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Bullet Counting Check

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Bullet Count Hiding is a HAM 3.4 feature, originally suggested by Zoolw. During combat, this feature obscures the true number of bullets left in the gun, so that neither the player nor the merc himself truly know how many shots remain.

Do you feel lucky, punk? Edit

In the real world, during intense combat, it is quite easy to forget how many bullets you've fired, and how many are left in your gun. During military combat training, troopers are trained to keep track of the number of bullets left in their guns, but in the heat of battle many still get confused, even to some degree. Unless you're firing a six-shot pistol, or have great eidetic memory, counting through an entire magazine is very tricky business. Soldiers also become accustomed to their weapons, learning to estimate the number of bullets remaining in the gun based on how heavy it is in their hands. However, this is at best a rough estimate.

HAM 3.4 introduces this new feature, that attempts to simulate the difficulty of keeping a true count.

Bullet Counting in HAM 3.4 Edit


Different Bullet-Hide States

HAM simulates the estimate by running a check against the character's EXPERIENCE level, WISDOM, and DEXTERITY. If the character possesses enough skill to make a rough estimate, the result is then weighed against the number of bullets already fired. If the soldier succeeds the entire check, he will be able to tell exactly how many bullets are left.

Otherwise, the bullet count (which is normally visible on the gun in your inventory, and in the gun's Description Box) turns into "??", obscuring the real number of bullets left.

Bullet Counting Checks only occur only during TURN-BASED COMBAT. The bullet count is always displayed correctly during real-time mode.

Also, if the magazine is full or empty, there's no need for a check at all (the correct number will always be displayed).

The Skill Check Edit

The process in which this is checked is fairly complicated. These are the main points of how the system works:

The check begins by reading the character's EXP, WIS and DEX.

Effective Skill = (WISDOM + DEXTERITY) - (200 - (EXPERIENCE LEVEL*20) )
If Effective Skill is a negative number, then 
   Soldier has failed the check entirely

Experience level is very important, as it dictates how much Wisdom and Dexterity you need to have to be able to count bullets (Wisdom) or weigh the gun correctly (Dexterity), or both. At Experience Level 1, the character needs WISDOM+DEXTERITY of at least 180, to be able to tell how many bullets are left or even to make a rough guess.

If the character does not possess the required WIS+DEX for his level, he cannot count bullets at all. Whenever in combat, the character's bullet count disappears.

As experience rises, you need fewer and fewer WIS and DEX, 20 points fewer actually, so even if Dexterity and Wisdom are not your best stats, gaining experience levels will eventually allow you to at least make a rough guess about the number of bullets left.

At Experience Level 2, you need WISDOM+DEXTERITY of at least 160, which is 20 points less.

At Experience Level 3, you need WIS+DEX of at least 140. Most characters can guesstimate their bullets left by this point. However, beating the check by a higher margin is also very important, so high skills and experience will ALWAYS help. I'll explain that in a second.

At Experience Level 10, even if your WIS+DEX truly suck, you can probably count an entire 30 bullet magazine without error. If they don't suck at all, EXP Level 10 allows you to count every bullet in a 200-round belt.

If you fail the check entirely, your screen will show ?? instead of the real number of bullets.

If you succeed, Effective Skill (in the formula above) becomes a modifier that may help you count bullets ACCURATELY.

At this point, we've established that the character has some ability to guesstimate. Now we need to figure out how good an estimate you can get. We do this by comparing the Effective Skill with how empty the magazine really is.

The program looks at how many bullets are left in the gun compared to the size of the magazine.

"Bullets Fired" Penalty = Magazine Size - Bullets Left.

The emptier the magazine, the harder it's going to be to tell how many bullets are left. You'll need a higher Effective Skill to cope with emptier magazines.

Skill Modifier = Effective Skill, after going through a ton of calculations which I won't explain here.
If Skill Modifier < Bullets Fired Penalty, then
   Soldier makes a rough estimate.
   Soldier makes an accurate estimate!

If the character is skilled enough, he can likely count through the first few bullets of the magazine ACCURATELY. If this is the case, the TRUE number of bullets is displayed.

The emptier the magazine gets, the character needs a higher Effective Skill to keep getting an accurate assessment.

With a small magazine (say, a pistol magazine of about 8-10 bullets) a reasonably skilled character could probably count all the way through, but with a 30-round magazine the accurate count can stop halfway through and turn into a rough estimate.

HAM 3.4

On a rough estimate, the bullet count is hidden from view and replaced with a "??".

HAM 3.5

On a rough estimate, the bullet count is hidden from view and replaced with one of these:

?H = The magazine is more than 2/3 full.

?M = The magazine is between 1/3 and 2/3 full.

?L = The magazine has less than 1/3 bullets left.

Possible Skill-Check Results Edit

  1. Failed the check. Bullet display is replaced with "??"
  2. Won the check by a high margin. The correct bullet count is displayed.
  3. Won the check by a low margin, or have fired too many bullets:
    • HAM 3.4: Failed the check. Bullet display is replaced with "??"
    • HAM 3.5: Rough estimate. Bullet display is replaced with ?H, ?M, or ?L depending on the number of bullets left.

The end result is that most characters will lose count at some point during combat, especially if they are close to emptying their gun. The higher their skill levels, the more bullets they can fire from the magazine before they lose count.

Experienced characters may be able to keep track all through the magazine. However, the larger the magazine, the harder it is to keep count. Therefore, even the most experienced characters may have some trouble counting all the way through a 100-round magazine. Conversely, most characters will probably be able to count through a pistol magazine. The most experienced characters (100 WIS, 100 DEX, 10 EXP) will be able to count through ANY magazine, no matter how large. Of course, such characters are extremely rare.

If the bullet count has disappeared, there are two ways to know how many bullets are actually left in the gun:

  1. Wait for combat to end. If the game returns to real-time mode, the correct bullet count will reappear.
  2. Take the magazine out of the gun and inspect it. Of course, putting the magazine back in the gun will cost you APs. Additionally, when the magazine is completely empty, it will show "0" bullets.

Example Scenario Edit

Ivan has an EXPERIENCE Level of 3. To be eligible for bullet counting during combat, he needs WIS+DEX of at least 140.

Fortunately, he has Wisdom 83 and Dexterity 95, which together are 178. He has beaten the requirement by 38 points.

This is not much, but in practice he should be able to fire roughly 10 bullets out of a 30-bullet magazine without losing count.

Once he's fired enough bullets, the count will disappear and be replaced by a rough estimate (HAM 3.5) or hidden completely (HAM 3.4). The true number of bullets left will only reappear when combat is over (Real-Time), or if the magazine reaches 0 bullets.

As Ivan's Experience Level or Wis+Dex increase, he should be able to fire more and more bullets from a similar-sized magazine without losing count.

If Ivan switches to a gun with a 100-round magazine, he could still count the first 10 bullets or so. However, he will then lose count, and will have to estimate the remainder of the magazine, I.E. the remaining 90 bullets. Compare this to 20 bullets in a 30-round magazine.

Of course, Ivan can count easily all the way through any magazine that has 10 or less bullets.

Disclaimer: The numbers above are just for example. Your mileage may vary.

HAM 3.5 - Hide "Unwanted Bullets" in Autofire Edit

This is a small feature that's automatically activated whenever Bullet Counting Checks are enabled.

In JA2 1.13 Auto-Fire mode, it is possible to fire more bullets than originally intended. An on-screen message pops up, letting the player know how many extra bullets were fired.

When Bullet Counting Checks are enabled, this message will not tell us how many extra bullets are fired.

Instead of:

"Ivan fires 4 more rounds than intended!"

We get:

"Ivan fires more rounds than intended!"

There is no other effect to this feature.

INI Settings Edit

Bullet-Count Hiding has two settings in HAM 3.4. One of those settings was really redundant from the start, and was henceforth removed in HAM 3.5.



Controls whether skill checks are required to see the number of bullets left in the gun.

JA2 Default Value FALSE

The correct number of bullets is always displayed over the gun's image and in the gun's Description Box.

HAM Recommended Value TRUE During combat, a character must succeed a complex skill check to see whether he knows how many bullets are left in his gun. Failing the check, or succeeding by a small margin, obscures the true count.
Notes This setting is only used in HAM 3.4.

To activate/deactive in HAM 3.5, see the next setting, BULLET_HIDE_INTENSITY.



Controls, by percentage, how difficult it is to remember the number of bullets left in the gun, during combat. In HAM 3.5, this setting can be used to disable the Hidden Bullet Count check entirely.

Range 0 - 1000
JA2 Default Value 0

The correct number of bullets is always displayed over the gun's image and in the gun's Description Box.

HAM Recommended Value 100 This is the "default" intensity. Decrease this number to make bullet counting easier. Increase it to make bullet counting harder. Increasing to 1000 can easily make bullet counting impossible during combat.
Notes Setting this to 0 in HAM 3.4 does not deactivate the Bullet Counting feature. See above (BULLET_HIDE) for more details.

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