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Mobile Militia Movement in Cities and SAM sites

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With HAM 3.4+, Mobile Militia are no longer restricted to the wilderness. They can be allowed to roam through Minor Cities (such as San Mona) and to automatically bolster weakened Major City and SAM Site garrisons.

Minor vs. Major Cities Edit

To understand this article, you will first need to understand what a "city" is, and the difference between a Major and Minor city.

What is a city? Edit

Cities are areas of the strategic map that are associated together under a single name. For instance, "Drassen" is a combination of sectors B13, C13, and D13.

The best way to tell a city sector from a wilderness sector is by looking at the strategic map, in-game. Click the "Show Cities" button, marked with the image of buildings. This will show the names and boundaries of all cities in the game.

In JA2, the names and locations of cities are defined in TableData\Map\Cities.XML. This file tells the program which sectors belong to the city, as well as lots of extra data about loyalty and militia training. Also, each city has a unique index number, which is used elsewhere to refer to that city.

Major Cities Edit

A major city is any city where Militia training is allowed.

In an unmodded game of JA2, Major cities include Drassen, Alma, Cambria, Chitzena, Balime, Grumm and Meduna.

Minor cities Edit

Minor cities are shown as cities on the map (they have a border and their name is displayed whenever city view is selected). However, it is impossible to train militia there.

The best way to tell a Minor City from a Major City is to conquer it. Once conquered, a Major city will show a LOYALTY value on the strategy map. A Minor City has no Loyalty value.

In an unmodded game of JA2, Minor cities include San Mona, Omerta, Estoni, Tixa and Orta. Yes, the two latter may not be actual cities, but they are considered such by the game.

JA2 1.13 Movement Restrictions Edit

In theory, there isn't much of a difference between Garrison Militia (the kind that protect cities) and Mobile Militia (the kind that move through the countryside). In fact, in battle they behave exactly the same. The difference is of course that Garrisons never move, while Mobiles are designed to roam around.

The game itself doesn't really know which group of Militia are Garrison and which are Mobiles. In fact, if you look at the code itself, you'll see that it actually tries to move ALL kinds of militia! The only reason why Mobiles can move and Garrisons can't is based on their LOCATION.

At the top of each hour, the game goes through all sectors of the map. If it finds a unit of Militia, it will try to move it. However, if the current location of that unit is INSIDE a city, the game simply skips that unit and moves on to the next. The end result is that only units OUTSIDE cities will move. Very simple.

For this reason, the game wants to keep the two kinds of militia separate from one another. Garrison Militia will never move, so they always stay inside the cities where they were trained. Mobiles, on the other hand, will always move, but they will NEVER enter a city! This effectively keeps the two types separate.

Separate = Good, no?Edit

As you will see below, the strict separation between Garrisons and Mobiles causes the game to behave somewhat illogically.

For one, Minor Cities that cannot train their own Militia remain completely defenseless. Mobiles may be patrolling the vicinity, but will never actually enter the city. And since Garrisons cannot be trained inside the Minor City, its sectors remain empty of Militia presence.

The other problem is that you can have situations where a Major City has lost many of its Garrison troops, and becomes weak to enemy attacks, despite the fact that there are plenty of Mobiles patrolling the area, who should've logically entered it to provide a standing defense!

HAM deals with these issues by removing some of the Movement Restrictions that apply to Mobile Militia. Under certain conditions, they are now able to move through the boundaries separating cities and wilderness.

HAM Movement through Minor Cities Edit

This feature exists in all current versions of HAM. When it is activated, Militia can move through Minor Cities as though they were normal Wilderness.

HAM 1 introduced Dynamic Roaming Restrictions. Amongst the new rules for this system, it was decided that capturing two of the northern cities (Chitzena+Drassen or Chitzena+Cambria) would allow movement through San Mona, so that Militia can patrol between the two cities and clear the roads. However, since San Mona is considered a city, Militia were forbidden from entering it.

HAM 2 then introduced a setting that does allow Militia to move through all Minor Cities, like San Mona and Estoni.

When "Movement through Minor Cities" is turned on, Mobile Militia can roam through such cities just as they would through normal wilderness. They will be allowed to enter and leave freely, and can even engage enemy troops who are moving through the city at the time.

Does this mean that Mobiles can clean out Tixa for me?Edit

This brings up an important tactical question: By allowing Militia to roam through Minor Cities, they would be able to assault and capture places like Tixa without player assistance. That would spoil some of the fun in the game, as it once again makes Mobile Militia an aggressive force that unbalances gameplay. HAM is geared towards avoiding such things, after all!

Obviously, the answer is NO.Edit

The solution came in the form of a very basic restriction: Mobile Militia can only move into a Minor City sector if that sector has already been liberated by the player at least once in the campaign.

Until you've visited Tixa, or any other Minor City sector for that matter, Militia will not dare enter that sector at all.

Once the sector's been visited or liberated at least once, Mobile Militia can both enter and leave the sector freely, as well as attack enemies who've moved into the sector. They do not require intervention from the player or his mercs to do so.

This effectively allows them to keep a previously-liberated Minor City sector free of enemies and under your control.

So, once again, Mobile Militia fulfill their role of guarding liberated territory, without allowing them to do the player's dirty work!

HAM Movement into Major Cities and SAM sites Edit

HAM also addresses a different issue that arises from the disparity between Mobile and Garrison Militia.

Consider this situationEdit

The city of Drassen has a full contingent of Garrison Militia. Several Mobile groups are also patrolling for enemies nearby. Your mercs are off liberating Balime, and are counting on these Militia to hold the fort while they're gone.

Suddenly, an enemy unit appears out of the wilderness and assaults the city, causing a great number of casualties. The amount of Militia inside Drassen is now dangerously low.

A second enemy attack in the same sector would surely cause Drassen (or at least part of it) to fall into enemy hands.


In this situation, you've got a weakened city in danger of capitulation, DESPITE the fact that there are plenty of Mobile Militia passing by every few hours! The city sectors themselves are much more important than the area around the city, but the Mobiles are forbidden from entering the city to reinforce it. The city remains weak until your mercs can get back and re-train some Garrison troops.

This is naturally an absurd situation.

ReinforcementAnimation

Demonstrating why Mobile Reinforcements are a good idea.

Situations like this are caused by Mobile Militia's complete inability to enter any Major City. The program keeps them totally separated, so no matter how many Mobiles you have patrolling the region, the city itself will remain vulnerable - unless one of your mercs journeys back to Drassen to retrain the Garrison.

There could be over a hundred Mobiles just loitering around (and you paid good money for them too!), but they can do nothing to bolster up the city itself? This is, of course, an illogical situation.

The solution? Allow reinforcements!Edit

HAM 3.3 (and later) changes this by allowing Mobile Militia to enter city sectors, overriding the movement restriction. If a Mobile group passes next to a city sector that has less than a full garrison, that Mobile unit (or part of it) will enter the city and reinforce the garrison troops there.

Any Militia member who moves thusly will stop being a Mobile troop and in fact turn into a local Garrison troop. Once they have entered the city, these Mobiles cannot leave, so in fact they have turned into a fully-fledged Garrison, just like any other Garrison Militia.

In this way, training Mobile Militia acts as a sort of insurance policy. If the enemy manages to move attack the city, the Mobiles patrolling around that city will immediately try to reinforce it against any possible future attacks. Your mercs can continue doing whatever they were doing without having to hurry back to retrain the city defenses - Mobiles in the area will take care of this themselves!

Faster control of newly-liberated citiesEdit

In addition, this sort of behavior also helps your mercs establish a foothold in newly-conquered cities. Once a city is conquered, any Mobile Militia groups that pass in the vicinity will stream into the city and turn into local Garrison troops. This saves a lot of time on training new troops, and will certainly help against the queen's imminent counter-attack!

Of course, this comes with a price. You need to remember that Mobile Militia are normally FAR more expensive than Garrisons.

  • In a normal game, 10 Garrison Militia are trained for $750. In contrast, 5 Mobile Militia are trained for $2250.
  • Do the quick maths: 1 Garrison Militia is worth $75. 1 Mobile Militia is worth $450. The net loss is $375!
  • Remember that once the Mobile has entered the city, he can never leave again!

Of course, one saving grace for this is the fact that a Garrison is initially "all-rookies". In contrast, a Mobile force is normally comprised of Elites. Mobile->Garrison conversion is an interesting, if expensive way of getting Elite troops to guard your cities.

City/SAM Site reinforcementsEdit

HAM 3.3 and any later version has two INI settings that control two different possibilities for this kind of movement. You can set whether Mobile Militia can reinforce Major Cities, SAM Sites, neither, or both.

With HAM 3.5 and later versions, this has an interesting tie-in with the new Facility System. The default HAM settings deny the ability to train troops in SAM Sites. To get troops there, you will need to train a Mobile unit. That group will then move around, and when it reaches the SAM site it will "reinforce" it, turning into a Garrison. That's the only way to get troops to defend the site!

However, since Mobile units move in a predominantly randomal fashion, they might not even make it to the SAM site at all. One way to ensure that they do is to have a single merc (or group of mercs) lead them there. This is possible because Mobile units always try to move to sectors where Mercs are present. What you need to do is have your Merc move one sector at a time, letting the mobiles follow him along the way to the SAM site. Once the Merc reaches the site, the Mobiles will move inside and turn into a Garrison. They will not leave.

The same thing also applies to the City of Balime, which does not offer the ability to train Militia at all, in HAM 3.5 and above.

How Militia Movement Restrictions Affect This Edit

For Mobile Militia to be able to reinforce a city sector, that sector must be ALLOWED FOR ROAMING. Naturally, this depends on the Movement Restrictions system that you have chosen to use.

Only the Exploration-Based Restrictions allow this sort of movement by default, after all you must have explored the city while liberating it, meaning that all city sectors are movement-enabled, and so Mobile Militia will be able to enter and hold those sectors. Same goes for SAM Sites.

If Hardcoded Conquest-Based Restrictions are used (HAM B2.8), any liberated city will also be allowed for roaming. Same goes for any SAM site near the liberated city.

If you're using HAM 3.4's XMLized Conquest-Based Restrictions, you would have to make sure that each city "unrestricts" its own sectors (or, that some other city unrestricts those sectors). Otherwise, you will never reach a situation where Mobile Militia are allowed to move into the city at all. Please note that by default, all of the XMLs supplied with HAM 3.4+ are set-up to allow movement into a liberated city.


INI Settings Edit

There are three separate INI settings for the Militia Movement into Cities. You can enable and disable each INI setting independently, whichever combination suits your style best.


ALLOW_MILITIA_MOVE_THROUGH_MINOR_CITIES Edit

Effect

Controls whether Mobile Militia can move through Minor City sectors.

Range TRUE/FALSE
JA2 Default Value FALSE

Mobile Militia will not enter Minor City sectors at all. In the event that a unit of Mobile Militia has entered such a sector (probably following player-controlled mercs as reinforcements for an attack), they will be able to move out of the Minor City, but cannot move back in.

HAM Recommended Value TRUE Mobile Militia can enter and leave Minor Cities freely. They can also attack enemies in such sectors. However, for this to be allowed, the sector must've been visited or successfully assaulted by player-controlled mercs at least once in the past. Also, the sector must be allowed for roaming based on your currently selected Movement Restrictions system.



ALLOW_MOBILE_MILITIA_REINFORCE_TOWN_GARRISONS Edit

Effect

Controls whether Mobile Militia can independently move into Major City sectors to reinforce a weakened local garrison.

Range TRUE/FALSE
JA2 Default Value FALSE

Mobile Militia will never attempt to enter a city sector on their own. They can only do so if they are following player-controlled mercs as reinforcements for an attack on the sector.

HAM Recommended Value TRUE As long as your currently-selected Movement Restriction System allows movement into a city sector, and that sector is free of enemies and was liberated by player-mercs at least once in the past, Mobile Militia will be able to enter this sector, bringing the local garrison up to full complement if possible. These troops then become part of the Garrison, and will not attempt to move out again.



ALLOW_MOBILE_MILITIA_REINFORCE_SAM_GARRISONS Edit

Effect

Controls whether Mobile Militia can independently move into SAM Site sectors to reinforce a weakened local garrison.

Range TRUE/FALSE
JA2 Default Value FALSE

Mobile Militia will never attempt to enter a SAM Site sector on their own. They can only do so if they are following player-controlled mercs as reinforcements for an attack on the sector.

HAM Recommended Value TRUE As long as your currently-selected Movement Restriction System allows movement into the SAM Site sector, and that sector is free of enemies and was liberated by player-mercs at least once in the past, Mobile Militia will be able to enter this sector, bringing the local garrison up to full complement if possible. These troops then become part of the Garrison, and will not attempt to move out again.



See Also Edit

Progress-Controlled Roaming Militia

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