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Enhanced Description Box

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The Enhanced Description Box, also known as EDB, was the core around which HAM was built. EDB was completed in October 2008, and integrated into JA2 1.13 shortly thereafter by ChrisL. It is now an integral part of any JA2 1.13 version made after that date. Although it is not strictly a HAM feature (it was a separate project finished before HAM), this is widely considered the very first HAM feature.

History Edit

JA2 1.13 comes packaged with over 1100 different items. Each and every item in the game is unique, having its own effects and properties. This is especially true for weapons, which have so many different variables affecting their performance, that they required an entirely separate 340k XML file to hold all that information.

The only information we get about most items inside the game is their name and weight. Weapons show a little bit more than that, including Firing Speed and Damage. Other than this, if you can't glean information from the item's textual description, you're left to test the item or guess at its properties.

Many JA2 players seem to find this somewhat annoying, especially when there are so many items to choose from and so little space to carry them all. This is especially true for guns, because it can be exceptionally difficult to tell guns apart just by firing them, due to limited feedback from the game and the randomal aspects and myriad factors related to gun use. Choosing which gun to carry can be a true conundrum, which most players aren't willing to suffer.

The solution is very simple, because all of that data is stored in XML files which can be read with Notepad. If the player wants to find out some information about a specific item, all they have to do is learn to read the XML, which isn't particularly hard. So the information is available, but still requires the player to go through the annoying process of ALT-TABbing out of the game, examining the file, then going back into the game. It also makes comparing between items overly complicated.

EDB was born to solve this problem. It compiles all of the most relevant pieces of data, and shows them neatly arraged inside the game. EDB is all about making life easier.

Enhanced Description Box Edit

Enhanced Description Box:38Special-NewDescBox

Old Description Box: 38Special-OldDescBox

Features Edit

This is a small modification to JA2 1.13 that is intended to allows players to get as much information as possible about guns, armor, ammo, explosives and all other equipment without having to interpret the data in the XML files. EDB is an extended version of the Item Description Box (shown when right-clicking an item in your inventory) which displays much more data than the unmodified/vanilla version.

EDB shows a myriad of statistics about items and their attributes:

Weapons now show such data as "AP cost to Ready" or "AP cost to Reload", "Auto/Burst penalty", "Reliability", and many many more.

Explosives (like grenades) show their damage, blast diameter, and even their duration (Gas-based explosives).

Armor shows all armor-relevant data, including "Coverage" and extra worn bonuses. Goggles show their vision-altering abilities.

Ammo shows "Penetration" and "Bullet Tumble" values, gun stat modifiers, and other exotic properties.

All other items may also show data, provided only that they have anything interesting to show.

This mod was created for players who've been wondering about the difference between items, and have been too lazy to check the XMLs or simply didn't know how. It also allows players who like to get the best out of their equipment to compare items quickly and efficiently, without having to leave the game at all.

How does it work? Edit

EDB is opened by right-clicking an item in your inventory. This may also work with items in the Sector Inventory Pool. When EDB is activated, it completely replaces the normal Description Box.

As you can see in the pictures here, the old description box showed very little information about guns. With the new description box, all (or almost all) relevant information is displayed easily and inside the game. This is also true for non-gun items.

Granted, this may seem like a whole lot of information, especially for anyone who hasn't had a look inside the XML files. However all these values greatly enhance the information available to you on a variety of equipment types, including specialized values. Most importantly, you can always mouse-over one of these icons to show a textual tool-tip explaining what the value represents.

If you find that this is too much information for you to handle, turning off EDB is as simple as opening your options menu and clicking "Show Enhanced Description Box". When turned off, the old description box will return, displaying its pathetically small amount of data and letting you guesstimate everything else.

INI Settings Edit

The Enhanced Description Box has only one INI setting. This is not used to turn EDB on and off, but rather to decide where/when EDB will appear in-game.


Effect Controls when EDB is used instead of the Old Description Box (ODB)
Range 0,1,2
HAM Recommended Setting 0 EDB will be shown when right-clicking items in both Tactical and Strategic Screens
Other Values 1 EDB is shown when right-clicking items in the Strategic Screen only. In the Tactical Screen, ODB is shown.
2 EDB is shown when right-clicking items in the Tactical Screen only. In the Strategic Screen, ODB is shown.

EDB can be turned on and off using your in-game Options Menu.

See Also Edit

Enhanced Description Box Icons

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