The message log appears in both Strategic and Tactical modes, and generally lets us know what the heck is going on. Unfortunately, it has seen no improvement since the days of JA2. HAM seeks to rectify this through several visual enhancements.
Wider Message Log Edit
With the advent of higher resolutions for the game, a lot of space has been freed on our Strategic Screen. Unfortunately, most of this space has gone completely unused.
In particular, there is a lot of free space to the right side of the Message Log window in Strategic Mode, along the bottom of the screen. HAM now utilizes this space by stretching the message log as far as it can go to the right (based on your current resolution).
This allows displaying messages over a wider area, which is very nice for displaying long messages without having to wrap the text.
This feature is ALWAYS ON. Otherwise you have a lot of free unused space for absolutely no reason!
Also note that the financial data box (displaying your current balance, income, and now expenses) is also pushed as far right as possible.
Colorful Messages Edit
SirTech originally designed the message window to display messages in various colors. However, they eventually decided that all messages will either be white (for character dialogue) or yellow (all other messages). Coders also know that debug messages appear in Red. A single line in the code enforces the color yellow for most messages. This line was removed in HAM.
Therefore, it is now possible to have all sorts of colors in the message log. This is not a player-moddable feature, it's only useful for coders.
However, HAM already makes some use of this: Messages about mercs completing overland travel are displayed in green. Messages about mercs losing skill points due to accidents in facility work are shown in red.
In the future, a more appropriate color scheme may be codified.
More messages in Tactical View Edit
One of the most annoying problems with the message log appear in Tactical mode. During combat (and sometimes also outside of combat) you can get a whole slew of messages, but only 6 can be displayed on screen at the same time. This leads to situations where something happens you should know about, but the message is immediately scrolled out of view due to other messages coming in. This can be seriously annoying, and potentially dangerous for your mercs. The only way to read that message (if at all) is to go back to strategic mode and scroll the message log up. I don't need to tell you how annoying that is.
To fix this, HAM provides an INI setting that allows you to control how many messages can be displayed on screen at the same time. Even in 640x480 resolution there is room for no less than 20 messages! This is over 3 times more than the default limit.
INI Settings Edit
Wider Message Log and Colorful Messages are always on because there's no reason to turn them off. The only INI setting is for deciding how many lines of text can appear on screen simultaneously in Tactical mode.
Controls the number of messages that can appear on-screen at any time, in Tactical mode.
|Range||0-36*||Please read the note below|
|JA2 Default Value||6||
Only the most recent 6 lines of text appear on screen at the same time. This is pretty limited considering the height of the interface.
|HAM Recommended Value||15||15 is reasonable enough, and ensures that your screen doesn't get over-cluttered. You can safely set it much higher (up to 36) if you want to|
Your chosen screen resolution may reduce the cap below 36. This occurs automatically and does not produce an error message.
640x480: Maximum 20 lines.
800x600: Maximum 26 lines.
1024x768: Maximum 36 lines.