JA2 Details
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Jagged Alliance 2 Details

Jagged Alliance and Jagged Alliance 2 had a profound impact on turn-based strategy games.  The basic elements developed in JA and JA2 show up in many later games, such as Fallout: Tactics and Silent Storm.  They certainly weren't the first games in the genre, but JA2 remains one of the best-designed squad-level strategy games ever written.

When Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire was released, the complete source code for the original game was included on the CD-ROM.  This was fascinating, to say the least.  After rummaging through the source code for a while, I decided to create some web pages with the tidbits I found.  Among them are:

Mercenary and NPC Statistics

Having access to the source code enabled me to access the mercenary and NPC profiles directly.  Instead of printing only what the game shows, it's possible to print stats for all characters in the game.  Looking through the list makes it clear why Mike, the Queen, and the Queen's bodyguard should not be treated lightly.  You can also see the complete set of inter-character relationships, and details like the robot's armor and marksmanship rating.

The table is generated automatically with a program I wrote.  Click here to see the output.

What the fields mean:

  • body - basic animation rendering style 
  • HLT - health - for some characters (e.g. Dynamo) two values are shown, because they're wounded when you meet them
  • AGI - agility
  • DEX - dexterity
  • STR - strength
  • LDR - leadership
  • WIS - wisdom
  • MRK - marksmanship
  • MEC - mechanical
  • EXP - explosives
  • MED - medical
  • LVL - experience level
  • daily, weekly, bi-weekly - salary
  • skills, traits, attitudes - see below
  • base morale - higher is better
  • sexism - affects morale when a mercenary gets married (e.g. to one of the Hicks)
  • appearance - how the game draws the character (these are stored as character strings, exactly as shown)
  • equipment - what the character is carrying; only the first five items are shown (note: terrorists and Kingpin's assassins are upgraded every time you kill one, gaining various explosive armaments)
  • friends, enemies - other characters that this character likes or dislikes (only shown for recruitable characters)
  • learn-to-hate - after sufficient exposure, the learn-to-hate character is added to the "enemies" list
  • civilian group - how you treat one member of a group affects the rest
  • APs - action points (under ideal conditions)
  • healing - maximum healing per day for this character
  • repair - maximum item repair per day for this character
  • militia - maximum militia training per day for this character
  • notes - my notes for this character; in some cases the location(s) where they may be found are included

The APs, healing, repair, and militia fields are computed from the character stats, and match the values shown next to the character portrait on the "strategic" map screen.  All other fields (except "notes") come directly from the character profile data file.

Weapon and Item Statistics

There are a large number of items in JA2, some of them useless, some useless until combined with other items.  The full table of names and descriptions comes from an obfuscated data file.  Also included on the page are the "merge tables", which define which items can be combined.

The weapon effectiveness tables are hard-coded into the program.  According to comments in the source code, at least some of the data comes from Compendium of Modern Firearms (Edge of the Sword Vol 1).  I have generated firearm summary and general weapon tables.

Skills, Traits, and Attitudes

Every character has two slots for skills, which can be chosen from the list below.  The exact meaning of the "+" modifier depends on the skill, but in general everything is happening on a scale of 0 to 100.  Every character can have two skills, and bonuses are cumulative, so if you have "teaching (expert)" that's +60 to your teaching ability.

Some skills are not available to the mercenary you generate from the personality quiz.

Removes penalties when firing with a gun in each hand.
auto weps
Reduces "to hit" penalties for burst fire by half.
camouflaged [can't get from quiz]
Permanent 100% camouflage.
Improves chances (+15) of modifying/assembling electronics, picking electronic locks and disarming electronic traps, and attaching remote detonators.
Improves unarmed fighting skill (+15).  The skill bonus is smaller than for "martial arts", but the damage bonus is greater (effectively +45).
Improved ability with knives (+30).  Helps with knife defense (parrying) as well as attacks.
Bonus to lockpicking skill (+25).
heavy weapons [can't get from quiz]
Bonus when using mortars and rocket launchers (+15).  Note that mortar firing skill takes into account marksmanship, dexterity, wisdom, and experience level.
martial arts
Improved unarmed fighting skill (+30).  When the character does a "ninja spin kick" animation, damage is doubled.  Also helps with knife attack/defense.  This skill is only available to normal-sized male characters.  Female or "big" male characters have the skill converted to "hand-to-hand".
night ops
Better night vision and hearing (+15).  Each +10 represents one additional visible square, so "night ops" is +1, but "night ops (expert)" is +3 squares.  You use night vision goggles more effectively too.  You get a small additional hearing bonus during the day, and a higher chance of interrupting enemy soldiers moving in the dark.
on roof [can't get from quiz]
Bonus to attack when on roof (+15).  This is in addition to a built-in bonus for firing downward.
Harder to spot when sneaking (+25).  Two levels of this makes you as stealthy as a bloodcat.  (There's a table that says +15, but the code ignores it and gives +25.)
Bonus to teaching skill (+30).  (The table says +15, but the code uses 30.)
Not used.  A slot is allocated in the source code, but the skill wasn't implemented.  This appears to be the ability to tear the gun out of your opponent's hands while he's standing next to you.
Bonus to throwing skill (+12).  Improves maximum range and accuracy with knives and grenades, and increases chance of instant death from a knife throw by 10% per skill level.  (Instant death requires that the attacker not be heard or seen, and the target is head or torso.  The difference between the chance of hitting and the to-hit "die roll" determines the base percentage chance.)

Every character has an attitude that describes their personality.  Several of these alter the way events affect morale.  For example, killing an enemy soldier causes a "positive" event, while friendly casualties cause "negative" events.  (In addition to the factors below, "negative" events are adjusted by -1 if you're at level 1 or +1 if you're above level 5.)

Morale +1 on positive events.  Double morale penalty for running away from a fight.
No effect during game.
No effect during game. (This is the actual term that appears in the source code.)
big shot [can't get from quiz]
No effect during game.
Morale -2 on negative events.  No penalty for running from a fight.
No effect during game.
No effect during game.
No effect during game.
Morale +1 on positive and negative events.
Morale -1 on positive and negative events.
Characters can have a personality trait, which is generally negative, though there is an upside to "psycho".
Morale declines and fewer action points are available while underground.  Can cause verbal complaints.
fear of insects [can't get from quiz]
Morale and action points decline when character sees an insect (i.e. the subterranean bugs in sci-fi mode).  Can cause verbal complaints.
Occasionally, when told to move from point A to point B, your character will stop and ask for directions. Dimitry is an example of a forgetful character.
No effect during game.  Can cause verbal complaints.
Soldier does poorly when left alone.  Don't put them in a squad by themselves, far from friends, or morale plummets.
non-swimmer [can't get from quiz]
Does poorly in deep water (runs out of breath 5x as fast).  Can cause verbal complaints.
Character is normal.
Soldier gets a to-hit bonus when attacking the same target repeatedly.  Small chance of switching from single-shot to burst fire ("Buzz goes psycho"), especially on non-targeted shots.  Can cause verbal remarks.

Un-hired mercenaries have a small chance of dying each day.  Forgetful, nervous, or psycho mercs are more likely to die, while stealthy mercs are less likely.

Personality Quiz

One feature that none of the JA2 FAQ lists described accurately was the meaning of the answers to the "personality quiz" given at the start of the game.  The quiz is a series of multiple-choice questions.  Each question potentially grants you a skill, attitude, or personality trait.  At the end of the quiz, skills and attributes are assigned based on your responses, with some degree of randomness involved.

The questions and answers are:

  • Q1:
    1. martial arts (male), ambidexterous (female)
    2. loner
    3. hand-to-hand
    4. lockpicking
    5. throwing
    6. optimist
  • Q2:
    1. teaching
    2. stealthy
    3. psycho
    4. friendly
  • Q3:
    1. lockpicking
    2. arrogant
    3. stealthy
    4. normal
  • Q4:
    1. auto weaps
    2. friendly
    3. normal
    4. asshole
    5. loner
  • Q5:
    1. coward
    2. (nothing)
    3. aggressive
    4. (nothing)
  • Q6:
    1. coward
    2. night ops
    3. claustrophobic
    4. (nothing)
    5. (nothing)
  • Q7:
    1. electronics
    2. knifing
    3. night ops
    4. (nothing)
  • Q8:
    1. ambidexterous
    2. (nothing)
    3. optimist
    4. psycho
  • Q9:
    1. forgetful
    2. (nothing)
    3. pessimist
    4. nervous
  • Q10:
    1. (nothing)
    2. pessimist
    3. asshole
    4. nervous
  • Q11:
    1. (nothing)
    2. teaching
    3. aggressive
    4. normal
  • Q12:
    1. martial arts (male), ambidexterous (female)
    2. knifing
    3. (nothing)
    4. auto weaps
    5. hand-to-hand
    6. electronics
    7. (nothing)
    8. (nothing)
  • Q13:
    1. forgetful
    2. normal
    3. normal
    4. heat-intolerant
  • Q14:
    1. claustrophobic
    2. normal
    3. heat-intolerant
    4. (nothing)
  • Q15:
    1. throwing
    2. ambidexterous
    3. (nothing)
    4. arrogant
  • Q16:
    1. (nothing)
    2. (nothing)
    3. (nothing)
    4. (nothing)

To get stealthy/night ops (two hits on each): 6233-2232-2113-2431

Good combinations: stealthy/night-ops or night-ops expert (for a scout), stealthy/throwing or stealthy/martial arts (for an assassin).  Auto weapons with "psycho" trait is lethal in the end game.

All attitudes and personality traits will be mentioned in the e-mail you get on the third day.

Equipment Bonuses & Penalties

All bonuses are affected by the equipment's condition.  To get the maximum benefit, your equipment must be at 100%.

Sun Goggles
For greater than normal daylight levels (a way of simulating desert blindness), sun goggles improve sight range by up to 2 squares.  No effect on sight range in normal daylight conditions.  The effective range to target is decreased by 10%, providing a mild to-hit bonus.  There is no penalty for wearing sun goggles at night.
Night Goggles
Most effective in "normal" darkness, where vision is increased by 2 squares.  It can get "really dark", which reduces their effectiveness (not sure exactly when this occurs).  "Night ops" adds one additional square per ability level.  There is no penalty for wearing night goggles during the day.
UV Goggles
Only work above ground.  Vision is increased by 4 squares.  "Night ops" adds one additional square per ability level.  There is no penalty for wearing UV goggles during the day.
Extended Ear
Improves hearing range by up to +5, depending on equipment condition.  Note hearing range is greater at night (up to +3, depending on the time).
Sniper Scope
Effective range to target is decreased by 20% for every level of aiming.
Laser Scope
Adds 20% to chance to hit.  If scope is damaged below 50%, to-hit probability is actually reduced.
Without a bipod, you get a 10% to-hit bonus when firing while crouched, and a 20% bonus when firing while prone.  With a bipod, you get an additional 10% bonus when firing while prone.
Barrel Extender
Improves weapon range by up to 10 units, depending on equipment condition.  Can't be removed, but can fall off during battle, causing a 30% to-hit penalty for that shot.
Spring & Bolt Upgrade
Reduces APs required to fire weapon.  The formula is complex, so the AP reduction is shown in the entry for each gun in the weapon list. 
Reduces volume of weapon noise by up to 100%.
Reduces chances of being spotted.  Effectiveness is increased by crouching or lying prone in rough terrain, and hiding behind trees.  Effectiveness is decreased by moving: the farther you moved last turn, the less effective camouflage is at concealing you this turn (5% per tile).  Camouflage wears off over time, and wears off more quickly by moving through water (especially "deep" water, which can also damage equipment).  Once a character has been spotted, camouflage provides no benefit.
Head equipment
Sun goggles, night goggles, and UV goggles reduce your chances of being blinded by aliens spitting at your head.
Tanks [vehicles]
Tanks are more easily seen than soldiers, but get an equal bonus to their sight range.  They suffer a -5 penalty to hearing though.  If you're prone and within about 8 tiles, or crouched and within about 4 tiles, you're inside the tank's blind spot and won't be spotted.  Trees seem to provide less cover from tanks than they do from soldiers.

Closing Notes

The above was compiled by Andy McFadden, based on the JA2 source code.  Please send any corrections or requests for clarification to fadden at fadden.com.

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