generally cleared the entire building a little so moving your Mercs around would be easier. Playtesting the new map will continue even though the first test of the new map was successful.
Arulco Vacations Map B13 - Drassen

Yes, that's a hole in the fence behind the buildings, it leads out to Pablo's trash heap -- which is mostly hidden by tree tops in this shot . . . for some reason there are no gates for the fences in the tileset <grumble, grumble>!

Found and fixed a minor problem with room numbers and a missing wall section. Otherwise, it looks good to go on to the next map!

Next map . . .

Well, after Drassen airport the next map just had to be central Drassen -- a very bland map for what it is supposed to be. I started with the vanilla v1.13 map for this one -- not having checked out any others. Now when Ira says . . .


. . . you won't have to imagine it! There is now a very bombed-out piece of tarmack to feast your eyes upon.

Another thing you won't have to imagine as hard is where do all those child-workers live? I added three small houses and generally sought to make the map indicative of the poverty the people are suffering under the Queen's reign. There's still not enough houses for all those kids, but at least now it is much easier to imagine a neighbourhood stretching off-map to the west and south.

There's a bunch of trash out behind some of the houses, and behind the factory -- as well as lots more debris and destruction at the old airport, and generally more detail everywhere. I spent a lot of time on this one because it was originally so sparse. I made sure there's plenty of room to manoeuvre . . . including moving an existing building a couple tiles away from the edge so Mercs can get around the house -- that blockage had stymied me in one playthrough, and I had avoided it ever since. Now I don't have to worry, and neither do you.

The small houses are a bit crowded, but you can still walk your Merc through and ransack the places if that floats your boat (but you do realize you're supposed to be liberating the people, not raping and pillaging, right?).

I'll mention here that decided to tweak the Army on these maps -- no soldier on these maps will have less than Average Quality gear and Average stats. They are in the Army, after all . . . I figure Poor & Bad Quality gear and Stats are for the Civilians, and special characters. Average quality is pretty darn poor anyway -- but at least the guns won't jam every time you try to fire them! I mean, the weapons were working just fine a minute ago when they were shooting at me! Besides, I like to fight a foe that is at least barely competent.

I also put more soldiers on Far Patrol and Close Patrol instead of Stationary or On Guard (guarding what, exactly? There's nothing here except the t-shirt factory). Putting them on patrol is for increased re-playability. I figure it's more interesting if you don't know exactly where the enemy will show up. I also set most of them so they'll call their buddies . . . again, they're in the army! They aren't lone vigilantes, they are soldiers who have had some basic training in squad tactics.

This map has been revised -- check down the page for the shanty revision.

Here are screenshots of portions of the map, as usual not all of the map can be seen in these pics:

Arulco Vacations Map C13 - Drassen
Arulco Vacations Map C13 - Drassen
Arulco Vacations Map C13 - Drassen
Arulco Vacations Map C13 - Drassen
Another map completed . . . no, not D13 yet, but another vanilla v1.13 map. I am still thinking on that one because it is a very important map. D13 is the Drassen Mine map, and that is where the massive counterattack is most likely to happen. The map for today is B8. It is a working farm . . . and as usual the original was terribly bland -- and it had those awful cornfields that can't be entered. Now you and the Enemy can chase each other through the corn. Here are 3 screenshots. There's lots more detail outside these pics but this page is getting cumbersome so I am trying to limit myself to 3 screens.

Arulco Vacations Map B8
Arulco Vacations Map B8
Arulco Vacations Map B8

Ok, another map . . . no, still not D13 yet . . . today it's B11. The vanilla map wasn't too bad . . . but I had to wonder -- who mows the grass out in the middle of nowhere? Answer: nobody. So there's much less open space on the map now, and just to give it a little character so the entire map isn't the exact same thing there is an abandoned house right where the road takes an unexpected, and before this, pointless zag (or was it a zig?). A few little water features also, to reinforce why the road goes zig and zag. Also, I moved the Army . . . they are now a patrol instead of being spread out in the middle of the forest "on guard" (say what?). About half of them will go on Far Patrol, about half will go on Close Patrol, and the remainder will Seek Enemy Aggressively. After all, the only reason they are out here is to look for you. While they are all lined up on the road to start, they will not stay there, nor will all of them appear at any given time. As soon as you enter the map they will disperse on patrol looking for you. It's a little variety for your battles. After all, this ain't PacMan.

Arulco Vacations Map B11
Arulco Vacations Map B11
Arulco Vacations Map B11

This next map is a sector way over on the other side of the country, over between the capitol city of Meduna and the munitions factory city of Grumm. It is the toxic waste dump I wrote of earlier. It has an ambient Facility type to go along with it, and I made the map now because I am going to try to put this whole Tweak together for a version 1.0 release. Of course, I will not be able to do all the map sectors before then -- that may take a long while. There's a LOT of map sectors even though it's a small country. As you can see, it was a nice beach at one time . . . but not anymore. This began as the vanilla v1.13 map. I also put some more land in, extending it a bit into the water but keeping the shape.

Arulco Vacations Map L1
Arulco Vacations Map L1
Arulco Vacations Map L1

Bouncing around the country this next map is in sector D5 -- yep, Kingpin's vanilla v1.13 home. I want to get some important maps done before the v1.0 release. Here I really wish there was a different tileset -- some marble floors, flagstones, rose bushes, some Greco-Roman architecture . . . maybe later if I get to do some artwork. Anyway, what I did was open it up a bit around the buildings and tried to give it a more luxurious feel. Kingpin really would be living in a mansion with manicured grounds, but he'll have to make do with what he's got here for a while. I put more detail in where I could, and you have more cover away from the buildings. I also put a rather large variety of items on the map -- so when you do knock off Kingpin and his mob you will at least be able to pillage a bit. Oh, and here we do have someone to cut the grass . . . bummer, yo.

Arulco Vacations Map D5 - San Mona
Arulco Vacations Map D5 - San Mona
Arulco Vacations Map D5 - San Mona

The new map for this morning is Sector A9, Omerta, the arrival point for your vacation in sunny Arulco. It really wasn't a bad map for vanilla v1.13 maps go, and I almost forwent tweaking it. But now I'm glad I did as I am happy with the result. Now when Fatima says they've been bombed for the last 3 months you will have no trouble believing her. You will know you've landed in a war zone as soon as set foot in Omerta, and those cops aren't after you just because you snuck into the country. I also put a few civilians on the map . . . now there are a few more people eking out a bare living in the ruins -- and somebody for the cops to harass besides Fatima and Pacos. Don't shoot them!
Arulco Vacations Map A9 - Omerta
Arulco Vacations Map A9 - Omerta

Arulco Vacations Map A9 - Omerta
I have gone back into the A9 map and dirtied it up a bit more with debris, and at some point will do some other work on it also.

Another map finished today -- sector C5, San Mona. This sector has the Shady Lady, The Whipping Post, Tony the arms dealer and other important Kingpin and quest stuff. I started with the vanilla v1.13 map and then added a lot of detail, four more houses, a few more regular civilians, and lots of stuff to pillage if you liberate the sector from Kingpin. The new houses make it more of an urban setting, and the new civilians make it ever more dangerous for you to start a turf war. The civilians will run away, of course, but if they get caught in a crossfire, or you accidently shoot them . . . well, that's very bad for your reputation, and they will shoot back at you! Only 2 screenshots this time -- thought I took 3 but didn't, and no time right now to go back in. These 2 are of the new neighborhoods.

Arulco Vacations Map C5 - San Mona

Arulco Vacations Map C5 - San Mona
Updated all previously made maps (25Feb) today with stuff I've learned in the process.

OK. Two long days working on the next map -- sector C6. I had a few ideas for this one, and for San Mona in general. The vanilla map (which this was before I got to it) always disappointed me. As well, San Mona always disappointed me. I think I fixed that, yo! Now the map should feel like a lawless town, and the residents should act like they live in a lawless and dangerous town -- in other words, be careful who you shoot at. I tweaked the residents so that only the children are normal civilians. I won't say more about that aspect yet except that the free-for-all that will inevitably happen is indeed a free-for-all!. I haven't playtested it enough yet, but it seems to work just fine. There's also a reason to hit San Mona early, and try to take it away from Kingpin -- because there is a lot of treasure on this map for the early game, especially if you like to role-play a bit in your imagination as you game like i do. The map itself now has three distinct neighborhoods -- two residential and one business. I moved a couple buildings away from the edge of the map where they blocked movement, and added lots of other buildings. There are alleyways now, and lots of places to run and hide, and The Watering Hole has tripled in size! It is now an appropriate bar for the Arulcan Army vacation spot and Kingpin's town. I went back and tweaked the rest of San Mona in the same general manner I did this one. Here are 4 snaps of C6.

Arulco Vacations Map C6 - San Mona
Arulco Vacations Map C6 - San Mona
Arulco Vacations Map C6 - San Mona
Arulco Vacations Map C6 - San Mona
Next up is sector A10, the second half of Omerta. I will come back to Omerta at a later date and make more substantive changes to the map, but for now both halves of Omerta are better than they were in vanilla. I didn't realize there was actually an untouched-by-bombing house on this map. I expanded it a bit and put 4 Rebelistas to patrol the map and sleep there -- 2 at night and 2 during the day. Don't expect much help from them in a fight, though they will defend themselves if attacked.

Arulco Vacations Map A10 - Omerta

Arulco Vacations Map A10 - Omerta
Arulco Vacations Map A10 - Omerta

OK, finally finished with sector map D13, Drassen Mine (above ground, vanilla map) -- I spent 2 days on it. This is an important map for a number of reasons, and the early game strategy revolves around this sector. This is where the first quest sends you, this sector has a mine (which means income for you), and this sector is where the Queen will massively counter-attack. Since the counter-attacks have been enabled in v1.13 many Players have complained it is too difficult. Many decide to devise other strategies for the early game because this battle can be a devastating defeat for your squad. Having played a few of the counter-attacks I think I saw what is giving the Arulcan Army the edge -- besides sheer numbers. The town is too wide open. A handful of buildings and no real cover. Hell, one time I holed up in the church and the Army starting shooting through the holes in the walls that I couldn't see! My team was dropping like flies. You can be sure I fixed the walls in this map! Another thing I saw was that the Militia would get pinned down in the open spaces, and slaughtered. Now, I know the Militia is smart enough to pop around corners, fire, and duck back behind the corner. I've seen them do it. Now they will have the chance to do so during the massive counter-attack. Where there was once 15 buildings, there are now 30. As well, the main buildings all got larger. Drassen actually looks like a town now! Consider that in all three vanilla map sectors of Drassen there were only 26 buildings -- 5 are in the airport, 1 is a cop shop, 1 a factory, 2 are stores, 2 are bars, 1 is a mining company, 1 is a church and 1 is a dentist office. That leaves 12 houses. Where are all the people? The Queen's Army is full of soldiers . . . they gotta have lived somewhere! Now they have a place to live, and Drassen looks like a real town. These three screenshots don't show half of the town, but you'll get the idea. I'm going to go test this map out right now! It is on the Download Page as an individual Download. You can add it into an existing campaign safely if you haven't been D13 yet. If you have been there . . . there will be problems because I have moved buildings around and changed the sleep orders of the civilians (so they could find their new houses!).

Arulco Vacations Map D13 - Drassen
Arulco Vacations Map D13 - Drassen
Arulco Vacations Map D13 - Drassen

Well, after Sector D13 I had to do Sector Map E13. I thought this one was going to be easy -- it had plenty of water and a dense evergreen stand. But as usual I started thinking . . . that was my downfall. I thought about the relation between D13 Drassen and E13 -- which had no sign of civilization except a bridge. Then I realized the geography of the two maps were entirely dissimilar! Now, since I went to an environmental college ("America's Environmental College") that did not sit right with me. What exactly was I to do? D13 has a cliff on the southern edge (bordering on E13), and another cliff on the western edge. Sector E13 was not at all what you would expect it to be. So, I thought, OK, let's make it a flood plain:
As you can see, there are cliffs bordering the flood plain so i was good on that score. However, E13 did not look anything like a flood plain . . . sigh. So I went to work and did the best I could with the tileset for this sector -- which did not have a mud tile, and was not a swamp tileset. I also could not put curves like that in the two streams . . . , and there was one more problem -- bloodcats. Bloodcats don't swim. In my playthroughs on this map when I have encountered bloodcats it was a boring shooting gallery action. The bloodcats would stand on the other side of the river, and I would shoot them from complete safety. The bloodcats wouldn't even move. So I had to make it possible for the bloodcats to roam the entire map while still having the streams. I think I accomplished it. Take a look -- the second screenshot shows one way across a stream, and there's another similar geographic layout that isn't shown here. I combined geographic elements of a flood plain and a river mouth (as this stream empties into the lake nearby). I imagine that in the rainy season there are flash floods and the bridge gets washed out, boulders from the cliffs get washed downstream . . . and the streams turn into rivers. (Ayup, way too much thinking . . .)
Arulco Vacations Map E13
Arulco Vacations Map E13
Arulco Vacations Map E13
I have a surprise for everyone -- Demoville is back! However, in this version Demoville is the scene of a past battle -- like Omerta is. Here, however, the rebels had won a victory. Imagine it as their last real victory, and the impetus for the Queen to crush them utterly. I have tweaked the map a bit, as always -- it is now an abandoned military base. Of course, that means my first map of Sector C9 is now moot. I may include it elsewhere, but I haven't decided yet.

Arulco Vacations Map C9 - Demoville
Arulco Vacations Map C9 - Demoville
Arulco Vacations Map C9 - Demoville


Just prior to the release of v1.03 I did a hurry up tweak of Tixa and all four sections of Grumm from the vanilla v1.13 maps. I will go back to them and detail them more for future release. Here are a couple screenshots of Tixa . . . don't want to give too much away, after all it is a secret base. However, you will notice a new barracks building and a new gym room -- both are for the garrison there, not the prisoners.

Arulco Vacations Map J9 - Tixa

Arulco Vacations Map J9 - Tixa
Here are a few select screen shots of Grumm. I will be expanding Grumm some more soon so I didn't put up screen shots of the areas to be developed. These show buildings that have either been enlarged or are new. Sector G1 is not shown here because it will be heavily developed soon. This first screenshot shows a new arms factory in G2.

Arulco Vacations Map G2 - Grumm
This one has a new administration building.
Arulco Vacations Map G2 - Grumm
Here we have an expanded shop for Tina the merchant, an expanded General Store, and a new Food Delivery place -- seeing as though other sections of Grumm don't have kitchens in their tilesets . . . sigh.
Arulco Vacations Map H1 - Grumm
New residential area behind the enlarged bar where "Charlie" and Manny work, as well as an enlarged A.C.A. building. No kitchens in this section of Grumm.
Arulco Vacations Map H2 - Grumm
The factory has been re-designed a bit and slightly enlarged, and now includes a foreman's office and many more big bombs ready to be shipped out.
Arulco Vacations Map H2 - Grumm

I decided to take a break from other work on Arulco Vacations and modify another map. This time it is Sector F9, the Ruins of Arulco National University on the outskirts of Cambria. I used the default v1.13 map to start. The Queen destroyed the university and massacred the faculty, staff and students to purge the country of any educated opponents. I added some buildings to both the University grounds and the residential neighborhood outside the grounds. I also did a fair bit of landscaping. Take a look:

Arulco Vacations Map F9

Arulco Vacations Map F9

Arulco Vacations Map F9

There is a little story behind this next map. It is Sector E8, and I used the default v1.13 map as a base. Somehow, somewhen ago while creating Facility Types I saw in Sector E8 an entire bombed out village. Now, there's only a single abandoned barn and a single ruined building in that sector. Perhaps I was dreaming, or perhaps I was looking at a map of a mod that I don't have at the moment -- because I looked through all the E8 maps of all the mods I have on my hard drive and . . . well . . . none of them even have a modified E8! Well, now Arulco Vacations has a little abandoned village there. OK, more of an abandoned extended-family farm, actually. I did my usual major landscaping thing, and, of course, added some buildings, and because the tileset had sandbags (!) I gave the hint by setting up a little defensive position by the barn. It is actually kind of an eerie place when you look at it and realize there are no civilians. Now, you can imagine the Queen came through and had these people slaughtered because they were rebels. And the sandbagged position is where they stood their ground. Or, you can imagine the Queen's patrols stop here for the night on occasion and set themselves up a little protected spot. Either way, or both, enjoy!

Arulco Vacations Map E8


Arulco Vacations Map E8
Arulco Vacations Map E8

I re-visited Drassen Sector C13 and added some shanties. While looking for pictures for new loadscreens I noticed that shantytowns are common in the poor sections of towns in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Arulco was missing this element and Sector C13 is a prime place for a shantytown to happen. Sector C13's public airport was bombed at the Queen's orders, and a factory using child slave labour is there also. Aside from Chitzena it is the poorest section of Arulco. Chitzena is, I imagine, is where the highest concentration of indigenous peoples are now living -- so a shantytown is not as appropriate there as in Drassen. I will probably add some shanties to Grumm, as well. But for now we have them in Drassen:

Arulco Vacations Map C13 - Drassen revised

Next up is the Hick Family Compound in Sector F10. As usual, I added a few more buildings so everyone could be properly housed, enlarged existing buildings, and re-worked the landscape. I also outfitted the Hick Family with a new assortment of weaponry to make the encounter a bit different so that it isn't the same, old battle strategy. They should provide a bit tougher challenge but I increased their stash, as well -- so the encounter is a bit more profitable. I don't want to give too much away in these screenshots so i left the roofs on.


Arulco Vacations Map F10
Arulco Vacations Map F10

Arulco Vacations Map F10

The next modified Map Sector is B14 -- just east of the Drassen Airport. I decided to do this one because it is probably a much travelled sector in the early game, and it has a large area of deep water. The deep water basically means that area is off limits to game play because we do not have boats. So, in order to make more area accessible to game play without making more land I figured I would mimic a lake I know of and used to live upon the banks in a cabin. On that lake you could walk out 300 meters and the entire way would be knee deep at most. It then dropped off suddenly to around 10 meters, and in one part was about 30 meters deep. There was also a reed system in one of the coves there, and that's what I put in Sector B14. This map started out as the default v1.13 map before I modified it. I also put in a basic stone, gravel and dirt wharf-like structure I imagine the inhabitants use to fish off, and to tie their canoe (which we still have to imagine is there). So now most of the lake in this sector is shallow, hence more playable, and the reeds give cover and entice the Player to get in the shallow water use the reed cover tactically. First, a picture of what I was trying to simulate, and then three views of the changes.

A Reed System Ecology

Arulco Vacations Map B14
Arulco Vacations Map B14
Arulco Vacations Map B14

Next up is Sector C14 -- the lake sector directly east of Middle Drassen. Major landscape and waterscape work was done on this default v1.13 map. I more than doubled the land area -- and the land still is less than half the map -- and as in Sector C14 I increased the shallow water to be most of the water area. However, in this sector there are no reeds in the water, and there are also old stream channels of deep water within the shallow area. This area is uninhabited, and I left it that way. Only two screen shots of this one because there's not much land to show.

Arulco Vacations Map C14

Arulco Vacations Map C14

I finally finished the Sector D14 map, the lake section directly east of the Drassen Mine. This sector is where the river empties into the lake. As with Sectors B14 & C14 I increased the land area by more than twice the original, and added a lot more shallow water. There was also an island here, at the mouth of the river, and I increased the size of it a bit also. The shallow water has a different aspect to it then either B14 or C14 so it provides yet another type of tactical gameplay. There were no buildings or items on this map originally, but I did add an old, abandoned shack in what seemed like an appropriate place. I did not add any items.

Arulco Vacations Map D14
Arulco Vacations Map D14

Arulco Vacations Map D14

I am currently working on all the Skyrider map sectors, and will release them all at the same time.
























2 comments:

  1. Wery impressive. Still few mistakes with Road tiles but in the hole - realistic view.

    Romualdas Arm

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Road tiles are needlessly problematic . . . but at least workable . . . cliff tiles are just ridiculously problematic.

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