Updated 10 December 2016
This page has not yet been fully updated to reflect changes in v1.06 in Arulco Vacations
The first thing you'll notice in-game about the Arulco Vacations Militia Tweak is that most of the militia are women (let's call them La Madres de Guerra). Say what?! Well, you can call me sexist for having women with guns running around Arulco, or you can call me a feminist for the same reason. Doesn't matter to me either way because it's more a reflection on your thoughts than mine. Here's some historical background for my decision, in pictures:
|Cuban Territorial Troops Militia, 1990|
|3 of the 15,000 women in the 20,000 member Kurdish Militia, 2014|
I could post a lot more photos of women militia from Mexico to Mali to The Philipines, and on every continent, but this page is for my .XML tweaks of the JA2 v1.13-7609 Militia. Never fear, there are a few guys in this militia also. I left room for the game engine to spawn a few militia, and it invariably spawns a lot of guys when the number of militia start adding up. Where all the guys are coming from, I don't know -- after all, the Queen is drafting every available man for her army, and keeps adding men to her army all game long. There's a finite number of military-capable men in the country so you're going to have to train some military-capable women.
Consider this tweaks the Militia to be similar to those depicted above, especially the Contra Commandas and Kurdish Militia. Bear in mind the general time frame this whole Arulco Vacations Tweak is happening . . . early-mid-late 1990's actually, going by my weapon picklist tweaks and how much sci-fi you want to include as a reason for some of the weapons showing up in-game. I'll talk about that on the Weapons page when I put it up. Notice also in the 1987 picture the jungle behind the Commandas . . . the maps I am creating will try to get more of that jungle feel into the game.
The second thing you will notice is that the militia has different color clothes than in vanilla 1.13. The Militia Recruits now have Jean Pants (Light Blue) and Grey Shirts (i.e. street clothes). The Regular Militia has Green Army Pants and Brown Shirts (i.e. army uniforms), and the Elite Militia has Green Army Pants and Green Shirts (i.e. better army uniforms).
Another thing you'll notice in-game is that the militia have names and traits (i.e. training, experience, skills). I got tired of no-trait militia running around willy-nilly shooting my guys and other militia in the back. Having traits helps the AI a little more, I think, as the incidence of friendly fire has dropped dramatically. Even though the .INI files allow for tweaking of the incidence of militia traits, I found that even at the highest setting the game engine was spawning mostly no-trait militia with a few one-traiters mixed in. That might be enough for you, but not for me.
There's a new Militia feature in more recent unstable v1.13 releases where you train individual militia, and each of the militia are persistent in the game-world. When that becomes acknowledged as a stable feature you know I'll be upgrading -- and this whole section will be re-done.
Now, don't get me wrong, having traits doesn't make my militia super-soldiers. The AI is still controlling them, remember, and the AI doesn't come close to the tactical skills you and I have. Militia with traits are still sub-par when compared to Mercs with traits, as well. That said, however, giving them traits does make them better soldiers, no doubt (!), and expand the possibilities within each firefight. The Militia and the Arulcan Army (who also have gotten Traits) will surprise you if you take them for granted. This is especially true of the Army Elites, of course. Having traits now makes them competent much of the time -- when you hear that sniper rifle fire you had better find cover because if you heard it this time, you won't hear it next time. As one of my IMPs said after a close shot whizzed by, "Good thing I'm not afraid to . . . crack/headshot/face to the ground twitching . . .! The Arulcan Elite Forces know how to use that thing now; same goes for machine-guns, martial arts, knife-throwing . . . and so on. Don't worry, you can always reload (save often!!!). Think of it as an opportunity to use all your character skills against a worthy opponent.
The game engine does do a random bit of eliminating a trait or two from the Militia even though three traits are defined for each. So that gives some randomness to what these Profiles will generate, in addition to the random picks within the list the game-engine performs. The intent of the game as of v1.13B7609 as far as I know is that Green Militia can possibly get 1 trait, Regular Militia can possibly get 2 traits, and Veteran Militia can possibly get 3 traits. In my game experience the key word there is "possibly", and it gets all capital letters, bolded, italicized and parenthetically triple-exclamated . . . see below. (Ed Note: Hmm . . . JA2 always surprises . . . in my first big battle after writing this all the Militia had 3 traits, none were de-selected by the game engine . . . this is why there's playtesting, so I don't make stupid comments like that.)
As for the same name/Militia popping up everywhere you have Militia, and the same name/enemies also, just consider it a bit of "Call of Duty"-ness . . . where you kill'em and they just pop back up somewhere else. Really though, just consider the names as "types" of militia/enemy, a certain basic set of traits a certain type of soldier has. The game engine selects each militia randomly, and doesn't duplicate within the same group, so the same ones don't always appear across all militia groups unless you max them out. Therefore, you can fine-tune how many detailed Militia and how many random Militia you want to appear in every full platoon (the game gives us 20 militia members max in one group, so I'm saying 2 squads of 10 equals a Militia Platoon). If you want 10 detailed and 10 random, just have 10 defined in the Arulco Vacations SoldierProfileMilitia Green/Veteran/Elite .XML files found in the ../TableData/Profiles folder. The game engine will spawn the other 10. Now . . . a caveat . . . when Militia platoons reinforce each other (this goes for Enemy platoons as well) the game engine still does not allow duplicates (except for its own random no-traiters (OK, POSSIBLY(!!!) some with up to 3 traits). So if you have 10 defined, and 40 show up . . . then 30 will be random and most of them will be males. It is analogous to having a dedicated core of militia (the defined ones with traits) that show up at every battle because they are the backbone of the People's Militia. Then you have all the other game-spawned, no-traiters who are from the local population and are people with little militia training but a lot of heart. So, you see, what I'm doing here can be modified easily to your own likings and sensibilities, and is easily reckoned with real-life (tm).
It also means you will know who the squad leader of the Militia is, and know you should pay attention to that one and keep her alive -- just like real, yo. As well, you'll know who the sniper is and you won't be setting up in her line of fire, hopefully. Same goes for the rest, you'll know who they are -- after all, you trained them right? You equipped them, right? You should know their capabilities.
I thought about following the intended 1 trait per level scheme, but decided against it. The militia gain levels as they progress from Green to Regular to Veteran which makes them more proficient in the traits just like Player Mercs and every other Character in the game. So why shackle the Rebel Militia (and the Arulcan Army) with a restriction no other character in the game has to deal with? In other words, what makes them sub-human? Is it because the Player usually uses them as meat shields? Is it because traditionally the non-playable characters in PC games are considered cannon fodder? Hmm. Not a good reason in my book. The Arulco Vacations Militia Tweak actually restores a balance that was missing in this respect.
This Arulco Vacations Militia Trait Tweak is designed to be used with the setting that demands you equip the militia yourself, and that they do not spawn weaponry out of thin air. This adds a new dimension to the game, and makes it even more difficult and involved -- and much more realistic and movie-like at the same time. Since you will have to provide them their weapons and gear this tweak doesn't touch the Militia Item Choice files or the Militia Gun Choice files. Those files will be ignored if the .INI file is set for you to equip the militia.
Militia costs will be set a little higher (in the .INI file) to offset the advantages of this well-regulated militia (but then, I also include a much larger starting amount of ready cash, so this is really not an offset of this feature, but of the larger starting cash feature). What is more of an influence are the tweaks done to Town Loyalty, and minimum & maximum Leadership needed to train a full squad. If you do not have a fantastic Leadership score you will be stuck with training 1, 2 or 3 Militia at a time. This makes it imperative that you either have an I.M.P. (player-character) with high Leadership, or hire someone who does. There's no gamey exploit of having some cheap merc from M.E.R.C. like Biff or Flo training top-notch Militia for you. You will need Raider or Gus from A.I.M., Rev or Leon from M.E.R.C., or your own squad leader.
The people who become the Militia know the Queen will send the Army to slaughter them. The people do not want to be your meat shields, yo. They don't want to die so you can get rich. They don't want to be raped, mutilated, and tortured so you can have a little glory. You have to convince them you will protect them, and that they will survive. Otherwise, Yankee go home.
You will also notice that all the defined militia are Hispanic, Afro-Caribbean or Indigenous (i.e. not the lighter shades of skin color for the on-screen characterization, and names that are not Anglo-Westernized). I consider this is a people's rebel militia somewhere in the middle of the Central American Caribbean. Arulco is a country like Belize, still heavily colonized and controlled socially by Europeans. There are a lot of Whites who are rich and in power, and a lot of non-Whites who are poor and not-in-power. When we get to the Enemy we'll get to the White people. Oh, and there are ordinary and non-ordinary White people on your side in the game. They certainly are represented and as usual get better representation. So don't get your knickers in a knot. It's wholly cosmetic, and only holistic eye candy, even though provocative.
When I get to adding factions to Arulco Vacations I will make it obvious that the indigenous folk mostly live over by, and in, Chitzena.
Scared yet? Don't be. It's just a game, but since I'm a radical activist in real life my game tweaks will reflect my understanding of the social structures -- and my sometimes sarcastic stereotyping/ridiculing of them. It's only natural, yo.
|Leila Khaled, a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine|